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Thread: God alone at work in Romans 9

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    God alone at work in Romans 9

    From the end of the "God hardened Pharaoh's heart" thread we see the claim that God alone is at work in Romans 9, in the potter and clay analogy (called monergism), and the counter-claim that both God and man are at work (synergism).

    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    The question Paul is asking and answering is found in verse 6...has the Word of God failed? Answer is:
    God's salvation is for all those that respond in faith.
    Yes, but does faith have a cause? "When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed." (Acts 18:27)

    Quote Originally Posted by phat8594 View Post
    When you dig down beyond the textual context into the cultural context and understanding, you will see that the only thing resembling that sort of theology was embedded in gnostic teaching regarding fate.
    But Scripture is clear that God alone is at work in Romans 9, and thus salvation is by God's choice alone, and that would not be fate.

    The potter and clay analogy is clear, the clay is not choosing here in Romans 9.

    "It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." (Rom 9:16–18)

    And the question that is raised next is exactly what the synergist will ask:

    "One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?' " (Rom 9:19)

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    From the end of the "God hardened Pharaoh's heart" thread we see the claim that God alone is at work in Romans 9, in the potter and clay analogy (called monergism), and the counter-claim that both God and man are at work (synergism).


    Yes, but does faith have a cause? "When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed." (Acts 18:27)


    But Scripture is clear that God alone is at work in Romans 9, and thus salvation is by God's choice alone, and that would not be fate.

    The potter and clay analogy is clear, the clay is not choosing here in Romans 9.

    "It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." (Rom 9:16–18)

    And the question that is raised next is exactly what the synergist will ask:

    "One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?' " (Rom 9:19)

    Blessings,
    Lee
    I guess this goes back to my point in the previous thread. All of this imposes a premise ONTO the text, rather than taking the premise FROM the text.

    The goal, IMO, and I believe you would agree, would be to get the meaning from the Bible, rather than to put a meaning onto it. IOW, we should let the text speak for itself.

    So, with that being said, what is the premise, background, etc of Romans 9 and Romans as a whole. Who is Paul speaking to, what issues is he addressing, and how does this part of the text play into it?

    IMHO, I believe Calvinism / monergism is nowhere on the radar in Paul's mind, or the Roman church's mind for that matter. He is addressing completely different issues. So the goal would be to show, through textual context, where monergism is the premise, and where culturally the church was struggling with such issues.

    (in the same way, synergism isn't on his mind either -- rather it is the assumed default of belief at the time)

    Rather, Paul is discussing the role of faith and works - and dismantling the idea that people inherit the promises of God by:

    1. Adhering to the Law
    2. Being physical children (descendants) of Israel

    And justifying that it is, and always has been, about faith:

    What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. (Romans 9:30-32)


    And this is why we see quotes such as this from the Early Church

    For if it is predetermined that this man will be good, and this other man will be evil, neither is the first one meritorious nor the latter man to be blamed. And again, unless the human race has the power of avoiding evil and CHOOSING GOOD BY FREE CHOICE, they are not accountable for their actions. -Justin Martyr (c. 160, E), 1:177
    Last edited by phat8594; 02-28-2018 at 09:00 AM.

  3. Amen Littlejoe, alaskazimm, One Bad Pig amen'd this post.
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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat8594 View Post
    I guess this goes back to my point in the previous thread. All of this imposes a premise ONTO the text, rather than taking the premise FROM the text.
    Well, what about the part that I quoted, what is your interpretation?

    "It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." (Rom 9:16–18)

    The goal, IMO, and I believe you would agree, would be to get the meaning from the Bible, rather than to put a meaning onto it. IOW, we should let the text speak for itself.
    Yes.

    Paul is discussing the role of faith and works - and dismantling the idea that people inherit the promises of God by:

    1. Adhering to the Law
    2. Being physical children (descendants) of Israel

    And justifying that it is, and always has been, about faith...
    I agree that Paul is making these points, and are these the only points here?

    "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.' " (Rom 9:11-12)

    Paul is considering how God chooses individuals.

    And this is why we see quotes such as this from the Early Church

    For if it is predetermined that this man will be good, and this other man will be evil, neither is the first one meritorious nor the latter man to be blamed. And again, unless the human race has the power of avoiding evil and CHOOSING GOOD BY FREE CHOICE, they are not accountable for their actions. -Justin Martyr (c. 160, E), 1:177
    But isn't that what Pelagius said?

    Source: Pelagius, commentary on Romans

    The apostle, in fact, does not [take away] what we possess in our own will, since he says above: 'Not realizing that God's goodness leads you to repentance?' ( Rom. 2: 4)...

    © Copyright Original Source



    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Well, what about the part that I quoted, what is your interpretation?

    "It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." (Rom 9:16–18)
    Short answer: Based on the cultural context of the book and what Paul is addressing (Jew/Gentile tension, and the surrounding text) - the proper interpretation is that God has mercy on whom He wants (aka those who walk by faith)

    What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

    “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
    and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]

    16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. -Romans 9:14-18

    In other words, God is merciful to us not account of our human efforts (i.e. adherence to the law in this context) - but rather because of His goodness. This same thing can be seen in the story of Moses this quote is taken from. Remember, this was an answer to the interlocutor (Jewish in this context) - who is charging God with being unjust for bestowing His promises on Gentiles who have not adhered to the law, yet withheld the promises to those who have 'adhered' to the Law.


    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    I agree that Paul is making these points, and are these the only points here?

    "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.' " (Rom 9:11-12)

    Paul is considering how God chooses individuals.
    Again, not sure where this is coming from in the context of the greater letter of Romans and in the immediate context. The theme of the Promises of God being inherited by those who walk by faith and not by works is laced throughout the book. More specifically, the Jews at the time believed that they were the inheritors of God's promise because of the ancestry and because of their adherence to the Law. This is exactly what Paul is dealing with here. And again, when we look at the context of this verse, we will see several things that become clear (based on the text):

    6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[b] 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”[c]

    10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”[d] 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. -Romans 9:6-13


    1. The first thing we see is that Paul IS NOT talking about individuals but rather people groups. He is addressing the issue of 'Israel' or 'God's chosen people'. That why he says 'not all who are descended of Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children (hint: read earlier in Romans when Paul ties together those who walk by faith with the children of Abraham)

    2. By directly addressing Israel and Abraham, Paul shows that it is NOT about physical descent. And Paul clearly states it. Rather, it is the children of Promise who are children of God. (extra credit: read Galations 4:21-31 where Paul references the same allegory and uses the same language (Children of Promise vs. Children of Flesh).

    3. We also see how Paul addresses adherence to the Law, and that again, is where is quotes the OT again, using another reference, now to Jacob and Esau. And again, the point is that it is not about 'doing' (ie living by the Law), but rather about God's mercy. What is clear here, is two fold: 1. Paul is not discussing the individuals of Jacob and Esau. I think you are likely seeing how Paul in no way can be discussing individuals. This is because the quotes are from the OT where each time, nations, and not individuals are in view. We further can see that Paul is NOT using texts about nations (ie a people group) to reference individuals because he says 'the older will serve the younger'. This is important because Esau the individual NEVER served Jacob the individual. The nation of Edom, however, did.

    So again, the points and text are SO much richer and full of life. They are directly addressing issues of the Roman church, and teach us much about the promises of God. And when we continue to read, we see that ultimately, Israel failed to inherit the promises of God, not because God chose to damn them, but rather because:

    30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.

    So although the Jews may scream 'unfair, unfair' - the reality is that all the way through the OT, it was ALWAYS about faith. From faith , to faith.


    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    But isn't that what Pelagius said?

    Source: Pelagius, commentary on Romans

    The apostle, in fact, does not [take away] what we possess in our own will, since he says above: 'Not realizing that God's goodness leads you to repentance?' ( Rom. 2: 4)...

    © Copyright Original Source


    Actually, what is often believed about Pelagius is that he allegedly believed that man could perfectly fulfill the Law without God's grace or help. (so think of man centered monergism, so to speak)

    So, I think you may be conflating two different topics. The ECF were VERY, and I mean VERY large supporters of Free Will (in the synergistic sense). If you dig down deep into their writings, you will see there is zero room for modern day monergism.
    Last edited by phat8594; 02-28-2018 at 10:28 PM.

  6. Amen alaskazimm, Littlejoe amen'd this post.
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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat8594 View Post
    Short answer: Based on the cultural context of the book and what Paul is addressing (Jew/Gentile tension, and the surrounding text) - the proper interpretation is that God has mercy on whom He wants (aka those who walk by faith)
    His mercy on Paul was not when he was walking by faith, though.

    In other words, God is merciful to us not account of our human efforts (i.e. adherence to the law in this context) - but rather because of His goodness. This same thing can be seen in the story of Moses this quote is taken from. Remember, this was an answer to the interlocutor (Jewish in this context) - who is charging God with being unjust for bestowing His promises on Gentiles who have not adhered to the law, yet withheld the promises to those who have 'adhered' to the Law.
    What verse are you referring to, though? Do you mean verse 14? That is a question about God's justice in choosing Jacob over Esau, "not by works but by him who calls." Note that even faith is not in view here.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill
    "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.' " (Rom 9:11-12)

    Paul is considering how God chooses individuals.
    The theme of the Promises of God being inherited by those who walk by faith and not by works is laced throughout the book.
    Certainly, but that is not the only theme, and that is not the focus here.

    The first thing we see is that Paul IS NOT talking about individuals but rather people groups.
    He is talking about groups, as well as individuals.

    By directly addressing Israel and Abraham, Paul shows that it is NOT about physical descent. And Paul clearly states it. Rather, it is the children of Promise who are children of God.
    Including the individuals Jacob and Esau, the choice being made before they had done anything good or bad. Such as believing or disbelieving.

    Paul is not discussing the individuals of Jacob and Esau. I think you are likely seeing how Paul in no way can be discussing individuals. This is because the quotes are from the OT where each time, nations, and not individuals are in view.
    "The older will serve the younger" did actually happen to Esau, note Jacob's blessing:

    But Isaac replied to Esau, “Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?” (Gen 27:37)

    ... we see that ultimately, Israel failed to inherit the promises of God, not because God chose to damn them, but rather because:

    30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.

    So although the Jews may scream 'unfair, unfair' - the reality is that all the way through the OT, it was ALWAYS about faith. From faith , to faith.
    And does faith have a cause? Is God's choice primary in salvation?

    You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. (Rom 9:19-24)

    Actually, what is often believed about Pelagius is that he allegedly believed that man could perfectly fulfill the Law without God's grace or help. (so think of man centered monergism, so to speak)
    Well, semi-Pelagianism has also been rejected by the council of Orange.

    The ECF were VERY, and I mean VERY large supporters of Free Will (in the synergistic sense). If you dig down deep into their writings, you will see there is zero room for modern day monergism.
    I appreciate your prayers, and will pray for you as well! But the ECF are not the standard, Scripture is the standard.


    “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.”

    By faith? Yes, but faith is not the focus here, God's choice is in focus:

    “For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.” (Rom 9:27-28)

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    His mercy on Paul was not when he was walking by faith, though.
    That is a different subject. And I'd be happy to discuss that somewhere else. Let's focus on this text for now...

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    What verse are you referring to, though? Do you mean verse 14? That is a question about God's justice in choosing Jacob over Esau, "not by works but by him who calls." Note that even faith is not in view here.

    Certainly, but that is not the only theme, and that is not the focus here.


    He is talking about groups, as well as individuals.
    This is a common belief through Calvinist circles where this verse and chapter are often lifted out of their context to suit a particular theology, IMO. In other words, a premise is placed onto the text that exists nowhere within the text, to make the verse(s) say something that it was never meant to say.

    When we look at context, we must see what point Paul is making with the Jacob / Esau, and how does that fit into his argument as a whole. The verse(s) cannot be lifted out of the context of the book or chapter just because it is convenient to a particular theology. (whether mine or yours)

    My fear is that many Calvinists only see the text this way because of the premise they place onto the text, rather than reading what the premise the text is supplying itself. You will have to show how your asserted 'focus' fits within the cultural and textual context of the book without bringing into the text a Calvinist premise.

    Furthermore, you will have to show how Paul is focusing on individuals in the text and how that works contextually both within the cultural and scriptural context. (I have supplied why it is groups in previous posts)

    Although our modern western cultural is focused on the individual and a 'me centered' theology, so to speak - this was not the case with Hebrew thought at the time of the writing. Rather, peoples were referenced through ancestry and figureheads. It is a culture that focuses more on the group than the individual.


    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Including the individuals Jacob and Esau, the choice being made before they had done anything good or bad. Such as believing or disbelieving.

    "The older will serve the younger" did actually happen to Esau, note Jacob's blessing:

    But Isaac replied to Esau, “Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?” (Gen 27:37)
    Again, what TEXTUALLY shows you that Paul is referencing individuals? I believe this is so important, and we must use the text (or even it's references) to keep Scripture as the highest authority. And I am sure you agree.

    Remember, that Paul's language is plural throughout Romans 9 - except for his allegorical references to Isaac / Ishmael, Jacob / Esau (clear from the context) - which are used to support the plural. And also remember that the OT references even reference groups (e.g. the older shall serve the younger)

    The Lord said to her,

    “Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples from within you will be separated;
    one people will be stronger than the other,
    and the older will serve the younger.” - Genesis 25:23


    The blessing of Jacob did not mean that Esau the individual served Isaac the individual. A quick reading of Genesis shows that Israel immediately fled for fear of his life. And this again lines up with the prophetic word spoken in Genesis 25:23 that Paul references in Romans 9. So, context and scripture again, are key.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post

    And does faith have a cause? Is God's choice primary in salvation?

    You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. (Rom 9:19-24)
    Here is a quick challenge. Where in the book of Romans is 'salvation' mentioned? As in, where is that word? Do you believe that could help us understand Paul's arguments and focus regarding salvation? (if he even mentions it at all)

    Or are we just inserting that word because of a premise we are placing onto the text? After all, even I have asserted that we should get our premise FROM the text, right?

    This a thought for all of us....and it is a serious question.


    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Well, semi-Pelagianism has also been rejected by the council of Orange.

    I appreciate your prayers, and will pray for you as well! But the ECF are not the standard, Scripture is the standard.
    So is scripture the standard or is the council of Orange the standard?

    I definitely agree that the ECF aren't THE standard. And they are still a data point.

    Do you believe that Scripture has always and will always mean the same thing. Or does it change with time and culture?



    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    By faith? Yes, but faith is not the focus here, God's choice is in focus:

    “For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.” (Rom 9:27-28)
    Faith is a consistent focus throughout Romans, in bringing together both Jew and Gentile. In Romans 9, Paul lays it out that it is God's prerogative to decide on who receives the promises and who doesn't - regardless of what people (or law abiding Jew in this context) might think of as 'fair'.

    And it is clear in Romans 9 (read the end of WHY Israel has for the most part failed), and DEFINITELY Romans as a whole (seriously, who else has read the rest of Romans? I can't be the only one...) - that those who receive the promises of God are those who live by faith. (i.e. those who have the faith of Abraham).

    I am seriously open to new ideas -- I just need context. So please, show me contextually where these premises come from....
    Last edited by phat8594; 03-02-2018 at 05:25 PM.

  9. Amen Littlejoe amen'd this post.
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    tWebber The Remonstrant's Avatar
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    Calvinism, theological determinism, and Romans 9 again?
    [I]f what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. … The one who has the Son has the life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 Jn 2.24; 5.12, LEB)

    <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>


    Farewell. (Sat., 24 Mar. 2018)

  11. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat8594 View Post
    Furthermore, you will have to show how Paul is focusing on individuals in the text and how that works contextually both within the cultural and scriptural context. (I have supplied why it is groups in previous posts)
    "Scripture says to Pharaoh" as an individual, are you saying that Egypt was meant in this passage, and not Pharaoh?

    ... and we must use the text (or even it's references) to keep Scripture as the highest authority. And I am sure you agree.
    Yes.

    Remember, that Paul's language is plural throughout Romans 9 - except for his allegorical references to Isaac / Ishmael, Jacob / Esau (clear from the context) - which are used to support the plural.
    But they don't eliminate the singular, it is mysterious to me why discussing Jacob and Esau and what was said to them eliminates Jacob and Esau.

    The blessing of Jacob did not mean that Esau the individual served Isaac the individual. A quick reading of Genesis shows that Israel immediately fled for fear of his life.
    Was Isaac a false prophet, then? I think his blessing of Jacob was divinely sanctioned:

    Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!” (Gen 27:33)

    Here is a quick challenge. Where in the book of Romans is 'salvation' mentioned? As in, where is that word? Do you believe that could help us understand Paul's arguments and focus regarding salvation? (if he even mentions it at all)
    Let us note the first verse in chapter 10, which continues the discussion:

    "Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved." (Rom 10:1)

    Do you believe that Scripture has always and will always mean the same thing. Or does it change with time and culture?
    I believe there is a depth to Scripture, so with time we understand more and more, without uprooting what has been really understood previously.

    And it is clear in Romans 9 (read the end of WHY Israel has for the most part failed), and DEFINITELY Romans as a whole (seriously, who else has read the rest of Romans? I can't be the only one...) - that those who receive the promises of God are those who live by faith. (i.e. those who have the faith of Abraham).
    Yes, and we can't take this point as the only point in the passage.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Remonstrant View Post
    Calvinism, theological determinism, and Romans 9 again?
    Based on you past posting history and your user name, I would assume this is still an area of expertise for you. This debate has gone on for centuries, why do you think it would all the sudden resolve itself? If you have nothing of substance to say, then please take the snark to another area where it's actually encouraged. Thanks.
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

  14. #10
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    "Scripture says to Pharaoh" as an individual, are you saying that Egypt was meant in this passage, and not Pharaoh?
    Pharaoh, as a leader, spoke for his people as a whole. It is important to remember that Hebrew culture was not as individualistic as our western culture.


    By now I could have used my power and caused a terrible disease that would have destroyed you and your people from the earth. But I have let you live for this reason: to show you my power so that my name will be talked about in all the earth. - Exodus 9:15-16


    And remember, we must ask ourselves, how is the text using this?

    I see nowhere in this text ( or anywhere), where we should get the interpretation of 'God created Pharaoh the individual to be damned to hell by no choice of his own so that God would be glorified more' This wouldn't do justice to the context.

    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    But they don't eliminate the singular, it is mysterious to me why discussing Jacob and Esau and what was said to them eliminates Jacob and Esau.
    I can appreciate where you are coming from. So this seems to be the crux of this issue. Is Paul referring to Jacob and Esau the individual or is he using them allegorically as representations of people groups?

    IOW, is Paul doing the Hebrew thing and using the name of the Ancestor (or figurehead) to refer to the group? (think about when Benjamin, Judah, Levi, Dan, Reuben, Israel, etc. -- the 'people' are referred to by the name of the Ancestor)

    It seems to me, that you have still yet to give a good textual reason why the interpretation that Paul is referring to the individuals of Jacob and Esau as opposed to the people groups that came from them...


    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Was Isaac a false prophet, then? I think his blessing of Jacob was divinely sanctioned:

    Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!” (Gen 27:33)
    Three questions:

    1. What in that text leads you to believe it was divinely sanctioned?

    2. Why do you assume that the blessing has to be specific to the individuals rather than the ancestral line which was to come (by the promise of God, no less)

    3. How do you deal with the actual prophecy from God that states that 'there are two nations' and ' two peoples' 'in your womb' when referring to the 'older will serve the younger'? Surely, you don't believe the context there supports the individualistic interpretation....


    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Let us note the first verse in chapter 10, which continues the discussion:

    "Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved." (Rom 10:1)
    Yes, and note that Paul is referring to a people group. Paul talks about Salvation throughout Romans with regards to the Gentiles and the Jews. (people groups).

    This of course, would also raise the question that if Paul believed that God created Israel (minus 'the remnant') to be damned to hell and that it would bring God greater glory, why would he pray to God that they may be saved? (since, it would already be predetermined, based on the monergistic interpretation)


    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    I believe there is a depth to Scripture, so with time we understand more and more, without uprooting what has been really understood previously.
    If this is the case, then why should we uproot the historical understanding of Free Will that was so essential to the Early Church in their interpretation of Scripture and in warding off heresies held by gnostic groups?
    Last edited by phat8594; 03-05-2018 at 06:14 PM.

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