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Do Jewish People Need to Believe in Jesus?

Posted by truthtalklive on May 12, 2008

What are some of the objections Jewish people have against Christianity?

Alex McFarland is in the truth booth day and he is interviewing Eric Chabot. A missionary to Jewish people on the campus of Ohio State, and he is currently working on his M.A. from SES. For more info on Alex visit www.alexmcfarland.com or www.ses.edu. Eric’s website is www.cjf.org

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85 Responses to “Do Jewish People Need to Believe in Jesus?”

  1. Maz said

    Even though Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, His rejection and death meant the salvation of the whole world. So Jew and Gentile…anyone, must believe in Jesus if they are going to be saved from judgement upon sin and Hell after death. So the answer to the question is YES.

  2. Kosher said

    Yes, Jew and Gentile alike need Jesus the Christ as Saviour and Lord. The Scriptures are clear on this, no matter what John Hagee and the ilk say.

    Which brings me to a question: Should there be Messianic Jews or should it only be Christian? What would Paul the apostle say?

  3. Maz said

    Kosher: You are absolutely right. And I’v heard of the questionable statements made by John Hagee too. Jesus WAS the Jewish Messiah, He was born the Jewish Messiah, and Jews still need to recognise Him as such, but also to believe, just as the first Jews who made up most of the New Testement Church, that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world.
    The Bible clearly teaches that there is neither Jew nor Gentile in the Church, we are all one in Christ, and altho I have met and even worshipped with Messianic Jews and enjoyed it, there was a separation due to them worshipping on Saturday, while the Church they worshipped in had their services on Sunday. I do not believe this should be so.
    If we are one in Christ we should worship together. Sadly though there is ignorance in much of the ‘Gentile’ church about the Jews place within it. And it doesn’t help with teachings on replacement theology either.

  4. Esanae said

    Absolutely!

    I’m not going to get hung up on the fact that Messianic Jews meet on the Sabbath. I’m just thankful that those dear ones have recognized their Messiah, at last! Around here, we have mountain churches. It’s a matter of culture. Their music tends more toward Bluegrass Gospel. I love to attend Messianic churches, mountain churches, and my own Southern Baptist church. Yet, we can all get together and worship at a Christian concert or a big evangelistic event. Heaven will have no divisions, though. Isn’t that a blessed thought?

  5. Maz said

    Amen Esanae: One of my most wonderful experiences was 4 days of meetings in a field in the Hampshire (England) countryside, within a large tent with Christians and Messianic believers alike. We prayed for Israel, we repented of the past treatment of the Jews by the Church and by the British government in WW2, it was a very moving time for us all. I was able to embrace a Jewish brother for the first time and I felt I was close to Heaven within that setting. There was so much love between us all. That is what the Lord wants for us all. I have Jewish ancestry so there is a special place in my heart for these people. And God hasn’t given up on them. He still has plans for that nation. Right now He is gathering them back to their land, against all odds, He created the nation of Israel in 1948, miraculously after 2500 years of being dispersed across the globe, away from their beloved homeland.
    And let us remember what the Bible says about them and our responsibility…those who bless Israel will be blessed. Also…those who curse Israel will be cursed.

  6. jAsOn said

    “Replacement Theology”???, can you give us a definition of that Maz?

  7. Maz said

    Replacement Theology teaches that God finished with the Jews as a nation and replaced them with the Church. Some call the Church ‘spiritual Israel’, but there is no such thing. Read Romans 11 and see how Paul teaches that God did not cast off His people forever, He still has a plan for them as a nation, they are still His people. But individual Jews can come to Christ and be born-again and be part of the Church. They are sometimes called Messianic Jews because they have recognised Jesus as their Messiah aswell as Savior, but there is neither Jew nor Gentile in the Church, we are all One in Christ.

  8. Kosher said

    A great book that I’ve been reading concerning “replacement theology” general and “Calvinism” in particular is ‘Limiting Omnipotence’ by Dunlap.

    I was once leaning toward Calvinism, but after reading this book and actually seeing prominent Calvinist quotes, I’d have to say that I reject all 5 points.

  9. jAsOn said

    Maz,

    No such thing as spiritual Israel??? Which NT are you reading? You should read these passages: Rom. 2:25-29; 9:6-8; Gal. 3:29; Eph. 2:11-22.

    To suggest that the earthly priests will one day make sacrifices again is to suggest either that, they will once again service the stipulations of that old and terrible covenant, or that a third covenant after the New Covenant must be set up for them to mediate. The former cannot be true because it would cause a digression in spite of God’s revelation and the author says this in Heb. 8:4, “Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law.” If in a Dispensational millennium, earthly priests are offering gifts according to the law in an earthly temple, and Christ is present on earth with them, then based on what is said in verse 4 He would not be a priest at all. It is significant that the author of Hebrews quoted Jeremiah 31:31-34 here and thus there cannot be a third covenant after the New Covenant for the earthly high priest to mediate because “the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” There couldn’t be a clearer statement than the one in verse four to cause us to believe that once Christ has come in the flesh, and especially after His return, there will never be any reestablishment of the Levitical priesthood because if Christ were on earth at the time when (as Dispensationalism claims) Ezekiel’s temple is built and priests after the order of Aaron are making sacrifices, “he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law”

    The Dispensational view of the kingdom, the temple, and the future earthly high priests is that, in the institution of this new covenant, the old one vanishes. It is not postponed or put off for a little while, it completely vanishes because Christ’s incarnation never ceases. Unless one suggests that the phrase “vanish away” means that it will only temporarily disappear, then its meaning here cannot be rightly understood in the confines of that dispensational perspective (a coming time when God will resume His dealings with ethnic Israel in the Old Covenant, giving them the blessings of that covenant—which above it is said to have vanished). I believe that some have recommended that the covenant spoken of in Jeremiah is a covenant renewal connected to what Paul also spoke of in Romans 11, where it is said that, in this way, all Israel will be saved. But to consign the New Covenant (the covenant prophesied by Jeremiah) exclusively to ethnic Israel is to deny all references to the New Covenant in the Apostolic writings, in fact it is a denial of the New Testament all together because that is the purpose of the canon of post incarnation scriptures—to proclaim the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant in Christ; to show Christ as the substance of former shadows and the archetype of former types, and to name the New covenant as a contrast to the Old Mosaic covenant. Therefore when the author of the book of Hebrews uses the word “vanishes”, he means to say that the Old Covenant is finished and over because the new and better covenant has been fulfilled in Christ.

    One of the reasons why covenant theologians say that the church is the true Israel of God is because the New Testament places us gentiles in the New Covenant, and it relates the New Covenant with the sacrament of communion. The covenant spoken of in Jeremiah is the new covenant in Christ’s blood. The days which are coming (spoken of in Jeremiah) are inaugurated by the days after Christ has come in the flesh and the people with whom the covenant is made, according to the prophecy in Jeremiah, are the house of Judah and Israel, but according to the author of Hebrews (and the rest of the pertinent verses in the New Testament) the members of that group ultimately include more than just the physical descendants of Abraham. So the questions we must ask ourselves now is, does the New Testament author contradict the Old by applying the terms Judah and Israel to non-ethnic Jews, or does the author misinterpret the Old Testament verses by applying the terms Judah and Israel to non-ethnic Jews, or does the New Testament author actually give us the fuller revelation of those verses by expanding their meaning? I submit that the later is the right answer. One of the promises of the New Covenant is that the law will be written on the hearts of everyone who partakes in that covenant, a writing which was typified in the Old Covenant by the writing of the law on stone tablets. They will not need to teach their neighbors and brothers like the remnant of saints (true Israelites) had to do in the Old Covenant because they were members of two groups—they were the children of God because they shared in the faith that Abraham had while he was still uncircumcised, and they were part off the physical nation of Israel who received the benefits of the physical land by way of the Old Covenant, but those old saints might also have been witnesses to other Old Covenant members who may have been their physical brothers who shared with them in the Mosaic covenant blessings but with whom they were not spiritual brothers because they had not been born of God. So it is right to say that in the Mosaic covenant not all its partakers were of the true Israel of God but all those in this New Covenant will be part of the True Israel of God, the seed of Abraham; they are the true circumcision.

  10. Kosher said

    I really think Truthtalk live needs to do a show, or a series of shows dealing with Dispensationalism and Replacement Theology. Find someone who upholds the Darby/Shafer form of Dispensationalism and someone well versed in Replacement theology. Let both explain their side. Then let them critigue the others interpretation.

    The issue with replacement theology, well one of them is that it proclaims that God is through with physical Israel and that just isn’t so. Not so prophetically/Biblically. Paul made reference to three classes of people in one of his epistles – Jew, Gentile, Church. The Church was not mentioned in the Old testament. It is the mystery that shows up in the New Testament Scriptures.

  11. Maz said

    Jason: I havn’t time to read your whole blog I have to go out, but what I meant by spiritual Israel was the Church being called spiritual Israel and it’s that that doesn’t exist. Israel is Israel, the Church is the Church, the two have separate calendars in Gods plans. But I agree that not all that are of Israel are of the True Israel of God. I will say more later on what I believe about that.

    Kosher: I too cannot accept Calvinism, it does away with free will, so how does anybody actually repent? And how can anyone be responsible for what they do if it isn’t their will doing it? More on that too. As Arnold would say….I’ll be back.

  12. zerxil said

    I’ve always wondered why church was on sunday not saturday.

  13. jAsOn said

    1. I agree with Kosher that TTL should put something like that together (perhaps even a formal live debate with sufficient cross-examination periods to expose inconsistencies in argumentation would be better than a radio show), but the contrast is between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology, not replacement theology…the idea is that, under the old covenant, not all Jews were saved, but one had to become Jewish to be saved, but under the new covenant no one has to become Jewish to be saved. Not all CTs say that God is through with national Israel…all of them believe that “all Israel will be saved” as Paul says in Rom. 11, but you must understand that the dispensational/premil interpretation of that is only about 200 years old. To say that Rom. 11 prophesies a fulfillment of the Mosaic covenant does not do justice to the context of Rom 9-11.

    2. The mystery is that gentiles would one day be included, grafted into the same olive tree, not a different one. The OT Jew had no context for that b/c God (under the OC) had gentiles first become Jews before they were included…that’s why it was so mysterious, not that there would one day be some separate body of believers. When Christ came and died, the dividing wall was broken down, the veil was rent. God has not instituted a reestablishment of the physical Jewish temple in Jerusalem where sacrifices are going to be made. I believe that the book of Hebrews makes that very clear, “the old things are passing away”; Christ was the sacrifice once and for all. If a temple like that is ever established, and if sacrifices were ever made again…they would certainly be a stench in the nostrils of God, because Christ has fulfilled the types that those sacrifices foreshadowed. Furthermore, imagine the confusion those practices would cause for individuals when they read Eph 2, and Hebrews.

  14. jAsOn said

    Maz,

    I misunderstood your statement in #7. You do realize that CTs do not say that the church has replaced national/ethnic Israel, but that the church is the fulfillment of it as a type; just as the sacrificial system, the physical temple, the Sabbaths and feasts were types and shadows pointing to Christ, so also was the nation a shadow of the church and the physical land a shadow of the new heavens and the new earth.

    Regarding Calvinism:

    Maz, you and Kosher really should read actual Calvinists defending their system, and if you have then you haven’t quite understood what they are saying. You said that “it does away with free will”. If by free will you mean libertarian free will, then I would agree. I would also point out that the bible also does away with libertarian free will, Rom. 3 clearly places the creature under the bondage of sin, but Calvinism maintains the freedom of the creature to do all that he desires and that which is within his capacity, but the unregenerate man doesn’t want to repent… his will and desires must first be changed before he can choose God or repent of his sins. The responsibility that the creature has to obey God’s commands is not rooted in his innate ability to do so, but in the fact that God has created him.

    So please, when you guys want to criticize Calvinism (or CT for that matter) first understand what the systems actually teach.

  15. jAsOn said

    Zerxil,

    It’s because Christ was raised on Sunday, thus fulfilling the typological weekly Sabbath of the Old Covenant, and that is why saved individuals are to gather on Sunday ass the official congregation of God’s people. What is more is, we are certainly free to gather on Saturday to worship Christ, but not as the primary, weekly service where God’s preacher exposes the gospel to God’s people. If the reason for meeting on Saturdays is made from a theological standpoint (not just b/c of persecution or something) then that group isn’t really meeting as a local “church”, but as a para-church group. By way of the Judaizers and their imposition of circumcision on the gentiles, Paul was very clear when he explained to the Galatians that they are not obligated to keep OT ceremonial and civil law in order to be saved or to be obedient…worshiping on Saturdays instead of Sundays b/c one is of Jewish decent is not really an option.

  16. Kosher said

    Jason,

    I’ll say this and leave it be. One of the elders at the assembly I attend gave me Dunlaps book to read. This same elder has indeed read some prominent Calvinist systematic theology books.

    You sound much like “Rev. Wright” when you say that we take Calvinist quotes out of context and we are misunderstanding what we have read.

    I really wish I had the book with me so I could provide quotes for you. Then you could tell us how we are misunderstanding or misquoting.

    It is sad when one Calvinist(Spurgeon) says that it was a preacher(Gill) pushing forth Calvinism that destroyed a church. I’ve even heard that Calvinism has caused the death of the church in the U.K. and the rise of Atheism.

    I don’t know if I would fully agree with that, but it does bring up some excellent questions……

  17. jAsOn said

    Kosher,

    You’re comparing me to Rev. Wright? I didn’t realize the discussion had deteriorated to name-calling.

    I would have to disagree with your elder’s conclusions in the same way I have disagreed with you.

    Whether or not Calvinism is right or wrong is up to scripture, not some misinterpretation of the history of Christianity in Europe. Whoever suggested that Calvinism was the death of the church in the UK really doesn’t know his history.

    Most Calvinists would agree that you don’t teach the 5 points every Sunday or push it down individual’s throats, and I would agree that teaching it every Sunday would deprive a congregation of the full exposition of Christ.

    And which church was it that Gill supposedly destroyed, the one Spurgeon inherited?

  18. Maz said

    Jason: I can assure you I have Christian friends that are Calvinists and we have had many a discussion on Calvinism and free will. Also I had a lengthy discussion with a Calvinist on-line recently and to tell you the truth I felt sick at the thought that I could possibly be someone who God had not chosen……it cast such doubt in my mind I was in fear of a hell that I had no choice in being saved from….if I wasn’t saved. BUT I know I am saved by the blood of the Lamb. If we cannot choose to turn (repent) from our sin, then repentance is not us but God making us repent. That just isn’t the way the Bible teaches repentance or salvation.
    John 3 v 16 was one of the verses this Calvinist tried to tell me really said it was believers only that God loved and Jesus died for. That the word for ‘world’ was cosmos…which to him meant ‘believers only’. Nonsense. If John had wanted to specify believers only then he would have used the word ‘pistos’ which is far nearer the meaning of believers only.
    God so loved ‘believers only’ just doesn’t sound right when you take into account the rest of scripture. I’v studied this extensively and God making people so they can believe, or making them so that they cannot believe by choosing some to go to Heaven and some to go to Hell is not just (no criteria for the choosing) and it isn’t scriptural either. ‘Choose YOU this day whom you will serve’ Joshua said. (OT ofcourse).
    People have a choice…to repent and be saved, or to reject Christ and be lost. Didn’t Christ say one day ..”but you WILL NOT come that you might have eternal life”. They willed not to come.
    Predestination is not God choosing who goes to Heaven or Hell, but we (believers) are predestined to be conformed to the image of Gods Son. That is what the scripture says.
    So how do we preach the gospel to every creature if every creature cannot be saved? Would I not be lying to some who I preach to about Jesus loving them and dying for them if He actually didn’t? There are dozens of questions like this that would make no sense if we had no choice about our salvation atall.
    Well, there’s my thots on the matter. For now.

  19. zerxil said

    WHERE IN THE BIBLE DOES JESUS SAY TO CHANGE THE SABBATH?

  20. jAsOn said

    Maz,

    You apparently haven’t understood what Calvinists have said regarding free will, and you apparently haven’t understood me either. I never said that people do not choose, of course they choose, but who is it that chooses God? Are you actually suggesting that you choose to repent and Love God before you had grace extended to you? Why in the world would you doubt your salvation after hearing the historic “doctrines of grace” presented? You wouldn’t if they were accurately presented. Calvinism doesn’t cause one to consider whether he is one of the elect, it actually causes one to rejoice that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. Eph. 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

    Rom. 9:”15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”

    Where in the bible does it say or even infer that our repentance or our faith is something we generate in ourselves?

    John 3:16 This verse is not addressing the extent or efficacy of the atonement…it is a simple statement that ANYONE who believes on the Lord Jesus will be saved…no Calvinist would disagree with that, the issue is, who would believe before being touched bey the grace of God…no one would, the NT could hardly be clearer about that. The phrase, “whosoever believes in Him”, is henna pas ho pistueo in the Greek, and it literally means “all of the believing ones”, or “all those who do believe”. It has nothing whatever to do with one’s capacity for belief.

    Your Calvinist friend was misinformed b/c we don’t say that God doesn’t love those that He will not eventually save, nor do we say that in NO sense did Christ die for them. God loves every one of His created beings, but He (like a man loves his wife differently than his neighbor) has a different love for those He came to save than those He didn’t come to save. Also, Calvinists don’t say that God predestines persons to Hell in the same way He predestines persons to eternal life. ALL individuals are going to go to Hell by default until God intervenes and actively saves them and conforms them to Himself. He does not have to do any special act of damnation to cause one not to believe and repent…no one would believe and repent if He didn’t extend to them His special regenerative grace, so of course, unbelievers “will not to come”…Calvinists don’t disagree.

    You said, “Predestination is not God choosing who goes to Heaven or Hell, but we (believers) are predestined to be conformed to the image of Gods Son. That is what the scripture says.” Where does scripture say that believers are predestined only to good works and not to Heaven; does this mean that there are individuals who are predestined to do good works, but who will not go to Heaven?

    It has often been argued that Christ merited righteousness for all by His obedient life, and propitiated the wrath of God on behalf of all men on the cross, but by the ordination of God, it is the unbelief of man that stays the Spirit in His attempt to apply this merit. I contend that unbelief is also a sin, and if Christ atoned for the sins of a man on the cross then He necessarily also atoned for the sin of unbelief, therefore God must forgive him for his sin of unbelief and would not punish him for it, just as He would not punish man for any other sin for which Christ actually made an atonement. Here I believe that the great puritan divine John Owen, in his work The Death of Death, will aptly draw out this truth.

    “We can put the matter like this: Christ suffered for either, all the sins of all men, or all the sins of some men, or some of the sins of all men. If the last statement is true, then all men are still left with some sins, and so no one can be redeemed. If the first statement is true, then why are not all men freed from sin? You may say, Because of their unbelief. But I ask, is unbelief a sin? If it is not, why are men punished for it? If it is a sin, then it must be among the sins for which Christ died. So the first statement cannot be true! So it is clear that the only possibility remaining is that Christ had laid upon him all the sins of some men, the elect, only. It is this that I believe is the teaching of the Bible.”

    We can clearly see the options Owen points out. Many otherwise conservative theologians and laypersons today believe that persons who go to Hell do so solely because of their unbelief. While reformed theology would affirm that unbelief is a sin we reject the notion that unbelief is the sufficient cause of suffering in Hell. Rather, unbelief is a symptom of a heart at enmity with God while still in Adam, thus notating ones depravity and spiritual deadness. The contrary doctrine seems to be the necessary offspring of the false teaching of human autonomy ; if it is within the nature and possible desires of the natural man to either choose or reject God, then most assuredly torment in Hell is the wage earned by the unbeliever, just as everlasting life is the just reward of those natural men who avail themselves of the promise of God.

    Let me ask you this, if you believe that God knows for certain that Mr. X will never repent and believe, then is it possible for that person to ever repent and believe? If not, then does he really have a choice? That is why consistent Arminianism is “open theism”

    You said, “So how do we preach the gospel to every creature if every creature cannot be saved? Would I not be lying to some who I preach to about Jesus loving them and dying for them if He actually didn’t?” God never told us to concern ourselves with who can or cannot be saved, He only commands us to proclaim Christ and Him crucified. In the gospels, point out where Christ or the apostles proclaimed the gospel like this, “Jesus loves you and died to propitiate your sins specifically.” You’re right, you cannot tell someone that Christ satisfied God’s wraith against their sins specifically on the cross b/c you don’t know that, and it’s not your job.

  21. jAsOn said

    Zerxil,

    Christ didn’t…the change was not necessitated until after His death and resurrection in the apostles’ interpretations of that historical event.

  22. John said

    I may be mistaken JAsOn, but I think that you’re getting a taste of what Amanda the Mormon felt like.Too bad how Christians will pick up on and run with such details about other Christians, instead of focusing on the similarities between the…. different brothers and sisters, children of God?

  23. jAsOn said

    John,

    I’m not familiar with Amanda the Mormon or that discussion. Even though Maz, Kosher and I do have sharp differences, those differences apparently are all within the pail of orthodoxy, and we might each refer to the others different interpretations of scripture as aberrant but not heretical; I consider them to be my brother and sister in Christ as I’m sure they would consider me. One thing I think the three of us would agree on is that orthodox Mormon doctrine is by definition, not “Christian”, even though they claim the bible as one of their scriptures, and even though they hold Christ Jesus in some measure of height.

    All the perceived tones that come across in this medium aside, I hope that we can continue in a manner and end on a note that reflects what this principle, that they will know us by our love one for another.

  24. John said

    I hope so too.
    Time will tell all.

  25. Zerxil said

    Well if the jews don’t belive in their massiah they arent going to heaven. Jesus matches all prophies told about him. Jesus came so that we may CHOOSE to follow him. He died so we could all have grace. It’s our choice what we do with it.

    If I offer you a gift that costs me alot. You than look at it & mock me. I’m not going to be very happy with you. But hey, God is used to it by now. Just read exidus. Nothing but moan & complain. I like where God was going to kill quite a few from the very start.

    Moses & Isiah went to heaven and came back. They talked to Jesus. The deciples wanted to pitch tents for them.

  26. Maz said

    Jason: You have said quite a bit so I will attempt to answer as much as I can without filling up this entire blog.
    It seems that Calvinists differ amongst themselves in what they believe. I can only tell you what I have learnt from other Calvinists I have spoken to, and they obviously seem to disagree with your interpretation.

    Jason, where did I say ‘believers are predestined only to good works and not to Heaven?’ I believe I quoted Romans 8 v 29. We are not saved by any works but by the blood Jesus shed on Calvary.

    We have to be responsible in some way for our own repentance. I would like more explanation on your belief that we cannot choose to repent and turn to God (atall?) If Gods grace is extended to all, surely all can receive the faith to believe (if they are willing to).

    Doubt. Yes, I have been assailed with doubt on the odd occasion. Who hasn’t, hands up? We have an enemy, the devil, who just wants to attack our minds and cause us to lose what God has given us. We cannot be so confident in ourselves that we think we know it all and can never be wrong. We have to keep in Gods Word and that will always lead us into all truth. I am still learning.

    Rejoice? Yes, I rejoice because God loves me and has saved me from my sin, from death and hell. But I also have a heart to reach the lost. It’s a heart that God has given me, so my heart does feel sorrow for those who are going to hell. It’s a terrible place, I don’t want anyone to go there, do you? God doesn’t either, He says so in 2 Pet: 3 v 9. Ofcourse not all will receive Gods grace freely given to all, so they go to hell by their own choice of unbelief.

    Again, salvation is a free gift given to us because of Christs death on the cross, but WE have to accept or reject that gift.

    If God generates our faith and repentance then (again) where is our responsibility in the matter? I don’t think you understand what I am trying to say here. If God alone saves us by repentance, faith etc. where is out choice? Where is our willingness to accept? This is what I do not understand about Calvinism.

    The Bible tells us that Christ died for the ungodly. We are all ungodly, so Christ died for all.
    The Bible tells us that God calls all men to repent….all men…to repent. Acts 17 v 30.
    If He calls all men to repent, then He would have to generate that faith for all men to repent if that is what Calvinists believe right?
    The Bible tells us that it’s the devil that blinds the eyes of those who don’t believe. 2 Cor: 4 v 4.

    Unbelief is sin. Unbelief is a lack of belief or faith but if God has to give us that faith to believe then he would be causing the unbeliever to sin? In other words if God doesn’t give us the grace or generate the faith to believe then He is not allowing them to believe and therefore causing the unbelief? Do you understand my problem here with this part of Calvinistic thinking? I am asking these things to understand where you are coming from Jason.

    Gods foreknowledge means that He knows the end from the beginning. He chose to save those who believe in His Sons sacrifice. Therefore believers are chosen already in Gods mind before the foundation of the world, just as Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world.

    You said, ‘God never told us to concern ourselves with who can or cannot be saved, He only commands us to proclaim Christ and Him cricified.’ I think Paul was very concerned in His fellow countrymen and their salvation when he said he would rather be lost so that they could be saved. I’m not sure I could go that far. But Paul obviously had a heart of love for His people and wanted to see them saved and not go to hell. And that didn’t really answer my question, which was, How can I preach the gospel to every creature, if God has not given every creature the capacity to believe in it? Would I not be lying to them?

    John: It is great to share similarities but it is expedient sometimes to share what we believe is true to help those who we believe are in error. The Bible is given for instruction and correction in righteousness and we can bring scripture to those we feel are in error. That might seem arrogant or dogmatic. But it’s not, it is motivated by a love for truth, and that all should come to the knowledge of that truth. There is absolute truth and we all need to seek it. I don’t pretend to know everything but there are things I believe, that I believe are true and that the Bible teaches and I enjoy discussing that which I believe with others who may believe differently. I am not so closed minded that I am not open to see the truth when it is shown to me, but it has to be from Gods Word and agree with the whole of Gods Word not just a favourite chapter (as Rom: 9 is to Calvinists among others).

    As I said before I have some very lovely friends who are Calvinists, they believe in replacement theology, they believe differently about a lot of things but I know that they are true believers because they have accepted Christ as their Savior. I also believe Jason is my brother in Christ so altho we may differ in some area of doctrine I have no animosity to him.
    Mormons on the other hand John, as pointed out in another blog, are not Christians because of their spurious beliefs about who God is and who Jesus is and how one can be saved. These are foundational doctrines.

    I must stop here, long blogs generate longer blogs…so….until next time.

  27. jAsOn said

    Maz,

    I understand where you are coming from, and I ‘m sure I asked the same questions you are asking when I started to consider these things. I think it is easy for persons on both sides of this issue to talk passed each other because of the complexity of the ideas.

    I certainly have doubts of my salvation too, I think every believer does, but what I meant to say was that if calvinistic soteriology is rightly presented, it should give assurance, because it says that even my faith was a gift from God so I can’t boast, thus when I find myself in a season of doubt, I don’t try to cling to the good works to which I was predestined, but I cling once again to the “stone table” (the cross) where Christ died for my unbelief and I rely on the proclaimation that He has lived perfectly in my stead. But it is my faith, but God gave me the ability to believe when He saved me. It is my repentance because I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, but I couldn’t generate this faith, belief or repentance from my own heart when I was “in Adam”; when I was formerly a child of wrath. I know for sure that you don’t take credit for your salvation.

    Calvinistic soteriology says that men are dead (which is spiritually dead) in their trespasses and sins. On the cross Christ purchased grace for the whole world in the sense that, God doesn’t instantly judge an individual upon conception (the rain falls on the just and the unjust). We are all conceived in sin and God would be just to condemn all to Hell if He hadn’t promised a Redeemer, but the blood of Christ purchased every breath for even persons who will never believe and who God will finally judge in eternity…that grace is common to all men, but Christ also bore the specific sins of all those the Father had given Him on the cross, to propitiate (or satisfy) the wrath of God toward them…that grace is specific and actually effects the salvation of individuals, it doesn’t just make salvation possible. So, if God simple gave the grace sufficient for faith and repentance to all persons who would ever live, then the question is, why do some believe; why do I believe and my friend James does not? He has heard the gospel through many sources as have I, but he persists in unbelief. Did I believe because I was more spiritual or willing to love God? No, I was just as much an unregenerate sinner and enemy of God before I was saved as He still is, yet God reached down and changed my heart, gave me the gift of faith and then I choose to repent and believe, not because I was more willing, for no unbeliever is willing, but because of God’s gracious hand I believe.

    No, Maz, Calvinists do not want persons to go to Hell! If it were up to me, universalism would be true and all would be saved, but that is not the plan of God and I don’t understand it, nor do I relish in the fact that God’s enemies will suffer in Hell, but in eternity, I suppose our understanding of God’s desire to show His justice through the vessels of wrath will increase and in some way we will rejoice in the justice of our God, but we don’t have glorified hearts and minds to understand that yet. Yes, those who go to Hell do so because of their unbelief, but as for 2 Peter 3:9, the context shows that he is writing that specifically to believers and I will post an exegesis of that passage later.

    If I said that God generates faith and repentance in us, then I chose my words poorly, what I mean to say is that, God re-generates a person, saves him, translates him from spiritual death to life, and then as a consequence, that individual necessarily chooses (from the faculty of a heart that has been born again) to repent and believe.

    When I said, “God never told us to concern ourselves with who can or cannot be saved, He only commands us to proclaim Christ and Him crucified”, what I intended was that we don’t have to determine to know who in a group is of the elect, I certainly have concern for all the souls in that group, and my assumption (as per the words of RC Sproul) is that everyone in the group is elected of God and I am to preach the gospel to them liberally, and rest in the fact that none of those that have been given to the Son from the Father will be lost.

    Lastly, I don’t believe there is any scripture, in part or in whole that contradicts the “doctrines of grace”, but rather, the bible in its entirety affirms them. 🙂

  28. jAsOn said

    2 Peter 3:1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

    It is vitally important that we look at verse nine in its context while we consider the word beloved in verses one and eight, and the word “you” in verse nine. The context of chapter three shows us that Peter was writing to believers. One should also notice that the passage is without a witness concerning the idea of either: the offer of the gospel, the atoning work of Christ, or of regeneration. Rather, the passage is testifying to the longsuffering nature of our good and gracious God who, having promised of His soon return, would eventually prove the scoffers ignorance at His coming—just as He said that He would, but the perceived delay is actually a display of His mercy so that none of the vessels of mercy (none of the “you” in verse one and nine) which He had prepared beforehand will perish, but they too will be saved like all those for whom God’s wrath had been satisfied. This passage is in fact about the “Parucia”. Peter even says in verse one that both of the letters he has written he has intended to be “…stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder…”—a reminder of Christ’s return. Peter warns of mockers who in the last day (which day began after Christ’s ascension) will ask “Where is your Jesus; He is not coming!” But Peter warned his immediate audience and warns us as well that even though those scoffers claim that the world is not changing, they are wrong because Christ said that He would return. They claimed that everything has been the same since Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and they asked why things would change now. Peter tells us to look at what God did in the flood. Things appeared to some then to have always been the same and they concluded that things would therefore remain the same. The mockers of Peter’s day and our day alike ask, Jesus has not come so what reason do you have for His coming? In those old days God startled the entire world with the flood, and likewise He will startle the entire world with the return of His Son. Then Peter explains to those reading and hearing his letter read that Christ has a purpose in His waiting and that purpose is good because, just as the time has not yet come to avenge the martyrs because their full number had not been accomplished (as it says in the book of Revelation) so also with the elect. The full number of the elect; those persons whom God choose beforehand and set aside for Himself and for good works, their number has not been fulfilled so the time of the return of Christ had not come then and has not yet come now—but it most certainly will come because God is not slack concerning His promise, and His counting of days and time is not bound as ours is.

  29. F. L. A. said

    “Beloved”?
    Such poetry. Why, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had Maz blushing at some point[huge sharp toothed grin].

  30. Maz said

    Not a single blush F.L.A.

    Jason: Thanks for all that. You seem to have put the proverbial horse before the cart in my understanding, that we are regenerated and born-again before we believe?? It just doesn’t sound right or scriptural. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, then we can believe and receive Jesus as our Savior…and then we are born-again of the Spirit of God.

    Is it not the plan of God to save everyone? Or atleast His desire was to save the whole world if the whole world would believe and receive the gift of salvation by Gods grace in Jesus.
    What about 1 John 2 v 2 where he says, (Jesus Christ)…”is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours (believers), but also for the sins of the whole world”. This is so explicit that it cannot mean anything but what it says.

    You gave me an explanation of 2 Pet 3 v 9.
    If they believed in a Calvinistic-type gospel of salvation then, would they not know that all believers would repent eventually? Actually that doesn’t sound right either.
    You can’t be a believer unless you repent, but then you cannot believe or repent unless God gives you the ablility to do so. Sorry, I cannot get my mind round this connundrum (have I spelt that right?)

    There is also 1 Tim; 4 v 10: ”For, therefore, we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe”. Here again it is specific about God being the Savior of all men, which specifically included believers. So it is not believers only here.

    1 Tim: 2 v 4: Also states that God ”who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” This is His will….to save all men even though all will not be saved because they do not choose to be. Everyone has a choice…no one is exempt from Gods grace or free gift, this is what I believe the Bible teaches so clearly.

    As far as the elect are concerned, I believe that the Jews are also called the elect, and this I think is one of the problems Calvinists have if they also believe in replacement theology (as some of my Christian Calvinist friends do) they confuse the elect of Israel with the Church. (Also the Chosen of Israel with believers being specially chosen by God for salvation). Christians are elected by their faith in Jesus Christ, elected to eternal life.

    I have assurance of Gods love for me because He loved me enough to send His dearly beloved Son to die for me, it is a personal thing for me, as it would be for all Christians. Jesus took MY sin on the cross, and He saved me by His grace that I did nothing to deserve, but I believed the message of the gospel and chose to believe what He did, THEN I was born again and I suddenly saw the light! I did not see the light first, or ‘feel’ born again before I believed.
    My love was freely given to Him, as His love was freely given to me. Yes, He loved me first….and I want to return that love to Him.

    Predestined to good works? No. We are predestined to be changed and conformed to the image of Jesus. To become more like Him, because He lives in us, and hopefully as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Gods Son we will become more like Him in every way. Nothing to do with good works. Yes, we are supposed to do good works as Chistians.

    Yes,God would have been just in sending us all to Hell, but He has also been just in wanting to save us all so we can all go to Heaven, He has made a way for all, but not all will choose that way to go. Wide is the way that leads to distruction…many go that way, but narrow is the way to life and few there be that find it. And it is not that God hasn’t shown it to them. Doesn’t He say that man is without excuse in Romans 1 v 20: ”For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”. And you can read on from there too. Man (some) choose darkness rather than light, just as some choose the light and the way of salvation…they choose freely. Why some do and some don’t…I havn’t a clue. That has always been a question burning in my mind, why don’t some see the love of God in Jesus? But we then can go back to 2 Cor: 4 v 4, they can’t see, because it is Satan that has blinded their minds to see. Just as Satan can take away the Word that is sown in our hearts as spoken of in Marks gospel in the parable of the sower. What stops the Word from doing the work of salvation in a heart is listed there. Satan, the cares of this life, the lust for other things….these things stop people from coming to know Christ as Savior, it is not God stopping them from coming because He has not chosen them. Would that be the act of a just God?
    God has to be just in all things. And he has given everyone the chance to come…..but some just will not come. It is their choice and not Gods that they go to Hell.

    This blog is really supposed to be about the Jewish people and not Calvinism, but we do tend to get off into other subjects loosely related. This wasn’t a subject I would have chosen to debate, and I can’t remember who brought it up first, but I would be interested in your reply.

  31. John said

    It’s spelled…Conundrum.
    Some of us chose “the darkness” as you put it, instead of being Christians like yourself because we know that we have other great theological options available to us to more than satisfy our spiritual needs.Always had.
    I realize from our past discussions that this answer is probably unsatisfying for you, but there it is.
    Perhaps Chris C. or some other atheist will respond with their own answer, to help you get it from a different perspective, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  32. jAsOn said

    Maz,

    To address the questions you asked at the end of your last comment: in comment #8 Kosher Calvinism because he apparently agrees with your assessment of “replacement theology” and the book he just read addressed both subjects to some extent. I don’t think I really understand why you brought up “replacement theology” considering the nature of the question the blog originally posed, “Do Jewish People Need to Believe in Jesus?”, because even if there were some persons who believe the way you described RT, I think they would answer the question the same way you would, with a resounding yes.

    You said, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, then we can believe and receive Jesus as our Savior…and then we are born-again of the Spirit of God.”

    I agree, as Paul quotes from Isaiah in Romans 10 that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” But it sounds like you are suggesting that we first believe/receive Jesus, then after that we are born again. I have to ask the question again, if all persons have the exact same degree and quality of grace (I don’t know how else to put it) prior to being saved (Wesley called this prevenient grace) then what makes the difference between persons who believe and persons who do not? Would you say that, God has done His part, now it’s all up to you? I don’t think you would.

    You said, “If they believed in a Calvinistic-type gospel of salvation then, would they not know that all believers would repent eventually?”

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking here, but I think I would answer yes, the Apostles knew that belief and repentance were inseparably linked.

    “You can’t be a believer unless you repent, but then you cannot believe or repent unless God gives you the ablility to do so.”

    Yes, repentance, like faith, is a gift of God, lest anyone should boast.

    1 Tim. 4:10
    In this verse of Paul’s letter to Timothy there is a distinction between two classes: those for whom Christ is the savior, and those for whom Christ is especially a Savior. According to James White the original Greek could more clearly be translated here as, “who is the savior of all people, namely of those who believe.” If Christ had not provided for some kind of a grace that is common to all kinds of people, and to all in particular in the entire human race, then the justice of God would demand that each individual pay for their sinful state and their own sins immediately. The fact that anyone lives past his conception is due to the cross. Jesus said that the sun rises on the evil and the good, and that the rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). These blessings are only possible through the cross. Jesus’ death saves everyone from the immediate payment for their sins, even those who will never believe. So in that way, He is the Savior of all persons—Savior not in a reconciliatory way, but instead in a sustaining way. Looking at the context of the nine verses that precede it, we can see that this passage is not teaching that Jesus died on the cross for the entire human race in a salvific, redemptive, propitious way.

    Maz, in what way was Christ the savior of the men and women who had died in their sins prior to His coming? Would you suggest that Christ had paid the Father to ransom those sinners and yet they too will also pay for their own sins; or to turn it around, would you say that God was punishing dead sinners for their sins and yet He also needlessly placed the penalty for those sins on Christ on the cross, even though the individuals were already beginning to pay for them?

    1 Tim. 2:4 in its immediate context:

    1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

    If one approaches this text exegetically, the understanding that results demands that Paul’s meaning of the word all in verses four and six is “all kinds of men”, or “all types of people”. In verses 1-3 Paul has asked that we pray for “all people”, and then he goes on to define the scope of that term: “for kings and all who are in high positions”. It is good in God’s sight that we lead a quiet, peaceful, godly life and the means God uses to bring this about is having His children pray, intercede, and offer supplications even for those in authority over them. This is an amazing thing to ask when you consider the persecution and dejection faced by the average 1st century person who would read Paul’s letter to Timothy, and even for those Christians in the Sudan, China, Iran, and other places in the world today who don’t enjoy the relatively peaceful democracy of the Western world. Timothy and those whom he would shepherd might have found it very difficult to pray for those authorities when they have developed resentment toward them because they or their family members have suffered under the rule of oppressive dictators. So we can understand the occasion for Paul’s to admonish his readers to pray for all people, including those in authority over them. Timothy and his contemporaries would have read these words in a time under Roman law, and on the brink of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Likewise, slaves would have read these words with their masters in mind. But Paul is not proposing that we pray for every person who ever existed. If we were to take the synergistic view of this verse then that is how we would have to understand it. We certainly are not to pray for those who have already died; furthermore, if someone does promote the idea that “all” in this passage and in verse four in particular means every one, how can he limit that the all is only all of those who live presently? And does that mean that this verse has no application for us, because the all that lived then do not live now? My question sounds absurd but the logical implications demand it. We must allow the context to define the terms. Prayer does not cause God’s actions but rather, God’s decrees cause (secondarily) the things for which we pray. Otherwise, why wouldn’t God be obligated to positively answer all His children’s prayers no matter what? Prayer is the means God uses to grace His people specifically and all men in common.

    Directly after his entreating us to prayer, Paul then moves directly into a statement on the desire of God regarding “all people”; because of the context I can confidently assert that this is in no way a teaching on the extent of the atoning work of Christ, and to use this passage as a proof thereof is to engage in isegesis. Paul’s actual intent here is to say that God does not call His elect from only one group of people, not just slaves, the poor and the destitute are saved, but even some who are Kings and prosperous are His children. The same thing applies to verse six; if we don’t allow the text to speak within its context then we will inevitably misinterpret it. This is not to say that God doesn’t extend compassion to those who are not, and will not be saved, but it is to say that one cannot maintain integrity in their interpretation if one uses this passage to establish that Christ actually purchased the souls of those who were already in Hell at the time of the cross, or those souls which would eventually end up there. Why would He purchase those souls? Some say that God has merely placed men in a savable state or that Christ actually purchased every soul on the cross in order to provide a prevenient grace for everyone which in turn can be used by those individuals to either desire God or to desire the world naturally. Even most of those who promote a universal atonement would agree (unless they embrace the heresy of open theism) that God infallibly knows those who will reject Him; God knows who is going to spend eternity in Hell. Why would God make His Son suffer the punishment for the sins of those who He knew would never repent and believe, and then punish those persons for those sins as well? Why would God make His Son suffer the punishment for the sins of those who had already rejected Him and were already being punished for those sins in Hell at the time of the Passion? If men go to Hell because, in their free will they chose to reject Christ, consequently it stands to reason that men go to Heaven because in their free will they have chosen to accept Christ. The final authority in this scenario is not God, so it is very helpful to look at the way Paul might answer such postulations.
    Romans 9:21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
    Please notice that dishonorable use cannot simply mean that God plans a hard path for an individual to travel because Paul clearly associates God’s wrath with the dishonorable pot, which in turn we hear is prepared for destruction. Some theologians have suggested that word prepared in this verse means the individual prepared themselves for destruction by rejecting Christ. But just a superficial examination of the passage reveals that this interpretation is in error because the potter and pot illustration does not make any sense if the potter was not the one who prepared the pot.

    Regarding again the text from 1 Timothy, it can also be helpful to look at other verses containing the word all and to see what interpretation is rendered when one doesn’t let the context have its way there, but import the synergistic meaning of all instead. As we refer to the passages below, bear in mind the intent of the author regarding how he contextually limits the scope of the word, all.
    Romans 7:8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law, sin lies dead.

    Paul does not intend for the Romans to believe that sin produced in him every single kind of covetousness without exception. Instead Paul’s intent is to employ hyperbole to drive his point home. We use that type of language even today, for instance, when my wife returns from the mall and says that there were all kinds of people at the mall. She does not mean that every people group presently existent and also those who will exist and are now extinct were represented at the mall when she was there. Rather, using hyperbole, what she means is that there were a great number of individuals at the mall.

    Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

    As one looks at Romans 8:32 one should clearly see the delimiter of the word all in the first part of the verse. Paul says that God gave up His Son for “us all”. He may as well have said, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for all of us.” Are we to understand that Paul is teaching us that God intended to give us all things that exist; Paul elsewhere has even said that not all things are profitable. I am certain that everyone has used the word all in a sentence in which we did not intend for it to mean every man, woman, and child who ever existed. For instance, imagine a conversation that takes place after a church service where I am speaking to a group of ten people in the vestibule as I ask them, “OK, my family and I are going to grab some pizza. Who is going with us?” And someone in the group answers, “We all are!” Are we to understand that the second speaker intended to say that everyone who ever existed is going to have pizza with my family and me? Certainly not, that would be an irrational assumption! The speaker was actually saying that “all of us, the ten persons present in the vestibule, are going” and no one in my family or the group of ten would assume otherwise. I realize this may come across as an absurd illustration but I hope so because it is absurd for one interpreting scriptures in a manner that would make the demand, “all means all, and that’s all that all ever means”. We must let the context define the terms. On the other hand, there certainly are passages in which the word all is used to notate everyone who has ever existed, but 1 Timothy 2:4 and the two verses above are not included in that group.

    If we take seriously the somewhat common slogan I mentioned earlier, “all means all, and that’s all that all ever means”, then we are bound to misunderstand many passages of scripture. We cannot extend this understanding of the word all to the texts above. They show us that all doesn’t always and in every case mean “all men without exception”, it doesn’t even mean “all men presently alive, and who will live in the future.”

    You said, “As far as the elect are concerned, I believe that the Jews are also called the elect, and this I think is one of the problems Calvinists have if they also believe in replacement theology (as some of my Christian Calvinist friends do) they confuse the elect of Israel with the Church. (Also the Chosen of Israel with believers being specially chosen by God for salvation). Christians are elected by their faith in Jesus Christ, elected to eternal life.”

    1. Most, if not all, modern day Amillennialists believe that God is not finished with the Jewish nation, but His future plans do not include a de-evolution into an Old Covenant system of Law.

    2. Replacement theology is a term that I have never seen augment a discussion when it is introduced, because it is just pejorative. If I, because I know you are not a Calvinist (one who agrees with a monergistic view of salvation) would repeatedly refer to you as an “Arminean” I would probably insult you and the dialog would likely burn out because the employment of that term over simplifies what is a very nuanced variation on a non-Calvinistic opinion. My point is that the term “replacement theology” likely, accurately describes no one who I know is amil and who writes on the subject in academic circles.

    3. As for confusing the elect of Israel with the Church, how do you explain these verses, Gal. 3:29, 6:16; Eph. 2:11-22; 1 Peter 2:8-10?

    4. As for the references to the elect, there are many NT passages that refer to the individuals of the Church, and the group as a whole, as the “elect”: Matt. 24; Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1, 5:13; 2 Peter 1:10; 2 John 1:1 & 13.

    5. So what about Calvinists who you do not think “confuse the elect of Israel with the Church? You seem to want to use that supposed confusion as an argument against the Calvinistic view that God elects persons out of His own pleasure and not by looking down the corridors of time and seeing who is going to have enough faith to believe in Him. You see, that isn’t election at all, but only foreknowledge, and the question remains because your view doesn’t actually address the problem of “free-will” and responsibility any differently: if God know with perfect knowledge who is going to have faith in Him in the future (which I am very certain you believe) then can those persons in the future actually have a choice NOT to have faith or are they necessarily predetermined to have faith just because of God’s knowledge of it in the future? And if God know those who WILL have faith in the future, then He must also know all those who will NOT have faith in the future. So, if God knows they will certainly NOT have faith in the future, then how can He hold them responsible if there really is no possibility of their having faith because God knows they won’t?

    6. Were not the individuals of the “Chosen Israel” also “specially chosen by God for salvation”? If we continue this discussion we are going to have to address John 6.

    You said, “…I believed the message of the gospel and chose to believe what He did, THEN I was born again and I suddenly saw the light! I did not see the light first, or ‘feel’ born again before I believed.”
    Again I must ask, what goodness or spirituality in you caused you to desire to believe the gospel and chose to believe, when others who have heard it as much as you and I have chosen not to believe it? I’m not suggesting that there is any particular period of time between being born again (regenerated) and believing the gospel or “seeing the light”, and I’m not sure what to make of how one “feels” born again. Those who God has elected He placed the penalty of their particular guilt on Jesus at the cross and upon having them hear the gospel by the power of His decree, they eventually are effectually drawn to God by His Spirit and the consequently believe and repent of their sins and as Eph. 2:10 say, they were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”, thus they certainly will. You seem to be content with answering this question by saying, “…they can’t see, because it is Satan that has blinded their minds to see. Just as Satan can take away the Word that is sown in our hearts as spoken of in Marks gospel in the parable of the sower. What stops the Word from doing the work of salvation in a heart is listed there. Satan, the cares of this life, the lust for other things….these things stop people from coming to know Christ as Savior…”, but this doesn’t solve the problem either, it only places the responsibility of unbelief on Satan, not on the individual, because this understanding make the unbeliever only a victim. Consequently, this is a major argument of the Universalist that God has actually elected everyone because no one is ultimately responsible for their offence against God, because they are all victims of Satan. You go on to say, “t is not God stopping them from coming because He has not chosen them.”. I don’t think you read or maybe you didn’t understand what I said in my post before, that God doesn’t have to cause unbelief…it is the default position of every human being. We would all be happy in our unbelief until our dieing breath unless God intruded into our wills and changed our hearts.

    Would you suggest that God, in eternity, will be terribly disappointed because He wanted to save everyone but He couldn’t because the libertarian free will of man (his innate ability to do or to do otherwise) thwarted His plan to save them? Job in chapter 42 says this, 1“Then Job answered the LORD and said: 2″I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”

    Sorry this comment was so long.

  33. Maz said

    John: Thanks for the spelling correction, couldn’t be bothered to open the dictionary as I usually do. It would be interesting to ask you if you feel you have freewill to choose your own fate or, as Calvinists believe, that you may not be one of the chosen and not one of the elect and so you cannot believe? This may be an unfair question to put to you…who knows you may come to know Christ before you die…but this discussion begs the question to one who seems satisfied in what he believes and is in no way interested in becoming a Christian and believing in Jesus Christ.

  34. Maz said

    Jason:

    I am beginning to feel that this discussion is going nowhere except round in circles. You cannot understand what I mean and I can’t understand your thinking either in most cases.

    I believe grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. That is Gods gift to all……I mean all men. I believe the scriptures upholds this. To try and explain ‘all’ as not always meaning ‘all’ in some places is to say that the scriptures don’t mean what they say in many cases where all appears to mean ‘all’. This is a circular arguement too. I heard R.T. Kendel explain about ‘all’ once and it just sounded a bit rediculous. I like R.T. Kendel and have listened to him many times but in this case I did not agree.
    If ‘all’ does not mean all as in many cases it appears it does and many Christians believe it that way then someone should rewrite these passages and put it the way it should read. I really do think that Paul and others knew what they were writing, being inspired of God, and that the translators (particularly the KJV) put the correct meaning and understanding in these verses that I quoted, and others that carry the same meaning.

    I have been over all this recently with others and that is why I did not want to enter another round of the same ‘arguments’ about Calvinism.

    Repentance must come from us, God can’t give us repentance like He gives us grace or our repentance means nothing. WE have to repent. WE have to decide to turn from our sin.
    WE must WILL to come to Christ, or we are just puppets in Gods hands and as a puppet…or a pot, we are just moulded and made the way God intended and we have no choice, no free will, no decision as to anything. I cannot seem to explain this any other way to help you see what I mean. We have to be free to choose or how can we choose to love God from our own hearts? Would God infact want a love that isn’t from us? Would He be pleased to receive something that wasn’t birthed in our own hearts from our own will?

    Sorry, but I do not accept the ‘all kinds of men’ explanatin.
    And I don’t believe in praying for the dead. That is a Mormon thing.

    I do not believe that Gods foreknowledge negates mans free will. God just KNOWS the future, and I cannot explain, as I think you would agree, the full extent of Gods plans and purposes, we aren’t meant to know everything, but I do know this, that God loves all men everywhere…for God is love, and He is not just disappointed that some end up in hell, His heart is grieved that men are lost, He yearns for men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth that he has provided. If you are in any way in touch with God you should feel the heart that God has for the lost. His love for mankind was expressly shown on the cross in Jesus agony.
    Yes, He hates sin, He judges sin, He is Holy, but He still has a great heart of love, He IS Love, and His heart breaks (if it’s possible) to see men (and ofcourse women) go down the road to a lost eternity. He never made hell for mankind, He made it for the devil and his angels.

    I do not call myself Armenian any more than I call myself Calvinist, Protestant, Catholic, Pentecostal, Church of England or any other label people put on people, but for clarity alone we have to use labels though I’m not keen on them myself. And I wouldn’t be offended being labelled an Armenian because that is what I believe.

    I think we could debate this forever…..and I’m so glad we won’t have to! When we see Jesus we shall know! So maybe we can agree to disagree on this subject and return to the original question.

  35. jAsOn said

    Agreed to disagree it is, then.

  36. Maz said

    Jason: That’s great….I think this debate within the Church at large will never be won by either side (not that I want to win ofcourse) but someone said that we could never figure out the mind of God or explain God completely on every subject otherwise He would cease to be the Eternal, Omnipotent God. I agree with that. God is so awesome, how can we as mortal beings think we could ever understand His Ways, for His Word says that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. I’m just glad He is in control and He knows what He is doing even if I don’t most of the time!

  37. jAsOn said

    Amen to that, even though we may disagree from time to time as to the amount and degree of the things about Himself and His ways which He has reveled for us, we can agree that there is an infinite amount of knowledge about God which He has not reveled for us.

  38. Steve said

    As far as dealing with the issues of dispenstionalim, the relationship between the Church and Israel, Jewish people..etc.. one of the best books out there is a new book called Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged. The author (Barry Horner) has converted from a reformed view to a pre-mill view- he sayd the church sould advocate what he calls a Pauline approach to Israel. He traces the history of how we got to replacement theolgy and the hermenutic behind it. It is my experience that the dispensational view is very misunderstood. Most assume that being a dispensationalist means you have to believe in 7 dispensations..etc.. and basically believe in the same view as the Left Behind Series..etc.. this is an oversimplification. One of the biggest issues in this debate is one’s hermeneutic. There is long history that has led to some suddenly saying that where Paul speaks of Israel in the N.T. this is now the church. By thw way, in Romans 9:1-5,when Paul says “I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.”

    These verses are present tense. Paul is not saying theirs was (Past tense) the adoption, they had the glory, the covenants, the law, etc…

    If you read the Horner book, you will see how the church did not heed Paul’s wraning about Gentile arrogance on Romans 11.

    As Paul says in Ephesians 2, “Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by those called the circumcision, which is done in the flesh by human hands, were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel 7 and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.”

    We as Gentiles were once far away- in the 1 st century it was odd for a Gentile to beleive in the Jewish Messiah- today, it is odd for Jewish people to believe. We are one in Christ.

    Please read Future Israel- it will clear up so much confusion.

  39. Steve said

    One last thing, there is another new book out there that deals with Jewish Missions. It is called, To the Jew First: The Case for Jewish Evangelism in Scripture and History
    Darrell L. Bock Mitchell Glaser.Check it out. Remember, the church has a twofold call-make disciples of the nations and provoke Israel to jealousy (Rom 11:11).

    The Jewish people are not just a theological concept. They are flesh and blood people who need their Messiah.

  40. Steve said

    One last thing- Alex McFarland the staff at S.E.S. are being obedient to the call of Romans 11:11 because they have instituted a Jewish Studies program at their seminary. I have always wondered why all evangelcial seminaries do not have Jewish studies programs. Anyway, may God bless Southern and their willingness to obey the call to the Jewish people by training people up in this area.

  41. Steve said

    I always forget something. I have always wondered, how is that those who believe in unconditional election- that God loves us unconditionally and secures us- these same people say that Israel’s relationship with God was conditional and they have blown it- lost it- they have now been replaced by the church? This is nonsense!

  42. jAsOn said

    Actually Steve, Horner’s book will only add to the confusion. I suggest one read it and Dr. Sam Waldron’s on going response to it at, http://www.mctsowensboro.org/blog/?p=283

    Or you can listen to Horner and Waldron of Iron Sharpens Iron at, http://sharpens.blogspot.com/search/label/DR.%20SAM%20WALDRON

  43. jAsOn said

    Steve,

    Are you saying that the conditions of the Mosaic covenant were nonsense? Maybe it’s because those people have read their OT. Can’t you see the clear categorical difference between God’s covenant with the nation through Moses and His redemptive work specifically; can’t you see that there is a difference between the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants?

    Anyway, I don’t think it’s a good idea to begin a discussion with that sort of tone…kind of a turn off.

  44. Maz said

    Steve: I like what you said at the end of #39. I love the Jewish people and what has surprised me more than anything is the anti-semitism that exists within the Church. This should not be, seeing that Jesus our Savior is also Yeshua the Jewish Messiah.
    When I went to a special 4 day meeting within the countryside of Hampshire in England some years ago, to pray for Israel and to meet with Messianic Jews and believers who loved Israel, I was so moved and touched by the esperience that I decided to write a letter to several of the ministers in my town sharing what I had experienced and hoping to inteest them in their Jewish brethren. I was not just surprised but quite saddened and shocked to get no replies except one from a Baptist minister, who altho not agreeing with my theology about Israel (and in fact is a RP believer) had the curtousy to write back. I was particularly surprised not to get any replies from the ministers I thot would reply!
    I agree there should be more teaching concerning the roll Israel plays in Gods calendar in these last days and I for one would love to understand not only Hebrew, but the way these people lived and their customs. We could then understand not only these lovely people but the scriptures far better.

  45. jAsOn said

    Maz,

    I’d be curious to hear of the recent examples of anti-semitism you have witnessed in the church.

    I think that, as a result of dispensational premillienialism, the church has neglected unbelievers from other ethnic groups, Palestinians as one example. Should we not have the same broken heart for their unbelief?

  46. Steve said

    Jason,

    Yes, I do know there is a difference between the Mosaic and Abrhamic Covenants. That is not what I am saying. Forgive me for the wrong tone- that is not what was intended- but with blogs and emails, it is hard to read one’s tone. As for the Horner book, have you read it? I also want to say that it seems like anytime someone begins to point out the issue of the need for Jewish missions, a proper understanding of Israel and God’s plan..etc.. it seems like somoene like me (and others), draw alot of false assumptions from others : that we are all dispensationalists..and we are all in the same boat. Secondly, as Horner notes in his book, it seems like those that hold a pro-Jewish Missions, or Pro-Israel view are viewed as not caring about the Palestenians, and do not understand their plight..etc..it does not mean I always agree with Israel’s govermental descions. This is why there needs to be alot of education in these areas- on both sides. I am not saying God does not care about the Palestenians..etc.. and does not care about the other nations. Your concern about that issue is a common one I hear- it is a misconception. I am just saddened by the lack of teaching in churches on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity..etc.. Israel and God’s plan, etc… I have taught classes on the Jewish Roots of Christianity to people from all different denominatiions.. and they all have told me that they have no teaching at all on these issues in their churches and are grateful that there are ministries that are helping fill in this gap in the church. A great resource is Our Father Abraham and the Jewish Roots of Christianity by Marvin Wilson.

  47. jAsOn said

    Our understandings of the proper role of being educated on the ceremonial and civic practices of OC Law would differ. A covenantal understand of, and good “Law & Gospel” preaching will necessarily educate congregants on the Jewish roots of Christianity and the relationship between Judaism & Christianity. Christianity is the correct application of the Judaism. Christ is the fulfillment of all the OC types and shadow, thus Christianity is the fulfillment of the type provided but OC Judaism. Also note that most Jews in the 1st century completely misunderstood what God had revealed to them, or else the would have believed; if they had understood the OT types and shadows pointed to Christ, then they would have believed.

  48. Steve said

    One thing. I know that God calls certain people in the church to specific callings and people groups. Since I have a burden and calling to Jews- this does not negate my burden for all people. I am just asking, can you read the book of Romans- especially Romans 9-11 and be indifferent towards Jewish missions? My experience is that many have glossed over those chapters- and this stems from 1,900 yrs of de-Judaizing the faith. Of course, we have to understand the history here. But by saying this, I am not saying God is a respecter of people- Paul makes that clear in Romans. I just would like see more Christians read their Bibles from left to right and start understanding their discipleship is missing some things by missing the Jewish Roots of the faith. Is Jewish roots the only thing that matters? Of course not! But it sure does fill in some of the gaps in our discipleship.

  49. Steve said

    Jason,

    Have you read the Horner book yourself- cover to cover? If not, check it out and let me know what YOU think.

  50. jAsOn said

    I am glad that you would not neglect the evagelization of other ethnic groups, nor are most Amils indifferent toward the evagelisation of the Jews, but I do think that the proliferation of dispy/premil has so over emphasized the discontinuity between national Israel and the Church that the fulfillment of the one in the other is ignored and our view toward the present nation of Israel is largely unbiblical as American Christians, so that many prefer the Jewish nation to other nations, and some go so far as to suggest that present representation of Judaism is not necessarily unbelief deserving of God’s wrath…as all unbelief is.

  51. jAsOn said

    I’ve read nearly all of it. Have you read Waldron’s response?

    Also, the guest on this show seemed almost to suggest that the nation of Israel as a whole were God’s people already, and that they need Jesus kind of as a supplement to the right relationship they already have…did anyone else get that feeling? Perhaps Mr. Chabot could respond if he’s reading.

  52. Steve said

    Jason,

    Just remember that having a premill view is more an issue of hermenutics. The problem we are having is many asssume the second someone you say “I am pro-Israel, Jewish Missions.etc..” that this means you take every thing in the Bible literally (which means there are no metaphors, figures of speech, etc).. and it is also assumed that this must mean we have some sort of idolatry towards Israel or Jewish people. It can also be assumed that we simply want to fit Israel into our prophetic time clock. I admit this can be the case in some dispensational camps- which is bothersome. However, I am not going to simply over- react to these bothersome groups (which I a mnot saying you are over-reacting), by looking at where Paul says “Israel” in Romans- and now say that is the church… II cannot adopt an Augustianian hermenutic because it is a bad hermenutic. Of course, there is much more to it.. The complexities of the pre-mill view or more of a hermenutic view- but what I see in so many cases is many Christians hate the Left Behind Series (which I have never read), and they simply all that there is to the pre-mill view is that you have to believe in the rapture, trib..and Israel’s future.

  53. F. L. A. said

    Hello Maz. In response to your question for John in post#33, perhaps this will help until John gets in this evening.
    Site “Are Atheists Cultural Christians?”-posts #85-#90
    Site “Understanding The World Of Wicca”-almost all posts.
    Both sites are listed under “Apologetics”. Have a good day.

  54. Maz said

    Jason: I have a heart for the Jewish people because they are Gods chosen people and we are specifically told in the Bible to bless them and we shall be blessed. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about other races. I have a heart for the North American Indians too and the plight of the South American Indian tribes. I particularly enjoyed the thrilling but tragic story of the missionaries who went to the Auca Indians in the 1950’s and were killed by them. But God did save them eventually when a sister and one of their own women went back to tell them about Gods love. Now the son of one of those killed and the man who killed his father travel around telling everyone about the love of God and forgiveness.
    Amazing. I’v read the latest book, ”End of the spear.”
    But I do have a special love for Gods chosen people, because they are the apple of His eye.

    Personally, I believe the Rapture is the next prophetic happening, when Jesus comes back in the clouds for His Church, and that is what I am watching and waiting for. And I believe the Millenium is after the Tribulation which is called ”Jacobs trouble”. This I believe is Daniel’s 70th week. But my prophetic knowledge is by no means exhaustive.

  55. Maz said

    Thanks F.L.A. Sounds a lot of reading but I’ll have a look.

  56. Maz said

    F.L.A: I would not agree with the way you (or John) said that Christians ”…trying to empower people to save their own souls.” We cannot save our own souls and I would never tell anyone they could. It is only by believing that Jesus came as our Savior to die in our place, to take our sins on the cross, to take our punishment, to take our place in judgment upon sin, to die the death that we should have died…..He was the propitiation, He was the Mediator of a better covenant, a New Covenant….Jesus did it all for us…we can do nothing but believe it and give our lives to Him.

    I agree that God does not want puppets. I believe He wants people to CHOOSE FREELY AND WILLINGLY (as John said), to love God and to follow Him.
    That is why I cannot accept or understand the Calvinists theology.

    I also believe in cause and effect. The Bible calls it reaping what you sow. It is a spiritual law. If you sow to your flesh you shall reap corruption, if you sow to the spirit you shall reap life.

    Really, I would like John to say what He would feel (if the Calvinists God really existed) if he knew he had no choice in the matter and God arbitrarily one day points down with His divine finger and says ”John I’v chosen you to believe in Me”. (Ofcourse I’m only trying to make a point here). Or, if the Calvinists God did not predestine John to eternal life and he had no choice but to go to Hell?

    I don’t want to sound in any way other than serious about this issue. I’m interested in how someone in Johns position would feel about having no choice in his destiny. I hope you understand what I am getting at here.

  57. Eric Chabot said

    Jason,

    Well I see this has provoked a lively discussion. I did not mean that they were God’s chosen people and they are now not. I think that as Steve says- they are still God’s chosen people (Romans 9:1-5 is present tense)- they need to accept their Messiah. And I agree with Steve that it makes no sense to say the church’s relationship with God (those that accept Jesus), is unconditional and Israel’s was conditional. When someone says someone has no relationship with God without Jesus, that needs further explantion. Before I accepted Jesus, I do not view myself as having no relationship with God. I prayed and thought about God quite a bit. But I began to see that I really was not sure if I really KNEW God. Was I right with him? I am just saying Jewish people pray to the right God, (as I did) but they certainly have not realized the they need their Messiah for atonement. I do not advocate two-covenant theology – if I did, I would not be in Jewish missions. I talked about Romans 9 and 11- I also said in outreach to Jewish people- they sometimes say, “We are God’s chosen people” I just sometimes ask “What does that mean?” Jesus is not a supplement- he is their Messiah. But Jesus is not the new Israel. Also, Jesus being their Messiah does not negate all the land promises made to Israel in the Hebrew Bible. I think that Horner does a great job of illustrating the spiritual and material issues in the Bible- in his book- Chapter 7.

  58. John said

    We were not expecting any kind of an agreement from you Maz, only offering you some insight into the mind of a Wiccan.Did you note my little disclaimer in that post about how I was TRYING to guess about what a Christian believed?You see, I knew that my idea was probably flawed, buy none of the Christians on that site were answering the skeptic, so I decided to give it a shot.
    “If the Calvinist’s God really existed”? Be careful about any “walls” that you may be building there.
    To answer your question[for myself, F. L. A., thank you very much]from post#33, Yes, I feel that I have free will in choosing my fate.The Deities may test and toy with me in various ways, but there is still always some choice that I can make in the matter.I would not willingly serve any Deity that DEMANDED my theological servitude, for that would be cosmic tyranny, and I am far too proud, dignified, and stubborn to put up with such nonsense.Now, if I was predestined to go to the Christian Hell[of the “Calvinist’s God”] for my lack of submission[as opposed to the word “belief”.There wouldn’t be any disbelief.There never was, you know, unless we both have two different ideas on what that word means]then…I don’t know.First of all, remember that I have my OWN Hell and Heaven and Deities to concern myself with, so I wouldn’t really give a darn if I lose favor with some other Deity.Remember the “President of China” analogy that was used by F. L. A. on that Mormon site? That God would be like…”BELIEVE IN ME JOHN!!!!!” and I’d be like “Alright I do. Now, if you’ll excuse me..”

  59. jAsOn said

    Maz,

    You would probably have guessed that I don’t share your view of the prophetic calender or your interpretation of Daniel, but I also question your theological reason for saying that we, “are specifically told in the Bible to bless them and we shall be blessed”. What type of blessing is this, etc?

    also, you said, “(if the Calvinists God really existed) if he knew he had no choice in the matter and God arbitrarily one day points down with His divine finger and says ‘John I’v chosen you to believe in Me’.”

    NO Calvinist in his right mind has EVER said that, men have no choice or that ANYTHING God chooses to do is arbitrary! Once again, you have misrepresented what Calvinists believe, what we say we believe, or even the logical/rational implications that are possible drawn from our theology…please stop doing that and invest the time to actually understand our theology; read Edwards’ “Freedom of the Will” at http://www.reformedreader.org/rbb/edwards/fowindex.htm

  60. jAsOn said

    Thanks for the response Eric,

    You said, “it makes no sense to say the church’s relationship with God (those that accept Jesus), is unconditional and Israel’s was conditional.”

    It is clear that the Abrahamic Covenant was unconditional and the Mosaic was conditional. The New Covenant in Christ’s blood is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. I think the perinnial error of dispy/premil is to confuse the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants; I’m not sure you would call yourself dispy/premil (I know Horner doesn’t but it’s hard to tell the difference). How is God’s relationship to the Church conditional?

    You said, “When someone says someone has no relationship with God without Jesus, that needs further explanation. Before I accepted Jesus, I do not view myself as having no relationship with God. I prayed and thought about God quite a bit. But I began to see that I really was not sure if I really KNEW God. Was I right with him?”

    Of what eternal benefit is “praying to the right God” if your relationship with Him is not right, none? I’m sure your would agree because you evangelize unbelieving Jews.

    You are right when you suggest that the unbelieving Jews of today have a relationship with God, so do all unbelievers, we were all once vessels of wrath; we all had a relationship with God before we believed…we were His enemies, just as unbelieving Jews are today.

    God “chose” to use Israel as a people to raise up a Messiah of Jewish decent; and to typify the lowly and helpless state of all sinners as individuals and the “Church” as a whole, in order to exemplify the merciful graciousness of God’s redemption of a people of no status or rank in the world.

    I know Jesus, being THE Messiah, does not negate the land promises of the Abrahamic Covenant, it fulfills them. You may be surprised at how Amils actually believe in the material spirituality of the kingdom, as presented in Waldron’s response to Horner here, http://www.mctsowensboro.org/blog/?p=346

  61. Maz said

    John: Yes, I did see your disclaimer but just wanted to make my stand clear on the matter.
    What ”walls” do you mean? I was asking the question coming from someone who doesn’t believe in Calvinistic teaching. There are many ”walls” in this world, some we should build and some we should tare down. We are obviously going to differ on which is which.

    You said ”I would not willingly serve any Deity that DEMANDED my theologial servitude, for that would be cosmic tiranny…”. Altho I do not believe for one minute that God demands our servitude, with Calvinistic teaching there is some element of there being no choice in the matter as far as believing repentance is concerned. And maybe John, if you were a Christian you would not agree with Calvinistic teaching either, would I be right?
    I think you have brought up the same confusion that I have about the Calv. idea about belief and unbelief. How can unbelief exist if there was no free choice to believe. But I don’t want to open that can of worms again, you have answered my question quite succinctly.

  62. jAsOn said

    I submitted 2 comments last night that had a couple links so they are still under moderation; they were regarding # 56 and 57, but in the meantime…

    Maz,

    You reiterated the question similar to the one John asked earlier, “How can unbelief exist if there was no free choice to believe.”

    Here is the Webster’s definition of ‘unbelief’: “incredulity or skepticism especially in matters of religious faith”

    Whether one does or doesn’t have the “free choice” to believe (and I will repeat again for those who didn’t understand the first couple of times, that Calvinists believe that persons FREELY choose to do what they desire, I is a matter of the natural objects of their heart’s desire that is in question, not that they do or do not choose or have a choice)is not the issue, unbelief is the absence of the believe, reliance, or trust in an object.

    It’s kind of strange to ask the question or pose the statement and then say, “well, I don’t want to open that can of worms again.”

  63. ADB said

    Maz, Jason, and John, great discussion here, even if it does get off the topic of the thread. Your point Maz in #59 is a good one, and points at how some of the Puritan ancestors had gone off into universalism by the very early 1700s. In fact the fall of so many Puritans into Universalism or (even worse) into Unitarianism is in part what led to the First Great Awakening. Their position being that if God is just, and God elects beforehand who will be saved, then everyone must be saved because it’s not in the nature of a loving God to willingly create “some vessels for wrath” as in Romans 9. I know Jason you could answer this argument, but this is simply to point out where they came from. Personally, as a non-Predestinarian, I don’t have that danger with universalism because I see rotten, unbelieving people all around me and don’t have to worry about whether God had fore-ordained that:)

    Best Wishes

  64. jAsOn said

    Actually ADB, I think you do have to worry about it unless you embrace open theism. 🙂

  65. jAsOn said

    What did you mean by this ABD, “but this is simply to point out where they came from.”, that the idea of Universalism came from Puritanism?

    Actually those who “had gone off into universalism” rejected Puritan theology…so in fact, they really were not Puritans in the theological sense, only in the generational sense.

  66. ADB said

    Jason, certainly universalism had existed before 1700, but by then many of the old Puritan stock had strayed from Puritan orthodoxy. If memory serves me right by the time of the First Great Awakening, Harvard and Yale, both created by Puritans were both thoroughly universalist. Anyway, my point is that an errant form of predestinarianism can lead to universalism. Universalists can be found in other strains of Christianity as well, including Arminianism, but to me it’s not a long step logically to go from orthodox Calvinism to universalism that is definitely not orthodox Calvinism. Regarding “rejecting Puritan theology” that is an interesting point in that a movement away from an orthodox position into an unorthodox one does not really require a set moment in which decides to leave the fold. To use a dirty word, dare we say that it happens by evolution? Not to judge which ones are correct, the liberal PCUSA, the conservative ARP and PCA, the Reformed Church in America, and other Reformed/Presbyterian churchs, as well as some Baptists all claim to be Calvinist, even though they may agree on little other than that they claim to be Calvinist! Within my own theological tradition there are folks today in Methodist/Wesleyan churches that claim to by Wesleyan in theology, but whose beliefs bear little resemblence to anything John or Charles would have recognized.

    Best Wishes

  67. jAsOn said

    Actually, the step to which you referred ADB, is the doctrine of particular redemption over against hypothetical universalism (the Arminean view). That step in fact is a chasm as far apart as one can imagine. What actually sometimes happened was, those men who were raised under a doctrine of subsitutionary atonement eventually rejected particular redemption but retained SA and thus were logically demanded to be universalists…that was the evolution.

    Sub. Atone. + Part. Redemp. never logically = Universalism.
    Sub. Atone. + Hypo. Redemp. always logically = Universalism

  68. jAsOn said

    Moderator,

    I was wondering if the two comments I submitted last night were rejected or something. Each one had a link in it, one to Edwards’ essay on the freedom of the will, and the other link was to Waldron’s blog.

  69. Comments that contain links may take a little longer to go live on the site due to spam issues.

  70. ADB said

    Jason, well stated in #67. It is interesting how seemingly different theological issues can be related. Your mention of atonement is good, I think that a show that discussed different theories of atonement (substitionary, ransom, satisfaction, moral influence, et al.) might be interesting and a change of pace from arguing over Darwin.

  71. jAsOn said

    amen to that 🙂

  72. zerxil said

    70 this one wasn’t? It should have been with that title. The one on Calvinism was one.

  73. Eric Chabot said

    Jason,

    There still seems to be some confusion. Since I am not a regular blogger, I am seeing how comments on blogs will never be as good as talking in person to each other. I know the Abrahamic Coveant was unconditional and the Mosaic was conditional. I am also not saying the church’s relationship with God is conditional-it is unconditional. What I am saying is I find it odd that those who esposue that Israel’s relationship with God was conditional (of course the Mosaic Covenant was) and now the Church’s relationship is unconditional- that seems odd to me. Many of these people are Calvinists (perhaps not all of course). It seems to me that that those who say the Church has replaced Israel confuse the Abrahamic and the Mosaic Covenants. I know you understand one is unconditional- the other is not. But since from what I see, once of the reasons for the Church replacing Israel is because Israel did not keep the Mosaic covenant-it was conditional- now the Church’s relationship with God is unconditional. And no, I do not agree with your view of the land promises. I do not agree where you say,”Jesus, being THE Messiah, does not negate the land promises of the Abrahamic Covenant, it fulfills them.” As you see in Horner’s book, one of the main issues of this entire thing is one of hermenutics. Before I ever read Horner’s book, I never espoused to the Augustine, or allegorical approach. This does not mean I do not seee metaphors or figures of speech n the Bible..etc.. And I do know there is a wide range of thought in the area of the amill camp- just as the pre-mill camp. I did look at one of those links- and I do read much of Hank H- as he said (in the link)…had read both the Horner and Hank’s book at the same time. From what I can see of Hank, he takes a view that is what he sees as an extreme in Christian thought such as Y2K, The Left Behind Series and then writes a book to counter it. I will read the link (at some point) and let you know what I think. I will say that as Steve said, the entire label “dispensationalism” is misunderstood. To be a dispensationalist- does this mean I am one because I do not take an Augustine – allegorical approach to the O.T- therefore, if Jesus fulfills the first set of prophecies literally- and I think He will fulfull them literally a second time- am I a dispensationalist? Or when Paul says “Israel” I believe that Paul is not talking about the Church? Or do I have to hold to 7 dispensations? Do I have to hold to a rapture, etc.. These are complex issues. And I would hope that all of use that our knowledge of the end times is not exhaustive.I konw that amills are not all anti- semetic- Horner points out some very scary and arrogant examples of some theolgians who have said horrible things… in his book. I will read the link and let you know at some point.

  74. Eric Chabot said

    Jason,

    Just one clarification. Where I say, What I am saying is I find it odd that those who esposue that Israel’s relationship with God was conditional (of course the Mosaic Covenant was) and now the Church’s relationship is unconditional- that seems odd to me. Many of these people are Calvinists (perhaps not all of course). What I mean is that those who say the Mosaic Covenant was conditional and the Church’s is unconditional are right! But I find it odd when those say Israel had a shot and blew it- as in the Mosaic Covenant- and now the Church has replaced them and they have an unconditional relationship with God. Sorry about that.

  75. Eric Chabot said

    Jason,

    Once again, when I rush I pay the price. One more clarification. When I say, And I do know there is a wide range of thought in the area of the amill camp- just as the pre-mill camp. I did look at one of those links- and I do read much of Hank H- as he said (in the link)…had read both the Horner and Hank’s book at the same time.

    I meant to say I do NOT read much of Hank H- Sorry about that.

    Eric

  76. John said

    Reply to post#63: Thank you ADB.

  77. jAsOn said

    Eric,

    I’m not sure about your referrence to Hank…I don’t think I mentioned him. It was the Sam Waldron and Horner mp3s on Iron Sharpens Iron that I was recommending, and Waldron’s responses to Horner’s book on the Illumination blog, and the “reformed Readers'” post of Edward’s work. I think Arnsen said he read Hanegraff and Horner’s books at the same time?

    Actually, Amils don’t say that the Church has replaced Israel since Israel failed to uphold the Mosaic Covenant, they say that all the promises of the AC are fulfilled in the NC. I think it is very clear that the NT interprets the OT for us, and I also am convinced that the dispy/premil model is wrong b/c of such passages as these: Rom. 2:25-29; 9:6-8; Gal. 3:29, 6:16; Eph. 2:11-22,1 Peter 2:8-10, and much of the book of Hebrews. We, gentiles, are made a part of the same body of believers as the remnant of Israel (Gal 3:29 calls us Abraham’s offspring, and 6:16 calls us part of the Israel of God)there has only ever been one Israel of God, and we are grafted into that body and made near to those promises from which we were once far off…we have not replaced the remnant.

    Amils don’t have an allegorical method of interpretation (Horner’s use of calling it an “Augustinian hermeneutic is a bit of an historical anachronism). One of the primary emphases of the covenantal hermeneutic is to allow the NT writer to inform our understanding of OT passages, so the gramatical/historical interpretation of the OT prophesy for instance is often added to by the NT interpretation which gives its fulfillment additional meaning in the context of the NC.

    Though I claim no expertise in any field or system of hermeneutics, I was once a staunch “Ryrie-type” Dispensationalist.

    Also, do you believe that Christ fulfilled all the OT types and shadows; the cultic rituals (sacrifices, feasts, and sabboths) of the OT?

  78. Eric Chabot said

    Jason,

    I will show you why I disagree about your view of some of those passages you mentioned as well as some other issues. But at this point, I am not going to send a superficial response. I am going to hold off for a few days- I have some work that involves alot of time. And let me say this- this entire issue does involve hermeenutical issues- it does take some expertise. I will get back to you. Thanks and God bless.

    Eric

  79. ADB said

    To say that amillenialists have an “allegorical” interpretation is somewhat interesting considering that the reformers, who were amillenialists in general, were all for using the plain meaning of scripture when in doubt, and loved to take shots at the Roman Catholic Church for allegorizing what shouldn’t be allegory. It should be noted that the “majesterial” reformers- Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon, etc. did not emphasaze eschatology much- so it’s hard to pin them down exactly on that subject.

  80. jAsOn said

    Eric,

    Perhaps our definitions of expert differ.

    I’m aware that the issue revolves around hermeneutics. I think John 8:39-59 clearly shows unbelieving, ethnic Jews as not having Abraham as their father in the spiritual sense. On the one hand Jesus calls them the sons of abraham (physically in v.37) but He goes on to call them the children of Satan, and proclaim that they are not the Sons of Abraham (spiritually v.39).

    So this description is, to one degree or another, apt for all unbelievers in any age, even unbelieving, ethnic Jews today..that’s why they need the same gospel everyone else needs, which I’m sure you would agree.

  81. jAsOn said

    Eric, or to anyone who would like to answer,

    Below is a quote from former dispy, presently Amil guy, Sam Storms. He is describing dispy/premil, let me know if this is what you believe about premillennialism.

    “To be a Premillennialist of any sort, you must believe that physical death and the curse on the natural creation will continue to exist beyond the time of Christ’s return. You must believe that the New Heavens and New Earth will not be introduced until 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ. You must believe that unbelieving men and women will still have the opportunity to come to saving faith in Christ for at least 1,000 years subsequent to his return. To be a Premillennialist, you must believe that unbelievers will not be finally resurrected until at least 1,000 years subsequent to Christ’s return and that unbelievers will not be finally judged and cast into eternal punishment until at least 1,000 years subsequent to Christ’s return.”

    And I would add, that to be a premillennialist you must believe that all the OT prophesies of a future millennial temple must be physical, erected in physical Jerusalem prior to the renewal of the New Heavens and Earth, and that all the OT ceremonial laws (sacrifices, feasts, sabbaths, and circumcision) will all be observed, and in fact, one in that age must become a physical Jew prior to their justification by God for salvation.

    Though our hermeneutical presuppositions (and all of us must admit that we are forced to come to the scriptures with some assumptions) are the architecture by which we understand the Word in an organized fashion, premil, postmil, or amil is a conclusive detail that points back to the way we interpret scripture.

    One more clarification on the definition of “A”-millennialism. I have, until now, assumed that everyone in the discussion knows that “amils” do believe in a millennialism, even though the term connotes that we believe in NO millennium, this is not true. It would be better understood as Anthony Hoekema and others have put it, as realised millenialism, with an emphasis on the “already” and the “not yet”. That Christ inaugurated the Kingdom at His first coming and He will consummate it at His second; so I can say that the Kingdom of God/Heaven began to intrude upon His creation at Christs birth and will be ultimately and finally realized when Christ returns in all His glory.

  82. Eric Chabot said

    Jason,

    In all these posts, I am seeing alot of confusion about the pre-mill and a-mill views. But as I said, I am going to hold off in giving a response. I will probably send something very lengthy after Memorial Day weekend. Talk to you then- have a nice weekend.

    Eric

  83. jAsOn said

    Eric,

    I look forward to hearing more of your explanation of pre-mil and what you think a-mil teaches. You have a good weekend as well.

  84. ADB said

    Jason, Good explanation in #81. You didn’t mention this specifically, but I think that you’d agree that another key here is interpretation of apocalyptic literature. Taking apocalyptic literature like most of Revelation, the second half of Daniel, last section of Ezekiel too literally can lead to all sorts of interesting results. I think that some well-intentioned folks, in their zeal to avoid over spiritualizing or allegorizing the Bible forget that some parts are supposed to be symbolic. In Revelation, for instance, if you take it woodenly the great threat is a new power arising in Iraq, but if you think about what it would mean to original readers, Babylon almost certainly is Rome. Rome isn’t just any power, it is evil and of the Devil. Recently, I heard someone on the radio using Revelation’s condemnation of “sexual immorality” as a proof text for STD’s, gay marriage, adultery, etc. The trouble is, that John drenched everything with OT references so following the example of the prophets who condemned Israel for “playing the whore” with false gods, the Rev. passages really are slamming idolatry and pagan worship something far more serious than not keeping one’s pants zipped at the right time. I am far from an expert in Rev., but the more I read it the more I realize that some of the book is yet to be fulfilled, some has referents entirely in the 1st century, some are really more spiritual than anything else, and the tricky part is telling the difference. Personally, I think I’d be categorized as an “a-mill” but really because it seems to have fewer problems than pre- or post- mill.

    Best Wishes, the curmudgeonly pastor

  85. jAsOn said

    Yes, ADB, “fewer problems than pre- or post- mill” is definitely one way to put it. One “attractive” things to me was the willingness of amil guys to actually admit such a thing when my relations (close and distant) with dispys did not disclose that sort of humility about eschatology in particular.

    And I too believe that dispy eschatology is in some degree a knee-jerk reaction to some (and relatively few when all of the 2000 years since Christ is considered) Covenant guys, with a “literal” hermeneutic which does lead to interpretations that do not allow for NT passages that insist on a contrary interpretation.

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