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Jun 24, 2014

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Josh

It's hard to understand how anyone can view calvinism's interpretation of 2 Peter 3:9 as an example of trumping "biblical exegesis with theological presupposition", as it is requires a theological presupposition to assume that the verse is talking about the general swathes of humanity, which stands in direct contradiction to the context of the passage.

It's an unfortunate result of the frequent but not universal tendency of Southern Baptist Preachers to quote verses removed from their context to support their theological presupposition.

peter lumpkins

Hi Josh,

To the contrary, the context does not require a theological presupposition that God wishes not for "any" to perish but for "all" to come to repentance references the "general swathes of humanity" whatever you might mean by that phrase. T. Schreiner, hardly a Calvinist detractor, says "It refers to God’s desire that everyone without exception be saved (Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 382). While Schriner still places a theological lens upon the text, he nonetheless does not dismiss what the raw words undeniably imply--everyone without exception.

With that, I am...
Peter

Max

Last week, I was asked by a man who attends a home church in my area if I would lead a study on the purpose of the church. He had heard me speak on this subject in another church. Not knowing these folks well, I asked him some questions about their gathering and previous studies they had done as a group. Knowing that New Calvinism is spreading like wildfire in my parts, I asked him if they had been reading/studying any of the following authors: John Piper, Tim Keller, and Mark Driscoll. He responded "Certainly! You've just named the three greatest pastors in America today." Sooo ... I took my presuppositions and decided not to entertain the request, lest I spend more time debating than preaching the Gospel. You can't mix oil with water, which is why we are having so much trouble in SBC ranks these days ... two distinctly different positions on God's plan of salvation cannot really coexist in a single denomination.

Alex Guggenheim

Rationalism is the fundamental mechanism of Reformed (more specifically and fairly said, "Calvinism", seeing Lutheranism departs from Calvinism in methodology, being more strict exegetically and more toward science than philosophy/rationalism but not totally) theology. Piper often displays great exegetical neglect in deference to rational constructs which conflict with the plainness of texts. His attempt at dealing with alleged racial issues in the church in his book, "Bloodlines", was a display off this kind of exegetical/theological failure/offense, reoeatedly, nwver mind his flagship book, "Christian Hedonism".

Josh

Well, I base my interpretation on the passage, not on T. Schreiner. The "all" of verse 9 is clearly referring to a specific group of people: the "us" of verse 2 & 9 and the "beloved" of verse 1 & 8. They are contrasted to the scoffers of verse 3-7 who's end is judgement. To teach that the "scoffers" are the "all" God desires to come to repentance requires a very thick lens and a very diligent ignoring of the context.

Bigfatdrummer

Josh--if it is not abundantly clear to you in 2 Peter 3:9 that God desires ALL--meaning everyone without an exception--maybe you should try the following verses:
Ezek. 18:23, 32; 33:11
John 3:16
Acts 17:30
Rom. 11:32
I Tim. 2:4,6; 4:10
Titus 2:11
Heb. 2:9
I John 2:2

There is only one truth--there cannot be more than one. God desires for all men to be saved.

Josh

We can exchange verses all day long, the key is context. As for the alleged "truth" that God desires everyone without exception to be saved, you might want to carefully consider:

Ex 4:21, 33:19
1 Kings 22:22
John 6:44
Romans 9:10-24

Cherry-picking verses and then assuming an a-contextual meaning for certain words to support your presuppositions is not exegesis. If I owned a used car dealership and put a sign up that says "All cars 30% off listed price"' you'd look pretty silly going to the Luxury Sports Car dealer across the street and demanding that you deserve a discount because "ALL cars without exception" are 30% off. Context is key.

Scott Shaver

"CONTEXT" can also be manipulated by the perspective and biases of the reader/interpreter.

Rotten hypotheses can be tested and argued true if the data being collected for study and comparison is biased or incomplete.

Just like "allegory", a predetermined "context" can make the text subservient to the interpreter.

I would agree that context is key. But I would also want to examine carefully, case by case, what's actually being sold to me as "context".

Josh

Scott,

I completely agree. I'd love to see more books/sermons/bible studies that build from the ground up contextually and then conclude with a theological premise, instead of yet another wave of Pro/Anti Calvinism books that boil down to: "Here is an alternative interpretation of the other side's key texts that supports our side instead".

The reality is, many Christians don't want to invest the time in that, they just want to know what they should believe regarding a certain passage (like 2 Pet 3:9) so that they fall in line with the rest of the congregation.

Scott Shaver

Josh:

I'm afraid I'll have to admit that I'm one of those "many Christians" who reject your suggested "contextual" framework for interpretation.

And it's not because of a lack of desire to invest myself intellectually on any portion of scripture.

Has more to do with my lack of desire for wading and sorting through interpretive filters/grids as opposed to allowing the text to speak for itself (historically, grammatically, contextually)under the guidance of The Holy Spirit.

My problem with the "Gospel Project" is that it seeks to superimpose a theological template ala "worldview" upon the biblical text.

Now you are suggesting that we begin with "contextual" template in order to arrive at a "thelogical" template for interpretation.

Same merry-go-round with some added ponies if you ask me.

Alex Guggenheim

2 Peter 3:9's context is very elementary. Peter's reference to scoffers and the the ungodly for whom judgment is reserved are those toward whom God is extending his patience. Peter is writing to believers who suffer persecution - large context -. He reminds them that God has a place of judgement for these persecutors.

However, he also reminds them that God is patient and one thousand years to God is like a day (in other words, it seems long to us as God seemingly delays judgement). Thus, Peter introduces scoffers and the ungodly, not just to remind us that they will be judged but that God (unlike ourselves) is not anxious to judge them but, in fact, not wanting them or any other scoffer or ungodly to perish, but for all to come to repentance.

As to the claim this refers to some elect for salvation group, it would make no rationally or logically consistent sense. If they are chosen to believe then God needs no patience since he has planned this nor must he express the desire that none parish since they cannot since they are already chosen.

This leaves God in a place of contradicting or at least countering himself by saying he is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance thus, because of this, he is willing to be patient, but patient with whom? The only answer for the Calvinist is patient with himself since, according to Calvinism, he's the one who chose who would believe. Now, if God's problem is with himself as this would more than suggest (God chasing his tail) we have far bigger oroblems on our hands.

This second paragraph, though, is not my argument, rather it is the first paragraph which shows the context. This second one is simply to show the inability of Calvinism to sustain reasonableness with this text.

Scott Shaver

Good point Alex.

Which also explains the need to add a contextual template for interpretation in order to arrive at the preferred theological mindset for interpretation.

Bingo brother.

peter lumpkins

Hi Josh,

First, to suggest because I quoted a NT scholar/theologian as illustrative of the point I was making negating your claim that the 2Peter 3 context “requires a theological presupposition” referencing the "general swathes of humanity" therefore implying I base my interpretation upon “Schreiner” while you base yours upon “the passage” remains absurd.  

Second, nor is the "all" of verse 9 “clearly referring” only to both “us” and “beloved.” Contrary to your pronounced confidence, I’m afraid you’ve not made your case, Josh. And, the overwhelming number of NT scholars would I imagine concur. (Oops! I’m sorry. I wasn’t supposed to do that now was I?)

But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose your questionable connections are so. That apparently means

--a) the “us,” the “beloved,” the “all,” and the “any” = recipients of Peter’s letter;

--b) the “recipients” of Peter’s letter = the elect (and Calvinists ever say they don’t know who the elect is. Well, apparently all Peter’s recipients were elect); 

--c) the “us,” the “beloved,” the “all,” and the “any” = the exclusive ones to whom God’s gracious concern is extended by offering more time so they can repent;

--d) the more time the already saved recipients graciously receive from God to repent, perhaps the less concern God might have for “any to perish”

Third, as far as teaching “scoffers” = the “all” that God desires to come to repentance, I don’t think you got that from me—at least any words I’ve written on this thread.  While I most certainly do think “scoffers” are included in the “all” and “any,” by no means do I think the two are equitable.

Thus, perhaps it's you who sports a very thick lens while very diligently ignoring the context.

 

With that, I am…

Peter        

Josh

Scott - "Now you are suggesting that we begin with "contextual" template in order to arrive at a "theological" template for interpretation."

Not really, no. I'm just saying that when the Bible says "all", make sure you know which "all" it's referring to, using things like context, grammar, other uses of the word, etc.

Alex - "Thus, Peter introduces scoffers and the ungodly, not just to remind us that they will be judged but that God (unlike ourselves) is not anxious to judge them"

Three things: first, he doesn't introduce them here, they've been the main thrust of the letter as they stand in contrast to the audience of the letter(beginning in 2:1).

Second, the purpose of the letter is found in 1:10 - "be diligent to make your call and election sure", not "You need to be patient with these false teachers, God is REALLY hoping that if he waits long enough they'll decide to obey him."

Third, the "long-suffering" is directed at "us", not "them".

Peter - I wasn't suggesting anything of the sort. I was simply disagreeing that your quote in anyway proved that "what the raw words undeniably imply" is that everyone without exception is what is referred to by "all", when the grammar does not support this.

I'll try and explain again:

"is long suffering toward US" <-- Why?
Because --> "not willing that any should perish" <-- Any of who? US. Who are US? The group of believers Peter is writing to and challenging to "be diligent to make their call and election sure" (1:10). How do we know the intended recipients are believers? Because it is addressed to "those who have obtained like precious faith" (1:1)

No lens required to come to the correct conclusion: If you confess your sins and have faith in Christ, God will be long suffering and patient with you as you seek to follow and obey Him. (Even scoffers, although God's graciousness to the ungodly is not the focus here).

Are you suggesting that the actual purpose of the passage is to teach unbelievers that there is plenty of time to repent and turn to God later, because he's just a really patient guy? Why the urgent call for diligence in 1:10 and 3:14 if that is the case?

Josh

Last sentence of second to last paragraph should read (Even former scoffers...)

Alex Guggenheim

The introduction of scoffers was with respect to the point he was making in this subsection. I wasn't intending to say it was the original introduction but the truth is it does not matter, you are arguing a non germane point and avoiding how Peter is using his reference toward scoffers in this portion with respect to the point being made.

Yes, Peter writes for their edification that they make sure they are believers but for a contextual reason...they were being persecuted and many were weakening and falling away from continued faith. You're still missing the context of Peter's reason and mixing it up with his object in writing.

Peter's use plural pronoun is toward his audience, indeed, but is expanded by the used of the indefinite pronoun "any" in the subordinate clause which follows (not willing that any should perish). Never mind the theological quandry I presented of the ludicrous end we are brought to by your argument that God must be patient with himself.

Alex Guggenheim

As to the. the use of "you", while the letter is addressed to the believers, here in this passage, is not grammatically restricted, and particularly so in the employment of the indefinite pronoun following the personal pronoun. The construct indicates the use of "you" both specifically and generally or indiscriminately and we know this because God is patient with respect to salvation toward far more than Peter's immediate audience.

peter lumpkins

Josh,

Please. Neither did I quote Schreiner to “prove” my position. And, whether or not you suggested it, you certainly implied it by stating your interpretation is based on Scripture not Schreiner whom I quoted. Enough of that.

Yes, longsuffering “toward US” but not the “US” you claim. If “US” references exclusively the group of believers to which Peter wrote, where does that leave “US” Josh? What you’re suggesting seems fantastic.

Similarly, Jesus told the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mk.16; Matt 28). He told THEM but He did not tell US. Hence, by your reasoning, we may summarily dismiss the great commission. Literary conclusions you’re making ends with biblical absurdity so far as I am concerned.

And where would you gain such an idea from what I’ve briefly noted that I affirm that the actual purpose of the passage is to teach unbelievers that there is plenty of time to repent and turn to God later? Plenty of time? The text itself says 1,000 =1. Even so, the tarrying surely is meant as grace to repent no matter to whom the grace is offered.

Now please inform us precisely why God would need to be longsuffering so none of the imperishable elect would actually perish. Recall that some to whom Peter wrote—the “US” you insist upon--are apparently in real danger of being caught without repentance when Christ comes “as a thief in the night” (v.10). If so, will those unrepentant imperishable “US” perish?

Moreover, to whom would God need to be patient? Not a single one of the “US” could do squat about when they got their effectual call. It was all decreed before the world was. Hence, with exactly whom should God be showing longsuffering? Himself?

In light of your denial that 2 Peter 3:9 shows no indication God has salvific love for anyone other than the elect, it would be interesting to know if you think there are any passages of Scripture which clearly teach God’s salvific love for all people.

With that, I am…

Peter

peter lumpkins

All

Here’s a helpful document by two Reformed scholars who dealt with the controversy over the denial of God’s salvific love for all people in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church during last century. N. Stonehouse and J. Murray offer some salient insights on 2 Peter 3:9, one of the texts Hyper-Calvinists inevitably deny teaches God’s universal salvific love for all people (other texts are also explored). While I’m not a fan of the “two-will” theory they employ in their conclusions, they embrace it because the exegesis, they contend, could not support the view that 2 Peter 3:9 references the elect as has been defended on this thread. Very interesting read.

With that, I am…

Peter

Josh

Alex - "then God needs no patience since he has planned this"

That doesn't make any sense. If it's planned, it hasn't happened yet, and therefore requires patience. What we have here is an unrestricted God trying to communicate in the restricted terms of a time-bound human, to comfort the struggling human with the truth of his patience.

"Yes, Peter writes for their edification that they make sure they are believers but for a contextual reason...they were being persecuted and many were weakening and falling away from continued faith."

You are still reading 'into' the text, instead of just reading it. Persecution is not mentioned, so to call it a "contextual" reason is quite frankly, absurd. I'm sure some of them were experiencing persecution, but to artificially force it upon the text to support your argument is a bit much. The falling away that is dealt with HERE was due to deceptive and faulty doctrines.

"The construct indicates the use of "you" both specifically and generally or indiscriminately and we know this because God is patient with respect to salvation toward far more than Peter's immediate audience."

Correct - it's for every believer, including us today. Very general indeed.

Peter - "Neither did I quote Schreiner to “prove” my position."

I'm sorry Peter, but yes you did. You said "he nonetheless does not dismiss what the raw words undeniably imply". You used the quote as evidence that all right-thinking people agree with you that the meaning of all is what you believe it is, as opposed to what I believe it is.

"Similarly, Jesus told the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mk.16; Matt 28). He told THEM but He did not tell US."

Come on, really? :)

He told them to preach the gospel and make MORE disciples, who would in turn carry out the Great Commission of a disciple of Christ. When I became a Christian, I too became a disciple. It's one of the reasons I'm currently in Full-Time ministry in a foreign country.

"Now please inform us precisely why God would need to be long-suffering so none of the imperishable elect would actually perish."

Because they are imperfect people who make mistakes and fail and are capable of self-doubt? It's not bringing salvation into question, it's comforting fallible people.

"If so, will those unrepentant imperishable “US” perish?"

Where in the text does it say that those who obey 1:10 are are "apparently in real danger of being caught without repentance when Christ comes"?

"Moreover, to whom would God need to be patient?"

See Above.

"In light of your denial that 2 Peter 3:9 shows no indication God has salvific love for anyone other than the elect, it would be interesting to know if you think there are any passages of Scripture which clearly teach God’s salvific love for all people."

Am I correct in assuming you believe that God foreknows everything? If so,
1) in your world view, God is offering salvation to people he knows will not accept it.

2)So, therefore, there are "unsaveable" people. People God COULD NOT save.

3) How therefore, can a Perfect, all powerful being create something he can't control? Is God expending huge amounts of time "fixing" his plan every time an uncontrollable human hampers it?

4)So why pray for God to save people he may know he can't save?

For the sake of fairness, I will of course respond to these from MY world view:

1) This is true for my view as well: Acts 17:30.
2) Unlike your God, my God COULD save everyone, but chooses not too: Exodus 33:19/John 6:44/Romans 9:22-23. Cue angry accusations that my God is therefore a Tyrant...or read "The Holiness of God" by R.C. Sproul instead.
3) In my world view, this is not an issue. All is under God's control. Jer 32:27
4) I pray for the salvation of the lost because I KNOW that my God is the ONLY thing that CAN save. And because I'm commanded to, and because it changes me and makes me more Christlike.

"Here’s a helpful document by two Reformed scholars..."

Yes, I understand, there are people who agree with you. Now we have three.

Could you perhaps just clarify one thing for me? Did God show salvific love to the same vessels he prepared for destruction in Romans 9:22?

Alex Guggenheim

Um...buddy. Hermeneutics 101. I am referring to the historical context. Hint hint...Nero, persecution. This is the surrounding context of the letter (s). Thus is born out through historical studies, part of basic hermeneutics.

When Biblical texts are written they do not often carry with them nice little qualifiers about the historical context of that time such as, "and by the way here is the context in which I am writing" because it is assumed the readers contemporaneous to its being written either know and/or share that context. But we, two millennia later, have to research and learn the context which has interpretive bearing. Again, basic hermeneutics.

And if you don't agree, take a Google gander and type in "Peter writing to Christians being persecuted" and presto, there is unanimous agreement by every brand of theologian on the context in which the letter(s) is written.

Hence, history is not read into a text, rather the text is read and understood in its historical context which reveals purpose.

As far as God's patience let me get this straight. He is patient toward the elect because he is not willing that any of the elect should perish even though they cannot perish since, according to Calvinism, electing who would be saved was decreed in eternity past. Right. God is saying he isn't going to thwart his own plan because we think he might. Yeesh.

Your devotion to Calvinism is crippling your hermeneutics,

Josh

Unmentioned Historical Context REVEALS purpose? Really? So having God's Word isn't enough, we need history lessons too? That's a very thick lens indeed!

Historical context, when NOT mentioned, does not trump grammatical context. Ever.

As for your last paragraph, congratulations on attempting to communicate "3+3" as "(1+1+1)+(1+1+1)". The lesson is "God will be patient with you, as you attempt to obey 1:10", because he saved you for a purpose, not to lose you on a whim.

peter lumpkins

Josh,

I'm sorry Peter, but yes you did. Look. If you can’t see the distinction between quoting to support and/or illustrate one’s point and quoting proving one’s point, that’s not my fault. Now drop it, Josh. Good grief.

He told them to preach the gospel and make MORE disciples, who would in turn carry out the Great Commission of a disciple of Christ. Well, here’s what Jesus said—“Go…make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them… teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” He says nothing about the disciples being made to carry out the “Great Commission of a disciple.” That’s your addition to Jesus’ specific command to THEM and THEM alone. Of course, it makes no sense. But following your to ‘US’ and ‘YOU’ in 2 Peter 3:9, et al being limited to Peter’s original recipients, that’s what you’re stuck with.

It's one of the reasons I'm currently in Full-Time ministry in a foreign country. You may be in ‘fulltime ministry in a foreign country’, but you’re not there because Jesus commissioned you to be there, unfortunately—at least given your understanding of THEM and YOU and US in 2 Pet. 3. Jesus only commissioned THEM to go. He did not commission US. Hence, He did not commission YOU.

Because they are imperfect people who make mistakes and fail and are capable of self-doubt? It's not bringing salvation into question, it's comforting fallible people. A) 2 Peter 3 is not about comforting imperfect people. Nice try; B) the language of 2 Peter 3 certainly gives the impression it’s about salvation—world destroyed, judgment of ungodly men, perishing, coming to repentance. Yes, it makes sense alright to suggest Peter was comforting people who make mistakes and were imperfect (Not!).

"If so, will those unrepentant imperishable “US” perish?" Where in the text does it say that those who obey 1:10 are are "apparently in real danger of being caught without repentance when Christ comes"? A) What 1:10 has to do with my question is not easy to discern; B) you’re the one implying that God’s elect—the unrepentant “US,” an US which on all accounts is undeniably imperishable—must have more time to repent since God’s longsuffering is given only to the elect—an elect who cannot perish no matter when Jesus returns. If this sounds confusing, perhaps it’s because your interpretation IS confusing.

"Moreover, to whom would God need to be patient?" See Above. Well, your "see above" offered nothing but confusion. You have God extending longsuffering so that His elect who are already saved may be saved. He “comforts” His imperfect people who make mistakes by speaking of world destruction, judgment of ungodly men, and telling His saved, imperishable elect He doesn’t want any of them to perish. I don’t think seeing above will rescue your confusing interpretation, Josh.

"…it would be interesting to know if you think there are any passages of Scripture which clearly teach God’s salvific love for all people…Am I correct in assuming you believe that God foreknows everything?” Uh? I referenced a simple interest in knowing whether you thought any Scriptures exist which clearly teach God loves all people salvifically. What does my understanding of God’s foreknowledge have to do with your belief about whether some biblical texts exist which clearly infer God salvifically loves all human beings? Nothing. Hence, your excursion into what you assert is my “world view” stands illustrative of the classic Red Herring. Hence, allow me to ask it again:

In your view, does there exist any biblical text which clearly indicates God has salvific love for all human beings?

I’d like an answer to that question, Josh. In fact, I want you to straight-forwardly answer the question or consider the exchange over. Nor do you have the option to ignore the question and continue to post as if I didn’t ask. Please answer. When you do, I’ll answer your question at the end of your last comment: “Could you perhaps just clarify one thing for me? Did God show salvific love to the same vessels he prepared for destruction in Romans 9:22?”

With that, I am…

Peter   

Scott Shaver

Alex:

Have you noticed with all the agitated insistence of folks like Josh that we adopt "contextual" and "theological" grids for interpretation, their central concern is "doctrine". We've got to be pressed into a perspective or mindset which sees no other way around the conclusion of a deterministic god.

Notice the number of times in this thread alone "doctrine" is thrown out as Josh's central concern.

Was God's central concern actually "doctrine" when He was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself?

You are absolutely correct about "crippled hermeneutics".

peter lumpkins

"Here’s a helpful document by two Reformed scholars..." Yes, I understand, there are people who agree with you. Now we have three. Three? Oh, I’m quite sure there exists more than three. In fact, I don’t even have to go out of the restricted circle of distinguished scholars amongst the strict Calvinist camp to find many more than three who agree with me that biblical texts exist from which we must infer God salvifically loves all people. Even so, only quoting one strikes you as invalid since you charge I’m “proving” my point by depending on a single quote (oops again! I said we should drop that, didn’t I?).

Now, either deny there exists any biblical text from which we must infer God salvifically loves all people, or show some examples that do exist even if you do not believe 2 Peter 3:9 exists among them.

Josh

Peter - "In your view, does there exist any biblical text which clearly indicates God has salvific love for all human beings?"

No. And I would use as examples Pharaoh, the "them" in John 6:43, and the vessels of wrath in Romans 9:22. I did in fact, already answer this:

"2) Unlike your God, my God COULD save everyone, but chooses not too: Exodus 33:19/John 6:44/Romans 9:22-23."

I'm sorry my answer wasn't clear enough, and resulted in you thinking I was attempting a "classic red herring".

"But following your to ‘US’ and ‘YOU’ in 2 Peter 3:9, et al being limited to Peter’s original recipients, that’s what you’re stuck with."

I never said "us" was limited to Peter's original recipients. I said it was NOT inclusive of all people. It's applicable to any member of the elect.

"A) 2 Peter 3 is not about comforting imperfect people. Nice try;"

2 Peter 3:14-15 isn't meant to be comforting?

"What 1:10 has to do with my question is not easy to discern;"

There is no "unrepentant imperishable US" in the text(Whatever that even means). There is a "brethren seeking to make their call and election sure" (1:10), who are being reassured that God will not allow any of his elect to perish. (3:9)

"(oops again! I said we should drop that, didn’t I?)."
As blog publisher, you are in a sense free to act as you wish.

Scott - "Was God's central concern actually "doctrine" when He was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself?"

Yes. Doctrine = a set of beliefs. See John 1:7. I think it's pretty important to God that people believe the correct beliefs regarding the truth of the gospel.

Mary

2)So, therefore, there are "unsaveable" people. People God COULD NOT save.

3) How therefore, can a Perfect, all powerful being create something he can't control?


There is no one that God COULD NOT save. There are people God CHOOSES NOT to save because of their unbelief. God makes the rules and the people who don't follow the rules suffer the consequences. This isn't just a Calvinist belief but Calvinists show their complete lack of understanding in what nonCalvinists actually believe by throwing this around all the time.

God can absolutely control everything and everyone and He could meticulously determine all things. God CHOOSES not to meticulously determine all things by allowing free will. Calvinists limit God's sovereignty by declaring God cannot be Sovereign and allow man choice. Not a very Sovereign God if the only way He's Sovereign is if He doesn't allow a true free will. See the difference between Calvinists and nonCals is I can honestly say "God could be just what the Calvinists say he is but I don't think that's biblical." Calvinists on the other hand declare "God CANNOT be anything but Calvinist because then He's not really God." So Calvinists have a very limited view of who God can be - which is not a very big God at all but limited according to what humans can perceive.

Scott  shaver

Gods redemptive self-disclosure in history was primarily about DOCTRINE ...so says Josh and we all read it here first.

Now I know for sure I have no desire/need to walk through his interpretive labyrinth.

Josh

God's redemptive self-disclosure in history wasn't primarily about believing the truth about God...so says Scott and we all read it here first. I wish Scott could have warned Paul before he preached Acts 17 in Athens...

Mary - "God CHOOSES not to meticulously determine all things by allowing free will."

The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes. Prov 21:1

Can the King's free will overrule God's control?

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: Romans 9:11

Was God's purpose in election standing dependent on Esau's free will?

"Not a very Sovereign God if the only way He's Sovereign is if He doesn't allow a true free will"

How can God be sovereign over something He is not in control of? Was God allowing "true free will" in Luke 4:29-30?

"...and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way."

Was God allowing "true free will" in Numbers 22:38?

"And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.”"

Scott  shaver

Josh:
Parting shot. If "truth" is all about CONTEXT, I don't think your invocation of Pauls address at Mar Hill is applicable.

Paul was addressing polytheists. You are not.

Mary

Bless your heart Joshua, your argument is that because you can prove that God intervenes at SOME points in history that that means God is determining ALL of history. But the places where the Bible says God wants ALL to be saved really only means SOME. And you are freely admit that you believe God's Sovereignty is limited - God is just like man in that if God is not meticulously in control of every detail than it's impossible that God could still be in control. How can God be in control and still allow free will? Because He's God and not a man with a man's limitations. And IF you really believe God is absolutely completely in control in all space in time than God is responsible for sin.

Alex Guggenheim

Scott

I think Josh is simply following a Calvinistic Reformed method he was taught but of which he is unaware of its formula being heavily rationalistic/philosophical. Exegesis is always first then conclusion is drawn. However, Augustine and Calvin used exegesis to prove their philosophical/ rationalistic considerations which is backwards

.Ex: Here his hermeneutics began to fail so he, instead of resolving this, leaves the text and begins making appeals to other texts or what he is treating as superceding larger ideas from other texts. No matter, rightly or wrongly, when when use other texts or larger ideas they don't get to be used to trump or dismiss other texts and this is his appeal now that he hit a road block on the 2Peter text he introduced.

Scott  shaver

Pretty shoddy approach both to interpretation and certainly application IMO.

Downright scary.

peter lumpkins

JOSH

Thank you. Far too often Calvinists such as yourself continue to grandstand when asked about biblical content concerning whether God reveals any hint of salvicfic love toward all people. Your unequivocal "no" is lamentable because of the deception you've embraced but nonetheless refreshing because of its clarity.

May our Lord rescue you from the devastating philosophical entrapment into which you've now fallen.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

All

Josh demonstrates the utter unreliability of most Calvinists who have ever logged here, Calvinists who give the distinct impression that Hyper-Calvinism does not really exist.

With that, I am...
Peter

Josh

Alex :) My hermeneutics didn't begin to fail, you covered your inability to refute my position by insisting that the real important issue for interpreting the passage was Nero, not the grammatical context.

As for this gem: "I think Josh is simply following a Calvinistic Reformed method he was taught but of which he is unaware of its formula being heavily rationalistic/philosophical."

I was raised in a church that held to what Peter calls the "paradoxical" approach to God's Sovereignty, and graduated from Liberty University. I came to embrace Reformed Theology because I saw that when you let the text speak for itself grammatically and contextually, that was the only conclusion that was consistent throughout scripture. Rationalism and Philosophy play little to no part in my theology. I didn't study either, and I don't read books on either. I'm only really concerned about treating Scripture honestly, teaching it to my flock, and using it to evangelize the lost.

"Please answer. When you do, I’ll answer your question at the end of your last comment: “Could you perhaps just clarify one thing for me? Did God show salvific love to the same vessels he prepared for destruction in Romans 9:22?”

With that, I am…

Peter"

Looking forward to the answer you offered. Unless you were being disingenuous? I'll assume it's just taking longer to prepare an answer.

I'm also very curious to hear you explain how God can love someone salvificly who he knows will not be saved. Unless you hold to open theism? You get bonus points if you actually use scripture as a basis.

As for being rescued, I hope I'm never 'rescued' from accepting Scripture at face value. I don't think I'd have the same boldness in evangelism if I truly believed that salvation was outside of God's control.

I'll ignore the hyper-calvinist jibe for now.

Andrew Barker

Josh: I was interested to see your quote from Numbers because the passage appears to contradict what you're saying about free will. The angel of the Lord quite clearly says that Balaam was acting contrary to his will. Balaam's life was spared because the donkey refused to budge otherwise he (Balaam) would have been killed.

So when Balaam explains to Balak that he must speak the words that God gives him, it's not so much a case of lack of free will but of necessity. Balaam is essentially saying to Balak that he doesn't just make this stuff up, it has to come from God and that's what he has to stick to. There may also be an element of self preservation here and Balaam may not have wished to test God's patience any further?

If God really was imposing His will on Balaam so that it was impossible for him to speak otherwise, you have to question why did God let Balaam take the wrong journey in the first place when it was demonstrably within His power to stop him? It just doesn't add up.

Lydia

Alex :) My hermeneutics didn't begin to fail, you covered your inability to refute my position by insisting that the real important issue for interpreting the passage was Nero, not the grammatical context."

So that would mean you follow the instructions of Romans 16:16 and 1 Thess 5:26 ignoring the historical context. :o)

Lydia

This thread made me think of this quote from An Open Letter to John Calvin:

"Which is why, John, it’s hard not to conclude that Calvinism is a sustained exercise in the defense against the obvious. By which I mean you’re constantly on the defense against the obvious conclusions of your claims."

- See more at: http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=12190#sthash.w10eNUWq.dpuf

I have yet to meet a Calvinist that admits the obvious conclusions of their claims. Mary touched on this above. In my own words, God would have to be a moral monster if Calvinist claims are taken to their logical conclusion. It has to have mystery and despots to explain the mystery to us in order to stand. I am just glad they are not allowed to burn us dissenters at stake amymore!

Lydia

"I'm also very curious to hear you explain how God can love someone salvificly who he knows will not be saved. Unless you hold to open theism? You get bonus points if you actually use scripture as a basis."


37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."

He is communicating LOVE here for those who were NOT willing. Pre "salvic" love? :o)

Josh is your view of God, Jesus Christ?

Josh

Lydia, another complete misinterpretation of Scripture thanks to poor grammar and giant non-biblical lenses of arminian tradition. I'm so thankful to God for my Liberty U grammar teacher:

The desire is to gather (shelter) YOUR CHILDREN, not YOU who are UNWILLING.

":0)" is about the only thing you seem capable of communicating correctly. Did you even read the context? These are the people who in verse 33 are told "how can you escape the condemnation of hell?"

Yup, when I want to show an example of God's salvific love, I go straight to Jesus' pronouncement of woe upon the Pharisees. Flawless exegesis there!

In case you misunderstood me, I said bonus points if you can use scripture as a BASIS, not to negate your own argument.

Josh

"So that would mean you follow the instructions of Romans 16:16 and 1 Thess 5:26 ignoring the historical context. :o)"

I can understand why someone who has never been more than 20 miles outside of their good-old-boy bible-belt town would get some sort of immature glee out of the though of greeting someone with a kiss, but it's ubiquitous amongst Christians in Eastern Europe and South America, and yes, when ministering there I respect the local custom.

What that has to do with Alex ignoring the grammar of a sentence in favour of inserting an a-contextual historical footnote in order to prop up his contradictory man-centric doctrine is beyond me.

eric

"There is no one that God COULD NOT save. There are people God CHOOSES NOT to save because of their unbelief."

".. God CHOOSES not to meticulously determine all things by allowing free will."

Please help me understand how election, limited atonement makes God a "monster" when the above quote does not.

If, in your view God could:

change peoples hearts towards himself (where they will believe), where that persons heart is truly changed from stone to flesh, where they no longer want the old self, where they want to give thanks to God for rescuing them from the bondage of sin, where they now desire to worship him forever and praise his name, etc.

But, in your view God chose not to save:

How is God not equally a monster in your line of thinking, if God can give someone faith, change a persons heart from unbelief to belief, but chooses not to?

Andrew Barker

Eric: It is not so much the fact that God chose NOT to save but that he has revealed that salvation is through faith in Jesus. John 3:18 puts it in a positive way. Those who believe are saved, those who don't are already condemned because they have not believed. God doesn't need to actively chose people NOT to believe. That's down to them.


Josh: Are you really saying that 'your children' doesn't refer to ALL the inhabitants of Jerusalem? It most certainly does and includes the many/majority who were unwilling. You're not really thinking straight. How many hens have you seen who are selective about the chicks they will protect? In fact, hens will adopt ducklings quite readily and look after them. The idea that Jesus was being selective here is ludicrous!

v.38 Jesus then prophesies that these people, whoever you might think they are, will not see him again until they say "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord". Surely this is a promise for ALL the inhabitants of Jerusalem and NOT just the pharisees?

Josh

Andrew, your making two mistakes here. First, you are missing that there are two groups of people here. "Jerusalem", representing the Pharisees, and "your children", representing the general inhabitants. Secondly, you (and Lydia) are suggesting that this passage has something to do with "salvific love", when it clearly is about judgement, woe and destruction. Again we see the huge deception being pulled by free-willers. They rip a verse out of context and twist the definition of certain words to prop up their man-centric theology. They have to, because their theology is not represented as a cohesive argument anywhere in Scripture, unlike the sovereignty of God in election, which if fulled explained in long passages in multiple books.

As for your objection to Eric, you are starting at the middle instead of the beginning. Who believes ACCORDING TO THE TEXT? John 6:44 - NO ONE can come...unless the Father draws them.

It's quite simple:

1) The father draws (Election) Jn 6:44
2) ALL who are drawn come. (Irresistible Grace) Jn 6:37
3) ALL who come are saved. (Perseverance of the Saints) Jn 6:37,39,40,44

And notice something really interesting - the desire to come to faith does not spring naturally from the human heart, it is literally TAUGHT by God himself! Jn 6:45 That fact is used by Jesus as an explanation of why all who "learn from the father" come without exception.

And of course, this is in perfect harmony with the rest of Scripture - Romans tells us that there is NO ONE who seeks after God. The ONLY way to believe if to have your heart supernaturally taught by God.

It's almost like this Calvinism stuff was born from a serious study of the scripture, and a desire to understand the truth of God.

Lydia

"I can understand why someone who has never been more than 20 miles outside of their good-old-boy bible-belt town would get some sort of immature glee out of the though of greeting someone with a kiss, but it's ubiquitous amongst Christians in Eastern Europe and South America, and yes, when ministering there I respect the local custom.

What that has to do with Alex ignoring the grammar of a sentence in favour of inserting an a-contextual historical footnote in order to prop up his contradictory man-centric doctrine is beyond me."

LOL! Josh my goodness. I was not suggesting that men do not greet each other with kisses anywhere in the world including the US. I was specifically focused on you and the instruction within the text. And that is because one cannot ignore the historical (and therefore, cultural) aspect of the command as you seem to think.

I see a lot of pastors (Non Cal, too) do this with the "government" texts in scripture, too, ignoring historical context. Ignoring the fact that we were not intended to be a nation of "leaders" but a nation of "laws". We do not follow men but laws. We are not subject to men but laws. We Christians honor everyone not just government officials.....and so on. (Not popular in the authoritarian, determinist Calvinist world at all)

By ignoring the historical context these things can become very confusing. I don't think Alex was ignoring grammar at all but pointing out a larger paradigm you ignore. Grammar is your king so that is your big focus. When you go outside that narrow hermeneutical scope, you run into problems with the determinism. You start out with the faulty premise of determinism and every text has to fit in that narrow slot. It is a big problem for Calvinists and therefore they appeal to "special knowledge" the rest of us cannot have because we are too stupid or the determinist god will not allow us to see it.

And Josh, determinism IS man centric. It demands a philosopher king to explain it to the masses because it is shrouded in "special knowledge" and mystery with a two willed god controlling every molecule 24/7 but not responsible for evil, etc, etc. It is a religion that demands authoritarianism to operate. (As we see all through history and what has happened in the resurgence)

And because your volition is so limited in your deterministic paradigm, I am wondering why we bother. You are not really you unless you want to plead having been imbibed with "special knowledge" we cannot have rather than just agree to disagree. :

Lydia

"It's almost like this Calvinism stuff was born from a serious study of the scripture, and a desire to understand the truth of God."

Actually, from my study it seems to come from a pagan construct going back to Plato's forms which Augustine partially adopted and merged with Mani. Calvin systematized it. It has been the version of "Christianity" that perpetuated the state/church in "Reformation" and the evil bloody mess (In the Name of God, of course)of church history up until the Puritans evolved into Universalists and the Founders put a stop to all of it here. :o)

Have you ever asked yourself why Luther and Calvin despised Jews so much or why Augustine wanted to wipe out the Donatists? Most Calvinists blow it off as "man of their time" positions. But where was their Holy Spirit?

Alex Guggenheim

In this case, the unique properties of the pronouns are limited. In other words, grammar is not always so precise that by grammar alone we can make nuanced determinations and especially when an indefinite pronoun is used which is precisely why context is so critical. It comments on the usage of grammar. Again, hermeneutics 101. Thanks, Lydia, for the elaboration. Saved me some typing. :)

peter lumpkins

Josh

“2) Unlike your God, my God COULD save everyone, but chooses not too: Exodus 33:19/John 6:44/Romans 9:22-23." I'm sorry my answer wasn't clear enough, and resulted in you thinking I was attempting a "classic red herring". Excuse me. Please only address to me the things I actually write.

“"I never said "us" was limited to Peter's original recipients. I said it was NOT inclusive of all people. It's applicable to any member of the elect. Well, here’s what you sad, Josh—’Who are US? The group of believers Peter is writing to and challenging to "be diligent to make their call and election sure" (1:10).’ Now, it’s true you never said “US” was limited to Peter’s original recipients. However, if you extend it so that ‘US’ is representative of a broader group of people, you’re doing exactly what you deny others doing when they see the terms representative of all people.

2 Peter 3:14-15 isn't meant to be comforting? We’re not talking about 2P3:14-15. Stop changing the subject, Josh. We’re talking about vv.3-8 where God speaks of destroying the world, judging ungodly men and perishing, something which hardly comforts.

There is no "unrepentant imperishable US" in the text (Whatever that even means). There is a "brethren seeking to make their call and election sure" (1:10), who are being reassured that God will not allow any of his elect to perish. (3:9). I’ll be glad to tell you what unrepentant imperishable US means. It’s the implication of your interpretation that US is the elect. The elect cannot not be saved. The elect cannot not be delivered. And for God to be patient allowing the elect who cannot not be saved time to repent so that they will not perish is the doublespeak your position implies.

As blog publisher, you are in a sense free to act as you wish. No, Josh, I actually don’t according to your position. I’m doing exactly what God determines me to do. I cannot not do as I’m doing presently.

Now, I’m also going to answer the other comment you left. But here’s the deal Josh.  You’ve conceded you reject there’s a single verse in Scripture which teaches God has any redemptive love for all people. He only salvifically loves the elect. Others are vessels of wrath.

You’ve further implied you’re a foreign missionary doing evangelism; and since you apparently attended Liberty University, you’re supported by families and/or churches who most probably supports missionaries who are not Hyper-Calvinistic. That is, they believe God has salvific love for all human beings.

Hence, the time has come for you to log on here with your actual name. If you’re going to publicly embrace what Calvinists themselves reject as Hyper-Calvinism, you’re going to do it with your full name. No more free passes. You want to promote Hyper-Calvinism here, you’re going to do it upfront. After all, if I’m a closet open theist as you seem to imply, then if my words are publicly owned, so are yours going to be.

With that, I am…

Peter  

Lydia

"As blog publisher, you are in a sense free to act as you wish. No, Josh, I actually don’t according to your position. I’m doing exactly what God determines me to do. I cannot not do as I’m doing presently. "

Exactly. Calvinism really breaks down in every day practical application.

peter lumpkins

“Looking forward to the answer you offered. Unless you were being disingenuous? I'll assume it's just taking longer to prepare an answer.” Two things. First, no, I was not being disingenuous. Why would I be? Second, you seem to think I’m having to study your question over as if it’s entirely profound—“I'll assume it's just taking longer to prepare an answer.” I assure you, Josh, your questions are hardly intimidating. Broadly speaking, your position has been logged here and discussed since 2006. I doubt you can think of any question which we’ve not in some way dealt with before. There is an aspect of your position—the Hyper-Calvinistic idea that God has no salvific love for some people—that’s not been as forthright as with you. At any rate, I’d not be so cocky were I you that somehow your questions are baffling.

I'm also very curious to hear you explain how God can love someone salvificly who he knows will not be saved. Unless you hold to open theism? You get bonus points if you actually use scripture as a basis. First, what open theism has to do with anything I’ve said thus far is confusing. I personally think there’s no problem whatsoever in affirming an Omniscient, Omnipotent Being is perfectly capable of actually knowing the future free acts of human beings without determining what those future free acts of human beings will be. In fact, you are the one who’s probably closer to Open Theism than I am at that juncture because you reason that God knows the future because God determines the future. That is, you deny God can infallibly know apart God infallibly determining. 

Second, God can love someone salvificly whom he knows will not be saved and actually did. In fact, Jesus said God “so loved” the entire kosmos of human beings that He gave His Son to be a vicarious sacrifice for them. Hence, if God so loved the entire kosmos of human beings that He salvifically gave His Son, then it follows God “so loved” some unsaved human beings that He gave His Son as a vicarious sacrifice for them.

Third, as for bonus points in using Scripture, leaving aside that I just referred to John 3:16—I know Hyper-Calvinists loath it but it is Jesus’ words after all—my question now is, why would I want to employ Scripture when you a priori deny any Scripture is applicable? According to your own words, no Scripture exists which teaches God’s salvific love for all people. You’ve already proved this by interpreting Matt.23:37 as addressed to the Pharisees alone, a standard claim by Hyper-Calvinists. So why would I want to bring Scripture to the table when you a priori deny its relevancy, Josh? The only reason I can imagine is to argue about it.

Finally, you seem to poke out your chest and brag a bit that “this Calvinism stuff was born from a serious study of the scripture, and a desire to understand the truth of God.” No, I tell you what it is like with your standard, predictable arguments. It’s like you’ve swallowed hook, line, and sinker every single argument James White has made. Most of your exchange could almost be copy/pasted from his website. Serious study of Scripture? No. I’m afraid not. It’s a serious indoctrination of Calvinistic apologetics you’ve done, Josh. You’re parroting precisely what you got from James White and other extreme Calvinist internet ‘apologists’. I’d bet a week’s worth of Starbucks on it.

With that, I am…

Peter 

Scott Shaver

I guess "Josh" couldn't bear the weight of self-disclosure. Interesting thread indeed.

peter lumpkins

Scott

Well, perhaps Josh will be back and publicly allow his supporters knowledge he holds to Hyper-Calvinistic beliefs. I don't know. I know that many Calvinists like Josh routinely hide their beliefs from unsuspecting believers.

For the record I do allow some commenters to be anonymous but we've communicated via email and I know who they are and why they must remain anons. On the whole, however, I've never been fond of anons and rarely allow them a long line to comment. Many of them spew hatred, hijack threads, and make outrageous assertions while being free of any responsibility for doing so.

With that, I am...
Peter

Andrew Barker

Well I count myself lucky. According to Josh I only made TWO mistakes. An improvement then!

On a serious note, Josh, why is it that like most of your contemporaries you can quote:
"
1) The father draws (Election) Jn 6:44
2) ALL who are drawn come. (Irresistible Grace) Jn 6:37
3) ALL who come are saved. (Perseverance of the Saints) Jn 6:37,39,40,44"

But somehow the verse in John 12:32 just doesn't spring to mind. I guess it's because it's more than a wee bit awkward ..... like you need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the truth. It's your choice in the end though! There's nobody who can change your mind for you, probably not even God!

Scott Shaver

He never touched Lydia's suggestion that an infinite holy God could foreknow and allow free will at the same time.

Forrest Gump figured that one out and he didn't even go to seminary.

Lydia

Scott, Not sure it was my suggestion but I will add this:

Calvinists really discount the "relationship" factor between God and humans. And that causes problems in practical application.

In their paradigm God forces a relationship which is not really a love relationship at all. I have always wondered about the function of the Holy Spirit in that determinist paradigm. What would be the point with the reliance on mystery/determinism?

As to foreknowledge without forcing outcome, I can pretty much guarantee you my kid will pick the donut with pink sprinkles over the one with red ones. This is because I know her so well. I did not force her to choose pink sprinkles but she will, I guarantee it.

Now that is a pedantic metaphor but you get my drift. I am the mom who KNOWS her so well.

David Wallace

Waiting for Josh to respond...

Scott Shaver

Lydia:

Pedantic metaphor works for me as I also have three daughters. When they were young I would also bet on the pink as opposed to red sprinkles.

They could choose chocolate or plain....my money would have been on pink sprinkles as their first choice however.

Max

"Calvinists really discount the "relationship" factor between God and humans."

Lydia - In my interaction with New Calvinists who attend an SBC church plant near me, I've found that they mistrust believers who speak of a personal experience with Christ. They spend too much time stuffing their intellects with Piper Points, Driscoll Drivel, and Mohler Moments to develop a relationship with the living Lord. I hear them talk a lot about God, little about Jesus, and hardly a mention of the Holy Spirit. When it comes to relationship vs. religion, my personal experience is not at the mercy of another man's argument ... so I just share what Christ has done and is doing in my life. Some listen and want to talk more; others stare back at me like raccoons caught in auto headlights. When this movement blows over (and it will), one of the greatest mission fields on the planet will be among the disillusioned generation exiting reformed works.

peter lumpkins

Josh would be welcome to respond when he is ready to reveal who he is. He's had plenty of space on this site to promote his Hyper-Calvinism without his identity. It will be interesting to see if he's as willing to promote Hyper-Calvinism with his identity. What foreign missionary sending service would approve of a missionary who flat denies God's salvific love for all people?

Scott Shaver

What foreign missionary sending service that denies God's salvific love for all people would even bother?

That money could be better spend spent identifying the elect and sequestering them for further indoctrination.

peter lumpkins

Josh emailed me his name so I'm allowing him to comment again. He says he did reveal his name in a comment that didn't post. Not sure. If so, my apologies to him and ya'll.

As for me, I'm fairly well through with exchanging with him. Anyone who a priori denies there's biblical evidence that God possesses salvific love for all people embraces a classic tenet of classic Hyper-Calvinism. Even Calvinists themselves reject this aberrant view. And, since no Scripture passage can be considered since it is a priori rejected I'm not sure what one can actually accomplish by answering with Scripture.

With that, I am...
Peter

Mary

""Calvinists really discount the "relationship" factor between God and humans. And that causes problems in practical application""


And with no relationship you can see why some of the most rabid Calvinists fall away and then declare atheism. Calvinism seems to appeal to people who are in love with their intellect. Josh is a perfect example. So much for "humility"


Dave Cooke

He told them to preach the gospel and make MORE disciples, who would in turn carry out the Great Commission of a disciple of Christ. Well, here’s what Jesus said—“Go…make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them… teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” He says nothing about the disciples being made to carry out the “Great Commission of a disciple.” That’s your addition to Jesus’ specific command to THEM and THEM alone. Of course, it makes no sense. But following your to ‘US’ and ‘YOU’ in 2 Peter 3:9, et al being limited to Peter’s original recipients, that’s what you’re stuck with.

Peter, Sorry, but this makes no sense... If Jesus commissioned the disciples to make disciples, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you... Wouldn't that include teaching them to make disciples? That would be something that he had JUST taught them to observe.

Lydia

"They spend too much time stuffing their intellects with Piper Points, Driscoll Drivel, and Mohler Moments to develop a relationship with the living Lord."

Max, I might have to steal that.

Lydia

"And with no relationship you can see why some of the most rabid Calvinists fall away and then declare atheism."

Atheism is determinist, too. As is Universalism. I have been alarmed by some of the former YRR in my neck of the woods who are now atheists. And are determined to convince me that believing in God is anti intellectual. Their embracing atheism makes sense from the determinist pov. I have learned one thing though. Just love them and keep the door open as a friendship. Don't try to convince them of anything. Same focus on constant debate.

In my experience, people will "backslide", question, doubt but rarely become actual atheists and not even agnostic. That has been somewhat of a shock to me with some who leave this movement. If they embrace determinism it makes it harder to see anything else.

Randle Beechwood

Everyone stop naming English verses. Whenever you all can exegete the Greek get back to me. Until then, leave your mailing address so I send you some tissues.

Andrew Barker

Nice one Randle. That's put the clock back some 600 years! :-)

Luke

Lydia,
You peaked my curiosity. Even though it is a rabbit trail, will you please explain a little more the relationship between determinism and atheism. I've never connected the two but have observed some of the things you say you've seen so I'm interested in your thoughts there.

Lydia

Luke,

It sounds strange and makes no sense based on how many of us have been taught to think. But if you think about it determinism really takes us, as responsible humans, out of the picture. No matter what we are or do the outcome of your life has been pre determined for you.

This is true for atheism, universalism, Islam and Calvinism. (And pagan religions) Some of these have higher degrees of determinism than others, some practice or believe these degrees of determinism more than others.... but the foundational premise is the same: Your eternal life has been pre determined. You have no input.

And they end up for the most part, producing a culture of death and are soul crushing...for many who do not have "position" within their system.

Read history. Determinism is all over the bloody evil parts of it. Much of it, done in the Name of God. For Atheism, think Stalin. Determinism ends up with some cult of personality assigning value to humans. Think Stalin, Hitler, Calvin, Puritans, etc.

It is of no irony to me that the Founders defied that thinking. If you read Locke, they were quoting him quite a bit. What a powerful idea: All humans are of value. We can govern ourselves. So powerful that slavery could not stand against it. Nor the disenfranchisement of women.

Another place you will find the value of humans proclaimed: Judaism. Read the History of the Jews. And it is interesting to note the hatred of the Jews by the Magisterial Reformers and their persecution. Stalin, too.

All of this is a very general overview. Read tons of history. Lots of evil comes out of determinism. I am very thankful for our Founders because now it is illegal to persecute heretics. And remember, for them, it had not been that long ago the Puritans were hanging Quakers and burning women at the stake when they declared human value from God and tolerance of different beliefs.

Lydia

"Everyone stop naming English verses. Whenever you all can exegete the Greek get back to me. Until then, leave your mailing address so I send you some tissues."

Luke, Randall gives us a clue as to why so much of "religious" history after Jesus Christ Resurrected REMAINED deterministic in nature. Only special people could interpret scripture for the masses who were kept illiterate peasants.

Scott Shaver

The superior psuedo-spirituality of hyper Calvinism raises it's ugly head once again.

Greek or no Greek.

Paul counted his intellectual prowess as rubbish compared to the mystery of the cross and God's UNIVERSAL offer of salvation through faith in Christ.

Randle Beechwood, when you can speak English, come back and toss that one around with me.

Joshua David Kelso

"As for me, I'm fairly well through with exchanging with him. Anyone who a priori denies there's biblical evidence that God possesses salvific love for all people embraces a classic tenet of classic Hyper-Calvinism. Even Calvinists themselves reject this aberrant view. And, since no Scripture passage can be considered since it is a priori rejected I'm not sure what one can actually accomplish by answering with Scripture."

Just to confirm, yes, my name is Josh Kelso, and no, I am not being supported by people who are unaware of my theology.

I assume by your last post Peter that you have decided not to answer the question I asked, even after I have provided my name? Just to remind you:

I’d like an answer to that question, Josh. In fact, I want you to straight-forwardly answer the question or consider the exchange over. Nor do you have the option to ignore the question and continue to post as if I didn’t ask. Please answer. When you do, I’ll answer your question at the end of your last comment: “Could you perhaps just clarify one thing for me? Did God show salvific love to the same vessels he prepared for destruction in Romans 9:22?”

It's unfortunate, because I was very interested in his answer. Additionally, he didn't answer my request to explain how God can love someone Salvificly He knows will not be saved. Instead of even attempting to try and explain, he simply stated it as fact, and then proceeded to once again artificially impose a narrow definition to a word in order for it to only support his view:

"In fact, Jesus said God “so loved” the entire kosmos of human beings that He gave His Son to be a vicarious sacrifice for them."

Notice that for Peter, "world" can only mean "the entire kosmos of human beings", and "gave" must involve offering "a vicarious sacrifice for every human being." It may be more clear now why I was interested to hear someone who believes this to expand on Romans 9:22.

Joshua David Kelso

Andrew, sorry for the delay in getting back to you:

"But somehow the verse in John 12:32 just doesn't spring to mind. I guess it's because it's more than a wee bit awkward ..... like you need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the truth. It's your choice in the end though! There's nobody who can change your mind for you, probably not even God!"

It's not an issue of it not springing to mind...I just view scripture as complementary, not contradictory:

"32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."

Christ is referring to the fact that his death will draw "all" peoples to himself, not simply the Jews. He is, in this sense, the Saviour of the whole world, not simply the Saviour of the Jews.

I don't understand why you felt John 12:32 contradicted my interpretation of John 6.

Luke

Lydia,
Thank you. I should have searched the internet before I asked you that. I don't know if I slept during a class when this was discussed or mentioned but now I'm completely fascinated. Found a decent site and am seeing some things in a different light.

As far as the Greek being able to answer all the theological problems, if that were the case, why are there Greek scholars that disagree with one another?(no need for anyone to answer that!) In my case, studying Greek gave me a greater appreciation of the English language, KJV English more specifically. I often tell my congregation that if they better understand English grammar and syntax, they have no reason to feel inadequate if they do not read Greek.

Peter, thanks for letting me sidetrack with the rest of 'em. I lurk FAR more often than I comment but I'm still here. And just in case, I'm not that other "Luke" that comments at times. I link my name to my blog for that clarification.

peter lumpkins

All

The tardiness of Josh's comments falls entirely on me. I've been pretty much out of touch with anything other than BPC today.

My sincere apologies to both Josh and you.

With that, I am...
Peter

Andrew Barker

Josh: "I don't understand why you felt John 12:32 contradicted my interpretation of John 6."

Here's why Josh: you quoted "32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." (I can't find which version you've used here. No recognised version uses the word 'peoples'. Is this your own translation?)

However, the same word translated draw or drag is used in both passages. But you chose to see it as meaning irresistible grace in one passage and just a general drawing or call to all 'peoples' in the other. So unless your proposing universal salvation (which I'm sure you're not) by the use of the word 'draw' in John 12, then it's difficult to see how the use of 'draw' in John 6 supports irresistible grace. Of course, it is possible that John is using the same word with slightly different meanings in the two passages, but that's a bit tenuous.

You need to dig deep into the lexicons to sort this one out as a casual look only reveals the meaning draw/drag which granted does sound very physical and somewhat forceful. Thayer's Strongs lexicon will split the meanings up for you into physical draw ie passages like Acts 16:9 where Paul and Silas are dragged in front of the magistrates and John 6:4: John 12:32 where it is metaphorical. Of course you could argue that the metaphorical drawing is also irresistible, but most people will not see this as so likely, or indeed the intended meaning. The lexicon certainly does not support anything irresistible for these two passages.

Slipping in the word 'peoples' in your quote of John 12:32 is a bit naughty. The word used here is 'pas' and means all. Nothing to do with people groups as in Jews or Gentiles. At least, I've never heard of anybody translating Rom 3:23 as “for all Jews and Gentiles have sinned and fall short” ....! It's the same word in both cases. All have sinned and all are drawn.


Jonathan Basdeouf

Peter,

Did you attend the convention this year? Did you get a chance to ask Dr. Mohler more pointless questions and waste cooperative dollars?

John Krainis

Hi Peter,

Long time appreciative reader here, who gets the urge to comment every five years or so :)

Josh,

While Peter is of course eminently able to answer, I’ll bite on your question:

“Did God show salvific love to the same vessels he prepared for destruction in Romans 9:22?”

Of course He did.

Paul is referring here to the large body of Israelites, whose longstanding rejection of God has recently culminated in their rejection of His Son. Here’s how He showed salvific love:

1. He gave them creation (Ro 1:20)
2. He gave them adoption to sonship, the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises, the patriarchs, and finally, the Messiah (Rom 9:4-5)
3. He “held out His hands all day long (centuries!) to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Ro 9:21)
4. He sent “prophets and sages and teachers” (Mt 23:24), knowing that they would be violently rejected
5. The Gospel, the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, came to the Jew first (Ro 1:16)
6. Even after their rejection of Jesus, Jews could be saved by repenting and believing in Him (Ro 10:9-13, 11:23, Acts 2:36-38, 3:13-19)
7. He gave the Jews an apostle who grieved for them in the presence of the Holy Spirit, who would forfeit his own blessed state to bring them to Christ (Ro 9:1-2), who prayed for their salvation (10:1), and worked to “arouse (them) to envy and save some of them” (11:14)

I’d also point out that the potter/clay imagery would not have given a Jew the idea that his eternal fate had been determined. Rather, it would likely be taken as a warning, a call to action: “Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds” (Je 18:11)

Isaiah 64-65 had to have been in Paul’s mind when writing Ro 9-11. It has the potter and clay, God’s patience in the face of Israel’s provocations, and His wrath which leads to the inclusion of the Gentiles.

So Josh, you read Ro 9:22-23 as “God pre-determined that the majority of men and women would be the objects of His wrath, and would endure endless unspeakable punishment. He pre-determined not to save them, so as to display His power and wrath to those He did pre-determine to save”.

I read it this way: God’s wrath is just, and is incurred by those who reject God and His ways (Ro 1:18-32). It is based on deeds (Ro 2:5-9). The Israelites, who have provoked God throughout their history, and have now rejected His Son, their Messiah, have incurred God’s wrath and destruction. Yet similar to the hardening of hard-hearted Pharaoh, this dreadful state of affairs has a glorious outcome, in that the riches of the Gospel now come to the Gentiles, and they become His people.

Josh, a question for you:

If God has irrevocably pre-determined to damn these “vessels of wrath”, why is his holy apostle groaning, praying, and actively working for their salvation?

peter lumpkins

Josh,

First, on the one hand it’s good to know those who support your ministry are aware you hold to at least one major tenet of historic Hyper-Calvinism—God has salvific love for only some people. On the other hand, it’s discouraging to know there’s pockets of professing Christians who support classic Hyper-Calvinism.

Second, you assume by my saying I was pretty much finished with exchanging with you that I decided to not answer the question you raised. To the contrary, I most certainly did answer the question though I didn’t mention Romans 9:22 explicitly. Namely, if the vessels of wrath in Rom 9 are human beings, and all human beings are included in Jesus’ words about God “so loved the world that He gave…” in John 3:16, then it follows, does it not, that vessels of wrath (i.e. human beings) are people for whom the only begotten was given since God loved them so much.

Third, you suggest also I didn’t answer your request about explaining how God can love someone salvificly He knows will not be saved. Excuse me, Josh. I gave an extended answer here ( http://goo.gl/Bjt0wE ). Now granted you may neither like the response nor agree with it. But to suggest I didn’t respond is hardly accurate. Nor did I “artificially impose a narrow definition to a word in order for it to only support his view.” Excuse me, Josh. I imposed nothing. The term “kosmos” is used repeatedly throughout the NT to refer to this fallen world, a rebellious creation against God, a world of sinful human beings. To suggest I imposed this meaning on “kosmos” can only mean either wilful deception or extreme ignorance. Hopefully--and I trust it is—you’re only expressing ignorance on the matter. To reduce “world” into the “world of the elect” as you MUST do for your position to work flies in the face of every Greek lexical authority available to us. What is even more stunning is, you frame your criticism of my words making out as if I’m the one with the “narrow definition”! That’s about as creative a description as ever I’ve encountered. You limit “world” to “world of the elect” while I interpret “world” to encompass all humanity but somehow I’ve got a “narrow definition.” What a Georgia hoot!

Here’s the deal, Josh. Bring us back some scholarly sources on the Greek text you must have acquired from your Liberty professor and prove to us “Kosmos” should sometimes be translated to reference the “world of the elect.” When you do, I’ll concede I have a “narrow definition.” Deal?

Finally, yes for me, "world" means "the entire kosmos of human beings", and "gave" must involve offering "a vicarious sacrifice for every human being." What else could it mean, Josh? Is John 3:16 expressing redemptive love? Is salvific love the kind of love Jesus references when He says God “so loved the world”? Furthermore, isn’t the image Jesus used of the Father in “giving His only begotten Son” because He loved them so much an indication of vicarious sacrifice? If so, the only question left is for whom is the vicarious sacrifice made. According to my interpretation, it’s made for the whole world, elect or non-elect notwithstanding. Jesus made no distinction. It takes a Calvinist beginning 1600 years after the fact to limit “world” to “world of the elect.”

With that, I am…
Peter

peter lumpkins

Hi John,

Thanks for the contribution!

Lydia

John, Great comment.

On a more pedantic non scholarly level: The potter metaphor is really taken to extremes. I have to chuckle sometimes thinking of how they are using it. So the potter goes to incredible trouble to create a piece of pottery through a myriad of steps because the potter "planned" to destroy it when done? That is how they read that metaphor?

All Calvinists should be required to take a pottery class. Then whey they have to start over and over because the clay won't cooperate, they might get it. :o)

Scott Shaver

Basdouef:

You comment belies that most "cooperative program" dollars in the new SBC are a "waste".

Same holds true for questions directed at Mohler by anyone who doesn't share his views.

Scott Shaver

let's substitute "demonstrates" for "belies". Correction.

Joshua David Kelso

Andrew - "(I can't find which version you've used here. No recognised version uses the word 'peoples'. Is this your own translation?)"

Take your pick: NKJV, ESV, NIV. Unless you don't view these as 'recognised'? They are the tree most used versions here by far, not including the Jerusalem Bible. NASB and KJV use "men" instead, but that doesn't have to mean "all humans everywhere without exception."

Are you really suggesting that what Jesus was teaching in John 12:32 was that his death on the cross was going to draw every single human being to him? Or have I misunderstood?

"But you chose to see it as meaning irresistible grace in one passage and just a general drawing or call to all 'peoples' in the other."

No no, they are both talking about Irresistable Grace. 6:44 is explaining how the process has it's origins with an action of God, 12:32 is explaining that the process will affect people (or men) from all the nations.

Not a "general calling TO all peoples", a specific calling of individuals OUT FROM all peoples.

Again, look at the text: (Jn 6:44)

‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day."

God Draws.
Then they come.
All who come are raised up.

Therefore, All cannot be drawn, or all would be raised up, and as neither of us are universalists, that cannot be the correct interpretation.

John and Peter - Thanks for your questions/answers/counter points, I will get to them later.

Joshua David Kelso

(Peter: I'm not ignoring your "deal" mentioned in your last post, I'm just responding in order post order)

John:

"3. He “held out His hands all day long (centuries!) to a disobedient and obstinate people” (Ro 9:21)"

Not sure why you quoted Isaiah 65 but referenced Romans 9:21, or why you can't see how incompatible your views are to the actual text:

Romans 9:21 says that the potter has the right to MAKE two DIFFERENT vessels from the SAME lump of clay.

Your view says that the potter is watching two different vessels "make themselves" (by either belief or unbelief) from the same lump of clay, and then choosing one over the other based on it's choices.

My view states that the whole lump is sinful and has rejected God and is worthy of wraith, and God then makes some vessels for honour, and some for dishonour.

Why view fits the passage better?

"I’d also point out that the potter/clay imagery would not have given a Jew the idea that his eternal fate had been determined."

Actually, that's exactly the idea Paul expected it might convey, hence his preceding comment in v19-20. If Paul's argument is CLEARLY "Man has true free will", how on earth would someone ever come to the conclusion that God's will cannot be resisted?

"So Josh, you read Ro 9:22-23 as “God pre-determined that the majority of men and women would be the objects of His wrath, and would endure endless unspeakable punishment. He pre-determined not to save them, so as to display His power and wrath to those He did pre-determine to save”."

No. God did not "force" Adam and Eve, who I believe did have true free will, to fall(but he knew they would). In falling, they condemned the whole of humanity to the same sinful nature. We are all from "The same lump". We are all rebel sinners. In order to display both his grace and justice, he elected to save some.

"God’s wrath is just, it is based on deeds (Ro 2:5-9)."

God's wrath is just, and it is based on our nature (Eph 2:3), which is CONFIRMED by our deeds. Besides the fact that Romans 9:11 confirms that election is not the result of deeds.

"If God has irrevocably pre-determined to damn these “vessels of wrath”, why is his holy apostle groaning, praying, and actively working for their salvation?"

Where does the text say Paul is "actively working for the salvation of the vessels of wrath"? He says national Israel contained both elect and non-elect (Romans 9:6), and that one day national Israel will indeed be saved(Romans 11:26).

Joshua David Kelso

Ok Peter, thank you for your patience.

"First, on the one hand it’s good to know those who support your ministry are aware you hold to at least one major tenet of historic Hyper-Calvinism—God has salvific love for only some people. On the other hand, it’s discouraging to know there’s pockets of professing Christians who support classic Hyper-Calvinism."

I'm never considered myself a Hyper-Calvinist, because a) I don't seek to minimize the responsibility of man (man knows right from wrong, and yet he still selfishly chooses to do wrong, and reject God, and b) I don't minimize the responsibility of the church to proclaim the gospel, that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will be saved. It's not an exaggeration to say that barring vacations and illness, this is a weekly portion of my ministry workload, though Open Air Evangelism, door to door, and gospel invitations at meetings.

Those two thngs separate me from every self-confessed Hyper-Calvinist I've ever met, by their own admission.

"Namely, if the vessels of wrath in Rom 9 are human beings, and all human beings are included in Jesus’ words about God “so loved the world that He gave…” in John 3:16, then it follows, does it not, that vessels of wrath (i.e. human beings) are people for whom the only begotten was given since God loved them so much."

Ok, I missed that this was a direct attempt to answer that, so I apologize. I guess I still don't see any explaination of how it is logically possible to love someone SALVIFICLY who you know will not be saved. Surely for love to be salvific, it must save, just as verbal love must be vocal.

"Here’s the deal, Josh. Bring us back some scholarly sources on the Greek text you must have acquired from your Liberty professor and prove to us “Kosmos” should sometimes be translated to reference the “world of the elect.” When you do, I’ll concede I have a “narrow definition.” Deal?"

Deal. I'll use The Sovereignty of God, by A.W.Pink, and it was first presented to me by Dr. Gary Habermas as part of a debate between himself and another professor who's name escapes me (It may have been Dr. Pettus, but don't quote me):

"Thus it will be seen that "kosmos" has at least seven clearly defined different meanings in the New Testament:

Kosmos is used of the Universe as a whole: Acts 17:24
Kosmos is used of the earth: Joh 13:1; Eph 1:4
Kosmos is used of the world-system: John 12:31
Kosmos is used of the whole human race: Rom 3:19
Kosmos is used of humanity minus believers: John 15:18; Rom 3:6
Kosmos is used of Gentiles in contrast from Jews: Rom 11:12
Kosmos is used of believers only: John 1:29; 3:16,17; 6:33; 12:47; 2Co 5:19."

Peter, in your theological system are John 3:17 and John 6:33 failed prophecies? Or do you interpret "kosmos" here as something other than "all humanity"?

Would you agree that Kosmos can sometimes refer to a specific group within the entire spectrum of humanity?

John Krainis

Thanks Lydia. Pottery class is a fine idea!

John Krainis

Hi Josh,

God “held out His hands all day long (centuries!) to a disobedient and obstinate people”

Sorry, the citation should have been Ro 10:21 (I’m gonna have words with my editor!)

The question is, “Did God show salvific love to the same vessels he prepared for destruction in Romans 9:22?”

My answer is, yes, and one way was by holding out His hand - a gesture signifying kindness, openness, willingness to accept and welcome. In Romans 10 the context is about the logistics of hearing and responding to the Good News, and of course most of Israel did not. I believe the point is that God gave manifold opportunities, which were rejected.

As for God making two vessels from one lump, could that not mean that the original lump was Israel, and the new lumps were 1) the Israelites who believe in Jesus, and 2) the Israelites who do not (vessels of wrath)?

And why are they vessels of wrath? Because of an a-Biblical, hypothesized eternal decree of reprobation? Or because they did not pursue righteousness by faith in Jesus (Ro 9:31-33), did not accept the good news (Ro 10:16), and were “broken off because of unbelief” (Ro 11:20)? Think about the way the Jewish leaders treated Jesus in the gospels - that is why they are vessels of wrath.

Now Josh, in all honesty, which answer has contextual support?

Andrew Barker

Josh: Take your pick: NKJV, ESV, NIV. Unless you don't view these as 'recognised'? They are the tree most used versions here by far, not including the Jerusalem Bible. NASB and KJV use "men" instead, but that doesn't have to mean "all humans everywhere without exception."

I didn't have access to the Jerusalem Bible, but you are just plain wrong in your assertion. None of these versions use the word peoples. They all either use people or men because that is what the translators think is implied.

So I think unless you are able to provide proof to the contrary we must accept that John 12:32 refers to all men, everywhere, without exception.

John Krainis

Hello again,

“Where does the text say Paul is "actively working for the salvation of the vessels of wrath"?

Ro 11:13-14: I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.

It's indirect - he works at his Gentile mission, but hopes through this to save some of his own people. Paul’s people here are the unbelieving Jews, the vessels of wrath, and he wants to save some.

He knows that some day in the future “all Israel will be saved”, but his pain, prayer and efforts are for his contemporaries, the vessels of wrath, that you say God does not love salvifically.

Was Paul wrong, not realizing that they were non-elect?

But if he was right, and God was willing to save those who believe, doesn’t that show that God loved them savingly?

Joshua David Kelso

John -

I see the picture you and Peter are trying to paint of God's patience, I just don't see it in the text. You say that God shows salvific love to the vessels of wrath by "holding out his hand" and offering the chance to repent(and yes, I see you meant 10v21 now), but that's just not why 9v22 says he is being patient:

"What if God, wanting to show HIS WRATH and to MAKE HIS POWER KNOWN" ---> "endured with much longsuffering." Here is Paul's train of thought:

Someone may ask, Is God unrighteous for choosing one over another? (v14)
No, because humans are God's to do with as He wills. (15-16)
Well then, how can he find fault if He's in total control of who will be saved? (19)
Who are you to ask such a question of God? What God desires is for the full range of his nature to be displayed, both his powerful wrath, and his glorious mercy.(21-23)

"As for God making two vessels from one lump, could that not mean that the original lump was Israel, and the new lumps were 1) the Israelites who believe in Jesus, and 2) the Israelites who do not (vessels of wrath)?"

Not as I see it(although I do see where you are coming from):

9v18 doesn't say "He has mercy on those who believe, and He hardens those who don't believe", it says He has mercy on whomever He WILLS, and hardens whomever He WILLS. And this is given right after vv11&16, which again points out that it's not up to man OR HIS DEEDS, but God.

Look at it this way...if you are correct, how can v16 and Eph 2:8,9 be true? It WAS of him who willed - he freely chose to accept the gospel, and if he hadn't, God's desire to save him would have been in vain. And he CAN boast, because he passed the test of belief of his own free will, allowing God to save him, while others did not.

The way I see it, you desperately want a verse that says "Election follows, and is dependent upon, belief", while what the text actually says, in many different places, is that "Belief follows, and is dependent upon, election."

So it's not really a-Biblical hypothesis to simply reiterate what the text naturally says, as opposed to insisting that free will needs to be allowed to fit in somewhere.

So to answer your question in a sentence: In all honesty, I have to say that my view has contextual support, because other than demanding that I start with a free-will presuppostion, I just can't find any illusive "Election follows, and is dependent upon, belief" verse.


peter lumpkins

Josh,

First, you say you’ve never considered yourself a Hyper-Calvinist, because a) you don't seek to minimize the responsibility of man; b) you don't minimize the responsibility of the church to proclaim the gospel. Combined, you conclude “Those two things separate me from every self-confessed Hyper-Calvinist I've ever met.", by their own admission. In response, I fear you have little, if any, understanding of what historic Hyper-Calvinism is. For example, Hyper-Calvinism is not about minimizing the responsibility of the church to proclaim the gospel but concerning to whom the Gospel ought rightly to be proclaimed. More significantly, historic Hyper-Calvinism is wed to the theological notion that God does not possess salvific desire for all people to be saved, the theological harp I’ve continued to strum on this thread.

E. Hulse, for example, says “The hyper-Calvinist denies that God loves all mankind and that the gospel is good news to be declared to all without exception” (italics added). Curt Daniel and Iain Murray also connect Hyper-Calvinism to God’s having no desire to save all people. Hulse, Daniel, and Murray are all convictional Calvinists. Hence, not only are you denying express claims of Scripture, you’re embracing a clear tenet of Hyper-Calvinism by denying God salvifically loves all people. Nor is it especially relevant that you do not “self-profess” to be a Hyper-Calvinist. You continue to lay at my front door step “Open Theism.” James White constantly tells me and others we’re semi-Pelagian and Arminian neither of which we “self-profess.”

Second, you assert “I guess I still don't see any explaination [sic] of how it is logically possible to love someone SALVIFICLY who you know will not be saved.” What does “logically possible” have to do with it, Josh? I can see how one might object to an emotional connection or even a practical connection. But to make salvifically loving one who is known to be unsaved into a logical impossibility seems entirely unwarranted. What is logically contradictory about A redemptively loving unbelieving B? Is it logically contradictory to say God redemptively loved a person by providing a fully vicarious sacrifice for the person’s sin even though the person deliberately chose to reject the redemptive sacrifice? If it is logically contradictory, please demonstrate it.

Third, you assert “Surely for love to be salvific, it must save, just as verbal love must be vocal.” In response, first, let’s deal with your analogy—“just as verbal love must be vocal.” Josh, I’m afraid your choice of analogy makes no sense whatever. Verbal has to do with words while vocal pertains to being uttered with the voice. But verbal love, if I understand your meaning, might not have anything to do with the voice. Verbal love could just as well be literarily expressed. Next, you make a similar mistake by misstating the connection between “salvific” and “save.” Salvific in the sense I was using it as in “God salvifically loves all people” or God’s possesses a salvific desire to save all people” is an adjective or adverb denoting redemptive power God possesses or saving acts God performs for all people thereby expressing His desire that all people be saved. You confusingly but apparently assume salvific love to be God infallibly saves all people—“Surely for love to be salvific, it must save.” If God’s salvific love reduces to actually applied redemption to human sinners, who would argue with the assertion “God possesses salvific love only for the elect”?

Fourth, you offer The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink as the scholarly sources on the Greek text for which I asked. I appreciate the effort. Know also your selection may indicate a lot about where your theology derives. A.W. Pink was also a Hyper-Calvinist. However, I specifically asked for scholarly sources on the Greek text not itinerant preachers. Does Pink offer any Greek lexical authorities for his claims about how the word kosmos is to be translated? He does not. He merely lists the verses where he thinks kosmos means this or that.

Why then would you think Pink qualifies as a scholarly source on the Greek text? How about Kittel, Brown-Driver-Briggs, Liddell, Thayer, Danker, Louw or any number of other Greek language sources your might check. Find us one where kosmos is used of either “believers only” or of the elect. To cite Pink as a scholarly source on the Greek text, however, only demonstrates from whence you’ve gleaned your theology, Josh. Not from any serious study of the Word itself but from extreme Calvinist preachers like A.W. Pink who was not a Greek scholar by anyone’s estimation. Yet you cite him as scholarly source on the Greek text.

With that, I am…
Peter

Joshua David Kelso

"None of these versions use the word peoples"

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+12%3A32&version=NKJV

"So I think unless you are able to provide proof to the contrary we must accept that John 12:32 refers to all men, everywhere, without exception."

The burden of proof is on you, not me. You interpretation is nonsensical. How did Christ's crucifixion draw the people living under the Han Dynasty in China "to Him"? Or the Preclassical Mayans? Or the Inuit? Of course it doesn't mean "all men, everywhere, without exception", it means "men of all nations", as opposed to just the nation of Israel.

Joshua David Kelso

Peter -

My issue with you calling me a Hyper-Calvinist is that I don't believe you have any desire to understand the differences between the full spectrum of my beliefs and the full spectrum of Classic Hyper-Calvinism, I think you just want a "shock value" word you can use to dismiss anything I say.

"Is it logically contradictory to say God redemptively loved a person by providing a fully vicarious sacrifice for the person’s sin even though the person deliberately chose to reject the redemptive sacrifice?"

If you believe in an omniscient God, yes. Because he knew full well what he was offering could not and would not be chosen. Like lowering a rope to a chained up man.

"God’s possesses a salvific desire to save all people”

So his desire to punish unbelief was stronger than his desire to save all people?

"Find us one where kosmos is used of either “believers only” or of the elect."

Peter, I think Pink is a fine source. I think your long-winded dismissal of Pink was intended to hide the fact you've backed yourself into a corner by saying, in your own words that world means "the entire kosmos of human beings".

Peter, in your theological system are John 3:17 and John 6:33 failed prophecies? Or do you interpret "kosmos" here as something other than "the entire kosmos of human beings"?

Would you agree that Kosmos can sometimes refer to a specific group WITHIN the entire spectrum of humanity?

peter lumpkins

Josh,

First, I’m basing my understanding on Hyper-Calvinism from scholars who’ve studied Hyper-Calvinism. And, one of the tenets routinely mentioned is a flat denial that God salvifically loves all human beings. You’ve not only flat denied God salvifically loves all human beings, you’ve unequivocally stated no Scripture exists which assert God wishes all to be saved. Every passage which typically is used to affirm God desires all people to be saved is interpreted so as to redirect that love toward the elect only. That’s what Hyper-Calvinists historically do. Thus, my contention has nothing to do with either the “full spectrum of [your] beliefs” or the “full spectrum of Classic Hyper-Calvinism” because we’re not referring to the full spectrum of belief system. One can be entirely orthodox in one doctrine while holding an entirely unorthodox belief in another. An example would be Catholicism’s orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and unorthodox view of justification. And, I’ve not Hyper-Calvinism as some sort of "shock value" word just to dismiss what you say. To the contrary, I’ve been rather verbose in explaining my objections as well as explaining Hyper-Calvinism.

Second, you say “If you believe in an omniscient God, yes [it’s a logical contradiction]. Because he knew full well what he was offering could not and would not be chosen.” Sorry, Josh that’s not a contradiction. You’re simply confusing categories. A contradiction would be a) God infallibly knew a person was not going to receive the salvation He offered; b) the man received the salvation He offered. That’s a logical contradiction. But you’re saying is a) God knew what He was offering; b) and also knew what He was offering would not be accepted. In essence, you’re suggesting God knew what God knew. OK. It might be a tautology but a contradiction?

Third, you assert, “Like lowering a rope to a chained up man.” Excuse me? I think that’s Calvinism’s standard line not mine. More popularly stated, it’s like throwing a life preserver to a dead corpse. But I am glad you see that as a blatant logical contradiction as many non-Calvinists do (I’ll remember this line if we ever get around to total depravity. Logical contradiction! :^)

Fourth, “So his desire to punish unbelief was stronger than his desire to save all people?” No. Remember “God’s not willing any should perish but all come to repentance” (it seems so long ago we actually were dealing with this!). He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. God so loved the WORLD, He sacrificially gave His Son. God’s intention in giving His Son was not to save everybody. If it was, everybody would, in fact, be saved since God’s design and purpose cannot fail. Instead God’s intention in giving His Son was to make full salvific provision for everyone. The Cross, therefore, is the foundation of salvation for those who believe and the foundation of condemnation for those who reject it.

Fifth, you can “think” Pink is a “fine source” all you wish, Josh. But don’t come here quoting him as a reputable Greek scholar. I asked you specifically for scholarly sources of the Greek language which support your claim (via Pink) that kosmos may be legitimately translated as denoting “world of the elect.” You failed. And, you will continue to fail because there are no sources which do so. I’ve had a long standing challenge to Calvinists to bring back the goods. No one ever does so. Now, you are the one who indicated you studied at LU. What are the Greek sources they taught you to employ? And, don’t say A.W. Pink. He doesn’t count, Josh, and for you to insist he does only serves to show once again that for all the rhetoric you employed about context, language, and studying the text itself, was little more than blowing smoke in our face. Pink is the source of your Calvinism as is James White and perhaps a few others. But you didn’t get your Hyper-Calvinism from Scripture. You undoubtedly got it from Pink and White.

Nor have I “backed yourself into a corner” because I’m viewing kosmos as referencing the entire human race. Dr. Phillip Comfort, Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College writes of John 3.16: “This is the Good News in a nutshell: God so dearly loved all the people in the world that He was willing to give His one and only Son…” (Opening The Gospel of John, p.51). George Beasley-Murray, past Professor of New Testament, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary notes in his commentary on John that the Gospel “originates in the love of God for a disobedient world, it centers in the giving of the only Son to and for the world…” (p.51). D.A. Carson, hardly a theological friend of non-Calvinism, as he comments on John 3.16: “God’s love for the world cannot be collapsed into his love for the elect” (The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, p.17).

Even more telling is, John Calvin himself read kosmos in John 3:16 as encompassing the entire human race:

“Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish…And He has employed the universal term “whosoever”, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term “world”, which He formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the “world” that is worthy of the favor of God, yet He shows Himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when He invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ…”(John Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol.17, p.122-125).
Backed myself into a corner? Hardly.

Finally, I’m open to any number of ways the Greek language itself bears out meaning and translation. Thus, world (kosmos) surely has differing nuances in various contexts. All Greek lexical study sources from reputable scholars indicate various meanings for world. However, not a single, reputable Greek language source ever renders kosmos to mean world of the elect. Period. This is a theological innovation of systematic Calvinists imposing upon the text of Scripture a necessary rendering of the text which fits their system.

Now unless you can show otherwise, Josh, I’m done here.

Thanks for the exchange.

With that, I am…
Peter

Joshua David Kelso

"God's intention in giving His son was not to save everybody. If it was, everybody would, in fact, be saved, since God's design and purpose cannot fail."

Amen. I completely agree. And therefore, John 3:17's use of kosmos, by your own reasoning, cannot refer to "everyone", but instead refers to those who will be saved, I.e. The Elect in it's totality, or "world of the elect" as you insist on rather confusingly putting it. No Greek scholar was necessary for you to come to the correct conclusion. Hence my belief that God does not love all people salvificly, as His intention (as you rightly say) was to save some, not all.

However It does amaze me that you are willing to base the interpretation of scripture on the opinions of men like Thayer who denied the inerrancy of scripture, and not Godly Christian men like Pink, who believed in letting Scripture speak for itself, in a NON-contradictory way.

"But you didn’t get your Hyper-Calvinism from Scripture. You undoubtedly got it from Pink and White."

Well, while the non-Calvinists in this thread have appealed to non-orthodox scholars, philosophical conspiracy theories, anecdotes about the doughnut preferences of children, theological strawman arguments, demands for personal disclosure, and opportunities to put down bugbear Calvinist authors, I have tried to argue directly, consistently, and solely from scripture. I am sure I have not fully succeeded, but at least I'm slightly more prepared for the next conversation.


Lydia

"I have tried to argue directly, consistently, and solely from scripture"

Yes, using your determinist god filter. You start with that foundation so you cannot possibly see another view that is not univeralism. I believe man has volition so determinism is not my foundational filter for reading scripture. Determinism is your starting point.

And since you have no volition, not sure why should trust anything you say at all. :o)

Andrew Barker

Josh: "None of these versions use the word peoples"

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+12%3A32&version=NKJV

Well Josh, hats off to you, you found one version which uses the word peoples. It wasn't listed in biblos.com. However, without wanting to rain on your parade you need to look carefully at the verse in the NKJV.

32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

The reason peoples is italicised is because the word doesn't exist as such in the original and it is put there by the translators who are trying to convey the meaning. The fact is, just about every other version you care to mention will use either people or men to indicate that it is all inclusive. Truth be told, Jews and Gentiles is pretty all inclusive as well actually!

Neither is this explanation nonsensical as you would have it.
" You interpretation is nonsensical. How did Christ's crucifixion draw the people living under the Han Dynasty in China "to Him"? Or the Preclassical Mayans? Or the Inuit?"

Are you really suggesting that Jesus' words do not apply to all men? When Paul speaks about how faith comes about he is quite clear that "how will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?" But Paul doesn't question whether or not the gospel applies to them. The point is you can't expect people who haven't heard to respond. Kind of common sense really!

Quite why you think the burden of proof is on me, I can't see. No version contains a direct translation to back up your claim which I have to say is hanging by one rather slender italicised thread!

John Krainis

Josh,

The problem is, Calvinism imports ideas into Romans 9-11 that simply are not there. There is no record that the Roman churches shared Calvinism’s concerns. But they were facing questions about Jews/Gentiles.

Some of the differences in how you and I read Romans 9:

1. To whom does God show mercy?

You: To those He unilaterally chose by eternal decree

Me: First to Abraham, then Isaac (not Ishmael, contra Abraham’s request), Jacob and his posterity (not Esau, contra Isaac’s will), Moses (when God was ready to abandon the Israelites), and now, the Gentile church.

2. What is entailed in God’s mercy?

You: Eternal destiny

Me: God’s promise, His presence, His dealings with man, the honor of bearing His name and being His people

3. Whom does He harden?

You: Those He chose not to elect (though I’m not sure why totally depraved non-elect need to be hardened)

Me: First Pharaoh, and now the unbelieving Israelites

4. What is entailed in God’s hardening?

You: ?

Me: With Pharaoh, the effect was increased hostility against God and His people. The main body of Israelites of Paul’s time were hardened (Ro 11:7), and they showed a similar hostility. “Hardening” here may be similar to the “giving over” of Chapter 1, which was the Divine response to people who knew God but suppressed the truth in unrighteousness.

5. What was the result of hardening?

You: The non-elect go to hell

Me: In the case of Pharaoh, God’s power and majesty were displayed to the world in rescuing a race of slaves and utterly humbling a super-power. In the case of the Israelites, the Gospel comes to the Gentiles as foretold by the prophets.

6. Why does Romans 9 include a forceful discussion of God’s sovereignty/free choice?

You: To show that He has the right to decide everybody’s eternal destiny

Me: To assure His hearers that a) it is God’s right to determine the means of salvation and who are His people, and b) God was still in control despite the defection of Israel - in fact, following centuries of defiance, it was God Himself who hardened their resistance, and in His unsearchably wise way, used their defiance to multiply blessing to the rest of the world.

7. Who are the vessels of wrath?

You: The non-elect

Me: The hardened - first Pharaoh and Egypt, now Israel

8. What does “choosing to show His wrath and make His power known” refer to?

You: Eternal damnation of the non-elect

Me: First the plundering and destruction of Egypt, now the rejection and destruction of Israel

9. What is the purpose of making His wrath and power known?

You: God eternally damns the non-elect to show His glory to the elect

Me: Through the rejection of Israel, the Gentiles become God’s people (Ro 9:23-33, 11:15)

Again I ask, assuming I have fairly represented your position, which viewpoint tries to use the flow and concerns of the text, and which imports alien ideas?

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