Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Garrett on Calvinism in the Alabama Baptist, Pt. 3

In his article, "Does Dortian Calvinism have weight of Scripture in its favor?, " Dr. Garrett appropriately raises the issue of the biblical basis for the five points of Calvinism. He writes,
One may be inclined to say, relative to the teachings of Dortian Calvinism, that such a system should claim the allegiance of present-day Baptists only if its teachings can be clearly validated by and found to be grounded in the teachings of the Old and the New Testaments. Tradition, however important, must bow to the higher authority of the canonical Scriptures. Hence we need to inquire as to whether the tenets of Dortian Calvinism are indeed supported by the prevailing teachings of the Bible.
This approach should be applauded by all Christians, regardless of what one thinks of of the doctrines of grace. The final question is, what does the Word of God say?

Dr. Garrett asserts, "Those who teach limited atonement are prone to cite five New Testament passages in support of their position." He then quotes from those verses: Matthew 1:21, John 10:15b, John, 15:13, Acts 20:28c and Ephesians 5:25). Though I am not familiar with arguments for particular redemption based on the third of these references, the other four do help establish that position. However, I would be quick to add that those who teach particular redemption, or definite atonement, do not limit themselves to five verses only. Dr. Garrett would not disagree with this and I note it only for those who might be tempted to take his words to suggest otherwise.

Here is a secret that we Calvinists need to make known more broadly: everyone who is not a universalist limits the atonement at some point. Either you limit it in its design or you limit it in its application. That is, unless you believe that Jesus' death actually does save every person who has ever lived or will ever live.

The case for particular redemption rests on the Bible's teaching about the nature of the atonement, the intent of it and what it secured. What actually took place in the death of Jesus? Was the atoning work accomplished there objective, or subjective? Was it an actual atonement or a potential one? Did Jesus actually save sinners or merely make them savable? It is in the searching of biblical answers to these questions that the case for particular redemption is made.

Unfortunately, after citing the 5 verses above, Dr. Garrett does not attempt any exegesis of them. No doubt the limitations of space as well as the context of the article inhibited that. The lack of any examination of these verses in their contexts blunts the force of his summary concusion:
The accumulated references to "His people," "the sheep," "his friends" and "the church" are said to show that the intention of Jesus in His death was to die only for elect humans.
From this, Dr. Garrett launches into the citation of three kinds of biblical texts that that believes support general atonement: the "all" texts, the "many" texts, and the "world" texts. Unfortunately, none of the seventeen verses that he cites are engaged or interpreted. They are merely quoted. Again, I will concede the limitations of that format but it is regrettable that we are denied the serious exposition of these texts by one as capable as Dr. Garrett. Mere citation of verses does not advance theological discourse and tends to give the false perspective that there are some "Calvinistic" verses and some "Arminian" verses in the Bible.

After citing five New Testament verses that use the word "all" in relation to salvation, this observation is inserted:
Augustine of Hippo interpreted the "all" and "all men" to mean all classes and types of human beings, and thus he could retain limited atonement.
One could feasibly accuse Augustine of arbitrarily assigning that meaning to the word all, though Dr. Garrett is perhaps citing him as an example of one who recognizes that the little word "all" cannot be simplistically be taken as a universally inclusive word each time in appears in Holy Scripture. As Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament explains,
In particular one may speak of a summative, implicative and distributive signification of πας [the Greek word for "all"] as the term embraces either a totality or sum as an independent entitity (summative), an inclusion of all individual parts or representatives of a concept (implicative),or extension to relatively independent particulars (distributive). If the reference is to the attainment of the supreme height or breadth of a concept, we have an elative (or amplificative) significance (Vol. 5, p. 887).
Even without the technicalities of Kittel's analysis anyone who reads the New Testament carefully recognizes that the oft-quoted adage that "all means all and that's all that all means" may get lots of Fundamentalists laughing and shouting "amen," but it hardly sheds light on how that word is used in the Bible. I will limit myself to one example: "Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him" (Matthew 3:5).

The problem that we Calvinists have with citing the "all" texts as if they prove a general atonement is this: for that case to be made, the nature of the atonement must be altered, usually away from an objective reality to a potential one. Consider 2 Corinthians 5:14, that Dr. Garrett cites. “One died for all, and therefore all died” If this teaches general atonement (One died for all who have ever lived or ever will live), then we must infer that all who have ever lived or who ever will live have in fact died with Christ. But no orthodox believer thinks that all mankind has spiritually died to their sin. The proponent of general atonement responds that Paul is speaking "potentially" or conditionally here--all those who trust in Christ spiritually die to their sin. But, that is not what the text says, and if that is what it means, then in order for the parallel between the two deaths to stand, the death that One died for all must likewise be only potential. Thus the atonement is drained of its objectivity and definiteness.

The "many" texts might just as easily be cited as supporting a limited perspective as a universal perspective since many is by definition less than the totality.

The "world" passages fall under the same critique as the "all" passages. If they are interpreted to mean "every person without exception" then the nature of the atonement must be altered. What happens if we interpret "kosmos" in John 1:29 in this way? "The lamb of God takes away the sin of the world [every person without exception]." If Jesus' death actually does this then no one will have any sin to bear and thus everyone will be saved.

Granted, our brothers and sisters who believe a general atonement do not believe this. But our argument with them is "why not?" How can the atonement of Christ be general and universalism be avoided without the nature of the atonement being somehow deobjectified? The answers offered to that question are less compelling to me than the answers offered by the Calvinistic understanding of the death of Christ.

12 comments:

SJ Camp said...

Tom:
A few other passages that he did not mention supporting particular redemption:

1. Heb. 2:12-18
2. Roms. 3:21-26
3. John 17
4. 1 John 4:9-10
5. 2 Tim. 1:9
6. Titus 1:1-2
7. Eph. 1:4-14
8. John 6:35-44
9. Isaiah 53:2ff
10. Romans 9:13-23
11. Galatians 6:14-16
12. 2 Peter 3:8-9
Thanks for these posts---they have been very helpful and encouraging.

orthodox said...

Part of the problem here is the scholastic mindset looking to solve this problem.

If we pose the question "Who did Christ die for", the answer in many ways has more to do with the intentions of the person asking the question than anything else.

If the person asking the question means to ask "For whom is Christ's death ultimately effective", both an Arminian and Calvinist could affirm that it is only the elect.

If the person asking the question meant to ask "Which people are commanded to be baptized into his death for their sins", both Arminian and Calvinist can say everyone.

If you're going to ask if Christ's death saves people or if it makes them savable, is there really a theological difference, or is it just about the intention of the person asking the question? A Calvinist still in a temporal sense can't say that a person is saved until they actually exhibit belief. On the Arminian can say it really and truely saves people in the sense that God in his eternal present knew who would believe.

Part of the question is why we should assume that God has only one position on this. If we were to ask God who Christ died for, he may well respond by asking us to clarify our question.

And that may well be why there are verses that only mention Christ's death for the elect, and why there are verses mentioning Christ dying for the world.

So why do Calvinists want to make something a point of dogma that the bible does not?

GeneMBridges said...

Part of the problem here is the scholastic mindset looking to solve this problem.

This is an assertion, not an argument.

Let's not forget that your rule of faith is that less than 10 percent of your theologians can agree with you, so you're deriving at least part of your own theology from distinctions not found in Scripture already, so this doesn't seem to be an argument you really believe to be true.

If the person asking the question meant to ask "Which people are commanded to be baptized into his death for their sins", both Arminian and Calvinist can say everyone.

As far as it goes, yes, but this would be limited to those who actually hear the gospel. There are people born outside the bounds of the covenant of grace at any level, so they never hear the gospel per se and so are never commanded to "be baptized into the death of Christ." Rather, they are commanded by the law of conscience to repent of their sins, for which they stand condemned for having failed to do since they continue living in sin.


If you're going to ask if Christ's death saves people or if it makes them savable, is there really a theological difference, or is it just about the intention of the person asking the question?

Yes, for in the former, the atonement is objective and rests on the covenant; in the latter, the atonement is subjective and the covenant rests on it.

A Calvinist still in a temporal sense can't say that a person is saved until they actually exhibit belief.

Actually, we would say that he is justified when he exercises faith; he is saved by grace - a thing that does to culminate until the final Resurrection. Sola Fide is a species of Sola Gratia.

And the Arminian has to admit to the same limitation on the exercise of faith, and thus the event of justification as it comes to pass in historical sequence.

On the Arminian can say it really and truely saves people in the sense that God in his eternal present knew who would believe.

No, that's not true, for the Arminian generally takes the moral influence theory of the atonement - a fact many seem to forget, not penal substitution as his view, and the effectiveness of the atonement, if he takes PST as his view, is limited to the faith of the person and does not exist anchored in Sola Gratia. The atonement merely makes men saveable, it does not save anyone. In Calvinism, the atonement sets up an obligation in the Trinity, in which the Spirit must apply its benefits to the elect or else both Father and Spirit would fail in their covenant with the Son.

Further, the Calvinist does not deny that God knows who would believe; rather, the Calvinist would argue that their belief is an event that He Himself foreordained. A consistent Arminian is committed to libertarianism, and thus he cannot tell us why one person believes and not another given the same conditions.

And, let us not forget, Orthodox, that you're not exactly amenable to penal substitution yourself, are you?

Part of the question is why we should assume that God has only one position on this.

Are you denying binary logic?

If we were to ask God who Christ died for, he may well respond by asking us to clarify our question.

Or He might just point us to Scripture.

And that may well be why there are verses that only mention Christ's death for the elect, and why there are verses mentioning Christ dying for the world.

And how to you propose we exegete them?

So why do Calvinists want to make something a point of dogma that the bible does not?

A. This is an assertion not an argument.

B. If this objection is valid, it would undermine such things as the Palmite distinction between essence and energies in your own theology, Orthodox.

orthodox said...

GENE: Let's not forget that your rule of faith is that less than 10 percent of your theologians can agree with you,

ORTHODOX: If the church hasn't settled an issue maybe. How you apply it here I don't know.

GENE: so you're deriving at least part of your own theology from distinctions not found in Scripture already, so this doesn't seem to be an argument you really believe to be true.

ORTHODOX: I have no idea what you're trying to say.

GENE:" If you're going to ask if Christ's death saves people or if it makes them savable, is there really a theological difference, or is it just about the intention of the person asking the question?"

Yes, for in the former, the atonement is objective and rests on the covenant; in the latter, the atonement is subjective and the covenant rests on it.

ORTHODOX: I have no idea what this means. I do know that neither of these propositions are found in the bible.

GENE: Actually, we would say that he is justified when he exercises faith;

And the Arminian has to admit to the same limitation on the exercise of faith, and thus the event of justification as it comes to pass in historical sequence.

ORTHODOX: Which argues against common Calvinist arguments about how anyone can be lost if Christ died for them, since even the Calvinist admits the atonement is not effective until belief.

GENE: No, that's not true, for the Arminian generally takes the moral influence theory of the atonement - a fact many seem to forget, not penal substitution as his view, and the effectiveness of the atonement, if he takes PST as his view, is limited to the faith of the person and does not exist anchored in Sola Gratia. The atonement merely makes men saveable, it does not save anyone. In Calvinism, the atonement sets up an obligation in the Trinity, in which the Spirit must apply its benefits to the elect or else both Father and Spirit would fail in their covenant with the Son.

ORTHODOX: Covenant with the Son? Which verse in the bible says that the members of the trinity make a covenant between each other? And which verse says that there is an "obligation" set up in the trinity?

As for the slogan "The atonement merely makes men saveable, it does not save anyone.", it's really a bit of a polemic. It's equivalent to if I develop a new drug and gave you a gift of a packet of the medicine that cures the disease you have, you saying that I didn't save you, rather I only made you savable, because you have the option not to take the medicine. Apparently I would have to hold you down and force it down your throat before you would admit I saved you.

Nobody talks like that, nobody thinks like that. Thus this slogan is a nonsense.

GENE: And, let us not forget, Orthodox, that you're not exactly amenable to penal substitution yourself, are you?

ORTHODOX: What verse exactly mentions PENAL?

GENE: Part of the question is why we should assume that God has only one position on this.

Are you denying binary logic?

ORTHODOX: As I said, the question can be an ambiguous one, which is why the bible itself is ambigous. Ask an ambiguous question: get an ambiguous answer.

GENE: If we were to ask God who Christ died for, he may well respond by asking us to clarify our question.

Or He might just point us to Scripture.

ORTHODOX: Which doesn't seem to be working. The pro-universal atonement faction says that any verse saying Christ died for believers should not be construed to limit it to them. The anti-universal atonement faction equivocates on ALL to say that verses saying Christ died for all doesn't mean all people. That's a stalemate if you need only one answer.

GENE: And that may well be why there are verses that only mention Christ's death for the elect, and why there are verses mentioning Christ dying for the world.

And how to you propose we exegete them?

ORTHODOX: Not all questions are answered by exegesis. The bible wasn't born into a vacuum it was born into the Church with an already existing apostolic teaching.

GENE: B. If this objection is valid, it would undermine such things as the Palmite distinction between essence and energies in your own theology, Orthodox.

ORTHODOX: Palmite? Half the words you use aren't even words.

My objection is especially relevant to you who claim sola scriptura. I've presented greater biblical evidence for the energies of God than exists for limited atonement.

David B. Hewitt said...

I wrote something a while back that might contribute to this discussion in a helpful manner. As the last part of a sermon review series I wrote, I posted on the term "world" and the Atonement. That post can be found here.

SDG,
dbh

GeneMBridges said...


ORTHODOX: If the church hasn't settled an issue maybe. How you apply it here I don't know.


Now Orthodox is adding caveats to his original statements that he did not include in his original comments. But this is common practice for Orthodox. In the past, Orthodox, since about May, you repeated this multiple times. Shall I go back and find the references for you?


GENE: so you're deriving at least part of your own theology from distinctions not found in Scripture already, so this doesn't seem to be an argument you really believe to be true.

ORTHODOX: I have no idea what you're trying to say.

Where does Scripture distinguish between the essence and energies of God without begging the question.



ORTHODOX: I have no idea what this means. I do know that neither of these propositions are found in the bible.

Then, Orthodox, you should acquaint yourself with covenant theology, you know, the opposing position.


ORTHODOX: Which argues against common Calvinist arguments about how anyone can be lost if Christ died for them, since even the Calvinist admits the atonement is not effective until belief.

No, for the Calvinist argues one of three things: (a) Christ died for all, but not in the same way. That's the argument of some Infralapsarians and most Amyraldians. Or (b) that Christ only died for the elect; it is sufficient in and of itself to all all and is fit for any sinner, but it is effectual only for the elect. (c) Others will deny sufficiency in favor of a pecuniary atonement. In all three however, the atonement saves insofar as it functions as a ransom, those ransomed are the ones to whom the benefits are applied, and they are the ones who believe.

It is the Arminian and the Amyraldian who argue that people can be lost if Christ died for them. Apparently, you were unable to follow our discussion on the perseverance of the saints at Tblogue and you are even more oblivious to the doctrine of particular redemption.

ORTHODOX: Covenant with the Son? Which verse in the bible says that the members of the trinity make a covenant between each other? And which verse says that there is an "obligation" set up in the trinity?

Luke 22:29and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you

30that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel

As the Father covenanted with the Son, so the Son covenanted with the Apostles and through them believers.

The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet . . .’ The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’” (Ps. 110:1,4).The New Testament testifies that this prophecy pertains to Christ (Luke 20:41-44; Acts 2:34-36; Heb. 1-4,13; 5:5-6; 7:17-22). God swore that he would make Christ’s enemies a footstool for his feet, and that Christ would be an eternal priest. As the book of Hebrews so often emphasizes, Christ’s actions as priest included the atonement (e.g. Heb. 9:11ff.) by which he redeemed his people (cf. Gal. 3:13-14; Heb. 9:12). In the Father’s promise that he would make Christ’s enemies a footstool for his feet, which enemies must include sin and death (compare Gen. 4:7; Rom.7:11; 1 Cor. 15:26; Jam. 1:15), the Father promised Christ success in his redemptive work as priest.

Hebrews 13:20
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,

Also: Psalm 2:7-9; 40:7-9; 89:3; John 5:36; Hebrews 10:5-7

(John 6 and John 10) Christ received a commandment from God to perform the atonement. Also, the Father loved Christ prior to the atonement because he knew that Christ would obey this commandment in the future. For the Father to love the Son on the basis that the atonement would be offered demonstrates that the Father and Son had agreed that the Son would necessarily obey the Father’s command to atone.

It would help, once again, if you would take the time to acquaint yourself with the opposing position. It isn't as if the words "Covenant of Redemption" will not turn up plenty of places for you to look up this information.

Calvinists will differ over whether to construe these in reference to a synthetic covenant or a series of decrees. Typically, those of who affirm the covenant itself will simply state that the construal as a decree or set of decrees cashes out at the same place.

Nobody talks like that, nobody thinks like that. Thus this slogan is a nonsense.

Notice that Orthodox repudiates a slogan with a slogan.

Orthodox begins with a manmade conception of what things should be like, not with a concept of how things are and then argues from there. Like dear old Dave Armstrong, Orthodox suffers from the Atlas complex. The whole weight of the true church is resting on his shoulders. It's up to this layman to defend the true church. Somehow that job can't be entrusted to the hierarchs.

I might also add that his requests for Scripture come at a price for Orthodox, for Orthodox only believes in Scripture as far as Orthodoxy dictates its meaning for him. He calls Sola Scriptura "private speculation." So, Orthodox is just an ecclesiolater.

ORTHODOX: What verse exactly mentions PENAL?

As usual, Orthodox is trying to play the word-concept fallacy.

We might ask him which verse says "theosis."

The argument for penal substitution has a long history, Orthodox. I know you're acquainted with it.


ORTHODOX: As I said, the question can be an ambiguous one, which is why the bible itself is ambigous. Ask an ambiguous question: get an ambiguous answer.

Orthodox, as usual says the question is ambiguous, but does not *show* it is ambiguous. And notice that he's backing off his original claim, which would have denied binary logic. I'll take this as a backdoor admission that my charge was accurate.

Which doesn't seem to be working. The pro-universal atonement faction says that any verse saying Christ died for believers should not be construed to limit it to them. The anti-universal atonement faction equivocates on ALL to say that verses saying Christ died for all doesn't mean all people. That's a stalemate if you need only one answer.

This isn't an argument it's an assertion, and we might ask where Orthodoxy has infallibly pronounced the intepretations on these Scriptures.

And notice that he says that the particularists are "equivocating" on "all," but where does he demonstrate this? On the contrary, what we do is recognize the difference between intention and extension. That isn't equivocation at all.

Christians who deny special redemption typically appeal to the “pantos” passages of Scripture. But this confuses extension (referent) with intension (sense). A universal quantifier has a standard intension, but a variable extension. And that follows from the nature of a quantifier, which is necessarily general and abstract rather than specific and concrete marker. That’s what makes it possible to plug in concrete content. A universal quantifier is a class quantifier. As such, it can have no fixed range of reference. In each case, that must be supplied by the concrete context and specific referent. In other words, a universal quantifier has a definite intension but indefinite extension. So its extension is relative to the level of generality of the reference-class in view. Thus, there is no presumption in favor of taking “all” or “every” as meaning everyone without exception. “All” or “every” is always relative to all of something:


Not all questions are answered by exegesis.

Really? Does Orthodox not exegete the Greek Fathers?

The bible wasn't born into a vacuum it was born into the Church with an already existing apostolic teaching.

Now, Orthodox is avoiding answering the question put to him. What is his alternative?

Where does the Bible establish the one true holy apostolic Eastern Orthodox Church as the one true church we are to believe?

Palmite? Half the words you use aren't even words.

Pardon, Palamite. That's one word that I misspelled, Orthodox.

My objection is especially relevant to you who claim sola scriptura. I've presented greater biblical evidence for the energies of God than exists for limited atonement.

Then why have you not been participating in that discussion at Tblogue, or did your emanationism get the best of you?

Tom said...

Steve:

Thanks. When one stops to consider the nature of the atonement, then its extent must be taken into consideration as well. Thanks for all the references.

orthodox said...

GENE: Now Orthodox is adding caveats to his original statements that he did not include in his original comments. But this is common practice for Orthodox. In the past, Orthodox, since about May, you repeated this multiple times. Shall I go back and find the references for you?

ORTHODOX: Wrong, I said this from the beginning. You have a short memory.

GENE: Where does Scripture distinguish between the essence and energies of God without begging the question.

ORTHODOX: We went through this in our other discussion.

GENE: No, for the Calvinist argues one of three things: (a) Christ died for all, but not in the same way. That's the argument of some Infralapsarians and most Amyraldians.

ORTHODOX: You more or less just conceded my initial thesis: That asking who Christ died for depends on the intention of the one asking it.

GENE: Luke 22:29and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you

ORTHODOX: Having granting something is not a covenant. A covenant is an agreement or guarantee to do something in the future.

GENE: The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet .

ORTHODOX: No covenant here. Rather a command and then a statement of intent.

GENE: Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek

ORTHODOX: No covenant, just a statement.


GENE: (John 6 and John 10) Christ received a commandment from God to perform the atonement.

ORTHODOX: A commandment is not a covenant.

GENE: Also, the Father loved Christ prior to the atonement because he knew that Christ would obey this commandment in the future. For the Father to love the Son on the basis that the atonement would be offered demonstrates that the Father and Son had agreed that the Son would necessarily obey the Father’s command to atone.

ORTHODOX: The Father's love of the Son is predicated on his knowledge that the Son will obey in the atonement? Extraordinary. I guess the Father didn't love the Son when there was no fall of Adam requiring atonement then.

GENE: Typically, those of who affirm the covenant itself will simply state that the construal as a decree or set of decrees cashes out at the same place.

ORTHODOX: If it cashes out at the same place, why don't you simplify things for us and leave it out?

GENE: "Nobody talks like that, nobody thinks like that. Thus this slogan is a nonsense."

Orthodox begins with a manmade conception of what things should be like, not with a concept of how things are and then argues from there.

ORTHODOX: Wrong. If you think there is a point to be made in the saved/savable distinction, go ahead and make it, but make it in a way that actually makes logical and grammatical sense instead of with a nonsensical slogan.

GENE: I might also add that his requests for Scripture come at a price for Orthodox, for Orthodox only believes in Scripture as far as Orthodoxy dictates its meaning for him.

ORTHODOX: Wrong. I just don't interpret scripture contrary to the faith of the body of Christ. Just like you don't interpret John contrary to the faith of Paul.

GENE: ORTHODOX: What verse exactly mentions PENAL?

As usual, Orthodox is trying to play the word-concept fallacy.

ORTHODOX: Must be tough to find since you respond with a slogan and not an argument.

GENE: Orthodox, as usual says the question is ambiguous, but does not *show* it is ambiguous.

ORTHODOX: Hey, you already conceded it above admitting that some calvinists say Christ died for people in different ways.

GENE: And notice that he's backing off his original claim, which would have denied binary logic. I'll

ORTHODOX: I haven't backed off anything.

GENE: we might ask where Orthodoxy has infallibly pronounced the intepretations on these Scriptures.

ORTHODOX: Orthodoxy doesn't infallibly pronounce things. Rather it believes (or pronounces) things which the church accepts (or rejects) as infallible.

GENE: And that follows from the nature of a quantifier, which is necessarily general and abstract rather than specific and concrete marker.

ORTHODOX: Gosh you waffle on a lot.

The trouble is, some verses referring the the atonement relating to "all", in context appear to refer to all men whatsoever. For example

Ro 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.

The first "all men" has to mean all men whatsoever, therefore logically and contextually so does the second.

And here it all falls apart for the protestant position.

GENE: Not all questions are answered by exegesis.

Really? Does Orthodox not exegete the Greek Fathers?

ORTHODOX: I didn't say there was no benefit in exegesis. What I said was that not all questions are answered by exegesis of a text.

GENE: Where does the Bible establish the one true holy apostolic Eastern Orthodox Church as the one true church we are to believe?

ORTHODOX: Uh, in the book of Acts. You should try reading it sometime.


GENE: Then why have you not been participating in that discussion at Tblogue, or did your emanationism get the best of you?

ORTHODOX: Since my last post is a mere 7 hours prior to this post of yours here I respond to, I think you protesteth too much.

GeneMBridges said...

ORTHODOX: Wrong, I said this from the beginning. You have a short memory.

On the contrary, Orthodox, you have consistently stated this since May. You have not stated that it only applies in certain situations. Rather, you have stated that you only need ten percent or so of your theologians to agree with you when we've confronted you with contrary statements.

GENE: Where does Scripture distinguish between the essence and energies of God without begging the question.

ORTHODOX: We went through this in our other discussion.


Yes, and there you talked about Ezekiel. Ezekiel is discussing the Shekinah, not the uncreated light of hesychasm. When you were confronted about this assumption, you just repeated yourself. You have yet to exegete the passage, and you begged the question.

ORTHODOX: You more or less just conceded my initial thesis: That asking who Christ died for depends on the intention of the one asking it.

I have conceded nothing. You, as usual, can't follow your own arguments, for I said this in response to this from you:

Which argues against common Calvinist arguments about how anyone can be lost if Christ died for them, since even the Calvinist admits the atonement is not effective until belief.

The Calvinist does not argue that a person can be lost for whom Christ died, that is for whom his sins are propitiated, for the Calvinist does not teach that. Do try to keep up.

Having granting something is not a covenant. A covenant is an agreement or guarantee to do something in the future.

That's a facile definition. A covenant is "a bond in blood between two parties, for life and death." It is an agreement, a contract delineated by the names of the parties, stipulation and astipulation, etc. Webster's isn't the place to find a definition, Orthodox.

The Bible's use of the concept encompasses much more. Look up "berith" some time. It might also be helpful if you would at least try to interact with some covenant theology here, or is asking you to make use of a search engine too much?

Try: http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/1999Covenant.htm

and

http://www.upper-register.com/papers/what_is_covenant.html


or go to Monergism.com and do a search for the term.


In Luke, God "granting" something to Jesus refers to the Kingdom. It takes on covenantal significance, particularly in this context, for the setting is the Last Supper.

These statements trigger particular sets of associations. Jesus is granted a kingdom the way that David was granted a kingdom, for He is the true Davidic King (Luke 1). Scripture explicitly affirms that to be a covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-16, 2 Samuel 23:5).

ORTHODOX: No covenant here. Rather a command and then a statement of intent.

All we have from Orthodox is, as usual, a string of bare denials. Does he ever discuss the text? No. Rather, what I provided was a string of promises from the Father to the Son - and Orthodox stipulated above that a covenant is an agreement or guarantee to do something in the future.

And covenants in Scripture include stipulation (command) and astipulation.

ORTHODOX: The Father's love of the Son is predicated on his knowledge that the Son will obey in the atonement? Extraordinary. I guess the Father didn't love the Son when there was no fall of Adam requiring atonement then.

On the contrary, Orthodox, we affirm that the Covenant of Redemption is an eternal covenant, or have you forgotten that we believe that the fall itself was decreed?

ORTHODOX: If it cashes out at the same place, why don't you simplify things for us and leave it out?

I'm not the one writing the theology texts.

ORTHODOX: Wrong. If you think there is a point to be made in the saved/savable distinction, go ahead and make it, but make it in a way that actually makes logical and grammatical sense instead of with a nonsensical slogan.

I already have.

The idea that the atonement makes men saveable is admitted in Arminian texts using those words, Orthodox, so it's hardly true that "Nobody talks that way" in real life. Norman Geisler makes that exact statement in Chosen But Free. I can't help it that you are too lazy or unfamiliar with the topic to know that.

In short, the Arminian is saying that the atonement's benefits are such that everyone has been given a way to be saved or, put another way, "made saveable" by the removal of God's wrath in a provisional, ineffectual sense. They must, from their libertarian free will, take hold of its benefits.

The Calvinist says, "No," the atonement is effectual in and of itself to save those for whom it is made. It is an objective,not a provisional, work. It is effectual in the Godhead in that the Holy Spirit is now obligated to call the elect for whom Christ died to faith and repentance. It is made effectual then by God Himself, through regeneration - the application of the atonement itself to the individual elect person, at which point, the person believes and passes from being under the wrath of God to being connected to the righteousness of Christ, justification.

ORTHODOX: Hey, you already conceded it above admitting that some calvinists say Christ died for people in different ways.

Orthodox *still* asserts the question is ambiguous without showing it.

GENE: And notice that he's backing off his original claim, which would have denied binary logic. I'll

ORTHODOX: I haven't backed off anything.


On the contrary, Orthodox you said, "Part of the question is why we should assume that God has only one position on this."

So, does He have two positions? According to Orthodox, God has more than one position on this. Where's the supporting argument?

GENE: we might ask where Orthodoxy has infallibly pronounced the intepretations on these Scriptures.

ORTHODOX: Orthodoxy doesn't infallibly pronounce things. Rather it believes (or pronounces) things which the church accepts (or rejects) as infallible.


Which means that at some point, there's been an infallible proclamation. And Orthodox has yet to answer where Orthodoxy has told him what to believe about these Scriptures.

GENE: And that follows from the nature of a quantifier, which is necessarily general and abstract rather than specific and concrete marker.

ORTHODOX: Gosh you waffle on a lot.


On the contrary, that's a basic rule of linguistics. Pity you're too obtuse to be able to recognize the intention-extension fallacy when it is defined for you explicitly.

The trouble is, some verses referring the the atonement relating to "all", in context appear to refer to all men whatsoever. For example

Notice that he's not exegeted this text. What Orthodox needs to do is exegete the text and then compare it to a standard Reformed commentary, like that of John Murray or Tom Schriener and tell us why his reading is to be preferred.

The first "all men" has to mean all men whatsoever, therefore logically and contextually so does the second.

What a stellar example of not exegeting the text. It also commits the fallacy of limited alternatives. It is by far not true that "logically" it must refer to all people. There are reasons for this, and the commentaries to which I pointed you deal with them. I look forward to your detailed rebuttal of them.

If so, then all men are justified. Are you a universalist?

And here it all falls apart for the protestant position.

No, for Protestants are not committed to Reformed exegesis. Lutherans and Arminians have exegeted these somewhat differently.


ORTHODOX: I didn't say there was no benefit in exegesis. What I said was that not all questions are answered by exegesis of a text.


But you're bound to Holy Tradition, and if not in writing, Orthodox, where can you find answers to these questions? Icons?

GENE: Where does the Bible establish the one true holy apostolic Eastern Orthodox Church as the one true church we are to believe?

ORTHODOX: Uh, in the book of Acts. You should try reading it sometime.


I have, many times. I don't see it. Will you provide the chapter and verse, please, along with a brief exegetical statement?

GENE: Then why have you not been participating in that discussion at Tblogue, or did your emanationism get the best of you?

ORTHODOX: Since my last post is a mere 7 hours prior to this post of yours here I respond to, I think you protesteth too much.


Took you several days to get there, and you've still been bested...yet again.

orthodox said...

GENE: On the contrary, Orthodox, you have consistently stated this since May.

ORTHODOX: Baloney. Pull out the original posting and we'll see.

GENE: Ezekiel is discussing the Shekinah, not the uncreated light of hesychasm.

ORTHODOX: Hesychasm was a late addition to the whole discussion and is a different issue.

GENE: The Calvinist does not argue that a person can be lost for whom Christ died, that is for whom his sins are propitiated, for the Calvinist does not teach that. Do try to keep up.

ORTHODOX: Ahh, but now you are further qualifying the question, which is a concession to my initial thesis. However when the bible discusses such issues it will rarely offer such qualification.

GENE: That's a facile definition.

ORTHODOX: Zzzzz. I see no point spending an hour arguing about definitions.

GENE: On the contrary, Orthodox, we affirm that the Covenant of Redemption is an eternal covenant, or have you forgotten that we believe that the fall itself was decreed?

ORTHODOX: You've made the internal relationships in the godhead predicated upon the creation, and that is a heresy.

GENE: I'm not the one writing the theology texts.

ORTHODOX: LOL, so you're not willing to take responsibility for what the texts teach and which you repeat?

GENE: So, does He have two positions? According to Orthodox, God has more than one position on this.

ORTHODOX: YOU'VE got more than one position, depending on how the question is clarified. LOL.

GENE: Which means that at some point, there's been an infallible proclamation.

ORTHODOX: No it doesn't. Go read it again.

GENE: ORTHODOX: Gosh you waffle on a lot.

On the contrary, that's a basic rule of linguistics.

ORTHODOX: I don't recall any rule of linguistics that you've got to waffle a lot.

GENE: If so, then all men are justified. Are you a universalist?

ORTHODOX: What a stellar example of not exegeting the text. It also commits the fallacy of limited alternatives.

Orthodoxy is not an opt-in system, it is an opt-out system. We believe that all men are by default included in Christ's justifying atonement, but some opt-out causing their names to be removed from the book of life (Psalm 69:28, Rev 3:5).

In other words, we can affirm Christ's justification of all men, and yet not be universalists. Yet again, Orthodoxy takes ALL the data into account.

GENE: the commentaries to which I pointed you deal with them.

ORTHODOX: [yawn]

GENE: But you're bound to Holy Tradition, and if not in writing, Orthodox, where can you find answers to these questions? Icons?

ORTHODOX: In the Church Gene, in the church.

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Orthodoxy is not an opt-in system, it is an opt-out system. We believe that all men are by default included in Christ's justifying atonement, but some opt-out causing their names to be removed from the book of life (Psalm 69:28, Rev 3:5).

In other words, we can affirm Christ's justification of all men, and yet not be universalists. Yet again, Orthodoxy takes ALL the data into account.

GENE: the commentaries to which I pointed you deal with them.

ORTHODOX: [yawn]

GENE: But you're bound to Holy Tradition, and if not in writing, Orthodox, where can you find answers to these questions? Icons?


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