Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pharisees and Jesus - A Study in "Arminian" Logic

First Caveat: I'm using "Arminian" here to refer to a broad range of non-Calvinists - and specifically to refer to those representative of the population of non-Calvinists that regularly criticize Calvinism. I realize that there are Arminians out there who take a very different approach. This is not directed to them.

Spurred on by Triablogue's amusing posts "Prominent Arminian Blogger Denies that Jesus is Human" (link); "Why Freewill Theism makes God the author of Evil" (link); and "Why Jesus was a Sinner" (link), I thought I'd throw my own variant of their theme onto the stack.

Did you know that all the Pharisees followed Jesus? Yes, it is a little known fact.

1) World means World (This is an important tenet of "Arminianism.")

2) John 12:19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him. (Bold added to assist one's vision.)

3) Therefore, by "Arminian" logic, it follows that the Pharisees were saying that they themselves followed Jesus!

Remarkable, eh? And totally bogus.

Second Caveat: Yes, it is totally bogus. This post is satire (as were the Triablogue posts), trying to humorously show how the argument that "World means World" like the argument that "All means All" is easily abused. The "world" in John's gospel doesn't necessarily mean (and perhaps rarely if ever means) "each and every person on the face of the earth considered as individuals."



Anonymous said...


you know what the blind man said?

I was blind but now I see! :)

"Oh Dear Lord, isn't it about time for them to see?"


It just doesn't get any clearer than that!

Thanks for throwing your variant on the stack!

I now know I see and understand it and see why a bit better now!

Godismyjudge said...

What does it (world) mean?

God be with you,

Turretinfan said...

In this case, it basically means "lots of people."


Strong Tower said...


1. an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
2. ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, 'the heavenly hosts', as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3
3. the world, the universe
4. the circle of the earth, the earth
5. the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
6. the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
7. world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
8. the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
9. any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
10. the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)
11. of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19

But if world can only mean, all and every human being that ever existed past present and future then: Those who went after Jesus were not his disciples for Jesus said his disciples were not of this world; or, Jesus was saying that they weren't human beings...

And, if he died for the sins of the whole world and his disciples are not of this world as Jesus said, then he did not die for the sins of his disciples...

What a mess worldly Arminian lexicology makes of the texts.

The definitions above allude to the fact that the word world is derived from a root that means adornment, and is related somewhat to the hair of the head. And that should give us some clue. It is a partial covering, which makes sense since mankind does not consume every available space on the planets surface. Also, since it has reference to the part of the whole, the concept is understandable like any subset of the set is considered for its absolute value as a whole number. Therefore, subset B of set A has an absolute value equal to B's whole kosmos. So we derive the word microcosm:

1. a little world; a world in miniature (opposed to macrocosm ).
2. anything that is regarded as a world in miniature.
3. human beings, humanity, society, or the like, viewed as an epitome or miniature of the world or universe.

By extension, any subset of an existing set is a kosmos, right down to a single hair.

Anonymous said...

"....But if world can only mean, all and every human being that ever existed past present and future then: Those who went after Jesus were not his disciples for Jesus said his disciples were not of this world; or, Jesus was saying that they weren't human beings..."


Consider this:

Psa 89:10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
Psa 89:11 The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
Psa 89:12 The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
Psa 89:13 You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand.

Now, in light of those Scriptures consider Jesus' response to this "worldly" offer made to Him:::>

Mat 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
Mat 4:9 And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
Mat 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"

Hmmmmmm, I guess it is easier to swallow what you said in light of Jesus declination of that worldly offer:

"....What a mess worldly Arminian lexicology makes of the texts."

They sure do mess up the devil's plan, sadly by adhering to the offer made by the devil to mankind.

Here is an offer to good to be True, but is, and I gladly accept it and I gladly Worship the Lord My God and Him only shall I serve, you?:

Mat 4:15 "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles--
Mat 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned."
Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Strong Tower said...

"the people dwelling in darkness"

What I like about this is how it ties into John. The light which came into the world only gave light to those who were given eyes to see and John makes this abundantly clear at the end of Chapter 3 when it says that what happened happened because God made it so. Though all men are in the world, not all men are of the world and Jesus places the beginning of those who are not of this world but in the world as those who had their beginning in heaven (another gennao); a remarkable reference again to the covenant made between the Father and the Son. And interesting enough is the fact that the covenant is stated as being a will in Hebrews. The intended recipients of a will are those who names are written in it and no others. And that will was consummated upon the price of purchase of the heirs, his blood, being put into effect by his death which sanctifies him and those named in it for a man and his will are one.

The wonderful thing about this promise is that it could not be added to or subtracted from for it was considered to be founded upon the Lamb of God slain from the foundations of the world who has a perpetual priesthood. He came into the world and it was his and those who were his did not receive him, but those who were born by the will (the promise of the covenant) which by two things it is impossible that God should lie, they, and they alone were given eyes to see that light by which they were born. He does not extend the rights of the promise to any except those for whom it was written; for those alone who were purchased by the blood of Christ.

So in the end the whole world will be saved, just not the whole world into which he came.

Anonymous said...

TF and Strong Tower,

I read so much I just cannot find where I was reading something about the forensics of God's Covenants.

Maybe after I am done posting here I will recall it and post it. But now I want to point to something equally powerful I read over at Reformation Theology, an article John Sampson put on the com box you can link to; "Double Predestination", by R.C. Sproul.

Sproul is quoting our favorite Theologian, as he refers to him, "Turretini". Here's Francis. The first bit of this copy is R.C. making a comment and then leans on Francis Turrentin to underscore the point he just made above and then he quotes him twice, a very short piece and then a much longer piece. The issue is on preterition and desertion.

Francis Turretin has such a mastery of the languages and give such powerful life in his words:::>

R.C. Sproul quoting Turretin:

God's decree of reprobation, given in light of the fall, is a decree to justice, not injustice. In this view the biblical a priori that God is neither the cause nor the author of sin is safeguarded. Turrettini says, "We have proved the object of predestination to be man considered as fallen, sin ought necessarily to be supposed as the condition in him who is reprobated, no less than him who is elected."5 He writes elsewhere:

The negative act includes two, both preterition, by which in the election of some as well to glory as to grace, he neglected and slighted others, which is evident from the event of election, and negative desertion, by which he left them in the corrupt mass and in their misery; which, however, is as to be understood, 1. That they are not excepted from the laws of common providence, but remain subject to them, nor are immediately deprived of all God's favor, but only of the saving and vivifying which is the fruit of election, 2. That preterition and desertion; not indeed from the nature of preterition and desertion itself, and the force of the denied grace itself, but from the nature of the corrupt free will, and the force of corruption in it; as he who does not cure the disease of a sick man, is not the cause per se of the disease, nor of the results flowing from it; so sins are the consequents, rather than the effects of reprobation, necessarily bringing about the futurition of the event, but yet not infusing nor producing the wickedness.6

The point that was being made in the other article I just now cannot recall so as to clip it in here has to do with preterition. The point the person made was that of a man who is drafting his will to leave to his "rightful" heirs all his worldly goods at the time of his passing and simply passes over some and does not "record" them in the will. Forensically, or by the justice conveyed upon him he has a right making the will however he deems it so and he has the legal right to "pass" whoever he wants too pass over, omit and disregard, hence: preterition. There is nothing illegal with the one making his will to omit or disregard by exclusion those he deems so when he makes up his own will.

As I posted earlier, the Scripture says:

"....The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them...."

The world and all that is in it is His.

As the Scripture further says:

Romans 9:15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."

It's God business not man's who God will have mercy and compassion on!