Romans 9: Comparing and Contrasting Views...

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    The Calvinistic View:

    • Paul begins by agonizing over the failure of Israel to come to salvation through faith in Christ (9:1-5).

    • Paul’s solution is that not all of Israel is Israel; i.e., not all of Israel is elect (v. 6).

    • Paul demonstrates God’s prerogative to elect whomever he wills by having elected Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau (vv. 7-13).

    • God has mercy only on those whom he chooses to have mercy, and hardens the rest, as exemplified by Pharaoh (vv. 14-18).
    • At this point, Paul hypothesizes a questioner who articulates the Arminian contention: if God has chosen to harden someone like Pharaoh, how can God then judge him for what he was predestined to do (v. 19)?

    • Paul rebukes the questioner for impiety, and uses the potter-clay illustration to reiterate that God has the right to elect some and reprobate some as he deems fit (vv. 20-21).
    • Paul then adds, as a supporting argument, the fact that when God chooses to reprobate someone like Pharaoh, he has to bear patiently their sin and arrogance, but does so, in order to demonstrate his glory to his elect, which turn out to be among the Gentiles as well as among the Jews (vv. 22-24).
    • He thus brings the discussion back to the issue of Jewish unbelief in Christ, from which his discussion of election has been an excursus. From that point, the rest of the chapter is interpreted with regard to the Jew-Gentile question and salvation by faith, as opposed to works, without explicit reference to election (vv. 25-33).

    In the next post, I'll present the Arminian interpretation for comparison and contrast.
     
  2. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    The Arminian View:

    • It begins, as before, with Paul agonizing over the failure of Israel to come to faith in Christ (vv. 1-5).

    • He has to confront the Jewish objection that, if his gospel were correct, it would mean that God’s promises to the Jews had failed. His response is that God’s promises have not failed, but others are inheriting the promises, because not all of Israel is Israel: i.e., not all of Israel has followed Abraham in faith (v. 6).

    • Ethnic descent from Abraham is not enough to be considered “Abraham’s children,” as the examples of Ishmael and Esau demonstrate; Israel has already been granted unmerited blessings as compared with other descendants of Abraham (vv. 7-13).

    • Therefore God is not unjust if he now excludes those descendants of Jacob who do not come to faith, because anyone he blesses, even Moses, is a recipient of his mercy (vv. 14-16).

    • God may choose to spare for a time even someone like Pharaoh, whom God has chosen to harden—knowing that he will harden himself in response to God’s challenge—in order for God to glorify himself through that person, who can be viewed as both an example of God’s mercy and hardening (vv. 17-18).

    • The implication is therefore that the Jews have been given mercy in the past but are not guaranteed mercy in the future if they do not come to faith in Christ. The hypothetical questioner asks why God still blames the Jews, if He has hardened them (v. 19), refusing to recognize that the Jews are hardened just as Pharaoh was hardened, by their own stubborn refusal to repent. Paul therefore rebukes them, and uses the potter-clay illustration to point out that God has always dealt with Israel on the basis of its repentance, and it is only those who refuse to repent who argue back to God that he made them as they are (vv. 20-21).

    • Paul then points out that God has to bear patiently the “objects of his wrath”—the unbelieving—in order to make his glory known to the “objects of his mercy”—those who come to faith, which he specifically identifies as having come not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles (vv. 22-24).

    • The supporting quotations from Hosea and Isaiah make clear the point: that many of those whom the Jews had considered excluded from the covenant (the Gentiles) would in the end be included, while many whom the Jews had considered included in the covenant (themselves) would be excluded (vv. 25-29).
    • The basis upon which Gentiles have been included and Jews excluded is made explicit in vv. 30-33: it is that the Gentiles are obtaining righteousness through faith, while the Jews have pursued it by works.


    In essence, Paul is telling ethnic Israel something very close to what Reformed interpreters see. He is telling them that God has the right to choose whomever he wills to be among his covenant people. But he is not telling them this because God has chosen not to elect most of them. He’s telling them this because the paradigm for inclusion in the covenant people has shifted, from national Israel following the Law to anyone who comes to faith in Christ. Israel feels betrayed by this paradigm shift, so Paul explains that God has no obligation to the physical descendants of Abraham; rather, Paul demonstrates from the Old Testament that his relationship to Israel has always depended upon repentance. (reference for both this and the OP is found HERE>>>> with edits)
     
  3. Van

    Van
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    Pretty good effort to present the issues. But I do not agree with the idea that the paradigm shifted from national Israel following the Law to anyone who believes the gospel. No one was justified by the Law, all the OT saints obtained approval not through works, i.e. following the Law, but by faith in God and His promises. The whole idea is God's covenant was not based on ethnic relationship, but on faith. This is the stumbling block for the Jews in Paul's time, they just do not get it that they must be born again. Their bloodline gets them nothing.
     
  4. quantumfaith

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    Van, isnt that sort of the point, the Israelites had turned it into a "system of works" and merit, not to mention pride they held for themselves being the chosen ones. An honest question, not smart rhetoric.
     
  5. convicted1

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    Furthermore, didn't the office of High Priest become just that, an "office", where the High Priest became elected by the populace, and not set up by God?
     
  6. Van

    Van
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    Reply to QF

    Not sure what you are alluding to? Are you saying the paradigm of the Jews held a mistaken understanding of the Old Covenant, thinking it was based on bloodline and works, rather than belief in the promises of God? That is true.

    However, "the paradigm for inclusion in the covenant people has shifted, from national Israel following the Law" suggests that that view had been valid in the past. That view misses the point of Romans 9.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    A view of inclusion, whether perceived or actual, is certainly being addressed and shifted; but I agree that faith has always been the true means of inclusion. I think that is why the word "paradigm" was employed, as it addresses an incorrect "worldview" held to be orthodox in that day. Does that clear things up a bit?
     
  8. Van

    Van
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    If what is being said is the perceived view of inclusion into the Covenant people is being corrected by Paul in Romans 9 from a bloodline and works paradigm to a faith in the promises of God paradigm, then as I said, that is true.
     
  9. quantumfaith

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    Van, I am certainly not as theologically sophisticated as yourself and many others, what I mean is that over time the Jews (God's elected people, to be missionaries and emissaries to the world) had corrupted the intent and purpose of law into relating to God by merit (being jewish) and works (fulfilling the minutia of the law). Whereas God desires our heart (and faith) and it was never His intention for the Jews to take on the prideful posture of exclusivism.
     
  10. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    You know, with all of glfredricks call for a positive expression of non-Calvinists views I'd think he might want to engage with this thread???
     
  11. Van

    Van
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    The corporate election of Israel was for God's purpose. We can dispute His purpose for His election, or we can dispute His method for including individuals in His corporately elected group, i.e. bloodline and works or faith in the promises of God.

    I have said God's method for inclusion into His chosen people, individual election based on faith, applied to both His corporate election for the purpose of redemption before the foundation of the world, and His corporate election of Israel to fulfill a part of that Redemption plan.

    I expect you meant complex or completely thought through theology as opposed to a worldly based theology by the use of the word sophisticated. No, my theology is not sophisticated, rather I have the most natural simple theology on the board, I believe in what the Bible actually says.
     
    #11 Van, Feb 2, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2012
  12. Van

    Van
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    Remember what the good Berean's did, they checked what was being presented with God's word. Lets say I say God put invisible pink elephants in orbit around Mars. And you go and check scriptures and cannot find the passage where it says God did that. I respond, you cannot prove He didn't, scripture does not say He didn't and it says whatever is in orbit around Mars, God did it, but He put everything in the heavens. So you conclude, trusting in what the Bible does not preclude is ill advised, any well studied invention of men would pass that standard.

    Next, lets say you did find a verse [for the sake of argument] that said God did not put invisible pink elephants in orbit around Mars. I say, have faith, God is incomprehensible, so He both put them in orbit and He did not put them in orbit. Only those with faith can accept this great mystery. What would you do, start warming the tar and looking for feathers?
     
    #12 Van, Feb 2, 2012
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