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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.


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About andrew32

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  1. andrew32

    1 Peter 4:6

    You win. Bravo. I don't know how else to respond. God Bless...
  2. andrew32

    1 Peter 4:6

    You are blatantly ignoring the text of 1 Pet 4:6? Your analysis of 1 Pet 3:19 seems to take for granted that 1 Pet 4:6 does not exist! How are you proving Robert's position wrong, when your case is built on many assumptions that collectively ignore the existence of 1 Pet 4:6? You do not have an airtight case that 1 Pet 3:19 refers only to fallen angels. If you think you do, then go try taking an LSAT (under normal timed conditions) and get back to me with your score. All that your case shows is that there is reason to believe that 1 Pet 3:19, alone--and ignoring 1 Pet 4:6, refers to fallen angels. You have not shown that it definitely refers to fallen angels, and even if you had, that would not negate the plain reading of 1 Pet 4:6!
  3. andrew32

    The Good News: a Modern Christian Apology

    Robert, you write much better than I, so it's good to read your reply. I see two (though really one?) secondary issues that maybe you could address: Why do you deny that spiritual beings are punished in geographical locations? That is not to say that Hades would be restricted to a single location. But why could not Hades be similar to the current punishment of felons in the US (some in prisons of different degree and different location, some released from physical prisons though still carrying the label 'felon'). There seems to be a geographical boundary between the location of the rich man's sufferings and Lazarus' bliss. Also, John uses what appear to be two different locations for the punishment of Satan, one location during the 1000 years, and another for his (potentially) final judgment in the lake of fire. Then referring to Isaiah 24:21-22, you seem to ignore the possibility of reading the passage from the standpoint that there is both a Hades/prison and a hell/lake of fire. Why not read it in line with 2 Peter 2 and Revelation 20? I.e. God has souls/spirits of the dead in prison until the great white throne judgement, at which time they are thrown into the lake of fire? I would assume, although the rich man may have been tormented 'in flame' while in this 'prison', not everyone in the 'prison' is in the same level of torment, with some 'in prison' experiencing little to no torment at all. I would also assume that this 'prison' would not necessarily have geographical boundaries for all therein (and hence, for example, the demons loose on earth who cried out that they not be sent to the abyss).
  4. andrew32

    The Good News: a Modern Christian Apology

    That is how I read it the first time from your translation, without the rest of the verse. But it is A, B1-C1, B2-C2 A = "if God did not spare angels when they sinned but cast them into 'hell' and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until judment" B1 = "if He did not spare the ancient world" ; "when He brought a flood upon the ungodly" C1 = "but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others" B2 = "if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes" C2 = "if He rescued righteous Lot" Just as Lot is compared with Sodom and Gomorrah, Noah and his family are compared with those who drowned. The fallen angels are alone at the beginning of the verse. They would have likewise been compared with the angels who did not fall if Peter wanted to make an A1/B1, A2/B2, A3/B3 parallelism. Do you have a translation that lacks my B1?
  5. andrew32

    The Good News: a Modern Christian Apology

    Pneuma was used in Luke 8:55, Luke 23:46, John 19:30, and Acts 7:59 to refer to the spirit of a (specific) human. Though you might can say that the plural usage of the word usually speaks of angelic/demonic spirits, I fail to see how you could say that the plural version of the word is restricted to such usage. Heb 12:23 has an example of the plural use of pneuma describing human spirits. Thayer's Greek Lexicon disagrees with you (and even lists 1 Pet 3:19 as referencing human spirits). Then considering 2 Pet 2:4, I saw your point quite clearly the first time I read your post. But then I read the context of 2 Pet 2:4 (seeing the other groups of persons who were "not spared"). And I read 1 Pet 3:19-20 again. I see no clear link between the two. In the second letter, Peter lists the fallen angels, followed by 2 sets of dichotomies: Noah vs sinners of his time; Lot vs Sodom and Gomorrah. There is no reason to link "the angels who sinned" with the flood time period unless you also link them to Lot's time. And there is no need to link them in order to make Peter's point that follows in 2 Pet 2:9. You also ignored 1 Pet 4:6, which speaks of "the dead" (why would "the dead" not signify humans?).
  6. andrew32

    The Good News: a Modern Christian Apology

    Origen, pardon me if my post here seems as brash as perhaps yours do. In all of your long reply, I see no place in which you argue that Christ did not in fact speak to the dead spirits/souls of those who were formerly disobedient (particularly, though not necessarily exclusively, those who died in the flood). Thus you have in essence created "secondary straw men." That is, you have argued against secondary ideas and secondary evidence without addressing the main argument. I could see you doing so again by telling me that I don't know what a "straw man" argument is. But read my sentence. I didn't say that you literally created a straw man (though for Robert's sake, I'll reserve judgment on that). Considering that Christ did communicate to the dead who were formerly disobedient, regardless of their specific location, what would you assume His message was? Did He go into the abyss in order to rub His victory in their faces? I would say that, knowing His character, He would have communicated with them to proclaim a future hope of a life lived in Him. Or what other purpose would He have in communicating to them? Combine those 1 Peter verses with Paul's reference to baptizing on behalf of the dead in 1 Cor 15:29. Where is that coming from unless there is a finite, though perhaps long, judgment in the "lake of fire" before a gradual restoration of all things to God? A judgment that agrees with 1 Tim 4:10, Rom 5:18-19, 1 Cor 15:22, Eph 1:9-11, Col 1:19-20, and many other verses?
  7. andrew32


    I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, of which I am still a member. Currently, I'm not sure where to worship. But I'm certainly not Catholic or in any sect. I would lean towards conservative Methodist, I suppose, particularly if I could find a conservative Methodist church that did not discount the original Origen's writings on universal reconciliation. Perhaps I am missing that which you are ultimately trying to argue, but.... The discussion was about jumping from what the verses explicitly state: "A believer has the continual blessing of not being under/subject to condemnation/judgment;" to, "A believer will always maintain belief, and thus once saved, a believer will never be potentially in danger of the judgment because that believer will always continue in belief." My position is that there is nothing inherent in the verses that states that "once a believer, always a believer." Do you disagree?
  8. andrew32


    You may be right in questioning this. I doubt "present tense" is grammatically accurate. But if you look at the 3 verses David quoted, they do not go beyond saying that anyone, who is in Christ, simply presently is not under judgment, do they?
  9. andrew32


    Origen, you might want to do some more reading on the gospels before you use your point III. 1) in the way that you did. Pardon me if you are well read on them. The Historical Reliability for the Gospels (Blomberg), though itself a conservative apologetic for the gospels, would open some eyes of those who believe that the Holy Spirit was highly proactive in authoring the gospels. If the Holy Spirit was on "mission" at a verbally specific level, then why are there so many apparent contradictions in the gospels? Those apparent contradictions have been stumbling blocks in the faiths of many. The accounts of Peter's denials of Jesus are collectively one example of a clear contradicting story. But you are right, on the point of who Jesus was speaking to. Yes, He spoke to the Jews. That is, assuming that Jesus spoke only for the benefit of those He was addressing rather than primarily for the benefit of those who were with Him, who overheard his statements. But maybe, to agree with your point, Jesus went "lone wolf" on the Jews with none of His followers around. I believe it reasonable to believe that at least some of his disciples were likely with Him, though. Regardless, at least some of His silent followers were present among the Jews, otherwise the words never would have been preserved. Unless you believe the Holy Spirit dictated words to the gospel writers (to which I say, "do more reading"). As for your III 2) I don't understand why you are talking about the gospel writers writing "superfluous and unimportant information". I didn't indicate that anything regarding the passage was superfluous or unimportant. As for your III 3) I believe it very important to understand the words of Jesus with the knowledge that we don't easily know exactly what He was saying without the benefit of 1) overhearing His voice inflections and 2) knowing Aramaic (or whatever other language He might have spoken from time to time). I would point to John 7:17 and then consider Muslims. Do you wish to make a broad doctrinal statement out of that verse? From the plain English reading of it? I would tend to think that the "anyone" in that verse is speaking to those who had the ability to listen to Christ Himself in His day.
  10. andrew32


    We have no indication that Jesus, in making the statement of John 5:24, was primarily concerned with the statement being written down as a doctrinal statement for all generations. He doesn't say that. We can infer, though, that He is speaking those words to His then followers. That is why I would like the verse considered first as a statement to them, from which applications to us can be made. An example of why such thought is important: John 14:12-14 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these he will do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. It is clearly important to realize that these verses were spoken specifically to the apostles (although Jesus does not specify that in the context). As a youth, I certainly "tried" the verses out as if they were written to all who read them. Regardless of what you think of them, you will certainly load their meaning with your own thoughts if you try to maintain that they were written to all who read them. In the 3 verses you quote, "not come into judgment" is always in the present tense. So no one will come under judgment for things done while "in Christ". Do you have a verse that says that once a person is "in Christ", if they fall away, they still will not come under judgment? James 5:19-20 speaks (quite clearly) to my point: 19 My son, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. I don't dispute that salvation is by grace through faith. Real faith is the mechanism by which a person is changed into a new creation, capable of good works that will bear Godly fruit. Grace is what spares us from judgment. Whether we are given that grace and fully spared, though, depends on whether we allow faith to have its work in us until the end of our lives (as the verses in James 5 and Rev 2-3 imply). God does the calling and the work, but saving faith is activated only if we cooperate with Him when he calls. Do not Methodists (and Arminian Protestants in general) believe in a synergistic soteriology? My statements above your quote speak to my position.
  11. andrew32


    "Alone" is quite strong. I merely wanted the verse considered as it was heard in the minds of the original hearers before it was considered as a broad doctrinal statement for all time. That's not to say that the meaning for us is much different, if different at all, though.
  12. andrew32


    This verse is speaking of a collection of specific people who John call "antichrists". We don't know what John's broader teaching on those "antichrists" was, so it is a bit hasty to apply that collection of verses to all bodies of believers and all ex-members of those bodies. Why could it not be talking about both? In fact, possibly, that many "believers" will have a relatively quick dunking in the lake of fire before being aloud in the new Jerusalem? What else does "through fire" mean? I guess I should read that other thread, though.
  13. This does not contradict my point, though. The point was that Heb 9:27 does not say that we all die only once before the judgment. Or that we have "only" one death after one life, on which eternal judgment is based. Or that the judgment certainly leads to eternal conscious torment for those who didn't believe in this life. Those things are often insinuated by those who quote the verse, and those things are what I dispute (regarding that verse). If you don't read anything into the verse that isn't present, the correct understanding of the verse is that: we each get 1 life [not explicitly excluding more lives], and that the great judgment follows that first [as you agree] life. Nothing more.
  14. Yes, aionios (in Prov 22:28) means something to the effect of what you are saying. But do you really have a reason to believe that there was no provision in society for moving landmarks legally (versus illegally moving them, as the verse is decrying)? And hence the location of the landmark was to be "eternal"? Could I not buy a fourth of the field of my neighbor? I would say that it means more along the lines of "indefinitely lasting" when modifying "landmark". That does not equate with "infinitely lasting" as you appear to understand aionios. After all, the word "aionios" was used by the translators of the Septuagint long after [basically] all of those ancient landmarks were moved or ignored. The translators wouldn't have chosen a word that meant "intended to last for all time" for something that was simply "intended to last indefinitely".
  15. You make good points with those verses. Some responses, though: I didn't claim that anyone gets a second life before the judgment (but -->). We all are raised unto judgment after one life. I agree that Heb 9:27 says as much. No one lives again before the judgment, in general. But then, of course there were a few people raised from the dead by Elijah, Elisha, Peter, Paul, and Jesus. Those resurrections in and of themselves tend to negate the idea that Heb 9:27 specifies that we get only 1 life, at least from a certain perspective. They certainly negate that Heb 9:27 says that we all die only once before the judgment. It has been argued that in both eternal life and eternal punishment, "eternal" refers to "that pertaining to the age to come". Besides, Revelation guarantees that there will be no more death for those who are raised in the judgment and whose names are in the book of life. That guarantee need not be within "aionios life" for the guarantee to exist. Then consider: a Large planet vs. a large fruit The extent and full understanding of an adjective often depends on the word it is modifying; just because aionios modifies something or someone who is infinite in nature does not guarantee that aionios in and of itself implies "infinite". God is described as "good". Does that mean that the word "good" must be "of infinite goodness", as is implied in its modification of God? God is the God of the age/ages to come, and particularly of the age/ages to come (versus Satan being considered the 'god of this world' 2 Cor 4:4). In the Septuagint, consider Prov 22:28: 28 Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set. Here, the Hebrew word eventually translated "ancient" in English is translated aionios in the Greek. Reading the verse, the word did not mean "of infinite duration" in this context. Thus aionios did not always mean "of infinite duration" Similarly for aionios in Jonah 2:6 in the Septuagint. I agree that if you ignore verses like 1 Tim 4:10, the collection of verses you listed does seem to indicate a meaning of "infinite time", though.

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