ICXN: the banquet (Matthew 22) is not the Church but the Kingdom of Heaven. Also about our responsibility and that it is possible to fall away after being called.
>>Perhaps we are using different vocabulary - when *I* say "Kingdom of Heaven," I mean the existence following the earthly one, where one has passed through the veil of death. If you believe this also, do you believe then that people can fall out of Heaven, as this man obviously got there and was only *then* thrown out?
what is your interpretation exactly?
>>To reiterate, and Seraphim agrees with me - the “those”s in vv. 29-30 are the same.
COUNTRYMOUSE:Logic isn't everything. It, too, is inadequate, and we can't use it to really bring God down to us.
>>Well, it's what we have to comprehend the world rationally. First here, you are using logic to deny that Logic is adequate (Logic is EITHER adequate OR inadequate). Then you would perhaps deny that God reveals Himself in ways compatible with (though sometimes which go beyond) Logic - God communicates EITHER in logical OR in non-logical ways. You really can't escape it. Not to deny that God is way beyond our comprehension in a lot of the things He does, but His actions are never against logic.
D THOMAS: Rather, God is one ousia and three hypostases--the "oneness" and "threeness" referring to different "aspects" of God's existence.
>>Words right outta my mouth - thank you sir.
PEDRO: this passage is about God's faithfulness to those who are faithful to Him, which implies action;
>>No objection - my position assumes that those who are justified WILL have the sanctifying action. Does the OSB say anything about the next part, the "called-justified-glorified" part? Also, do you believe *everything* the OSB says (not being sarcastic - this is a real question)?
I think the difference lies merely in whether or not our confessions believe that those cast out of the banquet/those who were not glorified were ever called in the first place.
>>Ehh, kinda - I guess that would apply to making the "those" different, so I guess it's relevant.
were those who, though they had earlier confessed Christ as Lord, later rejected Him -- were these people ever called in the first place? IOW, can we even say that they even made a beginning? We would say they did.
>>OK, I see where you're going - we obviously disagree on the meaning of the Matt 22 passage and I hold that the "those" of Romans 8 is the same throughout... so it depends on one's presuppositions what one makes of whether they were really called. It doesn't matter to my position whether they made a start - see below.
SERAPHIM:Well, it's obvious that in time, He calls men - calling them out of the world...the Godly calling of men from the world into the Church, from a Calvinistic p.o.v. should be very narrow.
>>OK, first, I hear other posters telling me that the Matthew 22 passage represents Heaven, which is a ridiculous interpretation - EOs do not believe one can get tossed out of Heaven, do you?
With that in mind, there is more than one definition of "called" in the Bible (and Matt 22 uses kletos, a different word, but which seems to have a loose meaning like kaleo), and we see an alternative to "called = invited" in places like 1 Cor 7, 1 Thess 2:12, John 10, and 2 Tim 1:9, and it is questionable in other passages like 2 Thess 2:13-14, 1 Peter 1:15 & 2:9. So, yes, God "invites" all to Himself, and then sometimes the word means "called directly unto salvation," which refers to the event that precedes logically (though not chronologically - they are simultaneous) justification.
what is it about them that He knows, ahead of time - even before they were ever conceived, indeed even before the universe was?
>>He knows *everything* about them - every characteristic, and everyone's eternal destiny.
It would seem that this verse is speaking about the same group of people (those God "foreknew") being spoken about in verse 29... Since we already established that there are those who are "called" who unfortunately will not persevere in Christ, there is little reason to believe the same cannot be true of justification either.
>>First, glad to see that you agree that the "those"s are the same throughout the two verses.
Two kinds of “called” - there’s invited and there’s called effectually to justification. In your interp, the verse is saying that God did NOT, indeed, foreknow some people who would be justified - that is what you are saying, and it creates difficulty for you. You claim no Pelagian slant away from God’s omniscience but you belie it in your post - which side do you take, at the end of the day?
What you said is only true when the "calling" means "the invitation" as in Matt 22. Remember, however, that breaking the sentence down into the Greek (as one should do when studying any passage in-depth) does not change the dire implications for your position. If we are to hold that God foreknew *even one person* as glorified that did not make it to glorification, we believe that God is not omniscient. So this is where your argument breaks down.
It bothers my position not at all to say that God, elsewhere, has called all men to follow Christ - that is the one usage of the word “called.” But in Rom 8:30, His call is effectual and it refers to people actually making the decision to follow Christ (which I also believe to be synergistic). It has to be this way, otherwise God does not foreknow them.
--The problem with your interpretation (and it's an easy trap to fall into) is that you're changing the "subject" (who is being talked about here) midway into the passage.
>>No, I am NOT changing them halfway thru - that is my point exactly. It is the same “those” at every time. It is rather your position that would change the “those” from “those whom He called” to “those who were called AND who responded, and there were some who did not respond” in your point of view. So let us make sure we understand who is changing what here.
--can refer to someone who is NOT in fact one of these people God has "foreknown" will save their soulsGÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âª always be those living in our midst who God foreknows (He has known before the begining of all!) will die faithful and full of love for Him, truly contrite for where they "missed the mark."
>>God, in His foreknowledge, will know who will be glorified and who will not, and I am sure you would agree with that. This is why your dichotomy of “foreknown for good and foreknown for bad” - it’s like God does not foreknow those who are bad - if He knows those who will be conformed to His Son's image, then He knows who won't be, but He'll know it infallibly, right? All it says is that God foreknew them, and that those are the people who will be glorified, since they are the same “those,” as we both agree.
--the contrary, Calvinistic interpretation requires you to throw practically every exhortation to vigilance and call ongoing repentance that you can find in the New Testament out the window
>>This is not true and is a bad caricature of my position. All I refer to here is whether a person, once justified (which would be known infallibly only by the Lord Himself) *will* ever fall away.
This is to say nothing of Christ's call for us to mourn over our sins, to fast, and to practice humility.
>>I do not understand how one could think that my position would make these things unnecessary if they fully understood it.
It's not talking about people arbitrarily picked by God, who despite themselves are going to be saved, while others are left (in equally arbitrary a fashion) to languish in their sins.
>>I agree with this - it would appear that you have partly been writing under a false idea of my position, thus (perhaps inadvertently) setting up and knocking down a hyper-Calvinist strawman.
Given that a holistic reading of the New Testament makes it quite clear that this "justification" can take place on several occasions
>>I absolutely dispute this, but I think this is where the line will be drawn between my position and yours, ultimately. The justification Paul speaks of in Romans 4 and so many other places, which is in the eyes of the Lord, and at which point 33 things happen to the new believer, cannot happen more than once (Heb 6:4-6). The justification James speaks of is the justification of the believer and his faith in the eyes of others and of the evidence that validates his faith (“justifying” his faith”). Otherwise, Paul and James contradict. Do you believe they contradict?
OK, so we have established so far that the EO interpretation of this passage forces the passage to say that God does not indeed foreknow everyone who will be glorified or that some are glorified who are not foreknown. Any other input?
I will move on now to responding to some of the other passages brought up so far.
Romans 11:20-22 - "Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off."
>>This verse is a strong warning not to fall away. But like so many other warnings, it does not assume that one WILL fall away - it simply warns you not to. And when you think about it, it only makes sense - how will one know with absolute certainty whether one has a faith that leads to glorification? It is only through self-analysis that one can check to be in the faith still, as in 2 Corinthians 13:5 - “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves! Or do you not recognise this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed you fail the test?” So Paul makes in both of these passages stern warnings that we should examine ourselves. But notice Paul does not cite anyone who stands by faith AND WHO WAS THEN CUT OFF. The Nation of Israel, cited previously by Paul, was not cut off in its entirety (there were some who were saved by their faith) but the Nation in its general sense was cut off in favor of the Gentiles, so this is a bad prooftext for your position.
1 Cor. 9:27 - But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
>>What is the “prize” Paul speaks about in v. 24? It is the reward that the believer might receive if he runs the race with perseverance - see Paul’s previous reference in the same book, ch. 3:10-15. The fire tests the quality of each builder’s work, and heavenly rewards await those who built with gold and silver rather than straw. Unless one believes that one can *earn* one’s salvation, this can only mean prizes that await the believer who lived out his faith with great faithfulness. Would Paul refer to salvation (which to him is a free gift) as a “prize” to be “won?” No. Rather, the prize is that which he speaks of during the whole chapter up until the end - the prize of giving up his rights (denying himself, much as an athlete does) in order to preach the Gospel.
Col. 1:19-23 - 21And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight-- 23if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away
>>This passage does not assume that anyone will - we know from Rom 8 that this is a ridiculous notion. Instead, this is a warning to examine ourselves, as we would be foolish to presume upon God’s grace.
Heb. 6:4-6 - 4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
>>I have a question about this verse to whomever might choose to tackle it. I do not believe necessarily that this refers to people who at any time were truly believers, and we will see the author speaking to the “almost persuaded” in chapter 10 as well. At any rate, if you believe this verse refers to people who once were justified and now are no longer, do you also believe that someone can come back from this falling away? I could be mistaken, but in EO theology, can you not come back home if you fall away? Not according to this verse.
parable of the sower - Matt 13:1-9 - only the good soil *which produces a harvest*, are the people who are truly saved. All others vary from outright rejection to momentary excitement and then a loss of interest, which shows no influence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and thus no justification.
COUNTRYMOUSE: Jesus promised He would not turn His back on us, but the Scriptures do not say that we can't turn our backs on Him.
>>Well, yes it does, actually - John 10:27-29 - “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
Anyone who falls away once they are in Christ’s and the Father’s hands is stronger than the Will of God.
SERAPHIM: You can certainly bet even if they had printing presses, early Christians would not have been in the habit of handing out Bibles the way Protestants are, either.
>>So you do NOT in fact believe that each believer is supposed to examine himself (how would he without knowledge of godliness)? Could we try to stay on topic without the cheap shots?
FOTINA: I've wondered why patriarchs, priests, bishops who are prayed for daily by the faithful can still topple from their high places. It strikes fear in my heart when even the Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, could succumb to error.
>>Yes, it is a mystery, but keep in mind you neither know anyone’s heart nor see their whole life. I will skip the opportunity for the cheap shot afforded me here.
2 Peter 2:20-22 - Would the Spirit of God refer to members of His beloved Church, of the Body of Christ, as “dogs” and “sows”? No - it is clear these false prophets were never believers, as in 1 John 2:19 - “They went out from us, but they *were not really of us*; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.” (emph. mine)
So these false prophets were never of the Church, in accordance with Rom 8:30. As for their escaping “the pollutions of the world thru the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” it is no great surprise to learn that, by hanging out with believers, one can escape the pollutions of the world - it is thru the godly influence of those very believers. And Jesus Christ is not “their” Lord and Savior, but is “the” Lord. And, just as in Heb. 10 and similar to Matt 12:45, it is worse for these men to have come close and refused what they saw - the Holy Spirit working in people’s hearts - than if they had remained ignorant.
OK, now that I have answered all those - what do you think of 1 John 5:13 - “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you might know that you have eternal life” ?