Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Calvinist view of 1 John 2:1-2 (response to Mitch)

Mitch and I have been discussing 1 John 2:1-2. Some of the mistakes Mitch makes are common ones I see in Calvinists circles, so I thought I would address them.

The Text

1Jo 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Mitch’s View

1. The whole world = meaning all Christians throughout who ever were, are or will be
2. “you” = the Jews
3. propitiation and advocation and are inseparable and co-extensive
4. Propitiation means “has propitiated”

My View

1. The whole world = everyone
2. Christ is the propitiation for everyone, but only advocates for believers
3. Propitiation is the only basis for advocation, but they are not inseparable or co-extensive
4. Since Christ is the propitiation for everyone, He can cleanse everyone
5. I am not sure who “you” is, but whoever they are, they are believers

Mitch’s problems with my view

1. He thinks my distinction between advocation and propitiation is unjustified
2. “can cleanse” makes cleansing possible rather than actual
3. My view leads to universalism

My Problem with Mitch’s view

I have three issues with Mitch’s interpretation of the text.

1. His use of “world” is a special pleading
2. Changing “Christ is the propitiation” to Christ “has propitiated” switches noun to verb and present to past
3. The context teaches the conditional application of Christ’s blood (1 John 1:7-9)

These three issues lead to three systematic theology issues withing Mitch's view.

1. Conflating the two aspects of Christ’s work by deny the provisional aspect of the atonement
2. Implicitly denying justification by faith
3. Denying that Christ died for all

My Response to Mitch’s Problems with my view.

The distinction between propitiation and advocation is clear. Christ is the propitiation (i.e. the atoning sacrifice) for sins. This harkens back to the Levitical sacrifice system where the animal was slain and offered to God. Advocation is Christ's pleading with the Father for us. Sacrifice and pleading are two different concepts. On the other hand, they are related. Christ advocates on the basis of His being the atoning sacrifice.

The idea of a provisional or possible aspect of Christ’s work is well founded in scripture. Christ’s work is in two phases: the shedding of His blood and the application of His blood to the believer. Just as the Passover lamb in the OT had to be slain and his blood had to be applied to the door post, so to, Christ died and his blood is applied to believers. This is the difference between Christ’s death and justification. Christ both died and He also intercedes for us. His work is in two parts. The first part is provisional, the second part is effectual.

My view doesn’t lead to universalism, because Christ doesn’t advocate for all, He only advocates for believers. Both aspects of Christ’s work are necessary for salvation.

Explanation of my Problems with Mitch’s View

1. Let’s pretend I said “I am going to rob a bank”, the bank gets robbed and I find myself in court. I am told your statement is incriminating. If I responded, by "rob" I meant “invest my money”, do you think that would fly? They would responded, no dictionary defines “rob” that way and no one uses the term that way, and I would be stuck. My definition would be a special pleading.

In the same way, Mitch’s definition of” world” is a special pleading. Setting passages that speak of Christ’s death for the world aside, no passage in the NT use world that way. The definition pops up, just to get Calvinists off the hook.

2. The switch from “Christ is the propitiation” to Christ has propitiated” is an obvious change from noun to verb (i.e. what Christ is to what Christ does) and a change from the present to the past. This change is unjustified. This move is an attempt to conflate the two aspects of Christ’s work (i.e. His death with His advocation). But it’s contrary to the text.

3. The inbound context makes it very clear that cleansing is conditional.

1Jo 1:7-9 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Systematic Theology Issues

Christ both died and He intercedes. If His death without intercession or the application of Christ’s blood saved, then intercession and applying His blood is completely irrelevant. Christ’s death is the only foundation of salvation and the application of His blood actually saves.

If Christ saved all the elect on 33 AD, then I was born justified. Before I repented and believed, I could have gone to God and demanded access to heaven. If I never had converted, it wouldn’t have mattered, I would still be saved. But scripture teaches we are justified by faith.

23 comments:

bethyada said...

I pretty much agree with your proposal. I do think the whole whole in this context means the whole world, but it is possible for general words to have a more limited meaning.

I could envisage a passage where world would be more limited. If that were the case then the context would suggest it. Mitch is not just limiting the word world to part of the world in general (eg. the world at one particular time, the Roman Empire), he is further limiting it to those who hold a particular idea (Christ is God). There is no reason to suggest this. Christians are not representative of every person; unlike say the "Jews" meaning "Jewish leaders" because they in their role are representatives.

I also think that where a concept may lead to, while important, is not conclusive against an argument; and frequently is completely wrong. If all universalists are anti-Calvinists, this does not imply that all anti-Calvinists are universalists.

Further I am not certain I follow the logic of how Arminianism leads to universalism. Is there are reasonable rational for this conclusion or is it just tarring them with heresy for polemical effect?

Mitch said...

Dan,

Perhaps you could point to a verse in the sacred Scriptures that speaks to the priest making a sacrifice for all and then only advocating for a smaller group?

As for definition of the word, hmmm. Let’s look at the text again-

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

You do not like that “whole world” does not mean all that have, are or will live, hmmm. I will let the Apostle answer what he means-

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. I John 5:18-20

This should suffice to answer what “whole world” means and does not mean.

You seem to think that I want to change the word/meaning of *propitiation* so it may benefit us if we look at it for a moment.

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. Romans 3:25
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be) the propitiation for our sins. I John 4:10

Knowing that “propitiation” means satisfaction, appeasement we will be better prepared to see how it is used. I have not found a verse that teaches this universal propitiation that you are advocating for. In each usage we see that the term is restricted to believers only. Let us put the pertinent text before us once more


My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

We see then that Christ IS the propitiation for them and the whole world. Not some *potential* propitiation. We also see that the Apostle does not distinguish from the propitiation and the advocating. Instead he tells us that Christ is their advocate AND that Christ is the propitiation for their sins. Again, no distinction is made that the two should be separated as you would propose.

It is my contention that your view is untenable if we use Scripture as our guide. I do agree that Christ both died and intercedes, but the interceding is the continuation of the propitiation. Our high priest died for all of his and he continually advocates for them before the Father.

I do thank you for your gracious reply and for creating a whole blog post to help flesh this matter out some more.

Praise be to God!

Robert said...

Hello Bethyada,

“I pretty much agree with your proposal. I do think the whole whole[world] in this context means the whole world, but it is possible for general words to have a more limited meaning.”

Right, “the whole world” in the context of 1 Jn. 2:2 does refer to the whole world of sinful persons. You are also correct that sometimes a general word may have a more limited meaning (e.g. when it is said of Jesus that the whole world is following Him, the statement is exaggeration and hyperbole).

“I could envisage a passage where world would be more limited. If that were the case then the context would suggest it.”

Exactly.

“Mitch is not just limiting the word world to part of the world in general (e.g. the world at one particular time, the Roman Empire), he is further limiting it to those who hold a particular idea (Christ is God). There is no reason to suggest this.”

I believe Mitch is taking a standard calvinist tack on this verse: he wants to believe that the “us” in 1 Jn. 2:2 refers exclusively to Jewish believers while “the whole world” refers exclusively to Gentile believers. But though “world” is used in different ways by the apostle John, it is **never** used to refer to exclusively Gentile Christian believers. As Dan has correctly noted, this is a case of special pleading. And the special pleading is easy to explain, the calvinist cannot allow 1 Jn. 2:2 to mean what the majority of Christians have interpreted it to mean. If so, then calvinism is false.

“I also think that where a concept may lead to, while important, is not conclusive against an argument; and frequently is completely wrong. If all universalists are anti-Calvinists, this does not imply that all anti-Calvinists are universalists.”

Your last line here is known to calvinists and yet they intentionally ignore it so they can attack the non-calvinist as a Universalist. In an earlier post Mitch actually tried this saying that I was a “closet universalist.” I ignored this personal attack as it is a false statement about me and those familiar with what I believe as well as with Arminian theology know this claim about Arminians to be false.

“Further I am not certain I follow the logic of how Arminianism leads to universalism.”

It doesn’t lead to universalism. The Arminian claims that Jesus died for the world, but the Arminian (knowing other scriptures such as Matt. 25:31-46 where the goats receive eternal punishment/hell/eternal separation from God) never claims that **in fact all people will be saved**. The Arminian view is that while salvation is freely offered to the world, to all people, it will in fact be rejected by some of these people. And those who reject it will not be saved (in this life or the next).

“Is there are reasonable rational for this conclusion or is it just tarring them with heresy for polemical effect?”

Those who make this claim against Arminians are merely engaging in what you call “tarring them with heresy for polemical effect.” They know better yet they continue to engage in this straw man and this personal attack. It is similar to when James White claims that the logically consistent Arminian will be an open theist. Again, the assertion is made and is as you say “just tarring them with heresy for polemical effect.” Arminians have always believed that God has knowledge of all things including future freely chosen actions by us. To claim that Arminians who are consistent must be open theists is just a downright lie, and it is said repeatedly by some calvinists who ought to know better.

Robert

Robert said...

Mitch wrote:

“Perhaps you could point to a verse in the sacred Scriptures that speaks to the priest making a sacrifice for all and then only advocating for a smaller group?”

First of all, in the OT when they had the day of Atonement, the propitiation which was the blood put on the mercy seat was offered for all of the nation of Israel. And yet we know not all of them were saved. So that is a clear illustration of where a priest offers a blood sacrifice for all, which is effectual only for believers. If it were effectual for all of the Israelites then they all would have been saved. Second, the OT sacrifices were pictures of what Jesus the final and ultimate sacrifice would do. The fact that the provision was made for all and yet not all were saved is a clear picture of unlimited atonement (the atonement is made for a larger group than the individuals to whom it is directly applied).

Third, in Jn. 11:50-51 it says “nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish. Now this he did not say on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation.” Note who is speaking, the Jewish High priest that year, Caiaphas. He says of Jesus that Jesus WAS GOING TO DIE FOR THE NATION. Was all of that nation of Israel saved? No. And we know this to be true from their actions towards Jesus as well as Paul’s words in Romans 9 that not all Israel is Israel. So the Jewish high priest that year, makes a statement of the universal atonement view (Jesus will be offered as the atoning sacrifice for the whole nation of Israel, a nation THAT INCLUDED MANY UNBELIEVERS).

I find it ironic and a bit humorous that some calvinists will attempt to present this passage as a parallel passage with 1 Jn. 2:2. When they do this they claim that it is an exact parallel with 1 Jn. 2:2. But is it? No, because when it says that He will die for the Jewish nation, many in that Jewish nation were not believers. So you cannot argue that the “us” in 1 Jn. 2:2 refers exclusively to Jewish Christian **believers** and try to parallel this with the phrase in 11:52 “and not for the nation only.” Because in 1 Jn. 2:2 the “us” refers to people who are **all** believers and in 11:52 “the nation” refers to people who are **both** believers and unbelievers. So the phrases cannot be parallel. And again, Jn. 11:52 in stating that Jesus would die for the nation of Israel, which included both believers and unbelievers, is a statement clearly and explicitly teaching unlimited atonement.

“You do not like that “whole world” does not mean all that have, are or will live, hmmm. I will let the Apostle answer what he means-

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. I John 5:18-20

This should suffice to answer what “whole world” means and does not mean.”

The whole world seems to refer to the group of human persons actively in opposition to God and under the authority of Satan (cf. “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one”). People of “the world” are in the “kingdom of darkness” rather than God’s kingdom of light. Even believers began their lives as part of this “kingdom of darkness.” It is only when we are converted, when we become Christians that we are transferred out of this kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God. But, and here is the key, though some come out of the world and become believers, NOT EVERYONE DOES SO. Those who do not come out of the Kingdom of darkness, but remain in that Kingdom, remain in their unbelief, are never saved. And 1 Jn. 2:2 explicitly says that Jesus is the propitiation for “us” (that is believers both Jews and Gentiles who have come to Christ) “and not for ours only, but also for those of the WHOLE WORLD.” The tremendous love of God is seen in not loving the righteous, but in loving the unrighteous, the sinful, the rebellious, THE WORLD. And because He loves THAT WORLD, he gave His son, Jesus for that world (cf. John 3:16).



“Knowing that “propitiation” means satisfaction, appeasement we will be better prepared to see how it is used. I have not found a verse that teaches this universal propitiation that you are advocating for. In each usage we see that the term is restricted to believers only.”

Your error is that you do not distinguish between the provision of atonement which is a one time event which occurred on the cross. And the application of the atonement to an individual (which occurs whenever someone is converted to Christianity). Again, in the OT the day of atonement was a provision for the entire nation of Israel. But it was **only applied to** those who were believers. Jesus died for the sins of the world, but His death is **only applied to** individuals if they are believers.

“It is my contention that your view is untenable if we use Scripture as our guide.”

The opposite is the case.

“I do agree that Christ both died and intercedes, but the interceding is the continuation of the propitiation. Our high priest died for all of his and he continually advocates for them before the Father.”

You continue to intentionally refuse to make the distinction between the provision and application of the atonement. It is interesting that you give yourself away here with your phrase “but the interceding is the continuation of the propitiation.” “Interceding” and propitiation” are not the same thing. The propitiation was a one time event, that occurred on the cross and is not repeated. The interceding on the other hand, happens more than once. The intercession is grounded or based upon the propitiation. If intercession **was** a continuation of the propitiation, then propitiation and intercession would be the same thing. They are not. The propitiation was a one time event which occurred on the cross, it is not CONTINUING. If it were CONTINUING, then Jesus would still be on the cross propitiating. No, the propitiation occurred at one time. The application of that propitiation to different individuals occurs at different times. A simple way to present this idea is that the provision occurred on the cross, but the application occurs whenever someone is saved and has the benefits of the atonement applied to them individually.

Robert

Mitch said...

Robert,

In order for you to address my point you will have to show where a sacrifice was offered for all people and then the priest only advocate for a select few. The OT references all say that the priest would sacrifice for all and then advocate for all. The burden would be on you to show why that would cease now. What you try to do is separate the propitiation from the advocating. Yet one naturally flows from the other. What you effectively do is rob propitiation of all meaning and value. You make the effectiveness of the propitiation depend on the advocacy.

I also noticed that neither of you have shown why/how you can separate the two from the text. Christ IS their and the “whole world’s” advocate AND he is their and the “whole world’s” propitiation. You are unable to produce a verse that speaks to propitiation being universal in scope, and you fail to produce a verse that shows that the priest would sacrifice for all and then only advocate for a few.

I do not conflate propitiation and intercession. What I do say is that one naturally flows from the other. The power and effectiveness of the advocating is a direct result of the propitiation done by Christ on our behalf. You seem to flip that relationship and by doing that you destroy the meaning of propitiation.

Please show from Scripture where the priest does not intercede for all that the sacrifice was offered for, please show from Scripture where propitiation is used in a universal sense, and please show how you separate the propitiation and the advocating in this text.

Praise be to God!

Mitch said...

BTW, saying that in the OT the sacrifice was made for all and not all were saved does nothing to further your position. What you would need is a verse that speaks to the sacrifice offered being for all and then the priest only interceding for a few. While it is true that not all were saved by the sacrifice in the OT even when the priest interceded for all, thank God that we have a perfect high priest that offered a once for all sacrifice to appease the just wrath of God and then intercedes daily on our behalf when we sin. I fear that your proposed view robs Christ of his honor and glory. You make our perfect high priest to be as common as the OT priest, this may not be your intention but it is a consequence that logically flows from your interpretation of this verse.

One more, I thank you for your gracious tone as well. I pray that whatever I needed to “clean up” I have sufficiently cleaned up:)

Praise be to God!

natamllc said...

Dan,

your last statement here is getting us closer to the Truth:

If Christ saved all the elect on 33 AD, then I was born justified. Before I repented and believed, I could have gone to God and demanded access to heaven. If I never had converted, it wouldn’t have mattered, I would still be saved. But scripture teaches we are justified by faith.

When I read this I immediately say this is a "good work" "not" ordained by God and God cannot accept this one on that basis!

What is wrong with that reasoning?

What I read into what you just said is more of a "justification" for why you are holding to your beliefs, is it not?

Isn't the issue really, one mindset believes "they must do something to be saved"? and the other believes they can do nothing accept "be" saved by the equitable deed of another and "receive" the sentence of acquital to die and live forever in God's Eternal Paradise?

natamllc said...

oooops!

I see I used the wrong word in this phrase:

they can do nothing accept "be" saved by the equitable deed of another and "receive" the sentence of acquital

Please insert the word "except" and strike the word "accept".

It should now read:

....they can do nothing except "be" saved by the equitable deed of another and "receive" the sentence of acquital....

Godismyjudge said...

Dear Mitch,

In order for you to address my point you will have to show where a sacrifice was offered for all people and then the priest only advocate for a select few. The OT references all say that the priest would sacrifice for all and then advocate for all.

humm... I can't show passages in the OT where a priest sacrificed and didn't intercede.... But then again I can't show cases where the priest sacrificed and interceded. You second sentence is incorrect. By reviewing all OT passages you will not find any linking sacrifices and advocation (or intercession or the like).

The closest thing might be offerings that were not accepted. Passages such as:

Leviticus 26:27-31:

'If in spite of this you still do not listen to me…I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings.

Genesis 4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Judges 13:23But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.



1 Samuel 3:13For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
14And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

I know that this isn't what you were asking for. But it suffices to make my point. There can be sacrifice and offering without forgiveness. Forgiveness is conditional, even after the sacrifice. In the NT we find out the sacrifices only symbolized Christ's sacrifices and they didn't forgive sins. But people in Old and New Testament times that trust in Christ are justified.

...I John 5:18-20 This should suffice to answer what “whole world” means and does not mean.

I agree with Robert. World often means worldliness or worldly people meaning those that focus on the world, not Christ. But this is a common meaning for "world", not a special pleading like "all the elect throughout". No passage of the word of God uses "world" that way. Further, if world in 1 John 2 means worldly as in sinful, then it strongly supports the unlimited view, not the limited view. Without Christ, we are all worldly.

God be with you,
Dan

Godismyjudge said...

Dear Bethyada,

I pretty much agree with your proposal. I do think the whole whole in this context means the whole world, but it is possible for general words to have a more limited meaning.

Thanks for commenting. Sure, it could be used either for the Roman Empire or hyperbolically. But the context supports neither of these options. By process of elimination, we can come up with the unlimited view.

God be with you,
Dan

natamllc said...

Dan,

ensenuating myself to your comments to Mitch and seeing you are quoting Leviticus, I will and ask for your interpretation of it:

Lev 26:40 "But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me,
Lev 26:41 so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies--if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity,
Lev 26:42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
Lev 26:43 But the land shall be abandoned by them and enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned my rules and their soul abhorred my statutes.
Lev 26:44 Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the LORD their God.
Lev 26:45 But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD."
Lev 26:46 These are the statutes and rules and laws that the LORD made between himself and the people of Israel through Moses on Mount Sinai.

Please not particularly verse 45.

Here is an interesting promise based on God's ability opening the door of His admission that "none of us can keep the laws required to be saved".

I don't want to go beyond the plain meaning here but it seems to indicate the reasonings of Paul the Apostle when he writes this:::>

Rom 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Rom 3:29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
Rom 3:30 since God is one--who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
Rom 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Again, as you might have understood by now, my sense is the purposes of God in the Old and New can only be realized by the "Elect" and not the reprobates.

Grant it that we are to Proclaim the Gospel to every creature for a witness and then the end shall come, the purpose is for the very reasons Jesus explains in the explanation to the disciples why He does not want the Elect Angels to go and weed out the tares.

Just proclaim the Gospel and those Elected by God will come to Faith and believe the Gospel and repent and and and!

michael

Mitch said...

When you write

There can be sacrifice and offering without forgiveness

Are you saying that the Father does not accept the sacrifice and offering of the Son? This happened in the OT, but we have the perfect high priest. This is what you would have to say, Christ appeased God’s just wrath for all but God does not accept it for all.

Contrary to you and Robert’s claim I do not define propitiation and advocating the same, nor do I conflate the two. Where there is a propitiation you will find an intercession. When the priest in the OT made a sacrifice for all the people he would intercede for all people or ask for the forgiveness of all of their sins- not just a small group.

I’m willing to submit to Scripture if you can show me. I asked for you to please show from Scripture where a priest would make a sacrifice for all people and then only intercede/ask forgiveness for some. Did any of you show me this… nope. I asked for any of you to show me from Scripture where propitiation is used in a universal sense, did any of you show me… nope. I asked on what grounds do you separate the propitiation and the advocating in this text- you could of appealed to the Greek, to sentence structure, to context, to anything- did any of you do that… nope. What I see you all doing is clinging to your theological beliefs without the backing of Scripture.

What you do is reduce our great high priest to a common OT priest, you rob him of his due glory and honor and you take away all meaning and power to the word propitiation. Somehow you have the Father’s wrath being appeased and yet not accepting the sacrifice that was offered for all. You artificially separate propitiation and intercession, but where you have one you have the other. The power of the intercession comes from the effectiveness of the propitiation. As I’ve stated, you all flip that relationship.

It seems we have reached the part of the discussion where we can no longer reap any good fruit. I will keep asking the same questions and you will keep holding on to your belief no matter what. I recently talked to another Arminian about original sin, I showed from Scripture where it proves and discusses it and yet he still held on his belief. If Scripture cannot convince you, then I know that I stand no chance at convincing you either.

I will encourage all of you as I did this other Arminian, keep studying and let the Holy Spirit guide you. Please do not take this as me saying that I know more or anything like that. I am merely a fool and the light that I do have is not from me, rather it is but a poor reflection of the perfect light. I search myself daily and if Scripture with the guidance of the Spirit convict me of something then I will cling to it with all my feeble strength. I wish you all a great and blessed weekend!

Praise be to God!

Odeliya said...

Nat,

When I read this I immediately say this is a "good work" "not" ordained by God and God cannot accept this one on that basis!

sorry for being impolite, I did eventually answered your faith/work comment to me in the J. Edwards Death of Death blog debate yesterday.

But please, do elaborate for i am sincerely curious why do you see faith as work?

While salvific faith is definitely Gods work, that is not what we take credit for. We didn’t “do” it ,all we did we made a choice.

The common objection to A view: "we are better people capable of better choice" is not reflecting the reality. Initial choice is based on desire and we cant tell what exactly forms that desire,it there were "list of buttons to push" it wouldnt be free anymore.

There is nothing in that kind choice that makes one person better then another, just as we cant say if one likes tomatoes, and another likes sweets, first is better for he is capable to manufacture a "better" desire. Some try exercise and love it, some try and don’t, that is the mystery of choice, yet there is the great freedom in being able to not being manipulated by circumstances and.. Robert, what’s that word? Various determining factors, I mean, but he would say it better .

We don’t produce salvic faith, but, as I just saw Romans 1 debates on a forum( were people successfully trying to gut each other out, killing the theological value of debate, so I am a current refugee in private blog, God bless Dan richly :) - We have no excuse for not recognizing God and his divine power. That is where the whole process of making a believer , I think, starts, we are shown it and given the choice to accept or not.

What’s your take on Rom 1? What don’t we have excuse for?

O.

natamllc said...

O,

you might have now fallen into my miry clay, so to speak, as in when I mistook something you said and it was the wrong understanding and you graciously and politely and kindly handled me with gentleness and care and straightened me out.

I want to present two arguments at the same time to touch on your question asking for my elaboration and by use of another's mindset elaborate on the question posed by you O in my elaboration.

This quote from another more refined "Reformation" mindset first.

If you care to elaborate on it yourself, O, please do so. I will comment on the question addressing your interesting conclusion to my understanding and meaning of the faith/work question?


O and Robert and Dan, what is wrong with this in your view as Arminians?:

[[One important difference between Arminians and Calvinists is that Arminians reject a substitutionary view of the atonement (John Owen picks up on this in his defense of limited atonement). For example, Kenneth J. Grider writes: “A spillover from Calvinism into Arminianism has occurred in recent decades. Thus many Arminians whose theology is not very precise say that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Yet such a view is foreign to Arminianism, which teaches instead that Christ suffered for us. Arminians teach what Christ did he did for every person; therefore what he did could not have been to pay the penalty, since no one would then ever go into eternal perdition” (See: “Arminianism” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Baker Book House, 80).]]


Now, O, you wrote:

[[But please, do elaborate for i am sincerely curious why do you see faith as work?]]

OK, "Yes, ""Faith"" produces """work""" ".

It is "Their ""Faith"" working through me" so that any work of Faith produced through my "branch" is "Their ""Faith"" working through me" and not my vain and empty faith, which, by the way, I have. I see clearly that my "faith" is not acceptable to God. What is acceptable to God is the "Faith" that produces the "Good Works" acceptable to God to acquit elect sinners, such as we are.

My "faith" and the "work" produced by my "faith" produces nothing meritorious or gains me a safe and secure place from the inferno that awaits all who want to be received into Heaven itself basis their "good works" and not basis the "Good Works", a fruit of "Their ""Faith"" at """work""" in ones life producing "Good Works" that brings Light out of darkness shining to the Glory to God:

Mat 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Mat 5:15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Mat 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.


Was that helpful enough an elaboration for you O in answering your question posed?

I am sincerely curious to know how each of you explain the Reformation thinker's distinction between a Calvinist and Arminian?

I assume you are at odds with his conclusion?

michael

Robert said...

Natamllc you wrote: “I am sincerely curious to know how each of you explain the Reformation thinker's distinction between a Calvinist and Arminian?”

In the past I asked you about your own views on calvinism, something that you never responded to. So I will repost it here and ask again:

Natamllc wrote:

“You are a Libertarian and Arminian. Fine.

I am not.

I do not consider myself a Calvinist.”

Natamllc you claim here that you are not a calvinist.

So what is it that calvinists teach that you believe to be false? I mean if you are not a calvinist there must be some things that you believe they are wrong about. So in your opinion, what are they? Where have the calvinists gone wrong? And if you have bible verses showing where the calvinists are wrong, let’s see that also.

Robert

Robert said...

Mitch asked:

“Are you saying that the Father does not accept the sacrifice and offering of the Son?”

Is this a sincere question? What Christian anywhere thinks that the Father does not accept the sacrifice and offering of the Son?

“This happened in the OT, but we have the perfect high priest. This is what you would have to say, Christ appeased God’s just wrath for all but God does not accept it for all.”

You are mistaken here because the provision of atonement for all is part of God’s plan **as is** the application of the atonement only for those who are believers. Just as in the OT the Day of Atonement provision was for all of the Israelites. But the application of the atonement is only for those who believe. This has been God’s standard operating procedure throughout the bible in both testaments (provision for all, application only to believers).

“Where there is a propitiation you will find an intercession. When the priest in the OT made a sacrifice for all the people he would intercede for all people or ask for the forgiveness of all of their sins- not just a small group.”

Isn’t it true that the OT priest offered the blood of atonement on the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement and this sacrifice was intended for **all** of the people, all of the Israelites: and yet all of the people were not saved by this propitiation on the mercy seat?

This shows that while God provided an atonement for all of the Israelites, not all of the Israelites were saved by this provided atonement. The propitiation then was not by itself what saved the individual Israelite; it was when this propitiation was applied to them individually by God. And it was applied individually to them only when they were true believers.

So the OT pattern is clearly an atonement provided by God for a group, a group which includes both believers and nonbelievers, and yet the benefits of the atonement provided, apply only to those who were true believers. If was intended for all of the Israelites and yet only some of the Israelites were saved. And this atonement provided for by God was always and only effectual for those who were true believers. If you were not a believer than this atonement was ineffectual for you.

“I asked on what grounds do you separate the propitiation and the advocating in this text- you could of appealed to the Greek, to sentence structure, to context, to anything- did any of you do that… nope.”

Actually if you look at 1 Jn. 2:1 carefully it speaks of Jesus being our “Advocate”. It is not speaking of him as being our priest in this verse. Rather, it is speaking of him being our attorney. The one who pleads our case. The verse is talking about when a believer sins, that we have Jesus acting as our attorney by defending us and saying that He died for us, that His blood is the covering for our sin. The apostle John then goes on to say in v. 2 that Jesus is also “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins [believers both Jewish and Gentile] and not for ours only [He is the one who propitiates not just for believers but also for] but also for the whole world.” So Jesus is the defense attorney only for the sins of believers and the propitiation for the sins of the world (and world means more than just those who eventually become believers). Verse 1 then is speaking of Jesus as the advocate/defense attorney, not as high priest (other passages speak of Jesus as High priest). Verse 2 then speaks of Jesus as being the one who propitiates sin. So there you have it, a clear distinction between advocacy as defense attorney only for believers and the one who propitiates the sins of not just believers but the whole world.

“What I see you all doing is clinging to your theological beliefs without the backing of Scripture.”

It appears to me that this is precisely what you have done in your treatment of 1 Jn. 2:2. In order to maintain your calvinism you engage in special pleading in regards to the meaning of the words “the whole world”. You have not shown your meaning for “world” to be the one intended by the text, you merely assert it.

“What you do is reduce our great high priest to a common OT priest, you rob him of his due glory and honor and you take away all meaning and power to the word propitiation.”

This is again a false claim against the Arminian, read the book of Hebrews to see how Jesus is superior to the priests of the Mosaic system. Both Arminians and Calvinists are in agreement on that. But 1 Jn. 2:1 when it speaks of Jesus as our advocate it is not speaking about him functioning as a priest but as a defense attorney concerning the daily sins of believers.

“Somehow you have the Father’s wrath being appeased and yet not accepting the sacrifice that was offered for all.”

Again, look at the OT to see the pattern: an atonement, a propitiation on the mercy seat which appeased God’s wrath. And yet not all of them were saved though the atonement was intended for all of them and sufficient to save all of them.

We could ask the question: The propitiation made on the Day of Atonement on the mercy seat was sufficient to cover the sins of all of them, so why didn’t it cover the sins of those who were unbelieving? And we could answer this question with: because God only applies the benefits of the provided atonement to believers. Again, that is His standard operating procedure in both testaments.

“It seems we have reached the part of the discussion where we can no longer reap any good fruit. I will keep asking the same questions and you will keep holding on to your belief no matter what.”

So does that mean that you are going to move on then?

“I recently talked to another Arminian about original sin, I showed from Scripture where it proves and discusses it and yet he still held on his belief. If Scripture cannot convince you, then I know that I stand no chance at convincing you either.”

And the exact same thing could be said of you as well. If the bible says in 1 Jn. 2:2 that Jesus is the propitiation for both believers (“us”) and the rest of humanity (“the whole world”), but you reject this explicit and clear teaching of scripture there is no chance of convincing you either.

“I will encourage all of you as I did this other Arminian, keep studying and let the Holy Spirit guide you.”

Unfortunately people can keep studying all they want and if they interpret the bible by a false system of theology as calvinists do, then their conclusions will depart from the bible and be false. Sincerity and study will not eliminate errors if biblical texts are interpreted through the lens of false theological systems.

Robert

natamllc said...

Robert,

as you have just, for the next time noted, I have not responded to your question.

There is a reason for that.

I will now, though, respond and try to be succinct and hopefully not damage our relationship as I believe we are becoming friends in here as we go together to learn something about each other.

I am not a Calvinist.

I am not an Arminian.

Why do I say that?

Because I consider myself a "Spirit" filled, "saved" Believer in the "Truth". I have been baptised into Christ's death and just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.


Now, I cannot say to you that I have a scholarly knowledge of Calvin's works. I haven't studied them. I am not a Calvinist.

I hasten to say that I have not as yet found anything I disagree with Calvin on that I have learned by way of blogging with Reformed believers or read in books or read Calvin.

As a digression, I note that I spent several Sunday's in a row several years back, maybe ten or twelve, attending Calvin's Church in Geneva. What I have heard, read and discussed about reformed theology, i.e. John Calvin's sword, those Calvinists at his very Church would say they are not Calvinists! In fact, a whole group of this Church just returned from Toronto, Canada and a "spirit" movement or revival experience, that they were at the time introducing to the Church while I was visiting them that month of Sundays. I suppose if you were John Calvin's ghost sitting in the very pew he, as a man sat in, there then, he would probably have stood up, rebuked them all for their heresy and left the building and posted a condemnation on the doors!

I am certainly not an James Arminian follower because I do not believe I can embrace some of what you believe and hold as your beliefs if you hold to this:...Arminians teach what Christ did he did for every person; therefore what he did could not have been to pay the penalty, since no one would then ever go into eternal perdition”.

Let me ask you Robert. Do you hold to that belief I am quoting from of a well refined and learned Reformed Calvinist that Christ died for "every person"? My guess is you do not? Right? Or am I not understanding you and your Arminian beliefs?

I do not hold to that belief I cite above.

I guess I will be bold and represent, qualified already above that I have no scholarly knowledge of John Calvin's beliefs, that John Calvin does not hold to that belief. If we were with John Calvin during his days we would come to understand that he holds to limited atonement, yes?

I guess I will be bold and say, you do not, yes, that, in fact you believe in unlimited atonement, that is, Jesus died for everyone and not for the Elect only, those God knows about and cause to come into being in the 21st Century too?

I hope I was succinct? I may have betrayed myself? :)

Anyway, I am looking first and foremost to a place of agreement whereby the elementary doctrinal agreements of the Faith once delivered to the Saints can be agreed too, those doctrines we can easily agree on together and then come to dialog between each other on the differences between us without saying things like, your thinking is "false".

Ok, maybe it is false. I am open to be persuaded by sola scriptura.

I hasten to say, I have been wrong in the past in not understanding someone's comments and I will be wrong in the future too. I am not going to close the door to someone I sense is wrong but as the Prophet wrote and I adhere too:::>

Isa 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
Isa 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
Isa 1:20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."


I want to be judged basis my sound judgment or once found to be faulty in my judgment, redeemed and led into sound judgment. We have so much at stake here in these perilous days we find ourselves, to be foolish and rash and hasty in faulty judgment when we are all willing to go out and "preach" the Gospel of the Kingdom to every creature for a witness and then the end shall come, cf. Matthew 24:11-14.

michael

Mitch said...

Robert,

I will try to be brief and to the point. You write

Again, look at the OT to see the pattern: an atonement, a propitiation on the mercy seat which appeased God’s wrath. And yet not all of them were saved though the atonement was intended for all of them and sufficient to save all of them.

The problem Robert is that the priest in the OT would ask for ALL. You have Christ propitiating for *all* and then only asking for some. This could have been avoided if you had just read my questions and tried to answer them. Lol

I think I see your problem though Robert, you said that unfortunately sincerity and study are not enough if one is working with a wrong theological system. I will try to be clear again, even if you had the “right” theological system you would still be lost if you keep relying on *your* mind and theological system, I will bold part of my comment that is relevant to what I’m saying

… keep studying and let the Holy Spirit guide you.

Praise be to God!

BTW, Michael I can AMEN everything that you have written here. I especially like how you use Scripture to speak and make the point.

Robert said...

Natamllc your statements are not always clear and are often confusing, which is why I asked you to clarify your position.

If someone writes:

“I am not a Calvinist.

I am not an Arminian.”

Most people would conclude from this that the person is not a calvinist, does not hold to calvinistic beliefs.

“Because I consider myself a "Spirit" filled, "saved" Believer in the "Truth". I have been baptised into Christ's death and just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

The problem with these statements is that they could all be true of someone who is an Arminian or a calvinist.

“Now, I cannot say to you that I have a scholarly knowledge of Calvin's works. I haven't studied them. I am not a Calvinist.”

A calvinist is not someone who has “a scholarly knowledge of Calvin’s works.” Rather, a person is a calvinist if they hold to certain beliefs (often summarized as holding to TULIP).

“I hasten to say that I have not as yet found anything I disagree with Calvin on that I have learned by way of blogging with Reformed believers or read in books or read Calvin.”

Well then you are a calvinist, which is what I suspected all along.

“I am certainly not an James Arminian follower because I do not believe I can embrace some of what you believe and hold as your beliefs if you hold to this:...Arminians teach what Christ did he did for every person; therefore what he did could not have been to pay the penalty, since no one would then ever go into eternal perdition”."

In your paragraph here you make a common error about Arminianism: it is the idea that if Jesus died for the world, then all of the world will be saved. This is **universalism** not Arminianism. The Arminian believes that while Jesus died for the world, some will reject the gospel and so end up eternally separated from God.

“I guess I will be bold and represent, qualified already above that I have no scholarly knowledge of John Calvin's beliefs, that John Calvin does not hold to that belief. If we were with John Calvin during his days we would come to understand that he holds to limited atonement, yes?”

Actually, in some of his statements, Calvin appears to hold to **unlimited atonement**. There is debate among calvinists about whether he did or not.

“I guess I will be bold and say, you do not, yes, that, in fact you believe in unlimited atonement, that is, Jesus died for everyone and not for the Elect only, those God knows about and cause to come into being in the 21st Century too?”

My view is that Jesus was given as a provision of atonement for the **whole world**, as 1 Jn. 2:2 clearly and explicitly states. At the same time, the atonement of Christ is only applied to believers, so universalism is false.

Thanks for your clarification of your calvinistic beliefs Natamllc.

Robert

natamllc said...

Robert,

I just stopped in to see if there were any new comments and so there are.

I don't have much time right now so I will only touch on the last comment and say, Robert," that was a jab".

Your comment:

[[Thanks for your clarification of your calvinistic beliefs Natamllc.]]


Robert, don't you feel you betray yourself by saying that?

You just read me say I have not studied Calvin's doctrines.

You just identified an area where you believe Calvin agrees with the position of "unlimited" atonement, yes?

Well, then I must not be a Calvinist as you just jabbed at because I do not agree with that position.

So, in all consideration, let's be civil and dialog beliefs basis a foundation we both can easily agree on.

Is not Jesus "your" Christ?

He is mine.

Do we have an agreement on that point?

sincerely
michael

natamllc said...

well robert, what now?

Odeliya said...

Michael,
you wrote:

you graciously and politely and kindly handled me with gentleness and care and straightened me out.

Oh, dear, thank you, that is so lovely said, obituary worthy. I dont deserve it ( as of yet).

Arminians teach what Christ did he did for every person; therefore what he did could not have been to pay the penalty, since no one would then ever go into eternal perdition

I ( as well as Robert) dont see any compelling evidence that will make me believe that A view leads to universalism.
Dan made a nice review of Owen's works, you might want to check it out, it'll be surely of your interest even if you disagree.

BTW, to get into your debate with Robert - i agree that a Saved, Spirit filled Christian can be a Calvinist, an Arminian, any variation of the above or even a person or a child not knowing deep theology.

But there is no fence sitting b/n C and A, because one of the essential premises - God's election C style or Free Will view, are diametrically opposite. Some authors, like Norman Geisler, try to find the happy middle, but that is impossible, like being "somewhat pregnant" It is yes or no issue.

It appeared to me your beliefs are more in line with the Reformed view.

God Bless,
O.

natamllc said...

O,

obit or not, you are welcome!

Yes, indeed I am leaning like the tower in Italy towards Reformed theology.

I am against any good works done by a believer as I don't see how dead men can do any good thing, like do something to save themself or maintain a good work after the resurrection and the Life has come to dwell in them too.

I like what you said and it is my point exactly.

Let me quote for my final remark as I believe if you understand what I understood you to mean, you and me, we be of one mind on it:::>

O: [[BTW, to get into your debate with Robert - i agree that a Saved, Spirit filled Christian can be a Calvinist, an Arminian, any variation of the above or even a person or a child not knowing deep theology.]].

As I emphasize to Robert primarily I do not agree that one's doctrinal differences in any way separates them from the Work of Christ which He Sovereignly has done and will continue to do by the Sanctifying Work of the Holy Ghost to bring them to "eternal safe harbor".