Saturday, March 31, 2012

Col 2:13-14 a UOJ Text? Tertium non datur once again.

Over at so called Luther Quest, Mr. Joe Krohn (LutherRocks), a JBFAer and Mr. Jim Pierce of Confessional Bytes, a UOJer, had an interchange.

In that interchange, Jim Pierce employed Colossians 2:13-15, to prove that this passage teaches the forgiveness of the whole world, without faith, prior to faith before we were born. I quote Mr. Pierce in one comment said...

If you deny that the sins of the whole world have been forgiven on account of the blood sacrifice of Christ, then you have likely fallen into error regarding the atonement. That is, you must reject that Christ has made full satisfaction for the debt of sins for the whole world. Here the debt of sin is defined for us by Paul in the epistle to the Colossians:

"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him" (Colossians 2:13-15 ESV).
----
After Joe replied saying the context of that passage refers to believers, Jim replied with

I understand that the greater context of the Colossians quotation is directed at believers. However, the text I cite to you deals with the sins of the world. If that is not true, as you assert, then you are left defending a version of limited atonement, which I know you do not want to do, but it is inescapable. Deny that the cancellation of the record of debt, by nailing it to the cross, is universal and you are left with the cancellation of debt only being for some and namely only the elect.

In my study, I find this doctrine of universal objective justification, truly a peculiar doctrine found amongst synodic Lutherans in USA. This doctrine teaches that the whole human race has been declared righteous (effectively forgiven) already even before any of them (humans) ever believed in Christ or not. Faith has nothing to do with this declaration, so they say. In fact if I recall in that interchange, one UOJer opposing Joe Krohn even confessed that Sodom and Gomorrah were forgiven (hence, declared righteous) too. I grin since I recall that God told Abraham if He found 10 righteous people there he would not destroy the twin cities.

Thankfully there are some pastors and theologians who oppose this UOJ teaching on Justification.



Jim homed in on the phrase " having forgiven us all our trespasses" (v.13-14). His contention is the "us" there refers to all human beings and he asserts that if you do not believe like he does, you are guilty of being a Calvinist, believing in Limited Atonement. Is this true?

Let me examine this claim using a fine tooth comb, called Scripture interprets Scripture, a Lutheran method which is axiomatic for handling the Word of God rightly. Please note, you do not need the Greek here (though I can deal with it if you want me too).


First the said passage obviously is preceded by verses 8 - 12. Note that the pronoun "you" (the Colossians St. Paul is addressing), refers to believers, in fact St. Paul mentions they have been circumcised with Christ through their being baptised. Did St Paul mean by the word "us" the whole human race, of which he and the Colossians are included? Or did St. Paul mean by that pronoun, he and the Colossians as Christians since they all both got baptised and have believed in Christ? Is it not obvious that St. Paul was baptised like them? If you have doubts read Acts where St. Paul got baptised. Because the "you" refers to the Colossians, the "us" must be taken in the sense of "us" baptised believers in Christ.

Now, wait, do not be in hurry to label this Limited Atonement, we will get to that shortly.

Let me proceed further.

Observe a few things. In this passage St. Paul speaks nailing it to the cross. The "it" refers back to the demands of the Law - the demand to be punished for your debt, your sins. Notice this crucifixion language. St. Paul often adopts this co-crucified language in many of his letters. For example in Galatians, St. Paul said this of himself, Gal 2:20I am crucified with Christ. When did this crucifixion happen to him? When was St. Paul crucified? See Romans 6:6, at his baptism.

The point here then is that the time when God nailed the demands of the Law against us was when we got baptised! It was not before we got baptised, it was at that point when we got baptised, so says Scripture. Thus the forgiveness St. Paul speaks of here is at the point when the Means of Grace was applied to us by the HS - at our baptism.

What Jim Pierce is espousing is that people are forgiven before and without the Means of Grace. Yet when we use Scripture to interpret Scripture it is conclusive that - in this example, a person once baptised is attached to Christ, buried, dead, crucified with Christ. Clearly and obviously, in some sense, the Law has no more claim on a person who is dead. The IRS and the ATO can not keep going to cemeteries demanding payment for unpaid taxes. These taxation bureaus are writing off the tax debt of dead people, they must, because who do they run after?

Thus the forgiveness St. Paul was speaking of in Colossians happened at the point of their baptism.

So let us deal with Pierce's claim that if you do not believe his interpretation you must slide to Limited Atonement. There are so many fallacies in this assertion. It is tertium non datur, meaning, no third alternative. It is also the slippery slope fallacy.

Now, if this is the only passage we have in the Scripture, one may be sympathetic to Jim's claim, but is this all the teaching we have from Scripture? No, we have 1 John 2:1-2, 1 Tim 2:6 etc. These passages teach no Limited Atonement. Hence, once again as per normal I have found again severe fallacies in the claims of UOJers.

In fact in my study of UOJ, no UOJer who has come before him ever gave the passage as a support for UOJ. Jim was being creative in throwing this passage as support for UOJ but it does not avail.

In the end what does the Colossian passage teach? Forgiveness happens through the Means of Grace .......ONLY. Note, I did not say forgiveness happes through the Means of Grace. (period), I said -- Forgiveness happens through the Means of Grace .......ONLY.


25 comments:

Jim Pierce said...

Lito,

Your blog post is filled with several inaccuracies and is a great example of propaganda. For example, you claim I "honed in" on the word "us" in the Colossians text. I did no such thing at all. Anyone who is interested in reading the full exchange by Mr. Krohn and myself can go to LutherQuest and read it: http://www.lutherquest.org/cgi-bin/discus40/discus.cgi.

What was "honed in" on, Lito, was the what it means to say that the debt of sin has been "paid for."

The Colossians text offers an excellent definition of that that means. It tells us that Christ, has cancelled our debt, taking it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. This "wiping away" of our debt, as described by Paul in Colossians, is a past completed action. The "wiping away" is accomplished by Christ on the Cross. The imagery here is of a document on which the debt of the world is written; a "record". This "record" of debt that "stood against us with its legal demands" can't possibly only refer to the condition of the baptized, but must refer to the condition of the human race. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). The whole world stands condemned by the sin of one (Romans 5:18).

The debt of sin is not exclusive, but universal. The whole world is described as being "held captive under the law" (Galatians 3:19-27). Indeed, the curse of the Law is not only upon the whole world, but Christ, by being hanged on a tree became a curse for the whole world (Galatians 3:13).

The Colossians text I cite refers to the merit of Christ on the cross; namely, what He accomplished for the whole world by cancelling out the certificate of debt held against the world, He has taken it out of the way, having nailed that certificate of debt to the cross. The effect of Christ's actions is as Paul states, "...forgiven us all our trespasses." How was this affected by Christ? Paul says it was affected by the cancellation of the debt. Hence, what it means to have the debt canceled is that our sins are forgiven. The certificate held against the world is wiped clean.

Luther writes, "He sent His Son into the world, heaped all the sins of all men upon Him, and said to Him: "Be Peter the denier; Paul the persecutor, blasphemer, and assaulter; David the adulterer; the sinner who ate the apple in Paradise; the thief on the cross. In short, be the person of all men, the one who has committed the sins of all men. And see to it that You pay and make satisfaction for them." ... By this deed the whole world is purged and expiated from all sins, and thus it is set free from death and from every evil" (Luther's Works, vol. 26 p.280).

Ambrose states it quite succinctly as recorded in Article IV of the Apology, "...when the Lord Jesus came he forgave all men the sin that none could
escape and by shedding his blood cancelled the bond that stood against us...." Ambrose continues... "For after the whole world was subjected, he took away the sin of the whole world, as John testified when he said (John 1:29), "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (ibid.)

Once again, Paul describes the "cancelled... bond" in the Colossians text I cite. This cancellation occurs for the whole world. Not just the baptized, Lito. The effect of the cancellation is the forgiveness of sins.

I don't have time to continue, but I think I have satisfactorily made my point that the context of my discussion with Mr. Krohn was not represented by you accurately. The context is what does it mean for our "debt to be paid?" I ask you and your readers to ponder the same question.

Disclaimer. I am doing no spell checking or grammar checking. You get what you see.

LPC said...

Jim,

Thank you correcting me and re-stating your position.

It is no secret that we have differences, the Web is a witness. It shows I oppose equating the Atonement to Justfication. I take the Good News as the telling of the story of Jesus taking the punishment for the world's sins. All are under sin - the HS through the Means declares this story. When this is held by faith (created itself by the Means), the unbeliever is moved from darkness to light, is justified and forgiven, thus becoming a believer. The one who rejects this remains in darkness and in sin.

In your view when Scripture says "paid for" it automatically implies by default, all people regardless, of being forgiven/ justified. I deny this view. The question is which view is consonant with Scripture?

cont...

LPC said...

cont...


You said The imagery here is of a document on which the debt of the world is written; a "record". This "record" of debt that "stood against us with its legal demands" can't possibly only refer to the condition of the baptized, but must refer to the condition of the human race

I agree that sin is the condition of the whole world but contrary to you this passage in Colossians refers to those whose sins have been forgiven through being baptised in Christ. Your scheme makes a blunder, you imply since God forgives the baptized, then God must forgive the whole world in total.

Of course, the record of debt is held against all, but per Colossians, this debt is cancelled i.e. forgiven or written off for the baptised in Christ. Of course, the debt of sin is universal, but it is only the baptised are forgiven. For them the Law could not exact payment for they are holding on to the payment made by Christ. Of course it is in the past but not before their baptism - certainly in the past because their baptism happened in the past as St Paul implied. You say this forgiveness refers to the whole world, as I showed, exegetically this is not sustainable. What is the need for baptism if sins are already forgiven before it is applied? Further, what right has God to send the unbeliever to hell, if he has already forgiven him before he was born or before he could reject the Gospel? Your scheme will have people in hell whose sins have been forgiven yet they are there, making God an absurd God.

On your Ambrose quote in the Apology, please read further...But he who is righteous has it given him because he was justified after the laver [of Baptism]. Faith, therefore, is that which frees through the blood of Christ, because he is blessed "whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered," Ps. 32:1,104] These are the words of Ambrose, ...

Your teaching says that even those who reject and deny Christ are blessed contrary to John 3:36. In that verse "believing" and "not believing" are in present tense. Your theory will have God forgive the atheist by virtue of the Cross and then at the same time keep his wrath upon him. Your position will make God muddle headed.

You also said this...This cancellation occurs for the whole world. Not just the baptized, Lito. The effect of the cancellation is the forgiveness of sins.

Notice the editors put Baptism there, in fact, the Apology actually supports my point when the full context is admiited. It is only those who believe in the sacrifice of Christ whose sins are forgiven and are blessed.

Additionally, by your assertion all people be they atheists or not, have their sins already forgiven. The one who rejects Christ, that person's rejection has already been forgiven too.
You represent God as cancelling the sins of those who are not baptised, and those who even reject Christ. Again, what right has God (in your presentation of him) in punishing anyone? If you say, ah but they have to believe the first forgiveness to be really forgiven, then the first I say was insincere. This is not just bordering on universalism, this is universalism itself!

Before you replied, I was thinking you would object to my saying you teach that people are forgiven without the Means.By you comment, my rendition of you is correct. You do teach that people are forgiven without the Means of Grace. This indeed is Enthusiasm.

LPC

Jim Pierce said...

Lito,

Don't let my silence over anything you claim is my position to be an indicator of agreement. The fact of the matter is that you have so distorted what I have stated, and OJ in general, that it simply isn't worth the effort and time making the corrections. Besides, it isn't as if we haven't had this argument before and I corrected your errors at those times, too.

You willfully persist at misrepresenting OJ and what it teaches after numerous times of having been corrected and showing you the correct teaching.

A good read about Justification and its objective nature can be found at this link.

http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/MarquartReformationRootsofObjectiveJustification.pdf

That is an essay written by Kurt Marquart. Take notice in particular what he has to say about the means of grace and compare that with the lie about OJ Lito continues to promulgate (amongst other things) even after being corrected.

LPC said...

Jim,

Don't let my silence over anything you claim is my position to be an indicator of agreement

Of course Jim, I am not that naive to think your silence is agreement nor is it concession.

The fact of the matter is that you have so distorted what I have stated, and OJ in general, that it simply isn't worth the effort and time making the corrections

Jim, if you look at my post, I provided the reader the link to your LQ discussion with Joe Krohn. The link is highlighted by the browser so the reader can go to LQ and look for him/herself and see if I have distorted your view.

Further, your comment of Sunday, April 1, 2012 5:57:00 AM GMT+10:00, provides the reader with your re-stating of your position.

In my latest comment to that I have offered counter arguments to your position. I believe my arguments in the form of questions are fair but I will let the reader to judge.

That is an essay written by Kurt Marquart.

Thanks for this I have had a read. Unfortunately, this paper lacks Scriptural exegesis. It is an argument the BoC teaches UOJ/OJ and not an LC-MS peculiarity. It also shows that justification is paradoxical. I find this suspicious, not that I deny paradoxes in the Christian faith, but there is a difference between a paradox and absurdity. For example the Trinity is a paradox because the the words One and Three are not taken in the same sense. An absurdity happens when the word and its negation are taken in the same sense. This is what happens in OJ/SJ.

You may not be aware that one of the very first papers I read when I was made aware of UOJ was Marquart's paper on the Kokomo
http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/lutherantheology.marquartjustification.html.

I believe this paper of Marquart's is far a greater paper to consider because here, it is where the rubber meets the road. In fact in that paper, Marquart defines what OJ really means and he does not want to use it, using rather the term, general and personal justifications etc.


After reading Prof. Marquart's essay and weighing the arguments from both sides, I concluded that UOJ as a statement of sacred doctrine of justification is problematic and above all not in accord with Scripture. In fact Marquart does not even wish to use it, he would rather call general justification and personal justification.


LPC

Jim Pierce said...

Well, the problem is, Lito, you made your conclusions and fell of the saddle over to the Crypto-Calvinistic side of a version of Limited Atonement. You have also fallen into the ditch of Rome because your arguments logically conclude that forgiveness is a potentiality until it is received in faith. IOW, the gift box is empty until something changes in the person.

LPC said...

Jim,

Let the record show who is which.

IMO I would say you jumped out of the frying pan of Evangelical/Penetecostal uncertainty and jumped into the fire of certainty offered by Universalism. Unfortunately, there is no JBFA in actuality in UOJ, in fact it maligns faith - the thing that Jesus creates which to God is more precious than gold!

Universalism is the ULTIMATE good news.

You have also fallen into the ditch of Rome because your arguments logically conclude that forgiveness is a potentiality until it is received in faith. IOW, the gift box is empty until something changes in the person

Let me quote Walther to you, the UOJ promoter
He said this...
"For God has already forgiven you your sins 1800 years ago when He in Christ absolved all men by raising Him after He first had gone into bitter death for them. Only one thing remains on your part so that you also possess the gift. This one thing is—faith. And this brings me to the second part of today's Easter message, in which I now would show you that every man who wants to be saved must accept by faith the general absolution, pronounced 1800 years ago, as an absolution spoken individually to him."

C. F. W. Walther, The Word of His Grace, Sermon Selections, "Christ's Resurrection—The World's Absolution" Lake Mills: Graphic Publishing Company, 1978, p. 233. Mark 16:1-8.


Let the reader judge if this is not synergism and semi-pelagianism of which Romanism is one.

So if you do not accept the first absolution, you won't really get absolved. Thus the first absolution was really insincere on God's part.

In the UOJ scheme, every one starts off absolved already, they remain in the state of absolution if they accept they are already absolved and gets un-absolved if they disbelieve they are absolved.

This is Word of Faith, you get what you believe. So this is also crypto-Word of Faith - ala Hagin, Copeland style of teaching.

In fact Walther said that you are saved, so you might believe. Here is the link http://www.franzpieper.com/.

This is the real Calvinist of which you do follow in conclusion, for in Calvinism, your faith is the result of your salvation not the one that is instrumental in your salvation but a fruit. Only in Walther, every one is saved already so that they can believe next. The paradigm is the same.

LPC

Jim Pierce said...

"In the UOJ scheme, every one starts off absolved already, they remain in the state of absolution if they accept they are already absolved and gets un-absolved if they disbelieve they are absolved."

The major problem with your reproduction of the OJ arguments is that you ignore the critical words "IN CHRIST." The reality of the forgiveness of sins for the whole world occurs in the God-Man who was punished for the sins of the whole world. OUTSIDE Christ there is no forgiveness of sins. THAT point has been told to you by, not just me, but others too! And, how that forgiveness is distributed is through the means of grace.

It is YOU who denies the power of the means of grace, Lito. You have turned it into a potentiality conditioned upon a change in a person's disposition. What makes the remission of sins real in baptism is that REAL forgiveness is there being received by faith. What makes the forgiveness of sins real in the Lord's Supper is that it is ACTUALLY there being received. There is no potentiality involved, conditioned upon having faith. Faith, given by the Holy Spirit, receives what is not potential, but what really exists.

So stop it with your propaganda, Lito. You are a liar and should repent.

Jim Pierce said...

And, I am through with this discussion. It is my prayer that you will repent of the false gospel you are teaching, Lito.

Brett Meyer said...

Jim states, "It is YOU who denies the power of the means of grace, Lito."

Jim, you teach that the whole unbelieving world was declared justified, forgiven and righteous before they believe, before the Holy Spirit works contrition and faith through Baptism or hearing the Word.

So what Means does God use, in your confession, whereby the unbelieving world is declared forgiven without faith?

January 29th, 2012 at 14:55 | #31 Reply | Quote @Brett Meyer #28

Mr. Meyer,

Thank God that the Scriptures and our Lutheran Confessions do not teach the abominable false teaching that our sins are NOT forgiven until the moment we believe.

http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=4190&cpage=1#comments

LPC said...

Jim,

Just I suspected, this conversation soon would turn into an emotional brawl. I could never discuss UOJ with a UOJer in a calm manner. It always degrades to the personal.
This is truly a cause for great sadness.

The major problem with your reproduction of the OJ arguments is that you ignore the critical words "IN CHRIST." The reality of the forgiveness of sins for the whole world occurs in the God-Man who was punished for the sins of the whole world. OUTSIDE Christ there is no forgiveness of sins. THAT point has been told to you by, not just me, but others too! And, how that forgiveness is distributed is through the means of grace.

Yes, this has been told me. If that is the case then why do you still support the LC-MS Brief Statement of 1932 Article 17 which states
that all people are NOW ALREADY righteous IN Christ. Article 17 is not correct and an inappropriate statement to make. And I have told you this also countless times about how can the world be ALREADY DECLARED righteous in CHRIST when the whole world IS NOT IN Christ?

If it said, God declares righteous any man who is in Christ it would have been Biblical, it would have been correct. The word ALREADY and WORLD are inappropriate descriptions. You might ignore the implications of ALREADY, RIGHTEOUS, WORLD and jump to IN CHRIST, but others do not so much so that we hear people saying that Sodom and Gommorah were already forgiven. Yet despite that, God still killed all of them. This makes God absurd.


Your behavior Jim exhibits the same behavior when I talk to Roman Catholics about them teaching works salvation and their sophistry.

You do the same as they do to me, they tell me I got the Roman Catholic teaching wrong. So when the person gets a teaching wrong, it is not the fault of the teaching, it is the fault of the person. Hence, blame the person for getting it wrong and not because the teaching is flawed in the first place.

You said this This cancellation occurs for the whole world. Not just the baptized, Lito

There are only two kinds of people in this world, the baptized and not baptized. By that statement, you just have declared forgiven the unbaptized atheist of his sins when in fact he IS NOT IN CHRIST.

So your IN CHRIST qualification is mythical, does not avail and sophistic and frankly blasphemous. It makes the Means of Grace empty and vain. So between us, who is it really that is seriously treating the Means of Grace in full? Let the reader judge who is really the one lying between us.


It is my prayer that you will repent of the false gospel you are teaching

That is my prayer for you as well and that your faith be not in the pronouncements of a Synod or it's Holy Men.



I have no personal quarrels with you, you owe me nothing. My quarrel is with the doctrine which you happen to zealously defend. I am not interested in any apologies etc. Forget our persons, for you do not contradict me, Jim, you contradict Scripture itself.

I have no interest in winning an argument with you, my interest is the truth of God's Word. My interest is in what Scripture teaches, simply because it is true.

LPC

Brett Meyer said...

UOJists quickly spin into hysterics because their faith is not of the Holy Spirit because their central doctrine of Objective Justification is not taught in Scripture and not found in the Lutheran Confessions. It is a doctrine of man's reason which lacking the Holy Spirit's faith in the Gospel promise has gone about to establish their own rightousness before and without faith which they do not have. There are some who are confused and are honestly trying to work through the contention between UOJ and One Justification by Faith Alone - but there are fewer still who are willing to risk life and limb to openly contend for the Truth of God's Word in these last days.

LPC said...

Brett,


UOJers claim that the Law's claim to the world has been cancelled already and that cancellation says the whole world is now forgiven. Yet according to St. Paul, the Law's claims only stop when a person is justified through faith. Until a person is justified, the Law has a claim of punishment against that person.

So I go on to ask them, so God has forgiven the whole world of their sins, is this not universalism?

They reply, I am liar, I left out the IN Christ bit of their claim.

So are the sins of the whole world forgiven considering they are not all in Christ or not?

So they back track and say "actually, it is only those who are IN Christ whose sins are forgiven ", then I ask, so why say then that sins of the world have been forgiven already if you only meant that they are forgiven only in Christ? We all know not all of the world are IN Christ. We all know they are not yet in Christ.


I point the confusion! They also get angry and put the blame on the questioner.

This confusion also happens among themselves and not to outsiders only, so much so that we hear Sodom and Gamorrah were forgiven people.


I can agree at the charge that I believe in Limited Justification (for Justification is through faith alone).

However, I can never agree nor concede that I believe in Limited Atonement.

They think that my denial of their Unlimited Justification entails acceptance of Limited Atonement.

What can we say but such reasoning happens only when one collapses Atonement and Justification as one and the same equivalent event! Yet this is erroneous.

I think you might agree, they believe in Unlimited Justification and Limited Justification at the same time. They call this a paradox, we call it a contradiction, and from a contradiction, you can prove everything. When one is in the position of back tracking and flip flopping, one is in the realm of sophistry.


LPC

LPC said...

Ohh, I left out the most important truth, how does one become IN Christ without the Word, without the Sacrament anyway? It can not happen. It is the Word and the Sacrament that moves a person out of Christ and INTO Christ.

LPC

Brett Meyer said...

I agree. It would be good to hear them explain what Means are used by God to bring the Word to the unbelieving world in order for the world to be Objectively Justified. Note too that UOJ eliminates the Key to Retain sin as well as ignoring the initial work of the Word to convict of sin, creating Godly contrition and repentance.

Seeing how hysterical they become when their false doctrine is questioned you can see how they will finally get to the point of killing those who oppose them with Scripture and the Confessions - thinking they are doing God a favor.

God's gracious peace and mercy be with you and yours Lito,
Brett

beowulf2k8 said...

The error here is the whole concept that Christ made "satisfaction" for anything by his death on the cross, or that the cross works in a penal way or an execution swap. Biblically it is considered a sacrifice. Penal atonement theory, the idea that Christ offered "satisfaction" to some penal code, or an execution swap, that he took the punishment we deserved so we don't have to take it, or paid our debt -- the Bible uses none of these ways of speaking on the subject. Jesus, after all in Matthew 18 describes the debt as "frankly forgiven" not paid. To understand the Cross it must be viewed as SACRIFICE not penal atonement.

Sacrifice is made by a priest but does not apply to the person until they accept it in some way. As in the Exodus, the lamb was sacrificed and its blood placed on the doors of the house. But in order to ACCEPT the sacrifice the person had to stay in the house and to eat the lamb. The lamb had been sacrificed for the person whether the did this or not; the lamb was sacrificed for the whole family. But only those members who stayed in the house and ate the lamb got the benefits. The rest, who exited the house, died, whereas God passed over those who abode in the house.

Paul refers to Christ as "our Passover" and therefore we can say it works the same way -- not penal atonement. penal atonement is the devil's theory of atonement with which he devides the church!

LPC said...

Beowulf,

There is quite some sense in you rendition of Sacrifice.

However, in this case the division in Lutherdom is not the Atonement, it is the faulty way of interpreting it. One of this is the equating of the Atonement with Justification. It can also be interpreted in the Sacrifice them you mentioned i.e, because Christ has sacrificed, all are now forgiven automatically.

LPC

joel in ga said...

The irony is that a universalist like myself does not embrace UOJ.

Seems to me this debate itself operates within a context of viewing justification and atonement in terms of merit and satisfaction, the legalistic categories of the mediaeval penitential system.

However, if we view justification in terms of being put into a right relationship with God rather than in terms of debts of torture paid off, then it follows automatically that UOJ makes no sense. No one who remains in unbelief is right with God.

beowulf2k8 said...

"It can also be interpreted in the Sacrifice theme you mentioned i.e, because Christ has sacrificed, all are now forgiven automatically." (LPC)

It really can't, and that's my point. If the cross is viewed in the illegitimate ways as either a penal or monetary transaction (an execution swap or payment of debt) then it can be said that once the transaction is done, everyone for whom it is done is automatically forgiven. HOWEVER, if it is viewed the legitimate way, as a sacrifice particularly of the Passover sort (Christ was crucified during Passover and Paul calls him "Christ our Passover") then it cannot. Because the Passover sacrifice brought with it the requirement of staying in the house on which the blood was applied (in this case the church) AND eating the Lamb (i.e. observing the Eucharist).

LPC said...

Joel,

Universalist? Oh in the sense you are *catholic* , universal, I get ya.

LPC

LPC said...

Beowulf2k8,

You said Because the Passover sacrifice brought with it the requirement of staying in the house on which the blood was applied (in this case the church) AND eating the Lamb (i.e. observing the Eucharist).

Whereas your high view of the eucharist is laudable, you have to say what was the sacrifice for? Why is it required by God? As you are implying here, the passover is a covering but of what?

The very notion of sacrifice implies an exchange. The reason why one is sacrificing is because there is a greater good that can be achieved by the sacrifice, so an exchange.

Universalistic notions is not preventable by a theory of atonement. The situation is much more complex than your blame the augustinian doctrine for this etc etc.

You can be a universalist by simply thinking that God is Love, unitarian universalists are like that.

LPC

joel in ga said...

Lito,

Catholicity is certainly great, but I am a Gregory of Nyssa-sort of universalist.

Beowulf2k8 seems to be onto something. 'Execution swap' and 'payment of debt' are not really the kinds of atonement the Bible teaches, at least not explicitly. God requires sacrifice because the shedding of innocent blood is needed to bring new life and forgiveness to sinners.

LPC said...

Joel,

Thanks for the info.

Yes he is onto something but when you say God requires sacrifice because the shedding of innocent blood is needed to bring new life and forgiveness to sinners

That is still execution swap. You can not avoid the implication of this exchange in fact the term katallage, the word translated reconciliation is exactly that - an exchange.

That is the nature of an innocent sacrifice. The question is who benefits from that sacrifice and thus set free, that is the issue. Only those who come to the covering are saved.

LPC

beowulf2k8 said...

"Whereas your high view of the eucharist is laudable, you have to say what was the sacrifice for? Why is it required by God? As you are implying here, the passover is a covering but of what?"

I don't think that the necessity of sacrifice is meant to make rational sense. Why does God need the shedding of blood to save us? This is precisely the question that Christian theology has been trying to answer forever, and no answer is satisfactory. It isn't meant to be a rationally comprehensible demand. For example, some think the shedding of blood is required because Adam's punishment was to die, thus to take away our death, a proxy dies for us, the goat in the OT, Jesus in the New. But death works just as well without shedding of blood as with it. Why not give the goat a lethal injection rather than slit its throat? You can't over-analyze sacrifice without making the system seem incoherent, for which reason, if you are going to believe in the efficacy of a sacrifice you shouldn't over-analyze it -- this is precisely what Protestant tradition is all too guilty of, trying to make the necessity of the cross sensical when Paul plainly professes it is not meant to be "the preaching of the cross is foolishness" Paul says "except to those who believe it."

The whole 'debt payment' and 'execution swap' motif Protestantism operates on comes from the desire to make the cross extremely logical. Yet, Paul categorically denies that its supposed to make logical sense how and why it works. It is a sacrifice, and by very definition, a sacrifice has no discernible logic beyond 'God said so'.

LPC said...

No satisfactory answer why God wants it. May be to you it does not make sense.. It is simple and it is God who supplies the logic, without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins. There is no need for any hypothetical question on what might have been. I was not asking a question because I did not know the answer, mine was rhetorical point and you missed it.

There is no conspiracy theory of desiring to make things logical, the Protestant view and here I refer to my own brand at least, is borne from exegesis. My example is the word katallage found in 1 Corinthians. That word stands for an exchange.