Would Somebody Please Explain THIS?
One of my earlier mentors in the insurance business ... and I'm talking about 1959 here ... once told me "A man's position on most issues depends on which set of proven facts he chooses to ignore". I guess a variation of that, or perhaps a good illustration, might be that regardless of how well-thought-out, studied, prepared, and right a thing might be, there will always be somebody who'll be willing to argue, disagree, disapprove, or criticize you.
Man, has that ever proved out in the half-century or so, since George told me that.
Maybe the same is true in Spiritual matters, too. By way of explanation, before becoming Baptists, we belonged to 3 different Presbyterian denominations ... all in sound, evangelical churches. Plus, we've always tended to study the beliefs of whichever church or denomination with which we were involved.
So, we studied the Westminster Confession of Faith, privately and in Bible studies. See ... the W.C of F. has scripture to back up every point it makes, just as does the Baptist Faith and Message. And I recall that in the weeks before we joined FBC of Pelham, I stopped by the pastor's office and, after talking a while, left with a copy of the Baptist Faith and Message, and with Hershel Hobbs' book of the same title. And I studied them.
Hey ... we'd even gotten a copy of the Methodist Discipline, a book which sets forth both the churches' obligations, as well as their articles of faith. And I'd studied that when I was a Methodist, too.
So I know, without doubt, that George Whittier's advice can apply in the Spiritual realm, too: "A man's position on many doctrines depends largely on which Scripture he chooses to ignore. Or choose to explain away".
I was moved after seeing a friend's post on Facebook this morning, to respond by asking some questions. Well, maybe a couple.
Here's the scripture he commented on:
Romans 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants. On the contrary, your offspring will be traced through Isaac. 8 That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but the children of the promise are considered to be the offspring. 9 For this is the statement of the promise: At this time I will come, and Sarah will have a son. 10 And not only that, but also Rebekah received a promise when she became pregnant by one man, our ancestor Isaac. 11 For though her sons had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to election might stand— 12 not from works but from the One who calls—she was told: The older will serve the younger. 13 As it is written: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau. God’s Selection Is Just. 14 What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! 15 For He tells Moses: I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture tells Pharaoh: I raised you up for this reason so that I may display My power in you and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 18 So then, He shows mercy to those He wants to, and He hardens those He wants to harden. 19 You will say to me, therefore, “Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?” 20 But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?”
Since someone is apt to mention John 3:16, here it is, too: "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life".
If the United States Olympic Committee were to say that everyone who runs the 100 meters in 8.5 seconds will be on our US Olympic Team, nobody would believe that everyone in the USA could do that. But most seem willing to think that everyone in the world can "...believe in Him...". And, since 1 Corinthians 2:14 says that the natural man cannot perceive ... comprehend ... things of the Spirit, I'm led to believe that no everyone can believe in Him.
Unless God first does something to that person's nature. Until God does something ... regenerate, perhaps? ... God says man can't perceive Spiritual matters.
But then, 1 John 2:2 says "He (Jesus) Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world." We wrestled with this in a Bible study some months ago, and about the only thing we could really decide on was that it did not mean that everybody was going to go to Heaven. What all else it does mean, we'll just have to leave to the theologians.
I think I'd rather explain away 1 John 2:2, than all that stuff in Romans 9. But maybe that's just me.