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.
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.
This post is somewhat inspired by Acts Lesson 35 on Paul’s Passing Thoughts, which made me want to share my thoughts on this verse.
Andrew mentions that the word “believed” is normally put at the end of the translations, but it comes earlier in the Greek texts. This is something I noticed before, that this clause kind of hangs suspiciously at the end of Acts 13:48.
ακουοντα δε τα εθνη εχαιρεν και εδοξαζον τον λογον του κυριου και επιστευσαν
But hearing this the Gentiles began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and believed.
οσοι ησαν τεταγμενοι εις ζωην αιωνιον
(as many as had been appointed to eternal life)
The second clause is entirely extraneous to the sentence. Its a parenthetical, and could easily be a scribal gloss that was taken into the text.
Andrew mentioned that Tyndale had the word order right.
Darby also leaves the word order right:
“And [those of] the nations, hearing it, rejoiced, and glorified the word of the Lord, and believed, as many as were ordained to eternal life.”
So does Young’s Literal translation:
“And the nations hearing were glad, and were glorifying the word of the Lord, and did believe — as many as were appointed to life age-during;”
I would notice one more thing on the word τεταγμενοι (“appointed” in the NASB). If you look up the word in Liddell and Scott you find in the 3rd definition, part 4:
4.in Mid., also, generally, to agree upon, settle, Plat.
“in Mid.” in middle voice, something being done by one to oneself (the middle voice and passive don’t differ in form in Greek, so God doing it to someone vs them doing it to themselves, the word looks the same)
“as many as agreed to eternal life” or “as many as settled on eternal life”
Another definition in there is
Mid. to take a payment on oneself, i. e. agree to pay it
“as many as agreed to render the necessary obedience for eternal life”
In the first definition, we find this:
Mid. to fall in, form in order of battle
“as many as fell into rank for eternal life”
The key here is whether you take this to be in Passive or Middle voice. And in Greek, they both look exactly the same. Passive would be something God does to them, but Middle is something they’re doing to themselves. So any time in the New Testament you see what looks like a passive, there is always a possibility its a Middle, because they look exactly the same in Greek. So YOU have to decide whether to read it as a Passive or Middle voice.
Even though you could make it work per any of the above, I personally just feel in my gut its a scribal gloss taken into the text, because there’s just no legitimate reason for the clause (οσοι ησαν τεταγμενοι εις ζωην αιωνιον) to be there…..or is there?
I suppose that you can take τεταγμενοι here as opposed to verse 46 where Paul tells the Jews: “since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.” In contrast to this, the acceptance of the Gentiles (“as many as agreed to eternal life”) can be taken to mean, basically, as many as counted themselves worthy of eternal life.
Yes, that seems the best interpretation.
Since Acts was probably not originally written in Greek anyway, and is probably a translation from some other language into Greek (from Aramaic? from Latin?) the difficulty in seeing that verse 48 is counterposed against verse 46 is the fault of the translator into Greek using a weird phrase to represent what undoubtedly could have been more easily represented by just saying “as many as counted themselves worthy of eternal life.” This is why they say translators are traitors.
[This is ground I've covered before, but maybe I was slightly more scholarly this time around. See the old post from January 2014: Behold my thinking on Acts 13:48 evolve before your very eyes if you dare. Actually, I didn't do too bad. I even mentioned verse 48 being juxtaposed against verse 46 back then. And there I acknowledge that the suggestion about the Middle voice here originally came to me from someone named Gary. I don't remember who that is now, but I acknowledge my debt to him. Actually, my unscholarlyness over there may be a plus. Its kind of comedic, which drives the point home really well.]
Arianism which the JWs teach is false. But Trinitarianism is more false. Jesus is not a second god as the JWs have it. But he also is not God as the Trinitarians have it. Jesus was a man in whom God dwelt, but not God himself, as per 2nd Cor 5:9 “…God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself…” Notice he doesn’t say that Christ is God, but that God was IN Christ. This is because Jesus was just a regular man until God entered him at his baptism, as you can read in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, concerning how the Holy Spirit entered him at his baptism, and in John 3:34, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for he giveth not the Spirit by measure [to him],” meaning Jesus had the fulness of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, and that is the true doctrine of his relationship to God. As Paul also says “there is one God, the Father,” (1 Cor 8:6) “and one Lord, Jesus Christ” — for God the Father alone is God, and the Spirit is the presence of the Father, and Jesus Christ is the only man in history in which God dwelt in all his fulness, as Paul says in Col 2:9 “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” — but there is a distinction between being God and having God in all his fulness dwell in him.
Even so, we should have charity over differences on this stuff, because if we all believe in Jesus and are obeying, living the Christian life, why should we get our panties in a knot over this stuff?
Originally a comment on this stupid video
On an old post I said something about Paul “founding all those churches in Acts” and Matthew Perri corrected me saying that Paul did not found any of those churches.
So, since I was going to re-read Acts (after my discovery that Acts disproves Calvinism) I decided to pay special attention to this point. Does Acts actually say Paul planted any churches or not?
Well, I have read up to chapter 21 now. And I know that from chapter 21 to the end he is in prison, so he won’t have much opportunity to establish churches for the rest of it.
So what’s been done in the first 21 chapters is about it. So did he establish any churches?
In the first 15 chapters I see absolutely ZERO indication that Paul planted any churches at all whatsoever. Everywhere he goes there were already brethren there. He and Barnabas only “strengthen the churches” and “confirm the brethren.” He doesn’t plant any churches.
In chapter 16, at Thyatira, when he converts Lydia, it seems (simply due to the silence of the narrator) that perhaps there were no other disciples in Thyatira at the time. So it could possibly be argued that he planted the church at that place, in a manner of speaking, by baptizing Lydia and her house, although he was there for clearly less than a day or two. A similar situation could be argued at Philippi with the jailor and his house, if we assume from the narrator’s silence on the point that there were no other disciples there. But that’s really it.
As for the rest through chapter 21, again, he (and Silas this time, since Barnabas and Paul split up) go and “strengthen the churches” and “confirm the brethren.” Even at Ephesus, he already finds disciples there. He rebaptizes 12 men who have only been baptized with John’s baptism, but he’s not establishing a church, just correcting them on the point of baptism. Acts doesn’t even make the claim that Paul ordained the elders in Ephesus. So far as Acts is concerned, they were there before he got there.
So Matthew Perri is right. Paul didn’t plant those churches; he only preached to already established churches and converted a few individuals here and there.
As to the one church I think we might possibly solidly say Paul planted, namely that at Thyatira, this is what John writes to them in Revelation 2:18-25 (ASV):
18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like unto burnished brass:
19 I know thy works, and thy love and faith and ministry and patience, and that thy last works are more than the first.
20 But I have this against thee, that thou sufferest the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess; and she teacheth and seduceth my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
21 And I gave her time that she should repent; and she willeth not to repent of her fornication.
22 Behold, I cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of her works.
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto each one of you according to your works.
24 But to you I say, to the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as have not this teaching, who know not the deep things of Satan, as they are wont to say; I cast upon you none other burden.
25 Nevertheless that which ye have, hold fast till I come.
Paul’s one clear convert in Thyatira was a woman. Paul teaches in 1st Corinthians 8 that its Ok to eat meat offered to idols (although he says you shouldn’t do it in front of people who will be offended, of course). John writes against a false prophetess who teaches the disciples in Thyatira to eat meat offered to idols. Hmmm…sorry, Lydia, but your namesake may have been the false prophetess “Jezebel.” This same “Jezebel” apparently, per verse 24, taught “total depravity”…very interesting.
Rev 2:24 itself might be a clear indication that Paul did not even found the church in Thyatira, since John speaks of “the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as have not this teaching” as if there’s more churches there than just the one being run by “Jezebel,” in which case it would seem to me that the church of “Jezebel” is the one planted by Paul (since they have his doctrine on eating meat sacrificed to idols, and the “total depravity” doctrine that Calvinists swear up and down comes from Paul), and the “rest” by the real apostles.
This guy’s name was mentioned in Paul’s Passing Thoughts’ Gnostic Watch Weekly because according to Paul D, he sings about “sanctification and kingdom living,” and apparently many of Paul’s readers have been begging to have this guy speak at TANC, so I looked him up on youtube.
He thinks God “sent” him into the ministry, and God “got him a house” and many things I wouldn’t agree with, but the few songs I’ve listened to are pretty good. I only made it to about 43:15 so far. Around 31:32 “This is what God told us to do” — grr. arg. I can’t endorse this guy, because he’s as much a Philosopher King as anyone else, or at least he’s pretending to be by mimicking the lingo.
Songs, ok. Speeches, still tainted with Calvinist mysticism.
The Galatians didn’t speak Greek. Maybe a few egg-heads did, if they had those. But by and large they spoke their own language, called the Galatian language. Imagine that! People speaking a language named after their country? That never happens. People in England don’t speak English. People in Spain don’t speak Spanish! … Oh wait, actually they do.
From the wikipedia article, among several similar facts:
In the 4th century St. Jerome (Hieronymus) wrote in a comment to Paul the Apostle’s Epistle to the Galatians that the Galatians spoke the same language as the Treveri (whose capital was Trier, where Jerome had settled briefly after studying in Rome).
My what time knowing this earlier would have saved me in my railing against Paul. Why is Galatians so messed up? It is because Paul is a heretic? Is it because Paul can’t write worth a flip? Or is it because what we think of as “the original language” is itself a translation? Bingo.
And the thing is, ancient translations weren’t typically like the KJV, or ASV. They were more typically like the NIV, or worse, like the NLT, or worse, like Eugene Peterson’s The Message. They were paraprases, in other words. Translators didn’t think anything was wrong with inserting their own think-so’s into the text.
That will easily explain what’s going on in, say, Galatians 3:19-27 (quotation below is from the ASV):
19 What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator.
20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one; but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law.
22 But the scriptures shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But now faith that is come, we are no longer under a tutor.
26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.
That’s a long chunk of text, and its rather confused and confusing.
Verse 20’s “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one; but God is one” doesn’t seem to belong and has always puzzled commentators. What could the point possibly be? Some supposed that this was added to the text by Catholics to fight Marcionism’s claim that there are two gods. Others claimed that this phrase is perfectly natural in this context. Others supposed Paul meant that there was no mediator present when God made the promise to Abraham [but the text doesn't say that]…
The idea in verse 19 that the Law was given through the mediation of angels (or rather written by angels and given by them though Moses) has also been quite a puzzle, since its seems to fit so perfectly with Gnostic thought, but not at all with the text of the Old Testament, nor with other passages in the Pauline Corpus that clearly treat the Law as coming from God, not angels.
Verse 22 as translated in all the major translations is contrary to verse 23-24, since verses 23-24 are saying the Law protected the Jews from sin, and verse 22 (as they translate it) that the Law locked us all under sin’s control. (This, however, can be fixed very simply by acknowledging that the untranslated definite article ought to be translated in this case, and by the addition of an implied “which were” like so: “But the scriptures shut up all the things [which were] under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Thus it shows that the idea is to protect the Jews from sinful things, but to lock anybody under the control of sin.)
The constant mention of a coming of “faith” as if “faith” is a magic word is odd, to say the least.
I can imagine the text in the Galatian language having been simply:
19 What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid.
22 But the scriptures locked out all sinful things, that the promise to send the Messiah could be kept.
23 But before he came, we were kept guarded by the law.
24 So that the law is become our guardian to bring the Messiah unto us that the promise might be fulfilled.
25 But now that he is come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.
That is, the Law was given to guard the Jewish nation, prevent them from going all sex-crazy and demolishing the line of Abraham by promiscuous adultery with pagans, and thus obliterating the promise. The Law was there to ensure God would be able to keep his promise to Abraham to send the Messiah through his seed.
This is clearly the meaning, yet you get so bogged down with the constant occurrence of the word “faith” in our present text of Galatians, that it would be very rare for anyone to interpret it that way.
[Now, can I prove that Galatians is a translation into Greek from the Galatian language? Well, no. So therefore I also can't prove all the mentions of faith faith faith are paraphastic expansions in such a translation. But that's not really the point. The point is to use the brain God gave us a little bit. Its obvious something weird is going on in this text...who will dare deny that???????]
If you frequent Paul’s Passing Thoughts, you got to watch Program 5 of the Gnostic Watch Weekly series. It was a really great video. I like how it was so cozy and personal. Not heavy hitting anti-Calvinism, just a friendly discussion of what all’s going on, and how the internet helps study the Bible. Its very much a proof that Paul D is not on the defensive with the Calvinists. He’s already defeated them, and now he can take it slow and just tell personal anecdotes. He’s already crushed ‘em beneath his fee.
Some of my thoughts, triggered by things said in the video:
- Calvinists don’t use the word “cult” right. By “cult” they only mean non-Trinitarian group. Because a group is non-Trinitarian does that make them controlling automatically? More likely to go the other way, really.
- Truly anonymous commenting where someone’s name shows as “anonymous” is annoying; pseudonomimous is the rule on the internet.
- Just because they graduated from seminary doesn’t mean they know the languages either. Especially when it comes to vocabulary. I remember seeing a quiz of seminarians asking for just basic vocab, and they bombed it bad. If you’ve got an interlinear, a lexicon, and a Greek grammar book, and you study them, you know as much as they do.
- The point that the NT wasn’t really necessarily all originally written in Greek is interesting. Its something I’ve been thinking about on Galatians; the Galatians had their own language called Galatian, and I’ve been pondering the possibility that Galatians was originally written in it. I think that Galatians being originally written in Galatian, and Romans in Latin, might go a long way to explain some of the oddities in those two epistles versus the rest of the Pauline corpus.