Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An Arminian exegesis of Romans 9

I like this line from this post.

Paul's "great sorrow and unceasing grief" was for the salvation of his fellow Jews. Do you not think that echoes the same attitude of Christ Jesus? Certainly Paul is familiar with Calvinism, is he not? At least, Calvinists believe that he taught Calvinism. If so, then how could Paul have "great sorrow and unceasing grief" in his heart for those whom God has not chosen to save? Those who die in their sin do so by the predetermined counsel and kind intention of God's will. Stop your blubbering, Paul.

3 comments:

Robert said...

Victor wrote:

“I like this line from this post.

Paul's "great sorrow and unceasing grief" was for the salvation of his fellow Jews. Do you not think that echoes the same attitude of Christ Jesus? Certainly Paul is familiar with Calvinism, is he not? At least, Calvinists believe that he taught Calvinism. If so, then how could Paul have "great sorrow and unceasing grief" in his heart for those whom God has not chosen to save?”

Interesting observation about Paul’s concern about his own ethnic people the Jews being saved. You then ask the question about whether or not this attitude of Paul echoes the same attitude of Christ Jesus? Actually it does and there are a couple ways of showing this from scripture.

First, Jesus makes an interesting statement that C. S. Lewis used to use as one of the clear evidences of Jesus’ divinity: “Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecuted from town to town” (Matt. 23:34 - Lewis correctly observed, that Jesus offhandedly remarks that **he** is the one who has been sending prophets to Israel all those years, that means he is saying that he is the God who has been sending prophets all these years to Israel). A few verses later Jesus speaks of his sadness over Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Matt. 23:37). He says that he loves them and was always ready to accept them, the way a mother hen loves her chicks and gladly receives them. Yet despite this love for them, THEY willingly and freely chose to reject him and not come to him. Jesus/God is sad about their rejection, there is no hint or claim that it is his good pleasure that they reject him and so will be hell bound. The passage screams the opposite: God keeps reaching out in love even to those who keep rejecting Him.

Second, when Jesus is condemned by the Jewish leadership there is an interesting comment by the Jewish High priest as well as an observation thrown in by the gospel writer: “So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together the Council and said, ‘What are we going to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year said to them, ‘You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.’ He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not only for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.” (John 11:47-53).

Note that it explicitly says that the high priest seemingly motivated by expedience says that Jesus ought to die for the whole nation of Israel (and the apostle John says that unwittingly he was speaking a prophecy that in fact Jesus was going to die for the entire Jewish nation; so the same one who wanted them under his wings as his chicks who was saddened by their repeated rejection of Him also died for these same people).

So Jesus says that he would have gladly received them in Matt. 23:37 and it is also said that he intended to die for them (Paul says in Romans 9 that he would go to hell for his people/Jesus actually goes to the cross for his people the Jews, so both Jesus and Paul were Jews and both loved the Jewish people and were willing to sacrifice themselves for their salvation).

That is a major Christian theme: that God repeatedly calls us to Himself, reaches out to us in love, though we keep rejecting Him. And this love is most clearly demonstrated by the fact that Jesus/God was willing to die for us, these same folks who repeatedly rejected him. Jesus dies for the whole Jewish nation (not just a preselected small group within them) and then the apostle Paul laments in Romans 9 that for the most part, the Jews of his day had rejected Christ.

So Paul and Jesus were definitely on the same page with regard to loving and sacrificing themselves to see all of the Jewish people saved. And that page was not calvinism.

Robert

Paul Manata said...

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/04/puzzled.html

:-)

Paul Manata said...

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/04/stop-yer-blubbering.html