a Calvinist friend wrote:So what do you think of Jeremiah 13:23? Also Psalm 51 that we looked at before, in verse 12 David asks God to "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation". I think we lose that joy of salvation when we sin and don't have close communion with God. Luke 10:20 What does Jesus mean by their names are written in heaven? II Tim. 2: 19, even if others are confusing the faith for some, the Lord still knows all that are his. So even if I've been taught a lie, God still knows my heart and knows whether I am a child or not. note the seal. covering, propitiation. all security issues. Isaiah 49:14-16 "they may forget, yet I will not forget thee".
In answering her questions, the central theme is to challenge the assumption. Highlight the prejudiced interpretation - kindly, of course. You want to both explain the passages and teach how to study the Bible in general. Generally, the more you look at the context, the better you can see and demonstrate how each verse was taken out of context. (For example, I will spend extra time on this first one.)
** About Jeremiah 13:23:
The Calvinistic interpretation is that the Ethiopian and leopard are both born a certain way. Furthermore, these qualities are inherent with their identity. It is impossible for these people to change, because they were born that way. This proves inherited depravity and demands unconditional election and irresistible grace. At least, that is how a Calvinist might would present it.Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil. (Jeremiah 13:23)
Answer: True, the Jews had become virtually depraved. But, why were these Jews accustomed to doing evil? Were they born accustomed, or had they chosen it? Clearly, the point being stressed is the difficulty of their repentance, which should have produced a sense of gravity and sobriety. But, did that difficulty arise from their intrinsic nature, or did they choose that burden? Furthermore, although difficult, was it necessarily impossible for them to change? Maybe the Calvinistic interpretation reads too much into the illustration? Do you see the assumption? Let's look at a few verses in the surrounding context to find our answer:
First, please notice these people made a choice. They refused to hear God. They listened to their own hearts. They exhibited a desire for evil. Second, God tried to redeem them by His own confession, and He was thwarted by their unwillingness to hear. Now, that leaves us with only a few explanations. Either, God lied, and He did not really try (wrong! -> evil god). Or, God tried, but man was depraved, and God failed (wrong! -> weak god). Or, God tried, but man was permitted to reject God (Consistent! Just and right God, evil man). Based on these first two points alone, unless you accept free will, I don't know how to avoid blaspheming God according to this verse.'This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing. For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,' says the LORD, 'that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.' Therefore you shall speak to them this word ... (Jeremiah 13:10-12)
Third, notice that God entreats these people to hear Him and humble themselves. Why would God entreat a people who cannot hear? Is He mocking them? No! Notice that He is grieved and is begging. Here, the Calvinist must admit that God has perpetrated a great deception throughout the Bible, as exemplified here: Everywhere, God begs men to repent, knowing they cannot, acting as if they had a choice, when then they never had a chance. It is a great deception that serves no purpose, except to justify Calvinism.Hear and give ear: Do not be proud, For the LORD has spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God Before He causes darkness, And before your feet stumble On the dark mountains, ... But if you will not hear it, My soul will weep in secret for your pride; My eyes will weep bitterly And run down with tears, Because the LORD's flock has been taken captive. Say to the king and to the queen mother, "Humble yourselves; Sit down, For your rule shall collapse, the crown of your glory." ... (Jeremiah 13:15-18)
Fourthly, notice that His grief is dependent upon their actions - not Him - but them. He will only weep, if they do not hear. That possibility necessarily implies that they could hear and that possibility did not depend upon God, but upon them! There is no uncertainty about God with God, unless we are again willing to blaspheme is nature. Therefore, we must conclude that they could change themselves and their fate, and at this point, they governed that outcome.
Fifthly, notice whom God blames. Was it Adam? Were any of their forefathers to blame? No, they were responsible. They were punished and humiliated for their great iniquity - no one else. This again disproves inherited depravity. Sixthly, notice that God says they had forgotten Him. How can you forget someone you never knew? This proves they had not always been this way. Therefore, they could not have been born depraved!And if you say in your heart, "Why have these things come upon me?" For the greatness of your iniquity Your skirts have been uncovered, Your heels made bare. Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil. Therefore I will scatter them like stubble That passes away by the wind of the wilderness. This is your lot, The portion of your measures from Me," says the LORD, "Because you have forgotten Me And trusted in falsehood. (Jeremiah 13:22-25)
Clearly, this whole chapter is a great call to repentance. That very fact says that these people could change. God highlights the magnitude of their sin, the difficulty to change, and the severity of their pending doom. It was a profound and urgent warning. It was a call to wake-up! This was not some burden to take lightly. The last phrase points out the imminent danger and their disruptive pride. Moreover, this last phrase also shows that they could change, but they were generally unwilling, on account of their own pride! Therefore, this verse, when taken in context of the whole chapter, actually disproves inherited depravity and unconditional election: These people could change, and they had an obligation to do so, or else, they would suffer.I have seen your adulteries And your lustful neighings, The lewdness of your harlotry, Your abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! Will you still not be made clean?" (Jeremiah 13:27)
** About Psalm 51:12:
I assume you have already answered Psalm 51:5. Unfortunately, I do not really understand the argument from Psalm 51:12. Admittedly, there is some clear intervention by the Holy Spirit. (Verse 12:11b could be a reference to David's inspiration by the Holy Spirit as the Psalmist, which is clearly referenced in the following verses, 13-15.)Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12)
Again, it is prejudiced interpretation to assume this redeeming influence was irresistible or effected by a direct manipulation of David's heart. For example, earlier in the context, David said:
Clearly, this figuratively refers to the weight of guilt that David felt from his sin. But, how were David's bones "broken" by the Lord? Did God reach into David's body and snap his bones? No, it's a spiritual figure. So, Did directly God reach into his soul and crush David's heart? No, He used a medium - the words of an inspired prophet:Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. (Psalm 51:8)
If from this very context, we know that God can break a man's heart with words through a prophet, why would we assume that direct intervention from the Holy Spirit was required to fix it? Could God not fix David's heart in the same way He broke it, with a message from God? Furthermore, wasn't David's broken spirit contingent upon his reaction to the words of Nathan? Could he not have killed Nathan, as did evil kings that followed him? Therefore, David's restoration would also be dependent upon his chosen reaction to the words of hope and peace. I really don't see how this verse helps to diminish any of the arguments against Calvinism...Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you ... For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.' " So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." (II Samuel 12:7-13)
Beyond this, I don't see how one could say that free-will diminishes one's joy in the Lord or sense of grief and loss over His disapproval? As I said, I am not really sure what the argument is, but it seems there is likely a lot of assumption for its foundation.
More explanation is needed to really answer this question.
** About Luke 10:20:
Yes, men's names may be written in heaven, but that only speaks to their present status before the Lord. Remember, names can be written, but they can also be blotted out (Revelation 3:5)! We should not assume that a written name cannot be erased. ... Keep in mind to whom Jesus addressed this verse. It was the seventy, which would have surely included the twelve, which included Judas! Was Judas saved?
** About II Timothy 2:19:
Her answer shows she is not coming to grips with this text. Your job will be to politely, kindly, lovingly point the contradictions between her watered down interpretation and the language of the text:And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (II Timothy 2:17-19)
These people were not just "confused" in their faith. Their faith was "overthrown"! Here is what "overthrow" means:
Friberg, Barclay, Lidell-Scott and others also use the word "ruin".[Thayer] avatrepo - to overthrow, overturn, destroy; ethically, to subvert: oikous families, Titus 1:11 ... 2 Tim. 2:18. (Common in Greek writings, and in the same sense.)*
We need to stop and ask, "Can a person be saved without faith?" (Read Hebrews 11:6.) Therefore, can he be saved if his faith his overthrown, overturned, destroyed, or ruined? These people were not just confused, they were lost!
Yes, the word, seal, can indicate protection. And, this verse clearly teaches that God knows who are truly His. But what makes someone truly belong to Him? This passage does not say anything about being judged based on our heart. It speaks of being judged based on our deeds ("depart from iniquity"). Plus, look a little further down in the context (II Timothy 2:24-26). We must correct those who have been subverted using the truth. If they do not accept it, then they will stay entrapped by the Devil, bound to do his will. Does that sound like a saved condition? Read from verse 19 to the end of the chapter. ... God knows who are His, based on what we do, not how we feel.
** About Isaiah 49:14-16:
This refers to God's continued faithfulness toward His people. He chastens wayward souls and nations. However, He has shown that He will ultimately abandon a nation or an individual, if they prove themselves to be hopeless ("no remedy", II Chronicles 36:26).
It is an answer to their despondency:
It is not a pledge to save them regardless of their actions. The next few verses show that He will put away those who do forget Him (Isaiah 50:1-2; see previous, Jeremiah 13:22-25). Beside Zion's fear, the only party forgetting anybody in this passage are mothers of nursing children. God is saying that they will forget their children before He forgets the remnant, Zion.But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me." Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me." (Isaiah 49:14-16)
Again, I think too much is being read into this verse, which cannot be supported by either the immediate or global context.
Well, it's getting late, and I'm getting tired. I hope this helps. If I didn't spend enough time on some part, or if I missed something please let me know, I'll be happy to provide a brief answer.
BTW, please do not forward this to her. I worded this bluntly and sharply for your benefit. If you ever want to drop by and talk about these things, let me know.
Both you and your friend will be in my prayers,
My dad shared this article with me from some P.B. minister. It clarified for me a lot of what we've been talking about and it shows you some more insight on P.B. interpretation of these scriptures, even though I don't think his view is 100% man-free or flawless.
Ro 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Perhaps, three things need to be remembered as one begins to examine this verse. First, one needs to remember that the theme of the entire passage is justification, the declaration of righteousness. And since the sinner has no righteousness, the declared righteousness must be the righteousness of God. Secondly, one needs to be reminded that the righteousness of God is the concept of Jesus Christ Himself, and any declaration of righteousness must be a declaration of this concept. And thirdly, one might be further reminded that God needed no manifestation of the concept of Jesus Christ to Himself. No new manifestation has ever come to Him. It is unnecessary that anything be declared to God. He by His omniscience knows all. Surely He has always had an understanding of the concept of Jesus Christ, alluded to in the law and the prophets, and declared openly here.
But man is much different to God. He needed to have the righteousness of God, the concept of Jesus Christ, clearly manifested to him. So one should not think of this verse as declaring anything to God. Instead, one needs to think of this verse as teaching the manner in which God shows to man what God had already known.
The verse begins with the words, even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ. If one understands that the word is means to exist, then the verse might be restated by the words, even the righteousness of God which exists by faith of Jesus Christ. And if one again recalls that the righteousness of God is the concept of Jesus Christ Himself; then, the verse can finally be restated with the words, even the concept of Jesus Christ Himself which exists by faith of Jesus Christ.
Does man's faith cause Jesus to exist? No, He has existed eternally and continues to eternally exist with or without faith in anyone. Does man's faith cause the concept of Him as the righteousness of God to exist? No, the full concept of Jesus as the righteousness of God has always existed in the mind of God. God needs no means to cause something to be in His mind. All knowledge exists in His mind without means. Then if Jesus has always existed without any means including faith, and if the concept of Him as the righteousness of God has always existed without any means including faith, how can it be said that the righteousness of God (the concept of Jesus Christ Himself) exists by faith?
Concepts exist in minds. The concept of Jesus Christ Himself exists in the mind of God without faith, but the concept exists in the mind of man by faith, and only by faith. Faith is the crucial necessity that allows the true concept of Jesus to exist in the mind of a man. The realm of the human mind is the realm of existence referred to in the verse. By faith the mind takes hold of the concept of Jesus Christ.
What is the concept of Jesus Christ that exists in the mind by faith? The gospel declares the concept of Jesus Christ. In the gospel is the righteousness of God (the concept of Jesus Christ) revealed from faith to faith. (Ro 1:17 ) Truly the righteousness of God declared in the gospel is the whole concept of Jesus Christ. The righteousness of God is Christ and His accomplishments. The concept of Jesus Christ that exists in the mind is the understanding and full assurance in the mind that the atonement of Christ is the sure ground of the lawbreaker's acceptance by God and understanding and full assurance in the mind of the certainty of the sinner's final salvation. This concept has always existed in the mind of God, but the concept exists in the mind of man only by faith.
To slightly digress, perhaps at this point, one needs to attempt to understand some things taught in the Bible about faith. Faith can be defined in a lot of ways, but one scripture describes it to be "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb 11:1) Something with substance has realness to it and can be taken hold of. How can that which is only hoped for be truly taken hold of while it is yet hoped for? Likewise, that which gives evidence is that which is known. How can something that is not seen be truly known while it is yet unseen? The answers to these mysteries lie in the God given gift of faith. Faith is what allows the realm of the invisible to be clearly seen; yet it is so much more than imagination. Faith is what lets one actually take hold of the real substance of that which literally exists out of one's reach. Faith brings a reality to what would seem to exist only in the realm of that which is yet hoped for.
How can a person hold to that which seemingly cannot yet be held? How can something truly have a present reality when as yet it lies in the realm of hope? Or how can one actually see that which cannot be seen? The answer is by the wonder of faith. In the faith empowered mind the yet to be and the unseen are as real as if they existed already and were in full grip and in full view. The explanation to this apparent impossibility is that the mind of the one possessing God's marvelous gift of faith has abilities beyond the realm of natural possibilities.
Perhaps no one fully comprehends the wonder of the miracle of faith. Many people who have faith probably do not truly appreciate what they have been given. Many may take for granted this ability to hold the unreachable, to see the invisible and to know the eternal. Most even take lightly the marvel that the concept of Jesus Christ Himself could exist in the mind of a man. The majority seems to think that man just innately has faith or that man can of his own power produce and exercise faith. But those who begin to understand the wonder of faith, begin to see a phenomenon in which the source of origin and direction of focus is one, even God.
What does the Bible say about faith? How does faith come to exist in the thought processes of a man? How does this realization of the concept of Jesus and His finished work come to be in the mind of a man? Does man just have this innately? Can he learn it by natural intellect? No, the scriptures declare that the concepts of God are foolishness to the natural man with a natural mind. (1Co 2:14)
If the concept of Jesus Christ does not exist in the mind naturally then how does it come to exist in the mind? The scriptures are clear concerning the origin of faith. This present verse under study and many others teach that the origin of faith in man is God Himself. In this verse in Romans one finds the words, faith of Jesus Christ. One should pay particular attention to the words. The verse states that this faith is of Jesus Christ. The faith is not said to be in Jesus Christ, but of Jesus Christ. To be of Jesus means to be from Jesus. So faith is said to be of Jesus, meaning its origin is from Him.
This should not be surprising. The Bible in many places teaches that God is the source of the miracle of faith. The scriptures say that faith is a gift of God, or the same as saying a gift from God. (Eph 2:8 ) It is further said that faith is a fruit of the Spirit. In other words, faith is a result or consequence of the Holy Spirit. (Ga 5:22 ) It is also said that Jesus is the author of our faith. (Heb 12:2 ) Yet further, it is stated that "it is given to believe on him." (Php 1:29 ) Finally it is said that the same power that was worked in Christ to raise Him from the dead is worked in us who believe. (Eph 1:17-20 ) So the faith that is in the man is not of the man. It is a wonderful gift from God to the man.
Regretfully, many have misunderstood the wonder of faith and the miracle of the gift of faith. Many have missed the idea incorporated in the words, faith of Jesus Christ. And as a result of these misunderstandings, the majority seems to believe the proposal that one can conjure up faith. And then it is believed that this self-produced faith is the cause of one's righteousness.
Does faith in the mind of an individual cause Jesus to come into that individual? Or does Jesus come into the individual and give to the mind of that individual the gift of faith? Popular opinion seems to respond to the first question in the affirmative, but the scriptures seem to repeatedly teach an affirmative to the latter as the correct response. The Bible in many places, including this verse, states that faith comes from Jesus as a gift to the mind of the individual. And what a gift of reassurance that faith is to the mind of a man! For after receiving the gift of faith from Jesus, the individual can know that Jesus not only exists, but that He exists as the righteousness of God and that He exists as the atonement for the sinner.
On the contrary, it is equally true that without the presence of faith in the mind, the concept of Jesus Christ as the righteousness of God and the atonement of the sinner cannot exist in the mind. The scriptures clearly teach that the mind in its natural state, a mind without God-given faith, will not receive such ideas and to that mind such concepts are considered to be foolishness. (1Co 2:14 ) And as previously considered the only way the faith can be present in the mind is if God gives it to the mind.
Consequently, there is only one possible sequence to these things. Christ first comes into the mind with the gift of faith. Then the mind in possession of the faith can understand spiritual things, even the concept of Jesus Christ Himself. And to the mind gifted with faith the concept of Jesus Christ as the righteousness of God is not foolishness, but a glorious thought of reassurance and comfort.
In an attempt to tie these things to the verse at hand, one should now reconsider the opening words of the verse. It has previously been written that the words, even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, can be restated with the words, even the concept of Jesus Christ Himself which exists by faith of Jesus Christ. (This was based upon the understanding that the righteousness of God is equivalent to the concept of Jesus Christ Himself, and based upon the understanding that the word is means exists.)
Considering the concept of Jesus Christ Himself, it can be noted that this concept of Him incorporates a vast host of things, even all His accomplishments. But surely among these things would be the understanding and assurance in the mind that the atonement of Christ is the sure ground of the lawbreaker's acceptance by God and the understanding and the assurance in the mind of the certainty of the lawbreaker's final salvation.
Considering the words, exists by faith, it can be noted that the concept exists by faith in the mind of man and not in the mind of God. For surely the concept of Jesus exists in the mind of God without the means of faith, but can only exist in the mind of man by the means of faith.
Considering the words, by faith, one further notes that the righteousness of God or the concept of Jesus Christ Himself does not intrinsically exist in the mind of man. It can exist, and can only exist, in the mind of man by faith. The concept exists intrinsically in the mind of God without the means of faith, but the concept exists in the human mind by faith.
And finally considering the words, of Christ, one can see that the origin of the faith that allows the concept to exist in the human mind is Jesus Christ. Faith is a gift of God. (Eph 2:8 ) And it is a gift for a purpose. The purpose is so that something wonderful can exist in the mind gifted with faith. That something wonderful that is enabled to exist in the faith-gifted mind is the concept of Jesus Christ Himself. And that concept includes but is not limited to the understanding and assurance in the mind that the atonement of Christ is the certain basis of the lawbreaker's acceptance by God and the understanding and full assurance of the certainty of his final salvation.
In the conclusion of the verse one finds the words, unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. These words follow the words, by faith of Jesus Christ, and surely expound and enlarge the understanding of a faith of Jesus or a faith that has its origin in Jesus.
To introduce a discussion on these concluding words of the verse a question might be posed. Do all individuals in the world have this faith as a gift from Jesus? No, the scriptures are clear that all men have not faith. (2Th 3:2 ) As previously noted, the individuals who have faith have received it by grace as a gift from God and a brief description of the manner in which they receive this from Jesus Christ is given by the remaining words of the verse: unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.
The faith is said to be unto (appointed to and provided for) all them that believe. It is said to be upon (applied to and placed on) all them that believe. And to whom is it upon and unto? The answer seems to be to all, without exception, that believe. In other words, there is no way to be in the group that believes without having first received the faith as a gift of Jesus unto and upon the mind. Faith exclusively exists only in the minds of the persons to whom Jesus Christ has appointed it, provided it, applied it and placed it.
The final words, for there is no difference, further indicate that there is no other method, no different plan or means by which these things can be accomplished. The only way by which the concept of Jesus Christ can exist in the mind is the way described herein. It exists in the mind exclusively by the means of given faith. Any and all that believe have it unto them and upon them. There is no alternative method to knowing and understanding these things. There is no different means. Faith is of Him to the mind, so that the mind might understand Him and praise Him.
So the Jesus given faith is the necessary prerequisite and the essential requirement by which the concept of Jesus Christ Himself can exist in the mind. The miracle of faith must be given to the mind and be present in the mind before the concept can be sensible and not foolishness. But to the mind that believes there is a great assurance. If the concept is a glorious concept to the mind, instead of foolishness to the mind, then there must have been a wonderful chain of events working unto and upon that mind. By working backwards through the chain one can see that if the concept is understood, then that is evidence that faith had already existed in the mind to enable the understanding to occur. And if faith had already existed in the mind, then that is evidence that the Spirit of Christ had already entered into the individual and had already given to the individual the fruit of His Spirit, faith. And if the Spirit of Christ had already entered into the individual, then a work is begun and the scriptures are clear that "he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Php 1:6 ) With God a work begun is a work completed and the completed work will be an eternal relationship with Christ, even an eternal salvation for the sinner. So an understanding of and a rejoicing in the concept of Jesus Christ is strong and sure evidence that Christ has begun this chain of events. And if this good work has begun in the individual, then eternal life is his sure hope.
- Clearly, your friend did not write this, so you are under no obligation to answer it "blow-by-blow". Pick out the most salient and fundamental points (1-3), and deal with those. Don't feel like you have to answer every last bit of this. I have done that before, and I don't think it is directly helpful. Just make sure you boil it down to the most fundamental points. If you miss, and if she has mastered this material herself, she may bring up what she thinks is fundamental. If she has not mastered this, and you miss, she will not say much that is sensible, and you will have a hard time figuring out what to do next. So, let it marinate for a few days as you think about the fundamental point or assumption upon which this whole article hinges. Depending on the relationship, it can be good to let the other know that you are thinking on it, so they won't fret.
- Right off the bat, the writer is using a debater's trick. He is defining all the words and phrases. So, when he substitutes those words and phrases into the verse - surprise - he gets his interpretation, plain as day! The key here is to not let him define all the words and phrases. Challenge his original assumptions. Whenever you see someone defining words without justification (no reference to Thayer, Vine, previous article, etc.), then you should call attention to it. Highlight the practice (so they don't do it again), and give a Bible based definition (use Thayer, Vine, etc., and show other passages that clearly demonstrate that definition.)
- Case in point: "righteousness of God" = "the mental concept of Jesus". Where is the Scripture for that? Clearly, that is a major crack in the foundation of this article, although I am not sure that I would spend a lot of time there. It may be a distraction.... The "righteousness of God" is the process or state that God provides for making us righteous, justified before Him. Certainly, that requires a mental concept of Jesus, but faith comes from our understanding of Jesus, not the other way around.
- I Corinthians 2:14 - the natural man cannot receive the words of God, blah, blah - This argument is greatly flawed. Remember, it was written as a warning to Christians, people who were supposed to already have this irreversible, spiritual mind, but yet Paul is admonishing them not to have this carnal mind. If you read its context carefully, you will find many contextual signs that are in stark contrast and contradiction to the proposed interpretation. ... They are trying to avoid faith naturally arising from our hearing of God's Word (Romans 10:17). However, in their effort to diminish our ability to receive it (total, inherited depravity), they are overlooking the power of the Word (Romans 1:16). Yes, we are a sad lot, but are we challenging God's ability to craft a message to reach us? They blaspheme God as they seek to comfort themselves...
- "faith of Jesus Christ" versus "faith in Jesus Christ" - This arises from a change in our own English language. All the old English versions make this distinction (KJV, Webster's, Tyndale, Young's). However, all modern versions make this clear by using the word "in", including those prepared by highly Calvinistic translators (NKJ, NIV, ASV, BBE, CSB, ERV, ESV, NAB, NAS, NAU, NLT, NRS, RSV).
As a technical note, there is no Greek word in this case for our English prepositions, "in" or "of". The Greek words for "Jesus Christ" are in the genitive case. This case makes a noun (like "Jesus Christ") act like an adjective, telling you the "kind" or "genus" of another noun. Here, "faith" is the "kind" or "genus" associated with Jesus Christ. It is "Jesus Christ" - "faith". A. T. Robertson is giant in explaining Greek. Here is an excerpt from his work that backs up the majority translation and provides some insight into the problem of translating the genitive case. You see, it is not a direct translation. The translator has to go by the context to determine which of our English prepositions best represents the Greek case. It is often translated many different ways depending on the context, as seen below:
Later, Robertson introduces the possessive genitive case, which some could use to suggest source, origin, "from", or "belonging to", and clearly Robertson does not assign Romans 3:22 to that category. However, previously, he introduces the subjective genitive, which would be most technically akin to the proposed interpretation. In this section, he admits that there is no difference in form between the two (objective genitive versus subjective genitive). One must use the context to decide. The majority of translators clearly aligned with Robertson in assigning Romans 3:22 to the objective genitive, but that admission could leave some wiggle room for argumentation. ... In other words, there is no real, technical justification for this assertion. I imagine the older English, "of", had a wider application that overlaps with our now modern usage of "in", hence its usage in the older English translations (compare KVJ to NKJ). Regardless, the majority of translations and this Greek expert make it clear.6. The Objective Genitive. It is quite frequent in the N. T.,224 especially when it is vanishing in the later Greek.225 The adnominal genitive preserves a remnant of the old objective genitive in modern Greek (Thumb, Handb., p. 34). Here again we must appeal to the root-idea of the genitive as the case of genus or kind. The resultant idea is due to the context and one must not suppose that the Greek genitive means all the different English prepositions used to translate the resultant idea (emphasis mine, TB). Thus in Mk. 11:22 e;cete pi,stin qeou/ we rightly translate 'have faith in God,' though the genitive does not mean 'in,' but only the God kind of faith. Cf. Ro. 3:22 (emphasis mine, m273p15c). Take Mt. 12:31, h` de. tou/ pneu,matoj blasfhmi,a, where the context makes it clear that it is blasphemy 'against' the Holy Spirit. Another striking example is Ac. 4:9, evpi. euvergesi,a| avnqrw,pou avsqenou/j, where the good deed is done 'to' a sick man. In Jo. 7:13, dia. to.n fo,bon tw/n VIoudai,wn, it is fear 'towards' or 'in reference to' the Jews, while Jo. 17:2, evxousi,a pa,shj sarko,j, means authority 'over' all flesh (cf. evxousi,an pneuma,twn avkaqa,rtwn, Mt. 10:1, and th/j u`mw/n evxousi,aj, 1 Cor. 9:12. In 1 Cor. 10:6, tu,poi h`mw/n, we have types 'for' us. In Jo. 18:29 we have accusation 'against' this man, kathgori,an tou/ avnqrw,pou, etc. Each example calls for separate treatment. So to. shmei/on VIwna/ (Lu. 11:29) may be the sign shown in Jonah, while no,moj tou/ avndro,j (Ro. 7:2) is the law 'about' the husband (cf. o` no,moj tou/ leprou/, Lev. 14:2). In 1 Pet. 2:19, dia. sunei,dhsin qeou/, it is a good conscience 'toward' God, while evn th/| proseuch/| tou/ qeou/ (]Lu. 6:12) we have prayer 'to' God. ~O zh/loj tou/ oi;kou sou (Jo. 2:17) is zeal 'concerning' thy house. See Ro. 10:2; cf. also Heb. 11:26, to.n ovneidismo.n tou/ Cristou/. In Col. 2:18, qrhskei,a| tw/n avgge,lwn, it is worship 'paid to' angels, while eivj th.n u`pakouh.n tou/ Cristou/ (2 Cor. 10:5]) is obedience 'to' Christ. But see per contra u`pakoh. pi,stewj (Ro. 1:5) which is subjective genitive. In 1 Cor. 1:6, martu,rion tou/ Cristou/, we have again witness 'concerning' Christ. Cf. also o` lo,goj o` tou/ staurou/ (1 Cor. 1:18) and avkoai. pole,mwn (Mt. 24:6). So in 1 Cor. 8:7 h` sunei,dhsij tou/ eivdw,lou is consciousness 'about' the idol, not the idol's consciousness. See also the two objective uses of avga,ph in 2 Th. 2:10 and ]Lu. 11:42 and possibly also Jo. 5:42; 2 Th. 3:5; 1 Jo. 2:5. In Ro. 5:5 either will make good sense. The phrase fo,boj qeou/ (Ro. 3:18) is objective, and note also 2 Cor. 5:11 (to.n fo,bon tou/ kuri,ou). Eph. 5:21 is objective. See also kaq v u`pomonh.n e;rgou avgaqou/ (Ro. 2:7), 'in' a good work, and eivj dikai,wsin zwh/j (Ro. 5:18), 'to' life. Cf. avna,stasin zwh/j -- kri,sewj (Jo. 5:29). Indeed one may go on and include those genitives of "looser relation" usually set off to themselves. They are really just the objective genitive. So as to o`do.j evqnw/n (Mt. 10:5), way 'to' the Gentiles; o`do.n qala,sshj (Mt. 4:15), way 'by' the sea; th.n diaspora.n tw/n ~Ellh,nwn (Jo. 7:35), dispersion 'among' the Greeks; pro,bata sfagh/j (Ro. 8:36), 'doomed to' slaughter; qu,ra tw/n proba,twn (Jo. 10:7), door 'to' the sheep; metoikesi,a Babulw/noj (Mt. 1:11 f.), and even avpolu,trwsij tw/n paraba,sewn (Heb. 9:15), though this last may be regarded as an ablative. But baptismw/n didach,n (Heb. 6:2) is objective genitive. Note also troph/j avposki,asma (Jas. 1:17), a shadow 'cast by' turning, and pi,stei avlhqei,aj (2 Th. 2:13), faith in the truth. In Heb. 10:24, paroxusmo.n avga,phj kai. kalw/n e;rgwn there is little cause for comment. The same remark applies to ki,ndunoi potamw/n lh|stw/n (2 Cor. 11:26). In Jo. 19:14 h` paraskeuh. tou/ pa,sca probably already means the day 'before' the Sabbath (Friday).
226 Cf. h` parabolh. tou/ spei,rontoj (Mt. 13:18). Cf. also the genitive of price, coi/nix si,tou dhnari,ou (Rev. 6:6), 'for' a penny; avnta,llagma th/j yuch/j auvtou/ (Mt. 16:26), exchange 'for' his soul. Cf. Lu. 10:36. Enough has been said to show how carefully the genitive must be interpreted and what great latitude was used in connection with it (emphasis mine, m273p15c). (A. T. Robertson, Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p.490-492)
Even then, I would not argue against "faith" possibly being from "Jesus". The question is, "How?" Is it instilled miraculously, directly, and apart from the Word of God? Or, does God make it available indirectly through the means of the Bible? Even if you grant that she has the best translation here, do you see the assumption still embedded in her interpretation?
- faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8) - Ok, here the Greek is powerful! The Greek word "it" and "faith" do not match. They do not have the same gender. One is neuter and the other is feminine; therefore, it is strict violation of Greek grammatical rules to say that "it" refers back to "faith". The gender of the substantive must match the gender of the pronoun! -- http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... ians_2_8_9
- Yes, God gives people opportunity to be saved (Philippians 1:29) and God works in us (Ephesians 1:17-20). That is not argued! The question is, "How?"!!!! The Calvinist assumes direct, miraculous, irresistible, and independent working. These verses do not prove anything here. By sending Jesus, the Holy Spirit to reveal and confirm, the apostles, the prophets and many more things, God indirectly grants opportunity for salvation and thereby works in us. This interpretation is just as satisfactory and is wholly consistent with other passages without having to manufacture Calvinism.
- Faith is something we do, not God (John 6:28-29)
Also, from a time-management perspective, I would spend your time the opposite of how I did with you. Spend less time on the "of" versus "in". Mention the Greek to stop their argument and highlight the assumed interpretation to move forward. Elsewhere, show how the passages are taken out of context to eliminate or neutralize arguments, and then show other passages which set fort the truth.
If it helps, several recent discussions with Calvinists are recorded on our forums. These represent "real-world" discussions, not technical debates, so you may glean some usability from these that you might not get from a debate book:
Some of the other above passages are mentioned in these threads, although the "of" versus "in" argument and other usages of Romans 3:22 is new to me.
I pray this helps,
Just to update you things are still moving. Every study is exciting at this point because I think we are covering more territory and creating more doubt in her, it's still not enough tho and there is much more to do before she will be close to major changes but studying is helping. Patience has also been tested even more since we talked. ... I just know that the more she sees Gods love and it touches her, well, that will be the best teacher right there. Gods love is amazing and it is contagious, I just hope she wants it.
Anyway, just thought id update you on things i'm dealing with good and bad. Have a good Holiday. God bless
Just been reading this book wanted to send you a lil inspiration from part of it that made me think.... Max Lucado is giving his own insight of Jesus' love for the disciples displayed in washing their feet. Take it with a grain of salt.
"In Jesus' day the washing of feet was a task reserved not just for servants but for the lowest of servants. Every circle has its pecking order, and the circle of household workers was no exception. The servant at the bottom of the totem pole was expected to be the one on his knees with the towel and basin. In this case the one with the towel and basin is the king of the universe. Hands that shaped the stars now wash away filth. Fingers that formed mountains now massage toes. And the one before whom all nations will one day kneel now kneels before his disciples. Hours before his own death, Jesus concern is singular. He wants his disciples to know how much he loves them. More than removing dirt, Jesus is removing doubt. ...You can be sure Jesus knows the future of these feet he is washing. These twenty-four feet will not spend the next day following their master, defending his cause. These feet will dash for cover at the flash of a Roman sword....Behold the gift Jesus gives his followers. He knows what these men are about to do. He knows they are about to perform the vilest act of their lives. By morning they will bury their heads in shame and look down at their feet in disgust. And when they do, he wants them to remember how his knees knelt before them and he washed their feet. He wants them to realize those feet are still clean. John 13:7- Jesus answered and said unto him, "What I do thou knowest no now; but thou shalt know hereafter." Remarkable. He forgave their sin before they even committed it. He offered mercy before they even sought it."
Amazing love. Amazing grace.
My opinion is that Max Lucado offers some value in appreciating what God has done for us, which can help generate deeper thanksgiving, humility, etc.. (He also offers false doctrines, a massive over-emphasis on emotionalism, and some thinly supported points.) Except for the concluding sentence, this paragraph seems fine to me, although I skimmed it quickly.
There is a huge leap between the last sentence and its preceding paragraph. As for me, I would not spend too much time on it. Admittedly, there does seem to be a clear Calvinistic push (forgiving sins before committed, much less repented); however, it's not much to work with.
If you were presented with an opportunity to question how she got to that conclusion, then that could be good. Otherwise, I would stick to the more fundamental points. ... This seems to be a "leaf" on the "tree", as opposed to a lower "branch" - definitely not the "root". ... That's my personal judgment. You should go with what you think is the strongest points.
Just remember, you only have so many "nickels and dimes to spend" with people, so spend it carefully. ... People only have so much interest, emotional stamina, and intellectual capacity before they are physically and spiritually exhausted, at which point something bad may happen. This note reflects unscriptural thinking, but I am not sure if it is worth spending one of your "nickels". I would encourage you to lead with, and stick with your strongest points. ... I don't think this is one of them, but you have been discussing this with her, so you have history and experience that I cannot appreciate. Maybe this is your best "open door" for now? You do what you think is best. ...
"Pray without ceasing"
Mother Teresa is not inspired. She asserted a Calvinistic position. That means nothing to me. If it ain't in the Bible...I don't claim anything of the work. It is his work. I am like a little pencil in his hand. That is all. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it. Mother Teresa
True. I agree with that. It is in the Bible. But, how does God lead us? Directly through the Holy Spirit, or indirectly through the Holy Spirit through the Bible? Unless one is willing to assume the answer, which a Calvinist might do, we must look elsewhere for the answer (II Timothy 3:16-17; Ephesians 3:3-5; ...).what do you think of this quote? also th 23rd psalm he restores my soul, leads me in paths of righteousness for his name sake?
Why does He do it? "for His name's sake". In other words, because of who He is, to maintain His character - not because of something we did. Problem?
No problem. That is the whole point of mercy and love. We don't receive mercy because we deserve it, but because He is merciful. That comes from Him, His character, His identity, His "name" - not from us. So what? The fact that one extends mercy or love does not necessitate that there is no action required on the part of the recipient. Common examples abound.... Namaan is a good Biblical one. God extended mercy to Namaan through Elisha, but Namaan had to do something. Did Namaan's actions make God's actions not merciful? Did Namaan "earn" his cleansing? If so, why can't anybody immerse 7 times in the Jordan and be healed of leprosy, even today?
I see nothing here that challenges free-will. But, I may have dealt with it too quickly. Let me know if you had a specific point in mind, which I did not address.
Look for the assumption! Read the verse an reread the verse. Notice what it says, and what it does not say...not a huge deal but just thinking about it from a calvinistic stand point.
im glad u acknowledge psalm 23. haha. That helps a lot. How tho is a soul restored? was it lost or am i missing it totally?
We have a choice. We can be a tool, and we can allow God to use us. However, we are clearly more than a tool. ... Humility is good, but undervaluing God's creation is not appropriate either.me, while channeling Mother Teresa, wrote:A pencil is an inanimate object, devoid of any will or choice. It writes what the user wants, regardless. It is a tool - nothing more, and so are we in God's hand.
About "restoration", yes, I believe it refers to correction and forgiveness. It is "putting back" the association and blessing of being right with God. Sin separates man from God. The soul was not misplaced or lost, but it no longer enjoyed approval and a relationship with God.
There is some idea of correction and restoration in the passage. Its purpose is not to elaborate on "how", but merely to show thankfulness for it. The "how" is unstated, assumed. We would have to look elsewhere for "how". Psalm 119 can provide several powerful descriptions of the "how"...