Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Limited Atonement?

I've responded to Nathan's post about Limited Atonement over at Daniel's blog. See his Monday, January 30, 2006 entry: Are you sure that you want to say it like that? entry.

[I brought this post here so that it would be easier to access and for posterity.]

Nathan: “Judging us to be in error and not seeking reconciliation is a characteristic of the Pharisees.

Why do you write such caustic words? Can you not just agree to disagree without always charging people of being something they are not or doing things they have not done? First we’re not humbling ourselves and now we’re Pharisees. Can you please lay off the ad hominem? I don’t believe that any one of us who disagrees with you is in ANY way Pharisaical. Please Stop.

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe someone just doesn't have the time to pursue a rebuttal, but wants to voice their dissent?

It’s one thing to challenge us, it is completely another to slander or belittle us.

I will attempt to “seek reconciliation.”

Nathan: "If we are wrong, by all means show us!

Mark 16:15; Luke 2:10,30-32; John 3:16; Romans 5:18, 11:32; 2 Cor 5:14-15; I Tim 2:1-6,4:10; Heb 2:9; Titus 2:11-12; II Peter 2:1.

Nathan: “Again, why do we 'force' our understading into the text and determine that 'world' in 1John 2:2 cannot mean all without exception? Because taking world to mean everyone:

A) Is inconsistent with a plethora of other passages (detailing the nature of the atonement and whether Christ actually accomplished anything in His death).
"

Jesus accomplished the means of salvation for every man/whosoever will. He was THE passover lamb, right? Just as those who applied the blood on the lintel posts in Egypt were spared physical death, those who are covered in/apply Jesus' blood by believing and receiving Him are spared spiritual death. The passover meal was open to anyone (Jew or Gentile) who would commit to the God of the Israelites and be circumcised. A commitment first and then a circumcision. (Exodus 12)

Please provide the scripture from the OT where it states that those who were saved by looking ahead to the Messiah were given saving grace first.

Jesus died for everyone, but not everyone will accept His gift. So the atonement is limited only insofar as one must believe and receive Him for the atonement to be effective. That doesn’t in any way cause His death to be in vain. If only ONE person accepted Jesus out of all the world, His death would still not be in vain. The only way it would be in vain is if no one ever accepted His death. But please feel free to provide the scripture which states that Jesus' death is in vain if He died for everyone, but not everyone will accept that atonement.


As an aside, Abraham was not circumcised when He “believed” God and his faith was accounted to him for righteousness. Abraham believed and then he was circumcised. Right? And that is how the NT teaches it. Repent + Believe/Faith + Receive = Saving Grace. God gives us a new heart upon our receiving the Lord’s gift of grace. The word of God by the Spirit of God renews our minds/hearts.

Nathan: "B) Is inconsistent with basic logic and rational."

It is only inconsistent with the logic and rationale of Calvinists. It is perfectly consistent, logical and rational to what the word of God teaches. And that is that salvation is available to every man (i.e., whosoever believes/faiths). Jesus died for all (Heb 2:9), but only those who believe and receive will have their sins atoned.

Nathan: "C) Is inconsistent with the actual meaning of the word 'propitiation'."

Please tell us what propitiation actually means since you think we don't seem to understand it.

Nathan: "E) Ignores the many other uses of the term -in the same book and by the same author- where world does not mean every man without exception."

It depends upon the context.

Nathan: "F) Is easily reconcilable with John 11:49"

So. John 11:49 is merely honing in on the fact that the atonement is only effective to those who believe and receive which is something that will happen to men from every part of the world. This scripture doesn't hurt my position, but rather affirms it.

Nathan: "G) Affirms what every true Christian believes (but will not always admit): that there is a limit to who Christ died for -otherwise all men would be saved."

I admit that the atonement is only effectual to those who believe and receive the Lord. But Jesus’ death was the propitiaton that was made available to all men (whosoever will). Calvinists have made up the part that Jesus' death requires all men to be saved if He died for all men.

Hebrews 2:9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

1 John 2:2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Luke 2:10,14And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


1 Timothy 2:1-6I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

All emphasis added to the scriptures.

Nathan: “I just blogged about this recently and I argued that we must understand the intent of the atonement before we understand the extent. That is, if Christ actually accomplished anything by His death, then we must put a limit on it. So your options are: Christ did not actually save anyone, thus you would agree with the Roman Catholics that 'grace' must be added to by our merit. OR, you must affirm that Christ did accomplish something in His death, thus if He died for all then all will be saved.

OR, we can go with what the word of God actually states and know that Jesus died for all and only those who believe and receive will have their sins atoned.

NathanDo you guys realize that you are agreeing with the Catholic view of the atonement? That is, Christ did 99% of the work, but our obedience here on earth determines whether you can appropriate that 99%?

Do you realize that we do NOT agree with the Catholic view of atonement? Do you realize that Calvinists have just made up this so-called 99/1 % ratio? Do you realize that faith is not a work? Do you realize that it is 100% of God’s grace that saves us when we believe and receive because we have no power within us to save ourselves and that NONE of us deserves to be saved? Do you realize that God LOVES everyone?

Nathan: “Have the Catholics gotten this right?

No.

Labels: ,

81 Comments:

At Thursday, February 16, 2006 4:19:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Dawn,

Well said!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Thursday, February 16, 2006 4:29:00 PM, Blogger Mike Garner said...

Mike, no I'm not a universalist. And yes, I do qualify this scripture (I Tim 4:10) with scripture. To name a few:

Mark 16:15; Luke 2:10,30-32; John 3:16; Romans 11:32; 2 Cor 5:14-15; I Tim 2:1-6; Heb 2:9; Titus 2:11-12.



Good. Then you will have no problem with the fact that Calvinists also qualify the verse. I'm just avoiding the terrible mistatement that "Arminians Just read the Verse while Calvinists impose their theology on it". Obviously both schools of thought use the rest of Scripture, the semantic range of the word, and the context in order to exegete the sentence.

In Christ alone,
mike

 
At Friday, February 17, 2006 8:03:00 AM, Anonymous Eye said...

Dawn said: Calvinists have made up the part that Jesus' death requires all men to be saved if He died for all men.


and...

Do you realize that we do NOT agree with the Catholic view of atonement? Do you realize that Calvinists have just made up this so-called 99/1 % ratio? Do you realize that faith is not a work? Do you realize that it is 100% of God’s grace that saves us when we believe and receive because we have no power within us to save ourselves and that NONE of us deserves to be saved? Do you realize that God LOVES everyone?


Dawn,

Excellent points!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, February 17, 2006 12:47:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks Eye.

Mike,

What I have a problem with is someone who insists that I exegete the scripture text ALONE without the whole counsel of scripture OR when they decide to change the meaning of a word such as "all" or "world" and say that that isn't what it means in its context.

In the case of I Timothy 4:10, I've given plenty of scripture to show that "all" means "all" and not just a select few from every nation. I agree that only a select few from every nation will have their sins atoned, but this atonement is available to "all" just as the scripture implies.

 
At Friday, February 17, 2006 3:21:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

http://www.gty.org/resources.php?section=transcripts&aid=216309

THE PROGRESS OF SALVATION
Romans 8:29-30
John MacArthur, Jr.

Part of a taped sermon on the progress of salvation…
“Second Thessalonians 2:13, "God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation." Second Timothy 1:9, "He saved us, called us with a holy calling not according to our works but according to His own purpose." There it is again. This is all bound up in the eternal counsel of God which He Himself determined before the world began. And that's why, as I told you the last time, John 1:12 says that we have become the children of God not by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but of God. Putting it simply, salvation does not occur because of what you decided. Salvation occurs because of what God has already decided. It's all bound up in His eternal purpose.

And so much of modern evangelism today fails to grasp this. So much of modern evangelism leaves people the idea that somehow their eternal destiny is based upon a decision that they make. Scripture frankly has quite a different emphasis. In the first place, an unregenerate man is dead in trespasses and sin and utterly unable to respond to the gospel. The god of this world has blinded his mind. He is ignorant. He is the captive to sin, so much so according to 1 Corinthians 2:14 it says, "A natural man," that's an unconverted man, "does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, they're foolishness to him, he cannot understand them." He can't. On his own he can't make that decision. It's impossible.”


What about Cornelius? When did the incorruptible seed get planted in Cornelius? Where is it in Scripture? Remember Acts 11:14 tells us the angel told Cornelius that Peter will come, “who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” So, the Scriptures confirm without a doubt that Cornelius was lost – and he was indeed seeking after God. Where in Acts 10 and 11 does it say that God was specifically calling and drawing him? Actually, the Scripture teaches that God was responding to things that Cornelius did (pray, alms, worked righteousness).

I’m sorry, but I don’t see the Calvinistic model fitting Cornelius’ circumstances of salvation. Rather I see a loving God preparing the way for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to go the Gentiles!

Where are all of our Calvinist brothers? It sure is quiet…

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, February 17, 2006 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Mike Garner said...

Dawn,

I see that you are responding to me, but I don't see how that relates at all to what I have said.

In the case of 1Tim 4:10 the operative word is not "all" but Savior. You clearly have changed the definition of "savior" into some sort of thing that makes "atonement possible to all men". The Calvinist simply does the same thing. Jesus is the Savior, but not in the sense that He Saves them from hell ... not in the sense that He died for their sins.

With your sword you may choose to attack the Calvinist but you must first cut off your own legs to reach us.

In Christ alone,
mike

 
At Saturday, February 18, 2006 2:25:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

McArthur: “Second Thessalonians 2:13, "God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation." Second Timothy 1:9, "He saved us, called us with a holy calling not according to our works but according to His own purpose."

God has chosen those who believe (you) from the beginning for salvation.

Right. Not according to our works, but rather according to our faith. Faith is not a work. God's own purpose was/is salvation through faith.

McArthur: "This is all bound up in the eternal counsel of God which He Himself determined before the world began."

Agreed. God determined before the world began that He would save a remnant unto Himself. Those who believe and receive will inherit the Kingdom of God.

McArthur: "And that's why, as I told you the last time, John 1:12 says that we have become the children of God not by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man, but of God. Putting it simply, salvation does not occur because of what you decided. Salvation occurs because of what God has already decided. It's all bound up in His eternal purpose.

Salvation occurs, like the scripture states, when a person believes and receives and that is what God has already decided. It is true that it is not by the will of man because God chose the terms, not us.

McArthur: "...an unregenerate man is dead in trespasses and sin and utterly unable to respond to the gospel. He is ignorant."

We ARE dead in trespasses and sin, but McArthur is wrong to state that we are utterly unable to respond to the gospel; the bible teaches otherwise. We are able to believe without being born again FIRST. Where in these scriptures does it state that God regenerates those who believe FIRST? (All emphasis to the scripture added)

Matthew 21:28-40But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness [God drawing them through His Spirit], and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, WHEN YE HAD SEEN IT, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Matthew 21:33-41Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

Matthew 21:42-44 “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Where in these scriptures is it stated that God REGENERATED those who believed FIRST?

Not only do these parables show that these men were able to believe and chose not to, but it also shows the state of their hearts. God looks upon the heart. Not that we’re good because we are not, but rather do we have a heart willing to believe God and repent or do we choose to reject God which brings about unbelief? What is it that causes us to reject God? It is what is within our heart. This truth is VERY CLEAR in these scriptures.

McArthur: “The god of this world has blinded his mind.

The god of this world has blinded those who believe not.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them WHICH BELIEVE NOT, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Once someone chooses to disbelieve God, He allows the devil to come in and blind them.

McArthurHe is the captive to sin, so much so according to 1 Corinthians 2:14 it says, "A natural man," that's an unconverted man, "does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, they're foolishness to him, he cannot understand them." He can't. On his own he can't make that decision. It's impossible.

McArthur has made this scripture say something that it does not. It is true that the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit. But it is talking about the deeper (I Corinthians 2:9-10) things of the Spirit. Keep reading in that same book and you will see that there are even those who are born again who do not understand the things of the Spirit, YET. God gives us enough grace to UNDERSTAND that you MUST be born again to go to heaven and escape Hell. Some people believe it and God opens their eyes to the things of the Spirit and some people do not and God withholds the things of the Spirit. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)

1 Corinthians 3:1-3And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Eye: “Where in Acts 10 and 11 does it say that God was specifically calling and drawing him? Actually, the Scripture teaches that God was responding to things that Cornelius did (pray, alms, worked righteousness).

I think it is safe to say that God, at some point, drew and called Cornelius, thus He was a devout man and feared God. I agree that God was responding to Cornelius, but Cornelius was already a child of God.

 
At Saturday, February 18, 2006 2:34:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Mike: "You clearly have changed the definition of "savior" into some sort of thing that makes "atonement possible to all men". The Calvinist simply does the same thing. Jesus is the Savior, but not in the sense that He Saves them from hell ... not in the sense that He died for their sins."

I have not changed the definition of Savior. It means deliverer i.e., God or Christ. Jesus IS the Savior (deliverer) of all men. He is the one sent to deliver whosoever WILL believe on Him. He DOES make the atonement POSSIBLE for all men.

 
At Saturday, February 18, 2006 8:07:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Dawn,

I've seen where many want to make Cornelius Old Testament saved, but I reject that based on the clear fact that God told the angel to tell Cornelius that a man named Peter would come to his house and share the gospel with him ("tell thee words whereby thou (Cornelius) and all thy house shall be saved).

I believe the reason God gave Peter the vision of the sheet with the clean and unclean animals further affirms Cornelius is a lost Gentile. In other words, if Cornelius had converted to Judaism, then he would have been circumcised. I believe God is clearly teaching through Cornelius that He is no respecter of persons and that salvation through Jesus is now available for the Gentiles. The Judaizers would have wanted Cornelius and his male relatives that believed circumcised upon their confession of faith in Jesus, but God says not so fast gang! They saw the evidence of his inward circumscision of the heart by the outward manifestation of the Holy Ghost.

Notice Peter also says in 11:17, "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?"

So, if God says Cornelius needs to be saved in 11:14, and he wasn't a converted Jew based on 11:17 where Peter says , 'God gave them the like gift', then I humbly submit that Cornelius was a lost Gentile who was seeking the one true God!

That's why I introduce Cornelius to the Calvinist -- he just doesn't fit inside their box.

Humbly submitted and In Him,

Eye

 
At Monday, February 20, 2006 7:19:00 AM, Blogger Leo said...

I appreciate the lively debate on this issue, too bad that some resort to name calling. Sorry that time and writing ability limits me respond as I would like.

I have always seen Cornelius as a transitional figure between the dispensations, for want of a better term or maybe it is the PB in me! What I mean by this is that he is considered a man who is faithful to the OT light but happened to live right after the death and resurrection of Christ and was in need of further revelation. To me God was obviously drawing Cornelius to Himself.

A grave hindrance in this debate is that the Holy Spirit has never given full disclosure as to His workings with humans... so much is left to speculation and sadly many are not willing to leave the secret things to God. I have always believed that God revealed Election only as reason for redeemed humans to praise Him. I believe that Christians have to plead with all to repent and believe. I have hope that all whom I minister to and pray for will come to Christ. I believe that those who reject are responsible for their decisions though God elects.

 
At Monday, February 20, 2006 2:30:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Dawn,

I agree with your ealier comment that God was drawing Cornelius -- “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (Jn. 12:32). I guess to clarify, I fail to see the Calvinist doctrine of Irresistable grace at work in Acts 10. I do see God's call to all mankind as noted in John 12:32 at work, not only with Cornelius, but with all mankind,even including Cain.

Another common argument that Calvinist use is how can a 'dead' man do anything, especially respond to the gospel? Well, I pose the question to them -- how can a dead man sin using this analogy?

In Him,

Eye

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 12:49:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

McArthur: "...an unregenerate man is dead in trespasses and sin and utterly unable to respond to the gospel. He is ignorant."

Dawn's response: We ARE dead in trespasses and sin, but McArthur is wrong to state that we are utterly unable to respond to the gospel; the bible teaches otherwise. We are able to believe without being born again FIRST. Where in these scriptures does it state that God regenerates those who believe FIRST? (All emphasis to the scripture added)



Eye adds: I believe the following article here sheds even more Biblical truth to this topic. Be interested in your thoughts.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Well look who's at it again. Dawn, I've already thoroughly trumped you on this subject (see the 15 page reply I posted a few blogs ago), why do you continue to beat a dead horse? All you do is keep on coming back with poor, shallow arguments that have already been refuted. How about exegesis? Every thought of that one? Your reply on Daniels blog was so poor that no sound student of the Word would agree with your words -I bet even Daniel wouldnt associate with you after that one. Christ's death could have potentially saved no one if no one had chosen to believe??? Wow, your getting desperate as ever. Nevertheless, your arguments were so trivial that I will only respond to the last portion:

Dawn said: Do you realize that we do NOT agree with the Catholic view of atonement?

Uh, yes you do. You just won't admit it. Use your brain not your emotions.

Dawn said:Do you realize that Calvinists have just made up this so-called 99/1 % ratio?

Uh no, simple human logic does! (brain thing again). Like I said before, if Christ didn't actually accomplish anything in His death, as the Catholics affirm, then you agree with them that man must do [fill in the blank with whatever you want] in order to 'appropriate' that death.

Dawn said: Do you realize that faith is not a work?

Of course it's not a work because it comes from God!! However, in your view, man can drum up faith autonomously (either that or you believe God has given saving faith to every man-something that boggles the mind its so ridiculous). You make faith a work because of your claim that all men have the ability to do so. In addition, you render meaningless the word ‘grace’. Grace means unmerited favor, how is it unmerited if it comes when we choose to believe? Again, you preach works-based salvation yet you will not admit it because of your ignorance.

Do you realize that it is 100% of God’s grace that saves us when we believe and receive because we have no power within us to save ourselves and that NONE of us deserves to be saved?

That’s what I’ve trying to tell you but you just don’t listen.

Do you realize that God LOVES everyone?

So answer me this, did God love Pharaoh the exact same as He loved Moses? Did He love Jacob the same as Esau? Point made.

And one last question, please answer: If Christ died for every single man, how can you be sure that you will not incur His wrath in Hell? How do you know you will be saved?

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 1:15:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Leo, thanks for commenting. I know what you mean about time and posting, but I'm glad you took the time to give your opinon.

Nathan: "A grave hindrance in this debate is that the Holy Spirit has never given full disclosure as to His workings with humans... so much is left to speculation and sadly many are not willing to leave the secret things to God."

I agree that there has never been full disclosure as to God's workings with humans, but I do believe He HAS shown us why some are chosen (election) and some are not. I believe the bible teaches that since we're ALL sinners and are spiritually dead that God wrote the laws on our hearts which allow us to know right from wrong and that that is where it becomes a matter of the heart. All the while God is continually drawing us. Maybe I can explain it better in another post and you (or whoever wishes to) can punch holes in my thinking/interpretation.

I agree that there are some things that are a mystery and God wishes them to remain a mystery, so why speculate.

Leo: "I have always believed that God revealed Election only as reason for redeemed humans to praise Him."

As you know, I believe the bible teaches that we are elected by meeting God's requirements and I don't believe that God's gets any less praise from those of us who believe that way. We're very thankful that God chose to save us at all. He gets ALL the Glory and Praise because the requirement of believing and receiving is how HE has set it up.

Leo: "I believe that those who reject are responsible for their decisions though God elects."

And that is the part that doesn't make sense to me and I don't believe the bible teaches it. Do you have a scripture that says that specifically? Forgive me if one has already been given, but I cannot remember one at the moment. (Anyone who remembers a scripture that specifically states that a man is held resonsible for rejecting God BECAUSE He is not one whom God has regenerated in order for him TO believe, please feel free to give it. Thanks.)

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 1:18:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Eye, thanks for the article link. I'm pushed for time today (and the next few weeks actually), so I don't know when exactly I'll be able to read it.

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 1:31:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Gee Nathan, how CHRISTLIKE of you to demean my intelligence. Obviously there is something lacking within yourself that causes you to continually talk down to me.

I have not been emotional. I've backed up everything I have said with scripture. You're the one who appears to be the emotional one.

Are you going to try to explain the various contradictions you've made or others you have quoted here?

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 2:46:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

I'm sorry, your ignorance and refusal to be corrected deserves a firm rebuke. And no, I've never contradicted myself. If you actually understood the argument that you are opposing you would see that.

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 4:03:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan,

For such a young man and a 'new convert' by your own admission, you appear to have already worked out your salvation, at least in your eyes...

I don't know Dawn personally nor do I know you, but by your written words I can tell that you are unapproachable regarding any observations dealing with your beloved Calvinism. I'm amazed at all of the qouting other men's sermons, philosophies, and debate club rivalry that swirls around this topic. Yes, you also use Scripture and that is good.

Dawn on the other hand appears to the reader she truly wants to know what you and other Calvinist believe, and in my opinion she has been more than gracious and civil in her replies to everyone -- including you. I'll be honest with you Nathan, if that Calvinism label you wear gets any bigger, people will never be able to see you for who you are -- a 'born again' child of God. Labels, just like denominations are man made things and they will destroy you if you let them.

And I thought speaking in tongues was controversial! :)

My observation of your style is that you grow weary of honest questions that 'really' do cast doubt on some of the long-held tenets of TULIP. You may be very weary of trying to make questioners understand your position. But after all, isn't that your mission? You should count it all joy if that's what God has called you to do!

My impression is you do not approach other brothers and sisters in Christ with the love and respect the Scriptures demand and that makes me sad. I believe you have a gift -- I encourage you to use it wisely.

That's the horror of the Internet -- it is so easy for me or you to jib and jab with one another behind computer screens and truly miss what the other is saying and vice versa. But that said, we are blessed in this day with a technological platform that allows the free flow of dialogue and reflection based on an individual's thoughts as they pen them.

I've written this pefore and I will say it again, Nathan, I'm thankful I stumbled across your Blog (I did so back in August when you discussed Johhny Hunt)and I've read a lot of your posts and articles and I can truly say God has used you in my life to drive me back to the Word and into deeper personal devotions to the Lord. Not to mention, many a family discussion around the dinner table about this topic -- so for that I thank you.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 5:19:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Eye, funny you say such things when it is Dawn who will not leave this issue alone. I have gracefully shared my views with her dozens of times, yet she still keeps coming back and wanting to argue. Yet I am the one forcing my views on people! Wow. It just goes to show that people see only what they want to see.

Now, to the real issue here. If you would like to actually debate, we can debate. I have tried to show my view as a whole in order that you may understand it, but the cheap shots and misrepresentations just piled up. So, we can debate. One question at a time ok? I'll start, since it has been a long time since I really asked a question.

Please explain for me, from the text, what Ephesians 1:1-11 means.

Please include:

Who are the ones chosen before the foundation of the world?

Is it possible to enter into heaven without being chosen before the foundation of the world?

On what basis are they chosen?

What happens to those who are chosen? Do they end up in heaven or hell?

What does predestin mean in verse 5? Please define and note what Paul is trying to communicate here.

Maybe this will help things. You reply, I will then reply to your reply, and then you will have the final word and we will move on to another passage -a passage that you pick, and you answer the questions.

(Either Eye, or Dawn, or both can respond to this if you like. However, I will not address arguments that are not rooted in the text. That is, you cannot argue 'well it can't mean that because of this passage over here. Nope, show from this passage why or why not something means what it means -there must be some indicator in the text for you to go to other scriptures to help define.)

You asked for scripture eye, and scripture alone, now we will see who is really using the logic of men. Please, in all gracefullness, show me up!! I dare you :)

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 6:25:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan,

I would be delighted to go over Ephesians 1 via computer. However, let's get one thing straight -- as believers in Jesus, we are not limited to a tiny number of verses to understand a concept. To be a Berean, we must take into account the 'whole' counsel of God's Word. You know that and I know that. Yes, this passage is certainly brimming with 'Calvinistic' words in and of itself, and I will stick to it -- it may be a few days before I post though.

Kindest regards and In Him,

Eye

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 7:11:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

So Eye, I guess these Ephesians, for example, were pretty bad off since they rest of the New Testament wasn't compiled together until over 1000 years later? Are you saying that there are passages in Ephesians that are not true when left to stand on their own? Poor people. And all that time they probably thought God chose them! :)

Unfortunately, that is not exegesis. Yes, we go outside of the text sometimes to further explain things. But we never go outside of the text for a contradiction.

Paul wrote things to stand by themselves. We must find what the original author meant at the original time it was written if we are to properly interpret scripture. Ultimately, however, Ephesians was written by the Holy Spirit. Thus there is nothing stated there that contradicts other scripture.

 
At Tuesday, February 21, 2006 7:59:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan: Are you saying that there are passages in Ephesians that are not true when left to stand on their own? Poor people. And all that time they probably thought God chose them! :)

Unfortunately, that is not exegesis. Yes, we go outside of the text sometimes to further explain things. But we never go outside of the text for a contradiction.


Nathan,

I haven't said anything about Ephesians yet! and no I haven't said one thing about passages in Ephesians that aren't true if left to stand on their own. I believe you said that above.

No, we will stick to Ephesians 1 just like you dictated and we will take a real hard look at the Greek of the passage.

Nathan, thanks for being willing to dialogue on this -- I'll post in a day or two.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Wednesday, February 22, 2006 5:37:00 AM, Blogger Leo said...

Dawn,

Oh that there was one verse! Then the discussion would be over! My statement is the result of my total understanding of scripture and asserts my acceptance of the paradox/antinomy of election and human responsibility. This relationship between election and human responsibility is the mystery of which I refer. I have to trust in the goodness and justice of God and accept according to the light that He has given me.

I suppose an apt example is that of Judas Iscariot. God knew that Judas was going to betray the Lord Jesus. It was prophesized in the OT. Yet Judas is held responsible for his decision. I believe that this conflict is what has led many such as the Clark Pinnock’s, Open Theist group to deny that God has knowledge of the choices of man. Why? Because God knowing a choice before the fall of man before sin is a powerful argument for the so-called Calvinist understanding of election. It is not that simple of course but is my basic understanding of that controversy.

I realize that I should develop this more but…

 
At Wednesday, February 22, 2006 10:36:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

“Predestination”
What Does it Mean?
As the great preacher C.H. Spurgeon said:
“That God predestines, and that man is responsible, are two things that few can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is just the fault of our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one place that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find in another place that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other. These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall be in eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue them farthest, will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring” (C.H. Spurgeon, New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 4, 1858, p. 337).
Any serious student of the Bible will eventually run into a couple of terms used to analyze the original languages of the text. Exegesis and eisegesis come up a lot when discussing and studying Scripture, so I thought it appropriate to take these words and define them for those who do not know their meanings.
Exegesis as defined in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Exegesis (from the Greek ἐξηγεῖσθαι 'to lead out') involves an extensive and critical interpretation of a text, especially of a holy scripture, such as of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Qur'an, etc. An exegete is a practitioner of this science, and the adjectival form is exegetic.
The word exegesis means "to draw the meaning out of" a given text. Exegesis may be contrasted with eisegesis, which means to read one's own interpretation into a given text. In general, exegesis presumes an attempt to view the text objectively, while eisegesis implies more subjectivity.
Traditional exegesis requires the following: analysis of significant words in the text in regard to translation; examination of the general historical and cultural context, confirmation of the limits of the passage, and lastly, examination of the context within the text.
According to some forms of Christianity, two different forms of exegesis exist: revealed and rational.
Revealed exegesis considers that the Holy Ghost inspired the authors of the scriptural texts, and so the words of those texts convey a divine revelation
Rational exegesis bases its operation on the idea that the authors have their own inspiration, so their works result from human intelligence.

Before we delve into the referenced text, I would also like to put Webster’s definition of ‘predestinate’ in front of the reader.
Predestinate – destined, fated or determined beforehand. Also: to foreordain to an earthly or eternal lot or destiny by divine decree.
Webster’s definition implies a singular determining factor – this will become more obvious as we study the text in question.

Now, let’s take a look at Strong’s definition of the word:
4309 proorizo pro-or-id'-zo
from 4253 and 3724; TDNT-5:456,728; v
AV-predestinate 4, determine before 1, ordain 1; 6
1) to predetermine, decide beforehand
2) in the NT of God decreeing from eternity
3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand

With that out of the way, let’s delve into the text and see what it says – and what it does not say.
Ephesians Chapter One
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: (2) Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (15) Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, (16) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; (17) That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: (18) The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. From the King James Bible
Let me confess at the very beginning of this exegetical exercise I do believe every word in this chapter, but I also realize there is a ‘mystery’ to it all as verse 9 states with regard to the truths contained in this chapter. It is not appropriate to look at the word ‘predestinated’ in verse 5 and 11 found in this chapter without tying it to the other two places in the New Testament where it is also used (Romans 8:29-30). We will see why as we go.
 Verse 1-3 reflect Paul’s introduction
 Verse 4 clearly speaks of God choosing us (Christians) in Him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world.
Notice, God did his ‘choosing’ before the foundation of the world. Also notice where His choice was – it was in Jesus. Now then, this is before the foundation of the world, so the world didn’t exist and obviously no humans existed – they hadn’t been created. God made His choice in eternity past, but His choice was also placed in ‘time’. In other words, you couldn’t be in Christ until you first trusted or received Christ. Even a Calvinist would have to agree to this statement as it applies to ‘regeneration’ in the Calvinist construct. So when God chose, He chose for election the people in Christ. You weren’t in Christ before Genesis 1:1 since you didn’t exist. You got into Christ when you received Him and only then did you get in Him! The Bible says He put His Spirit into you when you were born again and He put you into Him. (Galatians 3:27)
 Verse 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
There’s that word – predestinated. What exactly does this word mean in the context of this chapter? “When we examine the Biblical passages that instruct us on the predetermination of God with regard to salvation we encounter the word "predestinate." This word along with such terms as "preordain" and "predetermine," have taken on a certain life of their own for Calvinists. Let's look at the occurrences of the word "predestinate" and see exactly what the Greek meaning implies.

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

In both passages, the word "predestinate" is defined as follows from the original Greek.

4309 proorizo pro-or-id'-zo
from 4253 and 3724; TDNT-5:456,728; v
AV-predestinate 4, determine before 1, ordain 1; 6
1) to predetermine, decide beforehand
2) in the NT of God decreeing from eternity
3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand

In "predetermine" we see the word "determine" which Calvinists argue demonstrates God is the one who alone determines who will be saved. But the idea of determining, even determining beforehand, does not require or even imply a singular determining factor. Just because God determines something in advance, does not mean he is the only determining factor. For more on this please visit Calvinism and Logical Fallacies (Part 2).
The English word "predestinate" has even stronger implications. That is because when we read this term we recognize the root word "destiny." Destiny automatically carries the idea of an inescapable causal force. (Remember Webster’s definition)
The word "preordain" is also sometimes used in this regard. By association with such terms as "predetermine" and "predestinate" it has also come to carry similar connotations. However, like the word "determine" the root word "ordain" does not by itself indicate "sole cause."

For example, a church may ordain a minister, but such a statement does not imply that the ordination took place without regard for the minister's will. In fact, in this statement we understand the opposite to be true. We understand that the Church's ordination of a minister is a direct result of the man's choice to study and enter the ministry. Yet when we apply this same English term to God, somehow it takes on the reverse, the notion that a man's choice is not taken into account. It has taken on an added meaning without warrant from either the text or the Greek vocabulary.

Let us look at the Greek for the word "predestinate" as is appears in verse 29 and 30. We must remember that when translation takes place, the translators are searching for an equivalent word or phrase in English.

The Strong's number for the Greek word here translated "predestinate" is 4309. It is valuable to look not only at the definition of this word, but its etymology.

4309 proorizo {pro-or-id'-zo}
from 4253 and 3724; TDNT - 5:456,728; v
AV - predestinate 4, determine before 1, ordain 1; 6
1) to predetermine, decide beforehand
2) in the NT of God decreeing from eternity
3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand

Notice the variety of English phrases used to define this Greek word. Before we even look at the etymology we see that such English words as "predetermine" (which we have already discussed), "decide beforehand," decreeing from eternity, to foreordain (which we have already discussed), and "appoint beforehand."

"Decide beforehand" is much like "determine beforehand," including in the sense that decision does not imply singularity of decision. In other words, there are often events in life, which require decisions from more than one person in order to come about. "Appoint beforehand" is much like "foreordain" in that by itself the word appoint does not necessitate exclusivity of causation. A man can be appointed to a cabinet position for the president, but such an appointment certainly does not occur without the man's decision to throw his hat in the ring.

All this discussion of the English words is necessary in order to demonstrate what each term does and does not necessarily require. The goal is to demonstrate the difference between what the Biblical words actually mean and what Calvinists want us to think they mean.

What is at the heart of this issue is whether or not the Greek word for "predestinate" implies God alone determined. Is the focus God alone or is the focus the timing? If the timing is the focus, it does not follow that simply because a selection is made before an event that the selection was made without regard for that event. Once again we direct the reader to our article titled Calvinism and Logical Fallacies (Part 2).

A short word on the exclusivity of determination, or sole causation. These terms imply that one and only one thing caused a particular event. If more than one thing is involved in causing an event or determining an outcome, then exclusive causation and sole determination are not in view. This is the issue with Calvinism. In removing the human ability to respond to God at all, Calvinism requires that God and only God is the determining cause for election.

Freewill on the other hand, has a dual causation because it requires two determining factors: God's choice to offer and accomplish our salvation and our choice to accept it. Election does not occur without both. Thus, freewill doctrine does not negate God's determination but upholds it was the sovereign choice of God to offer and accomplish salvation in the first place. The work and the glory is God's. We could not save ourselves, and our choice would have been impossible had God not chosen to extend salvation by giving his Son "for all men, especially those who believe." All we can do is to accept his gift and not reject it. That is the extent of our part in the determining process, but it is a part and it does involve the free exercise of our will.

So, does the Greek word for "predestinate" require exclusive causation or sole determination? Does it require a singular cause?

Well, perhaps the first thing we notice from the definition is that like an English word ("presuppose" for example) the Greek word is a compound of two root words, "pro" and "orizo." Like the English prefix "pre," the Greek prefix "pro" (#4253) is in this case acting as a time-setting reference. Of course, "pro" does not imply any exclusivity of cause. Just because something is done beforehand, does not imply it is the sole factor. Just because something is done beforehand, does not imply it is done without regard for things that will follow. I might "predict" the weather, (declare it beforehand) but that does not imply that my declaration caused it any more than if I had declared it at the time it was occurring.

4253 pro {pro}
a primary preposition; TDNT - 6:683,935; prep
AV - before 44, above 2, above ... ago 1, or ever 1; 48
1) before

The root word of this Greek word is the key to its meaning. The root word is "orizo" or "horizo" (#3724).

3724 horizo {hor-id'-zo}
from 3725; TDNT - 5:452,728; v
AV - determine 2, ordain 2, as it was determined + 2596 + 3588 1,
declare 1, limit 1, determine 1; 8
1) to define
1a) to mark out the boundaries or limits (of any place or thing)
1b to determine, appoint
1b1) that which has been determined, acc. to appointment, decree
1b2) to ordain, determine, appoint

Right away we may notice something very familiar with this word. "Horizo" is very similar to the English word "horizon." Now, in this definition we see many of the words and phrases, which we have already examined (determine, appoint, ordain), none of which imply sole causation. In fact, we can easily see the difference between the implications of translating this root word as "determine" as opposed to translating it as "decree."

To modern hearers, "predetermine" sounds much more "causal" in nature than would "pre-decree." If Romans 8 were translated using any variety of these other phrases, the implication to English hearers would be slightly or even entirely different.

Verse 29. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did decree in advance"
Verse 30. "Moreover whom he did decree in advance, them he also called"

Verse 29. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did mark in advance"
Verse 30. "Moreover whom he did mark in advance, them he also called"

If these other options were utilized in the translation of this verse, we would not stumble across notions of "exclusive causation." The reason we would not is specifically because the English words "decree" and "mark" imply "declaration and recognition" more than they imply "causation." Whereas the English words "predetermine" and "predestinate" carry a greater implication of cause. And "predestinate" specifically implies sole cause.

Let's imagine that this Greek word was translated more along the lines of "pre-marked" or "pre-limited," neither of which would carry the connotations of "causation." "Pre-marked" would indicate perhaps that God made a record, or placed a seal upon such individuals (as we see in Ephesians 1 and Revelation.) However, it would not imply "causation" and especially not "exclusive causation" as Calvinists argue is the case.

"Pre-limited" might demonstrate God's sovereignty in limiting the number of those who would be saved, but this would not imply exclusive causation either because election could be limited by time (i.e. the time allotted to human history before final judgment.) The limitation would not necessarily be a limit in order to demonstrate sovereignty, or justice, or a limit on how many people God was "willing" to give his Spirit of Grace to.

In any case, the Calvinist interpretation of these verses fails because the Greek word itself does not require or imply exclusive causation. That is, the Greek word proorizo does not require that God and only God determines our salvation. Proorizo does not require that there is only one determining factor, God. In fact, the very inclusion of the concept of foreknowledge in these two passages (Romans 8:29 and I Peter 1:2) demonstrates that God was looking at something when he made his selection/election. Therefore, there must have been dual causation. Whatever God saw in advance determined what God decreed in advance.

Only the English root word "destiny" implies that humans have no choice in the matter. However, this is based decidedly on non-exegetical factors. First, it is based on the English (and certainly Pagan) concept of "destiny" and "fate" as they have been incorporated into the English language, modern culture, and the history of western literature.

Second, although what God decreed in advance is "inescapable" in that it will happen, it is not entirely "causal" in that it is coupled with something he is foreseeing. Therefore, it is only inescapable because God's foreknowledge is accurate, not necessarily because the "decree" acted as a (exclusive) cause.

Third, there is no indication in the Greek that would require or even prefer the translation of proorizo to an English word utilizing the concept of "destiny" when other more neutral and still wholly accurate alternatives are available.

The English translation is not infallible, only the original Greek manuscript. Now that we know what the Greek word means, we know that it does not require or even imply exclusive causation. Because Calvinism falls apart without exclusive causation, we can safely conclude that God's predetermination does not imply or require Calvinism. Predetermination is not synonymous with singular-determinism (one cause and only one cause.) Predetermination does not conflict with human free will. Both God and men can play a role in determining who is elected.” Quoted from this article.
 Verses 6 – 11 are straightforward. My only point regarding these verses is that everything is done in Him (Jesus) for us! And, it was done for us because God purposed it in Himself. The same word ‘predestinated’ is used again in verse 11 and the above referenced discussion applies here as well.
Wrapping up, let’s take a look at this:
“Although there is more than one version of modern Calvinism, the bare bones of the theory can be boiled down to three statements.

1. Sinful man is incapable of choosing to repent and obey God.
2. God and only God determines which people will be saved.
3. Men cannot resist God's choice in this matter.

Notice the precise rendering of statement 2. We could have said "God determines" instead of "God and only God determines." This one small grammatical difference embodies a very large part of the argument between Calvinists and those who disagree with them. Both sides of this debate believe that God determines who is saved, but Calvinists believe that God and only God determines this.

Calvinism asserts that only one party determines our salvation. Because Calvinists believe that any part of man in the determination process negates the sovereignty of God, they frame the issue as either man or God, not both. As such, Calvinists choose God and believe their opponents have chosen man. By taking this viewpoint, Calvinists make two logical fallacies.

First by framing the dispute as an either/or scenario (either God or man), the Calvinist commits the fallacy of False Dilemma, also known as the Either/Or Fallacy. This fallacy is part of a category of logical fallacies referred to as Fallacies of Distraction. The False Dilemma fallacy occurs when:

A limited number of options (usually two) is given, while in reality there are more options. A false dilemma is an illegitimate use of the "or" operator. You assume that taking a certain viewpoint or course of action will result in one of two diametrically opposed outcomes (no other outcomes possible).

What Calvinists want to rule out is a third option, the option that both God and man play a role in determining who will be saved.


The second logical fallacy that Calvinism makes is called Complex Cause. Complex Cause is part of a category of logical fallacies called Causal Fallacies. Causal Fallacies obviously deal with the relationship of Cause and Effect. The fallacy of Complex Cause occurs when one factor is assumed to be the only factor causing a particular effect when in reality there is more than one factor responsible for that effect.

Certainly there are an ample number of scripture verses, which focus on God's role in determining who will be saved. Calvinists look at these passages and correctly identify God as a cause for who will be saved. However, where they err is by assuming that this is the only cause. Therefore, they set about the task of negating the vast number of passages describing the role of man in determining his salvation.” this article.
Last thoughts on ‘foreknowledge’ from this article.
“Romans 8:29-33 -- “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.”
We see that the foreknowledge of God is a crucial part of His plan of election. Those He foreknew he also predestinated and called and justified. The key, then, is to understand what foreknowledge means. If, as the Calvinist teaches, it is the same as predestination then this passage can be understood to teach “sovereign election.” But if foreknowledge is not the same as predestination, it cannot be understood in this way.
The word “foreknow” is from the Greek “proginosko,” which simply means “to know beforehand, i.e. foresee” (Strong). It is the same basic Greek word that is translated “foreknowledge” in 1 Pet. 1:2, which says the believer is “elect according to the foreknowledge of God.”
To say that “foreknow” is the same as predestination is to ignore the meaning of the word and is also to ignore the fact that foreknow and predestinate are two separate steps in the process described in Romans 8:29-33.
In light of this passage and 1 Pet. 1:2, it is scriptural to say that God foresaw who would believe on Christ and predestinated those to salvation. There is doubtless more to election than this; there are things about divine election that we don’t understand at this time; but foreknowledge is definitely a part of it, because the Bible says so.
Ephesians 1:5 -- “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
If this verse stood on its own in Scripture it would be possible for it to carry the Calvinist interpretation of “Sovereign Election” and Irresistible Calling, but it does not stand alone. In Romans 8:29-33 we find that the act of predestination begins with God’s foreknowledge.”

Humbly submitted and In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, February 24, 2006 12:56:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Nathan, please keep your snide remarks to yourself so that we can have a civil and meaningful debate. To do otherwise would be evil.

Eye, that was an excellent post. Since you have defined the terms of predestination and foreknowledge I have nothing to add. Here is my very brief and simple explanation according to Nathan's questions.

Christians, those who are born again (i.e., those who believe and receive), are the ones chosen from before the foundation of the world to be blameless and holy. Those who are chosen are predestined to be redeemed through the blood of Jesus to become children of God. Only those who were chosen from before the foundation of the world will be saved. They are chosen according to the good pleasure of God's will. The good pleasure of His will is to save those who believe. (I Corinthians 1:21) God has foreseen (Romans 8:29; I Peter 1:2) those who would believe and receive; therefore, they have been predestined to be the children of God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Those who are chosen (those who truly believe and receive) go to heaven.

 
At Friday, February 24, 2006 2:19:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan asked: Please explain for me, from the text, what Ephesians 1:1-11 means.

Please include:

Who are the ones chosen before the foundation of the world?

Eye’s response: Christians, see in depth analysis in previous post by Eye for details.

Nathan asked: Is it possible to enter into heaven without being chosen before the foundation of the world?

Eye’s response: It is impossible to enter into heaven unless one becomes born again, i.e. ‘receives’ Jesus.

Nathan asked: On what basis are they chosen?

Eye’s response: God’s foreknowledge of lost people placing their faith in Jesus. You can't be in Jesus until you place faith in Him, and you can't place faith in Him until you are born into this world and come under the convicting power of the Gospel.

Nathan asked: What happens to those who are chosen? Do they end up in heaven or hell?

Eye’s response: All who are born again go to heaven.

Nathan asked: What does predestin mean in verse 5? Please define and note what Paul is trying to communicate here.

Eye’s response: Please see previous post by Eye for an in depth analysis of the word ‘predestination/predestined’

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, February 24, 2006 2:56:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Dawn,

Thank you for your kind words.

One other item I think is important to note is the 'timing' of Ephesians and Romans. Both books were written by Paul and scholarship affirms that Romans was most likely written around 58 AD and Ephesians was penned around 62 AD. Many sources confirm this information.

Here's what's important in my mind regarding a debate around 'predestination', and that is simply this -- Paul links foreknowledge with predestination in 58 AD when he penned Romans 8:29-30. So, obviously Paul understood the word 'predestination' in that context when he wrote Ephesians some 4 year later. I would also argue the Ephesians understood the concept of predestination in light of Paul's earlier writings found in Romans.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, February 24, 2006 4:39:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Dawn said: Nathan, please keep your snide remarks to yourself so that we can have a civil and meaningful debate. To do otherwise would be evil.

I assume then, you are including yourself in laying down this rule? For your history in this regard is not been the example to follow.

Thank you.

And I don't know when I'll have time to respond to all of that, but I am amazed, simply amazed, that I'm the one who has been accused of taking scripture out of context. Wow. I'll demonstrate soon when I have time to write it all out.

 
At Friday, February 24, 2006 11:39:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Eye, I find it very ironic that you start with a quote from Spurgeon, given that he is a staunch 5 point Calvinists. But nevertheless, it was a good quote.

You said: but I also realize there is a ‘mystery’ to it all as verse 9 states with regard to the truths contained in this chapter.

No, actually the verse says that He has revealed this mystery, it does not say that it is a mystery: Having made known unto us the mystery of his will.

You said: In other words, you couldn’t be in Christ until you first trusted or received Christ

Unfortunately this is where you depart from the text. Can you please outline, from this passage, where Paul says ‘you can’t be in Christ until you first trusted Christ’. I cannot see it in the text.

You said: But the idea of determining, even determining beforehand, does not require or even imply a singular determining factor. Just because God determines something in advance, does not mean he is the only determining factor.

Again, I am sad to see you abandon the text. Please read what the verse says: predestined us…according to the purpose of His will. That is clearly implying determination by His will, not anything else. I will revisit this further down.

You said:For example, a church may ordain a minister, but such a statement does not imply that the ordination took place without regard for the minister's will.

This analogy does not hold up because the verse clearly states ‘according to the purpose of His will”.

You said: What is at the heart of this issue is whether or not the Greek word for "predestinate" implies God alone determined.

Stop right here. Please point to anywhere in the chapter where our decision is placed as a deciding factor. Please point to anywhere that ‘our will’ is involved in the predestination, or choosing before the foundation of the world. Surely it’s in there somewhere right? If it isn’t, how is that not eisegesis?

You said: In removing the human ability to respond to God at all, Calvinism requires that God and only God is the determining cause for election.

Where in the chapter does it say that man is the cause for choosing again? Also, how is it that when we decide the cause for election, that Christ still gets the glory as v6 says? - To the praise of the glory of his grace,. Are you taking the Roman Catholic position that basically says: “It is gracious of God to let us work our way to heaven”? It certainly sounds like that is what you are saying. What a gracious God to let us decide, because we don’t deserve it! Um, that’s not grace. That’s salvation by MERIT.

You said: The work and the glory is God's. We could not save ourselves, and our choice would have been impossible had God not chosen to extend salvation by giving his Son "for all men, especially those who believe.

Exactly my point. You would have set yourself firmly against the reformers, and firmly in the Catholic camp during the reformation by believing this. “Isnt it gracious of God to let us do this [fill in the blank] so we can get to heaven?” That isn’t grace, that is MERIT, and it glorifies man for making that ultimate decision –which is undoubtedly the most important of all.

You said: but it is a part and it does involve the free exercise of our will.

Can you please point out our will in Ephesians one? How about in the entire book? How about in Romans 8? You won’t find it. In fact, please point to one, just one scripture in the entire bible that uses the term free will. Just one? Nope.

You said: Just because something is done beforehand, does not imply it is the sole factor.

Unless, of course, it says ‘according to the purpose of His will’. That’s pretty strong language that you are ignoring. Again, I will revisit this in a minute.

You said: the Calvinist interpretation of these verses fails because the Greek word itself does not require or imply exclusive causation

Like I said, the verse says according to His will. But even still, you have spent a great deal of time on the meaning of the word, but you have failed, and failed miserably (so far), at showing where in the text this is to be attributed to us. IN ADDITION, you have yet to demonstrate how this notion fits into the rest of the passage. Again, more on this further down.

You said: That is, the Greek word proorizo does not require that God and only God determines our salvation.

Who is the subject of this action? And further still, who is the object of this action? And lastly, what where these objects predestined to? – God is the subject, the object of His choosing is US, and the predestination was ‘for adoption though Jesus Christ”. God isn’t predestining a plan here, He is predestinating and END –adoption. Also, it should be noted that all the verbs in this passage, ALL of them have God as the subject.

You said: Only the English root word "destiny" implies that humans have no choice in the matter. However, this is based decidedly on non-exegetical factors.
No it is not. It is based on the completion of the verse ‘according to His will’. Not our will, but His will. This completely undermines your argument, that is, the specific words completely undermine your argument, I don’t have to add anything to it at all! It stands alone.

You said: Predetermination is not synonymous with singular-determinism (one cause and only one cause.)

Again, since God is the object of every single verb, EVERY single verb in the passage, where in the passage do you get something more than one cause? This is your eisegesis. All of the action, and all of the doing is God in this passage. There is no cooperation mentioned, there is no will described here (except God’s). You have abandoned the specific wording of the text. GOD is the cause because: A) all of the action verbs have HIM as the object –the one doing, and B) it says: “according to His will”. It could be no clearer, yet you go outside the text and try to imply –based on absolutely nothing in the text itself- that we are somehow the action of this predestinating.

You said: Predetermination does not conflict with human free will. Both God and men can play a role in determining who is elected.”

Eye, since Predetermining is obviously discussed in detail in this passage, it would be foolish for Paul to leave man’s will out of it if we were in fact the one who ultimately decides if we are predetermined. Could you please, so we can know that you are not going outside of the text, could you please point out where ‘human free will’ is in this passage? Please point to the part where Paul says that “Both God and men play a role in determining who is elected”. Cause I do not see it in here –especially given what verse 5 and 11 state: “according to His will”.

You said: Both sides of this debate believe that God determines who is saved, but Calvinists believe that God and only God determines this.

I have yet to see you point out where man’s free will is in this passage, and why verse 5 and 11 say what they do, and why God is the object of every action verb in this chapter if man is ultimately responsible in order to get God to cooperate and elect.

You said: What Calvinists want to rule out is a third option, the option that both God and man play a role in determining who will be saved.

As I’m reading this section, I am sad to see that you have completely abandoned the text itself. You have left it completely to try and explain it away. Why not use the exact words to explain your position?

You said: To say that “foreknow” is the same as predestination is to ignore the meaning of the word and is also to ignore the fact that foreknow and predestinate are two separate steps in the process described in Romans 8:29-33.

No it isnt. Like I will show below, Foreknow means to love beforhand, as described of Jesus in 1 Peter 1:20, predestin means to choose an end, a destiny for those whom He loved.

You said: In light of this passage and 1 Pet. 1:2, it is scriptural to say that God foresaw who would believe on Christ and predestinated those to salvation.

Unfortunately, foreknowledge is not mentioned in Ephesians 1, which I find as ironic since your entire argument stands or falls on this point. Secondly, you have incorrectly defined foreknowledge. Yes it means to know before hand, but again you err in the objects of the action verb. “WHOM He foreknew” is what the text says. God knew the persons here, not the facts about them. So God knows us right? What does that mean? It means knowing us beforehand, not knowing facts about us, or our faith that we will place in Him. To know is an intimate term. For example, 1 Cor 8:3 says “If one loves God, one is known by Him”. In Galatians 4:9 Paul says “now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God…” Again ‘know’ is used in an intimate way. And again in Matt 7:22 Jesus says “depart from Me, I never knew you”. Lastly, would you like to use this definition for 1 Peter 1:20?? Here it is stated that JESUS was foreknown before the foundation of the world. Does that mean that His good deeds were seen and that was the basis for the Fathers love? No, you have severely misunderstood the meaning of foreknowing an actual being –not facts about them. So, the text actually says nothing about God foreknowing or foreseeing that certain people would believe, nor is that idea mentioned anywhere in scripture. It is a simple case of eisegesis. And it is obviously nowhere to be found in Ephesians. Nowhere.

You said: If this verse stood on its own in Scripture it would be possible for it to carry the Calvinist interpretation of “Sovereign Election” and Irresistible Calling, but it does not stand alone. In Romans 8:29-33 we find that the act of predestination begins with God’s foreknowledge.”

Unfortunately, that verse, and verse 11 completely stand by themselves. You must abandon Ephesians and run to a text and very questionably interpret ‘foreknowledge’ in order get your interpretation. And you know what? You interpretation does not explain ‘according to His will’, it CONTRADICTS it. Scripture does not contradict itself.

Nathan asked: Is it possible to enter into heaven without being chosen before the foundation of the world?

Eye’s response: It is impossible to enter into heaven unless one becomes born again, i.e. ‘receives’ Jesus.


That does not answer my question, although I do agree with that statement. The question was does anyone who is not chosen before the foundation of the world, have the free will to accept Jesus and enter into heaven?

Nathan asked: On what basis are they chosen?

Eye’s response: God’s foreknowledge of lost people placing their faith in Jesus. You can't be in Jesus until you place faith in Him, and you can't place faith in Him until you are born into this world and come under the convicting power of the Gospel.


Unfortunately, as we have seen, Eye has left the text to get this interpretation. May I pose a few rhetorical questions?

Why does scripture never speak of FAITH as the reason God chose us? In fact, please explain why Paul, when using this term election, refers to it as “Gods purpose of election” instead of our purpose of election in Romans 9:11? Also, you might want to explain why our faith is never ever mentioned in Ephesians 1 as well.

In addition, how is it that election based upon us in not salvation by works –our faith, of course, being the merit of our salvation?

In addition, if foreknowledge is indeed true, how does this give man free will? Aren’t those who are chosen, elected before the world was made? For if God can look through the future and see that person A will come to faith in Christ, and that person B will NOT come to faith in Christ, then those facts are fixed, they are determined. There is NO WAY their lives will turn out any differently than this. Thus, the free-will that you are fighting so hard for is lost again.

Also, please explain why we needed to be predestined and elected if we are the ones who chose ourselves to be elected and predestined? Doesn’t make sense does it?

Lastly, my I pose a slightly off-topic question to you? Since your view is that anyone can come to Christ if they want, will you briefly –you don’t have to be long and drawn out and explain all the ins and outs of why you hold this position- but will you briefly explain what John 6:44 says when Jesus actually says: “NO man can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him”? I know we will get into John 6 in the future, but I’m trying to better understand how you view this passage in light of election. Are those drawn those whom are foreseen?

To close, unfortunately Eye has abandoned the passage. Here is a summation:

-What Eye is proposing is that we, not God, are the ones who ‘chose before the foundation of the world’. I say this because WE are the ones whom Eye says makes the final call. Thus, when Paul says ‘He chose us before the foundation of the world’, Eye, through much talk, ultimately interprets that as ‘WE chose US before the foundation of the world”.

-Secondly, Eye has undermined verse 5 altogether. Verse 5 reads: “HE predestined us” –which Eye ultimately says that WE predestined ourselves (how we can predestine ourselves is a little mind-boggling). And “according to the purpose of HIS will” now becomes “[ultimately] according to the purpose of OUR will”. Yes I know, Eye admits that God plays an important role. But the MOST important role is the role which lays the FINAL decision. Eye says that OUR will is the final decision, thus Eye has to interpret this passage as ‘according to the purpose of His will, but ultimately our will too”.

-Eye has been forced to run to Romans 8 to explain the passage. And like I said before, scripture interprets scripture, it does not contradict itself. Eye’s view places MAN with the final call, because God somehow foresaw our faith (even though Rom 8 does not say that), and thus again we have predestined ourselves –a complete contradiction of terms, stated nowhere in Eph 1, and illogical and ultimately works-based in its foundation.

“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”

Unfortunately, like I knew would happen, this text was not exegeted, but rather eisegesis was used. I stand with this wording, which is the Word of God. We are predestined, which would not make sense if we did it ourselves, we are predestined according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will.

Our will is never mentioned in the entire chapter or the entire book, but Eye still places it in there where it is convenient. Who is the object? Who is doing what? Why is He doing it? What basis is it done? A simple reading clears up all of these questions, and unfortunately one cannot do this without facing the facts that holy scripture teaches unconditional election in this passage. Lastly, as I have said before, not only do you replace God's action verbs with us actually doing the action, but you have spent all of your time detailing how 'predestin' does NOT have to mean God determined alone, instead of spending your time showing that the text is actually attributing this to us as well.

I purpose, to the undecided reader who has made it this far down, read Ephesians 1 and replace 'chosen, elected' with 'we chose' and see how utterly incoherent the passage becomes. I'm am sad to see that Eye undermines the entire 1 and 2nd chapter of Ephesians.

However, Eye, you argument was well organized and thought out. Thank you for spending so much time on it -truly you were well-prepared. I simply ask though, that you would deeply consider each question and contention I raised with your interpretation.

SDG –For God’s glory alone.

 
At Saturday, February 25, 2006 12:29:00 AM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Eye (or Dawn),

I know my response was long, and I'm not asking that you respond to each and every thing. But just to be clear, so we can truly nail down who is right and who is wrong on this passage, please do at least one thing:

Show, from the text of Ephesians 1, where my position is NOT supported in the text. That is, without leaving Ephesians chapter 1, and taking what I have said on Ephesians one alone, show us where I have gone wrong in my interpretation of those few verses. Point to something in the text that I contradict, or that is inconsistent with what I have said. If, like you say, your position is right and mine is wrong, you should be able to demonstrate that out of Ephesians chapter 1 alone.

I have strived to show why your position is wrong (based on v5, v11, the objects of the action verbs, the absence of foreknowledge, forseen faith, faith on our part at all, the irrational notion of chosing ourselves etc). So since I have shown from Ephesians 1 where your interpretation runs into specific problems with specific wording, please show what wording and what verse in Eph 1 runs contrary to my position.

SDG

 
At Saturday, February 25, 2006 11:44:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Nathan, thanks for the thorough and kind response. I'm on my way out of town for a few days. Feel free to continue without me and I will try to catch up if I can.

 
At Saturday, February 25, 2006 7:21:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan,

I too thank you for your good response. I agree with you -- got a little carried away on the definition of predestination! But, with your kind allowance, I will attempt to answer your questions/concerns and I pledge to go verse by verse through Ephesians 1 -- sticking only to the text.

Like everyone else in cyberspace, I have other real world issues to deal with in the interim. I plan to post hopefully on Monday.

Have a wonderful day in the LORD!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Monday, February 27, 2006 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Yeah, and I'm on my way out of town today! I'm going to the Pastor's conference at John MacArthur's church -just a bunch of stubborn Calvinists :)

Don't feel rushed, it will be at least a week before I can counter-respond anyway since I will not be back home until 3/6.

SDG

 
At Monday, February 27, 2006 9:19:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Ephesians Chapter One

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: (2) Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Paul tells us he is an apostle of Jesus and he has specifically been sent to minister in Ephesus. He affirms that all spiritual blessings originate in heaven from Christ.

(4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

As Nathan has previously well said, “Yes, we go outside of the text sometimes to further explain things.” I know Nathan doesn’t like this, but I refuse to simply use this one text to understand predestination when the Bible clearly gives additional detail on the subject. The words predestinated/predestinate are used only four times in the Bible along with different renderings of this same Greek word (proorizo (Strong's 4309) which occurs 7 times in 6 verses)found in two other English forms – 'ordained' and 'determined'. Therefore it is imperative we get a thorough understanding of its full meaning. Any real Bible teacher worth their salt would agree.

I’ve clearly shown in previous posts that ‘foreknowledge’ (definition – to have knowledge beforehand) is critical to understanding predestination. See Romans 8:29-30 and 1 Peter 1:1-2. Peter says it succinctly, ‘elect according to the foreknowledge of God the father through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:’

I also made a strong case that Romans was written some 4 years earlier than Ephesians, by the same author, and most likely the Ephesians understood the concept of foreknowledge and how it impacts predestination. Obviously, Paul certainly understood. So therefore, Biblically speaking, election is conditioned upon foreknowledge. Notice in 1 Peter 1 that election is conditioned upon foreknowledge and this election has nothing to do with eternity – it isn’t in that text. So we see a couple of things about predestination in light of Romans 8 and 1 Peter 1. Predestination is conditioned on foreknowledge (Romans 8:29) and election is also conditioned on foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2).

I am simply ‘rightly dividing the Word of God’ with regard to these Bible terms. Again, I could ask you to exegete 1st Timothy 2:1-6 and 1st Timothy 4:7-11 without deviating from those texts to support your position. You can’t do it.

So we clearly see God’s choosing us in Christ before the foundation of the world is based on His foreknowledge.

(5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

God predetermined those that are ‘chosen’ based on His foreknowledge of who would in the future become ‘children of God’ through adoption. The one doing the adopting is Jesus. This speaks of a process that involves time and individuals as well as God. It is His will that this adoption takes place and Jesus can now perform this legal adoption based on His redemptive work at Calvary. My question to the reader is when does adoption take place? Is an ‘orphan’ child legally tied to a parent before going through the legal process of adoption prior to the adoption being legally ratified? No. So, how doe this adoption become ratified? Hang in there and we will clearly see in later verses. Hint – the Ephesians placed ‘their faith’ in Jesus.

(6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Clearly God has revealed the mystery of His will to us and it encompasses His desire to see us become children of God through Jesus Christ. These verses and the ones above and other verses dealing with foreknowledge and election nowhere imply that God picked certain people to go to Heaven and damned others to Hell. Nor do these verses provide the reader with assurance of irresistible grace, total depravity or a limited atonement. However, they do speak to the perseverance of the saints.

(11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

You can’t just look at verse 11 without tying verse 12 to it. Clearly we see that we obtain an inheritance through Jesus’ work on Calvary and we are predestinated to that inheritance as believers in Jesus. But, notice in verse 12 that simple phrase, “who first trusted in Christ”. Again, if that part were missing I might tend to agree with you on some of your Calvinist views. But alas, I’m restrained by “who first trusted in Christ”. Spurgeon was right – man is responsible.

(13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (15) Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, (16) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; (17) That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: (18) The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

Here’s where it really gets good! Paul just lays it out there for all to see. He says the Ephesians heard the gospel of salvation, and after that they ‘believed’ and trusted in Jesus and then they were sealed with the Holy Spirit. Paul also commends them telling them he had heard of ‘their faith’. These Ephesians exercised ‘their faith’ in Jesus by their freewill (and yes that is a Bible term – just check it out in Blue Letter).

(19) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Did you see that? ‘To us-ward who believe’? Where is secret regeneration in this passage? Where is it in the Bible? Did Paul ever speak of such a thing? The answers are NO!

(20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Praise God and to Him be all the glory.

Now then, let’s go through Nathan’s specific objections and comments:


Nathan said: Eye, I find it very ironic that you start with a quote from Spurgeon, given that he is a staunch 5 point Calvinists. But nevertheless, it was a good quote.

Eye said: The reason I quoted Spurgeon is because he said God predestines and man is responsible, and those are two things that few can see!!! And I quote again, “They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; (God’s predestining and mans responsibility in this) but they are not. Rather they are two truths that cannot be contradictory to each other.” CH Spurgeon

Nathan, reread the quote and study it carefully. Spurgeon clearly states that man is responsible for his actions and that includes placing ‘his’ faith in Jesus for salvation. That is not a work, far from it, it is nothing more than placing faith in an object and the object of a Christian’s faith is Jesus! All faith must have an object. We exhibit faith every day – every time you look at a chair and decide to sit in it; the chair becomes the object of your faith with regard to molecular physics. It will hold me up, so therefore I will sit in it. I don’t understand the complexities of physics, but nevertheless I operate in its reality. Back to point, you don't get in the chair until you exercise your faith by placing it in the chair and then placing your body into it. Once you have exercised your faith, you are now resting in the chair.

Eye said: but I also realize there is a ‘mystery’ to it all as verse 9 states with regard to the truths contained in this chapter.

Nathan said:No, actually the verse says that He has revealed this mystery, it does not say that it is a mystery: Having made known unto us the mystery of his will.

Eye said: Ok, poor choice of wording there – yes, the Scripture does say He made known to us the mystery of His will. What I meant to say is just because we know something has been revealed to us doesn’t mean we completely understand it – case in point, the Godhead (Trinity).

Eye said: In other words, you couldn’t be in Christ until you first trusted or received Christ

Nathan said:Unfortunately this is where you depart from the text. Can you please outline, from this passage, where Paul says ‘you can’t be in Christ until you first trusted Christ’. I cannot see it in the text.

Eye said: Nathan, you need to read on down into the text. Check out verses 12-15. Notice in 12, the Christians are specifically mentioned by Paul for the fact they ‘first trusted in Christ’! Notice verse 13 clarifies. Not only did they ’trust’ in Christ, they did so after they heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Verse 13 says the Ephesians trusted in Christ after they heard the word of truth! the gospel of your salvation and Paul also says in this verse that after they believed, they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise!

Okay, here it is in plain English – the Ephesians first heard the word of truth (Gospel), then they received Jesus (placed their faith in Him) – at this point in time is when they became born again! Where does the text say they were born again? They were born again in Ephesus when they heard the Gospel.

Nathan, do you believe they were in Christ in eternity past as lost people? How do you get that from the text?

Finally, we know they are Biblically born again because Paul says they received the Holy Spirit – just like Cornelius. Here again, this is after Pentecost. Now I ask you again – can any lost person be in Christ??

Nathan – when did you get placed into Christ? Back in eternity past, or was it done like the Ephesians – at the point in time of their new birth? We clearly see they were placed into Christ through the new birth after they received the ‘earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession’. Keep in mind this phrase does not make sense before Calvary, but the mystery of His will makes it very clear after Calvary and that is what Paul is saying under the inspiration of the Spirit. After Jesus’ sacrifice, born again Christians do receive the earnest of our inheritance (Holy Spirit). Just like John 10 – you don’t get into the sheep fold until first you go through the door and Jesus said He was the door! There are no sheep in that pen until they go through the door. It’s real simple and the Bible proclaims this truth from many passages. Remember our friend Spurgeon – God predestines, but man is responsible!

You are the one that must argue with this simple ‘faith in Jesus’ process from Scripture. I do not see anything in this text about a ‘secretive’ regeneration that precedes the Ephesians placing ‘saving faith in Jesus’. No, placing faith in Jesus is not a work. You must prove that believing in Jesus is a ‘work’ from Scripture.

Eye said: But the idea of determining, even determining beforehand, does not require or even imply a singular determining factor. Just because God determines something in advance, does not mean he is the only determining factor.

Nathan said: Again, I am sad to see you abandon the text. Please read what the verse says: predestined us…according to the purpose of His will. That is clearly implying determination by His will, not anything else. I will revisit this further down.

You said:For example, a church may ordain a minister, but such a statement does not imply that the ordination took place without regard for the minister's will.

This analogy does not hold up because the verse clearly states ‘according to the purpose of His will”.

You said: What is at the heart of this issue is whether or not the Greek word for "predestinate" implies God alone determined.

Stop right here. Please point to anywhere in the chapter where our decision is placed as a deciding factor. Please point to anywhere that ‘our will’ is involved in the predestination, or choosing before the foundation of the world. Surely it’s in there somewhere right? If it isn’t, how is that not eisegesis?

Eye’s response to Nathan’s points above: Nathan, I ask you – when were you placed into Christ? Let me ask it another way, when were you baptized into Christ? Galatians 3:26-27: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Again, we know the Scripture clearly teaches that a person becomes saved by faith In Jesus Christ and then they are baptized into His Body. I proclaim the Church is growing as time moves forward. Yes, God knows the ultimate number of members, but He waits for the fullness of time to allow for its growth to take place. During this time, each person must either accept or reject the simple gospel message. This is an ongoing process of completing the Body of Christ (the Church). Check out the later verses in Ephesians 1. Specifically 19: ‘exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe. In other words, the Church is growing as a result of people placing their faith (this is not a work) in Jesus. We know this from Scripture – go back and read the first chapters of Acts where God added unto the Church as people placed faith in Jesus. Why Paul even tells the Ephesians in verse 15 the Ephesians had placed ‘their faith’ in the Lord Jesus. Now that’s simple exegesis in this hallmark predestination chapter – the Ephesians placed their faith in the Lord Jesus. That was their faith – remember, you may not like to go outside of this text, but clearly the Bible teaches that everyman has a ‘measure of faith’ and, no, that is not a work. Ephesians 1 shockingly ends with the Ephesians placing ‘their faith’ in Jesus. Again, God predestines, but man is responsible – our good friend Spurgeon!

Eye said: In removing the human ability to respond to God at all, Calvinism requires that God and only God is the determining cause for election.

Nathan said:Where in the chapter does it say that man is the cause for choosing again? Also, how is it that when we decide the cause for election, that Christ still gets the glory as v6 says? - To the praise of the glory of his grace,. Are you taking the Roman Catholic position that basically says: “It is gracious of God to let us work our way to heaven”? It certainly sounds like that is what you are saying. What a gracious God to let us decide, because we don’t deserve it! Um, that’s not grace. That’s salvation by MERIT.

Eye said: It doesn’t say that man is the cause for choosing, rather it clearly says the Ephesians placed their faith in the Lord Jesus – and that would have been in real time somewhere around 60 AD. Not in eternity past! They didn’t exist back there before the foundation of the world! But God had a plan whereby they could become adopted sons once they placed their faith in Jesus. This is truly the mystery of His will!

By saying man has no choice (freewill) you make a mockery of all the verses that proclaim man does have a choice! If you want a list I will gladly supply it. You know what the Bible says.

With regard to your Roman Catholicism comment – you tell me, is placing faith in Jesus a work? You need to be honest with all those who read this post. Let’s say for discussion purposes I play along with your 5 point hyper Calvinist construct and agree with you on this ‘secret regeneration’ jazz which provides you the ability to place faith in Jesus. Here’s my question – in your theology after your secret regeneration takes place, is your act of placing saving faith in Jesus at that time a work, as you say -- salvation by merit? If not, then why not? So why would my placing faith in Jesus be a work just because there is no secretive regeneration? By the way, you show all of the patient readers where the Bible teaches a ‘secret’ regeneration? While on that, you do know the word regeneration is found in the Bible in only two places and it speaks of the new birth and a new kingdom, conversely ‘regenerate and unregenerate’ are not in the Bible. I’ve said this before and I will say it again. The Bible clearly teaches you are either lost or you are saved – there is no secretive work that jumpstarts your salvation experience.

Nathan said: Regarding free will -- Can you please point out our will in Ephesians one? How about in the entire book? How about in Romans 8? You won’t find it. In fact, please point to one, just one scripture in the entire bible that uses the term free will. Just one? Nope.

Eye said: Hate to burst your bubble – you might want to start reading the ‘right’ version because ‘freewill’ is a Bible term and I’m not going to tell you where it is – I’ll let you dig it out for yourself.

With regard to our text, I’ve already shown you Paul commending the Ephesians for placing ‘their faith’ in Jesus. Now we know the devil didn’t make them ‘do it’ as Flip Wilson used to say, so I guess it comes down to God and man. Remember, Spurgeon said in the quote that man ‘has responsibility’. How do you exercise this responsibility without invoking your will? You make decisions every day by your will. Gee whiz… I’ll say it again; placing faith in Jesus is not a work, it is an act of your will. God honors your decision and quickens you at that point in time and that is when you become an adopted child of God -- just like the Ephesians did.


Eye said: That is, the Greek word proorizo does not require that God and only God determines our salvation.

Nathan said:Who is the subject of this action? And further still, who is the object of this action? And lastly, what where these objects predestined to? – God is the subject, the object of His choosing is US, and the predestination was ‘for adoption though Jesus Christ”. God isn’t predestining a plan here, He is predestinating and END –adoption. Also, it should be noted that all the verbs in this passage, ALL of them have God as the subject.

Eye’s response: It is God’s plan. That’s clear, and we do see it is the mystery of His will to reveal this to humanity through His Word. God’s plan is redemptive in its purpose – from before the foundation of the world to its consummation in the fullness of Christ. God chose us in Christ from before the foundation of the world; made us alive from sin by grace through ‘faith in Jesus Christ’; and by breaking down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Greek, male and female, bond and free. Keeping with the language of the text, adoption is a process, and at that it is a legal process. Part of God’s plan is to adopt us – it does say in verse 5 it was predestined – adoption was pre-ordained as part of God’s plan. And this adoption takes place by Jesus Christ. It is only because of Jesus that this ‘pre-ordained’ plan is available to mankind.

Keep in mind Jesus stepped into time to perform this plan. It was conceived in eternity past, but it didn’t get fulfilled until Calvary. That was the ‘good pleasure of His will’ in verse 5. In other words, God’s will was set in eternity past and His redemptive plan would be carried out by His Son Jesus and that took place at just the right time. Furthermore, is the Church complete yet? No. But, outside of time, God knows it will be because it is preordained. Not only was the plan fulfilled in Jesus, but it also states in verse 7 that we are redeemed through His blood and we are forgiven of our sins according to His grace. And yes, later in the chapter Paul clearly states that for this plan to apply it is according to His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him form the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places. These verses 19-20 are written ‘to us-ward who believe’. There it is again – you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be a part of His church.

Again, you tell me is believing on Jesus a work? I say it is not – believing or faith must have an object and Jesus is the object of my faith. Why did Jesus tell Peter ‘thy faith fail not’? Obviously Jesus is teaching us again that each person has faith. The question is what will you do with it? You can’t get into the sheep fold unless you go through the door. You can’t get through the ‘door’ unless you place your faith in Him (Jesus is the door).


Nathan said:Again, since God is the object of every single verb, EVERY single verb in the passage, where in the passage do you get something more than one cause? This is your eisegesis. All of the action, and all of the doing is God in this passage. There is no cooperation mentioned, there is no will described here (except God’s). You have abandoned the specific wording of the text. GOD is the cause because: A) all of the action verbs have HIM as the object –the one doing, and B) it says: “according to His will”. It could be no clearer, yet you go outside the text and try to imply –based on absolutely nothing in the text itself- that we are somehow the action of this predestinating.

Eye’s response: I’ve shown you repeatedly in the later part of the chapter that the Ephesians believed/placed faith in Jesus. Certainly that is by their will. Did God force them to believe? Prove that from the text. Yes, God drew them just as He draws everyone – John 12:32; and we know these Ephesians placed their faith in Jesus and responded in affirmation to the gospel. It was by their choice/will.


Nathan said:Eye, since Predetermining is obviously discussed in detail in this passage, it would be foolish for Paul to leave man’s will out of it if we were in fact the one who ultimately decides if we are predetermined. Could you please, so we can know that you are not going outside of the text, could you please point out where ‘human free will’ is in this passage? Please point to the part where Paul says that “Both God and men play a role in determining who is elected”. Cause I do not see it in here –especially given what verse 5 and 11 state: “according to His will”.

Eye’s response I’ve clearly hit this above but for clarity see verses 13, 15, 19 – ‘their faith’ was placed in Jesus for salvation. That didn’t happen in a vacuum. They trusted in Jesus and that was done by their will in conjunction with the power of the gospel.

Eye previously said: Both sides of this debate believe that God determines who is saved, but Calvinists believe that God and only God determines this.

Nathan said: I have yet to see you point out where man’s free will is in this passage, and why verse 5 and 11 say what they do, and why God is the object of every action verb in this chapter if man is ultimately responsible in order to get God to cooperate and elect.

Eye said: They didn’t have to believe the gospel now did they? But, they did – so they made a decision of their will to do so. These things don’t just happen out of the blue, nor is it some mystical unseen secretive regeneration…

Eye previously said: What Calvinists want to rule out is a third option, the option that both God and man play a role in determining who will be saved.

Nathan said: As I’m reading this section, I am sad to see that you have completely abandoned the text itself. You have left it completely to try and explain it away. Why not use the exact words to explain your position?

Eye’s response :Not so fast – I’ve shown you in the text in numerous verses where God had a plan and the Ephesians did play a role in God’s plan – the later half of the chapter clearly details that. They heard the salvation gospel and believed. It can’t be any simpler.


Nathan asked: Is it possible to enter into heaven without being chosen before the foundation of the world?

Eye’s response: It is impossible to enter into heaven unless one becomes born again, i.e. ‘receives’ Jesus.

Nathan said: That does not answer my question, although I do agree with that statement. The question was does anyone who is not chosen before the foundation of the world, have the free will to accept Jesus and enter into heaven?

Eye’s response: There in lies the problem with your theology. You agree with me when I say I must ‘receive’ Jesus to go to heaven. Did God make that choice for me? Prove that in Scripture. God knows every choice any of us will make, BUT He doesn’t make or force any of us to make those choices! Show me one single place in Scripture where God makes a choice for one person. By default, and to bring Spurgeon back into the debate – ‘man is responsible’.

Remember Abraham went to Heaven because God said so. Was Abraham chosen ‘in Christ’ before the foundation of the world? God did say Abraham ‘believed’ the gospel. How can he be responsible unless he can make a decision on his own about the gospel? And to take it a step further, what does your Calvinism do with all the unborn babies, and infants that die before knowing their left hand from their right and all of the mentally challenged individuals? What do you understand from God’s Word happens to them? Do you believe an infant that dies at six months old in the crib goes to Hell? Remember David and Bathsheba’s baby?


Nathan said:If foreknowledge is indeed true, how does this give man free will? Aren’t those who are chosen, elected before the world was made? For if God can look through the future and see that person A will come to faith in Christ, and that person B will NOT come to faith in Christ, then those facts are fixed, they are determined. There is NO WAY their lives will turn out any differently than this. Thus, the free-will that you are fighting so hard for is lost again.

Eye’s response: You miss the point, just because God knows (foreknowledge) what is going to happen, He doesn’t decree it to be so. By the way, find ‘sovereign will’ in the Bible for me. Nor is the expression “sovereignty of God” a Bible term, nor is the term “irresistible grace”. But, freewill is a Biblical term and it is in the Bible! And it is clearly used of individuals exercising their freewill to please God! There are numerous places in the Bible where people ‘willingly offered’ and offered ‘freely’. Another hint – all of these verses are in the Old Testament. None of these people were ‘born again’ in light of the New Testament teaching. Yes they were Old Testament saved. So, they weren’t ‘in Christ’ or ‘chosen in Christ’, and not a single one of them was quickened by the Holy Spirit. These are the saints Jesus took from Abraham’s bosom and took them to Heaven when He ascended. Like Abraham, they believed the Gospel (Genesis 3:15) and God accounted them righteous because they believed Messiah would come to pay for their sins and the entire world’s (old covenant and new covenant is covered by His blood -- 2 Corinthians 5:19) and He did.

This is what gets me – is Calvinism as you teach it a New Testament theology only? I sure can’t find any of your five points working in the Old Testament and we know these saints are in Heaven.

Again, to your quote – you err in that you fall back into the either/or logic of Calvinism. Just because God knows the outcome doesn’t mean He doesn’t give every person countless opportunities to repent and believe in Jesus. Please see my explanation in a previous post on the word predestined.


-What Eye is proposing is that we, not God, are the ones who ‘chose before the foundation of the world’. I say this because WE are the ones whom Eye says makes the final call. Thus, when Paul says ‘He chose us before the foundation of the world’, Eye, through much talk, ultimately interprets that as ‘WE chose US before the foundation of the world”.

Eye’s response: Nope, that’s not what I said at all – I’ve exegeted the passage and it is clear that the Ephesians placed saving faith in Jesus. They didn’t do that before the foundation of the world and neither did you or I. Again, is believing in Jesus a work? Show me in the Bible where believing and receiving Jesus by faith is a work? No, God chose but we must believe the gospel to bring it to pass! You and I weren’t around before the foundation of the world to make any choices! We placed faith in Jesus in real-time, not in the past. This is where the Calvinist’s position parts from the clear teaching of God’s Word in many places. If I placed the same constraints on you to exegete other verses such as 1st Timothy 2:1-6 and 1st Timothy 4:7-11as you have dictated for me with Ephesians 1, you would have to agree the Bible teaches it is God’s will that “ALL” be saved and God is the “SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, ESPECIALLY OF THOSE THAT BELIEVE”.

Show me where God makes a choice for any human in the Bible.

Nathan said:-Secondly, Eye has undermined verse 5 altogether. Verse 5 reads: “HE predestined us” –which Eye ultimately says that WE predestined ourselves (how we can predestine ourselves is a little mind-boggling). And “according to the purpose of HIS will” now becomes “[ultimately] according to the purpose of OUR will”. Yes I know, Eye admits that God plays an important role. But the MOST important role is the role which lays the FINAL decision. Eye says that OUR will is the final decision, thus Eye has to interpret this passage as ‘according to the purpose of His will, but ultimately our will too”.

Eye’s response: Nathan, did the Ephesians place saving faith in Jesus? (YES) How did they do that? (BY THEIR FAITH) Again, when did you place saving faith in Jesus? (IT WAS AT A SPECIFIC POINT IN TIME - NOT IN ETERNITY PAST) Were you in Jesus prior to believing in Him?

With this verse I conclude.

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2nd Corinthians 11:3.

As to John 6 – glad to tackle that, but let’s get Ephesians 1 cleared up first.

The balls in your court…

In Him,

Eye

 
At Wednesday, March 08, 2006 4:32:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

The reason why I proposed that we look at Ephesians chapter one was so we could have a clear and concise discussion on the relevant passages of this topic. I wanted to avoid the pages and pages of random questions, random passages, and cheap shots at the other position. Unfortunately, Eye’s response did not stick to this plan. Pages and pages of arguments that have no real bearing on Ephesians one were presented, and unfortunately I do not have the time or patience to address everything here (although I would like to). I have responded to all of these questions in the past, and now I am going to simply stick with the text.

Please notice how Eye dodged most of my questions in the last post. Nothing was answered directly; almost every response is a rabbit trail to another argument of random passage of scripture. This is called a red herring. Let the reader recognize that time and time again in Eye’s response, and hopefully see that this does nothing to answer the root issue. Also notice how Eye was unable to prove my position was in error by relying on Ephesians one alone. Yes, a lot of talk and other passages of scripture were thrown out in an attempt to discredit my assertions, but they were clearly not refuted in the least from sticking to Ephesians alone.

I will attempt, for the sake of space, to make my response brief. I would like to respond to many things, but will only respond to a few that deal with Eph 1.

Eye said: I’ve clearly shown in previous posts that ‘foreknowledge’ (definition – to have knowledge beforehand) is critical to understanding predestination.

No, like I said, you misunderstand the meaning of the word foreknowledge. “To know” means intimacy, to love. To foreknow simply means to decide beforehand to love. But again, unfortunately, foreknowledge is not mentioned in Ephesians 1, which I find as ironic since your entire argument stands or falls on this point.

Question: Please explain how this word, given your interpretation of it, should be interpreted in 1 Peter 1:20 as well as Acts 2:23.

Question: In Jeremiah 1:5 God says to him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;” –Does this, which is obviously referring to foreknowledge, actually saying that God knew the actions of Jeremiah before he was born?

Question: Please explain why Romans 8 says “WHOM” He foreknew, instead of “faith” He foreknew. Make sure to indicate how that does not present a problem for your interpretation. That is, if this is speaking of God’s seeing what a person will do, can it not be said that He foreknows everyone and everything? Why then, does this text only say that He foreknows the elect? –if He foreknows everyone?

Eye said: See Romans 8:29-30 and 1 Peter 1:1-2. Peter says it succinctly, ‘elect according to the foreknowledge of God the father through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:

Do you not see a contradiction in that Ephesians one says God chose according to His own will and purpose, but you are arguing that we actually elect ourselves, predestine ourselves, which essentially contradicts the Ephesians one passage in every way? Why does God have all the action in choosing and predestinating, but you affirm that we actually are the ones who choose and essentially predestinate ourselves? We chose to be predestinated? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Question: Do we predestinate ourselves into the elect? That is, in your view, God predestines us according to our choice, right?

Eye said: So therefore, Biblically speaking, election is conditioned upon foreknowledge.

Question: Can a person enter heaven without being predestined? That is, can a person get into heaven without being “Chosen from the foundation of the world”? It’s really a yes or no answer.

Eye: I am simply ‘rightly dividing the Word of God’ with regard to these Bible terms. Again, I could ask you to exegete 1st Timothy 2:1-6 and 1st Timothy 4:7-11 without deviating from those texts to support your position. You can’t do it.

Of course I can; no problem with those texts whatsoever. But to say ‘rightly divide the word of God’ when I have exposed your plethora of fallacies is upsetting to read.

Eye said: God predetermined those that are ‘chosen’ based on His foreknowledge of who would in the future become ‘children of God’ through adoption.

Question: Why did He have to chose if we chose? Why did He say HE chose and HE predestined if in reality, we did it all ourselves? Please explain why He chose, and why He predestined if we already came on our own. Surely Paul will explain that in the book of Ephesians right?

Eye said: My question to the reader is when does adoption take place? Is an ‘orphan’ child legally tied to a parent before going through the legal process of adoption prior to the adoption being legally ratified? No. So, how doe this adoption become ratified? Hang in there and we will clearly see in later verses. Hint – the Ephesians placed ‘their faith’ in Jesus.

Romans 8:23 says that adoption will come when our bodies are redeemed. Eph 1:5 clearly says we were predestined by God for this adoption. You however, go on to say that we are adopted upon our faith (which is incorrect), and/or we adopt ourselves (which nullifies the term adoption.)

Eye said: Clearly God has revealed the mystery of His will to us and it encompasses His desire to see us become children of God through Jesus Christ.

Question: From Ephesians one, can you please point to where “His desire to see us become children of God” is stated?

Question: If God is speaking of His desire here, why does the wording say: “who has blessed us…just as He chose us… having predestined us… He has made us accepted… we have redemption… He made to abound toward us… having made known to us… we have obtained an inheritance”? Where is His desire to do anything mentioned? Where is the call to faith and repentance here? How is this not describing things that have already been accomplished for those who were chose?

Eye said: Nor do these verses provide the reader with assurance of irresistible grace,

Question: Can a person chosen before the foundation of the world reject God’s offer of salvation? That is, will there be any ‘predestined’ and ‘chosen’ who will not come to faith in Christ?

Eye said: However, they do speak to the perseverance of the saints.

Question: So we can choose Christ, but we cannot un-choose Him in the future? We have free will to accept Christ and receive the Holy Spirit, but upon receiving the Spirit we lose free will to change our minds? Correct? Please explain.

Eye said: You can’t just look at verse 11 without tying verse 12 to it. Clearly we see that we obtain an inheritance through Jesus’ work on Calvary and we are predestinated to that inheritance as believers in Jesus.

Question: Are the ‘chosen’ in verse 4 the same people as the ‘obtain an inheritance’ in verse 12?

Eye said: But, notice in verse 12 that simple phrase, “who first trusted in Christ”.

Unfortunately, this is the same mistake you make on John 1:12-13.

Let the reader see:

Verse 11: being predestined according to the purpose of Him.
Verse 12: that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

The text clearly describes the ‘we’ as people who trust in Christ, but it does not attribute any action to this ‘we’, especially the action of ‘predestined’ –which is attributed to Him. It does describe what the ‘predestined’ do (trust Christ), but it does not attribute any action of any of the above verses as being caused by the ‘we who’. Clearly, the cause of everything is ‘Him’, and the effect of HIS actions are being described in verse 12 as ‘we who first trusted’. We love Him because He first loved us.

Question: Please point to the action of ‘we’ in verse 12.

Eye said: Spurgeon was right – man is responsible.

Yes man is responsible! But he is also dead and sin and cannot chose Christ apart from being one of the elect. But actually, you have no clue what Spurgeon really believed if you disagree with me. He was a staunch 5-point Calvinists all the way; his beliefs matching up completely with my own in every respect of this issue.

Eye said: (V13) Here’s where it really gets good! Paul just lays it out there for all to see. He says the Ephesians heard the gospel of salvation, and after that they ‘believed’ and trusted in Jesus and then they were sealed with the Holy Spirit. Paul also commends them telling them he had heard of ‘their faith’.

Question: Please show from this text where man is attributed to ‘choosing’, ‘electing’, or ‘predestinating’ himself.

Unfortunately, Eye is proposing that we read this entire text backwards. Instead of God moving first, Eye wants us to say that it was man who moved first. That is eisegesis. We cannot read scripture in reverse and then attribute all of God’s action verbs to man just because the text describes what man eventually does. The chronological order of the text is very important, it even states so in verse 4 –“foundation of the world”. The text says God acted first and because of that act we trusted in Christ. There is no getting around that fact.

Question: Please show any warrant in scripture for reading a text backwards and switching what scripture says came first (choosing before the foundation of the world; predestinating), with what the text says came second (trusting Christ).

Eye said: These Ephesians exercised ‘their faith’ in Jesus by their freewill (and yes that is a Bible term – just check it out in Blue Letter).

No, ‘free-will offering’ has no bearing on human free-will as we are discussing. The Bible never says that man has a completely free will to choose right from wrong. But that is off-topic so I will not elaborate right now.

Question: Please point out where the text says that the Ephesians “exercised faith…through free-will”. I cannot see ‘free will’ in here anywhere.

Eye said: (v19) Did you see that? ‘To us-ward who believe’? Where is secret regeneration in this passage? Where is it in the Bible? Did Paul ever speak of such a thing? The answers are NO!

Paul is praying for the Ephesians, the same people who were ‘chosen before the foundation of the world’. Again, he describes their being predestined according to God’s will as taking place in eternity, before the world was made, and well before ‘we believe’. I’m not advocating secret regeneration at all. A person is regenerated upon belief in Christ. However, Ephesians one describes those who believe as being predestined according to God’s purpose and will (verse 11-12), not our own like you say.

V19: “...according to the working of His mighty power” –Again, my position is affirmed. For you essentially say it is ‘according to the plan of God, but the working of our faith’.

Eye said: Okay, here it is in plain English – the Ephesians first heard the word of truth (Gospel),

This is where your mistake lies, you cannot start at this point. You have departed from the text, choosing instead to read it backwards. Please go back and read the chapter again, please note for us Who is mentioned first and Who acted before the foundation of the world.

Eye said:…then they received Jesus (placed their faith in Him) – at this point in time is when they became born again! Where does the text say they were born again? They were born again in Ephesus when they heard the Gospel.

They were born again when they heard the gospel, but they were chosen before the foundation of the world.

Question: Can a person who is chosen before the foundation of the world fail to be ‘born again’ in this lifetime?

Eye said: Nathan, do you believe they were in Christ in eternity past as lost people? How do you get that from the text?

Nobody is in Christ until belief in the gospel. Please see chapter 2:
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…

As we see, we were dead, we were children of wrath, but “God…made us alive”. God is the one who made us alive, God is the one who granted us repentance and faith, God is even the one who allowed us to hear the gospel (as opposed to many in 3rd world countries who will never hear it). We cannot make ourselves alive, we are dead!

But God has chosen the elect before the foundation of the world, so in a sense, we are ‘in Christ’, in that we were predestined. And what happens to those who are predestined? “whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Justification, being born again, does not happen until we believe. We do not believe until we are called, we are not called unless we are predestined. It’s as simple as that! Please show me my error from these two texts.

Eye said: I do not see anything in this text about a ‘secretive’ regeneration that precedes the Ephesians placing ‘saving faith in Jesus’.

No secretive regeneration is necessary, for the text says they were chosen before the foundation of the world.

Question: Does being chosen guarantee salvation or not?

Eye said: No, placing faith in Jesus is not a work. You must prove that believing in Jesus is a ‘work’ from Scripture.

I am only addressing this question because I have stated that ‘foreknowledge’ makes faith into a work.

No, I rest in salvation by grace through faith. That is, unmerited favor bestowed on the elect leads to faith. You, however, by basing election on foreknowledge, add faith as a ‘merit’ that gains God’s election –which contradicts the meaning of ‘grace’. If grace only falls on those who place faith, by definition it is no longer unmerited favor (literal definition of grace) but merited by faith favor.

God looks through time, He sees that some people place faith in Him and some people do not. He then elects according to what He sees the creature do. Therefore, some have ‘merited’ salvation by placing faith, while the others are not chosen because they did not place faith. That view turns faith into a merit that all men can do in order to be saved.

However, with the biblical understanding that faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8-9; Phil 1:29 etc), we know that true saving faith is NOT a work? Why is it not a work? Because the only ones who can place faith are the ones who are GIVEN faith as a gift (please note, repentance, which is necessary for salvation, is also a gift according to scripture).

Therefore, Eye, in saying that God elects according to what He sees us do, makes faith a work just any man can do if he pleases.

My position is that because faith is given to the elect by God, thus the faith is ‘not of ourselves’, our placing faith is NOT a work because it was granted to us by the Father –it is not our own.

My view makes faith a gift, Eye’s view makes faith a work. Foreknowledge of faith makes salvation by merit –that is a catholic belief at its core.

Eye said: clearly the Bible teaches that everyman has a ‘measure of faith’
Please point us to this specific passage so we can affirm that your interpretation of it is valid. Because I do not believe this can be deduced from scripture.

Eye said: Ephesians 1 shockingly ends with the Ephesians placing ‘their faith’ in Jesus. Again, God predestines, but man is responsible – our good friend Spurgeon!

YES YES! You said it yourself, Ephesians 1 ENDS with them placing faith. So then, how does it begin? –With being chosen and predestinated unto that end. Oh, and man is responsible, I never denied that.

Eye said: It doesn’t say that man is the cause for choosing, rather it clearly says the Ephesians placed their faith in the Lord Jesus – and that would have been in real time somewhere around 60 AD. Not in eternity past!

“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. -2 Thess 2:13-14

This text clearly affirms my argument. God chose for salvation (from the beginning), but we are not automatically saved instantaneously, that is why the text says ‘through’. You see that? ‘through sanctification and belief in the truth’ –just as plain as day it says that we were chosen for salvation, and that salvation comes ‘through’ sanctification and belief. This isnt mystical or secret! Those chosen believe and are sanctified because they are chosen. Thus, no one is saved outside of being sanctified and believing in the truth. How were they sanctified? How did they come to believe? Because ‘He’ called them by the gospel.

Please exegete for us 2 Thess 2:13-14, which is almost an exact parallel of Ephesians 1, and show us where my exegesis above is in error.

Eye said: Let’s say for discussion purposes I play along with your 5 point hyper Calvinist construct

No, I am not a hyper Calvinist. Please do a little research before you attach this label to me.

Eye said: With regard to our text, I’ve already shown you Paul commending the Ephesians for placing ‘their faith’ in Jesus…so I guess it comes down to God and man. Remember, Spurgeon said in the quote that man ‘has responsibility’.

Man is responsible, God is sovereign. Both play a role in salvation, but again, we love Him because He first loved us. That is, we choose Him because He chose us before the foundation of the world. Perfectly illustrated in John 6:

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out… “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Yes man must come to the Son, but the Father must give and draw first. Again, my position is affirmed by yet another crystal clear passage. My interpretation of Ephesians 1 has firm support from several, several other passages.

Eye said: It is only because of Jesus that this ‘pre-ordained’ plan is available to mankind. Keep in mind Jesus stepped into time to perform this plan.

Sadly, the text says nothing of a plan, but rather of an accomplished work in those that were chosen before the foundation of the world.

Question: Please point to anything in the text that speaks of a ‘possibility’ rather than a reality. Does Paul ever say that the Ephesians must exercise their faith first in order to predestine and ‘elect’ themselves?

Eye’s said: I’ve shown you repeatedly in the later part of the chapter that the Ephesians believed/placed faith in Jesus. Certainly that is by their will. Did God force them to believe? Prove that from the text. Yes, God drew them just as He draws everyone – John 12:32; and we know these Ephesians placed their faith in Jesus and responded in affirmation to the gospel. It was by their choice/will.

First off, John 12:32 is taken grossly out of context. John 6:44 clearly shows that to come to Christ one must be drawn, and that everyone who is drawn will be raised. And again we can see “many are called, few are chosen”. But, if necessary, I could spend the time to exegete John 12 for you and show you that Jesus is clearly not referring to every man without exception (go back and read the passage beginning in verse 20), but for the sake of space I will not.

Secondly, there is no ‘forcing’ to believe –that is a straw man. God chose us for salvation from the foundation of the world –that is what the text says; that is my argument. Please show me my error from this passage or even from this book for that matter.

Eye said: Both sides of this debate believe that God determines who is saved, but Calvinists believe that God and only God determines this.

Eye, again, the text places all the action in the hands of God FIRST, it is only after He has acted do we act. “all that the Father gives Me will come to Me” etc. Yes we both act, but our action as humans is determined by God acting first.

Eye said: Not so fast – I’ve shown you in the text in numerous verses where God had a plan and the Ephesians did play a role in God’s plan – the later half of the chapter clearly details that. They heard the salvation gospel and believed. It can’t be any simpler.

No, again, the Ephesians acted after God did. The latter end of the chapter only describes those who were predestined and chosen, it does not ascribe them doing it themselves.

Nathan asked: Is it possible to enter into heaven without being chosen before the foundation of the world?

Eye said: It is impossible to enter into heaven unless one becomes born again, i.e. ‘receives’ Jesus.


That is the third time I have asked that question and that is the third time you have failed to answer it.

Eye said: There in lies the problem with your theology. You agree with me when I say I must ‘receive’ Jesus to go to heaven. Did God make that choice for me? Prove that in Scripture…God knows every choice any of us will make, BUT He doesn’t make or force any of us to make those choices!

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain –John 15:16

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. – John 15:19

And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69“Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 70Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” – John 6

Please Eye, be honest about my position. I hold that we choose Christ because we were chosen before the foundation of the world. He didn’t choose for us, He chose us and thus we will without a doubt choose Him. Please explain for us, from these texts who chose who first. Oh, and please explain how ‘knowing’ our choices was left out of the above passages (and John 6:37-42 if you dare). And from Ephesians 1, who is performing the action first? Time and again my position is fortified.

Eye said: This is what gets me – is Calvinism as you teach it a New Testament theology only? I sure can’t find any of your five points working in the Old Testament and we know these saints are in Heaven.

Calvinism is all throughout the OT. For the sake of space I would prefer to stick with Eph 1.

Eye said: Again, to your quote – you err in that you fall back into the either/or logic of Calvinism. Just because God knows the outcome doesn’t mean He doesn’t give every person countless opportunities to repent and believe in Jesus. Please see my explanation in a previous post on the word predestined.

No, you must deal with the fact that the elect, all who will enter heaven, have been chosen before the foundation of the world. You have ignored this fact throughout and have thus dodged my questions on this subject. If God foreknows and thus elects based on that, then the elect are set and there is nothing anyone can do to change the outcome. Thus, free-will as you are advocating is eliminated.

What Eye is proposing is that we, not God, are the ones who ‘chose before the foundation of the world’. I say this because WE are the ones whom Eye says makes the final call. Thus, when Paul says ‘He chose us before the foundation of the world’, Eye, through much talk, ultimately interprets that as ‘WE chose US before the foundation of the world”.

Eye said: Nope, that’s not what I said at all – I’ve exegeted the passage and it is clear that the Ephesians placed saving faith in Jesus.


Yes, Eye may deny it, but read what was said. The Ephesians were chosen and predestined because of their foreseen faith. That is predestinating and choosing yourself before the foundation of the world. That is contrary to what the passage states, please see my breakdown of this eisegesis above. Exegesis does not run backwards, and it does not attribute action verbs to man when clearly they are attributed to God.

Summation
This response was much longer than I anticipated, but even still, there were many, many things I left out for the sake of space. In summation though, please read my last response and go back and read Eye’s response to that. Sadly, most of my questions were dodged, avoided, talked around, or just ignored. Many red herrings were thrown out to divert the readers attention away from what I was asking, so hopefully my questions, as labeled, will be answered more concisely in this post.

We must read Ephesians one in its logical order, and we must not attribute action to whom the text fails to do so. In addition, the whole ‘foreknowledge’ argument needs to be critically considered as well, for it does nothing to address the text in an honest fashion (Eye’s interpretation of the word I might add).

But Eye closed with a verse talking about deception, which I guess implies that I am deceiving. So I guess Spurgeon was in this category? What about Martin Luther? Or Jonathan Edwards? George Whitefield? What about Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Timothy Dwight, A. H. Strong, Henry Thiessen, J.C.Ryle, Lewis Sperry Chafer
R.T.Kendall, John Calvin, John Owen, Thomas Watson, Matthew Henry, Charles Hodge, L. Boettner, B.B. Warfield, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Gill, John MacArthur, Wayne Mack, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, John Piper, R.C. Sproul etc? Would you consider those men deceivers as well? I stand with them on this issue.

There are so many verses I could rest in, 2 Thess 2:13 would be a good one to close with, but I’ve already mentioned that one. How about this one:

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. -2 Tim 1:8-11

God has called us with a holy calling, a calling not according to something He foresaw, but according to His own purpose and grace. Where is man in this passage again? You must not only deal with Eph 1, but you must deal with about a half a dozen more verses that say the exact same thing. “before time began” –I stand with that.

SDG

 
At Wednesday, March 08, 2006 6:46:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Eye, that was SUCH an EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT post. They are my sentiments exactly.

Eye: Keep in mind Jesus stepped into time to perform this plan. It was conceived in eternity past, but it didn’t get fulfilled until Calvary. That was the ‘good pleasure of His will’ in verse 5. In other words, God’s will was set in eternity past and His redemptive plan would be carried out by His Son Jesus and that took place at just the right time."

Exactly and I might add:

1 Corinthians 1:21 "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

Wouldn't it be a little silly for God to be so pleased because He MADE someone to believe the foolishness of the gospel?

It makes much more sense to be pleased to save those who were humble enough to see that their intellect didn't match up to God's and that they would put their trust in God rather than in their own intellects. Which is why God says that there aren't many noble or mighty that are called (effectually called/chosen). It's because they're so full of themselves and they refuse to believe in any God other than themselves or a God of their own making.

My response is a bit lengthy and it said basically the same thing as Eye has said and I did deviate somewhat from the text to bolster my points. I may post it in its entirety at a later date, but for now I'll just post a few excerpts.

Nathan: “Unfortunately, foreknowledge is not mentioned in Ephesians 1, which I find as ironic since your entire argument stands or falls on this point. Secondly, you have incorrectly defined foreknowledge. Yes it means to know before hand, but again you err in the objects of the action verb. “WHOM He foreknew” is what the text says. God knew the persons here, not the facts about them. So God knows us right? What does that mean? It means knowing us beforehand, not knowing facts about us, or our faith that we will place in Him. To know is an intimate term. For example, 1 Cor 8:3 says “If one loves God, one is known by Him”. In Galatians 4:9 Paul says “now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God…” Again ‘know’ is used in an intimate way. And again in Matt 7:22 Jesus says “depart from Me, I never knew you”.

I’m sorry, but I totally disagree with your view of “foreknowledge” in this context.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It can still be read as “Whom He did foresee.” We see the same foreknowledge in the following:

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

How does God intimately know someone who does not in actuality exist?

I can agree with your interpretation of “knowing” in I Corinthians 8:3, Galatians 4:9 and Matthew 7:23 since He can only really “know” us and we “know” Him once we are actually “in Him” as seen in the Galatians verse you have provided.

Galatians 4:9But NOW, AFTER that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (emphasis added)

Nathan: “Lastly, would you like to use this definition for 1 Peter 1:20?? Here it is stated that JESUS was foreknown before the foundation of the world. Does that mean that His good deeds were seen and that was the basis for the Fathers love?

The KJV renders the word as “foreordained.”

1 Peter 1:20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

II Timothy 1:9-10 shows that what was made manifest was what was decided from before the foundation of the world (foreordained). That a Savior, Jesus Christ, would die to give those of us who would believe abundant and eternal life. So I think “foreordained” is the correct rendering here.

2 Timothy 1:9-10Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Let’s just say that the word proginsko in 1 Peter 1:20 does mean foreknow and that it means it in the intimate sense. I have no problem with Jesus being intimately foreknown since He IS the Great I AM. But I think the context renders it “foreordained.”

Nathan: “No, you have severely misunderstood the meaning of foreknowing an actual being –not facts about them. So, the text actually says nothing about God foreknowing or foreseeing that certain people would believe, nor is that idea mentioned anywhere in scripture. It is a simple case of eisegesis.

I think it is you who has severely misunderstood the text. I think that our interpretation of “foreknowledge” best fits with the rest of the Bible and is what Paul was trying to convey. Not only that, but it best fits the reality that you cannot intimately know a non-existent creature.

If God knows everything (and He does), then He can “foreknow/foresee” everything. He knows the beginning from the end. So it is not illogical to find “foreknowledge,” as we see it, in the bible. I think you are the one who has committed the eisegesis here.

We take into account the fact that:

1) God says that from before the foundation of the world He decided to sacrifice His Son to save men from their sin
2) God says He loved the whole world
3) God says that He will draw all men unto Him
4) God says that it pleases Him to preach the foolishness of the gospel and to save them that believe it
5) God says that we are saved by grace through faith
6) God commands us all to believe and to repent
7) God says that whosoever will believe, receive and repent will have eternal life
8) God says that it is with the heart that man believes unto righteous
9) God says that many are called, but few are chosen
10) God says that all that the Father gives to Jesus will come

Given these facts, we can logically deduce that those who are chosen and predestined must be chosen due to God’s foreseeing those who will believe and receive.

Nathan: “Why does scripture never speak of FAITH as the reason God chose us? In fact, please explain why Paul, when using this term election, refers to it as “Gods purpose of election” instead of our purpose of election in Romans 9:11? Also, you might want to explain why our faith is never ever mentioned in Ephesians 1 as well.

God chooses us when we believe His gospel. To believe His gospel takes faith. I had my own explanation about faith in my original post, but we'll go with Eye's explaination of sitting in the chair (i.e., we all have faith in general and it is what we do with that God-given faith that matters).

What is God’s purpose of election in terms of salvation? To save those who believe. What constitutes belief? Faith, which is not a work. (Romans 3:27)

Romans 9:11 is not talking about election in terms of the salvation of Esau and Jacob. It is talking about one [nation] serving the other and God choosing one’s seed over the other in bringing about the Messiah, etc. (Romans 9:4-5)

Election, in general (whether it be salvation or service), IS according to GOD’s purpose and not according to our works because our works are as filthy rags.

If you are trying to make a parallel between Jacob and Esau in that Jacob was “chosen” (in your mind, for salvation?) then you must remember that “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. Why is that? Because some believe and some do not. Again, what constitutes belief? Faith.

I guess you missed the part where it talks about “faith” in Ephesians 1:15?

 
At Wednesday, March 08, 2006 7:53:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Dawn "Romans 9:11 is not talking about election in terms of the salvation of Esau and Jacob. It is talking about one [nation] serving the other and God choosing one’s seed over the other in bringing about the Messiah, etc. (Romans 9:4-5)"

That should read Romans 9:4-8 and not 5.

 
At Wednesday, March 08, 2006 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan my young friend,

I believe I clearly addressed Ephesians 1 and answered your questions. I perceive you don't like the answers.

Let's get down to the bottom line -- you want to believe God hand-picked you for salvation as though He's picking a heavenly sports team. Whew, you made the cut but that poor guy over there didn't so he goes to Hell. Tell me again why he goes to Hell. Was it because he didn't get picked or was it because he didn't place his faith in Jesus? By the way, your explanation of faith being a meritorious work is a bunch of non-sense.

You finally admitted you weren't in Christ in eternity past and you also admitted you don't believe in a 'secret regeneration' (thanks for clearing that up for many of your esteemed Calvinistic brethern do) and you agreed you must place your faith in Jesus to get into Him which is at a specific point in time -- not in eternity past.
I consider that progress.

So again, what was going on back there in eternity past? It was God's foreknowledge of your placing faith in His Son Jesus.

So, how did you do that -- place faith in Jesus? I believe I've read your other posts where you say man doesn't have the ability to do that -- again you Calvinist say it works because Sproul and others say it must via a secret regeneration...You guys don't even agree amongst yourselves, no wonder you are all over the place. Again, is Calvinim a New Testament theology or does it apply to the Old Testament? You say it does apply to the Old Testament. OK -- what about Cain?????

Look we all agree that God is the one who quickens us out of our spirtual death. He does that when we exercise 'our faith' just like the Ephesians did in chapter 1 through the power of the gospel.

You need to understand a few things. Its great to sit around and read dead men's commentaries and philosophical treatise about what this verse means and this text says over here, but at the end of the day it boils down to what God says from cover to cover. By the way, have you read the Bible from front to back? If not, I would encourage you to do so if you haven't...

Again, you never addressed my questions on Cornelius nor did you even attempt to take a stab at Cain from your beloved Calvinistic theological construct. They don't fit.

Abraham believed the gospel and he wasn't regenerated with the Holy Spirit and now he's in heaven. He wasn't drawn to God by irresistable grace and to believe your doctrine of total depravity, he didn't have the ability to believe God, but yet he's in heaven. Abraham looked forward to that day when Messiah would go to Calvary just as we look back to that day. The only differnce in Abraham's salvation experience and ours is we do get the Holy Spirit after Calvary because: " Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will".

Nathan you don't have any children (assumption on my part since I see you never write about them). Once you do and you begin to raise them in the fear and admonition of the LORD, I believe you will see things in a different light. You speak of wanting to be an elder and preaching. That is a good desire, and I encourage you to seek God on that as I am one who meets the qualifications of eldership. A man doesn't meet the qualifications until such time as he has children and then those children grow up and personally reflect the Godly influence of you and your wife's maturity in the LORD, your ability to manage your household, and your skill of rightly dividing the Word of God and teaching it so others can see God's gift in you.

Having children should make you question Calvinism, specifically whether your baby is 'elect' or could it be one God didn't choose... I mean come on, that is what you believe! As a father, I'd hate to think about that as I rocked my baby to sleep.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty.

When you become an elder in the future (if it's God's will for you) and you get the call to go the hospital and minister to the young woman in your church who lost her two month old to cancer, what are you going to tell her when she asks you, the elder, where is her child -- Heaven or Hell?

I'm sure you've read Mohler's recent article on topic. I couldn't agree with him more on his analysis of the Scripture. But alas, you really do have a dilemma on your hands if you agree with his stance versus the Calvinistic montra that some babies are 'elect' and others are not. Mohler is saying from his study of God's word (and I concur with his findings) that all babies and mentally challenged individuals are covered by God's grace and love until such time as they 'know their left hand from their right' (moral responsibility).

If that's true, then they are ALL!!! 'elect' until they can exercise their 'freewill' with regard to believeing in Jesus.

Finally, you quote: verse 70 of John 6: "Jesus answered them, 'Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?'”

Nathan asked: Please Eye, be honest about my position. I hold that we choose Christ because we were chosen before the foundation of the world. He didn’t choose for us, He chose us and thus we will without a doubt choose Him. Please explain for us, from these texts who chose who first.

Ok -- Jesus chose Judas first and yet he was a devil...

By the way, I hope your study on freewill was fruitful...

In Him,

Eye

 
At Wednesday, March 08, 2006 11:19:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Eye,

Thank you for using ad-hominem, and thank you for not answering one of my questions (ok, you did MOCK one of them).

I have not changed any of my beliefs since day one, you simply do not accurately understand my beliefs so you throw out a red herring and claim that we're making 'progress'.

Thank you for proving that you cannot stick with scripture and yet support your argument. Thank you for demonstrating how soundly I destroyed your faulty argumentation.

Clearly, when scripture is provided, one stays to see what it says and one turns to personal attacks and rants about their dislike for the other position!

Psalm 33:12 -Blessed is...the people He chose for His inheritance.

Psalm 65:4 -Blessed are those You choose and bring near in Your courts!

Psalm 106:4 -...that I may enjoy the prosperity of Your chosen ones.

Prov 16:1 -The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

Prov 16:4 -The LORD has made all things for Himself, yes even the wicked for the day of doom.

Col 3:12 - ...therefore as God's chosen people...

1 Thess 5:9 -For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:8-9 -They stumble because they disobey the message -which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people.

Matt 20:15 -Do I not have the right to do what I want with my own money? (My own Salvation)

Ex 33:19 -I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.

Rom 11:7 -What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened.

1 Thess 1:4-5 -For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you.

Is 65:1 - I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me.

Ezek 11:19 -I will give them a an undivided heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

John 15:5, 16,19 - Apart from Me you can do nothing...You did not choose Me, but I chose you.

Acts 11:18 -When they heard this...they praised God and said "so then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.

Acts 16:14 -...the Lord opened her heart to respond to Pauls message.

Rom 2:4 -...do you not realize that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

1 Cor 4:7 -For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive, and if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

2 Tim 2:25 -Gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.

I could go on all day long. Who wants to stick with scripture again? Who wants to exegete (in order and without contradiction of sentences) Ephesians 1?

I rest in the Word of God.

SDG

 
At Thursday, March 09, 2006 7:02:00 AM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan,

What about the babies?

Elect or not?

You can't have it both ways. Is this question to hot for your?

In Him,

Eye

 
At Thursday, March 09, 2006 9:09:00 AM, Anonymous Eye said...

Here is the article by Mohler and Akin Why We Believe Young Children Who Die Go to Heaven

Nathan you mention certain men you stand with who are staunch 5 point Calvinist and you include Warfield, Mohler, Hodge, Spurgeon and probably a few others I don't know about, but these men did and do teach God saves all who die in infancy.

The article is worth a read if you haven't done so.

Again, the bottom line is this -- if God, per Calvinistic theology, chose some infants (predestined) to be elect and by default those He didn't choose are obviously the non-elect and THIS IS WHAT 5 POINT CALVINISM TEACHES, then how can these men be true Calvinist when they believe all babies are ELECT until such time as they 'reach a stage of moral understanding and accountablility'? By the way, Spurgeon preached a famous sermon entitled "Infant Salvation" on this very point. Somebody get that man a cigar ;-)

Again, man has a free will and he can either choose to accept or reject the simple gospel. These men are saying these babies are covered until such time as they can either accept or reject the gospel. It really isn't difficult to see -- God does love the entire world and He's given us a head start by 'electing' us as babies. That's what Mohler and Akin said and so did Spurgeon. I think its getting smoky in here...

You can't have it both ways. If God really does choose one baby over another to be saved, then Mohler and Spurgeon are wrong!

Conversely if Mohler and Spurgeon are right, then man must exercise his free will and place faith in Jesus.

I've said it before and I will say it again as simply as I know how.

1)If 5 Point Calvinism is right and God chooses some babies to eternal life, then those He doesn't choose die and go to Hell.

2) The Scripture teaches the opposite of point 1 above as evidenced by Mohler's and Spurgeon's and many others study on the topic of 'do babies and young children who die before moral responsibility is invoked' go to Heaven.

3) Point 1 and 2 are opposed to each other and therefore both can't be right!

4) if Point 2 is correct, then there is no such thing as a 'non-elect' infant.

5) I call that the 'horns of a dilemma and they are not reconcilable.

Nathan, where do you stand on this?


In Him,

Eye

 
At Thursday, March 09, 2006 9:48:00 AM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Dawn said: The KJV renders the word as “foreordained.”

Amen! Amen! Thank you for catching a point that I forgot to make! This is the same Greek word that is used in Rom 8:29. Why does the KJV and some other translations render the word ‘foreordained’ in 1 Peter? Because the word pretty much means the same thing. However, if we translated Rom 8:29 that way we would find that it kind of confuses the reading. For example: “For whom He foreordained, He also predestined…” –that doesn’t really make sense because foreordained and predestined basically mean the same thing. So then, the word is translated a little different here because it pretty much means the same thing as predestined but not quite. The literal reading would be “whom He beforehand loved, He also predestined…” Same in 1 Peter 1:20! The Greek word is a synonym with ‘foreordained’, except that it entails foreordained love! So the word in Rom 8:29 really does mean 'foreordained', but it entails foreordained love so just saying 'foreordained' doesnt quite get the full meaning across. That’s why simply saying ‘foreordained’ would leave us confused.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” –John 6:44

Question: If no man can come to Christ unless the Father draws, and by reading the last half of the verse we see that ALL who are drawn are raised, thus nobody is drawn that isn’t raised, then how can the Father look down through time and see who will come to Christ? What is there to see if no man can come in the first place?

One of the dozen or so major problems this view of foreknowledge has with scripture.

Eye,

I would love to discuss the salvation of babies with you, but it’s not really on topic with the passage we are discussing. Why do you keep trying to change the subject? Please answer my questions on Ephesians 1, otherwise I think I will step out of this conversation. I only desire to look at scripture, and to let scripture determine what we believe.

SDG

 
At Thursday, March 09, 2006 10:13:00 AM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan,

What you believe about the 'little ones' and their resting place in death comes from your understanding of who God is and what He has done for us, based on your study of Scripture.

I'm amused because this one issue does cut through all of the 'words and much speech' as you are fond of saying. It's at the heart of Ephesians 1. Can't you see it?

Were all babies chosen or not? That's what Mohler and Spurgeon are saying.

Excuse me, I just coughed on some of that second-hand cigar smoke ...

In Him,

Eye

 
At Thursday, March 09, 2006 11:38:00 AM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Eye,

I have absolutely no problem with voicing my views on the eternal state of babies who die, in fact I studied this issue not too long ago and am confident with my position. However, I will not let you continue to divert the issue away from the inconsistencies I pointed out in your view of Ephesians 1.

Right now, I will discuss specific scripture with you and that alone. And as of now, we are still on Ephesians chapter 1. Please answer my questions on Ephesians one if we are to continue to dialogue.

 
At Thursday, March 09, 2006 2:14:00 PM, Anonymous Eye said...

Okay – back to Ephesians 1. Come down out of your ivory theological tower and let’s get down to where we live every day. Babies are born and they die every day.

Let’s look at these verses and understand them from the perspective of an infant/mentally challenged person.

3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Case in point – David and Bathsheba’s baby. It went to heaven, so therefore to get into Heaven you must be ‘picked’ by God in eternity past. That is what these verses say in Ephesians 1. So, by these verses we see God chose David’s baby because it went to Heaven. And you agree with that since you believe Calvinism flows across the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

Big Question -- is this a special case or does it apply to ALL infants and to ALL those who don’t know their left hand from their right?

I strongly argue this scenario involving infants and mentally challenged people must fit into the text of Ephesians 1-11 since they are getting into Heaven. I agree with you when you say Scripture does not contradict itself’.

What say you?

If I’m right, then God is in the business of choosing each of us for the ultimate purpose of becoming adopted sons and daughters because there is no case where we can clearly see from Scripture that God predestined a baby to Hell. Please, show me one place in Scripture dealing with infants that teaches us that God (predestined/chose) an infant to Hell. I’ll stop right now and go home if you can…

Can you think of any Mr. Spurgeon?

‘No, remember I preached a sermon on this…’

Verse 4 says ‘He hath chosen us’ and Nathan you say the only way someone can get into heaven is if God chooses them first and then they can’t help but choose Him later on. That is what you said. Did the infant that died at the age of one choose Jesus? How about King David’s son? David’s baby is in Heaven, is it not? By the way, that statement made by David was penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So, God’s choosing us is not necessarily predicated on us choosing Him for us to go to Heaven is it? We clearly see that in the case of ANY infant that can’t understand or choose Him. Neither can the mentally challenged young man who is in his late teens in a wheel chair which I see almost every Sunday… He can’t choose God either, but God has chosen him!! Praise the Living God!

What am I saying? God’s love is far greater and deeper than any of us can really understand. So much so He is pulling for everyone of us to ‘call upon the name of the LORD’ when we reach the line of moral responsibility and accountability as Mohler penned in his good article. And here's the axe laid to the root -- if an individual never makes it to that line in the sand called 'moral responsibility and accountability' so that they can choose Jesus, well guess what -- they get to go to Heaven anyway as a result of the mystery of His will! After all, we all start out as infants in this life. Wow. Now, you have to prove that God has chosen some of these infants and damned others.

I’m also telling you that you can’t clinically take verses 1-11 and make them work for the case of the infant unless I’m right about what I’m saying that God chose that infant. Otherwise Mohler, Spurgeon, me included, and many others are wrong about what we understand from Scripture regarding God’s love for His creation, especially as it relates to those that can’t choose Him! After all, God is love…

You may claim you stand with Spurgeon and Mohler, but I think you’ve missed this part of the ‘mystery of His will’.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Thursday, March 09, 2006 8:05:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Nathan, I just finished reading your first response to Eye's since you've come back to town. For now, I'll only address a few things you've mentioned.

Nathan "Question: In Jeremiah 1:5 God says to him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;” –Does this, which is obviously referring to foreknowledge, actually saying that God knew the actions of Jeremiah before he was born?"

It is saying that God knew Jeremiah (not in the intimate relationship sense but rather he knew Jeremiah's character) before He was born and that He knew he had a plan for Jeremiah's life (i.e. He would be one of God's prophet). Jeremiah was reluctant, but God showed Him that He COULD do it. In verse 18 God warned Jeremiah that He'd better do it or else.

Nathan: "If God foreknows and thus elects based on that, then the elect are set and there is nothing anyone can do to change the outcome. Thus, free-will as you are advocating is eliminated."

No it is not. I see it that God had a plan. With his omniscience He looked into the future and saw exactly how things would pan out including HIS involvement every step of the way. He saw who would and would not believe the gospel. It doesn't eliminate free-will in any way. How can GOD NOT be able to do such a thing with all His powers?

Nathan: "God has called us with a holy calling, a calling not according to something He foresaw, but according to His own purpose and grace. Where is man in this passage again? You must not only deal with Eph 1, but you must deal with about a half a dozen more verses that say the exact same thing. “before time began” –I stand with that."

What is God's purpose and grace before time began?

It was that He would save a remnant unto Himself and He chose us (Christians: those who believe) before the foundation of the world and predestined us to be conformed to the image of His son! Where is man in all this? Verses 12-15.

Eye has done an EXCELLENT job of exegeting Ephesians 1 despite all your obfuscations.

Here is the answer to your original predestination question without going outside the text.

Ephesians 1:5-6" Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Paul was trying to convey that those who are chosen are predestined to a particular purpose as seen in vs 5-6.

There you have it.

As you know there are more scriptures that enlighten us to the meaning of certain terms such as chosen, predestined and purpose. All we were doing was AMPLIFYING those terms by going to other scripture. THAT is what exegesis IS. Sometimes we go outside the text to obtain a clearer understanding so as to AVOID being guilty of eisegesis.

I guess I will go ahead and post my entire response because I did answer all your questions.

 
At Thursday, March 09, 2006 9:37:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Sorry for the delay, I was interrupted. Here is my response to Nathan's first comment:

Sorry this is so long, but really, most of it is Eye said, Nathan said and scripture references. All emphasis to the scriptures are added...just in case I forgot to say it the body of this text.

Eye: ”In other words, you couldn’t be in Christ until you first trusted or received Christ.

Nathan: “Unfortunately this is where you depart from the text. Can you please outline, from this passage, where Paul says ‘you can’t be in Christ until you first trusted Christ’. I cannot see it in the text.

Paul explains the meaning of being “in Christ” in vs 12-14.

Ephesians 1:12-14That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (emphasis added)

Where the notion that one cannot depart from the text for further clarification came from is beyond me. I have never heard of such a thing. Also, I’ve never heard that a text must, must, must stand alone. Who said that a text must stand alone? If a text MUST stand alone then the scripture is contradicted and I think we all know that is not true.

Before Paul wrote this epistle to the Ephesians he had visited them on several occasions and had even on one of the visits stayed and taught them for three years, so I’m sure they knew exactly what Paul was trying to convey. Paul was most certainly building on the foundation he had previously laid as well as reminding them of their calling and exhorting them to be good Christians and how to fight the devil, etc. We, in the 21st century, have the entire counsel of God’s word from which to learn, and He expects us to do so. (II Timothy 2:15)

Can you please show us in Ephesians where it states that we must, must, must stay within the text to fully understand what Paul was trying to convey?

For us to interpret the scripture the way you want us to we would have to believe that those who were chosen from before the foundation of the world were saved from before anything was created and at birth. If that is so, then they could not ever be considered sinners. If the chosen are never considered sinners then they would never need a Savior.

(But we see that Paul was telling the Ephesians, and anyone reading thereafter, that God’s plan, God’s purpose WAS from the beginning. That God had chosen to save those who believed and received His gospel from before the foundation of the world. That God had determined that our salvation would come from His own blood in the form of His Son Jesus the Christ. That is what the text is telling us. It is confirmed throughout the rest of scripture. Romans 8:29-30 gives us a little more insight and explains that God actually foresaw those who would believe and receive Him (more on this later).)

Galatians 3:22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

If we are actually “in Him” from before the foundation of the world then we cannot be under sin when we are born. Rather, it is by faith of Jesus Christ that we are “in Him” wherefore we obtain the promise of God.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:5For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

Acts 26:18To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

2 Timothy 1:9-10Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

We see that it was decided “from before the foundation of the world” that Jesus would be slain for our sins. So it was IN HIM (through faith/belief in His Death on the cross) that we (the chosen) were predestined to be saved.

Who are the ones chosen? Those who believe and receive.

Ephesians 1:12-13That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Acts 16:30-31And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

If someone is “unregenerate” how can they ask to be saved, since they supposedly are unable to understand even the slightest things of the Spirit?

Romans 10:9-11That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart MAN believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Where does it say that God made a man believe?

If you believe the texts must stand alone, then you believe we should pluck out our eyes if they offend us, chop off our hands and feet if they offend us or lend to anyone who would ask to borrow money. (Matthew 5:42; 18:8-9)

Hey Nathan, lend me $50?! ;-)

Eye: “But the idea of determining, even determining beforehand, does not require or even imply a singular determining factor. Just because God determines something in advance, does not mean he is the only determining factor.

Nathan: “Again, I am sad to see you abandon the text. Please read what the verse says: predestined us…according to the purpose of His will. That is clearly implying determination by His will, not anything else. I will revisit this further down.

The determining factor in who would and would not be saved is God’s will and God’s will alone. What is His will? His will is to save those who believe and receive.

1 Corinthians 1:21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

It is His will to give us a choice.

John 12:46-48I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

1 Thessalonians 2:13For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Eye: “What is at the heart of this issue is whether or not the Greek word for "predestinate" implies God alone determined.

NathanStop right here. Please point to anywhere in the chapter where our decision is placed as a deciding factor. Please point to anywhere that ‘our will’ is involved in the predestination, or choosing before the foundation of the world. Surely it’s in there somewhere right? If it isn’t, how is that not eisegesis?

Ephesians 1:12-14 connotes a decision on the part of man (i.e., believing and trusting in the Lord after having heard the gospel).

Where in these verses does it say that God MADE someone believe?

Nathan: “[H]ow is it that when we decide the cause for election, that Christ still gets the glory as v6 says? - To the praise of the glory of his grace,. Are you taking the Roman Catholic position that basically says: “It is gracious of God to let us work our way to heaven”? It certainly sounds like that is what you are saying. What a gracious God to let us decide, because we don’t deserve it! Um, that’s not grace. That’s salvation by MERIT.

We did not decide the cause for election. God and God alone decided the cause.

1 Corinthians 1:21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Colossians 1:19-23 "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister."

I agree, we don’t deserve salvation, but God extended grace to us all anyway. Why? Because He loves us and is merciful and full of grace. What is it that Paul is reminding the Ephesians of when he states that it is “to the praise and glory of His grace?” It is salvation. Who is it that is saved? Those who believe and receive. Who determined who would be saved and how that salvation would come to be? God and God alone.

Belief and faith are not works.

Romans 3:27-28Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

You say that faith is not a work because it is a gift from God. You use Ephesians 2:8-9 as your proof text. Let’s look at it again.

Ephesians 2:8-9For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

What is the gift here? It is grace, not faith. (Some would say the gift is salvation which is also true, but the subject is grace.) Granted, God gives us all that we are. He gives us our bodies, our minds, our spirits, our souls. He gives us our abilities (the ability to reason, to believe, to have faith (it takes faith to believe and it takes faith to not believe), to know right from wrong). The law of God is written on our hearts. We know God by the very creation around us, by our very being: some reject, some accept.

I have the God-given ability to believe that Thomas Jefferson existed over 200 years ago, through faith. We have his writings, etc. I can choose to believe that He never really existed despite all the evidence. Or I can believe that Jefferson existed, but I don’t particularly agree with all that he has written and choose to see things my own way, whatever that is.

The same goes for my belief or non-belief in God. We have creation and we have His inspired writings. I believe that God exists. Before I commit to God, I believe that His writings are true and historical, but I don’t really understand it all. What I do understand is that I’m going to Hell unless I yield my life to God through Jesus Christ. Even though I love my sin and I am in bondage to it I can believe that God is able and very much willing to deliver me from that bondage and save me from an eternity in hell by His grace. I may or may not understand that God was calling me and putting people in my pathway to tell me about Him and that it was through His Spirit and circumstances that I began to seek Him, etc. If I didn’t understand it was God seeking me out instead of me seeking Him out, I understood it once I learned more about Him through His word which renews my mind and cleanses me. I then begin to understand what the blood of Jesus was really all about and why Jesus had to die to save me from my sins. I begin to understand the law and its preciousness, etc., etc., etc.

Once we believe God and receive His word he gives us the ability to believe on Him unto salvation, He strengthens and builds up our faith in Him (yes, there are degrees of faith (2 Corinthians 10:15, to name one scripture)) and He gives us the ability to do works meet for repentance. He opens the eyes of our understanding. There is way more to it, but you get the point.

It is where we place our God-given faith that matters. None of what I have just stated goes against scripture. None of it.

Eye: “The work and the glory is God's. We could not save ourselves, and our choice would have been impossible had God not chosen to extend salvation by giving his Son "for all men, especially those who believe.

Nathan: “Exactly my point. You would have set yourself firmly against the reformers, and firmly in the Catholic camp during the reformation by believing this. “Isnt it gracious of God to let us do this [fill in the blank] so we can get to heaven?” That isn’t grace, that is MERIT, and it glorifies man for making that ultimate decision –which is undoubtedly the most important of all.

Sorry Nathan, but the only thing we fill that blank with is faith/belief, which is what God has decided is the requirement for salvation. God gets all the glory and not one iota of sovereignty is taken from Him because He and He alone set it up this way.

Eye: “but it is a part and it does involve the free exercise of our will.

Nathan: “Can you please point out our will in Ephesians one? How about in the entire book? How about in Romans 8? You won’t find it.

Ephesians 1:12-13That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 4:17-18This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

How does one’s understanding become darkened and blinded? Through rejecting God’s word, an action of the will. What is the opposite of rejecting God’s word? Believing, an action of the will.

Romans 1:19-21Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Romans 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 4:23-25Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Did these scriptures come from chapter 8? No. And they don’t have to. God told us to rightly divide His word. Where in any of these scriptures does it state that God MADE someone believe or SAVED them FIRST? WHERE?

Nathan: “In fact, please point to one, just one scripture in the entire bible that uses the term free will. Just one? Nope.

C’mon Nathan, you know better than to say something like this.

Eye: “Just because something is done beforehand, does not imply it is the sole factor.

Nathan: “Unless, of course, it says ‘according to the purpose of His will’. That’s pretty strong language that you are ignoring. Again, I will revisit this in a minute.

Again, what is the purpose of His will?

Ephesians 1:11-14 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."

1 Corinthians 1:21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Eye: “the Calvinist interpretation of these verses fails because the Greek word itself does not require or imply exclusive causation

Nathan: “Like I said, the verse says according to His will. But even still, you have spent a great deal of time on the meaning of the word, but you have failed, and failed miserably (so far), at showing where in the text this is to be attributed to us. IN ADDITION, you have yet to demonstrate how this notion fits into the rest of the passage. Again, more on this further down.

Again, what is the purpose of His will? (I Corinthians 1:21) And what is our part in all this from Ephesians 1? (Ephesians 1:12-13; 4:17-18)

I’ll refrain from cutting and pasting the rest of the dialogue on this particular matter. I believe we have established that God is the one and only determining factor in who is predestinated. It just so happens that His determining factor is to save those who believe which requires action on the will of man. Believing or not believing is an action of the will which is shown in chapter one and elsewhere in the book of Ephesians, as noted above, and elsewhere in scripture.

Nathan: “Unfortunately, foreknowledge is not mentioned in Ephesians 1, which I find as ironic since your entire argument stands or falls on this point. Secondly, you have incorrectly defined foreknowledge. Yes it means to know before hand, but again you err in the objects of the action verb. “WHOM He foreknew” is what the text says. God knew the persons here, not the facts about them. So God knows us right? What does that mean? It means knowing us beforehand, not knowing facts about us, or our faith that we will place in Him. To know is an intimate term. For example, 1 Cor 8:3 says “If one loves God, one is known by Him”. In Galatians 4:9 Paul says “now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God…” Again ‘know’ is used in an intimate way. And again in Matt 7:22 Jesus says “depart from Me, I never knew you”.

I’m sorry, but I totally disagree with your view of “foreknowledge” in this context.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It can still be read as “Whom He did foresee.” We see the same foreknowledge in the following:

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

How does God intimately know someone who does not in actuality exist?

I can agree with your interpretation of “knowing” in I Corinthians 8:3, Galatians 4:9 and Matthew 7:23 since He can only really “know” us and we “know” Him once we are actually “in Him” as seen in the Galatians verse you have provided.

Galatians 4:9But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (emphasis added)

Nathan: “Lastly, would you like to use this definition for 1 Peter 1:20?? Here it is stated that JESUS was foreknown before the foundation of the world. Does that mean that His good deeds were seen and that was the basis for the Fathers love?

The KJV renders the word as “foreordained.”

1 Peter 1:20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

II Timothy 1:9-10 shows that what was made manifest was what was decided from before the foundation of the world (foreordained). That a Savior, Jesus Christ, would die to give those of us who would believe abundant and eternal life. So I think “foreordained” is the correct rendering here.

2 Timothy 1:9-10Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Let’s just say that the word proginsko in 1 Peter 1:20 does mean foreknow and that it means it in the intimate sense. I have no problem with Jesus being intimately foreknown since He IS the Great I AM. But I think the context renders it “foreordained.”

Nathan: “No, you have severely misunderstood the meaning of foreknowing an actual being –not facts about them. So, the text actually says nothing about God foreknowing or foreseeing that certain people would believe, nor is that idea mentioned anywhere in scripture. It is a simple case of eisegesis.

I think it is you who has severely misunderstood the text. I think that our interpretation of “foreknowledge” best fits with the rest of the Bible and is what Paul was trying to convey. Not only that, but it best fits the reality that you cannot intimately know a non-existent creature.

If God knows everything (and He does), then He can “foreknow/foresee” everything. He knows the beginning from the end. So it is not illogical to find “foreknowledge,” as we see it, in the bible. I think you are the one who has committed the eisegesis here.

We take into account the fact that:

1) God says that from before the foundation of the world He decided to sacrifice His Son to save men from their sin
2) God says He loved the whole world
3) God says that He will draw all men unto Him
4) God says that it pleases Him to preach the foolishness of the gospel and to save them that believe it
5) God says that we are saved by grace through faith
6) God commands us all to believe and to repent
7) God says that whosoever will believe, receive and repent will have eternal life
8) God says that it is with the heart that man believes unto righteous
9) God says that many are called, but few are chosen
10) God says that all that the Father gives to Jesus will come

Given these facts, we can logically deduce that those who are chosen and predestined must be chosen due to God’s foreseeing those who will believe and receive.

Nathan: “And it [foreknowledge/foreseeing] is obviously nowhere to be found in Ephesians. Nowhere.

We never said it was.

Nathan: “Unfortunately, that verse [Ephesians 1:5], and verse 11 completely stand by themselves. You must abandon Ephesians and run to a text and very questionably interpret ‘foreknowledge’ in order get your interpretation.

Yes, those verses do stand by themselves. The question is who is it that was “chosen” before the foundation of the world TO BE predestined? The answer is really right there in Ephesians, and we know from other scripture that those who are chosen are those who believe. We find predestined elsewhere in the bible which further clarifies that it is those whom God had foreseen. We believe what God has foreseen is those who would believe the gospel.

Again, I do not believe our interpretation is questionable. In fact, I believe it to be rather sound exegesis. Please tell me who it was that decided that we must NOT abandon the text to render a proper interpretation? Please show me where in the entire bible that God said we MUST stay within a text to properly exegete the scripture. But guess what. The verses you conveniently left out [vs 12-14] prove our point and we never really did have to leave the chapter, but having done so only further proved our point.

Nathan: “And you know what? You interpretation does not explain ‘according to His will’, it CONTRADICTS it. Scripture does not contradict itself.

I think it explains it rather well and in no way contradicts the scripture. You are absolutely correct in that scripture does not contradict itself.

What is God’s will?

Ephesians 1:11-14 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (emphasis added)

1 Corinthians 1:21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (emphasis added)

Nathan: “The question was does anyone who is not chosen before the foundation of the world, have the free will to accept Jesus and enter into heaven?

I misunderstood the question the first time round. This is a trick question. From before the foundation of the world, God chose those whom He knew would believe when they were presented the gospel. Each person has the free will to accept or reject Jesus.

Nathan: “Why does scripture never speak of FAITH as the reason God chose us? In fact, please explain why Paul, when using this term election, refers to it as “Gods purpose of election” instead of our purpose of election in Romans 9:11? Also, you might want to explain why our faith is never ever mentioned in Ephesians 1 as well.

God chooses us when we believe His gospel. To believe His gospel takes faith as explained above.

What is God’s purpose of election in terms of salvation? To save those who believe. What constitutes belief? Faith, which is not a work. (Romans 3:27)

Romans 9:11 is not talking about election in terms of the salvation of Esau and Jacob. It is talking about one [nation] serving the other and God choosing one’s seed over the other in bringing about the Messiah, etc. (Romans 9:4-8)

Election, in general (whether it be salvation or service), IS according to GOD’s purpose and not according to our works because our works are as filthy rags.

If you are trying to make a parallel between Jacob and Esau in that Jacob was “chosen” (in your mind, for salvation?) then you must remember that “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. Why is that? Because some believe and some do not. Again, what constitutes belief? Faith.

I guess you missed the part where it talks about “faith” in Ephesians 1:15?

NathanIn addition, how is it that election based upon us in not salvation by works –our faith, of course, being the merit of our salvation?

GOD is the one who deemed faith as not being a merit or a work. We’re saved by grace through faith. God elects those who believe and we believe with our faith. We faith God by His word. When we faith God He gives us the power to believe on Him and repent.

NathanIn addition, if foreknowledge is indeed true, how does this give man free will? Aren’t those who are chosen, elected before the world was made? For if God can look through the future and see that person A will come to faith in Christ, and that person B will NOT come to faith in Christ, then those facts are fixed, they are determined. There is NO WAY their lives will turn out any differently than this. Thus, the free-will that you are fighting so hard for is lost again.

Foreknowledge doesn’t take away free-will. It simply means that God foreknows what we will do in any given scenario. God knows and determines the beginning from the end. He IS God ya know and He CAN do ANYTHING. :-) Remember that I do believe God is sovereign in EVERY way. Including allowing us free-will in the way of salvation.

NathanAlso, please explain why we needed to be predestined and elected if we are the ones who chose ourselves to be elected and predestined? Doesn’t make sense does it?

We didn’t choose ourselves to be elected or predestined. God is the one who chose the terms. His terms were that He would draw all men and whosoever believed would be born again. He chose us on that foreknowledge since He knows everything and CAN know everything and decreed that it would be so.

Nathan: “Unfortunately, like I knew would happen, this text was not exegeted, but rather eisegesis was used. I stand with this wording, which is the Word of God. We are predestined, which would not make sense if we did it ourselves, we are predestined according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will.

We didn’t do it ourselves. What was/is God’s purpose and will in terms of savlation? It was to send His Son to die for sinners who didn’t deserve to be saved. That is called GRACE. It pleased God to save those who would believe the gospel.

It doesn't say that it pleased God to save those whom HE FORCED to believe the gospel. Right?

 
At Friday, March 10, 2006 12:52:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Nathan, these don't prove Calvinism (TULIP) one iota. You've pulled them from their contexts! Is God sovereign? You're darned right He is and we've never said that He was not. I'm not going to exegete all these scriptures here (I have done it in my mind so there's no problem there), but I'll do a couple of them.

Nathan: "Psalm 33:12 -Blessed is...the people He chose for His inheritance."

Who does God choose for His inheritance? Those who believe and put their faith in Jesus. Like Eye has pointed out on numerous occasions, in the OT it is those who look forward to Jesus and in the NT it is those who look back to Jesus. It is those who believe and are obedient to the Lord.

Nathan: "Prov 16:4 -The LORD has made all things for Himself, yes even the wicked for the day of doom."

Absolutely, the Lord has created man knowing he would be wicked and he uses their wickedness against themselves for his own purposes. Remember, God didn’t MAKE them do wicked things because they do that all by themselves.

 
At Friday, March 10, 2006 1:06:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Good try on the proginosko/foreknowledge thing Nathan. But it doesn't fly.

Here we go again:

4267. proginosko
Search for G4267 in KJVSL
proginoskw proginosko prog-in-oce'-ko
from 4253 and 1097; to know beforehand, i.e. foresee:--foreknow
(ordain), know (before).
See Greek 4253
See Greek 1097

Context dictates which word it should be. None of them is to "love" beforehand. It is to have knowledge or to ordain beforehand.

In context, God forsaw in Romans 8:29. In 1 Peter 1:20 it is foreordained because it is speaking of what is manifest in the 1st century. It was manifest that Jesus would come to die for the sins of man.

 
At Friday, March 10, 2006 9:02:00 AM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan,

The reason I quoted this verse: ((But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2nd Corinthians 11:3.)) in closing one of my previous posts was not to cast dispersions on you or your Calvinist brethern as decievers as you said, but rather to emphasize the simplicity that is in Christ.

Again, I await your position on infants and the mentally challenged in context of Ephesians 1. I'm asking you to 'rightly divide the word of truth' with regard to the infants and mentally challenged with respect to Ephesians 1 because this chapter deals with the souls of people. You pride yourself on being able to 'prove' your Calvinistic position from this text in Ephesians. Ok, then this should be real easy for you to explain.

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, March 10, 2006 10:10:00 AM, Blogger Nathan White said...

I'm stepping out of this guys. If you want to continue to read scripture backwards, READ INTO every single text that you touch, and ignore my solid refutations of your arguments, then you can do this on your own.

The questions I asked in my last post speak for themselves. I rest on those. They have not been answered so I will not continue to play along when my refutations are ignored.

Both of you are excellent at thinking that logical fallicies, vast inconsistencies, and utter lack of scriptural support are no big deal. And because those things are no big deal to you, I cannot even begin to convince you otherwise. I cannot continue to waste my time refuting your arguments only to have you say they were not refuted! (without proof that they were not refuted).

SDG

 
At Friday, March 10, 2006 10:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've recently stumbled upon this website and I've enjoyed reading the recent dialogue between Nathan, Eye, and Dawn.

I'm not quite sure why Nathan thinks that both Eye and Dawn have not addressed the issues in Ephesians 1. I guess he doesn't like the fact that they are applying the "whole counsel of God" especially since it doesn't support his hyper-Calvanistic beliefs.

Oh well, as my Grandma used to say..."if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Until then, I would suggest that Nathan spend less time reading what the "Founders" say and spend more time reading what the Alpha and Omega says....after all, His Word is magnified above all others. The founders are just mere sinful men like you and me.

 
At Friday, March 10, 2006 11:11:00 AM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan,

(Eye) for one will miss you. I and all the readers clearly see the 'infant' question is just to hot for you and I might add any of the rest of your Calvinist brethern, James White included.

I'm disappointed in you. You think we haven't answered your questions!??!! No telling how many hours have gone into this exercise. Let the reader determine who did what.

You talk a good game, but if you can't handle this real world example of the infants and explain how they fit into this passage, then it is clear to all who read this post you don't understand Ephesians 1 as well as you think.

As anonymous said, and I couldn't agree more, you need to spend more time in the Book and quit worrying about what all of these 'founders' have said. I challenge you to think for yourself and quit regurgitating their stuff, because frankly they don't get it right all of the time.

You've got a lot of work in front of you and I wish you the best in digging up an answer from all of those Calvinist books you read. Frankly you want find much solace in them for your position.

I challenge you to be like Spurgeon and Mohler -- search the Scriptures on this topic. See what they say, and hey, if they contradict certain tenents of your beloved Calvinism, so be it!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Saturday, March 11, 2006 12:07:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

We answered Nathan's questions, but they were not to his liking. Fine. Now it is our turn to ask the questions, since we've answered his. Wasn't that the agreement? I thought we were letting the reader decide.

I would like Nathan to answer from Ephesians 1:

1) Why did God choose the ones he chose (i.e., on what basis are they chosen)?

2) What is the good pleasure of His will?

3) What is God's purpose?

4) How do we trust in Christ as seen in vs. 12-15?

Eye: "I am simply ‘rightly dividing the Word of God’ with regard to these Bible terms. Again, I could ask you to exegete 1st Timothy 2:1-6 and 1st Timothy 4:7-11 without deviating from those texts to support your position. You can’t do it."

Nathan: "Of course I can; no problem with those texts whatsoever. But to say ‘rightly divide the word of God’ when I have exposed your plethora of fallacies is upsetting to read."

Ok, so it's upsetting to read as you said you knew it would be. But we answered. If you have "no problem" exegeting the scriptures Eye has provided without deviating from the text, then why not just do it? You did say we were allowed to ask questions after we've answered yours. Like I said before. We answered yours and now, please answer ours like you agreed.

 
At Saturday, March 11, 2006 9:52:00 AM, Anonymous Eye said...

Nathan,

You did agree to answer our questions...

In Him,

Eye

 
At Saturday, March 11, 2006 8:28:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

Dawn,

My daughter helped me with this --pretty cool, huh!

 
At Sunday, March 12, 2006 1:21:00 PM, Blogger Nathan White said...

Um no, my questions were not answered. They were avoided, ignored, and then dilluted by red herrings (a common debate tactic when one realizes their argument is very weak).

I will not interact any more with either of you, especially given the tone that both of you have taken once I have shown how easily your arguments are refutable. Have fun turning scripture into whatever you want it to mean while denying the specific words themselves, I will no longer give you a platform to spead falsehood.

SDG

 
At Sunday, March 12, 2006 1:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nathan,
I guess the kitchen is too hot! :)
Oh well...I'll miss the dialogue.
but, you enjoy those books of yours.

 
At Monday, March 13, 2006 6:33:00 PM, Anonymous Miss Kim said...

Dawn,

I have been checking in on your blog from time-to-time and have never intended to post anything. The young men who have responded to your posts have done an excellent job of responding. After reading the last set of questions to Nathan I wanted to throw a couple of thoughts out to you. I have no desire to debate anyone – I have neither the time nor the patience. My only intention is to give you a few ideas to ponder and hopefully research.

First, if you will sit down with a Greek study Bible or a Strong’s concordance and go word for word though the chapter, you will find the correct answers to your questions. The words mean what they mean. To appoint beforehand can’t mean deciding because you knew the decision someone else would make. There is no logic in that statement.

Why did He choose who He chose – He wanted to. He doesn’t owe us an explanation. If we needed to know why, He would have told us. We know He didn’t choose based on our wonderful gifts and abilities. We are wretched creatures. Nothing good exists in us. We all should be condemned to Hell.

In my mind I cannot figure out how a discussion on Ephesians 1 led to a debate on what happens to babies when they die. I believe that issue was probably brought up to stir people’s emotions. Regardless of how we “feel” about a particular topic or Scripture, we need to practice what is true. I don’t know what happens to babies when they die. I’ve never studied that topic. I do know that if they do go to Hell, that does not make God any less just. He is still a good God.

I have not posted my thoughts in order to convert you to Calvinism. I have posted my thoughts because I have great compassion for you. You remind me of where I was a few years ago. The first few years I was in church I was taught how to rightly divide the Word – or so I thought. I was very misguided; just as the people who taught me were; just as you are. God wants us to know His truth so we can obey Him; that’s how we demonstrate our love. I encourage you to set aside what you think you know about dividing the Word and really learn how to do that correctly. It will totally change your life. I know – I’ve been there.

In His Care,
Kim

 
At Tuesday, March 14, 2006 8:44:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

Dawn,

I was brave enough to put a post out there on my blog. Hope all is well and thanks for the link...

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, March 17, 2006 11:19:00 AM, Blogger Eye said...

I hope I’m answering Nathan’s questions for the last time – trust me folks, I’m about as tired of dealing with Nathan as he apparently is of me.

Nathan, do you have a case of selective memory? I’ve answered your questions clearly and concisely. I don’t appreciate your reference to my ‘twisting Scripture’ and you say “I have exegeted Ephesians 1, and have shown how shameful both (Eye and Dawn) of your positions are. You are being dishonest with the clear meaning of words and I will no longer attempt to show you the truth. I have done all I can do, and I leave you to answer to Him for your dishonesty, ignorance, and ultimately pride.”

You think we are being dishonest with God’s Word? How in the world can ‘world’ mean the elect only? How can ‘all’ mean only the elect? How can ‘whosoever’ mean only the elect?I thought it was important to you that words mean something. Obviously not!

I will come back to Nathan’s post one more time and show the patient reader that I did indeed answer Nathan’s questions in detail which he denies ever happened. I’d say Nathan just called me a liar. For that I will come back here and set the record straight one more time. Nathan, should you choose to delete this post, I will place it on my blog and provide it to Dawn for her perusal.

With that said, here are my responses once again to your questions you posed to me and Dawn. By the way, Dawn is correct in asking you to answer her questions because we did answer yours. Are your counselors fearful they may be losing you…

Nathan asked: Who are the ones chosen before the foundation of the world?

Eye’s response: Verse 4 speaks of God choosing us (Christians) in Him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world. Notice, God ‘chose’ before the foundation of the world. Also notice where His choice was placed – it was in Jesus. This choice was made before the foundation of the world, so the world didn’t exist and obviously no humans existed – they hadn’t been created. God made His choice in eternity past so that Christians after Pentecost, not just the Jewish Christians that believed after the Cross but also the Gentile Christians like the Ephesians could also be adopted into God’s family. That is the mystery of His will!!!

Again, you couldn’t be in Christ until you first trusted or received Christ. The problem with the TULIP believer is when they read Ephesians 1:4, they read it this way – ‘according as God chose us when we were in Christ before the foundation of the world.’ Again, the verse says According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world… So the TULIP believer has a boo-boo in his theology because he argues and believes that before Genesis 1:1 you were in Christ. Then when Adam showed up you fell out of Christ and then got back in Christ when you were quickened in Ephesians 2:1-4. Doesn’t make a lick of sense does it??? Why don’t you explain this for everyone Nathan?


Nathan claims he wasn’t in Christ before Genesis 1:1, but let’s look at what he says to my question.

Eye said: Nathan, do you believe they were in Christ in eternity past as lost people? How do you get that from the text?


Nathan’s response: Nobody is in Christ until belief in the gospel. Please see chapter 2 (Ephesians):
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…

Nathan continues: As we see, we were dead, we were children of wrath, but “God…made us alive”. God is the one who made us alive, God is the one who granted us repentance and faith, God is even the one who allowed us to hear the gospel (as opposed to many in 3rd world countries who will never hear it). We cannot make ourselves alive, we are dead!

Eye’s response: Keep in mind Nathan, this passage is dealing with Christians in the N.T. Abraham is in heaven and he wasn’t ‘quickened’. Even for the N.T. believers, you didn’t become alive until you got into Christ by faith at the point of your salvation!!! (Galatians 3:27) Back to my reference to your theological boo-boo – how can you be dead and in Christ before you get into Him?

Nathan’s response: But God has chosen the elect before the foundation of the world, so in a sense, we are ‘in Christ’, in that we were predestined.

Eye’s response: You just can’t leave it alone can you… What Nathan is going back to is we were in Christ before the foundation of the world – dead and all!!! That’s what he means by ‘in a sense’…

Nathan continues: And what happens to those who are predestined? “whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Justification, being born again, does not happen until we believe. We do not believe until we are called, we are not called unless we are predestined. It’s as simple as that! Please show me my error from these two texts.

Eye’s response: I showed you a long time ago in a previous post and I’m showing you again.

Nathan asked: Is it possible to enter into heaven without being chosen before the foundation of the world?

Eye’s response: It is impossible to enter into heaven after the cross of Jesus unless one becomes born again, i.e. ‘receives’ Jesus. Nathan simply frames his question from one verse (Ephesians 1:4) without reading the rest of the first chapter of Ephesisans – let alone testing this passage with numerous others in the New Testament by the same author (Paul). The balance of the chapter commends the Ephesians for ‘believing and receiving Jesus’. I admit that if all mankind had was Ephesians 1-11 to base things on, Nathan “might” have a point. But again, Dawn and I have clearly shown that Nathan butchers the understanding of the entire chapter based on his clinging and framing his questions on verse 4 only. I’ve pointed out to Nathan numerous times that none of the Old Testament saints were in Jesus, nor were any of them regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and they did use their ‘freewill’ to please and obey God because the Scriptures use the word and verify my position regarding this word. We see many examples of this and God Himself commends Abraham for ‘believing’ the gospel and this was before Jesus went to the cross! Nathan doesn’t want to read verse 4 with clarity. It says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”

Nathan said: That does not answer my question, although I do agree with that statement. The question was does anyone who is not chosen before the foundation of the world, have the free will to accept Jesus and enter into heaven?

Eye’s response: Since you’ve been ugly to anyone who lovingly tries to show you the error of your way, I will be frank. You aren’t a very deep student of the Word. Let me spell it out. A-B-R-A-H-A-M, as well as any other O.T. saint you want to mention. Abraham believed the gospel and Jesus went to Abraham’s bosom to get Abraham and the rest of the Old Testament believers and “then/therefore” ‘took’ them to heaven. They weren’t in Him. He had to go and get them. They weren’t quickened by the Holy Spirit either, but they were saved, saved, saved!

Again, how did they repent and believe the gospel of Genesis 3:15 – by their freewill. It is a clear teaching in the O.T. and I proclaim a clear N.T. teaching as well since Jesus death on the cross didn’t change that. By the way, Adam had freewill and he used it. You act like freewill was taken from him when he sinned as though God removed some DNA code that now can’t be passed down from one generation to the next. That is truly laughable and ignorant!


Eye said: This is what gets me – is Calvinism as you teach it a New Testament theology only? I sure can’t find any of your five points working in the Old Testament and we know these saints are in Heaven.

Nathan’s response: Calvinism is all throughout the OT. For the sake of space I would prefer to stick with Eph 1.

Eye’s response: You haven’t’ spent much time in the O.T. Again I present to you Abraham.

Nathan asked: On what basis are they chosen?

Eye’s response: God’s foreknowledge of lost people placing their faith in Jesus. You can't be in Jesus until you place faith in Him, and you can't place faith in Him until you are born into this world and come under the convicting power of the Gospel. That’s what the verse clearly says – they (believers in Jesus) have been ‘chosen’ IN HIM (JESUS) . I can’t say this any more clearly and the honest reader of the verse sees the basis of God’s choosing is in Jesus, not some person that didn’t exist in eternity past. Nathan admitted he wasn’t in Christ back in eternity past, so when did he get into Christ. When he believed – that’s when.

Nathan said: Yes man is responsible! But he is also dead and sin and cannot chose Christ apart from being one of the elect.

Eye’s response: Abraham believed the gospel; he was dead in sin and yet he managed by his freewill to do so. You say he was one of the elect but when did Abraham get ‘quickened’ as Ephesians 2:1-4 states?

I’m growing weary of your lack of Biblical understanding, yet you act as though you are God’s gift to the internet on how to exegete and understand the Bible though the lens of Calvinism.


Nathan asked: What happens to those who are chosen? Do they end up in heaven or hell?

Eye’s response: Nathan desperately wants to believe he was chosen ‘when he was in Christ’ before the foundation of the world, but that’s not what the verse states. Again, was Adam in Christ before the foundation of the world? He exercised his freewill and then fell out of Christ? How’d he get back into Christ Nathan???


Eye said: clearly the Bible teaches that everyman has a ‘measure of faith’

Nathan’s response: Please point us to this specific passage so we can affirm that your interpretation of it is valid. Because I do not believe this can be deduced from scripture.

Eye’s reply: Romans 12:3 ‘according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.’ Faith in the Greek is the word: Pistis

Here’s the Strong’s definition:

1) conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it
a) relating to God
1) the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ
b) relating to Christ
1) a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God
c) the religious beliefs of Christians
d) belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same

Sadly, you will argue this only applies to the elect. Please see Luke 22:32. Jesus tells Peter He is praying for him so ‘thy faith fail not’. Can’t have it both ways, was Peter already ‘saved’ under TULIP? Then how could his faith fail? Jesus goes on to tell him that once he is ‘converted’… One way or the other Peter had a measure of faith did he not? You have a quandary on your hands regarding Peter because according to you he was either an ‘elect’ and he could have his faith fail which would make Calvin turn in his grave, or he wasn’t an ‘elect’ yet and Jesus said he had faith. I hope this isn’t to fast for you but once again, you haven’t spent much time studying the truth of God’s word.

Also, Romans 4:11 speaks of Abraham’s faith – I’ve repeatedly shown you he doesn’t fit TULIP. Romans 3:22 clearly shows the same teaching.

You should admit publicly that I am right and you didn’t see this truth in Scripture!


Nathan asked: What does predestin mean in verse 5? Please define and note what Paul is trying to communicate here.

I’ll warn the reader – you can see I have cut and pasted my previous lengthy explanation of predestination from my first answer. Read it again if you like, but bottom line is I did indeed answer all of Nathan’s questions.

Eye’s response: Verse 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. There’s that word – predestinated. What exactly does this word mean in the context of this chapter? “When we examine the Biblical passages that instruct us on the predetermination of God with regard to salvation we encounter the word "predestinate." This word along with such terms as "preordain" and "predetermine," have taken on a certain life of their own for Calvinists. Let's look at the occurrences of the word "predestinate" and see exactly what the Greek meaning implies.

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

In both passages, the word "predestinate" is defined as follows from the original Greek.

4309 proorizo pro-or-id'-zo
from 4253 and 3724; TDNT-5:456,728; v
AV-predestinate 4, determine before 1, ordain 1; 6
1) to predetermine, decide beforehand
2) in the NT of God decreeing from eternity
3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand

In "predetermine" we see the word "determine" which Calvinists argue demonstrates God is the one who alone determines who will be saved. But the idea of determining, even determining beforehand, does not require or even imply a singular determining factor. Just because God determines something in advance, does not mean he is the only determining factor.

The English word "predestinate" has even stronger implications. That is because when we read this term we recognize the root word "destiny." Destiny automatically carries the idea of an inescapable causal force. (Remember Webster’s definition) The word "preordain" is also sometimes used in this regard. By association with such terms as "predetermine" and "predestinate" it has also come to carry similar connotations. However, like the word "determine" the root word "ordain" does not by itself indicate "sole cause."

To modern hearers, "predetermine" sounds much more "causal" in nature than would "pre-decree." If Romans 8 were translated using any variety of these other phrases, the implication to English hearers would be slightly or even entirely different.

Verse 29. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did decree in advance"
Verse 30. "Moreover whom he did decree in advance, them he also called"

Verse 29. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did mark in advance"
Verse 30. "Moreover whom he did mark in advance, them he also called"

If these other options were utilized in the translation of this verse, we would not stumble across notions of "exclusive causation." The reason we would not is specifically because the English words "decree" and "mark" imply "declaration and recognition" more than they imply "causation." Whereas the English words "predetermine" and "predestinate" carry a greater implication of cause. And "predestinate" specifically implies sole cause.

In any case, the Calvinist interpretation of these verses fails because the Greek word itself does not require or imply exclusive causation. That is, the Greek word proorizo does not require that God and only God determines our salvation. Proorizo does not require that there is only one determining factor, God. In fact, the very inclusion of the concept of foreknowledge in these two passages (Romans 8:29 and I Peter 1:2) demonstrates that God was looking at something when he made his selection/election. Therefore, there must have been dual causation. Whatever God saw in advance determined what God decreed in advance.

Only the English root word "destiny" implies that humans have no choice in the matter. However, this is based decidedly on non-exegetical factors. First, it is based on the English (and certainly Pagan) concept of "destiny" and "fate" as they have been incorporated into the English language, modern culture, and the history of western literature.

1. Sinful man is incapable of choosing to repent and obey God.
2. God and only God determines which people will be saved.
3. Men cannot resist God's choice in this matter.

Notice the precise rendering of statement 2. We could have said "God determines" instead of "God and only God determines." This one small grammatical difference embodies a very large part of the argument between Calvinists and those who disagree with them. Both sides of this debate believe that God determines who is saved, but Calvinists believe that God and only God determines this.

Calvinism asserts that only one party determines our salvation. Because Calvinists believe that any part of man in the determination process negates the sovereignty of God, they frame the issue as either man or God, not both. As such, Calvinists choose God and believe their opponents have chosen man. By taking this viewpoint, Calvinists make two logical fallacies.

We see that the foreknowledge of God is a crucial part of His plan of election. Those He foreknew he also predestinated and called and justified. The key, then, is to understand what foreknowledge means. If, as the Calvinist teaches, it is the same as predestination then this passage can be understood to teach “sovereign election.” But if foreknowledge is not the same as predestination, it cannot be understood in this way.
The word “foreknow” is from the Greek “proginosko,” which simply means “to know beforehand, i.e. foresee” (Strong). It is the same basic Greek word that is translated “foreknowledge” in 1 Pet. 1:2, which says the believer is “elect according to the foreknowledge of God.”
To say that “foreknow” is the same as predestination is to ignore the meaning of the word and is also to ignore the fact that foreknow and predestinate are two separate steps in the process described in Romans 8:29-33.

In light of this passage and 1 Pet. 1:2, it is scriptural to say that God foresaw who would believe on Christ and predestinated those to salvation. There is doubtless more to election than this; there are things about divine election that we don’t understand at this time; but foreknowledge is definitely a part of it, because the Bible says so.

Ephesians 1:5 -- “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”

If this verse stood on its own in Scripture it would be possible for it to carry the Calvinist interpretation of “Sovereign Election” and Irresistible Calling, but it does not stand alone. In Romans 8:29-33 we find that the act of predestination begins with God’s foreknowledge.”

Nathan – you state that words mean something and yet you twist the very meaning of foreknowledge and misuse it to defend “your” view of the Scriptures, that is a Calvinist construct.


The least you can do Nathan is be honest. (Eye) did answer all of your questions. You didn’t like the answers!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, March 17, 2006 11:22:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

miss kim: "First, if you will sit down with a Greek study Bible or a Strong’s concordance and go word for word though the chapter, you will find the correct answers to your questions. The words mean what they mean. To appoint beforehand can’t mean deciding because you knew the decision someone else would make. There is no logic in that statement."

Kim, thanks for dropping by and stating your opinion.

I use the concordance all the time. I was unfamiliar with CALVINISM (though I think I understand it quite well now); however, I am NOT unfamiliar with the Bible and the proper study of it.

I agree that in Ephesians 1 predestinate means to appoint beforehand. I have never stated otherwise. It is the Romans 8:29 verse where we differ. It is Nathan who has changed the meaning of the word "foreknew."

To say there is no logic in our statement that someone can appoint something beforehand on the basis of a person's foreseen actions is what is illogical. If I appoint someone to a position beforehand, don't you think it is quite possible that I "could" know something about that person and that "could" be the reason I've appointed them beforehand? Even so, I agree that God "could" appoint someone beforehand for reasons unknown to us. But I don't think that He did or that it is what He intended to convey in Ephesians 1 which I will get to a little further down.

Here is what the concordance states about foreknew:

4267. proginosko
Search for G4267 in KJVSL
proginoskw proginosko prog-in-oce'-ko
from 4253 and 1097; to know beforehand, i.e. foresee:--foreknow (ordain), know (before).

So, Romans 8:29 states that Whom God foreknew/foresaw, He predestinated...

miss kim: "Why did He choose who He chose – He wanted to.

Where do you get your answer that He just "wanted to"?

miss kim: "He doesn’t owe us an explanation. If we needed to know why, He would have told us."

You are absolutely right, God does not owe us an explanation, but the beauty of it is that He does give us an explanation. He does it all throughout His word. Why? Because He LOVES US and didn't intend for the reason He chose to be a mystery! He expects us to search the scriptures. Are there some things that He does not reveal to us? YES! But this is not one of them. I think the reason He revealed predestination is because He was revealing that He had a plan and a solution all along...from before the foundation of the world. He is explaining His determining the beginning from the end and when that determining came to pass. But I digress.

In the instance of the good pleasure of His will we know that it pleased God to save those who would believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and it pleased Him to send His son to die for the whole world. His purpose is to gather us all (those who believe) in Him.

1 Corinthians 1:21 "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

Colossians 1:19-29 "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

miss kim: "We know He didn’t choose based on our wonderful gifts and abilities. We are wretched creatures. Nothing good exists in us. We all should be condemned to Hell."

You are absolutely right. He did not choose us based on our wonderful gifts and abilities. We ARE wretched creatures and nothing good in us exists. We should all be condemned to Hell. But God is a loving, merciful and longsuffering God and as such He sent His beloved Son to shed His blood for us. That whosoever would believe to him would God grant eternal life! :-)

miss kim "I have posted my thoughts because I have great compassion for you."

Kim, I appreciate your compassion for me. Really I do. I also appreciate your kind approach. It is a breath of fresh air. Thank you for that.

miss kim "You remind me of where I was a few years ago. The first few years I was in church I was taught how to rightly divide the Word – or so I thought. I was very misguided; just as the people who taught me were; just as you are."

I know that I have been taught correctly on how to rightly divide the word of God. Of that, I AM SURE. I have been somewhat misguided in the past (nothing major), so I do know what you speak of, but I am not misguided now.

My bible teacher is hardly misguided, either. In fact, he is a 35 year bible scholar. Has a REAL PhD & ThD. (I don’t care that James White’s “doctorate” came from a diploma mill, but since many Calvinists harp on scholarship I am making it a point.) Is a professional biblical chronologist along the lines of James Ussher (in fact, he found a mistake of Ussher's, but they arrived at the same conclusion). Was a seminary professor. I could go on and on about his other credentials, the pearls he's gleaned from his biblical studies, the supposed biblical contradictions he's solved mathematically and exegetically, etc., etc.

The reason I told you all of that is so that you, or anyone else reading, would know that I am in good company in my non-Calvinistic beliefs and that I am hardly misguided. And because many Calvinists (not all) worship scholarship for the sake of scholarship they would see my teacher as "qualified." I'm not against scholarship, but I am against the idolization of it.

God is perfectly capable of teaching me through His Spirit and through those he has put over me. I thank God for people like my bible teacher who do not compromise the word of God as so many of his colleagues have done. He is continually admonishing us to not take HIS word for it, but to study on our own and that I do.

miss kim "God wants us to know His truth so we can obey Him; that’s how we demonstrate our love."

Yes, I know God wants us to know his truth so that we can obey Him and demonstrate our love for Him. And I do obey Him, even in my non-Calvisism. What is it about anything I have written that shows me disobedient and unloving toward God? I was not aware that the bible taught that if I didn't believe Calvinism that I was being disobedient. Can you please show me that ideology in scripture?

miss kim "I encourage you to set aside what you think you know about dividing the Word and really learn how to do that correctly. It will totally change your life. I know – I’ve been there."

I believe I have correctly learned how to rightly divide the word of truth and God has blessed me with the best of the best teaching me every week along with His Holy Spirit teaching me everyday. It HAS totally changed my life.

I would encourage you to do the same as you have encouraged me to do because if you believe that one cannot go outside the text to exegete the scriptures, then it is you who does not know how to rightly divide the word of truth. I see that you don't know the answers that God has readily provided for you through His word. He did give us the answers as to WHY He chose whom He chose as stated above.

I would encourage you to read the bible more than you read books by men who have written about the bible and its doctrines. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with reading others' books from time to time, but it is dangerous to read them more than you do the bible. If the shoe I just handed you doesn't fit you, then toss it.

May God Bless You Always and Enlighten the Eyes of Your Understanding.

 
At Friday, March 17, 2006 11:26:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Hey Eye! I read your blogpost and I thought it was interesting. The problem for me was that I may have learned that Jonathan and David were as old as they were before I had a chance to form my own opinion. But I agree that it is a great lesson in bible humility!

I see that you have just answered Nathan's questions. I look forward to reading it.

I just finished responding to Kim. I think we must have been posting at the same time. :-)

 
At Friday, March 17, 2006 12:18:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

Dawn,

I think we were posting at the same time -- I thought I'd crashed Nathan's blog for a minute!!

Interesting God's timing sometimes :)

Please do read my response back to Nathan -- I'm very concerned about him and his lack of Biblical knowledge on the elementary things of God's Word. And yet he accuses us of twisting the Scriptures.

That is a pathetic charge...

Keep up the reat work!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, March 17, 2006 2:12:00 PM, Anonymous Miss Kim said...

Dawn,

Just a point of clarification: I in no way, shape, or form meant to imply that you are disobedient. I don’t know you or anything about your life. I was simply stating that we demonstrate our love for God by our obedience. Nothing more, nothing less.

I am actually kind of unfamiliar with Calvinism. I know what Scripture teaches about salvation, but cannot recite the five points of Calvinism. A few weeks ago I had to ask Nathan what TULIP meant. Someone can be well versed in Calvinism and still not be a believer. The belief in Calvinism never saved anyone.

When I mentioned that to state making a decision because you (He) knew what decision someone else would make first was illogical , I didn’t reference any particular Scripture.

Nathan and other young men have already addressed your misinterpretations of the Scriptures you listed. Do you understand that to say we “choose” God is to say that we first pronounce judgment on Him and then we can be saved? I have heard many people say (in the past, myself included) and many preachers preach, “Once you decided that God is Who He says He is……” It terrifies me to think I could have been so foolish.

I was unaware that scholarship is an idol in “Calvinist” circles. I totally agree that going to school for a long time and having letters after your name is not synonymous with godliness.

I think it is odd that you would mention the worship of scholarship and then list your Bible teacher’s credentials. I worked for a well-know, mainstream, denominational ministry for five years and sat under the teaching of preachers who are known world wide and between them have written hundreds of books. Not only are most of them wrong about most things, some of them are the most wicked people I have ever met in my life. I am NOT saying your Bible teacher is wicked. I am saying that one can be a 35-year Bible scholar and still be wrong.

As much as I love shoes, I’m going to have to toss that one out. My approach to Bible study is to go verse-by-verse through a particular book of the Bible. One book at a time. Right now I am studying Ruth. I learned to correctly study at Precept Ministries. First two things they teach: 1 - Context is king, 2 – if all you have is a Bible, that’s all you need. It’s nice to have outside sources and there is much to learn from the godly people that have gone before us but, the Bible is a commentary on itself and we don’t need outside sources. As much as I love books (and I do), I try to hold myself to Ecclesiastes 12:12, “But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.” If I have time available, I’ll read a book, but I don’t let that interfere with my study time.

Dawn, throughout your response you have made judgments about me that are incorrect. I’m going to be gracious about that. In fact, I wrote out my response to you and then went back and did some major editing. My guess is that you are going to respond by saying, “Well, you said I don’t know how to rightly divide the Word.” I can say that because you have publicly demonstrated your inability to correctly interpret Scripture.

One final thought and then I am done; I will not post on your blog again. You mentioned that you are in good company with other non-Calvinists. I thought that was an odd statement because my post addressed the issue of incorrectly interpreting Scripture not Calvinism, but that is neither here nor there. I leave you with this quote: “If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” – Anatole France – French novelist (1844-1924) – not a Calvinist

In His Care,
Kim

 
At Tuesday, March 21, 2006 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

When I type in all caps I’m not yelling. I am merely emphasizing my point, so please don’t take offense.

miss kim: "I in no way, shape, or form meant to imply that you are disobedient. I don’t know you or anything about your life. I was simply stating that we demonstrate our love for God by our obedience. Nothing more, nothing less."

That's odd. It sounded to me like you were parroting other Calvinists (namely Nathan whose blog you do read or maybe it is taken from the same books you all seem to be quoting from) who continually spew the rhetoric that non-Calvinists are being disobedient by not believing that He chose us because "He wanted to," which supposedly leads to compromise, takes away the sovereignty of God and gives one a platform on which to boast.

Why on earth did you bring up obedience, especially since it was surrounded by being "misguided" and "not rightly dividing the word of truth," if it wasn't directed at my non-Calvinism/"misinterpreation" (according to you) of the scriptures, as though that would cause me to be disobedient? You did say that He wants us to know the scriptures so that we would be able to love Him and not be disobedient. Right? Rhetorical since you won’t be returning to answer and probably are not even reading.

miss kim: "I am actually kind of unfamiliar with Calvinism. I know what Scripture teaches about salvation, but cannot recite the five points of Calvinism. A few weeks ago I had to ask Nathan what TULIP meant. Someone can be well versed in Calvinism and still not be a believer. The belief in Calvinism never saved anyone."

You may be unfamiliar with the five points of Calvinism, but it is quite obvious you came here to tell me that I was wrong in my interpretation of Ephesians 1. Did you not? Rhetorical since you won't be responding.

You said you'd been reading this entire post and its comments. That is fine if you want to tell me I'm wrong, but please don't insult my intelligence by pretending that that was NOT the reason you came here. You already knew what I felt about Ephesians 1.

miss kim: "When I mentioned that to state making a decision because you (He) knew what decision someone else would make first was illogical , I didn’t reference any particular Scripture."

This is what you said (emphasis added):

“First, if you will sit down with a Greek study Bible or a Strong’s concordance and go word for word though the chapter, you will find the correct answers to your questions. The words mean what they mean. To appoint beforehand can’t mean deciding because you knew the decision someone else would make. There is no logic in that statement.”

Gee, forgive me for assuming that you were talking about the verses in question (Ephesians 1-15), which do state that God CHOSE. Were you not referring to Ephesians 1:4? Rhetorical!

miss kim: "Nathan and other young men have already addressed your misinterpretations of the Scriptures you listed."

This proves to me that you came here to tell me I was wrong in my interpretation of Ephesians 1 and if I would but study the passages word for word with a concordance I, too, could believe what others have been trying show me God’s word says and what it really means (Because John McArthur, James White, James Spurgeon, et al said so). Forget that they have chosen a few “proof texts” taken out of context and chunked myriad scriptures that show the opposite of what they say the bible says in order to prove their eisegetical points. Again, if you want to say I’m wrong, that is fine. I can take being told that I am wrong and I can agree to disagree. So let's be honest here and admit that you came here to tell me I am WRONG like you just have. :-D No biggie! But at least you did it nicely! I liked that part! :-D

miss kim: "Do you understand that to say we “choose” God is to say that we first pronounce judgment on Him and then we can be saved?"

Gee, no, I wasn't aware of that. Where does it state that in bible? Even Nathan admits that we have to make a choice, I just think he has it backwards. God draws us and we choose whether or not we want to follow Him. HE gave us that choice.

FYI, God draws us all. We love Him because He first loved us. He makes the initial move toward our salvation. Without His grace we wouldn’t seek Him in the least. But God’s grace is extended to us all. We can either accept or reject it and that is what the bible teaches.

miss kim: "I have heard many people say (in the past, myself included) and many preachers preach, “Once you decided that God is Who He says He is……” It terrifies me to think I could have been so foolish."

Hey, I agree that the church (and I use that term very loosely) has totally spit in the face of God and they should be terrified. But we were all that foolish before we realized through the grace of God who He is. Sometimes we don't even realize that for a good while after we've been born again. I can agree that way too many in the church HAVE ripped the sovereignty of God right out of His hands (metaphorically speaking, of course), but that has nothing to do with Calvinism vs. non-Calvinism. It has everything to do with not properly respecting the sovereignty of God, period. Both sides can be guilty of taking things to the extreme. Calvinists, I think, overdose on sovereignty while non-Calvinists overdose on freedom.

miss kim: "I think it is odd that you would mention the worship of scholarship and then list your Bible teacher’s credentials. I worked for a well-know, mainstream, denominational ministry for five years and sat under the teaching of preachers who are known world wide and between them have written hundreds of books."

I told you the reason I gave his credentials in the first place:

(I don’t care that James White’s “doctorate” came from a diploma mill, but since many Calvinists harp on scholarship I am making it a point.)”

“The reason I told you all of that is so that you, or anyone else reading, would know that I am in good company in my non-Calvinistic beliefs and that I am hardly misguided. And because many Calvinists (not all) worship scholarship for the sake of scholarship they would see my teacher as "qualified."”


Again, the only reason I gave those credentials is because I thought you labeled yourself a Calvinist and I know other Calvinists are reading and it DOES mean something to them. Like I said, I could care less that James White's "doctorate" is practically bogus. I respect James' OTHER teachings and it doesn't matter to me if he has a degree or not. (I was not aware that James White was a Calvinist until I read about it on Nathan and Phil Johnson’s blogs.) I totally understand why he even got the darned thing. It was so he would appear to have credibility amongst his peers and his detractors. I can see where he is following the word of God on other issues. His five-point Calvinism, on the other hand, does not follow the word of God.

I could care less if my teacher had 0 degrees (and I was not aware of all his scholarship when I first attended his classes), but rather learned of them later. I like him because he REFUSES to bow down to modern scholarship and he is a true biblicist. He even poo-poos his degrees and says God could care less about them and that what matters is that we study GOD’S word.

Hey, I agree that just because someone has a ton of letters after their name doesn't mean diddly-squat. It doesn't mean they are holy in the least or they are correct in their understanding of God's word.

miss kim: “Not only are most of them wrong about most things, some of them are the most wicked people I have ever met in my life. I am NOT saying your Bible teacher is wicked. I am saying that one can be a 35-year Bible scholar and still be wrong.

Amen my sista! You are right. Some of the most educated and brilliant men who pass themselves off as men of God ARE the most vile and they will answer to God for their ungodly actions whether they are Calvinists or non-Calvinists. But I KNOW my bible study teacher is NOT a vile, dishonest man. (And I’m not saying you said that he was.) If he were, I WOULD NOT BE ATTENDING HIS CLASSES. I know you don't know me, but you can TRUST me on that. I could go off on a huge RANT about “MEN OF GOD” (puke!), but I'll spare you.

miss kim: "I learned to correctly study at Precept Ministries. First two things they teach: 1 - Context is king, 2 – if all you have is a Bible, that’s all you need. It’s nice to have outside sources and there is much to learn from the godly people that have gone before us but, the Bible is a commentary on itself and we don’t need outside sources. As much as I love books (and I do), I try to hold myself to Ecclesiastes 12:12, “But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.” If I have time available, I’ll read a book, but I don’t let that interfere with my study time."

On this we can agree, and my bible teacher would agree with you as well. But I do wonder if Precept Ministries is Calvinist in its own teachings. I just hope that Precept Ministries didn’t teach you that you can’t go outside the text to properly exegete the scriptures.

miss kim: "Dawn, throughout your response you have made judgments about me that are incorrect. I’m going to be gracious about that. In fact, I wrote out my response to you and then went back and did some major editing."

I don't believe I've misrepresented you in the least. You say you didn't give a specific scripture, but I think you meant the one in Ephesians 1 since that was what this whole debate was about and as pointed out above you did refer to “the chapter.” And I called you a Calvinist which you choose not to label yourself and that is fine, but from what you have written you do hold to some, if not all, of their doctrines. The disobedient thing you’ve point blank said you didn’t mean that toward me personally, but I’m finding it very difficult to swallow. So, we’ll let the reader decide.

miss kim: My guess is that you are going to respond by saying, “Well, you said I don’t know how to rightly divide the Word.” I can say that because you have publicly demonstrated your inability to correctly interpret Scripture."

And this really cracks me up since you are the one who has publicly proven themselves to be unable to properly exegete the scriptures. I SUSPECT that you believe what you believe because you spoke to someone whom you respect or you read a book and the author convinced you that God chose because “He wanted to” and that He doesn’t owe us an explanation. Please forgive me if I’m wrong about that. Makes me wonder if you’ll continue to say that God chose certain people just because “He wanted to” and that we have no other explanation in scripture (“because He doesn’t owe us one”) to tell us on what basis we were chosen specifically when, in fact, we do.

I do, however, agree that God chose because He wanted to, but not in the way Calvinists proclaim. He chose to save those who would believe His word and to not save those who did not believe His word...because He wanted to. We deserve death and hell, but God loves us and provided a way of salvation. That WAY is Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said, “I am the WAY, the truth and the life...”

So, as far as publicly demonstrating who can and cannot rightly divide the word, I guess we’ll let the reader decide. I really do wonder if you got your Calvinistic beliefs from your own study of the word or if you were persuaded by someone you’ve read or heard. My guess would be the latter.

miss kim: “In fact, I wrote out my response to you and then went back and did some major editing.

Good for you, Kim. I perceive that my response to you ruffled your feathers a bit. I’m sorry if I offended you in any way and I commend you for not resorting to calling me names just because we disagree. I rather like it when someone is passionate, witty or even sarcastic (in a nice way) because it tends to lighten things up a bit, but name-calling is completely uncalled for and wholly inexcusable. In fact, it is downright IMMATURE. I’ve found that most people can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

miss kim: “One final thought and then I am done; I will not post on your blog again.

Your choice.

miss kim: “You mentioned that you are in good company with other non-Calvinists. I thought that was an odd statement because my post addressed the issue of incorrectly interpreting Scripture not Calvinism, but that is neither here nor there.

LOL! If it is neither here nor there, then why did you bring it up? What I think is ODD is that you come here to correct me (which is fine), you read Nathan’s blog and you KNOW he is a staunch five-point Calvinist (even if you don’t know what the five points are, you know he is a Calvinist), you know you agree with “Nathan and other young men” who have corrected my “misinterpretations” so I don’t believe it is wrong for me to have addressed your post as you correcting my non-Calvinism. I do get your point that you think I am incorrectly interpreting scripture period, but it wasn’t wrong of me to point out the Calvinism vs. non-Calvinism issue since those labels make it easier to distinguish between the two views.

So, to be clear, I am in good company with others who interpret the scriptures in the same way that I do. :-D

miss kim: “In my mind I cannot figure out how a discussion on Ephesians 1 led to a debate on what happens to babies when they die. I believe that issue was probably brought up to stir people’s emotions.

I didn’t address this before, but I will now. It was NOT brought up to stir peoples’ emotions. It was brought up because Eye wanted to know what Nathan believed on this issue. (Eye, if you’re still reading, correct me if I’m wrong.) I wanted to know what Nathan believes on this issue because I “suspect” (I could be wrong) that it would contradict his Calvinistic beliefs. And that is why I think he refused to answer the question. It’s either that or he thinks God sends all babies to Hell and he didn’t want to go there publicly.

miss kim: “I leave you with this quote: “If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” – Anatole France – French novelist (1844-1924) – not a Calvinist

Well, DUH?! I guess that was supposed to be a profound statement?

 
At Tuesday, March 21, 2006 1:32:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

Dawn,

Thank you for asking me to clarify. My question to Nathan, and all who call themselves 5-point (TULIP) Calvinists, on the subject of where do babies and mentally challenged individuals go when they die has nothing to do with strawmen, red herrings, or raw emotions as Kim states in her post. Rather, it has everything to do with what the Bible teaches on the very nature and heart of God. The Bible teaches 'God is love...' I've tried without much success to get the Calvinist to see what their leaders are saying on this topic and they all seem to agree that these individuals go to heaven if they die before reaching the age of 'moral responsibility'. However, the 1689 London Baptist Confessional holds another position -- they state there are elect infants, and therefore by default there must also be non-elect infants. I've yet to see a single Calvinist reconcile those opposing positions in the framework of what God's Word teaches.

The staunch Calvinist wants to believe that God is love and just and therefore these people will go to heaven if they die an untimely death. Mohler and others have agreed with that position based on their studies. And yet, some of the Calvinists believe God has chosen some infants and damned others. Let's forget all the exegesis for a minute and get back to reality. The Bible teaches a message and that message is 'God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son...'

Jesus came for those babies and he came for those mentally challenged people. He covered them by His finished work on the cross. Again, the age of moral responsibility does come into play because each person has a free will to accept or reject God's salvation through Jesus. Those who can't accept or reject are -- guess what -- covered anyway because of God's grace!

I read back in Leviticus the other night about Aaron's high priest robe and all that goes with the job of high priest. He actually carries the names of the tribes of Israel on his shoulders and a stone for each tribe on his chest, next to his heart, when he goes into the holy of holies to atone for the sins of the people. Imagine you were there. Your last name was carved into the priest's golden vest and he was representing you in the Holy of Holies before God. If he came out alive, you were forgiven and the priest was obviously successful. Now to all my Calvinist friends, just because your tribal name was on the high priest when he went in before God -- did every Jew 'believe' what God was doing for him in that moment?

Some did and obviously some didn't. Sounds a lot like today when folks are confronted with the gospel...
Back to point, if David and Batheseba's baby went to heaven, why wouldn't yours or mine? I see no discussion in the Holy Writ as to elect infants nor do I even glean a whiff of such a teaching.

The Calvinist can't have it both ways -- either ALL babies that die before reaching the age of 'moral responsibility' go to heaven, or they don't. I for one know enough of God's heart from studying His Word that He has not damned any infant or mentally challenged individual to Hell. Again, I ask the Calvinist to show chapter and verse... Therefore, all individuals are covered until such a time as they ultimately reject Jesus, and only He knows when that is.

 
At Tuesday, March 21, 2006 9:07:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

Dawn,

I meant to say Exodus -- not Leviticus, good catch!

Here are the verses:
Exd 28:6 And they shall make the ephod [of] gold, [of] blue, and [of] purple, [of] scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. Exd 28:7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and [so] it shall be joined together.
Exd 28:8 And the curious girdle of the ephod, which [is] upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; [even of] gold, [of] blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
Exd 28:9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
Exd 28:10 Six of their names on one stone, and [the other] six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
Exd 28:11 With the work of an engraver in stone, [like] the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold. Exd 28:12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod [for] stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

AND

Exd 28:15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; [of] gold, [of] blue, and [of] purple, and [of] scarlet, and [of] fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
Exd 28:16 Foursquare it shall be [being] doubled; a span [shall be] the length thereof, and a span [shall be] the breadth thereof.
Exd 28:17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, [even] four rows of stones: [the first] row [shall be] a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: [this shall be] the first row. Exd 28:18 And the second row [shall be] an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
Exd 28:19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
Exd 28:20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.Exd 28:21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, [like] the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
Exd 28:22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends [of] wreathen work [of] pure gold. Exd 28:23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. Exd 28:24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen [chains] of gold in the two rings [which are] on the ends of the breastplate. Exd 28:25 And [the other] two ends of the two wreathen [chains] thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put [them] on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it. Exd 28:26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which [is] in the side of the ephod inward.
Exd 28:27 And two [other] rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the [other] coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
Exd 28:28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that [it] may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. Exd 28:29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy [place], for a memorial before the LORD continually.



In Him,

Eye

 
At Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:05:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Your example of the Levitical priests is spot on! It is obvious that the priest atoned for ALL the sins of ALL the people. However, it would be foolish to believe that those who were just going through the motions and not really serving God with their whole hearts would truly have their sins atoned and eventually get to heaven. Therefore, the atonement was available to all, but not all will have their sins atoned. :-)

Great post, Eye!

 
At Sunday, April 02, 2006 2:06:00 PM, Blogger Leo said...

Dawn, a point on your last comment. My understanding of the sacrificial system is that only the sins committed in ignorance would be atoned for by the animal sacrifices - see Leviticus chapters 4 and 5. Sins that were committed in full knowledge were to be punished by death - Numbers 15:30-36.

 
At Thursday, April 06, 2006 8:42:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Leo: Dawn, a point on your last comment. My understanding of the sacrificial system is that only the sins committed in ignorance would be atoned for by the animal sacrifices - see Leviticus chapters 4 and 5. Sins that were committed in full knowledge were to be punished by death - Numbers 15:30-36."

I'm going to have to check into this some more, but I don't think this is talking about someone who chooses to sin, but is later repentant. And, not all sin carried with it a capital punishment, if caught. For example, a thief knowingly and willfully commits sin but he does not die for that sin according to the Law. He must pay restitution, but not with his life.

The man in the Numbers 15 account was openly working on the Sabbath and the penalty for that was death. I would venture to say that when Moses conferred with God about this man's punishment it was determined that he did it willfully because he despised the word of the Lord and not because he did it in ignorance. (I could be wrong about the man's rebellion, but I think God is a merciful God and that He wanted to make an example out of this man (because he was truly rebellious, not because he was ignorant of the law of the Sabbath) to show that He was very serious about the Sabbath and the rest of the Law.)

Numbers 15:30-39: "But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God." (emphasis added)

 
At Thursday, April 13, 2006 9:45:00 AM, Blogger Eye said...

Dawn,

I agree with you on your post dated 'Thursday, April 06, 2006 6:42:17 PM '. We see God giving clarification around how the Israelites should treat each other in matters of business, family and relationships in Exodus 20-23. Perhaps a possible reason why God made an example out of the man gathering wood on the Sabbath can be found in Exodus 23:20-22 -- God says to the Israelites that they are to 'obey his voice and provoke him not' -- for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.

God says a s a condition of obeying Him, then He will be an enemy unto their enemies...


Just a thought in that God was holding them accountable to obey His law and there are consequences to obedience and obvioulsy disobedience!

Back in Numbers 15, I find it interesting that the strangers in the land who obviously 'believed' God were covered by the sacrificial system also. I know you an dI have made that point in numerous threads back.

Keep up the great work!

In Him,

Eye

 
At Friday, April 14, 2006 1:17:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Absolutely Eye, even though we are forgiven for our sins we will reap the consequences of our actions. It is just that certain consequences of our sin is literal death when there are two or more witnesses.

Thanks for the contribution, Eye!

Leo, do you see this differently than we do? I'd really love to hear your thoughts on this because it is completely foreign to me that those who sinned willfully were executed. And maybe I have not really understood what you are saying.

My bible teacher has a series on the Levitical Law and I'm going to order those. Maybe he will get into this very subject (i.e., ignorance vs. presumption). I understand it for the most part (at least I think I do), but he has a way of bringing out things that I often overlook or was unable to glean on my own.

 
At Friday, April 14, 2006 10:31:00 PM, Blogger H K Flynn said...

You're cool Dawn :)

 
At Saturday, April 15, 2006 6:59:00 PM, Blogger Leo said...

Hi Dawn, I should be more careful in my statements because many circumstances do not seem to be covered some peer to peer sins. Nevertheless, I do find broad examples of purposeful sin that result in death, for instance.

Exodus 21 proscribed death for:
Vs 12: Striking someone so that he dies
Vs 15: A child striking his/her parents
Vs 16: Kidnapping a person and being found with that person
Vs 17: Cursing parents
Vs 29: The actions of a habitually goring ox

Exodus 22:19 Proscribed death for beastilaity

Exodus 31:14-15; 35:2 proscribed death for working on the Sabbath

Leviticus 20:2 proscribed death for the worship of Molech
Leviticus 20:10-27 proscribed death for adultery, incest, beastiality, and spiritism.
Leviticus 24:17 Murderers are to be put to death

Numbers 1:51; 3:10, 3:38; proscribed death for “coming near to the tabernacle”

Deuteronomy 13:5,9 and 10 proscribed death for false prophets
Deuteronomy 17:2-7 those who serve and encourage the service et.al of false god are to be put to death.
Deuteronomy 22:13-24 A woman who is sexually active prior to marriage is put to death. I suppose that the same was true of a man though it is harder to prove.
Deuteronomy 22 also proscribes death for rapists

Israel was obviously inconsistent but it seems to me that many purposeful sins were not to be covered under the sacrificial law. There was obvious grace for many circumstances, i.e., the poor who steal, accidents that are covered in Exodus 21 and 22 and these were covered by means other than death but puposeful sin resulted in death. It does seem that broad areas of sin were passed over such as sins of the heart that were never acted upon.

I am glad that I live under grace and not law!

 
At Sunday, April 16, 2006 10:20:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

HK Flynn: "You're cool Dawn :)"

I take that as a compliment. Thanks, and thanks for stopping by.

Congrats on receivng Rose's Reasonable Bloggers Award. Having read some of your blog, a few of your UAOG posts and comments on Rose's blog, I concur! :-)

 
At Sunday, April 16, 2006 10:42:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Leo, I guess I misunderstood. I thought you were including general sin, sin that did not carry with it a capital punishment, as being deemed worthy of death if done willfully and not ignorantly.

Absolutely, the sins you mentioned do call for the death penalty and were to be meted out by the community, but only if there were two or more witnesses, including confession.

I believe we are under grace, but that we're still to obey the law of God, though we are no longer under its curse. I believe that the death penalty for the sins of sodomy, adultery, rebellion against parents, etc. are still valid to this day in the eyes of God.

In other words, those same sins you mentioned should still carry with them the death penalty and it would be perfectly righteous in the eyes of God for an earthly government to set up their judicial system to align itself with the law of the God of the Holy Bible. I do not believe that grace exempts us from the penalty of these sins. I do, however, believe that the exception is with the laws of the Sabbath and ceremonial laws since we now look to Jesus.

 
At Monday, April 17, 2006 9:01:00 PM, Blogger Leo said...

Interesting, are you a theonomist (Rushdoony and Bahnsen as examples)?
I have a book called "The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses" by Vern Poythress that covers this type of topic, ie application of the law. I will have to look into it. Anyway, I see these aspects of the law as for Israel. I see the new testament as the fulfillment of the law and as such a higher standard. I believe that the penalty for OT death penalty sins, in this dispensation, as the depravity incurred (reaped what they have sown) and the eternal punishment that comes from such a lifestyle, or in the sad possibility that a Christian fall into these sins as loss of reward (saved so as by fire).

Interesting thoughts - I will have to reflect on these things.

 
At Tuesday, April 18, 2006 8:07:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

I want to make a clarification. I said, "Absolutely, the sins you mentioned do call for the death penalty and were to be meted out by the community, but only if there were two or more witnesses, including confession."

When I say "including confession" I mean that if there is only one other witness to an act worthy of death, then if the person who committed the crime confesses it is seen as one of the two witnesses.

Also, if one confesses of a crime worthy of death and they can prove that they actually did the crime then there is no need for a second "person" to be a witness. I believe the witness is in the confirmed evidence.

As for today, I believe that forensic evidence such as dna, fingerprints, shoe prints, etc. can be considered as witnesses in the eyes of God.

Am I a theonomist? Not totally. I've read a few theonomist blogs and quite frankly, they scare me. I think some of these people would become despots, but it may only be those whom I've read on blogs. I've never read Rushdoony or Bahnsen, but these people's blogs I've read do quote those men a lot.

I think the founders of our country had it right for the most part. The main thing I think they got wrong was allowing freedom of religion. I think they should only have allowed the Christian religion to be practiced including denominationalism.

I think that if we would simply enforce some of the laws that are currently on the books and would not have allowed some of the laws to be changed, then we wouldn't have so many of the societal problems we have today.

I'm going to try very hard to make a blogpost this week on this very subject because I have questions that maybe you and others who feel that the law is not for us today can answer, even if you haven't got it completely figured out in your mind, yet.

 
At Wednesday, April 19, 2006 3:45:00 PM, Blogger Leo said...

Dawn, I look forward to your blogging on the law.

One question, ok two. Since the USA is not a theocracy, who would carry out the death penalty for sins such as for the sins of sodomy, adultery, rebellion against parents, etc. If such people repent should the powers that be still execute them? John 8:1-11 for the example of a repentant sinner.

Leo

 

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