Thursday, March 25, 2010

Open Forum (1 April 2010)




For all discussions unrelated to current blog topics or any paper on my blog. To locate this forum at any time, go to my sidebar to the icon seen above: near the top, between the audio collections icon (man with headphones) and "Tax-Deductible Donations".

Enjoy, and please be cordial and charitable at all times: especially with our non-Catholic friends. This is a free speech blog. I only delete comments (very rarely) in cases of outright vulgarity or sustained insults with non-substantive content.

229 comments:

1 – 200 of 229   Newer›   Newest»
Adomnan said...

Ken: Does he say that all genitives are "attributives" ??

Adomnan: No, some are "predicate." However, in the case of stulos kai hedraoma tes aletheias, "tes aletheias" is attributive, not predicate.

We don't have to get into a big discussion of precisely what "attributive" means, though, as opposed to "predicate." It's enough to point out that in the passage in question the genitive is not predicate; therefore, it's attributive by default. Attributive and predicate are the only possibilities for classifying genitives "positionally."

Ken: So, what other kind of Genitives are there besides "attributive" that are a separate category that have a different position.

Adomnan: Predicate; that is, a genitive can be in the predicate or attributive position.

Ken: That seems like a mistake to define it based on position alone, not function.

Adomnan: Smyth doesn't classify genitives as attributive or predicate alone. He also uses functional categories, which are separate. So, you could have, for example, an attributive genitive of possession.

Ken: Again, does Smyth use I Tim. 3:15 as an example of this rule in the same way that "end of life" is used?

Adomnan: Of course not! With millions of attributive genitives in ancient Greek literature (and thousands just in the New Testament), how likely is Smyth to cite this particular example from 1 Tim 3:15? What a silly question.

At any rate, I'm not going to give you a full tutorial on genitives and "attributive," etc. or type all of Smyth's grammar into this combox. The sections on "attributive" and "predicate" this and that are long. If you want to know more about this subject, get Smyth's volume or some other good grammar, because the good ones all use the same terminology.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: Based upon what you have told me, you would say, then, that the OT sacrifices expiated sin in a real, though temporary, way. Can you say why that expiation was temporary, or as we discussed before, in a sense "incomplete?"

Adomnan: I describe their effect as temporary because the author of Hebrews does. He stresses that these OT sacrifices had to be repeated, even daily, to keep cleansing sin -- as opposed to Christ's one sacrifice, which took away sin permanently.

Pilgrimsarbour: You have said previously that Jesus' death was not a penal substitution. Do you say, though, that it was a substitution of sorts in the sense of being an atonement for sin? Why or why not?

Adomnan: It was an atonement for sin if atonement is defined as expiation. Expiation is not a matter of substitution, because the point of an expiatory sacrifice is to use the blood/life of the victim, made holy from being given to God, to cleanse from sin. I don't see any substitution here.

On the other hand, the Catholic Church sometimes uses words translated as "substitionary" (probably mostly the Latin "vicarius"), and so I suppose I can't reject the word entirely. In the Catholic sense, though, there's no "penal substitution." (Christ's sacrifice can be called substitutionary, or better, "vicarious," because He represented all of us in His conquest of death and sin, just as David stood in for the whole Hebrew army in his defeat of Goliath. However, "substitution" is not my cup of tea, and so I don't want to get into a drawn-out discussion of the concept.)

Pilgrimsarbour: In other words, what exactly did Jesus' death do for us?

Adomnan: I've given this some thought; and I've come to the conclusion that, when you get right down to it, the only reason for Christ's death was to give us the sacraments that flowed from it. There could be no death and resurrection with Christ in baptism if Christ hadn't died and risen. And, obviously, the Eucharist also depends on Christ's sacrifice.

I personally don't think we need to search for any other reason for the sacrifice. The sacramental motive suffices. But if people want to describe the effects of Christ's sacrifice in other ways, that's fine with me -- as long as they don't resort to heretical notions like penal substitutionary atonement.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pilgrimsarbour said...

Ben,

First let me say thank you for attempting to interact with me. I'll tell you plainly, however, that I tend to skip your posts, and I'll tell you why. I'm not fond of commenters who post large swaths of cut and paste material by other authors. I much prefer the commenter's own arguments as he presents them, though perhaps based upon that material.

On the other hand, if you want to include links to something you think I may find interesting, that is, something pertinent, that is another matter. My advice is, try to stick with your own words and your own arguments, with passing reference to other sources. It is not a disdain for the great men of old or for source materials that I say this.

Now regarding the Incarnation, let me offer just a few thoughts.

Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the One promised in Genesis 3 who would "crush (or bruise) the head" of the serpent. The announcement of His advent signalled an end to the enmity between God and His people, that they may be reconciled to Him in Jesus Christ by His death and resurrection forever.

He is a man, but not only a man. He is the Son of God, a title which makes Him equal with the Father. He is God Himself, God the Son. He is also the "Son of Man," a title which sometimes refers to a human being (Ezek. 2:1), sometimes in the NT a reference to the human race (as Paul does in Eph. 3:5), and a title of divinity, as appears in Mt. 17:22, 23, a reference to Dan. 17:13, 14. In a sense, we can say He "bridged the gap" between Creator and creation. He is the mediator between God and man.

He is Lord of lords and King of kings. He is High Priest, Prophet, and King. Before Abraham was "I AM," He said about His preexistence with the Father. He came down from heaven and became man to experience His highest creation, man, though without sin, that He may be the One to bear in His body the sins of all those for whom He came to die, that is, His Church. He died for them, forgave their sins, and was raised that they might be preserved until the Day of Judgement when He will usher them into glory with their glorified resurrected bodies like His.

His Church is the bride, and He the bridegroom. It is a marriage that can never be severed. The two become one flesh, and yet remain distinct, just as in a human marriage--the husband and wife are yet individuals though united--a deep mystery.

I sense that you are trying to get to some other point regarding incarnation. I have not tried to be absolutely thorough here. If I've missed something, ask me straight out and we can discuss it, or state your point and we'll go from there.

PA

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Adomnan,

If Jesus' death was a substitutionary atonement, (though in your view not a penal substitution), that is, He took our place--we could not atone for ourselves--then can you and I agree on the following two things:

1) Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of humans all over the world that those who would believe in Him would have everlasting life.

2) He was raised bodily and glorified that we might be justified in Him and that we may be raised in glorified bodies on the Last Day to live with Him forever in glory.

Matthew Henry speaks to the penal substitution issue this way: "He that knew no sin suffered instead of those who knew no righteousness." Sorry if I missed it, but what would be your reason for saying that God did not have a necessity, as we speak of His wrath clearly indicated in the Scriptures, to punish sin? The idea of atonement encompasses the concept of penalty, does it not?

On the other hand, as you see it, without a penal substitution, there is no need for the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us. So (I'm extrapolating), this is why justification in the RCC system is a "making just," as opposed to it being a declaration by God, if I understand you correctly. The righteousness that we gain, though by the grace of God, is a righteousness that is truly ours as God works in us to bring us into states of justification, though it is possible to fall from grace and lose our justification, which must be constantly renewed. Nevertheless, righteousness inheres within each of those who receive the grace granted by the Father through Christ.

Having said all that, can you speak to the RCC concept of the "treasury of merit?" Why or why not is that an imputation of someone else's righteousness, namely the Saints, to the sinner's account?

Anyone reading this please feel free to respond to these points from either the Catholic or Protestant perspective.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsrbour: 1) Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of humans all over the world that those who would believe in Him would have everlasting life.

Adomnan: I agree that Christ's sacrifice can be called a payment. After all, the Bible occasionally refers to Christ as a "ransom," while "redeem," a word frequently used in the Bible, means to release by paying a ransom, to buy back. However, one should not say that Jesus made a payment to the Father, and certainly He didn't ransom us or redeem us from the Father.

Pilgrimsarbour: 2) He was raised bodily and glorified that we might be justified in Him and that we may be raised in glorified bodies on the Last Day to live with Him forever in glory.

Adomnan: Yes, certainly. I would also underline that "through baptism into his death we were indeed buried with him so that, as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too might might walk in newness of life. For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him through a resurrection like his." (Rom 6:4-5)

Pilgrimsarbour: Matthew Henry speaks to the penal substitution issue this way: "He that knew no sin suffered instead of those who knew no righteousness."

Adomnan: This is a reasonable enough statement, but it doesn't strike me as penal substitution, as expressed, because there is no suggestion here that the Father imputed others' sins to Jesus Christ and punished Him as though He were guilty of them.

However, I would take issue with the statement that Christ "suffered instead of" someone else, because even people who are in Christ suffer and die. The Bible doesn't say that Jesus Christ suffered instead of (anti, in Greek) others; it says he suffered/died on behalf of (huper) others. I'd prefer to stick to the Biblical language.

Pilgrimsarbour: Sorry if I missed it, but what would be your reason for saying that God did not have a necessity, as we speak of His wrath clearly indicated in the Scriptures, to punish sin?

Adomnan: God doesn't need to punish sin that He forgives. In fact, He can't punish sin and forgive it at the same time. That would be a contradiction in terms. Forgiveness (of debts, say) means no payment and no punishment.

And it's not as if the wrath that was once directed at sin (before it was forgiven) has to go somewhere, as if it were an electrical charge. Wrath ceases when it gives way to mercy/forgiveness.

Pilgrimsarbour: The idea of atonement encompasses the concept of penalty, does it not?

Adomnan: Not really. Atonement is an English word that has no exact Greek equivalent. It's sometimes used to mean "expiation," and sometimes "reconciliation," which are actually two separate concepts fused in the word "atonement." Whether it means the one thing or the other, atonement doesn't "encompass" penalty.

On the other hand, if sins are expiated, then there remains no penalty for them. In that sense, there is a relationship between atonement and penalty, just as there is between forgiveness and penalty.

In any case, when the Reformed call Christ's sacrifice penal, they don't mean merely that it sets aside punishment, which would not be a particularly objectionable thing to say, in my view. They mean rather that the Father punished the Son, which didn't happen and shouldn't be said.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: On the other hand, as you see it, without a penal substitution, there is no need for the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us.

Adomnan: Right. However, I believe it's logically possible to maintain that there's an imputation of Christ's righteousness to us even if there's no imputation of our sins to Christ (penal substitution). I think many Lutherans do in fact reject penal substitution but still embrace the imputation of Christ's righteousness to sinners. I eschew both theories as unbiblical.

Paul never speaks of Christ's righteousness, and the only thing he says is imputed to us is our faith, which is evidently not Christ's righteousness. Thus, we Catholics reject the imputation of Christ's righteousness because it contradicts the scriptures.

Pilgrimsarbour: this is why justification in the RCC system is a "making just," as opposed to it being a declaration by God, if I understand you correctly.

Adomnan: Well, no. Justification can be considered "a declaration by God." But it is a declaration like "Let there be light." By declaring, "Thou art just," God makes us just.

Yet, in Paul, justification is not always a forensic or courtroom declaration. In Romans 3, Paul ties in justification with sacrifice: "Yet all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that comes in Christ Jesus. Through his blood God has presented him as a means of expiating sin for all who have faith." (Rom 3:24-25)

The sphere of sacrifice is separate from the sphere of the courtroom. God as receiver (or presenter -- in Rom 3:25) of sacrifice is not God acting as judge. Therefore, viewed as an a consequence of expiation, justification in Paul is not forensic (or "declarative"). Rather, "to justify" means "to expiate sin," which is the same as "to make just."

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: if I understand you correctly. The righteousness that we gain, though by the grace of God, is a righteousness that is truly ours as God works in us to bring us into states of justification, though it is possible to fall from grace and lose our justification, which must be constantly renewed. Nevertheless, righteousness inheres within each of those who receive the grace granted by the Father through Christ.

Adomnan: Yes, except I wouldn't say that justification has to be "constantly renewed." It only has to be renewed -- or restored -- if it's lost by mortal sin. We can grow in righteousness when "we yield our members as instruments of righteousness," as Paul puts it. This is the sense in which justificaiton is a process. If that's what you mean by "renewed," then yes.

Pilgrimsarbour: Having said all that, can you speak to the RCC concept of the "treasury of merit?" Why or why not is that an imputation of someone else's righteousness, namely the Saints, to the sinner's account?

Adomnan: The treasury of merit enables members of the the Body of Christ to share burdens through access to graces that help us overcome the temporal consequences of forgiven sin. One cannot obtain inherent righteousness -- that sharing in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) called "sanctifying grace" -- from this treasury, but only through the sacraments.

Adomnan said...

Ben,

I very much benefit from your postings from the writings of the Fathers, which are always illuminating and relevant to the discussion at hand. I appreciate your apt comments, too.

So, even if you cease citing the Fathers to Pilgrimsarbour, who doesn't find these texts particularly pertinent or useful (nor is he required to!), please keep doing so for the rest of us.

Thanks and I hope you enjoyed a blessed Easter.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronnie said...

Adomnan,

It seems like this thing keeps shifting. But in the midst of your response you said the following. The text emphasis is mine.
Adomnan: But that's my whole point. They were responsible for believing what was revealed, but if the gospel was revealed progressively, then obviously the earlier belief was not identifical with the later belief, because their content varied."Sufficient to the day are the revelations thereof."

But even Jesus explicitly says the full content that you demand was revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures:

Luke 24:46-47,
He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

So, even with granting that it was not fully revealed at the very beginning we know based on the words of our Lord that it was all there at some point, right? So your statement that Old Covenant believers didn’t have the same content in their gospel at least needs to be nuanced.



Ronnie: One becomes responsible for believing in more specifics as more is given(i.e. progressive revelation), which is something Catholics often claim for their dogmas( e.g. Marian dogmas ) so it shouldn’t be something you object to.

Adomnan: If we have the gift of faith, we will believe everything that God has revealed, including the Marian dogmas. However, though they must be believed as revealed, these other dogmas are not "the Gospel."

Yes, but here is the analogous point. You believe a Catholic today not only has to believe in the specific Christian gospel about Christ’s death and resurrection, but also the rest of the dogmas(e.g. Marian dogma, papal infallibility) defined by the church that contains a lot more. However, before these dogmas were defined one still could be saved. This is analogous to the case with the Old Covenant believers. However, your present position is much more extreme. At least in the case of Old Covenant believers it was faith in the Messiah to come on their behalf. Your system today requires faith in all kinds of extraneous beliefs to the Messiah.

Maroun said...

Hi Dave .
Have you ever read a book called THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST IN THE MODERN WORLD by Fr. Denis Fahey ?
If not,then you should . and plz feel free to read also on line for free http://www.traditioninaction.org/Questions/WebSources/B_345_The-Rulers-of-Russia.pdf.
Man these are books which every not just catholic must read,but every honest christian too.
GBU

Dave Armstrong said...

I haven't. Thanks for the recommend!

Dave Armstrong said...

but here is the analogous point. You believe a Catholic today not only has to believe in the specific Christian gospel about Christ’s death and resurrection, but also the rest of the dogmas(e.g. Marian dogma, papal infallibility) defined by the church that contains a lot more. However, before these dogmas were defined one still could be saved.

but here is the analogous point. You believe a Calvinist today not only has to believe in the specific Christian gospel about Christ’s death and resurrection, but also the rest of the dogmas(e.g. TULIP) defined by the Calvinist creeds that contains a lot more. However, before these dogmas were defined one still could be saved.

Adomnan said...

Ronnie: It seems like this thing keeps shifting. But in the midst of your response you said the following. The text emphasis is mine.

Adomnan: Certainly I have not shifted. However, you do seem to have moved from baldly asserting that people in the Old Covenant believed the gospel of Jesus Christ to the much more modest assertion that they merely anticipated the coming of the messiah.

In any event, as I've said, their anticipation of the messiah was not the saving faith of Christ because it was not expressed as baptism into Christ.

Ronnie, citing Luke 24:46-47,
He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

So, even with granting that it was not fully revealed at the very beginning we know based on the words of our Lord that it was all there at some point, right?

Adomnan: People weren't expected to know these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ -- or even that they would be fulfilled by the Messiah -- until they were.

Moreover, as I noted earlier, those who came before this prophecy (or before the prophetic psalms that allude to a suffering messiah), would not have known this "gospel." So you'd be faced with the same problem; namely, that Old Covenant believers could be "saved" without believing in the gospel of Christ.

Ronnie: So your statement that Old Covenant believers didn’t have the same content in their gospel at least needs to be nuanced.

Adomnan: I don't concede that an Old Covenant person had to believe that the Suffering Servant of Isaiah was the Messiah in order to be "saved."

Ronnie: Yes, but here is the analogous point. You believe a Catholic today not only has to believe in the specific Christian gospel about Christ’s death and resurrection, but also the rest of the dogmas(e.g. Marian dogma, papal infallibility) defined by the church that contains a lot more.

Adomnan: Yes. Although all these things were contained in the original deposit of faith, some required time to be defined explicitly as divinely revealed, such as the doctrines of the Trinity and the Person and natures of Christ (and not just the Marian dogmas).

Ronnie: However, before these dogmas were defined one still could be saved.

Adomnan: In some cases, yes; in other cases, perhaps not. For example, one could have been a Subordinationist in the early church and still have been saved, but one could not have denied Christ's divinity and still have been saved.

Ronnie: This is analogous to the case with the Old Covenant believers.

Adomnan: I don't see that it is analogous. The Old Covenant believers had an expectation of the Messiah because of a number of more or less explicit prophecies. However, they had only an expectation -- a hope, as I said, more than a faith -- whereas we have the accomplished reality. In developing doctrine, we meditate on the content of the deposit of faith, revealed once for all. In the Old Covenant, believers looked forward to further revelation. I don't think it's the same at all.

Ronnie: However, your present position is much more extreme.

Adomnan: More extreme than what? I'm only saying that people under the Old Covenat did not have to believe that the Messiah would die for their sins and be raised for their justification to be "saved," although a few of them -- especially those close in time to the appearance of the Christ -- did believe these things.

Ronnie: At least in the case of Old Covenant believers it was faith in the Messiah to come on their behalf. Your system today requires faith in all kinds of extraneous beliefs to the Messiah.

Adomnan: But Old Covenant believers had to have faith in many things, just as we do, and not just in the coming of the Messiah. They assented to everything that God revealed clearly, if they had faith.

Ronnie said...


Ronnie: It seems like this thing keeps shifting. But in the midst of your response you said the following. The text emphasis is mine.

Adomnan: Certainly I have not shifted. However, you do seem to have moved from baldly asserting that people in the Old Covenant believed the gospel of Jesus Christ to the much more modest assertion that they merely anticipated the coming of the messiah.

No, I have not shifted. I have maintained all along the people of the Old Covenant believed in the same gospel though it was revealed in types and shadows. I have quoted a number of New Testatment references that say the same thing (i.e. Hebrews 4, Luke 24:46-47; Galatians 3, Romans 4, et als ). Your defense has been: 1) even though the NT points out that the OT contains the Christian gospel that they didn’t believe it, because it hadn’t happened yet. 2) It is talking about gospel only as “good news”, but not the Christian gospel.

I have also pointed out that Abraham and David and others were justified per the NT(i.e. Romans 4, Gal. 3 ). Romans 10 also speaks of the Israelites being saved by hearing the gospel of Christ and it says “not all Israelites accepted the good news”, which implies that some did!

Sometimes I assumed your position in order to critique it, not that I’m denying my original position.

Adomnan continues …
In any event, as I've said, their anticipation of the messiah was not the saving faith of Christ because it was not expressed as baptism into Christ.

So Abraham and David were not saved by their faith even though the Scriptures says over and over that they were(i.e. Romans 4, Gal. 3, James 2 )?


Ronnie, citing Luke 24:46-47,
He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

So, even with granting that it was not fully revealed at the very beginning we know based on the words of our Lord that it was all there at some point, right?

Adomnan: People weren't expected to know these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ -- or even that they would be fulfilled by the Messiah -- until they were.

On what basis do you arrive at that conclusion? The NT Scriptures themselves paint a different story. The Israelites are often chided for not believing and being saved and sometimes commended for believing and being saved in the many verses I have mentioned above.

Ronnie said...


Adomnan continues
Moreover, as I noted earlier, those who came before this prophecy (or before the prophetic psalms that allude to a suffering messiah), would not have known this "gospel." So you'd be faced with the same problem; namely, that Old Covenant believers could be "saved" without believing in the gospel of Christ.

Oh, but I believe they did believe in the gospel of the Messiah(i.e. Christ ). This started from the Fall as I said above. A rose by any other name is still a rose. So believing in the Seed is still believing in a type of Christ. Paul makes this clear in Galatians that the Seed was Christ. In the Psalm it is called David’s Lord(i.e. still Christ ). So no, I don’t have the same problem. Everyone who is saved is saved by Christ. Before Christ came they believe in Him based on types, shadows, and promises.

Adomnan: I don't see that it is analogous. The Old Covenant believers had an expectation of the Messiah because of a number of more or less explicit prophecies. However, they had only an expectation -- a hope, as I said, more than a faith -- whereas we have the accomplished reality. In developing doctrine, we meditate on the content of the deposit of faith, revealed once for all. In the Old Covenant, believers looked forward to further revelation. I don't think it's the same at all.

It is this sense. At one point in history( i.e. before your dogmas were defined ) individuals could be saved without believing all the specifics about the faith. Later as the dogma is defined individuals must believe the specifics. That is analogous to what I’m saying in reference to the Old Covenant. They could believe in promises about the coming Messiah without believing in all the specifics.


Ronnie: However, your present position is much more extreme.

Adomnan: More extreme than what? I'm only saying that people under the Old Covenat did not have to believe that the Messiah would die for their sins and be raised for their justification to be "saved," although a few of them -- especially those close in time to the appearance of the Christ -- did believe these things.

OK, maybe I missed something. I thought you were saying the Old Covenant believers could not be saved until they accepted the Christian gospel?


Ronnie: At least in the case of Old Covenant believers it was faith in the Messiah to come on their behalf. Your system today requires faith in all kinds of extraneous beliefs to the Messiah.

Adomnan: But Old Covenant believers had to have faith in many things, just as we do, and not just in the coming of the Messiah. They assented to everything that God revealed clearly, if they had faith.

Having faith in all that God says is different than having faith in specific theological beliefs that have nothing to do with the Gospel. When the NT speak of OT believers being justified or saved it is in reference to the gospel.

Catholicism requires belief in things such as Papal Infallibility and Marian Dogma to be saved with have nothing to do with the gospel.

Dave Armstrong said...

Catholicism requires belief in things such as Papal Infallibility and Marian Dogma to be saved with have nothing to do with the gospel.

Calvinism requires belief in things such as Total Depravity and Limited Atonement and Irresistible Grace to be saved that have nothing to do with the gospel.

Grubb said...

Adomnan,

Sorry I haven't been able to respond to your last comments. I plan to respond within a day or 2. Again, sorry for the delay; I know it hinders a nice flow.

On a humorous note, you win the "I can type more than you" award. ☺ Dave, Ken, and you can put stuff out at an alarming pace. ☺ Grubb can't keep up.
.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Adomnan,

Certainly I would agree with you that God does not punish sins that have already been forgiven. I regret that I cannot follow your argument, though, that the sinner's sins are not imputed to Christ.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Is this not penal substitution in the context of the atonement?

In addition, perhaps you already agree with me to some extent in what you recently stated regarding the imputation of Christ's righteousness, but I thought I would ask it anyway for the sake of clarity. If we accept that the first Adam's sin was imputed to his seed (all of humanity), wouldn't it follow that the second Adam's righteousness is imputed to His (spiritual) seed as an atonement for sin? If Jesus's righteousness is imputed to His children, why do we need further "temporal punishments" and such, especially if our sins have been forgiven at the cross?

PA

Dave Armstrong said...

☺ Dave, Ken, and you can put stuff out at an alarming pace. ☺ Grubb can't keep up.

I write for a living. Dunno what Adomnan and Ken's excuse is. LOL

I know at least two anti-Catholics, however, whose volume makes all of ours combined look like a grain of sand next to a miles-long ocean shore.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hi Dave,

To the following points about the gospel which you raised, I cite a few relevant Scripture texts. Please keep in mind that this response is an abbreviation. I did not want to get into a full-blown argument citing the multiple texts involved in the issue. As it is, my answers are for the general readership here who necessarily are at different levels of knowledge regarding Reformed doctrine and are not meant to convey that I think you are unaware of these things.

1) Total Depravity (Radical Corruption). You say this is not part of the gospel. However, Paul was adamant regarding it:

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were — by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-7 ESV).

Is Paul talking about something here that is not a part of the gospel? If so, why does he write it to Ephesus? Or, more simply, perhaps you and I have differing ideas of what "dead" means.

2) Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption). The atonement, for the non-Reformed, is said to be efficacious for every human being who ever lived. For the Reformed, it is God's saving power granted to His people. The one limits its power by saying that it only enables man to save himself as he appropriates what is offered; the other limits the objects of His saving power to His chosen ones, the Church, whom He actually saves. Is Christ a real Saviour, or merely a potential Saviour? Christ died for His Church:

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV).

If Christ died for every human being in the whole world, why are any at all lost? Were the ones who "accepted" Him inherently more intelligent, more moral, more humble in themselves than their neighbours were? Why is one saved and another not?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

cont.

3) Irresistible Grace (Effectual Calling). Merely means that the grace of regeneration is invincible. Although the sinner can and does resist God's grace, that grace which enables him to embrace the saving work of Christ cannot be thwarted by those who are the objects of God's electing favour. We are quickened, we are saved, we are raised up in Him (Ephesians 2). It is effectual because it actually accomplishes that for which it was intended.

This is not the call to the ear, but to the heart. One can resist the grace as it comes to the ear, but one cannot resist the call to the heart which only the Holy Spirit can bring. The objects of His effectual calling are predestined, called, justified and glorified:

30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (Romans 8:30 ESV).

5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day" (Romans 11:5-8 ESV).

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:11-12 ESV).

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ESV).

It would be sufficient for me now if I could get a Catholic to say that, at the very least, he understands, though does not agree with me, regarding from where these Reformed doctrines come when reading the Scriptures. I would consider that a veritable coup!

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I know Ben is hanging on my every word in response to his comments (sarc), but I promise to address his comments later today. ;-)

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adomnan said...

Ronnie: No, I have not shifted. I have maintained all along the people of the Old Covenant believed in the same gospel though it was revealed in types and shadows.

Adomnan: Actually, most of the examples you gave from the NT, if not all, were prophecies, which are hardly the same thing as "types and shadows." As I said, types weren't generally recognized as such until they were fulfilled by the antitype; and "shadows" is just another word for types. The Old Covenant believers did not perform sacrifices as "types" of a coming messianic sacrifice. They were efficacious (in so far as they had an effect) in themselves, ex opere operato. They are only types for us, because we have the fulfillment. That, at any rate, is what Hebrews teaches.

Ronnie: I have quoted a number of New Testatment references that say the same thing (i.e. Hebrews 4, Luke 24:46-47; Galatians 3, Romans 4, et als ).

Adomnan: You're merely repeating yourself at this point, without having responded to my reservations. For example, in Hebrews 4, the "good news" announced to Old Covenant believers did not have the same content as the good news of Jesus Christ. All they had in common was that both were "good news" revealed by God, which people either believed or not.

Ronnie: Your defense has been: 1) even though the NT points out that the OT contains the Christian gospel that they didn’t believe it, because it hadn’t happened yet.

Adomnan: You're distorting what I wrote and putting words into my mouth -- then taking issue with these non-existent positions.

If you want to argue with yourself, fine. But leave me out of it.

I have, of course, never said that "the OT contains the Christian gospel." This is too vague a formulation anyway. "Contain" is an imprecise word with shades of meaning. Even if some prophets glimpsed the gospel, these glimpses were not proposed as objects of "saving faith."

Moreover, I have repeatedly asserted that the OT did not "contain the gospel" of Jesus Christ, in the probable sense in which you use this word (i.e., as something proposed as so clearly revealed that it requires a response of faith), because, if it had, they would have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ, which they weren't.

Ronnie: 2) It is talking about gospel only as “good news”, but not the Christian gospel.

Adomnan: That is true of Hebrews 4, which is the only text cited by you that uses a verb -- not a noun -- meaning "informed of good news." You did not adduce any other NT passages that use the words "gospel" or "good news," as I recall. And my observation about Hebrews 4 is absolutely correct. Care to try to refute it exegetically?

Ronnie: I have also pointed out that Abraham and David and others were justified per the NT(i.e. Romans 4, Gal. 3 ).

Adomnan: You're just reiterating arguments I already refuted, while ignoring my refutations -- as if I hadn't made any.

Even if you don't think my counterarguments are valid, it is not fair for you to imply that I passed over in silence your claims about the import of certain biblical passages.

Ronnie: Romans 10 also speaks of the Israelites being saved by hearing the gospel of Christ and it says “not all Israelites accepted the good news”, which implies that some did!

Adomnan: Finally, a new argument! But your citation of Romans 10 is as baseless as your other arguments, because it's obvious Paul is talking about Iaraelites in his own time, now that the gospel is being proclaimed, and not about Old Covenant believers. "How can they hear of Him unless through a preacher? And how can people preach unless they are sent." (Rom 10:14)

By your interpretation, nobody needs to be sent and no Jew at least needs to hear, becauee they have all already heard.

Adomnan said...

Ronnie: Sometimes I assumed your position in order to critique it, not that I’m denying my original position.

Adomnan: You are the one who has been "nuancing" your original position, not I. But it hardly matters, neither your original position nor the nuanced one is correct. I only replied to your accusation of "shifting" because you wrongly imputed a shift to me.

You apparently believe I shifted. I perceive that you shifted. You brought it up. I would suggest that it's not worth further discussion.

Dave Armstrong said...

Total Depravity (Radical Corruption). You say this is not part of the gospel. However, Paul was adamant regarding it:

. . . (Ephesians 2:1-7 ESV).

Is Paul talking about something here that is not a part of the gospel? If so, why does he write it to Ephesus? Or, more simply, perhaps you and I have differing ideas of what "dead" means.


Catholics agree that man can do nothing whatever to earn salvation; it is all God's grace. We agree with you on sola gratia. And this is what Ephesians 2:1-7 teaches.

We believe in "total inability." But total depravity is a position that goes far beyond this, and teaches things that are not only not part of the gospel, but not part of the Bible, either. :-)

Total Depravity holds that (fallen) man can do no good thing whatsoever, even apart from the question of salvation. This isn't biblical, as I think I have demonstrated in several papers.

Dave Armstrong said...

2) Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption). The atonement, for the non-Reformed, is said to be efficacious for every human being who ever lived.

Of course it is.

For the Reformed, it is God's saving power granted to His people.

It is that, too. Apples and oranges . . .

The one limits its power by saying that it only enables man to save himself as he appropriates what is offered;

Not at all. The Arminian and Catholic positions hold that man cannot save himself (contra Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism), but because he has free will, he has to accept God's entirely free, unmerited gift of salvation. According to your thinking, the prisoner who is pardoned by the governor "saves himself" by accepting the pardon, rather than the governor "saving" him by setting him free. The act of accepting the pardon is not the most essential part of the transaction, but it is necessary.

There is a distinction between "saving oneself" and "accepting the saving that someone else does."
We don't say, e.g., that a drowning man "saves himself" when he grabs onto a life preserver that someone tosses him. In a sense he participates in his salvation, I agree, but the main person who "saved" him was his rescuer.

the other limits the objects of His saving power to His chosen ones, the Church, whom He actually saves.

But that is nothing more than a truism; circular reasoning: God saves (by His power) those who are saved (the elect, the eschatologically saved). Of course! What Christian would doubt that?

Is Christ a real Saviour, or merely a potential Saviour?

He is a real savior because He saves (another truism). He is a "potential savior" of those who are unsaved, but they can resist the free gift. All of God's gifts have to be appropriated by man. We are not robots.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Christ died for His Church:

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV).


Sure; but this assumes that the Church (the elect, as a Calvinist would see it) is all He died for. The text doesn't say that. I could just as easily say "He died for John Calvin" or "He died for Martin Luther." Saying one would not rule out the other. The elect are the ones who have appropriated God's free gift of salvation. It doesn't follow that He is not potentially the Savior of all men.

If Christ died for every human being in the whole world, why are any at all lost?

Because they choose to be, just as the person who is committing suicide refuses the aid of the rescue worker sent to save him, and jumps off the ledge or slits his wrist or blows his brains out.

Were the ones who "accepted" Him inherently more intelligent, more moral, more humble in themselves than their neighbours were? Why is one saved and another not?

Ultimately, we can't answer that with total satisfaction. But we are stuck with the biblical paradox: God saves all who are saved; 2) Man has free will. I don't think we will ever totally comprehend it. But we know that God, in His merciful, loving nature would not be so unjust as to condemn a person eternally to hell, where he has no choice or say whatever in his eternal destiny. God gives everyone enough grace to be saved if they will simply accept it.

None of this is directly part of the gospel, in any event, since it deals with the mechanics of who is saved, and why, and etc., whereas the biblical gospel (i.e., good news; not -- strictly speaking -- good theology or right speculations and conclusions on all the jots and tittles) is the message that salvation flows from Jesus Christ and His death on the cross as our Savior and Redeemer.

Huge topic, but that is my "short" answer. A new post comin' for sure!

Dave Armstrong said...

3) Irresistible Grace (Effectual Calling). Merely means that the grace of regeneration is invincible. Although the sinner can and does resist God's grace, that grace which enables him to embrace the saving work of Christ cannot be thwarted by those who are the objects of God's electing favour.

This is (logically reduced) merely another circular truism: "God's grace isn't thwarted by those who are saved." Obviously not! But that's not what is being disputed. It is whether anyone is able to resist God's grace. To me, it is virtually self-evident from both the biblical data and experience and common sense, that they surely can do so.

We are quickened, we are saved, we are raised up in Him (Ephesians 2). It is effectual because it actually accomplishes that for which it was intended.

In the case of the elect, of course. But the reprobate resist God's grace that is able to save them, if only they would cease their foolish rebellion.

This is not the call to the ear, but to the heart. One can resist the grace as it comes to the ear, but one cannot resist the call to the heart which only the Holy Spirit can bring. The objects of His effectual calling are predestined, called, justified and glorified:

30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (Romans 8:30 ESV).


We agree with predestination of the saved (Catholic Thomists and Molinists differ on the details of that and how free will ties in: I am a Molinist). Again, that is not the debate; the debate is whether those who are saved have resisted salvation with their free will, or if God predestined them to hell. All Catholics deny the latter (a corollary of limited atonement).

5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day" (Romans 11:5-8 ESV).

The hardening is not without their own free will. This is the language of providence: God is in control of all things, but it is not in such a way that we become robots and have no say in our own salvation or damnation.

I have a few papers that delve into the questioning of "hardening" and how biblical language simultaneously asserts both free will and God's providence: exactly as in the Catholic position: not the Reformed one that denies human free will.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:11-12 ESV).

We don't disagree with predestination of the elect, so this is neither here nor there in our debate.

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ESV).

Ditto.

It would be sufficient for me now if I could get a Catholic to say that, at the very least, he understands, though does not agree with me, regarding from where these Reformed doctrines come when reading the Scriptures.

I understand the entire rationale and have for many years, and I would even agree that the motivation of Reformed self-understanding is to uphold God's majesty and sovereignty. I reject it on the basis of having false (i.e., unbiblical) premises, and based on the limitation of inability to accept biblical "both/and" paradox and mystery. The Calvinist solution leads to God's mercy and justice being limited in ways that do violence to Scripture. I think the Catholic (and also Arminian) solutions are far more true to all of the Bible and what it teaches.

I would consider that a veritable coup!

I can't speak for anyone else, but I think I understand the doctrines as well as most Calvinists do. That won't stop many Protestants from denying that I do, however, just as they do in the case of sola Scriptura.

I'm delighted to be able to discuss the issues without rancor. It's a pleasure and a privilege, so hats off to you.

As to the gospel question (how this relates); again, it is not part of the biblical gospel, because irresistible grace is speculation upon the mechanics and "whys" of the question rather than what the gospel states: that God saves by His grace, and all who are saved are saved because of that (a thing Catholics agree with Protestants 100% on: if only the latter could figure that out).

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adomnan said...

Ronnie, quoting Adomnan: People weren't expected to know these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ -- or even that they would be fulfilled by the Messiah -- until they were.

Ronnie: On what basis do you arrive at that conclusion?

Adomnan: Because the passages you cite say that Jesus had to explain to them how He fulfilled the prophecies. Thereofore, they didn't believe until they saw them fulfilled and explained by Him.

Ronnie: The NT Scriptures themselves paint a different story.

Adomnan: No, they don't.

Ronnie: The Israelites are often chided for not believing and being saved and sometimes commended for believing and being saved in the many verses I have mentioned above.

Adomnan: But in all those verses from the NT Jesus is fulfilling the prophecies and explaining them. So the Isrealites are believing or not believing in Jesus who is right in front of them and in fulfilled prophecies.

Ronnie: So believing in the Seed is still believing in a type of Christ.

Adomnan: Believing in the Seed is not the same as believing that Jesaus Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification. Only the latter is the Christian Gospel. Otherwise, Jews nowadays would be believers in Jesus because they believe in those OT promises. They just don't believe they were fulfilled in Christ, but neither did anyone before He fulfilled them.

Besides, the Seed is not a "type" of Christ. If you accept this passage as prophetic, the Seed IS Christ.

Ronnie: Paul makes this clear in Galatians that the Seed was Christ.

Adomnan: Yes, after Christ appeared and fulfilled the prophecy. Paul knew something the ancients didn't know. After all, it is called "good news." If everyone in the Old Covenant already knew it, it could hardly be called "news."

Ronnie: In the Psalm it is called David’s Lord(i.e. still Christ ). So no, I don’t have the same problem. Everyone who is saved is saved by Christ. Before Christ came they believe in Him based on types, shadows, and promises.

Adomnan: No one can believe in a type or a shadow. We see them as types or foreshadowing after the antitypes occur. People do, of course, believe or trust or hope in promises, but the promise was for most people rather general, not the quite specific gospel of Christ.

I'm simply telling you what the reality was, but you persist in believing in a fantasy that people 1300 years before the resurrection believed in a suffering messiah who would die for sins and then rise from the dead. Show me anywhere in the OT where anyone ever thought believing this was necessary to be "saved." You're completely distorting Judaism and turning it into a kind of Christianity before the fact.

Ronnie: OK, maybe I missed something. I thought you were saying the Old Covenant believers could not be saved until they accepted the Christian gospel?

Adomnan: I was just making a concession to your language. Notice I put "save" in parentheses. Actually, I don't think that Old Covenant people were saved at all in a Christian sense until they were brought up from Hades by Christ. You have to be baptized to be "saved." Many of them were, however, righteous in the way that one could be righteous under the Old Covenant. which is how I was interpreting your "saved."

Ronnie: Having faith in all that God says is different than having faith in specific theological beliefs that have nothing to do with the Gospel.

Adomnan: I disagree. Faith is assent to whatever God reveals. Whoever does not assent to revelation lacks faith. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is an object of faith like any other.

Adomnan said...

Ronnie: It is this sense. At one point in history( i.e. before your dogmas were defined ) individuals could be saved without believing all the specifics about the faith. Later as the dogma is defined individuals must believe the specifics. That is analogous to what I’m saying in reference to the Old Covenant. They could believe in promises about the coming Messiah without believing in all the specifics.

Adomnan: Not at all. They are two completely separate things. The development of Christian doctrine is a matter of coming to see more clearly what God has already revealed, or even to recognize it has having been revealed. But in the Old Covenant, people were receiving new revelations regularly and so they were expected to begin to believe in something that had not been revealed earlier.

Defining a dogma contained in the deposit of the faith -- like the Holy Trinity -- is not a new revelation.

Ronnie: When the NT speak of OT believers being justified or saved it is in reference to the gospel.

Adomnan: I believe that the only examples of OT believers who are called justified -- none are called "saved" in a Christian sense -- are Abraham and David. But Abraham is justified because he believes God will give him progeny, and David is justified because his sins are not imputed to him (i.e., he's forgiven). Neither is justified because of faith in the gospel of Christ.

Besides, justification does not mean the same thing for us as it did for them, because Christian justification makes us "sharers in the divine nature." through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

You know, Ronnie. At this point, it seems to me that we are just repeating ourselves. I'm not sure there is anything left to be said on this topic.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Dave,

I don't mean to get into a big thing here either, but I just wanted to clarify one thing.

Total Depravity holds that (fallen) man can do no good thing whatsoever, even apart from the question of salvation. This isn't biblical, as I think I have demonstrated in several papers.

No. It does not mean this. But the emphasis is on the inclination of the fallen human heart which is inclined to evil continually (Gen. 6:5, cf. Romans 3:10-18; 7:18).

The Reformed understanding is that the good works he does perform are so riddled with error, pride and sin that they carry with them no efficacy for himself, nor are they genuinely pleasing to God. This is not to say that a sinner's good works are not relatively beneficial to others, perhaps in many respects, as following their natural consequences. But they avail him nothing in the end.

I'm glad you don't call it "utter depravity," which some Catholics I have spoken with do. Reformed theology knows nothing of an "utter depravity" in which every human being is a bad as is humanly possible.

PA

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Adomnan,

I would like your take on this. No rush. I see you are very engaged with Ronnie, and if you should wish to answer, I'll be around to read it.

On a topic related to things we have discussed previously:

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (1 Peter 3:18-20).

Regarding 1 Peter 3 and your understanding of it--you previouisly indicated, I think, that Jesus, between the time of His crucifixion and His ascension, descended to Hell and spoke to the "lost spirits who were in prison there." The passage seems to indicate that these are the ones who were killed in the great flood. Do you think these spirits are all those who died throughout history without having been saved in their lifetimes in addition to the flood victims? If so, how would you support that idea? Is the idea of Christ preaching to them in Sheol that they may have an additional opportunity, after death, to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour? If so, where does purgatory fit into all of this?

Another interpretation of these verses is that it was the Spirit of Christ who spoke to the hearts of these spiritually dead ones while they were still physically alive during the time of Noah--in fact, He spoke through Noah in a prophetic manner, which is, I think, the natural reading of this passage, and is consistent with the understanding of who these souls are.

PA

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Ben,

I haven't forgotten you. Why don't you tell me what you believe regarding the incarnation and I can reply to it. I'm a little lost as to what you're looking for. I'll say this. It seems to me that you're trying to make a case for Christ and His Church being identified with each other in such a way that there is no distinction between them. Am I on the right track? And does this speak to the question of the infallibility of the Church? Are you taking into account that the Church is Christ's betrothed, but the marriage has not yet been fully consummated? That is, we will not be perfect as an organism until glory.

Sorry, gotta make an emergency run to the store.

PA

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: Certainly I would agree with you that God does not punish sins that have already been forgiven.

Adomnan: My point is that God does not forgive sins AND punish them. Nobody is punished for sins that God forgives. Forgiveness excludes punishment entirely (well, eternal punishment in the case of God's forgiveness). It's not that He forgives X and punishes Y for X's sin. If X is forgiven, X's sins go unpunished, not shifted to someone else.

Pilgrimsarbour: 2 Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Is this not penal substitution in the context of the atonement?


Adomnan: No. The first part of the verse is best translated "He hath made him who knew no sin to be a sin offering for us." The word rendered "sin" here (hamartia) was also used to mean "sin offering" in the Septuagint and in Rom 8:3: "God (has sent) his own Son in a form like that of sinful flesh as a sin offering" (peri hamartias). Sin was not imputed to a "sin offering," and a sin offering was not thought of as being punished.

Pilgrimsarbour: If we accept that the first Adam's sin was imputed to his seed (all of humanity), wouldn't it follow that the second Adam's righteousness is imputed to His (spiritual) seed as an atonement for sin?

Adomnan: No, we inherited a fallen nature from Adam, which is why we are sinful. His sin was not merely "imputed" to us.

If you are making a comparison between what you call the imputation of Adam's sin to us with the imputation of our sin to Christ, it would follow that we must in fact be sinless like Christ and merely burdened with imputed sin that is not ours. As you can see, this comparison breaks down.

The whole theory is idle anyway, because the Bible never says that sins are imputed to anyone other than the one who commits them. The idea of imputing sin to an innocent person is absent from the scriptures.

Pilgrimsarbour: If Jesus's righteousness is imputed to His children, why do we need further "temporal punishments" and such, especially if our sins have been forgiven at the cross?

Adomnan: Jesus's righteousness is not imputed to his followers. (Christians are not usually called Jesus's children, but children of the Father.) The only thing imputed to anyone in the NT is his/her own faith (Rom 4), which is evidently not Jesus's righteousness.

Sin forgiven by God often entails temporal punishment. God cancels the eternal punishment, not the temporal punishment, although He may occasionally remove that, or some of it, as well.

If you expect all the temporal consequences of your sins to disappear with God's forgiveness, you'll usually be disappointed.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

(Christians are not usually called Jesus's children, but children of the Father.)

Of course you're right. I misspoke.

If you expect all the temporal consequences of your sins to disappear with God's forgiveness, you'll usually be disappointed.

No, I don't expect to escape the consequences of my sin, even though I am assured of His forgiveness. We may need to delineate, though, between the natural consequences of our behaviour as opposed to that being a "punishment" for sin. Thoughts?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I mean, of course, temporal consequences of my sin.

Adomnan said...

Taking another look at that passage from 1 Peter, I would apply only verse 3:19 to Christ's "descent into Hades: "By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison."

By verse 3:20, Peter is changing the subject and talking about Noah. In the Greek there is no "which" beginning verse 3:20. The verse doesn't actually say, "which sometimes were disobedient," but simply "They (not necessarily "the spirits in prison") were once disobedient, etc." So, the Noah stuff can be set aside for my purposes.

In any case, verse 3:19 is, it seems to me, a clear allusion to Christ's descent to Hades, which is also in the Apostles' Creed: "He descended into Hell." For us Catholics, this creed has the same authority as scripture.

And I understand this descent to be for the purpose of "saving" the righteous of the Old Covenant, who couldn't be brought to heaven until after Christ's death and resurrection. This has been the consensus opinion in Catholic theology, and it taken up by the Catholic Catechism, as I noted earlier.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: We may need to delineate, though, between the temporal consequences of our behaviour as opposed to that being a "punishment" for sin. Thoughts?

Adomnan: I think we undergo trials for two reasons: 1} We are being tested by God or 2) we are reaping the consequences of past and present action (often against our wills, which is why it is a question of "punishment"). The second category corresponds, in terms of sin, to what Jesus called "reaping what you sow." We can also reap happiness from good actions.

The other members of Christ's Body can help us bear our burdens of temporal punishment; that is, their merits can supply our deficiencies, because we are all members of one Body and we all help each other. If we do not reap what we've sown in this life, as justified Christians, we do so after death in purgatory -- because God's justice overlooks nothing. The shared merits of the Body of Christ also help us in purgatory, which is why Catholics have always prayed for the dead.

It is evident that Christians continue to "reap what they sow" even after justification. I don't see how Protestants can deny this.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Tim,

ME: "Total Depravity holds that (fallen) man can do no good thing whatsoever, even apart from the question of salvation."

I should have said "unregenerate man" there. My bad. I had in mind the guy who isn't following the Lord; is not any sort of professed Christian; is not "justified" or "saved" (in the Protestant sense).

No. It does not mean this. But the emphasis is on the inclination of the fallen human heart which is inclined to evil continually (Gen. 6:5, cf. Romans 3:10-18; 7:18).

Charles Hodge (Systematic Theology, one-volume abridgement, edited by Edward N. Gross, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988):

Original sin is "the loss or absence of original righteousness and consequent entire moral depravity of our nature, including or manifesting itself in an aversion from all spiritual good and from God as well as an inclination to all evil. . . . it renders the soul spiritually dead, so that the natural or unrenewed man is entirely unable of himself to do anything good in the sight of God." (pp. 296-297)

"this corruption is of such a nature that before regeneration fallen men are 'utterly indisposed, disabled, and opposed to all good.'" (p. 297)

"By total depravity is not meant that all men are equally wicked, nor that any man is as thoroughly corrupt as it is possible for a man to be, nor that men are destitute of all moral virtues . . . the Scriptural doctrine of total depravity, which includes the entire absence of holiness . . . There is common to all men a total alienation of the soul from God so that no unrenewed man either understands or seeks after God . . . They are destitute of any principle of spiritual life . . ." (pp. 298-299)

"a state of spiritual death implying the entire absence of any true holiness." (p. 300)

Hodge cites the example of Job, saying "I abhor myself" (Job 42:6), as an example of "the entire sinfulness of men" and "depravity" (p. 299) but neglects to mention what God Himself said of Job: "there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil" (Job 1:8; cf. 1:1)

The Reformed understanding is that the good works he does perform are so riddled with error, pride and sin that they carry with them no efficacy for himself, nor are they genuinely pleasing to God.

The unregenerate can perform no good works, or any spiritual good at all, according to Reformed teaching. Regenerate man, OTOH, can certainly do things that please God.

This is not to say that a sinner's good works are not relatively beneficial to others, perhaps in many respects, as following their natural consequences. But they avail him nothing in the end.

They are only "good" in a relative sense, not an essential, inherent sense, according to Calvinism. Luther's view in The Bondage of the Will, was even more extreme than Calvin's (as I recently noted in a post).

I'm glad you don't call it "utter depravity," which some Catholics I have spoken with do.

I refer to it by the standard terminology. "Utter lack of spiritual good" would be a literally accurate description of the Reformed view of the (acts and intentions of) unregenerate, though.

Reformed theology knows nothing of an "utter depravity" in which every human being is a bad as is humanly possible.

I agree. But what is believed is untrue and unbiblical (nothing personal!).

Dave Armstrong said...

John Calvin wrote in his Institutes, I, 15:4: "It cannot be doubted that when Adam lost his first estate he became alienated from God. Wherefore, although we grant that the image of God was not utterly effaced and destroyed in him, it was, however, so corrupted, that any thing which remains is fearful deformity . . ."

And in II, 1:8:

"Next comes the other point—viz. that this perversity in us never ceases, but constantly produces new fruits, in other words, those works of the flesh which we formerly described; just as a lighted furnace sends forth sparks and flames, or a fountain without ceasing pours out water. Hence, those who have defined original sin as the want of the original righteousness which we ought to have had, though they substantially comprehend the whole case, do not significantly enough express its power and energy. For our nature is not only utterly devoid of goodness, but so prolific in all kinds of evil, that it can never be idle. Those who term it concupiscence use a word not very inappropriate, provided it were added (this, however, many will by no means concede), that everything which is in man, from the intellect to the will, from the soul even to the flesh, is defiled and pervaded with this concupiscence; or, to express it more briefly, that the whole man is in himself nothing else than concupiscence."

And II, 1:9:

"Here I only wished briefly to observe, that the whole man, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, is so deluged, as it were, that no part remains exempt from sin, and, therefore, everything which proceeds from him is imputed as sin. Thus Paul says, that all carnal thoughts and affections are enmity against God, and consequently death (Rom. 8:7)."

And II, 3:4:

"But as those endued with the greatest talents were always impelled by the greatest ambitions (a stain which defiles all virtues and makes them lose all favour in the sight of God), so we cannot set any value on anything that seems praiseworthy in ungodly men. . . . The virtues which deceive us by an empty show may have their praise in civil society and the common intercourse of life, but before the judgment-seat of God they will be of no value to establish a claim of righteousness."

And II, 3:5:

". . . the will, deprived of liberty, is led or dragged by necessity to evil . . . if the free will of God in doing good is not impeded, because he necessarily must do good; if the devil, who can do nothing but evil, nevertheless sins voluntarily; can it be said that man sins less voluntarily because he is under a necessity of sinning?"

None of this can be substantiated from the Bible, which teaches that even unregenerate men are capable of doing "good."

For Calvin, everything has to be black-and-white with no greys at all. Whatever the unregenerate man does, it has to be for a bad motivation. It cannot possibly be a spiritually good thing, or an act intrinsically good. It's always soiled, corrupted, and perverted. And that simply doesn't line up with Scripture or the reality of the human experience or what we can verify even within our own lives before regeneration (and/or Christian commitment and discipleship) occurred.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maroun said...

Pilgrimsarbour said on total depravity , The Reformed understanding is that the good works he does perform are so riddled with error, pride and sin that they carry with them no efficacy for himself, nor are they genuinely pleasing to God. This is not to say that a sinner's good works are not relatively beneficial to others, perhaps in many respects, as following their natural consequences. But they avail him nothing in the end.
Are you telling us,that an unbeliever father or mother,which cares and loves for his or her children is riddled with sin and pride? What is this nonsense?
Listen to st Paul in his letter to the Romans chapter 2 :
Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

4

Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance?

5

By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God,

6

who will repay everyone according to his works: 3

7

eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works,

8

but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness.

9

Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.

10

But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek.

11

4 There is no partiality with God.

12

5 All who sin outside the law will also perish without reference to it, and all who sin under the law will be judged in accordance with it.

13

For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified.

14

For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law.

15

They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, 6 while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them

16

on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people's hidden works through Christ Jesus.

St Paul didnt speak and say here that the gentiles had a total depravity as you claimed .
It is true that all their and our good works are not enough to save anyone,but plz dont tell us that an unbeliever is totally depraved..
And as Dave said,that for the reformers the meaning of totaly depraved is , Total Depravity holds that (fallen) man can do no good thing whatsoever, even apart from the question of salvation.
And not as you claimed yourself ,

Pilgrimsarbour
No. It does not mean this. But the emphasis is on the inclination of the fallen human heart which is inclined to evil continually (Gen. 6:5, cf. Romans 3:10-18; 7:18).

So , it seems to me at least that you are just trying to save yourself , because you do know as anyone else that , Humanbeings , and i mean unbelievers are not totaly depraved,but totaly uncapable of saving themselves yes,but not totally evil as the reformers claim...

And you still hasent answered my question , when i told you that our God is a lover not a rapist as C.S.Lewis said . He freely wants us to say yes to Him and to freely love Him , and not as you claim , to force people to love Him .
That`s not the true God , i mean the rapist , but it`s the allah of the muslims and the god of calvin.
And as C.S.Lewis also said , that if God will force someone to go to heaven , then heaven will be hell to him or her,because he or she never even wanted to be there . And that is why God will never ever force anyone to love Him...
GBU

Adomnan said...

Ronnie: They could believe in promises about the coming Messiah without believing in all the specifics.

Adomnan: Reviewing this discussion we've been having, it seems to me that this sentence encapsulates our disagreement. As I see it, the good news of Jesus Christ is a matter of "the specifics" (death to sin and resurrection for righteousness, which we ourselves undergo in baptism in sacramental identification with Christ). The gospel of Jesus Christ is not merely the message that the Messiah will come or has come.

It also strikes me as untenable to maintain that the ancient Hebrews were required to believe in a coming Messiah to be counted righteous. Maybe at some point in their history this belief became so general that it was considered to be a sort of article of faith, but that would not always have been the case.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Maroun,

Are you telling us,that an unbeliever father or mother,which cares and loves for his or her children is riddled with sin and pride? What is this nonsense?

First of all, I don't know anyone, including myself, who isn't riddled with sin and pride. In a more sober and introspective moment, if you examine your life very carefully and ask God to help you in this, you'll begin to see it in your own life as well. But it seems to me that you have a somewhat light view of sin, that it is not really all that bad. I have given the verses to indicate how heinous and pervasive sin is. You should take a look at Isaiah 6. Or better yet, take a look at the cross. I don't think you'll be able to maintain that sin is not a very, very big deal which infects everything we do. I don't think Dave denies this, if I'm not mistaken, having spent many hours in (what I consider to be) fruitful discussion with him on related matters.

I admit that "Total Depravity" as the T in the TULIP acrostic is problematic. That is why I prefer the term "Radical Corruption," which more accurately, I think, states the case. "Total Depravity" is subject to all sorts of misunderstandings, as you have demonstrated here. Again, to be totally depraved means that there is no aspect of our being that is not subject to the taint of sin, so that even our best works have a mixture of good and bad in them. I don't see how you can deny this. No one is perfect, is he? We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. The doctrine does not mean that every human being is as wicked as they possibly can be; it is not UTTER depravity. No. God's restraining power prevents that, though we sometimes wish He would restrain more according to His purpose and plan.

As far as pleasing God with good works, we have to adopt His definition of what good is:

And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God (Luke 18:19).

Now by the human definition of good, all kinds of human beings do all kinds of good things all of the time, relative to our own varying definitions of good. But that is not what the doctrine is speaking to.

So often believers fall into the trap of comparing themselves with other people and think in terms of relative "goodness" when compared with them. But that is not the standard. The standard for goodness is God Himself, which is perfection. No one can attain it, hence our need for the active obedience of Christ, but I know Catholics don't believe this, which I don't care to take off onto another rabbit trail at this point.

Back to work. I'll check in later and respond to you all.

PA

Ronnie said...


I said:
but here is the analogous point. You believe a Catholic today not only has to believe in the specific Christian gospel about Christ’s death and resurrection, but also the rest of the dogmas(e.g. Marian dogma, papal infallibility) defined by the church that contains a lot more. However, before these dogmas were defined one still could be saved.

Dave responded:
but here is the analogous point. You believe a Calvinist today not only has to believe in the specific Christian gospel about Christ’s death and resurrection, but also the rest of the dogmas(e.g. TULIP) defined by the Calvinist creeds that contains a lot more. However, before these dogmas were defined one still could be saved.

And the following:

I said:
Catholicism requires belief in things such as Papal Infallibility and Marian Dogma to be saved with have nothing to do with the gospel.

Dave responded:
Calvinism requires belief in things such as Total Depravity and Limited Atonement and Irresistible Grace to be saved that have nothing to do with the gospel.

Dave,
I’m somewhat surprised by your response here. I would think with all the years you have spent debating and reading the works of Calvinist and Reformed believers you would know the above is not true.

One does not have to believe in any of the TULIP petals to be saved. As a matter of fact you can join a Reformed Church and not embrace TULIP.

Maroun said...

Pilgrimsarbour .
Have you noticed that again,you ignored my questions?and you ignored the verses which i gave you,and you also completly ignored what i told you about C.S.Lewis.
I just hope that the reasonwhy you did it is because of your work.But plz try to adress specificaly the things which i asked you,and dont change the subject plz
because the things which i talked about and my questions have nothing to do whatsoever with you said to me.
GBU

Dave Armstrong said...

One does not have to believe in any of the TULIP petals to be saved. As a matter of fact you can join a Reformed Church and not embrace TULIP.

I'm sure you can join and sit in the back pew and put money in the plate, but you certainly couldn't be an elder, if it is a traditional, conservative, orthodox Reformed church.

No doubt it varies a bit (virtually everything in Protestantism does, after all), but there are plenty of examples of Reformeds equating the gospel with TULIP. In a few seconds on Google I could easily locate some. For example:

"There are two views concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. First, there is what we call Calvinism. Then, there are varying degrees of unbelief.

"The essential doctrines concerning salvation, which the Puritans and all good Christians cling to, are summed up in the acronym T.U.L.I.P."

(A Puritan's Mind, "T.U.L.I.P."; RPCGA denomination)

http://www.apuritansmind.com/tulip/tulip.htm

Here's a classic equation of Calvinism (hence, TULIP) with the gospel, by the famous preacher and Calvinist icon Charles Spurgeon:

"I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what is nowadays called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel...unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the Cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called."

(AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1, p. 168)

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/1985/1487_What_We_Believe_About_the_Five_Points_of_Calvinism/

James White (Reformed Baptist) often seems to virtually equates TULIP and the gospel, but he does at times, thankfully, make a distinction:

"I believe TULIP represents the spectrum of gospel truth most reprehensible to the natural man. . . . I believe TULIP then is vital to maintaining gospel balance . . . So is TULIP co-extensive with the gospel? No, TULIP refers to a portion of the gospel, not to its whole."

(1-28-07)

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1717

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

James Montgomery Boice wrote:

"the gospel is not really the gospel unless it is a gospel of grace, . . . the gospel stands or falls with the doctrines of grace."

(The Doctrines of Grace: Rediscovering the Evangelical Gospel, co-author Philip Graham Ryken, Crossway Books, 2002, p. 18)

http://books.google.com/books?id=XE9RPzQmbQYC&pg=PA18&dq=TULIP+gospel&lr=&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&as_brr=3&cd=12#v=onepage&q=TULIP%20gospel&f=false

Then on the same page he goes on to argue that the doctrines of grace are (y'all guessed it!) TULIP. Therefore, without TULIP there is no gospel. It is gutted. This is exactly what I have argued: Calvinism equates TULIP with the gospel: something the Bible doesn't do (even if we grant that the five doctrines of TULIP are all true).

Richard J. Mouw:

"I believe that TULIP, properly understood, captures something very central to the gospel." (p. 14)

"TULIP captures some very important elements of the story of salvation's plan." (p. 15)

(Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2004)

http://books.google.com/books?id=9lAhRFgzm5AC&pg=PA14&dq=TULIP+gospel&lr=&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&as_brr=3&cd=23#v=onepage&q=TULIP%20gospel&f=false

J. I. Packer:

"But in fact the purpose of this phraseology, as we shall see, is to safeguard the central affirmation of the gospel -- that Christ is a redeemer who really does redeem. . . . The real negations are those of Arminianism, which denies that election, redemption and calling are saving acts of God. Calvinism negates these negations in order to assert the positive content of the gospel . . ."

(A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life, Crossway Books, 1994, pp. 129-130)

http://books.google.com/books?id=FxGiTGxd_M0C&pg=PA128&dq=TULIP+gospel&lr=&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&as_brr=3&cd=61#v=onepage&q=TULIP%20gospel&f=false

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Armstrong said...

I just put up a new post chronicling the debate on Calvinism. Please place any further comments on that topic in that combox. Thanks.

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/04/dialogue-with-calvinist-on-whether.html

Ronnie said...


I said:
One does not have to believe in any of the TULIP petals to be saved. As a matter of fact you can join a Reformed Church and not embrace TULIP.

Dave responsed:
I'm sure you can join and sit in the back pew and put money in the plate, but you certainly couldn't be an elder, if it is a traditional, conservative, orthodox Reformed church.

But the issue at hand wasn’t who can be an Elder it was whether or not someone could be saved. Are you conceding that you previous statements to the contrary was in error or do you really want to try to defend that charge is obviously false to anyone knowing that basics about Reformed or Calvinism?
By the way, I find this statement of yours very curious:

“I'm sure you can join and sit in the back pew and put money in the plate, but you certainly couldn't be an elder”

It almost seems like you are making the argument that if one can’t be an Elder they are sitting in the back pew and only giving money?

I’m sure that can’t be your intent, because isn’t that the kind of argument feminist make against your church for not allowing women to be Priest?

Finally, the list of quotes you provided don't prove your initial point. As a matter of fact some of the men you quoted(e.g. Boice, James White ) are on record in many places stating the opposite. Furthermore, both of these men belong to confessional churches so it is fairly easy to find out what the believe is necessary for salvation.

Now, if a Protestant had made such an obvious mischaracterization about Catholicism you would shouting from the roof top how ignorant they are of Catholicism. So hope you don’t try to defend this argument but instead acknowledge that you went a bit to far in your argument.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Maroun,

You asked me this question:

Are you telling us,that an unbeliever father or mother,which cares and loves for his or her children is riddled with sin and pride? What is this nonsense?

I answered that question fairly extensively given the amount of time I had today, as it was the first question in your comments. Are you saying it was not a genuine question but rather you were being merely rhetorical? I will have to learn to discern when you actually want an answer to a question and when you don't, I suppose.

I hope to have time to get into your other questions later tonight, though I'll need to review them first.

PA

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Part 1

Maroun,

I reread your comments so I will try to address them.

First, I confidently reiterate my point that you do not understand the Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity, that is, Radical Corruption. I have nothing to add to it as I spent a good deal of time on it in my previous response to you. I would say go back and read it again, as well as the other responses I've given in this thread and Dave's other threads.

unbelievers are not totaly depraved,but totaly uncapable of saving themselves yes,but not totally evil as the reformers claim...

They are totally unable to save themselves, yes. The Reformed doctrine does not mean totally evil. Why did you change the word from "depraved" to "evil?" Do you think they are absolutely synonymous? Well, let's take a look at Webster's regarding these two words:

Main Entry: de·praved
Pronunciation: \di-ˈprāvd\
Function: adjective
Date: 14th century
: marked by corruption or evil; especially : perverted
___________________________________

Main Entry: 1 evil
Pronunciation: \ˈē-vəl, British often & US also ˈē-(ˌ)vil\
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): evil·er or evil·ler; evil·est or evil·lest
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English yfel; akin to Old High German ubil evil
Date: before 12th century
1 a : morally reprehensible : sinful, wicked b : arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct (a person of evil reputation)

For our purposes here the first definition of evil is most applicable. Do you see that the two words are related but distinct? One who is depraved is marked by evil; it does not mean that he is utterly evil. Depravity is more of an outworking of evil symptomatically. When the Reformed say "totally depraved," they mean that mankind is tainted through and through with sin. I understand that you do not believe this. You're going to have to deal with Paul's epistolary material on this matter, though I'm beginning to wonder if you even accept the Roman Catholic understanding of fallen human nature. Do you believe man is basically good?

As far as Lewis saying that God is a lover, not a rapist: first I would have to see the quote and some context to understand what he's saying. He was not Reformed, of course, and I am not aware of anything he wrote specifically on the subject of Reformed doctrines. If he means that God "forces" people into heaven like a rapist forces sex on a woman, then I would have to disavow that statement completely as downright blasphemous. That's disappointing because I really like Lewis on a lot of issues. Sadly, some Catholics I have had extensive conversations with don't let us Reformed folks embrace parts of what one writer says while rejecting the rest of what he says. There seems to be this odd need to hold our feet to the fire: if we don't agree with Calvin or Luther 100%, they seem to think that is some kind of smoking gun in their favour. I confess that I don't get it. I have had this conversation many times with Catholics on other blogs. My friend Dave Armstrong has never done this to me as he can be quite sharp on Protestant and Reformed issues, at least from time to time! ;-)

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Part 2

But more to the point:

1) All men sin and are under the wrath of God; their hearts are darkened

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; (Romans 3:9-11)

2) No man wants God's true salvation plan, nor do they seek it; they pursue evil continually and do not fear God

11 (cont.) no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. 13 Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. 14 Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:11-18)

3) God's Spirit draws the Church, His elect, replacing their hearts of stone with hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19; cf. Ephesians 2; John 6); this makes them willing and desirous to believe and worship Him, and they will grow in the grace which He has provided for them that they might do the good works He had prepared for them from the foundation of the world. The believer then grows in grace through sanctification throughout his life until the final consummation at the Last Day when we shall receive our glorified resurrected bodies and live and reign with Him in righteousness forever.

If you would rather God not draw men to Himself but leave us all to our own devices, that's a terrible position to be in. Perhaps you think St. Paul is speaking hyperbolically? For my own part, I am going to take St. Paul's descriptions and admonitions very seriously and literally.

I have now addressed everything you posed to me. I understand that you will most likely not like my answers; that does not mean I didn't provide any.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pilgrimsarbour said...

Ben,

I decided to take your advice and thought about what you said in your last comment. I look forward with great anticipation to your next grandiose, sweeping manifestations regarding your church without any accompanying argumentation of any kind.

I especially like the ones that say (paraphrasing), "You useless Protty tool--don't you know that I was smart enough to join myself to the One True Church while you, pitiful fool, continue to languish in the spiritual wilderness in rebellion against God, against His Christ, and against His Church? Gee. Stinks to be you..."

Thank you again for your kind words of encouragement.

Your separated brother in Christ,

PA

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maroun said...

Hi Ben.
Didn`t you know,that before the reformation,there were no christians?
Ask the reformers.
The funny thing is , that the reformers always pretend to go back to the origin.But how strange , that all the church fathers and all the church teachings is in agreement with us and not with them.
So it must be , that , as i told you above , all the christians before the reformation are doomed ( which is impossible of course ) or on the other hand , the reformers have corrupted the faith and went far from orthodoxy ( which of course is a fact ) .
GBU

Maroun said...

Pilgrimsarbour.
First of all , thank you for trying to answer.
Look , we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord . So plz dont think that i want to offend you , or that i consider you my enemy . Not at all .
But you quoted this verse And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God (Luke 18:19).
And then you said So often believers fall into the trap of comparing themselves with other people and think in terms of relative "goodness" when compared with them. But that is not the standard. The standard for goodness is God Himself, which is perfection.
Look , with all my respect , but you want to compare our goodness with God`s goodness?Even the angels are not pure enough nor good enough comparing with God , but that dosent make them totaly deprived .
So that is the point , because the verse which you quoted from Luke , is true but listen to our Lord Jesus himself in the same gospel in Luke 6:45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
And again in Mathew 12:35 The good man out of his good treasure bringeth forth good things: and the evil man out of his evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
So why did the truth himself which never lies speak about good men and evil men?So as you can see from these verses and many other verses , such as Matt.6:4 , and Matt 7:17 and Matt. 25:21 and 23 and Luke 6:43 and so on . If we are not and of course we are not as good as God,that dosent mean that we are totaly depraved and that we all seek evil...
Let me try and give you another example in acts 10:1-2 about Cornelius . Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, a centurion of the [1] band called the Italian band , [1) Or cohort ]
2 a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, who gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.
Does he seem to you totaly depraved?and plz when i say totaly depraved by the roformed standard , as Dave quoted , Charles Hodge (Systematic Theology, one-volume abridgement, edited by Edward N. Gross, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988):

Original sin is "the loss or absence of original righteousness and consequent entire moral depravity of our nature, including or manifesting itself in an aversion from all spiritual good and from God as well as an inclination to all evil. . . . it renders the soul spiritually dead, so that the natural or unrenewed man is entirely unable of himself to do anything good in the sight of God." (pp. 296-297)

"this corruption is of such a nature that before regeneration fallen men are 'utterly indisposed, disabled, and opposed to all good.'" (p. 297)
Now if you want to change the meaning of totaly depraved , so be it , but that`s your personal opinion , and that`s of course another big problem among the reformed,diversity and contradicted opinions and very different ones...
So , again , we catholics do not deny sin,nor refuse sin nor deny God`s grace , nor deny that Jesus is the only savior of the world , nor deny that grace comes before our free will , nor deny that free will alone is not enough to save anyone , nor deny that no one comes to Jesus unless he is drawn by the Father and so on ...
But still , this grace , this undeserved unmerited gift must be accepted freely by us and not forced on us . No one is forced to accept a free gift...
So God will never ever force anyone to accept Him or love Him...
GBU

Ronnie said...

Ben M,

No problem my man. I've been at this awhile that it takes a lot more than that to get me going.

Take care,
Ronnie

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Maroun,

The free gift of grace we receive is freely accepted by us. No one forces us to take it. God gives us a willingness and desire to want to receive his free gift of eternal salvation, whereas we would not be willing of ourselves because our fallen nature is inclined to evil. That is all the Reformed doctrine is saying. He gives us the gift of replacing our heart of stone with a heart of flesh so that we will want to accept His free gift of eternal salvation in Christ.

Any news on the source for that C.S. Lewis quote?

PA

Maroun said...

To Pilgrimsarbour . C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
And you can also check in the book called , finding God in the book of Narnia.
By the way , thanks for answering,but i still disagree with you,because your answer is not accurate and incomplete and wrong.
Again i say that God wants and desires all men to be saved and not all kinds of men , but He truly love all men,because He created all men and God is love.
So God dosent just love some,and dosent want or desires to save just some,but all,even though not all will be saved,but not because God didnt want them to be saved,but because they didnt accept His grace...
John 3:18—"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed."

John 3:36—"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

John 5:39-40—"You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life."

John 8:24—"Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins."

John 12:48—"He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day."

Luke 10:16—"The one who listens to you [disciples] listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me."
GBU

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hence, while there is a certain equality between Head and members, this does not at all mean that the member are as great as the Head, but only that they are one with Him.

If you agree with this statement, then you and I are in agreement. But it was like pulling teeth to get any of you to admit to this. I understand, though, as you apparently felt you couldn't say this and maintain your "infallible Church" theory.

It is enough for now. I am content.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pilgrimsarbour said...

Ben,

This is a reference to another post and may not have anything to do with you personally. Sorry about the confusion.

PA

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maroun said...

Hi Dave.
I am not trying to be smart nor trying to stone anyone nor am i trying to condeming people.
But truly i cannot understand for example Pilgrimsarbour,even though i do respect his honesty,and also his very educated way of sharing and asking questions.
But the point which i still dont understand is this.
Our Lord Jesus Christ,asked us to love even our enemies.
Now my question is this.If we which are sinners and way way from being perfect,must love even our enemies.Then how could the calvinists pretend that our Lord Jesus does not love everyone , but just some ( the elect )?
And i know that some of them might even say,that Jesus loves everyone,but how could He love everyone when He dosent according to them wants to save everyone?
Are we better than God?I mean if we must and can love our enemies,how could we say that Jesus loves only some ( the elect )
Because when they say and insist that , He predestined some for glory and others for destruction,i really cannot see the love in this way of thinking?
I hope that i have made myself clear...And plz Dave,i repeat that i am not trying to attack anyone,but just an honest inquiry and a simple clear wondering.
GBU

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Maroun,

Well, I would ask you this. Why doesn't your concept of the love of God preclude anyone from going to Hell? In fact, why is there a Hell at all? If you answer "people choose to go to Hell," that still does not answer why God will still be putting some people there. Is it a loving thing for God to do that He sends people to Hell? I've gotta think that most people in Hell really don't want to be there and won't think that God loves them and that's why He put them there.

Your concept of the love of God must honestly address the concept of Hell. Do you think God has an equal love for Hitler as He does for Saint Paul, for example? Why or why not? Was Paul just luckier than old Adolf? Did he make better decisions? Did Paul hate Jesus Christ less than Adolf did before Paul had his conversion experience? Why was Paul converted and Der Führer was not?

No, we must let God speak to this matter of the nature of His love for His creation and understand that there are different degrees of love, just as He designed differing kinds and degrees of love for human beings. God wants me to love my wife as Christ loved the Church, right? He doesn't want me to love my neighbour's wife as Christ loved the Church, does He? Yet, I am to love her, am I not?

I think you really need to spend some time thinking much more deeply about these issues than it appears to me you have up until this point, and much less emotionally. Perhaps later on we can discuss things such as common grace and a more complete and definitive understanding of what it means that God is love, which is, as I have noted before, but one of His many glorious attributes.

Blessings,

PA

Dave Armstrong said...

I'll let PA speak for himself on this one (and he did). I think there are insuperable difficulties in the Calvinist position, including things having to do with God's very nature.

But OTOH, the problem of evil and existence of hell do raise very difficult questions for every Christian position, even if one accepts free will. Why did God allow the fall? Why did He ever allow evil to get off the ground, knowing what was to happen? Etc. No position, IMO, offers completely satisfying answers. It is ultimately beyond our understanding.

We can only say (and this is how I have argued) that He knew what would happen and thought that free will was better than all-good robots who couldn't choose otherwise. But emotionally and at a gut level it is still very difficult to comprehend.

In the end we must all exercise much faith.

Maroun said...

Pilgrimsarbour.
Are you serious?God loves people differently?Different levels of love?
Then you asked , does God loves Hitler,the same way He loves Paul?well yes,because God loves all men,all men,all men.The problem has never been and never will be God,but us,men.
Some men dont love God,they chose not to be in His kingdom,which is heaven,and by refusing to be in His kingdom,that`s why they are in heaven.They wanted to be separated from God,they didnt want Him to be their king,their ruler...And God respects their freedom.
And then you want to compare our levels and our way of loving with God`s love?Our love is limited,yes,our love has different levels,yes,but God`s love is unlimited,because God always gives Himself fully for men,all men,independently of the fact,if we will love Him back or not or even how much.
And in Matthew 22:35-38 , and one of them [a scholar of the law] 20 tested him by asking,

36

"Teacher, 21 which commandment in the law is the greatest?"

37

He said to him, 22 "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

38

This is the greatest and the first commandment.
So again,according to you,God asks us to love Him completly,and you think that He dosent loves us completly?

So again,it`s the same problem with you and all the Calvinists,you want to make yourselves a god after your own immage,instead of permitting God to transform you into His own immage...
God respects our freedom,He will always do it,because this is how He wants to do things with us.So plz stop accusing God of throwing people in hell,stop accusing Him of not wanting to take some persons to heaven.Stop saying that God dosent love all men...
GBU

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Part 1

Maroun,

I confess that I'm waiting for you to scream out like that ubiquitous viral video guy:

Leave God the Father alooooonnneeee!

But when you recover yourself, if you could answer a few questions for me I'd appreciate it. I've adopted this formula to see if we can keep on track:

PA: God loves everybody exactly the same, no qualifications of any kind?

MA: Yes.

PA: So God loves Hitler in the exact same way as He loves St. Paul, no degrees or differences?

MA: Correct.

PA: Why does God send Hitler to Hell?

MA: Because Hitler chose to go there. God does not send him there.

PA: In spite of what you say, Hitler has no power or ability to send his own spirit to Hell; Christ as judge must perform the actual act of sending him there, yes?

MA: (replies)

PA: Was it a loving act of God toward Hitler to send his spirit to Hell?

MA: (replies)

PA: Before the foundation of the earth, God looked down the corridors of time and knew who would choose Him and who would not, according to your point of view, correct?

MA: (replies)

PA: So God knew that, for example, John Smith would choose Him but John Doe would not, though He loved them exactly the same?

MA: Right.

PA: Was it loving of God toward John Doe to create John Doe although He knew before the foundation of the earth that John Doe would not accept Him and would end up in Hell? If so, why?

MA: (replies)

PA: Again, if God knew John Doe would end up in Hell, why did He create him in the first place, and was that an act of a loving God? Why or why not?

MA: (replies)

(cont.)

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Part 2

PA: If God knew ahead of time that John Doe would be in Hell but created him anyway, how does God "respect his freedom" in John Doe's decision to accept or reject Him?

MA: (replies)

PA: How does God's decision to create a person who He knows will end up in Hell differ to any degree from the Reformed understanding that God determines who will be in Heaven and who will be in Hell?

MA: (replies)

PA: To put it another way, if God does not intervene in the life of John Doe that he might be saved, is He not then determining what will happen to John Doe? Aren't God's knowing and His determining essentially the same thing since He has the power, as God, to intervene in the lives of people that they may be saved or not?

MA: (replies)

(cont.)

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Part 3

PA: In Acts 9, the conversion of Saul is presented. Here I will quote some of the passage:

1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" 5 And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." 11 And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." 13 But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name." 15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.


PA: In what ways did God "respect" Saul's freedom to choose Him or not?

MA: (replies)

Thank you and blessings in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

Pilgrimsarbour said...

We can only say (and this is how I have argued) that He knew what would happen and thought that free will was better than all-good robots who couldn't choose otherwise. But emotionally and at a gut level it is still very difficult to comprehend.

That's fine, Dave. But I'd like to see you deal with these questions I asked Maroun:

PA: How does God's decision to create a person who He knows will end up in Hell differ to any degree from the Reformed understanding that God determines who will be in Heaven and who will be in Hell?

PA: To put it another way, if God does not intervene in the life of John Doe that he might be saved, is He not then determining what will happen to John Doe? Aren't God's knowing and His determining essentially the same thing since He has the power, as God, to intervene in the lives of people that they may be saved or not?


And what about the conversion of Saul? Was that an example of Saul's free choice?

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pilgrimsarbour said...

Ben,

Once again your assertions don't address my questions to any degree. You merely state that your church said something once and that I am wrong and that that should be enough for me.

I'm afraid ours (yours and mine) is a very unsatisfying exchange (if you could call it that) for me.

Blessings in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Gotta go get dinner and will be indisposed for some time until much later this evening.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adomnan said...

Maroun raises a telling point when he remarks that Jesus, who told us "Love your enemies," must practice what he preached. And so Jesus loves his enemies and died for them.

I personally think Maroun's argument is unanswerable.

However, I would like to look at this issue from another angle. For us Cathollics, to claim that Jesus didn't die for everyone, as Calvinists do, implies 1) that God is stingy and abstemious with his love and grace and 2) that Jesus's sacrifice wasn't sufficient, wasn't abundant enough, to cover everyone.

But here's the problem that Calvinists have. They have to profess a limited atonement because of their conception of how the atonement works. They believe -- I know not how -- that sacrifice is a matter of transferring guilt to a sacrificial victim and then punishing that victim instread of the guilty party. This is called "penal substitutionary atonement."

Given this belief, they are compelled to conclude that Jesus's atonement is limited only to those people whose punishment was inflicted on Jesus and that all of these people necessarily enjoy impunity (are "saved"). They must escape divine punishment because someone else has already been punished in their place.

Now, all the questions that Pilgrimsarbour is asking Maroun are questions that Pilgrimsarbour himself cannot answer. If PA's stance is that God loves some people more than others, he is just begging the question, in my opinion. He has not dealt with the issue that underlies all his questions, which is "Why does God love some more than others?" My guess is that he'd say, "I don't know."

But if that's true, if PA doesn't know and perhaps dosen't even think it's possible to know, then why is he asking Maroun to answer questions that he himself can't answer, questions like: "If God knew John Doe would end up in Hell, why did He create him in the first place, and was that an act of a loving God?"

There's no problem with admitting we just don't know. God hasn't revealed everything.

Adomnan said...

It's somewhat odd that you should use Paul as an example of the mysterious workings of God's grace, Pilgrimsarbour. Paul is one case where there's not much mystery, because the Lord explains why He chose Paul to be the Apostle to the Gentiles:

"15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."

Paul was chosen to be an instrument because he had the qualities Christ needed to spread the gospel. And Paul was certainly successful in that! I don't understand what "Calvinist" implication Pilgrimsarbour sees in Paul's election. It seems quite clear to me why God chose him. God simply found the best possible person for the job.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Adomnan,

1) that God is stingy and abstemious with his love and grace

Who are you, oh man, to question God on how He chooses to dispense His grace? God is stingy? What is that? God is somehow obligated to dispense grace absolutely freely and equally at all times and on all peoples? I'd like to see what those OT cultures destroyed under the wrath of God have to say about that.

2) that Jesus's sacrifice wasn't sufficient, wasn't abundant enough, to cover everyone.

Christ died for His Church:

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

I don't see how my questions to Maroun are somehow inappropriate, or irregular, or irrelevant. "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer to me. I have had to answer that way from time to time myself. There is no shame in it. I'm surprised, given our interaction to date, that you would think I can't stand to be seen as ignorant of something. Have I not admitted to you freely, on one or two occasions, that I didn't think I was smart enough to follow your argument? That goes beyond "I don't know," don't you think?

Paul was chosen to be an instrument because he had the qualities Christ needed to spread the gospel.

Lucky for God that Saul just happened to be going His way!

But seriously--I think Paul's assessment of these things makes more sense:

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).

I point to Saul's conversion as an example of someone with whom God didn't plead, woo or appeal to him to make a free will decision for Christ. It was, in fact, a dramatic intervention in Saul's life. He even told Saul to change his name to Paul. There's no record of Paul being anything but grateful that Jesus broke through his hard heart of stone, giving him a heart of flesh and putting him on the road to salvation in Christ Jesus. Nor was he dragged into the kingdom kicking and screaming as some people like to misrepresent it. All indications are that he was not resisting arrest. God made him willing.

Best in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: Who are you, oh man, to question God on how He chooses to dispense His grace? God is stingy? What is that?

Adomnan: Ah, you are making an allusion to Romans 9:20, "Who are you, o man..." However, you're misapplying the passage. Paul is not putting down the Judaizers for over-extending God's generosity. Rather, like me in this conversation with you, Paul is taking his narrow opponents to task for restricting God's grace (in their case, to Jews, denying it to Gentiles). You, like the Judaizers, argue that God is parsimonious with His grace; I, like Paul, argue that He is generous.

But who are you, o man, to restrict God's grace?

Pilgrimsarbour: God is somehow obligated to dispense grace absolutely freely and equally at all times and on all peoples?

Adomnan: No, not equally, although always freely. But He is "obligated" by justice and love to give everyone sufficient grace to be saved, if they only would.

Pilgrimsarbour: I'd like to see what those OT cultures destroyed under the wrath of God have to say about that.

Adomnan: But it was a grace for God to "destroy" a culture that had become too addicted to evil. Even God's wrath is a grace, as the prophets -- and Paul! -- well knew. It was wrath against sin that restored righteousness.

Pilgrimsarbour: Christ died for His Church.

Adomnan: But of course! If Christ died for everybody, He certainly died for His church.

Pilgrimsarbour: I don't see how my questions to Maroun are somehow inappropriate, or irregular, or irrelevant. "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer to me.

Adomnan: Well, okay, glad we cleared that up. It does seem a bit strange, though, that you would ask a whole series of detailed questions, to each of which you thought the most appropriate answer was "I don't know." Your questions appeared to be aimed at getting Maroun to admit something other than just "I don't know."

And if we can't know, why are we even discussing this? (I mean, it's fine if you want to. I just don't personally see the point.)

Pilgrimsarbour: Lucky for God that Saul just happened to be going His way!

Adomnan: They were both lucky that fine day. The word "lucky" originally meant "happy," and it still has that connotation.

Pilgrimsarbour: But seriously--I think Paul's assessment of these things makes more sense:

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).

Adomnan: Paul is speaking here of the progress of sanctification/justification of those who are already in Christ. This passage doesn't refer to election or predestination. Besides, I'd say that "the works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" does not refer to the specific works that this or that person actually does. Rather, it refers to the good works that Jesus taught us to do, but whose accomplishment is entirely in our power (aided by God's grace). God does not program our lives that minutely. It's sanctification, not robotization.

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: I point to Saul's conversion as an example of someone with whom God didn't plead, woo or appeal to him to make a free will decision for Christ. It was, in fact, a dramatic intervention in Saul's life.

Adomnan: Sure. But Paul still responded freely to the dramatic intervention.

I think that one of the problems with the Protestant schema of conversion is that they tend too frequently to take Paul's conversion as a model. Yet, Paul's conversion was very unusual, unique even, and was never intended to be the pattern of conversion for every Christian.

And Paul experienced "drama" because he was being called to take on a fundamental role in the spread of the gospel. His conversion was not just a matter of his personal salvation, as Paul himself well knew! After all, he wrote in Romans that he would willingly be condemned for the salvation of the Jews: "For I could even wish to be accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen by descent." (Rom 9:3)

This is hardly the language who thought of the happening on the road to Damascus as a matter of his personal salvation!

Pilgrimsarbour: All indications are that he was not resisting arrest. God made him willing.

Adomnan: God only makes us willing by appealing to our wills, the way the smell of dinner makes you willing to eat or, if you'd prefer a loftier comparison, by the way the shock of beauty makes you willing to love.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Ah, you are making an allusion to Romans 9:20, "Who are you, o man..."

Nah, not really. Just being snarky. I didn't intend to get into the whole judaizer thing.

As to the rest, my answers aren't "I don't know," and then I expected Maroun to give me detailed answers. I have my own answers to those questions but they would not be found satisfactory by anyone here. My point was to get Maroun to think more deeply about the subject than he appeared to have up until that point.

Adomnan said...

In my last posting, the following sentence should have been:

"This is hardly the language OF A MAN who thought of the happening on the road to Damascus as a matter of his personal salvation!"

Adomnan said...

Pilgrimsarbour: I have my own answers to those questions but they would not be found satisfactory by anyone here.

Adomnan: You're welcome to share them with us anyway.

Dave Armstrong said...

I have my own answers to those questions but they would not be found satisfactory by anyone here.

Nor are ours satisfactory to you. Isn't that beside the point? :-) We give the answers so that we can see if our opinions can stand up to scrutiny. If the other guy has a better argument and a better theology, may God open our eyes to see that and follow the truth wherever it leads.

I did that twice in my life: 1977 (evangelicalism) and 1990 (Catholicism). I will do it again if I ever find anything that is more true than I believe Catholicism is. So far I have not found anything along those lines, by a long shot.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Well, I thought I might get into that with Maroun if he should reply to my initial (admittedly lengthy) comments above. Let's see if he's interested in what I have to say. Up until now it seems I have only managed to astonish him with my bizarre ideas. :-)

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maroun said...

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Well, I thought I might get into that with Maroun if he should reply to my initial (admittedly lengthy) comments above. Let's see if he's interested in what I have to say. Up until now it seems I have only managed to astonish him with my bizarre ideas. :-)

To begin with.Thank you for replying.
You did not astonish me at all , but because i live in Finland , so my time table is different than yours . And now , i am in my office,i can check what you wrote and i can answer you.

PA: In spite of what you say, Hitler has no power or ability to send his own spirit to Hell; Christ as judge must perform the actual act of sending him there, yes?
Maroun . Christ gave Hitler , what Hitler wanted . Christ is love and Christ is also just.
So even though God is love , and because He is love , He gives Hitler what he wanted .
If God would have forced Hitler to be with Him in heaven , He would` nt be a lover but a rapist.
As st Augustine said , sin must be punished , by us , or by God .
If sin is punished by us , meaning by repenting and asking for forgiveness , then God will forgive us .
And He also said , that we should not excuse our sin but accuse it.
So if Hitler did not repent , God who is love and just , does punish the sin , and Hitler with it because Hitler didnt want to renounce his sins.
So , to answer your question , as simply as i can,again the one to blame is Hitler and not God.

PA: Was it a loving act of God toward Hitler to send his spirit to Hell?

Ma. Yes , a loving and a just God.

PA: Before the foundation of the earth, God looked down the corridors of time and knew who would choose Him and who would not, according to your point of view, correct?
Ma. yes

I will answer in part 2
GBU

Maroun said...

PA: Was it loving of God toward John Doe to create John Doe although He knew before the foundation of the earth that John Doe would not accept Him and would end up in Hell? If so, why?

Ma. Well yes , a very loving and just God . We all have our roles in this life , but again not as robots but as free humanbeings , also responsible and must answer for our actions.

PA: Again, if God knew John Doe would end up in Hell, why did He create him in the first place, and was that an act of a loving God? Why or why not?
Ma:Again , the one to blame is man and not God . As st Augustine said . The fact that we are men , is God`s own doing , but the fact that we are sinners , is our own doing . So we must blot out what we have done , so that God can save what He has done.

PA: If God knew ahead of time that John Doe would be in Hell but created him anyway, how does God "respect his freedom" in John Doe's decision to accept or reject Him?

Ma: the forknowledge of God is not the one to blame,but the decisions which John Doe took.
Again,the one to blame is man not God.

PA: How does God's decision to create a person who He knows will end up in Hell differ to any degree from the Reformed understanding that God determines who will be in Heaven and who will be in Hell?
Ma: it differs , that God didnt want Him to go to hell . God created that person a person , knowing of course what that person was going to do and chose,and where that person was going to end up.
But again,i will keep on insisting that the one to blame is man.
My decisions are not going to stop a loving God from creating me.
And if i should ( God forbid ) end up in hell , the only one to blame is me and not God for creating me.
But me personally for what i have done and what i have chosen.

PA: To put it another way, if God does not intervene in the life of John Doe that he might be saved, is He not then determining what will happen to John Doe? Aren't God's knowing and His determining essentially the same thing since He has the power, as God, to intervene in the lives of people that they may be saved or not?

Ma: God`s knowing is not the same as God`s determining .
We exist in time , God is eternel and in eternity .
So from His point of vue,everything takes place in eternity , but from our point of vue , things takes place before and after.
So yes , God knew,but He was not the one responsable for my decisions but i am.
So God did determine but not to send me to hell , but to help me,redeem me , save me , but i refused , i didnt want to be in His kingdom...
GBU

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Maroun,

Thank you for responding.

I can't imagine the mechanism by which we are able to send ourselves to hell after we die. You must know something I don't. At any rate, your answers might be quite satisfactory to many, including myself, in another context. Unfortunately, they aren't actually responses to my specific questions but rather are reiterations of one point you previously made. I don't disagree with you that we are responsible for our behaviour and that our sins send us to hell. How you can remove God entirely from the equation, though, is a mystery to me.

I really don't know where this idea of "dragging people off to heaven against their wills" comes from. I have explained over and over again that no one attains heaven who does not want to be there. God draws, He inclines their wills toward Him, those whose wills are inclined to evil. We are not conceived and born in a "neutral" state. We are conceived and born in sin, that is, we have a sin nature from the start, prone toward transgressing God's laws. Something has to happen for that to change. Only the non-elect will never come to Him in faith to receive His precious gift of salvation.

Well, all right friends. I'm off to bed, and I think I have exhausted this topic, at least for myself. See you all on the next big crisis! :-)

God bless and Happy Tax Day (LOL),

Pilgrimsarbour

Dave Armstrong said...

Christ died for His Church:

[Eph 5] 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.


Christ died for all men:

John 4:42 . . . this is indeed the Savior of the world.

Romans 5:18 . . . one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.

Romans 11:32 For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.

1 Timothy 4:10 . . . God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men

1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.

I added these passages and more along the same lines to the latest dialogue with pilgrim, now posted.

Maroun said...

Dave.
Thank you for the verses.
I gave the same verses before,and the answer was,all means all kinds,lol and the world,does not mean the world but just the elect.
How?i dont know...

Pilgrimsarbour said...
I can't imagine the mechanism by which we are able to send ourselves to hell after we die.

Ma: It`s easy actualy as C.S. Lewis puts it .
In the end there will be two kinds of men in front of God.
Some have said to God , thy will be done , and God wants all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
And to the rest,it will be God which will say to them,your will be done,because they didnt want and accept and obey the will of God.

Then you said. How you can remove God entirely from the equation, though, is a mystery to me.

Ma: i dont remove Him , i dont take God off the hook , but Christ is the hook , everyone`s hook for salvation . If we grabb that hook , if we grabb on Christ , then we are saved , and if we dont , then we are lost.
GBU and good night

Maroun said...

Pilgrimsarbour said...
I really don't know where this idea of "dragging people off to heaven against their wills" comes from. I have explained over and over again that no one attains heaven who does not want to be there. God draws, He inclines their wills toward Him.

Ma: It comes from your statements , when you say that when God drwas,you cannot resist or refuse .And when God inclines , you claim that you cannot resist nor refuse nor want to .
This is the whole problem , we dont deny that God draws us,nor that God inclines our wills , but we dont also deny that we can refuse , and some or maybe many do refuse,because we have a choice and not forced.
So the answer is there,if i cannot refuse,then i am forced and if i am forced then God is dragging many against their wills to heaven.
But because and you said it yourself that God does not dragg anyone by force to heaven,then we do have a choice,and if we have a choice ( and we do ) then we have free will , and God respects our free will.
GBU

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Maroun,

Thank you for the verses.

You're welcome. Thank YOU for the excellent argument about Jesus telling us to love our enemies. I coupled that with His telling us to love each other as He loved us, and there we have an instant proof that God, too, loves His enemies; ergo, that He loved the non-elect and died for them, too.

I never thought of that in my life. Excellent! Did you come up with that on your own or did you read it somewhere?

Maroun said...

Hi Dave.
You said and asked.
You're welcome. Thank YOU for the excellent argument about Jesus telling us to love our enemies. I coupled that with His telling us to love each other as He loved us, and there we have an instant proof that God, too, loves His enemies; ergo, that He loved the non-elect and died for them, too.

I never thought of that in my life. Excellent! Did you come up with that on your own or did you read it somewhere?

To be honest with you , i am not sure.I know that it sounds funny , but that`s the truth.
I read a lot ,at least 3 to 4 hours daily .
And you know how it is,it`s like a puzzle slowly slowly taking shape , and when someone or many ask something , and discuss something,from the things which you have read and experienced,sometimes you can come out with something.
But probably ,4 days ago i read http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/realpres/sacramentum_caritatis.htm

And because our holy father , spoke a lot in it about love,i guess that this was the final piece in the puzzle.

Thanks for the encouragement Dave,and you cannot how many treasures i have nowadays also because of you.
GBU

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin said...

Sometime back I bagged out of replying to PA on his webpage. I had started a conversation concerning Catholics and Saint worship and found I was more frustrated than enlightened....perhaps I should only read these conversations not participate. Yet Paul Hoffer has just posted an extensive commentary on Mary and Saint worship. I'll simply post the link with one paragraph he himself pulls from elsewhere.

The Protestant sects regard the worship which we render to the saints, especially to the blessed mother of our Redeemer, as idolatry. But this is because they do not consider that to worship God in His creatures, especially His saints, redeemed by His Blood and sanctified by His grace, is still to worship God; or that the worship which we render to the saints is never that which we offer to God Himself. Supreme worship is due to God alone, and to give it to another is idolatry, is treason to the Most High, to the Majesty of heaven and earth; none know this better than Catholics.

Managing Marian Misogyny

Martin said...

Their divine service or religious worship consists chiefly of prayer and singing of hymns or psalms, and comprises in kind nothing which is not perfectly lawful to offer to men. It is lawful to love our neighbor, to honor the magistrate, to pray to those in authority, to sing the praises of the conquering hero, and to confide in our friends. What in all this is distinctively religious worship, or that which can be given only to God?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Sometime back I bagged out of replying to PA on his webpage. I had started a conversation concerning Catholics and Saint worship and found I was more frustrated than enlightened....

Well, now you know how I feel.

Dave Armstrong said...

Refute my counter-replies on TULIP, PA, then you can feel fulfilled and rewarded and happy! :-) I think I gave you plenty of food for thought, agree or no . . .

Pilgrimsarbour said...

The only reason you guys talk to me at all is because you consider me to be "manageable," and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. :-)

Dave Armstrong said...

I dunno about "manageable"; I would say intelligent and thought-provoking and cordial. My only complaint is that you don't seem to want to keep many dialogues going just when I think they are getting quite interesting. :-)

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Whaaaaaaaaat? Are you freakin' kidding me? I spend hour upon hour over here answering the same questions over and over again, trying to re-word them to clarify. You make new posts out of our "dialogues" which incorporate my interactions with you and with several others here on a regular basis! Sorry if I can't be here 24/7 and answer to every bomb some troll drops while he's just passing through. I've got a job, a family, responsibilities--the computer isn't always my own to use anytime I want, you know. Sheesh.

Dave Armstrong said...

Whatever. When you get time, I'd love to see your counter-replies to the previous two dialogues I have posted. It's your position being critiqued.

You spend most of your time replying to others in the combox, not me. You asked me to reply to some of your stuff with Maroun, so I did and put up my latest post about TULIP.

Your replies to him and Adomnan and Ben and whomever else in the comboxes are not replies to me.

I haven't said a word about penal substitution. :-)

Dave Armstrong said...

I suppose I wasn't sufficiently clear. I wrote:

"My only complaint is that you don't seem to want to keep many dialogues going just when I think they are getting quite interesting. :-) "

But I should have written (since this was what I meant):

"My only complaint is that you don't seem to want to keep many dialogues WITH ME going just when I think they are getting quite interesting. :-) "

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pilgrimsarbour said...

Dave,

I really don't know what more you want of me. As far as I can tell, the posts you mentioned are riddled with "blue type," that is, my responses to questions on your blog. Your complaint is that I haven't responded to you specifically about something? If so, I apologise. Maybe I just have missed it. But if you will point it out to me, I'll try to answer your questions.

PA

Martin said...

The problem is that PA is a man and not a woman. When I get home my wife and two teenage daughters all start talking to me at once on at least 3 different subjects...and they expect me to follow what they are saying.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I agree that I am not a great multi-tasker. And yes, it is at least partially due to my gender's inherent hard-wiring.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

And now, I have some church-related duties to perform which will keep me occupied out of the house and away from the computer for several hours.

So don't bug me! :-)

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Tim,

It ain't rocket science. I made a number of new arguments in the latest posted dialogue. I showed from Scripture why I reject limited atonement and total depravity.

In dialogues, there are rounds. What I was saying was that our dialogues seem to cease just when I think they are getting interesting. I am anxious to see how you would counter my latest arguments (i.e., another round). Thus far it hasn't happened. That's all I am saying. And I noticed this in the past as well.

It was essentially a compliment towards you, not an insult: I like interacting with you so I want it to continue deeper into any given dialogue, with a continuation of the process of argument / counter-argument. It's fun. I enjoy it.

I understand that you have a lack of time. We all do. When I do this dialogue with you about Calvinism, I am making no money directly from it. It is taking time away from activities I could be doing that do have more relation to income. So I am in that same boat as well, even though I write full-time. I'm scrambling to raise more income and mine is not stable as most people's are, being subject to the whims of the economy, since books are sales-based.

You also noted how you are spending hours in my comboxes. Yes: mostly replying to others on topics that are not directly related to arguments that I made; indirectly, yes, but not directly.

I wasn't denying that; I was saying that I wanted to see your further replies to MY arguments. Is that such a terrible thing: to say that I enjoy our dialogues and wish sometimes that they got more in depth?

Nick said...

I'd like to hear some of your thoughts on two of my recent articles against Sola Fide, one of which James White directly addressed on his show:

http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/04/death-knell-of-protestantism-romans-43.html

The 5 points are more than solid enough to make the honest inquirer at least open to Catholicism, recognizing out of simple fairness that the Catholic position is tenable. The problem is just the reverse for the Protestant position, for if any one of those points is conceded, the Protestant is in trouble. Further, the way the evidence points, the Protestant really doesn't have a leg to stand on at all; it turns out their appeal to Romans 4 is nothing but an Emperor has no clothes situation, and they panic when challenged on it.

Adomnan said...

Nick, I read your article, and I think you make excellent points, some of which I'll comment on presently.

For me, the key point is, as you say, "the text plainly says 'faith' is what is reckoned as righteousness." The Protestant doctrine that Christ's righteousness is reckoned to sinners is utterly absent from the Bible. So what they do is that they take a teaching that is in Scripture ("your faith is reckoned as rigtheousness"), and they torture and twist and distort it into saying the opposiste ("your faith is NOT counted as righteousness, but rather Christ's righteousness is"). This feat of sophistry outdoes anything in George Orwell's "Animal Farm."

Apparently the intervening step in this subterfuge is to assert "faith receives Christ's righteousness," and then use this pious-sounding nonsense to eliminate faith from the equation altogether and insert something called "Christ's righteousness." The problem is that, even if faith did "receive Christ's righteousness," it would still be faith, and not Christ's righteousness, which was reckoned as righteousness.

Beyond that, though, Paul NEVER says anything about Christ's righteousness, not in Romans, not anywhere. Therefore, he could hardly have been claiming that faith "receives" something of which he never speaks.

The whole absurd doctrine is nothing but a shell game, shifting around and confusing phrases, but with nothing under the shells. It is a surreal experience to find oneself debating with "Bible-believing Christians" about Paul's imaginary doctrinal elaborations concering a portable personal "righteousness of Christ" that he never mentions, alludes to or hints at.

Frankly, my personal approach would be to repeat over and over and over again to the deaf ears of the heretics that no sane person can interpret what the Bible DOES say ("faith is reckoned as righteousness") to mean its opposite ("faith is NOT reckoned as righteousness"). I don't care how subtle and intricate their exegesis is, or what Piper or Spurgeon or Melanchthon or Calvin or the charlatan "Greek-speaking" White or any other muddled sophist with too much time on his hands had to say on the subject.

Adomnan said...

But, that aside, I really like point you made that logizomai (is reckoned, is counted) must mean the same thing in Romans 4:4 as in 4:5, and that, since a man's work really is counted as his due, then faith must really be counted as righteousness; i.e., there can be no reckoning contrary to fact. As you wrote, "Barring any desperate attempt to say Paul shifted the meaning of "counted" from verse 3 to 4 and then back again in verse 5, suggesting Paul engaged in equivocation, the Protestant position is indefensible."

(By the way, rereading your excerpt from the Westminister Confession of Faith, I can't get over the blindness and audacity they evince in directly contradicting the Scripture by asserting that justification is not a matter of "imputing faith itself, the act of believing," when Paul says it is in so many words!)

Another point I would like to make is about the word "ungodly" in the phrase "him who justifies the ungodly" in Romans 4:5. Both you and Joey Henry take "ungodly" here to mean "unrighteous, sinner." Joey Henry wants to use this phrase to claim that God reckons sinners as righteous (contrary to fact), while your position, if I understand it, is that the phrase must involve a transformation from unrighteousness to righteousness because God's reckoning corresponds to reality.

Your argument would trump Joey Henry's if the "ungodly" were taken as a sort of generic adjective meaning "unrighteous, sinner." However, I think there's a better argument. The word translated "ungodly" (asebe in Greek) has a very specific meaning. It refers to a person who is not properly observant about matters of religion. The Latin "impius," from which we get the English "impious," had the same meaning. An "asebes" person is one who is not carrying out the proper religious forms.

Now, from the point of view of the Judaizers, Abraham, before he was circumcised, was "asebes," because he was not yet doing the works of the Jewish Law. In other words, he was a Gentile. Paul is applying the Judaizers' own term to Abraham in an accurate, but somewhat ironic, way.

Consequently, what the phrase "him who justifies the ungodly" means is "him who justifies the Gentile (Abraham)." This fits in with Paul's insistence that God can graciously justify any Gentile (any "ungodly" person). The point in this passage is not that God justifies sinners per se, but that He justifies Gentiles, which is Paul's basic message throughout Romans.

Adomnan said...

Finally, there's one other point I'd like to make. It's a bit subtle, and people dont' get it sometimes; but here it is anyway:

You, like Joey Henry, assume that Romans 4:4-5 implies that God can never be in anyone's debt: "Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness."

Actually, I think this is a (common) misinterpretation. In a way, you've already highlighted the true meaning of this passage by stressing that the verb translated "is counted as" (logizomai) has the same meaning in verses 4 and 5.

The purpose of this short passage is not to make a generalizaiton about whether God can put Himself in debt to human beings or not. Rather, it is to explicate the meaning of the verb "logizomai." Paul is explaining that this verb, although ordinarily used in an accounting context (work being counted or imputed to a worker's due), has a different nuance in the Septuagint Gen 15:6, because 1) it is not a question of work under contract (like the later Covenant) and 2) it is a matter of grace and not what is due.

Again, Paul is not making a general statement about how God operates. In another situation, God could well reckon to someone what is due to him (as in Christ's parables where faithful Christians are comapared to workmen who receive a wage). It is simply that, in the case of Gen 15:6, "logizomai" doesn't carry the implication of work done and wages received.

The fact is, if Paul wanted to say that God could never be in debt to anyone, he would not have written "to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due." He would simply have said "God never owes anyone anything." What he said contradicts that: If one works, Paul says, one is owed.

Adomnan said...

Nick, reviewing the two articles you wrote, I see that you don't advance a transformative interpretation of "justify the ungodly" exactly, but rather that you understand this phrase to mean more or less "to forgive": "Thus, to 'justify the ungodly' is first and foremost about forgiving them, removing the ungodliness and thus rendering them godly (c.f. Acts 15:9; 1 Jn 1:7-9)."

Nevertheless, I would urge once again my interpretation; namely, that he who justifies the ungodly is simply he who justifies the Gentile.

Abraham wasn't in need in Gen 15:6 of "justification" in the Protestant sense (i.e., of having a righteousness imputed to him that he lacked), but neither was he in need of forgiveness. Paul did want to point out that Abraham was accounted righteous even as a Gentile, though.

I agree with you entirely that Abraham's faith was a good act and quality, a virtue, that was reckoned to him as righteousness, because it did indeed demonstrate his righteousness. It was no "empty hand." And the only "works" that didn't contribute to his justification were "works of the (Jewish) Law."

Nick said...

Adomnan,

Thank you for your comments. I agree that the fact that "righteousness of Christ" isn't even mentioned (anywhere) is one of the leading difficulties. I should have mentioned that. Joey kept trying to say Jesus fulfilled the Law in our place, but I kept pointing out the Bible never says that.

As for "ungodly," I believe 'sinner' is acceptable as well as something akin to "outside the covenant." I sided with the former just because Protestants take it that way, but outside of that I see merit it both options. The advantage of the former is that 'sin' and forgiveness is clearly mentioned in 4:6-8, but the advantage of the latter is that Abraham in Gen 15:6 was not 'unrighteous'. That said, one 'solution' I've found is in Romans 2:25 which says: "if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised." So with this in mind, David's grave sin in Rom 4:6-8 (Ps 32) effectively made David 'uncircumcised' which is 'outside the covenant'.

While Protestants point out the 'shocking' tone of 'God declares righteous the unrighteous' (which is actually blasphemy), really "God justifies the Gentile" is really what would be shocking and abominable to Jewish ears, yet perfectly within God's character. This also strongly fits with Rom 3:29-30.

Regarding "God can never be in anyone's debt," I like your comments there and you tied together a lot of things that I didn't connect. The only thing I see lacking in your comments is how "forgiveness of sins" ties in via 4:6-8.

I've actually been working on an article for a while (it keeps getting delayed) that addresses the "works" mentioned in Romans 4:4 because I see a strong case that Paul is not speaking of works in general here (because I'm convinced he's against the works of the Law only) and the key is to interpret Rom 4 in parallel with Gal 3.
My argument is that 4:4 is speaking of works-debt under the Law. This would fit with Rom 4:13ff (Gal 3:18), and comes out more clearly when Rom 4 is read in parallel to Gal 3.

The Protestant Gospel is built around an isolated reading of Rom 4:5, which then forces the rest of Romans and the Bible to conform to it (resulting in much absurdity).

Adomnan said...

Nick: As for "ungodly," I believe 'sinner' is acceptable as well as something akin to "outside the covenant." I sided with the former just because Protestants take it that way, but outside of that I see merit in both options.

Adomnan: I can see this, given that Paul uses the word "sinner" elsewhere to refer to gentiles: (Gal 2: 15: "We who were born Jews and not gentile sinners..." The note in the Jerusalem Bible points out: "'gentile sinners' is a technical term perhaps used with a touch of irony."

However, "he who works not" in Rom 4:5 does not, in my view, refer to anyone "who works not," but is specifically a reference to Abraham, the subject of this passage. (You may agree with this.) Paul could not bring himself to call Abraham a "gentile sinner," even if he could technically be so designated; and therefore he limited himself to the milder term "asebes" (more or less, "not observant of the Law" and so "gentile").

I think we both agree that Paul was using the sort of language that Jews in general, and not just Judaizers, would use of people who don't follow the Jewish Law: "asebes" and "gentile sinner." So these terms are simply equivalent to "gentile." Paul wanted to get the Judaizers to admit that, by their criteria, the father of the Jewish nation was a gentile, and so "asebes," before his circumcision. To be consistent, they had to apply to Abraham himself, when he was a gentile, the same language they applied to gentile Christians.

Nick: The advantage of the former is that 'sin' and forgiveness is clearly mentioned in 4:6-8, but the advantage of the latter is that Abraham in Gen 15:6 was not 'unrighteous'.

Adomnan: Yes, Paul did not consider Abraham unrighteous before Gen 15:6, even if he could -- technically (and ironically!) -- be called non-observant, that is, "asebes."

I think the forgiveness spoken of in Rom 4:6-8 refers to David, not Abraham. Paul is making the point that there can be righteousness apart from the Law. We can see this in Abraham's case because he was counted righteous before circumcision. We can see it in David's case, because his recovery of righteousness was not a result of his doing "works of the Law," but of his being forgiven his "lawlessness." In neither case is righteousness, or justification, a matter of works of the Law (like circumcision). That is why Paul writes in verse 8, "So too David utters a beatitude over the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works" (that is, of course, apart from works of the Jewish Law).

The difference is that Abraham's being accounted righteous is not a matter of forgiveness. David's is. What they have in common is that both are accounted righteous "apart from works of the Law," but in different ways. It's interesting to note that the forgivenesss of sins is not an important theme in Romans. Paul only mentions it here because he's quoting an OT text. Paul tends to think of justification more in terms of transformation by the Spirit than as forgiveness of sins.

Adomnan said...

Nick: My argument is that 4:4 is speaking of works-debt under the Law. This would fit with Rom 4:13ff (Gal 3:18), and comes out more clearly when Rom 4 is read in parallel to Gal 3.

Adomnan: I think that it's possible Paul has the Mosaic covenant in mind here. A covenant is a contract; both parties have obligations: God and Israel. Thus, it is comparable to a work contract, where compliance entails a wage that is owed.

With this interpretation, "the one who works" could even be Abraham after circumcision, while the "one who works not but believes in him who justifies the gentile" is Abraham prior to circumcision.

However, I actually think it's more likely that Paul has adduced the example of a workman who deserves his wages more as a way of explaining, by means of a contrast, how the verb "logizomai" is being used in Gen 15:6. Paul is saying that the ordinary bookkeeping use of "logizomai" to refer to wages credited to a workman does not quite fit in the case at hand because, while there is a crediting, there is no workman and no wages and nothing owed.

Now, even in this latter case, Paul could have "in the back of his mind" a contrast between the covenant of the Law and the covenant of faith. It just seems to me that Rom 4:4-5 is too brief and too isolated a passage to provide us with that much information.

It is certain, however, that the passage does NOT establish any general theological tenet, such as "God can never be in debt to anyone." First of all, it doesn't say that. Secondly, in the Covenant of the Law, a two-way contract, God does in fact put Himself under obligation to Israel.

Maroun said...

Hi Dave.
In st John Chrysostom`s homelie on Matthew 79 ( 25:31-26 ) . This is what he wrote , and i think that PA should read it ...
But to the others He says, "Depart from me, you cursed," (no longer of the Father; for not He laid the curse upon them, but their own works), "into the everlasting fire, prepared," not for you, but "for the devil and his angels." For concerning the kingdom indeed, when He had said, "Come, inherit the kingdom," He added, "prepared for you before the foundation of the world;" but concerning the fire, no longer so, but, "prepared for the devil." I, says He, prepared the kingdom for you, but the fire no more for you, but "for the devil and his angels;" but since you cast yourselves therein, impute it to yourselves. And not in this way only, but by what follows also, like as though He were excusing Himself to them, He sets forth the causes.
So PA , again as C.S. Lewis said ,that those which end up in hell , have cast themselves therein...
GBU

Dave Armstrong said...

Very excellent. This does indeed show that the damned are not predestined to hell in the way that the elect are predestined to heaven. St. John derives it right from our Lord's words.

Adomnan said...

Nick, before you post your article on works in Romans 4:4, please take a look at an essay entitled "Abraham in Romans 4: The Father of All Who Believe" by Michael Cranford and published in "New Testament Studies" in 2001. The article can be found on the following webpage: http://sundoulos.com/articles.aspx?in=19

Here is some of what Mr. Cranford writes about Romans 4:4-5:

"Whatever the purpose of the metaphor of v. 4, it does not prove that faith is antithetical to obedience, but simply that however God reckoned Abraham righteous, it was not in the same fashion that a worker is reckoned his pay at the end of the day. Paul draws on the workman imagery for the specific purpose of explaining the term logizesthai, not the term erga, as traditional interpreters typically assume. 'Working' is an accidental aspect of the analogy, and therefore does not form the basis for Paul's inclusion of the metaphor in his argument....The key issue is not faith versus works, but reckoning according to obligation versus reckoning according to favor....

"This is made even clearer by the fact that Paul's argument in vv. 4-5 fails as a contrast between faith and human effort. Verse 4 suggests a works analogy well enough, but we would expect v. 5 to balance the analogy by stating something like, 'but to the one who does not work and yet receives a payment, his reward is according to grace and not because of his own effort'. This parallelism never occurs, however, though traditional commentators assume it as if it was clearly expressed."

Cranford suggests in a footnote a more likely antithesis in vv. 4-5. As you know, Paul calls death the "wages of sin" in Rom 6:23. With this in mind, Cranford writes: "Similarly, in 5:15a Paul states that 'the free gift is not like the transgression'. In both these cases, Paul sees a qualitative difference in the causal relationship between the human response and each of two resulting eternal destinies. One comes by grace and the other by necessity ('what is due'). Seen in this light, the antithesis of 4:4-5 does not contrast two ways of gaining righteousness, but instead argues that the way God reckons righteousness is unlike how the natural consequences of human action are normally meted out. This point surfaces in chaps 5 and 6 without a hint of two dichotomous roads to salvation."

In fact, what God gives us through grace -- a sharing in the divine nature -- is incommensurably greater than any "wages," especially if the wages are payment for "the works of the Law." In other words, God's gift of righteousness goes way beyond "what is due."

Adomnan said...

Having thought about it, I think I can provide a full exegesis of Romans 4:4-5.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the word used for "wages" in Romans v. 4 can also be translated "reward." In Gen 15:1, as part of the episode in Gen 15:6 when Abraham's faith is reckoned as righteousness, God promises Abraham a reward: "Do not be afraid, Abram! I am your shield and shall give you a very great reward." This reward, as it turns out, is the promise of progeny, and it is given because Abraham's faith is reckoned as righteousness and so deserves a reward.

Thus, when Paul writes in v. 4 that "to one who works his reward is not reckoned according to grace, but according to what is due," he is thinking of this reward in Gen 15:1. In the Septuagint, the word used for reward is the same as Paul uses in 4:4. It is "misthos."

Paul then goes on to say "to the one who works not (Abraham before he did works of the Law) but believes on him who justifies the gentile (Abraham while still a gentile), his (Abraham's) faith is reckoned as righteousness."

So what happend to the reward, the misthos? Well, Paul brings back the reward in Romans 4:11: "It was not through the Law (i.e., receiving a reward through works of the Law for "what is due") that the promise was made to Abraham or to his posterity that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that came from faith." In other words, it is precisely because faith is reckoned as righteousness that Abraham gets his reward.

It is because God chooses to reward faith and not just adherence to the Law that justification is available to gentiles who don't do works of the Law and to erring Jews like David who excluded themselves from the covenant of the Law by sinning. As Paul writes in Romans 4:16: "For this reason the promise is from faith (note: The promise is the reward), that it might be a matter of grace so as to be valid for all Abraham's posterity, not only for those who adhere to the Law, but to those who share his faith. For he is father of us all."

In sum, the purpose of Romans 4:4-5 is to base justification on faith, rather than on the Jewish Law, to show that it is available to all. Abraham did receive a reward for his faith. It was the promise that he would become a father of many nations. This reward was not "what was due" as an obligation, because it was not a contractual payment. It was a free gift.

In Romans 4:4-5, Paul is not asserting that God never pays debts and never owes anything, as Protestant exegetes suppose. His subject is the promise made to Abraham and its character as a reward for faith, not for adherence to the Law. Paul is not stating a general principle, but rather explaining a specific case.

In both instances, for the one "working" and for the one "not working," the word "wages" (or reward) is applicable. There is no contrast between receiving wages (misthos) and not receiving wages (misthos), as Protestant commentators generally assume. As Gen 15:1 shows, Abraham receives a "misthos" just as the workman of v. 4 would.

Nick said...

I'm not anywhere near completion of that article, but any information helps.

I agree that the parallel never occurs, and that's something I've pointed out to Calvinists before. Calvinists assume the "wage" is righteousness, given either for perfect obedience or is given via Christ's imputed righteousness. That doesn't fit the parallel, for "wages counted as debt" doesn't parallel "faith counted as righteousness", which would make faith the wage/reward.

I also agree that one major key to all this is to get it out of our minds the notion Paul is addressing the issue of 'pelagianism', for never is there a situation of men trying to work their way into Heaven. Paul is not teaching two roads to *one* righteousness, but two roads to *two* types or righteousness (a temporal/earthly righteousness the law promises, and an eternal righteousness that only comes from God's grace).

That was an amazing article you posted. In the past I also have pointed out that Rom 4:1 "forefather according to the flesh" is a key point, indicating Paul is focused on lineage rather than 'works in general'.

This quote was simply classic: "The ‘works' in view here [rom 4] should not be lifted out of context and imbued with significance arising from the theological concerns of the Reformation" - LOL! Footnote #43 is also a stinger.

That article is a very hopeful sign that genuine Biblical exegesis is pointing a new generation of Protestants away from Luther and Calvin's false teachings.

Nick said...

Adomnan,

After reading and thinking on this stuff, I'm actually finding it more acceptable and reasonable to render "ungodly" as "uncircumcised"/"outside the covenant" above (though not fully excluding) "sinner". It just fits with the context (esp Rom 3:29ff) a whole lot better.

Adomnan said...

Yes, Paul was being somewhat ironic, but he was not being inaccurate when he used the term "asebes" ("not observant of proper religious forms") to describe Abraham. Abraham was indeed asebes from the point of view of the Jewish Law beccause he was still a Gentile and all Gentiles are "asebeis." Paul's point, however, is that Abraham was not unrighteous from God's perspective, but only from the Law's perpective, because, for God, true righteousness is not the same thing as the righteousness of the Law.

Thus, I would avoid giving "asebes" the nunace of "sinner," unless one is using "sinner" in a technical, ironic way as a synonym for Gentile, as Paul does in Gal 2:15.

Grubb said...

Adomnan,

I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to reply. I know you haven't been sitting around just waiting for my response; but still, I apologize. So the topic was Christian "Works" and how they play into our salvation. If you've moved on and don't wish to discuss it further, I understand.

Grubb: But even then, are "works" of the Jewish law that different than "works" of the Christian faith?

Adomnan: Yes, the Jews practiced circumcision, animal sacrifice, had detailed dietary laws and other taboos, and various rites and holy days that we no longer observe.


But the RCC has replaced those with other similar requirements. Aren't there holy days on the RCC's calendar that require church attendance (Ashe Wednesday, CHRISTmas, Easter,...)? Doesn't the RCC have some dietary laws (no eating meat on Fridays during lent)? So when you quote Paul in Gal 5:1, "Christ set us free, so that we should remain free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be fastened again to the yoke of slavery," you're actually speaking against practices that the RCC is currently enforcing?

He also speaks of the observance of days and dietary laws, and he would probably categorize these things as "works of the Law," but he never actually calls them that.

But the examples I just gave would fall under the category of "works of the law" for the RCC. You don't see any teaching in the Bible about not eating meat on Fridays during lent. You don't see any teaching about observing CHRISTmas, lent, or Easter. In fact Romans 14:1-6 and Col 2:13-18 specifically point out that we shouldn't be judged by whether we observe a specific "holy" day or diet; yet the RCC says it's a sin not to. So it seems that the RCC has just replaced one set of "laws" with another.

Grubb: And Paul even tells us why it's faith through grace that we're saved and not by works...so that we can't boast. (Eph 2:9) If our salvation is tied to our good works in any way, then we can boast that we had something to do with our salvation.

Adomnan: When Paul speaks of boasting, it never refers to boasting of your own accomplishments, it always refers solely to boasting of being Jewish. "As for you, who boast of the Law"


Every time I bring up works, you say it's pointing to "works of the Jewish law"; and you make this same claim for Eph 2:9. Your interpretation of Paul referring to "works of the law" in Eph 2:9 can't be right, because he says in the very next sentence, "For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do the good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph 2:10) Is Paul saying we're not saved by works of the Jewish law but we're still called to do good works of the Jewish law? Not at all. He's saying we're not saved by our works or good deeds but that we're still called to do them.

That's why the Bible says to "work out your own salvation" and not to "work for" or "earn" your salvation. Eph 2:12-13 says, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." Paul is saying to the elect: you're saved, now do the good works that are expected of a Christian; those works don't save you, they please God and show who you are and where your heart is.
.

Grubb said...

Grubb: Even sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit, so any works that are included in it are His works, not ours.

Adomnan: This is the same thing that Catholics say. St. Augustine wrote that our merits, whereby we merit salvation, are the gifts of God.


It's interesting you quote Augustine on this. Do you earn a gift? Do you buy it? Do you pay for part of it? If you did, it wouldn't be a gift. A gift ceases to be a gift, and grace ceases to be grace, if we try to add to it, pay for it, or earn it.

Adomnan: Since sinners repent and turn to God before they are justified, as Peter explained in Acts, they obviously do "works of some sort" as part of initial salvation. ... (You seem to be ignoring that passage in Acts, for example.)

What was the passage you were referencing in Acts? I'm not intentionally ignoring it. ☺

Grubb: If you can forgive your child w/o being asked; your heavenly father can do the same.

Adomnan: Sure. But if your child requires discipline because of his misbehavior, you'll administer it even though he's forgiven.


But what's the point of discipline after we die? We're disciplined by God while we're still on earth to deter us from doing it again. Once we leave this world, why would God need to punish us for our sins? To keep us from doing it again? That doesn't make sense. As punitive? That doesn't sound as though the sin was really forgiven does it? Nor does it agree with the passage where John said, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (I John 1:7) Jesus' blood purifies us, not purgatory.

I've been reading through Micah lately, and this is how he described God, "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:18-19) If He hurls our iniquities into the depths of the sea, why would we still need to be purified from them? It doesn't make sense.

And lastly, Isaiah said, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isa 53:6) If our iniquities are laid on Him, then we're purified, because he already paid the price of our sin. That's the whole point of a sacrificial lamb, and Jesus is our sacrificial lamb. John 1:29 says, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: But the RCC has replaced those with other similar requirements.

Adomnan: That doesn't matter. Obviously anything the Church requries is not a work of the Jewish Law and therefore does not come under what Paul calls works/works of the Law, which are only works of the Jewish Law.

Grubb: So when you quote Paul in Gal 5:1, "Christ set us free, so that we should remain free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be fastened again to the yoke of slavery," you're actually speaking against practices that the RCC is currently enforcing?

Adomnan: No, of course not. Paul evidently saw the Jewish Law as oppressive; and anyone can see that Orthodox Jews today who try to follow the Law live extremely restricted lives. The few observances required of Catholics are in no way comparable and never have been.

The Church is authorized by God to impose requirements on its members. Heretical sects you may approve of, such as the Puritans, also imposed requirements, like Sabbatarianism. There were all sorts of restrictions on what people could do or not do when the Calvinists ran England during the Commonwealth -- as well as in Puritan New England.

Grubb: So it seems that the RCC has just replaced one set of "laws" with another.

Adomnan: The few simple "laws" of the Church have never been as oppressive or confining as the Mosaic Law, as anyone who has any familiarity with Orthodox Judaism would know. At any rate, this is beside the point, because no regulations that the Church establishes would ever be "works of the (Jewish) Law" obviously, which is all that Paul was talking about. Paul is not making some general argument that Church authorities can never have any rules; he's saying that Jewish rules don't apply to Gentiles.

Grubb: Every time I bring up works, you say it's pointing to "works of the Jewish law"; and you make this same claim for Eph 2:9. Your interpretation of Paul referring to "works of the law" in Eph 2:9

Adomnan: I don't think Paul wrote Ephesians. Nevertheless, I believe that the person who did write it was intending to use "works" in the same way Paul did, and so "works" in Eph 2:9 refers to works of the Jewish Law. If you look at the whole passage, you'll see that the author of the epistle is comparing Jews and Gentiles and showing how they are reconciled in Christ. Eph 2:9 is a reference to the Jews. In Eph 2:8, the statement "and this is not from you, it's a gift of God" is a reference to the Gentiles, because "salvation is from the Jews."

In this passage of Eph, when the author refers to "you," as in Eph 2:8, the "you" is always "you Gentiles." When he writes "we," it can either be the exclusive "we" ("we Jews") or the inclusive "we" ("we Jews and you Gentiles").

Grubb: Your interpretation of Paul referring to "works of the law" in Eph 2:9 can't be right, because he says in the very next sentence, "For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do the good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph 2:10) Is Paul saying we're not saved by works of the Jewish law but we're still called to do good works of the Jewish law?

Adomnan: But the author of Eph uses different terminology in these two verses. In 2:9, he just says "works." In 2:10, he says "good works." It is "works," when used without any modifier that always refers to "works of the Law" in Paul. So, the phrase "good works" obviously differs entirely from "works of the Law," which are merely specifically Jewish customs and observances.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: That's why the Bible says to "work out your own salvation" and not to "work for" or "earn" your salvation.

Adomnan: Wrong! The Bible doesn't say "work out your own salvation." That is just a weird interpretation in the KJV. You're referring to Phil 2:12: "Earn your salvation in fear and trembling," sometimes translated "work out." The only correct meaning of the verb "katergazesthe" in this verse is "earn." (Perhaps "work out" could mean "earn" back in King James day. I don't know. But it doesn't anymore.)

I had a long discussion about this with Ken Temple some months back. Apparently you didn't read that. Maybe you could look it up. (I'm getting tired of reinventing the wheel every few months.)

Grubb: Eph 2:12-13 says,

Adomnan: You meant "Phil 2:12-13 says." See above.

Grubb: Paul is saying to the elect: you're saved, now do the good works that are expected of a Christian;

Adomnan: Nope. He's telling them that they have to EARN their salvation in fear and trembling to make their calling and election sure. Of course, God is working in them (if He is) and so what they earn is the result of God's grace.

Grubb: those works don't save you, they please God and show who you are and where your heart is.

Adomnan: Yet this passage of Phil, which you quote to support your theory, says exactly the opposite. It says, in so many words, that Christians earn salvation, not that good works merely show you are saved. (Show whom?) They earn it. Phil 2:12 is all about earning.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: It's interesting you quote Augustine on this. Do you earn a gift? Do you buy it? Do you pay for part of it? If you did, it wouldn't be a gift. A gift ceases to be a gift, and grace ceases to be grace, if we try to add to it, pay for it, or earn it.

Adomnan: So you're saying that Augustine was full of it; and you, Grubb, know better.

Here's how it works. We could never earn a share in the divine nature no matter how good we were as human beings. God has to deign to share His nature with us. But once He does, then we are indeed able to merit heaven.

Of course, this grace is a gift, but like any gift, we can then use it to our advantage or waste it. The gift is free, but how we use it is up to us. That, of course, doesn't imply that the gift ceases to be a gift. Needless to say, we don't "pay for" the gift or "earn" it. We do, however, add to it. Just as the good steward in Jesus' parable added to the capital entrusted to him by the landowner.

And, yes, you can "add" to a gift. It's done all the time.

Grubb: What was the passage you were referencing in Acts? I'm not intentionally ignoring it. ☺

Adomnan: I provided it to you earlier. Look up what I wrote yourself. Don't make me do it, especially after so much time has passed.

Grubb: But what's the point of discipline after we die? We're disciplined by God while we're still on earth to deter us from doing it again. Once we leave this world, why would God need to punish us for our sins? To keep us from doing it again?

Adomnan: Congratulations. You just abolished eternal punishment, which doesn't have the justification of deterrence either.

At any rate, the "punishment" in purgatory is one that improves us. It's not purely retributive.

Grubb: Nor does it agree with the passage where John said, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (I John 1:7) Jesus' blood purifies us, not purgatory.

Adomnan: It's Jesus' blood that purifies us in purgatory.

So, Grubb, is it your position then that Jesus' blood automatically purifies every convert so that he doesn't have to do anything to struggle with sin or improve himself? If not, why can't this process continue beyond death if the person is still "unimproved?" Who says we can't get better after death? Certainly not the Bible.

Grubb: If He hurls our iniquities into the depths of the sea, why would we still need to be purified from them? It doesn't make sense.

Adomnan: So, it's your position that the prophets teach that no one who is forgiven needs to work on improving himself? Now, THAT makes no sense.

Grubb: If our iniquities are laid on Him, then we're purified, because he already paid the price of our sin.

Adomnan: So then why does Paul tell us to earn our salvation in fear and trembling?

When the author of Hebrews wrote of people being purified through the blood of Christ, he meant really purified; he meant that they cease to be sinners, not just that they sin but get off the hook.

Of course, this purification was done all at once by Christ, but in us it is a process. If it is not completed here on earth, it will continue in purgatory. But here or there, it will always be Christ's blood that purifies -- truly purifying and not just covering up a dunghill.

By the way, though it's true that Jesus paid "the price," He didn't make any payments to the Father.

Grubb: That's the whole point of a sacrificial lamb, and Jesus is our sacrificial lamb.

Adomnan: The whole point of a sacrificial lamb was to provide the blood, the life, that truly removed sin, eliminating it. It does not just hide sin from God's eyes.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Armstrong said...

You are silly! LOL Mocked? I told the literal truth. The man is a walking self-parody. He always says exactly what he is supposed to say. He never gets it. He is a prisoner of his own false premises. He can't ever see the forest for the trees.

I didn't make him the way he is. If he objects to my stating the facts of the matter, that is his problem to change the facts: not mine in merely reporting them. But it is not mocking, in any event.

Mocking is something like calling me "psychotic" or "schizophrenia" -- as they do over there: where the claim has no relation to reality whatsoever, yet is firmly believed, based on malice and absolutely no evidence.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Armstrong said...

U r a pip! LOL

Adomnan said...

Ken: No; I just don't time anymore to repeat it all to you; or convince you.

Adomnan: What you mean is that you can't counter my arguments, and so you gave up.

Let me give you an example. You quoted "the Lord crushed Him" from Isaiah 53 as proof of penal substitution. I explained that the Lord was also pleased to crush Job, and this didn't mean that the Lord was punishing Job for other people's sins, as all admit. Therefore, there's no reason to think it means that in Isaiah.

You should reply by trying to explain how the same image of "crushing" means one thing in Isaiah and another thing in Job and why it can only imply penal substitution in Isaiah. And then I would reply to that. This is what is called discussing the Bible. Apparently you can't do that. Given that you can't defend your positions, you should not put them forward at all, as mere arguments from (your) "authority."

Ken: Only God's Spirit can change your heart.

Adomnan. Yeah. Maybe I'll get a burning in the bosom, as the Mormons do. But Pepto-Bismol should take care of that.

Seriously, Ken, you sound arrogant and presumptuous when you claim that you channel the Holy Spirit. I'm not debating the Holy Spirit, I'm debating Ken.

Besides, the Holy Spirit agrees with me. I clear my views with Him as a matter of course. He also tells me He's been trying to let you know that, but you won't listen.

Ken: You have not demonstrated anything against the doctrines of Grace.

Adomnan: Jesus Christ Himself couldn't get you to change your opinions. You think you have a better gospel than Jesus or Paul ever imagined, and you're not going to let something like the Bible interfere with that.

Ken: God's Sovereignty in election and salvation.

Adomman: Who doubts it?

Ken: justification by faith alone

Adomnan: James disagrees with you.

Ken: substitutionary atonement

Adomnan: Substituting what for what?

Ken: propitiation of the wrath of God against sin.

Adomnan: By punishing an innocent man? How would that propitiate a righteous God, blasphemer?

Ken: Listen to all of Piper and read it and meditate in the Scriptures.

Adomnan: You say you don't have time to defend your views, and yet I'm supposed to waste my time listening to hours of this preacher's musings on this and that just because you ask me to?

Ken: Neither of you had time to digest it all.

Adomnan: All of what? Piper or you? Why don't you read all of St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and then get back to us with your report? Or are you the only one who gets to give homework assignments?

Adomnan said...

As a favor to Ken, I did check out that first link to his guru, John Piper. I found out, quite to my surprise, that Rev. Piper has defected and does not endorse Ken's opinion! Piper does not preach penal substitution (at least not in this linked sermon).

Piper's take on the atonement is Anselmian, to wit:

"What we see from these texts is that everything Jesus suffered, he suffered for the sake of God's glory. Therefore, all his pain and shame and humiliation and dishonor served to magnify the Father's glory, because it shows how infinitely worthy God's glory is that such a loss should be suffered for his sake. When we look at the wracking death of the perfectly innocent and infinitely worthy Son of God on the cross and hear that he endured it all that the glory of his Father might be restored, then we know that God has not denied the value of his own glory, he has not been untrue to himself, he has not ceased to uphold his honor and display his glory, he is righteous."

Notice there's no talk of punishment here. Piper describes Jesus as doing a good thing for the Father by patiently enduring suffering for His glory, not by being punished by Him. That's quite clear. This is a common Catholic position.

Now, I personally think Piper's effusions are overwrought (e.g., God's glory does not need to be "restored"), but they do not assert penal substitution -- at least not in this sermon.

So it may be that Ken has misunderstood not only the Bible, but also this person whom he rates so highly as an authority.

Nick said...

Because this discussion was off topic in that other thread (about Svendsen), I'll repost it here instead:

I'd say the funniest thing I saw from Ken's comment is that Eric is a 4.5 Point Calvinist - LOL. What's that supposed to mean? I've seen 4 point Calvinists (which itself is more emotional than logical by not taking Psub to it's logical conclusions)...but now a 4.5? Protestants never cease to amaze me.

Clicking on the link Ken gave does bring up an important subject though (though a side issue given Psub is false anyway) and that is when Christ's death is applied to the believer. I've long realized the problem Calvinists face here, which is whether the elect are under God's wrath prior to conversion or only after justification. If Jesus took the punishment, then logically, God's wrath is never upon them, prior to conversion. Yet that's odd given that justification is where sin is formally 'not imputed', i.e. forgiven. This also plays a role in "eternal forgiveness" which (flatly contrary to Scripture, eg Lord's Prayer) the believer never has to confess/apologize to God for future sins (they're pre-forgiven if you will, God only demands you carry them out to balance the books).

And here is a link which Svendsen explicitly lays out his case - where Svendsen admits "L" is unsupportable *exegetically* apart from logical implications pointing to it:
http://ntrminblog.blogspot.com/2004/12/we-interrupt-this-broadcast.html
I understand the logic, but doesn't this only highlight the idea that there **is** something wrong with their view of Atonement and not something else? ;)

What is most astonishing is that Svendsen's reasoning unconsciously is denying Penal Substitution in his responses to White, but he doesn't realize it while White does. Svendsen's reasoning against White is very solid though, which is White would be forced into affirming "eternal justification".

I have written a post on this very subject just now!
http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/05/eternally-forgiven-more-problems-with.html

Nick said...

Two notes,

Piper fully espouses Penal Substitution, and is one of the more vocal on it, saying Christ was damned by the Father:
http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2009/04/was-jesus-damned-in-your-place.html
(word search "piper")


Second, it's a miracle that you mentioned Job because I have a post on Job already in the works, where I show almost all the Hebrew terms applied to Christ in Isaiah 53 are applied to Job as well!

Adomnan said...

Nick: Piper fully espouses Penal Substitution, and is one of the more vocal on it, saying Christ was damned by the Father.

Adomnan: Okay. Thanks, Nick. I just looked at the first sermon on Ken's list of links, which does not in fact say anything about punishment.

However, if Piper claimed the Father "damned" Jesus, then he is indeed very much a penal substitutionist.

Yet it is possible, I suppose, that Piper changed his mind and has more recently dropped penal substitution. The timing of the relevant sermons would be the obvious thing to check for this.

I'm not going to look into it further, though. To me, Piper's views are not worth the time and effort. And the way Piper sprinkles his articles with Gollum-like "preciouses" and inglorious "gloriouses" gets on my nerves, as does most of his gushing prose. Often when he says that something is "precious" or "glorious," it turns out to be something particularly nasty and offensive, like "damning Jesus."

Nick: Second, it's a miracle that you mentioned Job because I have a post on Job already in the works, where I show almost all the Hebrew terms applied to Christ in Isaiah 53 are applied to Job as well!

Adomnan: Great minds think alike.

I'm happy to hear that you've investigated the Hebrew terms used in Isaiah 53 and Job. I could see the resemblance of language and imagery in translation and conjectured the original Hebrew words used might be identical, and now you have ascertained that to be the case. Great!

And since nobody claims that this language implies that Job was punished by God to even the score for others' sin, then they can hardly maintain that the same language implies penal sub in the Suffering Servant's case. Let the Bible interpret the Bible.

None of this will affect Ken's opinion, though, because he goes by Piper; and everything Piper says is so, well, precious and glorious.

Adomnan said...

Nick: If Jesus took the punishment, then logically, God's wrath is never upon them, prior to conversion. Yet that's odd given that justification is where sin is formally 'not imputed', i.e. forgiven.

Adomnan: Good point! So there can logically be no justification by faith, faith being something you have during your life, while they were justified before they were born when Jesus was punished in their place. Interesting.

The most they could consistently claim is not justification by faith alone, but awareness of being one of the elect by faith alone.

Ken said...

Adomnan wrote:
You should reply by trying to explain how the same image of "crushing" means one thing in Isaiah and another thing in Job and why it can only imply penal substitution in Isaiah. And then I would reply to that. This is what is called discussing the Bible. Apparently you can't do that.

Obviously, Isaiah 53:10 and 53:5 are different contexts from the Job passages that use the same Hebrew word for "crush".

Isaiah 53:10
"But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering . . .

Since He offered Himself as a guilt offering, the crushing here, and in the whole chapter is different than Job's crushing.

Just because Piper doesn't mention Penal Substitutionary atonement in that one message does not mean he changed his mind, etc.

You need to listen and read all the articles, but I see you don't want to and you insulted his preaching by calling his expressions "Gollum-esqe" just because He loves Christ and His love outpoured for sinners at the cross and He calls it "precious" and "glorious". I am amazed at your coldness of heart at the work of Christ on the cross - it is precious and glorious and should result in joyful and zealous emotions.

Calvinists are accused of being "dour" and "cold-hearted" and "too heady", etc. Yet, here is a Calvinist who has a good balance of head and heart; mind and emotion; and you mock it.

Anyway, the several Piper messages are not much material to get through compared to "all of Augustine" ( I have been working on that for years; don't think I will ever be finished; some of his stuff is not even translated into English still!) But I do try to read Augustine when I get a chance and have time.

Aquinas. Probably Not enough time for all that.

Again, it was not unjust for God the Father to do that, because Jesus the Son is also God, and so it does not fit into Prov. 17:15 category; and also it is different because the Son voluntarily and willingly came to take on the penalty for sin from all nations. - John 10:18 is emphasizing Jesus' willingness to do it; the Father is not forcing Him. As in the Garden - "yet not My will, but Thy will be done".

Isaiah 53:4 - "our griefs He Himself bore"

"our sorrows He carried"

Yet, we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted" ( Meaning we thought God was punishing Him for His own sins, but this is not right; He took the punishment for our sins and our iniquity)

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, and He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening [sometimes translated punishment]for our well-being [well-fare; shalom; peace] fell upon Him

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to His own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of all to fall on Him."

Since God is Trinity; the Father and Son and the Spirit planned it from eternity (Acts 2:22-24; 4:27-28; Psalm 2; John 17:5), and the Son volunteered out of love for the Father and love for the people of God, the redeemed from all nations; Rev. 5:9; 7:9.

Therefore it does not fall into the Proverbs 17:15 category.

Ken said...

Continued -

So, in summary, the two reasons Propitiation atonement (voluntarily taking on the punishment and wrath of God against sin for us in our place) does not violate Proverbs 17:15 is
1. Jesus was not only an innocent man; but was an innocent sinless God-man. Because He was also God and eternal; He could decide if He wanted to to come and take the punishment/ wrath for us if He wants to. He is God and who are you to question that?
2. Jesus voluntarily and willingly out of love chose to take on the sins of humans; ie, He was not forced. The Proverbs 17:15 passage is talking about humans inflicting injustice on other other humans; it is wrong because it was forced and the person being punished was not guilty. Jesus was not guilty either, "he who knew no sin made Him to be sin (or the sin offering), so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor. 5:21

He was not being punished for His own sins, but for the sins of others; but He willingly did that in the counsels of eternity planning it and out of love for the Father and us.

Ken said...

He was not being punished for His own sins (because He had none!), but for the sins of others; but He willingly did that in the counsels of eternity planning it and out of love for the Father and us.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Isaiah 53:10
"But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering . . .

Ken: Since He offered Himself as a guilt offering, the crushing here, and in the whole chapter is different than Job's crushing.

Adomnan: But the fact remains that the statement that "the Lord was pleased to crush Him" doesn't imply penal substitution, because the same statement is used of Job, where everyone agrees there's no penal sub involved. Again, Bible interpreting Bible.

If Isaiah 53 teaches penal sub, it has to do so by means of other statements. The prophecy about "crushing" is irrelevant to penal sub.

Now, you go on to claim that the second half-verse of Isaiah 53:10("if He would render Himself as a guilt offering") entails penal sub. That is clearly wrong. In fact, this half-verse proves penal sub is false.

Why? The reason is that a guilt offering is not a scapegoat. Sins are transferred to a scapegoat, but not to a guilt offering. That is why the scapegoat is not sacrificed to God -- it can't be because it's contaminated with sin -- while the guilt offering is sacrificed, and can be only because it's free from any contamination from sin (either intrinsic or "imputed").

In other words, the guilt offering and the scapegoat are two opposite, irreconciliable things. Since the Suffering Servant of Isaiah is compared to a guilt offering, He is the opposite of a scapegoat. If Isaiah wanted to imply penal sub, he would have written "The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a SCAPEGOAT." Ergo, no penal substitution.

So what does Isaiah 53:10 mean? It means that the Lord was pleased to let the Suffering Servant (whom the New Testament sees as Jesus) be "crushed" (just as the Lord was pleased to let Job be crushed), because something good would come out of it. That something good was that Jesus offered Himself as an expiatory sacrifice (a "guilt offering"), thus providing a means of purifying from sin, as the Epistle to the Hebrews explains.

The defenders of penal substitution pretend the doctrine is implied in a few scattered verses here and ambiguous half-verses there. (None of these supposed prooftexts are probative, however.)

Yet, if the atonement were in fact a matter of penal substitution, and if penal substitution were the whole substance of the gospel, as Ken claims, then you would think it would be spelled out clearly somewhere. And what better place for the Holy Spirit to spell it out than in the Biblical book that is devoted to the topic of the atonement; namely, the Epistle to the Hebrews? Yet when we look at this book we see no hint of penal substitution. In fact, Hebrews, while discussing the Day of Atonement, never even mentions the rite on that day that is most suggestive of penal sub, the scapegoat rite. It's intentionally left out. This alone is conclusive proof that penal sub is false. It is impossible to believe that penal sub is true and yet that it would be overlooked, indeed contradicted, by the author of Hebrews, who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Believers in penal sub simply ignore this huge elephant in the room. I'll take my theory of the atonement from Hebrews, not from Piper or Calvin or Ken.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Calvinists are accused of being "dour" and "cold-hearted" and "too heady", etc. Yet, here is a Calvinist who has a good balance of head and heart; mind and emotion; and you mock it.

Adomnan: I consider Piper's prose creepy and the feelings he expresses inauthentic. It's a matter of taste, and "de gustibus non est disputandum."

I have generally found Calvinist prose to be lacking in true feeling. As I said, when they call something "precious," they are as often as not talking about some nasty belief of theirs like "God damned Jesus," which people with normal feelings would find repellent. It really does remind me of Gollum, obsessing on his "preciousss."

Adomnan said...

Ken: Yet, we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted" ( Meaning we thought God was punishing Him for His own sins, but this is not right; He took the punishment for our sins and our iniquity).

Adomnan: Uh, no. This is actually another passage disproving penal sub. The verse says "we esteemed Him punished by God," meaning that "we" were wrong and the fact of the matter was that He was NOT punished by God. It was YOU who added "we thought God was punishing Him FOR HIS OWN SINS;" this "for his own sins" is not in the text. The text just says "we thought God was punishing Him," (but we were wrong).

Those who "esteemed God was punishing Him" are like Job's acquaintances, who also thought Job must have done something wrong and was being punished for it. In both cases, they were wrong. In neither case was the suffering a punishment from God, as they wrongly esteemed. As with the "crushing" verse, the best comparison is with Job, who was indeed a type of Christ.

Ken: Isaiah 53:4 - "our griefs He Himself bore"

"our sorrows He carried"

Adomnan: Very true. Jesus bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. But this isn't penal sub.

Ken: The chastening [sometimes translated punishment]for our well-being [well-fare; shalom; peace] fell upon Him

Adomnan: I'm glad you noted the ambiguity of the translations. I'll opt for "chastening," which doesn't imply any judicial punishment.

Ken: Since God is Trinity; the Father and Son and the Spirit planned it from eternity (Acts 2:22-24; 4:27-28; Psalm 2; John 17:5).

Adomnan: As I've said before, Ken, you have this annoying habit of making a claim and then piling up unquoted Bible references as if they support your claim, when in fact they have nothing to do with it. You can't think you're fooling anyone with this feeble ruse, can you?

You won't find me doing that.

Adomnan said...

Ken: if He wanted to to come and take the punishment/ wrath for us if He wants to. He is God and who are you to question that?

Adomnan: I'm not questioning what He decided to do; I'm questioning what you think He decided to do.

Ken: The Proverbs 17:15 passage is talking about humans inflicting injustice on other other humans; it is wrong because it was forced and the person being punished was not guilty.

Adomnan: You know what you're saying isn't true, Ken. Prov 17:15 says that it's an abomination for a judge (like God, who is a judge) to condemn the innocent. It doesn't say it's okay to condemn the innocent if the innocent person wants to be condemned. The Bible never considers the absurd situation you describe in which an innocent person wants to be condemned by an abomination of a judge. Unlike the believers in penal substitution, the writers of the Bible weren't nuts.

And if you claim that Prov 17:15 applies to humans but not to God, you 1) seem to have forgotten that Jesus Christ is human and 2) are maintaining that God can do things He calls abominations. Does that mean that God and Jesus can do EVERYTHING the Bible calls an abomination, or is this the only abomination They allow Themselves?

Ken: Jesus was not guilty either, "he who knew no sin made Him to be sin (or the sin offering), so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor. 5:21

Adomnan: I opt for "sin offering." And, as I explained, sin offerings were not scapegoats and they didn't have sin dumped on them, as your penal sub requires.

Ken: He willingly did that in the counsels of eternity planning it and out of love for the Father and us.

Adomnan: You've mentioned these "oounsels of eternity" before. So where are these meetings between the Father and Son, in which penal sub was on the agenda, mentioned in the Bible? Chapter and verse, please.

Oh, there aren't any? I didn't think so. I certainly would have recalled something like that.

So how do you know about these planning counsels of eternity then? Were you the secretary taking the minutes? (I admit I've been in some meetings that seemed eternal, but still.)

tap said...

Adonman, that was funny, there is a nice ring to the phrase; 'Eternal Secretary Ken Temple'.

Ken said...

Adomnan: Uh, no. This is actually another passage disproving penal sub. The verse says "we esteemed Him punished by God," meaning that "we" were wrong and the fact of the matter was that He was NOT punished by God. It was YOU who added "we thought God was punishing Him FOR HIS OWN SINS;" this "for his own sins" is not in the text. The text just says "we thought God was punishing Him," (but we were wrong).

Ken: uh, no; you left out the context and the verses around it and the connections. I am interpreting, in context; not adding anything.

4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.


I am not adding to the text, I am trying to explain the contrast of "yet, we esteemed Him stricken by God", is in contrast to "He bore our iniquities", etc. meaning He was our substitute; God was not punishing Him for His own sins, because He had none, but the Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon Him.

Ken said...

Adomnan: I consider Piper's prose creepy and the feelings he expresses inauthentic.

You judge motives and the heart - you cannot do that - he is very authentic. I Cor. 4:5; Matthew 7:1-5.

"creepy" is your opinion; but "inauthentic" is judging - and that is wrong.

Adomnan said...

Ken: "creepy" is your opinion; but "inauthentic" is judging - and that is wrong.

Adomnan: So we should never say we find something inauthentic?

I'm not calling the Rev. Piper insincere. I just think he's not in touch with his "feeling side," if you will. People who have authentic feelings don't claim that outlandish, repugnant opinions are precious and glorious. Piper is trying to make his feelings conform to what he thinks is the truth, and the result, in my opinion, is inauthentic. And it sounds inauthentic.

In fact, it's because beliefs like "God damned Jesus" are so repugnant to ordinary, healthy feeling that Piper wants to pretty them by describing them as "precious" and "glorious," formulaic words used more to express how people think they ought to value something rather than how they really feel about it.

Adomnan said...

Let's take a look at the movement in thought in the following passage:

"4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace"

It was commonplace among the ancient Hebrews to believe that if someone suffered, it was because he was being punished by God. This is the attitude we find, for example, in Job's acquaintances: Job is suffering; therefore, God must be punishing him.

Both the book of Job and Isaiah 53 are taking issue with this widespread assumption. This is the key to understanding Isaiah 53. "We" in verse 4 saw that the Servant was suffering (bearing griefs and sorrows); and, like Job's friends, "we" ASSUMED this was because God was punishing him: "Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten (also translated "punished") by God, and afflicted." This is the same incorrect assumption that the onlookers in Job's case made, an assumption that Isaiah shows to be wrong.

Yes, he bore our griefs and sorrows -- griefs and sorrows are not judicial punishments -- but nevertheless God was not punishing him, even though it appeared He was. This is what the passage says.

In verse 5, Isaiah reinforces this thought. The very fact that "he was wounded for OUR transgressions" demonstrates that God was not punishing him. He was guilty of nothing that deserved punishment. This is Isaiah's logic in the passage. Otherwise, why counter the onlookers' assumption of divine punishment by asserting the Suffering Servant's innocence, since "our transgressions" are not his?

Stating he suffered for our transgressions implies he did not suffer for his own, which in turn implies that he was not punished by God (despite his suffering) because he was not a transgressor and God only punishes transgressors. All suffering is not punishment.

Ken is assuming that if someone was wounded because of someone else's transgressions, that implies he must have been "punished" in the place of the transgressor, as if he were the guilty one. But if that were true, then every victim of crime or injustice -- all of whom are of course "wounded" because of others' transgressions -- would in fact be undergoing just punishment by God in the place of the criminal, thus criminalizing all victims.

To make his case, Ken has to insert into the mistaken assumption of the onlookers ("yet we esteemed him punished by God") the words "for his own sins" ("yet we esteemed him punished by God for his own sins"). But that phrase isn't there. It is the more general assumption of divine punishment that is initially expressed by the onlookers and then rejected by Isaiah. For Isaiah, it goes without saying that no one can be punished by God for the sins of others.

Finally, I would like to note that one can truthfully maintain that Jesus Christ was punished, if by that one means that He was punished unjustly by wicked men. What is false is to claim that He was punished justly by the Father. Isaiah 53:4 rules out the assumption that He "was punished BY GOD."

Adomnan said...

Maybe the simplest way to frame this issue is to point out that "we were bad, and he suffered for it" is a very different statement from "we were bad and God punished him in our place as if he were the bad one." Ken is confusing these two situations.

Maroun said...

Ken said .I am not adding to the text, I am trying to explain the contrast of "yet, we esteemed Him stricken by God", is in contrast to "He bore our iniquities", etc. meaning He was our substitute; God was not punishing Him for His own sins, because He had none, but the Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon Him.

Ma: Ken , but you are adding,because i told you before and i repeat exactly what the verse says,that Jesus died for us men , for our iniquities , and i told you that this is exactly what we pray also in the creed.
So Ken,plz dont tell us that you are not adding,when you take away the word for,and add instead.
Jesus came in the flesh for us,he suffered for us,he died for us and so on and not instead of us.
Just answer this very simple question plz.Do we have to repent when we sin?according to scriptures and very clearly,the answer is yes.What would hapened to an unrepented person?according to scriptures,that person will end up in hell.So where is your substitution?
Plz think about my simple questions and answer us.
GBU and thanks

Maroun said...

Grubb: Paul is saying to the elect: you're saved, now do the good works that are expected of a Christian;

Grubb,could you plz tell us in Matthew 25:31-46 , why some inherited the kingdom of God and others everlasting punishement?
I am not going to speak of any other verse but this one with you.

The you said , Grubb: those works don't save you, they please God and show who you are and where your heart is.
So again Grubb,if God was not pleased with your works or lack of good works,what would happen to that person?according to you nothing,because of penal subtitution,but according to our Lord Jesus who is the truth and never lies,those which did good inherited his kingdom and those which did not ,went to everlasting punishement.
GBU

Ken said...

Adomnan wrote:
". . . we were bad and God punished him in our place as if he were the bad one."

Better: "We were bad, sinful and under the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:1-3; John 3:18; 3:36; Romans 1:18); and Christ the Son of God willingly and lovingly and voluntarily took the punishment that we deserved; He took our place and was willing to pay the debt to justice by taking on the punishment of the wrath of God against sin."

"God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Ken said...

Maroun -

Of course every person must repent of their sin and trust in Christ to go to heaven.

Mark 1:15 - "repent and believe the gospel"

Luke 3:8 "bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance"

Luke 13:1-5 - "unless you repent, you will likewise perish"

Acts 3:19-21

Acts 26:20 "that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance"

When true repentance and belief in Christ takes place, that person is justified and sanctified; and the true believer will be repenting of known sin the rest of his/her life until Christ calls them home to heaven.

Galatians 5:19-21 shows that people that claim to be believers are not necessarily believers; if they are continually practicing those deeds of the flesh as a life style, especially if with no guilt or hatred of their own sin, then this indicates that they were never really born again, and will not inherit the kingdom of God.

I Cor. 6:9-11 - shows they have been changed - they were those things, but now they are justified, cleansed, sanctified -

A true believer hates his/her sins and repents of them until his/her death. I John 1:5-9

Adomnan said...

Ken: Better: "We were bad, sinful and under the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:1-3; John 3:18; 3:36; Romans 1:18); and Christ the Son of God willingly and lovingly and voluntarily, blah, blah, blah."

Adomnan: Better? This isn't any better. It's just wordier, like Piper's stuff. You haven't expressed anything different than "we were bad and God punished him in our place as if he were the bad one."

In fact, you make it worse by using phrases like "pay the debt to justice." I repeat: 1) It is the greatest injustice to condemn an innocent man. 2) Forgiveness implies that no punishment is exacted; no debt is paid to justice. If the debt were paid to justice, there would be no forgiveness. You cannot forgive a debt and pay it at the same time.

Ken: "God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Adomnan: This verse is no way states, suggests or hints penal substitution, as you know.

Ben M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

Adomnan wrote:
1) It is the greatest injustice to condemn an innocent man.

Yes, that is what the Jews and Romans did to Jesus; they are the ones, along with Judas, who committed the sin of Proverbs 17:15.

But since God (Jesus, the Son of God) Himself voluntarily took the wrath of God (Father and Son together - see wrath of the Lamb in Revelation 6:16-17 and Rev. 14:10); it is not unjust from God's doing.

But God is Holy and He ordained the cross and planned it (Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28; Psalm 2; Mark 10:45) - the God-Man was innocent, yes, but God did not condemn Jesus in the way you are expressing it; rather He condemned the sin that He was bearing in His own body on tree; and Jesus' voluntarily willingly paid the price.

Jesus fulfilled both the "guilt-offering" (Lev. 5; Isaiah 53:10; 2 Cor. 5:21) and "sin offerings" and the scapegoat of the day of atonement (Leviticus chapters 4-5; 16-17; Isaiah 53:4-6; I Peter 2:24; 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21) - the scapegoat type was fulfilled in the antitype in the NT by the "bearing", "carrying" and "for", "in place of" and "ransom" terminology. Also Mark 10:45. He "bore our sins"; "carried our sins away", condemned the sin, the sin was laid on Him - Isaiah 53:6.

We already went through all this; but you just reject it.

It is better; you just dismiss any and all opposing arguments.

Substitutionary Sacrifice and Jesus voluntarily taking on the punishment of the wrath of God against sin is taught by the word, propitiation.

It is also taught in the book of Hebrews 2:17 - the word is used here.

Hebrews 7:26-27 and 9:26-28 teaches it also, the concept of putting away sin and bearing sin, even though the word "hilasmos" or the verb "hilaskomai" is not used there.

So, Propitiation, meaning "satisfaction of the wrath of God" is Biblical:
Romans 3:25-26
I John 2:2
I John 4:10
Hebrews 2:17
Luke 18:13 "have mercy on me" = propitiate me - the reason God can have mercy is because justice is poured out on the sins.

I Peter 2:24 - "He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree . . . "

Ken said...

Adomnan wrote:
"2) Forgiveness implies that no punishment is exacted; no debt is paid to justice. If the debt were paid to justice, there would be no forgiveness. You cannot forgive a debt and pay it at the same time."

Uh, no. What is the basis of God's forgiveness? Why did He require the violent bloody deaths of the lambs, goats, and sheep?

Why was the death of Christ effective?

Because it was a real atonement, dealing with sin.

And the resurrection proved it was effective and satisfied God's wrath. Like Leviticus 9:23-24 - the glory of God and fire comes down consuming the burnt offerings - showing it was effective for satisfying God's wrath. Justice is death. the wages of sin is death. Christ died in our place. We don't experience the second death because of what He did for us in our place. (if we trust in Him and His death on the cross)

Because He ransomed us out of sin, (Mark 10:45) by paying the price (you have been bought with a price - I Cor. 6:19-20; with precious blood, as of a lamb - I Peter 1:19 - to justice. He satisfied the wrath of God against sin, which is justice against sin.

That is why Romans 3:25-26 is so important, He did this to show that He is both just and the justifier of those that have faith in Jesus.

25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

God's holiness, righteousness is satisfied, - He is just against sin; punishing it.

And His love is demonstrated - love and sacrifice for sinners.

Both just and justifier. Romans 3:25-26. He forgives, because justice was accomplished. That is why unbelievers go to hell; because they did not trust in the just one who died for their injustice. I Peter 3:18 - the just for the unjust.

Grubb said...

Hey Maroun,

Glad to hear from you. Let me say up front, you saying, "I am not going to speak of any other verse but this one with you," would be similar to me saying to you, "What do you think of Eph 2:8-9 where Paul says we're saved by faith & not works? I won't discuss any other passage with you." I'll gladly discuss Matt 25:31-46, but I'm pretty sure other verses will be discussed (at least by me), because systematic theology dictates it.

In Matt 25:31-46, who's on the left and who's on the right? The goats & sheep respectively. Can a goat become a sheep? So if the shepherd determined he was going to kill all the goats, what could a goat do to change his status? Absolutely nothing.

If the shepherd is going to keep the sheep, because they can huddle & warm him in the winter, are gentle, and provide him wool in the summer, what did the sheep do to merit that favor? They were just being sheep. Similarly, if God "elects" some (and make no mistake, some are of the "elect": Matt 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 13:20; Rom 9:11; Rom 11:7, II Tim 2:10,...) and makes them sheep, they will do what sheep do!! This is why those who have done good works will get into heaven: because they're works were a reflection of their faith. That's why Paul said we are to "work out [our] salvation" not to "work for [our] salvation" (Phil 2:12-13).

Here's the interesting thing, if a shepherd chooses to keep the sheep and kill the goats, what if a goat acts like a sheep? What if he huddles to keep warm, is gentle, and allows itself to be shaved in the summer? While he acts like a sheep, the shepherd will still get rid of him, because he is not a sheep.

If we take your position to it's conclusion, anyone who takes care of the poor, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, and gives drink to the thirsty (in short, who does good works) will be allowed into heaven. But where is Jesus in that equation? Can all the Hindus that do good get into heaven? That's not what Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Obviously I agree that the sheep who do good works will get into heaven, but all His sheep will do good works, because that's what His sheep do. And Jesus said of the "elect" during the tribulation, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible." He indicates that the elect cannot be deceived, because they are of the elect.

I don't suppose you'll address all these other passages, but they were necessary to support why the sheep described in Matt 25 are actually the elect.
.

Grubb said...

Adomnan,

I thought I selected the "Email follow-up comments to..." box after I posted my last comments. I didn't get any e-mails, so I assumed the Open Forum was going silent for a while.

I'm getting ready to read your comments from 2 weeks ago and respond. My apologies.
.

Grubb said...

Adomnan,

Adomnan: That doesn't matter. Obviously anything the Church requries is not a work of the Jewish Law and therefore does not come under what Paul calls works/works of the Law, which are only works of the Jewish Law.

But it's still a work. And as I pointed out, every time Paul uses the word "work" it can't be referring to a work of the law; it's simply referring to a work.

Grubb: ... you're actually speaking against practices that the RCC is currently enforcing?

Adomnan: No, of course not. Paul evidently saw the Jewish Law as oppressive; and anyone can see that Orthodox Jews today who try to follow the Law live extremely restricted lives. The few observances required of Catholics are in no way comparable and never have been.


But "extremely restrictive lives" is in the eye of the beholder. Mass every Sunday, confession before receiving communion, mass on holy days, no eating meat on Fridays during lent, giving up something for lent, baptism,... All of those (not to mention the "do"s and "don't"s the RCs & Reformed Christians agree on (Love God, love neighbor, be a cheerful giver, help the poor, feed the hungry,...) can become extremely restrictive.

The Church is authorized by God to impose requirements on its members.

But Paul told us "not to go beyond what is written," because he understood the dangers of allowing a church the freedom to impose requirements on its congregation. I don't know what all the practices of the Puritans were, but it's possible that they did go beyond what was written.

Adomnan: The few simple "laws" of the Church have never been as oppressive or confining as the Mosaic Law, as anyone who has any familiarity with Orthodox Judaism would know.

But now you're only arguing "degrees" of oppressiveness. The RC requirements may well fall into "works". You've conceded that it is a "law".

Nevertheless, I believe that the person who did write it was intending to use "works" in the same way Paul did, and so "works" in Eph 2:9 refers to works of the Jewish Law. If you look at the whole passage, you'll see that the author of the epistle is comparing Jews and Gentiles and showing how they are reconciled in Christ. Eph 2:9 is a reference to the Jews.

But in Eph 2:10 he says, "For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do the good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." By your interpretation, you're saying that we're saved by grace and faith, not by works of the law, so that we can do the good works of the law that God intended us to do. Surely you see the dichotomy there.

I'll address the rest of your comments tomorrow, Lord willing.
.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: But it's still a work.

Adomnan: Yes, it's a work. But it's not a work of the Jewish Law. When Paul spoke of "works" (with no modifiers), it was just shorthand for "works of the Law." He had no other works in mind. He's not writing about "works in general."

Grubb: And as I pointed out, every time Paul uses the word "work" it can't be referring to a work of the law; it's simply referring to a work.

Adomnan: On the contrary, if Paul uses the word "works" alone without a modifier, it always refers to works of the Law. By the way, he doesn't use the singular "work" in this sense, only plural "works."

Notice that in Galatians, Paul never writes "works," but always "works of the Law." In Romans, he uses "works of the Law" until the end of chapter 3, when he shortens the phrase to "works" to avoid unnecessary repetition, having established his meaning. But these "works" are always just "works of the Law," nothing broader.

Grubb: But "extremely restrictive lives" is in the eye of the beholder. Mass every Sunday, confession before receiving communion, mass on holy days, no eating meat on Fridays during lent, giving up something for lent, baptism,... All of those (not to mention the "do"s and "don't"s the RCs & Reformed Christians agree on (Love God, love neighbor, be a cheerful giver, help the poor, feed the hungry,...) can become extremely restrictive.

Adomnan: No, they aren't. "My yoke is light," Jesus said, in contrast to the yoke of the Law.

Again, the few, reasonable observances the Church requires are no burden, and not in the least restrictive. In no way are they to be compared to the food, clothing and other life-style restrictions that observant Jews must bear. As Paul noted, Jews could hardly observe the Law. Why impose it on Gentiles?

But all this is really beside the point. Paul's works were only works of the Law. Even fundamentalist legalism, though I might disapprove of it, could never be called "works" in Paul's sense: a waste of time, maybe, but not works of the Jewish Law.

You're trying to apply Paul's very focused discussion of the Law, its "works" and their irrelevance to Gentile Christians to matters he never meant to address and that he does not address, even by implication.

That's one of the problems that comes from treating all Biblical texts as if they are addressed to us personally and to our personal issues. The issue of works/works of the Law was resolved in Paul's day. It is no longer of any direct relevance to us, aside from informing us of how Christianity was related in the beginning to the Judaism from which it sprang.

Adomnan said...

Grubb: But Paul told us "not to go beyond what is written,"

Adomnan: Paul was quoting an obscure Greek proverb. This has nothing to do with the Scriptures.

Grubb: But now you're only arguing "degrees" of oppressiveness.

Adomnan: And so I'm fully in line with Paul who thought the Jewish Law was oppressive, but did not eschew any practice or rule of the Church as oppressive. And indeed they weren't in his day and never have been.

Grubb: The RC requirements may well fall into "works". You've conceded that it is a "law".

Adomnan: No, the "RC requirements" don't "fall into 'works'", because Paul's works are only works of the Jewish Law.

And what this "you've conceded that it is a 'law'"? Of course these requirements can be called "laws." What they can't be called is "the Jewish Law," and that is the ony law Paul was taking issue with.

Do you just want to play word games or are you interested in Paul's real meaning? Well, I'm telling you what he really meant.

Grubb: But in Eph 2:10 he says, "For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do the good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." By your interpretation, you're saying that we're saved by grace and faith, not by works of the law, so that we can do the good works of the law that God intended us to do. Surely you see the dichotomy there.t's okay. You can forget about coherence and consistency. We're way beyond that here in Fundie fantasy land.

Adomnan: Please try to put on your thinking cap and read what I have written. This last remark suggests that you haven't.

Paul's "good works" are not the same thing as "works." Paul uses the unmodified word "works" as shorthand for "works of the Law." There are no "good works of the Law" in Paul's writings. (I'm not saying the Law doesn't recommend some good works; I'm saying that Paul doesn't use the phrase "good works" in reference to the Law.)

Nick said...

The key is to realize Paul was *not* (primarily) concerned with "Pelagianism." Thus, he was not focused on "works in general." This is *readily* apparent by the fact Paul is utterly *silent* about any such notion as "Christ's Active Obedience" (a critical concept for those who argue 'works in general').

Paul's main focus was attacking the Judaizer's central heresy which I like to call the heresy of "Grace Alone" (for lack of a better term). The Judaizers believed they were *elect* based upon biological ancestry, and were entitled to all God's free graces and blessings, and the mere fact God had them born Jews was a sign of His 'unconditional election'. Matthew 3:9 explains this nicely, as does Romans 9-11, and ESPECIALLY Eph 2:11-13&3:4-6 (among others). To ignore *that* is to ignore the *real* context of Paul's thought.

Paul was dealing with a problem that is essentially long gone, though erroneous principles from the original problem rears it's head now and then.

Nick said...

This is why I focus my energy on the twofold error surrounding "Christ's Impute Righteousness" - which is 'composed' of Christ's twofold obedience: His Passive Obedience, aka Penal Substitution, and His Active Obedience, which is Him perfectly obeying the Law in our place.

Both of these 'obediences' are so foreign to Scripture that Protestants are horrified and in shock when I confront them and they have to 'defend' it. I've never seen more mental gymnastics than when I have Protestants "prove" these doctrines from Scripture.

Adomnan said...

The third paragraph from the end of my last post concludes with the following: "t's okay. You can forget about coherence and consistency. We're way beyond that here in Fundie fantasy land."

These remarks were included mistakenly in my post because I was distracted by a phone call while editing. I pressed the send button too quickly. Please ignore them. They're not meant for Grubb.

Adomnan said...

Nick: I've never seen more mental gymnastics than when I have Protestants "prove" these doctrines from Scripture.

Adomnan: Ken does the gymnastics, but he skips the "mental" part.

Adomnan said...

Ken: Yes, that is what the Jews and Romans did to Jesus; they are the ones, along with Judas, who committed the sin of Proverbs 17:15.

Adomnan: Not according to your belief. You believe that the Jews, the Romans, Jesus, Judas, and God the Father all committed the sin of Proverb 17:15.

I believe it was just the Jews and the Romans, along with Judas.

Ken: But since God (Jesus, the Son of God) Himself voluntarily took the wrath of God (Father and Son together - see wrath of the Lamb in Revelation 6:16-17 and Rev. 14:10); it is not unjust from God's doing.

Adomnan: Oh, give us a break, Ken. These passages from Revelations have absolutely nothing to do with penal substitution, and you know it. Do you read penal sub into EVERYTHING? How about Gen 27:11:"Esau was an hairy man, and Jacob a smooth." Can you elucidate the penal sub implications in this verse, please? Thanks.

Ken: rather He condemned the sin that He was bearing in His own body on tree; and Jesus' voluntarily willingly paid the price.

Adomnan: Sins aren't guilty and deserving of punishment. The people who commit them are. You can't "punish" sins themselves. They don't care if they're punished or not, because sins are not even conscious.

Ken: the scapegoat type was fulfilled in the antitype in the NT by the "bearing", "carrying" and "for", "in place of" and "ransom" terminology. Also Mark 10:45. He "bore our sins"; "carried our sins away", condemned the sin, the sin was laid on Him - Isaiah 53:6.

Adomnan: Actually, the scapegoat wasn't a type. Or, at least, it's never treated as a type by any of the New Testament writers. As I pointed out, the author of Hebrews discusses the Day of Atonement but leaves out the scapegoat rite. So clearly he didn't consider it a type. If he had, he would have mentioned it. It was right there in front of him in the text he was exegeting.

I looked into the Greek used in the Septuagint for the scapegoat rite and the words used for "bearing," "carrying" and "sin being laid" on someone in the Septuagint version of Isaiah 53 and in the New Testament, and I discovered that different verbs were used for the scapegoat and in these other passages, showing that the New Testament writers were making no allusions to the scapegoat rite.

If I have time, I'll type up my notes on this and post them.

Oh, and the New Testament never says that Christ died in anyone's place ("anti" in Greek), only that he died for us, on our behalf (huper in Greek).

Ransom is not a metaphor for penal substitution.

Sin was "condemned" in the sense that it was rendereed powerless. It was not "punished." And it was sin that was condemned, not Jesus Christ.

Ken said...

Adomnan: Ken does the gymnastics, but he skips the "mental" part.

Ken: Laughing out loud!
You are too much funny!

Adomnan said...

Ken: We already went through all this; but you just reject it.

Adomnan: Of course I don't "reject it." I don't see any implication of penal substitution in any of it, because there isn't any.

Ken: It is better; you just dismiss any and all opposing arguments.

Adomnan: Ken, you know that's not true. I have examined almost every one of your arguments -- okay, the one about the "wrath of the Lamb" in Rev implying penal sub I did reject out of hand -- but come on! That was just too stupid, and a mere throwaway line on your part besides.

You, on the other hand, seldom grapple with any of my arguments. You just repeat what I've already refuted over and over. Well, "vain repetition like the pagans do" doesn't cut it.

Ken: Substitutionary Sacrifice and Jesus voluntarily taking on the punishment of the wrath of God against sin is taught by the word, propitiation.

Adomnan: So propitiation proves penal substitution? Prove it!

Ken: Hebrews 7:26-27 and 9:26-28 teaches it also, the concept of putting away sin and bearing sin, even though the word "hilasmos" or the verb "hilaskomai" is not used there.

Adomnan: Sin can be put away and borne without any innocent person being punished as if he were guilty. Happens all the time.

Ken: So, Propitiation, meaning "satisfaction of the wrath of God" is Biblical:
Romans 3:25-26
I John 2:2
I John 4:10
Hebrews 2:17
Luke 18:13 "have mercy on me" = propitiate me - the reason God can have mercy is because justice is poured out on the sins.

Adomnan: Propitiation doesn't entail penal substitution. The word means that God is made merciful, but doesn't explain how. You made up the business of "justice being poured out on sins." This odd idea is not contained in the definition of propitiation. You keep wanting to rewrite the Bible. I just take the Scriptures as they are.

Ken: I Peter 2:24 - "He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree . . . "

Adomnan: Sure He did. We sinned. He suffered because of our sins. So He bore our sins by suffering. Who doubts that? That doesn't mean that the Father regarded or treated Him as guilty of our sins.

If someone commits a sin against you, you bear the sin. Does that mean you're guilty of the sin? I don't think so.

So why do you assume that every "bearer of sin" is accounted guilty of sin?

Adomnan said...

Ken: Adomnan wrote:
"2) Forgiveness implies that no punishment is exacted; no debt is paid to justice. If the debt were paid to justice, there would be no forgiveness. You cannot forgive a debt and pay it at the same time."

Ken: Uh, no. What is the basis of God's forgiveness? Why did He require the violent bloody deaths of the lambs, goats, and sheep?

Adomnan: The lambs, goats and sheep weren't punished. They were going to be killed and munched anyway. Every time you have a chicken dinner, are you punishing the chicken?

And it is difficult to have lamb chops without at some point having a "violent bloody death" of a lamb, unfortunately.

More generally, sacrifice never has been and never will be the punishment of a victim. Sacrifice has never entailed punishment in any culture at any time anywhere (except among Protestants, who don't actually sacrifice).

Now, with that established, let's get back to Ken's absurd confusion that God can be paid the debt for sin and forgive the debt for sin at the same time.

Ken, if your friend owed the bank $10,000 and you were kind enough to pay his debt for him, would you say that the bank forgave the debt?

Answer: No, the debt wasn't forgiven; it was paid.

Okay, Ken, if we owe God the Father for our sin and Jesus pays our debt to Him for us, would you say that God the Father forgives our sins?

Answer: No, the debt isn't forgiven; it is paid.

Therefore, if Jesus paid the Father the debt we owed for sin, then the Father didn't forgive us. Consequently, when Jesus told us to pray to the Father "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors," He must have been mistaken, right?

Got it? Or will I have to explain it yet again? Here it is in big letters and simple words: JESUS MADE NO PAYMENT TO THE FATHER.

Adomnan said...

Ken: That is why Romans 3:25-26 is so important, He did this to show that He is both just and the justifier of those that have faith in Jesus.

Adomnan: You've misinterprted this passage from Romans. Let me explain it to you:

In Romans, the "justice (righteousness) of God" is God's faithfulness to His promise to redeem mankind through the seed of Abraham.

God shows He is just through this faithfulness, and since He is faithful to His promise, He justifies the Gentiles through the seed of Abraham (Christ).

Therefore, God is just and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ; that is, God is just precisely because He is the justifier of those who believe in Christ.

Nothing about penal substitution here.

Ken said...

καὶ γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ
ἦλθεν διακονηθῆναι ἀλλὰ διακονῆσαι καὶ δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν.

Mark 10:45 - λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν "ransom for many" - ransom in the place for many"

Here is a clear verse, along with Matthew 20:28, the synoptic parallel, that uses "anti" for the substitution sense we are speaking of.

It is true that ὑπὲρ (Huper) is more common and used most often in verses that speak of "Christ died for our sins", etc. as in I Peter 3:18, "the just for the unjust"

δίκαιος ὑπὲρ ἀδίκων

But huper also has within its range of meaning, "in stead of, in place of".

so you are just wrong.

How was Christ's death a ransom?

Why did God substitute an innocent ram in the place of Abraham's son as a lesson of foreshadowing of God the Father not withholding His only Son. Genesis 22; Romans 8:32 ??

ὅς γε τοῦ ἰδίου υἱοῦ οὐκ ἐφείσατο, ἀλλὰ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν πάντων παρέδωκεν αὐτόν, πῶς οὐχὶ καὶ σὺν αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα ἡμῖν χαρίσεται; (Romans 8:32)

Genesis 22:16-18
16 and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."

Nick said...

Adomnan and others,

I've finished my brief comparison between Isaiah 53 & Job and demonstrate that Job must be the "Suffering Servant" the prophecy was about.

http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/05/is-job-suffering-servant-of-isaiah-53.html

Ken said...

the one about the "wrath of the Lamb" in Rev implying penal sub I did reject out of hand --

I am not saying that that verse was specifically about penal substitution, I am only showing that both God the Father has wrath against sin, as does God the Son, the Lamb.

God, out of love for us, took His own punishment for our sins, in our place.

Ken said...

Adomnan: The lambs, goats and sheep weren't punished. They were going to be killed and munched anyway.

So, what was the point in God's mind for the sacrificial system in the tabernacle and temple?

What was God's point in Genesis 22 and substituting a ram for Abraham's son?

What was the point in Exodus 12-14 and the passover, that the blood of a sacrificed unblemished lamb was spread on the doorposts to avert the judgment of the death angel?

What is the point of John 1:29 - "behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?

Maroun said...

Hi Grubb.
Thanks for answering and very quickly too.
First of all,i didnt give you this one verse because i dont care about the others,but because this verse among many many others,is so clear.So i thought,that this particular place will help you see things clearly....
Anyway,look,God did not create some as sheeps and others as goats,the verse says very clearly how and why these two kinds of people were separated ,some on the right and others on the left.
I just dont understand how is it that you dont see something as obvious and clear in that passage?
Why were some ( the sheep ) were placed on the right side?and why did they receive the kingdom?our Lord Jesus himself explained to them and to us the why?because of their faith which manifested itself thrue love...
And why were some ( the goats ) placed on the left side?and why did they go to eternel punishement?not because they didnt have faith,nor because God didnt want them to be saved,but our Lord Himself explained the reason to them and to us.Because their faith was dead,didnt have any works,did not manifest itself in love.
Then you asked if i believe that a hindu or a budhist will be saved just by doing good works?
My answer is very simple and clear.When did we catholics and me in particular say that we dont need faith?in fact we keep insisting all the time on faith,but not faith alone,not just by words,but a faith which worketh by love (Gal.5:6 ).
And then all his sheep will do good works,not true,but we are all called to do good works,and some do and others dont,some obey and some disobey,and that is why He will come again to judge the living and the dead,otherwise,judgement day is useless.
So i insist on the fact ,unlike you,that things do and must take place,but not automaticaly as you claim,but with our free cooperation with the grace of God.
GBU

Nick said...

Ken,

By appealing to the term "ransom" you just refuted Penal Substitution. A ransom/redemption is a "buy back at a price", it is not a transfer of punishment! The fact Paul and the NT use the terms "redemption" to describe Christ's sacrifice in places like Rom 3:25 and Gal 3:13 and such is a huge blow against framing the sacrifice as a Penal Substitution.

Further, 1 John 3:16 demonstrates "huper" need not and was not a Penal Substitution, else 16b would mean Christians are Psubbers (haha, a new word) for eachother.

And Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac is another serious blow against Penal Substitution (though a strong foreshadowing of Christ's Atonement). Abraham was already justified by Gen 22, that's why Protestants are adamant James 2:21 (quoting Gen 22:1,9-12) is not speaking of soteric justification, yet if Abe was already justified, it makes no sense that God was demanding a Psub sin-sacrifice of him. Further, there's no mention of imputing his sin to Isaac (who couldn't function as a sub anyway), nor is there any hint that's what God was after in Gen 22.

Maroun said...

Ken said.God, out of love for us, took His own punishment for our sins, in our place.

Hi ken,could you plz tell us and very clearly if possible,what is this punishment which you keep on talking about?you keep saying,that God took His own punishment,plz tell us , according to you what does this punishement consist of?and plz again i repeat,be very specific.
Thanks and GBU

Adomnan said...

Ken: Mark 10:45 - λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν "ransom for many" - ransom in the place for many"

Here is a clear verse, along with Matthew 20:28, the synoptic parallel, that uses "anti" for the substitution sense we are speaking of.

Adomnan: Besides meaning "in the place of," anti can have the closely related meaning of "in exchange for." In the case of a ransom (lutron), the ransom is evidently given "in exchange for something;" that is, "anti" something. It doesn't actually mean "in the place of" in this context.

Moreover, the analogy of a ransom doesn't suggest penal substitution. It's a different image. And the ransom wasn't paid to the Father either, because a ransom is paid to whoever holds a hostage captive; and the Father didn't hold sinners captive.

Thus, the ransom was either paid to the Devil (or death, or sin) -- or, if you don't like that interpretation and don't want to stretch the analogy that far -- it was just "paid," without any thought of the recipient, which is quite a permissible use of language. In any event, as I said, no ransom was paid to the Father.

Ken: It is true that ὑπὲρ (Huper) is more common and used most often in verses that speak of "Christ died for our sins", etc. as in I Peter 3:18, "the just for the unjust"

Adomnan: It's not only "more common" in these verses, it's the only preposition used. "Anti" is never used in these contexts.

Ken: δίκαιος ὑπὲρ ἀδίκων

Adomnan: This means "the just on behalf of the unjust," not "the just in place of the unjust." If Peter wanted to write "in place of," he would have written "dikaios anti adikon."

Ken: But huper also has within its range of meaning, "in stead of, in place of".

Adomnan: No, it doesn't. It may occasionally mean "as a representative of", but it never means "in place of" in the sense of "as a replacment/substitute for." Greek is not that imprecise. It has a word with the latter meaning, and that is "anti." Paul and the other writers of the NT would have used this word if they wanted to say that Christ died in our place. They never do use it, because they only want to say that Christ died on our behalf (huper).

Besides, to use a preposition to attempt to prove penal substitution, you would have to show that "huper" implied substitution in some instance where Christ's death for (huper) us is spoken of, which you can't do. At the most, it might be a possible interpretation -- although I won't grant even that -- but you can't establish your case on the basis of a mere possibility when other interpretations are equally or more likely.

Adomnan said...

Ken: So, what was the point in God's mind for the sacrificial system in the tabernacle and temple?

Adomnan: Same significance that all Hebrew sacrifice has. The offering is a gift to God. The gift is actually the life of the victim ("the life is in the blood"). By accepting the gift, God makees it holy. He then gives it back to the offerers, and -- in atonement sacrifices -- they use the blood to cleanse the temple and the sacrificer of the impurity of sin. That's how it's explained in the Epistle to the Hebrews, too.

At no point is the sacrificial victim ever punished. Its death isn't the point of the sacrifice; the offering of the life/blood is. Again, read Hebrews. It's all explained there. Read it with fresh eyes!

Ken: What was God's point in Genesis 22 and substituting a ram for Abraham's son?

Adomnan: Because he didn't want Abraham to kill his son. He was just testing his faithfulness.

Young Isaac was not a wicked sinner whom God wanted to kill, but took a ram instead.

Ken: What was the point in Exodus 12-14 and the passover, that the blood of a sacrificed unblemished lamb was spread on the doorposts to avert the judgment of the death angel?

Adomnan: It was a sacrament of the covenant between God and Israel, which would also be sealed with a sacrifice.

The Israelites in Egypt weren't sinners, and God was not out to destroy their first born. Therefore, they did not need substitutes to be killed in their sons' place.

Ken: What is the point of John 1:29 - "behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."?

Adomnan: Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, as we say at every Mass with no implication of penal substitution. His was an expiatory sacrifice, well described in Hebrews and by Paul.

Maroun said...

Hi Nick.
I like everything you are quoting,really,very specific,very correct.
You quoted , Paul's main focus was attacking the Judaizer's central heresy which I like to call the heresy of "Grace Alone" (for lack of a better term). The Judaizers believed they were *elect* based upon biological ancestry, and were entitled to all God's free graces and blessings, and the mere fact God had them born Jews was a sign of His 'unconditional election'. Matthew 3:9 explains this nicely, as does Romans 9-11, and ESPECIALLY Eph 2:11-13&3:4-6 (among others). To ignore *that* is to ignore the *real* context of Paul's thought.

I agree 100%,it`s amazing,that i am writing about the same subject with the exact same words,honestly.The only difference is that i quoted Luke 3:7-9 instead of Matthew 3:9 , lol,but actualy they are exactly the same exact words...
In fact verse 9 is very specific,that grace alone and faith alone without works is dead .
Even now the axe also lies at the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doesn't bring forth good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire."
What is clearer than that?
GBU

Ken said...

"Anti" is never used in these contexts.

Yes it is; in Mark 10:45 and Matthew 20:28.

And "huper" also means "in place of, instead of" as a substitute - as in Romans 9:3, where Paul wishes he was accursed in place of his unbelieving Jewish brethren.

The theology of this is not hard - you guys are making it too hard.

1. Humans are sinful and deserved to die. (yes, even Isaac in Gen. 22 and the Hebrews firstborn in Exodus 12-14). Or don't you, as a RC believe in original, inherited sin? - Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12 ?

2. the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23. All humans have sinned. Romans 3:23

3. We deserved to die and suffer the wrath of God. Ephesians 2:1-3; Genesis 2:17

4. Christ died in our place. Both anti and huper point to this. All the sacrifices point to this, sin offering, burnt offering, guilt offering, and the scapegoat, where our sins are borne and carried away, dealt with. Christ fulfilled Genesis 22, and Exodus 12-14 and Leviticus 1-7 and 16-17 and Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 - all of it.

5. Therefore, He took the punishment of death for us, the separation from God the Father, which is why He cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me? quoting Psalm 22.

Get it? Duh, it's not hard.

Galatians 3:13 says He became the curse (judgment) of the law for us. The judgment was the wrath and justice and anger of God against sin; death; bloody death. The point of the blood is not the liquid, but the violence leading to death done to it. Gensis 2-5, etc.

"the blood of the new covenant shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. He shed His blood in our place, sinners who deserved the punishment.

Interesting that in Leviticus 16:22, the LXX word for "bear" is lempsetai, from lambano, to receive, grasp, take, seize,

The same word in Matthew 8:17, where Matthew translates the Hebrew of Isaiah 53:4 himself and does not use the LXX, because he wants to allude to the scapegoat imagery. He received, carried, offered our sins in His body.

And in I Peter 2:24, alluding to Isaiah 53:12 bore, interceded for. (Of course Nick, the intercessory, mediatorial work of Christ includes all of His word of the cross and resurrection and ascension and intercession for us now at the right hand of the Father. Romans 8:32-34; Hebrews 7:25

and the word for bore in I Peter 2:24 is used in Hebrews 7:27 and 9:28, so yes, Adomnan, Hebrews also teaches substitutionary atonement, propitiation of the wrath and justice of God against sin. Christ willingly took the punishment that we deserved.

And Genesis 22:12 and 16 - "withheld" is same word in Romans 8:32 - He is alluding to that.

The innocent sinless lambs were types and symbols of Christ, the lamb of God who would take the punishment for our sins for us, in our place. I Peter 1:19-20; John 1:29

Ken said...

(Of course Nick, the intercessory, mediatorial work of Christ includes all of His word of the cross and resurrection and ascension and


oops; typo. should have been:

(Of course Nick, the intercessory, mediatorial work of Christ includes all of His work of the cross and resurrection and ascension and

Ken said...

We still die physically, even believers in Christ, so the fulfillment of Christ dying in our place is "eternal life", "heaven", 'entry into the kingdom of God". (if we repent and believe - we have redemption, relationship with God ( John 17:3) and justification and sanctification and glorification) - Romans 8:28-34

Jesus did not just die physically - lots of people die physically.

But our sins were transferred onto Him - which is what 2 Cor. 5:21 and Isaiah 53-4-6 and 53:1-12 and I Peter 2:24 and Romans 8:3; and Galatians 2:20 and Romans 6:1-6 and Mark 10:45 (not a ransom to Satan; no; Christ's death releases us from sin, guilt, bondage; but it is not a payment to Satan, no. It is a payment to the justice of God, the holiness of God - the just wages of sin is death.); and Heb. 9:28 and Gal. 1:4 and Eph. 1:7 and Rev. 1:5 and 1 Cor. 6:19-20 and Rev. 5:5 and 5:9 are talking about; so He paid the penalty for sin - both physical suffering and death and spiritual suffering and death, ie. separation from the Father - But of course His Divine Nature did not "cease to exist" - that is not what "death" means. He was separated for a time from the Father, then "made alive in spirit" I Peter 3:18 - whatever that means ( ?) and His resurrection vindicated His death and proved it was effective and powerful to actually save and atone for sin. Otherwise, it is just another death. He took the justice of God; and forgives and justifies and cleanses sinners; so He is both just and the justifier of those that have faith in Jesus - Romans 3:25-26.

Spoils23m said...

Ken,

I don't think you got what context Adomnan was referring to... at all.

The more you explain penal substitution... the less logical sense it makes to me. I don't know if I am the only person with this problem, but... I sense that I am not.

Blessings,
Cearnaigh

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 229   Newer› Newest»