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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:26 pm 
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The point I, and others, have been trying to make is that you should stop talking about 'protestantism' at all. You need to look at each Church, or each communion of churches, separately. You are comparing the theology of one communion - the Roman Catholic Church (including all the churches in communion with the Roman Pontiff) - with some abstract thing called 'Protestantism.' Don't. Just don't.

The Church of Norway, in which I am a member and a priest, is totally opposed to 'free grace,' and it comes directly from the assumptions made in the Lutheran confessions regarding the relationship between Christ and the believer. It is rooted in the Lutheran definition of the communicatio idiomatum; that there is, through Christ, who is true God and true man, a communication of idioms or properties (Lt. idíōma) between the divine and human natures in Christ, and between Christ and the believer. I have written on this here, where the point was also that there is no 'protestant view.' And the point I made there is that this communication of properties comes through faith, but that the Christian life also flows forth from the same, which means that any talk of antinomianism or free grace theology is denied.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:13 pm 
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So, what do Protestants think about liturgy?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:03 pm 
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Nathan M. wrote:
It's morality completely divorced from Salvation. Is this true?


Greetings Nathan,

There are many Christian theologies that aren't Catholic, but I believe some (if not most) forms of it separate justification from sanctification (God's work in the individual to make them holy).

Their "Systematic Theology" books are main drivers of their tradition, books, teaching, etc.

Wayne Grudem's 'Systematic Theology' is probably the most popular one in evangelical circles from my experience.

Wayne Grudem, "Systematic Theology" [italics his]

- p. 727 "Protestantism since the time of Martin Luther has insisted that justification does not change us internally and it is not a declaration based in any way on any goodness that we have in ourselves."

Here's a Reformed view:

Berkof "Systematic Theology" (Reformed)

- p. 513 with "respect to the sinner, it does not change his inner life. It does not affect his condition, but his state, and in that respect differs from all the other principal parts of the order of salvation. It involves the forgiveness of sins and the restoration of divine favor." (Ibid.) "Justification takes place outside if the sinner in the tribunal of God, and does not change his inner life, thought the sentence is brought home to him subjectively. Sanctification, on the other hand, takes place in the inner life of man and gradually affects his whole being." (Ibid.) "Justification takes place once for all It is not repeated, neither is it a process; it is complete at once and for all time."
- p. 514 "The pardon granted din justification applies to all sins, past, present, and future, and thus involves the removal of all guilt and of every penalty."
- p. 518 "Moreover, the fact that our sins were imputed to Christ made Him personally a sinner, and the imputation of His righteousness to us makes us personally righteous, so that God can see no sin in believers at all."

Interestingly, Berkof argues against those holding to perfectionism in this life...saying:

- p. 540 "Confession of sin and prayer for forgiveness are continually required. Jesus taught all His disciples without any exception to pray for the forgiveness of sins and for deliverance from temptation and from the evil one."

So we're forgiven of all sin including future sins, but we're to continually pray for forgivness of sin. [??]

I have serious problems with theology like this.

Actually, I believe in salvation totally (100%) by grace, but that grace includes a change in nature. Those judgment day warnings Jesus gave to His own disciples are true (Mt 24:42-51, Lk 12:35-48). To the slave who hid his talent, the Master will say "You wicked slave, you knew I reap where I didn't sow..." and that slave goes to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.[Mt 25:14-30] This isn't "passing" by a once-for-all-time imputed righteousness. True change and fruit are required.

One mistake many make is "not by works" applies to judgment day. But those passages are never in the context of judgment day. God chooses some to save not because of any works they did, but by His gracious choice (Rom 11:5-6). Chosen to be holy, not because they were holy (Eph 1:4...how Ephesians starts off). But all of the judgment-day warnings include works. So Paul must have been talking about election (not by works) and how to come to Jesus (you don't work 10 years - you repent and believe/trust from the heart). And just because judgment day will require something doesn't mean it's not all grace...that will be given to the elect, to those who hold fast to the gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4...note the requirement to hold fast). Of course 100% grace means God will bring the elect to hold fast. One is in His household if they hold fast (Heb 3:6, 14). We're reconciled if we hold fast (Col 1:22-23).

Given that, Paul's warning that doers of such-and-such will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21) doesn't negate "not by works". His "not by works" is never in the context of judgment day.

God changes those whom He decided to save.

God will not be mocked:

Gal 6
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

How can anyone divorce morality from salvation?

-BHM


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:59 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
So, what do Protestants think about liturgy?

:soap:


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:13 am 
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Is the Evangelical Free Church a Free Grace congregation, or do they happen to have some Free Grace pastors among them?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:36 pm 
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I am aware of no formal denomination, including the EFC, that is explicitly free grace.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:48 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
So, what do Protestants think about liturgy?
Some don't. Some don't do anything else. Some do fall somewhere in between.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:02 pm 
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BHM,

Thank You for your reply. I didn't realize you studied at Dallas Theological Seminary. I think that's one of the hot beds for the free grace movement, though I hear it ebbs and flows, last I heard it was on the ebb there specifically. It may have reached its high point before or after you left, not sure when you studied there. I very much appreciate your input, I've been struggling with the Faith quite a bit recently. I think I may have been struggling for a while, but it's been near debilitating in the last couple of weeks.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:54 pm 
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Nathan M. wrote:
BHM,

Thank You for your reply. I didn't realize you studied at Dallas Theological Seminary. I think that's one of the hot beds for the free grace movement, though I hear it ebbs and flows, last I heard it was on the ebb there specifically. It may have reached its high point before or after you left, not sure when you studied there. I very much appreciate your input, I've been struggling with the Faith quite a bit recently. I think I may have been struggling for a while, but it's been near debilitating in the last couple of weeks.

FYI, DTS is no longer free grace, although it certainly used to be the flag ship of the movement. It was especially free grace under John Walvoord, but it's been going downhill since the 70s or so, which is about the time that a movement called "progressive dispensationalism" started to gain steam. That is now the standard view at Dallas thanks to men like Darrell Bock. But to give you only one more example of how not free grace they are, Daniel Wallace (if you don't know the name, you should--look it up) says in his Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics with reference to John 3:16,

    The idea seems to be both gnomic and continual: "everyone who continually believes." This is not due to the present tense only, but to the use of the present participle of πιστεύω, especially in soteriological contexts in the NT (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp. 620-621).

But such a statement is anathema to free grace theologians. There actually aren't any major schools that are explicitly free grace anymore. There are some minor players . . . Tyndale Theological Seminary, Chafer Theological Seminary, and a few others top the list (I want to say Baptist Bible College, too, but I could be wrong about them). But DTS? No, not in awhile. Again, that's because free grace theology goes hand in hand with classical dispensationalism, and the reason for that is that both theological systems are rooted in a common assumption of approaching the Bible using what is commonly (if imprecisely) referred to as a "literal" hermeneutic (Ryrie, God rest his soul, insisted we refer to it as a "normal" or "plain-reading" hermeneutic). Once again, you can get an overview of that approach in Zuck's Basic Bible Interpretation or in more eschatological texts such as Walvoord's The Millennial Kingdom or Pentecost's Things to Come.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:39 pm 
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Nathan M. wrote:
BHM,

Thank You for your reply. I didn't realize you studied at Dallas Theological Seminary. I think that's one of the hot beds for the free grace movement, though I hear it ebbs and flows, last I heard it was on the ebb there specifically. It may have reached its high point before or after you left, not sure when you studied there. I very much appreciate your input, I've been struggling with the Faith quite a bit recently. I think I may have been struggling for a while, but it's been near debilitating in the last couple of weeks.


Hello Nathan,

Yes, I graduated there with a ThM in 1989. I do believe that salvation is 100% by grace, meaning it's totally free. That's the "what", not the "how" that the free grace movement teaches. Salvation is 100% by grace, and the warnings Jesus gave to His own disciples in Mt 24:42-51 and Lk 12:35-48 are still true. Both can be true at the same time...so it's not a "once-for-all-time imputed righteousness that will be looked at. Some will think this looks semi-pelagian, but the RCC took care of semi-pelagianism back at II Orange. Remember Trent's "you have to cooperate with God's grace"? The issue that causes so much friction with protestants?? That might look like semi-pelagianism viewed on the surface, but Trent did not invalidate II Orange. I believe they were responding to Luther's "Bondage of the Will" where he said "freewill" doesn't exist. We do have free will and we're saved totally by grace and the judgment-day warnings are all true.

But backing up, here's what II Orange said long before:

From the Second Council of Orange, 529 A.D.

CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).

So God brings about someone to cooperate with His grace. If the assistance of grace depends on our humility or obedience, and it's a gift of grace itself that we're obedient and humble, that's 100% salvation by grace right there. It's God's workmanship in us that brings this about (plus His intervention in the world, etc.).

Interestingly, the founder of DTS, Lewis Sperry Chafer, says Jesus' warnings (to His own disciples in Mt 24:42-51) apply to tribulation Jews in the future 7-year tribulation?! He teaches a judgment before the millenium and those who "fail" go to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Those who are saved from that enter the kingdom totally by merit, without any grace!! Can you believe that? When will this madness end??

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lewis Sperry Chafer, "Systematic Theology", Vol. 5, p. 137 (underlining mine)

p. 137 "In that scene these very raging nations with their demon-driven kings and rulers are now standing an awful silence before the King, who is seated upon the throne of His glory. All resistance has been defeated and dissolved. ...

At His command, those indicated as sheep nations are required to move to His right side, and those indicated as goat nations are directed to His left side. ...

The kingdom is Israel's earthly, Messianic, millennial kingdom into which, by the authority of a large body of Old Testament prediction, Gentiles are to enter and sustain the subordinate place which is assigned to them (cf. Ps. 72:8-11; Isa. 14:1-2; 60:3; 5, 12; 62:2). The reason assigned by Christ for the admission of these sheep nations into the kingdom is altogether explicit. In them has been wrought out one thing which secures the divine approval and blessing. It is not a matter of bestowing divine grace, but rather of commending pure merit. They have provided food, drink, shelter, clothing, and comfort for the King.

p. 138 "The King will say, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

p. 139 "Those who, in the coming tribulation, will have suffered for Christ's sake (Matt. 24:9) are His brethren after the flesh. The kingdom which is in view belongs to Israel, and it is fitting to observe that, since certain Gentile peoples are to inherit a place in Israel's kingdom, they should be such as have by a previous demonstration exercised a sympathy for Israel, the elect nation before God."

p. 140 "Falling as it does at the end of the great tribulation, the judgment of the nations concerns that one generation that will have afflicted Israel during the time of Jacob's trouble."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just keep on noticing Jesus' warning to His own disciples - not non-Christian Jews in some future tribulation period. Jesus tells His own disciples "You know not the hour"..."you also must be ready". I take this as applying to all of us!

God bless you,
-BHM


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:57 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
Nathan M. wrote:
BHM,

Thank You for your reply. I didn't realize you studied at Dallas Theological Seminary. I think that's one of the hot beds for the free grace movement, though I hear it ebbs and flows, last I heard it was on the ebb there specifically. It may have reached its high point before or after you left, not sure when you studied there. I very much appreciate your input, I've been struggling with the Faith quite a bit recently. I think I may have been struggling for a while, but it's been near debilitating in the last couple of weeks.

FYI, DTS is no longer free grace, although it certainly used to be the flag ship of the movement. It was especially free grace under John Walvoord, but it's been going downhill since the 70s or so, which is about the time that a movement called "progressive dispensationalism" started to gain steam. That is now the standard view at Dallas thanks to men like Darrell Bock. But to give you only one more example of how not free grace they are, Daniel Wallace (if you don't know the name, you should--look it up) says in his Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics with reference to John 3:16,

    The idea seems to be both gnomic and continual: "everyone who continually believes." This is not due to the present tense only, but to the use of the present participle of πιστεύω, especially in soteriological contexts in the NT (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp. 620-621).

But such a statement is anathema to free grace theologians. There actually aren't any major schools that are explicitly free grace anymore. There are some minor players . . . Tyndale Theological Seminary, Chafer Theological Seminary, and a few others top the list (I want to say Baptist Bible College, too, but I could be wrong about them). But DTS? No, not in awhile. Again, that's because free grace theology goes hand in hand with classical dispensationalism, and the reason for that is that both theological systems are rooted in a common assumption of approaching the Bible using what is commonly (if imprecisely) referred to as a "literal" hermeneutic (Ryrie, God rest his soul, insisted we refer to it as a "normal" or "plain-reading" hermeneutic). Once again, you can get an overview of that approach in Zuck's Basic Bible Interpretation or in more eschatological texts such as Walvoord's The Millennial Kingdom or Pentecost's Things to Come.


Hi Jack3,

I believe salvation is 100% by grace. Isn't that "free grace"? That's what grace is...free! AND the gospel saves if we hold fast (1 Cor 15:2), we're members of His household if we hold fast (Heb 3:6, 14). We're reconciled if we continue firmly in the faith, not moves away (Col 1:22-23). Jesus gave talents to His own slaves, and when the Master returns, to the slave who hid his talent He will say "you wicked slave, you knew I reap where I didn't sow" and that slave goes to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt 25:14-30). Look at Rev 3:1-6 where some soiled their clothes and others didn't. The ones who didn't are called "worthy" and walk in white. The one who did have to wake up, repent, overcome so they can walk in white and not be blotted out of the book of life.

I don't think Paul's "not by works" applies to judgment day. Some are elect to be saved, not by works (Rom 11:5-6). You receive Jesus and His forgiveness and regeneration not by works, but "repent and believe" (repentance is not faith alone...it's God's workmanship required up front). I never see Paul's "not by works" in the context of judgment day. Instead I see this passage regarding the details of reaping eternal life:

Gal 6
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

That's why there's no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

Rom 8
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. [why??]
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. [how??]
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. [that will "pass" the judgment day warnings - flesh+law could never make it since unregenerated flesh is opposed to God...that's Paul's "not by works"...flesh+law is futile]

-BHM


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:58 am 
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TheJack wrote:
Daniel Wallace (if you don't know the name, you should--look it up) says in his Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics with reference to John 3:16,

    The idea seems to be both gnomic and continual: "everyone who continually believes." This is not due to the present tense only, but to the use of the present participle of πιστεύω, especially in soteriological contexts in the NT (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp. 620-621).

But such a statement is anathema to free grace theologians.
Yes, it is anathema to free grace theologians. But is it wrong, on linguistic terms?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:38 am 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
Yes, it is anathema to free grace theologians. But is it wrong, on linguistic terms?

On John 3:16 by itself, nothing, linguistically speaking. That is one of the grammatical possibilities. But when you consider the salient features of that verse, along with the salient features in other verses of the Gospel of John (to saying nothing of the Johannine corpus), it's extremely clear that Wallace's translation would be inappropriate.

And that's one of the things that bothers me about his presentation--I think there's just a hair of sophistry in it. It reminds me in this way of OEC's arguing that yom can mean "day." When you are looking at lexical and syntactical issues, you don't get to translate it one way and say, "Now, btw, in Greek, it can also mean this." That's a bait and switch. Wallace should come out argue that the traditional translation is incorrect, because English aspect doesn't have the same function that Greek aspect does. The translator has to take the concept and state that concept in the receptor language. And while we can never do that perfectly, if Wallace wants to see a continual present there, he needs to translate it as such.

But, of course, he'll find that he can't do that consistently, and that raises the question of what is driving his syntactical classification here. And we find that it's just driven by his theology, which is just textbook eisogesis.

edit:

And the other point is that, even if one grants a continual aspect here (and, again, I don't), it still wouldn't follow that "continue to believe" would be an appropriate translation. That English rendering is unwarranted given the text of John 3:16 alone (or related verses). The aspect only points to the internal nature of the verb. "The one who is believing" is not the same as "the one who continues to believe," because the word "continues" in this construction implicitly points towards a condition implying a premature end of that belief. You might aspect might exist syntactically in an imperfect, but you can't say it's there in the present.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:33 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
And the other point is that, even if one grants a continual aspect here (and, again, I don't), it still wouldn't follow that "continue to believe" would be an appropriate translation. That English rendering is unwarranted given the text of John 3:16 alone (or related verses). The aspect only points to the internal nature of the verb. "The one who is believing" is not the same as "the one who continues to believe," because the word "continues" in this construction implicitly points towards a condition implying a premature end of that belief. You might aspect might exist syntactically in an imperfect, but you can't say it's there in the present.
Well, Wallace’s translation («everyone who continually believes [in him]» (ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων [εἰς αὐτὸν]), not «continues to believe [in him],» seems, from the Greek I have learned, to be a perfectly fine translation of a present participle. It seems pretty clear to me that John tells us that the condition of salvation is faith, and a faith is is continually present. And, as St. Paul tells us in Romans, faith in Christ includes obedience to him, cf. Rom. 1:5, where he states that he has been given «grace and apostleship» (χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν) through Christ «to bring about the obedience of faith» (εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως). Here obedience is not just a fruit of faith but part of faith itself, as one of its properties or characteristics.

Are you suggesting that there is a contradiction between Paul and John here?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:44 pm 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
TheJack wrote:
And the other point is that, even if one grants a continual aspect here (and, again, I don't), it still wouldn't follow that "continue to believe" would be an appropriate translation. That English rendering is unwarranted given the text of John 3:16 alone (or related verses). The aspect only points to the internal nature of the verb. "The one who is believing" is not the same as "the one who continues to believe," because the word "continues" in this construction implicitly points towards a condition implying a premature end of that belief. You might aspect might exist syntactically in an imperfect, but you can't say it's there in the present.
Well, Wallace’s translation («everyone who continually believes [in him]» (ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων [εἰς αὐτὸν]), not «continues to believe [in him],» seems, from the Greek I have learned, to be a perfectly fine translation of a present participle.

The problem isn't with the sematic meaning of "continually." It is with the pragmatic effect, which carries significant meaning. And, of course, the job of a translator is to convey the meaning of a text, and the pragramtic meaning of a translation imports foreign ideas or fails to convey original ideas, it fails in that regard as a translation. To illustrate, suppose my wife says to me, "Let me tell you what your daughter did today." There's a lot we could comment on, but the phrase "your daughter" is the interesting one for our purposes. There's nothing terribly informative about the lexical aspects of "your" or "daughter." But the pragmatic effect is, as Trump might say, YUUUUGE. Depending on the context of the statement (she's in trouble, she did something great, etc.), the emphasis there tells me something about what my wife is conveying.

The bottom line is that, just like we've learned that by putting all of our emphasis onthe Aktionsart of a Greek verb we were missing the really important piece of its aspectual force and thus real meaning, just so, by limiting our analysis to the aspectual force of a verb we are missing the really important part of pragmatic effect and thus real meaning.

My point is that the pragamatic effect of th English word "contiually" is foreign to to Greek present participle and is therefore an inappropriate translation. When I say, "whoever continues to believe has everlasting life" in English, the pragmatic effect is to point to a possible, unstated hypothetical of those who do not meet this contion of continuing. That is--and this is key--the pragmatic effect of "continually" is to look beyond interally imperfective aspect of the Greek participle and look towards a state in which the lexical meaning of the participle no longer applies. In this case, let the lexical meaning be "believe" (whatever we mean by that)--the pragmatic effect is to look at the termination of belief. But the termination of belief is foreign to the aspectul force of the present tense verb. And therefore, the translation is inappropriate.

As it happens, John had plenty of words he could have used to indicat he was thinking of the hypothetical termination of faith (just like we have in English). He did not use them, and so we should not use translations that imply that he was doing so. Instead, we should limit our translation to ideas implicit in the wording itself given both its lexical meaning and pragmatic effect. And to do that, I propose, "All believers have everlasting life." You can still make your argument about someone who fails to have faith now failing to have everlasting life. But you rightly do not get to make a grammatical argument to that point, which is what Wallace is trying to do.

Quote:
It seems pretty clear to me that John tells us that the condition of salvation is faith, and a faith is is continually present. And, as St. Paul tells us in Romans, faith in Christ includes obedience to him, cf. Rom. 1:5, where he states that he has been given «grace and apostleship» (χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν) through Christ «to bring about the obedience of faith» (εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως). Here obedience is not just a fruit of faith but part of faith itself, as one of its properties or characteristics.

Are you suggesting that there is a contradiction between Paul and John here?

Of course I'm not, but more to the point, even if I were, that wouldn't change the force of my argument. What you are doing here is what a lot of people do. We take a couple years of Greek, learn how to do syntactical classifications, how to read the TDNT, and then go to the Greek NT and ask ourselves, "OK, so what is the proper syntactical classification of this verb/participle/genitive/whatever"? And the problem is that nine times out of ten, we make those decisions not on the basis of grammar (because the whole point of a possible syntactical classification is that it is going to be consistent with the grammar), but on the basis of preexisting theology. And that's exactly what you are doing here. Not only are you appealing to a previous theological construct in your understanding of John, but you are buttressing it with a theological construct taken from Paul! You then take that construct to the text and use that construct as an argument for your syntactical classification and for the force of the word--in this case, the participle--you draw from it.

And that, I say, is totally inappropriate. It is eisogesis, and the end result is that your beliefs are not drawn from the text but rather merely illustrated by the text. The proper method, I believe, is to leave theology out of it (unless that theology is drawn from a temporally prior point and it can be demonstrated that the author is aware of and making use of that theology) and instead use linguistic flags as we seek to identify meaning. In the case of John 3:16, I think the linguistic flags suggest that the participle should be take as a gnomic, and I've already given you my comments on the pragmatic impact of the "continually" translation as being inappropriate. Based on linguistic flags in the passage, I think the present tense was used precisely to convey something about the present reality for a believer. Future realities are left entirely unaddressed (at least, in terms of the participle in question).

So there is plenty to talk about here, but we don't do ourselves any good by appealing to theological constructs. That's just bad methodology, and I have no doubt that you immediately see the importance of methodology in such discussions; for even if you ultimately disagree with the methodology I propose, you'll see basis of my objection.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:38 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
The problem isn't with the lexical sematic meaning of "continually." It is with the pragmatic effect, which carries significant meaning. And, of course, the job of a translator is to convey the meaning of a text, and the pragramtic meaning of a translation imports foreign ideas or fails to convey original ideas, it fails in that regard as a translation.
Well, I’m not saying that you have to translate it that way, but I’m saying that if you suggest that this doesn’t even fall within the possible interpretation of the verse, you are stating that there is a contradiction between Paul and John. Because Paul states, unambiguously, that obedience is part of faith. Does faith have different, non-overlapping meanings, in Paul and John? If not, who of them should we reject as a heretic?

TheJack wrote:
My point is that the pragamatic effect of th English word "contiually" is foreign to to Greek present participle and is therefore an inappropriate translation.
In what way is the continuing state ‘foreign to to Greek present participle’? That is not what I was taught. Why should I listen more to some guy on the internet than to a Professor of Linguistics?

TheJack wrote:
When I say, "whoever continues to believe has everlasting life" in English, the pragmatic effect is to point to a possible, unstated hypothetical of those who do not meet this contion of continuing.
Yes, and that is problematic only if you have a stated, non-biblical idea that it is impossible to loose faith, or that a lost faith has no consequences.

TheJack wrote:
That is--and this is key--the pragmatic effect of "continually" is to look beyond interally imperfective aspect of the Greek participle and look towards a state in which the lexical meaning of the participle no longer applies.
How?

TheJack wrote:
In this case, let the lexical meaning be "believe" (whatever we mean by that)--the pragmatic effect is to look at the termination of belief. But the termination of belief is foreign to the aspectul force of the present tense verb. And therefore, the translation is inappropriate.
How, exactly, is that foreign?

TheJack wrote:
Instead, we should limit our translation to ideas implicit in the wording itself given both its lexical meaning and pragmatic effect. And to do that, I propose, "All believers have everlasting life." You can still make your argument about someone who fails to have faith now failing to have everlasting life. But you rightly do not get to make a grammatical argument to that point, which is what Wallace is trying to do.
To be a believer, you have to, you know, believe. If you stop believing, you are not a believer, and consequently you don’t have eternal life. Easy. And that is perfectly captured in Wallace’s translation.

TheJack wrote:
What you are doing here is what a lot of people do. We take a couple years of Greek, learn how to do syntactical classifications, how to read the TDNT, and then go to the Greek NT and ask ourselves, "OK, so what is the proper syntactical classification of this verb/participle/genitive/whatever"? And the problem is that nine times out of ten, we make those decisions not on the basis of grammar (because the whole point of a possible syntactical classification is that it is going to be consistent with the grammar), but on the basis of preexisting theology. And thats exactly what you are doing here. Not only are you appealing to a previous theological construct in your understanding of John, but you are buttressing it with a theological construct taken from Paul! You then take that construct to the text and use that construct as an argument for your syntactical classification and for the force of the word--in this case, the participle--you draw from it.
And you are not doing eisegesis, is that right? So saying that ‘believers’ will be saved, and then defining that as not only ‘those who believe,’ but also ‘those who do not believe’ (because they have stopped believing) is pure exegesis?

The point about St. Paul is that according to him, obedience is part of faith. So does John and Paul have different definitions of faith? Or do they simply contradict?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:47 pm 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
Well, I’m not saying that you have to translate it that way, but I’m saying that if you suggest that this doesn’t even fall within the possible interpretation of the verse, you are stating that there is a contradiction between Paul and John. Because Paul states, unambiguously, that obedience is part of faith. Does faith have different, non-overlapping meanings, in Paul and John? If not, who of them should we reject as a heretic?

I know you and others on this board don't like this answer from me, but I'll give it yet again. I simply refuse to play this game. We do not interpret John 3:16 by reading Rom 1:5. That's just eisogesis. Perhaps you will argue that we have to do that. And we'll just disagree. John 3:16 means what it says because it says what it does in John 3:16 and the surrounding context. Rom 1:5 simply does not enter into it. Suppose I tell you that I disagree with your interpretation of Rom 1:5. So what do we do? The same thing we're doing here. I'm going to encourage you to look at the text itself, to make syntactical classifications based on linguistic flags, to take account of the pragmatic effect of words, etc. And then you're either going to interact with me on that level or you are going to appeal to another verse. And then we're going to start the process all over again. And I'm just not doing that. In all sincerity, I mean no offense or anything. From a strictly personal perspective, that's just not a conversation I'm going to spend my time on.

TheJack wrote:
In what way is the continuing state ‘foreign to to Greek present participle’? That is not what I was taught. Why should I listen more to some guy on the internet than to a Professor of Linguistics?

I already commented on that pretty extensively, I think. The basic aspect of the Greek present participle is imperfective, which is to say, it views the action of the verb internally, as in progress (see Porter, Verbal Aspect 88-90 and his Idioms, 21-22). On the other hand, the pragmatic effect of the English translation "continually" pulls the readers attention to the hypothetical termination of the belief. Therefore, the pragmatic effect of that translation is external to the action of the verb.

Now, there is nothing wrong with the pragmatic effect of a word being external to the aspect of a present tense verb. In English, the sentence, "Whoever continues believing" does exactly that. The aspect of the English "believing" is, like the Greek, internally imperfective. And just so the pragmatic effect of the word "continues" is external and pulls the reader's attention to a hypothetical termination of that belief. And John could have done exactly that if he had used a word like "continually" in Greek. The fact is, he did not. And CC, this is key, so please follow this closely: we cannot translate a present tense verb--highlighting and bringing out the internally imperfective aspect--in away that pragmatically directs the readers attention to an external end of that verb, because that is not only what is in the verb's aspect but is contrary to it. It is contrary to it because the view of the action is internal. To translate the verb in a way that draws the readers attention to its action in an external fashion is to mistranslate it.

As far as your last line here, I don't care if you listen to me or not. You asked my opinion, and I'm sharing it. I'm not presenting myself as any authority. I'm just making an argument and giving you reasons to accept it. You can either engage with the argument or not. That's completely up to you. If you are interested in pursuing the scholarship behind what I'm saying, I would point you to the whole field of discourse grammar generally and perhaps to Steven Runge's Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament in particular.

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Yes, and that is problematic only if you have a stated, non-biblical idea that it is impossible to loose faith, or that a lost faith has no consequences.

No, you have misunderstood me. I am not making any theological claims whatsoever. I expect someone who believes that you can lose your salvation to agree with me. I am making a linguistic point. The linguistic point is that we cannot, contra Wallace, translate or read into John 3:16 the idea of the necessity of continual belief. Perhaps continual belief IS necessary. Perhaps if you lose your faith you do lose your salvation or prove you never had it to begin with. But that doesn't enter the conversation at all. John 3:16 and related verses are still written in Greek and need to be properly rendered into English, and Wallace's rendering is incorrect from a Greek perspective, even if it is correct theologically. Let me give you an extreme example. Jesus says, "Love one another." Suppose I translated that, "Love one another, and don't worship false gods." You would, of course, object to the "translation." Suppose I said, "Whatever. You can only say my translation is problematic if you start with the non-biblical idea that we can worship false gods." That would be a plainly stupid response. You aren't making a theological claim. You are making a claim about how we translate, and specifically, that the idea I'm "translating" isn't even in that text!

Just so here. Wallace's idea of "continual belief" may be true, but it just isn't in this text. In fact, it is an incorrect translation because not only is it not in the text, it undercuts the very aspectual force (ironically!) it is trying to highlight (because, again, the aspectual force of the participle is internal imperfective, whereas his translation leaves it externally terminated).

Quote:
How?

See above.

Quote:
How, exactly, is that foreign?

See above.

Quote:
To be a believer, you have to, you know, believe. If you stop believing, you are not a believer, and consequently you don’t have eternal life. Easy. And that is perfectly captured in Wallace’s translation.

Quite right, you've perfectly captured Wallace's translation. And if Wallace's translation captured the aspectual force of the present participle in John 3:16, you would have a point. But Wallace's translation is incorrect, and therefore the point is moot.

To be clear, CC, I am NOT saying that because Wallace's translation is wrong, therefore my belief in the idea that you cannot lose your salvation is therefore true. That would be a theological argument, and I'm not making a theological argument. You are perfectly free on the correct translation I have suggested to argue that a person can lose their salvation. Yes, under Wallace's translation, the idea that you can lose your salvation is clearer. But we don't offer a translation based on our theological goals--or we shouldn't anyway. We offer our translations based on the best way to transmit the meaning of the original language into the receptor language. And Wallace's translation does not do that. It may be consistent with NT theology, but it is not consistent with verse as John wrote it.

Quote:
And you are not doing eisegesis, is that right? So saying that ‘believers’ will be saved, and then defining that as not only ‘those who believe,’ but also ‘those who do not believe’ (because they have stopped believing) is pure exegesis?

I've not done any exegesis of this passage here. I've offered a translation and critiqued what I see as a bad translation from Wallace. I've offered why. Don't respond with an ad hominem as if they only reason I'm critiquing the translation is because of my preferred theology. You have to respond to my argument, not my assumed motives.

Now, if you want to talk about how to properly exegete John 3:16, we can certainly do that. And if we can't agree on a translation, we can do it in Greek. What say you?

Quote:
The point about St. Paul is that according to him, obedience is part of faith. So does John and Paul have different definitions of faith? Or do they simply contradict?

See my first comments above. If you want to talk about Rom 1:5, we may do so. I'm not interested in jumping from one verse to another.

edit:

For any interested in a free grace interpretation of Rom 1:5, click here. Note that I will not be interacting with any critiques of Wilkin's article for reasons stated above. I simply offer it for the curious and so that people know that I'm not stalling for an answer (if anyone would think that I would try such a thing . . . I have many vices, but I don't think that's one of them I struggle too much with ;)).


Last edited by theJack on Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:45 pm 
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I know the above is a little technical, so I want to expand this a bit with an illustration Porter made popular (for those who don't know, Stanley Porter wrote a book in 1989 titled Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with Reference to Tense and Mood that represented a major advance in our understanding of Greek grammar -- really was a watershed event). In talking about what we mean by verbal aspects and trying to distinguishing the way in which it functions, he said,

    (1) A reporter viewing a parade from a helicopter might perfectively see it "in its entirety as a single and complete whole"; (2) a spectator located beside the street might imperfectively watch it pass before him as an event in progress; and (3) the parade manager considering all the involvements and arrangements might statively view it "not in its particulars or its immediacy but . . . as a condition or state of affairs in existence." (Verbal Aspect, 91)

So the important thing when translating and exegeting is that we identify the aspect of any given verb. Now, the aspect of the present tense is imperfective. That's why Wallace suggests the translation "whoever continues to believe," because "continues to" is supposed to help bring out the idea of this being a thing in progress--I am in the progress of believing.

The problem with the translation is practical (or, to use Steven Runge's term, the problem is with the pragmatic effect). Look at it this way. You read John 3:16 and I ask you, "Great, now, tell me this: have you continually believed in Jesus Christ?" The most you can say is, "Well, so far!" But notice the "so far!" has you looking at the totality of your belief in a single, perfective way. That's seen more clearly in that the only way really answer the question (without something like "so far" or other such qualifiers) is to that is to wait until the end of life. Then you can look back on the totality of your life and made an assessment. Either you did or you did not continually believe. Now, forget what that says about the doctrine of assurance (if it is logical or moral). That's a separate, though related, issue. My point is this: the presence of the English word "continually" (and it's the English word, because that word is not there in Greek--it is a word we are supplying in order to help bring out the imperfective aspect of the participle) has the practical effect of causing us to look at belief perfectively. To use the analogy above, the word "continually" has the practical effect of having us flying over the parade, looking at it from beginning to end. The one who accomplishes this--they continually believe (see the emphasis becomes the entire process taken as a whole)==is the one who has everlasting life. But the moment our supplied English causes us to look at the participle perfectively as opposed to its intended imperfectively, we've violated the aspect of the word and therefore out translation is incorrect.

So the best translation is something like: "Whoever believes [Or "Every believer] has everlasting life." You can continue, if you like, to make an argument about no longer having everlasting life once you are no longer in the category of belief. And that's fine. That's a theological inference you are drawing from the text. I'm just insisting that Wallace's translation is incorrect, because, as a translation, it ends up doing the opposite thing it tries to do. Wallace supplies the translation "continually believes" in hopes of bringing out the imperfective aspect of the present participle, but in practice, his translation makes the participle perfective. It is, then, a bad translation.

I hope that's a bit clearer.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:19 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
Wallace supplies the translation "continually believes" in hopes of bringing out the imperfective aspect of the present participle, but in practice, his translation makes the participle perfective. It is, then, a bad translation.


But doesn't the perfect imply past action with continuing results, not continual action with future results? I don't see his translation as making the participle perfective. He's trying to make sure you don't think it's "believed once" and that's that. Sometimes you need to add a little in the translation. Personally, I'd just translate "believes" since that doesn't imply once-for-all results for a momentary belief that ends later. Evidently, Wallace wants to guarantee that conveyance.

We know that the gospel saves if we hold fast (1 Cor 15:2). We're in His household if we hold fast (Heb 3:6, 14). We're reconciled if we continue firmly in the faith, not moved away (Col 1:22-23). Some believe for a while, then fall away when tempted (Lk 8:13).

I.e., we still need God's future grace to enter heaven.

-BHM


Last edited by By His Mercy on Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:20 pm 
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By His Mercy wrote:
But doesn't the perfect imply past action with continuing results

No. You are confusing the perfect tense with the perfective aspect. See my quote from Porter above. Nathan said you studied at Dallas. If so, you should know better. Here are Wallace's own comments on the matter: https://books.google.com/books?id=XlqoT ... &q&f=false


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