Archive for April 2010

FOR THE SINS OF ANOTHER

April 16, 2010

Freddy, you are the one who’s queer

How could you do this to me?

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Derek Webb, singing to Fred Phelps about graveyard protests

Liberals tell us that God does not punish anyone for the sins
of others. And then quote Jeremiah 31: 29—“they shall no longer say: the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But everyone shall die for his own sin.” Ezekiel 18 also teaches that the soul who sins shall die.

Jeremiah and Ezekial wrote to people in exile who were suffering for the sins of an earlier generation. In context, the prophets’ assurances that the solidarity of the present generation to their fathers’ guilt would no longer continue functioned as encouragement to repentance. That specific situation is no reason to contradict other Bible texts which teach corporate responsibility.

For example, Romans 5 is very clear that all humans are born imputed with Adam’s guilt. Only a liberal individualist would deny original sin. There are numerous other examples of corporate responsibility in Scripture. For example, in Joshua 7, thirty-six Israelite soldiers die on account of the sin of Achan, and then his family members are executed with him because of his sin. In II Samuel 2, seven of Saul’s sons are executed for their father’s sins.

What God in his sovereignty ordains gives us humans no excuse to hate or punish sinners. Even though so many soliders have died because of the sins of Bush and Obama, this historical fact does not mean that their deaths are justified. Deuteronomy 24:16 explicitly prohibits humans from killing one person in the place of another: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers.”

This means that we cannot read the face of providence (as Fred and the Westboro group attempts) and determine that it was divine justice that caused so many Iraqi soldiers to die for their country. God ‘s judgment extends further than ours . God will judge the secrets of our hearts (Romans 2:16, Hebrews 4:12), but we humans cannot and should not try to imitate the coming apocalypse.

Some liberals  think that any notion of God being judgmental in the future only leads to violence now. But historically that is not how the “peace-churches” have understood it. Instead of reading current events as providential judgments, we have quoted Romans 12: 19—“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

In Luke 13: 4-5, the Lord Jesus responded to those attempting to interpret current events: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them; do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” That threat from Jesus is not an endorsement of redemptive violence, not an excuse for us to kill anybody.

God judging justly is one reason we are not to kill. The other reason we are not to kill is that, when the soldiers killed Jesus, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (I Peter 2:24) Liberals will tell us that this event was only humans killing another human and that God had nothing to do with it. But I Peter in context assumes that God does indeed punish His Servant for the sins of the others. I have no space left now to reflect on the wonders of Isaiah 53: “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; his soul makes an offering for sin…”

As I Peter 3:18 has it, “Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.” There is no need for any of us to be killing, since there is now no other sacrifice for sins. Liberals  will deny that Jesus was punished for the sins of His friends, but it is that very hope which serves as the reason for patience in the face of current tragedies. I Peter 2:21—“leaving you an example, so that you would follow in his steps…when he suffered, he continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

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J P Boyce vs Andrew Fuller

April 12, 2010

Read J. P. Boyce in his excellent Abstract of Systematic Theology calls Fuller’s ‘Universalism’.Because Fuller sees the atonement as a symbol indicating sufficiency for all, he presents salvation as being there as a free-for-all. The purpose of the gospel and the evidence of nature is merely to prepare the above-mentioned feast. The food on the table is more than sufficient for those who have the appetite (will) to enjoy it. Fuller,in his The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptance, believes that man is naturally capable of keeping the Law and that the Gospel is merely a kind of law to be obeyed. He therefore teaches that though Christ died symbolically for everybody’s sin, it is efficacious where man’s agency is involved in following law which points to Christ. In this way, Fuller dodges the issue of whether Christ actually died for His elect only or for all sinners.

The Cross was not to Condemn you

April 1, 2010

Many religious songs have those who sing them confess themselves as having killed Christ on the cross. But I question this sentimentality. First, if we all put Christ on the cross, then Christ died for all sinners, and that is the false gospel.

Second, nobody but God has the ultimate power to put Christ on the cross. If we all are supposed to feel bad about crucifying Christ, then is the Tri-une God also to apologise? May it never be! Acts 2:23-24, “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”

The Bible teaches that God’s sovereignty does not eliminate the accountability of sinners. Certain specific lawless men killed Christ. But also, God gave Christ up to die for the sins of the elect alone. God and not man determined for whom Christ would die.

Christ purposed that He would die. The Tri-une God purposed that Christ would die.

This does not eliminate the accountability of “the lawless men”, even if they were soldiers, or of the “you” Peter is addressing in Acts 2. Troops should not be supported, when they refuse God’s standards.

Specific humans 2000 years ago purposed that Christ would die. This means that not all humans purposed that Christ would die. His mother Mary, for example, did not kill or intend to kill Christ.

We did not ourselves put Christ on the cross, because we are not the imputers. We do not get to decide when and if we put our sins on Christ. We do not get the opportunity to contribute our sins so that then Christ contributes His righteousness. Neither election nor non-election is conditioned on our sins.

Although believers are commanded to reckon what God has already reckoned, we can never be the original reckoners.

The cross is not what condemns. Good news for the elect, the gospel is not what condemns the non-elect. Rejecting the cross is not what condemns the non-elect, because we are all already condemned in Adam . The false gospel which says that Jesus Christ died for every sinner is not gospel. The false gospel turns a supposedly universal death into guilt for those who don’t meet conditions which supposedly make that death effective.