5th Apr, 2008

Refreshing – John Frye Writes “We Are The Bible”

There are moments when you enter into a discussion hoping for a greater understanding of our purpose in Christ and in the Church only to be disappointed by the finger pointing and attacks that are leveled. It seems people get so consumed in their battle for the bible that they are willing to take up their weapons against their own, making the battle against flesh and blood and forgetting that they have a spiritual battle only.

So, in the midst of that frustration and speaking to Father about it, I came across this oasis of loving edification at John Frye’s blog, “Jesus, the Radical Pastor.” Take a moment to enjoy John’s post “The B-I-B-L-E? So.” I wouldn’t mind your thoughts about what he has written.

Responses

“…making the battle against flesh and blood and forgetting that they have a spiritual battle only.”

There also must be a man of flesh that delivers it to men of flesh. Our weapons are not carnal, and yet, it is by foolish men preaching a foolish Gospel that God makes fools out of men.

Then we must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, wielding the sword not in vanity, but as a workman surgically striking at the heart, whether friend or foe, believer or no.

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Packer’s First Point « 2 Worlds Collide

Thomas,

Thank you for coming by. I am slow perhaps this morning, but I don’t understand your comment. I think you are disagreeing with the quoted sentence, but I’m not sure what you are saying. I think I agree with it and that it doesn’t disagree with what I’ve said, and that is why I am confused.

Yes, I am disagreeing with it. You need to get some sleep and let Pyro rest ;), the arguments have gone so far afield and sour that they are not redeemable.

Our battles happen in real life with real people eventhough it is a spiritual battle. We do not win them by arms nor arguments of the carnal world. Our polemic however has to be the Word of God which is a spiritual “armament”, a battle fought in the heavenly realms a kingdom unseen here on Earth, Ephesians 6. It is a bloody mess, this dividing apart the soul and spirit and it is our job to do it. We war against people, and if we forget that, we have no way of explaining the persecutions that happen. While it is true our weapons are spiritual and not carnal, we use weapons. It is a war, not a charity banquet.

In part that is what is happening at Pyro. If you get the frozen meat chub joke. This is serious, even in the blogosphere, it is a fight to the death of the flesh, even among believers. It is no easy job but the flesh is to be killed whereever we find it.

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Packer’s First Point « 2 Worlds Collide

Thomas, I absolutely agree about letting the arguments rest. Thank you for your kind words and spirit as well as your wise counsel. Just before receiving your comment, I wrote my last comment in that sentiment and asked Olan to write me rather than continue to hash out the ridiculous statements (ridiculous likely because I have been much to quick in my comments).

I disagree that any human is my enemy. Absolutely. Humans are deceived by their own wicked hearts and by the most wicked of beings, Satan himself and the demons who serve him, but no human is my enemy. They are created in His image and He desires they all be redeemed. I can only do as God commands and love them, make disciples of them, and they will know of Jesus by our unity and love. If I fight them they will fight back and fail to repent, and I am instead going to pray for them and pray they be convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent. I think we walk all too often by sight and flesh, rather than by the Spirit and by faith, believing we have to do much in our own power and strength. I want to be like Paul, who didn’t come waxing eloquent or with great wisdom but who just preached simply Christ and Christ crucified. I want to be like Paul who constantly prayed for the Ephesians that they come to a greater knowledge of the Father – not a factual knowledge but a personal, intimate knowledge with the King of all kings who actually desires to be their friend as well.

I agree that the Word of God is a part of our armor. Amen and amen.

Thank you again for caring.

“They are created in His image and He desires they all be redeemed.”

That was the case. Is it still? Though there is the remains, it is marred beyond recognition: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The body is dead, and God is life, no image resemblance there.

I won’t list all the passagages that directly make man our enemy in the OT, just some of the new. Before I do, the whole of the Armor is the Word of God, Thy Word is a shield about me. It is a strong tower, it is the Gospel sandals of peace, a might two edged sword, it is by the Gospel that we have the helmet of salvation… Each part of the Armor is an expression of doctrine. The belt of Truth, the Word our Righteousness… et cetera, not just the sword which is the word. What part of the Armor is not the Word? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word. This faith, the Word, was once and for all delivered to us (faith is by grace the free gift of God). The word of God is a STRONG TOWER the righteous run to it and are safe.

Acts 13:8-10 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Matthew 5:44; Matthew 10:36; 1:46-55; Luke 6:27; Luke 6:35; Romans 5:10; Romans 11:28; Philippians 3:18; Revelation 11:12

Throughout those who are the enemies of the cross are our enemies.

“He desires they all be redeemed.”

Though I disagree with what you mean by this, for there is no such statement in the context the whole of Scripture, it has nothing to do with the sense in which we have enemies or the sense in which they view us as theirs. We are trying to kill them, yes, that is right, kill the enemy with the Gospel. It is by his Spirit, no doubt, but it is through the Word that we preach that our enemies are slain.

“and they will know of Jesus by our unity and love”

That is not what the Scripture says. It says that they will know that we are his disciples by our love for one another. It does not say anything about the knowledge of the Son, zero. It compliments other passages, though, like: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.” In otherwords, our love for one another simply makes them even more determined to destroy us.

By our discipleship they hate us. They could care less about us, or the Christ we serve. Check out Jesus’ feeding of the thousands. Do you seriously believe it is by what they see, and even hear, for that matter that they love us or the Lord. No, it is by grace through faith the free gift of God. Before that, they are our enemies, they hate us, and we are theirs though we love them. They want to kill us physically, before we can kill them spiritually with the Word (though the word of God is insufficient with out the gift of Faith by the work of the Spirit), it is their nature to do so and it is our duty to take the kingdom by force.

“If I fight them they will fight back and fail to repent, and I am instead going to pray for them and pray they be convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent.” I discussed before the Armor. What do yo think it is for? A garden party? It is for war! Let’s see if your perspective matches up with Steven: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” The fact is, if you do not fight them (and by that I mean, that once you’ve presented the Gospel to them as an offer of grace, you must call them to repentance) they will never repent.

Or Peter: “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men….Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered…

Or Jesus- You are of your father the devil…Do not cast your pearls befor swine…

Do I really need to list all the inflamatory statements throughout the NT? They are not words of love, but fighting words, though we fight in love and that of the Truth. Even when Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs he gave them commandments: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.” At some point as Jesus did with the feeding, they must be called to discipleship, and if they refuse, cursed. Ever curse anyone? Jesus did: “If you do not eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no part in me.” How many followed at the announcement of the curse? Not many. When Jesus stood and announced that the Jews who tested him were an accursed generation, how loving in your terms of love was that? Yet, he is God, he is love, Matthew 23 and elsewhere.

And, what was that message of repentance that Jesus and John the baptist as well as all the disciples? Well go back and read what I have written, or check out the Scripture yourself: “He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

The message is a call to repentance, and from what? While we do offer the olive branch it is not to strike a peace agreement, it is to demand surrender, for we know the peril they are in if the wrath of God abides upon them still. What a great failing that the church is not preaching the commandment to repent but has instead offered a message of peace when it is a message of war on the enemies of God if they do not repent. It is not a nice message and is likely to get one killed if not beaten or run out of town. But, it is no message of peace, except to those upon whom God’s sovereign pleasure rests, who are born again from above and not by the will or the choice of man, John 1: 12-13.

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Packer’s First Point « 2 Worlds Collide

We are called to love even our “enemies,” Thomas. I don’t believe Jesus is teaching us that we have enemies by this; instead, He is speaking to the fact that even those we would believe are our enemies we must love them,not hate them. Flesh and blood is not what we war against. The real enemy is Satan and the powers that serve him. Yes, when a human isn’t for Christ he is against Christ, and therefore is on the other side of the war, but it isn’t because that human isn’t created in God’s image. It is because they have been deceived and are marred by sin. The Kingdom of God is at hand and all they have to do is turn back to God in faith and they will be redeemed.

When I said God desires all to be redeemed, you said you disagree with what I mean by the statement. I don’t know how you know what I mean???

What I was referring to was 1 timothy 2:4. It seems fairly clear. God wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Isn’t that what the text says?

as to my statement about they will know Jesus through our unity and love, I was referring more to John 17 than I was John 13, although I did mean both. It does say in John 13 that they will know we are His disciples becasue of our love, but that also implies they will know a bit about Him and what it means to follow Him.

You seem to assume I don’t believe all of the passages you want to point me to. What I am trying to do, but obviously not well, is to work with the entire counsel of God’s Word, not bits and pieces, something you have said previously we must do. What is Jesus doing when He proclaims these words that you describe as angry? He is calling them to repentance. That is loving. But note that He isn’t focused on matters of doctrine; He is focused on the heart! he is focused on the fact that they proclaim to know a lot about God but they dont’ love God. And, He is not using these facts as a way of self-fulfillment or self-promotion (the judgment HE proscribes); instead, He is proclaiming these truths in a loving way to bring them to a saving knowledge of the truth and He continues to get his fulfillment from His Father.

Ugh, sorry I am rushed and I know I haven’t fully fleshed out what you discussed.

But note that He isn’t focused on matters of doctrine; He is focused on the heart! he is focused on the fact that they proclaim to know a lot about God but they dont’ love God. And, He is not using these facts as a way of self-fulfillment or self-promotion (the judgment HE proscribes); instead, He is proclaiming these truths-

Note: isn’t…doctrine…proclaiming…truths

There is no sense in which Jesus ever spoke that was not doctrine and as you demonstrate here.

We are called to love even our “enemies”-

And I said that- but we love our enemies by telling them the truth. “For God love the world in this way…Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

This is not an invitation, but a statement of fact. Is it loving to tell the truth that all are condemned already, unless they believe. Indeed, to no tell them is not love. Yet, to tell them is not loving, if what we mean by that is to be non-offensive. The fact remains that it is a message of offense.

What is Jesus doing when He proclaims these words that you describe as angry? He is calling them to repentance-

How is it that anger is not love? Be angry and sin not. There is a Godly jealousy that is expressed in anger towards transgressing the things of God. God is love, agreed? Will it be love that casts souls into hell? Is it love that is expressed in perfect justice when in judgement of sin He is to be feared who can destroy both body and soul in hell.

The opposite of love is not hate, nor is it not loving to be angry. God hates sin, he is angry with mankind, he even is angry with his own children. No, quite contrary, hate and anger are proper expressions of love. Was Jesus angry. How do you characterize his condemnation of the Jewish crowds for following him only to fill their bellies and receive his miracles. What about this: And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their heart, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth; and his hand was restored.

Again, do I really have to list all the times that Jesus reacted in anger even calling his own disciples stupid, fools, evil, Satan.

Get angry, for our God is a jealous God, in fact his name is Jealous, Ex. 34:14. And do so in love.

What is Jesus doing when He proclaims these words that you describe as angry? He is calling them to repentance. That is loving-

No, not loving, it is love, and it is not just proclamation, though it is that, it is commandments given by a Master to disobedient servants who he is threatening with death if they do not obey. Try to understand, God is not pleased with his creatures and the commands are not commands of pleading but of do or die.

You are familiar with Johnathan Edwards’ Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God, right. What a stark contrast between this kind of preaching that stirred the greatest revival in Western history, and the sappy love song invitational preaching today. What was it that made that kind of preaching so powerful? The expression of God’s lovingness, or the threat of his vengence? Unless and until a person knows the full threat of God’s hatred and their doom, they will never repent. Their absolute depravity must be exposed. So, the call to repentance is not founded in God’s pleasure and favorableness toward mankind, but in his fury.

You ask: What I was referring to was 1 timothy 2:4. It seems fairly clear. God wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Isn’t that what the text says?

Well, yes, no, depending on how we define all men. This follows on the heels of 1 Timothy 1:18-19. Note the language of warfare, and the loving way that Paul deals with enemies of the Truth. Keeping all in context, the immediate is “kinds” of men, and next it is dealing with the actions of believers. So, while the kinds may be appealing to the salvation of men, it is not all. But, it isn’t necessarily speaking of salvation, either, but of proper behavior of all men no matter their status. The larger context is the governance of the church. It does not therefore indicate anything as to the “universal” appeal of the Gospel. The Scripture rejects such a notion as an open invitation to “all men” everywhere at all times. If we make all all inclusive in this passage we must make it so where it is later used. In fact, God has precluded such by limiting the reach of the Gospel historically and regionally. All is later used in reference to ransom, but it cannot be a universal ransom, or all men would be saved, universally. Instead, as Jesus prayed, only for those the Father has given him, John 17:9, did he die for. The idea of a ransom is that God has purchased a people for himself, but as Genesis 24 portrays, the Bride is not taken from just any, but only from the family which is “above” in Haran, the family of Abraham. But, we do make the appeal freely, for we do not know. A little more on the restrictive use of all:
http://www.reformationtheology.com/2005/10/understanding_2_peter_39_by_pa.php#comment-124

Then there is the issue of God’s desires, and God’s will if we must go further. In the end it will boil down to what is truth. Are the people of the world the enemies of God and his church or not? And, if so, it will dictate our approach to them. No matter the offerings of gifts as Jesus did, as he instructed his disciples to do, there must with it be the the call to repentance. But that requires the conviction of sin that comes with the pronouncing of the sentence of death. The response will either be confession and pleading for mercies or cries of war when we demand surrender.

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Packer’s First Point « 2 Worlds Collide

Thomas,

I am aware of all those verses where Jesus challenged people strongly. that isn’t what I’m addressing at all; we are still missing each other. we can all pick what we “major” in, but what we need to find is what God majors in. I argue He majors in love. Wrath exists in God against sin and anything that raises itself up to keep men separate from him, but not because He doesn’t love; it is because He loves and because He wants to restore all to Himself. I can still see God calling out to sinners just as He did to Adam and Eve: “Where are you?!”

And, just as 1 Corinthians 13 makes all too clear, if you proclaim truth, but have not love, it is vanity. That is the point I am trying to make about judgment and lack of love. You are trying to say all correction is loving per se. I’m saying that correction without a loving motivation is not loving. This is what Jesus focused on so much with the Pharisees – their heart attitudes. So, if you judge and preach and point out others errors in an unloving way, then it is not love and it is not right; in fact, it is sin. It falls short of the glory of God.

God is angry with sin not because He doesn’t love the sinners. He loves them. I don’t believe in universalism, and do believe that there will be those who do not choose to accept God’s love becasue of the lies of Satan, and they will forevermore be separated from God. But I do believe that Christ died for all. I don’t see that as inconsistent at all. I am not a limited atonement guy.

I also do know that “all” does not always mean all in the bible, but we often pick and choose when and where it does based on a loose hermeneutic.

I believe that when people are unreconciled to God His love appears to them as wrath. As we begin to see more clearly through the Holy Spirit we begin to understand God’s love and how he chastens to repentance and restore, not to punish.

Now, you can focus on some sentence where i’ve written quickly and point out problems or you can think about the big picture I’m trying to paint. I’m not a detail guy – not that I want to get the details wrong – but i’m more interested in principles and Truth than i am in legalistic technicalities or precision in every word (particularly on a blog comment).

Oh, and about doctrine… the word of course means teaching. The more I study it biblically the more I see doctrine as practice than knowledge. I am becoming more interested in fruit and orthopraxy than academic knowledge and orthodoxy. Of course, as I’ve discussed before, I understand the importance of binary truths and that you can’t really separate orthodoxy and orthopraxy, but I think doctrine is more about teaching by doing than teaching academically.

“So, if you judge and preach and point out others errors in an unloving way, then it is not love and it is not right; in fact, it is sin. It falls short of the glory of God.”

I get what you are saying about love, but let me go further here with the above. What makes it loving to judge others. There are three things that God requires of us, to judge rightly, to love mercie and to walk humbly before our God. And I will link this to Jesus’ saying judge not unless you are judged. For this is right love. God does so of himself, and there is no iniquity in him. He judges rightly, loves mercy and is by nature, humble being who he is. Now, if we judge ourselves we find ourselves sinners and if by that measure we judge then our judgement is correct, because we apply the law with an equal measure just as God. And, we love mercy, be cause he who is forgiven much loves much. We love to give it, and we are humbled by the fact that we do not deserve it, nor does anyone else, it is a free gift. Humility then is the knowledge of who we are in right relationship/judgement.

To the case of atonement- it is a different subject, but I would have you further seek out just for whom it was that Christ died. For either he died perfectly and did that which he was set forth to do, Isaiah 55, or he failed. And I think if you contemplate what Jesus is saying to the Father in John 17, you cannot come away believing in an unlimited atonement. It cannot be fit in to the Lord’s prayer of intercession in any way.

tata for this thread,

tt

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Packer’s First Point « 2 Worlds Collide

I am violating my sign-off above.

Reread Proverbs. It is first fear, then knowledge then understanding and then wisdom. Though I share your priority, as does Proverbs making wisdom (praxis) it the primary reason for the others, practice can never be rightly accomplished without the first works in place. The Pharasees were great doers of doctrine but had no true knowledge of its meaning which voided all that they did. Their works of repentance were rejected by John and Jesus as being real works of repentance at all.

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Packer’s First Point « 2 Worlds Collide

Thomas,

The way you speak of your beliefs it sounds like if they were proved untrue you would feel that your entire theological construct would fall apart. I’ve seen theologians who became atheists because of such.

Allow me to explain. You give God an ultimatum (and i believe a false dichotomy) and try to fit Him into a bos with your statements about atonement. you write that “either he died perfectly and did that which he was set forth to do, Isaiah 55, or he failed.”

Now, think about that. Why would unlimited atonement mean Christ failed, or that God failed. I think what you are also saying is that all in 1 Timothy couldn’t mean all because if God truly desired it then it would happen. I say “no.”

Is God strong enough to save everyone? Is Christ’s work at the cross enough to cover everyone?

The answer to both of these questions is yes. Could God choose some and not others? The answer to that is yes, too, but can it not be that God could choose all but He gives us the choice to choose Him? Atonement is a gift wiating to be received. he loves truly and true love is not a power play. it is a gift. Will men receive it or not? those who do not are left uncovered. Those who do are covered.

A picture of that would be if Bill Gates decided to give a dollar gift certificate to McD’s to everyone in the world. Bill pays for it on his AmEx Diamond card. it’s paid for, but we need to trust that it is a real gift and accept it, acting out on that trust, and buying our double cheeseburger with them- whatever it is to exercise ownership over the gift. A gift is a legal exchange – it has no effect until both given AND received. I would say atonement is the same.

Now, could I be wrong (here goes the statemetn that may sound postmodern to some) – yes. But if I am my faith in God remains unchallenged. It clearly is a disputable matter and great minds through all of time have disputed such. I don’t really need to undestand how atonment works; I just know it does – praise God.

You also say: “And I think if you contemplate what Jesus is saying to the Father in John 17, you cannot come away believing in an unlimited atonement. It cannot be fit in to the Lord’s prayer of intercession in any way.”

Why not? Why isn’t it simply that Jesus is praying the reality of what will happen but dying for all who would receive His gift of love? Besides, do we know for sure who all “those” are in verse 24 that Christ is referring to? Isn’t it even possible that he has shifted back to praying for the disciples with him? Just a thought.

Why not? Because they are a definite number that the Father has given him. John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this manner, that the believing ones…

John 17 doesn’t just put it in term of not praying for the unbelievers who are yet to be unbelievers, but those who are not from above. Namely, those for whom Christ was sent to die. The entirety of John 17 is the glorification of him glorifying the Father by the finished work of the cross. It is that thing which he is doing, not for the world, but for those the Father has given him. It just could not be any clearer.

Definite atonement, or limited atonement, however you want to call it has it roots in the nature of God. He is omnicient eternally, unchanging. There never was a time when he did not know the absolute number of the elect. That is, he did not come to this knowledge, but rather, it is because he is. When we look at all the terms, such as ransom, we get the fullness of the picture. The blood of Christ is not some common thing that is offered which cannot take away sin, but does that verything. And, here is the rub. We were saved by his death. A one time event. It was back there, and not in the present where Scripture says that we died with him. Now, if the atonement includes everyone, then everyone died with Christ, and if that is the case then everyone will be raised with him. But, Christ said no. Only those who the Father draws, and he knows each by name eternally, will be drawn, and all who are drawn are raised up.

Sorry, but to universalize the atonement boxes God in and not the other way around. It makes God beholden to man’s choice, making man Lord, and God his servant. But, God is freely, and freely chooses a bride for his son, Genesis 24. Particularity, and not generality is throughout the OT, it is historically true of the world at large. It simply cannot be denied that God has chosen a people, distinct, discrete and definite, without denying that God is God.

Who does receive? According to John 1: 12-13, it is those who were born of God. That is right, they must be born of God before they receive, just as Jesus says in John 3:3. The kingdom cannot be seen, iedo, understood, unless one is first born again. Paul says that we do not understand these things until we have the mind of Christ in Corinthians and in Romans concludes that the flesh cannot submit itself, it is impossible for it to do so. So, until someone has the Spirit of God they cannot know God. And, if they do not know him as their God, they reject him as God.

The issue of free-will is the issue upon which the whole of the protestation of Luther hinged, he said in his disputation with Erasmus’s Diatribe. Except that God creates faith in an individual by grace, there is nothing in them to accept the free offer. A freed will, one freed from sin, must be restored to be able to offer the right sacrifice of praise, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.” It is the Roman position that we can choose and that Christ died merely to provide the “grace” that if we choose we can be saved. It is not the protestant position, though it has crept back in the back door of Arminian-esque belief systems.

Up until five years ago I was teaching my daughter that God didn’t need to know all things. I was defending God, I thought. But, in reality I was defending my right to choose. To do so, I had to deny, or at least truncate God’s foreknowledge to only necessary knowledge. A position I have come to find out was put forth by a Roman Catholic named Molin (sp) and is called Molinism, a form of process or open theology. But, God in his mercy and grace opened my ears to what I was saying. I was saying that I knew what God did not and that God was not al knowing. It was at that point I began my serious study of God’s word.

Now I know him, in Truth. Not that I was not born again, but as with Job, I had only heard about him, now I saw.

Then, how do we know this to be the fact? Well, no one believes unless God has so loved them this way. And, he has been doing that eternally. For that is what it means when Scripture says that God foreknew. God knows those who are born from above. John uses this comparison repeatedly. The word Jesus used was anothen gennao, born from above. No one is ever born into the kingdom from below. And, God is only Father of the faithful, who live according to his Word. As it is written, he is the God of the living, and not of the dead. It is also written that while we were yet dead he made us alive by giving us new birth by his word. Now ours.

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Packer’s First Point « 2 Worlds Collide

I’m glad you have moved away from open theism, although I think we are talking about things we don’t understand when we begin exploring this realm of Who God is. You would say, no, it’s been revealed and is plain in scripture. I’d say I’m not sure of that. In fact, here’s what I’ve not said – I was pretty much a five point Calvinist most of my life, not becasue I knew what that meant or because anyone taught me that; quite the opposite, I grew up in SBC churches where many are more arminian in theology. I believed what I believed from reading scripture on my own and seeing the sovereignty of God throughout – particularly in places like Proverbs, Job, Peter, etc. I’m moving in the other way, in a sense, than you, although I wouldn’t describe it that way. I think I’m realizing that there are aspects of God I don’t understand and that I can’t package in a label like Calvinism and I’m resting in God rather than feeling a need to package Him.

Do you often put things in your own translation? Your quotes of scripture don’t match any I know – is it your translation from Greek?

Another thing… It may not have been in this thread, but you talked about all and it not always meaning all… but we were talking 1 Timothy 2… Why don’t you think in that context he is meaning all? He has just said EVERYONE in verse 1. What about that isn’t everyone???

I wrote another windy response to your last two, but the ether beast ate it while I was at the doctor’s office, drat.

Some of my translations are literal renderings based on the origional languages, to the best of my very limited ability. At other times I paraphrase as is our liberty when we preach or teach. Hopefully, I do not turn to far to the right or left.

As far as the word all, I covered it extensively in the lost post. So I just some up. If I was covering a football game I might say that all the players were on the field. I would not by that mean all the player in the world that have ever existed or will exist in all places at all times. If I said there were quarterbacks and other leaders of the team, I might say that they were all men but again I would not be saying that they were everyman that has ever existed everywhere at all times and all places. In short the word pas does not need to be all inclusive and must be defined by the context.

The context is kings, basileus, which simply means commander or prince (quarterback) and then authorities (team leaders) (This ties in again to Chapter 6 of 1 Tim). The all men could be inclusive of civil magitrates but not necessarily those who are non-believers. In either case the topic is the establishment of the church and not salvation. Second is the context of Timothy which is leadership and governance of the Church and Paul as just finished speaking of leaders who were disciplined by him. His prayer for leadership then, may be even more restrictive to leaders and authorities in the church and not civilian leaders at all. Again, the scope of all men is governed by the context. Though not necessarily exclusive of non-believers, the controling verses indicate that the scope is limited. There is also the argument from kind. Note, while antropos is used, it does not include women necessarily, and in the cultural context, kings and magistrates were not women. If we are to extend the desires to all men, we may be excluding women when we push it to the extreme of exaustive meaning. Further Paul makes the distinction between all men and women. He says these men, or the men, and may be a reference back to all men.

That should be enough. As you see, this does not necessarily mean all people, or everyone in all everywhere in all places at all times. Far from that, we know from the testimony of Scripture and from historical precedent, that the extent of the Gospel is particularly, regionally, and nationally restrictive. Again, Genesis 24 is a clear prophetic view of the Bride of the Seed. It is clear from that chapter, that it is only the seed of Abraham’s family (the family of faith) from which the Bride is selected. God’s purpose is a particular people and that is why Christ died- only for those given to him, his church for whom he died. He died for no other bride. He is a faithful husband of one particular people.

As in Timothy, it is all who are of a certain kind, which ties nicely to Jesus prayer for those not of the world, those who were anothen gennao, born from above.

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Packer’s First Point « 2 Worlds Collide

“If I was covering a football game I might say that all the players were on the field. I would not by that mean all the player in the world that have ever existed or will exist in all places at all times.”

Yes, and that is very clear, just as 1 Timothy 2 is clear to pray for all men everywhere. It isn’t limited at all by being “on the field” or “in Disneyworld.”

However, the same rule applies to everywhere.

Such as, The players were everywhere.

You’re grasping. You have to have it. But, the rules of language will no allow you to.

But, the instruction to pray for men everywhere is not in the text. It says men everywhere should pray.

Join us.

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Grace? Oh Grace, yea it’s on North Fourth.

You didn’t say that, however. And I can’t ever recall anyone ever saying anything like that. You modified it, naturally, with “on the field.”

It isn’t a stretch or a grasp at all. In fact, I feel as though you are grasping and using a hermeneutic that begins with an assumption that “surely God can’t be meaning all here because that would be impossible.” As a result, you see based on your assumption, one that isn’t in the text but only the result of your own lack of belief in God making all things possible for those who are in Christ. At least that is how I feel.

Quit feeling;)

My hermeneutic is the context. “…on the field” was just an example. The point was that the language does not have to be all inclusive even if there are no boundaries. So, I could includ the example of “all Jersalem” but if you need another example: “So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Same case, “the world” does not mean the entire world. Neither did Jerusalem include all Jerusalem. And by that same rule of language, 2 Tim 2.4 does not need to mean all men everywhere without distinction.

The Great Commission is another example. All the world there has two connotations. One for the immediate audience, another for the Chruch at large. There are in fact two commissions given. One to the immediate audience of the 12, through whose authority the other is given. To complicate this Romans 10 tells us that in the OT as Paul reflected, that the Gospel has already gone to the whole world. In both cases of the Commission and of Romans the words all and world do not have the connotation of the entirety in every case, though they contain some sense of it. In the case of the commission it cannot mean that the immediate audience was personally to go to the whole world, for they did not, and since they did not, if all the world meant the entirety, the great commission was a failure.

Here is another one: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.”

Here it is not all the tribes of the earth but only those who are not his people who will wail.

My hermenutic is not as pat as you are making it. It is infact yours, and not mine that makes it such that it must me “all men” everywhere without distinction, when the text does not say that, nor is it necessary that it should be interpreted that way, as I have demonstrated.

You have yet to address the context. If you would do that, then we can move to more general principles.

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

Again the context is leadership and the behavior of the church in 1st and 2 Peter. This time in the face of tribulation and persecution. The object of the letter is “you”, plural and exludes the unbelieving world. The repentance spoken about is the repentance of believers. It is not in the context of salvation, but, the current conditions, again, just as it was in Timothy “that we might dwell in peace.” So Peter goes on: “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” It is to the sanctification of believers and the building up of the church that the admonishments and references are being made.

As I said, the context of Timothy is leadership and establishment of the sanctified church. The prayers for all men in leadership that are to be made in every place therefore is more likely to speaking of the establishing of the church, its repentance and sanctification, its leaders. But, even if it is broader and includes the unbelieving magistrates, there is no need to extend the repentance and peace prayed for to beyond the church.

Now, getting back to the impossibility… It is impossible for those for whom Christ did not die to be saved. If it were, Jesus would have been interceeding for the world in John 17, and not only for those who would be saved. So, we pray according to, if it is possible, let them be saved. Not, you have saved them all by your blood, now let them recognize it. For Jesus himself did not pray that way. He restricts his glorification and therefore the glorification of the Father as only being accomplished in those given him by the Father. There simply is no way around it except to do as you say I have done; presupose a hermeneutic that makes it impossible to be otherwise. It is your presupposition and not mine. Scripture presupposes that only a limited number will be saved. It is the very nature of God that determines that that is so. The hermeutic, is God’s, not mine.

Thomas Twitchell’s last blog post..Grace? Oh Grace, yea it’s on North Fourth.

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