Thursday, August 20, 2009

Troll 2

Robert said...

“Now consider whom Hays cites as the experts who supposedly have interpreted the Romans 9:22-23 section correctly. All three are staunch calvinists, and Piper and Schreiner in particular are **militant** calvinists (both have published a lot of material arguing for and supporting Calvinism, Piper began as an Arminian but then **converted** to calvinism based upon his coming to a calvinistic interpretation of Romans 9 which he did his doctorate on and subsequently published as a book entirely on his calvinistic interpretation of Romans 9). Piper and Schreiner go out of their way to propagate Calvinism. Vested interests of these experts, you bet.”

i) Of course, Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet is ignoring the obvious. If he’s going to use that objection to dismiss Reformed scholars out of hand, then, by the same token, I can dismiss Arminian scholars like Grant Osborne, Ben Witherington, and I. H. Marshall out of hand.

ii) For that matter, Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet is using the same tactic which unbelievers use to dismiss the NT witness to the Resurrection. The NT writers were believers. They have a “vested interest” in what they say. Therefore, we can discount their testimony.

iii) And notice that Robert says nothing to counter the exegesis of Piper, Schreiner, and Moo.

“I thought it was humorous that Hays appealed to his “expert” on hardening (i.e. Beale another staunch calvinist) and Victor countered with an essay by a non-Calvinist on hardening. So we can all play this game of citing experts in support of our view.”

My appeal to Piper, Schreiner, and Moo was not an appeal to authority. I didn’t treat them as expert witnesses. Rather, I quoted their exegetical arguments. And Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet offers no counterargument.

Instead, he assails the motives of Piper, Schreiner, and Moo. But, of course, that cuts both ways. Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet also has a personal stake in this debate. He’s hardly a disinterested party.

“Calvinists like Moo present a false dilemma here (i.e. it is either take the second all as meaning all and so ending up a universalist OR reject the second all as meaning all and take the calvinist position.”

A universal quantifier can have the same meaning in both occurrences without having the same referent. I cited 1 Cor 15 to underscore that point. “All” die and Adam” while “all” are made alive in Christ. But the second case has reference to Christians, not to humanity in general. And I notice that Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet dodges that example.

“The text [Rom 11:32] does not say He saves all.”

I already anticipated that move. I pointed out that even if this move works for 11:32, the same move won’t work for 5:18.

“Again no problem. The biblical texts say that Jesus was given or offered for the world as an atonement for all. This speaks of the provision of the atonement which is in fact universal (as the universal texts clearly state).”

No. There are verses in Scripture which go beyond mere provision. Rom 5:18 is a case it point. That talks about the end-result.

Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet has yet to explain how he can reconcile 5:18 with his denial of universal salvation without adopting Reformed exegesis.


Is that what I said? No. Either Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet is dense or dishonest.

What I said, rather, is that his explanation is both impotent and incompetent.

“If another calvinist had written that the bible sufficiently counters universalism…”

Of course, when another Calvinist does that, he presents interpretations consistent with Calvinism to prove his point. That’s hardly comparable to Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet’s situation.

“I have to admit that I have a certain assumption, perhaps you disagree with it. I believe we should limit our conclusions to conclusions derived from biblical texts. There are no biblical texts which speak of a post-mortem second chance or last chance to be saved. We have to limit our conclusions to the available data. If someone wants to **claim** a post mortem opportunity then the burden of proof is upon them to show from the biblical data where this is present. I do not believe they can do so as there is no data like this in the bible.”

It’s clear that Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet has no hands-on experience debating astute universalists. I do.

I’d also note that Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet ducks the counterargument of Jason Pratt.

“If God decides that that is the way things will be, then as He is sovereign, then that is the way things will be (and He has said that first death comes and then the judgment with no hint of any second chance or final chance to repent).”

Notice that when Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet tries to argue down a universalist, he falls back on Reformed appeals to God’s sovereign prerogative. How very Calvinistic!

“The first all is not a universal all then? No one argues that the first all is not universal. And it is **arbitrary** and **driven by** the calvinistic system not by the text, to conclude that the second all is not universal as well.”

Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet continues to miss the point. Evidently, he’s ignorant of the sense/reference distinction, even though that’s a rudimentary distinction in lexical semantics. Nothing uniquely “Calvinist” about that distinction.

“It is not a semantic fallacy to see both alls in Romans 11:32 meaning all. It is special pleading by the calvinist to argue the first all is universal while the second all is not.”

What the quantifier means is not the issue. The issue is the identity of the referent.

“For the Arminian God’s plan of salvation is to provide an atonement for the world (i.e. the atonement of Christ) and have this atonement **only** applied to those who respond in faith. In this view ‘God saves those he wants to save’ (i.e., those who have a faith response, those who trust Him for salvation).”

And why does the provision exceed the application? That’s a useless provision.

It’s like erecting a silo in West Antarctica. A silo full of wheat which no one eats. What’s the point?

“The Arminian view is that God desires the salvation of all and provides for the salvation of all…”

Really? Didn’t Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet just tell us that “If God decides that that is the way things will be, then as He is sovereign, then that is the way things will be (and He has said that first death comes and then the judgment with no hint of any second chance or final chance to repent).”

By Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet’s own admission, God won’t allow anyone to repent after death. So God has a deadline which prevents some sinners from being saved whom he could save if he allowed them to repent after death.

Therefore, God doesn’t desire the salvation of all. He doesn’t provide for the salvation of all. Were that the case, then his provision would extend beyond the grave. According to Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet, God has established an arbitrary expiration date on the offer of the gospel. Whether you’re saved or damned depends on which side of the deadline you find yourself. Clearly, then, God does not desire the salvation of all. For that cut-off-point preempts any opportunity for postmortem salvation.

“If Hays wants to believe that human persons not responding to the gospel with faith makes God a ‘failure’…”

Notice the blatant equivocation. I said that’s a failure on Arminian terms. Arminian assumptions.

By contrast, if God decrees that some people disbelieve the gospel, and they do what he decreed (i.e. disbelieve the gospel), then God succeeded in achieving his aim.

“Hays is merely trying to attack Arminian theology with his argument that it makes God a ‘failure’. But let’s turn it around and look at how under Calvinism God is always ‘successful’. Hays believes that everything is prescripted by God. God conceived of a story and every detail of that story in eternity, he then brings that story to pass in time (what we call history). So everything that happens is exactly what God desired to happen and God’s will (the sovereign plan, the total plan, the story preconceived in eternity) is **always** done. This is the secret will of God that is always ‘successful’. But then there is the expressed will of God in scripture, which while fully and visibly stated in the bible for all to see, nevertheless is constantly violated by human persons (but God is not a ‘failure’ because God’s secret will, the one that really counts is always being done).”

The law of God establishes a standard by which the reprobate will be judged. Hardly a problem for Calvinism.

“So while the bible expresses God’s desires that the Christian is to be holy, to resist temptation…”

Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet is assuming, without benefit of argument, that the law of God is an expression of God’s desires.

That’s a problem for Arminianism. On the one hand, the law of God contains the death penalty for various crimes. Therefore, by Robert/Henry/Sockpuppet’s logic, God desires the death of the offender. On the other hand, Arminians constantly cite verses like Ezk 18:23 to prove that God does not desire the death of sinners.

“But that is **just** what God says in the bible, that is not really what God wants, what God planned from eternity.”

False dichotomy since the Bible also speaks of God’s eternal plan.

“A God who says one thing in the bible but then constantly brings about things that directly contradicts the bible.”

Really? What about God’s command to sacrifice Isaac?

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