1 Corinthians 8:6
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
Paul was a unitarian, not a Trinitarian. Do Trinitarians believe he is in hell for not believing the Trinity?
As I said before: When Paul teaches his own doctrine, his own opinions, he’s a Gnostic heretic. But when he sticks with what other Christians at the time believed, he is a valuable historical witness to first century Christianity. Here, he is in perfect agreement with the speeches in Acts.
The “No Means No” Debate: A Biblical Evaluation, the rap version:
Notice that who does the work is not the issue. Work period is the issue. The BASIS of grace is the issue here, and if the basis of grace is works it is no longer grace. If Christ had to keep the law for us to make grace possible, according to Paul [A], grace is no longer of grace. (Paul D in Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Prince of Preachers?)
[Of course the idea of keeping the Law for grace makes no sense, especially considering we're Gentiles who were never under the ceremonial law in ANY sense: we were never condemned by it, ever, and never in need of being redeemed from it, PERIOD. So the flawed explanation of Jesus becoming a curse to take the curse of the Law etc. in Galatians could not ever have been intended for us. Its an explanation aimed at Jews.]
There are a few questions that must be answered before we can even talk about this subject:
- What is grace?
- When is it needed?
Without defining these things, the word “grace” is as meaningless as “Evangelical.”
Augustine basically made grace out to be magic-enabling-power that must come at the beginning to enable you to believe. Then he also made it a continuing but exhaustible power source needed in the middle, but apparently not in the end. And then he made God out to be a stingy jerk who won’t give you the grace you need no matter how persistent you are in prayer.
To Pelagius grace wasn’t needed at the beginning, at least not grace as we normally define it. The only “grace” needed at the beginning was the preaching of the gospel, which Augustine complained about constantly saying “By grace Pelagius means nothing but law and teaching.”
See Pelagius thought we could respond to the gospel without Augustine’s magic enabling power. No Calvinist zapping from on high was needed to undo inherited disability, because there was no inherited disability!
Grace proper with Pelagius began once you became a Christian, at which point grace enabled you to resist sin “more easily” which implies you could resist sin before conversion too, just not as easily (which Augustine again complained about, because Augustine claimed it was impossible to resist sin at all without “grace”).
And Pelagius identified grace with the indwelling of the Spirit, received in baptism, of course. Not only that, but Pelagius a credobaptist which again Augustine wasn’t too happy about since his Rome-given job was to invented a theology to defend infant baptism (which is what “original sin” was created for).
But ultimately, isn’t grace God’s mercy? Isn’t it really what comes at the end?
We can delineate 3 graces:
(1) revelation (i.e. what Augustine complains Pelagius believed in, “law and teaching”) : the teaching ministry of Christ’s assembly.
(2) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which enables the Christian to resist sin “more easily,” and is received in baptism (Acts 2:38 no matter what the Baptists say).
(3) God’s mercy on Judgement Day, as James says and Jesus as well in the sermon on the mount: he who shows mercy WILL receive mercy.
But what Augustine called “grace” and what both Catholicism and Protestantism teach about “grace” (Baptists too): its like energon in Tranformers; its a myth.
Now, is grace no longer grace if it requires any works?
(1) Well, Relevation is free, although people had to copy it by hand for centuries, and that was works. If nobody worked you wouldn’t have it.
(2) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit don’t just zap you. You have to repent and be baptized to receive it (Acts 2:38)
And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (Acts 5:32)
Notice that verse contrary to the Baptist heresy: God don’t give the Holy Spirit to those who simply obey. Faith alone is Satan’s religion. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey. Obey what? “Repent and be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
(3) He who shows no mercy will receive none, James says.
So each of the 3 graces requires works or you don’t get it. Sorry, but Paul A was wrong, as usual. He’s the source of all Gnostic error and stupidity, as always. Or rather, the epistles forged in his name are, since Paul A in Acts ain’t half a bad as these “authentic epistles” of his.
In the non-Calvinist world, and particularly the non-Trinitarian world, there is a tendency to reject creeds. Not just the established creeds, but even the very concept of making creeds. Of course, the Bible is the authority…blah blah blah. But I’ve been thinking lately about the fact that we have such an uphill battle against Calvinism. Why???? Its such a disgusting theology. Why would anyone believe it?
Simply put: because its easier to beleive a doctrine that can be handed to them in the form of a creed than one that has to constantly proven from the Bible, from scratch, every time anyone asks a question or makes a challenge. Its a serious disadvantage to be expected to explain the whole Bible on the fly, even with memorized responses and traditional helps like commentaries, etc.
There have been many non-Calvinist movements over the centuries since the Reformation. Most of them have died out. Those that didn’t die out completely either have already, or are in the process of compromising with Calvinism. But had they made a creed, would they still be around? would they have stayed solid and not compromised? It would have given them an ease of explaining their beliefs, right? And thus an ease of propagating them? So this is a line of inquiry I am going to pursue. Do we need creeds or not?
What does a creed do? In a creed, you take up the parts of the Bible you believe in and isolate them from the parts you don’t believe in, and if you feel like it, you add in stuff that’s not even in the Bible. That’s how the Catholics and the Calvinists have done it.
So why can’t we do it too? The fact is, we need a creed, not to add anything to the Bible like they do, but to remove from it. To remove the mistakes and blunders of Paul. Can non-Calvinist churches remain non-Calvinist without a creed to authoritatively outline what parts of Paul’s doctrine are wrong? Without showing what explanation of why we don’t need to be circumcised (for instance) we will replace Paul’s bogus “faith vs works” explanation with?
What do you think?
One thing I clearly see as a mistake for non-Calvinists is accepting the idea that all books included in the canon are equal, and especially giving Paul any independent authority (i.e. believing him when no books not written by him substantiate his claims). Non-Calvinists for too long have tried to mold Paul into Christ’s image, and ultimately failed, and lost their churches to Calvinist takeovers, because where Paul is accepted as inspired, Calvinism WILL take over eventually. Well, either Calvinism will takeover, or take away your membership. Either they seize the building, or they empty it.
The only non-Calvinist organizations to date that seems capable of beating this are the ones that mimic the RCC in creating a hierarchical institution. But surely it can be done without this. I would much prefer a one-time creed to point out where Paul is wrong over a bureaucracy given the power to change doctrine whenever they feel like it.
Now, one of the reasons people fear questioning Paul is the question “where will it stop?” If you begin to question one book in the canon, won’t you question another, until there is nothing left? Well, this may be precisely where a creed comes in handy: it tells you where to stop. If you were to question the canon on your own, maybe you never would stop. But with a creed, either you stop, or you exit the bounds of fellowship of the group that accepts the creed. So a creed could be the way to mitigate the over-questioning of the canon.
But will non-Calvinists ever be open to a creed? or will they always oppose creed-making to the point of signing their own death-warrants?
We could even take the tact of leaving Christology out of the creed, and making it only the basics, like:
We believe that there is one God, who created all things visible and invisible, who for the salvation of mankind sent his son Jesus, the Messiah or Christ, to die for the sins of all, that all might have a chance at salvation, whosoever will believe and obey the gospel.
We believe that one must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; repent of their sins; confess said belief; and be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins. And after this, live the Christian life; a life of worshiping God, and of morality.
We believe that it is within man’s power to do these things, for God did not promise any moral incapacity as a punishment for Adam’s sin.
We reprobate anyone who preaches faith alone, especially faith alone in sanctification, but also even in justification, for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ himself did not even use the term “justification” but spoke of forgiveness or remission of sins only. And that he did not speak of as something to be received by faith alone, but by baptism firstly, and by prayer afterwards.
We be so bold as to say if anyone preaches inherited disability or arbitrary predestination, or any variation of once saved always saved, let him be anathema. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of Protestantism: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. (cf. Titus 1:10-11)
Note, reprobate is being used as a verb. Archaic language above is all intentional to evoke the creedyness of the creed.
Took some of my coins to the Coinstar and got me a “gift card” slip which I cashed in on Amazon.com, and then I started listening to some of the music on Amazon’s Prime Music to see what I’m going to buy. And I came across this song (God over money, by Bizzle), which I thought was pretty good.
Another song (Dear hip hop) I liked from the same guy:
CA 2741523 A1 (link to google patents)
So, why did the US Government and CDC patent the Ebola virus? And in what sense is it an “invention”?
Are there any patent lawyers reading this blog?
Over at PPT, on the post Why Deathbed Terror is a Reformed Family Tradition there’s been a little exchange in the comments which results finally in me taking the stance below. Its immediately an answer to this question:
What did Jesus Christ do that is salvific? What did He do that redeems and justifies?
(This is something I was planning on posted here anywhere.)
Not just his death but also his teachings. Its what everyone other than the Gnostics believed prior to Augustine. It also caused controversy on the question of whether Christ’s ministry was nothing more than a one-year march from Nazareth to Jerusalem to die (as the Gnostics claimed) or whether it was at least a three year ministry of equipping the apostles to, as Jesus tells them in the great commission, “teach all things I have commanded you.” This is another area where Protestantism has failed.
Sola Scriptura in the sense of just picking up some paraphrase like the NIV or even a formal equivalence translation like the KJV and thinking you can understand it correctly with ZERO knowledge of church history, of the history of the interpretation of the text, of acceptance of doctrine, and of the very formation of the canon. People who think the Bible dropped from heaven leather-bound as one book can’t interpret the Bible to save their lives. You don’t have to go to seminary to learn any of this history either. Especially not today, with ccel.org housing all of Philip Schaff’s collection of English translations of the so-called “church fathers,” with wikipedia, with google books. And no I’m not endowing the “church fathers” with authority like the Catholics. On the contrary, I’m rescinding the authority they gave Augustine. Augustine was the turning point in church history from Christianity to Gnosticism, so a knowledge of what was believed in the first 3 centuries is indispensable to understanding the Bible.
Sola Scriptura = wrong. Scripture + common sense + knowledge of church history = right.
Sola Fide = wrong. Faith + obedience to Jesus = right.
Sola Gracia = wrong. Jesus’ death + revelation + freewill + faith + repentance + obedience + grace = right.
Its high time to awake from the Pauline slumber and quit adding “only” after everything.
Grace only implies that we do nothing in salvation; but we must.
Faith alone implies that morality doesn’t matter to God; but that would make God into Satan.
Sola Scriptura implies that understanding how the canon was formed doesn’t matter; just accept the finished product as infallible and inerrant without question no matter where it comes from or how corrupt it might be.
And ironically, Sola Scripture also implies that the modern presuppositions (inherited from Augustine) which are used in interpreting the Bible in line with the Catholic and Protestant creeds are not to be questioned; just accept them and tow the ‘orthodox’ line without questioning them on the basis of the history of the first 3 centuries of the church.
None of that makes any sense.
A new sort of creed or set of theses has been published at Paul’s Passing Thoughts under the title 14 Basic Fundamentals of the True Gospel and 12 Anti-Gospel Presuppositions. I have some comments I sort of wanted to make on a few articles, but I think I will only say anything about one of them.
Sin was found in Lucifer, an angel created by God. It is described in the Bible as a master. Sin masters those who are not saved, but is hindered by the conscience God created in every being. God also wrote His character traits on the hearts of all people because we are born in His image. Unbelievers are not completely mastered by sin because they are born in God’s image. Unfortunately, unbelievers often confuse the image of God with their own righteousness.
When a believer sins, it is a violation of the Bible, but is considered to be sin against God and His family directly or indirectly by bringing shame on God’s name. For the unbeliever, violation of the law leads to eternal condemnation while sin for the believer can lead to chastisement and loss of reward.
I’ll pass over the fact that I don’t think “lucifer” (which is not even Hebrew but Latin) is the devil’s proper name. And I’ll go right to the next thing. I think there’s probably something sinister lurking under the phrase “Unfortunately, unbelievers often confuse the image of God with their own righteousness.” Its too cryptic for its own good.
As to the second paragraph, even Paul himself says “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Cor 9:27) — Remember the watchphrase at PPT: “words mean things” — so what does it mean to be a castaway? To lose rewards? or to be damned?
If all that Paulinists have to be afraid of is losing the toy from the crackerjack box, then of course they’re going to sin, and sin bad. And the only rewards Paulinism will allow we can earn are trinkets, if it allows we can earn anything, which in fact, it doesn’t. So what rewards are there even to lose in the Baptist system?
Also I note the strange wording here: “it is a violation of the Bible” rather than that its a violation of God’s will. Is that intentional? Some kind of suggestion that God’s Ok with sin but the Bible isn’t? I don’t get it.
And to whom did Jesus preach that we should not be afraid of him who can kill the body only and after that has nothing more he can do, telling us that we should rather fear him who can destroy (i.e. annihilate, see also Psalm 37:20) both body and soul in hell? Was he saying this only to nonbelievers and not believers? That sure would be strange…especially since the point of saying this is to strengthen believers in their resolve to obey God rather than men and not shrink from obeying God for fear of persecution!
Ah, but if Christians who persist in willfull sin, like committing fornication on the basis of Paul’s claim that “all things are lawful” can actually be lost as a result, well then that means that all things are NOT lawful after all. That means there’s still law for the Christians, even in “justification” if you want to play with Paul’s toys, er, I mean terminology.
It means in other words, exactly what Jesus said to believers in the sermon on the mount: he that does this or that is in danger of hell fire. Can Paul undo what Jesus says there and tell us there is not law for Christians at all? Does Paul get to reverse Jesus’ declaration that “not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but he that does the will of my Father”? Or does Paul get to whiteout “Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them is likened to a wise man….and whoever hears them and does not do them is likened unto a fool….”?
Now of that fool, what does he say? The house that the fool built on the sand will fall down and great will be the fall of it. Is that damnation or loss of crackerjack toys?
Or again, in Luke 12, the 3 servants, one who was beaten with few stripes, another with many stripes, and one “cut in half and given his portion with the hypocrites,” does this being cut-in-half means simply losing the toy at the bottom of the cereal box, or does it mean damnation?
Now, after I was sufficiently pleased with this post, I went to read iMonk and I looked at the article called How I Became a… Arminian he quoted some of the following:
2nd Peter 2:20-22 (KJV)
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Here it must be emphasized that Peter says those who get entangled again in sin, i.e. practice or live in sin, after becoming believers, will end up in worse shape that if they had never been saved!
But I also want to emphasize that he speaks of a “holy commandment”…what’s that? The commandment to repent, I suppose, for he has it in the singular, and “repent!” is the only command I can think of that basically encompasses all the rest. And this is what Jesus said he came for, “to call sinners to repentance.” When he sent the 12 out to preach around Israel, one gospel says “they went out preaching the gospel” and another “they went out preaching that men should repent.” So that repentance and the gospel are largely synonymous. Therefore, to turn from repentance back to wallowing in sin is to turn from the gospel.
So what is the worse end? To lose a quarter-machine toy? or damnation?
I just found a really interesting article on a site called Jesus’ Words Only, and the article is called Reformation Doubts About Paul.
According to the article, Martin Luther himself (the greatest Paul worshiper of all time, second only to Marcion) said the following in his commentary on Galatians 3:16 where Paul gives the ungrammatical argument that “seed” is singular (which is not true in English nor Hebrew) and therefore must refer exclusively to Christ and not the children of Israel:
My dear brother Paul, this argument won’t stick.
Lol. Even Luther could see that? That’s pretty amazing considering how drunk he stayed.
The article goes on to claim that Luther towards the end of his life tried to limit faith alonism a bit, to roll back some of the damage he had done, resulting in the double justification doctrine (initial justification by faith alone, final justification by works, i.e. what NT Wright teaches today). But after Melancthon, Luther’s successor, died, people went back to full-on crazy faith alonism. Interesting.
See Paul D, that’s how it goes when you try to control Paul. I’ve seen it over and over. You have a congregation that’s perfectly Christian, obeying Jesus and all, and then somebody reads Romans or Galatians and starts teaching Calvinism, faith alonism, its Ok to fornicate since Paul says “all things are lawful” so fornication is lawful, just not expedient because Paul says “but all things are not expedient.” This is what happened to Marcion, after all, as Tertullian reports it, he “discovered Galatians” and it was all downhill from there. You have to reject the Benjamite Wolf, not just put him on a chain: he’ll always get loose from the chain. You’ve got to reject him, not just apply some fancy expository techniques to limit the damage he can cause. Because nice little distinctions you make will be ignored by your hearers. And if not in your lifetime, as soon as you die.
This post is my thinking on this video on John 8:34-36 at Paul’s Passing Thoughts.
He spends a lot of time on the “Pauline” theory that the law provokes to sin, from Romans 7. Now, I think the only way sin can use the law to provoke people to sin is this: If you think you’re going to hell already, you will not try to live right, but rather you will say “Well, I’m going to hell anyway, so why not commit another sin?” But you know what is even more powerful than “the law” for this purpose? The theory of predestination!
Calvinist pastor: Ut, sorry, you’re non-elect so you’re going to hell no matter how you live.
Lay Calvinist: Well then I’m going to go rape, murder, and steal.
But again, if you think you’re going to heaven no matter how you live, you will also not avoid sin!
Calvinist pastor: Good News! You’re elect so you’re going to heaven no matter how you live!
Lay Calvinist: Well then I’m going to go rape, murder, and steal.
So it gets you coming and going. And even if you reject predestination but accept OSAS, you end up with this problem.
Now as for the Law, nothing Jesus says in John 8 blames the law in any regard. Rather, as in verse 47, he puts the blame on people not listening to God. I think Paul (in Romans 7) is speaking not accurately of what the law actually does according to the OT but of what the Pharisees misunderstood the law as meaning. Probably Paul found it convenient to try to reach people where they were, embracing their misconceptions, rather than correct all their misconceptions. [Or, on second thought, its something else because Paul is clearly fighting an uphill battle to convince people of that idea.] But Jesus doesn’t accommodate in that way, which explains to me why Jesus just says “he who practices sin is a slave of sin” without putting out any theory that its the law’s fault, but rather actually blames it in John 8:47 on them not listening to God. Jesus blames the person, while Paul blames God’s law. Don’t you dare impute Paul’s doctrine to Jesus! But, heh, if you want to overcome Paul’s doctrine by imputing Jesus’ doctrine to Paul, by all means, go ahead. :)
Now, I have a bit more to say:
That was concerning the middle of the video. Now let’s talk about the beginning of the video.
Paul D has framed this in a way that’s like “unless you prove to be a good Christian, you were never ‘in’.” Thus, neither baptism (scriptural) nor the sinner’s prayer (unscriptural) can put one ‘in’ Christ, per his view. Whether you are ‘in’ or not is a the result of your final life, i.e. final justification, per his view (which makes his view the same as what he condemns under the name of Progressive Justification, so far as I can tell). But if only he could let go of OSAS, he would be able to accept what the scriptures say concerning how baptism puts one ‘in’ Christ (Galatians 3:27, for example) without having to affirm that someone who is baptized but who afterwards practices sin habitually stays ‘in’. After all, Jesus says that any branch in him that does not bear fruit is cut off, doesn’t he? That’s in John 15. How is a branch that wasn’t ‘in’ to begin with cut off and “cast forth” as if it were actually ‘in’ before being cast out if it in fact were not ‘in’? So the problem is the doctrine of OSAS, which yes, I realize, as a Baptist it will take him 50 years to study himself out of. But OSAS is the problem.
As to the actual text of John 8 being discussed, when Jesus says “He who practices sin is a slave to sin” this has no reference to any of the odd Pauline ideas about the Law causing people to sin or any idea that Jews who actually kept the Law at that time were slaves of sin. Verse 47 is clear “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” That is, they don’t care about the Law at all; they’re only nominal Jews. Well, that’s why they were slaves of sin, same as nominal Christians, and same as Calvinists who listen to John Piper and Al Mohler rather than to God: they are slaves of sin because they don’t listen to God.
The Calvinists (gracerandywriter in particular) want to play a game of making a distincion between philosophical, theological (and whatever other adjective they can put in front of) determinism. But it doesn’t fool anyone but themselves.
Fatalism is fatalism. A horse is a horse of course of course.
They think they’re so smart with their distinctions without difference. They think they can trick God with their academic distinctions. Sorry, but in case you never heard it, he is infinite in wisdom.
Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. (Psalm 147:5 KJV)
Our Lord is great and has awesome power;
there is no limit to his wisdom. (Psalm 147:5 NET)
See Randy’s post called a determinist god, in which he says:
From time to time, people who believe in the almighty “free will” of the fallen sinner have accused me of believing in a “deterministic God.” I want to go on record here and confess that I indeed hold to such a belief. By that I do not mean that God causes and is responsible for all my actions. God is not the great puppeteer, and I am not a sock puppet. He does not need to cause me to sin since I continue to do such a good job of sinning by myself, but in his infinite wisdom he has taken even my rebellion into account and governs it so that it will ultimately bring glory to him and eternal and spiritual good to me.
In other words, translating this jibberish into English: “I believe in a determinist god but I deny believing in determinism.” When I called him on this, he said:
I did not state that I don’t believe in determinism. I believe God has determined [not actively caused] everything that occurs. If you believed the Scriptures, you would believe that too. I stated that philosophical determinism is not the issue and it isn’t. From all my exposure to you I have concluded that you are too ignorant to merit any of my attention.
So the games begin. They think they can blaspheme God and call him the author of sin, but somehow he won’t notice it because they have these “fine” pseudo-philosophical distinctions they’ve invented. They think they can add a lying bracketed phrase to distinguish between “determined” and “actively caused.” They are the most deluded of idiots on the face of the earth. Do they really believe God is so stupid that he can’t see through this? If I’m not that stupid, then certainly God isn’t.