Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gospel Analogy Take II

Ok, it seems I goofed up the first analogy so bad that I will try again. I am going to use the template of scenario #3 in the last post that Daniel so graciously made for me. I am trying to isolate one point and one point alone. To that end see if you can spot the difference between the two scenarios here and tell me which one would be closer to scripture. Please give appropriate Biblical context.

Setting

Ten Canadian businessmen were approached with a lucrative investment deal. The men were offered a 60% return on their initial investment within a 6 month period of time. It sounded too good to be true but the salesman relieved their concerns by telling them the reason for the substantial return was due to the type of investment; they would be investing in the largest gold mine ever to be discovered and once the mine went public their shares would skyrocket in price. There was one little catch however; the men needed to do a tiny little backroom deal in order to seal the arrangements. They were told that this was normal business practice among the big boys in the investment circles. Greedily the men mortgaged their homes, borrowed heavily from the banks, and accumulated as much cash as they could from their friends and family.

Imagine their dismay and shock when four months later they realized they had been swindled by the most devious con artist in history. Of course they should have known better, they were after all experienced at deceiving others in their daily business practices. Just so you know, these men were the most wretched of Canadians and completely deserved what they got, as their past dealings had left many others destitute and poverty stricken. They were such complete reprobates that their depravity was totally obvious.

What's more, they soon learned that the little 'backroom' deal they had participated in was a serious violation of investment law causing them to face years of jail time and millions in penalties.

Scenario #1

While awaiting their sentencing in jail, a wealthy young African king reads of their plight and decides to show them some kindness. He then contacts the prosecuters office and finds out the exact charges against these men. After determining the exact fine required by law, this young African then proceeds to sell all the gold in his kingdom to cover the total fines imposed by the judge. He then instructs his personal assistant to take individual letters to each of the convicted men and offer them complete freedom from their debts and criminal charges. One by one however the men scoff and mock the messenger of the king and reject his offer of redemption. I forgot to mention; these men where also extreme racists who despised the blacks more than any other ethnic group around and their utter contempt for africans prevented them from humbling themselves to receive the payment.

Deeply saddened by the rejection of his offer, the african king decides to visit five of the convicted men to personally show them his offer of redemption and payment for their crimes. Again, one by one these depraved Canadians mock and ridicule the young king. They even go so far as to spit in his face and curse him. Patiently the king explains his offer again this time informing them that their crime had impacted the economy of his country and their actions had caused him the loss of his largest gold mine. Moved by his compassion, the five men break under the obvious show of care and humbly received the gift offered by this king. They then walk free and forever after tell everyone they meet of this kings mercy upon them.

Scenario #2

While awaiting their sentencing in jail, a wealthy young African king reads of their plight and decides to show them some kindness. He then contacts the prosecuters office and finds out the exact charges against these men. After determining the exact fine required by law, this young African then proceeds to sell all the gold in his kingdom to cover the fines imposed by the judge on five of the guilty men. He then instructs his personal assistant to take individual letters to each of the ten convicted men and offer them complete freedom from their debts and criminal charges. One by one however the men scoff and mock the messenger of the king and reject his offer of redemption. I forgot to mention; these men where also extreme racists who despised the blacks more than any other ethnic group around and their utter contempt for africans prevented them from humbling themselves to receive the payment.

Deeply saddened by the rejection of his offer, the african king decides to visit five of the convicted men to personally show them his offer of redemption and payment for their crimes. Again, one by one these depraved Canadians mock and ridicule the young king. They even go so far as to spit in his face and curse him. Patiently the king explains his offer again this time informing them that their crime had impacted the economy of his country and their actions had caused him the loss of his largest gold mine. Moved by his compassion, the five men break under the obvious show of care and humbly received the gift offered by this king. They then walk free and forever after tell everyone they meet of this kings mercy upon them.


Okay, can you tell me which one of these scenarios more accurately represents the gospel. For those of you who fall into the Calvinist camp, please try and refrain from using the terminology of TULIP in your explanation. Let's see if we can't define our views from sola scriptura in approx. five verses. Rather than simply proof texting, see if you can weave those five or so verses into a succinct paragraph that clearly explains your understanding of this point.

25 comments:

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Do I need to tell you which I favour.

However, it is not an exact analogy, because the king has not known those guys before the foundation of the world, as the Calvinist affirms. Is that not an important part of the picture from the Calvinist point of view?

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Jim said...

Matthew, are you saying that you completely disagree with the doctrine of election? There seems to be quite a few verses that refer to the foreknowledge of God in the salvation of His people.

How do you see those verses? I am really curious as to what your understanding would be?

In Christ,
Jim

Daniel said...

"the Canadian Businessman"

:-)

You put that there just for me. lol

Dan

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I do not disagree with election. I understand election to be not to salvation, but to the privileges that the Christian receives.

God Bless

Matthew

Daniel said...

Matthew - that is a fascinating interpretation! I am curious, and I don't mean to sidetrack this post -but would you say the same about the "elect" angels?

I admit - you have made me curious. :-D

Dan

Jim said...

Matthew, I too would like to hear more from you on this subject.

Daniel, I thought you might get a kick out of that. Also, we tend to think of ourselves in the west as more righteous or deserving of God's mercy. I thought it might help to jolt our sensibilities if the bad guys were Canadians for once. Of course, maybe they should have been Canadian programmers. :)

Daniel said...

Yeah - programmers from Canada are particularly bad. ;-D

bobby grow said...

Matthew I'm interested too! I remember Antonio saying that he held to this view of election, and then he pointed me to a book which articulated this view of election, and when I went to look this book up, it seems that at least one of its authors was sympathetic to "openness theology"--which I'm sure this view does not necessarily need to endorse open theism for it to function; but it seemed an interesting prerequisite--at least for this one author.

Frank Martens said...

Man this is a hard one... because scenario two says that Christ's atonement only covers the the cost of a select number.

I'm trying to find verses to support scenario one (not because I agree with it, but just because)... Like I come across this verse right...
Hebrews 7:27... "He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself."

But context shows that the priests were offering up sacrifices for Israel which were what? God's Chosen people.

Wait... then there's this... John 10:22-30...
2At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.' Jesus answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.'"

I need to think about this for a bit, I definitely agree with scenario #2. But I need to think about which verses really support this. Because it's hard to find anything that supports either side.

Frank Martens said...

Wait no sorry, what I meant to say was. Scenario two says Christ's atonement is ONLY ABLE to cover a fixed number of people's debt, but it could be anyone if they receive it, but no one does then the fixed number of people is chosen specifically.

Whereas scenario one says Christ's atonement has the ABILITY to cover everyones debt, but only a select CHOSEN few will receive the atonement.

Definitely not trivial

Jim said...

Frank, thanks for catching the subtle distinctions there. I am sincerely interested in hearing from you and others on this topic. I would like to see clear biblical proof should you seriously support scenario #2.

Are you saying that all of Israel was saved under the old covenant?

God bless,
Jim

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I actually find it hilarious when Calvinists use the term elect angels to mean 'angels who have not fallen'. There seems no reason to think that election in the context of angels refers to anything other then selection for some kind of service. Calvinists read their soteriological doctrine of election into that verse about 'elect angels.'

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Daniel said...

Matthew - it is good that you have such a rich sense of humor ;-)

It is true that people read their soteriological doctrine into other things, and we ought to be on guard against that.

Please correct me, as I don't want to put words in your mouth - but by this do you imply that you seem to be saying therefore that "some" angels decided to do some ministry - and that God foresaw the ministry that they were going to do and chronologically elected them beforehand to do that same ministry or service? Or are you saying that the word "elect" (in 1 Tim 5:21) is superfluous? Perhaps you are saying that it is categorical in the sense that some angels do not have a ministry, and Paul felt he was only charging them before those angels who held a current ministry?

I confess - even having set aside all ticklish soteriology - your take on it still seems vague. Perhaps I am being unconsciously obstinate but I am having a hard time plugging your take on it back into the text. I hope your response seems as vague to others as it does to me. I don't deny that it is an exegetical fallacy to assign a technical significance to a word such as elect - you are right to find such a practice questionable - yet your application here seems "leaky" to me.

I am of course biased in my opinion, so if you are able, treat me kindly, as one who is willing to consider your case if it can be made convincingly.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Well, it seems likely that the election is to function rather than moral position.

There seems no evidence that soem angels are elected not to fall, as it seems Calvinists seem to use the term.

As angels serve God, election in the context of that verse would most likely refer to election for some particular service.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Modern Day Magi said...

hmmm...
did Jesus die for all, even though He only elects a few to reap the benefit? or did He die for only those whom he has elected for salvation?
I would have to say that I believe when Jesus defeated death, he defeated it utterly. When He died for the penalty of sins, he died for all of them.
How can I ballance that with the fact only a few are Elected for life and others are Elected for destruction? I don't know that I can.
I'm looking forward to what you guys have to say.

Jim said...

MGM, thanks for your comments. I would tend to agree with your assessment. If the other is true, I would love to see solid scriptural basis to the contrary.

Rose~ said...

Jim,
Your scenario #2 says this:

After determining the exact fine required by law, this young African then proceeds to sell all the gold in his kingdom to cover the fines imposed by the judge on five of the guilty men. He then instructs his personal assistant to take individual letters to each of the ten convicted men and offer them complete freedom from their debts and criminal charges.

If we witnessed someone do this today, wouldn't we say he is being disingenuous? He paid for the five, yet offers the payment to the 10. Of course, God is different than the African ruler because He has omniscience. But definately, the African would be a bad man to offer something that He could not deliver on and had no intention of delivering on.

God is not disengenuous. When it says in Revelation 22:17:

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.


This is truly available to all of mankind because of Christ's sacrifice wherein he took sin out of the way as a barrier between mankind and the Father. The curtain is torn. All a man needs do now is receive the life Christ offers. It aint over till it's over.

Rose~ said...

Jim, I would love to have your readers participate on that question from earlier on that other blog. If you don't like this link, just delete it. Thanks.
Why did he die?

Jim said...

Rose, I too cannot bring myself to believe scenario #2. I am still trying to get my head around why the reformers insist it must be so?

Thanks for the link, perhaps I will add a small post linking the same article.

God bless,
Jim

Frank Martens said...

Jim,

Here's your answer...

Heb 2:14-17
"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."

OK, basically... Christ only helps those who are of Abraham and is a propitiation for the sins of the people who are His brothers (aka Offspring of abraham).

If that's not enough... I have more...



John 10:3
"To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out."

John 10:11
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. "

John 10:15
"just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. "

John 10:16
"And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. "

John 10:27
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."

John 10:28-30
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

Christ knew his sheep and the exact number of them whom God had Given to Him BEFORE He even Died for them.

Hope that helps :)

Jim said...

Frank, thanks for those verses and your thoughts. I am still not quite convinced though.

Was I Christ's brother before He died?

There are just a few loose ends that still bother me.

God bless,
Jim

Frank Martens said...

Well the next question I would ask then is...

From whoms perspective? From Christs or from mine?

Obviously from Christs I would have been Christs brother since the beginning because he had chosen me before time began. However, from my perspective, not until I accepted Christ.

That's a hard question to answer.

Jim said...

Frank, it is true that we tend to look at things from our perspective, and I don't think that is entirely wrong.

Of course we will ultimately see things the way God sees them and then all things will be made clear.

While it is true that God is not limited by time and space, yet we must realize the Son had to go through a process to become the life-giving Spirit. So, essentially not until the Spirit was poured out did we have the benefit of His fore-ordained plan.

God bless,
Jim

Gummby said...

Can anyone say, Bre-X?

Jim said...

Hi Matt, I must admit you got me there? Could you explain what exactly you mean?

God bless,
Jim