LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, May 18, 2007

Discipleship


At our Tuesday night study (mentioned in previous post), we wrapped up the study of the book of Matthew. In the question book, it was asked of the participants, “Why do you think Jesus told his disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (28:19) rather than “converts” of all nations? A good question.
Since I don’t have the study book, having only recently (December) joined this church, I was kind of wingin’ it in the question-and-answer period, but that’s always good fun.
When I asked something to the effect that “doesn’t Jesus discuss the challenges unique to disciples” somewhere in the gospels, our pastor (who facilitates the discussion) countered me, saying that ALL Christians are called to be disciples.
So fingering quickly through my concordance, I found the verses in Luke wherein the cost of discipleship is examined.
Luke 14:25-32 states:
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,
‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
"Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?
It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
I read this (in part) to the group, but the pastor continually affirmed, “We are all called to be his disciples.”
In a mixed group, I didn’t want to press a discussion about it since there was yet more ground to cover in the question-and-answer group, but I pondered these things, and I wonder, are all Christians disciples? I don’t think so.
Are true believers disciples? Certainly some are, but all?
Is there not a distinction between Christ’s disciples and others, even if saved?
What thinkest thou with respect to why Jesus told his disciples to “make disciples” (as opposed to “converts”) of all nations?

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42 Comments:

Blogger jazzycat said...

Susan,
I believe the very next verse gives the difference between a disciple and a convert.
Mt. 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Jesus is clearly commanding us to teach converts to observe the principles that he taught them. While there are always exceptions to a true Christian excercising discipleship such as a deathbed conversion, I believe all Christians that have opportunity become disciples by responding to the grace that has changed their heart. The parable of the four soils is one example that Jesus gave of this principle.

Jesus prayed in John 17 that his elect would be sanctified and I believe it will happen to some degree in all believers.

May 19, 2007 12:05 AM

 
Anonymous bobby grow said...

You're starting to sound like a Free Gracer, Susan :), good question.

May 19, 2007 4:49 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Susan, all believers are called to be disciples, but discipleship is a process that requires instruction and obediance. There is more to discipleship than simply faith in Christ (the condition of eternal life).

All who have faith in Christ will be have eternal life, but only faithful disciples will be rewarded in the Kingdom.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

May 19, 2007 5:03 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Wow! You guys are great.
Jazzy, you and the pastor of my church are really in tune with one another. At one point during the study, he looked up at me and said, "There's another verse that supports what discipleship means - read the last verse."
When I read it, I only began to wonder more:
1. what about those that don't observe (in part or all of) what Jesus commanded, even if they are saved?
2. What did Jesus mean, "to the end of the age"? Our pastor recently lent me Sproul's book "The Last Days According to Jesus," and in it, Sproul makes a distinction between the words "age" (Greek: aieon) and "world" (Greek: cosmos), notably in the parable you cited. In Matt 28:20, the Greek word "aieon" is used - suggesting a specific period of time.
Elsewhere in Sproul's book, the "Jewish age" is discussed, and so I had to wonder if that is what Jesus means here? Or perhaps the Kingdom Age (from Christ's birth onward)?
Did Christ only mean these words ("with you always, to the end of the age") to be directed toward His immediate audience? Or all of us?
I've always understood the latter, of course, but He's speaking directly to them. Does the meaning change course to reflect all of Christ's disciples? Or all of the saved?
I think that the passages I cited in Luke really reflect more of what it means to be a disciple - not unlike Mary at Christ's feet - forsaking the trivial for the real "food" of God.
To me, the passages in Luke speak more clearly that just "all that I have commanded you" because today we have the gospels, but like John notes at the end of his book, there were so many things Christ said and did and they would fill more books than the world could hold.

May 19, 2007 9:20 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Bobby,
You're funny! :-)
What do you mean, though?
Cuz I wouldn't think that Free Gracers ponder so much over discipleship - since the gift is "free" and we're all saved anyway if we believe (mental assent), so who needs to struggle over these issues in Free Grace, no?

May 19, 2007 9:21 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Matthew,
Do you believe we're living in the Kingdom Age now?
From what passages in Scripture do you get "only faithful disciples will be rewarded in the Kingdom"?
I appreciate your input here.

May 19, 2007 9:23 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Susan,Great post! You are a thinker. I love it. I have to go to work now. I won't have time to develope my answer until 10:30 tonight eastern. In the mean time please consider Hebrews chapters 6-10. Pay special attention to the verses discussing the New Covenant. Then consider Jer. 31:31-34 and Ezekial 36:25-27.Consider then Hebrews 12:24 and how that ANYONE coming to Christ is coming to Him as Mediator of the New Covenant. Then read 1 Peter 2:9-10.

See you here later then.

May 19, 2007 9:44 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Mark,
I'll print out what you wrote and study those verses today.
Thank you.
(Funny what you said about being a thinker. I recently sent my pastor and his wife an email about something I read on Mohler's blog, wherein Mohler quotes a Princeton professor who writes: "As Osama bin Laden explained, in this final phase of the millenial struggle, the world of the unbelievers was divided between superpowers."
I questioned the use of the word "millenial" here. Our pastor thinks it's just the secular use, meaning since the advent of Islam. Perhaps - unless bin Laden and Islam have some millenial theology as it relates to the Bible. I suppose I could well be accused of "spiritualizing" text here, and it might be time for me to go read a comic book.)

May 19, 2007 9:53 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Susan, first off, my son is typing right now so im on my way out the door.

I believe right now, that we are living as christians in the very apex of redemptive history. I believe that the next age to come will be the new heavens and the new earth.

I also believe that the kingdom is both now and not yet.

See you at 10:30 tonight.

May 19, 2007 10:23 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

what about those that don't observe (in part or all of) what Jesus commanded, even if they are saved?

If a person does not observe any of what Jesus taught, I do not think they are saved period. The Bible in many places teaches that salvation comes with divine power and changes a person (2 Cor. 5:17, John 3:3, Eph. 2:4-5, Mt. 5:3-11, etc.). Also, passages such as James 2:14-26, Romans 8:1-11, and the parable of the four soils refute the possibility that a person can be saved and yet totally ignore observing what Jesus commanded. While justification does not require sanctification to save, sanctification flows from justification as surely as Miss. River water flows to the Gulf of Mexico. I heard a preacher say, “if there is no sanctification, then there was no justification.” I believe Romans 8 describes this nicely.

In Mt. 28:19 Jesus tells them to go to all nations. This would obviously take more time than the life span of these disciples so I would think this command was also meant for the disciples to come. Therefore, I believe the end of the age would logically be at the second coming.

May 19, 2007 11:28 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Jazzy (and you can relay this to Wayne for me) -
Very astute, wise and concise. Makes a lot of sense to me and aids my understanding.
Thank you.

Incidentally, when Jonathan Moorhead was discussing "who is Israel" over at his blog, I had questions so I printed out the entire comments section and shared it with my pastor. (I wonder if I annoy him with my continual questions.) ANYway, we met over lunch with his family shortly thereafter to discuss it all, and my pastor's very first comment to me about it all was "As I read through the comments, my first thought was 'Go Jazzy!'" You two think a lot alike.

He did say that he thought it was a lot of paper to read at first glance, but found himself engrossed in the discussion and couldn't put it down. He agrees a lot with Jazzy. I'm surprised he doesn't own a cat.
:-D

Also, incidentally, during that discussion whenever I would ask him if something were "literal" or "symbolic," often he would respond: "It's 'spiritual.'" That got me really thinking...

May 19, 2007 1:20 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Thanks Susan. Jazzy says to tell you everyone needs a cat, but you have it reversed about who owns who.
wayne

May 19, 2007 1:59 PM

 
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Susan,

what I meant is that the "saved" "discipleship" distinction is fundamental to FG exegesis. In other words when we look at a passage that may appear as referring to justification to the Calvinist, the FG'r will say no that is referring to discipleship (sanctification). And I would agree, generally, with the FG'r at this point. In fact I believe the "occasion" of the NT is presupposed by the fact that those who are reading it are "already justified", in general.

May 19, 2007 3:06 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Mark,
I see in Jeremiah 31:31-34 (reiterated in Hebrews 8:8-12) justification for believers in Christ being included in Israel and/or Judah, part of a larger discussion over at Moorhead's in recent months. Whatdya think?
The sixth chapter of Hebrews really got me thinking. It kind of suggests in the first few verses that one could lose salvation. Verses 4-6 in particular: "For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt."
Yikes! Doesn't that sound like one could lose one's salvation? I thought that once saved always saved. These verses suggest otherwise to me.
I know that He who began a good work in you will bring it about until the day of Jesus Christ, but what about these verses cited above? "restore again to repentance... if they fall away..."

May 19, 2007 5:26 PM

 
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Susan,

Have you thought about how thinking biblical theologically might impact your understanding of Heb. 6? Notice the motif of Hebrews, and its dependence on the "blessing/cursing" concept, and "inheritance/possessing" motif articulated in the Mosaic Cov. (Gen. 15; Lev. 26; Deut. 28--30). Could this not be the parallel of Heb. 6, i.e. "loss of reward" and not referencing salvation? I believe that this is the most plausible explanation for this passage, given its context and original audience. I don't have time to develop this here, but I think this would be a good article, I think I'll work on one for the future.

If I was a Calvinist my response to you would be, that these people, in Heb. 6, were never really saved in the first place, and that they only had "temporary faith", that is the typical conceptual response I've read and heard almost all Calvinists provide for this passage. "Loss of salvation" would be the Arminian response.

In Christ

May 19, 2007 7:59 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Bobby,
Yes! Exactly! I understand exactly what you're saying.
That was troublesome to me as I do subscribe to Calvinist thinking and this passage in Hebrews 6 couldn't possibly mean that that person wasn't truly saved to begin with (a la John's reference that those who fell away were never with us to begin with).
I would love to read more about this if you ever do develop an article on this topic.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

May 19, 2007 8:06 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

FYI, if anyone's interested, I found this article to be fascinating:
http://pewresearch.org/pubs/30/islam-and-the-west
I was trying to find out more about that reference of bin Laden's to the "millenial" struggle.
This is a bit off post topic, but too interesting not to share.

May 19, 2007 8:07 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Susan, I was saved while associated with those who believed one could lose their salvation. I never bought into that.

I am Calvinistic and DO believe that those individuals in Heb.6 really did not have saving faith. Look at Hebrews 3;6-18, "If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of hope firm to the end". Then over to Heb. 10:37-39 we see that here are those who draw back, and those who do not draw back into perdition. Note that it says "we are not", meaning those truely saved will not fall back.

May 19, 2007 9:23 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Back to the New Covenant consideration:

To look at Jer. 31:31-34 (the prophecy conidered in Hebrews 8 & 10)we see God doing a work internally in this new covenant. As we also look at Ezek. 36:25-27 we see more evidence that the New Covenant (NC) is all about God working internally on His people; only this time the Holy Spirit is mentioned as being placed within said people. It would appear that the Holy Spirit is the driving force within the NC people as we look at 36:27. And so that concept is again examined in Romans 8:1-16.

May 19, 2007 9:34 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

That is one reason why Calvinists place such an emphasis on regeneration (John 3:3-5 and Titus 3:4-7). The Holy Spirit's presence is the communication of new life; a life that exhibits the life of Christ within, though certainly not perfectly, thanks to the remnants of sin's power.

May 19, 2007 9:41 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

The fact that God's perfect will for all His saints is conformity to Christ is seen in Romans 8:29. Paul mentions it again in 2 Cor. 3:18 and Galatians 4:19 as well as Eph. 4:11-16.

God taking slaves of sin and imparting new life within, and causing that life to look like Christ (both here and now, but more perfectly when Christ comes to take us home, 1 John 3:2)brings Him great glory. See the entire chapt. 2 of Ephesians.

May 19, 2007 9:48 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Getting back to your discipleship. The whole concept of discipleship being separate from the call to salvation is not universally held by evangelical Christians. There are differences of opinion here. I see Mark 8:34-38 as taking place in an evangelical setting. Here the call to discipleship and to salvation seem to be one and the same.

May 19, 2007 9:54 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

I believe that the Kingdom is both now and not yet. In that it is now also carries with it the idea that Christ is to be obeyed by professing Christians. As His commands are obeyed, conformity to Christ is both realized (2 Cor. 3:18) and displayed (Romans 12:1-2).

May 19, 2007 9:58 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Sanctification is a cooperation. We both yield our bodies to Him (Rom. 12:1-2);prayerfully study the scriptures (2 Cor. 3:18)and the Holy Spirit does the conforming work. As we see in Eph. 4:11-16 the rest of the Body of Christ has a role in our conforming to Christ - corporately.

May 19, 2007 10:03 PM

 
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Susan,

I told you that's what a Calvinist would say ;). I disagree with Mark, though. The passage, exegetically, clearly is speaking of people who are genuinely saved. I.e.: notice the language of: "who have been enlightened, have tasted of the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit." (6:4)

I would suggest that all this language, looking at an informing New Testament theology, is referring to genuine salvation, not just professed, as the Calvinist would argue.

What needs to be done here is some thorough exegetical work, and a lexical analysis (word study) of the words that make up the phrases I listed above. I won't try to develop that here, at this point, maybe later at my site, as time permits.

In the mean time think about the Pauline understanding and role of the Holy Spirit's presence in the life of the "believer" (see Rom 8:11); and then think of what is said of those in the Hebrews text here who are "partakers of the Holy Spirit".

May 19, 2007 10:34 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Bobby, what of those who draw back in Hebrews 10:38?

Surely you wouln't think that the many scholars that hold to Hebrews 6:4 as talking about those who are merely professors do so because they didn't do "some thorough exegetical work, and a lexical analysis (word study) of the words that make up the phrases I listed above." Where did Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon and James Montgomery Boice and D.A. Carson and R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur and James White stand on these verses? ;-)

May 19, 2007 10:57 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

We all have a Systematic Theology that is our personal guiding force, whether we admit it or not. Nobody is completely clean from such things.

May 19, 2007 11:00 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

I disagree with Bobby that Hebrews 6:4-8 clearly speaks of people that are genuinely saved. It does clearly speak of people who end up unsaved (verse 9). Therefore, if you believe them to have once been saved, then the only conclusion is that they were saved and lost their salvation. However, this cannot be reconciled to the many Scriptures that clearly teach eternal security.

The Hebrews 10:38-39 passage that Mark gives is a powerful passage that speaks more clearly to shrinking back being an indication of a professor of faith and not a genuine possessor of faith.

May 19, 2007 11:57 PM

 
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Jazzy said:

. . . Therefore, if you believe them to have once been saved, then the only conclusion is that they were saved and lost their salvation.

That's not true. I believe it is speaking to truly saved people, and of truly saved people; and as I hinted to Susan, there is another viable exegetical, and I think more plausible, "resolution" to this apparent exegetical problem (crux interpretum). The other alternative is rooted in understanding the informing theology that helps shape the discussion found in this doctrinally rich epistle. The informing theology, of course, is the context and motifs embedded within the Torah (first five books of the OT). If we do biblical theology, and look at the "biblical categories", I think there is definite parallel from the theology found in the OT at work in the book of Hebrews. Remember the original audience of this epistle are "Jewish Christians"--thus the flow of the arguement and the occasion for this epistle. Like I said to Susan, I'm not going to even try to develop what I have alluded to here; I'll want to do this right, and actually provide exegesis, and a "real arguement" for my points here--and that will require more space and time than I want to devote to a comment meta (with all due respect).

Mark asked:

Bobby, what of those who draw back in Hebrews 10:38?

I don't know. I know that this is referring to an issue of sanctification, from what I gather from the context, and that this is an issue of reward (see 10:35--Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward); and not one of "justification".

I do see words, that if I were a Calvinist, I would be drawn to such as "preserving of the soul"; but I think that this is reading too much into this context from my dogmatic theology, instead of allowing the context and canon of scripture shape my interpretation (I'll just have to leave that as assertion for the moment, I'll develop that further over at my site at a later date).

Furthermore, Mark, I'm glad you brought chpt. 10 up; what do you make of 10:32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, . . .?
"Enlightened" in 10 is the same word that we find in 6:4, fotisthentes. Chpt. 10's usage of this word clearly, looking at the context, is referring to justification. My question to you, if you agree that this is referring to justification in chpt. 10, is why you don't think the same language fotizo (enlightened) in 6:4 is not referring to genuine justification? This seems inconsistent. Not only that but both usages, in 6:4 and 10:32, are aorist participles, which means that this "enlightenment" is something that happened decisively in the past--in other words there is no idea, in the Greek, that there is space for an disengenuous profession, as you are suggesting for 6:4. Anyway just a question I'd like to hear your response to.

Mark said:

We all have a Systematic Theology that is our personal guiding force, whether we admit it or not. Nobody is completely clean from such things.

You know me better than that at this point, Mark. In fact I have two posts up right now that make this point. Once we recognize what you highlight, then we are ready to do Bible study, because we are aware of our informing theological framework and preunderstandings; and as good Bible students we will be ready to give up or change our preunderstandings as we engage the scripture . . . that's all I'm trying to do, and I'm sure you are too.

In Christ

May 20, 2007 2:11 AM

 
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Oh yeah, I forgot, Mark you mentioned a hole bunch of well known pastors, theologians, and exegetes; which I'm sure all support your view. I could list a whole bunch of exegetes, theologians, et al who would be more in line with what I am articulating. They aren't out in the public domain as much, but I assure you they have their PhD's and have done their homework as well. This seems to present a dilemma, how do we decide which camp is right; I would suggest, given the premiss of the priesthood of all believers, that we can test all things by looking at the scriptures--in the end I think the scholars I mentioned (not by name)present a view that better captures the authorial intention of the scriptures in Hebrews. Which ultimately brings us full circle and right back to "us" discussing the Word.

May 20, 2007 2:19 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Susan
'Do you believe we're living in the Kingdom Age now?'

No.

'From what passages in Scripture do you get "only faithful disciples will be rewarded in the Kingdom"?'

Matthew 25
14 ¶ For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed:

25 and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed:

27 thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. Mt. 13.12 · Mk. 4.25 · Lk. 8.18

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Ephesians 5
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

2 Timothy 2
11 It is a faithful saying:
For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:


12 if we suffer, we shall also reign with him:
if we deny him, he also will deny us:


13 if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful:
he cannot deny himself.

Revelation 2
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

May 20, 2007 4:42 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Bobby, first off - I do not mean to sound snotty. I have nothing but respect for you.

On to your question here..."Furthermore, Mark, I'm glad you brought chpt. 10 up; what do you make of 10:32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, . . .?
"Enlightened" in 10 is the same word that we find in 6:4, fotisthentes. Chpt. 10's usage of this word clearly, looking at the context, is referring to justification. My question to you, if you agree that this is referring to justification in chpt. 10, is why you don't think the same language fotizo (enlightened) in 6:4 is not referring to genuine justification?"

Bobby, two individuals come to mind here: Simon the magician in Acts 8 and Judas Iscariot. Both seemed to believe. Simon was even baptised while Judas healed the sick and did some baptizing.

May 20, 2007 10:10 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Bobby, I believe that your "system" arises from what is, IMHO, a too wooden view of the discontinuity of law and grace. This results, again, IMHO, in your not giving proper due to the concept that God's plan for every Christian is to be conformed to the image of His Son, and that Sanctification is a necessary outflow of having been justified.

May 20, 2007 10:17 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Bobby, also, notice in Heb. 6:6-8 that those who fall away seem to adopt a very hostile attitude towards Christ, something no real Christian would do, thanks to the indwelling Holy Spirit.

May 20, 2007 10:22 AM

 
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Mark,

we disagree here, w/o a doubt. You didn't really address my point on the word, enlightened, which I think is significant. And the examples you provided are a bit circumstantial to the context of Hebrews . . . I could offer my own illustration, which would not prove my point in Hebrews, i.e. Peter's denial of Jesus. I think you've mischaracterized my hermeneutic as "wooden literal", come on be fair, this isn't really engaging my interpretation of Hebrews, whatsover. I could make the counter claim that your interpretation is too "fluid" and continuous, to flexible, but that wouldn't help us get anywhere in this discussion. Btw, my view of law and gospel is inconsequential to my interp. in Hebrews; in fact my view in Hebrews actually appeals to a more continuous view between the two. I would've appreciated if you had gone ahead and given me your view on enlightened in the context of Heb. 10.

Anyway, I'm not going to debate you or anyone else any further at this point here, on this text. I will be presenting some exegesis on Hebrews and this passage in the future at my site.

Peace.

P.S.,

Susan,

I hope that you're watching this exchange, and being challenged to look at the "context" of Hebrews as determinative of how we should ultimately interp. Heb. 6 and understanding its informing theology.

May 20, 2007 1:16 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Bobby, my view of what is going on in Hebrews 6:4-8 most certainly is taking context into consideration. The context of warning begins in Hebrews 3:6 "if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end". Look at 4:1 "let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it". or verse 4:11 " lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience" (eventual unbelief).

Bobby, there are books out that present these warning passages in the different lights that they are believed by various parts of evangelical Christianity. I have seen them in CBD catalogues. I am aware that your position has a ready arguement against mine, as mine does against yours.

My Judas and Simon illustrations are very good examples to argue for my position and it is YOU who have not answered MY challenges.

My fear is that lexical studies, valuable as they can be, can be used by some as a substitute for contextual considerations. Cotextual considerations CAN have a fluidizing affect on our theology.

As I look at Hebrews 10:32-39 "illuminated" meaning that whole community, comprised of those who were true believers and those who were professors. They experienced great persecution and trial, verses 33-34, and some were being tempted to return to Judiaism because of the hardness of the times (tempted to apostasize). Hebrews' Author was encouraging these people to remember all that they have been through and not to apostasize, not to draw back. He was admonishing them on to endurance, to keep the confidence they had in the beginning.

May 20, 2007 4:47 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Bobby,
Indeed I am, and giving all of it careful thought.
I appreciate your involvement here, and I do not disagree with you re: the importance of correct exegesis.
Quick note: At our pastor's home after lunch today, I mentioned this exchange re: discipleship. His wife brought up an interesting point, which was that none of Christ's followers can make converts, only other disciples. God alone converts.
I love it when she states the obvious, often overlooked by fools like me.
Thanks, Bobby and Mark, for both of your contributions to the development of my thinking on this. I've bookmarked your site, Bobby.
ps - My pastor gave me a new book today, titled "The Potter's Freedom" by James R White. (it's a rebuttal of Geisler's Chosen But Free). Apparently the publisher sent him two copies.

May 20, 2007 5:36 PM

 
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Mark said:

My fear is that lexical studies, valuable as they can be, can be used by some as a substitute for contextual considerations. Cotextual considerations CAN have a fluidizing affect on our theology.

I spent quite some time studying and teaching biblical exegesis and languages, etc. That doesn't, by a long shot, make my exegesis correct . . . but I'm not quite as naive to herm. methodology as your admonission "appears" to imply. And you're right context determines the meaning, all lexical studies can do is establish the "semantic domain" which when we look at fotizo (enlightened) we realize that it is speaking of justification.

Mark said:

. . . The context of warning begins in Hebrews 3:6 "if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end". Look at 4:1 "let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it". or verse 4:11 " lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience" (eventual unbelief).

Okay, but this only establishes my point. And this still doesn't establish a "temporary faith" concept which you apply to 6:4. Did these Israelites cease being God's children in their original context? No. But they did suffer the curses and discipline that God promised "His people".

Mark said:

As I look at Hebrews 10:32-39 "illuminated" meaning that whole community, comprised of those who were true believers and those who were professors.. . .

How did you get this out of this context? I.e. some were true believers and some were professors.
Even granting you're view the reductio ad absurdum (logical conclusion)is that justification turns out being a "process" . . .i.e. if we don't endure we were never saved.

Mark said:

. . . I am aware that your position has a ready arguement against mine, as mine does against yours.

We could relativize this, but that is non sequiter, and never will lead us to the "truth". I'm not so concerned with my position beating your position, but that the text is allowed to speak for itself. As my herm. prof used to say "context, context, context . . ."; that's where authorial intention is derived, not in the history of interpretation (although this can be an aide to seeing the context at points).

Mark you are obviously ensconced in your position, and you have the Calvinist interp. down pretty well on Hebrews so I won't waste anymore keystrokes on this one, with you.

Sola Scriptura

Susan,

thanks. I wouldn't disagree with your pastor's wife. In fact she points out something that is very significant, and that is the scriptural distinction between salvation and discipleship (remembering that one is presupposed by the other of course). I believe Hebrews 6:4 is an issue of discipleship and not primarily referring to justification.

A bientot ;-)

May 20, 2007 7:26 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Bobby,
How interesting that you would bring Hebrews 6:4 back to the issue of discipleship, which is why Mark brought up the chapters in Hebrews to begin with.
More light, perhaps, to shed on this is something I read in MacArthur's study Bible, wherein he suggests that the book of Hebrews is addressed to three distinct groups of Jews:
1. believers
2. unbelievers who gave the gospel intellectual assent
3. unbelievers who were attracted by the gospel but had no final conviction
He proposes that Hebrews 6:4 addresses the second group. I read this suggestion in MacArthur's note to 10:26, which reads: "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins..."
He says that the Greek term denotes specific knowledge, not general spritiual knowledge. MacArthur then cites Judas Iscariot as a good example of a disciple who had no lack of knowledge, but lacked faith and became the arch-apostate.
Regarding Heb 6:4, Sproul notes in his study Bible that the term "enlightenment" referred to conversion and baptism in early Christian writings. He's also fair in noting in the footnotes to 6:4-12 that "this sober warning has been variously interpreted. Some understand the author to refer to genuine Christians who lose their salvation, but such a reading conflicts with passages that teach that those whom God has truly saved will persevere in faith to the end. Others interpret the warning as an argument directed against a Judaizing heretical sect. Another interpretation holds that the author is describing the apostates of vv. 4-8 in terms of their profession and the blessings they appears to share with genuine believers up to the moment of their apostasy. Although Jesus saves completely (7:25) and has made perfect forever (10:13) those who hear His word with faith, the author exhorts the readers to prove the faith they profess by their perseverance. Without faith, proximity to God in the fellowship of His covenant people is no blessing; rather, it subjects apostates to more severe judgment."
Anyway, I thought this all helped shed some light on the topic.
Merci, Bobby, et je suis d'accord - a la prochaine.
:-)

May 20, 2007 10:46 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"As I look at Hebrews 10:32-39 "illuminated" meaning that whole community, comprised of those who were true believers and those who were professors.. . .

How did you get this out of this context? I.e. some were true believers and some were professors."
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Bobby, the letter is addressed to a community of Jewish Christians going through tremendous trials. The writer is concerned that many may be tempted to forsake Christianity and go back into Judaism, hence 10:37-39.
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"Even granting you're view the reductio ad absurdum (logical conclusion)is that justification turns out being a "process"
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Nonsense! Justification happens in one instant, period! I do not teach that it is a process. Now you are reaching, which shows me the weakness of your position. Sanctification is evidence of a life that has been justified, due to the Holy Spirit's work - which is something I covered earlier in this thread.
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. . .i.e. if we don't endure we were never saved."
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Yes, those who endure prove that they are the elect, destined by God to be conformed to the image of His Son.

May 20, 2007 11:22 PM

 
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Susan,

I wouldn't not have expected anything less from Sproul nor MacArthur. ;)

Mark said:

Bobby, the letter is addressed to a community of Jewish Christians going through tremendous trials. The writer is concerned that many may be tempted to forsake Christianity and go back into Judaism, hence 10:37-39.

Ok, but how do you get two groups out of this text; viz. one group of genuinely saved, and one group of mere professors? This seems to beg the question, if one group were mere professors then what's the need to warn them of apostasizing--they're already apostates.

Mark said:

. . . I do not teach that it is a process. Now you are reaching, which shows me the weakness of your position. . . .

All I was doing was showing the logical conclusion to what you had communicated earlier. In fact I was showing you a weakness in your position, which somehow you've made a weakness in my position, hmm . . . .

Mark, your position makes justification apparently contingent upon sanctification, not categorically of course, but functionally--which makes me think that you've equivocated the effect of salvation (sanctification) for the cause (justification).

My view is that indeed we are justified, at a moment, i.e. at the moment we place trust in Christ alone; and that the sanctification process follows with varied degrees of response. Furthermore, sanctification is never seen as the barometer and basis of assurance of justification; only trust in Christ's works alone can supply that (a la I Jn 5:11ff and Luther). There is disasterous results for a person, such as the "Hebrews" Christians represent for not enduring--but not enduring does not mean they were never of us in this context, but that they will reap what they have sowed (Gal 6 Lev. 26 principle), and will suffer loss of communion and reward with the Lord. This is of course is the crux of our disagreement, Mark--and it appears we will never resolve it until we get to glory, and you finally conclude that your position was in error ;) :) (a little humor, eh).

I'm seriously making this my last comment, it's hard for me to stop, it's not my nature to stop, but I must. I think we've once again come to an end where we fundamentally disagree, Mark.

In Christ and God Bless.

May 21, 2007 2:44 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Bobby, I wouldn't expect any other conclussion from you. It is the product of your theology, a trajectory that your antinomianism has placed you on.

You say "Mark, your position makes justification apparently contingent upon sanctification, not categorically of course, but functionally--which makes me think that you've equivocated the effect of salvation (sanctification) for the cause (justification)."

Perhaps if you repeat this often enough even you might begin to believe it. It's absolutely amazing how anyone can get around the warning passages, even begun in 2:1, and not see that the epistle is addressing those who were being tempted to go back into Judaism; and that God's soul has no pleasure in those who draw back. Only a system of thought would take one around the obvious here.

You say "My view is that indeed we are justified, at a moment, i.e. at the moment we place trust in Christ alone; and that the sanctification process follows with varied degrees of response."
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I agree 100 percent!
=======

"Furthermore, sanctification is never seen as the barometer and basis of assurance of justification; only trust in Christ's works alone can supply that (a la I Jn 5:11ff and Luther)."
=======
I'm curious, and be specific here, please, who teaches that sanctification is a basis of assurance, and where have they said this? I don't know if you're broad-brushing your theological adversary's here. If you read on in the suspected teacher's works you'll see that they also affirm that Christ's work alone is the basis of one's assurance. As Spurgeon would say, the first holy thought that one has, thoughts of conviction of sin and the desire to repent and believe the gospel all come from God. The warrant of our faith is that we are commanded to believe on the Son, 1 John 3:23. The very desire to walk in the ways of the Lord come from Him alone.
=========
"There is disasterous results for a person, such as the "Hebrews" Christians represent for not enduring--but not enduring does not mean they were never of us in this context, but that they will reap what they have sowed (Gal 6 Lev. 26 principle), and will suffer loss of communion and reward with the Lord."
=======
Heb. 10:34 ..."knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven".. these Christians endured, miraculously, the plundering of their goods because their eyes were fixed on heavenly reward. I see no indication here that fellowship with Him is part of the discussion. Those who don't endure God has no pleasure in them; or, without faith it is impossible to please Him. Look at 10:26-31. How does anybody get around that this is about apostasy, which is sinning deliberately after one has received the knowledge of the truth. They have nothing to look forward to but fiery indignation(27). There is no longer a sacrifice for sins. They will discover that God is a consuming fire.
=======

"This is of course is the crux of our disagreement, Mark--and it appears we will never resolve it until we get to glory, and you finally conclude that your position was in error ;) :) (a little humor, eh)."
=======
Bobby, you are my brother in Christ. I love you!

May 21, 2007 7:25 AM

 

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