March 13, 2005

In Response ...

So Adam is very quick - VERY quick, I couldn't believe he responded so quickly to my last blog. Very impressed.

And incidentally, that there are three blogs up in one night is to be blamed on the fact that once I got going, I couldn't seem to stop ... and so my apologies that I wrote so much on varying topics, but I had to get it out, lest I forget what I was thinking (I have the memory of a fish).

Anyway, I was interested to notice that I missed something, and he caught it - thanks. I still stand by what I said though, because though I missed that Jesus is to be the firstborn ... ok, let me back up and explain what's going on here.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

So if you read the syntax, it makes sense that "his Son" is to be the firstborn among many brothers. I was mistaken when I said that I thought each of "those he predestined" were to be the firstborn among many. However, the point remains that there are many brothers, and Jesus is the catalyst in history for them to emerge. The translations are all accurate, I'm fairly certain - each passage you quoted from various versions said the same thing (mine was NIV, if that helps).

So now I'm not so sure what to say, because in light of the fact that Jesus came for us all, the "predestination" Paul talks about in Romans 8 makes no sense to me.

And so I go back to the words of Jesus:

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)

He definitely says "all nations" here - make disciples out of every nation. Not "some nations" or "some people from each nation", but simply "every nation". "Go tell everyone you know, everyone you can find, about me and tell them that they should obey me," He said - not "I've chosen a bunch of you to be saved, find them."

In light of this, Romans 8 is going to mean something else, and frankly, I don't know what - unless C.S. Lewis is right and predestination and free will are the same thing. Which sounds a lot like how God always works anyway, in ways that make no sense to the ordinary human being (and how in the world Lewis was able to grasp it is beyond me, but he was very smart); God's always working in paradoxes.


nathaniel adam king said...

Friend, I am still working on a article regarding Man's Radical Corruption. I think that if we can prove this point Scripturally, then the rest will fall right into line.

I wanted to address your issue with 'all nations'. I think that you are reading too much into this. I think that you are attempting to draw a universal when a simple exaggerated phrase is used. I could say 'Everybody knows that...' and yet it would be understood by both yourself and mine that this fact is not known by absolutely 'everybody'. I think that is what is being used here in Matthew; Matthew is quoting the Lord of saying 'teach every nation' with it understood that it is to be 'from' every nation.

Besides, if we were going to take this as a universal statement, and prescribe that Jesus is speaking about absolutely everyone we would have to assume that Jesus is commanding His disciples to go and make disciples out of people that have long been dead at their time and people that will not exist until many years after their (the disciples) death. That is why we must take this command of Jesus as a statement provoking the disciples to spread their gospel everywhere, yet we cannot then superimpose this idea on the predestination of God. Understand?

Let me also quote two verses, or parts of them:

Rev. 18:3 For all the nations have drunk the wine of her sexual immorality,

Rev. 18:23 all the nations were deceived by your sorcery,

Here we have all the nations (as in Matthew) yet it is understood that this is not the entire population that is being spoken of, rather only those who are in direct influence of this whore.

The point is this: Jesus commands His disciples to go and make disciples of every nation, evangelize the lost. This speaks nothing for nor against the idea of whether God predestined all, or only predestined a few. This only speaks of a command given to the disciples of go out and preach the gospel to every creature that you see.

This is a common objection that is faulted against Calvinist, namely that if only a few elect are predestined, then we are not to evangelize. This is not a fault against Calvinism, rather it is a fault agains the objectors reasoning. Regardless of whether Christ only elected a few, He still commands us to go out and spread the gospel to everyone. Will some of the evangelization result in failure? Most certainly. Should that hinder our obedience to His command? Absolutely not.

I am reminded of Spurgeons response when faulted for spreading a doctrine that destroyed evanglism. He said that if there was a yellow stripe painted down the backs of the elect, he would spend a lifetime raising the coat tails of London.

You see, there are two different things that must be disguisted. Who God predestined, and who are to be the objects of our evangelization. We are specifically commanded that the objects of our evangelization are to be everyone we come in conatact with, every nation. Yet, Scripture clearly tells us as well that the objects of God's predestination are a small elect few. We cannot confuse the two or attempt to eradicate either because of the other.

Now, let me work on an article on the radical corruption of man, then I will welcome your response.

nathaniel adam king said...

that is supposed to be 'discussed' not 'disguisted' they sound so much alike...MY BAD!

Mike said...