Friday, October 17, 2008

Beware of Beowulves in sheep's clothing


Christians interpret the Old Testament by the New, not the New by the Old. The New is concealed in the Old and the Old is revealed in the New.

Of course, that truism doesn’t distinguish Arminianism from Calvinism.

Calvinism is nothing more than an extension of the ethnic argument of the Jews that Paul is arguing against in Romans.

Nothing more? In Calvinism, unconditional election and reprobation cut across ethnic lines, family lines, and social class. Calvinism is so “extended” that it’s become the polar opposite of the Jewish argument.

In Romans, Paul is arguing against Jews who say that God arbitrarily chose to save all Jews.

“Arbitrarily” is your word.

And Jews didn’t believe that all Jews were saved. Jews regarded some of their fellow Jews as damnable apostates.

And damn all Gentiles,

Jews didn’t believe that all Gentiles were damned. Jews thought that Gentile Godfearers and proselytes could be saved.

And that the sin or even unbelief of the Jews cannot change that (i.e. once saved always saved).

i) In your ignorance of Calvinism, you’re confusing Calvinism with an antinomian, Sandemanian variant of fundamentalism. According to the doctrine of perseverance, God preserves the elect in faith and fidelity, and he restores elect backsliders to the faith. That’s completely different than “eternal security.” Try not to be such an ignoramus.

ii) Even more to the point, you’ve misidentified the issue Paul is addressing. In Rom 9-11, the question at issue is whether God can be trusted to keep his promises. If God’s calling and election of Israel is apparently revocable, then God’s calling and election of the church is apparently revocable. If God’s word failed the Jews, it may just as well fail the Christians.

That’s the bone of contention. And Paul resolves the apparent tension by appealing to the OT doctrine of the remnant. Not all Jews are true Jews.

Calvinist just take the same WRONG Jewish theory and apply it to individuals rather than nations.

i) Of course, shifting from collectivism to individualism wouldn’t be “nothing more than an extension” of the Jewish argument. To the contrary, that would involve an opposing principle.

ii) I’d add that Arminians typically stress corporate election, which they oppose to individual election, so you could better argue that the Arminian model of election is a nothing more than an extension of the view you impute to Paul’s opponents.

But Paul shows that all hinges on God's foreknowledge of faith.

You haven’t shown that Paul conditions election on foreseen faith. Even if we accept your fallacious interpretation of proegno, Paul doesn’t say, “for those whose faith he foreknew, God predestined them…”

So your prooftext, even if we grant your fallacious interpretation of proegno, is missing the key condition that you position requires.

Maybe conditional election is contingent on green eyes.

And election is not arbitrary, not for individuals nor for entire nations as if God would save all the Jews despite their unbelief.

Of course, Calvinism doesn’t take the position that God saves the elect "despite their unbelief." In Calvinism, God endows the elect with saving faith through the grace of regeneration. Hence, Calvinism can’t be “nothing more than an extension” of the view you impute to Paul’s Jewish opponents.

All is predicated on faith.

No, all is predicated on grace, of which faith is one result.

And God elected by foreseen faith.

You have yet to produce a single prooftext actually says that. Your assertions are a sorry substitution for evidence.

Calvinists will do anything to redefine the term prognosis.

By “anything,” do you mean the fact that I cited the standard Greek lexicon of the NT, as well as citing a Jesuit commentator, an Arminian commentator, a Barthian commentator, and a proponent of the New Perspective?

I didn’t cite a single Calvinist to support my “redefinition” of prognosis.

I’ve responded to you own your own grounds. You raised an objection, and my reply was pegged to your objection. I notice that you haven’t attempted to offer a single counterargument to the specific arguments I offered, even though I was tracking your objections in my reply.

But it is particularly cheap and stupid to appeal to heretical Jewish racist Judaizing views to try and save your God-hating deterministic accusation that God is the author of your sins.

Now you’re lapsing into demagoguery because you don’t have a rational rebuttal.

Every passage that seems to teach Calvinism in Romans is a quotation of a Jewish opponent.

You mean to say that Rom 1:1-16:27 is nothing more than an extended quotation of Paul’s opponents? I should think that would call its canonical status into question.

Not to mention the canonical status of the OT. By your reckoning, Moses is Paul’s “heretical racist Judaizing” opponent (Rom 9:15,17; cf. Exod 9:16; 33:19), Isaiah is Paul’s “heretical racist Judaizing” opponent (9:27; cf. Isa 10:22-23), and Malachi is Paul’s “heretical racist Judaizing” opponent (9:13; cf. Mal 1:2-3)—to name a few.

You must have a pretty small canon of Scripture.

However, I’ll admit that there are practical advantages to your hermeneutical approach. Here I used to think that when Paul said “flee fornication” (1 Cor 6:18), he was enjoining Christians to refrain from fornication; but now I realize, under your tutelage, that he was simply quoting his heretical opponents. So now I can fornicate to my heart’s content. I need to upgrade my cable service to include the Playboy channel.

Come to think of it, maybe Moses was quoting his heretical Jewish opponents in the Decalogue. Just think of the possibilities!

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