Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

One on One: Romans 9

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • One on One: Romans 9

    In this thread, Clete and I will discuss the ninth chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans--specifically, whether this chapter is interpreted correctly by Calvinists.

    It's an exclusive usergroup, so this is a read-only thread for other TOL members. Enjoy!

    Thanks, Knight, for setting this up for us.

  • #2
    Greetings Mr. Coffee,

    Let me first of all just say thanks for having the idea to do this and thanks to Knight for setting it up for us this way. I look forward to discussing the issue thoroughly without interuption by the usual spam and other whatnot that generally invades such discussions within only a very few posts. I'm really excited about having an intellectually honest discussion on one of my favorite topics.

    Per our previous agreement I will go first. I have a post almost completely ready already but it is on my computer at home and there is a small amount of editing that it still requires so I won't be posting it until later this afternoon (probably between 5 and 6pm central time).

    Resting in Him,
    Clete
    Last edited by Turbo; June 7th, 2005, 11:42 AM.
    sigpic
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

    Comment


    • #3
      And just to refresh peoples memory and to inform new TOL members the "one on one" forum is a special forum where only "one on one" members can post.

      Click here for more details.
      Also be sure to.... Join TOL on Facebook | Follow TOL on Twitter
      TOL Newbies CLICK HERE or....upgrade your TOL today!

      Comment


      • #4
        Okay let's get this thing rolling.
        I thought I'd start by simply posting my take on the chapter. I thought to take it verse by verse but then I realized that would be entirely too lengthy and not really necessary, especially for the opening post so I decided just to clearly communicate the way I think the text should be taken without going into that much meticulous detail.

        Before I do that though let me say first that I think that the Bible interprets itself and must be taken as a whole but that I also believe that individual passages of Scripture must stand on their own without being logically incoherent. In other words, we are able to determine what a passage of Scripture is saying based solely on the context of the passage itself. We do not need a theological system in place before it is possible to figure out what a section of Scripture is saying. Now, there could be, I suppose, exceptions to this general rule but Romans chapter 9 is certainly not one of them. I'm saying this at the outset because I want to draw attention to the fact that I do not draw upon any theology to interpret this chapter but only upon other Bible passages which the text of Romans 9 makes reference too, all of which couldn't be any clearer and easy to understand than they are. I also bring this up now because I think that this will become important as the conversation goes on because I do not think that the Calvinist take on this chapter makes any logical sense whatsoever. Paul would have to be nearly schizophrenic to write what Calvinists generally say that he wrote in this passage. Perhaps Mr. Coffee will surprise me.

        Now, with that in mind let's get to it...

        The ninth chapter of Romans is speaking about the cutting off of Israel. It is quite clear that Paul is making a case that God cut off Israel and turned instead to the gentiles, and that God is justified in having done so. It will become equally clear that this is all that the chapter is about, and that it has nothing to do with predestination at all.

        It helps to see it if one looks at the introduction and summation of the chapter. In the first few verses it is clear that Paul is speaking of Israel and that he is upset by their condition of unbelief...
        Romans 9:1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my *countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

        And then in the last few verses Paul sums up the point of what he's just been saying in the previous several verses...
        Romans 9:30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law *of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, *by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
        "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
        And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

        Now, that by itself is probably enough to make it clear what Paul is talking about but what really nails it down is his reference in the body of the chapter to a couple of Old Testament passages, those being Jacob and Esau and then the Potter and the clay story.
        It's always a good idea to read any Old Testament passage that is quoted or made reference to in the New, in order to maintain the context of what's being said. (Remember the whole "Bible interpreting the Bible" thing.) So let's take a look at them so that we can be on the same page that Paul was on when he made these references. Doing so will undoubtedly shed additional light on the point he was making.
        Romans 9:13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

        This is a direct quote from Malachi 1:2-3 but even the Malachi passage is not referencing the two boys themselves but the nations which came from them. I won't bother quoting it here but even a surface reading of Malachi 1 will confirm that it is talking about a nation not a person.
        Likewise, Paul is talking also about a nation. We can tell this for certain because of what is quoted just before in verse 12...
        Romans 9:12 "it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger.""

        This is a direct quote from Genesis chapter 25 where it says explicitly that there are two nations in Rebecca's womb...
        Genesis 25:23 "And the LORD said to her: "Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger."

        Additionally, even if it didn't explicitly state that it's talking about two nations we could still know for certain that it is anyway because Esau (the older) never served Jacob (the younger). That did not happen, ever.

        This passage is very clearly talking about nations and about how God deals with nations not about individuals or how God deals with individuals and Paul by referencing this material was making the exact same point. That's the reason why he referenced it.

        Now let's move on to the Potter and the clay story. It is on the same topic and is found in Jeremiah chapter 18...
        Jeremiah 18:1The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: 2 "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.
        5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

        Okay, that couldn't be any clearer! Jeremiah was making the very point that Paul is making! No wonder Paul referenced this passage, it applies directly to the subject he was dealing with! It IS the subject he was dealing with! Romans 9 and Jeremiah 18 are making the exact same point; they both use the same analogy for the same reasons. For all intent and purposes Romans 9 and Jeremiah 18 are the exact same chapter! The only difference is that in Romans 9 Paul is saying that the principle described in Jeremiah 18 has been carried out by God on the nation of Israel.

        Romans 9 is not about predestination at all. Paul didn't start talking about Israel and then suddenly change the subject to predestination and then just as suddenly change the subject back again to Israel. The whole chapter is on one issue and one issue only. That issue being God's absolute right to change His mind concerning His blessing of a nation that had done evil in His sight.
        It's no more complicated than that. In a nutshell, Paul was simply saying that Israel's promised kingdom wasn't coming because they had rejected the King and Romans 9 is all about how God was justified in having changed His mind about giving them that kingdom. That's all it's about; nothing more, nothing less.

        Resting in Him,
        Clete
        sigpic
        "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

        Comment


        • #5
          Right off the bat, I want to acknowledge my debt to John Piper's book The Justification of God as a resource for the case I'm presenting here. I don't claim originality of thought and I don't claim that everything I'm saying here comes from Piper. Regardless, everything should be evaluated Biblically.

          Romans 9
          1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit—
          2 that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart.
          3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my countrymen by physical descent.
          4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises.
          5 The forefathers are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

          The privileges of Israel anticipate salvation in Christ, the Seed of Abraham, the fulfillment of the Law, the One who makes the throne of David everlasting. But the majority of Israelites have rejected the Messiah, and face damnation. The situation is so eternally significant, and Paul's concern for them so acute, that he could wish himself accursed and cut off from Christ in their place. He reiterates: "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation!" (Rom. 10:1)

          Now, when this letter was read in churches, Romans 9 came right after this verse in Romans 8, within a matter of seconds:

          "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31)

          But what happened to God's promises to Israel? (e.g., Gen. 17:7). Paul is aware of the question in verse 6. It is a matter of great concern--as Christians, we are in a covenant-relationship with the same God. Rom. 9:1-5 states the problem. And from Rom. 9:6 to the end of Romans 11 we are given a twofold answer on the question of the salvation of Israel:

          -The elect have obtained righteousness, and the rest were hardened. (The topic of this post)
          -The conversion of national Israel when the Deliverer comes to Zion. (I'll get to this topic later).

          6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.
          7 Neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants. On the contrary, in Isaac your seed will be called.
          8 That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God's children, but the children of the promise are considered seed.
          9 For this is the statement of the promise: At this time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.
          10 And not only that, but also when Rebekah became pregnant by Isaac our forefather
          11 (for though they had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to election might stand,
          12 not from works but from the One who calls) she was told: The older will serve the younger.
          13 As it is written: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.

          Romans 9:6-33 establishes the principle of unconditional election. His explanation isn't limited to corporate election, because that would only bring us back to the problem in verses 1-5: corporate election didn't save Israel. Paul's focus is on the unconditional election unto salvation of members of that nation: "For not all who are descended from Israel (the Israel in 9:4) are Israel." It's not about the difference between the nation of Israel and the nation of Edom. This ain't the History Channel. This is not to deny the election of individuals and nations to historical roles. But Paul's explicit purpose in talking about these events is to make a distinction between Israelites who are living in the present time.

          Not all of the members of ethnic Israel are God's children: Paul always uses this term to refer to believers: Rom. 8:16, 17, 21; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 2:15. The same is true of the term "sons of God" (Rom. 8:14-19 Paul uses "sons" and "children" as synonyms) Rom. 9:26; 2Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26; 4:5.

          Not all of the members of ethnic Israel are considered seed: Gal. 3:26-29, 4:21-31; Rom. 2:25-29. The term refers to those who are in Christ and heirs of eternal salvation.

          Not all of the members of ethnic Israel are "children of promise" This term occurs in one other place in the writings of Paul: Gal. 4:28. This is an important reference, because Paul uses the story of Isaac and Ishmael to make a distinction between the children of the flesh and the children born by the power of the Spirit (Gal. 4:29). This parallels Gal. 4:23: "But the one by the slave was born according to the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise." The power of the promise was intended for those who would be born by the power of the Spirit, not by the flesh.

          All of this is so that God's purpose according to election will stand (v.11). How does God choose which Israelites (and by extension, which gentiles: v.24) are heirs of salvation? It's not based on any human distinctives. It's not based on physical descent (v.8), and it's not based on what people do (v.11). It's based on the sovereign freedom of the one who calls (v.12).

          14 What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!
          15 For He tells Moses:
          I will show mercy to whom I show mercy,
          and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
          16 So then it does not depend on human will or effort, but on God who shows mercy.

          The text is from Ex. 33 (and Israel has just broken covenant by worshipping the golden calf in Ex. 32), "I will proclaim the name Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." The manifestation of God's glory, and the proclamation of his name (his essential nature) overlap in Ex. 33, in the statement that he will be gracious to whom he will be gracious.

          "It is the glory of God to dispense mercy (but also wrath, Ex. 34:7) on whomever he pleases apart from any constraint originating outside his own will. This is the essence of what it means to be God. This is his name."
          --John Piper

          v.16 Mercy does not depend on human will or effort. Rather, it is God's mercy that determines our willing and working (Phil. 2:13) and even our belief is a gift (Phil. 1:29).

          Again, in the next passage, God reveals his name and manifests his glory in his right and his freedom to either show mercy or harden whomever he wills:

          17 For the Scripture tells Pharaoh:
          For this reason I raised you up:
          so that I may display My power in you,
          and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth.
          18 So then, He shows mercy to whom He wills, and He hardens whom He wills.

          I'm not sure how much you want to go into the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, Clete. At least for now, I will say that the issue in Rom. 9:17-18 is simple and straightforward: God's purpose, God's power, and God's decision in the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. This is correlated with mercy in v.18, which brings us back to vv.14-16 (linked to v.17 with "for"): it does not depend on human will or effort. So the ultimate cause of Pharaoh's hardening is God. We don't know what Pharaoh's eternal destiny is, but it's obvious from the context of Romans 9 and of Romans as a whole that his hardening is being applied to the issue of salvation and perdition.

          Rom. 2:5
          But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God's righteous judgment is revealed.

          Rom. 11:7
          What then? Israel did not find what it was looking for, but the elect did find it. The rest were hardened.

          19 You will say to me, therefore, "Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?"
          20 But who are you—anyone who talks back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"
          21 Or has the potter no right over His clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?
          22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction?
          23 And [what if] He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory—
          24 on us whom He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

          v.24: Observe that "objects of mercy" does not refer to either of these corporate identities. It refers to individuals who have been called from the Jews and from the Gentiles.

          1Cor 1:24
          Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God's power and God's wisdom.

          vv.20-23: It is by no means certain that Paul is referring to Jer. 18 here, or to any other text that uses the same metaphor:

          Isaiah 29:16
          You have turned things around,
          as if the potter were the same as the clay.
          How can what is made say about its maker,
          "He didn't make me"?
          How can what is formed
          say about the one who formed it,
          "He doesn't understand [what he's doing]"?

          Isaiah 45:9
          Woe to the one who argues with his Maker—
          one clay pot among many.
          Does clay say to the one forming it:
          What are you making?
          Or does your work [say]:
          He has no hands?

          It's a flexible metaphor, like clay itself, and so we cannot appeal to a specific Old Testament text to determine what Paul meant. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that it refers to Jer. 18 and God's response to a nation that repents. This actually accentuates the sovereignty of the potter, because repentance to salvation is a gift.

          Acts 5:31
          God exalted this man to His right hand as ruler and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

          Acts 11:18
          When they heard this they became silent. Then they glorified God, saying, "So God has granted repentance resulting in life to even the Gentiles!"

          It may be asked whether a potter would ever make an object just to destroy it. But in this context, the opposite of destruction is not existence; it's glorious existence (v.23). And potters do make objects that are used for inglorious purposes outside the home.

          God endured the stubbornness of Pharaoh with much patience in order to show his wrath and make known his power. In the question, "Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?", the assumption is that God has willed that Pharaoh would disobey God's command to let Israel go, and that this is how God creates objects of his everlasting wrath. Paul does nothing to correct the assumption--it's the questioning of God's integrity that Paul corrects. But he doesn't stop there. He says that God has done this so that the objects of his mercy will see the almighty wrath from which they have been saved. Heaven will be sobering. God's purpose--before anyone did anything good or bad--was to make known the full range of his glory. It is by showing his wrath that his mercy will be fully known.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, I have to tell you that I don't even know where to begin. On an emotional level my reaction is a mixture of disbelief and disgust. It is unbelievable to me that anyone can believe in this nonsense. Please do not misunderstand, I am not trying to be personally insulting toward you Mr. Coffee, I'm responding to the teaching you've put forward, not to you personally. I know that you have the very best of intentions as did I when I believed what you've presented here but the fact remains that what you have presented is completely incompatible with anything that can call itself Godly or righteous. What you've presented, (which is perfectly normal Calvinist doctrine, so again, this isn't about you personally), is illogical, it is self-contradictory, and it is blasphemous. All of which I will be happy to establish in due time but for the sake of brevity I will not do so in this post.
            Speaking of brevity, there is entirely too much there to respond point by point. It would take a week for me to write and no one would read it anyway so I won't even try to do that. I will instead concentrate on just one or two points which I think are particularly important to the debate as a whole and let the rest stand as simply a statement of the way you think the text should be taken which we can refer back to in later posts if it becomes necessary to do so.

            First of all, I think that establishing that looking to Jeremiah 18 is a legitimate hermeneutical move to make in an effort to understand what Paul is saying, is key to the debate, and so I will start with that.
            Mr. Coffee said in reference to the Potter and the clay story…
            It's a flexible metaphor, like clay itself, and so we cannot appeal to a specific Old Testament text to determine what Paul meant. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that it refers to Jer. 18 and God's response to a nation that repents. This actually accentuates the sovereignty of the potter, because repentance to salvation is a gift.
            There are several troubling things here.
            First of all let's look at your last phrase in this paragraph, "because repentance to salvation is a gift." I will not debate this here as it would not be on the topic of Romans 9 but I bring it up because of something I said in the beginning of my opening post. Let me quote what I said for you…
            …let me say first that I think that the Bible interprets itself and must be taken as a whole but that I also believe that individual passages of Scripture must stand on their own without being logically incoherent. In other words, we are able to determine what a passage of Scripture is saying based solely on the context of the passage itself. We do not need a theological system in place before it is possible to figure out what a section of Scripture is saying. Now, there could be, I suppose, exceptions to this general rule but Romans chapter 9 is certainly not one of them. I'm saying this at the outset because I want to draw attention to the fact that I do not draw upon any theology to interpret this chapter but only upon other Bible passages which the text of Romans 9 makes reference too, all of which couldn't be any clearer and easy to understand than they are.
            I anticipated that you would be required to lean on your theology to make this chapter say a word about predestination; I just didn't think you would do so as completely as you have. There is virtually nothing in your post that makes any sense outside a decidedly Calvinist worldview. That is to say, the conclusions you draw do not lead you to Calvinism but it is Calvinism that leads you to draw your conclusions. This is backward and unbiblical. We should be careful at least at the outset of establishing our theology to allow the Bible to say what it is saying and nothing more, especially when discussing issues that deal with fundamental teachings such as salvation and faith. Once the basic teaching of the text is established then and only then will you be justified in drawing conclusions based on something more than the plain meaning of the text.

            Secondly and more importantly let's look at the rest of what you've said here. " It's a flexible metaphor, like clay itself, and so we cannot appeal to a specific Old Testament text to determine what Paul meant. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that it refers to Jer. 18 and God's response to a nation that repents."
            This is simply incorrect. Biblically speaking, this is not a flexible metaphor. There is a rule in hermeneutics known as the first mention principle. It is by no means an iron clad law to which we must adhere at all costs but it is a very well established and trusted hermeneutic principle that has stood the test of time and I think that we would ignore it at our own peril.
            The first mention principle states simply that if you want to understand a phrase or a symbol used in Scripture, looking at the first time it is used is in the Bible is generally indicative of that phrase's or symbol's meaning throughout the Scripture. Using this principle there can be no doubt at all that the Potter is God and the clay vessels are the nations of the world.
            However, even without the first mention principle it still cannot be denied what this symbolic language is used in reference to because, in addition to the first mention principle, you have a situation with the Potter and the clay reference where God Himself explains the meaning of the symbols in Jeremiah 18. This would trump even the first mention principle if that were necessary, which, in this case, it is not.
            And if that were not enough you could ignore both the first mention principle and God's direct definition of the symbols and still not be able to honestly deny their meaning. I have taken the time to compile all the Scriptures that use the Potter and the clay symbols (that I could find, excluding the Jeremiah passage which we've already seen), including the very first usage for the sake of simply nailing this issue to the wall once and for all. I've highlighted where the passage is clearing talking about a nation or group of people, not individuals.
            Psalm 2

            1 Why do the nations rage,
            And the people plot a vain thing?
            2The kings of the earth set themselves,
            And the rulers take counsel together,
            Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
            3"Let us break Their bonds in pieces
            And cast away Their cords from us."
            4He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
            The LORD shall hold them in derision.
            5Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
            And distress them in His deep displeasure:
            6"Yet I have set My King
            On My holy hill of Zion."
            7"I will declare the decree:
            The LORD has said to Me,
            "You are My Son,
            Today I have begotten You.
            8Ask of Me, and I will give You
            The nations for Your inheritance,
            And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
            9You shall break them with a rod of iron;
            You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel."'
            10Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
            Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
            11Serve the LORD with fear,
            And rejoice with trembling.
            12Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
            And you perish in the way,
            When His wrath is kindled but a little.
            Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

            Isaiah 29:13 Therefore the Lord said:
            "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
            And honor Me with their lips,
            But have removed their hearts far from Me,
            And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
            14Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
            Among this people,
            A marvelous work and a wonder;
            For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
            And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden."
            15Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD,
            And their works are in the dark;
            They say, "Who sees us?" and, "Who knows us?"
            16Surely you have things turned around!
            Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;
            For shall the thing made say of him who made it,
            "He did not make me"?
            Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it,
            "He has no understanding"?
            (Verse 1 of Isaiah 29 reads," Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt!")


            Isaiah 30: 8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet,
            And note it on a scroll,
            That it may be for time to come,
            Forever and ever:
            9That this is a rebellious people,
            Lying children,
            Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;
            10Who say to the seers, "Do not see,"
            And to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us right things;
            Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.
            11Get out of the way,
            Turn aside from the path,
            Cause the Holy One of Israel
            To cease from before us."
            12Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:
            "Because you despise this word,
            And trust in oppression and perversity,
            And rely on them,
            13Therefore this iniquity shall be to you
            Like a breach ready to fall,
            A bulge in a high wall,
            Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.
            14And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter's vessel,
            Which is broken in pieces;
            He shall not spare.
            So there shall not be found among its fragments
            A shard to take fire from the hearth,
            Or to take water from the cistern."

            Isaiah 41: 25"I have raised up one from the north,
            And he shall come;
            From the rising of the sun he shall call on My name;
            And he shall come against princes as though mortar,
            As the potter treads clay.

            Isaiah 64:8But now, O LORD,
            You are our Father;
            We are the clay, and You our potter;
            And all we are the work of Your hand.
            9Do not be furious, O LORD,
            Nor remember iniquity forever;
            Indeed, please look--we all are Your people!
            10Your holy cities are a wilderness,
            Zion is a wilderness,
            Jerusalem a desolation.

            Lamentations 4:11 How the gold has become dim!
            How changed the fine gold!
            The stones of the sanctuary are scattered
            At the head of every street.

            2The precious sons of Zion,
            Valuable as fine gold,
            How they are regarded as clay pots,
            The work of the hands of the potter!


            Daniel 2:41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.

            So there you have it. If that point is not firmly established then no point can be established at all. The metaphor is anything but flexible. It is used in reference to nations or groups of people 100% of the time. Any exception that might exist must be proven to exist by those claiming the exception. I don't believe that such an exception exists but even if I am wrong on that, the burden to prove that Romans 9 is one of them is firmly in your lap, not mine.

            Now, I have a question for you concerning the Potter and the clay story which I think will serve to focus our debate away from such long posts. This should be a really easy question if you'll heed my advice about allowing the text to say what it says.

            Why did the Potter remake the vessel?

            I'll look forward to your response.


            Resting in Him,
            Clete
            Last edited by Clete; June 10th, 2005, 09:49 PM.
            sigpic
            "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

            Comment


            • #7
              The [Potter and clay] metaphor is anything but flexible. It is used in reference to nations or groups of people 100% of the time.
              Romans 9
              14 What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!
              15 For He tells Moses:
              I will show mercy to whom I show mercy,
              and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.

              The word "whom" (hon) is singular, referring to an individual.

              16 So then it does not depend on human will or effort, but on God who shows mercy.

              "Not of the one willing" (thelO, singular); "not of the one racing" (trechO, singular): an individual.

              17 For the Scripture tells Pharaoh:
              For this reason I raised you up:
              so that I may display My power in you,
              and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth.

              God raised up an individual, and hardened an individual.

              18 So then, He shows mercy to whom He wills, and He hardens whom He wills.

              Again, "whom" (hon) is singular, referring to an individual.

              19 You will say to me, therefore, "Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?"

              The "who" in the question (tis) is singular--an individual.

              20 But who are you ["o man" anthrOpos, singular]—anyone who talks back to God? Will what is formed [plasma, singular] say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me [ego, singular] like this?"

              Paul is saying that this teaching, about the Potter, is relevant to the reader as an individual.

              There is one other place where Paul uses the word plassO (formed, a verb used of a potter):

              1 Tim. 2:13
              For Adam was created first, then Eve. (Genesis 2 being "First Mention" for Potter and clay).

              In the Old Testament, God the Potter is the one who creates and shapes the individual:

              Job 10:9
              Please remember that You formed me like clay.
              Will You now return me to dust?

              When we come to the next statement (after the "or"), everything in the context thus far--including Potter and clay--tells us to think of the "one piece of pottery" as an individual person.

              21 Or has the potter no right over His clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?
              22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction?
              23 And [what if] He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory —
              24 on us whom He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

              So Paul isn't referring to corporate election here. He's talking about individuals who have been called out of corporate groups (the Jews and the Gentiles).

              vv.22-23 The word for "destruction" (apoleia) and the word for "glory" (doxa) are frequently used by Paul to refer to eternal condemnation and eternal salvation (Phil. 1:28; 3:19; 2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 6:9; Rom. 2:10; 8:18; 1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Tim. 2:10). It is clear that eternal salvation is Paul"s concern here as well: "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation!" (Rom. 10:1)


              Clete, RE your question, "Why did the Potter remake the vessel?", I don't mean to slow down the debate, but I'm not sure what you're getting at.
              Last edited by Mr. Coffee; June 12th, 2005, 12:49 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mr. Coffee

                The word "whom" (hon) is singular, referring to an individual.

                It refers to a singular nation. Paul did not change subjects midstream. He did not start off discussing the condition of Israel, suddenly change subject to the predestination of individuals and then just as suddenly change the subject back to the condition of Israel.

                "Not of the one willing" (thelO, singular); "not of the one racing" (trechO, singular): an individual.
                It's a figure of speech, Mr. Coffee. Again, he is talking about a singular nation. For it be the way you suggest Paul would have be Schizophrenic or something.

                God raised up an individual, and hardened an individual.
                No, he rose up a nation and hardened a nation THROUGH the king of that nation. Or are you suggesting that the plagues that the Bible clearly says where visited upon the NATION of Egypt, where really only visited upon Pharaoh himself?

                Again, "whom" (hon) is singular, referring to an individual.
                Again, an individual nation. And it's not simply my word against yours. I have the entire context of the chapter backing this up.

                The "who" in the question (tis) is singular--an individual.
                The "who" is the singular nation of Israel, in the context of this chapter.

                20 But who are you ["o man" anthrOpos, singular]—anyone who talks back to God? Will what is formed [plasma, singular] say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me [ego, singular] like this?"

                Paul is saying that this teaching, about the Potter, is relevant to the reader as an individual.
                If so, he's a crackpot who can't stay on subject for more than a pragraph at a time. The context of the text proves that what you are saying is an extention of your theology not proof of it.

                There is one other place where Paul uses the word plassO (formed, a verb used of a potter):

                1 Tim. 2:13
                For Adam was created first, then Eve. (Genesis 2 being "First Mention" for Potter and clay).
                Neither of the symbols "Potter" or "clay" are used in Gen. 2 and so I'm not sure what your point here was but regardless Gen. 2 is not the first mention for the potter and clay symbolism. If this were how the first mention principle was to work, any symbol could mean practically anything you want it to mean. You have to find the first time the actual symbol is specifically mentioned in Scripture, thus the name "first mention principle" and not the "first allusion to a concept that some might find similar principle".

                In the Old Testament, God the Potter is the one who creates and shapes the individual:

                Job 10:9
                Please remember that You formed me like clay.
                Will You now return me to dust?

                When we come to the next statement (after the "or"), everything in the context thus far--including Potter and clay--tells us to think of the "one piece of pottery" as an individual person.
                Look, I am not saying that it would be impossible for the analogy to be applied to individuals, of course it can be. But the context of Romans 9 does not permit such an application. Simply pointing to singular personal pronouns doesn't prove anything because that is a common manner of speaking. God speaks of Israel as though she where a woman whom He had married and who had been unfaithful to Him and so He divorced her. Do you suppose that such language must be referring to something other than a nation because it uses "she" and "her" which are singular pronouns? I don't think you would, so why do you insist on ignoring the context of the chapter, which is clearly referring to the condition of Israel before God, and turning it into a pretext for Calvinist theology?

                21 Or has the potter no right over His clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?
                22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction?
                23 And [what if] He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory —
                24 on us whom He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

                So Paul isn't referring to corporate election here. He's talking about individuals who have been called out of corporate groups (the Jews and the Gentiles).
                The "us" refers to the Body of Christ. Not a nation, but still yet a group of believers. He simply is not talking about predestinating individual people here, he just isn't.

                vv.22-23 The word for "destruction" (apoleia) and the word for "glory" (doxa) are frequently used by Paul to refer to eternal condemnation and eternal salvation (Phil. 1:28; 3:19; 2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 6:9; Rom. 2:10; 8:18; 1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Tim. 2:10). It is clear that eternal salvation is Paul's concern here as well: "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation!" (Rom. 10:1)
                The subject of the chapter is obvious. Israel had been cut off from their covenant relationship with God. Paul is explaining that God was just for doing so.

                Clete, RE your question, "Why did the Potter remake the vessel?", I don't mean to slow down the debate, but I'm not sure what you're getting at.
                I'm getting at the same thing that Paul was getting at. If you'll answer the question I'll promise to make it clear to you.

                Why did the Potter remake the vessel?

                The answer to the question is the key to understanding the whole point Paul is making (as well as understanding the pretty much the whole Bible for that matter. Jer. 18 (and by extension Romans 9) could be the most important chapter in the whole Bible.)

                Resting in Him,
                Clete
                Last edited by Clete; June 12th, 2005, 07:33 AM.
                sigpic
                "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

                Comment


                • #9
                  I know that you have the very best of intentions as did I when I believed what you've presented here but the fact remains that what you have presented is completely incompatible with anything that can call itself Godly or righteous. What you've presented, (which is perfectly normal Calvinist doctrine, so again, this isn't about you personally), is illogical, it is self-contradictory, and it is blasphemous. All of which I will be happy to establish in due time but for the sake of brevity I will not do so in this post.
                  First, I want to honor the grace at work in you, Clete, for not wanting to get personal about these things. This isn't our first go-round about Calvinism, and you've always been nice.

                  I'm hoping you'll get into specifics RE the concerns you've stated above, whenever you think it's appropriate.

                  It refers to a singular nation. Paul did not change subjects midstream. He did not start off discussing the condition of Israel, suddenly change subject to the predestination of individuals and then just as suddenly change the subject back to the condition of Israel.
                  Yes. Paul's heart-rending concern is for Israel, and he stays on the topic of Israel--elect and non-elect--for two more whole chapters.

                  Paul begins the chapter by stating the corporate privileges of Israel. But he's concerned about the salvation of his countrymen, and he makes it clear that membership in corporate Israel in itself doesn't save anyone. By making a distinction between those who are children of the promise and those who are mere physical descendants, Paul is talking about different individuals within Israel.

                  Or is it different groups: those who are saved, and those who are not? Yes, that too. Individual election and corporate election go together. Isaac and Ishmael were very much affected as individuals by the different plans that God had for them--and so were their descendants, and this was also intended, because these guys are elect patriarchs.

                  Individual and communal humanity are distinct without being separate. A person is one unique relation to other persons. Or as Paul said, "We who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another." I've been accentuating individual election, because we are loved by God, and converted, and someday judged, as individuals.. who have all been elected in Christ and drawn together by the Spirit to love one another.

                  A group by definition is composed of individuals, and our corporate election in the Body of Christ is inseparable from the election-to-salvation of its individual members. A body without members is unthinkable. That is the absurdity of denying the predestination of individuals.

                  Rom. 8:29
                  For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

                  Rev. 17:8
                  Those who live on the earth whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astounded when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present [again]. (Rev. 20:15; 21:27)

                  When Billy Graham stands before the Throne and his name is read from the Book of Life, it will mean that he was personally foreknown and foreloved by God. It will not mean that he was just lucky to get the name "Billy Graham."
                  The subject of the chapter is obvious. Israel had been cut off from their covenant relationship with God. Paul is explaining that God was just for doing so.
                  Rom. 11
                  25 So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: a partial hardening has come to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
                  26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
                  The Liberator will come from Zion;
                  He will turn away godlessness from Jacob.
                  27 And this will be My covenant with them,
                  when I take away their sins.
                  28 Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of their forefathers,
                  29 since God's gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.

                  I believe that the conversion of national Israel at the time of the Lord's return is taught in the Scriptures:

                  Isa. 66:8
                  Who has heard of such a thing?
                  Who has seen such things?
                  Can a land be born in one day,
                  or a nation be delivered in an instant?
                  Yet as soon as Zion was in labor,
                  she gave birth to her sons.

                  Matt. 23:39
                  For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! "

                  Zech. 12:10
                  "Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn."

                  Acts 3:19-21
                  Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and He may send Jesus, who has been appointed Messiah for you. Heaven must welcome Him until the times of the restoration of all things, which God spoke about by the mouth of His holy prophets from the beginning.

                  Why did the Potter remake the vessel?
                  Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mr. Coffee
                    First, I want to honor the grace at work in you, Clete, for not wanting to get personal about these things. This isn't our first go-round about Calvinism, and you've always been nice.

                    Kind is the word you're looking for, I'm never "nice". (A little inside joke there, never mind if it doesn't make any sense).
                    It is you who deserves the honor for having been successful in having not taken it personally. You are a very rare Calvinist indeed.

                    I'm hoping you'll get into specifics RE the concerns you've stated above, whenever you think it's appropriate.
                    Okay, I will but I'll have to wait till tomorrow evening. Tuesdays are usually the night I have lots of time to dedicate to posts. I'd do it this afternoon but I have a lot of stuff that needs doing between now and the 15th at work so time is short.

                    Yes. Paul's heart-rending concern is for Israel, and he stays on the topic of Israel--elect and non-elect--for two more whole chapters.

                    Paul begins the chapter by stating the corporate privileges of Israel. But he's concerned about the salvation of his countrymen, and he makes it clear that membership in corporate Israel in itself doesn't save anyone. By making a distinction between those who are children of the promise and those who are mere physical descendants, Paul is talking about different individuals within Israel.
                    We can start with pointing out contradictions right here. Why would Paul be teaching about the predestined salvation of any and all individuals who will or could ever be saved and at the same time be "concerned about the salvation of his countrymen"? That doesn't make any sense at all and it therefore cannot be what is going on in this chapter.

                    Or is it different groups: those who are saved, and those who are not? Yes, that too. Individual election and corporate election go together. Isaac and Ishmael were very much affected as individuals by the different plans that God had for them--and so were their descendants, and this was also intended, because these guys are elect patriarchs.

                    Individual and communal humanity are distinct without being separate. A person is one unique relation to other persons. Or as Paul said, "We who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another." I've been accentuating individual election, because we are loved by God, and converted, and someday judged, as individuals.. who have all been elected in Christ and drawn together by the Spirit to love one another.

                    A group by definition is composed of individuals, and our corporate election in the Body of Christ is inseparable from the election-to-salvation of its individual members. A body without members is unthinkable. That is the absurdity of denying the predestination of individuals.
                    Sorry Mr. Coffee but just from a simply logical perspective, never mind a theological one, it is easily seen that individual election is not a necessary condition for corporate election.

                    Rom. 8:29
                    For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
                    Predestination proof text #1
                    We were not predestined individually put corporately. "He foreknew and elected Christ, Israel, and the body of Christ. When we trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit identifies us with Christ. We then become part of His predestined purpose. Once we are saved we are predestined to be conformed to Christ's image. It does not say we are predestined to be saved. This verse is excellent to show our security. It is predestined. Our salvation is not. Ephesians 1:4-14 is similar to this passage."*

                    Rev. 17:8
                    Those who live on the earth whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astounded when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present [again]. (Rev. 20:15; 21:27)
                    This is another excellent example of bringing your theology to the text rather than allowing the text to simply say what it says. This verse is not saying that the names have been written there ever since before the world began, that just isn't it at all. It simply talking about the names, which never have been written in the book of life. You can go all the way back to the beginning until now and their names have not been in there, they have never been in there since the foundation of the world. Get it? It isn't saying the the book of life was written before mankind existed.

                    When Billy Graham stands before the Throne and his name is read from the Book of Life, it will mean that he was personally foreknown and foreloved by God. It will not mean that he was just lucky to get the name "Billy Graham."
                    But according to your theology he was lucky enough to be elect (we assume). His election had nothing to do with what he believed or did or anything else right? In fact, just the reverse, he believed because he was elect, right? Lucky him.

                    Rom. 11
                    25 So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: a partial hardening has come to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
                    26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
                    The Liberator will come from Zion;
                    He will turn away godlessness from Jacob.
                    27 And this will be My covenant with them,
                    when I take away their sins.
                    28 Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of their forefathers,
                    29 since God's gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.

                    I believe that the conversion of national Israel at the time of the Lord's return is taught in the Scriptures:

                    Isa. 66:8
                    Who has heard of such a thing?
                    Who has seen such things?
                    Can a land be born in one day,
                    or a nation be delivered in an instant?
                    Yet as soon as Zion was in labor,
                    she gave birth to her sons.

                    Matt. 23:39
                    For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! "

                    Zech. 12:10
                    "Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn."
                    I agree, but that doesn't change the fact that Israel had been cut off. Romans 9 is basically laying the ground work for that very point which is made in Chapter 11.

                    Acts 3:19-21
                    Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and He may send Jesus, who has been appointed Messiah for you. Heaven must welcome Him until the times of the restoration of all things, which God spoke about by the mouth of His holy prophets from the beginning.
                    This will be a side note that is way off topic but I couldn’t resist pointing out that this passage occurs before the cutting off of Israel had taken place and before Paul had been converted. Had Israel heeded this message and repented and accepted the risen Messiah, Acts chapter 9 would never have happened and we would not be having this debate.

                    Clete asked, "Why did the Potter remake the vessel?"

                    Mr. Coffee responded...
                    Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"

                    Don't be afraid of the text Mr. Coffee. Just read Jer. 18 and tell what the text itself says in answer to my question.
                    Perhaps you would be more comfortable answering the same question asked a different way. Let me put it this way...

                    Did God complete making the first vessel He set out to make, the "vessel for honor"?
                    If not, why not?

                    Resting in Him,
                    Clete


                    * Quoted from Bob Hill
                    sigpic
                    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Okay, you asked me to be more specific about my reaction to your post and so I will do so here. I had said it would have to wait till Tuesday but I'm not going to be here tomorrow evening so I'll go ahead and make the time now. I'm not going to get really super detailed because I really want to avoid distracting the conversation too much from where it has gone already. It seems we are making a fair amount of progress and I would hate to take the discussion in a backward direction. I will be detailed enough though in order to give a sense of the sorts of things that shoot through my mind when I read Calvinist doctrine as you have presented it.

                      Originally posted by Mr. Coffee

                      Romans 9
                      1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit—
                      2 that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart.
                      3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my countrymen by physical descent.
                      4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises.
                      5 The forefathers are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

                      The privileges of Israel anticipate salvation in Christ, the Seed of Abraham, the fulfillment of the Law, the One who makes the throne of David everlasting. But the majority of Israelites have rejected the Messiah, and face damnation. The situation is so eternally significant, and Paul's concern for them so acute, that he could wish himself accursed and cut off from Christ in their place. He reiterates: "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation!" (Rom. 10:1)

                      Now, when this letter was read in churches, Romans 9 came right after this verse in Romans 8, within a matter of seconds:

                      "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31)

                      But what happened to God's promises to Israel? (e.g., Gen. 17:7). Paul is aware of the question in verse 6. It is a matter of great concern--as Christians, we are in a covenant-relationship with the same God. Rom. 9:1-5 states the problem. And from Rom. 9:6 to the end of Romans 11 we are given a twofold answer on the question of the salvation of Israel:

                      -The elect have obtained righteousness, and the rest were hardened. (The topic of this post)
                      -The conversion of national Israel when the Deliverer comes to Zion. (I'll get to this topic later).

                      Here there are two things already.
                      First of all, why would Paul be concerned over something that he is fixing to explain that nothing can be done about because it was all predestined anyway? The doctrine that you say he is teaching is incompatible with the emotions which the text clearly ascribes to him.
                      Secondly, the statement, "The elect have obtained righteousness, and the rest were hardened." is incompatible (logically) with what many Calvinist claim as their foundational theological point, (that point being the total depravity of man). Why would God need to harden someone who was already totally depraved? What did He do, make them super duper totally depraved? It makes no sense.

                      6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.
                      7 Neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants. On the contrary, in Isaac your seed will be called.
                      8 That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God's children, but the children of the promise are considered seed.
                      9 For this is the statement of the promise: At this time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.
                      10 And not only that, but also when Rebekah became pregnant by Isaac our forefather
                      11 (for though they had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to election might stand,
                      12 not from works but from the One who calls) she was told: The older will serve the younger.
                      13 As it is written: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.

                      Romans 9:6-33 establishes the principle of unconditional election.
                      This statement sets off bombs in my head because it does not establish unconditional election. It might could be used as a proof text for the theology but it by no means establishes it, it doesn't even come close to that. Such overselling of one's position reminds me of the Baptist preacher who's sermon notes read "Biblical argument here is weak! POUND PULPIT!". This sort of tactic is the very thing I look for when attempting to find weaknesses in an opponents argument. They are almost always false claims or at minimum overstated and so are easy to knock big gaping holes in.

                      His explanation isn't limited to corporate election, because that would only bring us back to the problem in verses 1-5: corporate election didn't save Israel. Paul's focus is on the unconditional election unto salvation of members of that nation: "For not all who are descended from Israel (the Israel in 9:4) are Israel." It's not about the difference between the nation of Israel and the nation of Edom. This ain't the History Channel. This is not to deny the election of individuals and nations to historical roles. But Paul's explicit purpose in talking about these events is to make a distinction between Israelites who are living in the present time.
                      I read this three times and couldn't make sense of it, so I ignored it. Sorry, but that's the truth.

                      Not all of the members of ethnic Israel are God's children: Paul always uses this term to refer to believers: Rom. 8:16, 17, 21; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 2:15. The same is true of the term "sons of God" (Rom. 8:14-19 Paul uses "sons" and "children" as synonyms) Rom. 9:26; 2Cor. 6:18; Gal. 3:26; 4:5.

                      Not all of the members of ethnic Israel are considered seed: Gal. 3:26-29, 4:21-31; Rom. 2:25-29. The term refers to those who are in Christ and heirs of eternal salvation.

                      Not all of the members of ethnic Israel are "children of promise" This term occurs in one other place in the writings of Paul: Gal. 4:28. This is an important reference, because Paul uses the story of Isaac and Ishmael to make a distinction between the children of the flesh and the children born by the power of the Spirit (Gal. 4:29). This parallels Gal. 4:23: "But the one by the slave was born according to the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise." The power of the promise was intended for those who would be born by the power of the Spirit, not by the flesh.
                      Paul is talking about the distinction between law and grace in Galatians. There does seem to be some merit to what you've said here but it has nothing to do with what you link it too in the next paragraph...

                      All of this is so that God's purpose according to election will stand (v.11). How does God choose which Israelites (and by extension, which gentiles: v.24) are heirs of salvation? It's not based on any human distinctives. It's not based on physical descent (v.8), and it's not based on what people do (v.11). It's based on the sovereign freedom of the one who calls (v.12).
                      This paragraph is disconnected (logically speaking) from the rest of your argument. You seem to be making connections in your mind that are not articulated in the post. Perhaps I'm missing something in the translation but it really makes little difference because what you've said in this paragraph is in complete opposition to the message of the entire Bible, never mind Romans and the rest of the Pauline letters. God chose, in the case of Israel, on the basis of faith and obedience to the law.

                      14 What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!
                      15 For He tells Moses:
                      I will show mercy to whom I show mercy,
                      and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
                      16 So then it does not depend on human will or effort, but on God who shows mercy.

                      The text is from Ex. 33 (and Israel has just broken covenant by worshipping the golden calf in Ex. 32), "I will proclaim the name Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." The manifestation of God's glory, and the proclamation of his name (his essential nature) overlap in Ex. 33, in the statement that he will be gracious to whom he will be gracious.

                      "It is the glory of God to dispense mercy (but also wrath, Ex. 34:7) on whomever he pleases apart from any constraint originating outside his own will. This is the essence of what it means to be God. This is his name."
                      --John Piper
                      Oh, holy cow (the proverbial kind, not the golden kind)! I'm sure you'll think I'm nuts for saying this but if I could, I would absolutely knock Mr. John Piper smooth out for saying this in my presence. This is absolute, unadulterated blasphemy! I don't understand how you can read this and not see it! God, according to Piper, is a capricious, arbitrary, unjust bully who is way more interested in His own glory than anything else like the best interests of others whom He loves. Oh! I can't stand it! If we go far down this road, I can promise you that this discussion will get ugly quick.

                      v.16 Mercy does not depend on human will or effort. Rather, it is God's mercy that determines our willing and working (Phil. 2:13) and even our belief is a gift (Phil. 1:29).
                      This is doctrine (Calvinism) determining the meaning of the text rather than the text determining doctrine. This pervades almost the entire church though so I'm not surprised to see you do this. There are whole colleges dedicated to teaching people how to do just this sort of "Bible study". It is quite backward and completely invalid (logically).

                      Again, in the next passage, God reveals his name and manifests his glory in his right and his freedom to either show mercy or harden whomever he wills:

                      17 For the Scripture tells Pharaoh:
                      For this reason I raised you up:
                      so that I may display My power in you,
                      and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth.
                      18 So then, He shows mercy to whom He wills, and He hardens whom He wills.

                      I'm not sure how much you want to go into the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, Clete. At least for now, I will say that the issue in Rom. 9:17-18 is simple and straightforward: God's purpose, God's power, and God's decision in the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. This is correlated with mercy in v.18, which brings us back to vv.14-16 (linked to v.17 with "for"): it does not depend on human will or effort. So the ultimate cause of Pharaoh's hardening is God. We don't know what Pharaoh's eternal destiny is, but it's obvious from the context of Romans 9 and of Romans as a whole that his hardening is being applied to the issue of salvation and perdition.

                      Rom. 2:5
                      But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God's righteous judgment is revealed.

                      Rom. 11:7
                      What then? Israel did not find what it was looking for, but the elect did find it. The rest were hardened.
                      Besides pointing out again the contradiction inherent in the idea of hardening the heart of a totally depraved individual, I won't get into this specific issue further until you answer my question about why God made the second vessel in Jer. 18.

                      19 You will say to me, therefore, "Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?"
                      20 But who are you—anyone who talks back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"
                      21 Or has the potter no right over His clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?
                      22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction?
                      23 And [what if] He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory—
                      24 on us whom He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

                      v.24: Observe that "objects of mercy" does not refer to either of these corporate identities. It refers to individuals who have been called from the Jews and from the Gentiles.
                      The point you make in this last sentence is irrelevant. The question is why isn't the question in verse 19 a valid objection? Why isn't God unjust for doing what Paul is saying He's done (what he is actually saying, not what Calvinist insist that he must be saying)? The answer is found in Jer. 18. Again I ask you to answer my question. Why did God make the second vessel?

                      vv.20-23: It is by no means certain that Paul is referring to Jer. 18 here, or to any other text that uses the same metaphor:

                      Isaiah 29:16
                      You have turned things around,
                      as if the potter were the same as the clay.
                      How can what is made say about its maker,
                      "He didn't make me"?
                      How can what is formed
                      say about the one who formed it,
                      "He doesn't understand [what he's doing]"?

                      Isaiah 45:9
                      Woe to the one who argues with his Maker—
                      one clay pot among many.
                      Does clay say to the one forming it:
                      What are you making?
                      Or does your work [say]:
                      He has no hands?

                      It's a flexible metaphor, like clay itself, and so we cannot appeal to a specific Old Testament text to determine what Paul meant. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that it refers to Jer. 18 and God's response to a nation that repents. This actually accentuates the sovereignty of the potter, because repentance to salvation is a gift.

                      Acts 5:31
                      God exalted this man to His right hand as ruler and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

                      Acts 11:18
                      When they heard this they became silent. Then they glorified God, saying, "So God has granted repentance resulting in life to even the Gentiles!"
                      I already responded to the main point made here, the rest is yet another example of your theology coloring your take on these verses. They are not saying what you are presenting them here to prove. But that's a different debate.

                      It may be asked whether a potter would ever make an object just to destroy it. But in this context, the opposite of destruction is not existence; it's glorious existence (v.23). And potters do make objects that are used for inglorious purposes outside the home.
                      Why does the Bible say that God made the vessel for dishonor? I'm just going to keep asking you this question until you answer it. It is the key to the whole issue.

                      God endured the stubbornness of Pharaoh with much patience in order to show his wrath and make known his power. In the question, "Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?", the assumption is that God has willed that Pharaoh would disobey God's command to let Israel go, and that this is how God creates objects of his everlasting wrath.
                      No, that's the Calvinists assumption. That is not what the text says.

                      Paul does nothing to correct the assumption--it's the questioning of God's integrity that Paul corrects. But he doesn't stop there. He says that God has done this so that the objects of his mercy will see the almighty wrath from which they have been saved. Heaven will be sobering. God's purpose--before anyone did anything good or bad--was to make known the full range of his glory. It is by showing his wrath that his mercy will be fully known.
                      More blasphemy! Your theology makes God not only unjust but the very author of sin itself and makes faith and love meaningless. And again, this is not what the text says but is rather the Calvinists rendering of the passage.
                      Nearly every point you made in this post is in opposition to what the text actually says. I don't really blame you so much though. You are, of course, responsible for your own actions and thoughts so you aren't blameless here but the fact remains that you have had Calvinist colored glasses on for so long you probably don't know how not to see what you see in these passages. Fortunately, God's grace and mercy are greater than our ignorance and such things will not keep you from being saved. They will and have, however, kept others from being saved and for good reason. And this reason alone, never mind the injury done to God's character, is more than enough to justify its exposure as the blasphemous heresy that it is.

                      Resting in Him,
                      Clete
                      Last edited by Clete; June 13th, 2005, 06:49 PM.
                      sigpic
                      "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Why would Paul be teaching about the predestined salvation of any and all individuals who will or could ever be saved and at the same time be "concerned about the salvation of his countrymen"?
                        2 Tim. 2:10
                        This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

                        But Paul doesn't know which specific individuals are elect, and so he shares the Gospel with everyone, wherever God has placed him. It's not our place to know God's will or to do the choosing. But we have been commanded to share the Gospel with everyone without distinction.

                        Sorry Mr. Coffee but just from a simply logical perspective, never mind a theological one, it is easily seen that individual election is not a necessary condition for corporate election.
                        I am not talking about logical or causal relationships between 2 things. I am saying that a collective term denotes a collection of individuals.

                        When we trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit identifies us with Christ. We then become part of His predestined purpose.
                        Belief is predestined.

                        Acts 13:48
                        When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.


                        But according to your theology he was lucky enough to be elect (we assume). His election had nothing to do with what he believed or did or anything else right? In fact, just the reverse, he believed because he was elect, right? Lucky him.
                        Election has nothing to do with luck. It is the sovereign will of the all-wise God.

                        Secondly, the statement, "The elect have obtained righteousness, and the rest were hardened." is incompatible (logically) with what many Calvinist claim as their foundational theological point, (that point being the total depravity of man). Why would God need to harden someone who was already totally depraved? What did He do, make them super duper totally depraved? It makes no sense.
                        The word "total" is sometimes misunderstood. It does not refer to the degree of sin in the unregenerate. It means that sin has corrupted every area of human life: mind, body, will, emotions, and relationships. For this reason the term "Pervasive Depravity" is sometimes used instead.

                        Hardening is a judicial act whereby God removes restraints on sinful desires so that sinners will confirm themselves in wickedness and unbelief.

                        Ps. 81:12
                        So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
                        to follow their own plans.

                        Rom. 1:24
                        Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.

                        God, according to Piper, is a capricious, arbitrary, unjust bully who is way more interested in His own glory than anything else like the best interests of others whom He loves.
                        Ezekiel 36:22-32
                        IT IS NOT FOR YOUR SAKE THAT I WILL ACT, HOUSE OF ISRAEL, BUT FOR MY HOLY NAME, which you profaned among the nations where you went. I will honor the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations—the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am Yahweh"—the declaration of the Lord GOD —"when I demonstrate My holiness through you in their sight.

                        "For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances. Then you will live in the land that I gave your fathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will summon the grain and make it plentiful, and will not bring famine on you. I will also make the fruit of the trees and the produce of the field plentiful, so that you will no longer experience reproach among the nations on account of famine.

                        "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and abominations. IT IS NOT FOR YOUR SAKE THAT I WILL ACT" —the declaration of the Lord GOD —"let this be known to you. Be ashamed and humiliated because of your ways, house of Israel!"

                        Ex. 9:16
                        However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth.

                        Ps. 79:9
                        God of our salvation, help us—
                        for the glory of Your name.
                        Deliver us and atone for our sins,
                        because of Your name.

                        Ps. 106:8
                        Yet He saved them because of His name,
                        to make His power known.

                        Isa. 43:25
                        It is I who sweep away your transgressions
                        for My own sake
                        and remember your sins no more.

                        Isa. 48:9-11
                        I will delay My anger for the honor of My name,
                        and I will restrain Myself for your benefit and [for] My praise,
                        so that you will not be destroyed.

                        Look, I have refined you, but not as silver;
                        I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

                        I will act for My own sake, indeed, My own,
                        for how can I be defiled?
                        I will not give My glory to another.

                        Don't be afraid of the text Mr. Coffee. Just read Jer. 18 and tell what the text itself says in answer to my question.
                        I have not answered because I honestly do not know what you're getting at. This is because I do not share your belief that Jer. 18 is the key to Romans 9. We're on different channels, and your question seems cryptic. This is not the best way to structure a debate. If someone asked you, "Why does David's cup runneth over?" in a discussion on Romans 9, you'd wonder what that has to do with Romans 9. And if you were then accused of being a coward for not answering, it wouldn't make you one.

                        More blasphemy! Your theology makes God not only unjust but the very author of sin itself and makes faith and love meaningless. And again, this is not what the text says but is rather the Calvinists rendering of the passage.
                        Nearly every point you made in this post is in opposition to what the text actually says. I don't really blame you so much though. You are, of course, responsible for your own actions and thoughts so you aren't blameless here but the fact remains that you have had Calvinist colored glasses on for so long you probably don't know how not to see what you see in these passages. Fortunately, God's grace and mercy are greater than our ignorance and such things will not keep you from being saved. They will and have, however, kept others from being saved and for good reason. And this reason alone, never mind the injury done to God's character, is more than enough to justify its exposure as the blasphemous heresy that it is.
                        There is nothing in what I've said that makes God the author of sin. God foreordains evil acts without doing them.

                        1Pe 2:8
                        They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

                        1 Samuel 2:25
                        But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the LORD desired to put them to death.

                        1 Kn 12.15
                        So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the LORD, that He might establish His word, which the LORD spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

                        Acts 4.27-28
                        "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur."

                        Luke 22:22
                        For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!"

                        2 Chron 25.20
                        But Amaziah would not listen, for it was from God, that He might deliver them into the hand of Joash because they had sought the gods of Edom.

                        Deut. 29:4
                        "Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear."

                        Deut. 2:30
                        "But Sihon king of Heshbon was not willing for us to pass through his land; for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to deliver him into your hand, as he is today."

                        2 Thes 2.11
                        For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false.

                        Isa 44:18
                        They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.

                        Isa 19:2
                        And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom;

                        Isa 63:17
                        O LORD, why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our heart, so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage.

                        Job 2:10
                        But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. ["Evil" in this verse refers to natural calamity and moral evil: Job 1:12-19].

                        Psa 105:25
                        He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants.

                        1Ki 22:23
                        Now therefore behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the LORD has declared disaster for you."

                        Gen 50:20
                        As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

                        Rev 17:17
                        For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

                        Prov. 16:4
                        The LORD has prepared everything for His purpose—
                        even the wicked for the day of disaster.

                        As for your statement that these things are going to keep people from being saved. This is the Gospel: All have sinned, and Jesus is the only Savior. But if a person goes further into Biblical theology, then whatever breaks through the pride of presumptive autonomy, and whatever affirms God's absolute rights as the creator and owner of all things--this is all for good.
                        Last edited by Mr. Coffee; June 14th, 2005, 09:31 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mr. Coffee

                          2 Tim. 2:10
                          This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

                          But Paul doesn't know which specific individuals are elect, and so he shares the Gospel with everyone, wherever God has placed him. It's not our place to know God's will or to do the choosing. But we have been commanded to share the Gospel with everyone without distinction.

                          You couldn't have said anything closer to what I thought you would say if I had written your post for you. You and all Calvinist must live your life exactly as though Open Theism was true and Calvinism was a lie. I've never seen a Calvinist come this close to just coming right out and saying it like this though.
                          Don't you think that this presents a problem for your theology? Shouldn't the fact that you are forced to act as though the opposite of Calvinism were really the truth, cause the alarm bells to begin ringing in your mind?
                          And this issue isn't the only thing about Calvinism that is in diametric opposition to everything you experience on a daily basis. Calvinism teaches that we do not have a free will and yet you make countless choices every single day! This one point alone makes it truly incredible that Calvinism ever got off the ground to begin with. How do you convince someone who makes a thousand choices a day, every single day of his life, that in fact he doesn't have a free will and that all of these so called "choices" he's made were all predestined before the world ever existed? Amazing!

                          I am not talking about logical or causal relationships between 2 things. I am saying that a collective term denotes a collection of individuals.
                          And my point is that because God predestines that a particular group of people will have such and such happen to them, it does not follow that He predestines which individuals would be in that group.
                          The owners of an airplane can determine in advance the destination (i.e. predestine) of that plane without having any idea who will get on board that plane or even whether or not anyone will get on the plane at all. Corporate predestination does not have to include individual predestination, which was your point.

                          Belief is predestined.

                          Acts 13:48
                          When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.
                          A response to this would take us too far from Romans 9. We can debate this later if you like.

                          Election has nothing to do with luck. It is the sovereign will of the all-wise God.
                          Which is based on nothing aside from His whim according to Calvinism. It is luck! By every definition of luck you can come up with. If God is going to save, say one sixth of all mankind (just to pick a number off the top of my head), and no one can do anything to get God’s attention and increase their chance of being that 1 of the 6 that gets chosen then my chances are exactly 1 in 6. It's a roll of the dice. That's luck my friend, ask anyone who lives within a hundred miles of Los Vegas.

                          The word "total" is sometimes misunderstood. It does not refer to the degree of sin in the unregenerate. It means that sin has corrupted every area of human life: mind, body, will, emotions, and relationships. For this reason the term "Pervasive Depravity" is sometimes used instead.
                          Calvin would flip over in his grave if he could read this. You've just destroyed the entire system by removing its foundation. That is at least the foundation upon which Calvinists themselves construct their theology. In reality the philosophical roots of Calvinism are found in Aristotle and Plato but most Calvinists are unwilling to admit such an obviously dubious genesis of their belief system and prefer to lean on the only Biblical argument that they can muster which is 100% based upon the TOTAL inability of unregenerate man to do anything righteous. You've removed the most important plank of the theology upon which nearly everything you've said in this debate rests.

                          Hardening is a judicial act whereby God removes restraints on sinful desires so that sinners will confirm themselves in wickedness and unbelief.

                          Ps. 81:12
                          So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
                          to follow their own plans.

                          Rom. 1:24
                          Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.
                          You don't see it obviously but your already starting to sound like an Open Theist, or at the very least an Arminian. You’ve wondered far from the Calvinist camp here and have begun to make my arguments for me.

                          If I could just get you to read Jer. 18 and admit what it clearly says in every translation on the planet, you might be able to see it.

                          Ezekiel 36:22-32
                          IT IS NOT FOR YOUR SAKE THAT I WILL ACT, HOUSE OF ISRAEL, BUT FOR MY HOLY NAME, which you profaned among the nations where you went. I will honor the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations—the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am Yahweh"—the declaration of the Lord GOD —"when I demonstrate My holiness through you in their sight.

                          "For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances. Then you will live in the land that I gave your fathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will summon the grain and make it plentiful, and will not bring famine on you. I will also make the fruit of the trees and the produce of the field plentiful, so that you will no longer experience reproach among the nations on account of famine.

                          "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and abominations. IT IS NOT FOR YOUR SAKE THAT I WILL ACT" —the declaration of the Lord GOD —"let this be known to you. Be ashamed and humiliated because of your ways, house of Israel!"

                          Ex. 9:16
                          However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth.

                          Ps. 79:9
                          God of our salvation, help us—
                          for the glory of Your name.
                          Deliver us and atone for our sins,
                          because of Your name.

                          Ps. 106:8
                          Yet He saved them because of His name,
                          to make His power known.

                          Isa. 43:25
                          It is I who sweep away your transgressions
                          for My own sake
                          and remember your sins no more.

                          Isa. 48:9-11
                          I will delay My anger for the honor of My name,
                          and I will restrain Myself for your benefit and [for] My praise,
                          so that you will not be destroyed.

                          Look, I have refined you, but not as silver;
                          I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

                          I will act for My own sake, indeed, My own,
                          for how can I be defiled?
                          I will not give My glory to another.
                          I never said that God does not ever act on His own behalf. I never said that at all. You make a great argument against a point that was never made. However, the exceptions does not negate the rule, especially in this case because even when God is acting in His own behalf, more often than not, it is also in the best interest of those effected by His action, even if those effected don't like it. The glory of God is to love not to be selfish. God is self-sacrifice not self aggrandizing. Calvinism turns God into a selfish jerk not a loving Father who gives His very life to purchase every last man woman and child on the Planet even while they were yet sinners.

                          I have not answered because I honestly do not know what you're getting at. This is because I do not share your belief that Jer. 18 is the key to Romans 9. We're on different channels, and your question seems cryptic. This is not the best way to structure a debate. If someone asked you, "Why does David's cup runneth over?" in a discussion on Romans 9, you'd wonder what that has to do with Romans 9. And if you were then accused of being a coward for not answering, it wouldn't make you one.
                          I have Biblically established that Jer. 18 and Romans 9 are legitimately linked, and I do mean that I have established it. It simply cannot be denied honestly. God Himself defines the terms used in the metaphor for us, to deny it is to simply deny the Biblical truth. It's not as if I'm asking you how many boards Noah used in the ark or how much gold did it take to cover the Ark of the Covenant. All I'm asking you to do is to read an obviously connected Biblical passage and tell me what it says about why God did what He did. All I'm asking you to do is read the Bible and report what it says. Every single person reading this debate either already knew the answer to the question when I asked it, or has themselves gone and read the passage to figure out what the heck I'm referring to. The answer is so simple and obvious; you're only damaging your position by refusing to answer the question.

                          There is nothing in what I've said that makes God the author of sin. God foreordains evil acts without doing them.
                          How can you not see that you just contradicted yourself in side of one sentence?
                          "God foreordains evil acts without doing them."
                          You logic fails in at least a couple of ways. First of all God's will is not evil and so doing what He ordains is not evil but good. And so your logic turns evil into good by implying that murder, rape and all other crimes are foreordained by God.

                          Secondly it doesn't even refute the accusation in the first place. Adolf Hitler ordained murders without performing them, is he therefore innocent of murder?

                          As for your statement that these things are going to keep people from being saved. This is the Gospel: All have sinned, and Jesus is the only Savior. But if a person goes further into Biblical theology, then whatever breaks through the pride of presumptive autonomy, and whatever affirms God's absolute rights as the creator and owner of all things--this is all for good.
                          What?
                          What does this even mean? The pride of presumptive autonomy? What is that?
                          It doesn't matter, this serves as well as anything could to demonstrate what the Calvinist's primary presuppositional belief is. That belief being that God is absolutely sovereign. That is to say that God controls absolutely everything, everywhere at all times, period. That nothing happens that God does not specifically intend to happen. Everything the Calvinist hears, reads or thinks is filtered through this "sovereignty" filter. Which would be fine if their definition of sovereign bore any resemblance to the actual meaning of the word.

                          Now, very little if any of this post had anything at all to do with a correct interpretation of Romans chapter 9 which is the primary reason I haven’t gone into a lot of detail with my responses and that’s fine, I expected that to happen but I spent a great deal of time establishing the legitimacy of the link between Romans 9 and Jer. 18, if nothing else you have to admit that the use of the same metaphor and God’s definition of that metaphor in Jer. 18 makes Jer. 18 relevant to a discussion about Romans 9. Even if you don't accept that they are making the same point, you have to at least concede that much anyway. And so I ask you again, what does the text say is the reason why God made the vessel for dishonor?

                          Resting in Him,
                          Clete
                          sigpic
                          "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Clete
                            You and all Calvinist must live your life exactly as though Open Theism was true and Calvinism was a lie.
                            I said that we don't know who will repent. Open Theists claim that God does not know.
                            And this issue isn't the only thing about Calvinism that is in diametric opposition to everything you experience on a daily basis. Calvinism teaches that we do not have a free will and yet you make countless choices every single day! This one point alone makes it truly incredible that Calvinism ever got off the ground to begin with. How do you convince someone who makes a thousand choices a day, every single day of his life, that in fact he doesn't have a free will and that all of these so called "choices" he's made were all predestined before the world ever existed? Amazing!
                            We really do make choices that really are caused by God:

                            2 Cor. 8:16-17
                            Thanks be to God who put the same diligence for you into the heart of Titus.
                            For he accepted our urging and, being very diligent, went out to you by his own choice.

                            We really do perform works that are really worked by God:

                            Isaiah 26:12 (Amplified)
                            Lord, You will ordain peace (God's favor and blessings, both temporal and spiritual) for us, for You have also wrought in us and for us all our works.

                            God causes people to love Him.

                            Ps. 65:4
                            Blessed is the man You choose,
                            And cause to approach You.

                            Deut. 30:6
                            And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

                            2 Thes. 3:5
                            May the Lord direct your hearts to God's love and Christ's endurance.


                            The owners of an airplane can determine in advance the destination (i.e. predestine) of that plane without having any idea who will get on board that plane or even whether or not anyone will get on the plane at all.
                            God chose the passengers.

                            Mark 13:20
                            Unless the Lord limited those days, no one would survive. But He limited those days because of the elect, whom He chose.

                            It is luck! By every definition of luck you can come up with. If God is going to save, say one sixth of all mankind (just to pick a number off the top of my head), and no one can do anything to get God’s attention and increase their chance of being that 1 of the 6 that gets chosen then my chances are exactly 1 in 6. It's a roll of the dice. That's luck my friend, ask anyone who lives within a hundred miles of Los Vegas.
                            The part in bold: That's Grace my friend.

                            In response to this:
                            The word "total" is sometimes misunderstood. It does not refer to the degree of sin in the unregenerate. It means that sin has corrupted every area of human life: mind, body, will, emotions, and relationships. For this reason the term "Pervasive Depravity" is sometimes used instead.
                            Calvin would flip over in his grave if he could read this. You've just destroyed the entire system by removing its foundation. That is at least the foundation upon which Calvinists themselves construct their theology. In reality the philosophical roots of Calvinism are found in Aristotle and Plato but most Calvinists are unwilling to admit such an obviously dubious genesis of their belief system and prefer to lean on the only Biblical argument that they can muster which is 100% based upon the TOTAL inability of unregenerate man to do anything righteous. You've removed the most important plank of the theology upon which nearly everything you've said in this debate rests.
                            "But we ought to consider that, notwithstanding the corruption of our nature, there is some room for divine grace, such grace as, without purifying it, may lay it under internal restraint. For, did the Lord let every mind loose to wanton in its lusts, doubtless there is not a man who would not show that his nature is capable of all the crimes with which Paul charges it, (Rom. 3 compared with Ps. 14:3 ff) .
                            John Calvin
                            Inst. Il. 3,8

                            In response to:
                            Hardening is a judicial act whereby God removes restraints on sinful desires so that sinners will confirm themselves in wickedness and unbelief.
                            You don't see it obviously but your already starting to sound like an Open Theist, or at the very least an Arminian. You’ve wondered far from the Calvinist camp here and have begun to make my arguments for me.
                            "It is very often said that God blinded and hardened the reprobate, that he turned, inclined, or drove on their hearts. This comes about in two ways: When his light is removed, nothing remains but darkness and blindness when his Spirit is taken away, our hearts harden into stone; when his guidance ceases, we are turned from the straight path. And so he is rightly said to blind, to harden, to turn, those from whom he takes away the ability to see, to obey, to keep on the straight path. But the second way is much nearer the proper meaning of the words; that to carry out his judgments he directs their councils and excites their wills, in the direction which he has decided upon, through the agency of Satan, the minister of his wrath."
                            John Calvin
                            Institutes, 2,iv.

                            How can you not see that you just contradicted yourself in side of one sentence?
                            "God foreordains evil acts without doing them."
                            You logic fails in at least a couple of ways. First of all God's will is not evil and so doing what He ordains is not evil but good. And so your logic turns evil into good by implying that murder, rape and all other crimes are foreordained by God.

                            Secondly it doesn't even refute the accusation in the first place. Adolf Hitler ordained murders without performing them, is he therefore innocent of murder?
                            Hitler is answerable to God for the sins he committed as a leader, and his followers are answerable to God as well.

                            God is the deepest cause of all that happens, good or bad.
                            God's purpose in ordaining evil acts is good. The motives of those who do them are evil. Two very different causes for the same act: one is sovereign and good, and the other is secondary and evil.

                            Gen. 50:20
                            You planned evil against me; God planned it for good.
                            [You intended what you did for evil. God intended what you did for good.]

                            God will not be judged for the plan he makes or the means he uses to accomplish it, because his position is unique: no one is above him to proscribe his behavior, and he is responsible to no one. But everyone is responsible to him.

                            Rom. 11:33-36
                            Oh, the depth of the riches
                            both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!
                            How unsearchable His judgments
                            and untraceable His ways!
                            For who has known the mind of the Lord?
                            Or who has been His counselor?
                            Or who has ever first given to Him,
                            and has to be repaid?
                            For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
                            To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

                            Originally posted by Clete
                            I have Biblically established that Jer. 18 and Romans 9 are legitimately linked, and I do mean that I have established it. It simply cannot be denied honestly.
                            You've established a conceptual-lexical equation: "Vessel" means "Israel" in both chapters.

                            Rom. 9:20-24

                            20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"

                            Obviously, this is an individual, and it fits the context perfectly. Because "vessel" was a common Greek metaphor for the human body.

                            1 Pet. 3:7
                            Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

                            2 Corinthians 4:7:
                            But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.

                            Acts 9:15
                            But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel."

                            I'll bet "chosen vessel" stuck in Paul's mind, because that statement was about him.

                            And in the Old Testament:

                            1 Samuel 21:5
                            Then David answered the priest, and said to him, "Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And the vessels of the young men are holy."

                            Psalm 31:12
                            I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.

                            Jeremiah 22:28
                            "Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol-- A vessel in which is no pleasure?"

                            21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

                            1 Thes. 4:4
                            That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.

                            2 Tim. 2:20-21
                            But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

                            22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

                            I'd say we've got plural individuals here, not plural nations.

                            23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

                            24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?


                            Plural vessels of mercy and wrath--either it's individuals called out of the Jews and out of the Gentiles.. or it's multiple nations.. coming out of.. other nations..
                            Last edited by Mr. Coffee; June 19th, 2005, 03:15 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Greetings Mr. Cofee! Sorry for the delay in my response. I've been up to my eye balls in work and haven't had time for anything other than very brief posts.

                              Clete said...
                              You and all Calvinist must live your life exactly as though Open Theism was true and Calvinism was a lie.

                              Your responded...
                              Originally posted by Mr. Coffee
                              [FONT=Verdana]I said that we don't know who will repent. Open Theists claim that God does not know.
                              The comment about what Open Theists claim about what God knows is irrelevant here. The point is that you don't know who will repent and neither does any Open Theist which was precisely my point. You must go around living your life, walking out your Christian walk just as though my theology was the truth. The very life you live testifies against the veracity of your theology. If anyone lived in a manner logically consistent with Calvinism... well I don't know, I can't even finish that sentence because it would be impossible to live a life consistent with Calvinism, it just can't be done.

                              We really do make choices that really are caused by God:

                              2 Cor. 8:16-17
                              Thanks be to God who put the same diligence for you into the heart of Titus.
                              For he accepted our urging and, being very diligent, went out to you by his own choice.

                              How am I supposed to respond to this? You've taken a verse that explicitly says that Titus exercised his own free will and you've turned it into a proof text for Calvinism.
                              Besides, no one has suggested that God can't cause us to do something. What God cannot justly do is to FORCE you against your will to sin then punish you for that sin or conversely, He cannot FORCE you against your will to love Him because that is a contradiction in terms. Love cannot be forced it must be chosen.

                              We really do perform works that are really worked by God:

                              Isaiah 26:12 (Amplified)
                              Lord, You will ordain peace (God's favor and blessings, both temporal and spiritual) for us, for You have also wrought in us and for us all our works.
                              Umm, yeah okay. Try using a translation instead of the ridiculous Amplified paraphrase. And quoting more than one verse will tend to get you the context...
                              Isaiah 26:12LORD, You will establish peace for us,
                              For You have also done all our works in us.
                              13O LORD our God, masters besides You
                              Have had dominion over us;
                              But by You only we make mention of Your name.
                              14They are dead, they will not live;
                              They are deceased, they will not rise.
                              Therefore You have punished and destroyed them,
                              And made all their memory to perish.
                              15You have increased the nation, O LORD,
                              You have increased the nation;
                              You are glorified;
                              You have expanded all the borders of the land.

                              God causes people to love Him.

                              Ps. 65:4
                              Blessed is the man You choose,
                              And cause to approach You.

                              Deut. 30:6
                              And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

                              2 Thes. 3:5
                              May the Lord direct your hearts to God's love and Christ's endurance.
                              Are you married?
                              If not, has anyone ever been in love you with you?
                              Did you do anything at all to cause that to happen?
                              Did you force it to happen?
                              Could you have forced it to happen if you had wanted too?

                              God chose the passengers.

                              Mark 13:20
                              Unless the Lord limited those days, no one would survive. But He limited those days because of the elect, whom He chose.
                              The elect here is the nation of Israel not individual people.

                              It is luck! By every definition of luck you can come up with. If God is going to save, say one sixth of all mankind (just to pick a number off the top of my head), and no one can do anything to get God’s attention and increase their chance of being that 1 of the 6 that gets chosen then my chances are exactly 1 in 6. It's a roll of the dice. That's luck my friend, ask anyone who lives within a hundred miles of Los Vegas.
                              The part in bold: That's Grace my friend.
                              So now you've stated plainly that grace and luck are synonymous.
                              Unbelievable! You comment refutes itself, no one with any sense at all would buy this.

                              In response to this:
                              The word "total" is sometimes misunderstood. It does not refer to the degree of sin in the unregenerate. It means that sin has corrupted every area of human life: mind, body, will, emotions, and relationships. For this reason the term "Pervasive Depravity" is sometimes used instead.

                              Calvin would flip over in his grave if he could read this. You've just destroyed the entire system by removing its foundation. That is at least the foundation upon which Calvinists themselves construct their theology. In reality the philosophical roots of Calvinism are found in Aristotle and Plato but most Calvinists are unwilling to admit such an obviously dubious genesis of their belief system and prefer to lean on the only Biblical argument that they can muster which is 100% based upon the TOTAL inability of unregenerate man to do anything righteous. You've removed the most important plank of the theology upon which nearly everything you've said in this debate rests.
                              "But we ought to consider that, notwithstanding the corruption of our nature, there is some room for divine grace, such grace as, without purifying it, may lay it under internal restraint. For, did the Lord let every mind loose to wanton in its lusts, doubtless there is not a man who would not show that his nature is capable of all the crimes with which Paul charges it, (Rom. 3 compared with Ps. 14:3 ff) .
                              John Calvin
                              Inst. Il. 3,8
                              Your quote from Calvin does not refute my statement. Total Depravity is the theological belief that man cannot do anything good because we are spiritually dead as a hammer. Calvin making the statement that we could be even worse than we are does not refute or contradict such a belief. Calvinism does in fact teach that we cannot do anything good whatsoever and Calvinist generally use this particular point to base the entire system upon. You are undermining the very system which you are here to defend.

                              In response to:
                              Hardening is a judicial act whereby God removes restraints on sinful desires so that sinners will confirm themselves in wickedness and unbelief.

                              You don't see it obviously but your already starting to sound like an Open Theist, or at the very least an Arminian. You’ve wondered far from the Calvinist camp here and have begun to make my arguments for me.
                              "It is very often said that God blinded and hardened the reprobate, that he turned, inclined, or drove on their hearts. This comes about in two ways: When his light is removed, nothing remains but darkness and blindness when his Spirit is taken away, our hearts harden into stone; when his guidance ceases, we are turned from the straight path. And so he is rightly said to blind, to harden, to turn, those from whom he takes away the ability to see, to obey, to keep on the straight path. But the second way is much nearer the proper meaning of the words; that to carry out his judgments he directs their councils and excites their wills, in the direction which he has decided upon, through the agency of Satan, the minister of his wrath."
                              John Calvin
                              Institutes, 2,iv.
                              Great! So Calvin argues for freewill as well! Anyone else you want to invite to this party? You cannot see it but you are making my case for me. If you will simply answer my very simple question I will show you.


                              Clete asked...
                              Adolf Hitler ordained murders without performing them, is he therefore innocent of murder?

                              Hitler is answerable to God for the sins he committed as a leader, and his followers are answerable to God as well.
                              So is ordaining murder one of the sins that Hitler will be held responsible for?

                              God is the deepest cause of all that happens, good or bad.
                              God's purpose in ordaining evil acts is good. The motives of those who do them are evil. Two very different causes for the same act: one is sovereign and good, and the other is secondary and evil.
                              And this is contradictory and unbiblical.
                              James 1:13
                              Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

                              Romans 3:8 And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"?--as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.

                              Paul said that those who slander him in this way where justly condemned and you dare to make the same accusation against God Himself. I think I would repent if I were you.


                              Gen. 50:20
                              You planned evil against me; God planned it for good.
                              [You intended what you did for evil. God intended what you did for good.]

                              God will not be judged for the plan he makes or the means he uses to accomplish it, because his position is unique: no one is above him to proscribe his behavior, and he is responsible to no one. But everyone is responsible to him.

                              Rom. 11:33-36
                              Oh, the depth of the riches
                              both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!
                              How unsearchable His judgments
                              and untraceable His ways!
                              For who has known the mind of the Lord?
                              Or who has been His counselor?
                              Or who has ever first given to Him,
                              and has to be repaid?
                              For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
                              To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
                              So you're saying that God can be unjust and it's perfectly okay because He's the biggest, baddest bully on the block and no one can do anything about it anyway so we'd better just get used to it.
                              Such blasphemy makes me want to puke!

                              You've established a conceptual-lexical equation: "Vessel" means "Israel" in both chapters.
                              No this is not what I established; the context does that on it's own. You missed, or ignored the point. My argument is based on the Potter and the clay story not on the term "vessel" exclusively. The term vessel is used for both nations and individuals BUT NOT IN ROMANS 9! We know this because Paul uses the Potter and the clay story which links it to Jeremiah 18 which is very clearly talking about Israel. And even this point may have an exception but the point is that exception must be proven via the context.

                              Rom. 9:20-24
                              20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"

                              Obviously, this is an individual, and it fits the context perfectly. Because "vessel" was a common Greek metaphor for the human body.
                              So says you. The context of the passage indicates otherwise. I don't dispute that the term "vessel' could be legitimately used to represent an individual but it does not in this passage. Any attempt to make it do so simply ignores the context.

                              1 Pet. 3:7
                              Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
                              The context here would indicate that "weaker vessel" is refering to the wife. Again, this is not in dispute and does nothing to prove your case.

                              2 Corinthians 4:7
                              But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.
                              Context, context, context.
                              You are proving nothing except that context determines the meaning of the terms used.

                              Acts 9:15
                              But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel."

                              I'll bet "chosen vessel" stuck in Paul's mind, because that statement was about him.
                              Misses the point, see above.

                              And in the Old Testament:

                              1 Samuel 21:5
                              Then David answered the priest, and said to him, "Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And the vessels of the young men are holy."

                              Psalm 31:12
                              I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.
                              All miss the point, see above.

                              Jeremiah 22:28
                              "Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol-- A vessel in which is no pleasure?"

                              21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
                              What insane version of the Bible are you quoting from? There is no doubt that whichever it is a Calvinist translated it, and did so poorly.
                              Jeremiah 22:24"As I live," says the LORD, "though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; 25and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear--the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. 26So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die. 27But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return.
                              28"Is this man Coniah a despised,broken idol--
                              A vessel in which is no pleasure?

                              Why are they cast out, he and his descendants,
                              And cast into a land which they do not know?
                              29O earth, earth, earth,
                              Hear the word of the LORD!
                              30Thus says the LORD:
                              "Write this man down as childless,
                              A man who shall not prosper in his days;
                              For none of his descendants shall prosper,
                              Sitting on the throne of David,
                              And ruling anymore in Judah
                              ."'

                              This is not even the same terms used in the Jer. 18 and Rom. 9 passages and so the point here does nothing to prove your case.

                              1 Thes. 4:4
                              That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.

                              2 Tim. 2:20-21
                              But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

                              22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

                              I'd say we've got plural individuals here, not plural nations.
                              I'd say you were right. You may actually have found a bona fide exception to the overwhelming general rule. But again, it misses the point and only serves to bolster my position. In other words, proving that these symbols are used in reference to individuals here does nothing to prove anything about Romans 9.
                              So far the only thing you have shown that even suggests that individuals are a possibility is the presence of singular personal pronouns which can just as easily be used in reference to nations and they can be individuals.
                              "Of thee I sing." The word "thee" is a singular personal pronoun. Is it used in this sentence in reference to a person or a nation?
                              Can't tell can you?
                              Here's a touch of context...
                              "My country, 'tis of Thee,
                              Sweet Land of Liberty
                              Of thee I sing;"
                              Now it's clear, right. It's a nation. The context demands it. It would be incoherent if it were talking about a person here. The same is true of Romans 9. The context determines the meaning of the words. As I've said before, Paul did not begin the chapter discussing the nation of Israel and then change the subject to individual election and then change the subject back again to the nation of Israel. It wouldn't make any sense if he had. There is just nothing there in the text that indicates anything but that Paul was talking about what God had decided to do with Israel; it's just not in there.

                              Resting in Him,
                              Clete

                              P.S. It's late and I have no time for editing!
                              Last edited by Clete; June 20th, 2005, 10:28 PM.
                              sigpic
                              "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X