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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Pericope Adulterae in the Gospel of John


In this episode, I review the reasons why nearly all scholars do not think that the story of the woman caught in adultery (the Pericope Adulterae) is authentic to John's Gospel and why it should not be included in the New Testament.

Enjoy the show!

(Oh and sorry but I'm not the best sound editor. There was a weird clicking noise randomly through the episode and so I know enough to remove it... but then it makes me sound very tinny and mechanical throughout. But that was less distracting than random minutes of a very fact clicking noise...)

 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

On Cherry Picking from the Bible


We Christians are often accused of "cherry picking" from the Bible by skeptics. We eat pork, we shave our sideburns, we dont go to church on Saturday, but we also think homosexual behavior is a sin and we affirm the 10 commandments. What gives? Are just cherry picking the parts we like and ignoring the rest or is something more theologically robust happening?

Enjoy the show!


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Problem of Apostasy in Hebrews for Particular Baptists



In this article, I am going to be presenting a conversation I had with some dear Particular Baptist friends on an argument I have been working to formulate from the apostasy passages in Hebrews that I think pose a specific problem to those who affirm Calvinism and a Baptistic ecclesiology (broadly those in the heritage of the London Baptist Confession, or 1689 Federalism).

Basically, I argue that what we see in the apostasy passages are people who are real members of the New Covenant (and thus benefit from the blessings but also liable for the curses) who fall away, but who were not genuinely saved and thus do not lose a real salvation. I present several possible interpretive options and then we discuss why I believe the only consistent view is that of the Reformed Covenant Theological position where the New Covenant community, like all previous covenants, is a mixed multitude comprised of the visible and invisible church (the wheat and the tares).

This conversation has been edited to make reading easier but no conceptual content or statements by myself or others have been altered, beyond removal of irrelevant or non-substantive banter (as friends do in online forums). The only additions I made to comments was to add the names of the person being responded to so as to help the reader tie responses back to prior comments. In addition, because this was effectively a real time text conversations, sometimes two people sent comments at the same time but it broke up a thought someone had. In these cases, I simply combined the two comments that were interrupted into one. I think all parties involved would agree that this is a faithful presentation of the dialogue.  

I also reference someone named Pixel and his comments that do not appear in this thread. We had all had a preliminary conversation elsewhere and were familiar with his comments from there. I think without hunting them down and reproducing them, there is sufficient information to catch what had been said.
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Tyler:
The book of Hebrews tells us about a category of Believer who is clearly part of the covenant community, but who can and does fall away into cursing and damnation. We see in Hebrews 6 and 10 these following descriptions of this apostate believer:

1. Once been enlightened (6:4; cf. 10:32)
2. Tasted of the heavenly gift (6:4)
3. Have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit (6:4)
4. Tasted the good word of God (6:5)
5. Tasted of the powers of the age to come (6:5)
6. Has been sanctified (10:29)
7. One of God’s people (10:30)

Argument from the lesser to the greater in 10:28-29:

Apostasy:
1. Again crucify the Son of God (6:6)
2. Put Christ to open shame (6:6)
3. Trample underfoot the blood of the Son of God (10:29)
4. Regard as unclean the blood of the covenant (10:29)
5. Insulted the Spirit of Grace (10:29)

Curses:
1. Impossible to renew them again to repentance (6:6)
2. Judged by God (10:30)
3. Fall into the hands of the living God (10:31)


Only 5 logical possibilities Options:
1. True believer who loses their salvation. (Contra Calvinism)
2. False believer as part of the covenant community experiencing covenant curses (Contra Baptisic ecclesiology)
3. False believer based on “supposed confession,” (Contra hermeneutics of actuality)
4. Impossible hypothetical (Contra logic and leads to meaningless exhortation)
5. The covenant community is a mixed multitude of believers and unbelievers (which is the true position: Presbyterian Covenant theology)
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Bryan:
I'd like some clarity on the first paragraph of this:
The book of Hebrews tells us about a category of Believer who is clearly part of the covenant community, but who can and does fall away into cursing and damnation. We see in Hebrews 6 and 10 these following descriptions of this apostate believer.

Is "believer" being used in a specific way here? Is a "believer" different than someone who has faith? John says "all the believing ones" have eternal life, so this seems like a use of "believer" that's different than the standard NT usage.
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Jimmy:
What is the difference between Options (2) and (5)?

My challenge is for Tyler to show how the first seven descriptions are compatible with an unbeliever without opening up the possibility of (4).

My counterargument is as follows:

P1. Either the description (1-7) is compatible with an unbeliever or it is not.
P2. If it is compatible, then Reformed theology is false.
P3. If it is not compatible, then Tyler's argument is a false pentalemma.
C: Tyler's argument is unsound.

P1 is a true dichotomy. P2 is not difficult to defend because perseverance is not the only doctrine undermined by the attribution of (1-7) to unbelievers. You also have to worry about pneumatology (does the Spirit indwell unbelievers?), the doctrine of assurance (how then can believers even be identified?), ecclesiology (how can you run a church if you cannot know whether someone is saved?), etc. Putting aside Calvinism, Reformed theology as a whole crumbles with that reading. But if (1-7) entails that the person described is a believer, then other options need to be included - for example, that apostasy is not being described at all or (my view) that (1-7) have an implicit "so-called" modifier entailed by the analogy of the brambles. So either Tyler's argument supports Arminianism (contra Presbyterianism) or it just doesn't support anything.
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BB:
Schreiner, Caneday, Wilson, Spurgeon
Warning passages warn believers about losing their salvation, which they cannot because the warnings are the means by which they are kept
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Tyler:
Jimmy,  your criticism has 2 major flaws.

1. I am not arguing for a view. So what I believe about the category of person described is irrelevant to the question at hand.
2. The problem is PRECISELY that it CAN describe an unbeliever with covenantal inclusion and cursing terms. This is something that is simply not possible however on Baptistic ecclesiology where covenant inclusion ONLY applies to justified believers (the elect).  This means that if you admit that it CAN (and does?) apply to unbelievers, then there are unbelievers within the covenant administration such that when they fall away, they come under covenant curses (you only experience covenant curses if you are first under the stipulations and ordinances of the covenant to begin with - this is basic covenantalism and not something unique to Presbyterian CT).

BB, that seems to be option 4 which simply makes the warnings non-warnings of logically impossible non-possibilities - like saying that warning someone not to become a married-bachelor is what God uses to keep them from becoming a married-bachelor.

I also think that position is grammatically problematic since the passages employs no conditionals to set up the conditions, nor is it in the subjunctive mood - which we would expect one or the other IF the author was presenting simply a hypothetical situation.
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BB:
Are you familiar with Schreiner's work on this. I think if you accept that God uses means to accomplish his goals, your first point is moot. I don't think the second is right either.
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Tyler:
BB, I am familiar with Schriener. I think it's pretty strained. I dont see how God using means to accomplish goals would help here since we are dealing most probably with covenant inclusion language and covenant curses. So I dont see how God working through means would make it moot.

Rather than criticize what you think the RB would say, why don't you spell out what your view of Hebrews 6 and 10 is.

Bryan, my view just is the basic Covenant Theological position. The covenant community is a mixed body - the visible church is a very real sense, is in the covenant and actually under covenant stipulations such that the sacraments are for the visible church/covenant community (after all, baptism is the sign and seal of the covenant for entrance into the covenant). So we have a category of someone under the stipulations of the covenant, obligated to the covenant, but who is not elect or regenerate. So these passages just do not pose a problem for us precisely because we can affirm that this person really and truly belongs under the covenant AND that they have fallen away, violated the covenant, and experience the covenant curses. They really can recrucify Christ (remember the blood of Christ shed is the new covenant - to recrucify him is only possible if someone was already in the covenant) and trampled under foot the blood that sanctified them (again covenant inclusion) and God judges his people. And all of this after having been enlightened (a term that is almost a double entendre referring to baptism and repentance), participated in the Spirit, tasted the heavenly gift, etc These are all realities in Hebrews 6 and 10 and in any other context we would never assume to apply them to anyone besides a believer. But in this case the person falls away, an experiences curses and the wrath of God - which as Calvinists we cannot say is a genuine loss of salvation.

Hence the dilemma for Reformed Baptists. We have someone that is described by covenant inclusion language (which by Baptist ecclesiology should only apply to the invisible church, the elect) but this person clearly violates the covenant and undergoes cursing and wrath (which by Reformed soteriology cannot be true of anyone in the invisible church).

I simply cannot see how these can be harmonized and the only solultions that are typically offered (hypothetical impossibility is most common) dont seem to have any support from the text grammatically or conceptually and appear to only be ad hoc to resolve the tension. But again, my view isnt really relevant to the problem. The objection just IS an objection posed against Reformed Baptist theology. It would be like if you thought you had a good scriptural argument against Paedo-Baptism but instead of answering how my views resolve the problem, I just said, "well rather than criticizing my view, why dont you tell us your view." I'm sorry to say brother, and I dont mean to be rude, but that just is shifting the burden of proof. We wouldnt allow people like Flowers of Irenic or Justin Wilson get away with that kind of maneuver. So I'm happy to state my view, but that in no way resolves the objection as it is posed against the RB view.
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Bryan:
I'm going to be honest... I think your interpretation poses a problem for a Calvinistic view of the atonement.
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Tyler:
Bryan, and you could argue that case. But remember, my view could be wrong, but it still wouldnt resolve the problem posed against yours.
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Bryan:
If Christ's blood is shed for all in the NC, and that blood atones, then Christ died for some who he will lose.

You said: They really can recrucify Christ (remember the blood of Christ shed is the new covenant - to recrucify him is only possible if someone was already in the covenant) and trampled under foot the blood that sanctified them (again covenant inclusion) and God judges his people.
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Tyler:
Only if we think that the New Covenant community is ALL done by the atonement of the blood and not the establishment of the covenant in the blood.
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Bryan:
By the way, I'm not trying to shift the burden of proof. I’m trying to understand your view.
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Tyler:
In the same way the sacraments of the OT were covenantal to Israel but only effectual to the elect, and these AS they all pointed to Christ, then the same was both covenantal for those under the sign and seal, but only effectual for the elect.

Remember, Abraham is the father of the the faithful. Galatians 3 tells us that the same faith that is ours in Christ is what was Abraham's, and yet the covenant sign was given to the faithful and their households.

So we have the covenant as a pactum with the faithful and their children, and then we have the application of the substance of the covenant to the elect. Remember, whatever objection you press against the CT position with regard to the application of the sacrament to the mixed community in the NT, would be a principled objection that you would need to hold in the OT covenants as well, since they were of the same substance of faith for the elect.
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Bryan:
"Same substance" according to your view, sure.
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Tyler:
Well sure. But that's the point. The system is theologically consistent. So there isnt an atonement issue on CT, AND it can handle the apostasy passages without issue. (I'd also argue that it is what is taught in Gal 3:4-9, 14)

And like I told Pixel earlier, this isnt my main argument for the CT or Paedo position. I just think it’s a very interesting and very challenging objection to the RB position. If an adequate solution could be found, awesome. And if not, it may be a big enough deal for people to re-examine their RB (hopefully only the B and the not the R)  but I imagine that for most of you it will just be an unknown variable in your system where you just arent quite sure how it works out. I would challenge people to try to iron those kinds of kinks out of their systems to be consistent, but its not like I imagine you guys are all going to repent and sackcloth in ash and find your nearest PCA/OPC next Sunday (though I wouldnt stop you :wink: )

I love you Bryan and deeply respect your views on this and so even though we disagree and I may press you firmly to give strong exegetically driven responses, as I told you, I dont think this is a DEFEATER for RB, but is really a strong unresolved tension in the system. Let iron sharpen iron and maybe I'll help you RBs fine tune your positions.
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Furen:
Tyler, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  Could you go through step by step with me through the RB understanding? And by step by step, I actually mean one bit at a time.  I can't handle multiple steps at once.  Then we can talk through it better.
============================================

Tyler:
Furen, the basic position of RB that is at issue here is part of their view of covenant within their ecclesiology. That is, Baptistic ecclesiology is that the New Covenant is ONLY a covenant for true believers. Since we are dealing with RB and not, say, Arminian Baptists, we can equate that to the elect. So the Covenant community, those who are included in to covenant and its stipulations, are coextensive with the elect only. Any questions on that step?
============================================

Furen:
Yeah.  That makes sense.
============================================

Chewblacca:
Tyler is using terms like “covenant community” to describe the RB view just sets the stage for misunderstanding. We have the visible church which contains regenerate new covenant members and unbelievers, the non regenerate who only present themselves as new covenant members.
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Tyler:
Chewblacca, by "covenant community" I mean those individuals who fall under the boundaries and stipulations of the covenant. For the RB, that is coextensive with the elect. I do not mean "Covenant Community" as synonymous with the visible church on RB because that is not the position they hold. But covenant  community is a preferred term because it connotes not merely that these people are elect, BUT what their actual covenantal status is, i.e. belonging within the covenant.
============================================

Chewblacca:
Right, thanks for trying to define in a Baptist sense. But it's still a Presbyterian/paedo term, used in the context of the covenant community being a mixed community. It's not a neutral term or a baptist one.
I meant that visible church is the closest we have to what Presbyterians call covenant community.
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Tyler:
Chewblacca, I'm not sure that matters and seems a rather pedantic lexical objection, but what term would you prefer to identify those who fall under the covenant, in reference specifically to their covenant standing? Remember, we arent talking about the visible church. We are talking about those individuals who can rightfully be identified by covenant inclusion language.
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Chewblacca:
I think it does matter. If we are starting fresh and you're presenting the RB view, let's use the right terms. It avoids the possibility of things sneaking in later.
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Tyler:
That is the concept. I'm not trying to map onto Presbyterian concepts. We are talking about RB ones. Because in that case, "visible church" ISNT the right term on RB because that specifically is NOT the term for those who are under the covenant.
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Chewblacca:
I understand we aren't talking about visible church. I'm saying let's not use Presbyterian terms to describe the Baptist view, even if you're attempting to define it in a Baptist way.
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Tyler:
Ok, then what term would you have us use?
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Chewblacca:
New Covenant members I think would work
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Tyler:
And members form a community (community just is the collective term for a group of members) so seems a lexical distinction without a difference. But sure. Let’s go with New Covenant Members (NCM)
============================================

Chewblacca:
Thank you. I understand that it fits, I'm just saying the term "covenant community" is not a term used by Baptists and carries paedobaptistic connotations.
============================================

Tyler:
Sure. Now with the term changed, now what?
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Chewblacca:
Now I look forward to seeing your conversation unfold with Furen.
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Tyler:
Furen, the basic argument is this:

1. If RB is true, then the NCM consists of only elect, justified believers who will never fall away.
2. Hebrews 6 and 10 describe NCM who fall away.
3. Therefore RB is not true.
4. RB is not true either because the elect can fall away or because NCM can be non-elect.

I think the only way to avoid it is to attack P2 and argue that the covenant inclusion language of Heb 6 and 10 is either NOT really covenant inclusion language and thus doesnt describe members of the NCM, that these people arent actually damned in the end, or that this is some kind of imagined hypothetical and no such persons actually exist.

But I think those all ultimately fail, and do so in obvious ways.
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Chewblacca:
How does the first fail?
============================================

Tyler:
Well I wouldnt want to try and make the argument for you and then show how it fails, lest you accuse me of only bowling over strawmen. But if you want to try and make the case that clauses/terms such as once been enlightened (6:4; cf. 10:32 where this is used directly of the believers who havent apostatized), tasted of the heavenly gift (6:4), have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit (6:4), tasted the good word of God (6:5), tasted of the powers of the age to come (6:5), has been sanctified (10:29), one of God’s people (10:30) are not language or covenenant inclusion... then that is on you my friend.
On top of that, you'd also have to explain how someone who is NOT part of the covenant or obliged to keep the stipulations of the covenant (since you are not obliged to keep stipulations of covenants that you are not a member of) could be guilty of apostasy and violation of the covenant by AGAIN crucifying the Son of God (6:6), putting Christ to open shame (6:6), trampling underfoot the blood of the Son of God (10:29), regarding as unclean the blood of the covenant that sanctified them (10:29), and insulted the Spirit of Grace (10:29). If we are Calvinistic and the atonement was limited only in APPLICATION to the elect, and has no other covenantal inclusionary features, then how could an unbeliever perform these for a covenant that they were never a part of?

So you'd have to demonstrate both to prove that it isnt covenant inclusion language. (I think considering how these terms are used elsewhere in the Scirptures and in the patristics to describe those under the NC, that is an enormously tall task and why nearly all RB commentators do not opt for that option.
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Chewblacca:
Why is that on me?
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Tyler:
Why would it be in me to make the argument for you to respond to the objection?
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Chewblacca:
Gotcha. Thanks for explaining your argument to me.
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Tyler:
That’s just one of the categorical ways to reply to the original objection. I think it’s one of the weakest ways. But if you want to try that route you can. Showing my cards, the only one that I think even has a shot of working is the one Pixel wants to get to and it’s the one most RB commentators take - the hypothetical warning option.
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Chewblacca:
That's the reading I assumed until I was taught otherwise. If I ever have the time to research and write an essay on the topic, I'll send it to you.
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Tyler:
Can you summarize your position? Because I think the hypothetical warning option has some fatal flaws grammatically, textually, and rhetorically. So I’d be interested in hearing another option.
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Chewblacca:
Yea I can, I'll see if I have time to think about it and write a quick summary tonight or tomorrow.
You should do a podcast on this or an article, I see that you do articles.
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Tyler:
Chewblacca ok thanks. I look forward to it.

Furen any questions at this point?
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Furen:
Point 1?
I saw you and chewy say stuff briefly, but we can't assume that this is in reference to people who truly believe they're in the covenant, and see the work that God does, and then falls away, never truly having the gospel as their own?

People can see the effects of a gospel community without ever being part of it. The visible church always has that.
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Tyler:
Furen so that would be a version of the Hypothetical?
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Furen:
Why can't it be reality?

I know people who have lived church life and saw the miraculous works or God, and who have seen transformed lives, and shared in the community life.  The only thing they never experienced was a true salvation. But they seemed to.  They professed to believe.  Prayed, joined in the spiritual life of the church.
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Tyler:
It would be a hypothetical because the language is not "They say that they were sanctified by the blood but they werent." It says they, "trample the blood of the Son of God that sanctified them." It says it as a statement of fact. If this is referring to their profession of themselves and not an actual description of them, it would have to be a hypothetical - hypothetically they are that way... but they arent really that way.
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Bryan:
Hebrews 10:29 NASB:
29. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Who is the “he” who was sanctified? Also, it doesn’t say “sanctified them” :wink:
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Tyler:
πόσῳ δοκεῖτε χείρονος ἀξιωθήσεται τιμωρίας ὁ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ καταπατήσας καὶ τὸ αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης κοινὸν ἡγησάμενος ἐν ᾧ ἡγιάσθη, καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος ἐνυβρίσας.

Correct. That was an interpretive gloss on my part. You're right. I think youd have a hard time saying that it was Christ who was sanctified by his own blood, after having esteemed it.

The "by which he was sanctified" is a subordinate clause of a NEW adverbial participle clause that has already placed Christ under a different adverbial clause. I think it would be a very tough row to hoe to try and tie ἡγιάσθη back to the prior participial clause dealing with Jesus being trampled, since it belongs to a subordinate clause where the apostate is the actor again profaning (esteeming as ordinary) the blood.

Run a word map on it. :wink:
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Bryan:
“But the design of the apostle in the context leads plainly to another application of these words. It is Christ himself that is spoken of, who was sanctified and dedicated unto God to be an eternal high priest, by the blood of the covenant which he offered unto God, as I have showed before. The priests of old were dedicated and sanctified unto their office by another, and the sacrifices which he offered for them; they could not sanctify themselves: so were Aaron and his sons sanctified by Moses, antecedently unto their offering any sacrifice themselves. But no outward act of men or angels could unto this purpose pass on the Son of God. He was to be the priest himself, the sacrificer himself, — to dedicate, consecrate, and sanctify himself, by his own sacrifice, in concurrence with the actings of God the Father in his suffering. See John 17:19; Hebrews 2:10, 5:7, 9, 9:11, 12. That precious blood of Christ, wherein or whereby he was sanctified, and dedicated unto God as the eternal high priest of the church, this they esteemed “an unholy thing;” that is, such as would have no such effect as to consecrate him unto God and his office.”  (John Owen, Commentary on Hebrews, vol. 22, p. 676) from http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/2003/06/02/hebrews-and-the-atonement-of-christ/
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Tyler:
It also, in the rhetorical flow of the argument, makes more sense as part of the argument from lesser to greater being made that this refers to the apostate and not to Jesus since it would intensify the crime.
I think it fits that rhetorical point more than a theological abstraction that is never applied to Jesus throughout the entire NT.

But in either case, I'm not sure it matters. So let's imagine that the subordinate clause "by which he was sanctified" applied to Christ in the prior clause. Not only do we have the other almost dozen covenant terms across these two passed applied to this person, but we also have the question how someone could be judged for trampling underfoot Jesus and the blood of the covenant, and insult the Spirit of Grace (imagine why grace is amended here to describe the person who isnt under the covenant grace of any kind) how could they be condemned and cursed if they werent under the covenant to begin with?
Remember the argument being made:

“26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

If they go on sinning, there is no longer a sacrifice for sins. Well what does that imply? Do the sacrifices ever apply to anyone not under the covenant of those sacrifices? And if this is Jews only, well into the church age, those sacrifices were never available to them (or to us). He then makes a LESSER -> GREATER argument. Those under the old covenant of Moses died by two or three witnesses.
So what is the greater? That these people, who trample the son of God, who regard the blood as unclean, who insult the Spirit... they will be judged only by the witness of God - the one who has vengence. And who does he judge? "The Lord will judge His people." That doesnt mean that he doesnt judge anyone else. He obviously judges in wrath the unbelievers who never profess belief. But here, the point is that under the Old Covenant, violations needed 2 or 3 witnesses. But under the New Covenant, violations of the covenant all go straight to God because it is God himself who is the mediator.
If you remove the idea that these people are under the covenant, you actually remove the entire logic of the LESSER -> GREATER argument being made.
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Jimmy:
Tyler, you said, I am not arguing for a view. So what I believe about the category of person described is irrelevant. . . I am not attacking your view, just your (original) argument. The horns of my dilemma force you to forsake either Reformed theology broadly (per impossibile) or forsake your pentalemma. It's just a thorough way of saying that since we all know you're not going to support Arminianism, your argument isn't sound. You left out Options (and you address them later in the chat).

Re your point (2), I do not think you addressed the thrust of my argument. I do not grant that Hebrews 6 can be a classification of covenant membership, as I admitted already. However, if Hebrews 6 can be a classification of an unbeliever, then Reformed soteriology, pneumatology, ecclesiology, etc., are all bunk de facto. For an unbeliever to have these benefits just is Arminianism.

;) Which is what Presbyterianism is: Calvinism suffering latent Arminianism.

Hebrews 6:8 (NASB): “but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”

Tell me. Is this the description of a believer or an unbeliever? Note the destiny: it ends up being burned. This is an unbeliever being described. What follows is a conclusive rendering of the previous argument: it concerns unbelievers who seem to be believers for a time.

(I hope my snarky tone is recognized as friendly. It's hard to get that over text.)

I should note that I agree with BB on the instrumental power of warnings, but I just don't see that as exclusively Paul's intent or subject of discourse here. Paul is indeed warning believers not to become married bachelors, but that analogy falls short where it fails to recognize the difference between de re and de dicto necessity. The analyticity of being a bachelor lies in the meaning of the word. The analyticity of being a perservering believer lies at least in part in the obedience of the believer where he heeds warnings against falling away. It is the difference between a mathematician avoiding a circle with corners vs avoiding drawing a circle with corners.
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Tyler:
Jimmy, you’re so pretty when you try too hard. 

Btw I’m fact checking myself and I’ve reached out to Daniel Wallace and a couple other Greek experts to see if there are any examples of hypotheticals in the NT not in the subjunctive or part of a conditional or prefaced by some particle of contingency. I’ll let you know what they say.

Your comment doesn’t make me abandon the pentalemma. The argument just IS an argument against REFORMED Baptistic theology (not JUST Baptistic theology). Your proposal that they could accept Arminianism is, in effect, that REFORMED Baptistic theology IS false. That’s not an option to defend the truth of the RB position. I mean that would apply to ANY objection to ANY view to say that an objection fails because we could do some judo and agree that the objection is right and the original position is false… therefore the objection fails? That just makes no sense. So no, if you are right in your “dilemma” then all you have done is show that my Pentalemma succeeds because the only way to avoid it is to admit defeat.

As for 2, your position just is a version of my #3. So I have addressed it. I actually have spelled out ways that one would try to avoid the conclusion by saying that the passage isnt REAL covenant inclusion.

I’m also not sure where you get the Presbyterianism is latent Arminianism claim. That just seems demonstrably false, for it says that the elect, and only the elect are atoned for, regenerated, saved and all will be gloried because all will persevere. There is no Arminianism in that. Saying that the covenant community is a mixed body in the NC just as it was in ALL other covenants, even the Abrahamic (which Paul says expressly the NC is the fulfilment and child of and both were by faith), then you would be implying (without quibbling over the anachronism of the terms) that God set it up to operate as Arminianism in the OT but then changed the whole scheme of salvation to be monergistic Calvinism in the NT.

Not to mention, as you know, the truth or falsity of my view has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not RB can avoid the weight of the objection. So it’s irrelevant as an objection.

You then argue that this is about someone who only SEEMS to be a believer but isnt. This suffers numerous problems.

1.    There is no hypothetical language in the text. There are no subjunctives, no conditional clauses, and no particles of conditionality to indicate any such thing. I don’t see how you could exegetically support this claim.

2.    Here your de re and de dicto division fails, precisely because you place the perseverance of the saints as something dependent on the working of the believer. This is false on Calvinism. The working of the believer, like faith at salvation, is the means by which God applies his grace to us. On Calvinism, God is the causal agent that causes us to persevere by his grace. Thus to BE elect (a saved person) is to BE one persevered by God, that just is a de re quality. Therefore the analogy of the married bachelor is precisely the same kind of warning – warning them to not actualize something that cannot ever logically be possible. On RB ecclesiology, IF someone is part of the covenant, as the text clearly assumes (even if it is a false profession the false profession is STILL one of covenant inclusion), then the warning to believers is not only a de re impossibility, but it is a de facto absurdity. In actual fact, they would and could never do it anyway precisely because they are elect. To use a more biblical analogy, it would be like warning sheep not to be goats because some goats claimed to be sheep.

Imagine the Men in Black movies were true and aliens lived among us and looked like us. They falsely claimed to be humans. Now I came to you and said, “Jimmy… aliens supposedly claim to be humans… so this is really important Jimmy… listen carefully… because they were outed as not really being human… I need you to work really had to stay a human okay? Don’t willfully become not a human. Can you do that Jimmy?”

Now, you could get around this by imagining that some way humans COULD become aliens by some kind of operation or something. But then that would be analogous to someone who was really a human (elect) becoming an alien (unsaved), which would actually put you back on affirming Arminianism and abandoning RB.

So if the purpose is to preserve RB, then the warning becomes absolutely meaningless as a warning on the hypothetical if the RB is assumed. This then is a reduction argument against RB. Not only can we show that there are problems with the RB readings of the passages, but even if we assume the RB readings, we arrive at absurd conclusions.
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Bryan:
Tyler, to your point about hypotheticals: if Christ "offered one sacrifice for sins for all time", how can a person "crucify once again the Son of God"? Either those two verses contradict, or one of them is either hypothetical or figurative, right?
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Tyler:
Neither has to be figurative or hypothetical. One refers to the atoning work of the sacrifice while the other refers to the covenant promises given to the people in his blood. This is the same kind of covenantal language used throughout all prior covenants given by God. There has always been the sign of the covenant and the substance of the covenant conveyed to believers and their children. If you make a principled objection against this, even if the appeal is to personal faith, then you must make the same objection against the same kind of covenant administrations in the OT, even covenants expressly built on personal faith such as the Abrahamic covenant.

This could lead to fun discussions of the upper room where Judas is among those who take the first communion meal and drink the blood of the new covenant. Christ would have administered it to him, KNOWING that he was a reprobate (if we assume he really was the son of perdition).

So did Christ not fence his own table?

That's a total aside, and we do not need to discuss it here, just an interesting side issue to think about.
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Bryan:
Tyler, back to the text... of course there aren't any subjunctives in Hebrews 6:4-6 because it's all participles and participles don't have mood... there are however two subjunctives (one present middle/passive and one present active) and one future... one of those subjunctives follows a conditional which immediately precedes all of the participles in 4-6.

Anyway, saying this can't be a hypothetical only because there are no subjunctives ignores that there's a subjunctive in 3 with a conditional and that 4-6 has no verbs, only participles.
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Jimmy:
Can't give a long reply at the moment, but yeah, no argument is being made from subjunctives or hypotheticals on my part. My argument is simply that Paul's bramble analogy clears up his argument and makes it clear he is talking about salvation, not supposed abstract covenant benefits.
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Tyler:
Jimmy,  I dont agree with Pauline authorship of Hebrews, but besides that, you're right the thorns analogy helps and that the fruit is what helps show the real nature of the person being discussed. But I think it supports my view, and not yours. Within the covenant, the sacraments and grace and partaken by all, believer and unbeliever. Some will produce fruit and some thorns. But they are all part of the same watering. This analogy wouldnt work if the group of people being watered was all elect or all unbelievers. Nothing in that context undoes the covenant language that the author has already used in vv4-6.

Bryan, the subjunctive in 3 is not concerning the conditions/situation in 4. The subjunctive in 3 refers to the hope that the church will move beyond elementary teaching from v1. It does not create a hypothetical scenario in v4-6. So pointing it out is irrelevant.

As for 4-6 being all participles... so what? That doesnt change the fact that there is no conditional construction, no subjunctives, and no particle of conditions - all things we would need to say that a hypothetical is being used.
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Bryan:
It's as irrelevant as pointing out that participles are not subjunctive :wink:
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Tyler:
Not at all. My argument isnt that none of the participles are in the subjunctive. But that there are no subjunctives at all. So it doesnt matter what IS there in this case. It matters what ISNT there - namely the conditions needed for us to say something is a hypothetical.
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Bryan:
Participles can't be subjunctive, so it's irrelevant.
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Tyler:
Great. And if the author wanted to convey a hypothetical, we wouldnt have just participles.
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Bryan:
you're reading this as literal as a YEC :wink:
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Tyler:
Haha no. You're responding like one. We wouldnt treat any other text this way and complain about the text not having the features we would need to make our case true. You're basically saying that my objection isnt right because you would need parts of speech in the verse that arent in the verse to make your case... and I cant point out that they arent there.

That's YEC rhetoric on stilts. It's confirmation bias.
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Bryan:
No, that's not my argument at all. Your argument is that because there's no subjunctive, there's no hypothetical. I only said half of my point.

First, there are only participles there, so they can't be in the subjunctive.
Second, while subjunctive can be used for hypotheticals, it doesn't have to be.

Are parables in the subjunctive?
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Tyler:
Again, first, it doesnt matter. I'm not arguing that the participles would need to be in the subjunctive. That would be dumb. The issue is the textual indicators that we use to identify hypothetical are not present.

Do you think we have no textual indicators for parables as a shift in genre? I didnt say the subjunctive is the ONLY indicator of a hypothetical. (not to mention that parables are not hypotheticals - unless you think all fiction are hypotheticals…)
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Bryan:
Then drop the subjunctive argument.
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Tyler:
Why would I drop the subjunctive argument? Again, it’s not the sine qua non of a hypothetical but it IS one of the features we would expect to see. As I have said numerous times, we dont see what we WOULD EXPECT to see if it was a hypothetical, such as a conditional construction, a particle of condition, OR a subjunctive.

Why would I drop one of the grammatical features that we often see as a means to convey hypotheticals? Should I drop conditionals too just because they arent there either?

It would be like an Arminian saying you should stop asking them about why we do not see textual indicators of "pas" being inclusive just because we dont have the textual features there for them to make the case from the Greek that it's inclusive... yeah. That's the point. They cannot make the case exegetically because the features that WOULD BE NEEDED are not there.
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Bryan:
My only point is that a case can be made either way because they are participles... they have no mood.
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Tyler:
But it cant be made unless you can show another example in didactic discourse where participles are EXCLUSIVELY used to create a hypothetical without a conditional construction, particles of condition, or additional subjunctive verbs.

It's not that it's neutral. You simply do not have the features present in the text to make the case. You cannot argue because they are not there, that a rhetorical is equally plausible (or even possible at all).
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Bryan:
Except that one in 3... :thinking: :wink:
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Tyler:
But 3 is a subjunctive about the result of v1. It is not referring to 4-6. So that subjunctive is spoken for. Its dance card is already full. :wink:

It would be terrible eisegesis to try and pull it forward into 4-6.
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Bryan:
What's the γαρ in 4 for?
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Tyler:
Think of the argument you are making here... it would DESTROY all exegesis. Any text could mean ANYTHING at that point because it could mean things that there is no grammatical warrant for, so long as verbs in the right mood to make the argument are just in proximity to it, regardless of their conceptual relationship to it...

You've broken grammatical exegesis at that point. Give Flowers that new rule....
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Bryan:
I'm literally not making that argument. I think that's the argument you think I'm making. If you think I'm making that argument, then you've misunderstood me.
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Tyler:
Hebrews 6:1-3:

"1 Therefore, let us leave behind the basic teaching about Christ and advance to maturity, without laying the foundation all over again: repentance from dead works and faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms and laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And WE SHALL DO THIS, if only God PERMITS."

The "permits" is the subjunctive and is a subordinate clause of them "doing this." Well what is "this"? It is the leaving behind the basic teachings and moving on to maturity spoken of in v1. The subjunctive is about the conditionality of it being by God's will that they move on from basic teaching to maturity, NOT to creating a hypothetical who group of people that do not exist in reality in v4. This is why I said the existence of a subjunctive in v3 is moot. It's just irrelevant that there is a subjunctive verb in proximity to v4-6.

I then would argue that γαρ in 4 is a transition of explanation. We will move forward, God permitting. Why? BECAUSE it is impossible for those who have been cut off, to be brought back in. Why will we keep moving forward? Because the apostates dont have a revolving door to keep coming and going and starting over. Once they are cut off from the covenant, they are cut off for good. The subjunctive is about the God permitting status of the moving forward - the wheat will be separated from the chaff in God's church. The sheep from the goats. The ones he lets in from the ones who come claiming his name and did miracles in his name, but who he says, "I never knew you."

Jimmy, Bryan's question actually made me think of one more thing about your hypothetical. If it was a hypothetical, not only would be impossible and thus a pointless warning, but the RB could even look to the author of Hebrews and say, "But that is dumb... You're warning the elect of the dangers of becoming non-elect..." If RB is true, and this is a hypothetical, even if you only wanna make it a de dicto statement, that would actually potentially violate inerrancy (or at least authority) - because it would actually set up a condition whereby the RB would actually REJECT a teaching of the scripture as knowingly not true but affirming it as true for the sake of the warning anyway.
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Amy:
Tyler, seems to me you could make the same objection to the parables...
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Tyler:
Amy, except the parables have markers for a shift to a parabolic genre. (Not to mention that parable =/= hypothetical). If this passage started with, "It would be like if there were people like..." or "Let me tell you a story about..." or "this is as if...." or the numerous other ways parables are introduced, then you may be able to make the argument that it is related to this in anyway.

Plus parables are symbolic representations. Do you want to argue that this section is full of symbolic representations of general spiritual realities?
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Amy:
The argument is that not every case of parable or figure has those markers explicitly. Do you take the story of Lazarus literally? All of Revelation? What Nathan told David about Bathsheba? Genesis 1?
I'm driving home now, won't be able to respond for awhile.
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Tyler:
Amy, most of those just are not analogous. Not only do most of those actually have textual and grammatical indicators that they are some other genre which are all entirely absent from Heb 6 and 10, and here you all are not making what would be an absurd argument that Hebrews is presenting a PARABLE or a Apocalyptic, but in addition, I dont think any of you are arguing that it is SYMBOLIC such as those genres are.

So this isnt even an issue of literal or not. This is if it is a very specific type of rhetorical argument in a didactic discourse of an epistle which moves an argument along via a hypothetical scenario. Gen 1 or the parables or Revelation are just not analogous to that...
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This is where the conversation ended. No one was a coward or fled, life just got in the way for most of us and some other off-topic banter from other people watching the thread somewhat derailed the dialogue. I would be interested in further developing this into a formalized argument but I think at the end of the day, it shows a real problem for the Particular Baptist position that they should take seriously and address.