Friday, March 16, 2007

Very varied variouses

Hi gang.
  1. Kim Shay lost a dear friend; read about it, and mourn with those who mourn, here.
  2. From there, I went to another daily visit of mine, Pastor Chris Anderson's blog My Two Cents. I was absolutely blindsided by his very moving, and at the same time very comforting and bracing essay, "Why would Jesus let us die? Doesn't he love us?" It was written the day after Pastor Chris preached at the funeral of a very dear friend, and is hard to read without tears. I won't soon forget the way Chris phrased this:
    Over the last ten years, Cindy has become “family” to me, my wife and our four daughters. For six of those years she has battled cancer, valiantly and selflessly. On Sunday afternoon, Cindy finally won: the cancer is dead and Cindy is in the presence of the Lord whom she loved, proclaimed and served. She enjoyed gazing on Christ from afar, and now she is doing so face to face. Victory!
    Agh, excuse me a moment; something in my eye. Again.
  3. Speaking of suffering and sin, let me plug today's essay over at my other-other blog Hellenisti Ginoskeis, titled Hebrews 5:8—breathtaking word on Christ's pedagogy. It's written for folks who can read Greek, so tell your pastor, if you haven't already. I think some might come through, even if you don't know Greek.
  4. There's an excellent column titled The bones of Jesus of critical concern to Christians, by Pastor Mark Minnick (h-t Chris Anderson, comments to the article cited above). Minnick explains why "the Jesus tomb" controversy matters a lot—and, I'd add, why it's so loved by those who hate Jesus.
  5. Thanks, Phil. Bro Johnson throws down about MacArthur throwing down, closes comments, then tells angry amills to come over here and rant. Perfect! So I just need to find the time to teach courses in remedial hermeneutics for folks who've married a system that numbs them against it, and answer every single (already-answered) question they throw at me, as if answering every single (already-answered) question they throw at me will convince them to let the Bible speak for itself and mean what it says. And of course, that's to say nothing of my own continuing need to remedy my own hermeneutics from the Word, and find the countless answers to the countless questions for which I don't have answers. So, great! On three! One... two....
  6. I doubt anyone reads this blog who doesn't also read Pyromaniacs, but in case that's so: Sacramento-area folks who find themselves free to do so are welcome to hear me preach this Sunday (DV), on Proverbs 3:5-6, at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church. Service is to start at 10:30am, and you can find directions here.
  7. I don't think I've ever bought a MacArthur sermon before, but I'm glad I got his controversial opening talk at the 2007 Shepherd's Conference. It's pretty powerful in itself. Also, it's a good vantage-point from which to assess the near-hysterical reaction from some whose systems are threatened by what Mac said. One in particular suggested that amills are upset because MacArthur didn't deal with specific biblical passages or doctrinal matters. Having heard Mac out, I can't understand the criticism. Disagree with him or not, you have to grant that MacArthur deals at some length with passage after passage after passage after passage, and gives a number of theological arguments. Disagreement is one thing. Misrepresentation is another altogether.

103 comments:

Kim said...

The directions to Soarking Oaks are appreciated. I wish I could be there.

I will be in spirit.

sk said...

"So I just need to find the time to teach courses in remedial hermeneutics for folks who've married a system that numbs them against it"

Have you ever read Louis Berkhof or Geerhardus Vos? You sound like the Federal Vision people who would lecture to and school the Westminster divines on the most fundamental points of doctrine...from their blogs. Or, dare I say, certain types of Roman Catholic apologists who erase from history, in the course of a blog post, the reality of things like the Reformation.

Please, take your confidence you show in your blog posts on this subject onto something like the Narrow Mind. Have a discussion with Jason Robertson and Gene Cook, live. Your friend James White is always saying his critics are brave from the keyboard, but they refuse to call in to his Dividing Line show. Don't be like those people.

Andrew said...

sk,
The people J White refers to are trolls and apostate lunatics who publish personal attacks against James and his ministry. There is zero parallel with DJP or the content of his blog. I don't see any character assassinations here, do you?

Jason and Gene often repeat the very same objections featured here http://bibchr.blogspot.com/2006/11/twenty-five-stupid-reasons-for-dissing.html

Neither one of them understand the consistent hermeneutic grounding dispensationalism. They were never serious students of eschatology back when they used to be "dispensational by default". Jason once mentioned how he used to preach through Rev chapters 6-19 all in one sermon - since the Church was raptured so it didn't matter anyway. He doesn't get it, because he never did. His misrepresentations show that he doesn't really know what he's talking about. The eschatology he rejected is a caricature of the best dispensationalism.

You know those "Ex-Protestant, Ex-Evangelical" Catholics who publish their testimonies about how they came to “discover the truth” of Romanism. It’s the famous “Surprised by Truth” book series. When they describe their former Protestant faith it is a total caricature of falsehoods. They were neither Protestant nor evangelical in the first place! They were lost and ignorant. Gene and Jason were never dispensationalists from Bible study... for them it was a SHALLOW tradition they accepted as new Christians. I understand that. They should too.

By the way those guys haven’t "figured out" what they believe as far as I can tell. They can’t exegete Zech 12-14. They don't understand the Millennial Temple chapters in Ezekiel. And they probably rely on fanciful allegories to make the trumpets, bowls and seals in Revelation correspond to Jerusalem 70 AD (can’t tell for sure because they rarely deal with it!)

To all that I say um... no thank you! And I don’t think Dan is obligated to answer questions he’s already answered.

Alan Kurschner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sk said...

Andrew, notice I started off by mentioning Berkhof and Geerhardus Vos. When your doctrinal beliefs force you to say things like you would have to give beginning lectures in hermeneutics to individuals such as them (especially when you are Reformed in your soteriology) then you are in rather ridiculous territory. It's not just that all the "cool" guys are amill, it's that all the most biblical, doctrinally astute and discerning guys - like a Calvin, a Berkhof, a Vos - are amill.

Like many modern day amills I too started out dispensational. At the time it was what was being taught me, and what was most prevalent. I basically could discern something there was not right and basically put it on a back-burner until I knew the Bible better and basic sound systematic theology better. Then when I went back and studied eschatology amill I became.

I allowed myself to be teachable, though. I always say about it: no other teachers in my life have I disagreed with more at first and then been won over by argument eventually than Reformed theologians. That's because they teach what the Bible teaches.

Andrew said...

sk,

Sounds okay with me. I'm glad to see you've abandoned the second part of your original comment. That is the only part I took issue with.

So there is no confusion, we all agree that Jason Robertson and Gene Cook are no Calvin and Berkhof. Likewise DJP is not some nasty blog troll who anonymously attacks the character of godly men and their ministries.

I'll let DJP or somebody else respond to your appeal to church history and your selective list of the "most biblical, doctrinally astute guys".

~Andrew D

sk said...

Strange comment. Abandoned? Why such rhetoric? Playground. Just debate people who know their stuff. Listen to the Narrow Mind's recent broadcasts. There are untenable positions being exposed. Debate them if you think you can make your reading of the Bible withstand scrutiny.

And... Calvin, Berkhof, Vos...vs, Darby, Sperry, Chafer? Absolutely. There is a chasm between those two groups of theologians. Or, to put it another way, alot of altitude.

DJP said...

Let anyone misunderstand Phil (or me): you want to discuss MacArthur, this is an OK place to do it. You want to argue with my friend Phil, this is not a welcome place. His email isn't that hard to find.

Nauvoo Pastor said...

Dan, Phil and anyone else who cares:

I appreciate the respectful way that this matter has been dealt with on the blogs by all of you. The support for John MacArthur, whether pastor, friend or acquaintance, is a marvelous thing to witness in today's topsy-turvy culture. Standfast for your position concerning this man's comments. Even if you don't agree with him, you public stance is important. Any discussion should take place between him and those that would be critical; not in a public forum without his input.

Nauvoo Pastor

Andrew said...

sk,
Now that is a balanced perspective! Take the best amill theologians and compare them to the wierdest premills. As if the opinions of men should be a primary consideration in determining what God has revealed.

Let's see... how about Harold Camping and ALL of Roman Catholicism (representing amill) vs. Macarthur, Mohler, Morey & most of the church fathers.

Is this helping anybody figure out what the Bible teaches?

Yeah I've been listening to the NM for over a year now. They enjoy tossing premill caricatures around and mentioning 25 times a program that nobody believed it until the 19th century. And shallow arguements such as everybody knows that "1000 years" means a "long time". And they question Macarthur's motives and intentions for preaching this sermon. Yes, very edifying. That is some high-brow discussion!

Seriously now there are great questions being asked and answered on the Pulpit magazine blog. I'm reading there because I seek answers not caricatures.

sk said...

Putting up Macarthur, Mohler, Morey against Calvin and Vos is like putting up literature scholars against Shakespeare and Tolstoy.

DJP said...

SK, are you yourself counting up how many of the stupid reasons you're channelling, or are you leaving it to others to keep score at home?

I do see you have a favorite, though.

sk said...

I don't mind your bluntness, djp, but you should try to back it up with some substance. Get over this dispensationalism stage and you can begin to cut your teeth on real biblical theology. You can grasp Reformed soteriology? Vos awaits!

Prior to that debate Jason Robertson live. Anyway, at the rate you're losing your peers, pretty soon you may be the last Reformed dispensationalist. Does James White need your lecturing in beginning hermeneautics, by the way? He has stated he is amill.

Kymanika said...

I have to disagree with you on this stand, Dan. SK makes a valid point under the combative banter.

It is not the wisest position to assign Amill or Reformed theology to elementary hermeneutics and at the same time appeal to the greats (Warfield, Edwards, Calvin, Sproul, etc., in your other writings.)

My position is that it is not a matter of hermeneutics. The hermeneutics we employ is the fruit
of our theological paradigm.

We all use allegory, we all use literal historical-grammatical interpretation. We disagree as to when and where to employ these rules bases on our differing views of the covenants, dispensations and the Churches relation to Israel.

I have spiritually benefited from your posts over the last year at both blogs, I just cannot agree with you on this point.

Respectfully,
Josh

Alan Kurschner said...

Dan said,

"You want to argue with my friend Phil, this is not a welcome place."

Phil said,

"If you really, really are bursting to say something, both Dan and Frank have posts on this issue where you can leave comments. They'll appreciate the traffic, I am sure."

You guys are not connecting.

Dan, if you want to delete unwarrantedly my comment, I'll take it to a post, not a comments section.

Alan

DJP said...

I removed it, but it wasn't unwarranted. I can understand how there'd be confusion. But I really doubt Phil was saying, "If you want to argue with me about something, argue with me there." he was saying we've made remarks about MacArthur and/or the controversy, and those who give the appearance of thinking they own the Reformation.

Jeremy Felden said...

Dan,

It's not hard to tell who is closer to the theology of the historic Reformation. We have the confessions of faith that the Reformers wrote. If Reformed refers to churches that hold to those doctrines, then John MacArthur, Phil, and you are not Reformed. If you want to make it mean "anyone who believes the five points of Calvinism," you have stretched its meaning.

It's akin to me, a Presbyterian, saying that I'm a Baptist because we baptize. In fact, I'm more Baptist than most Baptists, because my church baptize infants as well as adults. This is patently absurd.

No one can own the Reformation. It's public domain by now:-) But there are some who follow its confessions more closely than others. You can certainly say that the reformers didn't go far enough, but you're no longer Reformed. Call yourself Reforming if you like.

By the way, have you ever considered going on Gene Cook's radio program to talk eschatology? You guys could get to the heart of the matter with out any of this infant baptism stuff gumming up the works.

DJP said...

So, brother Jeremy, we'll put you down as defining the Reformation as a series of specific conclusions, and not as the a series of defining convictions. And we'll put you down as thinking that the Reformation is over, leaving us all simply to snap into alignment with the conclusions reached — when? Was that last vein tapped in 1646?

To me, the five Sola's define being Reformed pretty well. You'll note that none of them specifies a particular doctrine of baptism. I can affirm them with a brother who finds some way to read spiritual significance into applying water to a baby, while spiritedly disagreeing with his specific conclusion on that matter. I may even feel that he's not being as rigorous in applying the first Sola as would be preferable

But I won't take away his membership card on that basis.

It's a bit like saying that, if you don't agree that "148" is the answer, we can't share the same basic convictions about math. Maybe we do -- but one (or both) of us figured wrong.

If you think OT (and some NT) prophecy is a mish-mash, and the other things (say) Riddlebarger imagines are necessary to earn you the big "R" on your T-shirt, I'll think that you did some of your calculations wrong. And I'll make my case as to why, in full agreement with all five Sola's and all five points.

But, unlike you apparently, I won't boot you out of the club.

Jeremy Felden said...

Dan,

They're merely conclusions until they're believed. They're convictions for me.

I'm not trying to boot anyone out of the club. I'm a Presbyterian. As you know, we let members baptize their children late. Good luck getting your infants baptized at a Baptist church. All I'm saying is that if you started a church, it wouldn't be a PCA church. Is that unkind?

The word Reformed has an objective meaning that goes beyond Calvinism. You may think it goes too far beyond Calvinism. If you are arguing that the whole Reformation can be summed up by its soteriology, you will have taken the vital point from it but left off many of the crucial issues addressed by the reformers, such as the significance of the sacraments.

As to the Reformation being over, I'm sure there's much we still need to learn. But if you want to call yourself Reformed, do a little grammatical analysis on the word itself. It claims to be a fait accompli, a claim that makes me nervous.

Jeremy Felden said...

Dan,

I forgot to mention that the vein of the Reformation was last tapped in 1646 for me and 1689 for you. How's that for some postmodern subjectivism?

DJP said...

No, not kind at all; it wouldn't be any kind of a Presbyterian church. But it — or at least its pastor! — would be Reformed, Calvinistic, dispensationalist, baptistic.

I feel a bit as if you you didn't fully read my last post. How can you think it's only soteriology?

You know, I say I'm "saved," too. But that doesn't mean I'm "done."

DJP said...

Sorry Jeremy I meant "not unkind at all."

Jeremy Felden said...

Dan,

I don't doubt that believing the Solas makes you a Calvinist, but I've yet to see why that makes you Reformed.

I re-read your post a few times to see what I have missed. I know the Solas affect all of our theology indirectly, but I was under the impression that they were primarily concerned with salvation. They were the cornerstone of the Reformation, but they were not the whole edifice.

I was dumbfounded when Nathan B. justified the dispensational idea of renewed temple sacrifice by comparing it to communion. He deftly avoided a conflict with Christ's once-and-for-all atoning sacrifice by using some very un-Reformed, simple memorial meal sacramentology. It's the view of the typical American Baptist (I know it well from my upbringing), but Reformed it ain't.

How many of the reformer's doctrines must one reject before he is no longer Reformed?

I'm so glad to hear from Baptists that are joyfully Calvinistic. I have learned much from you Pyros. I am just a little puzzled as to why someone with such an endearing contrarian streak wants to fit in suddenly.












Perhaps your great learning has driven you mad! ;-)

sk said...

This is a detour from the actual subject. Who is and who isn't Reformed is not the subject. Dan's right that the five solas define classical Protestantism.

Dispensationalism is just bad doctrine. Dan does need to debate the Narrow Mind guys because they won't get distracted by baptism issues and what not. But Dan won't be able to defend the indefensible. Dispensationalism is a false reading of the Bible. You can be a Baptist and have the Covenant (Federal) reading of the Bible.

False and confused readings of the Bible need to be confronted simply because such things engender false doctrine and practice in myriad ways, spawning new confusions as time goes on.

Andrew said...

Jeremy wrote:
“I was dumbfounded when Nathan B. justified the dispensational idea of renewed temple sacrifice by comparing it to communion. He deftly avoided a conflict with Christ's once-and-for-all atoning sacrifice by using some very un-Reformed, simple memorial meal sacramentology. It's the view of the typical American Baptist (I know it well from my upbringing), but Reformed it ain't.”

Reformed it ain’t, but Biblical it be. Theology should determine eschatology – not the other way around. So that is entirely consistent for a Baptist to hold that view. If you disagree with that on the grounds of credo vs paedobaptism then do that. In the mean time, how about explaining the amill interpretation of these sacrifices in Ezekiel? Lemme guess, it’s something to do with 70 AD? Something you read in Josephus? I can’t wait to hear. I am not being sarcastic. I would like to know how you believe this has been fulfilled, without dumbing down the details of the prophecy. I am teachable.

About my membership card – you can have it. I will resign and promptly turn in my card to the Reformed™ administrator. I don’t want to be in your club. I have not found the Bible verse that says “thou shalt not recover any doctrines after 1689.” So until you establish your assumption that Reformed™ = Biblical (you have not thus far), why should I want to “fit in”? (your phrase)

Follow up question: how is the desire to “fit in” consistent with the 1st sola?

sk wrote:
“Dan does need to debate the Narrow Mind guys because they won't get distracted by baptism issues and what not. But Dan won't be able to defend the indefensible.”

Are you paid to do public relations for the Narrow Mind? You still haven’t explained why either of those guys is qualified to debate eschatology. They wonder why nobody will interact with them. It’s because they misrepresent dispensationalism and because most of their objections are extremely shallow and already answered. On this particular subject they are positively obnoxious and condescending. They do not present the content or the tone of voice that is necessary to discuss eschatology in a God-honoring way. You seem to feel that just any old format is a good place to slug it out… like an eschatology mosh-pit of sorts.

You know what would be helpful, is if the NM did less mocking and instead did more explaining of his own position. It isn’t very hard to force “contradictions” into somebody else’s beliefs. One gets the impression that Gene and Jason have an airtight system of their own. But there are large portions of Scripture they cannot account for. Again, I see no reason why anyone is obligated receive their mocking as a pretense for “helpful interaction”.

Jeremy Felden said...

Andrew,

Read carefully. I doubt any of our baptisms are a "simple memorial meal."

Andrew said...

Jeremy,
I read you carefully. You said "simple memorial meal sacramentology". I thought you were drawing a parallel with between the Baptist distinction between sacrament/ordinance and the significance of those events.

It would help if you actually explained why Nathan's view of the millennial sacrifices necessarily "conflicts with Christ's once-and-for-all atoning sacrifice"? Am I correct that the conflict only exists in non-Baptist sacramentology? If not, then what did you mean?

I can read. But unlike CT'ers I have trouble decoding cryptic allegories! (joking!)

sk said...

Andrew, as someone who's style the Narrow Mind guys would find, and have found, out-of-bounds, I have to say Jason Robertson and Gene Cook are rather gentlemanly in debate. I disagree with both viciously on a subject that they mock every now and then, so I can see it from your angle, but as a covenant theology, Federal Theology person I can say they know their doctrine and are able to present it clearly. (I demur or the preterism.) This is why they would be good to debate. It also is why a dispensationalist would rather not debate them though.

Jeremy Felden said...

Andrew,

Read #9. Some readers raised a (cough)biblical(/cough) objection from Hebrews 10, which Nathan answered by relying on a very un-Reformed sacramentology.

My point was not to debate dispensationalism, but to show that the Reformed confessions are more than just the Canons of Dordt. Let me reiterate: I'm glad that there are Calvinistic Baptists. I just wish they would get off the "biblicist" bandwagon. Who is the true biblicist--you, Dan, Ergun Caner? We all have a systematic theology. Mine's been going strong for 261 years.

By all means, let's see if our systems line up with scripture. But calling it biblical doesn't make it so.

DJP said...

That's just a dodge. Mine's been going strong for 10,000+ years. It was thousands in developing the base product, and it's been another 2000 in refining the grasp of that product. There were major advances in the third to sixth centuries, then more in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.

But it didn't end there. The work is ongoing.

So to the Caner dodge I'd say frontally "Test us both by Scripture."

See my post today over at Pyro.

Simple.

Jeremy Felden said...

Dan,

What dodge? To say you are confessionally reformed means something. It may mean that you're extraordinarily wrong when examined by the light of scripture, but it means something. To say you are a Biblicist must not mean much if Chuck Smith, you and Ergun Caner are all Biblicists. To distinguish yourself from them, you have to show how your interpretation of the whole Bible is better than theirs. It's OK to have a systematic theology. You can't really interpret the Bible without one.

It's quite obvious that the term "Biblicist" has a lot more rhetorical clout than explanatory power. The Westminster divines may not have come to all of the right conclusions, but I'm pretty sure that they studied the scriptures.

Andrew said...

Hey Jeremy,
A coupla things: I never adopted the name "Biblicist". Nor did I even hint the term has explanatory power (since I did not use the term). Neither did I deny that "the Reformed confessions are more than just the Canons of Dordt." I am not sure whom you are addressing.

What I did say is Nathan's response is biblical, even if it is unReformed™. It is true - saying it's so doesn't make it so. But I read Ezekiel and I am persuaded. You are the one charging that it "conflicts with Christ's once-and-for-all atoning sacrifice.” That is a very serious charge Jeremy. Would you care to BACK IT UP? (at least for my edification?)

Nathan said, "These sacrifices... are no more efficacious than the sacrifices of the Old Testament. No sacrifice before or after Christ saves.” (Emphasis mine)

Will you accept this, Jeremy? Or will you force a contradiction where there is none?

Nathan also said this, which I completely agree with and I put forth as a challenge:
"Dispensational premillennialists believe in millennial sacrifices because Ezekiel clearly says that they will take place. We believe that the burden of proof is on those who want to dismiss Ezekiel’s sacrifices when there is no exegetical reason to do so."

My friend, the onus is on you to explain WHY this belief necessarily conflicts with Christ's atonement (you've so far avoided this) AND then put forth a correct CT interpretation. We are still waiting.

You said:
"I'm glad that there are Calvinistic Baptists. I just wish they would get off the "biblicist" bandwagon. Who is the true biblicist--you, Dan, Ergun Caner?"

Does everybody have to belong to a club with a name attached to it? It seems I am getting kicked out of clubs I never asked to belong to.

I have no idea what bandwagon you're talking about. The people I've heard identify themselves as "Biblicists" are Ergun Caner, Johnny Hunt and Jerry Vines. None of them are Calvinists. Ironically, all of those men use that term rhetorically to distinguish themselves from Calvinists. Would you name some Calvinist Baptists who are guilty of doing this? I would heartily agree with you the term has no explanatory power. I just think what you have said here is a straw man.

" We all have a systematic theology"
Perhaps, but does that systematic theology always have a formal/technical name?
Also, do new believers have a systematic theology? What about baby Christians?

I have been a Christian for barely 3 years. 18 months ago I did not have any form of coherent ecclesiology or sacramentology. My answer would be “I dunno”. What club was I in back then?

There is always a purist in every circle who's eager to exclude those who don't conform. Broadly speaking I am a Calvinistic Dispy Baptist. Undoubtedly someone who is self-consciously more Baptist or more dispythan I would seek to exclude myself and others. OH WELL! It is impossible and IMPRACTICAL to use precise language in informal conversation. (I think that blogs and blog comments sections are mostly informal conversation)

You said: ”My point was not to debate dispensationalism”

I also do not wish to debate dispensationalism. If you will recall, I asked for a CT interpretation of the passage in question. This is the most puzzling thing to me. Dispys are expected to endure thorough questioning and examination (for developing in the 19th century instead of 18th?). All the while, CT'ers do not sense the need to explain THEIR interpretation of difficult passages. CT'ers instead take shade under the "history is on our side" umbrella.

So I ask you again (with complete sincerity)- if Nathan's response is unReformed™, what is the proposed CT interpretation? I realize there have been probably 500 different allegories put forth in 261 “strong years”. Which one do you think is the best?

Can CT be critically examined, or is it true because Westminster guys believed it?

Jeremy Felden said...

Andrew,

As I bask in the shade of my historical support, I wonder: "Where are we told that Ezekiel is talking about the millenium? Bucer, make me a pina colada!"

DJP said...

...and Andrew continues to wait for even one substantive response to his many very substantive questions.

Jeremy Felden said...

Ok...It turns out they didn't have words for "pina colada" in German back then. Guess it's time to get to work.

Please pardon the following largish cut and paste:

1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, O God.' "[a] 8First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16"This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds."[b] 17Then he adds:
"Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more."[c] 18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. 19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Notice that if an offering is given, it could only be a reminder of sin. It would be a condemnation. It is very much akin to trying to please God through keeping the Law rather than relying on Christ.

Now for the nasty Reformed (how do you get the trademark symbol?) bits. Though communion is not an atonement for sin, it is a means of grace. How in the world can an animal sacrifice from the old covenant be compared to this incomparable New Covenant ordinance? Has he not set aside the first to make room for the second once and for all. Indeed, if Jesus is the Way, why would he ordain a sign that points the wrong direction? Beyond the sign, we Reformed(tm) also believe in the real presence of Christ. No, Virginia, not transubstantiation, but not "This is not my body broken for you," either. How could we stomach using a goat just as easily as the bread and wine?

By the bye, it is good to remember that the New Covenant promises were made to Israel. And here we are, grafted on to the vine. If anything, they should be drinking the blood of the New Covenant while we perished in benighted ignorance. But God has seen fit to make us (together with the remnant) the Israel of God.

Phew. One question answered. Bier? Now we're making progress, Bootsie.

Andrew said...

Jeremy,

You wrote:
"If an offering is given, it could only be a reminder of sin.

then a few lines later you jumped to…

Though communion is not an atonement for sin, it is a means of grace.

You equivocated “reminder of sin” with “atonement for sin” to force a contradiction to make your point.

BTW, you could have saved a lot of keystrokes by simply answering “YES” to the question I asked 2 posts back: "Am I correct that the conflict only exists in non-Baptist sacramentology?"

I’m a Baptist. Nathan B is a Baptist. Most of the dispys I know are some kind of Baptist or at least do not hold to consubstantiation. There is no conflict with Christ’s perfect atonement.

Even if you believe in consubstantiation, why would you try to transfer that to the millennial sacrifices described in Ezekiel? Did Luther teach that all *conceivable* sacraments must contain the real presence?

You wrote: "If an offering is given, it could only be a reminder of sin.

When I partake in the Lord's Supper, I am reminded of my sin and the forgiveness I have received in Christ. I do not believe in hocus pocus consubstantiation theory, because the Bible doesn't teach that. Besides that, I do not think Jesus ate and drank and digested His own "real presence" (this notion is not a “sacred mystery” - it is incoherent). The Bible teaches that God is "really present" everywhere regardless of man's activities (Acts 17). Neither Christ nor the grace of Christ is not doled out in concentrated portions by means of a sacrament or anything else done externally.

There is of course grace in the Lord's Supper just as there is grace in fellowshipping with Christ in all areas of life. Let me explain. If I am bed-ridden with the flu on Sunday morning, I will lament missing an opportunity to meet with the church. But I will not say "I missed the real presence of Christ this week" because I did not do prescribed external things to get special grace. In my mind that is akin to receiving God's grace out of a Pez dispenser.

You wrote:
“If an offering is given... it would be a condemnation…. trying to please God through keeping the Law rather than relying on Christ."

"Trying to please God through keeping the law" means that Christ is of no benefit to you. Was this true for Moses and Aaron? How about Samuel? The rest of the OT saints?
See, you are forcing a contradiction where there is none. It's plain and obvious, because you cannot consistently apply this understanding of sacrifices without turning all OT worship into an abomination. And I know you don't believe that. So why not just be consistent? It makes everything much easier, and it honors God.

How in the world can an animal sacrifice from the old covenant be compared to this incomparable New Covenant ordinance?

Since you defined the Lord’s Supper as “incomparable”, you are quite *literally* forcing a contradiction. I think it is comparable. At least it’s a viable explanation on Nathan’s part. At least he believes that Ezekiel 40-48 will be fulfilled! On the other hand, you are here inspecting counterfeit Reformed™ ID cards while fearlessly clinging to Luther’s coattails… and you apparently have nothing to say about 9 chapters of Scripture!

You wrote:
“if Jesus is the Way, why would he ordain a sign that points the wrong direction?”
I don’t know. Why didn’t John ask that question when he saw “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Rev 5:6)? Why did John give us 5 references to the altar standing before God in the book of Revelation (6:9, 8:3, 8:5, 9:13, 11:1)? “Hey… uh… Mister Angel with the golden censer - you are pointing in the wrong direction!”

Maybe it is a “wrong hermeneutic” interfering with your reading of Ezekiel 40-48?

You wrote:
“ Beyond the sign, we Reformed(tm) also believe in the real presence of Christ. No, Virginia, not transubstantiation, but not "This is not my body broken for you," either. How could we stomach using a goat just as easily as the bread and wine?”

Uh…this is your tradition borrowing from medieval superstition and then projecting forth upon future temple sacrifices (the precise meaning of which Scripture does not reveal). I offer this suggestion: if you must cling to consubstantiation, do not force that view into future prophecy. I know the Reformers™ did not teach that!

Your Calvinist® Dispy© Baptist™ brother in Christ,
Andrew

P.S. I promise I’ll tell you how to do the cool ™ thing if you tell me your favorite CT allegory for Ezekiel 40-48.

sk said...

Let's be honest: dispensationalists can't see the unity of the Word of God. Dispensationalism is a shallow reading of Scripture that caught fire in a lazy theological period of American history, and it's stayed around for a similar reason.

Once again: you can be credo-baptist and hold to Federal Theology (i.e. biblical doctrine).

You can see the unity of the Covenant of Grace and not be a baby sprinking, high church, nigh Roman Catholic Presbyterian.

Once you make the effort and begin to see the Covenant of Redemption from one pole of eternity to the other; and to see all the states of man from the Garden to glorification; and to see Jesus Christ throughout it all, you will then see how childish the stage you were in called dispensationalism.

It does require a degree of humbling yourself though. As Christians this should not be an impossibility.

DJP said...

DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING

You win the award for the single post with the thinnest bluster-to-content ratio in this thread. And that's saying something!

Add to that the historical ignorance, the factual misrepresentation, the logical vacuity — it's definitely unique.

As far as value for persuading me to abandon taking all of Scripture seriously so I can get my very own NCT decoder-ring... not so much.

Jeremy Felden said...

SK and Andrew,

A wise man once said, "Disagreement is one thing. Misrepresentation is another altogether."

Nigh Roman Catholic? Well, minus the heresy, I hope!

Consubstantiation? There are other Reformed views.

Just goes to show that there are some who are Revolutionaries and some who are Reformationaries. I'm glad we're finding the same things to be true about the vital doctrines of salvation, but we're coming from different angles.

DJP said...

For those keeping score at home:

AS the Republicans (and the Republic) are STILL WAITING for the Democrats' positive plans about the Iraq War and the War on Terror, given their faulting of every aspect of President Bush's handling of it thus far...

...SO we are all STILL WAITING for the positive interpretation of all the details of Ezekiel 40-48, given their faulting of every aspect of normal, grammatico-historical interpretation of it.

Jeremy Felden said...

Dan and Andrew,

I so desperately want to know how to make the trademark symbol that I'm going to reveal my FAVORITE interpretation of Ezekiel 40-48.

Here goes: Jesus. The Church. Whatever.

It seems that WHATEVER allegorical interpretation I give will be dismissed with this slur, so I'm just saving you a step.

I've shown a presuppositional problem that shows how traditional reformed sacramentology goes hand-in-hand with traditional reformed eschatology. Moreover, the Old Testament cannot interpret the New, and the New prohibits going back to animal sacrifices. When you are willing to submit to that interpretation, we can have a rousing discussion about what it does mean.

DJP said...

Q.E.D.

Jeremy Felden said...

Dan,

Should we answer an error with what may be another error, and then judge which we like better?

It does no good if after I've pointed out that your turbocharged hermaneutic has no wheels, you proceed to rev the engine and say, "Well, what've you got under the hood?"

I don't have the same confidence (or track record) of dispensationalists in the clarity of prophecy. I confess that not all portions of Scripture are equally plain. It's a Reformed thing:-) But I do know that some things are just out of bounds. A renewal of animal sacrifice clearly contradicts the Scripture. If you don't like my or Riddlebarger's or Vos's interpretation, I don't want that to be what stops you from saying, "It can't be as the dispensationalists have said."

An evidential argument is a great cover for a presuppositional failure.

DJP said...

Oh, bosh.

You have to make a positive case for why X,000 years of deception is really "revelation," why deceiving children is wrong when you do it but right when God does it, "bait and switch" is unethical when a salesman does it but ethical when God does it, and Jesus can damn a generation of Jews for not taking Scripture at face value while telling all subsequent generations of Christians that they mustn't take Scripture at face value.

You really are looking more and more like congressional Dems. All wisecracks, no risky plans. Well, except surrender.

Thank God the person who talked to me about Christ wasn't of this perspective. I'd have said, "Well that's just what we say: the Bible doesn't mean what it says."

And gone on, Christless and lost.

Andrew said...

Jeremy,
I cannot ever remember trying so hard to persuade another believer to speak forth God's truth (when he claimed to know something about it)!

Why does this feel like pulling teeth? Are you ashamed of your doctrine? You aren't ashamed to lob grenades at mine from beneath your "church history" bunker.

Help me out bro! Perhaps there is hope for me. Maybe I can reapply for a Reformed™ membership card. If I understand you correctly, I will never “fit in” until I learn to decipher Bible code language. Teach me, friend!

You wrote:
”I've shown a presuppositional problem that shows how traditional reformed sacramentology goes hand-in-hand with traditional reformed eschatology.”

The problem only arises when you take your pseudo-consubstantiation view and arbitrarily force it upon a futurist interpretation of Ezekiel’s prophecy. You are forcing the millennial sacrifices to have the “real presence” (why???) and function like a Pez dispenser of grace.

Don’t throw in the towel yet! This unbiblical view of the Lord’s Supper (if you must cling to it) can coexist with the normal grammatico-historical interpretation of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Resist the temptation to force the “real presence” view onto millennial worship. Can’t you see how silly that is? Christ will really be present during his millennial reign on earth! There is no need to add mysticism to the meaning of those animal sacrifices.

(this is sort of off-topic)
If the "real presence" view which you hold is not consubstantiation... then what is it? Does it go by a formal name I can reference in my theology dictionary?

I am curious because this understanding of NT sacraments is hard coded right into your hermeneutic. You're using it as a filter for reading OT prophecy. Evidently it dominates your theology since it causes you to overthrow the normal interpretation of the text.

One wonders if Ezekiel understood his own prophecy through the filter of Reformed™ pseudo-consubstantiation.

P.S. I want to see that Ez 40-48 allegory. Don't wrap up your talent in a napkin and bury it. Jesus expects you to produce 2 talents.

Remember that song you sang as a little kid?...

"Hide it under a bushel?... no!
I'm gonna let it shine!
LET IT SHINE!
LET IT SHINE!
LET IT SHINE!"

Jeremy Felden said...

Now is about the time for someone to say, "Can't we all just get along?"

For the record, I would love to meet Dan for some good fellowship (no karate!). He's right about far more than he's wrong.

Now we can commence Dan's pummeling me about the head and shoulders :-)

Here's something to flog me with:

What do you do with the contradiction in your view? I'm not asking as a Democrat, more as a Republican questioning those who would say we can solve everything through peaceful conflict resolution. Such a simplistic view will not serve. You see, reality is a bit more complicated... :-)

The political thing cracks me up. It's probably where we agree the most, this side of the eternal state, when God corrects both of our theology.

Jeremy Felden said...

Church history bunker? Should I be nervous that there are so many Germans in here?

Jeremy Felden said...

Andrew,

Not only will there be no need to add to the meaning of them, there will be no need for them. When the real has come, we have no need for the shadow.

Q.E.D.

Jeremy Felden said...

Andrew,

Forget our sacramental squabble for a moment. Don't the Scriptures say that Jesus has abolished the animal sacrifice forever? What am I missing here? Or are we well and truly interpreting the Old by the New?

Jeremy Felden said...

Dan,

Should I take Hebrews 10 at face value? Or is my "face value" different from your "face value?"

sk said...

Am I to take it that dispensationalists take the temple in Ezekiel 40-48 literally?

Admittedly I don't hang in dispy environments much...

Do dispensationalists also think the Lord is an actual Rock? Or that Jesus is an actual Lamb?

And, bait and switch? Do dispy's believe O.T. saints were saved in a different way than N.T. saints? Both were and are saved by faith alone.

DJP said...

That's pretty darned rich, SK.

Two posts ago, you are making Pope-like pronouncements about dispensationalism and dispensationalists. You coupled it with a prophetic call to all Dispensationalists to repent.

Now, with these questions, you reveal that you do not know the first thing about dispensationalism.

That's life in a theological ghetto for you. Certainty and ignorance, in equal degrees.

DJP said...

So, in other words: "I have no idea what it is, but it's bad, so you must all humble yourselves and leave it!"

Andrew said...

Jeremy,
Chapter and verse, please? I prefer one that says exactly what you just asked about... that "animal sacrifices are abolished forever"

Please do not assume that all sacrifices, past and future,
always depict Christ’s final sacrifice for sin. They do not.

I honestly would have no reason to "squable" about your sacrementology except that this is your basis for overthrowing the normal interpretation of OT prophecy.

1 Cor 11:23-26 is my view of the Lord's Supper. This is the memorial view as described by Paul.

Many times in the Pentateuch, the temple sacrifices are specifically
called “memorials” (Lev 2:2,9; 5:12; 6:15; 24:7; Num 5:15,18,& 26; Ex 30:16).

Andrew said...

This piece by Tommy Ice answers most of your potential questions.

http://www.pre-trib.org/pdf/Ice-LiteralSacrificesInTh.pdf

I am not Ice's personal apologist. He has written a few things I disagree with (usually it's his tone I disagree with). But the majority of his work is very sound and I heartily recommend it to you.

Jeremy Felden said...

Andrew,

Hebrews 10:1-14
1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, O God.' "[a] 8First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

______________________________

The beginning of the passage says that if the animal sacrifices could have atoned for our sins, they would have stopped being offered once they had done so. On the other hand, Jesus did atone for our sins and sat down. There is no need for another sacrifice.

The "first things" that Jesus set aside were the sacrifices and burnt offerings though they functioned (much) in the way of your hypothetical millenial worship once and for all to make room for his sacrifice.

It's not OK to say that these sacrifices are allowable because they don't atone; they never did. Nevertheless, God has set them aside. Once and for all. Forever. Because the work of Christ did what they cannot do.

Jeremy Felden said...

SK,

Meet me in the shady ghetto bunker. The one with the big AD HOM sign on it.

Jeremy Felden said...

Andrew

"the normal interpretation"

Erm, isn't that what we're trying to discover?

Don't make Cornelius sing the "Presupposition Song."

DJP said...

I would have guessed the sign read Tradition über allen.

Take a moment to compose your thoughts. Comment spam isn't nice. You don't win by number of votes, or comments.

Jeremy Felden said...

DJP,

Sorry ;-)

Who is Allen?

Seriously bro, I've got to knock off for the weekend. I'd love to continue our little soire next week, if everyone's amenable.

Please, please call Gene Cook. He's doing Millenial Mondays for the next few weeks. I'd love to hear you guys interact. Who knows? Somebody might learn something!

The boys in the bunker are getting the jukebox fired up and....hey, why is Spurgeon in here?

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Jeremy,
Are we reading the same passage? Let's review what the text actually says is "once for all" and "forever"

"...worshipers would have been cleansed once for all" v2
"...we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" v10
"...but when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins..." v12
"...because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." v14

Which one of these passages says that God abolished animal sacrifices forever?

Instead of seeing this chapter as a positive statement about Christ's atoning work, which abolished our sin forever, you've made it into a negative statement about animal sacrifices being abolished forever. But the text doesn't say that. Christ's efficacious and enduring work is the focus of the passage.

sk said...

Let me relieve you of your misconception: I was being facetious.

As I stated earlier in the thread (or the one below) I, like many, began steeped in dispensationalist teaching. I sensed it was wrong at the time, so I put it on a shelf until I had a sound foundation of understanding the actual Bible and systematic theology in general.

And, no, you can't just call anybody who sees the unity of the Word of God a Pope. (Aren't you, by the way, a Vatican manuscripts guy? just asking).

See, some of us have it all: we're not sacerdotal, we don't flirt with baptismal regeneration, we value and practice sola Scriptura (all five of the solas for that matter) AND we can see the unity of the Old and New Testaments (and, no, that doesn't have anything to do with 'new covenenat theology', as you seemed to imply for some reason above, for the record).

Federal Theology, it's powerful, and it's biblical. You don't know what you're missing. In many ways you don't know what you're missing. (What you're missing is involved in the practice of the faith as well.)

sk said...

"Meet me in the shady ghetto bunker. The one with the big AD HOM sign on it."

We have to have understanding that Dan is defending something that is obviously not easy, or possible, to defend. He's like, oh, a Roman Catholic apologist in a thread with alot of Sword of the Spirit wielding Protestants. How again is your Pope infallible? Where again does it say Mary was born without sin?

"DING DING DING DING DING!! blah, blah, blah, blah, blah" is the response.

Andrew said...

SK, I am curious.

When you said this:
"I, like many, began steeped in dispensationalist teaching."

Does this mean "When I first got saved my youth pastor showed us Tim Lahaye movies?" or does it mean you read the Scriptures yourself and learned dispensationalism from them?

And what do you mean by "putting it on the shelf"? Do you mean you put your Hal Lindsey book on the shelf?

The reason I ask is most of the people who talk like you do ("I used to be a dispy when I was dumb, but then I got smart") actually just inherited a "default dispensationalism" that is very shallow (like most evangelical preaching on salvation).

DJP said...

SK, earlier:

...I, like many, began steeped in dispensationalist teaching.

SK, later:

Do dispensationalists also think the Lord is an actual Rock? Or that Jesus is an actual Lamb?

...Do dispy's believe O.T. saints were saved in a different way than N.T. saints? Both were and are saved by faith alone.

sk said...

"SK, I am curious.

When you said this:
"I, like many, began steeped in dispensationalist teaching."

Does this mean "When I first got saved my youth pastor showed us Tim Lahaye movies?" or does it mean you read the Scriptures yourself and learned dispensationalism from them?

And what do you mean by "putting it on the shelf"? Do you mean you put your Hal Lindsey book on the shelf?

The reason I ask is most of the people who talk like you do ("I used to be a dispy when I was dumb, but then I got smart") actually just inherited a "default dispensationalism" that is very shallow (like most evangelical preaching on salvation).
"

Notice there's no such thing as shallow Federal Theology? There are no Tim LaHaye's teaching Federal Theology. No one is saying, "Witsius yes, but that Thomas Boston, ha ha ha. What a joke!" Dispensationalism is inherently shallow. God love the smart dispensationalists, but even they have to avoid theologians such as Vos and Kline in the 20th century which is like having to avoid Calvin and early covenant theologians in an earlier era.

By putting it on the shelf I meant OK, the charts, the plan B (the plan B stood out to me in all the chaos of the dispensationalist's end time teaching as a sort of light shining through the murk telling me something was not right), the balancing a tiddlywinks structure on the head of a pin, etc., I'm going to put that aside, and I'm going to read the Bible, get saturated in it, get understanding of the actual Word of God in a serious way, then approach the study of doctrine in a serious way and see what is there.

When you do that, it's like becoming a conservative. Most everybody starts out default liberal when they havn't bothered to learn anything. Then some people start to learn about economics and about the ways of the world and human nature and what has gone on in history and lo and behold they kind of turn into conservatives.

When you get serious with biblical doctrine you first get drawn towards Calvinism. The soteriology. Five solas. Doctrines of grace. Then as you get a grasp of the whole that is the foundation of that doctrine you have gravitated towards Federal Theology (which is systematic covenant theology). And if you're really sharp you, like the young Zwingli, don't get hung up on ritualism or sacerdotalism, and you recognize that high church paedo Reformed and Presbyterians don't hold a copyright on Federal Theology.

And yes, it will rankle any dispensationalist to read the above just as a liberal won't want to hear that when you get serious about learning about the world and human nature you naturally become not-a-liberal, but there it is. If you know you know.

The world of biblical doctrine is no less fascinating when you see Federal Theology and the plan of God and unity of the Word of God in the three covenants, by the way. You even get to have theologians like Vos and Kline, orthodox to the bone, who are actually bringing new insights in our time.

sk said...

djp, rhetorical questions.

Andrew said...

SK,
Dude, you talk more trash than most professional athletes. Your strongest doctrinal defense is like a yo mama joke. "Yo mama's eschatology is inherently shallow!"... "Yo mama is so stupid, she has to avoid reading Vos and Kline! Awwww yeeeeeah"

First thing - you really must embrace the 1st Sola and become a real Calvinist. All of this condescending trash talk and appealing to big shot theologians is meaningless. Why do you keep lumping your name in with elites? How insecure is that?

For a pretense you claim to believe Scripture alone is sufficient for the believer in all matters of faith and practice. Yet this entire thread you keep pulling the "my heroes are way smarter than yours" trump card. Is that what you are trusting in for sound doctrine? If not, then why do you continually appeal to the authority of men?

I am not impressed. Not even a little. It seems you aspire to be Gerhardt Vos' most loyal TOADY. "Yes, boss! Whatever you say boss! Go git 'em boss!"

I do not see evidence that you (a) know what dispensationalism teaches or (b) appeal to Scripture alone as the highest authority governing your doctrine. Maybe you do, but I haven’t seen any evidence in this thread.

Tsk tsk - Vos would not be pleased!

sk said...

Calvinists usually don't keep caveating that Calvinism is apostolic biblical doctrine. It's assumed among self-identified Calvinists. I stated above (or in the thread to the post below this one) that I value Reformed theologians because Reformed theologians say what the Bible says. I also stated I didn't begin learning doctrine seriously until I'd engaged the Word of God seriously. Connect the dots.

DJP said...

Andrew, thanks for the Ice link. This thread bears out his observation that "the critics cannot tell us, based upon a textual interpretation, what
Ezekiel does mean if not taken literally."

There are many passages of the Bible that do not mean what I wish they meant. I have had previous traditions challenged, undone, and replaced when I let the text of Scripture speak for itself.

Convince me that the Bible does not mean what it says, and you will convince me that I was wrong in leaving my mind-science cult for Christ.

sk said...

Oh, come on. The temple in Ezekiel is hardly literal in its description.

Andrew said...

SK,

Please share what you think Ezekiel 40-48 means. We're all waiting (but no one's holding their breath).

Not asking for a verse-by-verse exposition. How about a simple 5 point outline? Just identify what it means and how it is fulfilled.

It's so obviously not literal, right? This should be an easy slam dunk.

sk said...

Read Gill, read Barnes. Would you like me to paste them into this thread (could get lenthy).

Why do you pretend that commentary doesn't exist on this portion of Scripture? Why do you further pretend that your literal view is a slam dunk? I'll tell you why: because you are in an untenable position. You have to rely on portions of Scripture that are least clear (and simply ignore any other Scripture that clears it up) to make your system hold water. You ignore Hebrews, for instance. (You ignore, actually, the entire New Testament.)

Do you know what a type is? A shadow? Do you believe, as Christ said, that He is in the volume of the Book?

Read Gill and Barnes for a general take by non-dispy Christians and contend with them. What could I say that would be needed beyond what they've said?

Andrew said...

I see. Glad I didn't hold my breath for that.

Still haven't seen evidence you actually know what dispensationalism teaches, although you apparently read minds, know hearts, and you even know what sits on my bookshelf! Amazing.

Thanks for accusing me of pretending. And having never read a commentary. And thanks for quesitoning my heart motives (see John 7:24). And of ignoring the entire New Testament. Very classy!

The thing about amill commentaries is… they almost never agree. One man's allegory is completely different from the next. One guy says it's a metaphor for Christ. Another says it's a picture of the Church. One guy sees fulfillment in Jerusalem 70 AD. Another sees fulfillment in the return from Babylonian catpivity. Still another says it’s “fulfilled spiritually in your heart” upon regenereation. When you abandon the normal interpretation of the text, it can mean whatever you want.

That’s why I asked how do you understand these 9 chapters of Scripture. I see your answer is nothing. It's might as well be meaningless. It means "whatever Gill and Barnes say it means."

Andrew said...

Since the anti-Dispys in this thread are choosing to “hide their light under a bushel”… I will try to present a typical amill understanding of Ezekiel ch 40-48. Free of charge!

This is a summary of Ezekiel's Vision ch 40-48 by John B Taylor in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series pp.253-254 (an amill commentary which SK says I don't own and pretend that it doesn't exist)...

"(a) the perfection of God’s plan for His restored people, symbolically expressed in the immaculate symmetry of the temple building;
(b) the centrality of worship in the new age, its importance being expressed in the scrupulous concern for detail in the observance of its rites
(c) the abiding presence of the Lord in the midst of His people
(d) the blessings that will flow from God’s presence to the barren places of the earth (the river of life);
(e) the orderly allocation of duties and privileges to all God’s people, as shown both in the temple duties and in the apportionment of the land

If the vision is interpreted on these lines, and not as prophecy in the conventional sense, readers will be spared the necessity of trying to look for some fulfillment of the words in past or future history." (italics mine)

Translation: if you use a decoder ring hermeneutic, you don’t have to concern yourself with 25% of the OT.

sk said...

Not having to defend novel systems concocted in the doctrinal golden age of the 19th century I don't need to reinvent any doctrinal wheels.

You are pretending that your brave 'literal' view solves all problems with it. You have the symbolic nature of the descriptions to deal with, and you have the New Testament to deal with.

When I say read Gill and read Barnes I mean specifically read Gill and read Barnes. They present the general reading that takes in all elements that need to be dealt with. And don't read their actual verse commentary but the intro to the 40-48 chapters both provide.

You want to demonize symbolic readings of Scripture. You have to do this, of course, to make your 19th century system work. But this Christian reads God's Word as the Holy Spirit illuminates it which includes figurative reading and literal reading. Not to mention the analogy of faith. Look what you are forced to argue for. Really very low-brow pitting of literal vs. figurative.

Really, do you expect Ezekiel to have prophesied word for word the Book of Hebrews? Think about that.

DJP said...

SK, are you deliberately going down the Stupid Reasons list? If so, thanks for the assist; and nice job channelling and updating Luther's RC critics.

And once again, for those keeping score at home, you continue to undermine rather than back up your claim to have been "steeped" in dispensationalist teaching.

sk said...

I realize dispensational teaching has changed since my time in its trenches (and which direction is it headed?). Kind of like Federal Vision Theology changes towards the WCF every time its proponents get pinned by basic biblical/doctrinal facts. Yet you still state the main confusions. Instead of taking one tortured step at a time why don't you look up and see the big picture.

DJP said...

Yes, I'm sure I can speak for Andrew and everyone else when I say that I always find most persuasive the demands for change barked out by those who (A) show no grasp of the issues, (B) are incapable of admitting errors, (C) are unwilling actually to engage in specifics, (D) show no willingness to learn anything if it challenges a cherished tradition, and (E) offer something immeasurably worse in return.

Andrew said...

Dan,
You speak for me. I find this all so very persuasive. My friend SK has a promising career path ahead of him. Given the blustering-without-substance contained in this thread, I expect he may be recruited for one of the following positions:

 Script writer for pro wrestlers in WWE Smackdown (Macho Man Randy Savage would be envious)
 Terrell Owens’ publicist
 Nancy Pelosi’s speech writer
 Any occupation where talking a lot of smack, never dealing with the issues, and never admitting an error… is a plus.

And now for a concise anthology of irrelevant blustering and vacuous smack-talking that SK can attach to his résumé.
It would be humorous if he wasn’t being completely serious:

 Get over this dispensationalism stage and you can begin to cut your teeth on real biblical theology.
 All the most biblical, doctrinally astute and discerning guys - like a Calvin, a Berkhof, a Vos - are amill.
 Playground. Just debate people who know their stuff.
 Debate them if you think you can make your reading of the Bible withstand scrutiny.
 Calvin, Berkhof, Vos...vs, Darby, Sperry, Chafer? Absolutely. There is a chasm between those two groups of theologians. Or, to put it another way, alot of altitude.
 Putting up Macarthur, Mohler, Morey against Calvin and Vos is like putting up literature scholars against Shakespeare and Tolstoy.
 You sound like the Federal Vision people who would lecture to and school the Westminster divines on the most fundamental points of doctrine.
 Take your confidence… onto something like the Narrow Mind.
 ...(you) are brave behind the keyboard
 You are in rather ridiculous territory
 You can grasp Reformed soteriology? Vos awaits!
 At the rate you're losing your peers, pretty soon you may be the last Reformed dispensationalist.
 James White… has stated he is amill.
 Dispensationalism is just bad doctrine.
 Dan needs to debate the Narrow Mind guys… but Dan won't be able to defend the indefensible.
 Dispensationalism is a false reading of the Bible.
 False and confused readings of the Bible need to be confronted… because (they) engender false doctrine and practice in myriad ways, spawning new confusions as time goes on.
 The Narrow Mind guys… know their doctrine and are able to present it clearly. This is why a dispensationalist would rather not debate them.
 See, some of us have it all…
 Federal Theology, it's powerful, and it's biblical.
 You don't know what you're missing. In many ways you don't know what you're missing.
 What you're missing is involved in the practice of the faith as well.
 We have to have understanding that Dan is defending something that is obviously not easy, or possible, to defend.
 Dan’s like, oh, a Roman Catholic apologist in a thread with alot of Sword of the Spirit wielding Protestants?
 ’DING DING DING DING DING!! blah, blah, blah, blah, blah’ is the response.
 There's no such thing as shallow Federal Theology
 Dispensationalism is inherently shallow.
 God love the smart dispensationalists, but even they have to avoid theologians such as Vos and Kline in the 20th century which is like having to avoid Calvin and early covenant theologians in an earlier era.
 (Abandoning dispensationalism) is like it's like becoming a conservative. Most everybody starts out default liberal when they havn't bothered to learn anything.
 Yes, it will rankle any dispensationalist… just as a liberal won't want to hear that when you get serious about learning about the world and human nature you naturally become not-a-liberal, but there it is.
 If you know, you know.
 When you see Federal Theology…you even get to have theologians like Vos and Kline, orthodox to the bone, who are actually bringing new insights in our time.
 Oh, come on. The temple in Ezekiel is hardly literal in its description.
 Why do you… ?? (insert unfounded accusations here) I'll tell you why: because you are in an untenable position.
 You have to rely on portions of Scripture that are least clear (and simply ignore any other Scripture that clears it up) to make your system hold water.
 You ignore Hebrews.
 You ignore, actually, the entire New Testament
 Read Gill and Barnes… and contend with them.
 Not having to defend novel systems concocted in the doctrinal golden age of the 19th century I don't need to reinvent any doctrinal wheels.
 You are pretending that your brave 'literal' view solves all problems with it.
 You want to demonize symbolic readings of Scripture. You have to do this, of course, to make your 19th century system work.
 Look what you are forced to argue for. Really very low-brow pitting of literal vs. figurative.
 Instead of taking one tortured step at a time why don't you look up and see the big picture.

Last but not least: SK’s "Golden Chain of Decoder Ring Eschatology"
(you gotta look waaaaaay down your nose at other Christians to see this “golden chain”!)

“When you get serious with biblical doctrine you first get drawn towards Calvinism. The soteriology. Five solas. Doctrines of grace. Then as you get a grasp of the whole that is the foundation of that doctrine you have gravitated towards Federal Theology (which is systematic covenant theology). And if you're really sharp you, like the young Zwingli, don't get hung up on ritualism or sacerdotalism, and you recognize that high church paedo Reformed and Presbyterians don't hold a copyright on Federal Theology.”

sk said...

Listen to how you talk. Calvin, Witsius (the Dutch Second Reformation theologians), people like Thomas Boston, John Owen, Geerhardus Vos (I'll just stop there, but you know what that list looks like) they are all, according to you, too dumb to see Darby's dispensationalism. Too dumb to know van Impe, though a joke, at least has it right with being a dispensationalist, etc., etc.

It bothers you, too, obviously, that the progression in understanding of biblical doctrine is from dispensationalism TO federal theology. Sorry, but that's not something you can just wave away. It's called reality. The analogy to liberalism vs. conservatism is apt. We are all default liberals when we're ignorant or lack understanding for one reason or another. Once we begin to catch on we leave that juvenile state behind.

I also find it hilarious how dispensationalism is now one of the mysteries only the elect can understand. I suppose when all your peers are developing in doctrinal understanding and leaving your dispensational camp you have to formulate new justification for it all.

Leave your Jewish dreams behind. Love Jews, evangelize them, don't adopt their silly dreams.

sk said...

For beginners to Covenant Theology:

http://gospelpedlar.com/articles/Bible/cov_theo.html

An elegant and deep article, typical of Vos:

http://www.biblicaltheology.org/dcrt.pdf

Andrew said...

"they are all, according to you, too dumb to see Darby's dispensationalism"

Citation please?
1) The "too dumb to see" view of sanctification has been espoused by you repeatedly (see résumé). I do not hold that view for understanding any doctrine. See 1 Cor 4:7 for the true source of spiritual understanding.
2) I don't hold Darby's dispensationalism.

"It bothers you, too, obviously, that the progression in understanding of biblical doctrine"
Is English your first language? I could not possibly be clearer that, to me, all arguments from Church history amount to nothing. 1st Sola... hello? This isn't the ReformedCatholicism blog, SK (although I see you frequent there). It doesn't move me because tradition does not carry weight over Scripture.

"Sorry, but that's not something you can just wave away."

*WOOOSH* I just did.

Sola Scriptura in practice... it's not just a pretense!

"I also find it hilarious how dispensationalism is now one of the mysteries only the elect can understand."

Citation please?
What are you talking about? Besides straw men, who believes this?
In any case, if you really believe that, how could you dare laugh about it?

"I suppose when all your peers are developing in doctrinal understanding and leaving your dispensational camp you have to formulate new justification for it all."

Prov 24:17
"Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles"
Prov 29:9
"If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet."

"Leave your Jewish dreams behind. Love Jews, evangelize them, don't adopt their silly dreams."

Oh my. I feel so... small!

The good news is I think we can add this to your résumé to become Terrell Owens’ publicist.

sk said...

"This isn't the ReformedCatholicism blog, SK (although I see you frequent there)."

My, my. If you only knew...

No, I'm not anything like that. That you can't sort out players any better than that tells me something though.

And, though it's hardly necessary to point out, sola scriptura hardly has to be abandoned to see what five solas Protestants have routinely come into seeing ever since the light of the Word of God was recovered from the darkness of Rome.

Work you way through the articles linked above.

Andrew said...

sk,
I have 1 very straightforward question. To avoid any misunderstanding I'll use your own verbiage.

DOES THIS: "what five solas Protestants have routinely come into seeing ever since the light of the Word of God was recovered…" carry weight over the normative exegesis of Scripture?

Yes or No?

If "Yes"... eschatology is the least of your worries.

If "No"... then why does this compose 99% of your attack on dispensationalism??? Where do you invest authority?

sk said...

Pretending Federal Theology is not biblical won't make it so. My goodness. You sound like an Arminian with their boilerplate arguments against Calvinism. "All means all!"

Read the Packer link above. It's the best short intro to Covenant Theology you can find. It will answer many things you're currently confused about, and all the other things you've been mislead regarding.

Andrew said...

I take that as a "Yes" since it is verbatim the Roman Catholic response to that question ("Our tradition is Biblical!") Belief in the 1st Sola leads to the answer "No, if anyone could show me where my tradition is at variance at the Bible then I would abandon it."

I am willing to test my traditions in the light of Scripture (if any of them fail, I will reject it). You are saying your traditions are the meaning of Scripture and cannot be examined.

Thanks for your time. Blather on and accuse me or whatever you feel you must do. I will not respond, because our disagreement is presuppositional.

I concede that any and all eschatologies are possible when you deny the 1st Sola.

I read the Packer piece about 8 months ago. Thanks anyway.

~Andrew

sk said...

I take that as a "Yes" since it is verbatim the Roman Catholic response to that question ("Our tradition is Biblical!") Belief in the 1st Sola leads to the answer "No, if anyone could show me where my tradition is at variance at the Bible then I would abandon it."

Putting dispensationalism and federalism to the scrutiny of the Word of God has sort of...been done? (It's why your side on this blog doesn't want to debate any of the CT side that knows their stuff, like those Narrow Mind guys.)

You talk of sola scriptura as if you own it, yet you have to leave the New Testament to the side to make your system work. I believe in subjecting doctrine to the entire Word of God, Andrew.

That you've only read that Packer article in the last eight months still tells me you are new to all this. I'd recommend you read it again. It's really, like many of Packer's famous intros, exceptional. Then peruse the famous Vos article. Persevere beyond the historical material, as valuable as that is.

If you ever do make the effort to really understand CT beware the confusion of terms. It's really best to use a sound systematic theology such as Berkhof or Grudem (yes I know he isn't amill) to get an overview of the three covenants.

Witsius eventually. R. Scott Clark's website has excellent, very helpful material on CT as well. Google his name.

Don't neglect classics such as Boston's Human Nature in its Fourfold State along the way.

Jeremy Felden said...

Well, it's been a good weekend in the shady ghetto bunker. I asked some of the learned men in the bunker why the walls were so thick. They said that it had to do with the confessions of the Church over centuries. "Wouldn't that mean that the errors of Trent are built in just as much as anything else," I asked "No, of course not!" said one fellow with a glint in his eye. "They were tearing things down, so we made them leave. They're the ones sitting in the mud puddle with their 'magic' chair." Luther said something about "frenzied spirits" tearing down the traditions of the Church. He said some other stuff that was really funny, but probably isn't appropriate.

So, since SK and I are apparantly hiding our lights under bushels, I am anxious for you to see my good works and praise our Father in heaven. Here is a purely biblical argument (no welching on the TM this time, Andrew):

I Corinthians 3:8-17
The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
16Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

2 Corinthians 6:16
16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."[

Ephesians 2:19-22
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Revelation 3:12
12Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

Andrew said...

Jeremy,
I love those Scriptures... biblical arguments are the best kind, since they have true authority (which the confessions do not). I like confessions too - just not when they are used to interpret the Bible. We agree about that, right?

Anyway... I see 4 passages of Scripture without interpretation. I am confident (love hopes all things!) that you have a really good point to make... and that you aren't going to eisegetically read those passages into Ez 40-48, as if Ezekiel could have understood his prophecy that way!

There are 10+ questions you left on the table Friday. Not that you must to answer every question I ask (who am I, anyway?), but most of it was provoked by your own criticism of dispyism. I do not recall that I dropped any of your direct questions. Could you answer some of those before moving on to something else?

SK disqualified himself by asserting that all his traditions are Biblical by definition and cannot be tested. And spiritual understanding comes from being "sharp". So the only worthwhile dialog with him must be presuppositional (1st sola).

I will make good on my promise to give you intellectual property rights for usage of the official Reformed™ franchise - if you will but provide your understanding of Ez 40-48. The offer is valid for a limited time :) If you scroll up I even provided you an example from an amill commentator.

your frenzy-spirited brother-in-Christ "who tears down the traditions of the Church" that cannot be found in Scripture,
Andrew

PS - what does "welching on the TM" mean? I'm dumb. Help me out.

Jeremy Felden said...

Andrew,

You said:

P.S. I promise I’ll tell you how to do the cool ™ thing if you tell me your favorite CT allegory for Ezekiel 40-48.

Make with it, brother.

The lack of commentary is an appeal to Tradition 0. I don't know if I can keep it up, though. There's a fire in my bones!

sk said...

"SK disqualified himself by asserting that all his traditions are Biblical by definition and cannot be tested."

And this was stated...where? Andrew, you remind me of just about every Roman Catholic internet apologist I've ever run into. You've got indefensible doctrine, so you fall back on rhetoric such as you've written above.

"And spiritual understanding comes from being "sharp"."

It comes from having the Holy Spirit in you. And once you do have that then the silly adoption of common Jewish dreams becomes...silly.

Andrew said...

Jeremy,
Are you saying you adhere to tradition 0? Or me? I read half of the article and will have to resume later tonight because I'm at work right now.

I'm confused - did you outline your favorite allegory and I somehow missed it?

Here’s what you need to do. Take your Bible and go alone out into the woods. Or better yet - a desert island, and read Ezekiel 40-48 until the Spirit illumines your mind to the meaning of the passage. Then come back and post it here :)

I know you think I believe that. What's funny to me is that I have never put forth the Solo Scriptura view. But I guess if you brand me SOLO that makes it easier to discard what I say.

If I have truly promoted SOLO, I'd like to see a citation. I might say something that could possibly be harmonized with Solo, but nothing distinctive to Solo.

If you are unsure of what I believe (on any issue), just ask! It doesn't further any dialog to assume the worst about another's theology.

Besides, I quoted directly from an amill commentary in a previous comment. How would that be consistent with Solo Scriptura? Comon' now. Be fair.

Andrew said...

SK said:
”And this was stated...where?”

Right here: ”Pretending Federal Theology is not biblical won't make it so.”

Which was your response to the question, “Does (tradition) carry weight over the normative exegesis of Scripture?”

You said:
”Andrew, you remind me of just about...” [insert more putdowns and insults to feed your pride here]

uh… whatever.

”And once you do have that then the silly adoption of common Jewish dreams becomes...silly.”

Look, if you want to disagree with dispyism then do that. But that’s the 2nd time you’ve mocked Ezekiel and the visions given to him by God. It was disrespectful the first time. Now it’s disrespectful and getting old.

sk said...

You're now taking personal affront to perceived disrespect to an Old Testament prophet? Based on the fact that he didn't prophecy Word for Word the book of Hebrews (et al)?

We're getting into psychological territory here. Vos suggested this was needed to fathom the general dispensationalist's loyalty to his system over Scripture...

As for Federal Theology being tradition rather than biblical doctrine, that, still, is pure assertion on your part. And it's a rather silly assertion considering you have to place a myriad of orthodox Calvinist theologians from the last five hundred years into the 'non-biblical' category. Calvinists are kind of known for being biblical (unlike Roman Catholics, and unlike dispensationalists and their assertions of, among other things, "Jewish DNA").

Andrew said...

”…pure assertion on your part”

SK, do you remember what you asked? You asked: ”And this was stated...where?”

The reason for positing FT may not be Biblical is only to demonstrate your denial of the 1st Sola. (not intended to refute anything) HERE’S A CLUE: this was exactly what you asked me to do.

Please reread your own question and my response. It isn't a pure assertion of anything. It is merely the IF clause of an if-then proposition. The only 2 possible answers were Yes and No. You answered the same way Rome does.

If you didn’t mean what you wrote, then by all means say so! Say this (in your own words): “I am willing to critically examine my traditions, in accordance with what my conscience bears witness about the God-breathed Scriptures”

That’s it. No Vos. No Berkhof. No “this is what all the smartest people have believed.” The Scriptures have no rival. Smart people can be helpful. They still must be critically examined.

I am a premillennialist. I do not claim to be an expert on all other eschatologies. I especially do not want to dialog with someone who defines their Tradition as “THE” Biblical Interpretation™ which cannot be legitimately examined in light of Scripture.

When I ask, "Can you test your tradition?", your keyboard has gone nuclear as if I were asking you to "question" God's Word itself. Therein is your denial of the 1st Sola.

Your tradition will not tolerate "But what if the Bible says...?" No - it is settled forever. It's unquestionably Biblical.
FT = Bible = FT = Vos = Bible = SK.
It a textbook case of begging the question. It's the same question begged by Rome. The only difference is that Rome's traditions are heretical and yours THANKFULLY are not... for now. The potential danger is in the many possible directions you can go with denial the 1st Sola.

You simply must be willing to critically examine your traditions in the light of Scripture. Anything less is a denial of Scripture's ultimate authority.

sk said...

"The reason for positing FT may not be Biblical is only to demonstrate your denial of the 1st Sola. (not intended to refute anything) HERE’S A CLUE: this was exactly what you asked me to do.

Please reread your own question and my response. It isn't a pure assertion of anything. It is merely the IF clause of an if-then proposition. The only 2 possible answers were Yes and No. You answered the same way Rome does."


My goodness, stop writing like a first year philosophy student. You're defending a system of doctrine that can't withstand biblical scrutiny. It's being exposed by former dispensationalists in a flap started by a prominent dispensationalist, and you find yourself with little room to maneuver.

As for the rest of your comment I'm prepared to conclude now that your acquaintance with Calvinism and Reformed doctrine in general is limited. You see, Calvinism tends to the the destination found by people who submit doctrine to the Word of God. I said above, it's usual that among Calvinists (which I assumed you were since you are hanging at DJP's blog) not to continually caveat that Calvinism is merely a convenient (and necessary for practical matters) nickname for apostolic biblical doctrine.

You see, as stated above, it goes like this: when I didn't know the Bible well I was default dispensational. The more I developed understanding of the Word of God by actually engaging the Word of God the more I gravitated toward Calvinism and hence Federal Theology. Because it is biblical. That's how it works.

You state you are not knowledgable of any other doctrine than dispensationalism? You need to a) read the Word of God continually, and b) get acquainted with what Christians have concluded prior to your birth. With discernment - with the Spirit - you'll gravitate toward the truth which is the sound doctrine that is biblical.

Andrew said...

Me: "I am a premillennialist. I do not claim to be an expert on all other eschatologies."

You: "You state you are not knowledgable of any other doctrine than dispensationalism?"

SK a.k.a Captain Equivocation, I salute you!

Jeremy Felden said...

Andrew,

I hope you have had a chance to read the article I linked to.

Christianity is not solely a private religion. We must come together and confess our faith corporately. While the creeds don't have the ultimate authority of Scripture, they do have some legitimate authority. A fallible authority, such as a father, is not always wrong.

If, then, a 19th century fellow comes along and says that he has a book to add to the Canon, we can reject him out of hand, saying that the Church (as guided by God, naturally) closed the Canon long ago. God promised to end direct revelation; we trust that he has done so by means of his Church.

In the same way, dispensationalism is incompatible with both the ecumenical creeds and Reformed confessions. The Athanasian Creed is particularly clear:

From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
And shall give account of their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

This is not to say that the creeds and confessions cannot be turned over by Scripture. But just as we don't have to point to our own acumen alone when we don't buy the knocked-together "biblicism" of Oneness Pentacostalism, we should remember that the same creed that confessed the Trinity disallows dispensationalism.

This puts the bar pretty high. I, for one, am in no way convinced that dispensationalism is the clear teaching of the Bible. In fact, Hebrews 8-10 alone disqualifies it in my eyes. I happily admit a historical bias, and the arguments for dispensationalism have fallen woefully short in overcoming it.

Unless you're a thorough-going Tradition 0 guy, you have the same bias. The Canon, hypostatic union, and the Trinity are not up for grabs like other things. This is not due to more exegetical evidence for them than other doctrines; rather, it is due to their vital nature. They were established by the Church long ago and it would take dynamite to dislodge our belief in them.

I'm going to have to go to radio silence for awhile--I'm getting married on Saturday! I'll be sure to read what Andrew and DJP have to say.

P.S. Andrew, it's been an especial pleasure sharpening the iron with you. If you go back to my post with the "temple" citations, be sure to notice what awful spiritualizers Paul and John were.

Andrew said...

Jeremy,

I agree with most everything you said... except placing amillennialism alongside the Trinity, hypostatic union and the canon (the list of things the Church settled long ago).
You're right... that would put the bar pretty high, wouldn't it? :)

Having said that, I do not deny that the Athanasian Creed is problematic for dispensationalism. I don't take it lightly. But it's like a drop of water falling into the ocean when compared to the problem of harmonizing amillennialism with the Bible.

You wrote: "The Canon, hypostatic union, and the Trinity are not up for grabs like other things. This is not due to more exegetical evidence for them than other doctrines; rather, it is due to their vital nature."

I am not comfortable with this. The Trinity and hypostatic union are believed due to exegetical evidence first. The reason they aren't "up for grabs" is not the creeds, but because Scripture is so clear! I would weep to think the chief strength of my Trinitarian beliefs is extrabiblical historical evidence!

If you go back to my post with the "temple" citations, be sure to notice what awful spiritualizers Paul and John were.
Man I know it!!! If only I was an apostle I'd be spiritualizing too :)

When you return, I'm curious how this NT temple reference can be “spiritually discerned" from Ezekiel's prophecy:
2 Thess 2:3-4
"For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God." (ESV)

Congratulations on getting married!
I regret I have nothing to give you and the new Mrs. Felden except... the rights to the Reformed™ franchise.

Here's how to do it:
Open up your word processor. Insert-->Symbol--->select the symbol ™ ® ©. There are hundreds to choose from in MS Word.
When you’re done typing your comment in the word processor, just copy it and paste it into the browser. (in windoze that's Ctrl-C copy and Ctrl-V paste) If you’re using Linux or Mac then I'm sure your word processor can insert symbols too.

You made a good-faith effort to say something meaningful about Ez 40-48. And I like to be a covenant keeping kind of guy :) You know, our God keeps his covenants too! The Abrahamic, Noahic, Davidic, and New. All will be fulfilled by our mighty God. He keeps the ALL covenants which He spoke, exactly the way OT saints understood them. I can't say much for the presumed covenants in the white spaces :)

sk said...

"But it's like a drop of water falling into the ocean when compared to the problem of harmonizing amillennialism with the Bible."

Andrew, I wish you would make some effort to learn something beyond your dispensationaism before you make statements like this. People, for livelihood and institutional and other reasons, take on alot of baggage and will say anything to defend it. You've had alot of that from dispensationaists. Now strike out on your own and learn the field on your own using the discernment God has given you and sanctified common-sense.

Tim Brown said...

Dan:

Just want to thank you for this post and this thread. back almost four years ago when this was active, I would have seen thread as esoteric. Having since embraced Calvinism and now dealing with CT and Futuristic Premil, it is enlightening and comforting to me to read the discussion here.

I am futuristic premil, and have been doing enough reading to see the same patterns here. Indeed, spiritualizing and allegorizing merely lead to ignorance.