Saturday, June 25, 2005


Where's The Disagreement?

At dispute we have a Calvinistic understanding of I John 2:2
and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for {those of} the whole world. (NAS)
It started with pyromaniac who quotes a friend that uses the verse to challenge the Calvinistic concept of election
Calvinists never seem to face 1 John 2:2 head on. It says, "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Calvinists always dismiss the plain meaning of the verse, saying that "whole world" can't possibly mean the whole world, because if it did, it would include trees and mountains and rivers and slugs and termites and other stuff.
Phillip answers this objection by saying John used the term "whole" to remind his primarily Jewish audience that Christ's salvation includes all people groups and is not limited to God's chosen people. The bracketed words "those of" included in the NAS translation above seems to support that conclusion.

Adrain Warnock; however, thinks pyromaniac (and the NAS translators) are trying too hard.
I tremble to contradict the pyromaniac, but I am afraid that I feel that his handling of 1 John 2:2 is almost certainly an example of trying to squeeze the bible into a doctrinal mould.
Adrian then goes on to argue that the offer of salvation which is the cross is indeed offered to all, but that many of us choose not to respond to that offer. God, being all-knowing and unconstricted by time, knows who will and who will not respond, and those who will are then the elect.

I am not sure why these interpretations are contradictory? Both Adrian and Phillip are saying that God's grace can and does extend to ALL people, but that election only comes to some of those upon whom that grace is offered, they just say it in slightly different ways.

Pyro's friend with the problem, is, I think, wrestling with a slightly different issue. I'll try and restate it. "How can a loving and graceful God ever condemn, that is exclude from the elect, anyone?" Or perhaps it is, "How can a just God decide a priori who will and will not be among the elect?" He may even be struggling with both questions. In other words, he wants to argue, I think, that everyone gets into heaven. I John 2:2 seems to support this argument.

I hear this sort of thing more and more -- essentially that love somehow excludes condemnation.

I find myself wondering what Jollyblogger might say in this discussion, and I think I have a good idea what it would be. Consider I John 2:3
And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. (NAS)
The remission of sin discussed in 2:2 is the beginning of the election process, but it is not the end. The power of the cross is not just the power unto forgiveness, but it is also the power unto transformation. We can be assured on nothing unless we experience not just forgiveness, but the precise transformation that John mentions in the verse following.

I think Pyro's friend's question belies a misunderstanding about the nature of God and election. He assumes that the doctrine of election means God does not want salvation for all. Nothing could be further from the truth, God burns with a desire for all of us to receive His glory. But He also knows that not all of us share that desire, and it is in fact His love and grace that prevents Him from tyrannically imposing Himself upon us.


Adran Warnock put up another post on this topic, and I think I am beginning to understand why he thinks there is a problem, but I am not sure I agree with him. Adrain quotes Spurgeon
I think it is needful that when a minister gets his text, he should say what that text means honestly and uprightly. Too many preachers get a text and kill it. They wring its neck, then stuff it with some empty notions and present it upon the table for an unthinking people to feed upon. That man does not preach the whole counsel of God who does not let God?s Word speak for itself in its own pure, simple language.
Apparently, Adrians feels that the pyromaniacs handling on I John 2:2 is in correct because he is somehow putting something into the text that is not there. Yet, as I point out above, the NAS translators seemed to feel it was there.

As I posted Thursday, there is a fine line here, but I certainly cannot see where pyromaniac has crossed it.


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