An Unanswered Argument for all the Bible Believing Calvinists

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by William C, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. William C

    William C
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    I post this in a sincere desire to gain understanding of the Calvinist position in light of the arguments I have presented.

    I know some of you will ridicule me for reposting an argument, but I have yet to receive any rebuttals for the clear scriptural support I have presented for Ephesians chapter 1 in regard to chapter 3. And the argument has now been buried under a host of unrelated comments and attempts to dismiss or redirect the original argument dealing with Ephesians.

    I feel that my argument is solid, clear and that it contradicts the Calvinistic assumption while clearly supporting mine, yet it seems that no Calvinist on this board is able, or willing, to at least point out why they disagree with the points that I clearly lay out.

    The argument that claims, “My support doesn’t merit a response," is completely unwarranted and absurd. Anyone who reads my arguments can clearly see that the text supports my assumptions while disproving the Calvinist’s rendering of the text. And is much more coherent and solid than the majority of Arminian posts on this board.

    To read the argument in its entirety you can wade through the topic titled, “I’m Sorry, We all make assumptions, let’s START OVER.” But, if you’re anything like me you probably won’t take the time to do that so let me briefly recap my argument for you here:

    Ephesians Chapter 1

    1. My proven “assumption” is that God’s Sovereign predestination and election of individuals is limited only to those who were his divinely appointed messengers, namely the prophets and apostles, which were selected from the elect nation of Israel in order to usher in the new covenant of grace geniunely intended for all mankind.

    2. Verses 3-12: Paul uses the pronouns “us” or “we” in reference to the apostles only, “who first trusted in Christ”. In which he UNIQUELY refers to:
    a. Their election before the foundation of the world (vs. 4, 11)
    b. Their revelation of the “mysteries” from God (vs. 9)
    c. The predestination to adoption as sons (vs. 5, 11)

    3. Paul’s use of the Greek word “kai” (and/also) and changes in the use of pronouns from “us/we” to “you” in verse 13 signifies a change in his referent, now referring to “all the saints” as apposed to just the apostles.

    4. Though Paul in verse 13 and following does link his audience (the saints) back to the apostles comparing their “trust”; “belief”; and the “Holy Spirit guarantee”; he DOES NOT link them to the three unique characteristics of election/revelation of mysteries/or predestination.

    5. Lest one argue that this link should be assumed (as did Pastor Larry) we must also see Paul’s statements in Ephesians 3:1-7 in which he states:
    a. Their was a unique “dispensing” or “stewarding” of Grace to Paul on behalf of the saints. (vs. 2)
    b. The “mysteries” he referred to in chapter 1, he emphasizes that they were uniquely revealed only to “God’s holy apostles and prophets.”(verses 3-5)
    c. And he further describes his unique authority by referring to his “effectual calling” also linking us back to his words in chapter 1 verses 3-12. He says, “Wereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.”

    In Conclusion:
    To uphold the Calvinistic assumption, which attempts to link the “you” referent of verses 13 and following to the “us/we” referent of verses 3-12, you would have to believe that Paul’s referent changed from “all the saints” in verses 3-5 to “only the apostles” in verse 9, and back to “all the saints” in verse 11. All the while over looking his change of pronouns, and ignoring his clarifying comments in chapter 3:7 concerning “effectual calling.”


    My assumption is thus supported while the Calvinistic assumption fails in the light of this proof.

    What say ye? I await your responses. Thanks for your time.

    Sincerely Seeking the Knowledge of the Truth,
    Bro. Bill
     
  2. Frogman

    Frogman
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    Bro.

    Ephesians 1.1 states its audience to be "...to the faithful in Christ Jesus."

    I believe our position is such that this is addressing that number in all ages, and time.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  3. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
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    I have a question just so I can understand your point better.

    "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:" (Phillipians 1:6)."

    Does this have any relevance for the church today, or any other Christians in the first century, or just to the believers at the church at Phillipi?
     
  4. rufus

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    Bro. Bill, your ASSUMPTION is not supported. I can think of a half-dozen hermeneutical rules of exegesis you have violated. I have been preaching and teaching for more than 30 years and I assure you that you have come up with a novel interpretation of this issue. I believe it is because you are being driven by false assumptions which never can be "proven." With respect and IMHO.

    Bro. Bill, BTW, I'm Paulician, not Calvinist or Arminian. lol

    Rufus [​IMG]
     
  5. William C

    William C
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  6. William C

    William C
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    Yes, it has relevance to us. All scripture does. Again, like I said to Dallas. We are not disagreeing about the audience, but we are in disagreement about the referent of verses 3-12. I give God all credit for my decision to choose him, he gets all the glory. I don't have any problem saying that he began a good work in me and he will complete it, just like he does with everyone who believes. Even Jacobus Arminius believed that.

    With Respect,
    Bro. Bill
     
  7. William C

    William C
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  8. Primitive Baptist

    Primitive Baptist
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    Brother Bill,

    In other words, the prophets and apostles did not have free will, but everybody else does? Is that what you are trying to say? I've asked that question several times, but you haven't answered it yet. Does Romans 8:29-30 only refer to the prophets and apostles?
     
  9. npetreley

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    It is a view concocted of nothing but semantic games and smoke and mirrors, and is completely without merit.

    Paul switches back and forth between "us" and "you" in simple, predictable conversational terms that are perfectly consistent with "us" referring to all believers, not just apostles. Moreover, while the silly we/they game "works" for some verses, it does violence to the text in others, Ephesians 1:19 being an example. I won't even bother expounding on the reason, since it should be self-evident, and I have already given more attention and energy to this ridiculous hypothesis than it deserves.

    Perhaps Billism should rewrite Ephesians 2 to say something more along these lines:

    But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us apostles and kind of liked you, too, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us apostles and only us apostles alive together with Christ (because, unlike us, it is by free will you have been saved, whereas we were saved because we were specially selected), and raised us apostles up together, and made us apostles sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus to look down on you poor suckers who had to decide for yourself, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us apostles, and only to us apostles, not you second-rate folks, in Christ Jesus. For by free will you peons have been saved through faith, that is if you decided to believe of your own free will, and that is entirely of yourselves; not the gift of God, although it also wasn't of works, so that the only folks who can boast are we apostles, who get special treatment. For we are His special appointed apostolic workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we apostles should walk in them. As for what you folks do, I don't give a rip.


    Yeah, Billism really has a lot going for it, doesn't it?
     
  10. William C

    William C
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    But I have, look the the post "START OVER"

    I'll be providing an intepretation on Romans soon, but I'd like to deal with one passage at a time for clarity sake.

    Thanks,
    Bro. Bill
     
  11. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
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    How do you know he does that with everyone who believes? The Bible never says that. Paul only says that to the Phillipians. Or does the "you" not mean the Phillipians in this case?
     
  12. William C

    William C
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    Really, then why did you avoid my arguments?

    Npetreley, let me ask you something. Did God reveal the mystries recorded in verse 9 to all the saints as your assumption warrants?

    This is pretty funny, I'll admit. But it still avoids my point, while giving a gross misrepresentation of my interpretation. Verse 13 and following does not say "As for what you folks do, I don't give a rip." as you assert. It compares the saints to the apostles by speaking of their "trust"; "belief" and the "Holy Spirit guarentee."

    This is what you missed:
    Key principle: Whatever applies to all the saints also applies to the apostles, but whatever applies to the apostles may or may not apply to all saints.

    You can't help it, can you? You're just mean. ;)

    I will say this on my own behalf, at least I address your arguments. You have yet to do that for me. I think I'll call that "Npetrelism" -- the ones who practice the avoidance of other's arguments while demeaning and ridiculing their beliefs and personality. Now, that has a lot going for it!

    With Respect, (but just a little [​IMG] )
    Bro. Bill
     
  13. William C

    William C
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    How do you know he does that with everyone who believes? The Bible never says that. Paul only says that to the Phillipians. Or does the "you" not mean the Phillipians in this case? </font>[/QUOTE]Yes, the "you" is in reference to the Phillipians, that's not the question. The question is, "Does it apply to us?"

    Every passage has an audience, issue, and a referent. In other words, it has those the author is addressing, the topic his is discussing, and finally the thing or person he is refering to.
    1. We are not debating the audience here, as your argument seems to be indicating.
    2. We are not debating the topic, we both agree on that as well.
    3. We are debating the referent. Who is Paul refering to in verses 3-12 in light of verse 13 and following?

    Who was Paul refering to when he say "he chose us in Him" and "we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined...that we WHO FIRST TRUSTED in Christ...".

    What about when he said in verse 9, "made known to us the mystery of His will." Who does that refer too? Only the apostles, or all the saints?

    That's the question in focus here. Let's deal with the issue, not random applications of issues we are not discussing here.

    With Respect,
    Bro. Bill
     
  14. William C

    William C
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    Rufus, are you saying that Paul contradicts himself in 1:9 and in 3:3-5? Are all the saints reveled the mystries from God? Your assumption says that they are and Paul says they don't. Do you disagree with Paul? Or would you like to rethink your position?

    What say ye?

    Bro. Bill
     
  15. rufus

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    [/QUOTE] Rufus, are you saying that Paul contradicts himself in 1:9 and in 3:3-5?
     
  16. William C

    William C
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    Rufus, are you saying that Paul contradicts himself in 1:9 and in 3:3-5?
    Ok, let me spell this out for you again brother. I'm honesly not trying to quarrel, I just want you to address my point.

    Your assumption is that Ephesians 1:3-12 is refering to all the saints and not just the apostles. Am I correct here? (I'll assume that I am)

    Ok. In verse 9 it states, "[God]...Having made known unto US the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself."

    Based on your assumption the "US" in this passage refers to "all the saints" whereas my assumption says he is speaking about the apostles only in this passage. Do you follow me so far?

    Now, if your assumption is what Paul actually intended then he would be saying, "[God]...Having made known to 'all the saints' the mystery of His will...."

    This statement is contradictory to what Paul teaches in Eph. 3:3-5 which teaches that the "mysteries of God" are only revealed to the "apostles and prophets."

    Therefore, my assumption is supported by this text, showing that Paul was not refering to "all the saints" in verses 3-12 when he is using the "us/we" pronouns, but in fact was speaking about the apostles alone.

    Please don't quote me a bunch of other texts without dealing with this argument first. How can your assumption that Paul is refering to all believers be supported with Eph. 3 in view?

    Thank you for your time,
    Bro. Bill
     
  17. npetreley

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    Okiedokie, let's look at the text itself.

    For whom? For you Gentiles. Put your finger on that word, you'll need it later.

    For you? Who are you? The Gentiles. Keep your finger there, we're not done.

    There's a mystery at issue here.

    A mystery not made known to men in former times.

    But it was revealed to God's apostles and prophets.

    Now -- what mystery was it that was revealed to God's apostles and prophets?

    In plain language, Paull is saying, "God revealed to me, a Jew, who thought the Jews were all that mattered (and now I can see that He also revealed this to the prophets, who were, by the way, other Jews, although that should be self-evident) the mystery that, contrary to what we presupposed, He intended all along to include Gentiles in His plan.

    So it's true (gasp) that Paul was talking about the apostles and prophets. And in that context, it makes perfect sense. It has nothing whatsoever to do with his election for salvation vs. our election for salvation, but what the heck? You're not the first to treat scripture like spandex to grind an ax. (This mixed metaphor brought to you courtesy of sleep deprivation.)

    Translation: Don't throw me off track with the truth.
     
  18. William C

    William C
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    There's a mystery at issue here.</font>[/QUOTE]Yes, there is a mystery at hand. A mystery to which he "has briefly written already"; Where? In Eph. 1:9, which you have failed to connect with this passage. His 'referent' here is obviously the apostles; you even say so when you wrote: "So it's true (gasp) that Paul was talking about the apostles and prophets."

    You go on to explain what the mystery was, but that is not the point. I'm not trying to say that the "mysteries" are in reference to "election or predestination." I'm fine with your explaination of those mysteries. You missed my point. The point is the referent. Who is he referring to in this text? The apostles only, because they are the only ones who received this "mystery." Yet your assumption forces the text in Eph. 1:9 to say that God revealed these mysteries to everyone instead of just the apostles as this text clearly points out.

    Please deal with my arguments.

    You still haven't mentioned anything about the "dispensation of Grace" in verse 2.

    Or Paul's unique "effectual calling" in verse 7, both of which are in the context of showing his apostolic authority to his audience.

    No, if you have read through my posts "START OVER" you would see that I have answered everyones question concerning other texts but it is difficult to keep focused on the issue at hand when people play the bait and switch game.

    When someone doesn't want to deal with an argument they have a tendency to change the direction by putting the focus on other issues. I'm trying to avoid that confusion. I'm really trying to be nice to you Npetreley but you're testing my patience.

    Maybe it needs some testing. [​IMG]

    God Bless,
    Bro. Bill
     
  19. sturgman

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    Bro Bill, I still state that Eph 1 is a moot point. You never addressed this. It doesn't say that if Paul is spekaing only of the apostles that that makes them elect and not everyone else. If we say for arguements sake, that you are right, how does this prove your arguement that all saints are not elect? I don't see that it does. And you have not proven that.
     
  20. npetreley

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    Okay, let's look at Ephesians 1:9

    It is you who have failed to connect the passages. Ephesians says that God made the mystery known. Is that what Paul is referring to when he says "briefly written already"? Maybe. It seems more likely that Paul is referring to Ephesians 2, because that deals with what is revealed, and not just a generic statement that says something has been revealed.

    It's even possible Paul was referring to both 1:9 and chapter 2, since it's all interrelated. So what?

    Yes, he's saying the mystery of the inclusion of the Gentiles was made known to the apostles and prophets.

    I can see why the details are a distraction for your agenda.

    Strictly speaking, Paul says it was given to the apostles and prophets, not just the apostles. He also says that in other ages it was not made known to the sons of men.

    First of all, I don't recall communicating any assumptions about Ephesians 1:9. But as to your assumption that God revealed these mysteries only to the apostles (and I assume you'll concede the prophets, too):

    Psst... Don't look now, but I think that Paul, speaking by the Holy Spirit just let the cat out of the bag regarding this mystery. So much for God revealing it only to the apostles.

    Make some rational ones.

    Yes I did, I simply didn't address those words. The whole context is about Paul explaining how the Gospel has come to the Gentiles, and is here talking about his role in that process. So what?

    It says nothing about effectual calling with respect to salvation. He's saying he was called to preach to the Gentiles. This is precisely why you are desperate to avoid the context of the mystery - it obliterates your contrived fantasy about what these verses mean. Verse 7 in context:

    Whoops! By quoting it, I accidentally let the mystery out of the bag again, and it has now gone out to even more people than just the apostles and prophets. Sorry!

    You should know, Mr. "Don't confuse me with the point of the passage, I want to prove it means something else."

    No, when someone is trying to make the scriptures say something other than what they truly say, we have a tendency to point to the same scriptures, and show the context illustrating why you are abusing the text.
     

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