Two Interpretations of 2 Thess. 2:13-14

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by Protestant, Oct 10, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Protestant

    Protestant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    953
    Likes Received:
    63
    I ask the reader to decide for oneself which interpretation is correct.

    “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NKJV)​

    Interpretation # 1:

    Paul is thanking the Thessalonians for what they did that caused God to love them and choose [elect] them for salvation.

    God’s choice was made due to His foreknowledge of their choosing Christ when the Gospel was preached to them.

    They first believed the truth of the Gospel, after which God then sent His Spirit to regenerate them.

    They will attain heavenly glory if they allow the Spirit to continue to sanctify them during their lifetime.

    Paul wrote this that they might know the truth as to how they became Christians and how they might stay Christians.

    In other words, they have every right to share the glory of their salvation with the Lord.

    Interpretation # 2:

    Paul is thanking God, not the Thessalonians, for their election to salvation.

    He understands that the idolatrous, pagan Thessalonians did not come to faith due to their own efforts, whether good use of ‘free will,’ or a disposition toward holiness.

    Rather, he understands they were living in absolute spiritual darkness, worshipping devils, not seeking the true God.

    But God, in eternity, out of love, decided, purposed, decreed to have mercy upon them, knowing that they, as sinners fallen in Adam, would neither seek nor desire Him.

    So God predestined them to salvation before they were born, before they could attempt to merit salvation (which they would not and could not).

    This He did first through the means of calling by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Paul acknowledges their calling consisted not only in the preaching of the Word, but in the sanctifying, regenerating power of the Spirit who effectively gave them the gracious gift of faith by which they believed the truth.

    Thus, through the sanctifying power of the Spirit which cannot fail, they will continue in saving faith until they are united with Christ in glory.

    Paul wrote this that they might know the truth as to how they became Christians as well as how they will stay Christians.

    In other words, all the glory belongs to God alone.
     
  2. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    May I offer a third and much more viable option than the two you provided?
     
  3. InTheLight

    InTheLight
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    16,267
    Likes Received:
    619
    You offer a magician's choice, otherwise known as a false choice. That is, you give choices that no one would choose or else when someone makes a choice you will go the other way.

    Example: Suppose there are three piles of cards on the table. For the magician's trick to work it requires that he ends up with pile #3. The magician asks, "Point to a pile".

    If you point to pile #1 or pile #2, the magician will remove it. He will then repeat the process. This time if you point to pile #3, he will remove the other pile. Or if you point to any pile other than #3, he will remove it.

    If you point to pile #3 to begin with, he will remove pile #1 and pile #2.

    In this way it appears that you had a hand in selecting pile #3, but in reality the magician manipulated the choices so you would end up with pile #3.
     
  4. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,517
    Likes Received:
    1
    I elect to support Interpretation #2.
     
  5. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    If those were actually the only two options, which I used to also believe, then I would too. That is why I opted for Calvinism for so long. I was unaware of the more viable non-Calvinistic options and relegated all opponents as supporters of this so-called "foresight faith view." This common mistake is what I believe accounts for the Calvinistic resurgence we are seeing among the younger believers. When presented with these options, most would opt for the latter over the former, but why not honestly vet all viable options?
     
  6. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    13,381
    Likes Received:
    728
    Skandelon;

    whenever someone is in error..then they move the goal post
    This exist only in the minds of those who turn away from truth...you say this as Does the false Roger Olsen types...who are easily refuted.

    Most hold this false idea...
    many are discontent with the fluff being offered..they study themselves into the truth and seek out where it is being taught.

    there really are none in scripture anyway...in philosophy or new age ideas...but not in scripture.
     
  7. Winman

    Winman
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,768
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is a ridiculous view, the verse is clearly thanking God, not the Thessalonians.

    13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

    This is a strawman argument, no one believes Paul is thanking the Thessalonians. This is a dishonest form of argument, you are putting words in people's mouths that they never said.

    Correct, one of the criteria was God chose the Thessalonians through belief of the truth.

    Correct, you cannot be regenerated or quickened until your sins are forgiven (Col 2:13), and you must first believe to be justified or forgiven your sins.

    They will go to heaven even if they grieve the Spirit. If Christians could not grieve the Spirit, there would be no need to command Christians not to grieve the Spirit.

    Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

    Note that even if you disobey and grieve the Spirit, you are still sealed unto the day of redemption.

    I don't know how you get this out of 2 The 2:13, maybe you can explain how you get this interpretation out of this verse, I am not seeing it.

    It says no such thing, and no non-Cal believes this.

    Suppose I was having fainting spells and getting terrific headaches. I go to a doctor and he tells me I have a large tumor that is going to kill me within a month unless I allow him to operate. I am convinced the doctor is telling me the truth and that he is an outstanding surgeon who can help me. I show up at the hospital on the appointed day, they shave my head and put me to sleep. The doctor operates and removes the tumor from my brain. I make a complete recovery.

    Now, this sort of thing happens all the time. Have you EVER known of any person who took credit for saving themselves in such a situation? :laugh:

    The word of God convinces and convicts us that we are sinners who will perish in our sin, but that God loved us and gave his Son Jesus to die for our sins, and that if we trust Jesus he will save us. The fact that we believe God and trust Jesus is no reason to boast of ourselves. The only one who deserves glory is God and Jesus Christ for dying for us.

    You invent strawman arguments against non-Cals that does not represent what they truly believe. It is a form of dishonest argument you have learned from other Calvinists.

    We thank God that he chose whom he foresaw would believe the truth. We could not have believed this truth unless God had revealed it to us by the word of God and Holy Spirit enlightenment and conviction. That is why 2 The 2:13 first mentions "through sanctification of the Spirit". That is God's part in salvation, he enlightens (John 6:45) and convicts us through his word and Spirit. Only afterward are we enabled to believe the truth, this is man's part in salvation. But we could not have believed without God first revealing the gospel to us.
     
  8. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    :laugh::laugh:
     
  9. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Someone should have told Augustine that years ago! :laugh:
     
  10. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    A lot of words to obscure the obvious.


    1) We give thanks to God means giving thanks to God. So point 1 in interpretation 1 is bogus. Why obscure the truth?
    2) God’s foreknowledge of faith is no where in the verse, no need to “interpret” i.e. add it in.
    3) No where in the verse does it say they first believed, nor does it say they believed because they where exposed to the revelatory grace of the gospel. The issue is not addressed.
    4) Point four is likewise bogus, not mentioned in the verse. More obfuscation.
    5) Paul wrote this to tell the Thessalonians they have been chosen by God through sanctification by the Spirit (setting them apart in Christ) and the choice was through faith in the truth.
    6) No where in the verse is found any support for the Thessalonians meriting election.
    Thus, interpretation #1 is completely bogus.​

    Now lets look at interpretation #2:

    1) Paul is thanking God, spot on.
    2) Point 2 of interpretation 2 is bogus and simply and gratuitously added in.
    3) Ditto for point 3 of interpretation 2.
    4) No mention of God doing anything in eternity, but God’s choice of Thessalonians was through their faith in the truth during their lifetime. Again, no mention is made of their not seeking God, rather they had “faith in the truth.”
    5) No mention of predestination before they were born, or predestination period in the verse. More obfuscation, interpreting what is not in the text as in the text.
    6) Seeking God and putting faith in Christ does not “merit” salvation. God has mercy on whom He has mercy and His choice of individuals whose faith He credits as righteousness it totally an act of God’s mercy.
    7) Point 7 is likewise bogus, never mentioned and gratuitously added. It says God’s choice of them for salvation was through the sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
    8) The Sanctification in view is a one time setting apart, being placed in Christ, not a process of maturing once in Christ.
    9) Nothing is mentioned in the verse concerning staying Christians, but clearly the setting apart in Christ was through the sovereign power of God and they played no part in becoming Christians.
    10) Yes, all the glory of salvation belongs to God alone. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 makes that clear.​
    Clearly neither “interpretation” is an actual effort to understand the verse.

    Here is an actual interpretation based on what is actually said in the passage:

    1) We give thanks to God for your salvation.
    2) The chosen brethren are “beloved by God.”
    3) God chose them “from the beginning.” But what is being referred to as the beginning. Creation? Possible, but since they were chosen through faith, i.e. during their lifetime, the beginning appears to refer to the beginning of the New Covenant. Clearly they were not chosen “before” the beginning, i.e. before the foundation of the world. They were chosen during the time span after the beginning of something.
    4) The Thessalonians were chosen for salvation.
    5) They were chosen through sanctification by the Spirit. To be chosen is to be set apart for a purpose, and thus they were set apart for salvation.
    6) They were chosen through faith in the truth. Thus they had faith before they were chosen, and therefore they had been called by our gospel.​
    This verse makes it clear our individual election for salvation is conditional, i.e. through faith in the truth. Thus Calvinism must offer endless efforts at obfuscation.
     
    #10 Van, Oct 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2013
  11. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,114
    Likes Received:
    52
    Would say that God did not choose to use that "foresight/foreknowlede" option, as it was NOT a viable one, due to the truth of us being sinners, and not able to freely respond to Jesus and get saved!
     
  12. Protestant

    Protestant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    953
    Likes Received:
    63
    Please do.

    But I would respectfully request that you provide 2-3 other authoritative witnesses throughout the annals of Church history who agree with you. Please provide references for your sources. "In the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses shall every word be established." (2 Cor.13:1b)

    I request this so that by it we can be assured that it is no new doctrine of which the Lord warns us: "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines." (Hebrews 13:9a)
     
  13. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Paul is known as the 'apostle to the Gentiles,' right? Most of the churches he established were primarily Gentile congregations. The major issue that Paul often addresses is that caused by the Judizers, who are denying that the Gentiles are chosen of God, or if they are to be accepted they have to become Jewish first.

    In that day, the "spiritual authorities" are concerned about the very same thing you are concerned about in your post above...some new doctrine that isn't established by God. So, what is Paul attempting to argue? That his teaching is not new, but is established in the OT, and that it has been God's plan all along to choose the Gentiles....

    Are we in agreement thus far?
     
  14. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know it is difficult to see a passage from a different perspective when you have become so accustom to reading it from your own perspective, so let's use an analogy to gain a different perspective:

    Pretend with me that we live before the Civil War and we are all slave owners. We have been taught wrongly that black people are not real people, just property. We, therefore, have concluded that God has no place for them to be saved. In our minds, they are no different than animals. (Of course, this thinking is abhorrent, and rightly so, but some held to this belief in those days, so please stay with me on the point of the analogy)

    Now, you, are a respected pastor in the community and all of your pastor friends and mentors believe as you do that blacks are not apart of God's covenant. In fact, you think they are not worthy of God's attention any more so than a dog. This is how you were raised to think as was everyone around you.

    One day, God blinds you while walking down the road (like He did Paul) or speaks to you in a vivid dream (like He did Peter) and tells you that your views about black people are wrong and that God loves them and wants them to be a part of His covenant just like white people, He tells you that it has been his plan all along to choose them. At first your flesh objects saying, "What not those dirty slaves, surely not, you have only chosen us Lord." But God convinces you that his love for them is as real as his love for you and that it has ALWAYS been His plan from the very beginning to save the black people.

    Then God calls you to preach to blacks and convince the whites that your ministry is really from God. Difficult job. Now, you can relate to Paul's dilemma with regard to the Gentiles.

    Continuing in our analogy; you become know as the "preacher to the blacks" and you are not very popular at all. In fact, the whites argue that blacks aren't deserving of entrance into God's covenant and they beat you and even throw you in prison many times. But you argue, "God can show mercy on whom ever he wants!" And when you write to the black churches that you started you say things like, "I thank God that He has chosen you from the beginning," because people all around you keep telling them they have not been chosen by God. Even those whites who do believe you are trying to get the blacks to cover their dark skin or paint over it so they can become like the whites and you have to continually defend them.

    I know this is just an analogy and all analogies fall short, but hopefully this one provides some perspective as to why Paul says some of the things he says. Such as, "I praise God that he has chosen you from the foundation of the world..." etc... We have to be careful not to confuse what God is choosing.

    1. He chose Israel (i.e. the white people in the analogy) to receive God's revelation first

    2. He chose the Remnant (white people who preached to the blacks) to take the message of reconciliation to the whole world...to your own people first (who are blinded) and then to the blacks, who will listen. (ref Acts 28:28)

    3. He chose the whole world ("every creature") to receive the invitation to come to faith and repentance through Jesus Christ.

    I believe Calvinists make the mistake of taking verses that are in reference to God's choice of these three things and misapply them to their view of the unconditional election and irresistible call of a select few to the neglect of all others.
     
  15. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    No such theory existed! Never in the history of Judaism did the Jews ever deny Gentiles as being chosen of God to salvation. Jesus told the Pharisees they compassed sea and land to make one proselyte. Rahab the harlot and Ruth were well known chosen of God gentiles. The Judaizers never disputed the choice of Gentiles by God but only disputed they could be saved without becoming Jews through circumcision.

    You are simply manufacturing rediculous interpetations that you cannot verify by any reputable scholars.
     
  16. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    And why do you think they believed that a Gentile had to convert to Judaism before being saved if indeed Jews never denied that Gentiles were elect of God?
     
  17. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    14,185
    Likes Received:
    207
    This analogy is rediculous! It has no Biblical basis whatsoever but purely imaginary in all of its details. The Jews believed that God only chose Israel AS A NATION but never disputed individual election of Gentiles to salvation. Rahab the Harlot, Ruth were not merely well known examples but Ruth has a book all about her as a non-Jew chosen by God to be in the geneology of King David and in the line of the Messiah.

    The COURT OF THE GENTILES was designed to include Gentiles within the temple, just as the COURT OF WOMEN included women in God's choice of salvation. However, both were regarded as SECONDARY citizens IN God's kingdom on earth.

    You are placing a spin on the historical issue. The problem was never about denying Gentiles salvation or denying God chooses INDIVIDUAL Gentiles unto salvation. The problem has always been the same, EQUALITY as individuals to Jews in salvation and service. Paul argued that the cross does not distinguish ethnicity, gender or class. Judaizers did not deny God's choice of individual gentile salvation but denied they could be saved without becoming Jewish proselytes through circumcision and equal in service (ministry, etc.).

    Jews had the same way of salvation for both Jews and Gentiles - becoming Jewish proselyes through the Law. NEVER denied God chose individual gentiles for salvation but only denied any other NATION than Israel for salvation.
     
    #17 The Biblicist, Oct 13, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2013
  18. Protestant

    Protestant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    953
    Likes Received:
    63
    I appreciate the time and effort you took to reply. I really do. But, if I may respond respectfully, I do not see how you answered the 2 Thess. 2 Scripture with a third interpretation. Neither did you supply me with names of authorities in Church history with whom you agree as to a third way of understanding election of grace.

    I have noted the difference in debate methods used by Arminians (non-cals) and Calvinists. The former tend to use analogies/illustrations to prove their point. The latter always use Scripture to prove theirs. Why? Because Scripture alone is the final proof for any debate.

    Thus, the question arises: What saith the Scripture? How then shall we interpret what is written by the Holy Spirit?

    Shall human ingenuity interpret Scripture by means of human analogies? Or shall Scripture interpret Scripture by means of Holy Spirit wisdom?

    I believe Scripture alone to be my authority in divine matters.

    I also believe the Lord has placed teachers in His Body throughout history....teachers who have His approval and gifts to explain Scripture clearly and truthfully.

    I was an advocate of free will as a new Christian because I didn't know any better. But then within a year of my walk, the Lord directed me to Romans 8 & 9. Once the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the profound and most marvelous truths Paul was teaching, thanks to an excellent teacher (James Montgomery Boice), I immediately embraced them with passion. It became self-evident that sovereign grace described my conversion perfectly.

    In fact, I would be willing to bet all Calvinists will testify that they, too, were converted because the Lord willed it due to nothing redeeming in them. It was all of grace alone.

    If I must summarize your analogy: The Lord does not elect individuals, but rather elects nations.

    If that is your doctrine, then it is still a form of Arminianism in that individuals must believe before they are personally elected to be saved. Not sure if you believe in election in time versus biblical election in eternity before time, before creation.

    Thanks again for your responses.
     
  19. preacher4truth

    preacher4truth
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yup........

    You've nailed it and I see you've met scandalon.
     
  20. Protestant

    Protestant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    953
    Likes Received:
    63
    Why not come up with a third interpretation/magic pile?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Loading...