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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.

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