They’re Creeping In! Pt. 2

By Evan May

We are continuing our series of responses to this article from BaptistFire. The first post can be read here. You might be wondering why I am spending so much time and space on what might seem to you as little details. The reason is three-fold:

1. Often, the BaptistFire articles are permeated with out-of-context Scripture citations used to support an assumed point. The misuse of God’s Word is no light matter, and therefore I seek to address extensively the Scripture citations utilized by these anonymous contributors. Obviously, not everything needs a long answer. But some things do.

2. The main purpose of this blog (Strange BaptistFire) is to serve those who might be “fence-sitters” when it comes to these issues. We do not want them to be deceived by the works put out on BaptistFire. We want them to be convinced of the truth of, among other things, the Doctrines of Grace. But we don’t want them to accept it blindly. We want them to be convinced on the basis of Biblical convictions.

3. I don’t want any of the unfortunately-anonymous-authors of BaptistFire to make the accusation that I have not handled their works with care. We at Strange BaptistFire do not view highly the material that is produced at the BaptistFire website. We believe it to be sub-scholarship. It is also divisive, accusatory, and unfair (if you do not think this is already evident, just continue to “stay tuned”). But we as Christians want to handle things honestly and fairly. We wish to treat them how they have not treated us.

Anyway, getting back to this article… I’ll recite the context for our next point:

“Crept in Unawares …” Calvinists want to take over your Southern Baptist church a BaptistFire special report (Updated: Sept. 26, 2005)

What Calvinists Believe

Calvinists do not believe that God loves everyone (contrary to John 3:16). They do not believe that God wants to save everyone (contrary to 1 Tim. 2:4). Most do not believe that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. (contrary to 1 John 2:2). Not only are these doctrines contrary to the Bible they are contrary to what the vast majority of Southern Baptists believe.”

Here’s today’s point: “They do not believe that God wants to save everyone (contrary to 1 Tim. 2:4).”

1. The question at first isn’t so much whether or not God wants to save everyone, but if God wants to save anyone. In synergism, we have a God that states that he wants to save everyone but makes no efficacious effort to save anyone. Synergism allows for the possibility of no one being saved. We begin to wonder if God truly wants to save every individual.

But Scripture does not pose such a scenario. Rather, we have a God who is concerned about his people, interacting with them redemptively, choosing to love them out of his own good pleasure alone, effectually accomplishing their salvation. We see Christ who loves his bride the church to the extent that he redeems her (Eph 5:25, John 17). We see the Father choosing a people for himself that will proclaim his excellencies (1 Peter 2:9, Eph 1:3). And we see the Spirit monergistically regenerating God’s elect and enabling them to believe (John 3, Eph 2:4-5). In the Bible, we see a monergistic salvation, and this is a monergistic salvation that is accomplished in a specific group. God mercies whom he wills and he hardens whom he wills.

2. My readers have seen me address 1 Tim 2:4 numerous times, and are probably tired of hearing (or… reading) me on the subject. But for those who are new readers, let’s take a look at this text. What is the context?

1 Timothy 2:1-7 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Let’s forget about verse 4 for a moment and pretend that we are reading this from the beginning for the first time. Paul urges us to pray for “all people.” What do you think he means by this? Paul, are you asking us to get out the New Testament phone book and pray for every single person in the world who has ever existed or will ever exist? Is that what Paul means? Well, we don’t have to guess for ourselves because Paul clarifies this for us: “for kings and all who are in high positions.” You see, the word “all” is a universal quantifier. We must not confuse extension (referent) with intension (sense). A universal quantifier has a standard intension but a variable extension. The word “all” by itself makes no sense, that is, unless the referent is assumed on the basis of context. I could ask my co-workers, “How many of you guys want to go out to eat?” They might answer, “all.” Does that then mean that every single person in the world who ever existed or whoever will exist wants to go out to eat with me? No, I’m not free to make the referent anything I want. Context determines referent. Here, the extension (referent) was “my co-workers” or “of you guys.” All of my co-workers wanted to go eat. All of you guys wanted to go eat.

Thus, Paul qualifies his statement with the phrase “for kings and those in authority.” In other words, we are to pray for all kinds of people. Remember, we haven’t gotten to verse 4 yet. To us, it doesn’t exist. So far, honest Biblical exegesis has caused us to conclude that Paul is telling us to not limit our prayers to any one kind of person, but to pray for all kinds of people. Pray for kings, too. Don’t just pray for your best friend. Pray for your king. This makes sense, because kings, in a great way, can control whether or not we live peacefully (v. 2).

But what is a bigger reason? Even more so than our own peace, why should we pray for all kinds of people? Why should we pray for kings? Well, “this is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (v. 3). Why? Because he “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (v. 4). There we have it. We shouldn’t limit our prayers to any one kind of person because God wants all kinds of people to be saved. He wants to save kings, too. He wants to save your best friend.

So, as far as I can see, we have two choices with this text: either dogmatically assume that the extension of the word “all” is “every single person who ever existed or who ever will exist,” or we can read this verse in light of its context and determine that God wishes to save all kinds of people. The first option poses some difficulties. First, it puts us in quite a predicament, for, being consistent, we are all disobeying the command to pray for every single person in the world. Synergists can’t have their cake and eat it too; they can’t argue that the extension for “all” in v. 1 is “all kinds of people” but then argue that the assumed extension for v. 4 is “every single person without differentiation.” Either verse 4 promotes synergism and we are all disobeying the command in verse 1, or the text is a consistent piece that tells us that God wants to save all kinds of people and that we should therefore pray for all kinds of people. Second, the synergist reading poses the problem mentioned earlier concerning the will of God. Does God really desire to save every single person? Why, then, is not every single person saved? Ultimately, we have a God that doesn’t will to save anyone to the extent that he’ll wholly and efficaciously accomplish it. If from their autonomy they generate faith, God is pleased. But otherwise he can’t really do anything about it. God’s will, therefore, becomes a matter of mere opinion, not something that has reality to its accomplishment.

But we shouldn’t stop here in the text. We can bring Paul’s line of thought all the way through:

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

We have another universal quantifier in v. 6, with no stated extension. It is incorrect for us to assume that the extension is “every single person.” My example earlier with the co-workers shows this. If we don’t make such absurd assumptions when it comes to our every-day speech, why do we do it with the Word of God? Anyway, the point is that the extension (referent) must be determined by the context. We already have the context of v. 1-3, establishing the extension of all kinds of people. Does Paul abandon this extension? He certainly does not. Ponder v. 7: “for this reason I was appointed a preacher… of the Gentiles…” For this reason? For what reason? Well, Paul is obviously alluding to the information beforehand concerning God’s will and whom he desires to be saved. And the fact is connected with Paul’s Gentile ministry. God doesn’t just want to save Jews. He wants to save kings and Gentiles too! This is radical news to the first century mind. Paul was appointed to minister to the Gentiles because God wills that all kinds of people be saved.

Furthermore, consider some key terms of this text: mediator and ransom. Now, is Christ really the mediator between God and every single person (the supposed meaning of “all”)? Is he really their ransom? Or is he only a potential ransom or a potential mediator? You see, universalism is unavoidable apart from unadulterated eisegesis. It is only after eisegeting the word potential into this text that the synergist reading becomes comfortable. Therefore, the choice is between a non-contextual, eisegetical reading, and the Reformed contextual, exegetical reading.

We’ll move on to the third point in the next post!

Evan May

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33 Comments on “They’re Creeping In! Pt. 2”

  1. Rey Says:

    I’m sure there are other interpretations beside a “non-contextual, eisegetical” one or a “Reformed contextual, exegetical”. Some research might reveal some Reformed non-contextual readings and even some Non-Reformed exegetical readings! There may even be an interpretation that looks at the original usage of μεσίτης, the generic use of the term ἀνθρωπος and draws from the singularity vs. the plurality to emphasize different things than “kinds of people”.


  2. Interesting analysis on 1 Timothy, but I’d like to see a little more depth there. Your argument makes some assumptions that should be substantiated. Altogether a good post though. Great Job EMay.

  3. Evan May Says:

    Rey:

    So you deny that the qualification for the first “all” in verse 1 refers to kinds of people? Do you, then, pray for every single person in the world?

    Do you deny that Paul clarifies his statement in v. 2-3?

    Do you deny that Paul connects God’s will to save “all” to his Gentile ministry in v. 7?

  4. Evan May Says:

    Jeremiah:

    What assumptions?

    Is Christ really a mediator, or is he merely potentially a mediator?

    And what, specifically, do you disgaree with my analysis of the universal quantifiers in verses 1, 4, and 6?

  5. Mike Ratliff Says:

    Good job Evan.

    It’s exposits like this that causes our ill-concieved presupositions to be be brought into the clarity of God’s light and magnified by by His Word. Your logic is both laser-like as it cuts through other’s “logic” precisely and slege-hammer-like as it smashes them to irrelavance. Of course that is the natural function of God’s Word if it is handled properly, isn’t it?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. Josh Buice Says:

    You said, “The question at first isn’t so much whether or not God wants to save everyone, but if God wants to save anyone.”

    I say – You are correct! The issue is – God would have been just and righteous to have left all of sinful humanity damned and doomed for hell. But, God didn’t do that – and in His marvelous GRACE – He chose to save people who did not deserve it – what an awesome God we serve.

    All for the glory of God!

    Josh Buice
    Practical Theology Discussions
    http://www.joshbuice.blogspot.com

  7. Peter Says:

    This is totally off the topic but since this is the latest blog I decided to post it here.
    The blogs are really long and in order to get to specific ones you need to scroll through a whole bunch of text and hopefully not miss a red titled section. Is there any way you can minimize the blog posts to show just a snippet of it like how Calvinist Gadfly does.
    Sorry to be nitpicky just trying to help

    peter lee

  8. Rey Says:

    Do you, then, pray for every single person in the world?
    Since Rey doesn’t pray for every single person therefore Evan’s interpretation of all as “all kinds of people” is right. Sorry brother, but our meager prayer habits have nothing to do with the interpretation of the verse. That’s looking from outside to apply to the text.

    deny
    Not going to offer my interpretation of the passage. The point I was making was on your methodology and oversimplification.

    Ie: One can easily deny that Paul clarifies verse 1 with verses 2 to 3 by saying that he’s making a progressive list of things to pray for within the will of God.
    1) Entreaty and Petitions (asking)
    2) Thanksgiving (thanking)
    3) Intercession
    4) Made on behalf of all men
    5) For Authorities (so as to lead peaceable lives)
    6) etc.
    Is this right? Not the point. Here’s another possibility:
    Perhaps a cumulative effort of people praying for separate people winds up fulfilling God’s will of praying for all men.
    Or another:
    Perhaps the plurality of men and the singularity of the Mediator is what the focus is here: One for all and all praying to that One.

    Here’s my point: The possibility of a cogent third option outside of your analysis establishes your options (either Universalism or Reformed) as an oversimplification. That would be like someone saying “You either believe in a 24-hour 6 day creation or you’re an atheistic Evolutionist.”

    If you want a (n extremely limited) list of resources for this text check out:
    Bibles (everything from ASV to YLT)
    Darby’s Synopsis
    The Pastoral Epistles (Knight)
    Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines
    Wuest’s Word Studies

  9. Evan May Says:

    Since Rey doesn’t pray for every single person therefore Evan’s interpretation of all as “all kinds of people” is right. Sorry brother, but our meager prayer habits have nothing to do with the interpretation of the verse. That’s looking from outside to apply to the text.

    Rather, the question was meant to cause you to think: do you honestly think that that was Paul’s command? Or does not Paul clarify his statement in verses 2-3 and in verse 7?

    Ie: One can easily deny that Paul clarifies verse 1 with verses 2 to 3 by saying that he’s making a progressive list of things to pray for within the will of God.

    Perhaps, but it’s beside the point. The point is that I offered a legitimate exegesis of this text that prevents the synergistic reading from monopolizing this verse. You must not forget the original argument: the assertion on the part of BaptistFire was that the Calvinist doctrine is contrary to this passage. Yet, if my exegesis is contextually legitimate, then the assertion is proven to be incorrect.

  10. Evan May Says:

    This is totally off the topic but since this is the latest blog I decided to post it here.
    The blogs are really long and in order to get to specific ones you need to scroll through a whole bunch of text and hopefully not miss a red titled section. Is there any way you can minimize the blog posts to show just a snippet of it like how Calvinist Gadfly does.
    Sorry to be nitpicky just trying to help

    Perhaps we could do something like that, but in the meantime just utilize the sidebar where it has the “Recent Posts” list.

  11. Gene Says:

    What Rey is missing is the context itself. There is your “third option,” sir.

    First, we need to review the rules of grammar. “pantos” is a universal class quantifier in any language. Christians who deny special redemption typically appeal to the “pantos” (“all’) passages of Scripture. But this confuses extension (referent) with intension (sense). A universal quantifier has a standard intension, but a variable extension. That follows from the nature of a quantifier, which is necessarily general and abstract rather than specific and concrete marker in the text. That’s what makes it possible to plug in concrete content. A universal quantifier is a class quantifier. As such, it can have no fixed range of reference. In each case, that must be supplied by the concrete context and specific referent. In other words, a universal quantifier has a definite intension but indefinite extension. So its extension is relative to the level of generality of the reference-class in view. Thus, there is no presumption in favor of taking “all” or “every” as meaning everyone without exception. “All” or “every” is always relative to all of something. So discussing “singularities” and “plurals” is only relevant in relation to the extensions and intentions to which the class quantifiers apply.

    Moreover, simply searching for uses of “pantas” and “anthropon” and the other delimiters about the will of God with respect to prayer (a) verges on the world-concept fallacy. Further, it seems to ultimately freight the text with ideas about God’s providence (decretal v. revealed) wills not in this particular text. (the typical non-Reformed gloss and the gloss some Reformed exegetes do prefer…it is unfair to gloss this view as “non-Reformed” in and of itself).

    Most importantly, however, it overlooks the reason Paul discusses prayer for “all people.”

    Looking to the use of “mediator” (I chose to Anglicize here…let’s be careful about using Greek words many in the target audience (the average person in the pew) may not know is irrelevant without understanding the background against which Paul writes. The history of the word is far less important than the way Paul uses it here in this particular context.

    1 Timothy refers to Jewish myths and endless genealogies. We must therefore, understand the content of those myths in order to understand what Paul is saying. These myths were probably from the Midrash and anti-Gentile in tenor and were specifically designed to exclude some from salvation. They would form the basis of Jewish Gnosticism, which was designed to create a special class of persons who possessed the “gnosis.” Thus, to counter this, Paul’s usage focuses on the universal offer of the gospel, not to Jews only, not to a specific class of Jews, but to all classes of men, and all ethniciies.–Thus this supplies the reason for the items in the series you so ably and excellently listed bound to pas anthropon. There is one Mediator of one covenant which is not made with one class (Jews) but all classes of persons (Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, young and old, king and commoner, etc.)

    Additionally, 2:6 is a paraphrase of Mark 10:65 which recapitulates Isaiah 53:11-12, where the Suffering Servant atones for the sins of the covenant community, not all people individually, without exception.

    On top of this, If “all” is always extensive, then in 6:10 where money is the root of all evil, the text would mean money was at the root of the Fall of both Satan and men, since every individual evil act would be in view.

  12. Rey Says:

    BF says Reformed don’t believe in salvation for all as according to X verse. SBF says The verse doesn’t say Salvation for all…you either believe it means Universalism or you believe what we SB Reformed folk believe. You can’t boil things down to [either you believe the Bible and deny being Reformed] or [either you believe Reformed or be a Universalist].

    That was my point Gene. I offered three possibilities…none of them my own. There are other options. Your example on context based on possibilities is, indeed, another option.

  13. Rey Says:

    (fyi: I never said that ALL is always extensive. Never even hinted at that.)

  14. JDKirby Says:

    Really the matter of “all” meaning “without distinction” or “kinds” is clarified under the rubric of “synecdoche of genus.” If you don’t believe me, check it out in “Figures of Speech in the Bible” by E.W. Bullinger, cf esp., pp. 614-618. This I believe settles the issue, otherwise it is just their opinion against our opinion. It is a legitimate form of expression understood by the ancient world unlike our present.

  15. Peter Says:

    In response to JDKirby. There is no doubt that all doesn’t mean everyone. For example, “all Judea” does not mean every individual in Judea used in Matthew. In modern day usage we might say “The whole police system is corrupt”. On the other hand if someone said “all police are corrupt”, despite the fact that its very improbable that all individual officers are corrupt, I would view it as that person truly believing that all police officers are corrupt (a friend of mine actually told me this hehe). Or “This event is free for all students” — I would say that this really meant every single individual who is a student.
    You don’t have to show the non-Calvinist that “synecdoche of genus” exists, they realize that. At the same time, the non-Calvinist does not need to show the Calvinist that the opposite of synedoche of genus, the literal universal all’s “For all have sinned and fall short..”, exists because in many cases it does. I would have to contest that this issue is not settled by this information–keep in mind there are non-Calvinist grammarian greek scholars who are not ignorant of these things. But the real question is on what basis do we decide on going the narrower route, versus the broader “universal” route. On what basis do we decide that “Synecdoche of Genus was used here”.

  16. tory lamore Says:

    Evan–
    A number of months ago did you pray for the tsunasmi survivors? Did you know all of their names? Yet I’m sure you still prayed for them anyway. The same principle applies here. Your reading of the text is an extreme stretch.

    The church at this time is being persecuted. Paul most definitely wants the Christians to pray for all people,especially those in authority. Why? So that “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” (1Tim 2:2) Of course Paul wanted prayers for everyone. If everyone was converted , the persecution would stop. I’m not saying that was Paul’s only reason.

    In Christ,
    Tory

  17. Nathan White Says:

    I think it’s pretty clear, as Evan pointed out: If the ALL in verse 4 means all without exception, then the same must imply for:

    V1: Prayers for all people; that would be all people without exception (shouldn’t you be praying instead of reading this then? That’s a lot of work to do.)

    V4: All people to be saved. Why would God desire such a thing and yet not bring it to pass? Is He incapable of bringing it to pass? Could He not save everyone instantly if He so desired?

    V6: Gave Himself as a ransom for ALL. Again, if ALL means all without exception, then we must affirm it here too. If so, does this not undermine the definition of the word ‘mediator’? Or even still, does the mediator try but fail? Is this dissention in the Godhead (the mediator trying to do one thing, the angry Father trying to do another)?

    If all means all in verse 4, then it must mean all in verse 6, and then we have Christ being the mediator for a bunch of people He is going to judge -and that doesnt make sense. Let us reexamine the definition of the term mediator before we start speculating.

    But speaking of mediation, we see Christ in John 17:9 praying NOT for the world (not for ALL men!), but for those whom the Father had given Him.

    SDG

  18. tory lamore Says:

    It does not take much more effort to pray for every single person in the world than it does for a single person. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work at all. How hard is it to say, “Lord, I pray that all people everywhere will see your hand in their lives and thank you for it,” or whatever ? Or in the case of the persecution of Paul’s day, “Lord, please convert all people, especially those in authority, to you.”

    Why God would desire the salvation of literally all men and not bring it to pass I don’t know–but I’m not God. Remember, His ways and thoughts are as far apart from man’s as the heavens are from the earth ( Isaiah 55:8-9). We need to stop trying to put human terms on God. Stop thinking that if it doesn’t make sense to you then God couldn’t possibly have meant it. Just read His Word without Calvinist glasses or any kind of glasses and trust Him.

    Of course Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all without restriction. Man can reject Christ. Grace is not irresistible.
    2 Cor6:1-2″As we work together with Him we urge you also
    not to accept the grace of God in vain. For He
    says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to
    you, and on a day of salvation I have helped
    you.’ Behold, now is the acceptable time; see
    now is the day of salvation.”
    Man can receive the grace of salvation and reject it.

    How about Hebrews 6:4-6?
    “For it is impossible to restore again to
    repentance those who have once been
    enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly
    gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and
    have tasted the goodness of the word of
    God and the powers of the age to come, and
    then have fallen away, since on their own
    they are crucifying again the Son of God and are
    holding him up to contempt.”

    How can one be a sharer in the Holy Spirit without the grace of God? How can a sharer in the Holy Spirit fall away unless one can reject God’s grace?

    In Christ,

    Tory

  19. Nathan White Says:

    Tory,

    If God earnestly desires that every single person without exception would be saved, why did Jesus Himself say to the Father ‘I pray NOT for the world’? Was He at this moment in confliction with God’s will that ALL men might be saved?

  20. Rey Says:

    Nathan, that was a completely different prayer. Refer to Gene’s post on context.

  21. Nathan White Says:

    Rey,

    I was just pointing out that from examples of Jesus praying, and even from His instruction to us on how to pray, that ‘God please try and save the whole wide world’ was never hinted at. Just something to think about.
    In addition to that, I was giving an example of Jesus acting as Mediator, in which He makes a clear distiction between the world and those whom the Father had chosen. Interestingly enough, some still argue that 1 Tim 2:6 is saying that Christ intercedes for all men without exception.

    Nevertheless, it seems contradictory to pray to God and ask for the salvation of others, when in fact salvation is subject to the the will of man. Would we be better off praying for favorable circumstances so as to give our lost friends the greatest opportunity possible to make a decision? For I’m sure you are aware that a good portion of the world outside of the US has never and probably will never hear the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
    SDG

  22. Justin Says:

    (Sorry I don’t know how to block quote)
    Gene said, “First, we need to review the rules of grammar. “pantos” is a universal class quantifier in any language. Christians who deny special redemption typically appeal to the “pantos” (“all’) passages of Scripture. But this confuses extension (referent) with intension (sense). A universal quantifier has a standard intension, but a variable extension. That follows from the nature of a quantifier, which is necessarily general and abstract rather than specific and concrete marker in the text. That’s what makes it possible to plug in concrete content. A universal quantifier is a class quantifier. As such, it can have no fixed range of reference. In each case, that must be supplied by the concrete context and specific referent. In other words, a universal quantifier has a definite intension but indefinite extension. So its extension is relative to the level of generality of the reference-class in view. Thus, there is no presumption in favor of taking “all” or “every” as meaning everyone without exception. “All” or “every” is always relative to all of something. So discussing “singularities” and “plurals” is only relevant in relation to the extensions and intentions to which the class quantifiers apply.”

    So Gene I take it that you’re some kind of Fregean two-dimensionalist? If this is right, then aren’t you begging the question against the direct reference theorist or the Millian?

    Regardless, if you are going to talk about the universal quantifier (the upside-down ‘A’) then it quantifies over ‘people’, right? Is this what you claim that universal quantifier quantifies over? If so, I don’t know what it means for a quantifier to have an intension or extension. I take it what you mean is this, ‘x = people , for all x, such that’, which would be formalized as (upside-down ‘A’)x. Am I misunderstanding what you’re saying?

    OK, as for the quantifiers having an extension and intension. I really don’t know where this comes from. You said that it applies to grammar, but I have never heard of this in linguistics or philosophy of language.

    Perhaps you’re claiming that the universal quantifier modfies that which it quantifies over. But if it quantifies over the intension, (sense) then it modifies the description of x, because that is what a sense is. So what is the description of people? I don’t know? But the universal quantifier hurts our case in this instance.

    However, what I think you’re trying to argue is that there is binding going on in the context. That is, ‘all people’ already occurs in a context, and the context if I have understood you correctly is not the world? So, the ‘all’ in v. 4 is bound by the ‘all’ in v. 1. If this is what you’re claiming then this has nothing to do with sense and reference (intension & extension). So, now your claim rests on whether the binding argument works, that is whether variables can be bound by a previous context. In this case the variable is ‘people’. I’m sympathetic to the binding argument and I hope that it works.

    BTW – I’m a reformed baptist, I was just trying to figure out what you’re claiming in the passage I quoted.

  23. Gene Says:

    BF says Reformed don’t believe in salvation for all as according to X verse. SBF says The verse doesn’t say Salvation for all…you either believe it means Universalism or you believe what we SB Reformed folk believe. You can’t boil things down to [either you believe the Bible and deny being Reformed] or [either you believe Reformed or be a Universalist].

    Rey, perhaps you don’t understand the purpose of this blog. It’s purpose is to peg its responses to those at BF, not explore every option available when discussing these passages.

    In addition, I agree with Evan’s point and his exegesis. Indeed my own comments provide supporting information for that exegesis.

    Tory, irresistible grace refers to the inward call of the gospel, viz. regeneration in the narrow sense.

    Quoting 2 Cor. 6:1-2 as a prooftext for resistible grace assumes, without argument, that Paul is discussing regeneration and conversion in the elect. 2 Cor. is a group letter, as such it is written to both believers and unbelievers, Paul is in no position to know whether the recipients are elect or non-elect. All persons have a responsibility to respond to the general, outward call of the gospel. The inward call, regeneration, is nowhere in view.

    No Calvinist disagrees that the outward call is resistible. People receive the grace of God in vain all the time. In 2 Cor 6:1, the phrase about the “grace of God” is a shorthand expression for “the gospel of the grace of God“(cf. Acts 20; 24), in contrast to a false gospel (2 Cor 11:4; cf. Gal 1:6ff.). This is preceptive, and refers to preaching in general. All of us have a duty to believe the gospel and repent. Again, this does not refer to the internal grace of conversion.

    Likewise to quote Heb. 6: 4 -6 would logically commit you to either antinominianism, making perseverance and fruit-bearing in the Christian life logically a second blessing experience and optional or to the belief that apostates from the faith cannot be saved again if they lose their salvation. That would put you at odds with the doctrine of eternal security.

    . The passage proves that faith in Christ can be limited to external items and thus false faith. It does not refer to genuine believers at all. Throughout this letter, the author’s emphasis is on the phenomenology rather than psychology of faith. His few references to the work of the Spirit are confined to the Spirit’s agency in inspiration and the charismata or sign-gifts.

    What does it mean, then, to the author of Hebrews, to have tasted of the Spirit? It isn’t enough to say that they tasted of the Holy Spirit. You have to ask how the work of the Spirit is delineated in the Book of Hebrews. Is this equivalent to regeneration—or inspiration? Is this about the New Birth? Or is it related to the agency of the Holy Spirit in the authorship of Scripture? Are they resisting the grace of regeneration? Or are they resisting the voice of the Spirit speaking in Scripture? The text never mentions the psychology of faith, only the externals of believing. To taste of the Spirit is to dabble, to flirt, not to imbibe fully. The people are resisting the grace of the inspiration of Scripture, the evidences of miracles, and the offer of the gospel to them, not their own internal regeneration and salvation.

  24. Rey Says:

    The main purpose of this blog (Strange BaptistFire) is to serve those who might be “fence-sitters” when it comes to these issues. We do not want them to be deceived by the works put out on BaptistFire. We want them to be convinced of the truth of, among other things, the Doctrines of Grace. But we don’t want them to accept it blindly. We want them to be convinced on the basis of Biblical convictions.

    I’m done.

  25. Gene Says:

    And under our rules, Rey, you will find a statement that says “Do not argue by assertion” that includes quoting, in the example given, Scriptures under the assumption you’ve made your point.

    How quoting the above shows that this obligates Evan to examine every possible permutation of the text is less than obvious. It seems you merely want to point out that Evan is offering limited alternatives. No, he is exegeting the text. Exegesis does not demand you examine everything everyone has ever written in toto and say “these are also alternatives.” Rather it looks at the text itself and says, “this what the text says.” If you think now that Evan’s exegesis does not meet the standard for biblical convictions, viz. accurate exegesis you are more than welcome to make your case.

    Chasing off into questions about the history of the word for Mediator for example is simply irrelevant to the exegesis of this text. Which fallacies would this entail? Well, depending on the direction you took it, it might include the root fallacy. It very certainly would employ semantic obsolescence and/or an appeal to unknown or unusual meanings. I believe Carson puts this particular appeal under the header, “Careless appeal to background material.” Alternatively, one could run the risk of linking language and mentality, depending on where one went for the background information.

    Justin,

    In a universal class quantifier’s intension if fixed; its extension is variable. It’s a conventional distinction in Analytic/ordinary language philosophy, such as you might run across in Quine.

    As to sources for this, there are a number. Quantifier studies in natural language is a relatively new discipline (late 60’s, early 70’s to present). I believe Keenan @ UCLA has an article on this online with an extensive bibliography.

    In biblical studies, if memory serves here:

    And as for the use of “all men” and other such statements as figures of speech, see E.W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech discusses this in a couple or three places. Synedoche of genus as fallacy comes to mind.

    Also, Raymond W. McLaughlin, “Intensional-Extensional Language As A Measure Of Semantic Orientation,.” Bulletin of the Evangelical Theological Society, 10.3 (1967): 143-151.

    See also:
    The mistake of treating different descriptions or names of the same object as equivalent even in those contexts in which the differences between them matter. Reporting someone’s beliefs or assertions or making claims about necessity or possibility can be such contexts. In these contexts, replacing a description with another that refers to the same object is not valid and may turn a true sentence into a false one.

    Example:
    Michelle said she wants to meet her new neighbor Stalnaker tonight. But I happen to know Stalnaker is a spy for North Korea, so Michelle said she wants to meet a spy for North Korea tonight.
    Michelle said no such thing. The faulty reasoner illegitimately assumed that what is true of a person under one description will remain true when said of that person under a second description even in this context of indirect quotation. What was true of the person when described as “her new neighbor Stalnaker” is that Michelle said she wants to meet him, but it wasn’t legitimate for me to assume this is true of the same person when he is described as “a spy for North Korea.”

    Extensional contexts are those in which it is legitimate to substitute equals for equals with no worry. But any context in which this substitution of co-referring terms is illegitimate is called an intensional context. Intensional contexts are produced by quotation, modality, and intentionality (propositional attitudes). Intensionality is failure of extensionality, thus the name “intensional fallacy”.

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/f/fallacies.htm
    See also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intension

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensional_definition

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensional_definition

    http://consc.net/papers/intension.html
    It doesn’t beg the question prejudicially against anything. It simply applies the rules of logic and grammar. The one begging the question in his favor is the one who assumes that the extension is to the maximum numerical set.

    Here the universal quantifier (pantos) has referent (anthropos), but this does not work “against” us at all, for this expression finds its reference and thus its extension in the surrounding context, the nature of the myths about which Timothy is being warned. In addition, there are delimiters of class (king and authority) vs. what amounts to the rest of us. Others include elders and deacons, males and females, parents and children, etc. The extension is fixed over a range of classes of persons, not fixed over every person who has ever lived or will live.

    The extensional fallacy is particularly relative when “anthropos” or another direct delimiter is not in the text at all, like John 12:32 or 2 Peter 3:9. The delimiter of the quantifier any in 3:9 is you/us, and of all is any. To read back a universal saving intension or will of God there freights the text with concepts extraneous to it. In fact, even Arminian exegetes today agree (Bauckum, Word).

    Take this statement, “I want all to stand up and listen.” All what? Who? All angels? All people in every age? Everybody who reads my statement? Everybody in the world? Everybody in the US? The intension (all) is universal, but the extension is over a set. What set is it? Ergo, “all, any, every, some, etc.” are only meaningful over a particular set and have no inherent presumption to extend to the maximal set.

  26. tory lamore Says:

    Gene,
    Kings and authority represent 1 category: Jewish kings allowed under the Roman occupation, and the authority of the Roman occupiers. This hardly sets up a delimiter of categories. If Paul said to pray for kings and slaves, then I would see where you are coming from. The historical facts are that the Christians were being persecuted by Jewish authority, Roman authority and by the Jewish people themselves who saw the Christians as traitors to God. It is in this context that Paul says to pray for everyone, especially those in authority (who had the power to inflict the most damage), so that the Christians could live peaceable and quiet lives in godliness. Paul continues another reason for praying for everyone–God desires that all men come to a saving knowledge of the truth. Why does God not bring about something He says He desires? I don’t know. I’m not God and it is not my job to figure Him out–it’s not possible anyway. It’s my job to exegete His word and obey it rather than do mental gymnastics around it.
    Regarding the inward/outward call–where in the text of 2 Cor 6:1-2 do you see the basis for this? I understand how someone’s Calvinist theology would make them see it, but what in the words and grammar of these verses make you see it?

    In Christ

    Tory

  27. tory lamore Says:

    Nathan,
    Jesus’ prayer in John 17 was for His Church. That point is made clear by Jesus’ words that He is not praying for the world. That does not logically translate that He never prayed for the world. The Church’s mission is to teach the world–this is the meaning of “elect.” The elect come “out of ” (EK) the world “to teach ” (LEGO) the world. God has not forgotten the world or abandoned it to its own depravity. He has left it the Church. In Amos 9:7 God is speaking to Israel whom He loves(Dt 7:6):

    “Are you not like the Ethiopians to me,
    O people of Israel? says the Lord.
    Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt,
    and the Philistines from Caphtor
    and the Arameans from Kir?”

    God does not just love the Church.

    Matthew 6: 9-13 has the Our Father. This is part of the Sermon on the Mount beginning in chapter 5. There it says Jesus was surrounded by “the crowds” and His disciples. This is not a group of just believers. Yet here He teaches everyone to call God “Our” Father. This shows universality of thought. I know in John 8 Jesus tells the unbelievers in the crowd their father is the devil, but the devil didn’t create them–God did. Their unbelief and their inability to recognize Jesus is because, as it says in John 5:46, they did not believe Moses. These people called God their Father yet they did not really believe Moses who told them to choose life and not death (Dt 30:19). They hadn’t chosen life and so did not have the love of God in them (Jn 5:42) and could not believe. Instead they chose to believe the devil’s lies. None of this takes away God’s sovereignty. He is so almighty that He is sovereign DESPITE our free will. He is beyond our comprehension, and loves us beyond our comprehension!!! God is the Father of every human being created.

    I don’t believe this outlook puts Jesus in conflict with the Father’s will, since 1 Tim 2:4 shows us that God desires that all men come to a saving knowledge of the truth.

    In Christ

    Tory


  28. […] We are continuing our series of responses to this article from BaptistFire. The first two posts can be read here and here. Hopefully today we’ll be able to cover more ground than a sentence (woohoo!). Again, I’ll provide the immediate context: “Crept in Unawares …“ Calvinists want to take over your Southern Baptist church a BaptistFire special report (Updated: Sept. 26, 2005) […]

  29. Francesco De Lucia Says:

    See also Titus 2:11 speaking about the grace of God being salvific for “all men”, and in the preceding verses 1-10 the passage is speaking about men and women, young nd old, servants and masters…then at verse 11 it says: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.
    Note that FOR, it connects what has been said in the preceding verses with the verse 11. Since the preceding 10 verses were speaking about every KIND of men, of every sex, age, social class, the verse 11, connected with what is before says that the grace of God has been salvific to ALL MEN. Is it not clear enough?
    Just like 1 Tim. 2:4 Titus 2:11 uses the expression “all men” to mean AAL KINDS of men, here in an even broader sense than 1 Tim 2:4, where was referred to men of every social status, while here in Titus 2:11 this meaning is extended to sexes and ages too (AND also men of different social conditions).

    So, let’s riconsider seriously our assumption about the “all men” in the Scripture; with an humble heart and a serious study, scriptural truth will be seen clearly before our eyes, by God’s grace alone.

  30. Evan May Says:

    Another thing important concerning Titus 2:11 is that it is the grace of God that saves that has appeared, not the grace of God that tries to save.

  31. tory lamore Says:

    Francesco,
    I agree that one must be humble to study Scripture, for 1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6 say that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
    In the very first verse of Titus 2, Paul tells us what he has in mind– “But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine.” Then he goes about telling how the Christians can teach what is consistent with sound doctrine. He wants Christian households to be in good order (vv2-7) so that “any opponent will be put to shame, having nothing evil to say” of them (v 8). Good example will be “an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior”(v10). These are the elect who come out of the world to teach the world. The reason for good example is to teach the world. Then verse 11 comes saying the grace of God has appeared saving all. The teaching here is evanglizing those you meet with good example–not limited atonement. That was not in Paul’s mind. I do understand how a Calvinist mindset can make you think it’s a teaching on all kinds of men, but if you read Scripture for what it says, a different picture arises.

    I am against changing the Word of God (i.e.world=believers etc.) in order to fit Scripture into doctrine. That is not sola scriptura, but rather scripture and TULIP (which makes that your “tradition.”)

    In Christ,

    Tory

  32. tory lamore Says:

    Correction–
    Smiley face should be the number 8. Not that I’m not smiling. I hope none of you thinks I am against you. We’re all doing our best to exegete the Word. Our differences can show us just how transcendent our God is. I have a “we’re in this together mindset.”

    In Christ,

    Tory


  33. […] They’re Taking Over! Pt. 4 By Evan May We are continuing our series of responses to the “Crept in Unawares…” article from BaptistFire (the first three posts can be read here: 1, 2, and 3). We now move on to the second paragraph: Southern Baptist Calvinists Are Well Organized […]


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