H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
Blogroll
 
T.U.L.I.P.
  • - Endorsed
  • - Indifferent
  • - Contested
 
Autobiographical
 
Profile
Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
 
The Buzz


Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
Email Me
email
Monday, July 16, 2007
Tagged,...
Susan tagged me the other day with a five random questions meme, her questions are as follows:

1. If you could own your own business, what would it be?
2. What was the best job you ever had?
3. What was the best book other than the Bible you have read?
4. If you could interview anyone other than Jesus – alive or dead – who would you interview?
5. What are your views on eschatology? No? Okay, how’s about if you had time and resources to write a book on any area of theology, what would it be?

I like memes, so I am glad she tagged me (Thanks Susan.)

Here are my answers, given off the cuff as my time is limited, which is to say that given more than the time it takes to type this out (which is pretty quick for me), I might have done better, or had less typos...

1. If you could own your own business, what would it be?


Um, ... "Google" or possibly "Oracle".

Seriously though, I presume the question is meant more along the lines of "what type of business" and presumes that you don't want to own some pre-existing business - that is, what sort of business would you start up if it were somehow feasible for you to do so?

I have thought about this more than most people I suppose.

Whatever it was it would have to be a way of making a profit without [1] ripping anyone off, [2] taking up too much of my time, or [3] catering to the corrupt world system.

Something service oriented and honest, but low key so that I am not so tied to the business that I haven't the time for my family and my church. A Christian book store owner maybe, or perhaps owning a four season retreat/camp/resort or something like that.


2. What was the best job you ever had?


The most pleasant (paying) job I have ever had, that is, the most satisfying, was teaching in the adult education program at a local community college. I taught "Java". I enjoy teaching immensely. Financially speaking however, teaching is not as lucrative as other things. My current job is far more lucrative, but less rewarding.

I think pastoring would be the best job in the world however. I know the hours are long, the pay is poor, and the responsibility is unparalleled, but I can't see myself happy in much else to tell you the truth.

3. What was the best book other than the Bible you have read?

Hmm. Best for what? When it comes to tying knots, my old scout manual was pretty decent, if I am trying to make a homemade curry dish, some cookbooks are better than others, if I am learning how to program a computer in the latest paradigm, again, some books are better than others.

I am a book "learner" - that is, I get more out of reading a book about a thing than I do sitting in a lecture, or a series of lectures. (Did I mention that I was a rather horrible student at school?) So when it comes to instructional materials, I prefer well written, and thorough works as opposed to superficial "managerial level" works. When it comes to style, I like biographies, as far as fiction goes, I like epic stories with detailed characters who are believable, with a story line that isn't fluffy, predictable, or jarring for the sake of being different. I can read a cliched plot if the characters are worth it, and the story is good.

Which is to say, I couldn't pick just one.

4. If you could interview anyone other than Jesus – alive or dead – who would you interview?

The apostle Paul, hands down.

I didn't even have to think about that one.

But if I were restricted such that I could not interview any of the writers from, or persons described in scripture, that would be a much more difficult question. There is no modern personality that would interest me. Perhaps I would interview George Whitefield, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards or Charles Spurgeon? Frankly, there is quite a long list of people I should like to sit down and interview, though many would be people in scripture - Pontius Pilate, The Governor Felix, Claudius Lysias, the men who were with Paul on the road to Damascus, Caiaphas, Ananias, I would pretty much interview everyone in the new testament.. ;-)

5. What are your views on eschatology? No? Okay, how’s about if you had time and resources to write a book on any area of theology, what would it be?

Eschatologically speaking, I believe that both the world that we presently live in and even the heavens themselves will be dissolved, being on fire, and pass away with a great noise; I believe the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up - melted with fervent heat -on that last day- the day of judgment.

The rest is pretty much up in the air for now (hehe... that is an eschatological joke you see...). Seriously, I see problems in pretty much every eschatological system out there, and what I have seen in scripture doesn't line up perfectly with anyone else's belief system. I should like to draft it all out some day, but regard other pursuits as being more edifying for both myself and the church at the moment.

If I had the time and resources to write on any area of theology I would chose two areas: the first would be the atonement. I do not think the substitutionary atonement model is as precise as it could be, or should be, and I feel that a right understanding of the atonement is a boon to any walk with Christ. The second would be on the hypostatic union, as again, I believe that many people say that Christ was 100% human, but in practice they really mean that genetically speaking the flesh that housed the divine intellect was 100% human, but the intellect itself was 100% divine, making the flesh a "shell" for the divine rather than making Christ actually human.

I would tag others, but I expect they will get tagged soon enough.

Labels:

posted by Daniel @ 12:22 PM  
17 Comments:
  • At 2:51 PM, July 16, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Thanks, Daniel.
    I really didn't think you would have time to do this or even have opportunity to breeze by my blog. I'm glad you did.
    These are interesting answers, and I enjoy learning more about the people behind the blogs.
    If ever you have opportunity to expand on substitutionary atonement and the hypostatic union, it would make an excellent post series at doulogos and edify us all.
    Thanks again.
    Btw, keep us updated on the pastoral situation at your church when you can.

     
  • At 3:41 PM, July 16, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan,

    I will be preaching every Sunday until at least September, in the meantime, the leadership team will be meeting (often) to put together a pastoral search team, and give some instruction and preparation for the interim between pastors.

    Prayer is -highly- appreciated at this time, for me, for my church, and for the leadership.

    One thing we stand to learn during the interim, Lord willing, is that we are not congregating together to collectively spectate.

    Keep us in your prayers.

     
  • At 4:04 PM, July 16, 2007, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, you saints stood with us during our pastoral absence. Your prayers and encouragement meant a whole lot to us.

    We hope that our prayers and encouragement will be of some help to you and the brethren at this time.

    It is times like this that the body realizes the importance of each member.

     
  • At 7:07 PM, July 16, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Thanks Jim, more than anything prayer matters, I cherish your prayers.

     
  • At 10:47 AM, July 17, 2007, Blogger itsboopchile said…

    Your answers are quite serious and I would like to hear your understanding of the atonement.
    Thanks,
    Betty G

     
  • At 1:21 PM, July 18, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Betty - Welcome to the blog! I should like to expand my thoughts on the atonement, but all things in their time. If you search my blog (see right side bar) for "atonement" you will get some of my mind on the matter. ;-)

    Dan
    <><

     
  • At 9:30 PM, July 18, 2007, Blogger jazzycat said…

    I would sure like to see more elaboration on answer #5 in a post.

     
  • At 8:07 AM, July 19, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Jazzy and Betty,
    I followed Daniel's suggestion and did a search on his site for "atonement," which yielded these two posts of particular interest:

    http://doulogos.blogspot.com/2007/04/atonement-seems-to-be-hot-topic-lately.html

    http://doulogos.blogspot.com/2007/03/are-you-having-hectic-day-christian.html

    (Actually, there appear to be two search engines here. I used the bottom Technorati search engine.)

    Daniel, these posts along with what you recently wrote about the heart of unrepentance are looming large in my life these days. I've long not understood "walking in the Spirit," but am beginning to.

    I definitely see the difference between just "doing" on the outside and walking the Christian walk while in my own flesh - although perhaps with correct desires (at least in part) - it is not a permanent walk, due to the flesh's influence. My actions or behavior to others, if not in the Spirit, are not pure and therefore not consistent.

    I have wondered as of late, as I am moving more toward daily rising in the Spirit and continuing on through the day in Same, well, this is going to sound weird. But... the thought has come to me (has it ever you?) that, well, what's the difference? I mean, there's a difference in my inner being that's not "satisfied" (for lack of a better word) when I'm walking - even partially - in the flesh. Something's not right.

    But in the end, in the long run, I wonder... the gospel isn't affected, is it? God's going to perform His will sovereignly on earth and save Whom He will. I suppose this plays into the question I disdain which is why preach the gospel if God's going to save whom He will anyway. And I understand the answer to be because He says to - which I have to agree with.

    But it applies also to the Christian walk. I guess the only answer I can think of is that we must do as God says in the Bible - walk and be accordingly - because that's what God says to do.

    I'm bumbling in this question, because I don't adhere to the premise of it. That is, I don't *want* to live as a carnal Christian, but I've come to wonder what the ultimate difference in outcome is between the two - the Spiritual Christian and the carnal Christian. Is it only reward in heaven since the Spiritual Christian will be obedient (and perhaps share in the spread of the kingdom of heaven) and the carnal Christian less so?

     
  • At 10:21 AM, July 19, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan, I don't think you are weird for asking that question, if anything it shows me your sincerity. It is one of the first questions I began to deal with when I embarked on a genuine pursuit of holiness in my own life.

    The answer is deceptively simple and quite obvious once you see it - not like a pink elephant that everyone is collectively ignoring, but more like one of those optical illusions that until you see the "trick" you have no idea what it is everyone is on about, but once you see it you can never again look at it without seeing it.

    To answer the question I will ask when did God's spirit fill Solomon's temple? While it was being built? Just after the last stone was set in place? The Shekinah of glory, the tangible demonstration of God's dwelling presence came not during the construction phase, and not even the moment the temple was completed, but it came not only after the temple was "perfectly" finished being constructed, but after Solomon had dedicated it.

    Again, and with similar imagery - why didn't God let the Israelites conquer the promised land all at once? Why only a little by a little? Hadn't he promised them victory? Hadn't he promised them every square inch of land their foot set upon? Why not oust all the Canaanites at once? The Israelites were promised the land, but the promises came with conditions and instructions - they were not to compromise the land, they were not to worship in places where the pagans had worshiped, but to congregate and worship at a place God would dictate. They were not to spare anyone in the land - not to marry their daughters, or give their own in marriage - not to follow the customs of the land at all, and if they did these things they would enter into rest. But they didn't do these things - they took possession of the land but never conquered all of it, they ended up compromising not only with the people of the land but with their religion as well. They entered into the promised land, but not the promised rest.

    These things are more than historical facts, they were shadows of the coming Messianic covenant.

    Now, you might ask, what does that have to do with my question, and how would that all tie together.

    As a believer, we are not to look at the half conquered land and expect that we have rest, that is, we err if we imagine that just because we have crossed the Jordon (entered God's promise), that we have rest (the fullness of that promise). We are justified by faith immediately - that is, we cross the Jordon and now stand in the place that is promised - but the promise is more than just justification, it is sanctification - but sanctification is a conditional promise in the same way that the taking of the promised land was conditioned upon them actually going in and taking it.

    Now, the land was theirs whether they took it or now - they had ownership because God gave them ownership - but they did not have possession. Likewise, we have "ownership" of God's promises, but until we enter into them we are no different than the one who doesn't "own" the promises.

    Okay, I don't want to spend too much time on the shadows when I can point to the substance, so I will just say it plainly - just as God's spirit filled the temple when it was completed and dedicated, and just as surely as the Israelites would have had rest had they actually conquered the promised land "in full" - so too, we begin a process of sanctification so that once we are sanctified we can fellowship with God at rest.

    We pursue holiness not for the sake of being holy, not for the sake of satisfying our guilty conscience - though for some this is the best they can imagine - but we are, I believe, in the pursuit of holiness for one and only one reason - that we might be a vessel, that once cleaned, is fit for God's Spirit to dwell freely in.

    Now, I want to be careful here because we are talking about something subtle, and because some words become pick up more meaning than they ought by reason of being used repeated to mean something else - I will say clearly up front, that I am not suggesting that we do not receive the indwelling Holy Spirit until we are sanctified - but what I *am* suggesting is that we don't really fellowship with God until we are sanctified - there is not fellowship between light and dark, and fellowship isn't characterized by little fits of "rightness" followed by gulfs of wrongness - God didn't pour himself into the temple because they set a particular brick properly, likewise, our sanctification is not the ends in and of it self, but it is the process by which we are being made fit for fellowship - real, tangible, fellowship. In John 14 the words of Christ ring true: if you love me, you will keep my commandments - not that we generate love by keeping the commandments, but that we are working towards a goal, that being the pouring out of God's love in us, just as He poured his presence into the temple. It is a deceived fool who says "I love God" when in fact they merely want to love God and know that it is right, good, and proper to love God. It is a disciple who says, I do not love as I should, how do I love? Love comes to the one who diligently seeks it through sanctification.

    The purpose, in answer to your question, I think the purpose of our sanctification is not so that we can be better witnesses on earth, not to avoid offending God - all those are good and valid things, but they are not our motivation, for we could never continue very far or toil long for such things - the purpose of our sanctification is so that we can fellowship with God here and now, a genuine -rest- as opposed to a philosophical persuasion.

    Some really mess it up and begin to think of it as attaining a place where you no longer can sin because you are so filled with God - I think that is a very poor way of looking at it, since even Adam, who knew no sin, could (and did) choose to sin. Nor is it a place where your flesh is suddenly "redeemed" - no, you will suffer temptation from the flesh until the day you die - but it ==is== this, that God is fellowshipping with you and nothing else in the world comes close to touching that. You are satisfied, utterly and completely satisfied in God, and the lure of temptation is pale in comparison to that love.

    Jesus came to save us -from- our sin, not -in- our sin (Matthew 1:21). The common chorus I hear everywhere is that [1] we don't have to sin, but [2] we will always sin, such that even though Jesus came to save us from sin's power, we are never actually set free, we are just less enslaved. But nowhere does scripture speak about partial victory. Compromisers have a half conquered land - they have the promise, but not full possession, - they are always being sanctified, but believe you can never become fully sanctified - that the temple can never be fully built and thus never "sanctified" by God. Because they buy into this they never pursue rest, that is, they never seek God diligently, consistently, unceasingly, because they see no lasting value in it. Holy today, sinful tomorrow - why bother?

    I hope I have distilled your question correctly - Why bother to pursue holiness if it is its own end?

    I believe in something that is somewhat close to sinless perfection in the way it is described - but miles away from it in reality.

    I believe that a person who diligently pursues sanctification for the purpose of approaching the throne - the one who wants to be holy so that he or she can fellowship with God - that one who persists in pursuing sanctification, will attain it - they will come to a place where they are genuinely surrendered to God - and it is in this place of genuine surrender - that God's spirit can fellowship with them - or as scripture describes it in John 14 - God "makes His home with [that person]" - this is the one who -will- keep God's commandments, just as Christ did, and for the same reason - for the joy that is set before him.

    Anything less, is carnal Christianity, it is immaturity. We are called to enter into that rest, ever last one of us - and that is the promise, I believe, that is set before us all. It is this person that Paul is describing in Romans six - How can this one sin? He is united to Christ? That thing that was killing him, the old man - it is swallowed up in Life, he won't continue in sin, for if God's spirit is in him he cannot.

    But if we confuse justification and sanctification such that our theology tells us that =if= we are truly justified we =must= be experiencing the fullness of God whatever our experience happens to be. As though John had never mentioned three levels of maturity in his first epistle, and as though Paul had never taught that there were genuine believers who were less than holy. We insist that everyone who is saved has all that they are going to get, and in doing so we redefine maturity to mean someone who is "really obedient" or perhaps "really knowledgeable" instead of someone who is genuinely filled with the fullness of God's Spirit.

    I think the "stoic" denominations are more prone to miss it, and the charismatics are more prone to blow it out of proportion.

    Much could be said I suppose, but the bottom line is whether scripture teaches that Christ came to save me from sin's penalty and leave me (practically speaking at least) in the gall of my sin, or whether he came to save me from sin -period-. I say, to save me from sin, first by justifying me, and thereafter by drawing me to forsake sin, not to be pleasing to him - but in order that he may bless me even more, with the greatest blessing imaginable - personal fellowship with God, not the humdrum that currently passes for fellowship - but genuine - GOD IS MY ALL kind of fellowship, where the words are not meant as some poetic flattery, but barely describe the magnitude of God's worth in your experience.

    I pursue the Lord, not as one boxing the air, there -is- a prize, the upward call, not salvation, fellowship.

    I should like to right a book one day about all that, more to explain it so that those who would impose their own train-wrecked theology upon it might navigate the rubble and hear what is actually being said.

    I hope that helps.

     
  • At 12:55 PM, July 19, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    Daniel.
    I'm speechless.
    What you've described here - the possibility of fellowship with God now - well, it's something among all my thoughts about all of this that I hadn't even really considered, not as you've described it anyway.
    Love of God is something I ask from Him to fill me with - since I can't generate it in and of myself, although as I empty myself of the flesh, that allows room for the Spirit, but if the flesh resides yet and stays therewithin, there will always be that struggle. And yet... what you've offered here is much hope, encouragement and edification to the Christian.
    This is so amazingly different from what I've taught all my life, and yet - refreshingly real. Not that dual message of the Christian as the prodigal son coming home while still wallowing in the mud with the pigs. That dichotomy of well, we're going to sin anyway.
    You're the first person I've heard say that Christ delivers us from sin - not just its penalty.
    This is the first explanation that I've understood (my own fault - not that of other writers) clarifying the difference between ownership and possession.
    Wow. Fellowship with God - down here? It has always been something more ethereal - up there - for the future - for that day.
    I hope you are able to write that book someday. In the meantime, what you're writing here is ministering widely.
    I probably sound a bit like I'm babbling, but you've given me much to think about here.
    Thank you.

     
  • At 12:57 PM, July 19, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    This is so amazingly different from what I've taught all my life

    I meant:
    ...what I've been taught...

     
  • At 2:00 PM, July 19, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Susan - now we just need to do it. ;-)

     
  • At 3:52 PM, July 19, 2007, Blogger jazzycat said…

    Daniel,
    Since Paul was undoubtly a very sanctified Christian by the time he wrote Romans, how do you reconcile your view with what he said in Chapter 7 of Romans?
    Wayne

     
  • At 6:49 PM, July 19, 2007, Blogger Susan said…

    now we just need to do it.

    More in line with the topic of this post, maybe the business you need to own is Nike. (Their ad campaign is "just do it").

    :-)

    True.

    Thank you for the encouragement, and enlightenment for the best and true reason to do it.

     
  • At 6:51 PM, July 19, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Wayne,

    Paul was speaking in the context of his argument. At the outset of Romans six Paul makes it plain that the believer is not going to continue in sin. Is Paul schizophrenic? No. He is making his argument about why it is that Christians do not continue in sin. His defense is directed against the anticipated charge of antinomianism in saying that we are no longer under the law but under grace.

    The argument Paul begins to lay out is that just as there is a law for the married woman and the law continues on whether the husband lives or dies - the law remains valid - but is no longer binding upon the widow who is free to remarry, so he shows that the law itself is righteous and right, that is, that his argument is not against the law, as though the law were evil - which is what some were saying that Paul was doing - they were saying of Paul that he was against the law, and he was showing that he was not against the law, not in the least - but rather that the law had a lawful purpose, and that the purpose of that law is to bring men to Christ, such that once they are there, the law no longer has dominion over them.

    His discourse in chapter seven is not some autobiographical insert, not some sudden contrary ejaculation that nullifies his opening remarks in romans six - they are an hypothetical aside intended to demonstrate that the thing Christ has set us free from will never be destroyed by the law.

    Paul makes the point that sin produces death in a person through the law - which is held in as an argument against the idea that the law saves us from death - Paul argues that the law doesn't deliver us from sin, it does quite the opposite - it delivers us to condemnation through sin.

    When he says in verse 21 - 23 "So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. " [ESV] he makes a point we do well to note - there is a "law" in his members that is producing sin and producing death in him - he names this the law of sin and death in chapter 8 verse 2, where (four verses later) in this way, "For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. " - don't miss that, Paul sets up that argument in Romans seven so that his statement here makes sense - what am I freed from in Christ Jesus? I am freed from the law of sin and death - the same law mentioned four verses earlier - the law that sin was producing death in him.

    It is a shame the chapter break wasn't on the next paragraph, perhaps people wouldn't miss it so much.

    Anyway, that is what Paul is on about in romans 7 - he is explicitly painting an hypothetical for the sole purpose of showing what you are saved from in Christ.

    If we wanted to isolate the context, as seems to be popular in most camps - we would be arguing about whether Paul is discussing a believer, or a non believer (Jew), or again, whether Paul is discussing someone else, or himself. Such arguments ignore the epistle's flow - the point he is making in the opening verses of chapter 8 began two chapters earlier - there was no parenthetical, autobiographical soliloquy - it was all part of the argument that this man was making - you are free from all that in Christ Jesus. =That= is why we no longer continue in sin. Not because Christians are better at suppressing sin than Jews - not that we are better at suppressing sin because we have a Messiah - but that there is something tangible and real about being in Christ, that causes us to stop sinning - and it is far more substantial than mere sentiment. His argument is that in Christ we have been set free from Romans seven.

    The description he gives in Romans seven is that of a man trying to be righteous outside of grace - outside of -Christ- and it applies equally to carnal believers, pagans who are trying to become morally superior to their current situation, to Jews, to Muslims - to anyone and everyone who is in bondage to sin.

    Paul is illustrating what bondage to sin looks like in Romans seven - it looks like this - you want to not sin, but you find yourself sinning, you want to do good, but you simply can't do it. You can't do it because there is nothing in your flesh that genuinely desires it - you may desire to drink the water, but you will not sell your house, and car, and children to buy that glass of water - you are just not *that* thirsty. That is what bondage to sin looks like, and such a description is necessary if one is building an argument to show what one is freed from in Christ.

    Paul was certainly a mature Christian when he wrote that - mature enough to see the need for a straightforward example of exactly what Christ set us free from in the context of the very argument he was making. I most certainly so not regard Romans seven as though Paul were confessing what a great big sinner he was - considering the very argument he is making begins in Romans six (Shall we continue in sin - God forbid!) and the meat of Romans six and seven are intended to explain ==why== it is that we should no longer sin. Paul isn't interrupting the flow of that to say, oh, but hey, I sin all the time.

    He is saying - We don't sin anymore because we have been set free from the law of sin and death - but in order to get to the point where he can say we have been set free, he must describe two things - first that he is not simply tossing out the Mosaic law - but rather that the Mosaic law was never intended to make men righteous - that is, he is correcting a categorical error on the part of the Jewish reader - and then he is showing that what he is about to teach does not contradict the law - which would be the next logical argument leveled against him - so he uses the widow example to make the point, and then he continues to describe what is true of all people who attempt to be righteous outside of Christ - they fail because the carnal mind cannot become subject to God's law - it isn't able to. He shows that vividly and repeatedly in Romans seven - so that when he proclaims that there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus, it has some foundation to it - it isn't just some vacuous statement, but Paul says, we who are believers are in Christ, and it is through our union with Christ that we overcome sin, not through the law - but through faith - and that through this means, and only through this means are we able to overcome sin - the law could not conquer sin, but Christ can - that we are slaves to sin outside of Christ, in bondage, without hope of being sanctified by our own efforts in the law - but what the law could not do, Christ did.

    It is all the same argument - all connected, and tight as a drum once you see it.

    For years I thought Romans 7 was describing if not Paul, at least a hypothetical believer - why? Because if it wasn't, the only other alternative I could imagine was that it must be describing someone who isn't saved or something - and that would mean (since it captured my struggle perfectly) that I wasn't saved or something. I knew I was saved, so it must be describing a believer.

    Not exactly an impartial exegetical method on my part. But I refused to entertain any other notion because to do so was to bring my own salvation into question.

    It wasn't until I began to understand Paul's entire argument that I began to see where Romans seven fit into it.

    Romans seven is sandwiched in between Romans six (shall we continue in sin - certainly not!!) and Romans eight (For if you live according to the flesh you will die...) Paul doesn't start off saying, you will not sin and end off saying if you live according to the flesh you will die, by walking us through some autobiographical aside wherein Paul confesses himself to be continuing in sin, and living according to the flesh - if that were the case, his argument is clueless, much less pointless.

    No, Paul is making a rock solid case for sanctification, a work of genius really - he shows that you cannot continue in sin if you are in Christ. He makes no apologies for, nor does he argue from the position of, immature or carnal believers - they exist, but Paul isn't painting normative Christianity with that brush - the brush that Paul is painting with answers the objection and explains why it is that (mature) Christian's do not sin - because they are in fellowship with Christ.

    I confess Wayne, I really am swamped with other responsibilities at the moment, and I fear that I shall not be able to engage you in any real drawn out discourse about what Paul "really" meant, or who he was referring to in Romans seven. I am quite familiar with all the first person present tense personal pronouns, I am quite familiar with the text - I have been on that side of the fence, and those where the arguments I had to battle within myself as I came to understand the text. So I apologize in advance because while I used to think as your question suggests (that Paul was speaking of himself in the present tense), and that particular argument is couched in a rather large theological knot - a string that takes a lot of time and patience and light to untie - and though my heart is certainly willing to walk you through my understanding of it - and even to answer as many objections or concerns as you can muster - yet I don't think I shall find the time any time soon to answer you very real and good questions as they deserve.

    My hope is that you will try reading Romans and ask yourself whether Paul is making a bunch of unrelated arguments or just one - ask yourself how Paul is defending his argument against the charges that he no longer regards the law as holy, and against the charge that Christianity is all about anti-nomianism. Ask yourself what is being defended - and how, and follow Paul's argument ten times through. I find sitting down, and starting at Romans one and reading through to the end of chapter eight a few times with this in mind may do wonders for your perspective, or it may just convince you even more that I am woefully mistaken.

    It may be that you will see it. It took me years, and I think it was only because I was willing to stop denying my own bondage to sin that I finally began to see the knot come undone. If you can see Paul's argument, you will figure it out, of this I am sure, but you gotta stop pretending that Paul was saying, [ch: 6] Christians do not continue in sin [ch: 7] er, except me (Paul), er, I continue in sin... [ch: 8], the reason I do not continue in sin is because I have been set free from it.

    That kind of interpretation requires some serious juggling. My hope is that you drop a ball or two or give it a new look.

    Notwithstanding, I don't pretend for a second that I am above instruction, or that what I believe is the last word - if there is something I have missed, or something that blows all that I presently regard as true out of the water - well, I am quite willing to abandon it all - I have no stake in any of it unless it is the truth, and I am not so deaf as to turn a deaf ear to some good, solid truth.

    Thanks Wayne for even taking an interest.

    Dan
    <><

    oh, sorry for all the typos and however many times I may have repeated myself and whatnot - I typed this in one go - on the fly, as I was stepping out the door because I am in a profound rush. So please excuse the sloppiness of my hasty rejoinder.

    Thanks.

     
  • At 9:42 PM, July 19, 2007, Blogger jazzycat said…

    Daniel,
    Thanks for your time and an excellent explanation of your view. I will do as you suggest and see if I can see your interpretation in the text.

    I bet you didn't think answering five of Susan's questions could become so drawn out. I am going to post my response to her five questions soon, but I am going to keep them short.

    Wayne

     
  • At 9:46 AM, July 20, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    I seem to be most busy when I am most busy for some reason. ;-)

    Thanks Wayne.

     
Post a Comment
<< Home
 
 
 
Previous Posts
 
Archives
 
Links
 
Atom Feed
Atom Feed
 
Copyright
Creative Commons License
Text posted on this site
is licensed under a
Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5
License
.