ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Myself (Yxboom), an administrator (Knight, Becky, or Lion), PilgrimAgain or 1013. You may discuss Battle Royale VI here
Battle Royale VI - PilgrimAgain vs. 1013
"The Destiny of the Unevangelized" Restrictivism vs. Inclusivism.
Have both combatants read, understand and agree to the battle Royale Rules?
I need a post from each combatant stating "YES" regarding the rules.
This will be a 5 round battle and will be moderated by myself and Knight.
Combatants are you ready?
After I receive a "Yes" affirming that each combatant understands the rules, Graceinme will flip a coin to determine who posts first, then that chosen combatant will have 48 hours to make his/her opening statement. Each combatant will then have 48 hours to make subsequent posts after the other combatant makes their post. You do not need to wait for me to officially end a round before making your next response.
This will be a 5 round battle (10 post total - 5 posts each).
Battle Royale VI - PilgrimAgain vs. 1013
"The Destiny of the Unevangelized" Restrictivism vs. Inclusivism.
This will be a 5 round battle and will be refereed by myself and Knight.
And the coin toss.....
Heads = PilgrimAgain
Tails = 1013
>only if you all could see what I see <
Our first Gladiator on the clock will be PilgrimAgain.
PilgrimAgain will begin and is now on the clock. PilgrimAgain has 48 hours to make his first post and then 1013 will have 48 hours to make his first post after PilgrimAgain's first post has been posted. You do not need to take 48 hours to post your post and you do not NEED to wait for me to end a round. Simply post your posts when your ready as long as its your turn!
Be sure to use the Preview Reply button until you are completely satisfied with your response before posting to avoid any penalties.
ANY AND ALL POSTS ON THIS THREAD WILL BE DELETED UNLESS THEY ARE POSTED BY: Myself (Yxboom), an administrator (Knight, Becky, or Lion), PilgrimAgain or 1013. You may discuss Battle Royale VI here
The purpose of this exchange from my side of the ring is to show why Restrictivism is the orthodox and right view and why inclusivism fails.Surely, after the fall of the first man no knowledge of God apart from the Mediator [Christ] has had power unto salvation. (Rom 1:16; I Cor. 1:24). For Christ not only speaks of his own age, but comprehends all ages when he says; “This is eternal life, to know the Father to be the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent” (Jn 17:3). Thus, all the more vile is the stupidity of those persons who open heaven to all the impious and unbelieving without the grace of him whom Scripture commonly teaches to be the only door whereby we enter into salvation (Jn. 10:9)
I intend to do this through various means:
- By showing through scripture how Christ himself (as well as the authors of the rest of the New Testament) teaches that his [Christ's] name must be called upon.
- By arguing that inclusivism does not consider the glory of Christ's name nor the importance of "name" in ancient near eastern cultures.
- By arguing the case from philosophical grounds pointing out that inclusivism comes about when we confuse what seems either painful or pleasurable to us humans, with what is actually good or evil (or Just and unjust if you prefer) in God’s eyes (ie. The idea that it is somehow not just for God send the un-evangelized to death because we are uncomfortable with that)..
- by arguing that inclusivism undermines the great commission.
I would love to flesh this is out more in the first post but as I understand it, the first post is to be your statement of purpose and the rest is supposed to be the meat. However let me make just a few brief introductory remarks.
The quote at the top of the page is from Calvin (Institutes.Book 2. Chp. VI. pps. 341-342) and is the explicit positive argument based on the words of Christ himself for Restrictivism. That is to say, one must not merely be true to some human construct or understanding of what or who God is, but one must call particularly on the name of Christ to find eternal life. The scriptural teaching on this is explicit and clear:
- John 17:3; 10:9; 14:6
- Eph. 2:12
- Acts 4:12
- Rom. 1:20-21
- 1Cor. 3:11
- 1John 5:11-12
Sanders, Pinnock and all who argue for inclusivism (The idea that one does not have to know Christ for eternal life) would have us believe that there is no need for the name of Christ at all; that the cause of evangelism is a futile and indeed pointless one. Can this be so? Was Christ merely giving his disciples, and by extension us, busy work? Something to do that ultimately didn’t matter?
The fundamental idea that comes behind pure inclusivism (and it is this that I hope 1013 is arguing) is not that Christ, or Christ’s cross is unnecessary, but that our knowledge of that work of sacrifice is unnecessary. That is to say, the nature of Christ’s work is necessary in an ontological way but not an epistemological way(From Exclusivism to Inclusivism Thomas Finger, Eastern Mennonite Seminary. Catalyst Magazine). I argue that this is in clear contradiction to Christ’s own statement in John 17:3. Christ explicitly says that knowledge of not only the father, but of Christ Jesus is what ensures our eternal life and certainly the words of the Christ, God incarnate, have strong bearing on the modus operandi of God. It will also be important in the same context to discuss just what general and special revelation can do for the individual human estate.
Well I don’t want to tip my hand too far so with that being said I look forward to the rest of this exchange as I know 1013 to be a true person of faith with a keen intellect and graceful spirit. (I’m still gonna throw a few chairs though!)
P.S. While I will try to address 1013's arguments throughout the debate, I may save the bulk of criticism of his arguments for the last round. The idea behind this is that I want to argue the benefits of Restrictivism as much as I want to tear down the "vile stupidity" (Hey Calvin's words not mine!) of inclusivism. I am not decided yet I just want to inform you, dear reader, of my intentions so you do not think I am ignoring the arguments that are being presented. In other words, be patient, I have plan!
[I]The basis of salvation in every age is the death of Christ; the object of faith in every age is God; the content of faith changes in the various dispensations.”
Charles Ryrie was a dispensationalist, and I believe a restrictivist. I am neither, but in this short statement, he virtually articulates my position on the way in which God brings to men salvation from damnation. Inclusivism is a way to balance two truths spoken of in scripture. One of those truths is that Jesus is God’s method of making salvation possible at all; the second is that God has a desire to save all men. So though it is God’s desire for all men to come to understand who He is through Jesus Christ and to realize the potential for a relationship with Him, He is still resourceful to accomplish salvation from Hell for those outside the scope of the Gospel.
Now, though Inclusivism is in general founded upon those two truths, one of which is a standard of Arminianism, it must be noted that there are inclusivists on all sides of the Who’s Who of Salvation debate, among Calvinists, Molinists, and Arminians. Thinkers from all three of these camps span the range from universalism to restrictivism (the only exception being Arminian universalists as I’ve never heard of such a thing). For the most part, I do not intend to argue the universal salvific will of God but I will have a few points to make assuming some Calvinistic standards such as total depravity (though I do not have a strong opinion on that notion).
On that note, I will briefly mention here (as I do not intend for this to be a debate topic) that Inclusivism, though possibly not held by the majority of Christians, has nevertheless had a strong foothold in the tradition. Inclusivism has been around since the days of the Church Fathers as Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, and Ireneaus held to the belief. Thomas Aquinas is the most notable figure from the Middle Ages to hold to Inclusivism. In the reformation period, we have Zwingli, Calvin’s cohort. Closer yet to our time are John Wesley and today, that evangelical icon, C. S. Lewis, and Mr. Evangelicalism himself, Billy Graham!
A quick note here on what I mean by the Gospel. Geoff informed me that he holds this view but he believes that the Gospel is universally available. What I mean by Gospel is that historical message that explicitly informs us of who Jesus is and what he did for us.
I have arguments for this position coming from three different approaches. I have Biblical arguments, an argument concerning the specifics of other religions and cultures, and I have two arguments about philosophical consistency. I am going to throw all of these on the table, but I expect to focus on the Biblical arguments.
I’ll discuss Paul’s speech to the Athenians which I find to be one of the most powerful evidences of inclusivism. Almost as good is Romans 1-3. Also instructive is the conversion of the first Christian Gentile, Cornelius. These last two sections of scripture also have been used by the restrictivists to bolster their claims, but I intend to show they have not been observant enough. Also, I will discuss people from scripture who have been given the curious title of Holy Pagans. One of these characters I consider to be so problematic for the restrictivist position that citing that person may turn the tide on the argument. Slob that I am, though these are the main scriptures I will use to the end of arguing my case, I may add some other major scriptural considerations throughout. Also, I may bring some of these not on their own but in the process of critiquing Pilgrimagain’s arguments.
Concerning the argument on other religions, I’d like to mention that the term Inclusivismis applied to two different positions from different debates, though there is a connection. The term we use here has to do merely with the possibility of salvation for people outside of our religion. Inclusivism of religion is a position in the debate regarding the fact that there are numerous religions and it means that all religions have some validity but there is one supreme one that comes closest to the truth or describes it perfectly. There is a connection between the two forms of inclusivism. But I’d like to make a further distinction in the various positions held regarding inclusivism of religion. Let us say that there is a weak version of Inclusivism. This represents the least amount of validity of other religions that we can hold to for salvific Inclusivism to work. I will just tweak this a bit, though, to include cultures as well.
Now I’d also like to point out that there is a strong version of religious Inclusivism. This says that although there is one supreme religion, other religions and cultures may have some substantial knowledge about God to bring to the table that is unknown to the supreme religion. I will not be arguing this position except to point out that every Calvinist and anyone else who has a history intertwined with Classical Theism ought to tip their hats to this form of inclusivism. Why? Because pagan Greek thought has, for better or for worse, and I truly believe for better AND for worse, influenced Christian thought, and I do emphasize, as every classical theist should (though I am not one), that it happened for the better.
This is how I will state the weak religious inclusivistic position; In all cultures and/or religions, we may find some evidence of God’s grace and light at work which is not useless for the cause of salvation and relate this to salvific Inclusivism. In the absence of the Gospel, God will judge the peoples of the world on the basis of how they respond to that grace that is available to them. This is the grounds that I intend to argue citing evidence from other religions of God’s grace and light at work.
With regard to philosophical considerations, the first concern that I will bring concerns the notion of reprobation, which for my purposes will be defined as the guarantee or foregone conclusion of damnation before one is even born. I will cite problems with this in my discussion of biblical considerations, but with the philosophical argument, I will point out that this notion is inconsistent with human nature, specifically human nature apart from the corruption of sin that is an undeniably good part of God’s design still functioning in any reasonably psychologically healthy persons. The second argument calls restrictivism to account for sticky issues concerning the transition period during Christ’s life and death.
Excellent opening Gladiators! PilgrimAgain is on the clock
I want to start with this bit from Romans. I start here for two reasons:What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: "There is no one who is righteous, not even one; there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one." "Their throats are opened graves; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of vipers is under their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For "no human being will be justified in his sight" by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;
-  It shows clearly that righteousness comes through an explicit faith in Christ.
 It addresses the inclusivist idea that we will be judged according to the truth we did know.
Here in Romans 3 we see the estate of ALL of humanity described. Some would argue that this is merely hyperbole. I would argue that, though it seems exaggerated, it is not far off from the true description of humanity. There is not one righteous person. Even the person you think to be the holiest or most faithful has sinned at some point in life, even if it was merely a yelling match with his or her spouse. Even if it was only one lustful thought. Even Ghandi was guilty of doubting in what he proclaimed. The Dali Lama is guilty of political machination. Any non-Christian could easily point to those men as examples of pious living outside of Christ. There is not one person who has ever lived who has remained at all times faithful to the principles he or she holds. No one is capable of perfection in that way. The point is that even judged by how one holds to the truth he or she does know, he or she will still be found wanting in that light so a mediator is still needed. That mediator can only be Christ who was completely righteous because even the smallest failing is to fall short of the perfect righteousness of God.
To sum up, if we are to be judged by the truth we did know, and we were not faithful to it, (and none of us are) we will be judged as unacceptable. And thus Paul states clearly that righteousness is not merely through Christ, but through “faith” in Christ.
One should also note the very words of Christ himself. For my purposes here I will not waste time on verses that do not explicitly affirm the confession of Christ. The inclusivist will argue from silence in regards to verses like “I am the way and the truth and life, no man comes to father except through me.” The argument states that such verses make no mention of an actual confession or active knowledge of Christ. Of course the argument from silence is the worst possible kind. It is especially heinous in this matter because to make the argument from silence here is to ignore the total context of scripture. In other words the exegetical principle that “Scripture is always interpreted by scripture” must be ignored by inclusivists in order for them to make their argument. But I digress….
Let’s start with John 3:16. The inclusivist likes to use 3:17 as some sort of proof text for their point of view pointing to the idea that God would not let people be damned because this says God does not want it. What they do here is to try a smoke and mirror trick to get one to stop skip over vs. 16 and then never get to vs. 18. And why would they want us to ignore those verses? Let’s take a look…
Context, context, context. I believe it is our very own Jaltus who says that ‘With out context what you have is pretext.” And the context here clearly shows that that verse seventeen can not be used as an inclusivist proof because it is informed by the verse before and after it that define it.16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that [b]everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life…….18. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
The other interesting thing to note is that Christ himself affirms that not only will the person who does not believe in him NOT have eternal life, he or she will indeed perish for not believing it. The idea of punishment and reward based on explicit faith is voiced by the very mouth of God himself. Certainly that holds more weight than all the theologians we can muster to this argument to the contrary.
I am running short of space here but there is one more bit of scripture that I want to bring up because it described explicitly what salvation is for us…Rom 10:9-11
This is the clear prescription for salvation and as far as I am concerned it is the one essential doctrine of any Christian church.. Let me be clear…to be a Christian one must confess with the lips and believe in ones heart that Christ was raised from the dead.because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame."
The inclusivist will argue that the verses do not say that one is necessarily condemned if one does not confess, it only offers a certain way of salvation.(Hey there’s a great idea, let’s teach people to hope that the door to Heaven will be opened on a technicality for us rather than trying with all our might to do what God has told us to do!) Do you really think that if there was another way God would have been so capricious as to have not mentioned it? The fact is that God, in his word, has laid out the plan and the epistemological model by which a person is saved. The terminology is clear and explicit, one does not have to dig deep to find the means of salvation, one does not have to twist the interpretation out of the text because it is plain and clear, the way God intends. On the other hand, the inclusivist must make an argument from silence. The inclusivist has to twist the interpretation out of the text. The principle of “Occurs Razor” applies here. That is to say, it is dangerous to make if more difficult than it really is. Also one must again use scripture to interpret scripture. John 3:16ff are the words of Christ on the very same subject. In Jn 3:16 Christ lays out the result of believing and of not believing. All bases are covered by Christ and Paul knows what those bases are. He is not in his silence arguing for the inclusivist model, rather he is simply concentrating of the positive half of what Christ had already explained.
Will we take our understanding of God from the clear and explicit teaching of Christ and then Paul or will we take our understanding from the well of silence?
To sum up:
- If we are judged according to the truth we did know we will still be found lacking.
- Christ and the writers of the New Testament stated explicitly the essential epistemology for salvation. All else is an argument from silence. (And can I say it again? "Vile Stupidity!")
(Because this is getting long I would point the reader back to my initial post for further examples of explicit scripture on the matter of restrictivism. Those scriptures need little interpretation because they are simply stated. I will come to them as needed in my responses to 1013 and for clarification of my own position but do not have the time or space to expound on them all here.)
Moderator Interruption: I am instituting a 18000 character max message length rule which will be roughly the size of one DDW post on eschatology
There’s a detail lacking in Pilgrimagain’s first post, leaving a glaring problem in the Restrictivist picture. Just how is it that the Old Testament heroes, saints, and authors have this explicit knowledge of Christ?. They are certainly not damned. The answer is that you cannot call any faith that they have in Christ “explict.”. Now I will leave this issue as it is and allow Pilgrim the chance to explain this apparent hole in his picture instead of presuming what he might say.
Now in general, it is not simply true that the Inclusivist has no epistemic expectations of those outside the spatial/temporal boundaries of the Gospel. Salvation is made possible through either the acceptance of special revelation or general revelation. So the epistemic requirement depends upon their acceptance and expected response to the light that is available to them. Many restrictivists will point to Romans 1:19-32 to show that this knowledge can only condemn. Ironically, though, this may be one of the first verses an Inclusivist will think of to support his view. A libertarian may respond to this insisting it is nonsense that anyone can be condemned for not responding positively to what they couldn’t positively respond to. Chapter two goes on to say that they can indeed respond to this light positively.
Pilgrimagain goes on to quote chapter three to show that explicit knowledge of Christ is necessary. Again, you could not call the knowledge of the Old Testament saints explicit. Secondly, he says it shows that we are all in the same boat. To this, I agree. Whether you’ve had special revelation or general revelation, all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)
Now Salvation comes through faith in Jesus, the incarnate creator God, the only God. So if they respond to the message that they have from the one and only God, why should they be denied salvation since they have faith in God, even though they don’t know He is the son.
So what does it look like for them to respond to God in faith?
Indeed, when Gentiles… do by nature things required by the law… they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts
That they should follow the law written on their hearts is the manifestation of faith. Now a Calvinist might cry foul and point us back to Paul’s insistence that there is noone who follows the law or is righteous, because after all we are totally depraved.
At this point I’d like to bring up the scriptures regarding Cornelius.
Scripture records that Cornelius’ gifts to the poor and prayers went up before God as a memorial offering. When Peter met Cornelius and learned how an angel came to him and told him to send for Peter, which coincided with Peter’s vision, Peter concluded "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”
Now is this totally a non-sequitor of Peter’s or is Peter concluding that Cornelius is righteous (one who does what is right)? The latter seems most reasonable.
How can we take this in a way that coheres with what Paul said in Romans 3. I think the words of none other than the restrictivist John Calvin himself are helpful here.
So Calvin says that the way that the total depravitarian gets around this description of Cornelius as righteous is to say that the righteousness is a manifestation of the fruits of the spirit and is a work of God’s grace! And I’d like to add that these categories do not belong to the damned.4. They quote the saying of Peter as given by Luke in the Acts, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:34, 35). And hence they infer, as a thing which seems to them beyond a doubt, that if man by right conduct procures the favor of God, his obtaining salvation is not entirely the gift of God. Nay, that when God in his mercy assists the sinner, he is inclined to mercy by works…Cornelius being endued with true wisdom, in other words, with the fear of God, must have been enlightened by the Spirit of wisdom, and being an observer of righteousness, must have been sanctified by the same Spirit; righteousness being, as the Apostle testifies, one of the most certain fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:5). Therefore, all those qualities by which he is said to have pleased God he owed to divine grace: so far was he from preparing himself by his own strength to receive it.
From Institutes of the Christian Religion
So in Romans 2 where we see Paul mention that some Gentiles follow the law, this implicitly shows that God’s grace is being manifested outside of the bounds of the Gospel. So in the end, total depravity contributes to a great case for Inclusivism.
Now I’d also like to throw out one more biblical argument that should be sweet and short.
In Acts, chapter 17, we see Paul giving a speech before the Athenians.
I’ll quickly highlight the major goodies for Inclusivism within this passage.18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods."… 22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:|sc TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'
29"Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
The Epicureans ask if Paul is advocating foreign gods. His answer amounts to a negative. Of major significance is the altar to an unknown God. Paul says he is going to tell them about this God for whom they have an altar. Also Paul makes contact points with stoic philosophy and a Greek poet. All of this amounts to the message that God has not been absent from the Greeks but has been working with them.
Another important thing to observe is that Paul said God overlooked idolatry due to ignorance.
I consider the following especially problematic for restrictivism:
So God arranged the nations so that men may seek him. Notice the very detail that Paul cites as source of hope becomes a means for reprobation within restrictivism or at least an indicator of reprobation. As a matter of fact, according to restrictivism, the times set and the exact places for the nations work out to the opposite effect that Paul had in mind.26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
Now Pilgrimagain has already noted a “technicality” that the Inclusivists may attempt to use to argue their case. I’d like to mention that this technicality is at least a reason for a glimmer of hope for the unevangelized. But I do not have a glimmer of hope for the unevangelized. I am convinced that God is resourceful to bring opportunities of saving grace to all the peoples of the world even though his primary and most favored method of dispensing grace, evangelism, has not been universally available to all peoples. I consider these biblical considerations that I’ve given to be more than powerful evidence of God’s universally available grace.
Yxboom Newsflash: Due to circumstance, PilgrimAgain will officially be back on the clock starting Monday 1/20.
PilgrimAgain is officially back on the clock with 48 hours to respond.
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)