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Is the Gospel undefinable?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by janxharris, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    Were they believers or unbelievers when Paul preached to them?
     
  2. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    Paul explicitly says that verses 3ff are the gospel.
     
  3. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    Then you must countenance you yourself as one for whom Christ did not die since not all who say, 'Lord, lord,' and who prophecy and do miracles in his name will, apparently, enter his kingdom.

    You are at peace with a God who may have eternally excluded you?
     
  4. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    But the wording of chapter 9 is very challenging it has be said. That such words, such verses, have facilitated a whole movement who believe God predetermined salvation without condition makes me, indeed keeps me, sceptical.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  5. jimmyjimmy

    jimmyjimmy Pardoned Rebel Supporter

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    You are intentionally twisting my words, on one hand, and ignoring what I've said on the other.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  6. jimmyjimmy

    jimmyjimmy Pardoned Rebel Supporter

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    Who am I to tell the Creator what He can do with His creation. It's the pinnacle of pride to even entertain such thoughts.
     
  7. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    Your point was that Paul was 'speaking to Christians and addressing them as such.' I am not ignoring that - I accept it. I am merely addressing the implications of what you said - which is that Paul explicitly describes verses 3-7 as the Gospel and says that he and the apostles preach it - so if one asserts that such a Gospel should be restricted to believers only then, naturally, there must be another form of words that encapsulates the Gospel that would be suitable for unbelievers. That's two Gospels where the one for unbelievers cannot contain the assertion that, 'Christ died for you (the auditor).'

    Does this misrepresent your view?
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  8. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    So, in accepting this, what is God's good news for you?
     
  9. janxharris

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    Christianity - those professing to be Christians - cannot, unanimously, define the central pillar of what they believe in?

    So, non-believers don't know what it is they are to believe in?
     
  10. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    That's a fair position for you to have at this stage, IMO. I would like to suggest the words of St Peter in this context:

    Therefore, loved ones, while you are looking for these things, make every effort to be found in shalom, spotless and blameless before Him. Bear in mind that the patience of our Lord means salvation—just as our dearly loved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these matters in all of his letters. Some things in them are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist (as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures)—to their own destruction.

    Since you already know all this, loved ones, be on your guard so that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your sure footing. Instead, keep growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity! Amen.
    2 Peter 3:14-18

    In this, St Peter is saying that there are some who twist the scriptures, saying they do so because they are "unstable" (consider Jeremiah 23:21-32). He is also strongly suggesting that there is a possibility for sincere believers to be led astray, losing their "sure footing" - which seems to express that it would cause them to become unstable and to twist the scriptures. He also said that the unstable ones twist the scriptures "to their own destruction" - why? A number of scriptures come to my mind in response, but I pick Matthew 18:6 and James 3:1.

    So, it is important to note here, that if one does venture off the narrow path of truth (that is, to reject a valid truth that requires them to change stance), then they have wandered into an unstable course. In order to make the scriptures fit with their faulty doctrine, they then need to twist the scriptures, because The Holy Spirit is consistent and the words of it's disciples are divinely inspired - consistent with the truth.

    I believe this is always a potential danger, no matter how long a person has been pursuing the knowledge of scripture. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life", meaning that if someone does not stick with Him to go where He is leading them, they have left that narrow path and ventured onto the broad road that leads to destruction. Only one essential trait could cause a person to do that: it is when their love for life (or indeed, heaven itself) becomes more valuable than their love for truth.

    There is also an added complication that we who read English translations have an added layer of convolution, and it is because a) English language cannot carry the fullness of the meaning that the original language spoke, hence the reason that various translations use different words to say the same thing, and b) the translator himself first must understand what the writer meant, and then convey that to his intended audience. In this way, we are inescapably reliant upon the translator's skill of language and doctrinal robustness. As all English translations are fairly recent, they are all somewhat influenced by centuries of cultural slant and "doctrinal bias" - (misunderstandings and deliberate lies - 2 Peter 2:1-3). So, just as we know that someone with an error in their doctrine is unable to read the scripture to mean anything but what they have been conditioned to interpret it to say, this is what we also see coming through in the English translations, where the original interlinear word-for-word translation would not say it but the translator has said it, because he has been unable to read without bias. He has been condemned by his belief system to view it through a theological lens that ultimately distorts the original meaning.

    So because of that, I'd like to see whether we can examine the specific words in Romans 9 that you are struggling with. There must be just one or two sentences there that (owing to the cultural doctrinal slant that you are being brought to question) you are not yet able to see in any contextual lens except to say that God has sole and sovereign responsibility for sending some to hell and some to heaven without their own free choice ultimately making them responsible. (I think that is an accurate summary of the issue here).
     
  11. janxharris

    janxharris Veteran

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    Yet you must acknowledge that such a charge might be levelled by such as those that oppose your view?

    All English translations?

    Rather than cite specific scriptures, I would reiterate the point that scripture enables a Calvinistic interpretation. If such an interpretation is wrong then, presumably, scripture could have quashed it by explicitly dealing with it.
     
  12. janxharris

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    And the Gospel is (for Paul says so):
    "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures..."

    May I ask if you are going to respond to my latest posts?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  13. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    Hi Janx, could you clarify this a bit for me? I don't know what sort of response you are expecting me to give to this.
    Some more than others, but yes, I have not yet found a perfect English translation where there exists no room for improvement within it's whole presentation. I have found terrible translations though, some being wholly despicable. The majority of English translations that exist now have been crafted by people who are not manifesting The Holy Spirit in their work. As I described, the full understanding of scripture cannot be conveyed through English alone, but instead, scripture is useful for increasing an understanding if it is used skilfully.
    Keep in mind though that the translation of scripture probably has lent and directed readers to view the scriptures with this problematic perspective (you called "Calvinistic"), where the original writer probably did not intend to convey that meaning. It is possible that we might find the original Greek scripture does not mean to convey this so-called "Calvinistic" perspective. In order that we may test to prove or eliminate the possibility of translator error, I have asked to examine specific examples. It's over to you whether you want to go there and find out though. I just have to tell you that it is not fair to criticise scripture if it is not scripture that you are reading, but a rendition of it that contains errors. If you are reading only English translations, it is highly likely that the translator has superimposed a perspective that does not exist in the original.
     
  14. janxharris

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    You yourself, may be twisting scripture.

    This is a serious charge SZ. It would need substantiating wouldn't it?

    We might also question whether the 40 plus years following Christ's death before the Gospels were written might have blurred the truth. (I realise the such a time-span, for the time, is quite short).
    ____________________

    15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
     
  15. janxharris

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    Thus far, two different Gospels have been presented - one where Christ died for and provided for all, and another where He only did so for those whom God chose unconditionally.

    That's two diametrically opposing views about the very essence of the nature of God that unbelievers are enjoined to put their faith in.

    If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
     
  16. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    Actually, the truth of Christianity is that Jesus laid down His life, trusting Adonai's plan to redeem the world from sin and restore paradise conditions, incorruptible. This includes a day of resurrection and judgement (Matthew 25:31-46). Each will be assessed for who they are, the righteous to life, the wicked to punishment. The criteria is love, basic decency (see verses 37-38 and 44). Nobody will be able to dispute that judgement or argue that it wasn't fair.
     
  17. janxharris

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    Thanks.

    This is one view of scripture, but there is no consensus.
     
  18. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    Yes. Don't read that portion of Romans 9 isolated from the rest of the letter, read everything written prior to it, and continue reading.

    The problem with chapter and verse divisions in the Bible is that people frequently think that they are actually part of the text when they aren't. These divisions are helpful for reference, and sometimes do naturally bracket thoughts and arguments--but not always, and in fact can be a hindrance if one is merely interested in quote-mining.

    The Epistle to the Romans has a thesis beginning in the first chapter, and Paul makes a series of arguments to build upon and expand upon that thesis--as such Romans 1-11 form one large train of continuing thought.

    Walking in mid-conversation between two people and hearing only one small part of the conversation is a good way to not understand what the conversation is about at all.

    CryptoLutheran's Handy Summary of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, chapters 1-11:

    In Romans ch. 1 Paul starts talking about how nasty those Pagan Gentiles are, they do this and that and all these other things too, they're just so awful--or at least that's what he wants the reader to think at first, but he pulls a 180 beginning in ch. 2, saying, "Who are you to judge when you do these exact same things?", because Paul's thesis is found in Romans 1:16-17, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God to save all who believe, the Jew first and the Gentile also. For in it the justice of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith'."

    Why talk about "those Gentiles" and then pull a 180? He is setting up the basis that both Jews and Gentiles are sinners, this is what he means when he says in Romans 3:23 "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God", and he will continue to make this argument that Jew and Gentile are sinners, and that God is not God of the Jews only, but God of the Gentiles as well.

    He will then go on to speak of how Abraham, before the giving of the Law, was reckoned just by faith, thereby being able to say that there is a justice apart from the Law, a justice which is by faith. This faith, in Jesus the Messiah, by which God makes the unjust just, freely justifying by His mercy through faith on Christ's account: Christ who died for the ungodly, for the sinner, demonstrating God's own love for us, "God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) He will then speak that having been justified we should not continue in sin, for having been baptized we have been buried with Christ and made dead with Him, and thus have been raised with Him to new life before God, to thus consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:3-11).

    From which he continues to speak of not letting ourselves be ruled by sin in our bodies, nevertheless, "The good that I want to do, I don't do; but the evil I do not want to do I do" and discovering there is, as it were, a law in our own bodily members, a law of sin and death, to which he exclaims, "Wretched man am I! Who can save me from this body of death?!"

    It is from here that he will then speak of salvation in Jesus, and that we have received the Holy Spirit who makes us alive, and who is the promise of God that "If the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead is also in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies." (Romans 8:11), there will be a resurrection of the body, eternal life, which even creation itself groans for. And that this is all God's work and plan, having predestined in us in Jesus, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30).

    And it is at this point he begins to speak as he does in Romans 9, and then in Romans 10 speak about how it seems as though God turned from Israel, but He hasn't, it may seem like this is so; but remember, "Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated"; ultimately both Jacob and Esau shall have mercy, as in Romans 11:32, "He has consigned all to disobedience that He might have mercy on all." Yes, on Jacob, and Esau, and on Pharaoh, on all. All have sinned and fallen short, God is the God of mercy toward all sinners, and He has purposed to save through His mercy, working through the preaching of the Gospel to all people to deliver these things to all men.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  19. janxharris

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    Thanks.

    Before I respond - do you consider those that, though they claim to be Christians, would never preach (to unbelievers), 'Christ died for our sins,' and would, if pressured, affirm that Christ did not die for all - do you consider such folk to be preaching a different Gospel and not true Christians (even cursed as Paul says in Galatians 1:8-9)?
     
  20. janxharris

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    You think God hated Esau and damned him? In John's first letter (chapter 4:19-21) he says:

    We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

    Is the model (for us) God's love? - or is it God's love of the elect and hatred of the likes of Esau?

    May I ask why you have stopped responding?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
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