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

1 comment:

  1. Sadly you are of this wicked, evil world ;-(

    “Love Not The World”

    ”For the WHOLE world(not just a portion) is under the control of the evil one”.......(I John 5:19)

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world will pass away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of The Only True GOD will abide for ever.”(IJohn2:15-17)

    “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” (John15:19-20)

    “Where do wars and fighting among you come from? Do they not come of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is to be at enmity with The Only True GOD? Therefore whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of The Only True GOD.” (James 4:1-4)

    “The world cannot hate you; but the world hates Me, because I testify that the works of this world are evil.” (John 7:7)” and “The Messiah gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of The Only True God, Our Father.”(Gal 1:4)

    The Messiah testified: “If the world hates you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”(John 5:18) Truly, Truly, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life in this world shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall have it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25)

    John testified: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (I John 3:13) “ James testified, “Whoever would be a friend of this world is the enemy of GOD”(James4:4)

    The “earth and it's life forms” are The Creation of The ONE and Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”, he who is “the father of lies”, he who “has blinded the minds of those who believe not The Messiah”! All the nations of this world are under the dominion of, and serve, the “god of this world” for he provides the fuel that feeds mankind’s “imag”ination. And sadly, mankind’s “imag”ination is destroying Creation(air, water, land vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Truth, Light, Life, Faith, Love, Peace,, All that is Truly Good) ;-(

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it's systems of religion, for "the WHOLE world(not just a portion) is under the control of the evil one" indeed and Truth......

    Truth IS, a lie is not.......

    Abide in The Truth....... francis