Contend Earnestly: Ummmm...hmmmm...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ummmm...hmmmm...


So here is the deal. This seems to be getting a little "ugly" in the comments section. There has been some mudslinging and useless conversation in this debate recently. Did everybody have a bad Christmas? Did you already break your New Years Resolutions? Anyways...I hope everyone is doing okay.

Here is where I currently stand.

When trying to prove a point I believe that someone has to be able to undoubtedly exegete it from the verse that they are trying to prove. Proof texts are okay but if you have to proof text a verse you should probably use the proof text verses and not the original in the first place, when supplying thesis' in debate. That is just my opinion. The reason I say this is what I found in TF's comment in the previous post when he points out:

In this instance, I've given a verse that shows Christ dying for people and them being saved, and I've suggested that this group of people is the entire group of those for whom Christ died, although the verse does not explicitly say so.

I, personally, wouldn't choose a verse that doesn't "explicitly say so" and then try and proof text it. That, again, is simply, just my opinion. It seems as though myself and Turretinfan have different takes on how to prove a point. This has led us to talk passed each other and really getting no where with each other, but maybe helping others in the process to see where we are coming from.

I am not sure where we should go from here. What I could do is go ahead and start posting my affirmatives of why I believe that Jesus not only died efficaciously for the elect but sufficiently for the whole world. This might help.

I wanted to post this to get some thoughts from the readers and also so you could see Turretinfan and myself's discussion on the process going forward, instead of going through email. Turretinfan and I have had good dialogue but for some reason Turretinfan and David don't get along, not sure why. But, what I don't want is anymore mudslinging, in any way, as we move forward. It doesn't help our cause as brothers nor does it help in argument. I was just emailed by another pastor and was called many things and degraded pretty badly. I guess I can just thank God that it was done through email and not over the internet for all to see. I don't want this debate to turn into ad hominem attacks with no roots in the actual discussion.

So, I am honestly asking everyone for their thoughts on what they would like to see.

I hope you are all being blessed by our great God and remember that we are not fighting against each other but alongside each other.

Soli Deo Gloria!

11 comments:

Turretinfan said...

Seth,

I've given a short list of my reasons (four of them, some with subpoints) why I think the correct view is that the group referenced is the entire group of those for whom Christ died.

If you think there is a reasonable explanation of the text that it's just a subset, why don't you present that explanation?

Then the readers can decide which interpretation is more reasonable. Or possibly you agree with me that the referenced group is the group of all those for whom Christ died, and yet you still feel we are on different sides of the aisle for some other reason.

Also, of course, there are still those outstanding follow-up questions. Perhaps you could answer them.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

Or perhaps I've raised a false dichotomy - perhaps the "all" and "subset" interpretaions do not exhaust the field (though I cannot imagine any other option that you might accept).

Tim said...

Seth,

You said:
"What I could do is go ahead and start posting my affirmatives of why I believe that Jesus not only died efficaciously for the elect but sufficiently for the whole world. This might help."

I would be interested in this.

Blessings,

Tim

Magnus said...

What I got so far from this round is that TF has put forth the verses in Hebrews to help make his case, while the verse does not explicitly say that Christ died only for the elect TF has put forth 4 arguments that support the view that this is the case.

What I read David as saying is that the verses in Hebrews do not explicitly say that Christ died only for the elect, but it seems that that has been granted and that is why TF has put forth an argument that the text can not mean speaking of a subset, but the whole group.

If that is true and accurate then we are left with either that TF's view of it being the whole group is right or it is not complete. It seems that David and/or Seth wants TF to produce a verse that explicitly states that Christ died only for the elect, but if such a verse did exist I doubt we would all be here.

So I guess my question would be is TF's view as holding to it referencing the whole group in dispute? If so what is the alternative?

Perhaps after all this though it may be best to just see what Seth has to put forth for his side of the debate and we can wrangle over those verses.

natamllc said...

Seth,

thanks for your sureness of Faith.

Thank you for your sanity although I think you came close to insanity on more than one occasion. If it is me, well, I humbly ask for forgiveness?

Would you begin with TF's four points seeing it seems as though that is a great place to begin your claim of unlimited atonement?

Michael

david said...

Hey Magnus,

As stated, I am bowing out of this discussion. But I did think I might take the time to set out the problem here for your benefit.

Its this. The logic we need here is deductive logic. The high or hyper Calvinist wants to say that Christ died only for the elect. That idea can be expressed in two ways. ‘All the died for are the elect’ or this, ‘no reprobate are died for.’

That idea, no matter how you state it, is either true or false. And so, either a verse proves the claim or it does not: if one is trying to build a deductive argument. If one is only trying to build an inductive case, then one may be able to argue for probability: but a lot of times probability is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t know any serious high or hyper Calvinist who thought they were or could only build an inductive (ie implicit) case for their position; but that aside.

Now even if the claim was simply a weaker argument that all the sanctified ones are “all” the died for ones, we still come back to one or both of the above premises if we want to “prove” that. Heb 10:14 or any of the verses cited will not prove that because they do not supply the necessary terms. The sanctified ones are died for. We grant that. We grant that all sanctified ones are died for. But the verse does not sustain: all the sanctified ones are “all” the died for. The missing “all” is not in the verse itself or any of the ones cited.

Taking a different tack:
Now verses for us here are like source datum. A proof-text gives us data for a premise. The proof-texts build the premises. Now if you want an argument to effect a deductive claim its got to have a proper universal affirmation or negation.

So like a standard syllogism. All men are mortal, John is a man, therefore John is mortal.

If the major premise is only be “these men are mortal,” one could not say, “John is a man, therefore John is mortal”. We don’t know that.

Nor could say, These men are mortal, John is not a man, therefore John is not mortal.

These sanctified men are died for..... does not prove: John is not a sanctified man, therefore John is not died for.

There is just no way to get the necessary or deductive conclusions the high or hyper Calvinists needs from these cited verses.

Magnus: What I read David as saying is that the verses in Hebrews do not explicitly say that Christ died only for the elect, but it seems that that has been granted and that is why TF has put forth an argument that the text can not mean speaking of a subset, but the whole group.

David: I have bolded the key word. Its not that this verse can implicitly prove the case. If the key terms are not there, then it cannot be used to prove anything beyond what is stated. All this verse proves is that by this offering, the sanctified ones–whoever they may be–are perfected. It’s just not making a statement about any others for whom Christ may or may not have died for in any sense.

Now, if one says this verse does not explicitly teach the needed premise(s) ‘all the died for are elect,’ or ‘none of the reprobate are died for,’ or whatever form of argument you want, e.g. ‘all the died for are sanctified,’ or ‘only the sanctified are died for,’ this verse simply does not supply any non-explicit evidence to those premises because it says nothing about any other group outside the subjects of the verse (the sanctified ones).

If the verse had included an only or something like that a case could be made. Now, arguing from other verses an equally non-explicit case is not going to help at all. None of the other verses contained the necessary “all” or “none”or “only” needed to sustain a deductive case. They like Heb 10:14 spoke to a specific group yet entailing no negation regarding for whom the offering was not made for. Some sort of coherency based argument (as opposed to a correspondance based epistemology) is just one big circle.


Magnus:
If that is true and accurate then we are left with either that TF's view of it being the whole group is right or it is not complete. It seems that David and/or Seth wants TF to produce a verse that explicitly states that Christ died only for the elect, but if such a verse did exist I doubt we would all be here.

David: Well I wont speak to much for Seth, but if by explicit you mean something like deductive or certain or necessary, yes. We need a sound deductive argument. For example, every high and hyper calvinist will readily grant that there case for limited expiation is never based on an inductive probabilistic argument. However, if one were to say that all they can do here is present an inductive argument, that’s very weak.

Magnus: So I guess my question would be is TF's view as holding to it referencing the whole group in dispute? If so what is the alternative?

David: Any high Calvinist, or hyper Calvinist who holds to strictly limited expiation/imputation needs to show one or more of these conclusions: all the died for are elect, or no non-elect are died for. Showing some elect as died for, or all the elect as died for is not sufficient.

So for example, if a verse says, Christ died for these sanctified ones, one cannot infer that Christ only died for these sanctified ones. All that can be inferred is emphasis and specificity, but not exclusivity. We totally agree with specificity and emphasis, its exclusivity that is being disputed.

Magnus, Seth has given me permission to post his email address: sdmcbee (at) hotmail.com If you want to talk more on this please email him with your email address and we can talk somewhere else. If you want me to explain my arguments better, please email Seth and we can work something else. There are enough other public and private fora to do this, if you wish. What you could do is get my opinion and then run it by whomever you wish. I will not be reading any other comments for now.

Take care,
David

Turretinfan said...

Sometimes I hate it when I'm right.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seth McBee said...

TF
My first reading of the comment by David speaks about high or hyper Calvinist. No one is calling you a hyper, but hypers would agree with your reading of Hebrews 10:10-14. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

When we try and break down Calvinists, we try and be fair, maybe you disagree.

But we break them down as such:

Moderate: David and I (unlimited/limited)

High: Strictly the five points

Hyper: not enough room to go into all of this but we are not calling you a hyper.

If you wanted to, although I know that some of my friends don't like this term, we could also say that we (David and I) are 6 point Calvinists and then you would be a 5 point Calvinist.

Anyways...if you were offended or thought that David was calling you a hyper, I can ask him to reword.

Let me know.

Have a great Lord's Day.

Turretinfan said...

Seth,

David may have been artfully wording his post to leave open whether he means to identify me as "high" or "hyper," but the conclusion that he'd like the reader to obtain is rather clear, especially to those who have been following along, and are familiar with his other writings.

Recall how he previously tried to associate my comments with "Gillite" theology (which he would classify as hyper as evidenced by his post here).

But, you know what, since he's not going to be around this debate any longer, and since you (i.e. Seth) obviously are unwilling to suggest that I'm a hyper, let's just let David's comment stand, and I'll retract my request for you to delete it.

-Turretinfan

Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

I am not sure where we should go from here. What I could do is go ahead and start posting my affirmatives of why I believe that Jesus not only died efficaciously for the elect but sufficiently for the whole world. This might help.

Seth, I think this would be helpful, as currently it is not clear precisely what your view is regarding Christ's specific intentions and accomplishments; and how this differs from TF's view. Perhaps in conjunction with a response to TF's four questions, such affirmations would help to clarify and refocus where we are in the debate.

Regards,
Bnonn

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