Teaching through Romans

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by StefanM, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. StefanM

    StefanM
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    Yikes.

    Teaching through the book of Romans can be hazardous to your health!

    Anyway, I was teaching from Romans 8 tonight, continuing in our series on the book. I thought (and I still think) that concerning election and predestination I should present both sides (Calvinist/Arminian)of the debate faithfully.

    Things I did (with theological terminology I didn't necessarily use at church):

    1) I mentioned that "προεγνω" in Romans 8:29 doesn't mean mere knowledge of a future occurence. I noted that it carries nuances of "choosing" (cf. 1 Pet 1:20). I stated that this doesn't require unconditional election, but it reinforces the idea of believers as the chosen people of God.

    2) (on a bit of a tangent . . .) I made the case that adults who die without hearing the gospel are lost. I used this to counter the anti-Calvinist, "it's not fair" argument. When encountered with the notion that perhaps those who die without hearing the gospel have yet to reach the "age of accountability"

    3) I did state that the OT and the NT both emphasize the personal responsibility.

    4) I brought through the argument from earlier in Romans that people are "without excuse," advocating the position that it is not that they were without excuse with respect to rejecting or accepting Christ, but that they were without excuse for their sinful behavior.

    5) I also cited the NT example of John the Baptist being indwelled with the Spirit from birth, comparing with Romans 8:9-10 to demonstrate that he was saved. I spoke that my personal belief is that this instance is exceptional rather than normative. I used this to show that not 100% of the people who have the Spirit started out that way by an act of their will, showing that while the Calvinist perspective has merit on this issue, I disagree with the extent of it.

    6) I agreed with the notion that God does not desire anyone to perish. I brought up the truth that both Calvinism and Arminianism have the same problem --people go to hell. I noted that in either scenario, God, for whatever reason, allowed a significant number of people to go hell.

    ----------
    Now, I'm not a Calvinist.

    I just tried to present the issue fairly and irenically. I just pray everything turns out ok.

    Hopefully, I won't get fired! [​IMG]
     
  2. NateT

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    Stefan, as a former laymember, and future pastor, I thank you for taking that approach.

    I am more of a calvinist than not, but before we came to seminary, we had a member tell the pastor "I have a hard time figuring out what to do with predestination." The pastor's response (in a wednesday night study) said "Oh, don't worry about it." She replied, "Well isn't it in the Bible" at which time he gave some fluff answer.

    After I thought about that for some time, I thought how I don't want to do that as a pastor, because now that lady will probably ignore the "predestination" passages, rather than seriously studying them, and trying to decide what they mean.

    The only critical comment I have is that if you were REALLY teaching on C and A you would be a Calvinist :D
     
  3. Joanna

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    Just a note on Rom.8:29 - in Scripture the word foreknow or foreknew is always used in connection with persons not their actions.
     
  4. ascund

    ascund
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    Hey StefanM and NateT

    You both miss critical features of theology. I suggest you read this link:
    http://www.faithalone.org/journal/2003ii/badger.html

    I embrace neither the Calvinist nor Arminian errors. In fairness, it is more likely that a Calvinist is truly saved than a Christ-denying Arminian. God's Word is so powerful that it saves in spite of serious theological goofs.

    The majority of the definitions of proginoskoo are theology driven. Read only the NT times part of definitions in TDNT - and then read that section with care.

    Lloyd
     
  5. StefanM

    StefanM
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    I'm not a Arminian, either.
     
  6. dale kesterson

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    Let me have a say in this matter of "foreknowledge" (proginōskō) if you will heed my worthless advice [​IMG]

    First, we must understand the Bible definition of the word "know" (ginōskō) as meaning to know one to a point of intimacy. One may know his wife more intimate than others because, ideally, she has nothing to hide from him. Adam was naked when created, but when he sinned, he felt the need to hide/conceal his nakedness. I will never know one as well as I know my wife. Before you start saying, "ewww, this is God we are talking about", I am stating this in the spiritual sense of knowing and loving as opposed to the sexual sense. When we come to know God, we give Him our all and desire no other. We find in him no blame and open up our shame to him for forgiveness and obedience:

    And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be since I do not know a man?" (Luk 1:34 ALT)

    Mary was betrothed to be married and I am sure she knew many men, but this knowledge (ginōsko)̄ brings the knowledge to another level.

    according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1Pe 1:2 ESV)

    Some say foreknowledge is knowing before it happens who will come to Christ, but it is not consistent with the Biblical use of ginōskō. To know is to know intimately.

    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 among many brothers. (Rom 8:29 ESV)

    Those God loved before the foundation of the world, he planned to save by imputing the righteousness of His Son os that they, too, could be called children of God.

    On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' (Mat 7:22-23 ESV)

    Not all are known/loved by God. The word in v23 is "never" (oudepote); not ever from the foundation of the world.

    But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity." (2Ti 2:19 ESV)

    This may sounds harsh to some, I am sure, but this is not my words, they are breathed of God and my God does no wrong. As for me, I will proclaim the way to salvation to everyone I know. Some will come; many will not but I will never cease to point to Christ and Him crucified. If I ever suspect one is not elect, not matter how sinful he/she is, may God discipline me. In the same way, may an Arminian never suspect a person is beyond salvation.

    In Christ alone,

    dale
     
  7. BobRyan

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    You should have started with something like Romans 2.
     
  8. whatever

    whatever
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    Typical Arminian. A Calvinist would start at the beginning and go all the way through.
     
  9. BobRyan

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    I like starting at the beginning of the book and going forward.

    I am funny like that.

    The points in the OP seem to have forgotten chapter 2 - by the time chapter 8 rolls around.

    Pretty interesting.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  10. BobRyan

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    Probably - although it would have been nice to have read Romans 2:13-16 before you got to guessing about that in Romans 8.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  11. StefanM

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  12. dale kesterson

    dale kesterson
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    Bob, Why start at 2:13? I believe the 12th verse is instructional in understanding 13-16. But then, Romans is pretty systematic so I think Stefan did right in starting at 1:1.

    I also believe he earnestly sought the Truth and was not "guessing".

    Love in the lamb,

    dale
     
  13. BobRyan

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    1:1 is great.

    But the issues seem to stem from chapter 8 without reference to 2.

    As I said - a little attention to 2:11-16 would have been useful at the point of those questions in 8 that were directed more at the subject addressed in 2 (the subject of the salvation of someone that did not have access to the Word of God).

    Obviously.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  14. StefanM

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    I agree with dale that 2:12 is quite important in understanding this topic.

    Of course, then include this:

    Rom 10:13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
    Rom 10:14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
    Rom 10:15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"
    Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?"
    Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    -------------

    Did I quote the passage from Romans 2? No, but I did allude to it in the lesson, and my allusion probably wasn't along the lines of BobRyan's implied argument.

    I could read Romans 2 all day, but I still wouldn't see anything that argues for salvation apart from believing in the gospel after hearing the word.

    To use legal terms:

    There may not be proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but I definitely think that the position that those without the gospel are lost carries the preponderance of the evidence.
     
  15. BobRyan

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    Romans 2 actually deals with the impartiality of God wrt to Jews and Gentiles, those who have the bible and those who do not. (this means it addresses everyone - the saved and the unsaved) all come from either the group that has the bible or the group that does not. All come from either the Jews or the non-Jews. This is a globally applicable chapter. And it starts with the call to repentance (and there for confession and forgiveness).

    Now to this point we have had introduced the subject of God's infallible judgment and contrasted it to man's faulty judgment.

    Vs 4 shows us that the mercy - kindness - grace leads us to repent. This chapter starts with the Gospel basics of God's offer to grant repentance and that all need to repent.

    Note: The Context for Romans 2 is STARTING with judgment, AND of the mercy of God that leads to repentance.

    Let's continue letting the scripture speak for itself;

    Paul is adamant that there is a future judgment “according to deeds”. Paul here identifies the “impartial” basis of God’s judgment. Instead of His simply “arbitrarily selecting” some to favor and others to ignore – ALL are judged according to deeds IN the context of the “call to repentance” of vs 4.

    He speaks of this again in 2Cor 5 talking about future judgment and judged based on deeds “whether they be good or evil”.

    Notice that in these first 6 verses we have an Arminian-style motivation - not to engage in man's faulty judgment of others. And there is no sense or expectation that this sin is not to stop or just to continue because we are totally depraved. Rather the argument is to stop.

    Romans 2 - if this chapter is only about the failing case, only about the wrath of God - then we will not find success, mercy, reward but only condemnation, wrath, punishment. Let's now let the text reveal which way it will go.
    Here is the “succeeding case” explicitly listed by Paul. And it is in the context of God - leading to repentance. We also have the people of God - persevering, doing good and seeking glory and honor. What is the result? The text says immortality and eternal life.

    Some have supposed that a “judgment” that is impartial as Paul points to in vs 6 and 11 must “only have failing cases”. But Paul shows in vs 7 that such is not the case. The “Good News” does not require God to arbitrarily be “partial to the FEW of Matt 7” as some have supposed. Rather it allows for God to be “impartial” and to SAVE mankind on that basis!

    The “Failing case”: Clearly a contrast is being introduced "but to those who are selfish" - contrasted with what? Those who repent, seek eternal glory and honor and persevere. Persevere in what?

    You must be on the right path to be approved in perseveringly staying on the right path. It is obvious I know, but worth noting.

    So God has now contrasted the good and the wicked, those who persevere on the right path and those who are not even on it.

    We already know that in the judgment there are two classes - those that receive immortality and those that do not. If it is not clear to us by now that this chapter is dealing with both classes - we need to engage in some remedial reading comprehension.
    At this point Paul seems to ask that we "be not deceived" into thinking that some can do evil but find "preferred treatment" because God will “favor the few over the many”. He does not let us suppose that others are lost for doing evil while the “favored” ones do evil and go to heaven. Rather Paul argues that God has called all to repentance and all must comply - there will be no preferred treatment based on status (or magic phrase) allowing some of the rebels in.

    But basic to Paul’s solution is the affirmation that God is NOT partial when it comes to the Gospel – when it comes to Salvation. That means that He is NOT favoring the “few” of Matt 7 over the “many” so that He can save the “Few”. Rather – impartiality demands that ALL be given the same salvation-sequence. ALL have the Holy Spirit convicting of sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8) and ALL have the Drawing of God (John 12:32) and ALL have the Lord Jesus Christ standing at the door and knocking – and ALL have the SAME promise of the New Covenant that “changes the TREE itself” Matt 7 and writes the Law of God on the heart (Heb 8).

    Rather than simply “favoring some over others” the system defined above is “impartial” as God HIMSELF is “Impartial”. This Gospel truth was a huge problem for the Jews and is a big problem for Calvinism.
     
  16. BobRyan

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    No Partiality – for Christians –

    God shows no partiality between unsaved people. (Unsaved Jews vs Unsaved Gentiles)
    Acts 10:34
    [ Gentiles Hear Good News ] Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,

    God shows no partiality in determining who goes to heaven – who is justified.
    Romans 2:11
    For there is no partiality with God.
    Romans 2:10-12 (in Context) Romans 2 (Whole Chapter)

    No partiality in God between believers.
    Ephesians 6:9
    And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

    We are to SHOW no partiality.
    1 Timothy 5:21
    I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.
    James 2:1
    [ The Sin of Partiality ] My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.


    Many are reading that section above for the first time – with eyes open to details.

    Notice the "text" perhaps for the first time – as it speaks about our IMPARTIAL God whose process of judging in the matter of salvation (and IN the context of the call to repentance (Rom 2:4)) "results" in some saved and some lost JUST as He describes IN Romans 2...

    Let "the text" speak.

    #1. Romans 2 provides BOTH successful and failing cases for BOTH Jews and Gentiles.

    #2. Romans 2 SAYS they are ALL judged based on DEEDS and the RESULT of that impartial judgment is that SOME fail and some succeed.

    This is devastating to Calvinism.

    #3. Romans 3 is IN the GOSPEL CONTEXT of the kindness and goodness of God - and the call to repentance.

    This means that WITHIN the Gospel scenario there IS impartial JUDGMENT that results in SOME having eternal life and some not.

    #4. Paul declares that the JUDGMENT is "according to my gospel". The judgment he speaks of is part of the Gospe.

    #5. The Judgment results in "JUSTIFICATION" according to the text. It does not simply happen in a Gospel VOID where ALL those judged are condemned because of course - ALL are sinners.

    #6. The DEEDS mentioned are the same FRUITs of MAtt 7 that Christ shows as "determining" outcoming.

    #7 The ENTIRE thing is said to occur in an impartial manner and is GUARANTEED to be impartial because GOD HIMSELF is impartial when it comes to salvation according to Rom 2:11

    The "obvious" point in both Romans 2 and Matt 7 is that it is NOT a scenario where God "arbitrarily selects out from among the doomed a few to FAVOR".

    Both texts are going out of their way to START within the context of the Gospel and to SHOW that in that context of the goodness of God as our Father - and the call to repentance and forgiveness - WE HAVE a judgment of "deeds" where some fail and some pass.

    It is NOT the more "general" case of Romans 3 where ALL are condemned WITHOUT the need for a "future judgment" since ALL have sinned.

    Why treat ALL in this way?

    ANSWER: Because "God is not partial"??


    How then does Calvinism accept this chapter?

    ANSWER: It does not.
     
  17. BobRyan

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    Interesting that there are two different systems – one to address those who HAVE scripture and one to address those who do not. But BOTH having the potential outcome of loss or salvation. To this point Paul presents BOTH failing cases AND successful cases.

    Paul appears to be in harmony with Christ here as Christ said that those who knew there master's will and did it not receive many lashes but those that did not know the master's will and yet did deeds worthy of punishment - receive few
    Notice that Christ does not assume everyone goes to hell (both those who KNEW the Bible and those who did not) anymore than Paul would make such an absurd statement in Romans 2. Rather the chapter is in context with the call for repentance as noted at the start.


    Having shown us both the group that in the future obtain immortality and the group that in the future suffer the wrath after the future judgment of God - Paul now sums it up - the justification that is future will be for the doers and not for those who are proven to be merely hearers. The test is the same Matt 7 indicator “NOT everyone who SAYS Lord Lord – but he who DOES” for the good tree produces good fruit.

    This is not a fact that Paul then goes on to deny in the rest of the book of Romans. Rather he continues to strongly endorse it (note particularly Romans 6). John McAarthur did an excellent series on this point - titled "the power over sin".

    Paul now continues with the succeeding case! Yes that is right! His argument works and he gives a very simple proving case.
    There actually were Gentiles that really did not have the Law of God! That is very important to understand. And there were those who did instinctively the things of the Law showing it was written on their heart!! Wow! So that means Paul really was right!

    Even more interesting is the fact that this terminology regarding "the Law written on the heart" is new covenant terminology. Heb 8, 2Cor 3!!! Yes indeed we have the succeeding case as well as the failing case made in this non-myopic chapter of God's infallible word.

    wow! Apparently the infallible word is telling us that it is gospel - good news that a future judgment, where the Gentiles are shown to be doers of the Law and not merely hearers only, is coming. A future Christ centered judgment!! What a Christ-centered gospel Paul has in this chapter!!

    2Cor 5:10
     
  18. BobRyan

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    Notice the contrast between those that repent and persevere in doing good, and those that cause God's name to be blasphemed! It is a contrast based on what they “practice” relative to the Ten Commandments from which Paul quotes.

    This is not a chapter claiming that all Jews cause God to be blasphemed. It is not a chapter declaring that all Jews have not repented. (Paul and the Apostles are Jews) It is not a chapter declaring that no Jews are saved in the judgment.

    Rather it points to both the rebellion blasphemer on the one hand and the persevering and repentant on the other.
     
  19. whatever

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    Dear Bob,

    For someone who supposedly lets the Scriptures speak for themselves, you sure do talk a lot.

    Your friend,

    whatever
     
  20. BobRyan

    BobRyan
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    And then there are those who avoid the text altogether because they know that simply posting "what they wish had been written" suites their case better.

    I would rather quote the text and SHOW how Arminianism fits what IT says!

    Calvinists do that same thing when they get to a text that has few Calvinist-debunking sections in it.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     

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