Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Turbulance of Love

Another quote from Walls and Dongell:

One stream of turbulence results from restricting God's saving intention to a subset of humanity, the elect. Just how wide are God's saving intentions? If God so loved the world that he gave his only Son (John 3:16), then it would seem that the loving heart of the Father embraced the whole word as he set in motion the saving mission of the Son." We read that Jesus "is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). The same writer elaborates on the ministry of expiation by connecting it to the love of God: "God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world...as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:8-10). It appears that God's universal love energizes God's worldwide mission of redemption.



First let me say that I agree: It does appear that God intends to save every person worldwide...without any careful exegesis of the text. Many of these passages were problems for me, because like Walls and Dongell, I had failed to exegete these passage, but reluctantly read my presuppositions into the text.

I think it is quite interesting, the very people who brought into question of the clarity of the Scriptures, believe these verses to be extremely clear, teaching a universal scope of redemption. Without any exegesis or defining the Greek word for kosmos, or seeing how the word is used in other contexts, specifically the phrase "the whole world" in 1 John 2:2, I too, can see how one can believe this. While, "the whole world" seems all-inclusive, the only other place in 1 John (see chapter 5) where this phrase is used, is used in an exclusive manner. With this knowledge, why assume that 1 John 2:2 is all-inclusive when there is no reason to do so.

Go ahead, attack the clarity of Scripture, until it is a verse that might support your case, but don't bother exegeting the passage or you might discover it doesn't support your confabulations at all and extirpates your entire theology.

Such moot and tortuous reasoning above as Walls and Dongell have done is characteristic of Arminian reasoning.

13 comments:

Seth Fuller said...

Good points, Joshua.

You repeated world twice in the second paragraph, btw.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Oh HAHA...well I need to correct that...thanks.

Deviant Monk said...

Joshua-

I had failed to exegete these passage, but reluctantly read my presuppositions into the text.

So how does limiting 'kosmos' to mean the 'elect due to God's eternal decree' not do the exact same thing?

Scribe said...

Ha, there seems to also be a grammarian of sorts among us.

Rhett said...

"Ha, there seems to also be a grammarian of sorts among us."

Oh no... I'm in trouble!!

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

"So how does limiting 'kosmos' to mean the 'elect due to God's eternal decree' not do the exact same thing?"

Deviant, this here shows your ignorance. No Calvinist just interprets kosmos as the elect, for that would be absurd. However, the word kosmos does not necessitate s meaning "every person in the kosmos"

We do not read "the elect" into the word kosmos, but Arminians sure do read in every person ever in the word. But anyway...such accusation is one I am certainly familiar with. Perhaps you need to reread The Potter's Freedom.

Deviant Monk said...

No Calvinist just interprets kosmos as the elect, for that would be absurd.

I never said any Calvinist interprets 'kosmos' as 'the elect.' I said they limit it's meaning to that.

However, the word kosmos does not necessitate s meaning "every person in the kosmos"

Nor have I implied it does.

We do not read "the elect" into the word kosmos, but Arminians sure do read in every person ever in the word.

I'm sure Arminians would say the same about Calvinists.

The question wasn't whether you read it into the text or not...the question was how limiting the meaning of 'kosmos' to refer to the elect does not suffer from the same presuppositional fallacies you allege to be used by the authors of this book.

But anyway...such accusation is one I am certainly familiar with.

Then answering my question- beyond the rhetoric of "they do, but we don't"- should be easy.

Perhaps you need to reread The Potter's Freedom.

Perhaps we could actually have a discussion.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

I never said any Calvinist interprets 'kosmos' as 'the elect.' I said they limit it's meaning to that.

Umm...no we don't captain, because we do not believe it means that at all. (At least mainstream, evangelical Calvinism does not)I don't advocate its meaning of "the elect" nor do I believe that the meaning "every person in the world" is tenable either.

"I'm sure Arminians would say the same about Calvinists."

They do, but this assertion is entirely untenable.

"Perhaps we could actually have a discussion."

Deviant, you and I can never have a meaningful discussion because we are operating with an entirely different set of presuppositions, and an entirely different worldview. Anything that I say, does not fit your presuppositional framework, and anything you say I reject as well.

Deviant Monk said...

Umm...no we don't captain,

didn't know I was a captain...cool.

because we do not believe it means that at all. (At least mainstream, evangelical Calvinism does not)

If by 'we' you mean 'you', then that's fine. However, the generalization you make I would have to disagree with, since every other Calvinist (who proclaims themself to be mainstream and evangelical) I have talked to about this says that the only way to exegetically understand kosmos in this verse is as referring to the elect. If you don't, then I have no issue with you.

I don't advocate its meaning of "the elect" nor do I believe that the meaning "every person in the world" is tenable either.

So, according to your perspective, this verse- in regards to reformed theology, election, etc.- is theologically and exegetically neutral?

They do, but this assertion is entirely untenable.

As would they equally say the Calvinist's assertion is entirely untenable.

Deviant, you and I can never have a meaningful discussion because we are operating with an entirely different set of presuppositions, and an entirely different worldview.

I think you are over-polarizing our differences. While we certainly share some dramatically different presuppositions, we also hold to numerous similarities.

That being said, you will never find anybody who shares all of your presuppositions. (The Reformed mafia's divergent beliefs in regards to eschatology comes to mind.) That is a part of being human. If that automatically negates the prospect of meaningful discussion, then you may as well stop talking to anybody.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

If by 'we' you mean 'you', then that's fine. However, the generalization you make I would have to disagree with, since every other Calvinist (who proclaims themself to be mainstream and evangelical) I have talked to about this says that the only way to exegetically understand kosmos in this verse is as referring to the elect. If you don't, then I have no issue with you.

No I don't mean myself. I don't refer to myself in plural form. I don't know what Calvinists you talk to, but every piece of reformed literature I have read does not ignorantly translate kosmos to mean elect.

"So, according to your perspective, this verse- in regards to reformed theology, election, etc.- is theologically and exegetically neutral?"

This particular verse in mind, John 3:16, does not, in my opinion shed light on the Calvinism Arminianism issue, but simply shows that Jews and Gentiles are under the scope of redemption, not just Jews, as Nicodemus would have believed.

"I think you are over-polarizing our differences. While we certainly share some dramatically different presuppositions, we also hold to numerous similarities."

Like what?

That being said, you will never find anybody who shares all of your presuppositions.

Really? Even the folks at the reformed mafia share the same presuppositions as I do. The Bible is the Word of God, it is clear, man is fallen, and many other things. I think even though we disagree on finer points of theology, we agree on 98% of theological issues.

(The Reformed mafia's divergent beliefs in regards to eschatology comes to mind.) That is a part of being human. If that automatically negates the prospect of meaningful discussion, then you may as well stop talking to anybody.

Interesting, since I have meaninful conversations with many people because they seek to understand what I am saying, not deconstruct it.

Deviant Monk said...

No I don't mean myself. I don't refer to myself in plural form. I don't know what Calvinists you talk to, but every piece of reformed literature I have read does not ignorantly translate kosmos to mean elect.

Again, I never said anyone translates kosmos to mean elect.

This particular verse in mind, John 3:16, does not, in my opinion shed light on the Calvinism Arminianism issue, but simply shows that Jews and Gentiles are under the scope of redemption, not just Jews, as Nicodemus would have believed.

Shockingly enough, I agree with you on this.

Like what?

God as the creator of everything, the Trinity, Jesus as fully human/fully God, the Bible as the inspired word of God, the fallen-ness of humanity- for starters.

Really? Even the folks at the reformed mafia share the same presuppositions as I do.

I would never deny that, for the most part, you do. My point was 'all', not 'most', or 'some', or 98%.

Interesting, since I have meaninful conversations with many people because they seek to understand what I am saying, not deconstruct it.

Deconstruction, despite the connotations you attach to it, is a natural part of dialogue and understanding, especially when presuppositions clash. If it did not take place, there could never be understanding, since it would essentially be two viewpoints hitting each other over the head with their absolutized presuppositions.

The apostle Paul engaged in this very process when speaking to the Athenians. He used their own presuppositions to show that the thinking they were engaged in was self-negating, and from there attempted to present the truth.

Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Well, if you agree with my exegesis of this verse, perhaps we can have discussion over the exegesis of other verses.

Robert said...

Boy,
that conversation was full of gobbldy-gook!

I will point out however, that typically when talking with someone who is a synergist is that they've not exegeted honestly, the passage in question...they just assume that their presupp is valid. When the idea is put forth that kosmos, for example, could mean something less than "every human who ever lived and will ever live" then the emotional arguments come out about how without a free choice, it wouldn't be real love...etc.

All the "Calvinist" has to do is show that these verses can be reasonably shown to be speaking about something less than "all humanity for all time" and then they cease to become "synergist's verses" BUT...one has to really work hard to negate the meaning of Romans 9....