L is for Effectual

Back over at Jesus the Hyper-Calvinist, the comment-thread has turned into a raging back-and-forth with Tony (not to be confused with my brother, for those that know him (not to say that Tony is not my Christian brother, I mean my dad has another son named Tony)) about Calvinism vs. Arminianism. Most Reformed readers of this blog will be familiar with the questions and answers and verses on both sides, but Tony brought up a verse that I had never seen before, and don’t know how to deal with.

2 Peter 2 uses exceedingly harsh language to denounce false prophets and false teachers, and there is even plenty of language to support a Calvinistic, TULIP-py understanding that their falseness was predestined (“condemnation from long ago”, “born to be caught and destroyed”, etc.). So whatever one might mean by “the elect”, we are obviously reading here about people who are not elect. The point Tony raises is this: why in v1 are they referred to as having been “bought”?

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

In case it’s not obvious yet, the full question is: How is Atonement (redemption=purchase) Limited to only the elect, if these non-elect were also bought?

Reading the rest of the chapter, “P is for Perseverance” is also strained:

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Typical arguments along the line of “They were never really saved” are put in jeopardy by the “bought” back in v1.

I’m sure I could go read a bunch of commentaries and find a bunch of answers, which may or may not satisfy, but why do that, when I can just ask you for your answer (which may or may not satisfy)?


68 Responses

  1. I think that you need to be careful with what you are looking for. If all you are looking for is some duct tape to wrap around a slightly cracked portion of your theology then you will surely get it. On the other hand if you are looking from the perspective that says, “maybe my theology isn’t exactly right” you might not like what you wade into.

    I think the emphasis of II Peter is the same as the emphasis of Hebrews 4 and that is the beautiful (non-contradictory) “paradox” (i’m sorry for the word but there aren’t many better words to describe this (Save, “Antinomy”)) of the “work” of belief.

    Hebrews 4:10-11 “for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so taht no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”

    John 6:29 “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    I know this scripture was used early on in the debate but combined with hebrews 4 maybe it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    (P.S. Bruce, i think Rube deduced that since 3 of the 4 students I asked your question to got it right that they must have had some kind of truth taught to them along the way.)

  2. The ‘them’ in the phrase “bought them” has an unclear pronoun referrent. It could refer to ‘people’ in the phrase “arose among the people” meaning: those who truly followed the Lord during His earthly ministry, in other words, the elect (see context of I Pt. 1:16-21 where Peter speaks Jesus’ baptism and the transfiguration). A paraphrase could read, “But false prophets, in opposition to the the true prophet, Jesus Christ, also arose among the elect of those days, just as there will also be false teachers among you elect people, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the assended Lord who bought the elect, bringing swift destruction upon them false teachers because they dared to profane the Master of the elect ones.”

  3. Can the arminian prove that (a) the ‘Master’ is Jesus and (b) that ‘bought’ is being used redemptively?

    If either (a) or (b) cannot be proven, then that’s sufficient to serve as a defeater for the universalist’s, IMHO, eisogetical reading of the text.

  4. @Daniel, your assumptions about my motivations aside, I don’t see how “Master who bought them” has anything to do with Heb 4:10-11. What are you talking about?

    @Jacob, it’s interesting to consider that “them” means “people among whom arose false prophets”. As you point out, just a few verses earlier Peter was pointing out his earthly relationship to Jesus. But between there and here, Peter changes (improves) topic to the nature of inspiration/special revelation. When he says, immediately previous, that “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit,” it would seem that he is probably referring to the O.T. prophets (yes, I know that in 3:15-16 Peter puts Paul’s writings at the level of Scripture), so that “among the people” in 2:1 would be OT Israel, as opposed to “among you”, which is the N.T. church.

    In any case, I don’t know about the greek, but in the English it would be quite a tortured stretch to make “them” jump over the subject of the sentence, in favor of “people”. If you are correct, then the ESV made a very bad translation. Or Peter made a very bad sentence.

    @Wacky: !! People can be ‘bought’ only two ways that I know of: slavery, and redemption. Since the context has nothing to do with slavery (at least not yet, and then spiritual, not earthly slavery), I would have to guess redemptive. And if ‘bought’ is redemptive, what ‘Master’ can buy people other than God? It seems to me that you are resorting to questioning the common definition of words (is that called the Slick Willie Fallacy?). You can’t just poke those holes and say QED; the burden is on you to provide the nonstandard interpretations of ‘Master’ and/or ‘bought’ that apply. I know you sent to my email a link to a paper, but it’s quite long, so maybe you can summarize it for us. It seems to rely on ‘Master’ being a translation of the (biblically) uncommon Greek word despotes (Strong’s #1203 10 uses), vs. the much more common kurios (Strong’s #2962, 748 uses), as well as parallels with Jude 4:

    For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

  5. Jacob,
    That was slick twisting of words, however, I would assume if people translating the original greek in ALL of the modern translations we have today, I would think someone whould see it the way you put it, but not one translation even attempts to put it that way. May it be an elect theology bias that turns you that way> I’m not condeming here, I fully understand why you would think this way because it would back your theology, but I don’t think that is what is going on here since the following verse in all translations says “bringing upon them selves, destruction”. This of coarse speaking of the “them” in the earlier sentence you claim means “the elect”. So it would seem hard to convince that Peter would say them as the elect, and the next sentence say to them bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

  6. Wacky,
    What? I’m not even sure this comment deserves a response. I would compare this to a kid playing ball saying, “give me my ball, I’m taking it and going home!”

  7. Sorry for it being a difficult connection rube but i am throwing these out in haste, it’s been a very busy week but I enjoy the side thoughts of these blogs so I participate in them even though it’s past my better judgement.

    The connection between II peter and Hebrews 4 is the warning to “make your calling an election sure.” It’s all about making sure you don’t miss the value of the gospel message by failing to combine it with faith.

    I think often the problem with extreme calvanists is indeed the motivation to understand everything so much so that we actually base the security of our salvation on what we “know” rather then on faith.

    I don’t have to know how the engine of my car works to drive my car. However the more I know about the engine of my car the better driver I become. If in studying the engine of my car I find something doesn’t make sense to me, say a hose, and feel like I really have to figure out where it goes then I start reading manuals and asking experts until I am satisfied. But what if their answers are unsatisfactory to me? What if I don’t like the answers? What if the answer causes me to totally change the way I drive my car? Would I be more likely to reject that answer or recieve it?

    Ok sorry that was gong back to the motivation thing. Heres the point. If you read II Peter as a warning that says something like, “you can loose your salvation”? Does that make you question the soveriegnty of God? If you read Hebrews 4 as a warning to make sure that you have faith does that make you think faith has something to do with your works, would you even accept that?

    Thats the point with duct tape theology that has to constantly pull out scriptures because they are uncomfortable to your theology.

    I don’t have any problem saying in the same breath, Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the whole world. AND that the church is that which was obtained by his blood.

    Could Jesus have bought these false teachers and they still ultimatley denied him? Can I believe that and still agree with the 5 points of calvanism? I think so. Does that mean they were truly redemeed? I don’t think so, in fact their destruction was certain and we are warned not to fall into it. Can I fall into it? obviously so if there is a warning. What should I do? I should make avery effort to enter the rest. see, it’s a non-contradictory paradox :-D

  8. Rube, you said,

    “I know you sent to my email a link to a paper, but it’s quite long,…”

    Do your homework and then get back to me.


    My point was more like this:

    “Okay, so you’re making an argument which you think disproves limited atonement. You have an argument made up of premises. Now, prove your premises.”

    You see, you have the burden. Not me. You. Since you do, stop shirking your responsibilites and get to work. I mean, it’s funny using baseball jokes, but this is the real world here.

    Anyway, let’s give you (a) and assume ‘Matser’ means Jesus (even though you apparently feel like you don’t need to argue for that, fine). Let’s then throw in (c) and ask if ‘Master’ is a designator for a redeemer? Then we’ll look at (b), then.

    Despotes is used about thirty times in the whole of Scripture-twenty times in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament and ten times in the New Testament. But never does it refer to the Father or the Son as mediator unless II Peter 2:1 be the exception. And if this be the case, the burden of proof rests upon those who wish to make it the exception, does it not?

    And so, the dominant use of despotes in both the Old and New Testaments is of God as “absolute sovereign,” that is, as “sovereign Lord” and owner of each member of the human race.

    And so I wanted you to prove that the text of 2 Peter 2:1 is referring to the price that was paid to redeem these false teachers.

    And so can the lazy scholars here demonstrate the assumed ownership of Christ over false teachers by means of His redemptive work?

    No? Why? Oh, because we can make fun of you and talk baseball. Well, who’s on first, Tony?

    Furthermore, if ALL men are owned via Christ’s redemtpive work, then in what sense are the redeemed owned differently?

    Gary Long stresses the distinction between Christ as Mediator, thus establishing a redemptive context, and Christ as Sovereign, establishing a non-redemptive context. And I press this distinction too.

    At this point in the debate, Tony, you need to argue, not mock. The mocking will come at the end, when your Arminainism is lying, bleeding on the floor.

    Furthermore, you of course need to deal with Owenis double jeopardy argument. That is, if Christ “bought” them in the redemptive sense, then why do they pay for their sins in hell? Does God require double payment?

    Now, in respects to Ruben’s jab that I’m “questioning the common defintiion of the word,” I must pleade innocent. Actually, like I said above, both parties need to do their work here.

    Escobedo comments:

    “As noted earlier agorazo is the other term that is central to the discussion of 2 Peter 2:1. In fact, in the Greek text this is the first of the two terms mentioned. Nearly every lexical source defines the term as “to acquire,” “to buy,” “to purchase,” and even “to redeem.” While these definitions bear the basic meaning of the term it must be said that all words are defined by their context. Hence, both particularists and general redemptionists have the same textual burden: to demonstrate how this term is being defined in this specific context. For it will not do to simply assume a meaning that is consistent with one’s theological perspective; rather, a meaning must be determined on the sole basis of New Testament exegesis, which seeks to ascertain the intended meaning of the original author.”

    And so it looks like both sides need to do their homework and argue for their respective interpretation. Apparently Ruben wants others to do his homework for him. Well, if he pays me $25 dollars a night, I’d oblige!

    With that in mind, then, agorazo is used some thirty times in the New Testament, with twenty-four of the uses restricted to either a literal or metaphorical non-redemptive context. It is used five times in what are clear redemptive contexts. This leaves only 2 Peter 2:1 as the debatable text. The majority of references in the New Testament are non-redemptive; in other words, the objects purchased are impersonal or material (land, (land, oxen, food, etc.) obviously such things require no divine redemption).

    Now, let’s note that in all the cases dealing with redemption, ‘bought’ is always followed by “with a price” or “buy his blood” (with 2 Pet. 2 being the ONLY exception, if it indeed IS meant to be used redemptively). Let’s look at some of the other cases:

    Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

    And they sang a new song, saying, ‘ Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and bought for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.’ (Revelation 5:9)

    “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:13)

    And so of the 30 passages in which ‘bought’ is used in the NT, 24 are used non-redemptively, while 5 of the verses which are clearly redemptive say “with a price” or “by his blood” along with ‘bought.’ Except, that is, with the passage in question. Then there would be 6 redemptive passages, not 5. Given the textual evidence, is it wise to assume a redemptive sense?

    So, you bet your bippy that I want you guys to argue for your interpretation! So, in redemptive contexts the means (purchase price) is always noted. No such means (the purchase price) is found in 2 Peter 2:1. There is no, “denying the Master who bought them with…” This is very important and must be dealt with by any person suggesting 2 Peter 2:1 is intended to be a redemptive passage.

    And so as Gary Long states in his book on Limited Atonement:

    Gary Long states:

    “…of its thirty occurrences in the New Testament, agorazo is never used in a salvation context (unless II Peter 2:1 is the exception) without the technical term “price” (times- a technical term for the blood of Christ) or its equivalent being stated or made explicit in the context (cf. I Cor. 6:20; 7:23; Rev. 5:9; 14:3,435).”

    The issue, then, as it relates to 2 Peter is clear: since the bulk of textual evidence strongly suggests that a non-redemptive sense is the sense being utilized by Peter, then why should we understand it any differently? Unless, of course, there are external considerations not specifically derived from the text itself. Eisogesis?

    Escobedio summarizes his argument for us:

    “in the thirty New Testament occurrences, where the Greek term agorazo is used, only five texts are clearly and indisputably redemptive (2 Peter 2:1 being the lone exception). Furthermore, in these five instances, there are seemingly three undeniable contingencies or features that strengthen the redemptive contexts. Namely, a) the purchase price or its equivalent is stated in the text (i.e., the blood, the Lamb; cf., 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; and Rev. 5:9), or the purchase price is implicit in the immediate context (Rev. 14:3, 4); b) redemptive markers or language is used, and b) in every case the context is restrictive to believers (cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; 5:9; and 14:3, 4). None of these features or contingencies are to be found in 2 Peter 2:1.”

    And concludes,

    “It has been demonstrated that the term “Master” (despotes) refers to an owner in a master- slave relationship. The meaning here is not of Christ as Savior or Mediator (despotes is never used as a redemptive title), but to Christ (or the Father) as Sovereign. It has also been demonstrated that the term “bought” (agorazo) in the New Testament is most frequently used in non-redemptive contexts. When used redemptively there are specific pointers that are conspicuously absent in 2 Peter 2:1 (such as the purchase price, believers as the lone object, or the presence of other mediatorial or redemptive features).”

    And so, Peter is not addressing the extent of the atonement but is providing an OT example (similar to Deut. 32:5-6) of a sovereign master (despot) who had purchased slaves and hence commanded their allegiance.

    “They have acted corruptly toward Him, They are not His children, because of their defect; But are a perverse and crooked generation. Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you.” (Deuteronomy 32:5-6)

    Hmmmm, seem familiar???

    Is this being used redemptively???

    Nah, I don’t think so.

    Referring to Deuteronomy 32:6 Wayne Grudem writes:

    ‘Is not he your Father who has bought you?’…Peter is drawing an analogy between the past false prophets who arose among the Jews and those who will be false teachers within the churches to which he writes…From the time of the exodus onward, any Jewish person would have considered himself or herself one who was ‘bought’ by God in the exodus and therefore a person of God’s own possession. …So the text means not that Christ had redeemed these false prophets, but simply that they were rebellious Jewish people (or church attenders in the same position as rebellious Jews) who were rightly owned by God because they had been bought out of the land of Egypt (or their forefathers had), but they were ungrateful to him.

    God has ordained that there will be false teachers. Contextually then, these “professing believers,” surrounded by gospel light and truth, the fellowship of the people of God, rose up from among the people (distinguishing themselves from the people of God), and used their leadership and teaching within the Church to spread damnable heresies. In doing this they denied and rejected their Sovereign Master (not Savior) and brought swift destruction upon themselves.

    So, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    [Note: The above was mostly borrowed from Simon Escobedo’s excellent exegesis of the passage]



  9. Daniel,

    For me the non-calvinist of the bunch, I think Rube is asking the questions becasue he’s worried about figuring everything out; but Calvinism is a little extreme by nature, maybe he wants to have the explanation at hand for this seeming paradox of scriptures. There is a difference between digging to find holes and discovering or stumbling upon them.

    To me it supports other numerous scriptures that give a reasonable doubt for Calvinism being the theology to follow.
    Besides, there is no problem with asking other car drivers or mechanics about what the hose is and how the hose works. Maybe you get a good answer, maybe you don’t, either way turning a blind eye to it is not really being true to yourself, even in matters of faith. Once you have dicovered something, is it fair to yourself to just ignore it? The only alternative to all of this is to not look under the hood, which in my opinion is always dangerous! I guess that is what I’m doing here, taking a look under the hood and doing needeed maintenance since my light has been on for some time now!

  10. Wacky,

    Puff, Puff!
    Good Talk,


  11. If God is the soveriegn master, not their savior, how do they still rebel? This makes no sense for a God who is so powerful, and sovereign in all things. I guess He likes people to rebel from Him since he makes it that way?

  12. I guess I will do some homework and hit you guys back later!

  13. Tony’s comment #11 commits the red herring fallacy by bringing up another question, and so let’s help Tony out. Calvinists aren’t afraid of chasing red herrings, they’ll chase the rabbit, and then come back for the real hunt, all with time to kill at the end of the day! ;-)

    Tony says:

    “If God is the soveriegn master, not their savior, how do they still rebel? This makes no sense for a God who is so powerful, and sovereign in all things. I guess He likes people to rebel from Him since he makes it that way?”

    i. Notice the above is not an argument but is, again, just an assertion borne from ignorance of Calvinism (or, the Bible, as the 2 Peter 2 debate showed).

    ii. Calvinists believe in compatibilism, you know? So, Tony should know our position, anticipate my response, and then meet me at that level.

    iii. Is Tony deny that God is :not the sovereign master over all men? That’s odd. Why think such a thing:

    God does whatever He pleases:

    Gen. 18:14, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
    Psalm 115:3, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”
    Psalm 135:6, “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”
    Isaiah 46:10, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;”
    Jer. 32:27, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”
    Dan. 4:35, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What hast Thou done?’”
    Matt. 19:26, “And looking upon them Jesus said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
    Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

    Chance occurrence:

    Prov. 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
    Natural realm – sun, rain, birds, grass, hair. – Top
    Matt. 5:45, “in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
    Matt. 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”
    Matt. 6:30, “But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?”
    Matt. 10:29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”
    Matt. 10:30, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

    Human History – nations, times, boundaries, people:

    Acts 17:26, “and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation,”
    Psalm 47:1-4, “O Clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy. 2For the Lord Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth. 3He subdues peoples under us, and nations under our feet. 4Hchooses our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom He loves.”
    Psalm 33:10, “The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.”

    Human Birth – God grants offspring and descendents:

    Gen. 4:25, “And Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel; for Cain killed him.”
    Deut. 10:22, “Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.”
    Ruth 4:13, “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.”

    Human plans and accidents:

    Exodus 21:12, “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13“But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee.”
    James 4:13-15, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.”
    Good and ill from God – Top
    Lam. 3:37-38, “Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? 38Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?”
    Health and prosperity – Top
    Exodus 4:11, “And the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?”
    Deut. 32:39, “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded, and it is I who heal; And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
    1 Sam. 2:6-7, “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7The Lord makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.”
    Ecc. 7:13-17, “Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent? 14In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider— God has made the one as well as the other So that man may not discover anything that will be after him.”
    Isaiah 45:5-7, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.”
    Lam. 3:37-38, “Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? 38Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?”
    Amos 3:6-7, “If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?”

    What God desires; What God arranges:

    What God desires:

    1 Tim. 2:3-4, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,”
    2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
    Luke 14:23, “And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
    Heb. 3:7, “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, 8Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness.”
    What God arranges
    Rom. 11:8, “just as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.'”
    Mark 4:11-12, “And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven.”
    2 Thess. 2:11, “And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false.”
    Rom. 9:18, “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”
    Exodus 4:21, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”
    See also Exodus 7:3; 9:12; 10:1; 11:10; 14:4 where God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.
    Exodus 8:32, “But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.”
    Exodus 14:17, “And as for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.”
    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 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.”
    Isaiah 6:10, “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, lest they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.”
    Rom. 9:18, “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

    And so it certainly looks as if God is sovereign to me!

    iv. Is Tony denying that God is all powerful? This is all very odd.

    v. As far as God “liking” people to rebel. Well, here we’d need to get into the decretive and permissive wills of God. But I assumed you already knew that given your vast knowledge on all things Calvin.

    vii. God does not “like” it, yet he still ORDAINS it. Does God ordain what he does not “like?”

    Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know– 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

    viii. Unfortunately, you’re not only a universalist with respects to the atonement, you’re one with respects to hell. And that’s heresy.

    John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

    Now, are those two hims the same him? If not, that’s an interpretive nightmare.

    P1. If so, then either the Father does not draw all men or he does.

    P2. If he draws all men, then Jesus raises all men up to be with him.

    P3. If the Father does not draw all men then all men will not be raised up to be with Jesus.

    P4. Some men will be in heaven and some men will be in hell.

    C1. Therefore, the Father neither draws all men, nor fails to draw all men.

    P6. Since some men will be raised up by Jesus to heaven, then the Father must, by pure logic, only draw some men.

    P7. The Father chooses who to draw.

    C2. Therefore, the Father chooses who will spend eternity with Jesus, and who will not.

    ix. Unfortunately, libertarian freedom is something of a irrational thing. If there are NO causes for your beliefs, including reasons, then your choices are irrational. They are something like accidents. Why would God punish people for not choosing Jesus when it was an irrational accident. Do you punish your children for accidentally spilling milk?

    x. These are some of the reasons why the synergists hold a philosophically, and theologically shoddy position.



  14. Rube,

    WARNING: 1) I have not read all the posts. 2) What I am about to say is not meant to convince nay-sayers, so much as explain it to Rube.

    In my preaching class, I have learned that the message must fit the audience. Since I don’t have time for a full apologetic of what I am about to say, I say it to Rube, who hopefully will understand and consequently sleep soundly. :)

    Rube, if you care to translate into nay-sayer speak, I’d be obliged.

    Anyway, without further adieu:

    “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

    This is a great question. One thing I’ve learned recently is that the point of a text is not simply to be a puzzle that you must reconcile to your system. That’s not to say that we think our system of doctrine isn’t comprehensive: it is. But what I’m saying is that:
    1) Limited Atonement is not violated by this or any other text.
    2) If a text seems to violate it, and the solution to the riddle escapes you, don’t let it shake your faith. For example, Calvin didn’t fail to read this verse. He wrote commentaries on Peter’s epistles.
    3) We should submit to Scripture. However, we should only submit to Scripture when we understand it. In other words, if a verse seems to pose a problem with the solid biblical doctrine you have been taught, you can conclude one of two things: a) you don’t understand the passage properly, or b) the doctrine you have been taught is wrong. Which of these is more likely? Is it likely that the Reformed tradition is wrong, given their track record, or do you suppose that you are smarter than them and can understand this passage better than they? I’m not saying that you are claiming to be smarter and a better exegete; what I am saying is that the clear choice is simply to shrug and conclude that you don’t understand the verse. That’s ok. There are lots of verses I don’t understand. There are lots of verses everyone doesn’t understand. Some of them are downright complexing. But just remember, God has given you elders and pastors and teachers who can help guide you on your quest for truth. Before you submit to your OWN understanding of Scripture, first submit to theirs. (The nay-sayers will surely have a field day with this. “He’s an automaton who can’t think for himself!” No, I’m just teachable.)

    All that being said…where was I? Oh yes, the verse. Let me paste it in again.

    “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

    Here’s the key: “there will be false teachers among you”. “Among you” is really the key, but I wanted to make it clear. This phrase “among you” is very significant. Without it, the phrase “Master who bought them” could NOT be present.

    The verse does NOT say that there will be pagans out there in the world that the Master bought, but false teachers among you. In other words, in the church.

    Surely everyone can agree that this is what the verse is saying. This is surely what “among you” means. It means that the false teachers in mind are in the church. This is undeniable. Only the most irresponsible and fallacious person can deny this. Peter is writing to Christians, and the false teachers are “among” them. They are of their number. They are counted among them.

    Good. Now that’s established. What does it mean to be “among” the people of God? It means you are a member of the church, and therefore baptized. The sign/seal of the covenant has been applied to you. As such, you are part of the covenant community, the visible church. So far so good? (For some reason, I’m waiting for someone to respond – then I realize that this hasn’t been posted yet because I’m still typing it. So I’ll continue without waiting for a response.)

    As a member of the covenant community, you are set apart to the Lord. You are holy. As Paul says, the children of believers are holy, for example (1 Cor 7). Being “holy” in this way is no guarantee of election. Surely we all understand that not all the children of believers are/will be saved. Happens all the time, right? Well, nonetheless, they are holy. They are set apart to the Lord. They BELONG to him as his people.

    Stay with me. This is true of Israel. They were the people of God. They belonged to him as his chosen possession. But they were not all saved. Yet they all had the sign of the covenant applied to them, namely circumcision. Baptism works the same now. It’s a sign of covenant membership. But the point is, being a member of the covenant means you belong to God.

    Belonging to God is no guarantee that you will, in the end, be saved. Look at this:

    Joh 17:12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

    Jesus is praying here to the Father. He says that he hasn’t lost any that the Father had given him (i.e., they belong to him). Oh, but there is that one exception, Judas Iscariot. Look at that, the Father had given Judas to Jesus as his possession, and Jesus guarded them. As a result of his guarding, none of them was lost – except one. Belonging to Christ as his people does not guarantee election, but it does guarantee covenant membership. ONLY election guarantees election. There is literally no visible sign on earth by which we can say that this one is elect and that one isn’t. Belonging to God as his people, being holy, set apart to him is NOT election. Being bought by him isn’t either. Only election is the guarantee, and we can’t know that.

    For if they belong to him, they have been purchased by him. Not all belong to him. Some are outside the visible church, and we call them pagans. Those that are in the church rightly belong to him, but the visible church and the invisible church are not the same thing. That’s why some go “out from us”, as 1 John tells us. But, that reveals that they were never “of us”. So here we see a little glimpse of God’s glory wink at us when false teachers go out from us. But it is only a wink. Those who remain may or may not be “of us”.

    But you might say that this harms YOUR assurance of salvation. Don’t worry, this doesn’t harm the promises of God. If you believe, you will be saved. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Don’t let this shake your assurance; rather, allow it to serve its purpose, namely to drive you to cling ever more tightly to Christ, fearing to let go. Let it make you humble before him, and tremble before him.

    These who are of the visible church who are not elect are called apostates. They are spoken of also in Heb 6 and 10. These heap up even more guilt than the pagan, because they have tasted the Word of God, they have been enlightened in baptism, and shared in the fellowship of the Lord’s Table, and yet their heart is hard against him. What hypocracy! What audacity! Surely you are not among them friend. But take note of them; they are all around you. Be humble before your God, and he will have mercy on you at last. Don’t be afraid of them, they who are among us but not of us; their condemnation is sure. Don’t let their example shake your faith as the devil intends. Let it cause you to cling ever more tightly to it, as the Lord intends. That is why it happens, after all: for your sake.

    As I said, if you wouldn’t mind translating into nay-sayer speak, I’d be obliged. I fear these nay-sayers will only distort what I’ve said and freak out emotionally, without listening, and there is no benefit to us in that. But you will get it, and that is enough.

  15. So, in other words, he “owns” them, but not redemptively.

  16. Wacky,

    Yup. I meant to say that I saw something you wrote, and I thought you had a point. You had said something about “bought” not being equivalent to “saved”, and you were quite correct.

    See, there are two steps in our redemption:
    1) Its purchase by Christ for us.
    2) Its application by the Spirit to us.

    Without both of these being true of us, there is no salvation. In some cases, such as apostates, 1 is true, but 2 is not.


  17. Wacky,

    If you are the embodiment of the true Calvinist, then I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, your need to put others down to make yourself feel better is laughable. I’m sure these methods work wonders when your telling people about the wonderful things God has done for you, and they fall at the feet of Jesus in droves, as you insult their intellignece just becasue they may think a little differently than you do. Everything you spewed out is totally sarcastic, arrogent, as if you know everything there is to know without a hint of humility. All of the things Jesus spoke of, having mercy, bringing peace, are absent from your obvious disgust of anyone who doesn’t think like you do! Completely sad if you ask me.

    You accuse me of knowing all things Calvin? Why am I hear, to tell you about Calvin or ask? The later if you would read with an open heart. Maybe you should check out a little sermon by Joshua Harris, called Humble Orthodoxy! You may learn a thing or two if that’s possible.

    You qouted this scripture,
    Exodus 21:12, “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13“But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee.”

    So you believe if it’s anything less than 1st degree murder, everyone should go scott free. I guess when the drunk driver hit my brother and killed him, it can be explained that God delivered him into the drunk drivers hands, therefore he is free to go, after all God will provide a place of hiding? The drunk driver didn’t lie and wait for my brother to drive up next to Him after all.

    These are lame scriptures from such a scholar as to God does whatever He pleases argument.
    Matt. 19:26, “And looking upon them Jesus said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
    Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
    Taking these in context, these are saying that man may see things as impossible, but with God all things are possible. they in no way imply that God does whatever he wants to do! Maybe you see these as the same?

    I refuse to spend all day going back and forth, but every bunch of scriptures you use are hand picked and many of them are taken out of context. You sure preach context and the complete greek explanation on one scripture that shows a threat to your theology, but you throw out every verse without the context making sense for your own gains.

    Take this one.
    Rom. 9:18, “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

    Keep reading and God summerizes what he was saying in context!
    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. F36 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. F37 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.”
    I love that last part, the conclusion of all He said was that weather a Jew or Gentile, He is patient with us all and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame!

    As for punishing my children for accidents, ie. spilling the milk? Well if I’m not part of the elect I’m not God’s kid am I? If I am a child of God, I can’t put my finger on any parent who would destroy their child, even if they make dumb decisions or disobey me, punishment is different than seperating myself from them forever!

    Not to mention, if you spank or scawled your child becasue they accidentally spilled the milk, then you are a tyrant! Now If you told your child not to bring the milk in the living room, and they did anyways and then spilled the milk where they are not supposed to have it, then you discipline. I don’t know about anyone reading this blog, the last thing I want my kids to think, is they are not allowed to make mistakes, and if they do try something and fail, Daddy is gonna wack them good!

  18. Yeah E, post number 14 is very good. i liked it very much. High Five!

  19. Thx Echo & Wacky for your explanations. Can’t comment back right now except, when Echo says:

    See, there are two steps in our redemption:
    1) Its purchase by Christ for us.
    2) Its application by the Spirit to us.

    If you are saying false teachers bought by the Master have attained step 1, but not step 2, that looks an awful lot to me like

    1) Unlimited atonement
    2) Limited election


    1) Atonement is limited to the visible church
    2) Election is limited to the invisible church

  20. Daniel,

    Re: 18

    Wow. Thanks!


  21. Rube,

    1) Atonement is limited to the visible church
    2) Election is limited to the invisible church

    Very, very close. Christ purchasing them so that they belong to him is not the same as him having atoned for their sins. But yeah, other than that, you’re more or less correct here.

    Let’s look at Heb 6

    Heb 6:4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,
    Heb 6:5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
    Heb 6:6 if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

    Enlightened: code for baptism
    Tasted heavenly gift: code for Lord’s Supper
    Shared in the Holy Spirit: wow. See below…
    Tasted goodness of the Word: preaching

    Now basically, this describes members of the church who share in the benefits of Word and Sacrament. Simple, right?

    But what about verse 6? What’s that all about? They’re crucifying him…again?

    This proves what I’m saying. Or at least, I can’t imagine another way to understand this verse in conjunction with the rest of Scripture, and I can’t find another way to explain 2 Pe 2:1, so I can only conclude that this must be right. If they are part of the visible church, the crucifixion of Christ was for them. But if they, at last, reject Christ, they cannot return to the church, because Christ cannot be crucified all over again for them. They have put him to an open shame (as it says in the NIV I think.)

    Now, about this tasting of the Holy Spirit:

    Westminster Larger Catechism says:
    Q68: Are the elect only effectually called?
    A68: All the elect, and they only, are effectually called;[1] although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the word,[2] and have some common operations of the Spirit;[3] who, for their wilful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ.[4]

    1. Acts 13:48
    2. Matt. 22:14
    3. Matt. 7:22; 13:20-21; Heb. 6:4-6
    4. John 6:64-65; 12:38-30; Acts 18:25-27; Psa. 81:11-12

    So Rube, you gotta wonder: think back to the parable of the sower. The seeds that fall among the rocks, that spring up quickly and then die, or those that fall among the weeds, they spring up, but get choked out by the world and eventually die. What do we make of such things? Do they have some measure of faith for a time? I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t give us much clear cut direction on this. However, it seems clear that apostates are more grievous to God than pagans, because they’ll get a worse judgment. So it makes sense that they are covered by the blood. I mean, they hear the Word, they participate in the Sacraments: these are promised means of grace. If they still reject the gospel, they are crucifying Christ all over again. That’s pretty serious. But anyway, yeah, I think the blood of Christ was shed for them – but because the Spirit never applies it to them by regeneration giving rise to true faith and faith giving rise to true repentance, then their sins have not been atoned for, and they are not forgiven. They have not laid hold of Christ by faith.

    But remember, this is because God has not given them faith.

    This is a very specific class of people. The Pharisees fall into this group, and Jesus clearly had stronger language for them than anyone else. Observe:

    Matthew 23

    Please go there and read it. It’s pretty overwhelming when you do. There’s a 7-fold “Woe” declaration to the Scribes and Pharisees, and then Jesus says that they’ll be guilty of the blood of ALL THE PROPHETS of all history. Wow. Why? Because they hated him and killed him.

    Now, I would ask Tony, how can Jesus speak that way, if they weren’t predestined to be judged? Jesus is proclaiming their judgment before they were even dead! What gives?

    But before you say that only Jesus can do that, Stephen did it too in Acts 7. Whoops!

    Yeah, the gospel is held out so that anyone who believes it will be saved. True. But no one believes it unless God causes them to believe it. Sorry, Scripture affirms BOTH.

    But, anyway, there ya go Rube.

  22. Daniel,

    Re: 7

    You said:
    Could Jesus have bought these false teachers and they still ultimatley denied him? Can I believe that and still agree with the 5 points of calvanism? I think so. Does that mean they were truly redemeed? I don’t think so, in fact their destruction was certain and we are warned not to fall into it. Can I fall into it? obviously so if there is a warning. What should I do? I should make avery effort to enter the rest. see, it’s a non-contradictory paradox :-D

    Echo says:
    I disagree with this: “Can I fall into it? obviously so if there is a warning.”

    I’m not sure it’s so obvious. You’re missing at least a couple of premises.

    Here’s your argument.

    1. A warning goes out in Scripture that says to tremble at the destruction of those in the church who are not of the invisible church.
    3. Therefore, I too might be destroyed.

    Something needs to go in between those two lines. Something like, “I am not yet a member of the invisible church because I am not yet regenerated by the Holy Spirit, but I AM a member of the visible church.”

    But of course, if this isn’t you, then you need not worry.

    Once saved, always saved. However, being in the CHURCH does not guarantee salvation.

    It’s an important distinction.


  23. Oh, pardon me, I thought Tony had some serious challenges for Calvinism.

    Carry on Tony, you’re not a threat to Calvinism.

    Oh, btw, I posed a serious question first, your response was:

    “What? I’m not even sure this comment deserves a response. I would compare this to a kid playing ball saying, “give me my ball, I’m taking it and going home!”

    And so you compared me to a little kid throwing a temper tantrum!

    But then you chide me for my “arrogant and sarcastic” reply.

    Tony, I was just playing at your level.

    I thought the mocking and chiding was how you wanted to communicate.

    I find it odd that you feel that *you* can act arrogant, call other people children and imply that they don’t want to play, when in actuality it’s *you* who doesn’t want to play.

    So, besides the emotional outburst, let me know when you have something substantive to offer by way of a challenge to Calvinism.

  24. Wacky,

    Re: 8

    Very nice, for the most part. However, you said:

    So, you bet your bippy that I want you guys to argue for your interpretation! So, in redemptive contexts the means (purchase price) is always noted. No such means (the purchase price) is found in 2 Peter 2:1. There is no, “denying the Master who bought them with…” This is very important and must be dealt with by any person suggesting 2 Peter 2:1 is intended to be a redemptive passage.

    Echo says:
    Just because the phrase “with a price” does not follow agorazo does not mean it’s not being used redemptively. If there were 5 other uses in PETER’s writings, and in all of those 5 times, “with a price” came after it, then you’d really have a leg to stand on. But this may be only a stylistic difference. I mean, is there any significance that in one place it says, “with a price” and in another it says “with his blood”? I don’t think so. I think it means the same thing, but just different emphases. This may be just a matter of different emphasis. Peter may be emphasizing the purchasing, not the price.

    Anyway, your discussion of despotes is very helpful. However, I wonder if we can truly say that everyone has Christ as Master, or if it’s only those in the visible church.

    Grudem seems pretty much on the money. Good for you quoting him there, and the other guy, although, I still contend that the agorazo business is up in the air, though it doesn’t matter, there’s enough elsewhere to make the point.

    Man, if I had read this before I posted #14 it would have saved me lots of time! You and I were saying pretty much the same thing. How about that!


  25. Wacky,

    Re: 8

    Master cannot refer to his sovereignty over all the earth as simply Creator, because then there would be no need to refer to him having purchased them. This has to refer strictly to the visible church, the people of God who are in the covenant.



  26. E,

    The Holy Spirit inspired the *entire* Bible.

    Anyway, I never implied that it was being used non-redemptively with *Cartesian certainty.* I think my argument was more inductive than anything.

    Also, I said that ‘bought’ used in a redemptive sense says *both* “by his blood” and “with a price.” And so I know it means the same thing. My argument, rather, was that Peter says *neither!* John, Paul, et al., always put “with a price” or “by his blood” along with ‘bought.’

    Lastly, it does refer to them as their soverign master, but that *does not* mean that I wasn’t using it with respects to the external covenant. I was using it the same as it was used in Deut. Speaking of the people of the visible covenant who were brought out of Egypt. My only point was that Mater was used in the sense of their soverign Lord, rather than their redeemer.

    And so we’d be saying the same thing w/respects to the external/internal, just that my view goes farther and clarifies what sense ‘master’ is being used.

    Oh, btw, here’s Dr. Long on the subject of Matser:

    “Lord (Despotës)

    Concerning the first issue in relation to despotës, the following points are observed. First, it is not God the Father who functions as mediator in Scripture; rather it is God the Son. Second, the nearly parallel account to II Peter 2:1 in Jude 4 supports attributing despotes to the Son and not to the Father. Although some grammarians say Jude 4 distinguishes the Father from the Son, the grammatical rule known as the Granville Sharp rule seems to establish that the phrase “our Lord Jesus Christ” is only a further description of the “Lord (despotës) God” in the preceding phrase. Due primarily to this grammatical support, it seems best to understand despotës in II Peter 2:1 as referring to Christ. Therefore, at this point, it may be stated that despotes in II Peter 2:1 refers to God the Son and not to God the Father. But to say that II Peter 2:1 is speaking of Christ lends absolutely no weight to the modified Calvinist position, for it must be established whether despotes can rightly refer in this verse, or any verse for that matter, to Christ as mediator. This leads to the third point, namely, that despotes is used about thirty times in the whole of Scripture—twenty times in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament and ten times in the New Testament. But never does it refer to the Father or the Son as mediator unless II Peter 2:1 be the exception. And if this be the case, the burden of proof rests upon those who wish to make it the exception, does it not? Yet, this writer has not found a modified Calvinist attempting to do this. It is assumed. It is completely ignored that despotês is never used as a redemptive title for anyone, not even of Christ in Jude 4, the only other place where despotës is used of Christ. Rather the dominant use of despotes in both the Old and New Testaments is of God as “absolute sovereign”; that is, as “sovereign Lord” and owner of each member of the human race. Luke’s account in Acts 4:24 is a clear example of this meaning. There Luke writes of a company of believers who, upon hearing Peter and John’s report, “lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord (despotes), thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea and all that in them is.” Vine’s statement that despotës refers to one who has “absolute ownership and uncontrolled power”8 could find no better support.

    Finally, although despotes sometimes has a meaning which expresses the authority that a master has over his servant (see Luke 2:29), yet it still does not express a meaning of mediatorship. It is concluded, therefore, that despotes in II Peter 2:1 refers to God the Son as sovereign Lord and not to God the Son as mediator. This does not mean that Christ as mediator is not sovereign; rather it is to acknowledge the fact that when Christ is referred to as mediator, one of His redemptive titles, such as “Lamb of God,” is always used or the redemptive price is made explicit or stated in the context. But that is not the case here. Search and see.”

    Anyway, I think we’re mostly on the same page here.

    I think we can at least agree that the synergist doesn’t have a case here and so needs to go looking elswhere for anti-Calvinist proof-texts; ’cause you know they don’t come systematically at us, rather they attack us piece meal.

  27. E. Regarding 22, I don’t think that there is anything missing unless you think there is something imperical that can be applied to make the distinction between those in the church and those of the invisible church, but you obviously don’t because you go on to say, “being in the CHURCH does not guarantee salvation.” That’s the point I am making. I am not saying we should fear loosing our salvation but we should rather be all the more eager to make our calling and election sure. We should make every effort to enter the rest. Maybe a second point might make it more specific for some readers but there is not gap in the logical bridge that I see.

  28. Daniel,

    Re: 27

    Fine and good. Just please tell me what effort we can make that can make us more likely to enter God’s rest (heaven), and I’ll be happy to concede your point.

    I am convinced that whenever we “work” it is the fruit of faith. If we have faith, it is because we have first been regenerated by the Spirit. If we have been regenerated, then it is because we are elect. And faith always works, thus faith without works is not faith, as I recall you saying.

    So what does it mean then to say that we should try to make our calling and election sure? It doesn’t mean that our efforts obtain election, that’s for sure, because that would be logically contradictory just by the definitions of “election” and “human effort”. Election cannot depend on human effort, or else it fails to be election.

    Perhaps we should ask, “In whose eyes will our election become more sure if we ‘work’?”


    PS I know I’m rabbit trailing here a bit, but…

  29. Wacky,

    Re: 26

    Good discussion.

    You said:
    “The Holy Spirit inspired the *entire* Bible.”

    – Echo says:
    What’s this in response to? What did I say that gave you the impression that I needed to be told that the entire Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit?

    You said:
    “Anyway, I never implied that it was being used non-redemptively with *Cartesian certainty.* I think my argument was more inductive than anything.”

    – Echo says:
    By “it” I am supposing that you mean agorazo. Correct me if I’m wrong. All I was trying to say is that if the word is used 5 times in a particular way – that MAY mean that that becomes a rule, but 5 times really doesn’t justify making a rule that has no exceptions. Just because the other 5 times include the phrase “with a price” or whatever does NOT mean that it cannot be used without that phrase to refer to the same thing. If there were 20 examples of it being used that way, and then this was the only exception, well, ok, then you definitely have a point. However, 5 examples is not exactly all that strong of evidence. What the person you quoted should have done is looked at other ancient Greek writings to discover if a similar rule can be made. The fact is, sometimes something can be simply “bought” without talking about the price that is/was paid, while other times the price is mentioned. This is entirely up to the author. It is a matter of emphasis. Let’s say, for example, that in the early church they had a confession of faith, and let’s say that it speaks of Jesus having “bought us with a price”. That would explain why it is stated “bought with a price”, because that phrase would be a phrase that was commonly quoted and/or referred to – for example. In that context, the point you are making would actually carry a little bit more weight. However, elsewhere it says “bought with his blood”. So let’s say “bought with a price” is the phrase in common use, and the writer decides to write not “price” but “blood” to make the “price” more explicit. What would that tell us? That would tell us that he is emphasizing the NATURE of the price that was paid. What about when they just say “price”? That emphasizes not the NATURE of the price, but simply the fact of the matter. But now what do we do when the verb agorazo is used alone? It’s simply emphasizing something different, namely that we do not belong to ourselves, but rather, we have been “bought”. In this case, it is not emphasizing the price, its nature, or its fact. Rather, it’s emphasizing the nature of the THING PURCHASED as something that has in fact been purchased. The emphasis is on the fact of the transaction. If we had the confession of faith that was in common use at that time that contained the phrase, then we could make these assertions.

    But the fact is, we have no such confession or hymn or whatever it was they might have been quoting. If they weren’t quoting anything, then why do we think that they have to use this verb with the rest of the phrase to refer to Jesus having purchased us? Can’t YOU talk about Jesus having purchased us without talking about the price he paid or the nature of that price?

    I think here the emphasis is a legal one. As follows: SINCE he purchased us, THEREFORE he becomes our Lord.

    Now, you have made the point about “Master” (despotes) that it never refers to our Lord as our Mediator, but as our Master, as he is the sovereign Lord over all the earth, over every man, woman and child.

    We contend, as Christians, that Jesus Christ is Lord over us in two ways. 1) As our Creator, he is our God and sovereign. 2) As our Redeemer, he is our Lord. (I use two different words here not to suggest different meanings, but just for clarity’s sake.)

    So as our Creator, God demands and rightfully deserves our allegiance and obedience. True, very true. But as our Redeemer, it is DOUBLY true. It is true for more reasons.

    So there are a couple of possibilities here. 1) “Master” could possibly be referring to his role as our Creator, which gives him a legitimate right to be our Master. 2) “Master” could be referring to his role as Redeemer for the a) elect, b) reprobate, c) the visible church or d) all of the above.

    It is my contention that #1 is the least likely here. Your point that that is how the word is most often used is well taken, and I find it to be completely legitimate. It sounds strange to speak about those who have been redeemed as having Jesus as their “Master” (despotes), because there is a sort of coldness to the title. There is a sort of coldness because it seems to refer only to the obedience we owe him, and not at all of the love that he has for us, or the love that we have for him for that matter. Nonetheless, the people in view here are false teachers, they are not elect, therefore God did not foreknow them or choose them, predestining them to eternal life, so therefore their relationship with God is not a loving relationship, but one of hostility and war. Thus the coldness of despotes (think of the english word “despot” or “tyrant”) is appropriate. However, since people are being spoken of as having been bought – therefore I say that this cannot be speaking of all humanity. In other words, I don’t think Peter is saying that these false teachers are just like every other person on earth who owe their obedience to their Master in heaven. I don’t think that’s the case. Unless of course we want to say that every man on earth HAS IN FACT been bought by Christ and therefore belong to him, are possessed by him. I don’t want to say that, but I could see where someone might want to – even in the context of believing in Limited Atonement. That CAN all be reconciled, but whether or not it is correct is another matter.

    I think – and I certainly COULD be wrong, I’m no Greek scholar – that the word “bought” here refers to people who belong to God because they are his people. Israel is God’s people, for example. They belong to him as his chosen possession. They are holy, set apart to the Lord OUT OF humanity. That’s what it means to belong to him, that’s what it means to have been purchased. I think the word here, “Master” is really emphasizing God’s ownership (and I do think it’s God the SON referred to here) over these people, like a master owns his slaves. He bought them, he owns them.

    If it means that he is Master of every man on earth (including pagans), then they belong to him NOT in virtue of the fact that he bought them, but in virtue of the fact that he created them. We owe him allegiance APART from being bought. But in the verse at hand, the buying implies the Master relation. In other words, the verse is implying that he is Master BECAUSE he bought them. “Agorazo” is in the active: the focus is on Jesus doing the action. If Peter wanted to focus on the people who HAVE been bought, he could have used the passive, made “them” the subject, and “Master” the object, so that it would read “they have been bought by their Master”. But that’s not how it’s constructed. Now, the construction is more complicated than that. The focus is actually on “them” as the subject of “arneomai” which just means to disavow or to reject. So the focus is on “them” who are rejecting their Master. But the verb “agorazo” is the “purchasing” Master. That’s how the verb is used. So a literal translation would be something like: “they are denying thier purchasing Master.” This, I think, gives more weight to the fact that he is their Master in virtue of having purchased them. Therefore, I think that if “Master” refers to his Lordship over all his creatures, the word “purchasing” would not have been used, but rather “creating” or “sustaining”, but not “purchasing”. This phrase “purchasing Master” seems to be to me a unique one. Perhaps he is making the point that he is their redeeming creator or something.

    Whatever. The fact is, he has both purchased them and he is rightly Master of them. These two words together then become the one complex object of the verb “deny”. They deny their purchasing Master. These two words are deliberately used together. Perhaps to convict them twice over.

    Nonetheless, it is the crucified/risen Jesus Christ who is described as their Master, and he is deliberately so described. I say that he bears this special relationship only to the visible church. Enough about this for now.

    You said:
    “Also, I said that ‘bought’ used in a redemptive sense says *both* “by his blood” and “with a price.” And so I know it means the same thing. My argument, rather, was that Peter says *neither!* John, Paul, et al., always put “with a price” or “by his blood” along with ‘bought.’”

    – Echo says:
    But here it is used as a participle that is acting like an adjective, modifying “Master”. It is the purchasing Master. It is an entirely different construction in which the phrase “with a price” would not even make sense. It would be too much and awkward to say that they are denying their purchasing Master who purchased them with a price.

    You said:
    “Lastly, it does refer to them as their soverign master, but that *does not* mean that I wasn’t using it with respects to the external covenant. I was using it the same as it was used in Deut. Speaking of the people of the visible covenant who were brought out of Egypt. My only point was that Mater was used in the sense of their soverign Lord, rather than their redeemer.”

    – Echo says:
    Reread your first sentence. Please reword this and let me know what you meant. You say that “they” are “their sovereign master”. Anyway, other than that, I agree with you on this. Basically, you’re saying that it refers to those who are in the visible church. Just as some unbelievers were allowed to be in the Promised Land, some unbelievers are allowed to be in the church. Jesus doesn’t just purchase ETERNAL rest for us, but our weekly Sabbath rest. And that’s why Sunday’s are the Sabbath, because it is on that day that Jesus arose, and THAT is our justification, pointing forward to our future rest, which he was the first to partake in when he raised from the dead.

    You said:
    “And so we’d be saying the same thing w/respects to the external/internal, just that my view goes farther and clarifies what sense ‘master’ is being used.”

    – Echo says:
    I think your view might go too far. See, here’s the thing. Peter is convicting these false teachers of being in the church and THEREFORE owing Jesus their allegiance. But since they don’t obey him, they bring swift destruction on themselves. Sure, the same can be said of the pagan, but in a different way. The pagan is without excuse because nature proves that he is a lawbreaker (Rom 1). He is without excuse because he has partaken with all humanity in GENERAL revelation (God’s revelation in and through the creation.) But Peter here is accusing the false teachers “among you” (in the church) of being guilty of something worse: they are even MORE excuse-less because they have partaken in SPECIAL revelation (God’s revelation in the Word and in Jesus Christ). If the unbeliever who has general revelation is without excuse and owes God obedience, then all the more the church member is without excuse who has special revelation. The one is convicted, but the other is doubly convicted because they have had more opportunities. This is why Hebrews warns the HEBREWS so severely in chapt 6 & 10. He says, hey, you’re God’s people, if you turn away, it will be even worse for you than pagans. Thus the words of Jesus in Matt 23.


  30. E, regarding 28:

    I don’t disagree at all. Of course there isn’t any effort anyone can do to earn salvation. I don’t think I am implying that by quoting Peter any more than the original readers might have gathered that implication. If they gether that implication and work harder is that not the because of their faith? My contention is that by teaching and preaching the scriptures the result (works) will be based on their faith. So I don’t have a problem with any scripture, I don’t have to try and squeeze something in or out of my theology and claim it on the basis of years and years of doctrine and dogma. I am claim it on the scriptures. (This seems like I am baiting you back into the tongues argument but I am not really).

  31. Wacky,

    I’ve decided no need to challenge, you (even though I wasn’t trying to challenge anything from the beginning, I was seeking answers) becasue your beyond the challenge, you guys got all this figured out, and have read everyone who has told you how to battle the “opposition” of arminianism. So no need to banter any longer.

    My first comment was in a jovial way, you didn’t respond to anything, you just tried to take the focus somewhere else, off the verse and onto my defense of it! (with good cause as you obviously feel a certain way about it). But I was not born last night, and your first comment came off as sarcastic in the first place, this is why I used the joke to respond. If you were being totally sincere I am sorry, but of coarse your next 2 posts were very demeaning anyway, so hard to believe from one post you went from honestly wanting to hear an answer to sacastic, and “playing on my level” Here is what you started the conversation with

    “Can the arminian prove that (a) the ‘Master’ is Jesus and (b) that ‘bought’ is being used redemptively?

    If either (a) or (b) cannot be proven, then that’s sufficient to serve as a defeater for the universalist’s, IMHO, eisogetical reading of the text.”

    When I read this, I didn’t think, “hey this guyreally wants to hear my answer”.

    It’s all good though, I never came here to be a “threat” to Calvinism, and never proposed that as my desire. Apparently you guys put plenty of time in to make sure no one is a threat to your belief system and that is commendable for sure. Your inability to converse without talking down to folks is what seals the deal for me! So far every peron I have spoken to or chatted with about this subject, can not talk to me with respect, it is always down as if I am such a sucker for not believing Calvinism! And my faith is always in question because I don’t hold to the TULIP standard! Sad, makes me wonder why people would ever want to Christians!

    Well, I guess it doesn’t matter what they want anyway! They will or they won’t, so let’s tell them what we think and give it to them good, and then leave it up to God to give them the gift or not, right? If not, Just letting you know that is how it all comes off!


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  33. Daniel,

    Perhaps then, I am cautioning against an overly simplistic reading of Scripture.


  34. Tony,

    Re: 31

    Now seriously, Tony, you can’t possibly expect anyone to respond kindly to you after this type of thing. Rather than engage in rigorous intellectual debate, you are complaining about people talking down to you.

    In all fairness, I think you should make an assumption. I think you should assume that people aren’t really trying to say you’re an idiot, just that you’re wrong. What’s wrong with that? You have said we are wrong. Our response has been to try to prove that you are wrong and that we are right. Your response to that has been to claim that we’re mean.

    While it IS mean to call someone names or to question their intelligence, it is NOT mean to say that they are wrong.

    You sir, are wrong. You have misinterpreted the Scriptures. That is a true statement. To say so is not mean – it’s actually loving. I would do you no favors to say to you that your views are ok, and you have the right to believe them.

    You don’t have the right to believe them. The Scriptures command you to believe something different.

    These are facts. It’s not mean.

    However, like I said, it is mean to attack you personally, as if you were some lower form of life than the rest of us. You are not. You and I stand on equal footings before God. You are hoping in Christ ALONE for your salvation, and so am I. God knows there’s nothing special or wonderful about either one of us. We are both sinners. It is GOD who enables us to stand in his presence, blameless because washed in the blood of Christ.

    If you want to persist believing what you believe, no one will stand in your way. Go ahead! It is to God that you will answer for your beliefs; not one of us.

    But take note: we bear witness to you that what you have espoused is simply wrong and unbiblical. Not ALL of what you believe, mind you, but a lot of what you have said is flat out wrong. Surely God can forgive you of this as easily as anything else – that’s not a problem. But you will benefit if you would submit to Scripture. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: whoever is teaching you this stuff – and there are MANY just like him (or her?) – they are wrong too, and they’re filling your head with inaccuracies.

    Like most errors, the Arminian ideas you have been taught (forced?) to believe are subtle, and APPEAR to be substantiated from Scripture until you finally learn to read it rightly. How true are the words of Jesus, that the way is narrow, and few find it. But they don’t find it because they are SMART or because they are better people. No, rather, they find it because of God, who shows mercy.

    Seek mercy, and you will find it.


  35. Echo, re #33

    “Overly simplistic reading of scripture”?

    Don’t you think it is worse to get an “overly complicated reading of scripture”?

    Or are you premillenial after all?

  36. Echo,

    I undestand most of what you have said to me is calling me wrong and not unintelligent, and for that I thank you. Honest intellectual debate is what I can respect, and have enjoyed. Thank you guys for trying to “warn” me of the false doctrine you think I follow. I have been studing and reading both sides of the stoary and I have yet to be persuaded. All things have not been reconciled in my opinion by the calvinists! These are actually not things that I have been taught by people for the most part, I was not raised in church my whoile life and my recent years of conversion and serving God has been full of church, but my knowledge of the word has come from my own time with God and studying the depths of what I believe is truth! I have many issues I stand against churches on, and other issues I agree with churches on. It’s not my own doctrine, but I just don’t take everything ANYONE teaches as truth unless I see it for myself.


  37. Daniel,

    Re: 35, cf. 33, 30, 28, 27, etc

    You said:
    “I am not saying we should fear loosing our salvation but we should rather be all the more eager to make our calling and election sure. We should make every effort to enter the rest.”

    That was in 27.

    To which I am trying to respond in 33 that perhaps we should caution here against an overly simplistic view of Scripture. Maybe a better way to put that is to caution against an overly simplistic rearticulation of the truths contained in Scripture.

    In other words, when we rearticulate the truths of Scripture, we need to be very, very, very careful how we do so, so as not to give people the wrong impression. They have the tendency to GET the wrong impression, because that’s what they want to get. So we must not give them ground to do so.

    So in 30, you said:
    “I don’t disagree at all. Of course there isn’t any effort anyone can do to earn salvation. I don’t think I am implying that by quoting Peter any more than the original readers might have gathered that implication. If they gether that implication and work harder is that not the because of their faith? My contention is that by teaching and preaching the scriptures the result (works) will be based on their faith. So I don’t have a problem with any scripture, I don’t have to try and squeeze something in or out of my theology and claim it on the basis of years and years of doctrine and dogma. I am claim it on the scriptures.”

    Specifically, you asked:
    “If they gether that implication and work harder is that not the because of their faith?”

    The implication you are talking about is: “Of course there isn’t any effort anyone can do to earn salvation. I don’t think I am implying that by quoting Peter…”

    Here’s the problem. I am not sure if this is what you mean or not, but it seems like you’re saying that if you imply that people CAN earn their salvation by their own efforts, and they respond to that by working hard, isn’t that because of their faith? Isn’t their response one of faith?

    If this is not the proper way to understand what you are saying, forgive me for what follows. But if this IS what you were saying, then I would disagree in the strongest possible way.

    In fact, I would say that this is kind of like saying that we can bring about faith by deceiving people. We allow them to get the impression that their works help them get to heaven, when we really secretly know that they don’t. But out of fear, and because they REALLY believe it, therefore they work, and since their work is the result of what their faith is in, namely the deception that their works help in salvation, then their works are the fruit of faith, and what a great thing that would be, because it would produce good fruit.


    This is absolutely, totally, 100% wrong. I actually do hope I have misunderstood you, because this is incredibly antithetical to the Scriptures.

    The problem with this is really quite simple. If you tell people that good works will help them earn heaven, and they therefore go and do good works, isn’t that a good thing, since it produces good works? That would seem to make sense, and frankly, a LOT of people make a similar argument. The problem with it is that these works, while appearing good, are not the good works God desires.

    Any works that we perform that are designed to earn heaven for ME are not good works. They are not the fruit of believing the truth, but the fruit of believing a lie. They are the fruit of wickedness. They are the fruit of believing that God’s law is somehow watered down, such that your “good” works are somehow pleasing to God on their own (rather than after they have been washed by the blood of Christ). None of us can ever attain to the standard of the perfect law of God. His law demands perfection. None of us are perfect.

    But an important point is that it’s not just our outward deeds that are imperfect, but our hearts are imperfect, even as Christians. Our deeds are always a reflection of our sinful hearts. That means that anything you do, ANYTHING, remains tainted in some way with sin. That’s just a fact of the matter. That is because what we do is simply a manifestation of what we think, believe and desire in our hearts. Jesus reminds us that even if we hate someone in our hearts, it is the same as killing him. Think about that. Jesus is telling us that it’s not what’s outside that matters, but what’s inside. True, our deeds done in this life are good evidence about our heart condition, but what we are really condemned for is our sinful heart.

    So if we ask what a good deed is, what do we say? God says that the law is summed up in loving God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. Anything that reflects THIS heart condition is good, anything that doesn’t, isn’t.

    So let’s return to the scenario. You tell people that their works will help them get to heaven, so they do “good” works. Why or how are these works still tainted with sin, or even evil? Let’s say you help a little old lady across the street in order to help you earn a better seat or whatever in heaven. Was your action motivated by love of God, love of your neighbor, or love of yourself? Your deed was not done out of love for God. In fact, your belief that you can earn heaven in any way actually shows contempt for God and the fact that he sent his Son to accomplish our salvation. So, the deed cannot be a manifestation of the love of God. But neither is it a love for the little old lady. You did not see her in a dangerous situation, and, moved with pity, decide to help her. If that were the case, you wouldn’t care if your deed made you any more likely to get to heaven, you would do it only because the lady needs help, not because you want to have a better afterlife. Nope, the only one you are serving is yourself. And in fact, you are showing contempt and hatred for the old lady, because you are treating her as if she has no value of her own, but rather that her only value is in being someone you can help in order to earn your own salvation. She is a MEANS to your ENDS. She is nothing more than a tool for you to use in accomplishing your own salvation. Thus you show that you value her LESS than you value yourself.

    A belief in a works based salvation in any way never, ever yields good works. The only thing that yields good works is faith in the true gospel of Jesus Christ: that you can’t earn your salvation, but Jesus earned it for you. Apart from belief in this gospel, there can be no goodness in you at all, and whatever your deeds LOOK like from the outside, they remain the manifestation of a sinful, wicked heart bent on selfishness.

    So while it may appear that this works based salvation becomes a good motivator to do good, it’s just smoke and mirrors. The Bible teaches that you cannot earn your salvation. The more people hear this good news, the more their actions will reflect the love of God and neighbor.

    So what is meant by working to make our calling and election sure? The relevant question is: sure to WHO? In other words, prove your election. SHOW someone that you are called, that you are elect. Prove your salvation. Show yourself to BE saved. Don’t WORK TO BE saved, but work to show that you already are. Show who? Whoever. Others. Yourself. Even God. Express your love for him TO him. Tell him you love him by your actions. That’s what the law of God says to do anyway. Good, that is lawful, actions are those that reflect a love of God with the whole heart. Tell God you love him, but show him as well, even as you are bearing witness to the world by your actions that you love God. But you are also bearing witness to yourself as well. Thus work for the purposes of showing your election to be sure. By showing it sure, you make it sure in your own eyes as well as the eyes of others. You are testifying to it, bearing witness to it.

  38. Tony,

    Re: 36

    Well, I’m glad that you need to see it in the Bible before you believe it. That’s good. That shows that you properly recognize the Bible’s authority. GOOD!

    Remember, however, that God has given us gifts to help us. What gifts?

    Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
    Eph 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
    Eph 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

    God gave us the gift of MEN who he has given to teach us, to prevent us from being tossed back and forth by the latest ideas that try to seduce us. You can even say that these men help us to guard against our own sinful tendencies of unbelief. These men should be highly trained and gifted by God. They should not be ONLY trained, nor should they be ONLY gifted. They should be trained AND gifted.

    Now, as for your statement that Calvinists have not reconciled all the Scriptures, all I can say is that you haven’t stumped us yet, nor pointed out how our responses to you are wrong in any way. All you have done is simply reassert your position. You haven’t stumped us. But you have left unanswered many of our challenges.


  39. I think becasue many of these response sget so long, many questions have gone unanswered, maybe you guys have the answers, but never gave them. But an answer to every question would still not give me peace of mind about any of this.

    You may not have felt stumped, but every answer you gave me was not something I felt was correct.

    Just becasue you gave me an answer doesn’t mean it’s right, and I guess that is what we are saying here, isn’t it? You say I re-assert my posiiotn, and I guess I feel the same way about you guys. Some questions were answered with scripture, and in my opinion when the entire council of that scripture is looked at, you guys extracted one part and call it the answer, when 7 verse lower it states it a little different, but yadah yadah yadah from me will not fix this, I think we have understood that at this point.

    So we can continue on in the other thread with your quiz, and go from there!

  40. Tony,

    If you still have some objection, then raise it. It’s a little bit unfair of you to say that our answers simply didn’t satisfy you and leave it at that. You raised objections, and they have been answered. If you aren’t satisfied, state your dissatisfaction in clear terms, and we will treat these as new objections and answer them as well. The fact is, there is no objection you can raise that cannot be answered. That’s a fact. Furthermore, you simply have NO explanation for verses like this:

    1Pe 2:7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
    1Pe 2:8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
    1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

    Tony, the fact is, you cannot tell us why it says in verse 8 that people were destined to be disobedient to the Word of God. You cannot possibly reconcile this to your Arminian belief. You know why you can’t reconcile it? Because the Bible doesn’t teach your Arminian belief. It teaches something very similar, but it ultimately doesn’t teach exactly what you believe. You cannot answer as to why it says that we are a “chosen” race. Believers. Chosen. Chosen by whom? WE have been chosen. We have been chosen to be believers. God’s people. Why does it say that?

    And what about Romans 9?

    And what about Ephesians 1?

    And what about the words of Jesus in John 4, 17 and other places?

    The question is not whether or not the Bible teaches predestination, the only question is: how many passages do you need to see it in before you will repent of your unbelief? I’m not saying that you have completely failed to believe. You DO believe that Jesus Christ is your only hope, and that’s great! But you have REFUSED to acknowledge that these passages prove your view incorrect in plain, clear, uncompromising ways. You simply don’t acknowledge it.

    Meanwhile, every single objection you have raised has been answered. But you don’t “FEEL” that our answers are correct. Do you see why I asked you whether we should listen to the Bible or to our hearts? You have listened to your heart over the Bible. It’s plain and evident. We have demonstrated it irrefutably. If you’d like to try to refute it, go ahead.

    In fact, I’ll even tell you how you can prove me wrong.

    1. You can acknowledge that all of your objections have been answered.
    2. You can explain in clear terms how our answers fail to measure up to Scripture, backing your answer up with clear logic and Scripture.
    3. You can explain why ALL the clear passages that teach predestination in some way are really saying something else, and you can prove it from Scripture – again, making sure to be clear and logical.
    4. It would probably help your cause if you were to demonstrate how Calvinism is a manifestation of a desire to usurp God’s throne for ourselves. In other words, you can show us what is sinful and God dishonoring about our view, also demonstrating that your view does more to honor and glorify God.

    If you cannot do that, or are unwilling to do that, ALL of it, then the proof is in the pudding. A failure to do this shows that your belief is driven by your own wicked and sinful heart rather than Scripture.

    Now look. Don’t get all upset. My heart is wicked and sinful too. So is everyone’s. That’s exactly why we don’t follow it. It leads to error and unbelief. That’s the fact of the matter. So swallow your pride (humility comes from the Spirit) and repent. Or if you like, keep struggling against the Word and try to defend your sin, denying that that’s what it is. Or if you like, give up the fight, walk away, and fully embrace your sin knowingly. Either choice is fine with me. But don’t pretend that you have some fourth choice. There are only three.

    1. Repent
    2. Deny
    3. Embrace sin

    Since you are a Christian according to your own profession, I believe that you will make the decision to turn from sin. The Bible promises us that you will do just that. I believe you will repent and embrace your glorious Savior in whom is ALL (every last bit) of your hope and our hope. We put ALL our hope in him and save none of it for ourselves. To hope in ourselves is to trust our wicked hearts, and that will lead us astray – not sometimes, but EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    God bless you. I know you’ll do the right thing in the end.


  41. Oops! I mistyped. I meant John 6, not John 4. I was thinking of John 6:44 and the following passage. Sorry about that.

  42. Tony,

    Make sure you read this before replying here:



  43. Echo,

    Seriously dude, you are just looking for me to say something wrong to jump on. How did I say anything different then your last paragraph on 37?

    I didn’t, i quoted scripture.

    I suppose I could have added the clause “because of the Faith worked in them by the hearing of the word” but i didn’t. Sorry.

    thing is I have never met a seminarian who was ever content to take someone at what they said and let it be right even if it is right. I say, “god so loved the world” and they are the ones who have to say, “but how do you define “world?”” I say, “that whoever believes in him” and they say, “Whoever is elect and believes in him.” This is Tony’s problem with Calvinist. Its the arrogance the you come across with that makes you effective in only furthering the division between believers of different dogmas.

    I want to recount a brief conversation I had with a former student of mine this past week. She came to me and said, “Daniel you know how I have been teaching Romans in my small group at church? Well we got into chapter 8 and none of them could understand the concept that there is No condemnation.” Basically every week she tells me about another eye opening experience she has teaching Romans to her ladies group. the stuff she talks about may seem basic enough and not all that exciting to a hard core Calvinist with a history of covenant theology study but to this woman and the people she is teaching it is very exciting. Why? Because she was raised in an AG church, she teaches in an AG church. What is she teaching? Amillenial, Covenant theology, predestination and all! Why? because she was taught it. She wasn’t told “you’re wrong!” She wasn’t faulted in every word she said. She was taught the scriptures. She didn’t need any “reconciling” of any verses.

    I am really proud of her and the impact God made in her life. I am humbled that God used me in that process.

    Do you have someone like that in your life? If not, why not? If so, then did they get there by you always looking for what might possibly be wrong in their wording of something?

    Over simplifying vs over complicating.

  44. Daniel,

    I’m assuming by your response that you didn’t mean to say what I thought you had meant to say, but hoped you hadn’t. I’m glad for it.

    You know all this stuff here I’ve been saying about our wicked, sinful hearts? My only point to you is that if you don’t make what you say explicit and clear, then your listener will have room for his sinful, wicked heart to ruin it.

    Fair enough?

    Try not to despise learning or those who learn. Try. I know it’s hard to bring yourself not to despise those who take Scripture and words more seriously and carefully than you do. But do try not to despise them. Try not to look down on them as if they are lesser forms of life simply because they want to understand the Scriptures more thoroughly than you do. It might help you to do this if you consider that their motive is in the right place. They are not trying to demand that their VIEW be upheld, but they are trying to demand that God’s view is upheld. That’s their motive. If you do not see that that is their motive, look again. For that actually is their motive. Why is it that when people are serious about the Word of God, and when they fight for it, everyone assumes that they are trying to lift themselves up?

    Daniel, I couldn’t POSSIBLY care lessa about what you think of me. But I do care what you think of the Bible. I also would like to see you not despise those who think that what we believe is a matter of life and death, because it frankly IS a matter of life and death, and those, eternal.

    Consider a doctor, who goes to medical school in order to learn how to properly handle having peoples’ lives in their hands. Would you despise a doctor for being precise with his language, or would you rather he simply tell you that you’re sick? If he told you that you were sick, wouldn’t you want a little bit more information? Wouldn’t you want to know what has gone wrong in your body? And if you asked him what went wrong in your body, and he told you that your body has simply ceased to function properly, wouldn’t you be appalled at him, and demand that he get more specific? You would. Anyone would.

    But pastors do not have peoples’ lives in their hands on an operating table. They have the eternal souls of their congregations in their hands. And you despise those who, in their training for this task, seek precision in their understanding. Look at this verse:

    Mat 18:6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

    Do you believe that? Do you REALLY believe that? If I stand in the pulpit and preach some incorrect doctrine and someone in the congregation believes it, then I have caused them to sin. Do you believe Jesus Christ our Lord when he declares that it would be better for me to drown myself in the sea than do such a thing? Wrong beliefs are SINS. That’s a fact. Look at the Emmaus road passage in Luke 24. Jesus said that they didn’t understand the Scriptures because they were slow of heart to believe what was written. He rebuked them for their unbelief! Why would Jesus rebuke them if their unbelief was GOOD?! If it isn’t good, and it makes Jesus angry, is it fair to say that it’s SIN?

    So when a pastor gets up there and preaches Arminianism, he causes people to sin. And it’s not just anyone he causes to sin, but GOD’S PEOPLE. His little ones.

    Please do not despise us who tremble at this warning. Or this one:

    Jam 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
    Jam 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

    The teacher will be judged harshly according to what he has said.

    Jer 23:26 How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart,
    Jer 23:27 who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal?
    Jer 23:28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD.
    Jer 23:29 Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
    Jer 23:30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another.
    Jer 23:31 Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the LORD.’
    Jer 23:32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD.
    Jer 23:33 “When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the LORD.’
    Jer 23:34 And as for the prophet, priest, or one of the people who says, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ I will punish that man and his household.
    Jer 23:35 Thus shall you say, every one to his neighbor and every one to his brother, ‘What has the LORD answered?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’
    Jer 23:36 But ‘the burden of the LORD’ you shall mention no more, for the burden is every man’s own word, and you pervert the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God.
    Jer 23:37 Thus you shall say to the prophet, ‘What has the LORD answered you?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’
    Jer 23:38 But if you say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have said these words, “The burden of the LORD,” when I sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The burden of the LORD,'”
    Jer 23:39 therefore, behold, I will surely lift you up and cast you away from my presence, you and the city that I gave to you and your fathers.
    Jer 23:40 And I will bring upon you everlasting reproach and perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.'”

    Daniel, don’t you read this passage and tremble to declare the Word of God to people? What if, WHAT IF, by some small, tiny chance, you were sloppy in your articulation of some point, but you claimed that it was the Word of God you were preaching? What does the Scripture say about that? You have just read it. It’s not just in the OT, but also in the NT. God’s Word is not a toy.

    You want to know what was different about what you said from what I said? What you said COULD have been interpreted to be what I said, or it could have been interpreted otherwise. What you said was AMBIGUOUS. That’s why I questioned what it is you were saying! I read what you wrote, and I was pretty sure that you were saying something completely different from what you meant! Don’t you think that’s a problem?

    I think it’s a problem. I think it’s a big problem. The Word of God is not a toy. You do not have the right to express it however you feel like it because you don’t want to spend time to be precise. If you want to quote the Bible, FINE, quote the Bible, but don’t simply quote it out of context, leaving it hanging out there so that people can misinterpret it. The Bible is not a collection of verses – it is one coherent whole.

    So no, you don’t just throw a verse out there and expect people to just interpret it however they want. You don’t just say that God loved the world, because the Bible ALSO says that God hates the wicked, and that friendship with the world makes God your enemy! You don’t just say that you should work to make your election sure, because some people think that means that they need to earn their own salvation! You don’t toss words around as if they can stand on their own! THEY CANNOT STAND ON THEIR OWN! They cannot stand on their own because God did not intend them to stand on their own. They don’t COME to us alone! You don’t toss words around like toys assuming everyone knows what they mean, because everyone DOESN’T know what they mean.

    And if you do that, and people get the wrong idea, because you don’t care and because you want to be lazy, then YOU will be held accountable by GOD. Do you really want to stand before God and tell him that you didn’t CARE if people understood what you were saying precisely because you were too lazy to put verses of Scripture in their proper context, that is, the rest of Scripture? Do you want to tell him that? Do you want to tell him that you despised learning, and that you resented seminarians because they care more deeply about the Bible than you?

    Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.


    That’s not the word of Echo, that’s the Word of God. Do you want to stand before God, and be ashamed to admit that you were a fool, and that by your foolishness you causes others to sin? Jesus said that it’d be better for you to tie a millstone around your neck and throw it in the sea than for you to continue despising wisdom and instruction, because by despising wisdom, and opening your mouth to others, you cause others to sin because you lead them astray. God says, “How DARE you?!”

    All that being said, you are right about one thing. In general, it is best to affirm what you can and build on it, rather than tear down. In general, that’s a good strategy. You’re quite right about that. And if you were a layman in the pew and teachable, I would be happy to treat you that way. But you are neither a layman in the pew nor are you teachable. You are stubborn, set in your ways, and you think you are smarter than everyone. You have accused me of the same, so I don’t feel bad declaring the truth in your case. And while I’m at it, I freely admit that I do get carried away, because in my heart I AM very arrogant. That’s all the more reason to guard against our wicked hearts! But you aren’t interested in guarding against your own heart. You are interested only in despising those who try. You accuse them of over complicating everything. But in reality, it is you who want to be lazy and sloppy. Well, you can berate me for my arrogance all you want, but with God’s help, hopefully I will never give in to your demand to reform myself in YOUR image. Hopefully I will never want to be like you and be lazy and sloppy and treat the Word of God like a toy. If I don’t, I will remember to thank him, because it’s only by his grace that I don’t.

    I want to thank you for having the attitude you have and for exposing it to me. It has been a good lesson to me. Through your insistance on laziness and sloppy handling of the Word of God, I have grown stronger in my resolve not to be. So thanks. You have reminded me how strongly I feel that the Word of God is not a toy. It will serve as motivation over the next years as I continue in my studies. When I feel tired, unmotivated, and I am tempted to be lazy, I will remember you and be afraid.

  45. 44 was Echo. Oops.

  46. Daniel B. I think you are wrongly interpreting Echo’s communicative efforts. Where you are detecting an arrogant polemic, all I see is an attempt on Echo’s part to put into practice the model that the Apostle Paul put forward in Colossians 1:28 where it says “We proclaim him [that is, of course, Jesus] admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ”

    You see that? That’s all that Echo has been doing from day one. He is constantly proclaiming Christ, he is constantly admonishing his readers who are in error to repent, and he is certainly putting in a lot of his valuable time teaching scripture (till the cows come home, and apparently without getting much worthwhile feedback consisting of clear, well thought out substantive engagement on the key passages and ideas). And Echo has made it very plain for anyone to see that his motive is the same as Paul’s was: presenting every man complete in Christ.

    Rather than demonstrating yourself to be teachable, you are telling him to stop it. That you don’t think it is right for him to be rightly dividing the word of truth. That’s 2 Tim 2:15. Here are some other translations there: “imparting the word of truth without deviation”; “handling accurately the word of truth”; “rightly explaining the word of truth”. The Greek verb there is orthotomew – to use or interpret correctly.

    So, I for one don’t want to see him hang it up. It does me a lot of good to hear him.

  47. Wow, thanks guys.

    Lets back up here.

    1. We are in a conversation where I completely agree with echo.

    2. I make a statement that is misinterpreted by echo.

    3. I point out that echo’s misinterpretation was based more on HIS wrongful understanding of what I said, not what I actually said.

    4. echo now uses me as a model of laziness and sloppiness with the Word of God.

    I am sorry that you came to this conclusion but not surprised. You did, exactly what you always do. Overcomplicating. I never said I despise seminarians. Dude, spend your money. Get your education. Go for it! But if you don’t learn how to communicate with people, you’ll never be more effective then you are today. I think deep down you realize that and that’s why you are so bitter and defensive.

  48. Daniel,

    I have a question. Are you officially ordained?

    Anyway, you said:
    “1. We are in a conversation where I completely agree with echo.”

    – Echo:
    I don’t think this is true. While we agree on some things, your claim is that we can simply repeat the words of Scripture without interpreting them, as if they can stand on their own. No, we don’t completely agree. We in fact couldn’t disagree more on a very fundamental belief about Scripture.

    You said:
    “2. I make a statement that is misinterpreted by echo.”

    – Echo:
    I am happy to admit that I misinterpreted what you said. However, you have not yet demonstrated that my interpretation of what you said was because I am a moron. I still maintain that my interpretation was fair. You may not have meant that, but you didn’t say what you said in such a way as to rule out my interpretation of what you said. In some ways, this is similar to what happens to a lot of preachers who simply refer to God in a very general, moralistic kind of way. I am not saying that this is what you are doing. I am saying that what you are doing is similar in some ways by way of analogy. Anyway, some preachers, when they preach, don’t preach sermons that reveal distinctive ideas. For example, if a pantheist comes into our church, could they agree with everything that was said in the sermon? Don’t you want the pantheist to be challenged? How do you do that? Well, sometimes you need to be a little bit more specific about what you are saying. Your interpretation needs to be clear. Your statements need to be clear and specific. I don’t know you. I can’t interpret your statements by making assumptions. I can’t say to myself, “Well, Daniel surely didn’t mean THAT. I must be interpreting him incorrectly.” I can’t do that, because I have no idea what you think and believe. In a sermon, this can be a big problem. In our churches, we usually have people from lots of different theological backgrounds. If a Roman Catholic is in our church, we want his view to be challenged. We don’t want him to walk away from our church saying that it was very similar to a Roman (pagan) church service. We want him to know that salvation is in fact by faith alone, something that the Roman Church has declared to be anathema in the Council of Trent in the 1600’s, which has never been overturned. That means that the Roman church has said that anyone who believes in justification by faith alone is going to hell, and that those who teach it are false prophets, liars, blasphemers, etc. So if a Roman is in your church, this is where he’s coming from. How important is it to challenge this belief? He has been taught to think that what is most important to us is heresy, and he’s been taught something completely different. If you phrase things in ways that he is bound to misinterpret, is it his fault or yours? How much thought do you give that sort of thing? Would you prefer to simply assume that everyone knows what you mean? I’m sure we all would, but that’s not realistic.

    You said:
    “3. I point out that echo’s misinterpretation was based more on HIS wrongful understanding of what I said, not what I actually said.”

    – Echo:
    When did you point that out? I see that in post 43, you simply asserted that you and I were saying the same thing. Then of course, you claimed for yourself the best articulation of our two statements, because you quoted Scripture. I don’t see an argument ANYWHERE in what you said that points out where/why/how I misinterpreted what you said. You have given NO explanation. You have not demonstrated AT ALL that my misinterpretation was unreasonable and far fetched and obviously a problem with me. I, in turn, as it was my burden to demonstrate, sought to show how my interpretation of what you said was reasonable. But even as I did that, I said more than once that I hoped that I was misinterpreting you, and even assumed, in hope, that I WAS in fact misinterpreting you. Nonetheless, I still went forward with what I thought your statement must have been saying because of the way it was worded. Here again is the problematic statement:

    From 27:
    “I am not saying we should fear loosing our salvation but we should rather be all the more eager to make our calling and election sure. We should make every effort to enter the rest.”

    – Echo:
    So as long as we’re on the subject, no, you didn’t quote Scripture, you paraphrased it, and your paraphrase didn’t help to clarify what it meant, so your paraphrase is completely unhelpful. Here’s what the verse says:

    2Pe 1:10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

    However, when Peter says this, he doesn’t just say this. This comes in a context of an entire letter. And that letter wasn’t written to pagans who have never heard the Word of God before, it was written to Christians, who had at least the entire OT, possibly some of Paul’s earlier letters, and surely a prophet or two in their midst who could help them understand what was being said. God never intended this verse to stand on its own. So when you make it stand on its own, you’re using it other than God intended.

    But whatever – just go ahead and point out how I’m an idiot for interpreting your comments incorrectly and I’ll be happy to concede your point. However, I think any reasonable person can look at what you wrote and will end up scratching their heads. “Did he mean that our efforts EARN the rest, or did he mean something else? If he meant something else, why would he have worded it that way?” To the reasonable person who asks these questions, neither one of them can be answered. Feel free to explicitly and clearly point out how I’m being illogical and irrational, or how I’m being mean or whatever, and I’ll be happy to concede. But you haven’t even made an attempt to point this out, you’ve only said that I’m overcomplicating things, and the proof is a Pentecostal woman who has learned to teach Romans properly, something which, apparently, my way of thinking has no allowance for, or rather, no explanation for. Of course, you have not shown why this is supposed to refute anything I said, you have only said that it does. You haven’t given a reason for it. You have only asserted that I am wrong and apparently an over-educated, arrogant person who tends to overcomplicate things, just like all seminary students do. This implies that seminary training necessarily leads to overcomplicating everything and arrogance, which in turn implies that seminary training is inherently EVIL, which is why I implored you not to despise wisdom and instruction. And I think my statements in that regard are actually QUITE reasonable and well founded. However, your argument here is far, far less than deductively valid.

    You have not, for example, offered us any reason at all why we should believe that seminary training is inherently evil. Nor have you demonstrated that the way in which it is evil necessarily leads to arrogance. Furthermore, you have not DEMONSTRATED through rational argumentation that I am overcomplicating anything, nor that other seminary students do it. You have said that no seminary student can simply say that God loves the world (John 3:16), but that they always have to add a qualification to it, like God loves the world (but only if you are elect).

    You have not demonstrated: 1) that all seminary students do this, 2) that this is a bad thing by showing that it leads to something bad, or 3) HOW this bad thing actually comes about, namely what drives the seminary student to do this, or, what evil of seminary learning drives the student to engage in this overcomplication of Scripture?

    In short, you have not only failed to make your case, but you have failed to even ATTEMPT to MAKE your case on rational grounds. You have simply made unfounded assertions. Your position thus far is not only flawed, but completely irrational, and I urge you to rethink it. However, I’m guessing that since you made these kinds of irrational/unfounded/unsupported claims, your feeling toward seminary students itself is irrational, and that this is truly what is driving you to make these claims. I must ask myself why. WHY are you so full of hatred for seminary students? I can only assume that it’s not the people that you truly hate, but the very idea of seminary. I think you would do well to admit that you think that the very idea of seminary is a bad one. You don’t think pastors SHOULD go to seminary. There are a lot of people out there that don’t think seminaries are a good thing. The youth pastor I had in high school used to mock theologians and their “fancy degrees”. Of course, there is a name for this point of view. It’s called anti-intellectualism. You are against being intellectual. Developing the mind is a bad thing. I’m not sure if you have any passages of Scripture with which to back this up. But I would like to point out at least one that would seem to contradict your anti-intellectualism.

    From 1 Tim 4 (NIV):
    13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

    Now, I don’t know about you Daniel, but it seems pretty clear that Paul is telling Timothy to study: “give yourself wholly”, “watch your life and doctrine closely”. It seems to me that Paul is telling Timothy that preaching the Word is hard work! Now how can that be? How can it be so hard and require so much effort if you just get up there and say whatever you feel like? Could it be that biblical interpretation is difficult, and requires much study as WELL as spiritual gifts? Could that be what Paul meant when he encouraged Timothy not to neglect his gift? Could he possibly be encouraging Timothy to study hard and wrestle with the passage at hand until the Spirit grants understanding? Or maybe the Word of God is simple and self evident, and any high school graduate is fully capable of preaching it. I think if you want this passage to excuse your anti-intellectualism, you’re going to have to do a lot of work to explain it away. But then, of course, your enterprise would be self contradictory, wouldn’t it?

    You said:
    “4. echo now uses me as a model of laziness and sloppiness with the Word of God.”

    – Echo:
    Well, you have only yourself to thank for that.

    You said:
    “I am sorry that you came to this conclusion but not surprised.”

    – Echo:
    I don’t know why you should be surprised. I wasn’t trying to sneak up on you. After all, all my arguments are taken from a combination of what you said and common sense. You shouldn’t be surprised at all.

    You said:
    “You did, exactly what you always do. Overcomplicating.”

    – Echo:
    Yeah, I really do have a tendency to make things more difficult than they need to be. For example, when I insist vehemently that salvation is by faith alone, and that Christ has finished and accomplished salvation on our behalf, so there is nothing left for us to do but be grateful – yeah, I see how that’s really making things harder than they should be. I am asking simply too much of people to demand that they do nothing to earn their salvation. But it’s just as well. They’re so much better off when someone merely quotes Scripture at them out of context without even explaining it. Because after all, they couldn’t have done that for themselves. We don’t want to ask them to be able to read. That’s overcomplicating matters. Interpreting Scripture only overcomplicates things. We should just always quote it out of context, and if people don’t understand, that will be ok, because it was all in the name of avoiding overcomplicating things. We don’t want people to have to think hard. God is easy to understand. You should really listen to yourself Daniel.

    You said:
    “I never said I despise seminarians. Dude, spend your money. Get your education. Go for it!”

    – Echo:
    Whew! Thanks for your permission! But seriously, you’ve implied this in more than one way. To you, overcomplicating things is the greatest evil there is (I still have no idea where you got this doctrine from), and if you go to seminary, it’s inevitable that you’ll engage in this great evil that destroys lives. Yes, seminary is evil, and thus it can only make you evil if you go there. But I never said I despise seminarians! Ok, Daniel.

    You said:
    “But if you don’t learn how to communicate with people, you’ll never be more effective then you are today.”

    – Echo:
    Here again is your anti-intellectualism raising its head. Obviously, whatever I say makes no sense to anyone, and makes the Word of God totally inaccessible to them. I have no idea how to communicate with normal people, because what I say is always overcomplicated. I suppose by this you mean that what I say always confuses you. I’m really sorry for that. I wish you would have said so earlier. I didn’t mean to confuse you. I’d be happy to answer any questions you’d like answered to help you clear up your confusion about the many things I have said. I did try very hard to be clear, but I’m happy to try again.

    You said:
    “I think deep down you realize that and that’s why you are so bitter and defensive.”

    – Echo:
    You’re right. Deep down I DO know that I tend to overcomplicate everything I ever talk about. I know it, but I just can’t help myself. Not only that, but I know how evil it is. I know that everything is quick and easy to understand in the Bible, but I just secretly don’t want anyone to believe that. I want them to think that’s it’s a very hard book to understand, so that they’ll need to look to me for help. In a crazy twist of irony, I am actually overcomplicating everything I say in order to deliberately confuse people so that they’ll keep coming back to me for help in understanding the Scriptures. Of course, the irony of it is that if I’m confusing people over and over again, they won’t keep coming back to me for help. But my heart holds yet one more secret: I know people are gluttons for punishment. I know that the more I confuse them, the more they’ll like it, so I do it, and they continue to come back for help, giving my ego yet another boost. Yes, I’ve determined to feed my ego by confusing people. Daniel, not only ARE you right on the money, but anyone who has given this blog even a casual glance can see that I’m not interested AT ALL in explaining anything to anyone so that they can understand it. Yeah, all those many hours of careful laying everything out step by step is a SURE SIGN that you must be entirely correct. Anyone can plainly see that for themselves. Oh, if only I were better at hiding it! You have seen right through me as I’m sure anyone else can.

    Daniel, I am not your judge, nor can I look on your heart as God can. I really don’t know for sure what you’re thinking. But you are giving testimony that points to you being anti-intellectual and to you resenting people who get theological education. I don’t know why you resent theological education so much or the people who pursue it, but I can only guess that perhaps there is a still small voice somewhere inside you that is convicting you of your own shortcomings when it comes to your ability to properly handle the Word of God. I suppose that you are sinfully rejecting that voice, deceiving yourself into thinking that you can stand up in a pulpit in front of the people of God and preach his Word without really knowing much about what you are doing. I suspect that that’s what’s going on.

    Before you get too terribly mad at me, remember that I’m getting this information from you. I am only analyzing your words. This is the message that you are sending me. It might not be the message you wish to send, but it is the message I am receiving. That’s an important communicational point. Communication doesn’t end with sending the message, but with receiving it. If it isn’t received properly, no matter how well you sent it, it’s worthless. Or perhaps it even has negative value.

    All I’m trying to say is, I’m not making this up on my own. You are sending me messages in what you say and in what you don’t say that is demanding that I interpret you in this way. I have tried to show you exactly and precisely how you are doing that.

    So look, you can keep engaging me at this point, but I’m going to continue to treat you this way as long as you continue to act the way you are. I will continue to lament the fact that you think seminary is inherently evil, and I will continue to admit that this is probably how you silence that still small voice in your head that convicts you of inadequacy for the task which you have endeavored to undertake. I think that’s a shame too, because I doubt that you are really successful at silencing that voice much at all. It probably repeatedly pokes at you and probably continually molests you. Well, the bad news, or perhaps for you it is good news, is that going to seminary doesn’t silence that voice either. In fact, even being an apostle doesn’t silence it:

    2Co 2:15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,
    2Co 2:16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
    2Co 2:17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

    Even Paul could not help but echo that voice in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians. Even he recognized that NO ONE is sufficient for these things. But this is the same guy who charged Timothy to study as hard as he was able. I wonder if the two passages can be reconciled? I wonder if the Spirit ever blesses our efforts?

    But seriously Daniel, you should stop thinking that there is something inherently evil about learning and about seminary. Why not go to a night class in the Spring semester and give it a try. This one is only 1 night a week.

    As for me, I am terrified at the thought of standing before the people of God and claiming to preach his Word. That’s terrifying. That’s serious business. It demands, at the very least, my best effort.

    You are no different.

  49. From the lengthy infant baptism thread from a few months ago we have a quote from Daniel B which I believe gives an answer to this question that Echo echo puts to him:

    WHY are you so full of hatred for seminary students?

    Here is the quote:

    reformed doctrine as a whole I agree with. My rejections are mostly on the things that connect them to the Roman Catholic church, (most notable is IB) and the things that deny the clear teachings of scripture (cessationism). This puts me in a great place where I embrace Christian brothers and sisters of other denominations without doubting the sincerity of their faith. After all it’s impossible to tell who is and isn’t elect right? Saddly the majority of “calvanist” (which I consider myself in essense but not in title) have taken a position of arrogance and superiority thus causing further divisions. The most notable personal example of this is the time a seminarian told me that my church is not a true church. Who the hell does someone think they are to be make such a judgment? What basis (or should I say bias) did they have for that judgment? You guessed it, the “institutes” (or at leas his interpretation of it). I’m sorry but that just further entrenched my bias.

    Go to the thread (the original one on infant baptism to read the context. It’s big, but here is the comment and you can look around for context)

  50. There’s also an interesting perspective on seminarians here

  51. Wow guys, great research skills!

    Since you guys have gone to so much trouble, I will use this research to show evidence of irrationality on DB’s part.

    Daniel, I am now going to string together stuff you’ve said that appears to me to be irrational. You can defend them if you wish, or ignore them if you wish.

    You said:
    “Bruce, again your attack of a baby dedication as “sacerdotalism” is ridiculous and is actually better directed towards IB. No one claims anything more of a baby dedication then the IB claim of “inclusion in the covenant community (church)”. What’s the difference?”

    Then you said:
    “My bias is two-fold 1) I was raised in a church and family that put a stong emphasis on the Bible as the standard of authority and if something isn’t in the Bible we didn’t do it.”

    – Echo:
    I might be interpreting you wrong, but do you still claim the position that if something is in the Bible, you don’t do it? Yet, you want to dedicate babies, which isn’t found anywhere in the Bible. What’s more you say that it supposedly makes the same statement as baptism, which is in the Bible. Yet, rather than baptize, you dedicate. Claiming to believe only what the Bible says while simply making stuff up and adding it to the Bible, in my mind, is irrational. Now, irrational might not be the BEST word to use here. I mean, I think it’s irrational, but you might not think so. Rationality might be in the eye of the beholder. Can you at least admit that it’s inconsistent? No, I suppose you won’t.

    You said:
    “Therefore nearly anything even resembling RC I am opposed to.”

    – Echo:
    Great! Let’s you and me form an organization based on hating the Roman Church. I hate them so much I don’t even want to call them “Catholic”, but only Roman. They’re pagans. The bizarre thing is, Dan Brown would probably want to join our group, so we’re going to need to be a bit more directed in our belief statement.

    The thing that confuses me is, how come every time I talk about the importance of the ANTI-ROMAN gospel, you always get mad at me? You should be like: Yeah, Echo, I hate the Roman Church too and their doctrine of justification by works! Why don’t you say, Echo, if you’re RIGHT that view X undermines the gospel, then it SHOULD be rethought. But I don’t think it does undermine the gospel, and here’s how… But instead of doing that, you simply accuse me of being a grumpy Calvinist, whose learning and precision of language is simply offensive. Meanwhile, I’m only trying to stand FOR the gospel and AGAINST Rome. How come that doesn’t put us on the same side? But, no, you’re not being irrational here either.

    You said:
    “The point is that these two biases combine very strongly in my position on IB. 1. I don’t see it in the Bible. 2. I do see it in Roman Catholicism.”

    – Echo:
    But above, you said that if it wasn’t in the Bible, you don’t do it. But we’ve already seen that that’s not true, because you dedicate babies, just like everyone else who doesn’t baptize infants, and that’s not in the Scriptures. It looks like your rule isn’t Scripture alone, but against Rome alone. If Rome does it, we don’t! Bible? What Bible? Hey dude, Rome meets in churches. So do you. I guess this isn’t a rule either. Looks like your system is a bit arbitrary.

    You said:
    “First I see a stronger emphasis on “Systematic Theology” and “Orthodoxy” then I see on personal relationship with Jesus Christ or even individual Bible study.”

    – Echo:
    So based on your “rule” (which we already know is one you obey only when it suits you) are you claiming that the Bible emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus and individual Bible study along with emphasizing Systematic Theology and Orthodoxy? Perhaps the Bible emphasizes personal relationship and individual Bible study to the exclusion of orthodoxy? I’m not sure what you mean, but either option is irrational when placed next to your rule that if it isn’t in the Bible you don’t do it. Even if your rule is that you want to have a belief system that’s loosely based on the Scriptures, you wouldn’t make this statement. That is, unless you were being irrational, and treating the rules like they’re arbitrary. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that the most important thing for a Christian is his personal relationship with Jesus. However, all over the place in the Bible we are called to believe certain things. Those certain things have a name, and we call them doctrines. When you piece together all the doctrines of the Bible in a nice, organized way that makes sense, it gets a new name: Systematic Theology. When your systematic theology matches that of the Bible, you are called: orthodox. Nowhere does the Bible talk about a personal relationship, but it does encourage us to be orthodox by believing the right doctrines which compose the BIBLE’S system of theology. And the idea that the Bible emphasizes the individual’s study of the Scriptures is laughable. The Bible CLEARLY emphasizes the PROCLAMATION of the Word over individual study. In fact, I think anyone would laugh at you if you claimed that individual study was common before the invention of the printing press. This certainly was not available in the early church. I am trying to be serious. But once again, the Bible does emphasize studying if you are to preach, as in my previous post. Hmmm. Seems like you don’t want to study, but you DO want your congregation to study. But I don’t know why you’d even want your congregants to study the Word. You don’t seem to have employed it in an authoritative manner.

    You said:
    “Second I see an emphasis on traditionalist, liturgical worship patterns (hymns only, closed communion table, necessity of seminary degree, infant Baptism, etc.) Such things remind me strongly of Catholicism.”

    – Echo:
    Yeah, they remind me of Catholicism too. But they also remind me of something else:

    Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    1Co 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.
    1Co 11:28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
    1Co 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
    1Co 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
    1Co 11:31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

    1Ti 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.
    1Ti 4:14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.
    1Ti 4:15 Practice these things, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress.
    1Ti 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

    Act 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

    You’re right, it does sound a lot like the Roman Church. But it also sounds a lot like the Bible too. I wonder: maybe the Roman church has not been COMPLETELY corrupted? Or maybe they have, but their practices just remind you of reformed practices.

    Well, as long as what practices remind us of is a proper gauge, then “tongues” reminds me of pagan drug enduced ecstatic trances. And tongues based worship services remind me of Hindu meditation, and your baby dedication reminds me of bringing kids to sit on Santa’s lap. So on that basis, combined with their unscriptural nature, I conclude that perhaps the guy that told you that your church was not a true church was perhaps not entirely out of his mind. Maybe he was wrong, but you gotta admit, his view is at least rational. He could at least give a (somewhat) consistent reasoning for his statement, which is more than I can say for how you’re coming across.

    You said:
    “You can’t reject something simply because of surface flaws (ie. overemphasis on charismatic experiences) but they must be on fundamental biblical errors (where my rejection of Catholicism comes in because of the denial of Justification by Faith).”

    – Echo:
    Now REALLY! This is getting downright entertaining for me. You can’t reject something for how it appears, but it must be done based on Scripture?! Yet your views are NOT based on Scripture, and you reject ours because they remind you of the Roman pagans. That’s really wild. Your own words make you look this way. I’m not even painting a picture. I’m just showing you your own words.

    Here you say that you were super impressed when you read the front of your NIV, when you saw all the “brilliant scholars” who put so much effort into it that you couldn’t possibly match it. Then you went on to say that you could NEVER get any closer to the meaning of the text by reading it in Greek.

    Do I even have to say how silly this is? You go on to say that no matter how much Greek and Hebrew anyone knows, they still lean towards the same positions they had before – then they trumpet it as fact…

    So I guess the only men who were justified in learning Greek are those guys who translated the NIV. The rest of us should just shut up and read our English Bibles. Yes, the English language has met their quota of Greek scholars, and they made the NIV, so there is no more reason for anyone to study Greek. Greek is now obsolete. The NIV is exactly the same as the Greek translation, according to you, so we may now consider it inspired.

    So on the one hand, you admit that you can’t match the scholarship that went into the NIV. Meanwhile, you still think you’re qualified to pronounce perfection on their work.

    The scholarship that went into, say, the ESV is at least comparable to the NIV – but it says something different than the NIV in a lot of places. Which one is right? Which one are you going to preach?

    Ah, you can just preach the NIV. I’m obviously over complicating things. God doesn’t mind if we make mistakes. He’s the one who gave us the NIV in the first place, so if perfection were important to him, he would have given us a perfect version. (Umm, but he did give us a perfect version: the Greek.) (Yeah, I know, there are textual variants.)

    But the strangest thing is how much respect you seem to have for scholarship on the one hand, and how much you have despised those you have encountered who are trying to engage in it. I bet that the folks who wrote the NIV actually DEBATED over what some passages were saying! I bet some of those guys would say, well, what this passage is actually saying is…

    Your positions are irrational and arbitrarily chosen.

    But of course, to this you will reply only defensively. You will have an emotional reaction which does not make use of your God given reason, and you will probably attack me personally, as you did in your last post (where you asked how much fruit I have borne, assuming that the answer would be none). You will, undoubtedly do what every other sinner does when initially confronted with their sin: you will deny any wrongdoing. You will follow the simple formula I learned in high school: lie, deny and counteraccuse. Yes, that’s surely how you will react to having your irrationality proven to you.

    But I at least want to go on record as encouraging you not to respond that way. Stop and think about it a minute. Could Echo be right? I don’t have to be smart to be right. You don’t have to like me to be right. You don’t even have to admit that I’m a Christian to admit that I’m right. You don’t even have to tell anyone. But go look in the mirror. Can you at least tell him? Can you admit to yourself that your position on – well, looks like everything – is irrational and only loosely based on Scripture?

    I don’t care about being right. I don’t care. But I will always stand up for the gospel, and I will always stand up for the Word of God.

    If someone really DOES stand up for the Word of God and they talk about what it says – would you ever be able to get past the fact that you perceive them only as promoting their own ideas? When Paul stood up to Peter and told him that he was messing up the gospel, was Paul promoting his own ideas or Scripture? Yes, the gospel was something that he had made his own. That’s true. He WAS, after all, the person speaking, and it was his own passion for the gospel that he was expressing. That’s true as can be. But wasn’t he still standing up for the GOSPEL, and not himself?

    If you can admit that about Paul, why can’t you admit that about me? Is it SIMPLY because you disagree with me? Then what is your measure of truth? Is your infallible rule of belief and life and everything the Bible ITSELF, or YOUR understanding of it? Your words have been consistent with the former. No one can tell you that you’re wrong. You won’t budge. No matter how much they prove it from Scripture, your irrational choices continue. You are not REALLY submitting to Scripture, but only YOUR conception of it.

    Look dude, who CARES if you can prove me wrong to ME? Do you? Do I? Don’t try to prove it to me. Don’t argue with me. Go figure it out for yourself. If you’re convinced I’m wrong but can’t prove it, just fine, walk away. You don’t have to make ME believe that you’re innocent of these charges. I am not your judge.

    It’s not my ideas that I’m comparing your views to. God is your judge, and I’m comparing you to HIS words, to what HE has said. By what right? This isn’t a legal proceeding. Call it a warning. Call it my attempt to shock you enough into hearing SOMETHING I say. Call it my attempt to rouse you to think about later after you rattle off your immediate emotional response.

    Just go repent. Not to me, to God. I am not your judge. Talk to God about it, not me. Do you really think I’m out of my mind? Blow me off. Do you really hate everything I’m saying? Is that the Holy Spirit producing rage and hatred? Does the Bible say that the Holy Spirit produces those things? So if you’re reacting that way, where’s it coming from? Could it be sin? Could it be? Could it POSSIBLY be the case that I’m WRONG and the Holy Spirit is causing you to react with rage? Look in the mirror. If I were wrong, and you were right, how would you react? If I were right and you were wrong, how would you react? Think about it.

    Repent and believe in Jesus Christ. None of us have any other hope. We’re all in the exact same boat.


  52. PS

    Here: http://jimost.wordpress.com/2006/10/21/sbc-nazis-go-after-tongues-talking-missionaries/#comment-326

    …you complained that people study Greek and Hebrew and then trumpet the same old views as fact.

    I don’t even know what to say. Is anyone allowed to trumpet anything as fact? I mean, besides you? And do facts even exist? Who is qualified to judge something as fact? I mean, besides seminary graduates, who obviously aren’t as qualified as you…

    How can you say that the reformed don’t place an emphasis on Bible study on the one hand, and complain about this lack of emphasis, and yet still maintain that your Greek studies are more or less useless?

    Are you serious, or were you just slipping that in to see if someone would catch it?

    Do you really think I can’t do this everyday, all day for the next month while I’m on vacation? I bet I could take any two posts of yours, place parts side by side and show that you are being irrational. Don’t make me do it. It will just go on and on and on.

    I’ve got to stop. But trust me, I could go on for hours.

  53. Do you really think I can’t do this everyday, all day for the next month while I’m on vacation? I bet I could take any two posts of yours, place parts side by side and show that you are being irrational. Don’t make me do it. It will just go on and on and on.

    I’ve got to stop. But trust me, I could go on for hours.

    The only way anyone would learn anything from such an exercise is if you were to perform it on your own posts, Echo. Please report back in a month on what you find.

  54. WOW! I’m flattered that you consider arguing with me so important that you would take your whole month of vacation to look at every word I’ve wrote on this or every other blog to see if I might have said something wrong. Thank you for proving my point. Let me be very clear (though I don’t know what good it will do me since no matter what i say you will twist around anyways).

    1. I do not hate or despise seminary or seminarians.

    2. I do not hate or despise you.

    3. I have had experiences with seminary students that repetitvley indicate to me that they are more interested in finding areas of disagreement then areas of agreement with me.

    4. Those experiences do tend to cause ME to percieve seminarians in a light that demonstrates them as “thinking they know it all”. (This is my pereception of them, not necessarily the reality)

    5. I do not have the same problems with Pastors who have graduated seminary, they seem to have matured out of this.

    6. I am always interested in furthering my understanding through theological training whether it be through seminary classes or through the reading of books or through internet discussions.

    7. I am an ordained pastor.

    8. I did go through 4 years of Bible College and earned a bachelors degree in theology.

    9. I do have a flock under my care whom I dilligently teach, direct, pray for amd minister to. I love them and consider the responsibilty entrusted of me to care for them as an extreme priority and blessing in my life.

    10. I will not allow you to attempt to discredit me or the people under my care based on your false accusations, character assasinations and divsivness.

    I apologize for any references I have made that seemingly discredited your faith. This has never been my intention.

    Nevertheless my 3rd and 4th points of this post are experienced over and over by people like you.

    I confess I have not thouroughly read your posts directed towards me, mostly because they are too long and I have better things to do. If I have in some way mischaricterized your messages to me I apologize for that as well.

    I don’t want to sound like the sappy, “can’t we all just get along” guy but I can’t help but think that God is not pleased by these conversations demonstrating disunity but is rather pleased by encouragment.

    I know that i have done my fair share of making inflammatory statements and for those I ask your forgivness.

    Once again I would like to remind you that the only (stated)areas of disagreement that we hold are in regards to the activity of the Holy Spirt today and on the genuineness of Infant Baptism. Anything beyond those two arguments is percieved disagreement or as I like to say, “looking for something to jump on (or overcomplicating).”

    Every time you write a 3000 word post laced with the anger and arrogance you further my perception of seminary students. I am sorry for this, but as I said earlier not surprised because it merely demonstrates that stereotypes are often proved to be accurate.

  55. I gotta say Echo, I am also not interested in hosting your detailed critique of Daniel’s inconsistencies. I would, however, be very interested in seeing you could come up with if you spent a month of vacation on starting your own blog!

    echo.wordpress.com is taken, but EchoohcE.wordpress.com is available…

  56. Forester,

    Re: 53

    I guess you missed the point of what I was saying.

    You’re welcome to point out any irrationality in my statements that you find. I’d welcome rational critique and well thought out objections.


  57. Daniel,

    Re: 54

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that you were officially ordained. I guess I had the wrong impression.

    You’re right, I shouldn’t be talking to an ordained minister as I have talked to you.

    The end.


  58. Rube,

    Re: 55

    I guess I must have seemed serious when I threatened to spend my vacation putting Daniel’s posts together and proving them to be irrational.

    For the record, I was only trying to make a point, namely that it could be done. I have no intention of spending my vacation that way.

    Meanwhile, I don’t think I will start my own blog. To put it mildly, I’d be just asking for trouble. People would come on there and get me all fired up, and I’d feel obligated to interact with them, because, after all, it’s my blog, and well…it’s already easy enough for me to get sucked in by these guys who say whatever they feel like for whatever arbitrary reason they feel like. I can’t just sit there and watch them do it. For some reason, I just HAVE to stand up for the truth. I can’t just let them do their thing. I don’t know why. I’d like to think I’m defending God’s glory and name, but if I had my own blog, I guess it’d be tempting to defend my own blog’s name. I dunno.

    Anyway, I’m just afraid that it’d suck up lots of time. That’s my problem, of course.


  59. You’re welcome to point out any irrationality in my statements that you find. I’d welcome rational critique and well thought out objections.

    Thanks for the invite, but I’ll pass. I’d only like to point out that anyone reading any swath of my own writing will find inconsistencies aplenty. Is anyone out here indexing and cross-checking every clause they write? I’d be surprised if any finite and sinful human mind could issue fully consistent thought day in and day out. Such a standard simply isn’t reasonable — which makes for some colorful political campaigning, but little else.

  60. Is anyone out here indexing and cross-checking every clause they write?

    Maybe I could knock together a Perl script…

  61. Forester,

    Re: 59

    Are you really seriously and truly trying to DEFEND irrationality? Maybe I should rephrase it.

    Here’s what you’re saying: “We’re all sinners, so how dare we ever say that anything is sin.”

    Well, I guess every preacher should hang up his hat, and we should just forget about preaching the gospel. After all, if you stop pointing out anyone’s sin, they’ll never see their need to repent and look to Christ for their only hope rather than themselves.

    So yeah, let’s just all pretend we’re perfect, even though we know none of us are. Let’s all just lie to one another. It’s so much more pleasant.

    I’m sorry Forester, but I couldn’t disagree with you more.

    And besides, it’s not like I took a clip from a post and then another from 6 months later. All of the direct quotes were from ONE post. The paraphrases were from one OTHER post.

    But whatever.

    I suppose if I say that I believe in the Bible alone as the only rule of faith and life, but then declare that I’m going to worship Mary, it’s ok? Of course not. When it comes to something big and obvious like that, we can all judge rightly. We can all say that that would be self contradictory because the Bible doesn’t command us to worship Mary, nor does it even permit it. Quite the contrary, it demands that we worship only God. Simple and easy. Let’s pat ourselves on the back for figuring it out.

    But when it comes to irrationality that’s more subtle, then we want to defend it on the grounds that we’re all sinners.

    Anyway, it’s quite a bit more than a minor inconsistency to say that you’re solid on the Bible on the one hand, but then point out that you disagree with the reformed churches because they place such a heavy emphasis on the Bible, rather than your own made up ideas. That’s not a little bit inconsistent, it’s downright hypocritical and irrational. That’s not a small thing. It’s a big deal. It’s like looking up at the sky, seeing it to be blue, and saying, “the sky is red. I can see it clearly.” The only possible defense for such a statement is either color blindness or insanity.

    So in this case. When someone says that they DISLIKE the reformed churches’ emphasis on systematic theology (drawn from the Scriptures) and orthodoxy (whether or not something measures up to the Scriptures), and then claims to have the Bible as their only rule of faith and life, that’s definitely self contradictory, and thus irrational. But it doesn’t even end there! In the place of solid biblical doctrines are those that have been made up and added to the Bible, such as a personal relationship with Jesus and individual Bible study, things that aren’t mentioned anywhere in the Bible in the case of the former, and only emphasized for pastors/teachers in the case of the latter. No one’s saying that it’s bad for laymen to read their Bible, but the Scriptures don’t command it anywhere. Sure it’s great, and since we have that opportunity since the invention of the printing press, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of it? But to say that the reformed churches are wrong because they’re focusing on what the Bible says, while you wish that they would focus on your own doctrines that you’ve made up, well, I don’t know how to react to that other than to be astonished at the contradiction. It’s blunt. It’s obvious. It’s just as ridiculous under scrutiny as saying that the sky is red.

    Now, as I said, if there’s anything I’ve said that appears this way to you, bring it up. Otherwise, I completely reject what you said, with my regrets. I’m surprised you could read all of what I said and still react that way. I regret that you could react that way. I feel bad that I have said something that has pushed you to defend hypocritical irrationality and lies. I’m sorry that I drove you to that. I have no idea how that happened, but please forgive me, and don’t let me influence you to such an extent ever again. I’m not worth it.


  62. I’m surprised you could read all of what I said and still react that way.

    I don’t think anyone has read all of what you said. Rest assured I haven’t read everything in this thread, or even the entirety of your latest response. I take your heartfelt disapproval as a major achievement, considering that you disapprove of so much.

    How many more paragraphs will these few words evoke?

  63. It’s pretty interesting in a discussion on inconsistencies to say something like “individual Bible study is a made up doctrine” and “no one’s saying it’s bad for laymen to read their Bible.”

    If it’s a made up doctrine, why isn’t it bad?

  64. Sorry that was inflamatory. I really need to stop baiting Echo into arguments. I don’t know why I do it. I think in some perverse way i like to think of him feaverishly typing away with a cigar in his mouth a concordance on his left and a glass of brandy to his right. Does anyone else see Echo as actually having a study filled with leather bound books, dim lighting and a globe in the corner?

    (BTW I mean this in a complimentary way)

  65. Daniel,

    That’s funny. If I could smoke in the house, you bet that’d be me. Hehehehe…

    I meant that the Bible emphasizes the proclamation of the Word. That the Word was to be read aloud is the emphasis in the Scriptures. Paul did command Timothy, of course, to give himself over completely to study of the Scriptures and in so doing to guard himself and the doctrines closely. However, while the books of the Bible do command us to believe certain things, it does not command individual believers to study the Scriptures. The books of the Bible would not have been widely available at the time, and anyway, I don’t think literacy was super common.

    You could interpret, if you like, the statement about the Bereans to be at least encouragement to individuals to study the Bible for themselves in order to confirm what they are being told. I think that’s definitely reasonable. Nonetheless, aside from this, where else is it mentioned? The question at hand was one of emphasis. The Bible does not emphasize what you have stated that you want the reformed to emphasize. That’s just a fact. I’m sorry.

    So my point was only that reformed emphasis = biblical emphasis.

    I’m only clarifying what I have said previously.

    I’m not making any further arguments against someone who is ordained. That’s between you and God.

    I’m happy to give you the last word or whatever. I just thought you might like clarification of what I was saying. In other words, feel free to write some scathing rebuttal or whatever. I will be silent.

    Unless you ask, of course.


  66. Forester,

    I’m very sorry you feel that way.


  67. […] Comment on Jesus the Hyper-Calvinist by Echo_ohcEComment on L is for Effectual by Echo_ohcEComment on L is for Effectual by Echo_ohcEComment on L is for Effectual by Daniel BComment on L is for Effectual by Daniel BComment on L is for Effectual by the foresterComment on L is for Effectual by Echo_ohcEComment on Jesus the Hyper-Calvinist by TonyComment on Joey the Arminian by RubeRadComment on L is for Effectual by RubeRad […]

  68. […] Posted by RubeRad on December 31st, 2006 Echo keeps burying these gems deep into long comment trails where nobody will ever see them! I can’t get him to start his own blog, but maybe this is the next best thing: I have (without his permission) lifted about half of this comment and brought it up to this top level (where about 3 more people than nobody will ever see them!) […]

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