lichfield-cathedral-palestine-conference-2
Church of England

Lichfield Cathedral hosts anti-Semitic conference which bars Zionist Jew from asking questions

“The daily life of the Cathedral is the responsibility of the Dean”, explains the Lichfield Cathedral website. And the Dean of Lichfield Cathedral is the Very Rev’d Adrian Dorber, who decided to organise a whole weekend conference dedicated to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Quite why he chose that strife over (say) those of India and Pakistan or of Saudia Arabia and Yemen (or even Iran and Syria) is unknown. But cathedral deans are powerful people: if they want a conference to debate their particular theological bent or political grievance, they are free to organise one and invite whichever speakers they choose to present their preferred slant (as we’ve seen in Manchester Cathedral).

The Dean of Lichfield Cathedral clearly has a lot of time for Palestine and boundless sympathy for Palestinians, and not much time or sympathy at all for Israel and Jews.

Perhaps his poster design gives a clue: ‘Holding Palestine in the Light’, it proclaims, conveniently shunting the very existence of Israel into the darkness. Sure, the Zionist State gets a footnote, but what manner of equitable conference is it which delegitimises one party or nullifies one perspective in its very publicity? Imagine a cathedral conference entitled: ‘Holding India in the light: the context of the conflict’. One or two Pakistanis might sense a certain bias. And David Collier’s account of Adrian Dorber’s conference –  ‘Antisemitic hate festival in Lichfield Cathedral‘ – evidences bias (not to say blatant disinformation and anti-Semitism) in surplus overplus. The whole piece merits reading, but consider these highlights:

..I had little doubt I was walking into a hate-festival. One of the ‘secrets’ of such an event is that the range of speakers is always skewed. People such as Ilan Pappe see sharing a stage with Zionists as ‘normalisation’. Jewish self determination, the right of a ‘Jewish home’, these are positions too ‘dirty’ for anti-Israel activists to accommodate. Therefore if Pappe is present, you know their views have been ideologically protected by the structure of the event itself. The building has been cleansed of all support for the Jewish national movement.

..I made my way to the café and had to walk passed another exhibition. On display was pro boycott material. I saw more leaflets on display. I picked up a magazine from the group ‘Friends of Al Aqsa’. This is a group that has recently had its bank account closed because of possible funding of “illegal or other proscribed activities”.

This set the theme of the weekend. Every single stall, every part of the exhibit, was designed or delivered by activists supporting the boycott. There was a book stall. Every single book was one that castigates Israel and Zionism. Not a single opposition voice was on display..

..In the simple comment that ‘Jesus was a Palestinian’, is an absolute denial of Jewish history… There were even attempts to rewrite attendees at very early Christian events as being ‘Arab’ rather than Jewish.

..A group called ‘Lichfield Concern for Palestine’. All talk was about Israeli brutality. No mention of Arab violence anywhere.

..Next up was Professor Kamel Hawwash, Vice-Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign… There will be no starting point for peace until Israelis get down on their knees and beg for forgiveness. Total submission… This is the vision of ‘peace’ that the church invited to talk.

..I have seen Ilan Pappe now more times than I can count. He is charismatic antisemitism personified. Pappe wastes no time. ‘There is no such thing as modern antisemitism’.

No such thing as modern anti-Semitism? How in the name of Christ could that refutation be permitted in a Church of England cathedral? And then came this appalling incident:

..This time, with the knowledge that Mandy was a Zionist, the Chair was visibly ignoring Mandy’s raised hand. The Chair was desperately seeking questions from elsewhere in the audience. The questions had dried up. It was a stand-off. Mandy became vocal:

‘Why won’t you let me speak?’

‘Because you spoke earlier’ came the reply.

As an answer it did not suffice. Several people had asked more than one question. The situation was absurd. There were no more questions. Only Mandy’s hand remained aloft. There were still 10 minutes left till the end of this session.

Several people became visibly agitated. A member of the audience asked why the chair was ignoring Mandy’s question. Mandy spoke up again:

“Isn’t this a conference, why is only one side allowed to be heard?”

All of this comes just a fortnight after the Archbishop of Canterbury declared: “Antisemitism is an insidious evil.” And he made it absolutely clear that “the virus continues to seek a host. It latches onto a variety of different issues: financial inequality, wars and depressions, education, politics and government, grave international issues, such as the rights of Israelis and Palestinians..” And conferences organised by zealous deans in our national cathedrals? The allegation against the Dean of Lichfield is not that he is an anti-Semite, but that he naively sought to have the ‘Palestine’ issue debated in his cathedral without ensuring balanced advocacy and an impartial chairman, and thereby desecrated Lichfield Cathedral with the whiff of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionist conspiracy theory and the delegitimisation of Israel.

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev’d Michael Ipgrave, who also happens to be Chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews, has previously been unequivocal in his condemnation of these sorts of views:

To me there seems no question that denying the right of Israel to exist, failing to take seriously the claim of its citizens to security and recognition, viewing the complex situation in the Holy Land as an unparalleled example of injustice when it is fact surrounded by egregious instances of oppression and unsettlement, adopting a one-sided view which fails to recognise the legitimate interests and real anxieties of all sides – all these can be manifestations of, or excuses for, real antisemitism.

So why would he allow his cathedral to host an exhibition and conference which not only denies Israel’s right to exist, but denies the very phenomenon of modern anti-Semitism?

“The fact that antisemitism has infected the body of the Church is something of which we as Christians must be deeply repentant,” the Archbishop of Canterbury said. “We live with the consequences of our history of denial and complicity.antisemitism needs to be confronted in every part of our communal life and cultural imagination.” If Justin Welby is right (and he is), and if Michael Ipgrave meant what he wrote (and there’s no reason to believe he didn’t), then the Dean of Lichfield Cathedral needs to issue an unequivocal apology – not only to offended Israelis and Jews, but to Christians and all people of goodwill for whom this conference was an overt anti-Semitic outrage. The Church of England should neither condone nor facilitate anti-Israel hate: our task should be peace and reconciliation in the light of the truth. As the Archbishop of Canterbury said:

Antisemitism.. permeates and pervades all that it touches when it is swept under the carpet, denied and not confronted head-on. The challenge for us is to be united in facing the uncomfortable truths of our history and for faith groups to take a lead in being transparent and honest in exposing the hidden recesses of prejudice.

If Lichfield Cathedral sweeps this under the carpet, the Church of England becomes complicit in anti-Semitism, which, as the Archbishop said, “..undermines and distorts the truth: it is the negation of God’s plan for his creation and is therefore a denial of God himself.”

UPDATE

Both the Dean and Bishop have issued statements:

Bishop Michael:

I want to reaffirm my welcome and support for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent condemnation of the ‘virus’ of antisemitism. I attended part of the conference at Lichfield Cathedral, as a guest, as a mark of my commitment to ongoing dialogue and building better relationships. The CCJ will continue to engage in dialogue with the cathedral to build a relationship of deeper understanding that I hope will bear great fruit in the future.

Dean Adrian Dorber:

Cathedral naves are the traditional meeting places for people to come together and debate matters of concern, to learn, reflect and find wisdom in the middle of difficulty and confusion. Our recent weekend conference ‘Holding Palestine in the Light – the context of the conflict’ was an attempt to help people understand the complexity of the situation and what roads to peace are available for all the people of the Holy Land, Israelis and Palestinians. There were some passionate exchanges and contributions from the floor representing very diverse views. It takes courage to make peace and the first step is to listen. That is a proper requirement for everyone who is concerned with the long term future and flourishing of all the Israeli and Palestinian people. We hope that the opinion, prayers and righteous action of people of faith and goodwill could yet help bring all sides together on a path to a lasting peace. It is my hope, and that of the Ecumenical Planning group who arranged the conference, that the weekend was a small contribution to understanding, and an encouragement to people of faith to pray and work for peace.

Clean sweep: dustpan and brush not required.

  • Shadrach Fire

    It is embarrassing to be part of the larger church that in small sectors is so appallingly out of kilter with the Gospel and the truth of Jesus Christ.
    Shame on this Dean of Lichfield.

  • Maalaistollo

    I get the impression that the CofE has a sizeable number of clergy of the Vicar of Bray persuasion, who are already positioning themselves to be Mullahs of Bray.

    • bluedog

      Given the highly political role of the CofE within the British state, one awaits with bated breath the emergence of the Mosque of Britain as a tool to sanctify Islam as representing British values. Under Mrs May this development would appear to be deferred, the zeitgeist has changed, radically. If Cameron had continued in power one could easily envisage its introduction, which sadly allows for the possibility that the next left-liberal government will succumb.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    An absolute disgrace…but what do you expect from the higher clergy these days?

    • Shadrach Fire

      And you should know. LOL.

  • The fact that antisemitism has infected the body of the Church is something of which we as Christians must be deeply repentant

    Has infected? The American Jew Sidney Hook said in 1949 that Christianity had been anti-Semitic from the year dot (here, page 219):

    In his ‘Reflections on the Jewish Question’ he wrote, ‘the causes of antisemitism are not to be found in the behavior of Jews’. Rather, the sources of anti-Semitism are to be found ‘in the beliefs and habits and culture of the non-Jews’, particularly Christianity. Anti-Semitism ‘is endemic to every Christian culture whose religions made Jews the eternal villain in the Christian drama of salvation.’

    Charles Krauthammer took up the refrain of ‘innocent Jews, evil goyim’ in 2015, heaping the blame on Europeans in general: ‘European anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, however. It’s a European problem, a stain, a disease of which Europe is congenitally unable to rid itself.’

    Welby could flagellate himself till the cows came home but both Christianity and Europeans would still, in Jews’ eyes, be inherently anti-Semitic. I guess Jews will never be satisfied until their ultimate bête noire, the European Christian, is diversified out of existence.

    • Anton

      Most Jews and European Christians are aware that they face a common enemy today.

    • Ivan M

      Excellent comment. Which is why I gave up a long time trying to be preemptively ingratiating when it came to Jewish concerns. The Christian is by definition antisemitic. See the works of Wistrich or Goldhagen among others to get an idea of how loaded the table is against Christians.
      Sydney Hook had a reputation as an able anti-Communist philosopher when alive, but that counts for nothing when manning the ramparts for his coethnics.

      • carl jacobs

        It’s an idiotic comment. Jews are far more likely to be “diversified” out of Europe than Christians. And in the not so distant future. If “white Europe” wants to find a reason for its decline, it doesn’t need to go rooting around in the closet for records of old conspiracy theories. All it has to do is examine its own degeneracy.

        • Ivan M

          The worship of the Holocaust is the single greatest factor responsible the supineness of European reaction so far, to invasion by the Saracens. Do you see Japanese, Chinese or the Indian peoples reacting in the same way? We share the same sins as Westerners, but that has not prevented us from seeing an invasion for what it is.

          • bluedog

            ‘The worship of the Holocaust etc…’ That’s simply a judgement that is not supported by the facts. If one looks at the history of European demographics, prior to WW2, the populations of Europe were universally European. Very small non-European settlements frequently existed near seaports where there were Chinatowns, areas of Lascar settlement and some Africans. The key driver of non-European migration was economics, not ideology. Post-war reconstruction required man-power that was simply not available, particularly in Germany where losses had been immense. Hence the gast-arbeiter programme that focussed on Turkey. Britain naturally looked to its former Empire for manpower, indeed, the British Empire ceased to be a global power once India became independent. The British government was acutely aware that Britain with a population of just over 40 million lacked clout in comparison with the USA and USSR with their much larger populations. The Holocaust was simply not a factor in this assessment. What can be argued is that after the start of non-European immigration, an ideology was sought, found and implemented in the form of ‘multiculturalism’ to justify the introduction of alien peoples and cultures. ‘Racism’ was elevated to the status of a near-capital offence and the pre-war pride in the achievements of the British people was declared haram.

          • Inspector General

            Bluedog. The word multiculturalism, which is a rather disgusting word from a law abiding patriots point of view, is of very recent proclaiming. Tomorrow, one will endeavour to research who came out with it first, and when…

          • bluedog

            Agreed, IG. But there is massive revisionism and the rewriting of history.

          • Inspector General

            Quite so. Anyone who disagrees is of the school of thought that immigrants, wherever they be from, are a damn sight more useful in the UK than us feeble indigenous. Remarkable stuff…

          • Ivan M

            The elevation of the Holocaust as the central and defining event of European history certainly under girds multiculturalism as understood in the West. I am not against multiculturalism per se, as I live in such a society myself wanting nothing.
            I am against the control of the narrative of history to the disadvantage of the natives. Sorry for the bombast.

      • Anton

        “The Christian is by definition antisemitic.”

        At this point I must ask you to define the word.

        • Ivan M

          I clarify as follows:

          The Christian is by definition antisemitic according to such commentators as Goldhagen and Robert Wistrich. This is the drift one gets from reading them. There is nothing one can do about this in practical terms, as one is always on probation due to embedded history. While not a mathematical demonstration, it is sufficient for my purposes. Now generally the accusations hits the Catholic first, since there were no denominations in the hoary past. This has the advantage of letting the Protestants pretend that if not for the antisemitic Catholics, things would have been different. This stance has its advantages.

          • Anton

            I actually wrote to Goldhagen about his misrepresentation of John’s gospel in “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”, making clear that I was a Christian who supported the existence of the State of Israel on theological grounds. (I didn’t get a reply.) But you have not answered my question: When you quote the statement that the Christian is by definition antisemitic, what do you mean by antisemitic?

          • Ivan M

            I have answered your question.

          • Anton

            In which sentence, please?

          • Ivan M

            Please read my clarification above.

          • Anton

            I had. It reads: The Christian is by definition antisemitic according to such commentators as Goldhagen and Robert Wistrich. This is the drift one gets from reading them. There is nothing one can do about this in practical terms, as one is always on probation due to embedded history. While not a mathematical demonstration, it is sufficient for my purposes. Where in those words is a definition of antisemitism, please?

          • Anton

            OK.

          • What theological grounds?

          • Anton

            There are various prophecies of return of the Jews from exile, all portrayed positively. While many refer to the return from Babylon, some cannot. Zechariah (8:7-8) promises a future return in a prophecy given after the return from Babylon. (Ezra 5:1 & 6:14 state that Zechariah is prophesying in Jerusalem – not from a place of exile – and Zechariah 1:1 tells us that he was speaking after the exile.) Amos (9:13-15) speaks of a permanent return, which the return from Babylon proved not to be. A second return is prophesied by Isaiah (11:11-12), assembling the people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth (not just Babylon). This matches the present return. So does the prophecy of Ezekiel (36:24-26) of a return without commitment to God followed by spiritual cleansing. Certain other passages fall into place if the modern return is looked for in the Bible; for example, Moses warned of the exile of a Jewish kingdom in Deuteronomy 28:36, and an exile to all parts of the earth in Deuteronomy 28:64. Because the end of the kingdom led to a local exile, and because the post-apostolic dispersal was not the end of a kingdom, these are distinct events.

          • But how can you be sure the secular State created by the War of Independence in 1948 is the prophesied return?
            There are Jewish scholars who question this. Many orthodox religious organisations originally opposed Zionism based on its secularism and on the grounds that only the Messiah could re-establish Jewish rule in Israel. At the time, most Orthodox Jews maintained the traditional Jewish belief that while the Land of Israel was given to the ancient Israelites by God, and the right of the Jews to that land was permanent and inalienable, the Messiah must appear before the land could return to Jewish control.

          • Anton

            But how can you be sure the secular State created by the War of Independence in 1948 is the prophesied return?

            What I can prove from those scriptures is a second return, after that from Babylon. What 20th century history tells me is that a return has taken place. If you want to suppose that the Jews will be thrown out again until a THIRD (or fourth, or fifth…) return, which is the return spoken of by these prophets, I cannot disprove it using formal logic. But notice that the modern return is from all corners of the earth, consistent with Isaiah, and is largely in unbelief, consistent with Ezekiel. Also the Deuteronomic passage, which looks forward to all of Israel’s history prophetically, appears to suggest two returns. Moreover Joel prophesies a world army sent against Israel, and globalisation is now proceeding apace.

            There are Jewish scholars who question this.

            So what? *You* are discussing it with *me*. (Anyway, you are quick enough to disparage Jewish scholars when they call the Apocrypha non-canonical.) The reason Orthodox Jews believe Messiah will come to lead them back into the Holy Land is that they lost hope during the long diaspora of any other way of it happening. Balfour showed otherwise!

          • Jack has never disparaged Jewish scholars. It’s Christian Protestants who deem the Apocrypha non-canonical. By definition, Jews disregard the New Testament and Jesus as the Messiah.

            My father, a “Jewish scholar” before his convertion to Catholicism in 1948, was opposed to it based on Jewish readings of the Old Testament and the Talmud. In Ketubot 111a it is recorded the Jewish people are bound by oath not to ascend to Eretz Yisrael as a group using force and not to rebel against the nations of the world. They were to be invited to return. He considered the establishment of the State of Israel to be a violation of these oaths and secular Jewish as nationalism, mixed with socialism, aimed at undermining Judaism.

            Do you also support the idea of a Third Temple and the restoration of the High Priesthood and the sacrificial system?

          • Anton

            No, absolutely not. Jesus made that utterly superfluous.

            By definition, Jews disregard the New Testament and Jesus as the Messiah.

            Tell that to the Jews I know who believe that Jesus is their divine Messiah! Or (as you are Catholic) tell it to St Peter!

            In Ketubot 111a it is recorded the Jewish people are bound by oath not to ascend to Eretz Yisrael as a group using force and not to rebel against the nations of the world. They were to be invited to return.

            They were! That is exactly what the Balfour declaration said.

            The Ezekiel prophecy of a return in apostasy followed by a spiritual cleansing is key.

          • Israel was re-established by force and not by invitation of the nations in the region. Are you overlooking the Jewish insurgency in Palestine (1944–1947)? And the civil war following the November 1947 adoption of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine which planned to divide Palestine into three areas: an Arab state, a Jewish state and the Special International Regime for the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem?

            The Balfour Declaration was intentionally ambiguous and did not offer a Jewish State nor Jerusalem:

            “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

            The League of Nations Mandate for Palestine restated this:

            “Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

            When the mandate expired on 14th May 1948, the “Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel” was proclaimed. The context was civil war between the Arab and Jewish populations of the Mandate that had started after the partition vote at the UN six months earlier. Following the Arab-Israeli war, the State of Israel retained the area that the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 had recommended for the proposed Jewish state and also almost 60% of the area of the proposed Arab state in the 1948 Partition Plan.

          • Anton

            Israel was indeed not established by invitation of the nations in the region, but what you said was that In Ketubot 111a it is recorded the Jewish people are bound by oath not to ascend to Eretz Yisrael as a group using force and not to rebel against the nations of the world. They were to be invited to return. I pointed out that they were indeed invited to return. This invitation was by the British, but you are moving the goalposts by referring to an invitation by the local tribes. Also, for what it is worth, the United Nations effectively made such an invitation (to inhabit more than half of Mandatory Palestine) in UN Resolution 181 of 29th November 1947, to which you refer. Russia and the USA both voted in favour.

            What happened next? The Jewish Agency in Palestine promptly accepted the proposed partition and its terms. Arab national governments rejected them. The Arab Higher Committee (representing Arabs in Palestine) had earlier refused to cooperate with the UN’s fact-finding delegation (UNSCOP). Following the UN vote the sporadic violence between the two communities escalated into civil war. The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, after stating in a newspaper interview weeks before the UN vote that he hoped the Jews would not force war, went on that any hostilities against them would be “a war of extermination, a momentous massacre” (in the Egyptian newspaper Akhbar al-Yom, 11th October 1947). Which side forced war? Jamal Husseini, the Palestinian Arab leader, candidly told the UN Security Council during the fighting (on 16th April 1948): “The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight.” If you lose a war that you start with the declared intention of genocide then you can’t expect to carry on afterwards as if nothing had happened.

            As for Balfour, the reader is referred to the discussion between Jack and me on the September 24th thread at this same blog:

            http://www.archbishopcranmer.com/methodist-church-visitors-book-calls-jews-burned-alive/

          • chefofsinners

            Some interpretations of Revelation require a reestablishment of the temple and offerings. It all seemed pretty unlikely until 1948. As Anton says, it’s superfluous to salvation, but not to some people’s eschatology.

          • Until 1967 and the seizing of Jerusalem.

      • @ Ivan M—The Christian is by definition antisemitic

        Not something that most Christians wish to hear but their attempts to make amends to Jews can do more harm than good to Christianity. Gerard Menuhin [Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil, 2nd edition, page 199] mentions the 18th century example of CW von Dohm, the son of a clergyman, who argued with success for Jewish emancipation. He was so nice to the Jews that the Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz later quoted Dohm with relish as ‘painting the Christians as cruel barbarians and the Jews as illustrious martyrs.’

        It was Graetz who said, in a letter to Moses Hess, ‘we must above all work to shatter Christianity’ [MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents, page 190]. The Jews can take it easy while von Dohm and today’s nice Christians do the shattering for them.

      • Sybaseguru

        In my version of Christianity Jesus was born a Jew, said he came to fulfill the(jewish) law, and died a Jew. As I try to follow Jesus’s teaching, given to his Jewish disciples, I can’t see how your statement “The Christian is by definition antisemitic.” has any validity at all.

        • Little Black Censored

          You are right; it has none.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Seconded.

        • Ivan M

          It has no validity if understood as a comment on Christian beliefs. That was an error on my part.

      • Little Black Censored

        “The Christian is by definition antisemitic.”
        The novelty today is that the antisemitism described in the article springs not from a distorted Christianity but from political sympathy with Islamic nationalism. In this country it is not Christians who are hostile to the Jews but socialists and Islamists.

        • Ivan M

          I should have been clearer. It was not my intention to state that Christians are antisemites.

      • CliveM

        So what’s your definition of Christianity?

        • Ivan M

          See my clarification below.

  • Anton

    The allegation against the Dean of Lichfield is not that he is an anti-Semite, but that he naively sought to have the ‘Palestine’ issue debated in his cathedral without ensuring balanced advocacy

    Anti-semitism and anti-zionism are not identical. Nevertheless the question for people who assert the latter while denying being the former is: Do you hold Israel to higher standards than other nations, and if so then why?

    • Just what is “anti-Zionism”?

      • Anton

        Unconditional opposition to the existence of the State of Israel (which is clearly not the same as Jew-hatred).

        • Dominic Stockford

          Or, maybe, to deny the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland, anywhere. Which now evidences in a denial of Israel’s right to exist.

          • writhledshrimp

            Which is pretty close to hatred. I love you but think you should have nowhere called home. The Venn diagram of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism would be almost one circle.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Very closely – though there certainly were many Jews who didn’t agree with the call for a homeland. I’m not sure there are so many today who do, pleasantly, and without pouring vitriol on those who do.

          • IanCad

            It was mooted by the Nazi’s (pre Wannsee) that perhaps Madagascar would be a suitable homeland for the despised race. Would that make Hitler a Zionist?

          • writhledshrimp

            I am not sure I get the point of your question.

          • IanCad

            Tiny,
            “to deny the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland, anywhere..”
            Merely a response to Dominic’s cited text. The substance of which offers a straw to those who wish to trivialize the utter horrors of National Socialism.

          • Anton

            At one time in the 1930s he definitely was supportive of a homeland (somewhere) for the Jews, in order to further their removal from Germany.

          • Ian

            On the law issue a book that is well worth reading is 40 questions about biblical law by Tom Schreiner. My position is close to his.

            https://www.amazon.co.uk/Questions-About-Christians-Biblical-Law/dp/0825438918/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476486708&sr=8-1&keywords=40+questions+law

          • Shadrach Fire

            Should that give a right to other groups of people. Such as the Coptic Christians?

        • Don’t they amount to the same thing in 2016? The Jews in the secular State of Israel would be massacred without ongoing political and military assistance fro the USA.
          And this organisation?

          http://www.nkusa.org/AboutUs/Zionism/opposition.cfm

          The so-called “State of Israel” is diametrically opposed and completely contradictory to the true essence and foundation of the People of Israel, as is explained above. The only time that the People of Israel were permitted to have a state was two thousand years ago when the glory of the creator was upon us, and likewise in the future when the glory of the creator will once more be revealed, and the whole world will serve Him, then He Himself (without any human effort or force of arms) will grant us a kingdom founded on Divine Service. However, a worldly state, like those possessed by other peoples, is contradictory to the true essence of the People of Israel. Whoever calls this the salvation of Israel shows that he denies the essence of the People of Israel, and substitutes another nature, a worldly materialistic nature, and therefore sets before them, a worldly materialistic “salvation,” and the means of achieving this “salvation” is also worldly and materialistic i.e. to organize a land and army. However, the true salvation of the People of Israel is to draw close to the Creator. This is not done by organization and force of arms. Rather it is done by occupation to Torah and good deeds.

          • Anton

            Jack,

            I distinguished anti-semitism from anti-zionism and defined the latter as “unconditional opposition to the existence of the State of Israel”. You replied: “Don’t they amount to the same thing in 2016?” As frequent comments of yours here indicate, you are opposed to this State; so have you (not I!) not just charged yourself with anti-semitism?

            See my other response about how Ezekiel prophesies a return in unbelief followed by a spiritual cleansing.

            Israel receives financial support from Washington amounting to just 1% of Israel’s GDP. The Iron Dome missile system it has developed jointly with the USA using part of that money is something that the USA itself did not have beforehand.

          • “As frequent comments of yours here indicate, you are opposed to this State; so have you (not I!) not just charged yourself with anti-Semitism?”

            Jack begs your pardon! He has never expressed opposition to the State of Israel. It has established itself as an independent State and has a right of existence and the responsibility to ensure the safety of its members. He believes it was established by duplicity and dishonesty.

          • Anton

            *If* it was (which we’ve discussed recently) then it was not by the Jews.

            Thank you for your clarification and apologies for misunderstanding you.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack begs your pardon!

            No pardon for Jack. He stays in the hoosegow.

            He believes it was established by duplicity and dishonesty.

            Dare I ask by whom?

          • You’ve never heard of the Balfour Declaration and all the shenanigans behind it?

          • carl jacobs

            Well yes but … the founding of Israel was accomplished in 1947 by the UN and not by the Balfour Declaration. What was duplicitous about the UN vote?

          • Don’t be naïve. Now you accept votes by the General Assembly of the UN as binding? The UN decision was based on the Balfour Declaration that was the basis of the original League of Nations mandate.

            The Arab leaders and governments rejected it and indicated an unwillingness to accept any form of territorial division, arguing that it violated the principles of national self-determination in the UN charter which granted people the right to decide their own destiny. They had been misled by the British into believing Palestine was included in this and would be an Arab State. A civil war broke out after the resolution was passed. Partition was imposed against the will of the majority of the people in Palestine.

            Passage of the resolution required a two-thirds majority of the valid votes, not counting abstaining and absent members, of the UN’s then 56 member states. On 26 November, after filibustering by the Zionist delegation, the vote was postponed by three days.[62][63] According to multiple sources, had the vote been held on the original set date, it would have received a majority, but less than the required two-thirds.[63][64][65] Various compromise proposals and variations on a single state, including federations and cantonal systems were debated (including those previously rejected in committee).[66][67] The delay was used by supporters of Zionism in New York to put extra pressure on states not supporting the resolution.[62] ….

            Zionists launched an intense White House lobby to have the UNSCOP plan endorsed, and the effects were not trivial.[68] The Democratic Party, a large part of whose contributions came from Jews,[69] informed Truman that failure to live up to promises to support the Jews in Palestine would constitute a danger to the party. The defection of Jewish votes in congressional elections in 1946 had contributed to electoral losses. Truman was, according to Roger Cohen, embittered by feelings of being a hostage to the lobby and its ‘unwarranted interference’, which he blamed for the contemporary impasse. When a formal American declaration in favour of partition was given on 11 October, a public relations authority declared to the Zionist Emergency Council in a closed meeting: ‘under no circumstances should any of us believe or think we had won because of the devotion of the American Government to our cause. We had won because of the sheer pressure of political logistics that was applied by the Jewish leadership in the United States’. State Department advice critical of the controversial UNSCOP recommendation to give the overwhelmingly Arab town of Jaffa, and the Negev, to the Jews was overturned by an urgent and secret late meeting organized for Chaim Weizman with Truman, which immediately countermanded the recommendation. The United States initially refrained from pressuring smaller states to vote either way, but Robert A. Lovett reported that America’s U.N. delegation’s case suffered impediments from high pressure by Jewish groups, and that indications existed that bribes and threats were being used, even of American sanctions against Liberia and Nicaragua.[70] When the UNSCOP plan failed to achieve the necessary majority on 25 November, the lobby ‘moved into high gear’ and induced the President to overrule the State Department, and let wavering governments know that the U.S. strongly desired partition.[71]

            Proponents of the Plan reportedly put pressure on nations to vote yes to the Partition Plan. A telegram signed by 26 US senators with influence on foreign aid bills was sent to wavering countries, seeking their support for the partition plan.[72] The US Senate was considering a large aid package at the time, including 60 million dollars to China.[73][74] Many nations reported pressure directed specifically at them

            (Wiki)

            Realpolitik? The whole business smells – from the Balfour Declaration right through to the UN resolution.

          • carl jacobs

            Are you under the false impression that the British Foreign Office wanted the state of Israel to be founded? The FCO, the US State Dept and the US DoD were all united in opposing the creation of Israel. Secretary of State Marshall almost resigned over this issue. The UN vote was a too-clever-by-half ploy invented at the FCO. The vote was supposed to fail thus giving the British free hand to deal with Palestine as they saw fit. They didn’t count on Harry S Truman who single-handedly shoved this measure through.

            The British held sovereignty over Palestine in 1947. The British devolved the Mandate back to the UN, and the UN created the state of Israel. There was nothing illegal or duplicitous about this. The Arab nations all rejected the vote and openly threatened war if Israel was ever created. There was no secret that war was going to break out. That was one of the reasons the US State Dept and Military opposed creating this state of Israel. They didn’t want to fight a war against the Arabs for Israeli independence. No one in 1947 – literally no one – expected the Jews to win. There was a universal expectation of Arab victory followed by rape, pillage, murder, and flight.

            But those sneaky duplicitous treacherous Jews – somehow they managed to win.

          • Anton

            Carl,

            By 1947 the Brits had simply had enough of being sniped at by both Jews and Arabs in Mandatory Palestine. The Brits had also recently fought WW2 but (unlike the USA) saw it as a draining struggle. Moreover India was leaving the Empire, so that Suez was no longer a keypoint. The FCO was not in favour of an Israeli State but Britain’s overwhelming priority was an orderly departure. Britain had already let it be known that it planned to quit Palestine unilaterally, and the UN sent the fact-finding mission UNSCOP. I therefore do not agree that “The UN vote was a too-clever-by-half ploy invented at the FCO. The vote was supposed to fail thus giving the British free hand to deal with Palestine as they saw fit.”

            I hadn’t known about Truman vs Marshall, though. Interesting!

          • “Moreover India was leaving the Empire, so that Suez was no longer a keypoint.”

            November 5, 1956.

          • Anton

            ?

            The Partition of India was the 1947 partitioning of the British Indian Empire into India and Pakistan. It led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan (which later split into Pakistan and Bangladesh) and the Union of India (later Republic of India) on 14–15 August 1947.

            From:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_of_India

          • Suez was and still is a strategic waterway.

          • Anton

            Couldn’t agree more. But once we abandoned our territories east of Suez it was less important to us than before, and you can’t afford to do everything.

          • “They didn’t count on Harry S Truman who single-handedly shoved this measure through.”

            But where did the idea for creating an Israeli State originate and why? And what led Truman to change his position and support the resolution? Was there a universal expectation of an Arab victory?

            Please note, Jack did not call the Jews “sneaky duplicitous (or) treacherous”. However, they certainly played the situation well, from the beginning of the century.

          • carl jacobs

            If FDR hadn’t died, there would have been no state of Israel. FDR had no intention of honoring any pledge related to the Balfour declaration. FDRs death put Truman in the White House at precisely the right time. Truman had a close personal friend who was Jewish. Zionists gained direct access to the President through that friend.

            The push in 1947 came from the Jewish IDPs in camps in Europe. No one knew what to do with them. Europe as a whole pretty much wanted them to go home and disappear. But they had no homes to go back to. The fate of these people caught the President’s attention. He wanted “something” done about it. The Zionists offered the solution of Israel, which just happened to be what the Jewish IDPs wanted as well.

            It was the confluence of Truman, the Jewish IDPs, and British irritation with the US over Palestine that led to the UN vote. The vote was supposed to fail so that the Brits could get Truman off their back about this new state called Israel. It was all perfectly legal and above board. The Arabs and their allies in the FCO, MoD, State Dept and DoD just didn’t like the outcome.

          • Ivan M

            Boss I have some sympathy with Zionist claim that there is already a Palestinian state. It is called Jordan.

          • Anton

            The locals in what became Mandatory Palestine regarded themselves in the early 20th century as Syrian Arabs. Palestine was part of Syria which was under Turkish rule. The Old Testament boundaries of the Holy Land meant nothing to them.

            The leadership of the Arabs in the Holy Land and the Jordanian royal family are not on good terms. In 1970-71 Yasser Arafat and his followers were ejected from Jordan, which they had essentially sought to take over after large numbers of Palestinian Arabs had fled eastward across the River Jordan as a result of the 1967 war. In September 1970 (‘Black September’), following the hijacking of airliners to Jordan and several attempts on King Hussein’s life due to Palestinian Arabs, Hussein launched an assault against the PLO. By the next summer it had been forced out, and Arafat shifted his base to the Lebanon.

          • Ivan M

            Obviously they are not good terms. The Jordanian Royals can claim lineage to their Prophet (pour beer upon him), as the Sheriffs of Mecca. The Wahabis were usurpers, installed by foreigners – the British – and later sustained by the Americans. There is a homo connection somewhere. Horrance of Arabia as they call him.

          • Anton

            I’ve no particular axe to grind but I think the history you set out is not notably accurate. As Arab leaders the Brits preferred Husayn bin Ali and his sons to Abdul Aziz ibn Saud – they reined in Harry St John Philby for overstepping the mark in his support for the latter – but, soon after World War I, Britain was unwilling to intervene militarily in what it regarded as an Arab tribal war, which ibn Saud unfortunately won.

            Earlier, Lawrence of Arabia had worked during WWI with the sons of Husayn bin Ali against the Turks, and the British Army officer W.H.I. Shakespear (and subsequently Philby, after Shakespear was killed in action) worked with ibn Saud against the Turks and their allies the al-Rashidi clan.

          • Hoosegow …. WEIRD.

          • carl jacobs

            Here Jack. You should listen to this. It will make you a better person and expand your cultural horizons.

      • chefofsinners

        It means being against Zionism.

        • And Zionism is what?

          • chefofsinners

            Um, the opposite of anti-Zionism.

    • CliveM

      It is also a convenient hiding place for anti Semitism.

  • carl jacobs

    There will be no starting point for peace until Israelis get down on their knees and beg for forgiveness.

    Beg forgiveness for what? Refusing to die?

    OK, I get it. This is just salve for the self-inflicted wounds on Muslim pride that have resulted from decades of failure. But it’s kind of ridiculous to demand an apology from those whose principle offense is not letting themselves be slaughtered.

  • IanCad

    Thanks for this YG. Apart from your efforts I would never have heard of this episode of ecclesiastical dementia. I’m sure I’m not alone.

    OK Kikes!! Listen up!! This oppression of your eighty million neighbours is over! You are hereby ordered to march West. Thirty miles should do it. All six million of you.

  • Coniston

    In P. D. James’ novel ‘The Lighthouse’ there is a remark made, “…..a loss of faith in dogma was an occupational hazard for priests in the Church of England, judging from the public utterances of some of the bishops”.

  • “Jesus was a Palestinian” is perhaps the BIGGEST issue I have in all of this, as it sums up a huge amount of the problem with views against Israel.
    The first is historical – Palestinians are Arabs, Arabs came from Arabia, this happened 600 years after Jesus was born, so Jesus was very definitely NOT a Palestinian.
    Secondly, Jews are not considered Palestinians and Jesus’ Jewish heritage is well documented throughout the Bible and almost universally recognised as a historical fact, so for this statement to be made is any shape or form at a Christian event should set off warning bells and klaxons as soon as people witness it.
    Thirdly, to suggest that Jesus is an Arab would put some leaning towards the Islamic view on Jesus, but EVEN ISLAM puts Jesus’ genealogy through Isaac and thus a Jewish descent, rather than being a Palestinian!
    I can only hope that the Bishop of Lichfield is made aware of this and acts quickly to put his meddlesome dean in his place, or better yet removes him from his place!

    • Anton

      “Jesus was a Palestinian” is such a catchy phrase that the best response is not contradiction but to ask people what they mean. Then tackle their responses.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I might be tempted to simply tell them they are lying, and then tackle THOSE responses!

    • David Harkness

      Phil, you say ‘Palestinians’ are Arabs, but I am sure that I read an piece by Mark Twain after he visited the Holy Land. He recorded that he found the land sparsely inhabited, and that by Jews, Arabs, Armenians, Turks and Greeks. If that is true, the ‘Palestinians’ are a modern construction without the ancient heritage that is usually claimed for them. Agree with the rest of your post; to claim Jesus was a ‘Palestinian’ sets the whole of the OT at nought, and surely pulls the rug out from under any form of credible Christianity (If you get my drift).

      • I completely agree, it was what I was trying to point to. Palestinians didn’t exist when Israel was established in 1948, there were simply Arabs across the area. When Israel was established there was just what was being grabbed after the end of the British mandate running the area. Jordan didn’t exist, neither did Lebanon and Syria may not have existed either (though the maps I’ve looked at are unclear). It was just an area where Arabs and Jews had mixed well prior to WW1 and then between 1914 and 1948 it had become a mess for Jews, with increasing clashes between them and Arabs in the area.
        After Israel came into being the various nations, such as Jordan, came into existence and there were also a large number of Arab people who came to be in camps in Israel, some attacking Israel as terrorists but most just living in camps. These are the people that came to be known as Palestinians. But before they were known as Palestinians they were simply a part of the Arabs that covered the majority of the Middle East. As such, to say that Jesus was a Palestinian is the same as saying that Jesus was an Arab.

        • The Palestinians call themselves Philisthini or Philistines, descendants of those who occupied the ancient towns of Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Gath and Ashkelon (mentioned in 1 Samuel) – so strictly speaking they are not Arabs, although they now speak the Arabic language, like many of the nations conquered by the Muslims.

          • Anton

            To make that stick, you have to define Arab. I’m not necessarily disagreeing, but there are plenty of discordant definitions out there.Before Muhammad the Egyptians most certainly did not regard themselves as Arabs; today they do. Who is descended from Ishmael (or believes they are)? Some of the Palestinian Arabs claim descent today from the Canaanites, obviously so that they can say they were in the land before the Israelites. What would that make them? Is there any truth in it? I doubt it, but these are complex matters.

          • Please see my answer to Phil Taylor above.

            The Arabs are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula which includes the Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Many other ME nations including the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Egyptians began using the Arabic language following the Islamic conquest of their lands and there was of course some intermarriage with the Arabs. But those nations are not really Arab any more than the Afro Caribbeans who speak English are Anglo-Saxon. They are racially and culturally distinct from the Gulf Arabs.

          • Their only claim to that is that the “Gaza Strip” is the same area of land that the Philistines held during the Old Testament. However, I am pretty sure I remember it being claimed in the past and the claim having no basis in fact, indeed I seem to recall reading somewhere that there is no genetic proof to this claim. And from history there should probably not be, given that Philistia was conquered by the Assyrian Empire, which is known for it’s mixing of bloodlines of it’s conquered nations, hence the creation of the Samaritan people and their rejection by the Jews.
            Indeed, the name “Palestine” seems to have only started to be used by a Roman emperor who was so annoyed with the rebellions of the Jews that he wanted to remove the name Judea and Israel from the map, thus creating the region of Palestine, which was named after the Philistines of the Old Testament. And where did that name come from? It simply means “invader”, which is what the Philistines were, invading from the Mediterranean and taking control of a strip of land to the south of the coast of Israel.
            But as far as I am aware “Palestinians” have no descent from the Philistines. Indeed, there are documented interviews of people who claimed other nationalities, Jordanian in particular, who suddenly were told that they were Palestinians in 1967, clearly for political reasons rather than any legitimate reason.

            Of course, now that they have been such for so long they are now to be considered a nation and a people, but their existence as such is a deliberate, political, human creation of just under 50 years ago, not one of descent from Biblical times.

          • I am not suggesting that the Palestinian claim to Israel is legitimate, by any means, for as I understand it, they lay claim to more than just the Gaza strip. I am not certain whether the borders of the land that God promised the Israelites includes the present day Gaza Strip or not; but it marked out a larger area than what Israel now possesses. I am quite willing to accept that other nationalities who had previously occupied bits of land in Israel would now call themselves Palestinians in order to further ‘legitimise’ their claim to the land.

            However, I grew up in an Arab country, and even forty years ago (when I was a child), I remember that they were referred to as the Philisthini, and by people who did not necessarily have the Jewish-Palestinian conflict in mind. I have no idea whether this was always the case, or a relatively new trend at the time. However, they are distinct from the Arabs – in their appearance, manners and customs; and some of them tend to look down on the real Arabs of Arabia. I do not believe they are descended from the ancient Canaanites, for the Bible seems to make a distinction between the Canaanites and the Philistines.

            However, many nations in the Middle East now describe themselves as Arabs – the Iraqis, Egyptians, Syrians and Lebanese among others. These nations including some that spoke ancient Aramaic were ‘Arabised’ as well as ‘Islamised’. Islamisation occurred by conquest, but I think they then willingly adopted the Arabic language. Over generations, the idea of being as closely related to ‘the perfect man’ Mohammed (as Arabs) and speaking the language of Quran (and heaven) became attractive. There are Muslims from Indonesia to Turkey who today claim to be descended from Mohammed, although he had only 1 surviving child – Fatima!

          • Well the Philistines were descended from a people that came from Crete and attacked from the sea, so are often also referred to as the “sea peoples” due to where they attacked from. When we see them in the Old Testament they have already conquered a strip of land that is roughly the same as the now-named Gaza Strip, with 5 main city states of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath. However these were conquered by the Assyrian empire so that they “disappeared as a distinct ethnic group by the late 5th century BC” (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KYzrAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philistines#Deuteronomistic_history).
            Of course, when it comes to seeking to give a validity to the land going to the Palestinians what better way than connecting them to the Philistines, who have a claim going back to before the Israelites conquered the Promised Land under Joshua.
            Regarding the various nations in the Arab world, if you have a look at the difference between the peoples of North Africa and Africans to the south and you see that those in North Africa are very much of Arab descent. Therefore we can be pretty certain that the Muslim conquests brought Arabs westwards as they went and thus Arabs are all over the Middle East. However, we must also remember that Arabs are not like the English, French, Japanese etc, they are a collection of tribes rather than a national people group. As the conquer that continues, as we can see in the history of the Ottoman/Islamic empire, different tribal factions take over at various points, or have control of certain areas of the wider Islamic/Arabic empire. These tribal groupings continued to the point at which national boundaries were created after the British mandate ended. And whilst there will be some Syrians, Lebanese and so on who are not pure Arabs by descent, they will almost certainly have Arabic blood in their ancestry as they were assimilated into the Arabic world.
            As for the southern Asia islands and so on, I believe that they are more descended from converted Mongols or members of the Mongol empire, via the Mughal empire, with 3 of the 4 main khanates of the empire being Muslims (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_Mongol_Empire#Islam). So as they spread their empire in the east and south of Asia they spread Islam with them, with inter-marriage between nationalities meaning that many could claim descent from Mongols. It is also possible that with the Mongol empire becoming Muslim there may have been Muslim Arabs joining the empire in some form and thus spreading out with the empire as it conquered, meaning that there is some truth in the Arabic descent of Muslims in Indonesia. Of course, all it takes is that possibility for some to then make the jump to the near impossibility of descent from Fatima for most of them.

          • Although I know very little about the history of the North African nations, there is no doubt that they are closer racially and culturally to the Middle Eastern peoples rather than the Black Africans. They speak Arabic, but that would not make them Arab, in the sense of being descended from the original inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula like the Saudi Arabians. Please see my answer to Anton below.

          • Given that there are a lot of replies here, a link to that would be useful.
            Regarding the spread of the Arabs, keep in mind that conquest at that time was both gaining territory from others and filling it with your own people. However, you need to also add in that Muslim Arabs being conquered back would likely have stayed as their jihad was all about spreading Islam, and so spreading it in retreat would happen as well as in conquest. Also, if they stayed then they could raise support for when the area is reconquered, making it easier to spread further. Thus it is entirely possible that people’s claims to Arabic descent is correct.

          • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_Peninsula

            I think the above link explains who the true Arabs are; and most of so-called Arabs of today will acknowledge the difference.

          • That merely shows where the Arabs came from. After all, Medina and Mecca are both there. But the Muslim Arabs then spread out and conquered areas that they then repopulated with themselves. The way of the Arabic tribes was all about population migration, this was just done on a grander and more violent scale.

          • BTW I think you have described their strategy for Jihad very well.

        • Coniston

          I have always understood that before modern Israel, in the British Mandate the area now known as Jordan was called Transjordan. After 1948 it became Jordan. Is this correct?

          • If we go with what this map suggests:
            http://ithielehistory12.weebly.com/uploads/1/3/6/4/13642599/810563245_orig.jpg?365
            then 2 things are clear.
            1 – Palestine as an area under British control was created in 1922
            2 – Palestine and Transjordan were both considered to be inhabited by Arabs, not (Trans)Jordanians and Palestinians.
            So Jordan as we now know it, according to what this map suggests, is pretty much what we now know as Jordan.

          • Coniston

            Thank you.

          • Anton

            Two years earlier.

    • Anton

      180 !

  • Anton

    Dear Dean Dorber

    I don’t believe you. Please come here and debate it with me.

  • chefofsinners

    I look forward to the impending lightning strike on Lichfield cathedral.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Zionism amongst the world-wide Jewish community has waxed and waned over the last couple of centuries – that is no excuse, however, to act in a way which denies that there now is an Israeli state, and that it is a home where Jews are welcome. Therefore denying someone the right to ask a question because they have Zionist views (support the right of Israel to exist) – there is only one possible reason.

    • michaelkx

      Therefore denying someone the right to ask a question because they have Zionist views (support the right of Israel to exist

      That is the politics
      of the commissars party

  • Inspector General

    An interesting post, Cranmer.

    Adrian Dorber, bless him, might think of himself as a goodly fellow. He who would do no wrong. Plenty of these around in dog collars. All things to all men, you might say. A Vicar of Bray character even. Anti-Israel is the flavour of the day, so he’ll go along with it for now. We’ll avoid the unkind suggestion that he is, at present, someone’s dupe.

    David Collier is a man on a mission; if you read his site. He jealously guards his bone. He’s a one bone man. A man whom if pushed, could probably find anti-Semitism in a bowl of strawberries. We’ll avoid the unkind suggestion that anyone who becomes concerned every time he barks is similarly a dupe. Single issue types, you see. On the verge of derangement, some of them…

  • len

    Be quite interesting when these Anti Semites meet the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David Jesus Christ Himself.

    • Merchantman

      Thanks my thought exactly. Anti-semitism is a key litmus test of those rejecting Jesus himself.

      • michaelkx

        me too it should be interesting to say the lest.

  • Inspector General

    If the CoE is to survive, and weather through the powerful other single interest groups threatening to seize control of it, there will come a time when a bishop will summons his cathedral dean and say “You pull a stunt like that again, and you’re out!” As the Catholics do. Take note, Welby…

    • Anton

      CAN an Anglican bishop dismiss the Dean of his cathedral? I don’t know, but I do know that it’s not so clear as you think. Anybody know?

      • None of the above

        No, the bishop has no power either to appoint or to dismiss the dean. There have been various incidents over the decades which have demonstrated the bishop’s impotence in that regard, not least the long-running saga at Lincoln Cathedral in the 1990s. It was not for lack of trying that the Bishop of Lincoln, and indeed the Archbishop of Canterbury, were unable to remove the Dean of Lincoln, but rather for lack of legal power to do so.

        • Anton

          I remember that row (and thought Brandon Jackson right) but the fact that the Bishop did not sack either side doesn’t prove he couldn’t sack a dean.

          I’m not doubting you that a bishop can’t sack a dean, by the way; I suspected this was so, but wasn’t certain.

          • None of the above

            I dare say there are more authoritative sources out there (and unfortunately I don’t have access to the Church Times archive), but a quick Google turned up this:
            So arcane are the administrative principles involving a Dean and a Bishop that nobody — not even the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has overall spiritual jurisdiction in the diocese and who has ordered an investigation — is in a position to dismiss any of them.
            and this:
            At a press conference last month, Dr Carey … admitted he had no power to compel either man to resign unless they were found guilty of a criminal offence.
            (I admit that I don’t know how any of this may have been affected by the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, though I doubt it was allowed to intrude upon delicate power relationships among senior staff.)

  • Redrose82

    There is little doubt that the modern day clergy of the C of E is in thrall to the Labour party. There is also very good reason to believe that antisemitism abounds in the Labour party. What went on at Lichfield Cathedral should therefore come as no surprise.

    • Orwell Ian

      Typical leftist tactics were evident. No platform for dissent. Questioners perceived as hostile were silenced. When Labour embraced Islam as an ally antisemitism inevitably intensified. It will get worse with every internal enquiry that denies its presence.

  • chefofsinners

    Relax everyone. The Dean has commissioned a report by Shami Chukarabbi and she says there’s no problem.

    Also, to avoid any confusion:
    Shammy: backside of a sheep, favoured by used car salesmen to add a high gloss, thus diverting attention from areas of corrosion.
    Shami: er…

    • len

      Chamois/Shami good for getting those grubby areas squeaky clean(or appear so)

      • dannybhoy

        Ermine doesn’t do the job so well, but once you’ve got it.. who cares?

  • The Explorer

    Of all the puzzling bits of the Bible – and there are many – I find none more so than Romans’ 11: 25-26. “this partial blindness has come upon Israel only until the Gentiles have been admitted in full strength; when that has happened, the whole of Israel will be saved.”

    The plain sense of that seems to be that God turned the Jews anti-Christian, and has kept them that way, so that the message would go instead to the Gentiles. When the full quota of Gentles has been reached, God will remove the mental block imposed on the Jews, and they will turn to Christ.

    ‘Romans’ 9:27 quotes Isaiah that “only a remnant” shall be saved, so what is meant by “the whole of Israel”? Is it those alive at the time that God decides to remove the block that keeps them anti-Christian? Or does it include all those Jews who have lived and died through history hostile to Christianity because God made it impossible for them to be otherwise? And why have there always been a few instances of Jews becoming Christian prior to the general turn around? Shouldn’t’ they have waited until the decreed moment? Can anyone help?

    • Anton

      Consider the translation “Israel as a whole” meaning “Israel as a body, a collective of people with a cultural identity”.

    • dannybhoy

      “The plain sense of that seems to be that God turned the Jews anti-Christian, and has kept them that way, so that the message would go instead to the Gentiles. When the full quota of Gentles has been reached, God will remove the mental block imposed on the Jews, and they will turn to Christ.”
      The Israel of God is made up of both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews have the honour of being God’s Chosen People, but as Paul explains in the beginning of that chapter..
      Romans 9:3
      3 “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised![a] Amen.

      God’s Sovereign Choice
      6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.
      That’s the explanation. Being born Jewish does not make one a son of Abraham, because salvation is based on faith, not the keeping of the Law. Abraham was justified by faith -not moral perfection. As was David, as were all the Old Testament saints.
      When the Jewish nation as a whole rejected Christ’s claim to be the Messiah, God sent the believing Jews (disciples/apostles) to the gentiles as well as the Jews.
      Had the nation of Israel accepted Jesus as Messiah, it would have been the Jews who brought the Gospel to the gentiles..

      • I agree with this BUT when Paul says ‘not all who are descended from Israel are israel’ he does not go on to say only believing Jews are the real Israel. This is true but it is not what Paul says. He says only ‘the children of promise’, those born through Isaac, that are the true Israel and even here only those whom God chooses. He does not mention faith or human behaviour and says in fact God’s choice was before birth and apart from human behaviour. In this passage the salvation of some from ethnic Israel and the rejection of others is purely based on God’s sovereign will.

        • dannybhoy

          The reason I stick with an emphasis on free will and God’s expressed desire that men will repent -even though He knows not all will, – is because otherwise you get into more problems trying to explain why God chooses some and not others, and what’s the point of doing anything if it’s already planned out?
          For example, Paul says in 2nd Timothy 2..
          “20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honourable use, some for dishonourable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonourable,[c] he will be a vessel for honourable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
          Whatever Paul says in theological terms it is clear throughout his pastoral writings he is urging believers to apply themselves to their faith. ‘It’s a race he says, run it well!’
          I love these two verses because Paul is encouraging us to be self disciplined and to dedicate ourselves to becoming vessels for honourable usage..
          If he really believed we are all chosen and we are as God ordained us to be, he would have nothing to say.
          This view of predestination is imv spiritually stultifying..

          • Danny

            I was simply pointing out the reasoning of the text you cited. Are you accusing Paul of being spiritually stultifying?

            I love the text in 2 Tim 2 and the text in Roms 9. Both are God’s word for our edification.

          • dannybhoy

            :0)
            What St Paul says and what he exactly meant by it is known only to him and to God.
            Plainly Paul did not believe in predestination in the way that some interpret it..

            1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (ESVUK)

            “19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings

          • ‘What St Paul says and what he meant by it is known only to him and to God.’

            Danny, I’m surprised at you saying this. Would you say the same re 2Tim 2?

            What Paul says he says to the church and intends to be understood by the church. In fact what he says is not hard to be understood. You do not find it hard to understand you simply find it hard to accept.

          • dannybhoy

            You left out the follow up sentence!
            “Plainly Paul did not believe in predestination in the way that some interpret it..”
            And that’s true isn’t it, as I went on to illustrate.
            Verses that are difficult to understand have to be held in balance with the passages which illustrate what the Church believed and what the Apostles actually preached.

          • Can’t see how the verses you cite contradict my view of predestination (as taught in Roms 9, Eph 1).

          • dannybhoy

            I think we’re talking at cross purposes here John. The distinction I am making is between what the verses about predestination you quote say, and what Jesus and Paul and the early church actually practiced. In other words, they didn’t preach as though they believed there were people predestined to be saved -(whether they wanted to be or not); there preached that men should repent and turn away from sinfulness and rebellion against God..
            Example:
            Mark 12> “29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

            Our Lord didn’t say,
            “Your are obviously one of the Elect, chosen of my Father..”
            He says,
            “You are not far from the kingdom Of God..”
            and that’s my point, because you see it through the Old Testament too. God calls people to repentance. If they repent He withholds judgement. If they don’t He goes ahead and judgement falls.

            God makes it clear at every turn that He would rather men repent, and that does not jive with a secret agenda that He has already decided who will be saved and who will not.

    • Ivan M

      We have to wait for a while then. The overwhelming majority in the world are not Christians. Then too so called Christians such as myself will have a hard time answering to Jesus.

      • Oisín mac Fionn

        “The full count” doesn’t necessarily mean the majority. If everyone who is going to become Christian already has, the full count may already have been reached. Or maybe it will be very soon. Or maybe it will be far in the future. Who knows?

        Isn’t it a waste of time to worry about the Apocalypse? It’ll come when it comes. Trying to predict it is a pointless exercise.

        I mean, if gay marriage heralds the end of the world, why hasn’t it already ended? It’s been around for 15 years or so in various countries and so far, none of them have been overturned and perished in fire and water. Neither have any of the countries that permit divorce or abortion.

        Seems to me that if gratuitous sin signals the end of the world, the world should have ended many decades ago. As far as sinful acts go, the Holocaust and the Stalinist purges far outweigh divorce and gay marriage in their gravity. And if abortion is a sin, well it’s been happening since the dawn of civilisation and probably at a rate not much different from now, and will continue to happen no matter what the law says, so why would it provoke the Apocalypse now when it never has before?

        Every generation of Christians seems to think it’s going to be the last, and this, right the way back to Christ. Maybe we will be, but maybe we won’t. If you’re saved, why does it matter?

        • Anton

          Never before has there been globalisation and an Israelite State in the Holy Land, both necesssary. Clearly there is not going to be a world army converging on Jerusalem in the next few years (the event that triggers Jesus’ return). On the other hand Daniel warned that the end would come like a flood, acceleration feeding on acceleration, and we can feel that acceleration in the pace of world events today. Given that globalisation was inconceivable just two centuries ago and is a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, I suggest that the timescale is less than “centuries”. An intermediate timescale between “years” and “centuries” is decades. I am prepared to be that specific, although not more so (even in private).

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Don’t they have to rebuild the Temple first? And isn’t there a small obstacle in the form of a mosque that’ll stop that happening any time soon?

          • Anton

            A place of worship has to be built there, although whether it will be a Jewish Temple or a multifaith building is not clear. There’s plenty of room atop Temple Mount without demolishing the Dome of the Rock or the al-Aqsa mosque. But those might indeed be demolished to make a statement. The resulting uproar is consistent with unfulfilled prophecies of large-scale wars in the Middle East.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Hasn’t happened yet, so don’t hold your breath.

          • Anton

            Sure, but the prophecies of a second return of the Jews to the Holy Land took 1800 years to come to pass… God is big, and thinks big.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            On that timescale you have a long wait ahead of you if you’re counting on witnessing the Apocalypse.

            But who knows, with recent developments in gerontological medicine, lifespans could soon be greatly extended. If you have the money and the desire to live that long, maybe you’ll be there when Christ descends in glory. I don’t think I will be though. And that thought doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

            Never understood all this morbid interest in the Apocalypse. It’ll come when it comes and why would I want to waste my time trying to figure out when that will be?

          • Anton

            I gave you my best estimate of when a couple of posts up. It strikes me as weird not to be interested in the end of the world and when it will come; the point for Christians is not to concentrate on that subject to the exclusion of the rest of Christian life and the gospel.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            It strikes me as weird to speculate on matters we can know nothing about, especially when the Bible states very explicitly that no man can know the hour of destruction.

            It’s like you’re ignoring a pretty specific instruction to concentrate on your own salvation rather than worrying about events that are totally out of your control.

            And besides, a psychology that’s fascinated by death, destruction and endings is rather morbid. You’re alive man. Enjoy it while you can rather than worrying about how and when it will end.

          • Anton

            I think you will find that the verses about not knowing when refer to the unbelieving world, rather than the church which has been given the signs to watch for. Remember also that “No man knows the hour” might indeed have been true when it was spoken 2000 years ago, but it is not the same thing as “No man will ever know the hour right up until the moment it happens”.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

            Are you claiming to be God that you know that day and that hour?

            Big-headed these Protestants, aren’t they?

          • Anton

            If you reread my post a little above you may verify that I am saying I DON’T know the year, let alone the day or hour. That is not the same as having no sense of timescale, for we are told to observe the signs.

        • dannybhoy

          Very well put Oisin.
          Oisin?
          You’re foreign?

          • CliveM

            Irish mythical hero

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            I’m from Ireland. Whether that makes me foreign depends upon what you are.

          • dannybhoy

            Hummmph.
            That might depend on your politics.. ;0)

        • The Explorer

          “I mean, if gay marriage heralds the end of the world.” It doesn’t. Gay marriage isn’t that big a deal. It isn’t mentioned among the things that will herald the Apocalypse.

          Gays are around 3% of the population. Not all gays want to marry anyway. So the actual numbers involved in marrying one another are insignificant. And it isn’t true that, given the chance, gays will live happily ever after in holy wedlock: any more than it’s the case for heterosexuals. We live in a fallen world. Look at all the fanfare that heralded the marriage (civil partnership. granted) of Matt Lucas. It pointed the way ahead. But divorce within eighteen months, followed by the drug addiction and suicide of Lucas’ ex-husband. And that despite all the well wishing of celebrity society.

    • chefofsinners

      Big subject, Exp.
      Some would say your remnant is 144,000, who will be all that is left after a time of great trouble, thus constituting the whole of Israel.

      Remember the blindness is partial so there have always been some Jews saved.
      And remember Paul was himself literally blinded by the Lord in order to bring him to faith.

      • dannybhoy

        This is why you wear the black goggles, just in case?
        ;0)

        • chefofsinners

          ‘Cos it’s already happened.

      • dannybhoy

        144,000 I think is a symbolic number. I hope so anyway. That wouldn’t jive with my theological belief that God wants as many saved as possible.
        Imagine being #144,001 and being turned away at the door..
        “Bbbbut (gulp) I have a ttticket….”

      • Reveltion 7 describes the same group from two perspectives. They are an innumerable multitude from very tribe and nation and they are 144, 000 from the tribes of Israel. This number is clearly symbolic as I much in Revelation. The peopl of Israel were numbered to provide an army. The 144,00 describes the persevering church as an army, an image continued elsewhere in the book.

        • chefofsinners

          God describes the same group in two entirely different ways in the same chapter?
          This is a form of exegesis which opens up many new possibilities.

          • The model is first employed in ch 5. There John hears of a lion and sees a lamb; the warrior and the sufferer are one. In ch 7 he hears of the 144,000 (an army) and sees a multitude none could number (the suffering church).

          • chefofsinners

            No doubt each of the six seals and four horses in chapter 6 are one and the same.

          • Ch 14 describes the 144,000

            1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

            Did not defile themselves with women further points to the 144,000 as an army. Such was the rituals of soldiers in Israel before battle. It is the army of the lamb who like him conquer through sacrifice. They sing a song that celebrates victory in battle. They are the redeemed. This also Seems to point to identifying the 144,00 as the church viewed as an army.

          • chefofsinners

            The 144,000 in chapter 14 are immediately distinguished from those who hear the gospel and are redeemed from every “nation, tribe, language and people” (14:6). This corresponds to the immediate distinction also made in ch.7 between the two groups.
            God is described by multiple names from the start of scripture, but that is, of course, because He is ineffable. Aspects of His infinite nature are revealed in each image / name.
            Sometimes images coalesce in Revelation, but when they do, the fact is clearly stated. e.g. in the case of the woman “This title was written on her forehead: Mystery Babylon the great…” (17:5.)
            Whenever God juxtaposes two descriptions of groups of humanity, they are distinct: Jew and Gentile, Pharisee and Sadducee, sheep and goats, male and female.

    • In days of apostasy which Roms 9:27 describes only ‘a remnant’ are saved. Romans 11 25,26 describes a final eschatological salvation where the nation as a whole believes. This is not a time of apostasy and rejection (by God) but of national belief and acceptance (by God). The OT had prophesied this time of new covenant awaking for the nation a variety of times, not least in Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones.

  • Royinsouthwest

    It is a pity that on his visit to Lichfield Cathedral David Collier did not follow the example of a famous Jew who overturned the tables of the money-lenders who defiled the Temple in Jerusalem.

  • dannybhoy

    “The Dean of Lichfield Cathedral clearly has a lot of time for Palestine and boundless sympathy for Palestinians, and not much time or sympathy at all for Israel and Jews.”

    As a full member of an Anglican church (whilst managing to remain first and foremost a Christian;0),
    my experience is that there is a lot of anti Israel sentiment in some quarters. Not openly or strongly expressed dislike -(Anglicans don’t do passion), but a vague and seemly ‘disapproval’.

    • IanCad

      Let’s face it Danny, anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in the bowels of Christianity. Most evidenced by the early abandonment of the Creation ordinance to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on The Sabbath Day.

      It seems mighty inconsistent how those who claim fealty to the other creation ordinance – marriage between a man and a woman – can quite blithely worship on a day never sanctified by God. Further, a day named in honour of what is defined in scripture as the greatest abomination of them all.

      “Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.” Ezekiel 8:15

      “—-between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.” Ezekiel 8:16

      • Anton

        Certainly it was changed from the same day as the Jews a long time ago in order to make a point, but it doesn’t matter what day and Christians are not under the Sabbath regulation.

        • IanCad

          Tell me Anton, when was the Decalogue declared null and void?

          • Anton

            It is part of the Mosaic covenant between God and the Israelites, so it never applied to gentiles outside ancient Israel.

            Jesus gave various commands to his followers – ie the church – and most of the decalogue were included, but not the Sabbath.

            If you believe you have to keep this law, you must also regard yourself as under the whole of the Mosaic code. Do you?

          • IanCad

            Strange that. There were no Israelites around during Creation Week.

          • Anton

            Tell me where in the Bible anybody is commanded to keep the Sabbath before Sinai.

          • IanCad

            You’re not serious!!??

          • Anton

            If it’s that easy, why not just give me chapter and verse?

          • IanCad

            “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:3

          • Anton

            Which suggests that a day of rest every seven days is a good thing. But precedent is not legislation of a binding command.

          • IanCad

            Remember the Sabbath Day.

          • Anton

            Which is a quote from the covenant made at Sinai between Israel specifically and God, is it not?

            I gladly accept that a day of rest every seven is a good thing, for the individual and as a national ordinance. Why the present issue is important to me is that I am not prepared to be told that if I choose to work on that day, or if I choose to rest an a different day from the Jews, then I am sinning. Or to see other Christians told the same.

          • IanCad

            Note, Anton, I did italicize the word “Remember.”

          • Remember means observe.

          • IanCad

            More accurately; Remember to observe.

          • IanCad

            “I gladly accept that a day of rest every seven is a good thing.” Mighty big of you. So, after due consideration, you conclude God may be right because He agrees with you!?

          • Anton

            If you wish to misconstrue my statement of faith, I cannot stop you.

          • IanCad

            Maybe I was being a little rough Anton. Sarcasm is the easiest form of debate. My apologies.
            I cannot though, see how you can continue asserting that the Sabbath of the Jews is not that same Sabbath ordained at the end of the creation week.

          • Anton

            That’s never been my issue. I am saying that there is no mandatory church calendar, including none at weekly level. In that case, I can hardly be interested on whether Christians “should” gather on the same day as the Jews or the day after.

          • This tells us it was God’s rest. It was not man’s rest. When sin entered god began ‘working’ again. His rest now is future. The Eden rest and the Promised Land rest point to this eschatological rest. It is a rest entered only by faith.

          • IanCad

            The Ceremonial Mosaic Laws and the Decalogue are clear different ordinances.

          • Anton

            They are all part of the Mosaic covenant between God and ancient Israel, which gentiles have never been under.

          • IanCad

            Anton, this is getting ridiculous. The original Sabbath ordinance had nothing to do with Israel.

          • Ian,

            There is no original sabbath ordinance. There is no imposition of a sabbath until the Decalogue and there it was the sign of the covenant. The covenant of law was made only with Israel. In the NT believing Jews are no longer under law. They have died with Christ and death frees them from any relationship with it.

            Clearly the old covenant contains universal principles from which we can learn as we pass them through the prism of salvation history. But we do not look at the covenant and assume we are to keep it. If we did we would all be Orthodox Jews or something similar.

            And remember Paul says we cannot pick or choose which parts of the covenant we will keep. We are either obligated to all of it or none of it. There is no in between. We cannot alter the terms of the covenant. Thus Paul champions deliverance from it.

          • dannybhoy

            Joke time…
            “Moses had been up on the mountain for a long time. The People of Israel were getting nervous. Where was he? The tension continued to build until finally a man is seen making his way down the mountain carrying something. The people gathered at the foot of the mountain. Moses reaches the bottom and faces the crowd. “My people, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is I have negotiated with the Lord and brought him down from twenty to ten. The bad news is adultery is still in.”

          • IanCad

            Yeah!! And amid all that thundering, shaking, lightning; God told Moses to “Remember the Seventh Day.” Moses said. “No Lord! You’ve got that wrong. It should be the First Day.”
            For sure!

          • dannybhoy

            I think the first believers kept both the Shabbat and met on yom rishon. It doesn’t matter. Rabbi Saul said so in Romans 14..
            “3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgement on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgement on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

            5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”
            When I lived in Israel some congregations met on Shabbat, most on Yom Rishon. If you take into account Jeremiah 31 both are okay..

            “31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
            It’s the same with denominations. It’s not what day or point of doctrine you gather around. What’s important is that you gather around to worship God through Christ Jesus our High Priest..

          • IanCad

            Yes, but in accordance with His Law.
            Sounds like a brush-off answer. you post a serious question and one I need to think more about before I answer. In fact, I have to get back to work.

          • dannybhoy

            Which law?
            The whole tenor of Scripture shows that men are not justified or loved by God because of moral perfection but by their faith in Him.. Which is what St Paul is explaining.
            Wouldn’t you have loved to be sitting down with Abraham just chatting when God appears in human form with two angels? Wow! I certainly would.
            Or to be there when Moses says to God,
            “18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord’. And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

            What a privilege!

          • But we see a greater glory in Jesus Christ.

          • IanCad

            Danny, getting back to you,
            In his address to the Romans, Paul was talking to new converts, or dithering souls. He is referring to the Ceremonial law only, not the weekly Sabbath.
            Also often cited by those who are not entirely onboard with the Decalogue, is Colossians, more specifically Ch. 2:16, and stopping right there, although you didn’t as your reference to Romans verse 33 makes clear.
            Let me come at this from another angle: I have already mentioned the immutability of God. It is a widely accepted characteristic of God. He and His Law does not change. Coupled with this are the notions of justice and legal procedure contained in Scripture, the latter much concerned with evidence. Whilst conceding that there are, within the written word, things that are hard to understand, weight of evidence surely must be accounted for in our understanding of the teachings in that word. This, I submit, clearly resolves any controversy regarding exactly which day is ordained of God and which of man.

          • dannybhoy

            Ian, just seen your post. It’s late now and I will need to read it through a few times.. :0) I’ll try to get back tomorrow.

          • Ian

            You are simply parroting covenant theology here. Covenant theology fails to do justice to the nuances of salvation history. God does not change but his ways with men do change. He himself states that there will come a time when he will make a New covenant with the house of Israel which makes the old covenant redundant. The old covenant is what Scripture calls ‘the law’.

          • dannybhoy

            If I understand you correctly you are referring to the immutability of moral law -the Ten Commandments?
            Does this link describe your position? https://gotquestions.org/ceremonial-law.html

            If Paul himself says …4 “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man regards a certain day above the others, while someone else considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes a special day does so to the Lord; he who eats does so to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God”
            If you are convinced that the Shabbat is they day we should observe that’s fine as long as it doesn’t bring you into legalism, as long as the worship and following of the Lord Jesus with the fruit of the Spirit in evidence then that’s all that matters. When I lived in Israel I encountered all kinds of weird and wonderful beliefs amongst Christian believers. Stuff I had never heard of or thought of; but in the end it boiled down to believing in Jesus for salvation and abiding in Him, and seeing the fruit of the Spirit.
            I liken it to when you meet a girl and you fall in love ith her, and she so affects you that you can’t stop thinking and talking about her….!

          • IanCad

            The sacrificial system ended with Christ’s death. Christ came not to change the law. He also followed the Sabbath Commandment.

          • Anton

            But the law was given only to ancient Israel. It is often wise precedent elsewhere but who is covenanted to keep it? To save us going round in circles, please answer this: Do you believe that if I choose to work in my office over a weekend (both Saturday and Sunday – I don’t want to divert into which day it might be) then I am sinning before God? Whatever else you may reply, please include a clear Yes or No.

          • IanCad

            Certainly The Decalogue was given to Israel. We who claim to be Christ’s have been grafted in. (Romans 11:11-31)
            You want me to be your judge? Without knowledge of the law there is no sin. (Several places) However if we continue to transgress after we have knowledge of the law it is a different story. (Hebrews 10:26-31)
            Yes or No!!?? You force me to say Yes; but I tremble for myself, it brings to my mind the carelessness of my own behavior in light of my professed fidelity to the Law of God.

          • Anton

            We both know that you’re not my judge. The point is that you and I disagree on whether private working over the weekend is a sin before God, and will therefore be advising other – and in particular – new – Christians oppositely about that. I say you are bringing the church under legalism. (Perhaps you conversely consider me licentious.) Two points:

            * To bring the church under this law you have only precedent. As far as commands go the Sabbath is commanded only in a covenant between the nation of Israel and God. The church is a voluntary society, called out of all nations.

            * Do you really consider that Christians living in North Korea (where there is no day of rest) or Saudi Arabia (where it’s Friday) are sinning before God unless they go on strike on the Sabbath – and thereby get imprisoned for their faith? Don’t you think that the witness for which God wants us to put our lives on the line is evangelism, or standing up for the weak and oppressed in front of the strong and the oppressors, etc?

          • IanCad

            Anton.
            It is not legalism to obey the law of God. To add to them is; note the hundreds of Sabbath restrictions in the time of Christ. It is clear to me that we are saved only by grace, but that grace is not license.

            “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Rev. 22:14

            Isaiah 24:5 – speaking of the end times:

            “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”

            Your second paragraph I addressed earlier.

            Your final point pertains to those who are not, as my wife and myself are, sitting down to a nice Indian supper which I have just picked from town. We have it easy. Religious liberty – that from which all others spring, is not a problem for us. However, in the scriptures I see no heroes who have not upheld the law to the best of their ability.

          • Anton

            It is not legalism to obey the law of God.

            As you must know, we are discussing whether Sabbath-keeping is required of Christians, in the sense that it is a sin not to. We have succeeded in reducing our difference to a clear Yes or No as the answer to this question.

            What country Christians live in is irrelevant, for if it is a sin before God, as you say, then it is something that Christians ought to be willing to die for. That is, North Korean Christians ought to be as willing to die for refusing to work on a particular day as for refusing to bow to a statue of Kim Il Sung. Do you *really* believe that? Think about the consequences for the church. Individuals die under persecution but are replaced even faster. The entire church would be wiped out in 8 days if what you say is correct.

            And do you refuse to wear clothes of two fabrics, which is also a command in the Mosaic covenant that has never been repeated to others?

          • IanCad

            Anton,
            Two things; First, you seem unwilling or unable to recognize that the Ceremonial Law (nailed to the cross) and the Ten Commandments are two different codes. The first written by the finger of God, the other by the handwriting of Moses.
            Consider the Ark of the Covenant. Inside was placed the tablets of stone, upon was written the Decalogue. Outside of the Ark was placed the Ceremonial law of Moses. (Deut. 31:26)
            Secondly, I do not aspire to second guess God’s judgments upon those who suffer under the grossest of tyrannies.
            Your final point, again, refers to the law of Moses. Valid in its time, curious in ours.

          • Anton

            Ian,

            The ceremonial law and the decalogue are merely subcategories within the Mosaic covenant. The notion of covenant is God-given and scriptural, and it is the core issue here; what covenant is the church under, and how does it relate to the OT covenants? Nowhere in scripture is there any clear categorisation of which Mosaic regulations are ‘ceremonial’ and which regulations come into other categories that man has invented. The church is either under the Mosaic covenant as a whole or it is not. By filleting Mosaic law and asserting which parts the church is supposedly under and which parts it isn’t, you are adding your filleting rule to scripture.

          • IanCad

            Anton,

            You seemed to be joined at the hip with the conflation of the two laws.

            I can only resort to Christ,

            “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matt. 5:18

          • Anton

            Spoken to Israel. The church is not Israel.

          • And it is fulfilled in the people of God, in the church but only by dying to it and living in Christ. In the new covenant the law (in its entirety civil, moral and ceremonial) is written on the heart and the Spirit empowering this renewed heart to love fulfils the law.

            Note, ‘fulfils’ is not the same as ‘keeps’. Keeps suggests the letter of the law whereas fulfils for Jesus and the NT writers means that to which the law pointed. For example, Christ has fulfilled the animal sacrifice aspect of the law. Yet the law demanded animal sacrifice not a human sacrifice. It demanded these be killed on the bronze alter not on a Roman cross. The fulfilment exceeds the letter of the type. Likewise we present ourselves as living sacrifices, as burnt offerings, this is modelled on the sacrifices of the law but the fulfilment while having a correspondence to the letter of the law, is not the same.

            Anton is right, the law is a unity, a whole. We are obliged to keep it (note ‘keep’) completely or not at all. Again I urge, read Romans, Galatians and Hebrews where these matters are clearly addressed.

          • Fully agree.

          • Ian, ‘the law’ and God’s commandments to his new covenant people are not the same thing. You constantly speak of the law as a kind of universal morality whereas Scripture speaks of it as a covenant made with Israel. It is true there are universals contained in the law and these Gentiles who had no knowledge of the covenant instinctively realise (the works of the law written on the heart).

            You need to read Romans and Galatians apart from the assumptions of covenant theology. Read it recognising that when Paul speaks of the law he is referring to the mosaic covenant, and this covenant in its entirety. Avoid making in your mind distinctions Paul does not make (moral, ceremonial, civil) and see it as Paul does as an indivisible unity.

            In Isa 24 ‘the laws’ is not a reference to ‘the law’ but to the basic principles God has built into existence. To be sure some of these are enshrined in ‘the law’ but the two are not the same. The everlasting covenant is not a reference to the mosaic covenant but almost certainly the noahic covenant in Gen 9.

          • IanCad

            John,

            This subject is deep and not permissive of brevity. However in the breach thereof I shall have to respond. That is unless the forecast of rain turns true and I can quit working for the rest of the day.

            I shall only address the Sabbath question at this time. Firstly, Christ is Lord of the Sabbath. (Matt. 12:8)

            He also made the Sabbath for man. (Mark 2:27)

            It seems to me entirely illogical to suppose the Law is applicable to only certain times. Genesis 6:8 shows clearly the demands of the law: ” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Again, I must state the obvious; no law no grace.

          • I agree it’s hard to grapple with the issues in the confines of a thread. That is why I urge you to read Galatians and Hebrews. I kno you will be well familiar with these books but I’m encouraging you to read them as far as possible without the blinkers that a covenant theology grid imposes. Sorry if this sounds patronising, I don’t intend it to be.

            If, for example, you read Romans 7 Paul makes it clear that it is impossible to be married to (in relationship with and under the authority of) Christ and the law at the same time. To be married to Christ one must be free from marriage to the law. Now the law here means the mosaic covenant as it often does when Paul contrasts law and gospel ( clearly sometimes ‘law’ refers to other things e.g. A principle; the Pentateuch, the whole of the OT, etc all adding to our confusion). Few would dispute this. Clearly, Paul includes in this no longer under the authority of the law, the Decalogue, because the one example of ‘the law’ he gives in the chapter is ‘you shall not covet’ (7:9). Not only is this a commandment of the Decalogue but it is the most obviously internal command of the Decalogue.

            Again, for Paul, our death with Christ (or more accurately, a Jewish believers death with Christ, note… I speak to those that know the law 7:1) frees him from this covenant.

            Confusion arises as soon as we interpret the law as merely universal obligations. It is not. It is a covenant and a covenant of works at that.

            ‘No law no grace’

            I am at a loss Ian to see where you get this. Grace is required where we fail in our obligation to God. Whatever commands Adam had required no grace until Adam sinned. It is not a law that requires grace but a broken law. I speak of grace in the conventional sense of grace as ‘undeserved favour’.

            Actually in Gen 6 it is not Noah’s disobedience that invokes God’s grace but his obedience. Here grace simply means ‘favour’. Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.

            But Paul juxtaposes grace and works (specifically the works of the law).

            5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Roms 11

            And here is Paul’s persistent contention. Why is Paul so opposed to being ‘under law’? Why is he so determined to distance believers from the mosaic covenant of law? Because it is a covenant of works not grace. The basic premise of the law was ‘This do and live’. It was a covenant that promised life by law-keeping. To accept the authority of law as some C1 Jewish Christians wished to do, and ironically many C21 gentile Christians is to base your standing with God on works, on law-keeping. Of course, neither C1 Jewish believers nor C21 gentile believers intend to do this. Each wants to insist on it, or parts of it, because these seem helpful. But Paul will have none of it. He insists we cannot pick and choose which parts we will keep. It is a covenant. If we accept obligation to any of it we must accept obligation to all of it. We cannot renegotiate its terms. But more seriously, to accept its authority is to place ourselves under a covenant of works. And works and grace are opposites. That is why in Galatians he says to those who wished to accept the authority of some OT laws that to do so is to ‘set aside the grace of God’ (2:21) ‘fall away from grace’ (5:4) and to have ‘received the grace of God in vain’ ( 3:1-6). Cf 1:6.

            Law and gospel (law and promise) are two utterly different principles. They were represented in Eden by two trees; the tree of life (gospel) and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (human responsibility).

            Anyway, this is already too long a comment. I’ll stop here.

          • Ian

            Regarding Jesus and the sabbath remember that Jesus went to great lengths to demonstrate that with his arrival a new state of affairs had arrived. The law and the prophets were until John but now in Christ’s arrival a new order has arrived. The kingdom has arrived and the new wine of the kingdom cannot be contained in the old wine skins of Judaism or the old covenant. The sabbath was the key symbol of that covenant and as a consequence Jesus often did his miracles on the sabbath with, it appears, the specific intention of challenging the Jewish leaders to see the end of the old order.

            That aside, you must not read too much into the use of the word ‘man’ in the phrase ‘the sabbath is made for man… for the sabbath’. This is no need to universalise the word ‘man’. Jesus is simply saying to the Jewish sabbath observers that he addresses that the sabbath was intended for the good of the people, the nation.

          • I agree with you in this Anton. But assuming Ian’s point that in Christ we become in some sense part of Israel we can see from the NT that neither Jew nor gentile believer is ‘under law’ or answerable to its authority for we have died in Christ to the world/realm where it had authority. This is Paul’s argument in Romans 7.

          • Anton

            Agreed. But in the particular sense that we become ingrafted into Israel we are *not* under the Law of Moses, for Paul described himself as “not being myself under Law” (1 Cor 9:20; this is a word-for-word translation of his Greek).

          • Agreed. Yet Paul as a Jew had been under law. The reason he now can confidently assert he is not under law is because he recognises he has died with Christ and his life is now hid with Christ in God. The life he now has belongs to a different realm/world where the mosaic covenant has no jurisdiction. The law was addressed to (Jewish) man ‘in the flesh’ but Paul is not ‘in the flesh’ but ‘in the Spirit’. He is not ‘alive in this world’ Col 2.

            Paul’s argument re the law and many other things rests on recognising this change of status/position/realm that has taken place in Christ. Much of the Christian life is simply a working out of what it means to have died, been buried, been raised, been seated in heavenly realms with Christ.

          • Christ came to fulfil the law which is not the same as not changing it. In him the caterpillar became a butterfly.

        • Pubcrawler

          Not so much a change. Both Sabbath and Lord’s Day were observed from the very earliest days of the Church, with a gradual decline in the former from the second century under increased pressure from the ‘anti-Judaisers’.

          If you can find a copy, C.W. Dugmore’s The Influence of the Synagogue on the Divine Office ch. 3.1 gives you more references than you could wish for.

          • Anton

            Somewhere I have a photocopy of part of Samuele Bacchiocchi’s book on the subject, From Sabbath to Sunday, which is minutely detailed.

          • Pubcrawler

            I know of it, but have never read it.

          • Anton

            I read a friend’s copy and photocopied bits of it. It’s a lot better than the same author’s book on why Christians should not drink alcohol.

          • IanCad

            I’ve had the privilege, on several occasions, of meeting and talking with the late Dr. Bacchiocchi. I do recommend you read his book. I have a copy.

          • Pubcrawler

            And I recommend to you the book I cited.

          • IanCad

            I am not familiar with it, but agree entirely with the notion of the two competing days of rest. It is where our week-end comes from. Sunday worship was a great attraction to the Pagans who thought there might be something to that Christianity business. I’ll have to research this but I understood Sunday was a day of fun and games. Saturday was a fast day. Guess who won.

          • I have read a fair deal on this issue, including some of Bacchiocchi. However, once writers get into examining changes from Sabbath to Lords day outside Scripture conjecture soon steps in and one’s own prejudices colour the picture. It is far safer to stick with the inspired word. Certainly it is our only authority.

          • IanCad

            My point throughout has been to rely on the written word; for, within it, you will find no justification for the changing of the Sabbath.

          • Ian

            That is a sweeping statement. Paul expressly says again and aginthe church is not under the mosaic code which is the only place the sabbath is imposed. We need only read the NT to see that Christians met on the first day of the week and not the sabbath. Further the sabbath is never imposed by the apostles in fact the one mention made of a sabbath day is to forbid imposing it. The burden of proof lies firmly with you to prove its continuance. The evidence is against it.

          • IanCad

            Read It.

          • Anton

            I photocopied bits of it after reading a friend’s copy from cover to cover. An excellent work of history. Now please answer my question: where in the Bible is anybody commanded to keep the Sabbath before Sinai?

          • IanCad

            Anton, Please read my post above to Danny which started this ding-dong.

          • dannybhoy

            Well said Pubcrawler.

          • IanCad

            A bit late now Crawly, but it should be noted that, in the early church, those who worshipped on the day of the sun were a small minority.

          • Anton

            There’s also “From Sabbath to Lord’s Day”, ed. D.A. Carson, Zondervan 1982.

      • Ivan M

        Ian we’ve been here before. All of Christ’s appearances to the Apostles were on a Sunday. Jesus Christ sanctified Sunday as the day of worship. Saturday represented the close of the Old Tradition. Sunday that of the New inaugurated by Jesus Christ Himself.

        • IanCad

          Please show from Scripture where Christ changed the day of worship.

          • Sybaseguru

            His Resurrection?

          • IanCad

            On the First Day. It in no wise warrants a change in the immutable Law.

          • The Explorer

            Will al Sunday observers forfeit salvation, in your view, by worshipping on the wrong day; or will God forgive an honest misreading of Scripture?

          • IanCad

            We are judged according to what we know – not what we should know. Unless wilfully ignorant. Where there is no knowledge of sin there is no condemnation. No law, no sin – no grace.

          • But there is no immutable sabbath law. This is in your mind, created by a system you have adopted.

          • IanCad

            John, the ten Commandments are immutable. That is why they are contained within the Ark in Heaven.

          • Ian

            where do you get that they are written within the ark in heaven? But that aside, they are immutable in the sense that they are part of the mosaic covenant and for all who are under that covenant they remain unchanged.

            However, we are not under that covenant and so they are not imposed on us. Further, this covenant itself has passed away finding its fulfilment in a new covenant. In the new covenant we have hearts that love God and man and this love fulfils all that the old covenant anticipated. In other words the letter of the law (in its weakness addressed to men in the immaturity of flesh) has been superseded and so fulfilled in the life of the Spirit ( in its power that fills mature sons in the Spirit). Cf 2 Cor 3,4. Gals 3,4.

            Fulfilment is a new wine incapable of being contained in the old wine skins.

            Let me say, this does not mean that Christians are free to steal, lie, commit adultery etc but the reason we refrain from such is not because they were enshrined in the mosaic covenant but because these are self evidently ‘works of the flesh’ and we have put off such things living in the new life of the Spirit. Such things are not the fruit of the Spirit Gals 5.

            We may add that much of the Decalogue, indeed many of the principles enshrined in the so-called civil law was written in the heart of Gentiles. They instinctively knew these were wrong. We need only look at the legal codes of gentile nations and hear their moral philosophers to see this.

            Can I make a more general point. Responsibility rests on relationship. This is clear even in the (mosaic) law. It is summed up as love towards God and neighbour. Every relationship we have creates corresponding responsibilities (our relationship to nature, husband, wife, children, employer, state etc). All law does is objectify and codify this. Though of course the objectifying makes a breach of the relationship obligations even more serious.

            For example, no law is needed to tell me that in consideration of my responsibility to others I must not drive at speed in a built up area. If I fail to drive carefully I am culpable whether a law exists forbidding it or not. If a law is framed (a command to drive at 30 mph plus a sanction upon breaking this law) then my culpability is increased if I speed.

            The Mosaic covenant functioned like this in Israel. There were many things that were sinful in Israel’s behaviour before the law was given. Once the law was given forbidding these things the punishment for doing them was greater simply because they were now breaking an express command. Romans 2 is helpful here.

          • IanCad

            John,

            A late response, but I wish to make a couple of points. The Ark in Heaven is referenced in Rev. 11:19.

            The “Handwiting of ordinances” is the Ceremonial law. The New Covenant is the Ten Commandments, written on our hearts. Hebrew’s Ch’s 8-9 make this (relatively) clear.

            We, as Protestants accept Sola Scriptura” Extra-biblical writers may be brilliant, perhaps even inspired. Writings about covenant theology, predestination, dispensationalism, all have to appear before the bar of The Word. That so much has been written can only suggest scipture is not sufficient – a notion contadicted in the Bible.

          • Systems are not wrong in themselves. We all have a system; a system is simply the way we see the unity of Scripture. What is wrong is slavery to a system and forcing verses to say what they don’t for the sake of the system. We should always be open to tweaking our system, or, more radically, abandoning the system if wrong. Personally, my own ‘system’ is a cross between covenant and dispensational theology, something very close to what now comes to be called ‘new covenant theology’.

            The NC in my view is the whole of the OC written on the heart. There is much in the ceremonial and civic aspects of the law that is ethical and finds fulfilment in our lives. For example, the teaching regarding the nazarite. Paul says that instructions regarding the leaving grain for the ox applies to preachers remuneration. And so on. The law finds fulfilment in the NC but not in the sense that we are under its authority to ‘keep it’.

            Regarding Revelation, I see it as apocalyptic literature. It is visionary and should not be taken literally just as the language of OT apocalyptic visions is not to be treated literally (areas of Daniel, Ezekiel and Zechariah). The language of Revelation is all a form of code/imagery largely drawn from the OT. I think ch 1 indicates this to the reader clearly. We are told for example that the seven lamp stands are seven churches. The image of Christ is clearly symbolic.

            I readily acknowledge this makes it difficult to be dogmatic in interpretation. It is however, this principle that leads to me viewing the 144,000 in Israel as an image of an army. I do not see any clear literal reference to ethnic Israel in the book.

          • IanCad

            John. This has turned into a marathon. Where else but HG’s blog?
            these controversies will come up again, as may others.
            Good to talk with you.

          • Ivan M

            He changed the day of worship through His actions:

            Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.
            John 20:19

            St Thomas was not around

            Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

            So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

            But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

            A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
            John 20:24-27

            Jesus could have chosen any other day to appear to Thomas to clear his existential doubts, either individually or with the Apostles. He chose the following Sunday. This shows that He prefers to show His glory in a special way during community worship and that too on a Sunday.

          • IanCad

            Christ’s sacrifice was entirely in keeping with the Sabbath ordinance. He rested in the grave on Sabbath. He emphasised the continuity of The Law.

          • Rather his presence in the grave on the sabbath, the sign of the whole covenant, emphasises the end of that covenant. He is there as a result of its curse. When he arises it will be to a new life in a different order, an order beyond the reach of the covenant of law entirely. Christ is in heaven today. He has no obligation there to the old covenant.

          • Anton

            Rested? He was busy there according to St Peter, preaching to the antediluvian generation (1 Peter 3:19).

            What of vicars and others who lead services and preach – doing their job – on the day of rest?

          • IanCad

            Anon,

            Thought a quick response would be doable. NoWay!! I’ve tried to boil down a controversial passage to a blog format. I give up! I will cheat and let a good preacher do the heavy lifting for me. I generally don’t do this but necessity presses.


            As to vicars and Sabbath; an extremely close reading would likely favour your point. God is not unjust and what is done for His glory, and for the care of our fellow mortals must surely be all square with him.

          • Anton

            I’ve not an hour to drop on what was really a peripheral point to our dialogue, but thanks. The vicar question is more important; a law isn’t a law if there are unstated exceptions.

      • Pubcrawler

        So were the Apostles wrong to meet and break bread on the first day of the week (Acts 20.7)?

        • IanCad

          Often cited but entirely misunderstood. The day started in the evening. Paul was to depart for Troas in the morning.

          • Pubcrawler

            What is to misunderstand? ‘First day of the week’ is not the Sabbath, whether that means after sunset on (what we call) Saturday or before sunset on (what we call) Sunday.

          • IanCad

            They are saying goodbye to a dearly beloved brother. They can meet whenever they please.

          • Pubcrawler

            Indeed. just as they can worship whenever they please, ‘seven whole days, not one in seven’, ut dixit poeta. Levitican rules call for worship every day, not just the Sabbath. Breaking bread indicates celebrating the Eucharist, which was done from the earliest times on the Lord’s Day.

          • IanCad

            Communion does not have to be celebrated on any particular day.

          • IanCad

            “Lord’s Day.” Which one, Saturday or Sunday, Seventh day or First day?

      • dannybhoy

        I can’t agree with you my cyberfriend. There are a few passages that record the struggles between the Messianic Jews who completely embraced salvation whilst remaining in a Jewish context -celebrating the feasts, attending synagogue, but no longer looking to the Mosaic Law for justification; and those Jews who somehow believed that salvation should be contained within the Mosaic context. They wanted non Jewish believers to be circumcised and to observe some of the tenets of Judaism.
        Overall the New Testament makes it clear that both Messianic Jews and Gentile believers should love the Jews whilst refuting erroneous teaching.
        I would say that creating a ‘bogeyman’ is what power blocs do to keep people in line, and the established Church gradually did that as it acquired more civic power and influence. Promoting the Jews as the enemies of Christ was a smart if hypocritical move in the part of the Church, and I suspect that because most Christians were dependent on their priests and bishops to explain the faith to them, they went along with it.
        As the Bible says ‘salvation is of the Jews’ and as Christians we should be standing with them here in the UK and in Israel. Not that we should agree with everything they do. We should question, but if any Christian has the opportunity to go to Israel they should go; but go with a Jewish tour operator and friendly Jews. Then listen and learn, and earn the right to criticise!

  • Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League in America, writes:

    We have long known that George Soros is the single most influential donor to dissident, and anti-Catholic, organizations. Now we know from Wikileaks what I long have suspected: John Podesta has been the most influential point man running offense for Soros. Together, they have sought to manipulate public opinion against the Catholic Church.

    In 2012, Sandy Newman, founder of the left-wing group, Voices for Progress, asked Podesta for advice on how best to ‘plant the seeds of the revolution’. The revolution he sought was an attempt to sunder the Catholic Church. Newman, who is Jewish, confessed that he was a rookie at trying to subvert the Catholic Church. But he was determined to do so.

    • Ivan M

      Soros the gift that keeps giving.

    • dannybhoy

      Have you read ‘The Shadow Party’ by David Horowitz and Richard Poe?
      I quote.
      ” How George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Sixties Radicals seized control of the Democratic Party..”
      Don’t know how completely true it is, but it fits the hypothesis of a very intelligent and determined clique working towards the dumbing down of a population through education in order to control them.
      The arrival of computerized communication and the info revolution was probably a coincidence, but it has certainly helped develop a trend towards shallow thinking and soundbite answers..
      People have stopped reflecting and embraced reacting.

      • @ dannybhoy—Thanks. I’ll add it to my ever-expanding reading list! Kevin MacDonald, writing in 2002, pages xiv and xv, has thoughts on the identity of that ‘very intelligent and determined clique’:

        The rise of a de-ethnicized non-Jewish managerial elite that rejects traditional cultural institutions—as exemplified by former President Bill Clinton and now Senator Hillary Clinton—and interwoven with a critical mass of ethnically conscious Jews and other ethnic minorities is an enormously important fact of our current political life.

        The rise of such a de-ethnicized elite is hardly an inevitable consequence of modernization or any other force of which I am aware. Such de-ethnicized managerial elites are unique to European and European-derived societies.

        [Americans at the turn of the 19th century] saw themselves as Christian, and they thought of Christianity as an essential part of the social fabric and their way of life…They did not think of the US as a Marxist hell of war between the social classes. Instead they thought of it as a world of harmony between the social classes in which people at the top of society earned their positions but felt a certain sense of social obligation to the lower social classes.

        That world has vanished…The war to disestablish the specifically European nature of the US was fought on several fronts. The main thrusts of Jewish activism against European ethnic and cultural hegemony have focused on three critical power centers in the United States: The academic world of information in the social sciences and humanities, the political world where public policy on immigration and other ethnic issues is decided, and the mass media where ‘ways of seeing’ are presented to the public.

        • dannybhoy

          Sounds interesting, I’ll look it up on Abe books.

          • Anton

            Excellently put.

          • dannybhoy

            Indeed.

          • As Anton says, excellently put.

    • Ivan M

      Soros is not someone Jews of whatever stripe will defend. He revels in amorality. He recalls his childhood going around with his father, listing the property of his fellow Jews in Hungary, for confiscation as among the happiest days of his life. He was then all of fourteen years old. He is a morally sick man and should seek forgiveness before it is too late.

      • dannybhoy

        Sometimes the bad things draw us closer to God, and sometimes we lose faith altogether.
        Soros seems to have gone down that road. Very sad.

        • Ivan M

          May well have been the case, since he survived because of his father’s action while four to six hundreds of thousands of his fellow Jews from Hungary perished.

          • dannybhoy

            And people wonder why Israel is so concerned about security. They know that as far as the West is concerned they would stand alone again..

          • Ivan M

            They are a very tough people. It is difficult to imagine Indians like myself being as understanding where survival is concerned:

            Apropos
            https://youtu.be/shgGvpkUMp4

          • dannybhoy

            You mean an Indian Christian?

          • Ivan M

            I mean Indians and for that matter almost every other nation in the world.

          • dannybhoy

            Ivan you’re losing me. Danny’s not good at the subtle stuff..

  • Rev. Norman Nicoll

    Jesus was a Jew. The roots of Christian faith are Jewish. Non Jews are ingrafted into the family of faith. Abraham is our father. The Hebrew Bible and New Testament is the evolutionary journey of faith by God’s faithful people. Jews are our brothers and sisters as are Palestinians.
    When will the church wake up get real?

    • len

      Still hoping.

  • dannybhoy

    ot.
    I notice a lot of absent friends, Happy Jack, Carl, Clive, Avi, Dreadnaught, Sarky, amongst them.
    Anyone got any news?

    • chefofsinners

      Linus.
      Is he picking them off one by one?

      • dannybhoy

        I’m still praying for him.
        He’s probably sick…..
        Where’s auld Jack? I hope all is well.

    • Ivan M

      Did you inadvertently turn off messages from these friends? I.e., flag the posters?

      Happy Jack, Carl and Clive have commented on this very post

      Avi has not been heard from for a couple of months, Dreadnaught had posted on the previous topic, and Sarky no longer wishes to continue posting – this is what I gather.

      • dannybhoy

        Flag the posters?!
        I wouldn’t know how even if I wanted to ;0)
        Who was the other guy who used to support Sarky. Jo10 or something. He seems to have stopped too.
        Why are you upsetting all these people?

        • Ivan M

          Bloody hell – dannyb-h-oy? From Calcutta I presume?

          • dannybhoy

            Ssssssh..

        • IanCad

          DanJ0 has been very inactive of late. Always had a good observation.

          • bluedog

            Also missing is the wonderful non mouse. Not seen for years.

          • IanCad

            And, Anabaptist, D Singh, so many more.

          • dannybhoy

            It’s good that we remember these folk with respect and affection. To an extent they have shared some of themselves with us.

    • Anton

      Jack, Carl and Dreaders have posted recently. Sarky pulled out after the Vicky Beeching thread. We may hope he still reads us without commenting, and I for one wish him well. Not heard from Avi for a while – Happy Succoth if he is reading this.

      • dannybhoy

        (Sarky) Really?
        What you think in support of or in dread of the knock at the door?
        Avi is perhaps thinking of something witty to hit us with… ;0)

        • Anton

          Jack had an acute suggestion as to why Sarky quit; he thought it wasn’t simply perceived homophobia but something to do with his job and the fact that that thread elicited a legal threat.

      • IanCad

        Carl hasn’t posted today because I chastised him for a silly comment. He’ll sulk a little, lick his wounds. Don’t worry, those Yanks are made of solid timber. He’ll be back.

        • carl jacobs

          Ummm … huh? I’ve been beating Jack with a stick lower down the thread.

          • IanCad

            I surrender!!

    • Pubcrawler

      Our other chum has packed his bags and left without trace. Till next time…

      • chefofsinners

        The poof you have with you always.
        See Oisin above.

        • Pubcrawler

          I think you might be onto something there, Wiggy.

        • Oisín mac Fionn

          Well that’s offensive. I don’t like that kind of talk so if it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll tootle back off to Tír na nÓg.

          I was told this was a Christian blog, so I’ll be wanting to know from the person who sent me here what the feck she means by “Christian”. Christ didn’t use the p-word, or the n-word, or the c-word, or any other abusive epithet. There’s nothing Christ-like about belittling sinners and treating them like outcasts.

          I don’t agree with everything my church says, but I can’t find fault with the Catechism when it says: (Homosexual persons) must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.

          Is the p-word respectful, compassionate and sensitive? If you think it is, I don’t have anything further to say to you.

          • That’s a fair point. Well made.

          • chefofsinners

            Sorry, I thought it was an ‘owned’ term, used with pride. I refer you to St Elton of John:
            “They can call me an untalented b*****d, they can say I’m a poof, but they can’t lie about me.”

          • You would prefer the terms used in Catholic Church’s Catechism? That same sex sexual is an “intrinsically disordered inclination” and acting on this desire is an “objective disorder” and an “intrinsic moral evil”.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            The Catechism is what it is.

            The church’s understanding of human sexuality was developed in pre-scientific times by pre-scientific minds, focused not on the reality of the world around them, but rather on how they wanted that world to be.

            To the Catholic mind, the equation man + woman = baby is the only acceptable formula for living one’s life. For the proportion of humanity who can’t or don’t want to live that way, the only alternative is self + God = deal with it . Anything that departs from these formulae is anathema and must be decried as sick and/or evil.

            The Catechism does this in terms that pathologise homosexuality in a manner that bears no relation to the real lives of homosexuals. I know gay couples whose relationships are every bit as stable and loving as any traditional couple’s marriage. But the church refuses to recognise this and claims that all gays are promiscuous and all gay relationships are doomed to failure.

            This disconnect between the reality of life to which we all bear witness and the claims of the church make it very, very difficult to take the Magisterium seriously.

            I have no issue with the creeds and the role of priests as the providers of the sacraments. But when they set themselves up as the arbiters of morality, things start to go awry. We all know what they get up to behind our backs. And then they tell us how we should live?

            I don’t think so. A former parish priest of mine was one of the worst at preaching all about virtue and then fiddling with kiddies whenever their parents’ backs were turned. And he did it for years, no matter how many complaints there were.

            The church covered his back and moved him on to new parishes whenever the complaints in one place became too numerous to ignore. And this was its systematic response to any allegation of child abuse: cover the criminal’s arse and hush the whole thing up.

            Now they’ve been exposed, they’re trying to claim it was just the actions of a few indviduals. But this is evident nonsense. The cover up was institutional and ran from the top to the bottom of the church. It would never have been exposed if brave individuals from outside the church hadn’t challenged the institution and forced it to own up to its misdeeds.

            And this is the institution we’re supposed to trust with forming our morals?

            Each priest’s conscience is between him and God. I’ll happily take the sacraments from them on the basis that we’re all sinners, so a sinful nature can’t invalidate the sacraments or nobody would ever have received a valid one. Or not since Christ’s time, at least.

            But that’s where their role stops. As guardians of public morality they’ve been definitively discredited. If they try to hold us to ransom by denying us the sacraments unless we bow to their moral dictates, it’s perfectly acceptable to lie to them just as they’ve lied to us for so long. Morality is now decided by the church universal of all believers, and as opinion polls show with reliable consistency, Christians do not oppose contraception, or the right of women to choose abortion, or the right of gay couples to live as they choose.

            No doubt you’ll say I’m not a Catholic. But what does your opinion matter to me? I attend Mass with a clear conscience and smile and nod at the priests with a “yes, Father, no Father, three bags full Father”, knowing full well that they’re nothing more than masters of ceremony. They have no moral authority to speak on behalf of God.

          • Bye Linus.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            OK then. Bye bye Lucy.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I’m still here…

      • IanCad

        Hmmm… I was right then?

  • Anton

    Oops… no offence meant!

  • dannybhoy

    Get back to earning an honest crust..

    • CliveM

      Earn more if it was a dishonest one!

  • The Explorer

    Thanks to all those who responded to my question below. The question about the Jews is like the whole question of Election: summed up by God and Pharaoh.

    God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that Pharaoh would not obey him. God then punished Pharaoh for not obeying him – though Pharaoh could not do otherwise – by killing his son. If the text said simply that Pharaoh was disobedient of his own volition, there would be no problem; but it doesn’t. I used to dismiss Calvinism out of hand, but now I see, from what all the statements about Election have in common, that the Calvinists are on to something.

    Whether the Elect become the Elect by responding to God. or respond to God because they are the Elect is the big chicken-and- egg question. If faith is a gift from God, then you can’t have faith unless God chooses to give it to you. What if He doesn’t? What does one say to unbelievers? It may be you’ll never be able to believe. Nothing to do with the quality of intellectual arguments: God just hasn’t chosen you. It makes a nonsense of the promise that God wishes everyone to be saved: and that statement, and Election, co-exist in the same book in seemingly irreconcilable antagonism.

    • len

      God wishes all to be saved but He knows all will not take up the offer of redemption…God foreknows all who will respond to Jesus Christ .Does this make them the elect?.God wants all saved but knows not all will take up the offer of salvation….

      • No. election is not based on anything in those chosen.

        • Jack posted this above:
          God is responsible for everything in the Universe. He has provided the occasion, the circumstances, and the environment in which people operate and He knows what we do in any given situation that presents.

          God does not unjustly or directly harden people’s heart and give them over to sin. He does not act unjustly and He always allows humans to exercise their free moral agency.

          The argument runs like this:

          There is no time in God, but one thing is logically before another. There are three logical points in God’s decisions on predestination:

          1) God wills all men to be saved and since to love is to will good to another for the other’s sake, this is the same as saying God loves us.

          2) God looks to see who resists His grace gravely and persistently, so persistently that the person throws away the only thing that could save him. With regrets, God decrees to let such persons go: reprobation because of and in view of grave and persistent resistance to grace.

          3) All others not discarded in step two are positively predestined, but not because of merits, which are not at all in view yet, nor even because of the lack of such resistance, but because in step 1, God wanted to predestine them, and they are not stopping Him.

          This is predestination without merits.

          • Actually HJ, I can go along with much of this. Where I demur is at point three, and in particular, ‘ 1, God wanted to predestine them, and they are not stopping Him.’

            When God predestines them to salvation they will certainly be saved. The certainty is not based on them not stopping him but on his determination to show mercy. Left to themselves in the state of nature they would ‘stop him’ if they could. What God does is change their heart. He work a miracle of new birth giving them a heart and will to believe. He brings the clean from the unclean (as he did at the virgin birth which is the archetype of the spiritual new birth).

            There are of course many biblical images to describe how this change of heart is accomplished. One is of the lover who pursues the object of his affections and as he woos her heart becomes inclined towards him. Love, affection, desire is created. This is just one among many ways that Scripture uses to help us grasp something of the heart change that is brought about. This picture fits better with your description but as an image it does not do full justice to the radical heart surgery that is required for our salvation. The image of the new birth does this much better. Another would be Ezekiels vision of a valley of dry bones which is somewhat similar.

          • Jack thinks what you’re describing is the difference between actual grace, offered to all, and efficacious grace, available to the Elect, based on God’s foreknowledge. Whereas damnation is contingent on a persistent resistance to actual grace, election is a freely given and unmerited gift. It also seems to Jack that the process of salvation is effected differently in different people. This is captured by your references to a lover pursuing a person and how this wooing inclines the other’s heart towards him. For some it will be “love at first sight”; for others it may occur in the moment before death.

    • chefofsinners

      Irreconcilable in a human mind, but true because God has said it.
      This is why Christianity is known as a ‘faith’. You gotta believe it.

    • Oisín mac Fionn

      The way this was explained to me was that we’re under a new covenant now and God, having explicitly promised us forgiveness through repentance, no longer interferes with free will, so a “Pharoah situation” couldn’t arise again.

      Which of course doesn’t help Pharoah very much, now does it?

      What of the souls whose free will was usurped by God before Christ? Were they saved as compensation for the suffering they endured on earth as a result of God’s actions?

      And how good is his promise not to interfere in our decisions now? He’s changed his mind once. Could he not change it again?

      I can’t be getting on with predestination as a doctrine because it makes a nonsense out of free will. If God made some of us for salvation and others for damnation and we can’t change that, then I don’t understand how God can be good. Of course I’m just a fallible human being so my understanding of good may well be faulty. But the kind of God who would consign us to the flames through no fault of our own sounds more like a devil to me.

      Perhaps this means I’m just not one of the elect. If so, I wish someone would confirm it so I can get out there and have some good fun committing all those sins I daren’t have a crack at now. If my fate is set in stone, I might as well hang for a sheep as for a lamb. Or will how I deal with my predestined damnation determine the circle of hell I’m consigned to?

      Who’d be a Christian under those circumstances? No wonder they think we’re bonkers.

      • dannybhoy

        The centrepoint of our faith is Jesus, the Son of God, and “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Hebrews 1:3
        In other words if you want to know what God is like look at Jesus..

      • chefofsinners

        Hello again Linus.

        • dannybhoy

          Never! You’re obsessed Chef…

          • chefofsinners

            Mark my words. One of his favourite phrases: ‘might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb’

          • CliveM

            I think you’re right. Also see his ‘fowl’ snipping.

          • dannybhoy

            Behold! a Frenchman in whom there is no guile..
            Who cares. As long as he keeps coming back there is hope for his soul.

        • Anton

          Certainly Linus has pulled his recent comments under that name, which in the past has presaged further comments of similar style and content under a different name. However Oisin is claiming to be a Christian, just one who is rather more Arminian than Calvinist. I shall take him at his word.

          • Pubcrawler

            “Oisin (who joined Discus on October 7th) is claiming to be a Christian”

            So did the Spongebob version on first appearance.

          • Anton

            I know! But if he changes his views here, we can change our responses. Suppose it isn’t Linus, or he really was considering conversion…

          • Pubcrawler

            Benefit of doubt still being given. But doubt diminishing with every comment.

          • CliveM

            Don’t feel a lot of doubt, but willing to give the benefit.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Armenian? That’s a bit exotic for a poor aul culchie like me.

            Now if ye’d said Arklow, you wouldn’t be far wrong.

        • Oisín mac Fionn

          Hello Charlie Brown?

          Are we calling each other by Peanuts character names today? I must have missed the memo.

      • Few who believe in predestination believe he made some of us for salvation and others for damnation. In Romans 9 God’s choice is predicated on an ALREADY FALLEN SINFUL HUMANITY. From a fallen unbelieving humanity he chooses to have mercy on some and to harden others.

        • Oisín mac Fionn

          What you’re saying is that there’s no such thing as free will. God chooses those he wants to save and the Devil take the rest. And there’s not a damned thing anyone can do about it.

          It’s a hard, cruel philosophy and if God is hard and cruel then so much for divine mercy. Where was God’s mercy for Pharoah, who would have taken pity on the Jews had God not hardened his heart. There would be no other reason for doing so because if his heart was already hard, it wouldn’t require hardening, would it?

          • Linus, we’ve covered all this before on many occasions. For someone who likes to present as intelligent, you really can be obtuse.

            God is responsible for everything in the Universe. He has provided the occasion, the circumstances, and the environment in which people operate and He knows what we do in any given situation that presents.

            God does not unjustly or directly harden people’s heart and give them over to sin. He does not act unjustly and He always allows humans to exercise their free moral agency.
            The argument runs like this:

            There is no time in God, but one thing is logically before another. There are three logical points in God’s decisions on predestination:

            1) God wills all men to be saved and since to love is to will good to another for the other’s sake, this is the same as saying God loves us.

            2) God looks to see who resists His grace gravely and persistently, so persistently that the person throws away the only thing that could save him. With regrets, God decrees to let such persons go: reprobation because of and in view of grave and persistent resistance to grace.

            3) All others not discarded in step two are positively predestined, but not because of merits, which are not at all in view yet, nor even because of the lack of such resistance, but because in step 1, God wanted to predestine them, and they are not stopping Him. This is predestination without merits.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Another Peanuts fan, I see.

            Well then Lucy (I call you so because your tone and attitude seem to match that character quite well) if there is no time in God, how can there be a before or an after? These are expressions of time and without time they have no meaning. There can be no sequences if there is no time. It’s logically impossible.

            Of course you’ll call that a “mystery” and claim it’s all part of the wonder of God. I call it a cop-out and claim it’s all part of the credulity of faith.

            My take is that I quite simply don’t know who or what God is or how he operates, but I hope he’s benign because if he isn’t, we’re all in trouble. If he is benign then we can be predestined for nothing, as proper account must be taken of acts of contrition and of free will.

            No doubt you’ll condemn me for my heretical views. Go ahead. I’m not answerable to you and if it relieves your feelings to damn and blast others to hell, feel free.

          • What I’m saying is your free will will take you to hell. Your free will will lead you into more and more disobedience and rebellion against God. Your will follows the inclinations of your heart and your heart (and mine) is utterly opposed to God. It is incurable evil, in the sense that it never seeks to place God first and give him the honour that is his due. It resists him at every turn. God does not make us sin we do that all by our glorious free will. He does not make us rebel. He does not make us choose unbelief, evil and finally eternal judgement. All of these we choose by our free will.

            Our only hope is for God to step in and change us. He must give us a new heart. He must interfere and radically change our will. He is under no obligation to do this. We are cosmic criminals who have forfeited any right to his kindness or consideration. Eternal prison is our just desserts. A new heart is an act of pure mercy. We have no right to it. No complaint if it is withheld. Mercy is by definition undeserved. It is also unconstrained. The one who is merciful is under no obligation to be so. Why should treason be treated with mercy? Why should the nazi war criminals of WW2 have their sentence cut or commuted? Who would have cried out for mercy for Hitler?

            The reality is that it is not our judgement that is staggering and incomprehensible. When we grasp the gravity of our sin judgement is all too just and proper. What is truly staggering to the point of almost stretching justice and righteousness is mercy. It is what may seem reprehensible.

            No human freedom, so much lionised, has led us down a path to hell. ‘My way’ is not something to lionise but to abominate. It is the way of evil. To turn away from and reject the wise commands of the truly good God is by definition a turning from light to darkness, from good to evil, from life to death, from wisdom to folly. The very choice of ‘my way’ has inherent in it every kind of evil. The deification of self is the essence of incomprehensible undiluted evil.

            It is not God who is in the dock but you. And your attempt to spin reality and put the blame on God simply exposes the depth of your depravity.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            So what you’re saying is that free will – the thing given to us by God and without which the Fall could not have happened – is a bad thing.

            By endowing us with free will – in effect by making us in his image – God messed up big time.

            In your perfect world, free will would not exist and we would all be obedient and contented poodles.

            It’s an interesting concept of paradise. No free will. Just robotic obedience and virtue without temptation. We should all be good little children who not only never do evil, but never can do evil, because we simply can’t choose to do it.

            If that’s paradise, one wonders why God didn’t make us like that in the first place. Why give us the ability to choose evil if his plan for us was unquestioning obedience?

            Either God got it terribly wrong and omniscience isn’t as omniscient as it’s cracked up to be, or the mistake is yours and you just don’t understand the role and importance of free will in God’s design for humanity.

            Hmmm. Now I wonder which is most likely…

          • Virtue without temptation is not the same as robotic obedience. In fact invincible virtue with temptation is not the same as robotic obedience. Christ had the latter on earth. Christ and his people will have the former in heaven. In both cases the will is free. Free in the sense it obeys its nature and in both cases the nature is absolutely holy. This is the life of God in the soul of man.

            In Eden Adam did not have this nature or life. He did not have an invincibly holy nature, a nature (like God’s) incapable of sin. He had a nature that was capable not to sin. Since the fall we have a nature incapable of being holy, incapable of not sinning. The will accompanying all three natures is ‘free’. Free, that is, to express its nature which is the only way a will can be free; freedom is always ‘limited’ by nature. Fish can only swim in the sea. Birds fly. Even God is free only to act according to his nature, according to who he is.

            Why is an invincibly virtuous nature not robotic because it delights in virtue. It chooses virtue. It loves holiness and hates evil.

            I’ll ignore your facetious comments.

          • Virtue without temptation is not the same as robotic obedience. In fact invincible virtue with temptation is not the same as robotic obedience. Christ had the latter on earth. Christ and his people will have the former in heaven. In both cases the will is free. Free in the sense it obeys its nature and in both cases the nature is absolutely holy. This is the life of God in the soul of man.

            In Eden Adam did not have this nature or life. He did not have an invincibly holy nature, a nature (like God’s) incapable of sin. He had a nature that was capable not to sin. Since the fall we have a nature incapable of being holy, incapable of not sinning. The will accompanying all three natures is ‘free’. Free, that is, to express its nature which is the only way a will can be free; freedom is always ‘limited’ by nature. Fish can only swim in the sea. Birds fly. Even God is free only to act according to his nature, according to who he is.

            Why is an invincibly virtuous nature not robotic because it delights in virtue. It chooses virtue. It loves holiness and hates evil.

            I’ll ignore your facetious comments.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Being in heaven is no guarantee of virtue. Satan was in heaven and still managed to fall.

            If there’s such a thing as evil then a will that is not free to choose it is not free. It’s as simple as that.

            God must be free to do evil otherwise he is not omnipotent. And if he is not omnipotent then evil must be able to triumph over him, which means he’s a pretty poor kind of God.

            I think God is free to sin because otherwise what was the point of Christ’s temptation? Why tempt someone who can’t be tempted? Why praise him as a model of virtue if his virtue is involuntary?

          • Nonsense. You have little or no grasp of the contours of biblical thinking. Are you a believer at all? It is not heaven as such that guarantees virtue it is the glorification of the believer and the eradication of the sinful nature. This is rudimentary biblical knowledge.

            Who says that a will that is not free to choose is not free. It is your idea of freedom that is askew and profoundly unbiblical. True freedom is freedom to live as God intends us to live.

            Freedom to do evil is not freedom it is slavery. A train is free only so long as it runs on the tracks as it is designed to do. A train that goes off the tracks is not free. Again you reveal your anti-God thinking.

            Scripture expressly says that God cannot lie and that he cannot be tempted with evil. Christ’s temptation was not to see if he would sin, it was never in doubt that he would not sin. His temptation was to demonstrate that he wouldn’t sin. A Christ who might fail is no reliable Saviour.

            ‘Why praise him as a model of virtue if his virtue is involuntary?’

            Here again you reveal the paucity of your understanding and thinking. Christ’s virtue as with ours in new creation is not involuntary it is the produce of a nature entirely and invincibly committed to good and opposed to evil.

            You have a nature presently (if an unbeliever) that is invincibly determined to sin. You always sin in that none of your actions is motivated by love for God.
            In this sense even the good you do is a filthy rag. Yet you are at all times acting voluntary. You are acting according to your desires.

            Oisin, your first and most basic need is to see you are a sinner and repent before God. Cry out to him to forgive you. Grasp hold of Christ by faith and embrace him as Saviour. Accept his death as God’s way to forgive your sins and reconcile you to him. Only then will you stop these foolish ideas and see as you ought to see.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            All this “born again” lingo is so formulaic and empty of meaning. It’s like you’re quoting whole sections verbatim out of the Evangelical Bible Thumper’s Brainwashing Guide.

            It may work on some, but if you want to convert an Irish cradle Catholic to your way of thinking, you’re going about it the wrong way. Respect for clerical authority has all but disappeared from our culture. Someone who tells us how to believe is immediately suspect. “What’s he trying to hide behind all that bluster?” is the only question your preaching raises in me. He who shouts loudest about God always has something he wants to divert our attention away from.

            And if you have not love, you are as a clashing cymbal. Why is it that Evangelicals always shout so loudly???

    • dannybhoy

      I don’t accept Calvinism, nor predestination as it is usually explained. There are far too many passages of Scripture that indicate freewill.
      First an article on the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart from a Jewish perspective..
      http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/460242/jewish/Why-Didnt-Pharaoh-Release-the-Israelites.htm

      A Christian one..
      https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1205

      Personally as a supporter of the Moral Government of God theology I like this one..
      “Exodus 9:15-16 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up [or have spared you, NIV mg.] for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
      from https://bjorkbloggen.com/2012/01/01/pharaoh-is-told-to-have-hardened-his-own-heart-bible-verses/

      To my mind it’s not a question of what individual verses say. but rather what God actually does, and there is no doubt that God’s desire is for repentance and forgiveness.

      “.Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?”

    • Ivan M

      Its a problem if you take all that stuff in Exodus literally. Predestination is the logical conclusion. The writer didn’t waste his time on the destiny of the Egyptians or for that matter the inhabitants of Canaan since they

    • God only hardens already unbelieving hearts; his hardening is judicial. How does he do this? How does he he make eyes blind and ears deaf. In Romans 1 he hardens by giving people over to the sinful inclinations of their hearts. He removes restraints. He allows consciences to dull. If this is how hardening works then to say Pharoah hardened his heart and God hardened Pharoah’s heart is to say the same thing.

      We are but servants. We do not know who God has chosen. We do know that only through the preaching of the gospel will they be saved and so like Paul we preach knowing God has many people he intends to bring to himself.

    • Did God harden Pharaoh’s heart and then punish Pharaoh for that same hard-heartedness?

      In scripture three distinct declarations are made with regard to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. First, the text states that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (7:3; 9:12; 10:1,20,27; 11:10; 14:4,8), and the hearts of the Egyptians (14:17). Second, it is said that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (8:15,32; 9:34), that he refused to humble himself (10:3), and that he was stubborn (13:15). Third, the text uses the passive form to indicate that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, without giving any indication as to the source (7:13,14,22; 8:19; 9:7,35).

      The questions are: (1) did God harden Pharaoh on some occasions, while Pharaoh hardened himself on others? (2) Did God do all the hardening of Pharaoh, with the references to Pharaoh hardening himself being the result of God forcing him to do so against his own will? (3) Are all three declarations given in the text actually parallel expressions that mean the same thing? (4) Are the three declarations distinct from one another in their meaning, but all true in their own respects?

      The way Jack understands all this is that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the sense that God provided the circumstances and the occasion for Pharaoh to be forced to make a decision. God sent Moses to place His demands before Pharaoh. Moses merely announced God’s instructions. God even accompanied His Word with miracles – to confirm the divine origin of the message (cf. Mark 16:20). Pharaoh made up his own mind to resist God’s demands. Of his own accord, he stubbornly refused to comply. Of course, God provided the occasion for Pharaoh to demonstrate his unyielding attitude. If God had not sent Moses, Pharaoh would not have been faced with the dilemma of whether to release the Israelites. So God was certainly the instigator and initiator. But He was not the author of Pharaoh’s defiance.

      All four of the following statements are true: (1) God hardened Pharaoh’s heart; (2) Moses hardened Pharaoh’s heart; (3) the words that Moses spoke hardened Pharaoh’s heart; (4) Pharaoh hardened his own heart. All four are accurate, depicting the same truth from different perspectives.

      God is responsible for everything in the Universe, i.e., He has provided the occasion, the circumstances, and the environment in which all things (including people) operate. God did not unjustly or directly harden Pharaoh’s heart. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), He does not act unjustly (Psalms 33:5), and He has always allowed humans to exercise their free moral agency (Deuteronomy 30:19). God, however, does use the wrong, stubborn decisions committed by rebellious sinners to further His causes (Isaiah 10:5-11).

  • len

    Antisemitism unfortunately is nothing new in regard to ‘the Church’.It was when the Church or rather sections of the Church (yes I know’ Luther’ was anti Semitic) decided to remove all things ‘Jewish’ from the Church and replace them with ‘The church’.This was the birth of the false doctrine of ‘replacement theology’.
    Of course if you remove the Jews from Bible History you have very little or nothing left including Jesus Christ Himself.This show the futility of Antisemitism especially in a church setting

  • bockerglory

    Your Grace

    I must make a note to attend these type of meetings that glorify all Palestinians and demonise Jews.

    I have been to Israel and love the place. It is a fantastic country – democratic, no death penalty, open minded, rule of law and intelligent. I would be singing and giving thanks to God for Israel. More Zionism I say. May bring my tambourine too.

    We need more #Brexit Zionism too! We don’t need to be in the EU.

    Oh yes, been to west bank too. Sadly most Christians have left leaving dope smoking dis-enfranchised you men trying to Plough their furrow as Mohammed commanded amongst women (non-moslem).

    If the Palestinians renounced Islam, polygamy, arranged marriages and discriminatory capital rights for women and Marxism, they would be able to live in Gaza and West Bank quite happily and trade with Israel.

    But there you go. That’s life.

    • Inspector General

      Splendid stuff, Bock, A Gentleman racialist agrees with you.

      • bockerglory

        Not sure what racism is nowadays. Personally my own genes are pretty much of a mix. I prefer to think you are a realist who does not tolerate those that try and jump queues because some of their ancestors suffered at the hands of another tribe.

        • Inspector General

          We need to reclaim ‘racialist’. It’s a clean word to describe that the different races have, shall we say, interesting behaviour compared to ours. No doubt some of Cranmer’s followers will collapse in a state of apoplexy, but they should cheer up. The world is a far more interesting place than their narrow view of it will allow.

          • Anton

            I am quite willing to tell multiculturalists that some cultures are better than others and some are worse. I am not willing to replace “cultures” by “races” in that sentence, however. If you believe otherwise, please define ‘race’ and please prove that it is the causal factor governing the differences that make one culture better to live in than another. No waffling, now…

          • Inspector General

            Come on Anton. We both know the Palestinians are conditioned to exterminate Jews if they get the chance. Or would the slaughter be down to their own inherent way of doing things. You yourself are happy with the word culture. Same difference. Stick with culture if it’s more comforting; but we both know it’s race which is the problem. And a definition of race – the localised ‘gift’ of your forebears way of doing things, for good or bad. The original original sin, if you will.

          • Anton

            I know that race and culture are correlated. That observation is immediately obvious. I dispute that race is a causative factor in determining which cultures are better to live in and which are worse. I am sure you grasp that the two are not synonymous. The onus is on you to demonstrate that race is a causative factor upon culture. You might care to start by defining race…

          • Inspector General

            Nothing sinister about the word race. It covers a group of people usually isolate that behave much as each other. The causes of the behaviour is academic. But the behaviour itself is far from. It’s that easy. You find examples in Africa and you find it in South America. But should you visit these places, don’t believe for a moment your life is sacrosanct. You would be a stranger, you see. Whether you live or die is up to them…

          • Anton

            Certainly there is less political freedom and greater poverty in those places, which is why they nearly all want to come here but not vice-versa. But just because the people there are of different races from us doesn’t mean that race is the explanation for these cultural differences. If you believe it is then go ahead and convince His Grace’s readership by proving it. Mere assertion convinces nobody.

          • Inspector General

            Empirical evidence. The last time this man looked, black males were 7.1 times greater to have served or serving a prison sentence in the UK than the white indigenous. 7.1! Even 3 times should have been enough to enact a Royal Commission, but it never happened.

            Look. old chap, most Britons shy away from this most embarrassing of subjects. So we’ll say no more then…other than that itself could well be a racial trait, ironically…

          • Anton

            I’m glad that you now accept it simply “could be” a racial trait rather than insisting on it. That’s progress enough for one evening…

          • Inspector General

            Good night, Anton.

            Just a moment – the racial trait bit referred to the indigenous embarrassment. In a country of achievers, we find it awkward to discuss those who are not.

          • Anton

            A nightcap of malt whisky for us both?

          • Inspector General

            Am slumming it this week with Bourbon. Clarkes’s 1866 from Aldi. It does the trick, but the aftertaste – not a patch on Scotch….

          • Pubcrawler

            I feel your pain.

          • dannybhoy

            Sounds like Winston’s Victory Gin.
            But I don’t think they sell that in Aldis….

          • Anton

            I have no reticence in being politically incorrect. I just want to see those who claim that race determines culture fill in the gap in that assertion. Nobody has yet…

          • bluedog

            ‘You might care to start by defining race…’ There are two races, white and non-white. Non-white can be defined as being everything that white is not. For example, whites are of Western European identity although their fore-parents may have left Europe up to 500 years ago. Whites retain Judeo-Christian customs but are seeking a new enlightenment through a progressive secularism. Whites are characterised by an irredeemable avarice and need to dominate, attributes that found their highest expression during the colonial era. Then, white invaders colonised the lands of non-whites, raping both the resources of these countries as well as the women. The resulting progeny are non-white. Wars of liberation fought by non-white patriots during the 20th century have freed the non-white continents of Asia and Africa from white dominion. It merely remains for non-white patriots to subjugate the remaining whites in their former homeland of Western Europe.

          • Anton

            Can you fit Russia into this fine satire?

          • bluedog

            One must remind you of the German words of wisdom, ‘Asia begins at the Polish border’.

          • Anton

            Thing is, Russians are undeniably white; that’s why I asked…

          • bluedog

            The German attitude to the Slavic Poles implies a hierarchy of white. The term ‘Asia’ is implicitly pejorative. If one lives to the east of Poland, there is the suggestion that one’s whiteness may be tainted by Tartar ancestry, or worse.

          • dannybhoy

            Human beings are undeniably tribal, whether that means cultural, religious, ethnic, heritage or even local, people identify with a specific group or activity.

  • IanCad

    And so to bed.

  • Darter Noster

    I hope HG will forgive the off-topic posting, but I was reading the election/pre-destination posts below and unsure where to fit this in.

    I’ve been in reformation theology seminars where discussions of election, pre-destination and free will have almost led to fisticuffs. I’m now a Catholic but was raised a Protestant; it’s a divisive issue.

    As any student of Latin will tell you (one of mine had better, anyway) the first word of the Creed, credo, can mean both I believe and I trust. Its Greek equivalent can do the same.

    Jesus tells us to trust like little children. When we are little children, we believe without doubt; we trust absolutely without the cynicism that experience brings.

    If we worry or argue about God’s plan of salvation, about whether or not we are part of the elect, about whether or not a group of people have already been tipped the wink about their salvation, we do not trust like little children. We think like cynical adults, with world-weary experience.

    We have been given a promise of salvation through Christ and God asks us to believe and trust in that. Absolute trust – that childlike trust that closes its eyes and falls backwards because it knows that someone will be waiting behind to catch it, as long as it plays its part.

    God promises; we should trust. Anything else is a distraction.

    • Pubcrawler

      Yep. When these discussions arise I always think of John 21.21f.

    • dannybhoy

      A good post in the manner of the blessed St John, one of my favourite apostles. I hesitate to say in view of your greater learning.. no darn it, I stick by my belief that theology can be a real hindrance to growing in faith and discipleship.
      Many a trusting Christian has had their faith damaged whilst in theological seminary, because the study of theology can take people from faith into intellectual futility.
      In the Scriptures there are plenty of theological statements about God, and then there plenty of illustrations about what God actually did and why He did them. If as you say our faith in God is based on His nature, His holiness and love, His compassion and mercy and faithfulness. Just what you’s look for in a loving Heavenly Father..

    • carl jacobs

      it’s a divisive issue.

      Primarily because modern people tend to define their humanity in terms of autonomous choice. Reformed Theology thus threatens their very self-conception of themselves. As in “I’m not a robot!” (No, you are a slave to sin, and you do the bidding of your master.) What they want to say is “I am wise because I made the right choice. I am saved because I made the right choice. I am sovereign over my eternal destiny.” And then along comes someone like me who says “You are no different from anyone else. God chose you for His own purpose. It had nothing to do with you.” Then out comes the fang and claw.

      I don’t talk much about this issue anymore because of the hostile reactions I have received. People don’t want to hear, and you can’t make them listen. Life is short and you can only get kicked out of so many Bible study groups. (Yes, that happened to me.)

      A pastor at a former church of mine was an Amyraldian. I would talk to him in private and he would sound very Reformed. But his sermons were full of Arminian concepts. I asked him about it one day. He said “I can’t say those things in church. People would leave.” Says it all.

      • Anton

        And yet the jailer in Acts asks “What shall *I* do to be saved?” and gets a reply.

        I’m not disagreeing with you, Carl; the Bible appears to swing both ways. I reckon that the resolution of that is to do with what the word “I” means when someone uses it. Remember Paul – ” I have been crucified with Christ; I, yet not I, but Christ within me”.

        • chefofsinners

          And Jesus to Jerusalem ‘I would… but you would not’.
          ‘Grow in the pondering of’ expresses it very well.

        • carl jacobs

          The question to be answered is “Why did the jailer ask that question?”

      • chefofsinners

        Hey Clive
        I find peace in saying both sides of this argument are true. It means everyone is a bit annoyed with me but no one really hates me.

        • Anton

          That’s my line too. I suggest that paradox is there for us to grow in the pondering of. On the other hand, see my comment immediately below about “I” (which does not claim to be a solution).

        • You are right.

          The William Most solution:

          There is no time in God, but one thing may be logically before another. There are three logical points in His decisions on predestination:

          1) God wills all men to be saved. This is explicit in 1 Tim 2: 4, and since to love is to will good to another for the other’s sake, this is the same as saying God loves us. To deny that is a horrendous error, it denies the love of God. How strong this love is can be seen by the obstacle it overcame in the work of opening eternal happiness to us: the death of Christ on the cross.

          2) God looks to see who resists His grace gravely and persistently, so persistently that the person throws away the only thing that could save him. With regrets, God decrees to let such persons go: reprobation because of and in view of grave and persistent resistance to grace.

          3) All others not discarded in step two are positively predestined, but not because of merits, which are not at all in view yet, nor even because of the lack of such resistance, but because in step 1, God wanted to predestine them, and they are not stopping Him. This is predestination without merits.

          This is the article by William Most:

          http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/MOSTSOLV.HTM

          God’s sovereignty encapsulates human freedom to accept or to reject Him. God decides where and when we are to live when He creates us. He knows how each of us will respond to His call. He then endows individuals with graces and gifts according to the part each of us is to play in His plan for salvation.

          • dannybhoy

            Good post Jack. I don’t have a problem with that. I think a case can be made for suggesting that God limits His foreknowledge in His dealings with mankind, in order that we might make freewill choices. i.e. repent and return, as in the case of Israel.
            There is no suggestion in the Old Testament that man cannot repent, only that God who knows all the machinations of our hearts sees those who deliberately continue in rebellion and go deeper into sin and evil. (the wicked).
            The Jews themselves do not believe in original sin in the sense that we are incapable of doing good.
            (Although as I quoted to Clive 2 Chronicles 6.. has King Solomon saying…
            “36 “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to a land far or near,….”)
            I think Romans 9 has more to do with how God will work out His purposes of redemption in our fallen world than who will be saved. That’s why He says,
            “3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,[a] my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.

            Israel was the nation He formed to be a light to lighten the Gentiles.
            Why Israel? Because He chose them. There was nothing special about the Israelites, except that God chose them and He was committed to them as the people he formed for His plan of redemption. That’s the choosing, as our Lord did with His disciples and Paul,
            It has nothing to do with how individuals respond to salvation secured by Christ Jesus, and more to do with how He acts in human history to get salvation in place..

        • CliveM

          Chef

          I fear you might have upset Carl by getting our names mixed up!!

          For me Calvinism fails because it’s answer to its basic injustice is to say that justice is what God says it is. So if a baby dies a 5 days and God has preordained it for Hell, this is justice because God can’t be anything else.

          Unfortunately it can’t come up with an answer to the accusation that this is simply arbitrary.

          • Yes it can. It’s answer in the first instance is that no one is saying babies are consigned to hell. But more than that, despite differences there is a remarkable unanimity in humanity in defining what is right and wrong, what is just and what is unjust. Where does this sense of justice come from? It comes from the Creator. He has imparted to us his knowledge of what is good and evil albeit as a result of our disobedience.

            But how does God know what is right and wrong? Is there a definition of justice that lies outside of God and to which God is accountable. There cannot be for this would create an authority higher than God and this is logically impossible for then God would cease to be God, the ultimate authority, answerable to no one but himself, the ‘I AM’.

            More importantly, the bible reveals this consciousness of being the defined of justice in God. Many OT texts reveal God rebuking those who would question his justice. He does not defend himself by appealing to some notional arbiter of justice outside himself, rather he rebukes them for questioning him. He is the fount of all wisdom, knowledge and justice. It is in him these are held together and have their being jus as all other things are. Read God’s response to Job when Job questions him. Ch 38-42.

            It is this understanding of God that leads Paul to say to those who question God’s actions,

            19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? Roms 9

            When we question God’s right to be God (the determiner of all things) it is not God who is in the wrong but us. We are denying God’s right to be accountable to no one but himself. Worse we usurp his position and make ourselves God by insisting he is accountable to us.

            What God does is not arbitrary because arbitrary implies what is random even capricious. Neither is true of God’s counsels and plans. They flow from the profundity of who he is and express perfectly the sum of his being.

            Read Carl’s comments on ‘arbitrary’.

          • CliveM

            John

            You’ve not been here long, but actually it has been argued that babies are pre – destined for Hell! I’m sure you’re not arguing that though.

            I wouldn’t agree that by suggesting that if you believe that predestination is both arbitrary and capricious, you are in anyway limiting God or denying his right to be God.

            It is precisely because predestination as defined by Calvin and others is capricious and arbitrary, that it cannot be of God.

            God is justice and love. To often people side to much on one or other of these aspects, denying a full picture of who God is.

          • dannybhoy

            Absolutely Clive.
            You know, as we go through our little lifespan all kinds of things happen to us or our family or our world that could make us doubt the existence or goodness of God. Unemployment, divorce, rejection, illness, bankruptcy etc.
            I’ve been through some of those things, but my basic, core belief is in the goodness, mercy and compassion of God for us poor human beings.

          • dannybhoy

            “Where does this sense of justice come from? It comes from the Creator. He has imparted to us his knowledge of what is good and evil albeit as a result of our disobedience.”
            Surely John, it comes from the fact that we are created in the image of God and He himself says….
            “22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live for ever—”

            Before eating the fruit we were innocent with freewill. Afterwards we became responsible, able to choose.

          • Danny

            Adam in his unfallen state was created in the image of God, however, he did not have the independent capacity to make moral judgements. It is post-fall that he gains this as the verse you cite reveals. Before the fall he was as you say, innocent. I take this to be analogous in some way to a child who depends entirely on his parents for his moral compass. Adam, it would seem, relied completely on God for moral discernment. The fall gave him the ability to make independent moral judgements. He was always responsible (that is why eating from the tree was sin) however choosing to eat the tree expressed a belief in the virtue of personal moral responsibility as a basis for life rather than dependence on God and his provision of the tree of life ( that is, grace). I think it was rather like Israel happily centring a relationship with God based on their law-keeping.

          • dannybhoy

            Well I don’t disagree with you, except to the point of the fall, God was his only source of authority and advice. But God allowed Satan in the form of a serpent to tempt them. That must have always been His intention. Perhaps if Adam and Eve had resisted our world would be very different (like CS Lewis’s Voyage to Venus).
            The Godhead would have had a ‘contingency plan’ for this very situation, and it would involve the Son coming to earth as a second Adam, as we know.
            Now it seems to me that God is the only Individual who could plan the rescue plan without totally usurping man’s freedom of choice. Hence Abraham, Isaac and Joseph, going right through the centuries until a suitable situation arose whereby the Son could be born of a woman and fulfil those Old Testament prophecies…
            That’s how I understand it anyway.
            My real concern is the way that theological schools of thought can take us away from the clear sense of Scripture, and instead of liberating us, causes us to become apathetic, or hidebound or fatalistic.
            One of the things Jesus said in John 10>

            10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
            > 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
            He then says,
            “14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
            If our theology cripples our Christian life (and I am not saying that yours does!), but if it does then there’s something wrong with our understanding of the Gospel.

          • Amen to some of your points here. I demur on two.

            I don’t think I want to call God’s plan a contingency plan for this makes it sound like plan B. But it was never plan B; it was always plan A. You may well be in agreement here.

            The second point on which I demur is of course your view that a theological system such as mine takes away the cler sense of scripture. Incidentally, we all have a theological system. A theological system is simply the way we integrate the truths of Scripture. We all do this, consciously or unconsciously.

            By the way, the somewhat Calvinistic theology I espouse (I hate labels, they are caricatures that divide and are either a source of pride or opprobrium) believes that all men have freedom of choice. This is not the same as saying they have freedom of will. All are free to accept or reject Christ. However, left to themselves they always will reject for their will is controlled by their hearts which are invetarately opposed to God. The new birth gives a new heart and will it a will to choose Christ.

            Forgive me if at times I come across as sharp or arrogant. I don’t intend to. I try to be sparing in my language which may make my comments seem harsh and adversarial. It’s hard in blog comments to inject a more friendly tone without adding more words. A quest for brevity and concision can create a clipped tone.

          • dannybhoy

            “You may well be in agreement here.”
            I am, just that it was a contingency plan because it wasn’t God’s intention that Adam would fall..

            Yes we all have a theology whether simple or complex. Danny for example is a simple man…… :0)

            “However, left to themselves they always will reject for their will is controlled by their hearts which are invetarately opposed to God.”
            Yes, but this is where the preaching of the Gospel and prayer comes in. It is the Gospel which rouses up our rebellion and self justification. The Gospel MUST be preached, because at that point God ‘s Holy Spirit can begin to break through the unrepentant rebel’s conscience and convict him/her of sin.
            That to my mind is the exciting part; that we can work under God’s direction in reaching the lost.

            “Forgive me if at times I come across as sharp or arrogant.”
            Absolutely nothing to forgive John. The very fact that you keep coming back with your thoughts and opinions shows you have a heart for God and His truth; and you think (as do I and others), that it is important to try and have as sound an understanding of God’s Word as we possibly can. Which to my mind is one of the values of this blog.
            Our guide in our discussions is that we respect each other, we try not to offend, and we don’t want to be a cause of stumbling or doubt to another brother or sister, who for their very own personal reasons hold to something else.

          • carl jacobs

            justice is what God says it is

            Yes, this is exactly correct. God does not compare Himself to some external objective standard of justice in order to know that He is just. Instead, justice is derivative of God’s nature. How could it be otherwise? Nothing exists without God. Nothing binds God except His own nature. That’s what it means to be God. He is the self-definition of justice and goodness and truth and mercy and love and holiness. Those things exist in Creation only because He created it so as a reflection of Himself.

            You are mistaking “I don’t know the answer” for “arbitrary.” Those are not the same things.

          • carl jacobs

            I fear you might have upset Carl

            Nah. Now if he had confused me with Jack. Or even worse, confused me with a Canadian …

          • CliveM

            Yes well if those are the options………………….

          • dannybhoy

            Just so Clive, and I would venture to add that people who accept that God can do whatever He likes as long as He is glorified, are not that far from the god of Islam who freely proclaims that He does what he wants.
            Even further, (gulp!) I would hazard a guess that such views could result in a sense of fatalism, cynicism and anger…
            From my reading in 2nd Chronicles 6..
            (the dedication of Solomon’s temple)
            34 “If your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to you towards this city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, 35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause.

            36 “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to a land far or near, 37 yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly’, 38 if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their captivity to which they were carried captive, and pray towards their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, 39 then hear from heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their pleas, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you.

            and chapter 5..
            “and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,

            “For he is good,
            for his steadfast love endures for ever,”

          • chefofsinners

            Exactly so, Carl. But scripture says it is so. Perhaps, foreknowing a baby will die, God predestines it to salvation. Who knows? Only God.

      • The Calvinist response is simply to say that God can do what He chooses to do, and that humans have no right to question God. For him, the answer is not to retract the sovereignty of God’s election, or to try to give a rational explanation to doubting men. Calvinism responds to sceptics, “So be it! You have the problem!”

        The reason rational people reject Calvinism – and why they would stop attending church – is because they recognize that a perfect God, i.e., One Who is infinite in all of His attributes, including love, justice, fairness, and impartiality, would not act arbitrarily. God cannot be just, while acting unjustly. God cannot be God, and yet conduct Himself in an ungodly manner.

        • carl jacobs

          No Calvinist would say that God is arbitrary. The fact that He refuses to answer the question you want answered (“Why David and not Goliath if there is no difference between David and Goliath?”) does not mean He is arbitrary. Men want the answer to be “Because David was better than Goliath. Fundamentally salvation is all about me.” But it isn’t. We are the blind and the halt and the lame. We are the foolish chosen to shame the wise. We are the dead raised to life. We are not wise men who with justification may boast of our wisdom in making our sovereign choice

          • You may not actually say God is arbitrary but in your profession of faith you make Him so. You are setting up a false dichotomy between the sovereignty of God and man’s free will. Plus, you wrongly accuse those who shun Calvinism of boasting of their own merits.

          • carl jacobs

            You may not actually say God is arbitrary but in your profession of faith you make Him so.

            Only if I accept “Choosing based upon criteria not intrinsic to the chosen” as the proper definition of “arbitrary.” That would be the definition you are trying to smuggle into this argument. It’s wrong.

            you wrongly accuse those who shun Calvinism of boasting of their own merits.

            First you say that God is arbitrary for choosing based upon criteria not intrinsic to the redeemed. Then you say you don’t boast in your own merits. You can’t have it both ways. If Redeemed can separate themselves from Damned based upon some characteristic intrinsic to the Redeemed, then the Redeemed have grounds to boast. That logic is solid as iron. You will never break it. And no appeal to “mystery” or “paradox” or “tension” will make it go away.

          • Jack understands arbitrary to mean random choice or personal whim. It would be an arbitrary God who withholds grace from some and makes it available to some without some reason.

            There are a number of biblical truths that must be factored in if we are to understand predestination. First, the character of God. For any theory to be biblically viable, it must include the fact that God’s righteousness and justice are as real and absolute as His love, mercy, and grace. Second, the nature of human beings. The Bible holds us accountable for our sinful actions. This fact, coupled with the universal call of Christ to “come” to Him, indicates the biblical position of humans’ freedom to choose.

            Any theory on predestination must balance these concepts of God’s sovereignty and human freedom of choice. Any approach that exalts one above the other will result in a scripturally unsound position.

            As Jack understands your position, it holds that God decreed from eternity, for the manifestation of His glory, that some are predestined to everlasting life, while others are foreordained to eternal damnation. God predetermines the eternal destinies of both the righteous and the unrighteous. This isolates and focuses on the God’s sovereignty and ignores human freedom. Nor does it take into consideration the gracious character of the God revealed in the Bible who desires the salvation of every human being.

            “If Redeemed can separate themselves from Damned based upon some characteristic intrinsic to the Redeemed, then the Redeemed have grounds to boast.”

            Not a characteristic intrinsic to the Elect – we are all grave sinners. Before creation, God knows who will resist His grace gravely and persistently. God decrees to let such persons go. This is reprobation because of and in view of grave and persistent resistance to grace. Those not discarded are positively predestined, not because of merits, which are not at all in view yet, nor even because of the lack of such resistance, but because God wants to predestine them, and they are not stopping Him. This is predestination without merits and without grounds to boast.

          • The question is not whether the elect will boast but whether they have grounds to boast. God will allow no grounds.

            Scripture makes clear that not some but all have a nature invincibly hostile to God. None will ever naturally seek God. The nature we are born with will never give in to God. It will always ‘stop’ him. Our only hope is a new nature, a new heart implanted by God through his word.

          • carl jacobs

            The question is not whether the elect will boast but whether they have grounds to boast. God will allow no grounds.

            This is such an important point.

          • If all our natures are invincibly hostile to God, then there is no human culpability and therefore no sin. God gives us all, every single one of us, enough grace to respond to Him. His call is universal and He loves us all. However, for reasons we do not know, some respond and others reject the offer. Therefore, there is personal responsibility and accountability.

          • HJ

            Your nature is you. It is you who is hostile. At the core of your/our being is heart fundamentally opposed to God. The bible call this heart/nature in unconverted people ‘the flesh’.

            7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8

            And

            we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:
            “There is no one righteous, not even one;
            11 there is no one who understands;
            there is no one who seeks God.
            12 All have turned away,
            they have together become worthless;
            there is no one who does good,
            not even one.”
            13 “Their throats are open graves;
            their tongues practice deceit.”
            “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
            14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
            15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
            16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
            17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
            18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
            19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 3

            and

            9 The heart is deceitful above all things
            and beyond cure.
            Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17

            The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2

            And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. John 3

            17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Matt 7

            In the latter passage the only people who can bear good fruit are those with a good heart and these are those who are children of the kingdom; those who have been given a new heart.

            3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
            4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
            5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3

            ‘However, for reasons we do not know, some respond and others reject the offer. Therefore, there is personal responsibility and accountability.’

            No. we do know the reason. Those who come to Christ are those in whom God works to bring them definitely to himself. He has chosen some and given them to Christ who is pleased to give them life. All receive the gospel call but only some the efficacious call. This call goes out to only those the Father has chosen.

            35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. John 6

            For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matt 22

            21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. John 5

            16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last John 15

            The latter are Christ’s words to his disciples but they are true of all Christ’s disciples.

          • “No. we do know the reason. Those who come to Christ are those in whom God works to bring them definitely to himself. He has chosen some and given them to Christ who is pleased to give them life. All receive the gospel call but only some the efficacious call. This call goes out to only those the Father has chosen.”

            God chooses those who He knows will respond to His efficacious grace.

            When God establishes his eternal plan of ‘predestination’ he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace. Thus, anyone who is finally saved will have been predestined by God because it was God’s predestined plan and God’s grace that went before him and enabled him to be saved.

            God is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pt 3:9). God wills all to be saved. To be damned, a person must wilfully reject God’s plan for his salvation. Throughout Romans and elsewhere Paul clearly teaches all men must freely cooperate with God’s grace to be saved.
            Romans 2:6-8: “[God] will render to every man according to his works: To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life, but for those who . . . do not obey the truth . . . there will be wrath and fury.”

            Romans 11:22: “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.”

            Romans 6:16, Paul makes clear that we must continue to obey to attain final justification: “Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

            Jesus himself could not be any clearer in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” As God, Jesus clearly desired to gather his children, Israel, but they would not. If the Calvinist view of predestination were true, God never willed to gather them at all. Did Jesus get it wrong here? If he truly willed to gather them, they would have been gathered!

            There is a certain mystery involved in God’s predestined plan. We could ask many unanswerable questions. For example, why does God give more grace to some than others (Rom 12:6, 1 Pt 4:10)? Why does God allow someone to be born and live knowing they will eventually choose to reject him and go to hell (Rom 9:22)? This is precisely what Paul is talking about when he refers to “vessels of wrath made for destruction” (Rom 9:22).

            Why doesn’t God give the one rejecting him more grace? It may be true that if God had given more grace to someone in hell, he would have made it to heaven. The only response to questions like these truly is: “But who are you, a man, to answer back to God?” However, we err who if we take this to the point of turning God into an unjust God. Even if some are given more grace than others, everyone is given sufficient grace to be saved. That is clear in Scripture, as Titus 2:11 tells us: “the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men ” If God did not give a man sufficient grace to be saved, then God would truly be unjust in condemning him.

            The good news is that St. Paul has already told us precisely who God “hardens” in Romans 1:24-28:

            “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity . . . because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator . . . For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions . . . And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up . . .”

            God’s will is immutable; therefore, God’s will is always accomplished. The mistake is to reject free will because of this truth. God’s will for all to be saved (2 Pt 3:9, cf. 1 Tm 2:4, 1 Jn 2:1-2). But it is also true that some men will not be saved (cf. Mt 7:13, 25:46; Rv 21:8). This implies the freedom to choose to serve God or not (cf. Dt 28:15, Mt 19:17-22). All of this must be understood within God’s predestined plan.
            How do we reconcile all of this? We conclude that God’s will has an antecedent and a consequent nature. It is God’s antecedent will that all be saved. However, as a consequence of God’s gift of free will, some reject God’s antecedent will. It then becomes God’s consequent will for that soul to go to hell. God’s will is accomplished and our free will, which is revealed in Scripture, is preserved. It is God’s predestined plan for us to have free will.

          • Then God does not act arbitrarily for nothing he does arises from random choice or the merely whimsical.. All his actions flow from God’s counsels and plans which in turn flow from the profundity of who he is and express perfectly the sum of his being (and as such glorify him which is ever his object).

          • Sorry John, but the God Jack worships does not act unjustly and His objective is not to glorify Himself. He created all of us to know, love and serve Him and to be with Him eternally.

          • Then Jack, I have to say gently, I trust, that your God is an idol and not the God of the bible. God’s primary aim is his own glory. For it not to be so would be sin in God.

            11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity
            with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

            5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
            6 Who, being in very nature God,
            did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
            7 rather, he made himself nothing
            by taking the very nature of a servant,
            being made in human likeness.
            8 And being found in appearance as a man,
            he humbled himself
            by becoming obedient to death—
            even death on a cross!
            9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
            and gave him the name that is above every name,
            10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
            in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
            11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
            to the glory of God the Father.

            6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation,
            tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Rev 14

            Why does God desire worshippers if he does not wish to be glorified.

            Many many verses can be cited to show that giving glory to God is the proper and highest obligation of creatures and creation while desiring and receiving that glory is the proper and highest motivation of the Creator. A father would be remiss if he did not wish the love and devotion of his children. A teacher rightly wishes the respect of his pupils. A sovereign rightly expects the fealty and obeisance of his subjects so to God rightly expects the praise and glory of all he has made. He has made it for this very purpose.

            Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory. (Isaiah 43:6-7)

            You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified (Isaiah 49:3).

            I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. (Jeremiah 13:11)

            Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works . . . but rebelled by the Sea, at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. (Psalm 106:7-8)

            From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

          • Jack thinks that this is a difficult position to sustain biblically and theologically.

            God made man to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven. By creating the world God did not increase His own happiness, since He was infinitely happy from all eternity, but He did manifest His glory externally by sharing His goodness. All creatures by their very existence show forth the glory of God, for all depend on God for their existence. God created man to manifest His glory. He gave man an intellect and a will that he might know, praise, and love his Creator.

            Jack’s argument is that if we say that the purpose in God’s creation of humanity is for His own self-glorification we do damage to God’s character.

            We implicitly deny His aseity, implying some sort of lack or need in God. God is without any need. He is “of Himself.” God does not need man in any way whatsoever. God was not in need of someone to respond to His being with glory. God did not and does not need us to glorify Him.

            By saying that God’s purpose in creating us was to glorify Himself, we turn God into a egotistical glory monger. God could very well be egotistical and self-consumed and we, as His creation, cannot say anything to change that. As He is infinite, we could say that this type of motive is allowable in the context of the Greatest Conceivable Being. Jack does not believe this is the case.

            God is perfect and deserving of glory, and we, as His children, should recognize Him for who He is and thereby give Him glory. But this does not imply that His purpose in creation was for this end.

            When Jack reads the bible, he is overwhelmed by the generosity and mercy of God. The most natural conclusion from scripture is to say that the God of the Bible created all of creation so that He could share of Himself. Generosity and grace would be the primary motive in creation, not self-glorification. From the very beginning, God is seen as a giving God with no explanation as to why. Adam was given life. God gave Adam the earth to rule over. He gave him the animals. If that weren’t enough, He then gave him Eve. Even when they rebelled, God initiated a plan for their redemption. He gave them children and began to work through the line of one of them so that He could eventually redeem man who did not deserve to be redeemed. He gave Abraham a promise that He would be a father of many nations and that through him he would give the world a great blessing. When the fullness of time came, He gave His own Son over to a terrible death for man. Jack does not see an egotistical God whose purpose in creation is self-glorification.
            If God is so concerned about self-glorification, why is it that He is found consummating all things by sharing in His glory with us. Finally, when all is complete and the restoration of all things has come to pass, He gives glory over to humans.

            “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:16-17)

            “And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)

            “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)

            God is not presented in the Scripture as one who seeks His own glory but one who is sharing in His glory. We, as His children, have as our primary purpose of existence to glorify Him, but that does not equate to saying that His primary purpose in creation is to glorify Himself.

          • HJ

            I agree with you (or more or less agree) down to

            ‘By saying that God’s purpose in creating us was to glorify Himself, we turn God into a egotistical glory monger. ‘

            I entirely agree God does not at an emotional level need to be glorified. There is no psychological lack within him that needs our adoration. My point is that to be adored is what is utterly appropriate to his ‘godness’. It would be morally reprehensible for us to fail to glorify him and morally reprehensible for God to not desire that glory. It is what is fitting to his station and character.

            ‘When Jack reads the bible, he is overwhelmed by the generosity and mercy of God. The most natural conclusion from scripture is to say that the God of the Bible created all of creation so that He could share of Himself. Generosity and grace would be the primary motive in creation….’

            I entirely agree with this. It is the next few words I disagree with ‘… not self-glorification.’

            Rather I believe that as we are most satisfied in giving him glory so he is most satisfied in receiving this glory.

            Jack, I agree with everything you say here I am happy to say except the conclusion that these other aspects of God’s plan must somehow exclude his desire to be glorified. In Ephesians 1 where Paul reveals all the various aspects of his saving plan he says the overarching purpose in all his purposes is ‘the praise of his glory’. Every action of God reveals some aspect of his glory. The whole plan of salvation reveals the glory of his character – the glory of his grace, his wisdom, his mercy, his patience, his righteousness, his love and so on. And he wishes us to see this glory and worship him. What is a desire to be worshipped but a desire to be glorified by and in his creatures. It is not egotistical it is simply what is his right. He is God and is jealous for his glory. He will not share it with another.

            I am actually surprised we disagree here. I assumed in this area Catholic and Protestant theology would be agreed.

            In Isa 48 God says to Israel

            For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.’

            God will not give up on Israel because his own glory, his own reputation is at stake.

            Yes Jesus wants us to be with him that we may share his glory (his acquired glory as the exalted Man but he also wants us there that we may behold his glory, his intrinsic eternal glory as a divine person that he shared with the Father before the world came into existence and his glory as mediator.

            ‘Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. John 17

            Our joy is in seeing God’s glory; God’s joy is in revealing this glory.

          • grutchyngfysch

            …the God Jack worships does not act unjustly

            How many times have others come to the same conclusion over something that they regard as unjust punishment but which Scripture condemns? The trouble is that we are all fallen not only in our appetites but our judgements.

            How can I judge what is just to the standard of the Throne of God? How do I know that my own conceptions of justice – natural, social, whatever – are in fact clean enough, true enough, righteous enough to satisfy, let alone supersede, what God has called just?

            You say that God’s objective is not to glorify Himself. Why? Because we have a conception of zeal for glory that is sinful. When we hear people say that they are desirous of their own glory, we know them to be sinners. But they sin in their pursuit of glory – we sin in our pursuit of it – because all glory properly belongs to God. God is not doing wrong to properly, justly ensure that all is done for His glory. He is the only One qualified to receive it, the only One who in receiving all glory denies no glory to any other deserving it.

            The perfection that God demands, the complete, whole and undefiled worship He has required of His Creation is not, then, an abuse as it were if any power or person so demanded: nor does that holiness and glory damage any part of His Creation. In fact, it is the attempt by sinful rebellion to steal from God the glory for ourselves from which all grief in the World derives. That is why God has zeal for His glory: it is the only way things will be set right.

          • It all rather depends on one’s perspective, our understanding of the word “glory” and the emphasis we place on it. God made us in His image and gave us reason and revelation to understand His mysteries.

            He is not a God who created us to consign some randomly to eternal damnation to show His glory. God made man to show His goodness. He created man to manifest His glory and gave man an intellect and a will that he might know, praise, and love his Creator – willingly.

            God is perfect and deserving of glory, and we, His children, recognise Him for who He is and give Him glory. He created us to know and share in His glory. God created all of creation so that He could share Himself. Generosity and grace is the primary motive in creation. God is a giving God.

            God is not presented in the Scripture as one who seeks His own glory but one who is sharing in His glory. Our primary purpose is to glorify Him but that does not equate to saying that His primary purpose in creation is to glorify Himself.

          • grutchyngfysch

            The question is: will we come to know Him for who He is and thus receive what He offers or will we resist and refuse?

          • “He has no right to create people destined for destruction.”

            He has the “right” but it would contradict His nature – Love and Justice. How can a good God subject a man, who has no choice but to sin, to eternal suffering? God decreed free will for man. It is His predestined plan for us to have free will. With free will comes responsibility and accountability.

            “That in the creation and destruction of such, He would be glorified by those whom He has created for mercy.”

            His antecedent will is that everyone shares in His glory, freely. As a consequence of God’s gift of free will, some reject God. It then becomes God’s consequent will for that soul to go to hell. God’s will is accomplished and our free will, which is repeatedly revealed in Scripture, is preserved.

            ” … salvation comes down to an intrinsic response within us that in some sense we have ownership of.”

            Free will to refuse God is not the same as a man meriting salvation because he does not refuse grace. God’s antecedent will is that all men to be saved as He loves us all. God looks to see who resists His grace gravely and persistently. God’s decree is to let such persons go. All others are positively predestined to be with Him, not because of intrinsic merit, nor because of the lack of resistance, but because God wants to predestine them and they are not stopping Him. This is predestination without intrinsic merit.

            Why do some resist? Therein lies a mystery. You might dismiss talk about resisting grace or cooperating with God. However, the fact is that the Bible uses this language.

            “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51)

            “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37)

            If one does not resist God and his grace then one cooperates with God and his grace. Grace cannot be earned, but it can be resisted either before justification. by remaining in unbelief, or after, by engaging in serious sin. (1 Corinthians 6, Galatians 5, and Ephesians 5)

          • grutchyngfysch

            How can a good God subject a man, who has no choice but to sin, to eternal suffering? God decreed free will for man. It is His predestined plan for us to have free will. With free will comes responsibility and accountability.

            And Scripture answers:

            One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

            What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:19-24)

          • Jack suggests that this passage needs to be read in the context of Paul’s fuller argument running from Chapter 9 to Chapter 11 of the Epistle.

            Romans 9 begins with Paul lamenting the fact the Jews have been granted so many blessings in God’s plan of Salvation History but they have not appreciated the blessings, particularly in their rejection of Jesus. Romans 10 continues the thesis, lamenting Israel’s loss by being zealous for the wrong things. Finally, Romans 11 concludes the thesis by showing God didn’t reject His people, but all along intended Jews and Gentiles to be part of the same family.

            Reading Paul to be talking about eternal life and eternal death here contradicts the rest of Paul’s line of argumentation in Romans itself. It’s a much stronger reading to view Paul as talking about (a) the blessing and curses of ordinary life [like giving one person five talents, and another one], and/or (b) participation in the life of the visible Church [which fits the general theme of Romans].

            The next thing to keep in mind is that the Jewish ‘entitlement’ heresy was the theme of the letter. The ‘entitlement’ heresy was a Jew-versus-Gentile problem, with the Jews seeing themselves as superior by birth to the Gentiles. Paul points out Abraham was justified prior to him being circumcised, and that this was to show the uncircumcised also could be acceptable in God’s sight (Rom. 4:9-13). In Romans 5:12-14 we see the Mosaic Law came in after the bigger issue, sin and death, had been introduced, indicating the problem and solution was to restore what was prior to the existence of the Mosaic Covenant. Romans 6-8 is spent discussing the Christian’s new life in Christ, now that the Law’s purpose has reached fulfilment (Rom. 7:6).

            Why did God make all those promises to the Jews throughout the Old Testament, particularly giving them His Torah, only to now apparently disregard that gift? The whole point of the Torah was so that those living within it’s rules would identify who “God’s People” were – Leviticus 26:3-13 – so what happened? Did God go back on his promise? This is what Romans 9 to 11 is set to answer, and the answer: the Jews had a history of taking advantage of God’s mercy to the point they attained a false sense of security, and when Christ arrived they were so unprepared that they collectively cursed Him rather than embraced Him. The Jews thought that God’s promises to Abraham were unconditional and thus regardless of how they behaved God would not go back on his promises to bless Abraham’s offspring. The Jews saw themselves as unconditionally elected by God to be born Jews rather than be born Gentiles, and in virtue of this birth were entitled to God’s blessings and protection.

            So, out of context, the part of Romans 9 you cite sounds like St. Paul is saying that God mercifully saves some, and damns the rest. In verse 18, he says, “So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.” Paul then rhetorically asks and answers the question, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”

            But Paul isn’t saying that those whose hearts are hardened are eternally damned. And we know this because St. Paul explicitly denies that this is what he’s saying, when he continues this line of argumentation two chapters later. In Romans 11:7, he says that “Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened.” Then he says of those who have been hardened, “So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means!” (Rom. 11:12). On the contrary, Paul explains that part of his ministry to the Gentiles is “to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them” (Rom. 11:14). And thus, “a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:25-26).

            The term “elect” simply means “chosen,” so the obvious question is: chosen to what? Are we talking about election to graces and blessings, election to participation in the life of the visible Church, or election to eternal life? If the election Paul is speaking of is to eternal life, then the answer to his rhetorical question in Rom. 11:12 would be “yes,” since he’s defined the hardened to be those who aren’t elect (Rom. 11:7).

            On the other hand, if Paul is speaking of election in either of the first two senses – that of blessings and curses, or particularly, of being part of the visible chosen people – Romans 9 and 11 make a lot more sense. After all, the famous line, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated,” that Paul cites to in Rom. 9:13 wasn’t originally about eternal salvation at all. It was about the way that God had preserved and protected the Israelites, while allowing the country of the Edomites (the descendants of Esau) to be turned into a wasteland (Malachi 1:2-5). There’s no reference in the passage to the salvation of Jacob, Esau, the Israelites, or the Edomites.

            Paul explicitly denies that God shows any favouritism, as regards salvation, in Romans 2:4-11:

            “Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

            For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

            There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.”

            Ironically, despite Paul’s warning here not to “presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience,” some use this Epistle to justify the idea that once you’re saved, you’re always saved. And despite Paul’s point that “God shows no partiality”, which is literally the central argument of the Epistle, since Paul’s answering the idea that God arbitrarily divided the world into two immutable groups: Jews and Gentiles, some use this Epistle to justify the idea that God shows partiality, and divided the world into two immutable groups: the elect and reprobate.

            it is altogether arbitrary to say that the “clay” in v. 21 stands for the human race, corrupted by original sin, because in the whole of chapter 9 there is not even a remote allusion to original sin. At least the potter does not blame the vessels which he has made for ignoble uses. Hence, if God really had made certain men for ignoble roles, He should not blame and condemn these men for being such.

            Paul was making a simple parable. He wishes to teach that God has the right to assign men to various places in the external order of this world – which is quite different and distinct from the internal order of eternal salvation or damnation. That is, God makes some to be kings, others physicians, others labourers, etc. And similarly, He brings some into the Church in the full sense, and not others. But these assignments by no means fix the eternal lot of a man.

            A surface level reading of this, not grounded in context, will end up saying the exact opposite of what Paul really means. Many think Paul is raising the objection: “but how can God damn me for sinning if there was no way for me to avoid the sin in the first place?”. That’s not at all what Paul is saying. Paul is recalling what he said earlier in Romans, notably the start of Romans 3,

            “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? ( I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.”

            Paul is teaching the “righteousness” of God is revealed through the Gospel, particularly through the Jewish rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. God’s righteousness came through the repeated sins of the Jews, most especially in their crucifying of their Messiah. God worked through Israel’s unfaithfulness, their sins, to actually accomplish His will. The Jews thought that they simply being “unconditionally” born as children of Abraham that they were “unconditionally” entitled special protection and salvation and blessings from God. Thus, what Paul is really saying in “why does God find fault?” is that just because God uses your sin to advance His plan does not mean you wont suffer consequences for your sins.

            This is why Paul brings up the “Potter” and “Clay” analogy, not to show God is out to prove He’s sovereign by “unconditionally” damning one clay pot over another. This has nothing to do with the Potter building a pot just to destroy it, but rather Israel acting ungratefully and mocking God, as if God was creature and Israel was the Creator. In other words, we’re dealing with “God’s People” here who are going to be taught a lesson the hard way.

            When Paul speaks of using one vessel for “honourable use” and other vessels for “dishonourable” use, this does not mean God makes one person on a one-way trip for Heaven and another person on a one-way trip set for Hell. The lesson here is pretty straightforward: God uses people to carry out special tasks in Salvation History. The Jews are clearly undergoing God’s judgment because they were selected to be honourable and turned out to be not worthy due to sin. The chosen people, the Jews, had lost their “first born” status (Exodus 4:22-23). Which leads right to Romans 9:27, where as the Gentiles became God’s new chosen People, Isaiah predicted “concerning Israel” only a remnant, the first Christians, would be saved. This is why Paul says that Israel as a nation, though still special to God, was “hardened” (Rom 11:25).

          • grutchyngfysch

            No. This is quite wrong.

            It is wrong to elide the Jewish-Gentile question with the Elect in such a way as to suggest doctrine on the latter is a continuation of the former. Paul is explicit in his argument that he is talking about the role of agency in God’s mercy and salvation:

            So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” (Rom 9:16)

            He is not talking about earthly roles or governance, and he is not talking about the position man holds within a worldly commonwealth. The language he uses is absolutely clear:

            What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?” (9:22-24)

            This is explicitly about salvation and eternal destruction. There is nothing arbitrary in reading these terms as they are described, and more pertinently still, as the explanation of the potter’s clay parable. A pot cannot hold mercy, Jack.

            Paul concludes his point more explicitly and plainly still:

            What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works.” (9:30-32)

            That Israel was (wrongly) presumptious on its putative right to salvation, I entirely agree: but Paul diagnoses their error very clearly. They believed that a quality inherent to them justified them, when in fact it is imputed justification which saves the naturally unrighteous. This is why Paul cites Isaiah noting that Israel’s condition would be no better than Sodom and Gomorrah, but for the sovereign grace of God alone (9:29).

            He goes on to reinforce this point:

            For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” (10:3)

            There is no Jew or Gentile in Christ because there is no quality of work, will, or nature in either that can justify them apart from Christ. Both are as impoverished as the other before God without Him.

            It’s worth quoting in full the relevant section of Chapter 11 which you gloss as a simple transfer of status:

            So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

            What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,

            “God gave them a spirit of stupor,
            eyes that would not see
            and ears that would not hear,
            down to this very day.”
            ” (11:5-8)

            The language is absolutely clear and without ambiguity. The elect “obtained” salvation – but can they have obtained it by any merit of their own? No. The preceding verses make this conclusion impossible. Grace is not grace if it is earned. Is the inverse then true instead – that the reprobate have lost it through their own choice away? No. The following verses make it clear where the agency lies: “God gave them a spirit of stupor” (my emphasis).

            It is in this context that Paul’s parable of the grafted branches is set. Gentiles cannot be arrogant, because it is by no quality or work that they have been grafted in. Israel likewise, will not be grafted back in full (in the full unveiling of God’s salvific plan before the Day of Judgement) because they merit it.

            As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (11:28-29)

            That’s why people cite Romans for “once saved always saved”, Jack (well, that and Romans 8): because it makes adamantly clear that God does not mistakenly pick one and then another only to be disappointed in His choice further down the line. And lest we end up down a tangent on whether gifts and calling are in some way distinct from salvation, grace is the gift of God, and it is only by grace that we are saved.

            Paul rounds this off by reinforcing that point:

            For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” (11:30-32)

            Why would God consign all to disobedience if man is free to choose between obedience and disobedience? The answer, and the crux of the entire letter of Romans is so that the mercy of God would be magnified. At every point in his argument, Paul returns to the fact that it is God’s agency, and not man’s, which determines the possibility of salvation.

            This is explicit earlier in the epistle:

            For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (8:29-30)

            Paul concludes this argument with this final hymn of praise:

            Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!

            “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
            or who has been his counsellor?”
            “Or who has given a gift to him
            that he might be repaid?”
            (11:33-35)

            God’s otherness, His utter aboveness and holiness is what drives this entire letter. God is not a man; neither in His judgements nor His desires. He does not find preferment in one man because he merits it but because it satisfies God to make His sovereign mercy shown:

            …though they [Esau and Jacob] were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls” (9:11)

            It is not preferment in Jacob, but God’s purpose of election; it is not the response of Jacob or the rejection on the part of Esau, but the purpose of Him who calls. By the same token, the marvellous promises in chapter 8 will not be refuted by man’s failure (all men are by nature failed and fallen) but are secure, immutable, unshakeable, because of the kind intention of His Will that His name might be proclaimed throughout the Gentiles, amongst the Jews and in the whole world,

            in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory

            We can never forget that if all was up to man, not one would be saved. That is why the glory-centred plan of God cannot be rejected as unjust or unloving: because it is the only plan in which anyone can be saved. There is no other comparator against which it might be measured and found wanting.

            For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
            for how should my name be profaned?
            My glory I will not give to another.
            ” (Isa 48:11)

          • Roman’s 9 – 11 is about the Israel and its history. The reference to the potter reminds his readers of Jeremiah 18:6: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? Says the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”

            To take this verse out of context results in a misinterpretation. interpretation of Jeremiah. The next four verses are enlightening:

            “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will repent of the good which I had intended to do to it.” (Jer 18:7-10)

            Jeremiah glaringly affirms freewill. So does Paul throughout Romans and elsewhere. He clearly teaches all men must freely cooperate with God’s grace to be saved. Romans 2:6-8: “[God] will render to every man according to his works: To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life, but for those who . . . do not obey the truth . . . there will be wrath and fury.” Romans 11:22: “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.” Romans 6:16, Paul makes clear that we must continue to obey to attain final justification: “Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

            Jesus in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” As God, Jesus clearly desired to gather His children, Israel, but they would not. If the Calvinist predestination were true, God never willed to gather them at all. If he truly willed to gather them, they would have been gathered!

            Romans 9:18-19 is a challenge. “Therefore he hath mercy on whom he will; and whom he will, he hardeneth. Thou wilt say therefore to me: ‘Why doth he then find fault? For who resisteth his will?’” There is a certain mystery involved in God’s predestined plan. We could ask many unanswerable questions. The only response is: “But who are you, a man, to answer back to God?” However, we err if we turn God into an unjust God. Even if some are given more grace than others, everyone is given sufficient grace to be saved. Titus 2:11 tells us:“the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men “ If God did not give a man sufficient grace to be saved, then God would be unjust in condemning him. There is no mystery there at all.

            Paul’s lesson is about temporal Jewish history and not about individual salvation and damnation. Paul opens by saying
            he is speaking about the Jews and all the blessings and promises they were given by God. So the question is, why did the Jews as a
            whole fail to accept Jesus? Paul responds:

            “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall
            have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had
            conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because
            of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I
            hated.”

            This is at the heart of his lesson. Paul’s argument is that not
            everyone born from Abraham’s biological lineage is entitled to the
            promises God gave Abraham.

            Paul then proceeds to bring up another example, this time it’s Abraham’s son Isaac and his wife Rebekah, who became pregnant with twins. So now the situation is more ‘complicated’ than the first, with the two sons of the same womb (originally barren, needing another miracle), born within seconds of each other. Despite
            Esau being born first, with Jacob (lit: “he who grabs the heel”) coming out right after, God declares “The older will serve the younger” in Genesis 25:21-23, which says:

            “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”

            This is why Paul immediately adds, “As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’,” quoting Malachi:

            “I have loved you [Jacob],” says the Lord. But you [Jacob] say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” If
            Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.'” Your own eyes shall see this, and
            you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”

            As with Ishmael and Isaac earlier, so also the context here isn’t focused upon individuals, but rather nations. (The name “Edom” is the nation of Esau’s lineage.) Thus, there is yet another distinction among Abraham’s lineage, first Isaac over Ismael, and now Jacob (renamed “Israel”) being chosen over Esau. Of the nations
            that would emerge, one would be blessed, while the other would be cursed (by living in sin and not having any promises granted to that lineage). But even here Paul isn’t speaking about predestination to hell or even salvation, rather he is remaining on the realm of temporal blessings.

            With that in mind, verse 11 – though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls – is to be taken to mean God freely chooses which means He will bring about His promises, in this case choosing the weaker son, Jacob. This totally refutes the idea God’s plans or favour is tied to biology or any superior biological qualities (e.g. good looks,
            strength, brains). But the natural objection is raised:

            “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

            this is the chief proof-text the Protestant appeals to, seemingly iron-clad in it’s argument: God decides to have mercy or harden – save
            or damn – based on His sole pleasure, for His sole glory. But if one has been following Paul up till now and understands these two OT texts, they will see that is not what Paul is getting at. As noted throughout, Paul is ultimately framing this in terms of one nation versus another, essentially Jews versus Gentiles. In this case the nation of Israel versus the nation of Egypt, with Moses and Pharaoh signifying the headship of each.

            First consider what God says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion,” which comes from one of the most intimate passages in the Bible, when God reveals his Glory to Moses (Ex. 33:12-23). But this comes at the conclusion of one of Israel’s most infamous
            sins, the golden calf (Ex. 32)! In this passage God says Moses has found favour in His sight precisely because Moses stepped in and interceded for the Israelite nation who sinned with the calf and were going to be wiped out and rejected by God. God shows mercy on folks at the intercession of others, who find favour in God’s sight, and is thus not “unconditionally” saving or damning. (This of course prefigures Jesus.)

            Next consider what God says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth,” during the 7th Plague on Egypt in Exodus 9:13-17. On the surface, this sounds as if God desires to see Pharaoh die and keeps Pharaoh from choosing any
            different. But again this is a serious misunderstanding. Again, consider that this quote is taken from the 7th Plague, meaning Pharaoh has disobeyed repeatedly leading up to this:

            “When Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his
            servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not
            let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through
            Moses.
            (Ex 9:34-35)

            Here the text explicitly states Pharaoh hardened his own heart, sinning “yet again,” just as the Lord foretold. With this it is clear that when it is said God is the one hardening the heart, this in no way indicates God is predestining sin, since Pharaoh sinned by hardening, but rather God ‘solidifies’ that sinner’s decision. While
            Exodus does mention God “hardening” Pharaoh at times (e.g. Ex 7:3; 9:12; 10:1), there is also mention of Pharaoh doing the “hardening” of his heart, specifically after he repents and lets the Israelites go but then takes back his promise (Ex 8:15; 8:32; 9:34).
            God did this “that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth,” meaning God is making the mighty nation of Egypt an object lesson when messing with “God’s People”. It was the ultimate showdown between the mighty “firstborn” from natural means (i.e. Egypt)
            and God’s enslaved “firstborn” of supernatural selection (Exodus 4:22-23).

            But if this is so, some will object by bringing up the next few verses:

            “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is moulded say to its moulder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honourable use and another for dishonourable use?

            Again, a surface level reading of this, not grounded in context, will end up saying the opposite of what Paul really means. Many think Paul is raising the objection, “but how can God damn me for sinning if there was no way for me to avoid the sin in the first place?”. That’s not at all what Paul is saying! Paul is recalling what he said earlier in Romans, notably the start of Romans 3,

            “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people
            slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is
            just.”

            Paul has been teaching the “righteousness” of God is revealed through the Gospel, particularly through the Jewish rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. God’s righteousness came through the
            repeated sins of the Jews, most especially in their crucifying of their Messiah.God worked through Israel’s unfaithfulness, their sins, to actually accomplish His will. The Jews thought that they simply being “unconditionally” born as children of Abraham that they were “unconditionally” entitled special protection and salvation and blessings from God. Paul is really saying in “why does God find
            fault?” is that just because God uses your sin to advance His plan does not mean you wont suffer consequences for your sins.

            This is why Paul brings up the “Potter” and “Clay” analogy, not to show God is out to prove He’s sovereign by “unconditionally” damning one clay pot over another. Paul is alluding to at least three references to God being the Potter, with Israel specifically (not just anybody!) being the clay in his hands:

            Isaiah 29 13
            “And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honour me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people… Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not
            make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no
            understanding”?

            Isaiah 45 9
            “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you
            making?’or ‘Your work has no handles’?

            Jeremiah 18 6
            “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break
            down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’”

            Now we see a lot more clearly what Paul was getting at this whole time. This has nothing to do with the Potter building a pot just to destroy it, but rather Israel acting ungratefully and mocking God,
            as if God was creature and Israel was the Creator. Paul speaks of using one vessel for “honourable use” and other vessels for
            “dishonourable” use, this does not mean God makes one person on a one-way trip for Heaven and another person on a one-way trip to Hell. Consider the fact Paul uses identical languages of “vessels for honour and dishonour” in his letter to Timothy:

            “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honourable use, some for dishonourable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonourable, he will be a vessel for honourable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2)

            The lesson is straightforward: God uses people to carry out special tasks in Salvation History. Those people who cleanse themselves rise from the status of non-honourable to that of honourable. The Jews are clearly undergoing God’s judgment because they were selected to be honourable and turned out to be not worthy due
            to sin. So what now? Paul has the answer:

            “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his
            glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea,
            “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.'” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'” And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved…”

            Here we see the Jew vs Gentile dichotomy clear again. Paul culminates all that he said prior with “as indeed God says in Hosea,” meaning the answer to this was hidden in the OT until now. What has God been “enduring with much patience”? Paul mentions this
            earlier in Romans 2,

            “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and
            impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”

            Paul is speaking to those Jews who were utter hypocrites, condemning the Gentiles as second class citizens, worthless by nature. Yet Paul says God has endured with much “patience” with this Jewish nation of hypocrites, giving them time to repent, and yet they prefer to remain in sin.

            Who are God’s people? Obviously, the Jews. So who are “not God’s people”? Obviously, the Gentiles. But notice the ‘horrifying’ prophecy of Hosea: those who formerly were “not my people” are now going to be called “my people”. The chosen people, the Jews,
            had lost their “first born” status (Exodus 4:22-23). Which leads right to Romans 9:27, where as the Gentiles became God’s new chosen People, Isaiah predicted “concerning Israel” only a remnant, the
            first Christians, would be saved. This is why Paul says that Israel as a nation, though still special to God, was “hardened” (Rom 11:25) and made effectively second class behind the Gentiles.This leads
            Paul to transition to the crux of the whole sad situation:

            “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

            the context is that of Jews versus Gentiles. The Jews (for the most part) failed to recognize the “Stone” of Zion, Jesus, and when they took Jesus on head to head, they tripped and fell. On the other hand, the ‘godless’ pagan Gentiles, in ever increasing numbers,
            continued to recognized Jesus as Saviour and believed in him, until they became the majority in the Church.

            Paul drives home his point in chapters 10 and 11. In Romans 10
            “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them [the Jews] is that they may be saved. … [But] Moses says [to Israel], “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.” … But of Israel [God] says, “All
            day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary
            people.”
            Paul’s thesis becomes more and more explicit in Chapter 10. The Jews have lost their status and are rightly upset, but God’s patience had worn out. But all hope is not lost, for Paul shows God’s ultimate plan in the next chapter:

            Romans 11 13
            “Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? … As regards the gospel, they [Israel] are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on
            all.”

            So in a deeply mysterious plan, God will one day bring the Jews out of their hardened state to join with their Gentile brothers, that all may be one in Christ.

          • carl jacobs

            God knows who will resist His grace gravely and persistently.

            In the first place, God doesn’t foreknow events in Scripture. He foreknows people. This is not a reference to a contingent God who is responsive to His creation. This is not about God passively acquiring knowledge of a creature’s sovereign choice.

            But more importantly, you haven’t responded to what I said at all. You have to explain why some “will resist His grace gravely and persistently” and others won’t. Are they wiser? Smarter? More spiritual? This is what I mean by intrinsic characteristic. Any answer to that question will give grounds for boasting unless the answer is outside of man himself.

          • “In the first place, God doesn’t foreknow events in Scripture. He foreknows people. “

            Of course God foreknows events. He’s eternal and does not exist in time. It’s all one “moment” to an eternal God.

            “You have to explain why some “will resist His grace gravely and persistently” and others won’t.”
            Only God knows the answer to that one.

          • It does HJ. And it does so because this is the theology God reveals in Scripture.

          • A very one sided reading of scripture that omits those passages proclaiming His love, justice, and fairness. God cannot be just, while acting unjustly. God cannot be God, and yet conduct Himself in an ungodly manner.

            As Jack wrote when considering whether it was God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart and then punished him for that hard-heartedness:

            In scripture three distinct declarations are made with regard to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. First, the text states that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (7:3; 9:12; 10:1,20,27; 11:10; 14:4,8), and the hearts of the Egyptians (14:17). Second, it is said that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (8:15,32; 9:34), that he refused to humble himself (10:3), and that he was stubborn (13:15). Third, the text uses the passive form to indicate that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, without giving any indication as to the source (7:13,14,22; 8:19; 9:7,35).

            The questions are: (1) did God harden Pharaoh on some occasions, while Pharaoh hardened himself on others? (2) Did God do all the hardening of Pharaoh, with the references to Pharaoh hardening himself being the result of God forcing him to do so against his own will? (3) Are all three declarations given in the text actually parallel expressions that mean the same thing? (4) Are the three declarations distinct from one another in their meaning, but all true in their own respects?

            God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in that He provided the circumstances and the occasion for Pharaoh to be forced to make a decision. God sent Moses to place His demands before Pharaoh. Moses merely announced God’s instructions. God even accompanied His Word with miracles – to confirm the divine origin of the message (cf. Mark 16:20). Pharaoh made up his own mind to resist God’s demands. Of his own accord, he refused to comply. God provided the occasion for Pharaoh to demonstrate his unyielding attitude. God was the instigator and initiator. But He was not the author of Pharaoh’s defiance.

            All four of the following statements are true: (1) God hardened Pharaoh’s heart; (2) Moses hardened Pharaoh’s heart; (3) the words that Moses spoke hardened Pharaoh’s heart; (4) Pharaoh hardened his own heart. All four are accurate, depicting the same truth from different perspectives.

            God is responsible for everything in the Universe. He has provided the occasion, the circumstances, and the environment in which all things operate. God did not unjustly harden Pharaoh’s heart. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), He does not act unjustly (Psalms 33:5). He has always allows humans to exercise free moral agency (Deuteronomy 30:19). God uses the wrong, stubborn decisions committed by rebellious sinners to further His causes (Isaiah 10:5-11).

          • dannybhoy

            You’re on fire here Jack. There are others who point out that this hardening of hearts, or directing of minds is nothing to do with salvation, and everything to do with God’s directing of human affairs in connection with His purposes for (in this context) Israel coming out of Egypt to become a nation set apart for His purposes.
            In the same way He uses Darius and Nebuchadnezzar etc. to secure His purposes.

          • dannybhoy

            Right on Jack.

          • Martin

            HJ

            What free will?

          • What made you ask this question?

          • Martin

            HJ

            The sinner enslaved to his sin has no free will to seek God. He must obey his master.

          • dannybhoy

            “Men want the answer to be “Because David was better than Goliath. Fundamentally salvation is all about me.”

            Not so. What we need is to trust, and one cannot trust in a God who acts arbitrarily, as Jack points out. The other thing is that people say that we are all so corrupt that we have no right to apply our morality to God’s omnipotence.
            Yet God says to us “Come let us reason together..”
            Were we so depraved this would be an impossible invitation..

        • dannybhoy

          And He doesn’t play games with us.

        • Martin

          HJ

          If God were fair we would all, without exception, be condemned, because that is what we deserve. That is what justice demands.

          But God is also merciful and saves those He chooses to save. He is partial toward them, places His love upon them, because He chooses to.

          You would deprive God of the right to do as He pleases.

          • Jack says God cannot contradict His nature. He can do as He chooses and He chose to Love all of His creation and decreed man have freewill.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Did God love the Pharaoh whose heart he hardened? Did God love the people of Sodom whom He destroyed, does God love Satan?

          • God loves us so much He has decreed we can reject Him. Pharaoh hardened his own heart and God left him to it. You don’t know his eternal fate, nor, for that matter, the fate of all the inhabitants of Sodom.

            Satan chose to turn away from God. When God created the angels, he created them good and gave them the free will to choose to love him or turn away from him. The fallen angels chose self. While God loves every being He has created, He will not force his love on anyone and will allow them to choose against Him.

            “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
            (1 John 4:7-8)

            Would Hell exist if there was no free will?

          • Martin

            HJ

            So give me a Bible reference for your claim that God has decreed we can reject His salvation. As Jesus tells us, all that the Father gives Him will be saved, He will not lose one.

            All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37 [ESV])

            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.
            (John 10:27-29 [ESV])

            And those the Father gives Him, they are the ones chosen before the foundation of the Earth:

            Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
            (Ephesians 1:3-6 [ESV])

            Actually we do know the eternal fate of the Pharaoh and the inhabitants of Sodom.

            And all mankind has chosen to rebel against their maker, they gave away their free will to their sin.

          • God has not created anyone for hell. The Bible cannot be any plainer than to say God is, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pt 3:9). God wills all to be saved. To be damned, a person must wilfully reject God’s “predestined plan” for his salvation.

            “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

            Christ longed to gather Israel together – but they were not willing. As God, Jesus clearly desired to gather his children, Israel, but they would not. If your view of predestination is true, God never willed to gather them at all. Jesus got it wrong here. If he truly willed to gather them, they would have been gathered! Was Jesus lying?

            Jeremiah glaringly affirms freewill:

            “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will repent of the good which I had intended to do to it.”

            And Saint Paul:

            “Such prayer is our duty, it is what God, our Saviour, expects of us, since it is his will that all men should be saved, and be led to recognize the truth.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            Where did I say God had created anyone for Hell? We choose Hell when we rebel against our Maker. e’ve already rejected God. But God has predestined some to salvation, and nothing will stop them from being saved.

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
            (Ephesians 2:1-7 [ESV])

            You will note that the passage says “your children”, not you. No one is ever willing to be saved, they’ve even invented false salvations that suit their own wills.

            So has any nation turned from its wickedness?

            Your last ‘quote’ I can’t identify and you don’t give a reference.

          • “We choose Hell when we rebel against our Maker.”

            Choice? How can we “choose” if, as you claim, we have no free will? You claim we have no choice about salvation, yet can choose damnation?!

            “Such prayer is our duty, it is what God, our Saviour, expects of us, since it is his will that all men should be saved, and be led to recognize the truth.”
            (1 Tim 2:4)

          • Martin

            HJ

            We had a free will when we gave it away to our sin.

          • So now you’re contradicting yourself.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Not at all.

      • dannybhoy

        It’s more about how you define man’s rebellion and sinfulness surely? If you believe in total depravity then your position makes some sort of sense.
        But if man was that evil he could hardly be held accountable by a just God. However it is clear that the Bible teaches us we are culpable, and will answer to Him for our lives.

        • Martin

          Danny

          You misrepresent total depravity. It means that their tendency is to disobey God. As the Bible says:

          as it is written:
          None is righteous, no, not one;
          no one understands;
          no one seeks for God.
          All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
          no one does good,
          not even one.
          Their throat is an open grave;
          they use their tongues to deceive.
          The venom of asps is under their lips.
          Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
          Their feet are swift to shed blood;
          in their paths are ruin and misery,
          and the way of peace they have not known.
          There is no fear of God before their eyes.
          (Romans 3:10-18 [ESV])

          • dannybhoy

            Romans 3>

            23″ ..for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood,to be received by faith.”
            That’s all we need to know Martin.
            Man is not that depraved that through the preaching of the word and the prayers of the Saints, his or her conscience may be awakened si that the individual then becomes aware of their sinfulness and rebellion against God.

          • CliveM

            Well said DB.

          • dannybhoy

            I thank you!

          • Martin

            Danny

            No one’s conscience is ever awakened except by the almighty power of God.

          • dannybhoy

            Come let us reason together saith the Lord…
            The conscience is involved in reasoning.
            Ros 2> ” 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.
            6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”

            14 “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

          • Martin

            Danny

            Reasoning presumes the ability to understand, the sinner is unable to think in spiritual terms.

            That the unbeliever still has a remnant of their conscience is true, but it is a sad weak thing, always subject to their will. The Atheist still retains something of a conscience, but it is subject to their little god of self that rules in their life.

          • dannybhoy

            Martin my brother, the verses make it clear..
            “Ros 2> ” 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.
            6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”

            14 “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

          • Martin

            Danny

            The point being, that only those who are saved are doing good.

          • dannybhoy

            It doesn’t say that Martin.
            “6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life;”
            Eternal life comes as a part of the gift of God; salvation. So God recognises that some people seek after God and try to live according ti the light that they have.
            Which fits in with Jesu’s statement to the scribe…
            Mark 12>
            “32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

          • Martin

            Danny

            It may not say that but that is what Scripture says elsewhere. And Scripture also tells us that no one seeks after God on their own.

            as it is written:
            None is righteous, no, not one;
            no one understands;
            no one seeks for God.
            All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
            no one does good,
            not even one.
            Their throat is an open grave;
            they use their tongues to deceive.
            The venom of asps is under their lips.
            Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
            Their feet are swift to shed blood;
            in their paths are ruin and misery,
            and the way of peace they have not known.
            There is no fear of God before their eyes.
            (Romans 3:10-18 [ESV])

          • dannybhoy

            Bit of light reading for the weekend Martin, :0)
            https://readingacts.com/2016/10/03/the-power-of-sin-romans-39-18/

            “Bible Doctrine is a site that emphasizes Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20.24), that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). The Corinthian passage is the clearest definition of Paul’s gospel which is the “power of salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1.16-17). The articles have been written to reveal God’s love and His wonderful salvation for all who will believe and to inform, encourage, and strengthen believers in the Christian faith and life.”
            http://doctrine.org/

            “Paul was a great sinner. He knew it. He never got over the fact that he persecuted those who had believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah (1 Corinthians 15.9). How many times must he have asked himself, “How could I, a Pharisee, schooled in the Law and prophets, have been so blind as not to recognize the Messiah?” “How could I, a beneficiary of the best education, taught by the most brilliant rabbi, have missed the One to Whom all the prophets pointed?” All that was true. But Paul’s sinfulness was not the main point of this passage.”
            http://doctrine.org/paul-chief-of-sinners/

          • Martin

            Danny

            What in those quotes contradicts what I have written?

            Actually I doubt that Paul did think that, He knew that his mind had been darkened and that it was only an act of God that saved him. This is how he describes his and every other salvation:

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
            (Ephesians 2:1-7 [ESV])

            Saved by a sovereign act of God. And Luke, in writing Acts, says this:

            And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48 [ESV])

            Do you see that little phrase, “as many as were appointed to eternal life believed”, they didn’t choose to follow Jesus, they were appointed.

          • dannybhoy

            Romans 10>
            6 “But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

            “14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

            There are two apparently contradictory statements. One you have picked out and one I have picked out. The vast witness of Scripture indicates that man is free to repent, free to hear the Gospel.
            Let’s just take the revivals brought about through the Wesley brothers and George Whitfield.
            Did God just decide one day, “I’m going to start a revival!” or was it because these men were doing what Paul said and preaching the Gospel?

          • Martin

            Danny

            And Ephesians says:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
            (Ephesians 2:8-9 [ESV])

            So faith is the gift of God, not something naturally occurring in Man. Men know the difference between good and evil, they even know God exists, they are simply not willing to come to God. God chooses to work through men and chooses to respond to the acts of men. But that does not mean that God changes His plan that He created before time began.

  • Anton

    Yesterday UNESCO passed a resolution deploring the restricted access that Muslims have to Temple Mount, referring to it only by Islamic names and reference points, and making no mention of *any* of its Jewish history. More drivel like the meeting in Lichfield Cathedral !

  • Anton

    Before we pass on to Mrs Proudie, let me pause to look again at that photograph of Lichfield Cathedral… what a building !

    • Pubcrawler

      In the logo on the left it looks rather like Orthanc.

    • IanCad

      How far we have fallen Anton.

      Dartington Primary School. Abandoned less than two years after completion. Seven million pounds. Winner of multiple awards. The Devon County Council lawyer has chastised me for using an “inappropriate tone” when I suggested incompetency beyond belief was the root cause.

      https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=dartington+primary+school+abandoned&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiVrI6_r9rPAhXGBsAKHVCQA5QQ_AUICSgC&biw=1024&bih=599#imgrc=ey1VwGGwMbN_7M%3A

      • Anton

        I hope you sent a tart reply. It matters not to let people get away with that kind of bullying denial.

        • IanCad

          Anton,
          I am learning how little local government is concerned with husbanding the taxpayer’s money.
          Yes! I’ve written, cataloging the design flaws and the grossest incompetency of all involved. I can speak as an expert in timber construction. No heads have rolled, nor seem likely to. The same DCC officials in charge of the fiasco are now directing the construction of its replacement.
          I am now being totally ignored, not only by the County Solicitor, Jan Shadbolt, but also by the Chairman of the Council, John Hart. They retreat behind the fiction of sub judice which means they can’t talk about the case. Rather, they don’t want to.
          Not sure what I should do next. I’m certainly not minded to let the matter drop.
          Thanks for giving me an opportunity to vent.

          • Anton

            The important things are:

            1. Don’t be respectful. Within the limits of factual accuracy, whatever you say is less than they deserve.

            2. Never lose dignity, but make as much noise as you can.

            3. Don’t just grumble but make suggestions for what should happen, eg resignations, refunds, public apologies etc.

          • IanCad

            Thanks Anton,
            I have pretty much exhausted number three, although last Sunday, for the first time I visited the site. I had understood it wasn’t accessible but that was incorrect – well, a little jimmying maybe. What I saw was dilapidation beyond my wildest imagination. Far, far worse than any photos could show.
            Perhaps number one should be my next course, but I really need support from outside of the council. The public are apathetic, don’t understand timber construction, and have a touching faith in the competency of UK architects and engineers.
            My wife suggested a website, “Dartington Folly” might be a platform to gather support. Problem is, time – the thief of life.
            Appreciate the suggestions and will heed them.

          • Anton

            I’ve just improved them. A website and leafleting are important. Don’t forget to leaflet pubs at busy times, with the landlord’s permission.

          • dannybhoy

            Get other people to make the same polite but firm enquiries independently. If you have anything tangible to build on contact local papers..

      • CliveM

        Unless you grovel, all tones are ‘inappropriate ‘!

        The mans an idiot.

      • Gladiatrix

        I suggest that you contact the Local Government Ombudsman and the District Auditor and ask them to investigate; it sounds like there may be grounds for speaking to the police about misfeasance of public funds as well which is an offence under the Common Law. Have you spoken to your MP? You might try writing a detailed account to Private Eye.

        • IanCad

          Great suggestions. Thank you!
          I have politely requested the “Report” on which DCC’s case is based. I have a suspicion that it was drafted by a firm that is a member of the RIBA, and will thus, be tender on the architects involved.. The case is so egregious that there should be no need of a court trial. That of course, indicates that counsel is unable to present a damaging case. Normally – or at least in my experience – the parties concerned would be all fighting like cats in a sack.
          I did, in my last letter to DCC, tell them that if necessary I would seek the relevant t documents through the provisions of the FOI act. I had briefly thought of contacting the Ombudsman but your suggestion of involving the District Auditor hadn’t crossed my mind.
          As to the negligence amounting to the level of criminality – it would certainly do so in the US. Yet another avenue to pursue.
          Again; Thanks so much for your input.

          • IanCad

            Edited twice already yet!

          • dannybhoy

            Close ranks everybody. Some public busybody wants to know what we’re doing with public money…

  • Gladiatrix

    And as usual the Bishop and Dean will suffer no personal penalty of any kind and the Archbishop of Canterbury says he has no jurisdiction. Whatever happened to the charge of conduct unbecoming a clerk in holy orders and having to account before the Court of Arches?

    • Anton

      You’re well informed. I’ve never even heard of the Court of Arches. What is it, please?

      • dannybhoy

        Flanagan and Allen were founder members..

    • dannybhoy

      “And as usual the Bishop and Dean will suffer no personal penalty of any kind and the Archbishop of Canterbury says he has no jurisdiction.”
      Exactly. In fact I only found that out about a year ago that our bishop has no jurisdiction over our benefice, and in effect the vicar is autonomous -when it suits..
      So the AofC is really there to be the living ballast that helps keep all the little autonomous groups inside the good ship ‘AnglicansRus’..

      • Anton

        Careful! Would you rather have a papal church system?

        • dannybhoy

          No, just get rid of the priesthood/laity divide. It’s not Scriptural.

          • Anton

            Well said – I agree entirely!

  • weirdvisions

    An insult to the focus of the Christian faith, Jesus, who was a Jew.