Saturday, July 3, 2010

An interaction on I John 2:2

This interaction began as a result of a video Urs put up of some Spurgeon Video. Mr. Fred G. had quite the problem with the video. A bunch of people were trying to interact with him, and I thought that such tactics accomplish nothing. So I private messaged him and asked if he would want to interact on the subject. He said yes.

I removed anything that was not directly pertainent to the discussion at hand, he proved to be a quite impatient man.


Bill MacAonghais June 11 at 6:30am
Excellent. I'm used to observing debate style interaction. Basically, that normally goes like this; Opening statements, rebuttals, cross examinations, closing statements. I don't think we need to be overly formal, but I would like to keep to the pattern.

How about this? You can choose a set of verses (or just a verse, though I think we both prefer context), and write out to me what exegetical meaning you are pulling from the text, I will do the same concerning said text. You can point out how I am misreading the text, and I will do the same. After that we can go back and forth on individual points on the text. In my experience, it is after this that people find what they are going to disagree on, and agree on disagreeing. Then we can move on to another text.

Now, I do not wish to be arrogant, nor do I wish to seem judgmental or harsh. I would wish that we would both interact with love, while both defending the truth we hold mutually, that is Salvation comes by grace through faith alone. We are brothers in Christ; there is no reason to be personally disrespectful.

That being said, I don't mind the term Calvinism, but I believe that reformed theology didn't start with Calvin, nor did it end with Calvin.

I don't know greek or hebrew, yet. So I will try and limit any layman usage, although I do believe that some of our translations don't quite get the nuances of those languages.

It may take me a little bit to get back to you, as I want to do my reading thoroughly. So I won't be offended if it takes you a bit to get started, or to get back in reply.

So any proposed texts you'd like to start with?


Fred Gustafson June 11 at 12:35pm Report
1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of ALL the world.
1 John 2:1-2


Bill MacAonghais Note
"My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sin, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments." I John 2:1-3

"Remember when you were in school and you had to take a test on a book you were assigned to read? You studied and invested time in learning the background of the author, the context in which he lived and wrote, his purposes in writing, his audience, and the specifics fo the text. You did not simply come to class, pop open the book, read a few sentences, and say, "Well, I feel the author here means this." Yet, for some odd reason, this attitued is prevalent in Christian circles. Whether that feeling results in an interpreation that has anything at all to do with what the original author intended to convey is really not conisidered an important aspect. Everyone, seemingly, has the right to express their "feelings" about what they "think" the Bible is saying, as if those thought actually reflect what God inspired in HIs Word. While we would never let anyone get away with treating our writings like this, we seem to think God is not bothered, and what is worse, that our conclusions are somehow authoritative in their representation of His Word." -Dr. James White

We can bring alot to what John is writing. Is the substance of what he is conveying in I John have anything to do with stating anything to do with a universal, individualistic application of Christ's payment? I would have to say no. Looking to the beginning of a second chapter of a letter from John to a group of Jewish believers, and cherry picking one phrase, taking it out of its context to communicate a feeling someone has as to our Lord's intent in the cross is as bad as adding to Scripture.

Let us look to the author, John, for similar phrases, in his Gospel.

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas,who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish." He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on the made plans to put him to death." -John 11:45-53

So here we have Caiaphas, prophesying by God's hand. And what is the substance of what the high priest is saying? "that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad."

So, we have John recording a prophesy concerning why, and for whom, Jesus is dying for. Who is it in the text? Not only for the Jew, but for the children of God scattered abroad.

I would argue John is merely staying with the Jewish mindset native to him and his audience. Did Jesus die for the sins of the Hebrews? Or did he die for the Jewish believers, and all those who would come to know him (Children of God)?

Look at Luke 9:25, "For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" Is the whole world here every individual in the world, or is it all that is foreign (and appealing) to a good Jew?

Look at Matt 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" Is this speaking about the world outside the Jewish mindset, or is it specifically saying to every individual throughout all of history? So there is no one who never heard the gospel of Christ?

Look at I John 5:19 "We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." Am I under the power of the evil one? The context of this verse distinctly says, "No."

So the phrase, "Whole world," does not mean every individual throughout all of history. No. John is speaking to a Jewish audience and using a phrase common to them contrasting their ethno-centric believe against the broader sacrifice of Christ for those who would become the sons of God.
Fred Gustafson June 14 at 11:29pm Report
There are a couple of problems with your reply.

First, you are comparing text from two different letters, written for two different purposes, and coming to a conclusion. Although it is the same author, you are not accomplishing context. Context needs to be obtained within the letter written. However, both letters do not contradict each other in stating that Jesus died for ALL the world.

Again, 1 John 2:

1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of ALL the world.

1 John 2 CLEARLY says in black and white that he died for the sins of ALL the world. All means all. Period. There can be no argument there.

Second, you are defeating your own argument by comparing John 11. Clearly John is speaking of the Jewish nation here. This is where context within the chapter is especially important. After Lazarus was raised, the priests and Pharisees were plotting to kill Jesus. Here is why. The text says:

45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. 46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon EVERYONE will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”
49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! 50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”

Caiaphas was concerned that even the Romans would believe in Him and destroy the Jews and the temple. He said they should kill Jesus to save the Jewish nation. (Better one innocent man die than the entire nation).

It continues where you quoted:

51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. 52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.

John just stated the irony that indeed Caiaphas did state an unintended prophecy that Jesus would die for the entire Jewish nation (the Children of God) for their sins. Of coarse, this DOES NOT conflict with 1 John 2. The Jewish nation is included in "All the world."

Here is why using this example defeats your own argument: This verse is talking about the Jewish nation. One problem: Jews have not accepted Jesus as their savior, so they are not saved, although this verse clearly says that he died for them.

In one letter, John states that Jesus died for the Jewish nation.
In another letter, John states Jesus died for the entire world.
People perish in both sets (the world and the Jewish nation within the world).

Hence, Jesus died for even those who do not believe and perish.


Bill MacAonghais June 19 at 3:04pm
Clearly there can be no debate that I John 2:2 says whole world. The question is, are we putting our own interpretation on what John is saying, or are we going to let John speak for himself? You keep saying there can be no argument here. I agree. But I would say that it is you who are forcing your own inclinations upon the text.

You are also repeating that I am saying there is contradiction here. This is misrepresenting what I am saying. Again, Both passages point to the fact that Jesus did not come to die for Jew alone, as many Jews (the Apostles included) did not anticipate He would also come to gather his children from all over the world. This is why Paul needed to address the issue in his epistle to the Galatians that he addressed. You do not need to be Jewish to be saved. There was an assumption that Jesus would be the Jewish King forever, (Ps 100). This is right, but not to the Jew only, for there is no Jew, nor gentile. There are His children.

The flow of I John is this. He is encouraging a specific set of believers to repent, and continue in the light they already have, Christ. The concept of inserting “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of every individual who knows him or does not.” Does continue what he is saying. But if you take into account the substance of what he has always said, it fits that he would state that Christ did not die for him and the people he was writing to, but for all saints throughout the whole world.

The unbelieving High Priest saying that everyone will believe in him has nothing to do with whom Christ will die for. Once again, there is no explicit text in John 11 that says that He will die for each individual. So say that it does forces meaning on a text that has nothing to do with the prophetic context any Hebrew would understand, not with the content of what is being said.

Continuing to say there is no arguing what is being said does not make it so, nor does it prove the point.

The gist is that you need to prove that the text says something that it does not say.

John 11, he is contrasting the nationalistic view, that the Messiah will be for Jew only, which is what the High Priest wanted to adhere to, with the Christian view. That salvation has spread from Jew to Gentile. “He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. “ John 11:51-52


Is it then your assertion that each use of the phrase ”whole world” means each individual within the world?

Why don’t the other usages of this phrase support the meaning being added to it (I.e. that this is an individualistic meaning, and not a meaning spreading a worldview beyond the scope of nationalistic Jews)?

How does this statement found in I John 2:2 fit into the context of what is being said?
Are the “little children”, in the mind of John, being towards all the Christians of the world, or towards the Jewish Christians he was writing to?

I will have more, but I will wait to see your reply to see how I will ask my next questions.


Fred Gustafson June 20 at 3:42am Report
Every individual is in the whole world, so yes, whole world means every individual. If I say I ate a whole carton of eggs, that would mean I ate 12 individual eggs. Jesus died for the whole world. To say otherwise is the manipulation of words to fit twisted theology. You did not address the fact it said Jesus died for the Jewish nation, which he did, though they did not accept. Saying that Jesus did not die for all does nothing but limit the infinite grace of God.

I don't understand how one can say that we are not given free will from God. God gives us the choice to accept him. Yes, hell is full of forgiven people. The lack of forgiveness was not their problem. Their problem was their lack of life. Jesus' death provided forgiveness for all, but it was His resurrection that provided the needed life. It is up to us to accept it. (just like that example I gave in Urs's thread).

19 “Today I have given you the CHOICE between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the CHOICE you make. Oh, that you would CHOOSE life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this CHOICE by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This[a] is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”might live!
Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Yes, this is Old Testament, but the same God. He gave people options to take. God would not offer choices if there were not free will to choose.

16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you CHOOSE to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can CHOOSE to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.
Romans 6:15-17

13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell[a] is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who CHOOSE that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
Matthew 7:12-14

God loves us and desires love in return. That would not exist if we were pawns in His game of solitare.

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that EVERYONE who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the WORLD, but to save the WORLD through him.
John 3:16-17

There is a condition to receiving eternal life. That is believing. One can not believe something without the conscious decision to do so.


But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. HE DOES NOT WANT ANYONE to be destroyed, but WANTS EVERYONE to repent.

15 And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have TWINSTED HIS LETTERS TO MEAN SOMETHING QUITE DIFFERENT, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.

17 I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:8-9, 15-18

"HE DOES NOT WANT ANYONE to be destroyed, but WANTS EVERYONE to repent." Yet they do anyway. This verse is not exclusive to the "chosen". He wants NO ONE to perish. God does not send anyone to Hell. Hell is spending eternity where God is not present. That is only everybody's starting point. God's forgiveness gives everybody the opportunity to step out of death and into life, provided we put into practice the "measure of faith" everyone is given to believe, and receive.

Remember that the prodigal son decided to go his own way. He also came to his senses and decided to come back. So it is with us.

There is no point going any further with this.

I just hope that you have the assurance that you indeed are saved. With your line of thinking, I don't know how you can be sure that you have eternal life. After all, it is God's choice, not yours. How do you know what His choice about you is? Are you that far up that you can even be certain to know the mind of God, or what his will for your future is for that matter? Are YOU chosen? Really? God only knows, right?


Bill MacAonghais June 20 at 11:12am

On Dating a Single Mom (part one)

Entering into a relationship with a single mother can become a challenging and, if you are not careful, frustrating experience. I am certain a relationship with a single father can produce its own set of challenges, but as I have never been in a relationbship like this, I have little to say about it. Being that I have never desired such a thing, I have nothing to say about it. I will stick with the Single Mom I am with. And if for some reason she should decide she no longer wishes to stay with me, i will stay with pursuing the fairer gender.

I have been in a relationship with a single mom for a year now. Before that i dated another for an extremely short period of time, and have had close friendships with others. While there are bound to be plenty of others writers who have both more experience and more to say on the issue, I wish to, never-the-less, endeavor to share some of the wisdom I've gtain on the subject of Initiating and continuing a relationship with an unmarried mother.

Knighthood Syndrome.

I will first address the issue I call, "Knighthood Syndrome". You will never be her Savior. This honor belongs to God, and it is forced idolatry to try and make yourself God to her. If your heart is not turned towards God first, you will find your worth being tied to how she needs you. It could form as an emotional, or financial, or physical, orwhatever kind of savior. You are not He. If you are pointing more towards yourself than towards God, you are out of order.

God may use you to heal wounds, to protect her, to spiritually encourage and guide her. You are not the source of her healing. if God has blessed you to be used in her life, humbly thank God and fearfully endeavor to be a good Christian brother to her.

Seeking to be her Savior is more responsability than you'll ever be able to fulfill. not only are you robbing God of his place, and her of her true Savior, but you will inevitably fail. How horrible is it to hope in yourself to fix someone, only to have this self delusion ripped from you? It is better to be sober, and point to Christ. he may or may not use you in this manner. Save yourself the agony of failure. Be there for her in love, not to prove or show your self worth. Love is selfless.

There's a Reason She's Single.

Even though you cannot be her Savior, you cannot be a coward. There is going to be baggage. you will never be her first and only love. You will not be the first guy she's had sex with (the honeymoon could be different. Will comment on how it will be affected after I'm married). The thing to keep in mind is that the blood of Christ covers all. if He, the Holy One, can forgive and see that stain no more, then who are you to keep record? Yes, you are not going to be that special one who will alone know her touch. Get over it. If you are going to love her, it's not about what you get. It's about what our Lord wishes. Contrarily, if she's struggled with infidelity or promiscuity, then you may wish to seek out cousel, and use wisdom in your time together.

You must fight for her heart. There are four Options concerning her past. The first option is that her husband died, and both she and he were completely, perfectly healthy in their relationship. The second is that he was dysfunctional and ended the relationship through abandonment or violence. The third is that she is and or was dysfunctional. The fourth is that she and he are dysfuctional. You have a 50% chance there is a problem with her. If you take into account human depravity, you probably have a 100% chance, but that is another issue.

She may have (more like probably will) hang-ups of distrust. Her ex(s) may have been unfaithful. So she may have trust issues with you. Her experience tells her men can be unfaithful (not to mention potential daddy issues). you may have to prove yourself completely above reproach, or assumption of reproach to her. You should not be flirting with other women anyways, so this is the perfect opportunity to stop. If you are in this relationship, it is you who have decided you will pursue her to see if she is marriage material. If you cannot keep your proverbial hands to yourself in words and attiudes, you will probably not keep your actual hands to yourself later.

She may have been abused. You may be used to using sarcasm and feel free to raise her voice. she may have had an ex who put her down with sarcasm. he may have raised his voice before beating her. Communication is paramount! Be aware of her body language and her words. A Christian is supposed to be kind and patient as well. Yet another wonderful chance to exercise Christian Virtue!

Her past is a beast you must fight. Guess what, yours will be no picnic. if you want to be with her, you will need to fight for her. If you want" someone", and she's there, you are looking for a roomate and a harlot. Don't degrade her like that. If you want her, you must love her. To love her, you must know her. To know her, you must know God, and know Him intimately. Fighting for her may include counseling. Part of being a good warrior is knowing who to have on your side. man up. Turn to pastors, godly men, or couselors you need. Be selfless. you may need to stop doing something. you may need to say, "I love you" more than you think falls within the bounds of sanity. Don't assume you are perfect. Don't assume you are even good at this thing called love. if you ever stop learning, you stop growing. Life is growth. If you stop growing, you are dead. Live. Grow. Learn.

You will learn that you are not the center of her earthly life. At best, you will be number three (but hoping for this may be too much). After God, and her child, assuming only one child, if you are not at least number three, it is not and will not be a healthy relationship. Her child is dependant on her. She must be dependant on God. You, by default, must be number three. You will probably be number four, being that she ought also to take care of the mother of her child; herself.

You will not get to see the movies you want to see all the time. You will not get to see the television shows you used to watch. You will end up watching animated movies, and America's Funniest Videos and the such. You will not get her all to yourself as much as you'd like. Guess what. That saves you the misunderstanding most men have when they get married and have a kid of their own. That misunderstanding is that they are the most important man on the face of the planet. It's not all about you. First God. Second her. And guess who comes along with her? That's right! The kid. The sooner you accept this, the better off you will be.

Your money? Not quite anymore. Your money used to be able to take you to the movies five times. Guess what happens. That shrinks to one. Not once with the two of them, and then two times for you. Once. If you are lucky you will have a woman who is frugal. But this is not something to count on.

Part Two to come soon...