Monday, June 26, 2006

Arminian Eisegesis?

The Calvinist Gadfly has issued a challenge for Arminians to interpret Romans 8:29-30 without using eisegesis. Hopefully there are some that feel up to the challenge. The post is a pretty tough response to a comment made on this post.
I would answer myself, but my excuse is that eisegesis has it's advantages, so who cares? Truth is all about me and what I think (this was revealed to me last night as I studied the scripture). Plus I already have a headache.

19 Comments:

  1. Calvinist Gadfly said...
    Brett,

    Thanks for the link. It is particularly a pointed and tough response to Josh Jaros because there is a history with him on my blog that has tested my patience ;-)

    At any rate, I hope some of your readers will interact with it.

    Thanks,
    Alan
    Sally said...
    Right you are on- just going for a walk will post on my blog later!
    Randy from Nebraska said...
    Leave it to the calvinists to accuse the arminians of eisegesis while they deny the work of the holy spirit in biblical interpretation. The fact that they feel they have the market on correct biblical interpretation makes me ill.
    Calvinist Gadfly said...
    Randy, so you are claiming then that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you the geography setting of 1st Century Palestine to aid in your Biblical interpretion? Interesting.

    You said, "The fact that they feel they have the market on correct biblical interpretation makes me ill."

    Nice evasion. Let's interact with the inspired text rather than making red herrings "ill."

    It is telling that your comment said absolutely nothing about the text at hand.

    Thanks,
    Alan
    Brett said...
    I don't think anybody who believes scripture is inspired can deny the work of the Holy Spirit, whether their views are Reformed or Arminian. My view goes like this: The Scripture means what it says (the words on the page are inspired and have true meaning). The Holy Spirit works through these words to convict of sin and allow us to have restored fellowship with God. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, the words would have no power to make a difference in our lives. Hope this makes sense.
    Calvinist Gadfly said...
    Brett, I agree. I have no idea what Randy was talking about.

    Wait...actually I do. He buys into the many caricatures of Calvinism. It is convenient for him not to cite any primary sources for his blanket statement.

    Thanks,
    Alan
    Team Swap said...
    Nice post and nice blog. Thanks for visiting our site and commenting there as well. Keep up the great work.
    Randy From Nebraska said...
    gadfly -
    the text of scripture is inspired and the holy spirit helps reveal what is there. Why is the geography setting of palestine important? cant the bible be relevant outstide of its original culture? If it cant we are in trouble. Also, it is the bible that is inspired. I dont quote augustine and other church leaders like they are inspired. It is scripture alone, which is a phrase im sure you are familiar with. Most calvinists take augustine and calvins teachings as the gospel truth.
    Gray said...
    Randy,

    That simply isn't true. No one thinks that those men are without error. In fact, I think most Calvinists could give you a list of things those men believed with which we disagree.

    Try and stay on point. Don't get side-tracked with mischaracterizations and misunderstandings of Calvinists/Calvinism.

    Can you do what Brett asked in the initial post?
    Calvinist Gadfly said...
    Randy said,

    "the text of scripture is inspired and the holy spirit helps reveal what is there.."

    I am not sure who is feeding you this information, but you won't find a Calvinist who denies inspiration; in fact, they are one of the most adamant defenders of it.

    " Why is the geography setting of palestine important? cant the bible be relevant outstide of its original culture?

    The geography reference was an example of the many considerations when doing exegesis. Are you going to ingore the geographical setting of Jesus when you interpret for example his early ministry compared to his later ministry?

    How do you interpret Jesus words if you don't examine the contextual and lexical data of the text? The work of the Holy Spirit is not to give us these facts (that is the studious work of God's people when they pour over their text).

    "Also, it is the bible that is inspired. I dont quote augustine and other church leaders like they are inspired. It is scripture alone, which is a phrase im sure you are familiar with. Most calvinists take augustine and calvins teachings as the gospel truth."

    Ok, Randy...now you are making absurd comments. You are full of claims but no substance.

    Let the readers note how I am willing to engage in the Biblical text, and yet it is Randy who is being evasive and has yet to interact with me in the inspired text.

    Thanks,
    Alan
    randy from nebraska said...
    If you think it is using eisegesis to say God loves everyone and that whoseover believes in him will have eternal life, (John 3:16) then I dont have a snowballs chance to do it to your satisfaction.
    You say that john 3:16 only applies to the elect, even though it says God so loved the WORLD, and WHOSOEVER believeth. To say it only applies to the elect is eisegesis.
    Gray said...
    Randy,

    First, calm down. No one mentioned John 3:16, so it is a big assumption to tell Alan or myself or anyone else what he/she/we believe.

    I believe that God loves the whole world. I also believe that He did for the ones who believe (the "whosoever").

    Second, deal with the passage that was asked about...not making inflammatory comments about others and passages that were not mentioned.

    Can you deal with Romans 8:29-30? Yes or no?
    Calvinist Gadfly said...
    Randy said,

    "You say that john 3:16 only applies to the elect, even though it says God so loved the WORLD, and WHOSOEVER believeth. To say it only applies to the elect is eisegesis."

    i) The underlying Greek phrase for "whoever believes" is "all the believing ones." The phrase, "whoever believes" (pas ho pisteuon, all the believing ones) is not indicating a moral ability of the sinner to believe in Jesus.

    It is simply stating the fact that those who believe do not perish but receive everlasting life.

    The text is not speaking about the moral ability (or even the inability) of man. It is not implying that man has the ability to believe in Christ.

    ii) I assume that you affirm that all those that believe on Christ are the elect. If that is the case, and no one else would argue with, then in the phrase "all the believing ones" in John 3:16 denotes the elect. There are many names for those that believe on Christ, and "elect" is just one of many.

    I hope that helps,
    Thanks,
    Alan
    Calvinist Gadfly said...
    I'd like to add one more comment on John 3:16:

    The greek phrase "all the believing ones" for the English rendering, "whoever believes," only states the fact that those that indeed believe will not perish but have eternal life. The phrase has nothing to do with what enables one to believe.

    For that question, one needs to go to John 6,8, and 10.

    Thanks.
    Brett said...
    John 3:16 was mentioned by Gadfly in his original post.
    "It is one of the most common examples of Arminian eisegesis next to John 3:16."
    This brings up another question I have about John 3:16. Does God love everyone in the world or does "For God so loved the world" only mean His elect? It is a serious question.
    Micah said...
    John 3:16 states the following:
    "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
    Let's look at what this does not say:
    It does not define the extent of atonement. No where in the verse is the extent of Christ's sacrifice expressed, even though it is often appealed to in that manner.

    It does not define, specifically, what "world" means.


    Now to what it does say:
    "Whoever" is not an unknown number. The whoever here specifically refers to "all those believing". This is not a statement of general intent to save, rather, a definitive declaration of salvation of those who have faith.

    Finally, the Greek here for "world" is kosmos and it can refer to the entire created universe. Given that "all creation" groans in anticipation of the consumation of the ages, kosmos here identifies "all creation". It is all creation that God loves, God loves all that He created and called it good, He therefore seeks to redeem it. This pattern is set up in Genesis for us to see where God creates, destroys in wrath and recreates... this is a pattern we see in the life of those who come to be regenerate (the term itself echoes this concept) as well as in the natural order wherein God will destroy the earth, similarly to how He did in Genesis, and create new heavens and earth redeeming that of His choosing. John 3:16 here then speaks of God's love for His creation, not simply every individual human.

    Thus the verse means what it says, not what we want to read into it. God so [in this manner] loved the world [not just each and every person specifically, but His entire creation generally] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes [all those believing] in Him [Christ is the object of faith] shall not perish, but have eternal life.

    So, what we have is neither the Arminian's "potential universal justification": "God loved each and every person whoever lived SO MUCH that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever might happen to use their free will to believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life..." Nor the caricature of Calvinism where "world is replaced with elect" (A most oft heard claim and one that is simply without any basis.) But a statement that makes sense in the context of the rest of the passage.
    Gray said...
    Well said.

    God does love the whole world, just as Micah explained.

    But that is a different question than the issue of the extent of the atonement, or rather the intent of the atonement.

    Now, I have a question: Did God fail to save all those that he intended to save? Is God a failure?
    Brett said...
    Just made a long comment, and it got lost. It's the dreaded "L" in TULIP.

    Here's a shortened comment:
    To ask your first question is similar to asking if your wife knows our having an affair. It's not a fair question.
    Nobody following Arminian or Reformed thought would argue that God is a failure.

    Arminian thought (I am rejecting universalism as a biblical argument) says that the Atonements is Unlimited (TUUIP?) It is for everyone, but the Holy Spirit must convict of sin and allow the freedom to respond. I reject as unbiblical all doctrine that says that man can at any time choose to follow Christ, or accept His grace apart from the conviction and work of the Holy Spirit.

    Reformed thought says that the Atonement is Limited. It is sufficient for all, but efficient for the elect. When the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, man must say yes.

    Had more to say, but this will have to do for now.
    Anonymous said...
    The word world can't just mean "every single individual from Adam to the end".
    If so, I ask: did God send Jesus because He so loved the first century BEFORE Christ (just to make an example, but there could be others indeed) aborigens of North-America, so that whosoever of them believed may have eternal life?

    If we say yes, then we are saying that God send Jesus for people to whom He NEVER gave ANY possibility to even HEAR about Jesus.

    He evidently DIDN'T send Jesus to save them, because He obviously didn't "so loved" them.

    So, as you see, my dear Arminian friends, it is a totally unnecessary assumption that you have in your minds when reading the word "world" you see "every person in the world ever lived in history".

    This term could mean many things, just as in Scripture does. Sometimes it means "people of every nation not just of one nation", sometimes it means "many people", just as in the case it is said that the " world" followed Jesus in John 12:19, other times mean something else, there could be many connotations of this word.

    There is indeed a beatutiful study about the term kosmos, I attach here the link: http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Sovereignty/appendix_03.htm
    Good reading!

    We don't need to get a label of Calvinist or not, it is not a matter of believing to some theologians or to belong to a denomination, but to be disposed to be humble and study the Bible putting aside our thinking and presuppositions, and be humble to expose oursleves to correction.

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