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A Biblical Perspective on Election

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By SuperSoulFighter - Posted on 06 February 2005

by John McPherson
I am re-publishing this article which was somehow lost on the database here. I originally posted it under the title: "Introducing a Biblical Soteriology: Part Two - Election". I think a re-introduction of this material will probably be timely in relation to recent discussions here in the area of soteriology.I am re-publishing this article which was somehow lost on the database here. I originally posted it under the title: "Introducing a Biblical Soteriology: Part Two - Election". I think a re-introduction of this material will probably be timely in relation to recent discussions here in the area of soteriology.
We now come to the most sensitive and potentially volatile element in Calvinist doctrine and thinking. The belief in God’s “pre-selecting” some to be saved and (by default) the rest to be damned, is the very heart and soul of this position. And underlying this issue is the individual’s perceptions and understanding of God Himself in terms of His attributes (and, by extension, His Character, Nature and Will). Thus, it is with a great sense of the need for delicacy and gentleness that we approach this subject and examine the texts used to substantiate the “Sovereign Grace” (Calvinist) perspective.


When the Calvinist speaks of “Sovereign Grace” he/she is thinking of God’s imposition of “saving faith” upon the individual, rendering that formerly utterly insensible heart (supposedly impervious to the Truth and gospel) vulnerable and responsive. Within the Calvinist viewpoint [as seen in my previous article "The Total Depravity of Calvinism"], the unregenerate individual is utterly “dead in trespasses and sins” and completely incapable of even the remotest interest in or understanding of the Truth, apart from a supernatural work of God in his heart and mind. Apart from God’s “sovereign grace” extended to the person, enlightening the mind, quickening his/her heart and arousing/inspiring saving faith – that person will remain an “enemy of the Truth and gospel”. The latent hostility to the Truth within each unsaved person renders them resistant and completely closed to it apart from God’s supernatural intervention within them. God’s “taking the initiative” permits the person’s mind and heart to acknowledge the Truth as valid and real, and unlocks his/her awareness of God, making it possible for that person’s innermost spiritual needs to be met in subsequent spiritual rebirth. This is the Calvinist, “Sovereign Grace” perspective.


Much of the confusion on this subject has to do with the Calvinist’s failure to remain historically and textually contextual in his treatment of the Scriptures. The First Century Jewish spiritual economy is actually in view in every case, in the texts used to support the Calvinist’s view of man’s purported “Total Depravity”, universally. The “universal application” is neither permissible nor justifiable in the Calvinist’s textual support.


The same holds true, as will be seen, for the “Sovereign Grace” position on “Unconditional Election”. It is formally defined thus:

The Westminster Confession states the doctrine thus: "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated to everlasting life, and others are foreordained to everlasting death.
"These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished.
"Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.
"As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Whereby they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season; are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.
"The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His will, whereby He extendeth or withholdeth mercy as He pleaseth, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice."


I’m about to take issue with the Westminster Confession - an exercise I don't take lightly.


The Calvinist understanding of the concepts of “predestionation” and “election” are based on the Scriptures in the following manner:

The first question which we need to ask ourselves then, is, Do we find this doctrine taught in the Scriptures? Let us turn to Paul's letter to the Ephesians. There we read: "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love; having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will," 1:4, 5. In Romans 8:29, 30 we read of that golden chain of redemption which stretches from the eternity that is past to the eternity that is to come, — "For whom He foreknew, He also foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He foreordained, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." Foreknown, foreordained, called, justified, glorified, with always the same people included in each group; and where one of these factors is present, all the others are in principle present with it.
Paul has cast the verse in the past tense because with God the purpose is in principle executed when formed, so certain is it of fulfillment. "These five golden links," says Dr. Warfield, "are welded together in one unbreakable chain, so that all who are set upon in God's gracious distinguishing view are carried on by His grace, step by step, up to the great consummation of that glorification which realizes the promised conformity to the image of God's own Son. It is 'election,' you see, that does all this; for 'whom He foreknew, . . . . . them He also glorified'."



Clearly, Eph. 1:4,5 is one of the primary texts used to substantiate this position. It is instructive, at the outset, to note that only two verses out of the passage are given consideration, here. In effect – these texts are removed from their surrounding context and treated as though they have universal application in terms of the spiritual state of all of mankind and the opportunities for salvation available to all men. Here are those verses with their context:
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”


The careful exegete of the Scriptures will first of all take note of the fact that this passage is riddled with personal pronouns. The normal, contextual, historical reading of this passage, in effect, LIMITS the application (according to the natural understanding of its original intent) to the ORIGINAL RECIPIENTS and those who were the immediate subject of its contents. PAUL and THE EPHESIAN BELIEVERS are those who were referenced by these pronouns. By extension, a soundly Biblical argument can be made for including ALL of the “elect” of the NT era or period in these pronouns. But as will be seen in our consideration of the “thumbnail sketch” of “election” in Romans, the “process of election” was unique and particular to the history of God’s Old Covenant People and the history of THEIR “world”. When that “world” ceased to exist in 70 AD, the “election process”, whereby God “elected” those who were His, spiritually, according to the faith of Abraham, from within the Old Covenant Nation/world. Thus, Eph. 1:4,5 really has no “universal application” to ANYONE beyond 70 AD. In fact, verse 12 (emphasized in bold type, above) clearly ANCHORS this passage in that period, by pointing out that the whole “electing process” had a unique purpose involved with the original converts to Christianity – bringing glory to God in a highly unique way, historically.


The Full Preterist readily appreciates the significance of terms like “world” (v.4). The “elect” of the NT period (pre-AD 70) were uniquely “elected” unto salvation from within the Old Covenant “world” (Gk. “cosmos”) from the very inception of that “world” in the giving of the Law to Moses. THIS is the true intent and force of Eph. 1:4,5. Once again, Calvinism errs in its treatment of the context of these verses.


Romans 8:29,30 is cited, also, as supportive of the perspective that the saints of God TODAY are “elected” unto salvation and their/our spiritual rebirth was “foreordained” from eternity past (before the creation of theplanet). Here, again, is the surrounding context:
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. “


Again, the careful student and exegete of the Scriptures is confronted with a passage riddled with personal pronouns. These in and of themselves establish the originally intended application of the passage as particular and exclusive to those to whom it was originally addressed (inclusive of the author, too, obviously). The intent of these letters of Paul’s was that they be circulated among the saints of the pre-70 AD era and thus they represent, by extension, God’s perspective on the spiritual economy of THEIR day, exclusive and unique to THEM.


My question to the Calvinist is this: Are YOU “killed all day long” and “counted as sheep for the slaughter” on a daily basis (per the level of persecution experienced by the original NT believers)? Obviously the answer must be, resoundingly, NO. The next question is: “Is Christ Jesus STILL “at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us”?? Again – for the Full Preterist – the answer is quite obviously – NO. He returned, removed His NT Church Bride, wed her, judged/destroyed the Old Covenant “world”, and took His place on His own Throne as Sovereign Ruler and Potentate over the Kingdom of Heaven. It should be exceedingly obvious that there is no “universal application” to all spiritually reborn saints for all of time and eternity in this passage. None whatsoever. The NT “elect” were the focus of the passage, exclusively. THEIR number was forever complete and fulfilled in 70 AD.


Of special note, before we move on, is Rom. 8:28. This is probably the most misapplied, misunderstood text in Scripture. Contextually, it referred exclusively to those “called according to the purpose of God” in terms of the final days of judgment and destruction of the Old Covenant “world”. The “elect” had a very unique role to play in THAT period of history, so for THEM, “all things worked together for good”. It cannot be deduced from this text that just because one loves God, that therefore “all things will work together for good”, ultimately, for that person, TODAY. In actual fact, this text has NO application to the believer of today. Those who were “called/chosen for the purposes of God” in THOSE days had a highly unique “calling” or “election” and God worked all things out for good, ultimately, for THEM.


Romans 9:6-29 provides us with a thumbnail sketch of the historical “election process” as God developed and performed it uniquely and exclusively within the Old Covenant “world” and its history:

6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son." 10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved." 26 "And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God." 27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. 28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth." 29 And as Isaiah said before: "Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah."



It is highly instructive to note that the entire passage is focussed on entities and people who played very significant roles in the history of the Old Covenant “world” of ancient Israel. At the end of this account, we discover that God’s termination of that “world” would have left them like Sodom and Gomorrah (forever terminated as a race and People, with no continuing “seed”), but since God “elected” a “remnant” from WITHIN that Old Covenant “world” and People, they were NOT left utterly destitute and unrepresented forever. However, the application of Isaiah’s prophecies to this “process of election” in vss. 27-29 clearly indicate that God’s “finishing the work and cutting it short in righteousness” and “making a short work upon the earth” involved the conclusion, forever, of the “work of election”. When the Old Covenant “world” was terminated, the “election process” was brought to an end. There was no longer a “world” or civilization from within which God was “electing” people to be His by faith alone.


All of this, ultimately, affects our view of God’s “omniscience” (a term not found in the Scriptures). IS God REALLY “all-knowing” in terms of all of humanity for all of time and eternity? Does He REALLY foreknow all human events and has He really “pre-determined” who will be saved and who won’t be? As we have seen, the texts used by Calvinists to support their claims that this is, indeed, the case, are contextually inaccurate and misinterpreted/misapplied. Their true application was to the First Century “elect” of the pre-AD 70 era. The application of these texts is exclusive to THEM and THEIR spiritual situation.


Isaiah 46:9,10 is often misapplied to God’s supposed predetermination of all of human history from the inception of His material, physical creation in terms of this planet, universe and mankind.

9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”


I included v.11 as a contextual clarifier. God’s “declaration of the end from the beginning” was His pre-blueprinting of the history of the Old Covenant “world” and People. He laid out their history from beginning to end BEFORE He brought them into existence at Mt. Sinai. God did NOT predetermine all of human history and preserve it somewhere as a pre-existing entity. Such a spurious notion CANNOT be derived, contextually, from Isaiah 46. Rather, God pre-planned the history of Israel, and His prophecies took the form of pre-releases of His plans. He “leaked” His plans to His people regularly, in order to provide them with fair warning. He had the power to bring to pass all that He proclaimed beforehand would happen, and He did so. Forewarning His People in no way provided anyone with the ability to thwart His plans.


In Deut. 28:15-68, when God foretold the ultimate end of His Old Covenant People in horrendous tribulations, suffering and curses – He effectively established what their “end” would be, at the outset or “beginning” of their “world”. As Romans 9 also informs us, He was intrinsically involved in the development of their history from the outset. He pre-planned and guided its course, throughout the progress of time and circumstance, generation after generation, until the final end of that “world” and People (70 AD).


I could go on and on to examine other texts and passages seemingly (when viewed within the futurist, rather than Full Preterist paradigm) having a “universal”, perpetual application to all people and believers for all of time. But we as FPs know that there is no contextual, historical basis for reading ourselves into the personal pronouns of the Scriptures. The immediate application of the “election” passages is the ONLY legitimate application of them. This is apparent within their own, immediate context.


In closing, I have three more logical and philosophical considerations for Calvinists, and those who hold to this view of God’s “omniscience”:
a. If God is truly “omniscient” in terms of ALL future human events, people and circumstances and HAS “predetermined” all things within this physical, material realm – then God is bound by His own pre-legislated decree. He has pre-determined HIS OWN ACTIONS ALSO. He is no longer a “free-will agent” Himself. He is bound by His own Nature and Character, and has no choice but to interact with man according to the requirements of His Person and Being. Thus, He is reduced to the role of a “divine computer program” on “AutoComplete”. He is no more than an automaton and has “painted Himself into a corner”, volitionally. We who understand the God of the Bible, on the other hand, know that God is NOT so foolish as to do something of this nature. In His infinite wisdom, He chose NOT to pre-determine ALL of human history. The only history so pre-legislated and blueprinted was that of the Old Covenant “world” and its People. Period.
b. God is fully capable of sovereignly LIMITING Himself in terms of His foreknowledge, power and Presence in order to more effectively and freely interact with finite man. As will be seen in my article devoted to the attributes of God (to be posted, here, some time next week), this is PRECISELY how the Scriptures reveal God and His attributes. God reveals Himself to man as LIMITED in His knowledge of the specifics involved with the thinking, will and heart of individuals. The exceptions are those He specifically devoted Himself to INVESTIGATING, personally and thoroughly. God fully understands human nature and the mechanics of His material creation, so He is able to forecast the future exceedingly accurately. But His knowledge is PREDICTIVE, NOT the result of the “pre-determination” of all things.
c. IF “election” was a universal principle operative within mankind at large, on a global scale – it would be no more than a “natural law”. It would be part of the fabric of the natural realm itself, and hardly noteworthy, beyond a passing mention or two, in the Scriptures. They certainly wouldn’t make the big deal of it that they do in the New Testament. Texts such as those identifying Christ Jesus as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” should yield a “So what?” from Calvinists, as this is no more than what is normal and natural, since ALL things are “fore-ordained, pre-determined, etc.”. Christ’s death and ministry would be no different, and nothing unusual in terms of the foreknowledge and predeterminations of God. But of course, the Calvinist fails to see the inconsistency in his perspective, here. Such statements are treated as being of great import and significance, indicating the uniqueness of the ministry of Christ, when they fail to understand that HIS ELECTION ITSELF WAS UNIQUE TO HIM AND HIS FOLLOWERS.


I trust the force and clarity of these contextually accurate treaments of the texts involved with the whole issue of “election” will provide those who browse this article with fresh, new insight into the Scriptural representation of God, His Will, Mind and Person – particularly in relation to His uniquely “elected” People of the Old Covenant “world”.


One more text should be considered within the scope of this discussion. Eph. 2:8,9 are commonly misrepresented as indicative of God’s sovereign imparting of saving faith to the individual, as a provision of the ability to acknowledge and favorably respond to Him. As we have already seen, the context established in chapter 1 is exclusively the First Century, pre-AD 70 era in which Paul and the Ephesian believers lived. Just as there was no application extending beyond AD 70 to anyone alive in our day in that passage, so there is none in this also.

“1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”


Note the abundance of personal pronouns. These conclusively establish the context as exclusively First Century, pre-AD 70 and particular to the NT saints (the Ephesians in this case). Even if it can be argued that the FAITH and not just the gift of the grace in providing a means of salvation in Christ Jesus was the “gift of God”, it must be noted that this was written TO and FOR the “elect” of the First Century. NO-ONE alive today or for the last 2,000 years, approximately, has been a member of this unique group of “elect” believers – those who “first trusted in Christ” (see Eph. 1:12). God “prepared beforehand” certain works and ministries UNIQUE and EXCLUSIVE to the NT saints (see v.10) when He pre-blueprinted the history of the Old Covenant “world” and its final, terminal generation in particular (from within which the last of His “elect” were redeemed).


May our Saviour’s Truth, righteousness and glory be magnified and made manifest in all of our deliberations and considerations here!


Serving the Truth,


JM

protemple's picture

Ever since I have come to recognize that there was within the “church” a debate over “free-will” I have gone through a wide range of stages in my understanding of this issue. One thing that began to puzzle me and that has not been resolved to any satisfaction in my mind is what is the purpose of prayer for those who believe that God has chosen to make man a fully autonomous being with ultimate free-will in his decision making processes? If God has chosen not to interfere, intervene, or manipulate the will of man in any way, what exactly does prayer accomplish? Since according to my understanding of what some are saying, election and God’s exercise of His absolute sovereignty were only for pre-AD70 Israel, is prayer even something to be practiced by the post-AD70 Christian? Is Paul’s exhortation to “pray without ceasing,” or his stated desire that “men pray everywhere,” only applicable to pre-AD70 saints? I believe that one of the writers who supports this concept of “free-will theism” said that he still believes in and practices prayer. My entire adult “church life” has been in the midst of people who believed very strongly in the traditional Arminian concept of free-will. They were always very active in praying for “lost loved ones.” I could never quite understand why they were so fervent in their prayers if they believed that God could not or would not interfere with the free-will choices of those lost loved one’s for whom they prayed. To me this is a serious issue for those who claim that Open Theism gives us a more “user friendly” or relational God. If God cannot and does not on a regular basis somehow affect the choices that free agents make, then what is the point of prayer? Is God just a big buddy who offers us a shoulder to cry on or gives an ear to listen to our problems, but really can have no impact or influence on them because He chooses not to intrude into the free-will choices of the autonomous beings that He created? Maybe I am too simple minded to fully understand, but I would really appreciate someone from the “free-will” side explaining to me how the practice of prayer is consistent with their view of a non-intrusive, but also non-deistic God.

Steve Temple

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I think I can help you with this Steve. To PRAY to God does not temporarily suspend your personal autonomy. For the potential CONVERT (the unregenerate penitent), on the other hand, the act of prayer to God is an acknowledgment of that individual's need for a surrender of FULL autonomy in favor of a more LIMITED autonomy. In other words, "self-sovereignty" is rejected and "God-sovereignty" (acknowledging Him and His Word as the ultimate standard of Truth and choosing to live in conformity to His Truth) is accepted.

To thereafter call upon God for assistance, wisdom, provision of blessing, insight and understanding, etc. is not contrary to the type of autonomy enjoyed by citizens of His Kingdom.

Prayer is supplication on behalf of others AND oneself, and it is also adoration, thanksgiving, worship and acknowledgement of God in the full glory of His Person. I see no conflict between "free will" as revealed in the Scriptures, and the practice of prayer. I do NOT believe that we should pray that God would somehow "over-ride" another person's will and autonomy, in order to impose His Person and Truth upon them. God doesn't do that. Such an act would be contrary to His Will, and prayer is supposed to be made ACCORDING to His Will.

If we INVITE God's involvement in our lives, autonomously, God willingly responds. But he WON'T impose Himself on anyone who demonstrates no desire for Him.

I trust that explanation helps, Steve!

JM

Virgil's picture

That's the whole idea of praying, so that we do get God involved in the time-space events surrounding us, rather than leaving them at the mercy of free-will. If God preordained everything to happen a certain way, why pray at all? Things will happen one way or another regardless of you praying or not...

protemple's picture

Kenneth and Virgil,

Thanks for your responses to my questions. I have been following these discussions on election and other related topics such as Calvinism, Total Depravity, etc. I have been reluctant to put my two cents worth in, but I woke up this morning with these questions on my mind so decided to take the plunge. I freely admit that there are difficulties on both sides and I am trying to deal with them honestly considering where I am coming from. I could try to present arguments for my current position (recognizing that it may change), but that's not really my purpose. I'm trying to understand some things that are a real puzzle to me. Kenneth says that when we pray for someone that as a result of our prayer, " perhaps the person will be in a situation conducive to being brought to Christ." Virgil says that by our prayers we, “get God involved in the time-space events surrounding us.” My questions would be these: Is God involved in bringing that person to be in a situation conducive to being brought Christ? If He is, how does He accomplish this without infringing upon someone’s freewill? In what way does God become involved in the time-space events surrounding us? Does that mean He affects the weather or does it require Him to somehow manipulate or coerce the freewill of some of His creatures?

I don’t see how God can effectively interact with His creation without somehow impacting and influencing the actions that are controlled by the will of human beings. Unless God has no ultimate purpose for His creation and is basically just along for the ride to see where it goes, how does He assure that His purposes are fulfilled without exercising some definite control over the wills of men?

How did He “guarantee” that all of the millions and billions of individual decisions that combined to work together to bring about the crucifixion of Christ would happen? Was it just coincidence that what God had decided beforehand should happen did in fact happen ?

Is God violating a person’s freewill when He takes out their heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh? I understand that this is not a case of divine surgery involving a physical heart, but rather my understanding is that this involves a dramatic change in the inclinations of one’s heart. I don’t see in the scriptures where this is done at the request of the individual but instead according to the will of God. Is this “process” only applicable to the pre-AD70 age?

I really appreciate you guys taking the time to try to help me understand the answers to these questions.

Steve

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I don’t see how God can effectively interact with His creation without somehow impacting and influencing the actions that are controlled by the will of human beings. Unless God has no ultimate purpose for His creation and is basically just along for the ride to see where it goes, how does He assure that His purposes are fulfilled without exercising some definite control over the wills of men?

Essentially, God is involved in the grand, eternal adventure with mankind, Steve, yes. There is no universal, overarching "purpose" per se, where the eternal history of man on this planet is concerned. He continues to develop and advance His own ideas and visions for the future in conjunction with man's advancements and progress/regress. God does not manipulate the wills of human beings today the way He did with the pre-AD 70 Old Covenant "world" and its citizenry. It's just that simple. He had a specific purpose and goal for THEIR "world", and He made SURE that He achieved it through specific individuals brought into being to fulfill specific roles.

How did He “guarantee” that all of the millions and billions of individual decisions that combined to work together to bring about the crucifixion of Christ would happen? Was it just coincidence that what God had decided beforehand should happen did in fact happen ?

That is the incredible wonder and glory of the Bible and the history revealed therein, Steve! God accomplished an AMAZING, supernatural feat!! He actually BLUEPRINTED a whole history of a civilization lasting several thousand years - FROM BEGINNING TO END. It's one thing to draft a history (like writing a story), and leave it as fiction. But what if - YOU MADE IT HAPPEN, TO THE LETTER? What if you had the power to do so, and you made a promise to a specific person (or group of people) that YOU WOULD do so. In God's case, this bound Him to the task of bringing this history that He had pre-legislated and pre-determined to fruition.

The ultimate goal was to redeem to Himself from OUT OF that "world" a People who were His SPIRITUALLY. Their very inner natures were in conformity with His own. And the imperfect, temporal "world" was type or figure of the SPIRITUAL one that was the final outcome of His redemptive plan. The eternal, spiritual "world" would replace the physical, temporal one ultimately, at the conclusion of the latter's history.

God "guaranteed" that events would occur according to His plan, I believe, through having various contingency plans in place for each potential decision made, AND (primarily) by LIMITING the decision possibilities people had within that "world". Yes, He literally coerced and manipulated the wills and minds of certain people in order to bring about His purposes within that "world". THEIR "autonomy" and "free will" within THAT "world" was limited to a very significant degree - unlike ours or anyone's OUTSIDE of that "world" (or uninvolved with it).

Is God violating a person’s freewill when He takes out their heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh? I understand that this is not a case of divine surgery involving a physical heart, but rather my understanding is that this involves a dramatic change in the inclinations of one’s heart. I don’t see in the scriptures where this is done at the request of the individual but instead according to the will of God. Is this “process” only applicable to the pre-AD70 age?

There are many Scriptures indicating that God's regenerative work is IN RESPONSE to the individual's demonstration of faith in God, Steve. That faith decision is an autonomous act. I could present you with MANY Scriptures if you're interested.

Here's an interesting one for you, Steve. I think the Calvinists might have grave difficulty in resolving the clear language of this text with their position.

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (James 2:21-24)

Clearly, Abraham's ACT of faith (his autonomous demonstration of faith in God via his offering of Isaac upon the altar) was a "work" acceptable with God. "Abraham BELIEVED God and it was accounted to him for righteousness." It's so clear, Steve. Calvinists are self-deceived if they think that they can somehow interpret this to mean "Abraham had faith IMPOSED on him by God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.". The whole thrust and focus of James 2 is the AUTONOMOUS CHOICE of the individual. This is probably why Martin Luther hated it so much. I think it was Luther who referred to it as "the epistle of straw". Luther couldn't handle remaining consistent and contextual in his treatments of Scripture as a whole.

JM

protemple's picture

John,

Thanks again for taking the time to respond to my questions. Your reply has stimulated new questions that I hope to be able to present as time permits.

You said, "There are many Scriptures indicating that God's regenerative work is IN RESPONSE to the individual's demonstration of faith in God, Steve. That faith decision is an autonomous act. I could present you with MANY Scriptures if you're interested."

I’m interested. Please present.

Thanks!

Steve

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Steve, here are the texts I promised - a little late, but I trust they will serve to provide you with a little different perspective on this issue.

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12,13)

Note that the autonomous act of receiving Christ was followed by God's giving them the right (or "power") to become children of God..."who were born...of God" (v.13). The birthing of the individual was contingent upon the inherent "receptiveness" of that person to Christ. This is how they were contrasted with the rest of their countrymen in the preceding verse (the majority of the "world" - v.10 - or "his own" - v.11 who did NOT receive Him).

Romans 10:8-11

"8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

Note several things in these verses from Romans 10, Steve. In verse 9, the "saving" is future to (and contingent upon) the autonomous acts of the individual defined as "confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead". BOTH acts PRECEDE the salvation accomplished by God. In verse 10, this sequence of events is re-emphasized and reinforced. Belief in the heart PRECEDES confession with the mouth which RESULTS in salvation (regeneration). The emphasis, consistently, is on the INDIVIDUAL'S independent response to the Truth - either positively, in faith, or negatively in its absence.

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1John 4:7-16)

Note the emphasis upon, and injunctions to LOVE. The fact that John (really the Holy Spirit THROUGH John) felt it necessary to COMMAND that those aspiring to salvation manifest love as evidence of that conversion once again places the priority upon the personal actions and independent decisions of the individual. The sequence, again, begins with the individual's CONFESSION and the subsequent verification of the reality that person dwells in God and God in him (v.15).

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.

Note the emphasis on Abraham's autonomous, independent BELIEF in God (v.23) which God CREDITED to him as righteousness. The same sequence exists here, in even clearer terms. The individual's FAITH in God prompts God's benevolent, adoptive, regenerative work. Abraham was called the "friend of God" AFTER his exercising faith in God - not before. If God regenerated Abraham IN ORDER for Abraham to have faith in Him, technically he was God's friend BEFORE exercising faith in Him and being credited with righteousness of any kind. When these Scriptures are examined according to the CALVINIST framework, it is readily apparent that Calvinism (the "sovereign grace" perspective) is in conflict with the clear language of the Scriptures.

Those are a few of the Scriptures, Steve. I trust those will get you started, anyway! Again, sorry for the delay in responding!

John

protemple's picture

John,

Thanks for the time you took to provide these verses for my consideration. I will certainly look at them in more depth as well as the comments you included. My initial response is that I don't necessarily agree with your interpretation, but perhaps further thought is needed.

Again, I appreciate your willingness to try to help me in my understanding.

Steve

SuperSoulFighter's picture

You're welcome, Steve! Happy studying!

John

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I'll have to present these to you tomorrow, unfortunately, Steve as it's time for me to get ready for work.

Due to time constraints, rather than present ALL of the textual support, I'll present some of the more significant ones. Talk to you tomorrow!

John

blackpreterist's picture

It could alternatively be said, why pray at all if God has already foreordained every detail of all things that will ever happen?

Why are people to pray for the health of their brethren in Christ if God has already foreordained before the beginning of the universe whether they will be restored to health?

Why pray for lost friends or relatives if God decided before the beginning of time whether the friends or relatives are going to be eventually saved? Prayer changes nothing, because events will occur as God foreordained whether you pray or not. As a matter of fact, the only reason that you are praying in the first place is because God predestined you to pray in the first place, and you cannot thwart his sovereign will.

Why do the angels rejoice when sinners repent? After all, these sinners are only doing what God forced them to do anyway, and when they were sinners, it was because God foreordained before the foundation of the world every last transgression and violation of his will that they committed. So God forced somebody else, whose sins he predestined anyway and whom he forced to to be a transgressor in the first place by predestining every action made by the individual, to love him. What else is new?

My point is, neither side in this case has an argument that is not problematic. As for my personal background, it has been my experience that when people pray for God to help unbelieving loved ones it is not a prayer for compulsion of the will, but that one might be influenced (one can be convicted of sin, but resist the Spirit as did the unbelieving Jews in Acts 7) or that perhaps the person will be in a situation conducive to being brought to Christ. Both cases would require action by God, but neither would entail that God had fatalistically forced the hand of the subject of the prayer.

For example, a few years ago (circa early 2001), I stumbled upon some anti-Bible sites (atheist, Muslim), and had a sort of spiritual crisis. I was fortunate, however, to find the answering-islam.org site and other resources, which helped me to regain my confidence in the reliability of the Bible.

I don't think that there was any Calvinistic compulsion of will in that circumstance, such that I had no choice but to accept the evidences offered in these resources, but I do believe that if I had not had that opportunity, I would have completely lost faith and rejected the Scriptures, and for that I am thankful that God gave me that opportunity.

Kenneth Perkins

PS Something I've always wondered: Do adherents to Calvinistic/fatalistic predestination of the will ever consider the possibility that they themselves are not part of the elect, but rather are as the people mentioned in Matthew 7:21-23? Or is it that, perhaps by some strange coincidence, all believers in that doctrine of predestination just happen to take for granted that they are part of God's elite, unlike those unlucky folks whom he predestined to be lost?

\

KingNeb's picture

John,

"We who understand the God of the Bible, on the other hand, know that God is NOT so foolish as to do something of this nature. In His infinite wisdom, He chose NOT to pre-determine ALL of human history. The only history so pre-legislated and blueprinted was that of the Old Covenant “world” and its People."

Are you implying that God was just 'foolish' for a little while, i.e. during the O.C.?!

Second, you assume that everytime the word 'world' is used, it's used in reference to the O.C. It remains for you to prove that. I believe you have found one definition for a word and have taken that to the extreme.

Third, you misrepresent Calvinism when you state: "The latent hostility to the Truth within each unsaved person renders them resistant and completely closed to it apart from God’s supernatural intervention within them. God’s “taking the initiative” permits the person’s mind and heart to acknowledge the Truth as valid and real, and unlocks his/her awareness of God, making it possible for that person’s innermost spiritual needs to be met in subsequent spiritual rebirth."

That is the exact opposite of calvinism. Calvinism teaches that the 'rebirth' precedes faith, for faith is a fruit of regeneration.

"Regeneration is the spiritual change wrought in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit in which his/her inherently sinful nature is changed so that he/she can respond to God in Faith, and live in accordance with His Will" - J.I. Packer

I find it difficult to take seriously a critique that does not even understand the other side. Perhaps I misunderstood what you said there and need clarification, but you seem to have faith/belief before 'rebirth' - and THAT is not calvinism.

thereignofchrist.com

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Hi, KingNeb! Thanks for the questions and comments!

John,

"We who understand the God of the Bible, on the other hand, know that God is NOT so foolish as to do something of this nature. In His infinite wisdom, He chose NOT to pre-determine ALL of human history. The only history so pre-legislated and blueprinted was that of the Old Covenant “world” and its People."

Are you implying that God was just 'foolish' for a little while, i.e. during the O.C.?!

No, I'm not implying any such thing, KingNeb. My statements are actually very clear. It would have been very foolish for God to predetermine ALL of human history, on a global, universal scale. Instead, He chose to draft/blueprint the history of a temporal "cosmos" - a time-limited civilization that was a subset within the human race. His involvement with the history of the OC "world" and People was highly unique. His predestination/election process was unique and exclusive to THAT "world". Thus, He successfully avoided painting Himself into a "volitional corner", where mankind as a whole was concerned.

Second, you assume that everytime the word 'world' is used, it's used in reference to the O.C. It remains for you to prove that. I believe you have found one definition for a word and have taken that to the extreme.

Actually, having found clear evidence for the fact that NT writers used "world" as a reference to the Israelite/Jewish "world", it remains for YOU to prove otherwise, KingNeb.

John 1:10,11 is very clear. The parallelism is umistakable. "The world" of v.10 is equivalent to "his own" in v.11. The context of John 1 further reinforces the reality that the OC "world" was in view. John used terminology common to himself and the other inspired writers of the Scriptures. Paul uses this same sense in Col. 1:5,6;23 in his statements concerning the fulfillment of the Great Commission in THEIR day.

It's a usage common among them, KingNeb, and any "global" sense must be VERY clearly indicated by the context, not vice versa. The ball is in YOUR court on that one.

Third, you misrepresent Calvinism when you state: "The latent hostility to the Truth within each unsaved person renders them resistant and completely closed to it apart from God’s supernatural intervention within them. God’s “taking the initiative” permits the person’s mind and heart to acknowledge the Truth as valid and real, and unlocks his/her awareness of God, making it possible for that person’s innermost spiritual needs to be met in subsequent spiritual rebirth."

That is the exact opposite of calvinism. Calvinism teaches that the 'rebirth' precedes faith, for faith is a fruit of regeneration.

"Regeneration is the spiritual change wrought in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit in which his/her inherently sinful nature is changed so that he/she can respond to God in Faith, and live in accordance with His Will" - J.I. Packer

Stanley L. Derickson, Ph.D. has this to say on the subject, KingNeb.

There is faith and there is regeneration. Which came first? Some suggest that to have faith you must be regenerated. They hold that the lost man is so depraved that he cannot possibly have faith. He must be pulled out of that position by regeneration before he can know what faith is. Some suggest that if you are regenerated then you don't need faith. In other words, regeneration is the complete work and faith is too late. The work of salvation is done. The Bible would refute this, in that it states that salvation is by faith!

This is a basic Calvinist Question. The Calvinist would see regeneration as that which gives the person enough "umph" to accept the Gospel.

The answer to all this is somewhere in the fact that all of it takes place instantaneously. Most I think would feel that faith comes before the regeneration takes place. If you don't agree then try a research paper on it. By the way I have just read recently that to steal from one person is called plagiarism, but to steal from many is called research.

Calvin believed that repentance and regeneration were one and the same. "In one word I apprehend repentance to be regeneration, the end of which is the restoration of the divine image within us;" (Buswell, James Oliver; "A SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION"; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1962, vol.II, p 171) I would probably take exception to the idea that repentance and regeneration are one.

It sounds to me like the Calvinists are confused. In fact, it sounds like CALVIN was confused as much as anyone. He equates repentance with regeneration, clouding the question of "which comes first...faith or regeneration?". You ARE correct in understanding the general Calvinist view to be that regeneration PRECEDES faith. But this is not particularly clear in Calvin's thinking and teachings, since "repentance" APART from faith is a bit of an "unknown quantity". HOW can one experience true heart repentance without faith? And the RESULT suggested by Calvin is the "restoration of the divine image within us" (a rough approximation of the "regeneration" concept). SO...is regeneration part and parcel with repentance, or the RESULT of it? Does God accomplish regeneration within the individual IN RESPONSE to repentance prompted by "saving faith" (MY view) OR - does God IMPOSE repentance/faith/regeneration in some kind of muddled, chaotic, nonsequential fashion (the Calvinist view)?

With regard to Packer's quote, he appears to be referring to the Christian LIFE of faith resulting from regeneration, NOT the initial "saving faith" required to experience God's regenerative work within.

I find it difficult to take seriously a critique that does not even understand the other side. Perhaps I misunderstood what you said there and need clarification, but you seem to have faith/belief before 'rebirth' - and THAT is not calvinism.

I find it difficult to take seriously any "system" that has no inherent consistency or rational framework (not to mention Biblical basis). Perhaps I misunderstood the general Calvinist perspective in relation to the sequence of events involved with the salvation of the individual. Indeed, misunderstanding the Calvinist position is quite easy to do. Understanding it is a rather Herculean task. Are you sure YOU really understand it, KingNeb? Just curious.

JM

KingNeb's picture

‘You ARE correct in understanding the general Calvinist view to be that regeneration PRECEDES faith.’

‘I find it difficult to take seriously any "system" that has no inherent consistency or rational framework (not to mention Biblical basis). Perhaps I misunderstood the general Calvinist perspective in relation to the sequence of events involved with the salvation of the individual. Indeed, misunderstanding the Calvinist position is quite easy to do.’

I rest my case John. Go and learn these things before you critique and claim that election is incompatible to Preterism. How can you critique that which you don’t understand?

And quickly, how is the ball in my court again? Anybody who argues that a word has only ONE definition is actually the one that needs to make his case, for anyone with a dictionary can see that words can have more than one meaning.

thereignofchrist.com

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I rest my case John. Go and learn these things before you critique and claim that election is incompatible to Preterism. How can you critique that which you don’t understand?

YOU have no "case" to rest, KingNeb! I rest MY case. Go and re-read MY article, and note the important fact that I do NOT find "election incompatible to Preterism". Rather, the true Preterist understanding of "election" is that it was a time-limited process exclusive to the pre-AD 70 "world" of the Israelites/Jews. You have by no means come anywhere NEAR defeating my case.

Furthermore, Calvinism has no Biblical "case" to refute. It is simply a mish-mash of non-contextual misappropriations and misapplications of Scripture due to faulty assumptions founded in futurist thinking and hermeneutics.

And quickly, how is the ball in my court again? Anybody who argues that a word has only ONE definition is actually the one that needs to make his case, for anyone with a dictionary can see that words can have more than one meaning.

I've made my case. YOU haven't made YOURS. Whether a word has more than one meaning is established through usages outside of the literature in question (classical Greek for example). The koine Greek of the NT consistently uses the word "cosmos" within a VERY specific context, and we are justified in interpreting it according to the ONE meaning identified and established by the context, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. YOU haven't provided ONE text clearly dictating a global meaning for "cosmos". You have your work cut out for you, KingNeb. You need to do better than "flyby" potshots with no substance.

Go do your homework.

JM

KingNeb's picture

For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

thereignofchrist.com

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Note that God's promises to Abraham included no such wording as "heir of the world", KingNeb. What Romans 4:13 indicates that according to the First Century JEWISH understanding of "world", God's promises to Abraham in relation to THAT entity came not through the law but through the righteousness of faith. God promised Abraham an eternal "cosmos" (as it is expressed in the koine Greek of Rom. 4:13) composed of his own (spiritual) offspring.

You can't build a case for a global usage and sense on this text, KingNeb. Paul's reference to the "cosmos" of God's Covenant People is not an actual quotation of the very words God used in His original promises to Abraham, so there is no, clear "global" inference dictated here. In FACT - if you go back and check God's actual promises, He specified a LAND OF PROMISE as Abraham's (and his descendants') inheritance. Thus, rather than a "universal", "global" implication, we see that "heir of the world" actually has a very LIMITED application, when tied in to those promises.

JM

KingNeb's picture

Luke 11:50-51 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah,

there's one.

thereignofchrist.com

SuperSoulFighter's picture

This one is better, KingNeb. THAT'S more like it. Now we have something to carefully, contextually review. This text seem to stand alone as indicative of a perspective BEYOND the existence of the Old Covenant "world" (due to the fact that Abel lived before its foundation at Mt. Sinai).

Note that Luke 11:50-51 refers to the "blood of the prophets" FIRST. When the context established in the surrounding verses is examined, it becomes apparent that the Old Covenant "world" IS exclusively in view. It was the slaying of THEIR prophets to which Christ referred (not the prophets of pagan nations and "gods" around the planet). This is why the lawyers, Pharisees and scribes took such offense to His words.

46 And He said, "Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48 In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore the wisdom of God also said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,' 50 that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered. 53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him." (Luke 11:46-54)

When you pause at the end of v.50, the full force and intent of Christ's words are painfully apparent, KingNeb. He was CLEARLY referring to the slaying of the Old Covenant Nation's prophets by those WITHIN that "world" (civilization/Nation) who despised God and His Law, in their hearts, and worked to distort and pervert it, killing those who took a stand against them. In THAT sense, the murder of Abel foreshadowed that type of death. Abel chose to conform to God's requirements and worship Him in a way pleasing to Him. Cain, on the other hand, chose to reject God's expectations preferring his OWN way of doing things and expecting God to be pleased with him anyway. Cain wanted to establish HIS OWN "law" as superior to God's. He murdered Abel when God showed His preference to Abel's sacrifice over Cain's. In the same way, the killers of the prophets "from the foundation of the Old Covenant world" were those who despised those in possession of God's approval through conformity to His requirements and love for Him. They (like Cain) desired for God to approve of THEIR beliefs, "law" and ways of doing things. God saw their actions as being in the tradition of Cain, while Abel exemplified the pattern of martyrdom carried on by the Old Covenant Israelite/Jewish prophets.

You can't establish a "universal, global" implication on the basis of this text either, KingNeb. The context and language too clearly LIMITS it to the "blood of the prophets" of Old Covenant Israel and the "world" of those days.

JM

Parker's picture

McPherson:
Rather, the true Preterist understanding of "election" is that it was a time-limited process exclusive to the pre-AD 70 "world" of the Israelites/Jews.

Parker:
Everything in the New Testament scripture is part of a "time-limited process exclusive to the pre AD 70 world," McPherson. The ancient Hebrew god is part of that "time-limited" process if we use your hermenutic standard. The scriptures also are part of that "time-limited process exclusive to the pre-AD 70 world" when we consistently apply your argument.

You keep using this foolish reasoning to strike down theologies you dislike, but your reasoning, when consistently applied, forces you to abandon all contemporary applications of God as derived from the Christian bible! Be consistent, John, or admit that you are only trying to push your pet theologies on the unsuspecting.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

PARKER: Everything in the New Testament scripture is part of a "time-limited process exclusive to the pre AD 70 world," McPherson. The ancient Hebrew god is part of that "time-limited" process if we use your hermenutic standard. The scriptures also are part of that "time-limited process exclusive to the pre-AD 70 world" when we consistently apply your argument.

I would say that MOST of the contents of the New Testament have their primary application to the pre-AD 70 period of history, Parker. Yes. Are their secondary principles in some passages pertaining to God's ability to interact with man in a broader sense, BEYOND AD 70? Possibly. But those secondary applications need to be carefully considered and evalutated in light of both the immediate AND broader contexts of Scripture.

I'll give you an example.

8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: "Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world." (Rom. 10:8-18)

Since you will be quick to point out the personal pronouns in this passage, Parker, I have done it for you. Yes, this passage not only has personal pronouns - the context is focussed upon the spiritual economy of the pre-AD 70 Israelite/Jewish "world". In fact, in those days (before the modern printing press) illiteracy was common, and copies of written works were very few. At the time Paul wrote these words, the Scriptures were not complete in written form, and the gospel was being preached audibly with reference to the Old Testament Scriptures (Torah). Thus, "faith comes by HEARING and HEARING by the Word of God" (v.17).

The truly interesting aspect of this passage where WE are concerned, however, is in v.18. Verse 18 quotes Psalm 19. Here is the context of the verse cited by Paul in this chapter:

1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. 6 Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. 13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Since this is not a piece of apocalyptic, prophetic literature, we are not obligated to interpret "heavens" or "firmament" in v.1 of Psalm 19 according to the figurative sense. The context, in fact, dictates that we understand David to be referring to the literal stars and astral bodies in the skies above us.

Psalm 19, therefore, clearly indicates that the skies above us contain a revelation of God accessible to mankind as a whole. The sun itself typifies God and His Truth as He daily reveals Himself to man and exposes all things to the glory of His Light.

It's interesting that in this more universal context, Parker, the nature of the Old Testament LAW OF THE LORD is reviewed in terms of its beneficial nature to man (vss. 7-14). Obviously, David was writing from the perspective of one immersed in the Old Covenant, pre-AD 70 "world", and as one of the "elect" of that period - but IF this is truly the Word of God we are reading here, and not just the musings of a fallible human being, we are obligated to consider a possible UNIVERSAL benefit to mankind as a whole in interacting with the WRITTEN Word of God, since the LIMITED revelation of God in the heavens above is further amplified upon in the written Word. And thus we ALSO see that Paul took this same UNIVERSAL application from Psalm 19 and applied it in Romans 10. These are things worthy of careful, contextual consideration.

Does the creation account in the Book of Genesis have universal implications and significance where all of mankind is concerned? Obviously.

I see no contradiction between viewing some passages in a more universal light and with a broader application BEYOND the "world" of the First Century and the pre-AD 70 Israelites, when the CONTEXT itself permits (and even directly INDICATES) such an application.

When we handle passages like Romans 10, however, it is important to keep in mind that the "salvation" of the pre-AD 70 period INCLUDED physical salvation from the destruction of 70 AD. It was not necessarily LIMITED to deliverance from that destruction alone, however. There was also a SPIRITUAL element in it, and THIS has more eternal, lasting, broader significance for all of mankind.

I am now prepared for your critical assault upon what I have just shared, above, Parker. I understand that you are testing what I have to say, and you believe it is flawed on rational, logical grounds. I hear you and understand your point. Hopefully, you will see that I have grounds for holding what (to you) may seem to be a self-contradictory position.

And by the way - I'm still waiting for that definition of "classical theism", with accompanying Scriptural support.

John

Parker's picture

McPherson,

There are couple different ways to apply the McPherson Method to refute your claim that Paul and David should be read in a universal sense in the case you have cited.

The first refutation would be to simply agree with your own concessions: namely, Paul's writing is full of personal pronouns and eschatological context, and David is a citizen of the Old Heavens and Earth. These hebrew men are discussing life as uniquely lived under the Mosaic world prior to its dissolution. God's dealings with them were applicable to their unique situation and for their redemption out from under the Law contract.

The second refutation would be related to your universalizing of Psalms 19:1-4 and its discussion of natural revelation. Note that Paul is NOT universalizing Psalm 19. Rather, he sees its direct application as pertaining to the salvation of the Jews and Greeks of his generation (Rom 10:12-13). Paul's argument is that God had been revealing himself to the Greeks through natural revelation via the cosmos that they might be judged at the eschatological judgment in that generation! (read Romans 1:18-32; 2:9-12). Note that God's natural revelation through heavenly bodies (Ps 19:1-4) had been acting in tandem with spokesmen like Isaiah (Rom 10:16) and Moses (Rom 10:20) and is mentioned right along side of them in Romans 10:16-20. Since you and I live beyond that eschatological judgment and are not the ones being prepared for it, there is no reason to apply either Psalm 19:1-4 or Romans 10 to ourselves. In fact, to do so would be another form of futurism.

I've mastered the McPherson Method. I know your trick and have exposed it for others to see. Even your own whacked out views can't survive a consistent application of your own hermenutical standards. Your whole system is self-refuting. The same argument you use against election and classical theism can be applied to any of your own applications for the post-AD 70 world. Put down the scriptures John. They are not to you or for you. Stop being a mimic of the pre-AD 70 peoples.

Virgil's picture

Everything in the New Testament scripture is part of a "time-limited process exclusive to the pre AD 70 world," McPherson. The ancient Hebrew god is part of that "time-limited" process if we use your hermenutic standard. The scriptures also are part of that "time-limited process exclusive to the pre-AD 70 world" when we consistently apply your argument.

Of course the scriptures are part of that "time limited process." Can you show me any books written after that time frame that have been canonized?

His reasoning is not foolish Parker - you disagree with him, and he disagrees with you..that's what this website is all about: a forum for us to discuss these matters and figure out what truth is.

To me, having a Pope and thinking that he has God-given authority to manage the church, issue God-given decrees, and calling him "father" despite Jesus specifically saying not to do so is also foolish. Does that mean I won't talk to you or fellowship with you? No, it does not...I have enough common sense to generously accept your beliefs and still consider you a brother in Christ...and respect you as an individual.

Parker's picture

Virgil:
Of course the scriptures are part of that "time limited process." Can you show me any books written after that time frame that have been canonized?

Parker:
I'm glad you agree, Virgil. Now, the scriptures were needed in the Old Heaven and Earth for sure, but why would they be needed NOW in the post-AD 70 world? When we consistently apply McPherson's logic, they wouldn't. They are as necessary as baptism, Eucharist, the bishopric, and other pre-AD 70 earthly trappings that went extinct at AD 70. We now live in a "purely spiritual" state (read: gnostic state), and the scriptures are part of the Old Heavens and Earth system. They are writings for and about that old system and people, and are no longer necessary. I'm begging McPherson to be consistent with his own ideologies, but I don't expect him to ever deal honestly with the points I bring up. He has a personal agenda to protect, and I'm sort of exposing the gaping holes in it.

Virgil:
To me, having a Pope and thinking that he has God-given authority to manage the church, issue God-given decrees, and calling him "father" despite Jesus specifically saying not to do so is also foolish.

PARKER:
I ask you, Virgil:

Did not Jesus create His Church in real history?

Was not that Church instituted with a clearly defined ministry and form of government?

Is not the Roman Catholic Church tied by direct historic succession to the Church of Rome found in your bible?

The answer is yes to all these.

Finally, if you think Jesus objects to the designation of "father," see how the apostles used "father" (1 Cor 4:14-16; Rom 4:11) and understand that the Catholic Church merely follows the "spiritual family" concept started by the first christians. It's biblical and apostolic in origin.

Windpressor's picture

Was Peter Really Buried in Rome?
http://www.sxws.com/charis/pope-17.htm

"Is not the Roman Catholic Church tied by direct historic succession to the Church of Rome found in your bible?"

How does this succession relate to dubious claims that Peter was in Rome?

The Discovery of Peter's Tomb in Jerusalem
1953 http://www.acts2.com/thebibletruth/Peters_Tomb.htm

G1

G-Juan Wind

Parker's picture

Hi Windpressor.

It matters not if Peter was in Rome for months, years, or at his death. None of it changes the fact that he was appointed the chief of the apostles by Jesus Christ who gave to Peter the keys of authority (Matthew 16:18-19/Isaiah 22:20-25). So your point, even if true, is moot.

Even so, note that the unanimous historic testimony that exists on the matter claims Peter was at Rome and exerting authority over the flocks there for some time:

Ignatius of Antioch
"Not as Peter and Paul did, do I command you [Romans]. They were apostles, and I am a convict" (Letter to the Romans 4:3 [A.D. 110]).

 
Dionysius of Corinth
"You [Pope Soter] have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time" (Letter to Pope Soter [A.D. 170], in Eusebius, History of the Church 2:25:8).

Irenaeus
"Matthew also issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church" (Against Heresies, 3, 1:1 [A.D. 189]).

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the succession of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church [of Rome], because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (ibid., 3, 3, 2).

"The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome], they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in the letter to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21]. To him succeeded Anacletus, and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that he still heard the echoes of the preaching of the apostles and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were many still remaining who had been instructed by the apostles. In the time of Clement, no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the church in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace and renewing their faith. ... To this Clement, Evaristus succeeded . . . and now, in the twelfth place after the apostles, the lot of the episcopate [of Rome] has fallen to Eleutherius. In this order, and by the teaching of the apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us" (ibid., 3, 3, 3).
 

Gaius
"It is recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and Peter, likewise, was crucified, during the reign [of the Emperor Nero]. The account is confirmed by the names of Peter and Paul over the cemeteries there, which remain to the present time. And it is confirmed also by a stalwart man of the Church, Gaius by name, who lived in the time of Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome. This Gaius, in a written disputation with Proclus, the leader of the sect of Cataphrygians, says this of the places in which the remains of the aforementioned apostles were deposited: ‘I can point out the trophies of the apostles. For if you are willing to go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Way, you will find the trophies of those who founded this Church’" (Disputation with Proclus [A.D. 198] in Eusebius, Church History 2:25:5).

Clement of Alexandria
"The circumstances which occasioned . . . [the writing] of Mark were these: When Peter preached the Word publicly at Rome and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings, should write down what had been proclaimed" (Sketches [A.D. 200], in a fragment from Eusebius, History of the Church, 6, 14:1).

 
Tertullian
"But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John [the Baptist, by being beheaded]" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 36 [A.D. 200]).

"[T]his is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrneans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John, like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter" (ibid., 32:2).

"Let us see what milk the Corinthians drained from Paul; against what standard the Galatians were measured for correction; what the Philippians, Thessalonians, and Ephesians read; what even the nearby Romans sound forth, to whom both Peter and Paul bequeathed the gospel and even sealed it with their blood" (Against Marcion 4, 5:1 [A.D. 210]).

The Little Labyrinth
"Victor . . . was the thirteenth bishop of Rome from Peter" (The Little Labyrinth [A.D. 211], in Eusebius, Church History 5:28:3).
 
The Poem Against the Marcionites
"In this chair in which he himself had sat, Peter in mighty Rome commanded Linus, the first elected, to sit down. After him, Cletus too accepted the flock of the fold. As his successor, Anacletus was elected by lot. Clement follows him, well-known to apostolic men. After him Evaristus ruled the flock without crime. Alexander, sixth in succession, commends the fold to Sixtus. After his illustrious times were completed, he passed it on to Telesphorus. He was excellent, a faithful martyr . . . " (Poem Against the Marcionites 276–284 [A.D. 267]).

 
Eusebius of Caesarea
"[In the second] year of the two hundredth and fifth Olympiad [A.D. 42]: The apostle Peter, after he has established the church in Antioch, is sent to Rome, where he remains as a bishop of that city, preaching the gospel for twenty-five years" (The Chronicle [A.D. 303]).

 
Peter of Alexandria
"Peter, the first chosen of the apostles, having been apprehended often and thrown into prison and treated with ignominy, at last was crucified in Rome" (Penance, canon 9 [A.D. 306]).

Lactantius
"When Nero was already reigning, Peter came to Rome, where, in virtue of the performance of certain miracles which he worked . . . he converted many to righteousness and established a firm and steadfast temple to God. When this fact was reported to Nero . . . he sprang to the task of tearing down the heavenly temple and of destroying righteousness. It was he that first persecuted the servants of God. Peter he fixed to a cross, and Paul he slew" (The Deaths of the Persecutors 2:5 [A.D. 318]).

 
Cyril of Jerusalem
"[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him. . . .While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . [T]hey launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was there—he that carries about the keys of heaven. And it was nothing to marvel at, for Paul was there—he that was caught up into the third heaven" (Catechetical Lectures 6:14 [A.D. 350]).

Optatus
"You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all" (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).

Epiphanius of Salamis
"At Rome the first apostles and bishops were Peter and Paul, then Linus, then Cletus, then Clement, the contemporary of Peter and Paul" (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 27:6 [A.D. 375]).

 
Pope Damasus I
"Likewise it is decreed: . . . [W]e have considered that it ought to be announced that although all the Catholic churches spread abroad through the world comprise one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it.

"In addition to this, there is also the companionship of the vessel of election, the most blessed apostle Paul, who contended and was crowned with a glorious death along with Peter in the city of Rome in the time of Caesar Nero. . . . They equally consecrated the above-mentioned holy Roman Church to Christ the Lord; and by their own presence and by their venerable triumph they set it at the forefront over the others of all the cities of the whole world.

"The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it. The second see, however, is that at Alexandria, consecrated in behalf of blessed Peter by Mark, his disciple and an evangelist, who was sent to Egypt by the apostle Peter, where he preached the word of truth and finished his glorious martyrdom. The third honorable see, indeed, is that at Antioch, which belonged to the most blessed apostle Peter, where first he dwelt before he came to Rome and where the name Christians was first applied, as to a new people" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

Jerome
"Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord" (Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]).

Augustine
"If all men throughout the world were such as you most vainly accuse them of having been, what has the chair of the Roman church done to you, in which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits today?" (Against the Letters of Petilani 2:118 [A.D. 402]).

So, the historic record is quite clear.

Now, in addition, excavations under the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica after World War II uncovered a tomb on Vatican Hill with early inscriptions attesting to the fact that Peter’s remains were inside. The scientific details of this excavation is discussed in detail in John Evangelist Walsh’s book, The Bones of St. Peter.

The historical testimony and scientific evidence are such that no one willing to look at the facts objectively can doubt that Peter was in Rome.

God bless,

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I'm glad you agree, Virgil. Now, the scriptures were needed in the Old Heaven and Earth for sure, but why would they be needed NOW in the post-AD 70 world? When we consistently apply McPherson's logic, they wouldn't. They are as necessary as baptism, Eucharist, the bishopric, and other pre-AD 70 earthly trappings that went extinct at AD 70. We now live in a "purely spiritual" state (read: gnostic state), and the scriptures are part of the Old Heavens and Earth system. They are writings for and about that old system and people, and are no longer necessary. I'm begging McPherson to be consistent with his own ideologies, but I don't expect him to ever deal honestly with the points I bring up. He has a personal agenda to protect, and I'm sort of exposing the gaping holes in it.

WHY would they be needed now (within my worldview) is an excellent question, eh, Parker? I've repeatedly responded with excellent answers to this question, but you don't LIKE my response, so you ignore and attempt to discredit it.

When we consistently apply my system and perspective to the question, we find out that they DO have a very significant purpose and relevance in our day - but you don't like that purpose. YOU want them to be a tool for the perpetuation of an illegitimate, spiritual dominance over seekers of God and His Truth by your illegitimate, post-AD 70 hoax of a "church". You can try to continue to misuse the Scriptures for such a purpose, Parker, but be assured that those of us who love and understand the Truth as GOD intended us to understand it will take every opportunity to attack and refute your falsehoods.

You love and serve a lie, Parker. I can honestly state that I do not see you as common partaker with me in any true, Covenant relationship with the God of the Bible.

You have my pity, while your views and beliefs are beneath contempt. The fact that you consider yourself a "Christian" is simply further evidence of the godless apostasy of the RCC and its failure to treat the Scriptures with the reverence they deserve. The fact that your clerical hierarchies have falsely ascribed to themselves "apostolic authority" and consider themselves part of the NT tradition places them in the same position, spiritually and Covenantally, as the Jews and Muslims. Indeed, these three, great "monotheistic religions" (false institutionalized systems of worship) have much in common in that regard. All PRETEND that they offer access to God within their framework of doctrine and tradition, while in reality (in the true tradition of the Jewish religious leaders of Christ's day) they DENY access to God through the requirements they place upon their adherents.

May God have mercy on your soul, Parker. I cannot articulate forcefully enough (particularly within this setting) the degree of contempt I feel for the RCC, its dogma, traditions, Creeds and lies.

JM

Parker's picture

McPHerson:
WHY would they [the scriptures] be needed now (within my worldview) is an excellent question, eh, Parker? I've repeatedly responded with excellent answers to this question, but you don't LIKE my response, so you ignore and attempt to discredit it.

Parker:
We don't continue to need the relics of the Old Heavens and Earth. Scriptures are precisely such a relic of that former world that passed away. They are pre-AD 70 writings to and for pre-AD 70 people for life in that unique, time-limited age. Stop being such a futurist, John.

McPherson:
The fact that you consider yourself a "Christian" is simply further evidence of the godless apostasy of the RCC and its failure to treat the Scriptures with the reverence they deserve.

Parker:
Where do you get the idea the the pre-AD 70 scriptures deserve reverence from YOU or ME? We are citizens of the post-AD 70 world, not the pre-AD 70 world.

McPherson:
I cannot articulate forcefully enough (particularly within this setting) the degree of contempt I feel for the RCC, its dogma, traditions, Creeds and lies.

Parker:
Perhaps. But I have clearly demonstrated that YOUR dogma, tradition, creed, etc. may be easily refuted and dismissed using the exact same arguments you use to refute Calvinists and Catholics. Your entire system is self-refuting.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

We don't continue to need the relics of the Old Heavens and Earth. Scriptures are precisely such a relic of that former world that passed away. They are pre-AD 70 writings to and for pre-AD 70 people for life in that unique, time-limited age. Stop being such a futurist, John.

Ah. NOW we get to the heart of the matter. Let's see where this line of reasoning takes us. Ancient artifacts and relics DO have tremendous value to us today. This is why archaeologists and paleontologists devote their lives to uncovering the past. There is much wisdom and insight we can glean from earlier civilizations.

Let us consider the difference between the ancient scratchings on tablets and papyri, and those that were compiled into what we know as the Bible, today. There was a unique, virtually supernatural process involved in the case of the latter, seemingly, and while other ancient scriptures of other faiths also were maintained, the Bible has some rather unique features (including its historical veracity). There seems to be a rather unique divine element at work in its preservation and very existence today.

The very writings of Shakespeare, Dante, Milton, Virgil, Homer and other classical authors of the past are treated deferentially, and wisdom is gleaned from them pertaining to this life and our human experience. How much more should we not benefit from consideration of the pronouncements and histories contained in the Bible - which declares itself to be the inspired Word of God the Creator? Surely I don't have to seek immediate application of every injunction in the text to appreciate the wisdom contained therein? Do YOU treat the personal correspondence of Dickens as though it were written to YOU, PERSONALLY, Parker? Why treat the Scriptures any differently in that respect? The tendency on the part of futurists to treat them like a "magical oracle" or "tarot" of sorts in which they can find immediate guidance for everyday decision-making in their personal lives is an infection of the mind and heart introduced by YOUR false "church", Parker. It was necessary to mistreat the Scriptures as you and your fellow RCs do in order to maintain a sense of legitimacy for the institution itself. Your false "church" stands exposed for what it is - a snake pit of insidiously foul heresy and a mockery of the true Kingdom of Heaven.

Where do you get the idea the the pre-AD 70 scriptures deserve reverence from YOU or ME? We are citizens of the post-AD 70 world, not the pre-AD 70 world.

I treat the writings of ALL great authors of the past with respect and deference, Parker. But the Scriptures have an added element of divine authority invested in them, and they have consistently been proven accurate in every detail, throughout history. Furthermore, they have an intrinsic, inherent consistency in that they are not self-contradictory in any sense of the term. I have examined and critiqued the sacred writings of other faiths to the extent that I know the same cannot be said for them.

We should be APPRECIATORS of the wonder that is the Bible - and seekers of deeper understanding of its Author, as He has revealed Himself in its pages. Seeking specifics concerning your own, personal experience and situation should be SECONDARY to the higher pursuit of the understanding of God.

McPherson:
I cannot articulate forcefully enough (particularly within this setting) the degree of contempt I feel for the RCC, its dogma, traditions, Creeds and lies.

Parker:
Perhaps. But I have clearly demonstrated that YOUR dogma, tradition, creed, etc. may be easily refuted and dismissed using the exact same arguments you use to refute Calvinists and Catholics. Your entire system is self-refuting.

YOUR entire system has been BIBLICALLY refuted, repeatedly. You cannot claim Scriptural legitimacy for YOUR faith and "church", Parker. And the "logic" you've applied to my system has NOT demonstrated it to be "self-refuting". My perspective on the Scriptures simply differs too radically from yours for you to be able to grasp or come to terms with it.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Thank you for your supportive and charitable comments, Virgil! This ongoing conflict between myself and Parker may yet be resolved one day. I believe God is capable of such miracles, even today!

While I appreciate the charity and grace in your acceptance of Parker as a "brother in Christ" with whom you can fellowship, I myself have great difficulty in taking this view of his spiritual state. I also have some difficulty respecting his viewpoint and means of expressing it, as you've seen. At the same time, ones like Parker have much to offer once they respond in faith to the Truth. They become very strong spokespeople for whatever system of faith they choose to adopt. At present, Parker is a believer in the post-AD 70 "pseudo-church", as opposed to being a believer in Christ Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures he denies. Understanding and grace will enable us to interact with him in such a way that we will not bring disgrace upon the name of Christ Jesus and the Truth to which we adhere as revealed in Him.

I am working on the injunction to "be angry and sin not". It's a tough balance to achieve, but it can be done, through God's grace!

John

Parker's picture

McPherson:
This ongoing conflict between myself and Parker may yet be resolved one day. I believe God is capable of such miracles, even today!

Parker:
John, please cite scriptures that say that the pre-AD 70 Hebrew god is doing any miracles beyond AD 70. Know that I stand ready to refute your scriptural support armed with nothing but your own words from your article. Know that I will find the personal pronouns, audience relevance, and eschatological contexts that prove your views to be incompatible with the post-AD 70 world.

McPherson:
At present, Parker is a believer in the post-AD 70 "pseudo-church", as opposed to being a believer in Christ Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures he denies.

Parker:
What? Believing in Christ's church is in conflict with believing in Christ Jesus? You have just made unbelievers out of the AD 30-70 generation! They didn't believe in Christ, since they believed in the Church. You've lost your mind, John.

McPherson:
Understanding and grace will enable us to interact with him in such a way that we will not bring disgrace upon the name of Christ Jesus and the Truth to which we adhere as revealed in Him.

Parker:
Look, John, whatever "truth" you think you have discovered is little more than your personal opinions. Scripture nowhere clearly states anything you are teaching to your followers. You infer and you presuppose and you conclude, but scripture never explicitly states anything close to what you teach. Your views are arbitrary and never explicitly stated in scripture.

McPherson:
I am working on the injunction to "be angry and sin not". It's a tough balance to achieve, but it can be done, through God's grace!

Parker:
Be sure that God gives YOU no injunction to "be angry and sin not." That had unique reference to the AD 30-70 christians and the related sufferings of that generation. And where did you come up with the notion that God is giving YOU grace? Cite you scripture please! Know that I am ready to use your own words to show that your views of grace and God's injunctions are incompatible with the post-AD 70 world.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

McPherson:
At present, Parker is a believer in the post-AD 70 "pseudo-church", as opposed to being a believer in Christ Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures he denies.

Parker:
What? Believing in Christ's church is in conflict with believing in Christ Jesus? You have just made unbelievers out of the AD 30-70 generation! They didn't believe in Christ, since they believed in the Church. You've lost your mind, John.

I said believing in a POST-AD 70 "church" is in conflict with belief in Christ Jesus, Parker. Get new reading glasses. And grow up while you're at it.

I have no more patience or time for your nonsense. These discussions between you and me are concluded.

Parker's picture

Parker:
What? Believing in Christ's church is in conflict with believing in Christ Jesus? You have just made unbelievers out of the AD 30-70 generation! They didn't believe in Christ, since they believed in the Church. You've lost your mind, John.

McPherson:
I said believing in a POST-AD 70 "church" is in conflict with belief in Christ Jesus, Parker.

Parker:
Cite the scripture that teaches that, John. You don't have any scripture that says that. You're just making this stuff up as you go.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Cite the scripture that teaches that, John. You don't have any scripture that says that. You're just making this stuff up as you go.

I draw valid conclusions based upon contextual, rational, logical analysis of the Scriptures. YOU don't have that freedom, Parker. YOU are obligated to assess Biblical texts according to the findings and determinations of your so-called "church". All of your interpretations are governed by your "church" traditions and the interpretations of your clergy. YOU don't have the opportunity for creative, original thought and interaction with the Word of God. YOU don't even believe it IS the Word of God. So save your opinions for someone who cares more than I do. You're wasting your time AND mine.

Parker's picture

PARKER:
Cite the scripture that teaches that, John. You don't have any scripture that says that.

MCPHERSON:
I draw valid conclusions based upon contextual, rational, logical analysis of the Scriptures.

PARKER:
As I suspected. You have no scripture that says believing in the eternal church beyond AD 70 is faithlessness towards Christ. Your view is extra-biblical. Yet somehow you turn your personal "conclusions" into dogma and call it "true christianity." Scripture doesn't agree with your "conclusions"--we can't find your views anywhere in scripture.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

PARKER:
Cite the scripture that teaches that, John. You don't have any scripture that says that.

MCPHERSON:
I draw valid conclusions based upon contextual, rational, logical analysis of the Scriptures.

PARKER:
As I suspected. You have no scripture that says believing in the eternal church beyond AD 70 is faithlessness towards Christ. Your view is extra-biblical. Yet somehow you turn your personal "conclusions" into dogma and call it "true christianity." Scripture doesn't agree with your "conclusions"--we can't find your views anywhere in scripture.

Actually, Parker, I DO have Scriptures clearly establishing the Biblical FACT that ecclesiastical authority does NOT continue beyond 70 AD. Furthermore, MY conclusions are solidly based upon consistently contextual treatement of Scripture. YOUR conclusions aren't based upon the Scriptures AT ALL. In fact, YOUR beliefs and conclusions are demonstrably IN CONFLICT with the Scripures, whereas mine are NOT (and I can readily demonstrate that to be the case).

Here is a text clearly and unequivocally revealing your RCC institution and its hierarchies to be the false inventions of MEN and having no relationship to the God of the Bible.

24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, ,b>when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (1Cor. 15:24-28)

Read it and weep, Parker. ALL rule, authority and power involved with the PRE-AD 70 spiritual economy and "world" (including the temporal NT Church structure) was eliminated when Christ finally delivered up the Kingdom to His Father in 70 AD. We, as Preterists, understand this. You - as a wanna-be Preterist - do NOT. WE understand that when Christ's OWN authority as Regent over the OC "world" and Avenger/Judge of that "world" was also surrendered to (and made subject to) the sole authority of the Godhead, in order that "God may be all in all" - there is no possible way that the ecclesiastical positions of authority belonging to the NT Church leaders were excluded from this process. "ALL rule" and "ALL authority" INCLUDED those positions of spiritual authority, Parker. The "casting down of crowns" by the "twenty-four elders" in Rev. 4:10 prefigured that surrender of authority to God ALONE, Parker.

And that pretty much sums up the Biblical view of any so-called "churches" and their authority structures POST-AD 70. There simply IS no such thing - not where divine ordination by the God of the Bible is concerned.

Of course, for to expect you to acknowledge the truth of what I've just shared is ab asino lanam. But one can always hope for a little uncharacteristic honesty from you once in a while.

JM

P.S. Don't bother trying to defeat MY position using Scripture, because you can't. You don't have the tools or wherewithal to even make the attempt. And you know it.

Parker's picture

Think again, McPherson:

-COMPARE THIS-

then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (1Cor. 15:24-28)

-TO THIS-

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:22-23)

Nice try, but you must work harder to let parallel passages form your understanding of verses. Ephesians 1:22-23 shows that you have made a fundamental error in interpreting 1 Cor 15.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Nice try, Parker, but your thinking cap isn't fully charged, evidently.

You must work harder to keep things in their correct chronological (and TEXTUAL) context.

"that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." The subjection of the Son's role as the "head of the Body" etc. to the Godhead's authority occurred AFTER His being placed in a position over "all things" pertaining to the Old Covenant "world" and the Church as His special People (His Body and Bride) WITHIN that "world".

When the consummation of that "world" was brought about by God, in 70 AD, the transitional roles of Christ and His Bride (from Old Covenant to New Covenant) were fulfilled and no longer necessary. The Bride's unique hierarchies of authority empowered by the Holy Spirit passed from this realm WITH her. All levels of authority were made subject to God alone, and eliminated in the eternal theocracy fully established in 70 AD. "All authority" in 1Cor. 15 CLEARLY references the spiritual authority unique to the pre-AD 70 period of history. You can't obscure that fact by pretending Eph. 1 somehow conflicts with that text and reshapes its contextually-established meaning.

Yes, we need to consider other passages that add dimension to the one under consideration, but in this case, the PRESENT TENSE verb in Eph. 1:22 ("He put") differentiates the content of those verses from the FUTURE TENSE verb 1Cor. 15:28. Not only that, but that verse in 1Cor. 15 ACKNOWLEDGES that God put everything in subjection to Christ (who ultimately eliminated ALL authority, rule and power within the Kingdom) and then delivered it up to God, placing HIMSELF in subjection to the authority of the Godhead.

Your chronology is skewed, Parker. You have no argument. Eph. 1 was the situation in the PRE-AD 70 spiritual economy, and 1Cor. 15 reveals the situation that existed AT 70 AD AND BEYOND.

Parker's picture

McPherson:
... the transitional roles of Christ and His Bride (from Old Covenant to New Covenant) were fulfilled and no longer necessary.

Parker:
Note that no scripture says any of that. Not a word of it. You merely assume it. The God that "fills all in all" (1 Cor 15) does so incarnationally via the Church (Eph 1:22-23). The Church and Christ are one (Eph 1:22-23; 5:30-32).

McPherson:
The Bride's unique hierarchies of authority empowered by the Holy Spirit passed from this realm WITH her.

Parker:
Note that she didn't "pass from this realm," according to scripture.

McPherson:
All levels of authority were made subject to God alone, and eliminated in the eternal theocracy fully established in 70 AD.

Parker:
All levels of authority had ALREADY been made subject to Christ (Eph 1:22-23; Heb 2:8; Mt 28:18; 1 Pet 3:22). And the head of Christ was God (1 Cor 11:3).

And, we see that rule and authority were not banned or removed from humankind, but only ordered properly (Mt. 25:21,23; Rev 2:26-27).

McPherson:
"All authority" in 1Cor. 15 CLEARLY references the spiritual authority unique to the pre-AD 70 period of history.

Parker;
The "putting down of rule/authority/power" means squashing the Jewish apostates--i.e., "putting his enemies under his feet" (I Cor 15:25)

As we see, scripture doesn't support your aberrant viewpoints. The origins of your misguided beliefs are rooted in your own wishes and hopes--and perhaps in various personal issues you have with authority/government. In other words, psychological deficiencies and immaturities are blinding you from the plain meaning of scripture. You're not able to be objective and rational, and your postmodernist predispositions are becoming superimposed upon the text.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

The "putting down of rule/authority/power" means squashing the Jewish apostates--i.e., "putting his enemies under his feet" (I Cor 15:25)

I'm well aware of the statement in v.25. His enemies were INCLUDED in the subjection of all "rule, authority and power" since they, too, held positions of authority over the Covenant People. And as verse 28 clearly states, Christ's OWN authority was made subject to God. So Christ was His own enemy was He? Your inculcation in absurd RCC interpretations and dogma force an unnatural, irrational reading of the text. Your hyper-traditionalist, sola Creedalist presuppositions inform and guide all of your thinking and handling of the Scriptures. Try taking off those mud-spattered interpretive glasses forced upon you by your "church" and read the Word of God as it was INTENDED to be understood for a change.

Windpressor's picture

JM,

I found this booklet during search for references to "priestcraft". It has an interesting historical summary and exegesis of key terms.

If "Church" continues post AD70, it seems that conformity to the text would be closer to that expounded here....

The Great Ecclesiastical Conspiracy
by George Davis, Michael Clark & Kirk Pearson
http://clarkdavis.homestead.com/files/ecc.html

G1

G-Juan Wind

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Wow, G1! That is an excellent site and completely in keeping with my own findings concerning the so-called post-AD 70 "church". These statements in particular stuck a chord with the things I've posted on ecclesiology here in the past.

What is this thing called "the church"?
Note at the outset that there is no biblical justification for the institutionalized version of Christianity that now covers the globe. In fact, there is no pattern in the scripture for setting up a church institution of any kind.

The model for the current church is a mixture borrowed from the governmental style of the kings of the Gentiles and the corporate structures of today's business world. It provides the mechanism for controlling the people and keeping them submissive to the institution and its clergy/kings/CEO's. Today, the church infrastructure provides these benefactors with employment and power. They are paid for their services just like the employees of any other business or organization. With one exception: they often set their own salaries. This is what T. Austin Sparks called "the present disorder."
We should note here that Paul referred to these rudimentary principles of religion as "the world."
"But far be it from me to boast save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom [the] world is crucified to me, and I to the world. For [in Christ Jesus] neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision; but new creation." (Galatians 6:14-15)

The word "world" here is a translation of a Greek word kosmos, which means a system. In context, Paul was speaking of the religious system at that time. We are not being trite when we say, Christianity is NOT a system, it is not of the kosmos/world. Christianity is a person and that person is Christ! Although Judaism and the law originated with God, in the hands of the enemy it became a system used to usurp and distract mankind from God's eternal purpose in Christ and was even used to crucify the very Offspring of God Himself. The same is true of the Christian system where the fruit of living union with Christ, the Vine, has been supplanted by a codified and systematized "Christianity." This is the sad world to which all true believers are DEAD. For they are not preoccupied with principles or Christian ethics but are new creations living by the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Hence the true church is a living organism, NOT an institution or system. It is NOT of this Kosmos.

Indeed, true Christianity is NOT an institution governed and administered by men in this realm. It is a HEAVENLY reality - a spiritual Kingdom in which God ALONE is the Authority. I couldn't agree more with the thoughts expressed at that site in this regard.

Thanks for the link, G1!

Virgil's picture

Ultimately election preceeds rebirth, so let's start in the right place. If you can't prove election, you can't prove calvinism. Can you show me how God elects people TODAY, and where in the Scriptures you have evidence for this?

KingNeb's picture

"Ultimately election preceeds rebirth, so let's start in the right place. If you can't prove election, you can't prove calvinism"

Don't you mean, if you can't prove election you can't prove rebirth!

thereignofchrist.com

Virgil's picture

Don't you mean, if you can't prove election you can't prove rebirth!

Why, is rebirth dependent upon election? I am sure in your opinion it is :)

I don't recall Christ setting up such a condition...he didn't say to Nicodemus, "You must be elected, and then born again" - calvinism adds yet another level to the process of salvation. You can't be born again if you are not elected. It's a totally made up notion...it never existed in Jewish theology, or Christian theology until Augustine.

davecollins's picture

Virgil, Hello, my friend. I think the Jewish people thought they were elected. Abraham, Moses, Noah, Daniel, David, Joseph etc.. all were elected by God to fulfill His purposes and plan. They were all counted righteous by faith. God sovereignly initiated their salvation, as He has ours.

Since the New Covenant was began by the process of election, it is incumbent on You and John to prove it has stopped.This is a difficult issue, wherein the pride and independence of man is at the core. We would all be better served by acknowledging that God saves sinners, and that man has the responsibility to respond to God's grace, and not add to the Word of God. Dave

SciotaMicks's picture

Since the New Covenant was began by the process of election, it is incumbent on You and John to prove it has stopped.

I disagree. I don't see the New Covenant as having been fully initiated any sooner than 70AD.

If anything, the NT apostles were still bound by the Old Covenant which had already began fading away.

davecollins's picture

Dear Armothe, My comment was the NC BEGAN during the transitional age, not "fully iniated", which of course happened in A.D. 70.

The first fruits were the elect remnant( Jew and Gentile) which were the first recipients of the blessings of the promised New Covenant.

Hebrews 9:15f And for this reason, He is the mediator of a New Covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.

Hebrews 10:19 Since therefore brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh.
2Cor.5:17 If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, and new things has come.

He takes away (fulfilled)the first, to establish the second.

You are correct Armothe, that the converted Jewish person still observed the Law until the destruction of the temple, and the Old Covenant was laid to rest.
There was a period where both covenants were in play.

SciotaMicks's picture

Good Hebrews references. One of my favorite books!

As you pointed out there were indeed references in the NT to the New Covenant (last supper) but I'm not sure if this is evidence that it actually began prior to 70AD (33AD?) We are then forced to figure out when the NC actually began - Christ's birth? Christ's ministry? Last Supper? Christ's death? Christ's resurrection? Christ's ascention? Pentecost?...etc.

The first fruits were the elect remnant( Jew and Gentile) which were the first recipients of the blessings of the promised New Covenant.

Which I figured they received in 70AD.

My interpretation is that 30-70AD was the final days of the Old Covenant in which preperations were being made to initiate the New Covenant.

Thus, for me at least, Election and predestination are still categorized as an Old Covenant necessity - no longer needed in the New Covenant.

Parker's picture

Armothe,

Your comment about the New Covenant not being in play until AD 70 seems to be THE gigantic error of many preterists--the one from which all confusion stems.

Jesus' life and ministry demonstrated New Covenant living, and the apostles were the very ministers of the New Covenant (2 Cor 3:6). Both covenants existed for those 40 years, yet one was being removed while the other "remained" (2 Cor 3:6-12/Heb 12:26-30)

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