Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Concerning The Elect

The Bible has many verses in the New Testament that refer to the elect. My question to you dear reader is the following;

Does the elect refer to a corporate group of people or individuals? Or can it include both groups?


jazzycat said...

The elect can be plural or singular.

E*lect"\, n. 1. One chosen or set apart.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth. --Is. xlii. 1.
2. pl. (Theol.) Those who are chosen for salvation.

Matthew mentioned on the 2 Timothy verses that I should take the verses at face value. I wonder why no one except Calvinists ever want to take the many verses on election at face value? ;)


Jim said...

Wayne, I would tend to agree with you that elect can be used either singularly or plurally.

Are there any scriptures that refer to the elect singularly prior to their salvation? IOW, can a believer in Christ appropriate the term in a personal way for themselves regarding the nature of election?

Are the promises of election given to the individual or are they corporate?

jazzycat said...

Are there any scriptures that refer to the elect singularly prior to their salvation? IOW, can a believer in Christ appropriate the term in a personal way for themselves regarding the nature of election?
I am not sure what you mean. I would say that the only sign of being elect is if you come to faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God, as the one who made atonement for your sins on the cross of Calvary. All who come to faith are elect. When you look at Acts 16:14, you see a specific case of the effectual calling that Paul describes in Romans 8:30. When Paul says those whom He called he also justified, it is obvious that 100% of those God calls are justified. Since we know that many hear the gospel and do not come to faith, this has got to be a divine call that does not go out to all. It only goes to the elect and obviously with a 100% success rate it is irresistible.

Are the promises of election given to the individual or are they corporate?

There is no corporate election unto salvation and eternal life. God chose a people Israel in the OT to be a part of his plan of redemption, but only a remnant of Israel was saved. They were not and are not saved as corporate body to eternal life.

Do I get any coupons or anything for becoming such a regular here? ;)

Jim said...

Wayne, I am enjoying your comments and gracious tone.

Maybe other readers will have different insight here.

Let me just pry a bit into your remarks (no harm intended).

"I would say that the only sign of being elect is if you come to faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God, as the one who made atonement for your sins on the cross of Calvary. All who come to faith are elect."

I agree and think most Christians I know would agree. Of course the defining question is; can all come or is there a prohibiting factor. I know your answer.

"When Paul says those whom He called he also justified, it is obvious that 100% of those God calls are justified"

What about the verse; "many are called but few ______"??

I will try and think of some coupons for your regular attendance.

God bless,

jazzycat said...

"Many are called, but few are chosen." This is the external call that we give in evangelism. This is the call that I give to atheists on the web and that verses like John 3:16 give. This is a sincere call that goes out and I for one did not heed this call for over forty years in my life. But, then God....... and I received sight.

The effectual call comes from God. This is the call of Rom. 8:30, Eph. 2:4-5, 1 Peter 1:9, John 6:65. This call is 100% effective, is a work of God, and thus it is irresistible.

I have also enjoyed the conversation.

jazzycat said...

Oh, I forgot.
Many are called (external call)...
but few are chosen (effectual call)...

Even So... said...

Are there any scriptures that refer to the elect singularly prior to their salvation?

Galatians 1:15-16:

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;

Jim said...

JD, That is definitely on the right track.

That verse does not specifically say he was set apart before the foundation of the world; would you know of any verses that show clear evidence of an individual being chosen (elected) before the foundation of the world?

Daniel said...

Jim, I think the verse you are steering us toward is Paul's epistle to the Believers at Ephesian (Ephesians 1:4 - "even as he [God the Father] chose us in him [JEsus Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him...")

I shudder to think of the injury some attempt to do to this text (and with it) by trying to wring from the plurality of the first person pronoun "us" the idea that Paul was speaking about the whole church.

It seems to me that those who would impose this notion on the text typically do so because they neither understand justice nor the character of God - they they imagine themselves to be fit defenders of both. I say that because commonly (or at least I suppose it to be so) they imagine that if God really does elect individuals, then that would be unfair to all the other individuals whom God does not elect. Therefore they enter into the discussion with the presumption that God cannot possibly elect individuals, and therefore they need to invent some way for the bible to teach election without having to have God actually elect anyone. The ridiculous compromise they come up with is that God elects there to be a group that is "in Christ" but that God has no say whatsoever as to whether anyone gets into that group or not - and if they do, God likewise has no say on who they are. Their election is not really an election, that just because the label by which we refer to the "group" that eventually causes themselves (by faith) to go to heaven.

Wasn't it Karl Barth who first bent the text of Ephesians 1:4 in this direction?

Anyway, I believe that trying to dismiss individual election by imposing the idea that there is only a corporate election is indicative that one understands neither.

Thankfully, even with the New Perspective on Paul, this particular invention is almost unheard of.

Jim said...

Daniel, I do not think it is wrong to question the text when we are seeking the truth.

You are fully convinced in your mind that the doctrine of election is as you believe it to be. However, I have not fully come to that position yet myself and while it may be indeed because I do not know the nature and character of God enough, any doctrine worth holding is worth being held up to scrutiny.

Please explain to me how the doctrine of election as presented by Calvinism does not lead to the causal effect of determinism.

I also don't believe that God has no say over who will be elected. I just don't think His sovereignty is the issue here.

Sorry, I am not familiar with the new perspectives on Paul or Barth's writings.

Thanks for your comments!

Kc said...

Daniel I must admit that my approach to the scripture was void of any understanding of justice and the character of God and this may well be why I fail to agree with your understanding of the text in Ephesians. Even to this day I cannot grasp why it is that God required blood to atone for sin. I have to admit that I presuppose God is just without any understanding in this at all.

Could this be why I understand that those chosen to be holy without blame in vs. 4 are those in vs. 1 called the faithful in Christ as opposed to some otherwise indiscriminate group? ;-)

Jim said...

KC, would you be able to elaborate on the atonement issue a bit more?

Kc said...

I understand the term “atone” to mean expiate; that is to make amends for a sin or a fault. 1st John 2:2 makes it clear that Christ is the propitiation or the expiator for the sins of the whole world but does not state that the whole world has been or will be expiated. Many passages do however confirm that those who are sanctified in Christ are expiated.

Daniel said...


You are absolutely correct in understanding the term atone to refer to expiation. I didn't want to use the big "theology" words in my previous comment, but that is *the* word.

With regard to your handling of 1 John 2:2, I think you are being a little too wooden in your interpretation.

Was every single individual on earth trying to become a Christian when in John 12:19 the Pharisees said - “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!

It is a common (but fundamental) exegetical error to take the word "world" (Greek: kosmos) - when it is used to describe people - and impose upon it the meaning of "everybody human being that was ever born" - Consider that just hours before the cross, and with a view to His atoning death the prayer of Christ as found in John 17:6-9, - "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. [ESV]

If we say that Christ died for everyone in the world, as some interpret texts such as John 1:29; 3:16; or 1 John 2:2 - then we must have a pretty jaundiced eye towards the text cited above, for in this text Christ is plainly stating that God did not give Him everyone in the world, but only a remnant - and that it was only this remnant that Christ was praying for - that is, we have Christ making a distinction between those he is going to "set himself apart" for (i.e. "consecrate himself for" - c.f. John17:19) and those whom He is -not- setting himself apart for (the "world"). Can it be that only hours before the cross Christ plainly refused to "consecrate Himself" for every person in the world, and plainly made a distinction between those whom God had given Him, and those whom God had not - and that Christ was only praying for those whom God had given Him, and only setting himself apart (a reference to the coming work of the cross) for those whom God had given him - as opposed to those in the world, yet hours later Christ goes and pays the sin debt for those people whom he specifically refused to pray for or set himself apart for?

It should cause us pause, to say the least,

Kosmos can mean the universe (Acts 17:24) or even the Roman world (Colossians 1:6) or the evil world system (John 12:31) or the reprobate as we saw in John 17:9, or the elect (John 4:42; 6:33; 2 Corinthians 5:19), etc.

The context is vital in explaining the Word, and we use other passages in scripture to illuminate passages that could be ambiguous. By that I mean when I have five verses that teach one thing, and five that contradict that teaching - I reason that the correct interpretation allows all 10 passages to be correct without straining half of them to make it so.

If Jesus really was the propitiation not only for the sins of those whom John knew, but for everyone - why would John in the same chapter speak of this same "world" as passing away? If Christ is the propitiation for the world, that is, if Christ satisfies God for everyone - i.e. overcomes death for everyone - why is "everyone" still passing away?

You see, to me, that kind of inconsistency cannot be bridged by appealing to other texts which seem to say Jesus died for everyone - that makes my argument louder, but it doesn't explain the texts that contradict those ideas.

I don't see any contradiction between this text and any of the others I mentioned because I understand John to be speaking in the same way we all speak - how many times do we use the word "world" when, if we were really going to be precise, we should say, "many people from all over the place - none of whom we personally know, but so diverse and large a group that I can confidently say many from all over the world"

The rest of scripture helps us to be certain that John doesn't mean everyone in the world here.

Walk with me quickly (and certainly not exhaustively) through the bible on this one.

The bible makes a distinction between the "offspring" of the serpent (Genesis 3:15 - I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." [ESV]) and the offspring of Christ (Isaiah 53:10 - Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. [ESV])

The bible makes a distinction between Christ's "sons/children/brethren" (Hebrews 2:10-14 - For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, "I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise." And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, "Behold, I and the children God has given me." 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 [ESV]) and those who are not his children (i.e. "bastards" - c.f. Hebrews 12:8 - If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. [ESV].

The bible distinguishes between Christ's sheep whom he lays down his life for (John 10:11 - I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. [ESV]) and the goats who are not his sheep (Matthew 25:33,41 -(33)And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left... (41)"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. [ESV]);

The bible distinguishes between the church whom Christ gave his life for (Ephesians 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, [ESV]) and the "synagogue of Satan" (i.e. what is -not- his church c.f. Revelation 3:9 - Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. [ESV]);

In Matthew 26:28 - Christ refers to the "many" for whom his blood is shed - for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. [ESV]) - that is, the blood of Christ is the covenant not made with everyone, but with "many" - because many has never meant "every single person." Not everyone is in the covenant - just those for whom Christ spilled his blood.

Time does not really permit a grand exposition of every text in the bible that shows that Jesus didn't die for everyone - but for his own, and only his own. What does Matthew 1:21 say? ...you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins [ESV].

Jesus came to save His people. That is what scripture says. But -His- people are scattered throughout the world. It seems to me, therefore, given that scripture abundantly and soundly thrashes the idea that Christ died for everyone - that when the bible mentions "the world" in the context of saving it - it is not referring to everyone in the whole world, but to those for whom Christ died who are everywhere in the world.

If I say to go and preach the gospel to the world, I don't mean you -personally- are to preach the gospel to every single person on the globe - I mean only that you are to make no distinctions, and to get out there and start preaching it to the first person you meet, and keep going till you die.

If I tell my children not to love with the world, or the things in it - I do not mean by that that they mustn't love people, since people are in the world.

To be sure - we often use the word world as a very mild hyperbole - to simply those many people whom we do not personally know - but know exist in the world.

I find that I am unable to ignore reason, language use, and the rest of scripture in order to make 1 John 2:2 say that Jesus died for everyone. That kinda interpretation strikes me as the tail wagging the dog. We find far more in the bible that clearly and concretely makes a hard distinction between those for whom Christ died, and those for whom he did not die - than we have ambiguous verses wherein the meaning can go either way.

What we do -not- have, is even one verse in scripture that --must-- be interpreted to mean that Christ died for every person. Yet we have several - many - verses that clearly teach a distinction. It seems to me that if one takes care to note these truths, the only conclusion one can soberly draw is that Christ did not die for everyone, but died only for those whom scripture plainly says He came to the earth to get.

Daniel said...

KC - you said in a previous comment, Even to this day I cannot grasp why it is that God required blood to atone for sin.

If I may offer my understanding - not as a teacher to a student, but as a fellow believer who also wonders about these sorts of things...

I think that what God required was a way to pass guilty sinners through the judgment of death.

Noah passed through the flood because he and his family were in the ark. He passed through that judgment by being in the ark. The judgment fell upon the earth - but Noah, being in the ark, passed through the judgment unscathed.

Christ is our ark, who carries us - not through a physical judgment such as the flood was, but through a spiritual judgment - through death itself.

That is why the NT writers speak of being "in" Christ. Paul tells the Romans that we are united together with Christ in His death and resurrection. This is, I believe - a very literal passage. It describes ---how--- we pass through death.

Christ is innocent and therefore God cannot allow Christ to remain dead. We are sentenced to death by our sin and therefore God cannot allow us to live. To allow us to pass through judgment, we are united with Christ. Now our just God - who cannot remain just without punishing us - must punish us, and because we are united with Christ - he must also punish Christ. The result is that when we die, Christ who is united to us dies also. But just as God's justice demanded that he could not set aside punishing us - so too, His justice demands that He cannot allow Christ to remain dead - His justice demands that He raise Christ from the dead; yet because we are united with Christ in His death - when God raises Christ, we too are raised with Him. The fact that Christ was raised therefore is our greatest source of assurance, for in raising Christ God raised us - which is a declaration of our acceptance - we are (after all) accepted -in- the Beloved.

Thus we pass through death in Christ - we overcome death, as it were, through (in) Christ.

This was the only way that God could punish every sinner who ever sinned, and yet in His mercy - and according to His purpose, and because His glory is such that to veil it would be unjust - God has put His glory on display in granting mercy to unworthy sinners.

The OT picture of union to come - of the death of Christ - was the sacrifice of an unblemished animal. Not that the blood itself, the fluid has any properties in it - but that, as scripture teaches - "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (c.f. Lev 17:11) - that is, when we speak of the blood of atonement, we are speaking of the life that was shed and not the fluid.

Thus in order for anyone to pass through death they had to be united to someone who could be raised from death - but in order to be raised from death - one had to die. That is why Christ died, and that is what the blood speaks of. When Christ raised the passover cup of wine and said, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood" - he wasn't turning the wine into blood - he was speaking of His own shed life being the solemn promise that God would bring as many sinners as turned to Him in faith for salvation - that he would bring them through death, by dying with (or if you prefer "for") them, so that they could be brought through that death and inherit the "new" life that was promised to Christ if He laid down His in this way.

Let me know if that helped at all.

Kc said...

Daniel thanks for your reply. Please forgive my present brevity but time prevents me from offering a response worthy of your eloquence at present.

My contention concerning 1st John 2:2 would not be with your understanding concerning the use of kosmos but rather that you seem to overlook the definitive adjective holos in this verse.

I will address the remainder of your reply, with your permission, as time permits. I hope, God willing, to offer a full explanation of my understanding on this in an article soon.

With respect to blood I very much appreciate your perspective but I still have no understanding of why God required blood in particular.

Jim said...


I can think of a couple of reasons why blood is required.

The scriptures tell us that the life is in the blood. Now that could be simply metaphorical or some more profound meaning than we fully understand.

Secondly, the scriptures say; "the soul that sins, it shall die," God requires death for sin.

Abel brought an offering of a lamb knowing that he could not please God without a covering for His sin (the blood of the lamb).

But the blood of bulls and goats could only cover the sin, never fully cleansing it.

Christ as the spotless lamb of God took away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

When we enter into Christ through faith in His finished work on the cross, we take the benefit of His death, burial, and resurrection. Thus we no longer live, but Christ liveth in us. Therefore God no longer sees us but Christ with whom He is well pleased. We then become co-heirs with Christ of all he has inherited, not as equals in the Godhead, but partakers of His divine life and nature, thus being His adequate counterpart.

Hence we are not simply saved sinners, but members of the body of Christ, His bride.

(Did that help at all with the issue of blood?)

Kc said...

Jim, in order that no one misunderstand me I think I should make it clear that according to scripture there is no doubt God required blood for atonement.

In light of your response and to clarify my question in your mind I might ask, “Why is there life in the Blood?” ;-)

Daniel said...

KC - I appreciate time constraints - perhaps moreso than most ;-]

When in Acts 10:22 the "holos" nation of Isreal gave the centurion Cornelius a good report - are you telling me that every single Jew in the entire nation of Israel from the babes to the tottering elders, those near, and those far, and every one in between not only knew who Cornelius was, but gave him a good report? Or do you accept that the "whole nation of Israel" doesn't actually infer every single Israelite?

Likewise, did Paul really mean, in Romans 1:8 that the faith of the Romans was being spoken of by every single person in the "holos kosmos" (whole world)?

The use adjective certainly gives description about the noun - it adds an intensive emphasis - but its grammatic function by no means trumps its natural use. That is, I really, really, really don't believe that new born babes on the other side of the globe where hearing about the faith of the Romans just because Paul used the word "holos" to intensify the word "kosmos" in Romans 1:8 ...and neither do you.

I am speaking therefore of interpretive integrity. If I can understand the identical use of language using identical words in another verse to mean something less than "every person that ever was" - I can certainly concede at least the possibility that the adjective is used in the same way here in 1 John 2:2 ... and you can too, right?

The argument cannot be made from the grammar, that is, we cannot say that the adjective "holos" when modifying "kosmos" demands the inclusiveness you wish to read into the text. We can say that it may be there - but we must surrender that it certainly doesn't have to be there - and indeed, in other portions of scripture involving the exact same words - we see that it would be madness to make the case.

In Matthew 26:59 where "all" the Sanhedrin were searching for testimony against Jesus - do we take that to mean that Nicodemus, who was a "ruler of the Jews" - was seeking to incriminate Jesus too? Did they wake up every member of the "holos" "sunedrion" to try to come up with something? Or did the writer simply mean all those of the Sanhedrin who were in attendance?

Did the woman who spent her whole (holos) livelihood on bogus cures in Luke 8:43 really spend every single cent, or did that mean that she spent some on food too.

Do you see what I am getting at?

I know you do. ;-)

Kc said...

Daniel thanks for your measured response. ;-)

It seems we agree that “The use adjective certainly gives description about the noun - it adds an intensive emphasis” yet we fail to agree on just what is being emphasized. In this verse, as in those you offered, the emphasis is on inclusiveness as opposed to exclusiveness as you have proffered.

I had previously chosen to omit this from my argument but since the air is a bit lighter I will now state that your argument is not with me, it is with the scripture. Do you really disagree that 1st John 2:2 clearly states that Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world? ;-)

Daniel said...

KC - I agree with what the text says: that Christ is the propitiation not only for the sins of John and those first century Christians to whom John wrote, but that Christ was also the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.

I think when I spoke to the linguistic scope of "holos kosmos", that is, when I gave specific examples (from scripture) where the exact same phrase was used elsewhere but =cannot= be made to mean every single person who was ever born or would be born, that I demonstrated that the phrase used by the author was -commonly- used, even elsewhere in scripture, to denote a group that was -not- all inclusive.

If we are going to read God's word, we cannot do so with blinders on. I see the text, I see it say "whole world" and I ask myself - does the writer really mean that every single person that has ever been born or ever will be born has been reconciled to God already?

If that is the case then why are we called to faith at all? Think it through my friend. If I am reconciled already, why do I need faith - if I am reconciled, what do I need to be saved from? My sin? My sin has been dealt with already because I am already reconciled to God right? So I don't need faith to go to heaven, and the gospel is pointless - at least from a soteriological point of view.

Not that reason alone would discourage me from that opinion - though I would find it rather difficult to ignore the implications - but scripture itself makes the point clearly enough that Jesus came to purchase his own, and not everyone.

I don't think it is intellectually honest to suggest I am arguing with the text - for I agree entirely with the text, given the elastic nature of language. I can't make the text say that the sky is pink - it ain't that elastic, that is, I can't make the text say anything I want - but I can, and do, reason from the rest of scripture - seeing how this phrase is used elsewhere, and applying the same rules unilaterally.

If I know from passages like Romans 1:8 that the phrase "holos kosmos" was used in the first century to describe an large, unspecific group that could not possibly - by any stretch of interpretation - mean every single person every born - then I am not abusing the text or arguing with it when I say that it doesn't have to mean every single person ever born, and that given the abundant witness elsewhere in scripture against such a minority interpretation, I am not even straining to understand the text in the way that I do - in fact to deny the understanding that seems plain to me, would be, in my opinion, far more of a exegetical workout than the former presents.

I hope you see that I simply cannot accept the notion that I am arguing with the text - if anything I am arguing to show you that your rather rigid application cannot be objectively maintained excepting where presumption and bias would allow it.

I know I come to this text with my understanding firmly in place - but I do not come with my eyes closed. I have prayed, do pray, and will continue to pray - with as much fervor as I am able, that God would free me from my own opinion and open my eyes to His truth wherever that may be.

If everything I know of what the Spirit teaches in scripture is suddenly flushed away by some profound new illumination that proves that Jesus died for the sins of everyone - that is, that all people are already reconciled to God - I shall be greatly ashamed of all that I now regard as truth. But unless that happens, I am bound to defend against error and confusion, what I believe the scripture (and by extension God) has to say about the atonement.

I appreciate, even if I disagree with your take on my opinion, that you are willing to examine these things.

Kc said...

Daniel we do disagree on several points but I would appreciate if you could point out specifically what I have written that you disagree with.

Daniel said...

KC, you said, I would appreciate if you could point out specifically what I have written that you disagree with.

I thought I ended my last post doing just that - in that you said in a previous comment:

I will now state that your argument is not with me, it is with the scripture.

My closing remark (below) was directed at this claim (above):

(Dan said) I appreciate, even if I disagree with your take on my opinion, that you are willing to examine these things.

That is, to answer your question I specifically believe that we disagree on the idea that I am arguing with scripture, I am certainly not, I am showing in fact that my position does no injury or even stress to the text, and that if we disagree it is in what the words say, it is in whether or not the only way to validly interpret them would be in that wooden manner whereby 1 John 2:2 *must* be interpreted as if John was saying that Christ has made propitiation for every person who ever was or ever will be born - based upon, phrase "holos kosmos".

I am of the opinion, as I think is evident, that Christ did not make propitiation for every single person ever born - he made propitiation only for those who were his, those for whom he was sent, that that scripture describes as chosen and elect. These he came for, these he died for, these for whom he died, and no others, were reconciled to God.

Unless you agree with that, I suspect that our disagreement was in that matter?

Correct me if I am wrong.

Kc said...

Daniel please forgive me. I should have made my request clear.

You wrote:

” With regard to your handling of 1 John 2:2, I think you are being a little too wooden in your interpretation.”

My request pertains to your disagreement with my interpretation. What specifically do you disagree with in my interpretation?

Daniel said...

KC - specifically I disagree with the notion that Christ has already reconciled (to God) everyone who has ever been, or will ever be, born.

In your opening mention of 1 John 2:2 you said that 1st John 2:2 makes it clear that Christ is the propitiation or the Expiator for the sins of the whole world but does not state that the whole world has been or will be expiated.

I have no contention with this comment, though nit-picky as I am, I probably would have worded it differently...

Yet in a latter post, you say, My contention concerning 1st John 2:2 would not be with your understanding concerning the use of kosmos but rather that you seem to overlook the definitive adjective holos in this verse.

Now here is perhaps where I have been trigger happy? Usually when someone says they have no trouble with the word "world" but rather with the adjective that is intensifying it - "whole" - it is understood to mean that the person believes that because it says "whole world" it means everyone - which (if meant that way) would seems to be either a departure from the original opinion, or a clarification of the original opinion.

Again, in a later comment you clarified the point of contention as being our failure to agree on just what was being emphasized by the adjective "holos".

I believe that that whatever the emphasis is, it certainly does not mean that Christ atoned for everyone in the whole world. You have said that we agree on that emphasis, and if I have failed to understand how we disagree on that, it is likely because I have pursued it in a rather linear way - presuming as I did, that in "failing to agree" with the emphasis, you likely took an opposite view. If that is not the case, I certainly apologize for answering what was never really in question.

Let me know.

Kc said...

Daniel, my problem with clarity has slowed our discussion quite a bit and I apologize for that. It was my hope that in attempting to isolate your specific disagreement with my interpretation that it might become clear I haven’t yet offered any. Your initial reply to my comment was not to my interpretation but to your own. This should then clarify my statement that your argument was with the scripture and, though I offered this statement in jest, it was my hope that it might help to refocus the discussion on 1st John 2:2 rather than trying to argue for or against a complete system of theology in only a few comment lines. ;-)

I do hope we can at least explore the significance of the phrase ”whole world” in this verse. I can appreciate that this phrase cannot be taken literally anywhere that is not specifically called for in context however it is not devoid of any meaning and cannot be defined by what it does not mean.

With respect to universal atonement I had hoped my original comment made it clear that though I find this verse the best argument for it, I do not understand that all men have been expiated. No doubt my understanding of this verse is much more inclusive than you would prefer but I would paraphrase; “Christ is the atonement for sin for whosoever shall call on His name in the world”.

What do you think is the intended meaning of this text?