The Arminian Understanding of 1st John 2:2 Refuted

Understanding 1 John 2:2

From the archives on this blog (from October 2005) by Rev. John Samson

Many of you know something of my struggle in coming to understand and appreciate the doctrines of grace. One of the biggest hurdles I encountered was my traditional understanding of 1 John 2:2. For a long time, it acted much like a roadblock in my thinking, preventing me from believing what I now consider to be the clear and consistent teaching of scripture.

How are we to understand the verse then?

Let me start by affirming that scripture is explicit in saying that Jesus died:

for God’s people

He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of My people”
– Isaiah 53:8;
He shall save His people from their sins”
– Matt. 1:21

for His sheep

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
– John 10:11
– note that Jesus categorically states that some are not His sheep – “but you do not believe because you are not My sheep.” – John 10:26

for His friends
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.”
– John 15:13-14

for the Church
(“… the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood.” – Acts 20:28; “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her…”
Eph. 5:25, 26).

Indeed, as God allows us to gain a glimpse into the future, Revelation 5:9 reveals the song of the throngs of heaven as they sing to the Lamb upon His throne, “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Notice that it does not say that He ransomed everybody in every tribe, etc., but that He ransomed people for God from every tribe, tongue, people and nation.

Yet at least at first glance, 1 John 2:2 seems to strongly deny this idea that Jesus’ death was designed for a particular people. The verse states, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

I don’t believe that scripture contradicts itself. That is in fact why we are told to study the word of God in order that we might rightly divide it (2 Tim. 2:15) rather than simply throw up our hands saying a particular verse contradicts others on the same subject. “All Scripture is God breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16) and because there is one Divine Author of Scripture who does not contradict Himself, I am convinced that hard work and careful study will eliminate apparent contradictions.

I have written elsewhere about the principles of correct interpretation of scripture. In my article entitled “Playing Marbles with Diamonds” (here) I refer to a number of principles of biblical interpretation (hermeneutics). We start by affirming that there is only one correct interpretation of scripture. Though there may be many applications of a verse, it only means what it was intended to mean when it was written. With this as a foundation, two more principles would apply here:

1. Authorship – who wrote the book? What was his background, language, culture, vocation, concerns, education, circumstance, what stage of life?

2. Audience -why was the book written? who was the audience? what would these words have meant to its original recipients?

My friend, Dr. James White once wrote, “Remember when you were in school and you had to take a test on a book you were assigned to read? You studied and invested time in learning the background of the author, the context in which he lived and wrote, his purposes in writing, his audience, and the specifics of the text. You did not simply come to class, pop open the book, read a few sentences, and say, “Well, I feel the author here means this.” Yet, for some odd reason, this attitude is prevalent in Christian circles. Whether that feeling results in an interpretation that has anything at all to do with what the original author intended to convey is really not considered an important aspect. Everyone, seemingly, has the right to express their “feelings” about what they “think” the Bible is saying, as if those thoughts actually reflect what God inspired in His Word. While we would never let anyone get away with treating our writings like this, we seem to think God is not bothered, and what is worse, that our conclusions are somehow authoritative in their representation of His Word.”

With this in view, we approach the First Epistle of John, and remember that it is a letter written to a primarily Jewish audience. So in 1 John 2:2, as in the rest of the letter, we have the Apostle John, a Jew, writing primarily to fellow Jewish believers in the Messiah. He writes of Jesus Christ being “the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.” It is possible that the word “world” here refers to every person on planet earth, but in my estimation, not very likely, because of the fact that we have a Jew, writing to fellow Jews. I think it is far more likely that John is here declaring that Christ died not only for our sins (the sins of Jewish people), but for also for those of the whole world (the sins of Gentiles throughout the world).

There is another reason (beside authorship and background) that points me in this direction. A third principle I mentioned in the article relates to the concept of considering the author’s context. This refers to looking at all of a person’s writings – John’s writings, Paul’s writings, Luke’s writings, etc. When we look elsewhere in John’s writings we notice in his Gospel an exact parallel in John’s use of words, which gives us a great deal of insight as to what he (John) was referring to.

In John’s Gospel, chapter 11, verses 51-52, John wrote these words, “he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”

When we see this in chart form, the parallel with 1 John 2:2 is easy understood:

Dr. Phil Johnson (who provided this helpful chart) writes, “There is little doubt that this is how John’s initial audience would have understood this expression. “The whole world” means “people of all kinds, including Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, and whatnot” as opposed to “ours only” i.e., the Jewish nation. What the apostle John is saying in the John 11 passage is particularly significant: Christ died so that he might gather “the children of God” the elect, from the whole world.”

I believe therefore that rather than undermining the case for Christ’s death for His elect sheep, 1 John 2:2 actually affirms it. When we understand the verse in its Johannine context (the writings of the Apostle John) then the correct interpretation becomes very clear.

11 responses

17 08 2009
Kyle

You definitely are on the right track here, brother. I was raised in a Baptist church, that, like many other modern churches, preached that salvation is the result of our exercising our free will to choose God. I always struggled with that, and then when I began reading my Bible I could not ignore all of the scripture that affirms the sovereignty of God, and that if His will is indeed sovereign, then the concept of our own unbridled free will cannot also exist. But when it comes to salvation now, I am convinced it means that eventually ALL human beings will be reconciled back to God. If you do not believe that it is God’s plan to restore all of the humans He has made, then if you are honest with yourself, God starts looking like some sort of great gambler, playing some sick game of chance with human poker chips. Preaching the salvation of all seems like such a far stretch from everything that most of us have been taught, but this is only the result of my studying the scriptures, and meditating on the most important questions that we all should seek the answers to. (Note that I do not endorse the form of unbiblical universal salvation that the Unitarians preach) First of all, if God is the sovereign creator of this universe, is He in any way responsible for the sin that exists in His creation? By creating beings (humans and angels) capable of producing sin, does God hold any responsibility for this? (Check out Isaiah 45:6-7). Even though we are accountable for our sins, was it not God’s choice to create beings that have the ability to disobey? And then you can’t ignore the fact that God knows the beginning to the end, past present, and future, before any of it has ever happened? That He knew Satan would rebel, and he knew that Adam would make the wrong choice? But the Bible says that all things will work according to the counsel of His will. Human beings are dead in our trespasses, and in our fallen sinful state we really can never have the free choice to choose God. If salvation becomes contingent on our seeking out God due to our own wisdom and dilligence, then we have grounds for boasting in our own self righteous faith. And worse yet, if that is how it is, then bottom line, we are in control, not God. It is a terrible thought to think that when God created our race, that He had all that foreknowledge, but knew ahead of time He would just have to write off the vast majority of all those humans He created! What an utterly sick and sad story, with a depressing ending! Where did we get to the point where we believe that God does not have the power to transform even the most vile person? After all, before Paul had his Damascus Road encounter, he was one of the least deserving of God’s mercy! “As in Adam all men die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive”, and later on it says “in all things He might have preeminence”. So you have to ask yourself the most important question, what is more likely to have come from the minds of men: a God who plays favorites and saves a few chosen ones, or a God that has the power to restore all of His creation? I find it to be most probable that the God of favoritism is something that came from the minds of men. Because the concept of true unconditonal love and grace literally defies all of our human programming, we simply have a hard time believing that God is just that good. So, I look at Calvinism and Arminiansim as two honest perspectives that attempt to explain the Gospel, but when their end outcomes are analyzed, both fall short of an acceptable conclusion. Calvinism rightfully affirms God’s sovereignty, EVEN in our own salvation. But the conclusion of Calvinist doctrine results in a God that clearly plays favorites. What about God not being a respecter of persons (not favoring one over another), as the Bible says? Arminianism is the reigning belief system in the modern church, but it still comes up short. Through the Arminian emphasis on free will, we ignore all the passages on God’s sovereignty and exalt the power of man’s free will. But then we end up having a God that appears weak, a creator helplessly bound by the wills of those He created. Either way, you have the play-favorites God or the weak God, if you don’t believe in the salvation of all.

17 08 2009
rpavich

Kyle,
Do you have any idea what a “Straw-man” argument is?

You just spent 250 words illustrating it.

You also are a living illustration that unless God changes the proud human heart, they will never understand the truth.

If you post another post slandering God in the way you just did I will delete it rather than post it.

Consider this your last warning on the subject.

20 08 2009
Kyle

My purpose here was not to make anyone angry here, and I apologize in all sincerity if I rubbed you the wrong way. If you found what I had to say that offensive, you could have just as easily deleted my post. But let us continue this conversation at least for you to read, because I enjoy hearing a totally different perspective. You see, people from all different kinds of denominations, or backgrounds can make some pretty strong arguments for THEIR perspective on the Gospel, using many strong passages straight from the Bible. And they will all assert that they are “not taking any of it out of context”. Who is to say who is right? I kept asking myself that question over and over, but really it comes down to this. As seekers of the truth, we first should cram all of that supposed “bible knowledge” that we think we have the absolute authority on, and put ourselves under the microscope. And by this, I mean any honest man should take a very honest look at the fruit that is produced by the belief system that he clings to. The Bible says you will know the righteous by their actions. So, when people tell me they are of this particular Christian faith, or that particular faith, I respect their perspective. But then I sit back and watch to see what kind of fruit is produced by people who ascribe to that particular belief system. And then the truth really reveals itself. Would you agree with me that over and over again in the new testament, one of the major underlying themes is that we are commanded to love all people? Over and over again, as believers we are told to do things that are just about contradictory to our own human sense of reasoning. We are commanded to bless those that curse us, to give water to an enemy that thirsts…etc, I’m sure I don’t need to point out all of the examples to you. So then, how in the heck is anyone supposed to be able to do this, if we truly believe in our hearts that God’s plan all along was to throw away the majority of humanity? How can you tell yourself to love people who hate you, if you believe that in the end God is going to carry out eternal punishment on these same people? Bottom line…you can’t! Not in practice, in everyday life! You can believe it as a point of orthodoxy, but not something that you can honestly live out in practice. So then, what is the fruit of the believer who believes in a God that is an eternal tormenter? In my experience, I find the attitude that is produced is nothing other than an individual who reeks of the dung of phariseeism. I have run into many Christians who are just sure that God loves them, but probably hates others. And they live out this attitude in everyday life. That is why their hearts lack any true spirit of forgiveness toward others, and they are experts at backbiting and slander. Maybe these Christians don’t go to strip bars, cuss, steal, or fight, but they are experts in those other kinds of attitude-mindset based sin, that honestly could very well be potentially even more damaging. At the very least, in my own journey, this seems to be what I have consistently run into. But lest you accuse me of getting lost in my own dreamy vision of what I feel to be right, I will tell you that my belief in the salvation of all comes right from the Bible. I believe that in its uncorrupted form, the Bible IS the Word of God, and that when contradictions seem apparent, you might want to check the validity of your Bible translation. One of the very last things that is warned of in Revelation is adding and taking away from the scripture. Clearly this warning should not be taken lightly. I’ve had to go back and study the relevant Greek in a few places, and let me tell you it is not easy when your research indicates that the doctrine you believed in your whole life is in error! And that’s the position I was in when I had no other choice but to believe in the eventual salvation of all! It was not a path I ever expected to take. But I always kept in mind some of the things that appeared to introduce some very apparent contradictions into what the Bible really teaches. To teach that the Bible does not include the salvation of all you have to:
1) argue in place after place that when the Bible says “all” it only means some of all.
2) Believe that God loves humanity, but he plans on throwing 99% of it away
3) Believe in a God that favors some over others
4) Believe that God knew he would have to eternally torment some humans before he ever created the first human.

If you are logical with yourself, how can you address these problems? Really? Bottom line is, you can’t. You just have to appeal to the mystery of God, and ignore these issues. But people who actually take the time to meditate on a doctrine, and think it through fully will not be able to just sleep on it and hope to find the answers some day. It’s just like the concept of eternal punishment itself. Many Christians claim to believe it, but again only as a point of orthodoxy. Have you ever truly thought through how terrible it would be to torture a person in fire FOR AN ETERNITY!!!??? If you truly do believe this, the poop should be scared out of you! If I really believed that, I would not be able to go about my life, caring about anything of this world. If I thought there was a .0001% chance I could wind up there, then I would spend my whole life trembling in fear. Many Christians have been committed to mental hospitals because believing in that has destabilized their mental state so much that they cannot function. The Calvinists believed and taught that some are predestined to go there, and the Arminians countered that at least our free will has some say in whether or not it happens, making the whole thing seem a bit more palatable. But I found that Hell taught as a place of eternal punishment is not consistent with the Greek words that are found in all of the passages that are used to uphold this doctrine. In closing here, I respect your position, just as every other Christian that I meet. But I have found that the new fruit of believing in the salvation of all is that I am truly able to have a new attitude towards my fellow man. I look at each person as a living being created in the image of God, and because of that I am supposed to try to love that person as a fellow human being, Just as Jesus commanded me to do. In the past, I was never able to do that. When someone cursed at me I cursed back. If someone tried to hurt me, I avenged it sevenfold. But now I have a peaceable conflict resolve within me that I certainly did not have before. I don’t know how to explain it, but it is the fruit of believing in this faith. I could counter for hours on all of the most standard objections to believing in the salvation of all, but we don’t have the space here for that.

20 08 2009
rpavich

Comment:
My purpose here was not to make anyone angry here, and I apologize in all sincerity if I rubbed you the wrong way.

Kyle; apology accepted. My point was; do NOT slander God’s holy name…having an opinion is ok though; just make sure you represent the opposing side somewhat accurately, that’s all.

If you found what I had to say that offensive, you could have just as easily deleted my post.

When I do that, people cry foul. They say “You’re censoring opposing comments!” So I let it go…giving you the benefit of the doubt.

But let us continue this conversation at least for you to read, because I enjoy hearing a totally different perspective. You see, people from all different kinds of denominations, or backgrounds can make some pretty strong arguments for THEIR perspective on the Gospel, using many strong passages straight from the Bible. And they will all assert that they are “not taking any of it out of context”. Who is to say who is right?

That’s what we’re here to discuss right? If you’re saying that we cannot know who’s right then we can all pack up and go home. The fact is; somebody’s right and somebody’s wrong or everyone is wrong…but there is truth, and it’s knowable.

That people distort the word for their own reasons doesn’t meant that there is not a proper way to understand scripture. In my experience; people will not usually listen to reason, they put themselves above scripture as the judge over it.

I kept asking myself that question over and over, but really it comes down to this. As seekers of the truth, we first should cram all of that supposed “bible knowledge” that we think we have the absolute authority on, and put ourselves under the microscope. And by this, I mean any honest man should take a very honest look at the fruit that is produced by the belief system that he clings to.

Tentative agreement on this one.

The Bible says you will know the righteous by their actions. So, when people tell me they are of this particular Christian faith, or that particular faith, I respect their perspective. But then I sit back and watch to see what kind of fruit is produced by people who ascribe to that particular belief system. And then the truth really reveals itself. Would you agree with me that over and over again in the new testament, one of the major underlying themes is that we are commanded to love all people?

Yes.

Over and over again, as believers we are told to do things that are just about contradictory to our own human sense of reasoning. We are commanded to bless those that curse us, to give water to an enemy that thirsts…etc, I’m sure I don’t need to point out all of the examples to you. So then, how in the heck is anyone supposed to be able to do this, if we truly believe in our hearts that God’s plan all along was to throw away the majority of humanity?

Kyle, remember the straw man that I mentioned? This is one of them. You are misrepresenting what you are arguing against.

This is a much more accurate way of putting it:

God owes no human anything. All have sinned against God. Nobody does good; all have turned away.

Are you with me?

But God…being rich in mercy, saved those whom He chose and he did so before the foundation of the world, so that nobody could say it was because of anything in them; it was only out of mercy and grace.

If you believe that God owes humans nothing; how can you say that He’s not just when he sends people to Hell for sin? He punishes sin…He’s perfectly just.

Do you believe that?

How can you tell yourself to love people who hate you, if you believe that in the end God is going to carry out eternal punishment on these same people?

Because I’m commanded to…the fact that we are all in the same boat; sinners guilty before God doesn’t change any of that, does it?

PS: Are you psychic? How do you know WHO God is going to punish and who God is going to mercy??? 🙂

Bottom line…you can’t! Not in practice, in everyday life! You can believe it as a point of orthodoxy, but not something that you can honestly live out in practice.

So here comes the rant; the mind reading. How do you know anything about me or what I can and cannot do?

PS: your words don’t sound very loving;….are you loving me right now? Cause it sounds like you’re pretty angry.

So then, what is the fruit of the believer who believes in a God that is an eternal tormenter?

By the way; truth is truth, no matter who believes or disbelieves it.

In my experience, I find the attitude that is produced is nothing other than an individual who reeks of the dung of phariseeism. I have run into many Christians who are just sure that God loves them, but probably hates others.

I’m sorry to hear about your bad experiences but what does that have to do with the truth or lack of truth of the Doctrines of Grace. I’ve met horrible Arminians, great loving Arminians, horrible Calvinists, Great and loving Calvinists…what would be your point?

And they live out this attitude in everyday life. That is why their hearts lack any true spirit of forgiveness toward others, and they are experts at backbiting and slander.

You’re painting with a broad brush here Kyle….this doesn’t sound like the fruit of a Christian to you does it?…blanket statements about people whom you don’t know?

Maybe these Christians don’t go to strip bars, cuss, steal, or fight, but they are experts in those other kinds of attitude-mindset based sin, that honestly could very well be potentially even more damaging.

Sin is sin…truth is truth….make your point.

At the very least, in my own journey, this seems to be what I have consistently run into. But lest you accuse me of getting lost in my own dreamy vision of what I feel to be right, I will tell you that my belief in the salvation of all comes right from the Bible. I believe that in its uncorrupted form, the Bible IS the Word of God, and that when contradictions seem apparent, you might want to check the validity of your Bible translation.

And just what is your point here Kyle? What is the “uncorrupted form” that you speak of? I certainly HOPE that you’re not going to try and tell me that there is some English translation of the bible that’s somehow “uncorrupted” while these new “modern versions” are “corrupted” right?

One of the very last things that is warned of in Revelation is adding and taking away from the scripture. Clearly this warning should not be taken lightly. I’ve had to go back and study the relevant Greek in a few places, and let me tell you it is not easy when your research indicates that the doctrine you believed in your whole life is in error! And that’s the position I was in when I had no other choice but to believe in the eventual salvation of all!

Then you haven’t been reading closely enough.

It was not a path I ever expected to take. But I always kept in mind some of the things that appeared to introduce some very apparent contradictions into what the Bible really teaches. To teach that the Bible does not include the salvation of all you have to:
1) argue in place after place that when the Bible says “all” it only means some of all.
2) Believe that God loves humanity, but he plans on throwing 99% of it away
3) Believe in a God that favors some over others
4) Believe that God knew he would have to eternally torment some humans before he ever created the first human.

Kyle; I’m going to say this one last time; if you post another comment loaded with unfounded accusations against Christians, and heinous straw men as you just did…you will not get to post a comment again at my blog…understood?

If you are logical with yourself, how can you address these problems?

Because they are not problems…They are straw men of your own creation.

Really? Bottom line is, you can’t. You just have to appeal to the mystery of God, and ignore these issues.

Another broad brush stroke and an unfounded accusation.

If you have specifics bring them on, if not…then take your rant elsewhere.

But people who actually take the time to meditate on a doctrine, and think it through fully will not be able to just sleep on it and hope to find the answers some day. It’s just like the concept of eternal punishment itself. Many Christians claim to believe it, but again only as a point of orthodoxy. Have you ever truly thought through how terrible it would be to torture a person in fire FOR AN ETERNITY!!!??? If you truly do believe this, the poop should be scared out of you! If I really believed that, I would not be able to go about my life, caring about anything of this world. If I thought there was a .0001% chance I could wind up there, then I would spend my whole life trembling in fear.

Well Kyle, I’m sorry to hear that you cannot stomach what God says…that’s a shame.

Many Christians have been committed to mental hospitals because believing in that has destabilized their mental state so much that they cannot function.

Either cite source or retract and apologize.

The Calvinists believed and taught that some are predestined to go there, and the Arminians countered that at least our free will has some say in whether or not it happens, making the whole thing seem a bit more palatable.

Well, aside from the fact that the Arminian view point came later and your history is all backwards, we finally GET TO THE POINT…you cannot stomach the doctrines of Grace, and so believing that somehow God leaves it up to you makes it easier for you to live with.

That’s the bottom line isn’t it Kyle? You refuse to submit to scripture. I understand that God must change your heart as He did mine, otherwise you will never accept His sovereignty, or His justice and mercy.

But I found that Hell taught as a place of eternal punishment is not consistent with the Greek words that are found in all of the passages that are used to uphold this doctrine.

Oh gosh Kyle; please enlighten me? I’ve NEVER heard this one  Now do you mean that you studied Greek and deciphered this or do you mean that you found this stuff on the internet and it makes you feel lots better now that there’s no Hell?

In closing here, I respect your position, just as every other Christian that I meet.

Wow…if that’s how you respect someone I’d hate to see how you disrespect them.

But I have found that the new fruit of believing in the salvation of all is that I am truly able to have a new attitude towards my fellow man. I look at each person as a living being created in the image of God, and because of that I am supposed to try to love that person as a fellow human being,

Isn’t that funny…I feel the same way you do…I love my fellow man, I regard each person as being created in the image of God, and yet…I believe that every human deserves what you detest; Hell, Hell, and more Hell. I’ve sinned against God innumerable times, and He’d be just and righteous to punish me for 1000 eternities…But…God who is rich in mercy; saved me…and he did it so that His loving kindness would be on display for all eternity…may God get the glory He deserves!

Just as Jesus commanded me to do. In the past, I was never able to do that. When someone cursed at me I cursed back. If someone tried to hurt me, I avenged it sevenfold. But now I
have a peaceable conflict resolve within me that I certainly did not have before. I don’t know how to explain it, but it is the fruit of believing in this faith. I could counter for hours on all of the most standard objections to believing in the salvation of all, but we don’t have the space here for that.

So none of what you said in either comment directly refutes the actual post above? 🙂

Well, as I said…if this is how you now love people…you must have been Hitler before.

20 08 2009
Kyle

I’m not sure if it would do any good to continue this discussion, because you want to try to tell me that looking at anything from a different perspective is just a straw man argument. If you would like to accuse me of having self-righteous pride here, consider that at least on the surface, it appears that you certainly have a bit of self righteous pride of your own, owing to the angry tone you are throwing at me. I feel that what I have said has some how struck a nerve with you, though that was never my intention. But when someone appears to get upset when a different viewpoint is raised, and will go as far as to even call it slander, I think that person is more interested in just defending a dogmatic doctrine rather than even giving one thought to whether or not there is any merit to the opposing view. I’ve never met you, but I find it intriguing to talk to someone who appears so sure of themself. And that’s not a bad thing! In trusting in this new perspective on the Gospel, I invite you to personally call BS on the belief of the salvation of all. The bible says that we should test all things, so that is what I will always continue to do. The moment any one of us thinks that we’ve got it all figured out, that’s when we need to humble ourselves and realize that God is always revealing new truths to the individual, when the time is right. That’s why I’ve always had a problem with churches and pastors that just want people to stick with a statement of faith, and never question a set of “sacred beliefs”. Then the individual becomes hopelessly dependent on tradidion, and can’t handle any new truth that is revealed. So since you have made it abundantly clear that you want me to cite something from the bible or go somewhere else on the web, please take this opportunity to show that I am wrong:
One of the commandments we are given is to hope and pray for the salvation of unbeliever’s souls. The million dollar question then is, WHAT WOULD BE THE PURPOSE OF DOING THAT? If you believe that some were predestined from the foundation of the world to never be redeemed, what is the point in praying for the salvation of these individuals? Especially when God already knows what the end outcome is going to be? Seems like a rather pointless thing to do under that presupposition, to pray for something that will never come to pass. I want to hear what you have to say to this because there has yet to be anyone who had a clear and concise answer to this one, but maybe you will be that first person. I almost anticipate that you might counter by saying that those people whose salvation is to be prayed for are those who God has already chosen. There again, it seems pretty riduculous for me to pray for something to take place that God has already said will happen regardless of how I feel about it!

Bottom line is this, there are many, many verses which do uphold the belief in the salvation of all. For example

1)
Colossians 1:19
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile (apokatallasso) all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
I bet you will tell me that when it says all things, all does not mean all.

2)
1 Corinthians 15:22-26
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, 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.

Here again, I bet you would argue that all only means some of all.

3)
Romans 5:18-19
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many (all) were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many (all) will be made righteous. (PS- look up the contextual use of the word MANY in Strong’s Concordance)

What is that? The free gift came to ALL MEN? How in any way does that fit with the belief that God has already predestined that some will never be redeemed?

There are many passages just like this throughout the Bible. I am able to look at them and believe with childlike faith that when the Bible says, all, it means ALL. You have to add or subtract to the meaning of these kinds of passages in your mind to see it any other way.

4)
Here’s another one of my favorites.
5. 1 Timothy 4:9-11
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.

Bottom line is this. I believe in the sovereign will of God. All things work according to his counsel. He knows everything that will ever happen. He doesn’t owe us a darn thing. But in Colossians 1:15-20, this gives us a glimpse into the fact that God certainly does not intend to loose any of his creation. It was HIS choice to create beings with the potential to sin. And He ALLOWED satan into the garden to facilitate the process. Could God have created this universe and never allowed it to fall from perfection? He could have, but he chose not to. People always have a hard time understanding why our creator ordained things to go this way. But after reading the Bible, it has become clear to me that there is some grand holy purpose for all of this. And I have often wondered if this is not because God wanted to set a tone of contrast, to make other conceptualities possible. Ask yourself the question, can light shine if there is no darkness? How can God demonstrate mercy, if there is no action for which mercy may be shown? What really is “good”, if nothing bad has ever happened? There is some grand purpose for all of this pain and suffering that we are going through as a race, and after reading the Bible it is my belief that God has set it up this way so in the end, He can lift us up from the gutter, and then we can reflect another great concept…which is eternal gratitude. So then, what story does the Bible tell? What is the Good News? Did Jesus really conquer death and sin, or are we just going to rehash it in Hell for an eternity? Please, please think about what I have said here. I want to hear your counter argument.

21 08 2009
rpavich

Kyle,
Again…you are putting words in my mouth.
where have I said:

looking at anything from a different perspective is just a straw man argument.

When you say things like:

2) Believe that God loves humanity, but he plans on throwing 99% of it away

No Calvinist would ever say that; you are characterizing Calvinism as saying that…hence…I called you on your straw man argument.

If you would like to accuse me of having self-righteous pride here, consider that at least on the surface, it appears that you certainly have a bit of self righteous pride of your own, owing to the angry tone you are throwing at me.

Again…putting words in my mouth. What did I accuse you of? Specifically what did I say?

I feel that what I have said has some how struck a nerve with you, though that was never my intention. But when someone appears to get upset when a different viewpoint is raised, and will go as far as to even call it slander, I think that person is more interested in just defending a dogmatic doctrine rather than even giving one thought to whether or not there is any merit to the opposing view.

You don’t read very carefully do you? To what did I call slander? Your disrespectful words against the God that I love…period.

If you’d like to discuss a particular issue that you disagree with; I’m all ears…but what you seem to think is a rational give and take of ideas consists of a rant on your part.

I’ve never met you, but I find it intriguing to talk to someone who appears so sure of themself.

Why thank you. 🙂

I invite you to personally call BS on the belief of the salvation of all.

fine…any particular text you have in mind? How about 500 words to make your case; 250 words for rebuttal, and a 250 word closing statement?

Pick a passage or two THAT TEACH the salvation of all/or the salvation of just the elect 🙂 and we’ll go for it.

How about John 6:35-45? That’s a specific teaching on the subject.

The bible says that we should test all things, so that is what I will always continue to do.

Well, we’ll see about that when you respond to my arguments specifically from the text itself won’t we?

So since you have made it abundantly clear that you want me to cite something from the bible or go somewhere else on the web, please take this opportunity to show that I am wrong:

Actually you read me wrong again…I was responding to your broad brush comment:

Really? Bottom line is, you can’t. You just have to appeal to the mystery of God, and ignore these issues.

And

Many Christians have been committed to mental hospitals because believing in that has destabilized their mental state so much that they cannot function.

One of the commandments we are given is to hope and pray for the salvation of unbeliever’s souls. The million dollar question then is, WHAT WOULD BE THE PURPOSE OF DOING THAT? If you believe that some were predestined from the foundation of the world to never be redeemed, what is the point in praying for the salvation of these individuals?

Really? that’s your killer argument against predestination? That you believe that because God is sovereign in all things that there is no point to praying for someone’s salvation?

You must be kidding right? Have you neverfollow any discussion on this subject before? I’m your first conversation about it?

The fact is; the bible teaches exactly what you just said; that God predestined us for salvation before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians among other passages) and God also commands us to pray.

Both are true.

Just how does God being sovereign in salvation negate the need to pray again?

That’s a horrible argument but if you’d like to use it in our “real discussion” that I mentioned above; you’re welcome to.

Especially when God already knows what the end outcome is going to be?

Are you seriously saying that in your theology God is ignorant of future events?? Please tell me you don’t believe that.

Seems like a rather pointless thing to do under that presupposition, to pray for something that will never come to pass.

So, in your theology God is just sitting up there with nothing to do; waiting for the right person to pray for the right thing so He can take action?

Give me a break.

I want to hear what you have to say to this because there has yet to be anyone who had a clear and concise answer to this one, but maybe you will be that first person.

Again, you don’t get out much do you?

I almost anticipate that you might counter by saying that those people whose salvation is to be prayed for are those who God has already chosen. There again, it seems pretty riduculous for me to pray for something to take place that God has already said will happen regardless of how I feel about it!

You will poo poo that I’m sure but as the bible teaches both and you said that you seek the truth and always be testing your own beliefs I’d suggest you take a closer look.

Bottom line is this, there are many, many verses which do uphold the belief in the salvation of all. For example

1) Colossians 1:19

19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile (apokatallasso) all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
I bet you will tell me that when it says all things, all does not mean all.

Well, since you are asserting that “pas” means “every human that ever lived and will ever live” then the burden of proof is in your camp.

What I”d say about this verse is “just how does that mean that all men will be saved exactly? Who are the “men in Heaven” getting reconciled to Him exactly?
My comment would be that you should be going to texts that actually address your presumption; that all are saved.

2) 1 Corinthians 15:22-26
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, 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.

Here again, I bet you would argue that all only means some of all.

And you would be right; unless you are willing to count God and Jesus Christ in the first “pas” all, then you are acknowledging that “all” doesn’t mean “all” all of the time. Are you willing to do that? Include God and Christ in your “all”?
If not; then give justification for your understanding of “pas” here. Why do you think it means “every human who ever lived and will ever live”?

I won’t argue that “all doesn’t always mean every person who ever lived and will ever live” I’ll let Paul do that for me. In fact; it’s in the very next verse; verse 27 of the passage you just sited:

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

So you see, it’s a false requirement to try and say that their is no limit to the “alls” of scripture.

The fact is is that I have no problem with this verse; just as Adam is the progenitor of all who sinned, Christ is the progenitor of all who will be made alive.

If you believe that Paul is schitzo and contradicts himself between here and other writings (Romans being one); then fine, but I don’t think he did.

3) Romans 5:18-19
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many (all) were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many (all) will be made righteous. (PS- look up the contextual use of the word MANY in Strong’s Concordance)

Strongs? Really? You gotta be kidding.

Maybe we should look up the contextual use of “pas” also, in spite of your insisting that we shouldn’t?

(Mat 2:3 KJV) When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Did every person in Jerusalem hear Christ and was everyone troubled?

(Mat 3:5 KJV) Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan,

(Mark 1:5 KJV) And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

Did everyone in Judea and all the surrounding region come out to see John the Baptist and then get baptized?

(Mat 10:22 KJV) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Does this all include Christians?

You may not like it but the word “pas” almost NEVER refers to the entire human race without exception.

What is that? The free gift came to ALL MEN? How in any way does that fit with the belief that God has already predestined that some will never be redeemed?

Well, one of two things are going on. Either the bible cannot be trusted; and the writer of scripture contradicted himself constantly (The Holy Spirit)

OR…

Greek words have a semantic range, and must be understood in their context and setting.

Now which do you suppose is true?

There are many passages just like this throughout the Bible. I am able to look at them and believe with childlike faith that when the Bible says, all, it means ALL.

Don’t forget to look at the passages I cited above and tell me how they could be read that they mean “all of the humans that ever lived and will ever live” with that childlike faith of yours.

You have to add or subtract to the meaning of these kinds of passages in your mind to see it any other way.

Now you’re just being silly.

4) Here’s another one of my favorites.
5. 1 Timothy 4:9-11
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.

So explain to me how is God the savior of everyone BUT ESPECIALLY of those who believe again? Could you explain that to me? how is one saved or REALLY REALLY SAVED?

Are you truly telling me you’ve never ever read the Calvinistic writings on these Arminian proof texts? give me a break.

And the rest is just more rant that was too painful to go through.

If this is all you have then you might want to buy a few reference volumes on this issue.

These are passages that have been dealt with for hundreds of years that I know of, you are not bringing an “Calvin-Killers” to the table my friend…and just a tip…to exegete is more than just proof-texting.

You may disagree and refuse to even consider the other side; I understand that but don’t shut your eyes while at the same time saying that you continually examine your position…that’s not true.

If you’d like a few good books on these verses just let me know…or you could just search the web (or this site)….they’ve been dealt with ad nauseum.

21 08 2009
Kyle

Kyle,
Sorry bro…I deleted your 2000 word ramble fest.

Do you actually have a good argument that hasn’t been refuted or do you just like to hear yourself talk?

This is a comment box…not your personal soap-box.

I told you that if you’d like to pick a passage or two that directly address the extent of salvation, then fine…let’s do it…but not in my combox.

If you have any specific refutations of the actual statements in the post above, I’m all ears.

22 08 2009
Kyle

Kyle,
Like I said, my site is not your personal soap box.

Quoting you:

You just say the word and I won’t post another thing on this site again.

“The Word”

If you’d like to have a post where we can pick a passage and exegete and have some cross examination then fine…but your meandering rants are getting old.

———————————‘
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

I decided to post Kyles rambling commentary, insults, and logical fallacies that substitute for a good refutation of the points made in my last comments to him so the reader could see just what Kyle thinks is solid argumentation and also see that anytime Karl wants to; he’s welcome to come and make a case in a dedicated post of it’s own, and let the reader decide who’s exegeting scripture consistently and carefully.

Here is Kyle’s comment with my comments interspersed:

Comment:

I will admit that it appears futile to continue this argument, and we may have to agree to disagree. I certainly don’t expect a warm and fuzzy welcome from a site administrator that holds an entirely different view from myself.

Now you have to resort to deleting my arguments to show me that you don’t like what I have to say.

Kyle, why do you insist on burning straw men? What did I say about why I deleted your comment?
Part of rational discourse is being honest about what is said.

And that is fine, this is YOUR web site. You just say the word and I won’t post another thing on this site again. I’m sure it is much more endearing to read posts from people who believe what you believe.

And of course instead of a rational argument about 1st John 2:2, I get instead a lightly veiled insult about how narrow minded I am.

I was expecting that you would have a challenging argument to counter me with, but rather than argue against any one thing I have had to say, in so many words you just keep telling me that I’m on a soap box, or I’m ranting.

You didn’t see my quotes and comments in the previous comments? If you couldn’t make a good case in 2500 words, why pile on more rhetoric?

If you think of what I have to say as nothing more than a bag of hot air, why haven’t you taken a single opportunity to nail me on some pretty darn bold statements I’ve made???

Again, have you not read my previous comments on a quote by quote basis?

If all you’ve been doing all along here is watching your forum software’s word counter rather than really taking into consideration what I am saying then I need not continue bothering you until your ears are ready to hear me.

And again…insult instead of content.

I gave you four bible passages in the post you deleted and I’m still all ears to hear your different take on any one of them.

And as I’ve stated repeatedly; this combox is not your personal soap box; if you’d like to post a passage then give your reading; be cross examined, and then I’ll do the same, I’m ready…but not in my combox.

Our main difference here is that I don’t cherish one single statement of faith, and interpret all of what God has to offer through that lens.

Oh yes….you’re understanding of scripture is uncluttered by any presuppositions, your interpretation is = the word.
The person who believes that they have no presuppositions are the most dangerous of all, for that very reason.

You mentioned that there is only one accurate understanding of the truth. But the fact of the matter is that many highly intelligent persons have spent their lives studying the scriptures, and often have come up with irreconcilable points of view all from the same Bible.

And just what does the fact that people differ on their understanding of a document have to do with the message of that document? That’s a logical fallacy.

Like I said, I was brought up Baptist, but I’ve listened to pentecostal preachers, and even studied with Jehovah’s Witnesses. And all of these different groups are very good at systematically pointing out various bible passages that appear to uphold their doctrine.

And some of them are dead wrong…your point would be?

But instead of sweating about this like I used to, I realize that they all contain some measure of truth and some error, and that it is up to the Holy Spirit to work inside of me and become the author and finisher of my faith.

I agree, we are not infallible.

And, I will not sit here and assert that I am right and you are wrong.

Really? Then what were the last 4500 words all about? You seem to dismiss my arguments so far, and in fact, you haven’t even addressed ANY of the points I’ve made, either in the main post, or in any of my comments. That sounds more close minded than open minded.

That would just be pure arrogance.

Really? Do you think that you’re right about that statement?

I came to your site to hear a totally different view point, to test my assumptions against someone else’s.

And you are doing nothing but “reading God’s word like an innocent baby” right?
No belief system for you…just the pure word in whatever you say it means…how convenient.

But since it is clear that your “belief system” is so deeply entrenched in your mind, right now it is impossible for you to even consider another take on what the Gospel might really be teaching.

Again, thinly veiled insults masquerade as arguments.

No hard feelings though.

None here either.

My best of wishes to you and the journey through life that you must take. I am going to leave this message board now, and if you are ever feeling like talking some more on this, you certainly have my email.

Well, as I said. I think it might be profitable for you to make your case in a dedicated post instead of my combox or a personal email. I don’t intend to change your mind but only illustrate the truth of the Doctrines of Grace to whomever may come here to my blog.

When you’d like to do that; I think that any reader of my blog would benefit from seeing just what is brought to the exegetical table by your belief system.
UPDATE: Link added
https://goshareyourfaith.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/1st-corinthians-1522-and-universalism/

bob

1 03 2011
austinmrogers

I have a few exegetical complaints to make about Rev. Samson’s refutation. (As an aside, it is certainly interesting that he didn’t mean just to give an exegesis of 1 John 2:2, he set out to refute the “Arminian” interpretation.)

“It is possible that the word “world” here refers to every person on planet earth, but in my estimation, not very likely, because of the fact that we have a Jew, writing to fellow Jews.”

The Greek word John uses here (which he is quite fond of using—58 verses!) is ‘kosmos.’ Sometimes ‘kosmos’ is used in reference to the unbelieving world/the ungodly but it is more often used to signify the entirety of the human race — i.e. all the human inhabitants of the earth.

There is no reason based on the Greek word’s usage elsewhere in John’s literature to suppose it means something less than the whole human race. To interpret ‘kosmos’ to mean the aggregate total of a particular group is unfounded by anything in the text (at least that I can see). To say, for instance, that those times John says it was Christ’s purpose to save the “world” (Jn. 1:29, 12:47; 1 Jn. 2:2; cf. Jn. 6:33) mean something less than all of humanity is to cheapen the word.

(After all, we don’t read John 3:16 and think that God loves “peoples of all kinds” we suppose that He loves each and every member of the human race.)

Thus I find no reason to interpret “world” as something less than the whole human race in 1 John 2:2. The basis for Christ’s gathering “other sheep that are not of His fold” (Jn. 10:16) and dying not only for the nation of Israel but for all nations (Jn. 11:51-52) is that Christ came to save the world. Christ’s coming to save the world is the stronger statement.

Furthermore, Christ’s dying for God’s people/His sheep/His friends/His church is contained within His dying for the sins of everyone in the world, so none of the verses Samson cited contradict John’s strong statement in 1 John.

I am of the persuasion that if John meant to say Christ came only to propitiate the sins of the elect, he would said that; he could easily have written something intimates a limited atonement, like “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of peoples of all kinds.” But that is not the language John used.

I am a bit afraid that Rev. Samson has let his theology be the hermeneutic by which he interprets 1 John 2:2. Don’t get me wrong, theology is helpful (and probably inevitable) and sometimes useful for interpretation. But it is dangerous to interpret Scripture in light of a system of doctrine, which is what I suspect Rev. Samson to be doing here.

God bless.

1 03 2011
rpavich

Austin,
Welcome and thank you for taking the time to write such a comprehensive comment… 🙂

I’d like to refute a few points that you made.

You said:

“It is possible that the word “world” here refers to every person on planet earth, but in my estimation, not very likely, because of the fact that we have a Jew, writing to fellow Jews.”

The Greek word John uses here (which he is quite fond of using—58 verses!) is ‘kosmos.’ Sometimes ‘kosmos’ is used in reference to the unbelieving world/the ungodly but it is more often used to signify the entirety of the human race — i.e. all the human inhabitants of the earth.

Actually, that’s not true. It almost NEVER refers to “every human who ever lived or will ever live. Check John’s usage. It appears 105 times in 78 verses and very rarely does it refer to the entire human race.

If you can show usage that proves this assertion the do it.

You then said:

There is no reason based on the Greek word’s usage elsewhere in John’s literature to suppose it means something less than the whole human race. To interpret ‘kosmos’ to mean the aggregate total of a particular group is unfounded by anything in the text (at least that I can see). To say, for instance, that those times John says it was Christ’s purpose to save the “world” (Jn. 1:29, 12:47; 1 Jn. 2:2; cf. Jn. 6:33) mean something less than all of humanity is to cheapen the word.

You may thing that cheapens it but just SAYING that he’s incorrect doesn’t make him incorrect.

You then said:

(After all, we don’t read John 3:16 and think that God loves “peoples of all kinds” we suppose that He loves each and every member of the human race.)

Actually, I do believe that “world” in John 3:16 could either mean “men from every tribe tongue people and nation” as John says in revelation, OR it could just mean the world in general.

But even then…God loving the world doesn’t at all imply this His love for His elect is EXACTLY the same love he has for those who will spend eternity being punished in the presence of the Lamb.

Then you said:

Thus I find no reason to interpret “world” as something less than the whole human race in 1 John 2:2. The basis for Christ’s gathering “other sheep that are not of His fold” (Jn. 10:16) and dying not only for the nation of Israel but for all nations (Jn. 11:51-52) is that Christ came to save the world. Christ’s coming to save the world is the stronger statement.

Stronger or not (in your estimation) isn’t exegesis. Do you have an EXEGETICAL basis for objecting?

The you said:

Furthermore, Christ’s dying for God’s people/His sheep/His friends/His church is contained within His dying for the sins of everyone in the world, so none of the verses Samson cited contradict John’s strong statement in 1 John.

Except for one little thing. Christ’s death PAID THE PENALTY for the sins of a group….not the “potential payment” but an actual payment.

He IS the propitiation. Which means that he “propitiated sin”…whomever he died in place of; they cannot have their sins held against them…so if this is to be taken as “everyone who ever lived or will ever live” (including those in hell at the time of Christ’s death) then are we saying that nobody goes to Hell?

Christ cannot propitiate a person’s sin, and that person also pay the price for his sin….

Then you said:

I am of the persuasion that if John meant to say Christ came only to propitiate the sins of the elect, he would said that; he could easily have written something intimates a limited atonement, like “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of peoples of all kinds.” But that is not the language John used.

Can’t we let John define his own words? “Men from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation” is a fine understanding of Kosmos; in fact, John says exactly that in Revelation:

“ They were singing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”” (Revelation 5:9–10, NET)

John understands Jesus’ ransom as payment for “not all whoever lived or will ever live” but a subset of that, just like Pastor Sampson said.
;
We must let John define his own terms, and not assume the meaning.

The term for “ransomed” is an active indicative verb…it’s an action that Christ performed, and it’s real in the mind of the writer (John) not just a “potential” ransoming.

So, that’s one good reason to understand “kosmos” the way that Pastor Sampson does…because John understands it that way.

Then you said:

I am a bit afraid that Rev. Samson has let his theology be the hermeneutic by which he interprets 1 John 2:2. Don’t get me wrong, theology is helpful (and probably inevitable) and sometimes useful for interpretation. But it is dangerous to interpret Scripture in light of a system of doctrine, which is what I suspect Rev. Samson to be doing here.

And I believe that you’ve demonstrated that you are doing what you accuse Pastor Sampson of doing.

You’ve not given one shred of EXEGETICAL proof for your many assertions but only your opinion.

In your main assertion (that Kosmos almost always means “everyone who ever lived or will ever live”) is simply not true.

I ran a search and you are wrong.

So…God bless you too…

bob

God bless.

21 02 2015
Ash

rpavich,

What these people have tried to explain is the view that, even at the very least, the use of the word ‘all’, regardless of whether it refers to the entire human race or not, the governing point is that, specifically, John’s use refers to the population as a whole. The point that whether or not it refers to everyone individually is irrelevant, given the verse does neither address nor deny the Calvinist doctrine. What do I mean? This is where the burden of exegetical proof lies, which is the point Austin was trying to make, albeit a little oddly.

So, a good example of construal is this:

“Let me start by affirming that scripture is explicit in saying that Jesus died:

for God’s people

He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of My people”
– Isaiah 53:8;
He shall save His people from their sins”
– Matt. 1:21”

Here, biblical texts are used to support the view of “God’s people”. I agree with this. But who are God’s people? The burden of proof for the Calvinist, or Armenian case lies in the exegetical proof for “God’s people”, being the elect, and the elect also, notably, being those predestined for, also of note, specifically predestined salvation…or not. This is where theology comes into play.

So, having given this evidence, a construal would be to say that because these verses refer to “God’s people”, it refers not to everyone, and by extension, this leads us to believe only God’s people, the elect (The construal). The Bible will either have to state whether or not God’s people are the elect ,or those which have come, or are coming, or will come, or can come, into his kingdom. So what is a, shall we say, a definitive case for Calvinism?

Let us take Rev. john Samson’s example given:

– note that Jesus categorically states that some are not His sheep – “but you do not believe because you are not My sheep.” – John 10:26.

It is fitting to study theology from a historic standpoint in order to gain what most apologetics refer to as ‘context’, as he further discusses later.

My only goal here is to highlight that the verse John 10:26 cannot be used for exegetical proof, simply because it is not referring to salvation, whether of works, or election, or faith, but more simply, that Christ is the son of God. What do I mean?

The exegetical proof:

The verse:
“but you do not believe because you are not my sheep, as I have said to you”. Please note the use of the metaphor of Sheep, and perhaps more pertinent, “As I have said to you”.

The context:
Jesus had been staying for some time in Jerusalem, and the Jews had already approached him multiple times with the same question, “Are you the Son of God”. Jesus had answered them, time and time again, with the parable of the sheep, stating that although they had heard, they did not believe or follow. But Christ called those who had heard and followed “his sheep”. Just as a shepherd whom calls to his sheep, so they follow. Relevant is a study of John 10:1-6, followed by 7-18, noting that the parable of Christ is the the gate, taken with the parable of the shepherd, coming in by him alone. (now read John 10:26, and 10:27)

The reason:
The feast of dedication occurred roughly 2 months after the parable of the sheep was given. Many did not understand it, and when Christ gave a more thorough explanation in verses 7-18, the Jews grew angry at his statement. So at the feast they sought a confession so they could seize and kill him. Christ simply reaffirmed himself in verses 10:25-29, but gave a direct answer in John 10:30: “I and my Father are one”. The Jews then sought to stone him to death, having succeeded in gaining what they sought, but they did not succeed.

Interestingly enough, in verses 40-42, it describes people, having witnessed the miracles performed by Christ, affirming their faith in him. This was the final place, located somewhere around Perea or Batanea, that Christ witnessed in before going to his crucifixion

Which speaks louder? The voice of context or the voice of theology? What is exegetical proof, because somewhere along the line, exegetical proof relies on interpretation, and interpretation on historicity, and context. But whose context? Is this a straw man? Is everything I’ve said just an opinion, a construal? I would be most happy to continue this discussion via here or email, I believe Romans 8-10 is very insightful.

I believe Calvinism is a step in the right direction. It recognizes God’s elect purpose and plan for salvation, ordained before the world began. However, it does not reconcile the responsibility of Man to respond to the word of God given unto us.

Yours sincerely, Ash

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