Jump to content

The Christian Protestant Community Forums

Sincerely inquiring about the Protestant faith? Welcome to Christforums the Christian Protestant community forums. You'll first need to register in order to join our community. Create or respond to threads on your favorite topics and subjects. Registration takes less than a minute, it's simple, fast, and free! Enjoy the fellowship! God bless, Christforums' Staff
Register now

Community Fellowship

John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Guest RdrEm

How long is a piece of string?

Recommended Posts

Guest RdrEm

How long is a piece of string?

 

How 'Few' is few and how 'Many' is many?

 

Lk.10:2. Mk.8:7. Mk.6:5. Matt.7:14. Matt.9:37. Matt.15:34. Matt.20:16. Matt.25:21-23.

 

And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.  Lk.13:20-30.

 

Much of what Evangelicals think about the relative numbers of 'saved' and 'unsaved' people from the world, comes from passages like the one above. Read it carefully though and see what it actually says.

 

Matt.7:13. Matt.7:22. Matt.8:11. Matt.8:16. Matt.20:16. Matt.20:28. Matt.22:9-10. Matt.24:12.

 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. Matt.26:26-29.


(Q.1) What do we actually understand Jesus to have meant by the word 'many' when referring to the shedding of his blood?

 

(Q.2) What then does St. Paul mean when he says: "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." 2 Cor.5:18-19.

 

Does the first 'us' refer only to Christians and not to 'many'? Assuming that Christians are 'a little flock, Lk.12:32.', they must surely be 'a few' of the 'many' Christ shed his blood for and God no longer holds their sins against. The world would certainly be 'many'.


The second 'us' refers only either to Apostles or to believing Christians because God has not given a 'ministry of reconciliation' to anyone else in the world besides the church.


Who does the 'their' refer to in 'nor imputing their trespasses to 'them'? It can't be just believing Christians, because Paul clearly means the following 'us' to refer exclusively to 'The Church', not 'the world'. But the 'them' is clearly referring to 'the world', which God is no longer holding their trespasses against.

 

Could this be 'The Many' that Christ refers to in Matt.26:28?

 

 

Edited by RdrEm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Staff
5 hours ago, RdrEm said:

Who does the 'their' refer to in 'nor imputing their trespasses to 'them'? It can't be just believing Christians, because Paul clearly means the following 'us' to refer exclusively to 'The Church', not 'the world'. But the 'them' is clearly referring to 'the world', which God is no longer holding their trespasses against.

Are you interpreting those passages to imply ALL are saved? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
2 hours ago, Becky said:

Are you interpreting those passages to imply ALL are saved? 

The purpose of the OP is to discover the meaning of the scripture, not to discover what I might think it means. What are the options, do you think, for various possible meanings of the texts quoted? By all means quote other scripture, if you think that might help us clarify the meaning of 2 Cor.5:19 and Matt.26:28, or Mk.14:24.


Are you interpreting the passages to imply that only 'some' not 'all' of the world are, "no longer having their sins held against them by God"? Or that Christ's blood was not shed for 'Many' but for a select 'few' only? Matt.26:28, Mk.14:24.


What is your understanding of what the scripture might mean?

Edited by RdrEm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Staff
40 minutes ago, RdrEm said:

The purpose of the OP is to discover the meaning of the scripture, not to discover what I might think it means. What are the options, do you think, for various possible meanings of the texts quoted? By all means quote other scripture, if you think that might help us clarify the meaning of 2 Cor.5:19 and Matt.26:28, or Mk.14:24.


Are you interpreting the passages to imply that only 'some' not 'all' of the world are, "no longer having their sins held against them by God"? Or that Christ's blood was not shed for 'Many' but for a select 'few' only? Matt.26:28, Mk.14:24.


What is your understanding of what the scripture might mean?

She is an administrator\moderator.  Please answer her question without equivocation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
3 hours ago, Becky said:

Are you interpreting those passages to imply ALL are saved? 

Not necessarily, it depends upon what the texts actually say, surely. My own personal view is that the texts mean exactly what they say, and need no extra interpretation to make them seem to say something else. Jesus said His blood was shed for 'Many', besides the disciples he was speaking directly to, not a few. The world would certainly be 'many' not a few.

 

St. Paul said that "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." (KJV). So what that seems to say is not actually "All are saved", which I don't imply because it does not actually say it, but "God, in Christ, is not imputing the trespasses of the world unto them". That is what the text says. So it might mean that Christ meant what he said when he said "And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." Which looks a bit like Jesus does not 'judge' those who do not believe in him, but he still 'saves' them from judgment for their sins. Unless of course Jesus didn't actually manage to 'save the world', as he claims he will at Jn.12:47.

 

Does that answer your question?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Staff

 

5 hours ago, RdrEm said:

Does that answer your question?

Nope it does not.  See how easy that is? How about a direct answer to a simple and direct question? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Staff
19 hours ago, RdrEm said:

But the 'them' is clearly referring to 'the world', which God is no longer holding their trespasses against.

The above statement also has me believing you're conveying Universalism.

 

You do understand what Systematic Theology is don't you RdrEm?

I'm tempted to move this thread to the Universalism sub-forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
2 hours ago, William said:

The above statement also has me believing you're conveying Universalism.

 

You do understand what Systematic Theology is don't you RdrEm?

I'm tempted to move this thread to the Universalism sub-forum.

As a theologian, I suppose I understand theology to be systematic and logical, so yes, I suppose I do understand what it is. That being said, there is nothing unsystematic about universalism. It is a very ancient, logically, text based theological position, held by Origen and many others.

 

If you think that move would be more appropriate, why not? That is an administrative rather than an theological decision. In my theological opinon these texts appear to support a universalist view of the atonement, but I am not 'conveying universalism', the texts suggest what the texts suggest. They just say what they say. "Conveying universalism", seems to imply that some kind of heresy is being peddled. Whereas the church was predominantly universalist for the first 400 years of its existence. But I am probably not a 'universalist', in the sense that seems to have been inferred by Becky.

 

@Becky 

Quote

Nope it does not.  See how easy that is? How about a direct answer to a simple and direct question?

 

No!

 

But that answer, though direct is by no means 'simple', it is also as misleading as a 'yes reply' would also have been. It depends on what you mean by the term 'Saved' and what I mean, by being "Saved', plus what Jesus might have meant by saying "He came to "Save the world"". That by no means answers, the question adequately but merely leads people to adopt defensive theological positions in preparation for predicted conflict.

 

Demanding yes / no, black / white, answers to complicated theological questions can cause prejudiced misunderstandings.   Matt.21:23-27, Mk. 11:27-33, Lk.20:1-8. It is sometimes prudent to avoid answering such 'simple and direct' questions because neither 'yes' nor 'no' will leave the questioner any wiser.

 

Edited by RdrEm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Staff
5 hours ago, RdrEm said:

No!

 

But that answer, though direct is by no means 'simple', it is also as misleading as a 'yes reply' would also have been. It depends on what you mean by the term 'Saved' and what I mean, by being "Saved', plus what Jesus might have meant by saying "He came to "Save the world"". That by no means answers, the question adequately but merely leads people to adopt defensive theological positions in preparation for predicted conflict.

 

Demanding yes / no, black / white, answers to complicated theological questions can cause prejudiced misunderstandings.   Matt.21:23-27, Mk. 11:27-33, Lk.20:1-8. It is sometimes prudent to avoid answering such 'simple and direct' questions because neither 'yes' nor 'no' will leave the questioner any wiser.

 

Yes or no with and explanation is often a good choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, RdrEm said:

Demanding yes / no, black / white, answers to complicated theological questions can cause prejudiced misunderstandings. 

 Do you think the demand to avoid such answers is simply a ruse employed to hide what one really believes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
1 hour ago, Becky said:

Yes or no with and explanation is often a good choice.

I had thought that was what I was doing. Offering an explanation of why a yes / no answer seemed to me to be insufficient and probably misleading. What I actually said.

 

Yes, a 'yes no' anwer is often an appropriate choice and saves confusion, sometimes. But not always.

 

Take the following example of Jesus not offering a 'yes / no' answer to a seemingly simple and straightforward question:

 

"Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." Lk.13:20-30. When Jesus does not give 'yes / no' answers to seemingly straightforward questions like this one, it means there is no 'yes / no' straightforward answer. Otherwise he would have offered one. We should therefore not supply a 'yes / no' answer, on his behalf. WE should pay attention to what he actually said.

 

Edited by RdrEm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
36 minutes ago, Faber said:

 Do you think the demand to avoid such answers is simply a ruse employed to hide what one really believes?

I don't remember making any 'demand' to be permitted to avoid a yes no answer, I just did it, without permission. I later gave a one word answer to the question but also explained that such an answer is inadequate and would not enlighten the questioner.

 

In answer to your own question, no I do not think in my case it was a 'ruse'. I posed some questions in the OP which so far no one has bothered to debate or explore. I get the impression that 'what I believe' is more important to my interrogators than formulating answers to my questions. That tells me that if there is a 'ruse' going on it is more likely to be from those who are already 'manning the doctrinal barricades', rather than genuinely seeking to explore the OP and just see what 'truth' might be discovered by exploration of the texts themselves.

 

What I really believe is exactly what the texts I have quoted actually 'say'. Do you have an alternative eisegetical meaning you wish to impose upon them?

 

Edited by RdrEm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Staff

What you said read and reads ambiguous to me. One would think asking for clarification would be a good thing trying to understand what the poster is saying instead of assuming . We know what is in our heads when we post the readers do not. 

Please remember when posting, the readers do not have the advantage of facial expression or eye contact.

Reading the title of this thread "How long is a piece of string"  Leads quickly to an ambiguous assumption.

After  reading the post, clarification was the correct response of staff. In my opinion you are speaking universalism.

 

Jesus also said

 Mat_5:37  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. 

 

Back to the real topic . 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
3 minutes ago, Becky said:

What you said read and reads ambiguous to me. One would think asking for clarification would be a good thing trying to understand what the poster is saying instead of assuming . We know what is in our heads when we post the readers do not. 

Please remember when posting, the readers do not have the advantage of facial expression or eye contact.

Reading the title of this thread "How long is a piece of string"  Leads quickly to an ambiguous assumption.

After  reading the post, clarification was the correct response of staff. 

Back to the real topic . 

 

 

 

I can appreciate your concern. The Thread Title was indeed deliberately ambiguous, meaning to convey the fact that the subject itself is by no means a simple matter of yes / no or so many inches or centimeters. That is the actual point of the thread, to explore those ambiguities.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, RdrEm said:

Whereas the church was predominantly universalist for the first 400 years of its existence.

Do you believe any of the authors of the books of the New Testament were universalists? If so, which ones?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
29 minutes ago, Faber said:

Do you believe any of the authors of the books of the New Testament were universalists? If so, which ones?

No. For the same reason I don't believe they were Roman Catholic, Protestant, Calvinist or Mormons, Pre, Post or any other kind of Millennialist, Pentecostal, Baptist or Arminianist. They were just Christians, in fact more to the point they were 'Followers of The Way', the Way being the person and teachings of The Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel writers copied from one another, added material of their own and wrote for very differing readerships. None of them had any doctrinal bias, they just had personal interests, (Luke for instance was a doctor, he includes more healing miracles than any other), they just recorded facts, impressions and encounters pertaining to Jesus Christ and his brief ministry on earth. They did not 'push' any particular doctrinal framework as being 'the only correct one for the church'. Luke and John are the only ones that honestly state their reason for writing. Luke.1:1-4. Jn.20:31.

 

The Biblical Gospels and letters were not tainted by allegiances to any other doctrine, person or organization than that of Jesus Christ and His Church. Very few 'Doctrines' were formed during the period of time the New Testament was actually written. 'Doctrines' only seriously came into vogue when heresies began to pervert the pure message of the Gospel. It then became necessary for the church to distinguish 'truth' from 'error' and scripture, by the year 400, eventually became the yardstick by which that delineation was determined.

In all this time Universalism was never once questioned in terms of it being any kind of heresy.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, RdrEm said:

Whereas the church was predominantly universalist for the first 400 years of its existence.

Since you make this as a statement of fact then you must be familiar with which of the ECF's wrote about the early church as being 'predominantly universalist' and have no problem producing the author of such as well as supporting text, correct?  I for one am greatly anticipating seeing such text.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, RdrEm said:

They did not 'push' any particular doctrinal framework as being 'the only correct one for the church'.

 I think though that confessing Jesus as Lord was a doctrine that they viewed as correct (1 Corinthians 12:3). Anyone that refused to do so was not part of the Church.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Staff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
14 minutes ago, Civilwarbuff said:

Since you make this as a statement of fact then you must be familiar with which of the ECF's wrote about the early church as being 'predominantly universalist' and have no problem producing the author of such as well as supporting text, correct?  I for one am greatly anticipating seeing such text.

The first comparatively complete systematic statement of Christian doctrine ever given to the world was by Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 180, and universal salvation was one of the tenets.

 

The first complete presentation of Christianity as a system was by Origen (A.D. 220) and universal salvation was explicitly contained in it.

 

Universal salvation was the prevailing doctrine in Christendom as long as Greek, the language of the New Testament, was the language of Christendom.

 

Universalism was least known when Greek, the language of the New Testament was least known, and when Latin was the language of the Church in its darkest, most ignorant, and corrupt ages.

 

With the exception of the arguments of Augustine (A.D. 420), there is not an argument known to have been framed against Universalism for at least four hundred years after Christ, by any of the ancient fathers.

 

Try reading this:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
12 minutes ago, Faber said:

 I think though that confessing Jesus as Lord was a doctrine that they viewed as correct (1 Corinthians 12:3). Anyone that refused to do so was not part of the Church.

Of course! But this is another matter entirely. There is a big difference between being entrusted with the gospel of reconciliation, as a minister and disciple of Christ, and merely "no longer, as a person in 'the world', having one's sins held against you by God, in Christ". That bit is ALL done by God. Being a disciple is what is done by US, and not everybody is very good at it. Being 'part of the church' involves discipleship, at the very least. That does not apply to 'the world', they are not Christ's disciples.

Edited by RdrEm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Staff

I am understanding  your posts to say You do not believe the Bible is the Word of God.  What say you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest RdrEm
Just now, Becky said:

I am understanding  your posts to say You do not believe the Bible is the Word of God.  What say you. 

Then you are not really understanding, are you. Jesus Christ is The Word. The Bible is a book which contains much information that God wants us to know about. It also contains some of Satan's words too and Herod's and Ciaphas's and those who murdered Christ including Pontius Pilot's words and the words of many others who did not speak for God.

 

So what exactly do you mean when you say it is "God's" word?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Staff

So the game goes on.  This is exactly what i mean. 

 

The doctrine of our staff is summarized in the following paragraphs:

 

The Bible, having been inspired by God, is entirely trustworthy and without error. Therefore, we are to believe and obey its teachings. The Bible is the only source of special revelation for the church today.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, RdrEm said:

The Bible is a book which contains much information that God wants us to know about. It also contains some of Satan's words too and Herod's and Ciaphas's and those who murdered Christ including Pontius Pilot's words and the words of many others who did not speak for God.

 Couldn't it be that God accurately told us what they said thereby being the word of God?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...