Monday, November 12, 2007

Response to Anonymous: How does Jesus Sort the Sheep from Goats?

An Anonymous reader wrote:
The Calvinistic assumption, however, changes the argument altogether. How
does Jesus separate the sheep from the goats? The sheep clothed and fed on of
the least of these, the goats did not. He doesn't say they are rejected for not
being chosen but they are not chosen for what they didn't do. Calvinism cannot
intelligently deal with this.

I'll address this line-by-line.

A: "The Calvinistic assumption, however, changes the argument altogether."

I answer: This sentence makes little sense. It seems to be an attempt to call some aspect of Calvinism an "assumption." The aspect, however, is not identified. I welcome clarification on this from the anonymous reader. (incidentally, it would be helpful if anonymous readers used pseudonyms so that we could distinguish one from the other.

A: "How does Jesus separate the sheep from the goats?"

I answer: He knows the sheep, he never knew the goats. The sheep are in the book of life, the goats are not. I suppose we could go on and on.

A: "The sheep clothed and fed on of the least of these, the goats did not. "

I answer: I suspect the problem with that sentence is that the "on" is an erroneous insertion. The answer, though, is no: works are not what separate the goat from the sheep on the day of judgment.

A: "He doesn't say they are rejected for not being chosen but they are not chosen for what they didn't do."

I answer: On the day of judgment, the goats are rejected because they are unclean. It's that simple. From all eternity, some were chosen to be sheep, some to be goats, and consequently some live as sheep and some as goats. It's also that simple.

A: "Calvinism cannot intelligently deal with this."

I answer: With all due respect, I'm not persuaded that an intelligent objection has been raised here. However, the door is open for clarification of what was intended.



Anonymous said...

Again TF, with great fondness and esteem for your brilliance of mind I want to make an assertion.

Here is what you wrote:

[[The answer, though, is no: works are not what separate the goat from the sheep on the day of judgment.]]

I would point to the book of James:

Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
Jas 2:16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
Jas 2:17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Jas 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Jas 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder!

I don't know, but the more I learn the less I know and it can make me like demons, SHUDDER!

But now for my assertion taken from the above text.

The WORKS here that James asserts in that historical debate, plain and simple is now, in my opinion, the work of BELIEF in the results of the "taking of the Sacraments" not something I do because it's the right thing to do for one found to be in need.

In an earlier response to mine you made a distinction about "how" often one should take communion, taking of the Sacraments.

You said, as the Passover, once a year.

We are taking communion now every Sunday. Do we miss it?

I believe we have wrongly expanded the "works" James refers too with the good deeds we are to do for those we come across on a daily basis.

Works, of taking the Sacraments with the hope of the promises God attaches to that "Work" [singular] of Faith, the partaking of the Sacraments and how often then is another issue? Often, weekly as in my case, once a year, as in your case, is still a work of Faith nevertheless gaining the same result though, yes?

Works as a way of gaining more, well I would address that as a theology of glory, a vain glory, of no value in the next life, only this one! The only Work of Faith that gets me out of here and into the Paradise of God is Jesus' equitable deed, Romans 5:16. The work I do is "receive" the sentence of acquittal given to me, though I am as black as the devil in good deeds, Rom. 5:18!

Why do I come to this assertion?

Well I parallel the Apostle Paul and his farewell address to the Ephesian Elders, Acts 20 with the intent James is making historically in that debate that has been kept for us all to read and learn from, the Book of James. I cannot know James' intent. I can rely upon the Holy Ghost and revelation and explanation of James' intent though, whoever He chooses to use to give it, Himself directly or through one such as yourself, or sadly in some cases, a donkey's ass.

Would not one safely conclude that baptism and partaking of the Sacraments is the intent Paul is making when we read that he commends us to God and the Word of His Grace, which are able to build us up and give us the inheritance? Baptism conjoins us to Christ and partaking of this most Holy Supper indeed imparts His inheritance to us!

Then to go farther with the assertion he then gives a defense for the Faith once delivered to the Saints when he immediately turns our attention to not coveting ones silver and gold and apparel but rather working hard so that we have enough to render aid to the weak?

I believe we have gotten so far off base with understanding the true intent of GOOD DEEDS, "works" and the "Work" of Faith, partaking of the Sacraments, showing forth His death until He comes from what James was contemporaneously addressing we can be a novel to angels who long to look into these things.

Turretinfan said...


As to the "once a year" for the Lord's Supper - I was just pointing out that such a frequency would seem to be reasonable and acceptable. On the other hand, I don't see anything in Scripture restricting the memorial meal to once yearly.

As to what works James speaks of, I'm inclined to believe that James is showing self-deceived folks how to distinguish true faith from false faith: namely, by looking at the fruit of one's faith in one's life.