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  1. I can’t do Calvinism. :(

  2. Wow. I DO subscribe to a canon with the canon–JESUS!

  3. his arguments kind of fall in on themselves…
    like, he essentially says that he experientially understands that if god’s a dad, he can’t lose any of his kids, and at the same time just goes back to the calvinistic interpretation as truth that somehow invalidates his experience.

  4. I’d add what I mentioned earlier today to Gene on another post about “the Way”. Jesus said “I AM THE WAY the truth and the life….” We are to live according to the narrow path “the Way”. Therefore if it is outside of “the Way” for us then it’s outside of “the Way” for God.


    What Kevin mentioned about the fathers and their children IS important from a Biblical perspective. It’s not just sentimenism or whishy washy theology. It’s deeply significant. There ARE theologically sound Biblical reasons to back up the idea that if we have to love our enemies then God must. There is no doubt that It is outside of “the Way” for us to not save our beloved ones when it is entirely possible to, so then it’s outside of “the Way” for God, and if God IS “the Way” then it’s basically impossible.

    Scripture says that Love never gives up in it’s trying…… so therefore God won’t (can”t?) give up on any of humanity because God IS Love, and giving up on humanity is a contradiction to what the Bible says love is…. which would mean that God is contradicting himself (being love), which is impossible.

    It would also mean that God is going against “the Way” of love…. which is also impossible.

    As well. Jesus said. “When I am lifted up on a pole I will drag all mankind to myself”.

    From what I’ve seen any understanding of “the Way” seems be foreign to Calvinists. Mind, it was integral to very early Christianity and early Christianity was a very different thing from Calvinism. In fact they were opposed to many of the ideas that Neo-Calvinism holds.

  5. I was a 5-point Calvinist for over 30 years. I understand what Taylor says he is wrestling with. However you actually can’t let yourself wrestle too seriously or deeply for there is built into the religious system a “Catch 22.” As Matt Chandler (the new leader for the neo-Calvinist Acts29 network) said in his latest book ‘The Explicit Gospel’: people go to hell for “the sin of belittling God’s name.” And of course, you guessed it, Chandler tells us that questioning an eternal hell is definitely “belittling God’s name.”

    Taylor made the point that he wants to face and consider all the details of Scripture but he stopped short of dealing with the climax of the passage he quoted which is Romans 11:32–“For He consigned all over to disobedience that He might have mercy on them all. O the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God…”

    It would have been interesting to hear how Calvinist Tim Keller would have answered in the same interview. Here is a clip of how he defended his position of holding to an eternal hell–it was completely an Arminian answer!

    http://godslovewins.com/blog/dr-keller-answers-like-an-arminian-regarding-eternal-hell/

    • Phillip had said:

      :in his latest book ‘The Explicit Gospel’: people go to hell for “the sin of belittling God’s name.” And of course, you guessed it, Chandler tells us that questioning an eternal hell is definitely “belittling God’s name.”

      So. I wonder. How does that line up with the Calvinist idea of perserverence of the saints. I suppose that would mean that if someone questions eternal hell then they never really saved? Which then logically would mean that a great many of the early Christians that formed the Bible that this guys getting his views from weren’t really saved, which would put the Bible into question.

      This stuff just doesn’t cut it.

      • Yes, and that would include one of the greatest and most respected of the “Church Fathers,” Origen. I have yet to hear of evangelicals pronouncing a “farewell Origen.”

        http://godslovewins.com/blog/should-we-say-farewell-origen/

        • Hi Phillip. I had a read of your article and liked it. I like it when some of these folks are held accountable to their illogical ways. I think I’d also like to add that Origen was even a lot less agnostic than Rob Bell. Also that none of the Christians of his time (and for years after) had any problem with his understanding of ultimate reconciliation (exept maybe for demons) even when they did buck against a few of his other beliefs.


          Another thing of note in this particular discussion is that Gregory Nanzianzus was voted by other Bishops to be the head of the council that gave us the Nicene creed and Gregory of Nyssa was the Bishop that wrote up the final draft of this creed. So then this would also mean that they were not true Christians and that the Nicene creed was pretty much influenced by heretics and is therefore worthless.

          Plus… add to this the fact that Origen and the two Gregories thought, spoke, and wrote in the original Greek language.

          • Thanks Christopher, those were great points to add. I would like to expound on what you said in my post on Origen…thanks!

  6. Interesting …
    Basically, his objection seems to be that universalism doesn’t fit his big picture understanding of scripture. I can respect that … though I think he’s wrong.

    Basically he assumes proponents of universal salvation are not taking into account or not giving proper weight to the parts of scripture they don’t like.

    I’m not exactly sure what he was meaning right at the end when he said “those guys feel the paradox, but not seeing the contradiction.” Does he mean the ‘details’ of the text are contradictory? And so he wants to affirm what he calls the contradictory ‘poles of scripture’?

  7. I don’t have any kind words for Calvinism.

    • I was a Calvinist until I discovered mercy.

      • That just doesn’t make sense. Are you saying Calvinism is absent of mercy? Calvinism is know as the doctrines of grace. I am confused by your comment.

        • I believe that Calvinism/Augustinian thought is twisted. It has a twisted understanding of what happened at the fall, of human nature, of God’s sovereignity, of God’s character, of the atonement, of wrath, and yes even of grace. It stems from Augustines misunderstanding of some Greek words and his neo Platonic/gnostic influences which led to the heretical doctrine of “original sin” which calvinism is enslaved to. It largely rejects the communication of Holy Spirit, which is why people believe it. I don’t believe someone who deeply hears the guidance and love of Holy Spirit will follow Calvinism for long because it’s not what Holy Spirit is saying.

          People who see through Calvinism and stand outside it’s false pagan influenced system perceive it as dark and icky, and rightly so.

          • You say, “It largely rejects the communication of Holy Spirit, which is why people believe it. I don’t believe someone who deeply hears the guidance and love of Holy Spirit will follow Calvinism for long because it’s not what Holy Spirit is saying.”

            How does it reject “the communication of Holy Spirit”? And what do you mean when you say “communication”? Does the Holy Spirit ever contradict the written Word of God, His own revelation to us? Specifically, how is it “not what the Holy Spirit is saying”?

            Will you go to the Bible with me, please?

            How can you say original sin was the result of Augustine twisting “some greek words”? Long before Augustine there was Iranaeus who wrote in support of the fall of mankind and original sin (Against Heresies, Book 5 –http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.xx.html ). Long before Iranaeus was the New Testament text where the Apostolic teaching makes this reality plainly clear. Long before the New Testament text we have the Old Testament which only further cements this doctrine as truth.

            Iranaeus: ” And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so is it rescued by a virgin; virginal disobedience having been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience.”

            Hilary: “Having been sent in a flesh in the likeness of that of sin, He did not have sin in the same way that He had flesh. But as all flesh comes from sin, that is, it derives from the sin of Adam the progenitor, He has been sent in a flesh similar to that of sin, because in Him sin does not subsist, but the image of sinful flesh.”

            Ambrose: “For, if it had restrained the appetite of the body, the soul would have destroyed in its very beginning the origin of sin; but the soul, in its now corrupt vigor, heavy with burdens not its own, gave birth to sin as though in an evil pregnancy by the action of the male, the body.”

            The Apostle Paul: ” And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)

            The Apostle Paul (2): ” Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12 ESV)

            The Apostle Paul (3): “For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin…Now we know that whatever vthe law says it speaks to those who are under the law, wso that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” (Romans 3:9,19 ESV)

            There are hosts of biblical references here from both the Old and New Testament: Job 5:14, Psalm 14:2-3, Psalm 51:5, Jeremiah 17:9, Ecclesiastes 9:3, Proverbs 22:15, Genesis 8:1 and 6:5, Romans 3:23 and 7:18 and 8:7, Titus 1:15, Hebrews 2:14-15, Colossians 1:21, Mark 7:21-23, and so on.

          • Lee. See my partial response below.

          • Lee. Please see my response to Donsands over at the “A RESPONSE TO JUSTIN TAYLOR’S… RESPONSE” post on this blog.


            peace

          • I’ve enjoyed reading “Hope Beyond Hell” by Gerry Beauchemin and other books of research that I have studied such as “Christ Triumphant”, by Thomas Allin (19th century Church of England minister and scholar), that reveal the truth of U/R-THE ULTIMATE AND UNIVERSAL RECONCILIATION OF ALL. The Literal Translation of the Bible confirms this, and the overwhelming majority of the Church Fathers in the primative, Apostolic Church (Catholic means Universal in Latin) taught and believed U/R for the first 5 centuries of church history (although some of the Church Fathers believed in keeping the final universal reconciliation in “reserve” for the “esoteric scholarly saints”, for fear that this truth might lead to more evil and crimes amoung the heathen–using a scripture, “don’t cast your pearls before swine”, as a reason).

            I first came to this Truth in 1971, after finding and studying: “Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible and “Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Bible”. The Holy Spirit led me to this “Apostolic Truth”, and has given me perfect assurance–”but when comes that One, The Spirit of Truth, He will guide you into all truth…”John 16:13. Years of intense research have only confirmed what the Primative Apostolic Church taught and believed.

            I only hope that this movie (whatever it depicts Hell as) will not mislead people into thinking that there is no Hell at all–that Hell is only unconsciouness in the grave. The Bible does not teach this, neither did the Primative Church; but that Hell is a real place to purge away sinfulness, evils, and wickedness–not punish souls forever!

      • I was an armininan until I discovered grace

    • Robin said, “I can’t do Calvinism” and Eric commented, “I don’t have any kind words for Calvinism.”

      Now that I am no longer a Calvinist I understand how repulsive it really is. However, it is what led me to quickly embrace Christian universalism. To go about declaring to others and yourself that God is entirely sovereign over all things and that those for whom Christ died must be redeemed is a pretty strong set up for universalism. Because of John Piper I came to realize that even God’s commandments are decrees “that will not return void.” We will ALL love God and neighbor for He said “You SHALLlove…” just as sovereignly and effectually as He said “let there be light.” All God’s commands are really promises of His sovereign plan to recreate and restore us. My Calvinism made this easy for me to accept.

      I see Calvinism as simply the other half of the Story of God that Arminianism leaves out. But they each will need to renounce the parts that are untrue and toxic like: God doesn’t love everyone the same or that He is not in the end able to do what He set out to do on the cross.

      Interestingly it is the Calvinists like Keller, Piper, Tchividjian, Chandler etc., who are unwittingly saying the most astounding things and walking right into a paradigm of ultimate restoration! I don’t think it will be long before they are seeing this themselves.

      http://godslovewins.com/blog/does-calvinism-lead-to-universalism/

    • What is it specifically you don’t affirm or “have kind words for”?

    • Lee had said:


      How does it reject “the communication of Holy Spirit”? And what do you mean when you say “communication”? Does the Holy Spirit ever contradict the written Word of God, His own revelation to us? Specifically, how is it “not what the Holy Spirit is saying”?


      Nope. I agree with you the Holy Spirit doesn’t contradict the word of God, and the Holy Spirit says something VERY different from what Calvinism teaches….. therefore Calvinism is interpreting the word of God wrong.

      Holy Spirit’s “communications” are God speaking to us through the Holy Spirit. In growing with Christ the Christians learns how to hear Holy Spirit, rest in it’s presence, and relate to God through it. It is usually a “still small voice”, and always encouraging and full of love. Holy Spirits communication is never condemning as the Bible says that there is “no condemnation in Christ Jesus”. Holy Spirit speaks something very different then what Calvinism teaches.

      I’ll respond to your other comments about the Augustinian understanding of “original sin” when I have time. Hopefully later this evening.

  8. 5:58 Taylor is reading scripture selectively to supportive his picture of a God who actively punishes. Any close reading of the text would reveal that it is not God slaughtering the first born sons of Egypt… it’s the “destroying angel” or “angel of death”. So we don’t have a picture of a God who ‘smites” but a God who gives us over to the powers of satan, sin, death, and sickness.

    To put it frankly…. In a Calvinist picture of God they don’t need Satan.

    • @Paul — You said, “…but a God who gives us over to the powers of satan, sin, death, and sickness.”

      That is just playing with words. How is God any different in what you explained versus what Justin said? If God permits, enables, allows, sends this angel of death to kill the firstborn in Egypt, it is the same as if He did it himself (God did do it Himself, He does all that he pleases). If I hire a hitman to kill an enemy, I am more gracious or kind since I didn’t pull the trigger myself?

      Why do you feel you need to defend God? He is holy, pure, loving, just, powerful, good, perfect, beautiful, and wonderfully unique! He doesn’t need your defense. Let the Scripture speak for itself and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture.

      Grace and peace.

      • Lee. said:

        “God did do it Himself, He does all that he pleases”

        Matthew 23: 27 ….Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who murder the prophets and stone the people who are sent to you! How often I WANTED to gather your children together, like a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but YOU REFUSED.

        There are various places in scripture where God’s perfect will wasn’t accomplished.

        Lee said:

        Let the Scripture speak for itself and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture.


        Okay… read Romans 1 for Pauls understanding of God’s “wrath” … the scriptures say that it is God allowing us to go our own ways into depravity. The scripture has a very different understanding of wrath than Calvinism’s “Holy Wrath” understanding…. which has been dreamt up by man.
        Let the Scripture speak for itself and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture.

        • @Christopher — two responses for your consideration:

          1. Regarding Matthew 23:37, James White, the author of Potter’s Freedom, has an excellent summary of the common misreading of this text, “The ones the Lord desired to gather are not the ones who “were not willing”! Jesus speaks to the leaders about their children that they, the leaders, would not allow Him to “gather.” Jesus was not seeking to gather the leaders, but their children. This one consideration alone renders the passage useless for the Arminian seeking to establish freewillism. The “children” of the leaders would be Jews who were hindered by the Jewish leaders from hearing Christ. (Potter’s Freedom, 138, 2nd ed.)”

          2. Regarding Romans 1: Can you please show me two things. First where does it say in the text of this chapter that “it is God allowing us to go our own ways into depravity”? Second, how does Calvin’s teaching or the reformed understanding of God’s “holy wrath” contradict anything in Romans 1.

          • Lee.

            See my lengthly response to Donsands over at the “A response to Justin Taylor’s response” thread where I mention this.

            This understanding of “wrath” is mentioned in Romans 1 ….. look it up for yourself. Christian going their own ways into depravity (not following “the Way”) lead to death (linked to the above mentioned law of sin and death) and self destruction. But as I have mentioned Christ offers life that helps Christians to get back on “the Way”.
            If Christians are saved from “wrath” and “judgment” according to the Calvinistic understanding…. then explain to me why in Romans Paul being a Christian still considered himself to be under this wrath and judgment (Romans 3: 5-9)
            This along with Paul’s understanding mentioned in Romans 1 utterly kills Calvinisms understanding of wrath.

            This Calvinistic understanding of “wrath” being this eternal vengeance is an utter lie….. otherwise Christians will (are) still under this “wrath” and we are all doomed. Thus what Paul later says in Romans 9: 20-21 has been completely twisted by Calvinistic thinking.

            I will write further about Romans 9: 20-21 when I have more time.

          • Lee. Here’s an essay touching on Romans 9 … which shows the merciful God/ultimate reonciliation view that the great majority of early Ante-Nicene Christians held to. You will see that it is completely Biblical, consistent…. and doesn’t make god into a monster as Calvinism does. In fact far from this.


            It is fairly lengthy but hopefully not to long for this thread.



            Wrath in Paul’s letter to the Romans


            In this essay on Romans I’ll attempt to show that Paul is talking about a more wise, powerful, merciful, reconciling and loving view of God than is often taught in most Christian circles since Augustine.

            I’ll attempt to prove that Romans teaches the following.

            Everyone who died in Adam will have life in loving unity with Christ.
            In the context of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, God’s wrath is God allowing people to go their own ways and fall deeper into the depravity of their sins.
            God’s wrath (in this context) is for the purpose of allowing people to move into a way that is contrary to their well being in order that he will have mercy on them, when they repent and accept Christ into their hearts.
            God’s Glory is connected to his mercy not his wrath. When God has mercy on people they will worship him.
            God’s wrath on sin (in the context of what Paul is expressing in Romans) is ultimately for the purpose of bringing people into Holy Worship of Christ through their understanding of his mercy.
            Therefore Sin, and the resulting evil that is in the world has not fooled God, and is not inconsistent with a loving God. It is ultimately the path to God’s mercy and the resulting Holy Worship of Christ. All have sinned and God will be merciful to this All. Every knee will bow in loving worship of Christ.
            Every human pilgrimage is ultimately a sacramental journey leading to the mercy of a wise, Almighty and loving God, through Christ alone, when the person repents and accepts Holy Spirit into their hearts. This understanding is not discounting that there will be a judgement for those who reject Christ in this life.

            I’ll start with.

            A look at the use of All in Romans.


            Romans 3: 21 – 24

            Yet now, apart from law, a righteousness of God is manifest (being attested by the law and the prophets), yet a righteousness of God through Jesus Christ’s faith, for All, and on All who are believing for there is no distinction, for All sinned and are wanting of the glory of God. Being justified gratuitously in His grace, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus.

            The book Hell Yes/ Hell no by John Noe, PH.D. says the following.

            What possibly might be the proverbial “800 – pound gorilla” in this area of argumentation and one that just might tip the scales in the Christian Universalist’s favour is Paul’s parallelism in romans 3: 23 – 24. Notably, it comes first in his epistle and sets the precedent. Most significantly, Paul’s “all” here is only mentioned once. It is the singular subject of his entire statement. However, the same two consequences, results, and conclusions apply to this singular “all” group. And since Scripture cannot contradict Scripture and assuming Paul is consistent, the force of this singular “all” in this verse must override any divergent or dichotomous interpretation or understanding arising from his dual use of “all(s)” later on – as being two different groups – i.e., one inclusive and one exclusive. In my opinion, this precedent-setting verse cannot be stressed too strongly. What a critical function this singular “all verse performs. But if Paul’s dualistic use of “all(s)” in five later verses are two different subject groups – one inclusive and one exclusive, then Romans 3: 23-24 is not only contradictory, it’s a false statement.


            Now that this precedent has been mentioned I’ll move on to one of the most contested ALL texts, that also quite possibly makes the clearest ultimate reconciliation statement. Romans 5: 12 – 21


            First a look at this text in the light of the “high jump format” as explained by Kenneth E. Bailey in his book “Paul through Mediterranean Eyes”

            A number of times Paul composes a homily using what I have called “the high jump format.” This can be simply described as “ring composition with an introduction.” It can also be seen to have four distinct parts. These are like a “high jump.” The high jumper starts with a short sprint. Then comes the ascent, the crossing of the bar and finally, the descent on the far side. The climax of the jump is the crossing of the bar. In like manner, a biblical homily is at times composed of (1) an introduction (the sprint) followed by (2) a series of ideas (the jump) that come (3) to a climax (the crossing of the bar) and conclude (4) with a presentation in reverse order of the original series of ideas (the descent to the ground). Paul uses this style often.

            taken from (Paul through Mediterranean Eyes – Kenneth E. Bailey – 2011 – InterVarsity Press)


            As mentioned in Romans 5 one can find a perfect example of this “high jump format”.

            Romans 5: 12 – 21

            1) The introduction

            Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed through into all mankind, on which all sinned – for until law sin was in the world, yet sin is not being taken into account when there is no law, nevertheless death reigns from Adam unto Moses, over those also who do not sin in the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of him who is about to be.

            2) The series of ideas

            But not as the offense, thus also the grace. For if, by the offense of the one, the many died, much rather the grace of God and the gratuity in grace, which is of the One Man Jesus Christ, to the many superabounds.

            For, indeed, the judgment is out of one into condemnation, yet the grace is out of many offenses into a just award. For if, by the offense of the one, death reigns through the one, much rater, those obtaining the superabundance of grace and the gratuity of righteousness shall be reigning in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

            3) the climax

            Consequently, them, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life’s justifying.

            For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinner thus also , through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just.

            4) the Conclusion

            Yet law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing. Yet where sin increases, grace superexeeds, that, even as Sin reigns in death, thus Grace also should be reigning through righteousness, for life eonian, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

            But also note how this text can be placed in three separate but linked together themes, which are shown by their numbering.

            Romans 5: 12 – 21

            (1)

            Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed through into all mankind, on which all sinned – for until law sin was in the world, yet sin is not being taken into account when there is no law, nevertheless death reigns from Adam unto Moses, over those also who do not sin in the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of him who is about to be.

            (2)

            But not as the offense, thus also the grace. For if, by the offense of the one, the many died, much rather the grace of God and the gratuity in grace, which is of the One Man Jesus Christ, to the many superabounds.

            (3)

            For, indeed, the judgment is out of one into condemnation, yet the grace is out of many offenses into a just award. For if, by the offense of the one, death reigns through the one, much rater, those obtaining the superabundance of grace and the gratuity of righteousness shall be reigning in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

            Consequently, them, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life’s justifying.

            (2)

            For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinner thus also , through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just.

            (1)

            Yet law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing. Yet where sin increases, grace superexeeds, that, even as Sin reigns in death, thus Grace also should be reigning through righteousness, for life eonian, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

            So here is what Paul is saying in these three sections

            1) Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed through into all mankind, on which all sinned – for until law sin was in the world, yet sin is not being taken into account when there is no law, nevertheless death reigns from Adam unto Moses, over those also who do not sin in the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of him who is about to be.

            Yet law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing. Yet where sin increases, grace superexeeds, that, even as Sin reigns in death, thus Grace also should be reigning through righteousness, for life eonian, through Jeus Christ, our Lord.

            2) But not as the offense, thus also the grace. For if, by the offense of the one, the many died, much rather the grace of God and the gratuity in grace, which is of the One Man Jesus Christ, to the many superabounds.

            For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinner thus also , through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just.

            3) For, indeed, the judgment is out of one into condemnation, yet the grace is out of many offenses into a just award. For if, by the offense of the one, death reigns through the one, much rather, those obtaining the superabundance of grace and the gratuity of righteousness shall be reigning in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

            Consequently, them, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life’s justifying.

            Now some have looked at what Paul was saying earlier in Romans 2:10 to argue that in the above text the words the many and all mankind mean Not Just the Jews but also the Greeks. In other words, that this text says: Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for not just the Jews but also the Greeks for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for not just the Jews but also the Greeks for life’s justifying.

            Yet later on in Romans Paul says the following.

            Romans 11: 25 – 32

            For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret, brethren, lest you may be passing for prudent among yourselves, that callousness, in part, on Israel has come, until the complement (fullness) of the nations may be entering. And thus All Israel shall be saved, according as it is written.

            “Arriving out of Zion shall be the Rescuer. He will be turning away irreverence from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them. Whenever I should be eliminating their sins”.

            As to the evangel indeed, they are enemies because of you, yet, as to choice, they are beloved because of the fathers.

            For unregretted are the graces and the calling of God. For even as you (being the Gentiles) once were stubborn toward God, yet now were shown mercy at their (being the Jews) stubborness, thus these also are now stubborn to this mercy of yours, that now they also may be shown mercy. For God locks up All together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to All.

            Here Paul clearly says that All of Israel shall be saved, which happens after the fullness of the nations enter. Therefore God will have mercy on All the Jews and the the fullness of the nations, being that they were all stubborn and God will be merciful to All.

            This refutes the idea that in Romans 5: 12- 21 he was talking about a portion of the Jews and Gentiles, instead of All mankind.



            A look at the book of Romans’ understanding of God’s wrath, and Redemption leading to God’s Glory.

            With the above in mind I’ll now take a closer look at some of the themes in Romans to show Paul’s understanding of how some of this functions, specifically his understanding of God’s wrath (in a certain context) and God’s mercy leading to his glory.

            I’ll start with Romans 1: 18 where Paul talks about a certain understanding of God’s wrath in the context of this epistle to the Romans.

            Romans 1: 18

            For God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven on all of the irreverence and injustice of men……

            ….. wherefore God gives them over in the lusts of their hearts, to the uncleanness of dishonouring of their bodies…….. therefore God gives them over to dishonourable passions…… therefore God gives them over to a disqualified mind…….

            So here Paul starts out Romans by speaking of God’s wrath on sin, as God giving people over to fall into greater depravity. IN other words, in this context, God’s wrath on sin is to allow sin to takes it’s course where people progressively fall down the slippery slope into depravity.

            He then says in

            Romans 2: 3

            Yet are reckoning on this O man, who are judging those committing such things, and are doing the same, that you will be escaping the judgment of God.

            So in context Paul is saying to be careful. If we sin God’s wrath will give us over to go down the slippery slope into depravity.

            Paul then says the following interesting statement.

            Romans 2: 4

            Or are you despising the riches of his kindness and longsuffering patience being ignorant the the kindness of God is leading you to repentance.

            In Romans 2: 5-12 he then goes on to speak more about the just judgment of God paying people back according to their acts. But when one doesn’t prooftext these scriptures, but instead reads them in context, it’s clear that Paul already has explained what this particular understanding of God’s wrath and just judgment is….

            It’s allowing them to fall into deeper depravity.

            But getting back to Romans 2: 4. Here Paul is saying that even while God’s wrath is “giving people over” to their sins God is still full of longsuffering and patience with them, and his kindness is leading them to repentance.

            Paul then goes on to talk about various other things before he comes back to this line of thought. He does this often in his writings. They are like an interwoven web and when one starts to understand this aspect of Paul’s writing his letters move from being confusing to being brilliant (and still a little confusing). Included in this is Paul’s understanding that the law was set in place in order that mankind would be aware of their sins, and thus repent to Christ an be justified by faith.

            In Romans 9: 22-24 Paul actually reiterates what I have already mentioned of him saying in Romans 1 and 2: 4

            Of course this is the text that Neo Calvinism uses to teach that the unrepentant were created for eternal tortures in order that God’s glory will be upon the vessels of mercy, which he has chosen beforehand. It’s well known that a lot of Christendom fins this to be a troubling doctrine, but I don’t think that this is what Paul is saying here.

            As I’ve mentioned, he’s reiterating what he has already touched on at the start of Romans. This becomes easier to see when reading these verses from the Jonathon Mitchell Bible, which translates the Greek wording in depth.

            First in Romans 9: 20 – 21 Paul talks about God moulding as the Potter creating the vessels of honour and dishonour after which he moves on to talk in depth on this concept in Romans 9: 22-23.

            Romans 9: 21

            Or does not the Potter hold authority or have a right pertaining to clay, forth from out of the same kneaded mixture to make the one a container (a vessel an instrument, a utensil) into honour and value, yet the other into an unhonoured one.

            Neo-Calvinists teach that this text is saying that God has pre-ordained some to be dishonourable containers and the elected Christians to be honourable containers. Yet Paul says something very different when he touches on this exact same metaphor in his second letter to Timothy.

            2nd Timothy 2: 20 – 21

            Now within a great house, there are not only golden and silver containers, equipment and utensils, but also wooden ones and earthenware. And on the one hand some which come into use for honour, on the other hand some which come into use for dishonour.

            If, then, anyone should ever clean himself out from these [aforementioned worthless, dishonourable] things, hew will be a container placed into use for honour and things of worth, having been set aside for honourable and valuable use by the owner.

            In second Timothy Paul gives us another understanding of what this metaphor of the containers means. He is saying that when one cleans themselves of the dishounorable things, connected with being containers of dishonour, they will become containers of honour.

            With this in mind I’ll move on to Paul’s deeper look at the containers of honour and dishonour metaphor in Romans 9: 22 – 23.

            Romans 9: 22-23

            22
            Now since (or so what if) habitually willing to demonstrate wrath, and also to make known by
            personal experience his power and ability – in much long suffering (long breathing forebearance)
            bears and carries (brought forth and produced or enduringly supports while moving) vessels of
            wrath, being folks having been thoroughly prepared and made adequate for loss (adapted and
            adjusted down into ruin waste and destruction [of their well being]), is now continuing in this
            condition.

            23
            It is to the End that he could and would also at some point make known by intimate experience the riches of his glory (or his manifestation of that which calls forth praise; which pertains to his reputation) upon containers of mercy which he before hand prepared to enter into glory and splendor.

            Now to unpack this text.

            In the first part of verse 22 Paul touches on what he had said about God’s wrath in Romans 1. God is habitually demonstrating his wrath against sin, but we know from romans 1 that God’s wrath (in this context) is him allowing people to progressively fall into depravity.

            But Paul then touches on what he had said in Romans 2: 4 when he says.

            and also to make known by personal experience his power and ability – in much long suffering (long breathing forebearance) bears and carries (brought forth and produced or enduringly supports while moving) vessels of wrath.

            So in other words, when reading this the context of what Paul has said at the start of Romans about God’s wrath and longsuffering Paul is saying here that God’s wrath is him giving people over to fall into their depravity. Yet God in his longsuffering bears and carries these “vessels of wrath” in order that his power and ability will be made known by personal experience.

            Paul then says that these people are

            “folks having been thoroughly prepared and made adequate for loss (adapted and adjusted down into ruin waste and destruction [of their well being]), is now continuing in this condition.”

            In other words God’s wrath, in allowing people to fall into depravity, has thoroughly prepared them for waste and destruction of their well being, and they now continue in this state.

            Paul then says at the beginning of verse 23.

            “It is to the End that he could and would also at some point make known by intimate experience the riches of his glory (or his manifestation of that which calls forth praise; which pertains to his reputation) upon containers of mercy which he before hand prepared to enter into glory and splendor.”

            Notice the underlined words “It is to the end” and “at some point”. Look at this text carefully in this light. What Paul is saying is that the vessels of wrath mentioned in verse 23 and the vessels of mercy mentioned in verse 24 ARE THE SAME PEOPLE. This is consistent with the already mentioned second Timothy text that gives us another look at the containers of honour and dishounour metaphor described in romans 9: 21. The vessels of wrath are allowed to go into their depravity to the end that they would also at some point know by intimate experience the riches of God’s glory. This being a manifestation of that which calls forth praise.

            So in other words in this text Paul is saying.

            God’s wrath against sin is him allowing sinners to fall into their own depravity.
            God is longsuffering with these sinners and bears with (and carries) these vessels of wrath.
            God’s wrath (allowing their fall into depravity) has prepared them for loss, being connected with a poor state of their well being, where they continue.
            On a deeper level this is really God’s preparation of these people to be vessels of mercy. In God’s wrath he was beforehand preparing them to enter into glory and splendor.
            They were prepared for loss and destruction of their well being, to the end that God would make known to them intimately the riches of his glory on them, as the vessels of his mercy.
            This Glory is a manifestation of that which calls forth praise

            So to sum this all up. Paul is saying that God’s wrath allows people to fall into their depravity in order that he may have mercy on them (them being vessels of mercy). This is so that they will have an intimate experience of God’s mercy, which is ultimately for God’s glory as this will lead to them praising him. The containers of dishonour cleanse themselves and become the containers of honour.


            You see. The Neo-Calvinist interpretation of this text isn’t consistent with some of the other Biblical texts say about God’s holiness.

            When the choir of Israel sang the praises of God, they magnified his holiness.

            2 Chronicles 20: 21

            He appointed singers unto the Lord, and that they should praise the beauty of holiness.

            And here is what they sang.

            2 Chronicles 20: 21

            Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures for the ages.

            So here we see that God’s holiness is connected to his mercy.


            There are other texts that relate to this understanding of God’s Holiness.

            Isaiah 57: 15-16

            For thus says the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy….. “I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wrath…..”

            Hosea 11: 9

            I will not execute the fierceness of my anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, an not man; the Holy one in the midst of you.

            Of course Jesus also showed the connection between the Holiness of God and his mercy in his earthly life. The one “who is Holy” and “separate from sinners” was here on Earth as a “friend of sinner” (c.f. Hebrews 7: 26; Matthew 11:9

            In His book “A Passion for Justice” Johnston McMaster touches on the afor mentioned Hosea text.

            Yet in the history of Israel’s experience and understanding Hosea produced the groundbreaking vision of God the deeply compassionate One. Ultimately the prophet pushed beyond the destructive culture of violence to a God who was God and not human, i.e. violent, to a God of solidarity and compassion who suffered alongside and whose deep compassion would never let go or give up. Hosea highlighted the power of transforming compassion (Hosea 11: 1-9).

            Jesus was in this Jewish prophetic tradition. He too pushed beyond the boundaries of truth in his own community. The faith community has often had the same problem. It more often mirrors the popular value system, the comfortable, self-serving ethics of the domination systems. the Matthean Beatitudes turn the domination system values upside down. Jesus points to God’s upside-down kingdom. The fifth Beatitude pronounces the blessedness of the merciful: ‘for they will receive mercy’ (Matthew 5: 7). In the Sermon on the Mount in which the Beatitudes are placed, Jesus also visions God as merciful to all, without favouritism or exception. God’s love, mercy and compassion are for the good and bad alike, chosen people and hated imperialists, no distinctions. Luke repeats this God vision in his Sermon on the Plain, using a word even closer to relational compassion. For both Matthew and Luke the ethical imperative is to imitate the compassion of God….

            (A passion for Justice – Social Ethics in the Celtic Tradition – by Johnston McMaster – Page 127)

            Now with this in mind I’ll move on to God’s glory, and touch on what Paul has to say about mercy being connected to God’s glory in;

            Romans 15: 6 – 12

            ….. that , with one accord, with one mouth, you may be glorifying the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore be taking one another to yourselves according as Christ also took you to Himself, for the glory of God.

            For I am saying that Christ has become the Servant of the Circumcision, for the sake of the truth of God, to confirm the patriarchal promises. Yet the nations are to glorify God for His mercy.

            Yet the Neo-Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9 is the exact opposite of this understanding of God’s holiness being connected to his mercy and compassion. In fact it even connects God’s Glory with the idea of people being eternally tortured for their sins.

            On the other hand the interpretation of Romans 9 that I have set forth above is completely consistent with this understanding of God’s holiness. In fact in the 2nd Chronicles text the Bible talks about Israel praising God for his holiness, by singing about his mercy. Remember what I had said earlier.


            So to sum this all up. Paul is saying that God’s wrath allows people to fall into their depravity in order that he may have mercy on them (them being vessels of mercy). This is so that they will have an intimate experience of God’s mercy, which is ultimately for God’s glory as this will lead to them praising him.

            So here we have an answer to the question of why a loving God would have allowed a world where there is sin and evil.

            It’s simple. evil is the natural consequences of sin and sin is the necessary path to grace and mercy. When one comes to an intimate understanding of God’s Holy mercy they will praise him to his glory. More on this in a bit. Of course evil also leads to a choice. Without this choice doing good would be meaningless.

            Now with this understanding of God’s wrath, have a close look at what Paul says in Ephesians 2: 8. He is saying something very similar to what he has expressed in Romans 9.

            For the sake of comparison. Compare;

            Romans 9: 22

            Now since (or so what if) habitually willing to demonstrate wrath, and also to make known by personal experience his power and ability – in much long suffering (long breathing forebearance) bears and carries (brought forth and produced or enduringly supports while moving) vessels of wrath, being folks having been thoroughly prepared and made adequate for loss (adapted and adjusted down into ruin waste and destruction [of their well being]), is now continuing in this condition.

            to

            Ephesians 2: 3

            …. (among whom we also all behaved ourselves once in the lusts of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the comprehension), and were, in our nature, children of wrath, even as the rest.

            and next.

            Romans 9:23

            It is to the End that he could and would also at some point make known by intimate experience the riches of his glory (or his manifestation of that which calls forth praise; which pertains to his reputation) upon containers of mercy which he before hand prepared to enter into glory and splendor.

            to

            Ephesians 2: 4 – 8

            yet God, being rich in mercy, because of his vast love with which He loves us…., vivifies us together in Christ (in grace are you saved!) and rouses us together and seats us together among the celestials, in Christ Jesus, that, in the encoming eons, He should be displaying the transcendent riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For in grace through faith, are you saved.

            Now moving back to Romans. Right after Romans 9:23 Paul goes on to talk about those from the nations and the Jews coming to Christ, and speaks of the remnant from the Jews, where he quotes from Isaiah.

            Romans 9: 27 – 29

            Now Isaiah is crying over Israel. If the number of the sons of Israel should be as the land of the sea, the residue (remainder) shall be saved, for a conclusive and concise accounting the lord will do on the Earth. And according as Isaiah said before.
            Except the Lord of hosts shall conserve us a seed.

            Paul then goes on to talk about the remnant (seed) of Jews that have accepted Christ and how this all works and functions in relation to the nations. But notice the underlined part above where Paul has said that the remainder shall be saved. That’s everybody. Paul later sums up his teaching on the Jews and the nations with the following texts.

            Romans 11: 25 – 26

            For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret brethren, lest you may be passing for prudent amongst yourselves, that callousness, in part, on Israel has come, until the fullness of the nations may be entering and thus ALL Israel shall be saved, according as it is written.

            Arriving out of Zion shall be the rescuer. He will be turning away irreverence from Jacob, and this is my covenant with them. Whenever I should be eliminating their sins.


            So here Paul says that All of Israel shall be saved and that this is according to what has been written about God’s covenant, which is that he will be eliminating their sins. I’ll touch on this in a bit.

            Paul then pulls together all that he has been saying in this section of Romans by touching on the same line of thought as I have shown that he taught in Romans 9.

            Romans 11: 30 – 32

            For even as you once were stubborn towards God, yet now were shown mercy at their stubborness, thus these also are now stubborn to this mercy of yours that they now may also be shown mercy. For God locks All together in stubborness that he should be merciful to All.

            So now we see what Paul is saying all coming together. Gods wrath allows people to fall into their depravity. He has worked this out so that he will be merciful to them. He will be merciful to all.

            This of course is in alignment with Romans 5 which I have already mentioned.

            Now earlier on I had spoken on how I would talk about God’s covenant as mentioned in Romans 11 where Paul is quoting from the prophets. In Romans 9: 27 – 29 he also mentions the prophet Isaiah where he talks about “the remainder of Israel being saved”

            This leads to what Peter has said in

            Acts: 3: 20 – 26

            ….. Christ Jesus, Whom heaven must indeed receive until the times of restoration of ALL which God speaks through the mouth of His holy prophets…….

            ….. Now all the prophets also, from Samuel, and consecutively, whoever speak, also announce these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God covenanted with your fathers, saying to Abraham: And in your seed All the kindreds of the earth shall be blessed. To you first, God, raising his Boy commissions Him to bless you, by turning away each of you from your wickedness.

            So here Peter mentions the prophets speaking of the restoration of ALL and God’s covenant to turn each away from their wickedness. With this in mind here is another look at the Romans texts.

            Romans 9: 27 – 29

            Now Isaiah (being a prophet) is crying over Israel. If the number of the sons of Israel should be as the land of the sea, the residue (remainder) shall be saved.

            Romans 11: 25 – 26

            …….callousness, in part, on Israel has come, until the fullness of the nations may be entering and thus ALL Israel shall be saved, according as it is written.

            Arriving out of Zion shall be the rescuer. He will be turning away irreverence from Jacob, and this is my covenant with them. Whenever I should be eliminating their sins.

            So here one can see that Paul’s quotes from the prophets are perfectly consistent with what Peter said in Acts 3. It is beneficial to not that the early Christian fathers doctrine of Apostastacasis was based on Acts 3. Apostastacasis is the Greek word connected to the English words “restoration of all”.



            Bowing before the father

            So now moving on. Letter In Romans Paul mentions another quote from the prophets.

            Romans 14: 8-11

            For both if we should be living, to the Lord are we living, and if we should be dying, to the Lord are we dying. Then both if we should be living and if we should be dying, we are the Lords…………For all of us shall be presented at the dais of God, for it is written.

            Living am I, the Lord is saying,
            For to Me shall bow every knee,
            and every tongue shall be acclaiming God.

            The text in Romans 14:11 is clearly about believers bowing their knee before God in worship.
            Notice the word acclaiming is used in both of the two above texts. This word is translated from the greek word prosagoge which means to acclaim “in a good sense”, and connotes worship. Prosagoge is used in the following scriptures.

            Matthew 11:25

            At that season answering Jesus said “I am acclaiming Thee, Father Lord of heaven and Earth…..”.

            Romans 15:9

            Yet the nations are to glorify God for his mercy, according as it is written.

            “Therefore I shall be acclaiming Thee among the nations,
            And to thy name shall I be playing music”.

            Now notice that the word “bowing” or “bow” is also highlighted in Romans 14: 8-11 shown above. This word is taken from the greek word Kampto which is used in the context of bowing in intentional worship. Consider the following uses of the word.

            Ephesians 3: 14-16

            On this behalf am I bowing my knees to the father of our Lord Jesus Christ after Whom every kindred in the heavens and on the earth is being named.

            Romans 11: 4b – 5

            I left for myself seven thousand men who do not bow the knee to the image of Baal.


            If Paul had have wanted to use the word bow in the sense of forced submission he would have used the greek word Sunkampto which can be found in in Romans 11:10

            Another notable aspect of Romans 14: 8-11 is that Paul is quoting this text from…….

            Isaiah 45:21b-25.

            Was it not I, the Lord? There is no other God besides me a Righteous God and a Savior there is no one besides me. Turn to me and be saved all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, From my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: “To me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear”.(RSV)

            It is obvious that Isaiah 45 talks of true loving worship and that the greek words for “bowing” and “acclaiming” have the connotation of true worship.

            So in this light lets have a look at one more of of Paul’s writings.

            Phillipians 2: 9-11

            Wherefore, also, God highly exalts him, and graces him with the name that is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial, and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God the Father.

            In the light of that touched on above does this text not clearly say that every single person will at some time bow in loving, submissive worship of the father. But notice that this also mentions for the Glory of the father.

            So at the risk of being redundant. Remember what I had said earlier about Gods Glory being connected to his mercy.
            So to sum this all up. Paul is saying that God’s wrath allows people to fall into their depravity in order that he may have mercy on them (them being vessels of mercy). This is so that they will have an intimate experience of God’s mercy, which is ultimately for God’s glory as this will lead to them praising him.


            Also what Paul had said.

            Romans 11: 30 – 32

            For even as you once were stubborn towards God, yet now were shown mercy at their stubborness, thus these also are now stubborn to this mercy of yours that they now may also be shown mercy. For God locks All together in stubborness that he should be merciful to All.

            So in Phillipians 2: 9-11 Every knee will bow and acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord because Jesus will be merciful to ALL. All will praise him for his Holy Mercy.

            You see. God has foreknown all things. Although maybe God didn’t want the human race to fall he knew it would happen. Although God didn’t want us to sin, he knew before the ages that this also would happen. The fall, sin and evil has not fooled God. His wrath gives us over to fall into deeper sin, for the purpose that when we eventually return to Him, through Christ alone, we will understand his mercy in a deeply intimate way, and we will wonder in the vastness of his grace. If we had never of sinned it wouldn’t have been possible for us to intimately understand God’s mercy and Grace. It is through this mercy and grace that we are able to fully comprehend God’s great love for us. The Bible says that “mercy triumphs over justice”. God’s just wrath allows us to pay the just consequences for our sins, being that we fall deeper down the slippery slope, but his mercy will triumph in all, being that all will have an intimate understanding of his mercy through the path of his justice. This of course falls under the fact that GOD IS LOVE.

          • Lee said:

            :Jesus speaks to the leaders about their children that they, the leaders, would not allow Him to “gather.” Jesus was not seeking to gather the leaders, but their children. This one consideration alone renders the passage useless for the Arminian seeking to establish freewillism. The “children” of the leaders would be Jews who were hindered by the Jewish leaders from hearing Christ. (Potter’s Freedom, 138, 2nd ed.)”

            um.. Lee.. Under this view the Jewish leaders hindered the Jews from hearing Christ. Is that not still human involvement hindering Christ from being heard?

            How does that change the concept I was expressing – at all?

  9. I must say, Justin appears to be a very respectable man. I may disagree with much of his belief system, but I am pleasantly surprised at how respectful and nice he was! Great interview and great job Justin!

  10. Pingback: Does Calvinism make God a moral monster? Another footage sneak peek | Hellbound The Movie - rangerdavie | rangerdavie

  11. Wow! Just Wow!

  12. Justin’s thoughts here make me feel ill. But I’ve heard them over and over again, so its nothing new. The devil’s been blinding people since Adam so its no surprise. Its just sad and horrifying to hear Love described as such. My spirit vomits this junk out.

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