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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Excursus on Eternal Security










What does it mean to be blotted out of the Book of Life?


Recently I posted four articles addressing the certainty we have as Christians in eternal security. God has saved us, applied Christ's righteousness to our account, and will give us eternal life. There are no conditions with obtaining this promise, or making it certain by us having to "abide" faithfully in Christ. When we were saved, we are saved for eternal life, period.

I presented those articles as a series of studies to my volunteers and a few folks asked about specific problem passages that do seem to suggest Christians can lose their salvation if they rebelliously misstep against the Lord's commands. I don't want to address every possible problem passage that is raised against the doctrine of eternal security, however, one passage that was often repeated to me by a diversity of folks was Revelation 3:5 where John writes,

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

According to my various inquirers, the passage suggests that a Christian must pursue a life of continuous overcoming, which implies we have to maintain some position before God, and that overcoming secures our name in the Book of Life. To not continue with overcoming could very well move the Lord to blot out our names from the Book of Life to punish our unfaithfulness. Thus, it seems to suggest that when we believed in Jesus, our names were added to the Book of Life, but it can be removed for some persistent act of disobedience on the Christian's part during his or her life.

But is that what this passage means? Let me see if I can unpack what John is saying.

The idea of an "official" book with names of people who can and are blotted out is not unique to Revelation. This threat of blotting out names from a book is first mentioned in Exodus 32. This is the record of the worship of the golden calf by Israel. When Moses goes to God to plead for the forgiveness of the people, he says, If you will forgive their sin - but if not, I pray, blot me out of your book which you have written. And the LORD said to Moses, whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book. In a desperate plea for Israel, Moses asked to be blotted out from this book by God's hand.

A second place is found in Psalm 69:28 where David prays against his enemies by saying, Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

The obvious question could be asked: What exactly is this Book of Life, or the Living, and what does it mean to be blotted out of it? Let me begin with defining the word blot first.

Starting again in the Old Testament, the word blot or blotted, is translated from the Hebrew word machah and it can have the idea of wiping off as in wiping off a dish, or more to our point at hand, wiping out, as in exterminating or destroying. Interestingly, the word carries more to it than just they idea of killing a person. The word has more of the picture of erasing or totally eliminating from existence or memory. This is certainly the meaning of the word in Deuteronomy 25:19 and 29:20. Deuteronomy 9:14 even shows a contrast between the Hebrew word shamad, which can also mean destroy or annihilate, with machah. Moses records, Let Me alone, that I may destroy (shamad) them and blot (machah) out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they. More than being annihilated, the threat was to erase the memory of their name from off the earth.

Additionally, the word machah is often used to speak of God bringing final, authoritative judgment. The first time the word is used is Genesis 6:7 where God speaks of destroying men with a flood. It is used again in Genesis 7:23 to speak of God sending the flood that destroyed, or blotted out, erased, all living things from the earth.

Now, moving to the phrase Book of Life or Book of the Living...

The idea of the Book of Life is a bit more difficult to ascertain, however, Dr. Merrill Unger, I believe, rightly explains in his theological dictionary that in the OT it appears to be "a figurative expression taken from the custom of registering citizens in a society or maintaining genealogical records." We tend to skip over the long, genealogical sections of scripture like 1 Chronicles 1-9 when we are doing our daily devotionals, but those repetitive lists of so-and-so begetting so-and-so had the purpose of tracking all the Children of Israel. In a manner of speaking, those genealogical sections represent the Book of Life for the nation of Israel. A family lineage is vitally important in OT culture, especially for the purpose of maintaining ownership of the family land. Thus, to be "blotted" out of the Book of Life meant the person's lineage would be forever removed from the genealogical record. We even see examples of this with Korah's rebellion (Numbers 16), Achan's sin (Joshua 7), and the kingdom of Saul (1 Samuel 15).

Coming to the NT, the use of the phrase Book of Life takes on the meaning of a register that records all of those individuals, I believe to be "God's elect," who are to inherit eternal life. See for example Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 21:27. I find it interesting to note that in Revelation 13:8 and 17:8, one factor that distinguishes between those written in the Book of Life and those who are not, is that those not written in the Book of Life are easily led astray by the Anti-Christ. Those who are written in the Book of Life will not follow the Anti-Christ.

With those things in mind, there is one final question to answer: What exactly does John mean in Revelation 3:5 when he writes, "He who overcomes?" The common thinking among Christians is to understand John's words as describing an act of spiritual obedience. In other words, overcoming is a discipline we believers perform in the course of our process in sanctification. A continuing act of personal holiness to obtain the ultimate victory of eternal life. Hence, if we don't pursue being faithful overcomers, or some how fail by acts of disobedience and so forth, then we risk being blotted out of the Book of Life. Thus the certainty of being even added to the Book of Life and keeping our name from being erased from it, depends upon how well we behave ourselves in the discipline of overcoming.

But John has written other things, including a short epistle which addresses how a person knows for certain he or she has eternal life. In 1 John 5:5, the beloved apostle writes, Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? Rather than being an act of spiritual discipline that secures your name in the Book of Life, the word overcomer is a descriptive title for a Christian believer, a person who has believed upon Jesus as the Son of God. So, a person who is a Christian is an overcomer, or to put it in reverse, one who is called an overcomer is a Christian. The one who overcomes is one who has already placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ.

When we draw all of this data together, I believe John is exhorting with a promise in Revelation 3:5. The Christian, or overcomer, is already written in God's Book of Life, the record of all of God's elect unto salvation. Contrary to how human societies would remove a disliked individual from the city records so that the person and his family could no longer reap the benefits of being a citizen and is cast out, God's promise to His people is that no one, no matter who they are or what they may do, will ever be blotted out of the Book of Life. Revelation 3:5 is a promise of security to God's people, not a threat of judgment for not faithfully abiding.

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12 Comments:

Blogger adam51 said...

Wow, its amazing how you can take a passage that on the surface clearly seems to be a warning about being removed from the citizenry of the people of God and turn it into an actual encouragement that such removal is impossible. Talk about ignoring the plain meaning of the text. And you do this by noting another passage which the passage in question does not seem to purposefully point to at all. This is poor exegesis my friend. You should consider what this passage means in the context of Revelation, in light of its historical and cultural background. These instructions are for a church that is likely facing persecution for not partaking in idolatry. The call in Revelation is to remain faithful to the lamb regardless of potential suffering. To "overcome" is a call to be faithful to Christ, i.e., not giving in to the temptations of idolatry. Those who do not overcome, will be blotted out of the book of life. This passage is clearly a warning and not a promise that no one can be blotted out of the book of life. (By the way, this passage does indicate that those addressed are currently written in the book of life.) This is a call to be faithful or there will be consequences. It seems your desire to affirm eternal security has led you to some very questionable exegesis and to an attempt to remove a passage that is difficult for your position. It doesn't seem you are being honest with the text or its context.
I think you have to fair and at least indicate there is tension in the Bible on this issue of eternal security. Some passages seem to support it while others seem to undermine it.

8:04 AM, March 23, 2008  
Blogger The Seeking Disciple said...

Interesting. Do you think there is any fear though that such teaching on eternal security can result in antinominism rather than passionate pursue of holiness? I know that many Calvinist would add that if a person does indulge in the flesh on a continued basis was probably never saved to begin with but that answer to me seems too careless and an easy escape for a difficult issue.

I do enjoy the blog however and thank you for your love for the Word of God even when we don't see eye to eye on all points. You are still a good brother in the Lord! :)

12:41 PM, March 23, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Adam exclaims:

Wow, its amazing how you can take a passage that on the surface clearly seems to be a warning about being removed from the citizenry of the people of God and turn it into an actual encouragement that such removal is impossible. Talk about ignoring the plain meaning of the text. And you do this by noting another passage which the passage in question does not seem to purposefully point to at all. This is poor exegesis my friend.

(Fred) Really? Poor exegesis? Let me recount what I did. First, I defined our three main concepts in the verse: Book of Life, blotted out, and overcomes. I noted that the phrase, Book of Life, has OT roots in the genealogical lists, something pretty much every major commentator acknowledges. Secondly, Book of Life has a NT meaning of those whom God elected, specifically all those who will be given eternal life. In a manner of speaking, God's eternal genealogical list of all His spiritual children. The consistent use of the phrase in all of the NT references affirms this. There is no reason for John to depart from the other NT understandings.

Second, I noted that blotted out has a meaning to judge in the sense of erasing from memory. Like Book of Life, the concept has OT roots as it was used in the Torah specifically and later in Psalms and Proverbs.

Then third, and this is where your disagreement is more than likely with me, because you probably believe overcome is an action needing to be taken by Christians rather than a descriptive title of true believers. I noted that the word overcome is defined by John, the same writer of Revelation, in his first epistle bearing his name, as one who has overcome the world by believing upon Jesus as the Son of God, 1 John 5:5.

Now, bringing that over to his uses of the word in all seven instances throughout chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation the understanding is that these are individuals who most certainly overcome because they are in Christ, not the world as John has outlined in his first epistle. Note Revelation 3:4 where Jesus says to the dead church in Sardis, You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. Notice how Jesus says He has reserved a few names at this dead church? These are those who will overcome and their name will not be blotted out.

So, gathering all of that information together, I think my article properly concluded that the reference by Jesus is to those books of genealogies used by local registries to track its citizens. Those who fall into ill repute with the local government for what ever reason were blotted out, or removed. Jesus, using this illustration His readers would certainly know, promises that His people, those names He has reserved for Himself, will overcome and not be blotted out.

If anything, this word is specifically for a select group of believers, those who were at Sardis receiving this letter, and this passage is not meant to be taken as a full on application for all Christians every where and in every age. However, I happen to believe the promise is to all of God's elect, those written in eternity past into the Book of Life.

Rather than criticizing my take on the passage, perhaps you can offer a counter that you believe accurately explains the text.

The call in Revelation is to remain faithful to the lamb regardless of potential suffering. To "overcome" is a call to be faithful to Christ, i.e., not giving in to the temptations of idolatry. Those who do not overcome, will be blotted out of the book of life.

(Fred) Again, our disagreement hinges on understanding the word "overcome." Whereas you understand it as a call to be faithful, I understand it as a description of those in Christ. They don't have to try to overcome, they do overcome. This is the line of division between Arminian theology and Calvinism. The Arminian understands faithful obedience must be maintained by the Christian for final justification, whereas the Calvinist understands faithful obedience is a product of final justification. Thus, Christians don't remain faithful because of a threat of forfeiting their salvation, they remain faithful because it is their hearts desire to do so.

I think you have to fair and at least indicate there is tension in the Bible on this issue of eternal security. Some passages seem to support it while others seem to undermine it.

(Fred) In light of the whole of scripture and what it reveals regarding God's out working of His plan of salvation, I have yet to be shown a definitive passage that says a true Christian can lose his salvation. Granted there are warning passages in the NT, but not warnings to truly saved Christians to remain faithful or risk the loss their salvation forever.

Fred

7:44 AM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

TSD stated,

Interesting. Do you think there is any fear though that such teaching
on eternal security can result in antinominism rather than passionate
pursue of holiness?


(Fred)No more than there is a fear for Wesleyan/Arminians who teach on conditional security and the potential to lose one's salvation can result in a psychological, legalistic bondage to doing good works for maintaining God's good favor. In fact, on my last lecture to my volunteers on this subject, one of the gals approached me after I was finished to tell how her and her husband were apart of the Salvation Army which heavily emphasized the loss of personal salvation. She lived under a heavy load of legalism, worry and doubt until she left the Church there and came to Grace Community, way back before John even arrived to pastor. According to her, it took years for her to acquire a right balance of understanding eternal security and pursuing holiness.

I know that many Calvinist would add that if a
person does indulge in the flesh on a continued basis was probably
never saved to begin with but that answer to me seems too careless and
an easy escape for a difficult issue.


(Fred) I never thought so. I understand that regeneration is not only efficacious, but a complete change in the internal disposition of the sinner from a God hater to a God lover. The truly saved person will never leave the Lord. Those who slip away will be only for a time but will certainly return. This has been the consistent testimony I have witnessed since my conversion.

7:47 AM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Hayden said...

Fred,

Good exegesis of the passage. I checked the word overcomer and it is not a command (imperative) or a possibility (subjunctive) BUT a participle which can function as an adjective (Which it does in this case).

What does all that mean? The word 'overcome' in Rev 3:5 is a description of a person not a 'call to action'. Saying it is anything else is eisegesis not exegesis as you have pointed out.

For anyone who does not believe me, check the use of the participle in Greek grammar particularly in this passage. Notice how it is generally translated 'The one who overcomes/conquers' which is a description of a person not a 'call to arms'

8:30 AM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger adam51 said...

Hi Fred,

Let me first apologize for the harsh tone of my earlier response. After reading it, I feel it certainly didn't come across in the correct spirit. Also let me say that I feel you exegesis was strong up until the point about what overcoming implies. Your work on blotting out and the book of life is strong and I agree with it.
I would say my major disagreement is that you conclude that this passage does not indicate that one who is currently in the book of life or as I would put it in the citizenry of God's people, can be removed from that citizenry. I don't think there is anyway you can get around this fact. This is a warning (which we both agree on) to a church that is struggling with living a faithful life. The text indicates that their works are not perfect in the sight God (3:2), that they are not remembering or obeying what they have originally heard and recieved. The church has apparently "soiled their clothes", which I believe that most commentators would link with some type of participation in idolatrous activities. The church as a whole is called to be like the remnant in the church who have not soiled their clothes. This group is told that if they repent and change their ways, they will not be blotted out of the book of life. I would think that this text implies that the people who are being warned are currently written in the book of life and that if they continue in their ways, God would blot their names out of the book of life. This seems to be the clear meaning of the passage. It would imply that someone who was once written in the book of life, could have their name taken out of it.
Your reading suggests that this is an impossibility and that the text is merely providing a situation that cannot happen to encourage those who are faithful (or perhaps I am missunderstanding you). There is no question of true believers overcoming for you. According to you they will overcome. But this seems to make the warning pointless and neglects the overall tone and flow of the passage. If being blotted out of the book of life is not a possibility why even include this idea? To me it seems clear that for the church at Sardis, there is the possibility of being blotted out of the book of life or being removed from the citizenry of the people of God. You may say that they were therefore never in the people of God to begin with but the fact that they will be blotted out would imply that at the present time they are in the people of God.
As far was what "overcoming" means, I think it means what the text seems to indicate, i.e. a repentance/turning for sinful ways, in someway correcting the works which God sees as being currently imperfect (3:2) and obey whatever it is that they are currently disobeying. Might this involve an element of faith/belief in Christ. It certainly could, but it seems to involve more than that, i.e., a life that displays obedience to that faith.

By the way, I am not at all concerned with the issue of eternal security or whether salvation can be lost. This is a theological question that the New Testament never addresses directly. There are passages that seem to support both sides of the issue. Romans 8:35-39 strongly indicates that nothing can separate a believer fromthe love of Christ and that their future is secure. But Hebrews 6:4-8 strongly suggests this is a possibility (though my guess is that you would argue that it is not talking about true believers). As I said before their is tension in the text but I am comfortable living with that tension and I will not try and remove a difficult reading because of that tension.
My initial frustration with your interpretation was with the fact that you seemed to be offering a less natural and straightforward understanding of the passage simply to support your theological positionl. Your exegesis seemed motivated not to get at what the text was really saying but at a reading that fit with your theological faith committments. Maybe this is not what you were doing but it certainly seemed that way.
Anyway, I would certainly appreciate your response.

Blessings,
Adam

Oh, I must also say that I think you are shaky ground concluding that the person who wrote the letter of 1 John is the same person who wrote Revelation. I know early church tradition supports this conclusion (well at least some does) but most scholars conclude that these books are written by different people. The letter we give the name first John is anonymous and it is only early tradition that attributes it to John. Also, though the book of Revelation claims to be written by a John, there is no way to know if it was written by John the Apostle. You may give greater weight to church tradition on these matters but I don't think the evidence supports these traditions. Anyway, more of a side point that we can certainly disagree on.

4:24 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Adam,
Don't worry about the harsh tone. Blogging comments can't necessarily reveal the true intentions of someone's thoughts. But I appreciate the kind sentiment anyways.

Just some questions for you on the word overcome as it is used in Revelation 3:5.

In light of what Hayden pointed out about the word being a participle, thus meaning it is descriptive of a person rather than a call to action, how does that figure into your defense of your position?

I pointed out that vs. 4 speaks about some in Sardis who had not stained their garments. Jesus describes them as "a few names" and they will walk with him. So the entire church was not given over to idolatry, there was a remnant present. I understand these individuals, the ones described as a "few names," as being the same as the overcomers. Jesus doesn't identify those who are a remnant from Sardis, but they will mark themselves by overcoming, because they are overcomers to begin with. How does you understanding of the text see verses 4 and 5 working together?

Lastly, all other 6 references of being an overcomer in chapters 2 and 3 speak of a promise to those who are overcomers. But it is your contention in this one instance, the overcoming is a warning?

You asked about Hebrews 6
But Hebrews 6:4-8 strongly suggests this is a possibility (though my guess is that you would argue that it is not talking about true believers). As I said before their is tension in the text but I am comfortable living with that tension and I will not try and remove a difficult reading because of that tension.

I take Hebrews 6 in the whole of Hebrew's argument: that being the OC is replaced with the NC in Christ. What is being argued in Hebrews 6 is that those Jews who had come to Christ but now thought of returning to the Jewish community will no longer find a covenant that is honored by God. It has been replaced. I would also note that the following verses 7-12 must also be understood with 4-8, and there you have the author using an illustration of good soil and bad soil, an allusion to Christ's parable on the subject, which gives the hint that ones who fall away from the faith did not have the seed of the gospel implanted in good soil.

My initial frustration with your interpretation was with the fact that you seemed to be offering a less natural and straightforward understanding of the passage simply to support your theological positionl. Your exegesis seemed motivated not to get at what the text was really saying but at a reading that fit with your theological faith committments. Maybe this is not what you were doing but it certainly seemed that way.

In a manner of speaking, I do read things to fit my theological faith commitments. That is because my understanding of the whole of scripture as it pertains to revealing God's plan of salvation, clearly tells us that He will bring those whom he saved into eternal life. They are not in danger of falling away. Hence, when I see this truth of eternal security plainly taught in other key, primary passages; smaller, hard to grasp passages that appear to contradict those greater revealed passages, must be understood in their light.

Look at it this way. I believe God has clearly told us He knows the future. He is in no wise uncertain about what the future holds. He knows the end from the beginning. But, open theists will insist that passages where it appears to suggest God had to gather knowledge, say for example when He asked Adam where he was after he sinned, really support their position. In light of the greater revelation of God's attributes and character, such an argument is absurd.

Oh, I must also say that I think you are shaky ground concluding that the person who wrote the letter of 1 John is the same person who wrote Revelation. I know early church tradition supports this conclusion (well at least some does) but most scholars conclude that these books are written by different people. The letter we give the name first John is anonymous and it is only early tradition that attributes it to John. Also, though the book of Revelation claims to be written by a John, there is no way to know if it was written by John the Apostle. You may give greater weight to church tradition on these matters but I don't think the evidence supports these traditions. Anyway, more of a side point that we can certainly disagree on.

I would certainly be happy to discuss this with you. All I can say is that much of the argumentation against John's authorship of 1 John and Revelation is mainly speculative and derived from anti-supernaturalistic critics. I would point you to Donald Guthrie's massive work on an introduction to the NT, as well as D. Edmond Hiebert's three volume work introducing the NT. Both men thoroughly interact with all of the so-called evidence against John writing these books and thorougly trounce it in my mind. I would also add that you yourself are sitting on some shaky ground if you take such a dim view of authorship. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do not identify themselves as the authors of their respective gospels, but if we take your position, we are to doubt their authorship. In these instances, church tradition does a good job of informing us as to the truth.

7:03 AM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Reformer said...

As a reformed Christian and believer in election, I would side more with adam51's first comment. I read the article, and did find that Fred was straining to make the case for "blotting" in a way that seemed a little awkward. As someone who strives to take the plain meaning of Scripture as my own starting point, the way I have understood this blotting is the same as all the other warnings in the New Testament. There are many warnings to stay faithful to Christ, to keep the faith, etc. These are genuine warnings to all who read the Scriptures. However, having said that, I think Fred has some good points too. I would just say that we finite humans don't see what God sees, and our assurance of salvation lies in our continuing "in the faith." If I were to start sinning and not feeling guilty about it, I might begin questioning the sincerity of my faith. This causes me to turn back to Christ and keep my eye on Him. I don't take my salvation for granted.

So, I guess my point is that the "blotting out" is more of our perspective than God's. God isn't going to blot out what is eternally predestined to occur. Rather, this is the way in which He often communicates to us, that there are consequences in turning from Him. This seems consistent with God's dealing with Moses and the apparent "changing of His mind" at Moses' pleading. In reality, God didn't change His plan, but rather this is how He is communicating with us, using terms and language we are familiar with. Otherwise, we would conclude that God changes His mind, that He actually regrets making mankind in the days of Noah, and that He has to actually go down to Sodom and find out what's going on. I see these passages as God coming down to our level so that we can better understand God and communicate with Him based on our limited knowledge.

Don't forget, if God can write in names in the Book of Life and then blot them out, then this doesn't square with Jesus saying to the lost on the last day, "Depart from me . . . I never knew you." Seems that he should say, "I knew you once, but then I stopped knowing you", if the blotting could actually take place. But as a humble Christian striving to better learn God's Word, I will admit the understanding of our freewill and God's foreordained plan can be difficult to understand and reconcile.

God bless you Fred, keep up the good work, and even when fellow believers disagree on points of doctrine here and there, it's always God-honoring when we can still communicate in a respectful manner. It's certain not easy writing blogs and having people come behind and critique them.

PS - As for who wrote 1 John and Revelation, I would say in the big picture, God did. :-)

10:43 AM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger adam51 said...

Hi Fred,

Thanks for your reply. I could respond to each point you have made here on this particular passage but given your statements acknowledging that you you do read your faith committmets (which granted are based on your reading of other scriptures) into the text/or read the text in light of these faith committments, there is really no point in continuing the discussion.
The way you read other parts of scripture has predisposed you to reading this text in line with them. Because of your conviction that salvation cannot be lost there is no possible I or anyone else could convince you that this text might indicate that reality. You have made your descision on the text so discussing it further is not really fruitful.
I would also suggest to you that coming to a text with preconcieved idea of what it must teach is not truly exegesis. In exegesis you are letting the text speak on its own terms and you are seeking to recover the author's intention for the text. When you have already decided what the text can and cannot say, you are not letting the author's intention be heard. And I would suggest you are not letting the meaning/message of the text be heard.
I know you may respond by claiming that the author's message has to be in line with what you read throughout the rest of scripture so forcing a particular meaning on an author or text is not prolematic, but in fact is necessary. But now you are imposing another theological commitment onto the text, a hermenutical commitment to the unity of the text and placing this over consideration of authorial intent.
Perhaps this is a hermenutical issue that is really at the heart of our disagreement. I belief that the meaning of the text ultimately lies in the authors intention and that finding that intention is more important than maintaining a unity in the text. I think there is tremendous value in seeing diversity and tension in the text. You I think value unity in the text more than you value truly discerning what one particular author might be intending to say.

On the issue related to authorship in the New Testament, I don't feel compelled to accept early church traditions of authorship. I feel these traditions must be evaluated on there own terms. They should not be accepted or rejected in toto. I feel some traditions are good traditions and other are suspect. These traditions are not authoritative and are not necessary for maintaining the authority of the texts they are applied to.
Regarding your comments on scholars who you descibe as anti-supernaturalist critics, I think you paint with too broad of a brush. I know many scholars personally who certainly affirm the supernatural (deity of Christ, virgin birth, miracles, etc.) but they doubt the traditions about authorship for many NT books. In doing so they are simply following the evidence they have. They are not motivated by undermining the authority of scripture, which they affirm, or attacking the Christian faith, which they are apart of. You mentioned the works of Guthrie and Hiebert. Both men are very capalbe NT scholar's but they are notorious for always siding with the more conservative position on most critical issues. Have you read any other scholar's analysis of the evidence, say the late Raymond Brown, Marianne Meye Thompson and Joel Green, or even Ralph Martin or I.H. Marshall. They are all good sound Christian (most even evangelical) who read the evidence very differently from Guthrie or Hiebert. Maybe you have read them, but I would not blindly accept Guthrie or Hiebert's take without consulting a number of other sound scholars.
However, if you are committed to the notion that NT text must be written by apostles, it doesn't really matter what the evidence says or what any scholar says because you mind is made up already.

3:56 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hey Adam,
I don't have time to write a bunch just because I got a whole lot happening here in life, but I thought of you when I read Steve Hays recent post on warning passages

When is a Warning a Warning?

9:18 AM, March 28, 2008  
Blogger Golden Eagle said...

I really enjoyed your blog. I think you did a great job.

The one thing that all these insecure proponents ingnore is that God is a God of love. But according to their views, God's love is not unconditional but rather humanistic and conditional.

Besides that, I have both seen and experienced the psycological trauma that these wolves inflict on sheep.

In talking with others, what I have come to realize is that insecure salvation people believe what they do because it is what they want to believe. Not because it is biblical. No matter what scriptures you present, they are bound up in legalism. Common sense and reason go right out the windows, because they are determined to present mean and unbliblical ideas.

I myself wanted so strongly to live for God until insecure salvation was pushed in church over and over. Then I figured what is the point anymore. I couldn't earn my way to heaven before I received Jesus as my saviour and if all in all savlation is about works, well it's hopeless for me. When I finally did come to Jesus it was becuase I knew I couldn't do anything to earn it. That's what kept me from salvation so long, trying to earn it.

So I figured if it was about being good enough and the kind of person I was, that was never going to happen. So I gave up and went back to sin.

I am just now coming back around as I am realizing how Eternal Security is a fact. That gives me encouragement to want to live holy, knowing that I won't be rejected for my faillings.

Incase you don't know this guy, Joseph Prince from singapore is a really good Eternal Security preacher. He centers on love alot.

1:29 PM, September 22, 2008  
Blogger PKZ said...

Good exegesis will always reconcile apparent free will passages with the truth of God's divine sovereignty in salvation! Thanks for taking the time to teach this!

http://5solas4claytongarner.blogspot.com/

7:15 PM, July 18, 2011  

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