Thursday, April 19, 2007

Luke 19:10

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:9-10)

Calvinist, James White, writes: “Does He accomplish His purpose? Does He actually save, or only make savable? If He actually saves, does this not limit the scope of the ‘lost’?” (Debating Calvinism, p.176)

For an answer, click on the link below:


Turretinfan said...

I read your linked article, but it does not answer Dr. White's question.

You try to find fault with Dr. White's position, but you cannot give a straight answer to the simple question that he asked.

Just some food for thought.


Richard Coords said...

Hello Turretinfan,

Thanks for pointing that out, and I'll modify it.

Does He actually save?

Here are a few brief thoughts:

No, if "actually saves" is meant as a unilateral act, which White does indeed intend to convey. The Arminian answers that, yes, Jesus saves, but only if...and then the John 3:16 reference follows, meaning that you must believe in Him in order to receive that salvation. That brings us to White's alternative.

Does He just make savable?

Yes, if they look upon Christ, as per John 3:14/Numbers 21:6-9. Those who were snake-bitten had to look upon the atonement in order to receive it's healing power. The standard heals, provided that they look upon it. This was Jesus' analogy to the cross of Calvary. Jesus saves, provided that we look upon Him in faith.

The bottom line is that the brief words of Luke 19:10 "seek and to save that which is lost" does not explicitly spell out either position, Calvinist or Arminian.

The other verse of similar nature that White raises is Matthew 1:21:

By the way, it is very easy for me to get "carried away" with harsh tone in my write-ups, which I readily admit as counter-productive, so if you see an instance, feel free to point it out. Sometimes passions run unchecked. I recently had to revise Jeremiah 32:25 for that very reason.

I think that I have reeled that one in somewhat:

You be the judge.

God bless and thanks for the critique,


Turretinfan said...

No, that's not James White's Question, EC.

Let me see if I can make it clear for you by putting it in steps.

1) Forget that you know anything at all about Reformed theology.

2) Pretend you have only the Scriptures and your firm convictions about what the Scriptures say.

3) Now, figure out in your head what Jesus' purpose is.

4) Write down (type) the answer to the question: "What is Jesus' purpose?"

5) Reflect on whether that is what the text says Jesus purpose is.

6) If you are sure, then continue to the next question: Does Jesus accomplish that purpose, whatever it is, that Scripture says Jesus has?

It's a yes or no question.


Richard Coords said...

To Turretinfan,

I read through the questions, and conclude with a question as to the scope of "the lost" at Luke 19:10:

4) What is Jesus' purpose? John 3:16.

5) Yes.

6) Yes.

Question: Are all of the "lost" saved? That would be Universalism, which neither of us believes.

Therefore, you and I have a different view of the scope of the lost at Luke 19:10. I think that you are reading "lost elect" into Luke 19:10, whereas I am reading "lost world" into Luke 19:10, as per John 3:16. So which is right?

I think that this one difference really drives the interpretation of this passage. For if the "lost" at Luke 19:10 does in fact mean the whole world (as I would argue from John 3:16), then your argument becomes Universalism. On the other hand, if the lost only means the elect, then you arrive at White's point. So is there any justification from the context of Luke 19, that the lost only meant a secret segment of the lost?

Richard Coords said...

While I'm not asking that you believe only as Calvin believed, nor am asking that Calvin be defended, I do think that it is wise for the Arminian to quote John Calvin for support, when support is available, in order to show Calvinists that even some Calvinists, even a patriarch of Calvinism such as John Calvin himself, agrees at times with the Arminian viewpoint:

Calvin writes: “When, therefore, the Gospel invites all to partake of salvation without any difference, it is rightly termed the doctrine of salvation. For Christ is there offered, whose proper office is to save that which had been lost, and those who refuse to be saved by Him shall find Him their Judge.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.27, emphasis mine)

Richard Coords said...

In terms of the scope of "the lost" at Luke 19:10, it is helpful to consider John 12:47: "I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world."

To recap, Jesus has come to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10), meaning, "the world." (John 12:47)

That takes us right back to the "world" arguments.