Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Free Grace Rendering and Interpretation of James 1:21 is the Most Probable

Introduction

The Free Grace position is one of evidence, time-consuming analysis, and prayerful and well-reasoned treatment of texts.

The Traditionalist (a designation that Frank Turk enthusiastically now embraces) has “deliverance from hell” on the brain. A knee-jerk reaction ensues when one stumbles upon the terms “salvation” or “save” in the New Testament. Immediately their starting point in their interpretation is the assumption that eternal salvation is being spoken of. Free Grace theology advocates do not disparage the eternal significance of deliverance from hell. We rejoice in the absolutely free gift of eternal life bestowed upon us (unworthy sinners deserving of hell) through faith into Jesus Christ in His promise. We plan and prepare for eternity in light of our imminent appointment with Christ before His judgment seat.

Yet Free Grace advocates appreciate and understand God’s plans and intentions within time and history. With a mighty outstretched arm, with miraculous power and judgments, God has delivered His people from evil, death, enemies, and sickness. Through obedience to His Word, which gives us the practical instructions for righteousness, men are saved from the spiritually impoverishing and ultimately deadly consequences of sin; men are saved from a worthless and insignificant existence; and men are saved unto the experiential blessings of God, wherein they will find peace, harmony with God, and temporal meaning and fulfillment.


Lexical Evidence Adduced

In the consideration of the ‘salvation’ being spoken of in James (and the phrase “save your souls”), we have been adducing much lexical evidence to build up a case:

1) 98% of the 319 occurrences (363 minus 44 occurrences of the noun which take on proper names) of the Greek words ‘sozo’ (to deliver, save) and ‘soteria’ (deliverance, salvation) in the Septuagint have the sense of temporal deliverances of varied kinds.
-----A) In the remaining two percent, there is no instance where the terms appear solely with a spiritual nuance
-----B) There is not even one instance where the words in their contexts convey a justification-salvation meaning.

2) In a lexical study of the instances of ‘sozo’ in the New Testament, this author found that 61% of the occurrences have a temporal sense, while only 39% are soteriological in nature. We are aware that there has been some dispute by Frank the Turk on his blog concerning my lexical study. This author has found many errors in his work, and the dispassionate observer would conclude that his objections to my composition were anything but sufficient. Frank seems to be a master at sidestepping issues. We plan on reviewing his reply in a future post.

Bobby Grow was very wise to say concerning my lexical study on ‘sozo’:
“To me the minimum point that needed to be established, which you've done with your study here, is to demonstrate that sozo indeed has a broader semantic domain beyond ‘justification’ or ‘sanctification’ for that matter… Frank initially wanted to take this by floating, via generalization, sozo as referencing justification in James.” (taken from the comment meta of my last post)

Indeed, this was the whole point of my lexical study: that ‘sozo’ has many uses, and a very broad usage is that of temporal deliverances.

3) James 1:21 contains the phrase “save your souls,” which is the Greek ‘sozo’ with ‘psyche’ as its object. In a lexical study of the Septuagint, we found that out of the eleven instances where this phrase is used, 100% of the occurrences had a sense of saving one’s temporal life.
-----A) There is not one instance of this phrase used in Biblical or non-Biblical literature that provides the sense “deliverance from hell,” which includes the New Testament.
-----B) The Koine Greek papyrus evidence of non-biblical literature of the time also provides examples of this construction retaining the sense of the temporal saving of one’s life, but does not adduce even one instance where the phrase is used as a spiritual deliverance, let alone a soteriological.


A Reply to the Objection based upon the Greek Lexicon

One of the objections to my lexical analysis was the referencing of BDAG, the newest revision of the standard Greek lexicon. But this attempt invariably must fall flat. Why? The lexical evidence has already been produced that the Greek term ‘sozo’ has a lexical domain much greater than the Traditionalist’s reductionistic and myopic disposition to import ‘deliverance from hell’ into each occurrence. Furthermore, the percentage of instances where it is used in the temporal aspect in the Bible far outweighs any soteriological sense. As well, ‘sozo’ with the object ‘psyche’ has a well-established sense of “save the life”.

The Traditionalist’s insistence on bringing up the lexicon eludes me as to their purpose. My edition of BAGD takes for granted the lexical sense that I find in the Greek word “psyche”. Notice its very first entry in my lexicon:

“1. lit -- a. of life on earth in its external, physical aspects”

and a little further down:

“β. earthly life itself”

Just for giggles and grins, lets substitute these in the place of ‘psyche’ in James 1:21:

“… and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your ‘life on earth.’”

or

“… and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your ‘earthly life itself.’”

Even according to BAGD, in reference to the semantic range of ‘psyche,’ this is a possible rendering!

I am in understanding that this standard lexicon places James 1:21 under a different entry for the same word. But it is sufficient for our purposes here that the lexicon relates a semantic range that includes my interpretation. BAGD does not give its reasons or arguments concerning their placement of verses. If they had, we could analyze them. The editors were fallible human beings; and be sure, they were prone to the popular Traditionalistic interpretations of their day. Again, it is enough, for the purposes here, that BAGD includes the sense I take James 1:21’s usage of ‘psyche’ in its entries.


Some New Testament Usages of ‘psyche’

Much ado is being made concerning lexical entries for the Greek word ‘psyche’. The following is just a small cross-section of New Testament occurrences for ‘psyche’ that have the meaning of ‘life’ in the sense of one’s temporal existence: the meaning I attribute to ‘psyche’ in James 1:21. Why argue lexicons when we can see first hand the usage in the New Testament? The less we have to rely on other people’s work, the better. These occurrences were found using the New Englishman’s Greek Concordance, and the results are given in the KJV. Let us see how ‘psyche’ can be used.

New Testament Occurrences of ‘psyche’ that Hold the Semantic Value of ‘Life’ in the Sense of One’s Temporal Existence:

Matthew 2:20
Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life (psyche).

Matthew 6:25
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life (psyche) more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Matthew 20:28
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life (psyche) a ransom for many.

Mark 3:4
And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save (sozo) life (psyche), or to kill? But they held their peace.

John 10:11
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life (psyche) for the sheep.

John 13:38
Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life (psyche) for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life (psyche) for his friends.

Acts 20:24
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life (psyche) dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 27:22
And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life (psyche) among you, but of the ship.

Romans 11:3
Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life (psyche).

Romans 16:4
Who have for my life (psyche) laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

Philippians 2:30
Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life (psyche), to supply your lack of service toward me.

1 Peter 3:20
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls [lives] (psyche) were saved by water.

1 John 3:16
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life (psyche) for us: and we ought to lay down our lives (psyche) for the brethren.

More references could be produced with the same significance and import. These are just a cross-section of the occurrences to demonstrate and substantiate this sense as being a possible meaning for ‘psyche’ in James 1:21.

So add to the lexical evidence referenced above this brief word study that conclusively shows that the New Testament uses ‘psyche’ with the sense of temporal life.


Conclusion

My purpose is to build a strong case for the Free Grace interpretation and rendering of the ‘sozo’ passages of James, specifically the first occurrence in James 1:21.

1) ‘sozo’ in the Koine Greek Old Testament is used primarily with the sense of temporal deliverances.
2) ‘sozo’ in the New Testament is used in a majority of instances with the sense of temporal deliverances. (I understand there are contentions about some of the references. Yet at the very least it has been proven that ‘sozo’ is used in the sense of ‘temporal’ deliverance in the New Testament).
3) ‘psyche’ has many occurrences in the New Testament with the sense of ‘temporal life,’ as the cross-section that was referenced in this post shows.
4) BAGD gives entries under ‘psyche’ for temporal life.

These evidences alone are enough to prove that the Free Grace rendering and interpretation of James 1:21 and the other occurrences of ‘sozo’ in James is possible. It is mighty peculiar that not even one Lordship proponent has even admitted that the Free Grace rendering and interpretation is possible in light of the lexical evidence. Yet we have another line of evidence:

5) Every occurrence of the phrase ‘sozo’ that has as its object ‘psyche’ in the Septuagint has as its universal meaning “save the life”. There are no exceptions to this line of evidence.
-----A) Furthermore, no instances either biblical or non-biblical can be adduced where ‘sozo’ with the object ‘psyche’ has as its meaning ‘deliverance from hell’. Moulton and Milligan in their Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament further supports the study of this phrase by showing examples in the papyrii where the phrase indeed means ‘save the life’. There is not even one instance shown where the phrase has a soteriologcal sense.

I would say that when a phrase in the LXX is universally used one way that at the very least, it should be the starting place for our understanding in the New when it is used. In one study I read this week, the New Testament authors, out of around 320 Old Testament quotations, used the Septuagint translation 2/3rds of the time against the Masoretic text. The New Testament authors show a clear preference for the Septuagint over Masoretic reading.

The following are a few quotes from ‘Septuagint’ at wikipedia.com:

“The LXX was held with great respect in ancient times; Philo and Josephus ascribed divine inspiration to its authors.”
“Of significance for all Christians and for bible scholars, the LXX is quoted by the Christian New Testament and by the Apostolic Fathers.”
“The Septuagint enjoyed widespread use in the Hellenistic Jewish diaspora and even in Jerusalem, which had become a rather cosmopolitan (and therefore Greek-speaking) town. Both Philo [who lived in 1st Century B.C.] and Josephus [who lived in the 1st Century B.C.] show a reliance on the Septuagint in their citations of Jewish scripture.”
“The early Christian Church continued to use the Old Greek texts since Greek was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire at the time, since Greek was the language of the Church, and since the Church Fathers tended to accept Philo's account of the LXX's miraculous and inspired origin. Furthermore, Christ and his Apostles in the New Testament quoted from the Old Greek.”

The article also talks about how the LXX was in popular usage through the 2nd Century A.D.

The evidence is strong. There is no exception to the usage of the phrase ‘sozo’ with ‘psyche’ as its object. On the face of it, the odds are not in Lordship Salvation’s favor.

Furthermore, the facts about this phrase in the LXX establishes a huge precedent for my case: the rendering and interpretation of James 1:21. The Lordship people cannot even admit the strength of the lexical study and argument!

Let me tell you what. If the LXX had a universality of occurrences where "sozo" with the object "psyche" meant "deliverance of man from hell", the Lordship proponents would be ringing that bell as loud as they could!

But they can't. The evidence unanimously shows that the phrase had the import of saving the temporal life.

They may spin the facts all they wish and regard them as irrelevant. But they do so at the expense of solid principles of Biblical interpretion; they do so only to try to win their argument in the face of strong evidence in order that they may preserve their doctrine of Perseverance theology. In light of the evidence and facts, why can they not at least consider the Free Grace position of James? They mustn’t. To even give it a fair shake would be to abandon their favorite proof-texts that they use to bludgeon their opposition.

With all the available data adduced so far, not only is the Free Grace rendering and interpretation of 1 James 1:21 merely possible, but the lexical evidence argues that it is the most probable.

39 Comments:

Blogger centuri0n said...

Except for the fact that BDAG says that James 1:21 is refering to a "psuche" which is not temporal but eternal.

Here: see for yourself -- the whole BDAG entry from BibleWorks.

You'll have to take it up with Bauer and Danker, Antonio.

December 12, 2006 6:38 PM  
Anonymous danny said...

Excellent job, Antonio. Not only did you prove your case from the LXX, but you proved it from the New Testament as well.

James discusses sin and death in v. 1:14-15. He acknowledges that his readers are regenerate in verse 18. Thus, a soteriological understanding of v. 21 is utter nonsense. Perhaps there is a misthological element present, but saving the life from death is the most probable view, as you've pointed out.

Also, I take the Bema view of 2:14-26, since the Judgment Seat is referenced in verses 12-13.

1:21 - save your life from death
2:14 - save yourself from a merciless judgment

I think the Calvinists should know that not everyone in FG sees 1:21 as saving the life from death. Some see it as saving yourself from a ruined life.

December 12, 2006 8:07 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Frank said:

Except for the fact that BDAG says that James 1:21 is refering to a "psuche" which is not temporal but eternal.

Psuche is not necessarily "eternal" either; the assumption that drives that conclusion is one that is informed by a Stoic or Gnostic dualism that falsely dichotomizes the "immaterial" (soul) as eternal from the "material" (body) which would be the "temporal". Actually the Bible speaks wholistically about life, and sees the body and soul as inextricably linked (see II Cor. 5 and I Cor 15). So the Bible does not take the dualistic view that Frank seems to espouse in order to make the assertion he does above.

December 12, 2006 8:19 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Frank.

I thought I was talking to you, Frank the Turk, lol!

Has BDAG become your bible, and Arndt, Gingrich, Bauer, and Danker your prophets?

I am discussing evidence, sir. You are taking for granted secondary sources.

Can you intelligently discuss my post, or is this just another one of your

wave-the-hand blanket dismissals?

Your anti-itellectualism is striking.

If this is the best you got, your only line of evidence: so-and-so says so -- this is truly telling.

The evidence so far (and I am not even finished adducing it) is clear:

1) The Free Grace rendition and interpretation is possible
2) The Free Grace renditiona dn interpretation is most probable

That your infallible contributors to BDAG merely quote the phrase and put it under their heading without a shred of evidence, argument, or expressed reason says nothing, Frank.

Maybe they had the magic bible code pen, that when they highlight the text with the pen, it gives a number which corresponds to the entries in their text.

Or maybe they used the Urim and Thummim.

The fact of the matter is that the I have shown that psuche in a number of occurrences has the sense of temporal life.

BDAG states the same thing.

The entry that they placed James 1:21 under is a legitamate entry and semantic value for 'psyche'.

What we are arguing, Frank, if you haven't noticed (you are learning things left and right here), is what is the semantic value of sozo and psyche in James 1:21.

BDAG has their opinion, which is based upon criterion that they do not share.

I have my opinion, that thus far, has been based on solid lexical evidence.

You have your opinion based upon Tradition and other people's opinions.

Antonio

December 12, 2006 8:20 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Danny,

thanks for your encouragement.

If you noticed in my post I stated this:

"Through obedience to His Word, which gives us the practical instructions for righteousness, men are saved from the spiritually impoverishing and ultimately deadly consequences of sin; men are saved from a worthless and insignificant existence; and men are saved unto the experiential blessings of God, wherein they will find peace, harmony with God, and temporal meaning and fulfillment."

This would be my understanding of James 1:21, which incorporates both ideas which can be summed up in a phrase: temporal experience of life. The one who lays aside filthiness and wickedness, and receives with meekness the implanted word, and is a doer of the word, will be saved from an impoverished life (or as you say, "a ruined life") and the consequences of fully-mature sin: temporal, physical death.

The consequences for one who is on the path of unrighteous behavior, spurning the law of liberty, progress. A ruined life, spiritual impoverishment, lack of meaning, fullfillment, purpose, and signifance is a consequence. Furthermore, that road can only lead to one destination: death, which is the full-grown (mature) child of sin.

Bobby,

I would be most interested in reading up on what you are saying. It is interesting. You are so well versed in historical paradigms and frameworks. I appreciate your comment.

In my lexical study of 'psyche' I have found that some of its contextual usages are of the eternal immaterial nature of man. Yet, as this post has shown, it may also mean, in verious contexts, the temporal life and existence itself that can be killed.

In this case, to me anyway, is like the word 'trunk'. It has MANY different meanings, and some that overlap. (I think I actually have 7 or 8 different usages for that word).

trunk of car, trunk in attic. both are storage areas, yet they are different objects.

the same word can even have no overlapping, as with trunk of tree.

I believe that there are significant and clear cut distinguishing usages of 'psyche', one of which signifies the temporal and experiential life.

Thanks for your inputs!

BTW, Ryrie does not like to call his position dichotomy. he likes to call it bi-partite unity, because of his wholistic approach to man. I agree with him, and what you are saying in your comment.

Antonio

December 12, 2006 8:42 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

death, which is the full-grown (mature) child of sin.

(see James 1:15)

(so I see James' statement incorporating both)

December 12, 2006 8:44 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Btw, I realize that BDAG has Jms 1:21 usage of psuche in the category of "life principle that transcends earthly life"; but if indeed this is the case the implication leads one to the conclusion that the "immaterial life principle" is that which is ultimately "saved", and the "physical is of no matter". The problem with this, is again, a dualistic paradigm is assumed, foreign to scripture; and the resurrection of Jesus clearly teaches that "our" physical body is saved as much as our immaterial body. Maybe a better way to think of psuche would be to identify it as a "soulish body" (meaning that our bodies are the forms that our soul's dictate).

Implication being that, eternal salvation does not necessarily have to be in mind when Jms uses "psuche" and sozo or "thanato" and sozo (see Jms 5:20); since all that "psuche" identifies is life principle.

December 12, 2006 8:48 PM  
Anonymous danny said...

Hi Antonio,

I realize that you see 1:21 as referring to both a ruined life and ultimate death. Right on. I only meant that some in FG see it as only referring to a ruined life.

The Danmeister

December 12, 2006 9:03 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

I love it when you call the citing the recognized authorities in the field "dismissal".

I'll make a deal with you though: when you can create a miracle to substantiate that your "argument" overturns the standard lexical reference for the NT on this passage, I'll admit that your view is the inspired view and mine is man-made.

Until then, what you have is your opinion about an idiom which men who have spent almost 5 decades studying this stuff in all the relevant Greek literature (not just in the small circle of GES scholarship) reject. I know: it is terrible not to be the leading expert in the field, but the rest of us live with that fact ourselves. You should try it out rather than call yourself and you opinion "inspired".

December 12, 2006 9:23 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Frank,

do you see the corner you are painting yourself in?

A quick reference to a lexicon is your victory.

that a lexicon places the usage of psuche in a certian entry for the word, without the expression of evidence why, or argument given, solidifies it for you.

I am adducing evidence of a cumulative nature, and wish to discuss the evidences and arguments for a rendering and interpretation of James 1:21.

BDAG expresses a several values possible in the semantic range for 'psyche'. The one I advocate for James 1:21 falls within one of the values expressed by BDAG. I have even given a lexical study showing that the New Testament indeed has such a value - temporal life.

Any position on anything can conjure their specialists and experts.

Let me tell you where the proof of a position is: in the pudding.

What are the evidences of your position?

I have been adducing mine.

What is yours?

That your infallible lexical prophets considered james 1:21 under one entry rather than another for 'psyche'?

Very convincing, Frank. I am sure that will be enough for the step-in-line, persuaded by a proof-text, Lordship advocates.

But to those who actually deliberate and consider evidence, the mere referencing of a lexicon (which by the way admits to a wide semantic range for 'psyche', and one that I undersand is the sense of James 1:21) will be far from sufficient: just like your responses to my last few posts.

Come back and comment when you are actually ready to discuss the evidence for a position.

For to the impartial observer, you are far too eager to claim victory, by the mere referencing of a lexicon.

Frank says:
----------
you have is your opinion about an idiom
----------
I didn't need my opinion, Frank. i merely showed every reference to the phrase sozo with the object psyche in the LXX, and they all spoke for themselves.


Frank,

the evidence is here. have you responded to it?

no

you have dismissed it.

December 12, 2006 10:13 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Very well-argued.

December 13, 2006 12:37 AM  
Blogger Gummby said...

Antonio: if the FG rendering is "most probable," then why isn't it translated that way in any English Bible?

December 13, 2006 6:45 AM  
Blogger Gummby said...

P.S. If you really want anyone to interact with what you're saying, here is a suggestion for your next post.

1) Why is your interpretation of James 1:21 preferable to what the editors of the standard NT lexicon think it means?
2) Why is your interpretation of James 1:21 preferable to what all of the translators think it means?
3) What was the methodology for your lexical study? Did you use software, a concordance, or how did you come up with all those verses? This last part is important so that anyone who wants to check the primary sources will have an idea of how to do it.

Thanks.

December 13, 2006 11:55 AM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Antonio, let me say that only on rare occations have I ever met anyone who was willing to say that standard reference books for academic use didn't do their homework.

When I have met them in the past, I have done with them what I am doing with you now: God bless you, and may your work come to good for you. You have an obvious passion for what you think you are doing, and arguing with you is pointless. No rebuttal will be sufficient, so I leave you with the rebuttals you have been given.

For your sake, I hope you are right and I am wrong.

December 13, 2006 12:19 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Whether or not soul or "life" is the translation used of psuche makes no difference . . . given the way the bible views the soul/body relationship. The context of James should determine what nuance sozo and psuche take on.

December 13, 2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger Gummby said...

Bobby: I think you're right in your point, but wrong overall. What I'm not saying is that the translation determines the meaning. What I am saying is that, in context, there's a reason that for over 400 years, no translator has translated it "lives."

I'll let you think about that for a bit, while flesh out what that reason is on my own blog, and while I wait for Antonio's next post.

December 13, 2006 1:34 PM  
Blogger jazzycat said...

In advocating a temporal meaning for James 1:21 Antonio says……. “Yet Free Grace advocates appreciate and understand God’s plans and intentions within time and history. With a mighty outstretched arm, with miraculous power and judgments, God has delivered His people from evil, death, enemies, and sickness. Through obedience to His Word, which gives us the practical instructions for righteousness, men are saved from the spiritually impoverishing and ultimately deadly consequences of sin; men are saved from a worthless and insignificant existence; and men are saved unto the experiential blessings of God, wherein they will find peace, harmony with God, and temporal meaning and fulfillment.”

I am sure it is nice in Lakeside, CA. However, I think the persecution of the church worldwide paints an entirely different picture. The Bible certainly points to much strife and suffering for followers of Jesus Christ. As Paul said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” He did not say, “save me for a life of temporal meaning, fulfillment, experiential blessings, harmony and from a worthless and insignificant existence of enemies, sickness evil and death.” This health, peace, harmony, fulfillment, and blessings temporal gospel that Antonio is claiming is just not in keeping with what the Bible teaches. A few verses:

Jesus said…. John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Jesus also said….. 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.

Luke said….. Acts 16:22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.

Paul said in…. 2 Cor. 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.

Paul said….. 1 Thess. 2:2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi

Sozo that is the bottom line.

December 14, 2006 6:57 AM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Gummby,

I don't think you caught the "nuance" I was trying to highlight on psuche. Whether a tanslator translates soul or life doesn't necessarily comment on whether they believed this is referring to justification/sanctification given biblical ontology on soul/body intra-relationship.

This word, IMO, isn't really the pivotal point that determines what nuance of salvation James is talking about.

December 14, 2006 12:33 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Gummby writes:
----------
1) Why is your interpretation of James 1:21 preferable to what the editors of the standard NT lexicon think it means?
----------
Strong lexical evidence and context.

He continues:
----------
2) Why is your interpretation of James 1:21 preferable to what all of the translators think it means?
----------
Strong lexical evidence and context.

He concludes:
----------
3) What was the methodology for your lexical study? Did you use software, a concordance, or how did you come up with all those verses?
----------
The Greek concordance in Bible software was used. For the LXX research, all verses with 'sozo' and 'psyche' were given. I looked over the 15 results and adduced the ones where 'psyche' was the object of 'sozo'.

I have a couple of questions for you:

Why do you dismiss and ignore all of the lexical data?

Why can't you at the very least admit that my rendering and interpretation are possible (if not the most probable)?

Can you give an instance in 1st century B.C. or 1 century A.D. of the phrase sozo with the object psyche where the sense is deliverance of one from hell? (other than your assumption that the two found in James are that)?

Antonio

December 14, 2006 1:50 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jazzy,

I appreciate you bringing these things up. I am sure that when you hear the evidence I adduce later that it will at least clarify for you my position.

Let me say from the offset:

1) Persecutions can be a very real thing to God's people
2) They are not incompatible with what James is saying.

I love the verse you quote from John. When one resides in intimate fellowship with Christ, in the abiding life, he will have "peace" even if outward circumstances are not ideal.

Give me some time. I have more posts coming on these subjects.

Thanks again for your comment, as it may be one that other people are thinking about, and I wish to clarify what James is saying in future posts.

blessings,

Antonio

December 14, 2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Wow Antonio! This is a lot! I do agree with your concept, but one point that I do think is important to remember, and that is that we know in part. I say that because if we try to use the Bible as an instrument to prove ourselves right and others wrong, we fall into the trap of useless debate. The truth is, we do not know for sure how the author used his terminology. Example: "I was sweating bullets!" Someone tranlating that into another language would say that does not make sense. So, if they do not know exactly what I was thinking at the time of my writing, they are left up to their best guess. Certainly, they will probably try to look at the context, but even in that case, I could have meant I was scared, or I was really hot, or I was nervous. I believe if our objective is to get a greater understanding, then we will make greater strides in coming together to find the mind of God, rather than trying to prove one another right or wrong.

December 16, 2006 10:03 AM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Ron,

I agree that we need to preserve the unity, but not at the expense of asserting the idea that we cannot know what God intended, through James, to communicate. This assumes that God is NOT a good clear communicator . . . and at a methodological level it fails to recognize that there are latent literary clues that will allow us (the interpreter) to get at what the original meaning was and is, as intended.

December 16, 2006 2:27 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Antonio, if your position is the most probably, why do you personally think it has been rejected for the majority of church history? Just looking for your opinion - no setup.

December 17, 2006 4:55 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan,

I have spent some time thinking about Lordship salvation (as you can probably tell).

One of the bottom lines is this:

People just cannot get themselves to agree with the premise that full pardon from God, entrance into heaven, and eternal life have absolutely nothing to do with their behavior whatsoever; that nothing they have done or can or will do in the future has any bearing on whether or not they end up in the kingdom of God (barring of course simple faith into Christ).

They cannot get themselves to understand that even a sinful, debased individual, nevertheless justified and covered by the blood of Jesus, can be in God's kingdom.

Deep down inside they believe, in a very real way, that behavior is intrinsically correllated with one's hope of heaven.

How did this happen?

Grace is a naughty word.

If it is true that your eternity can be absolutely secure no matter what your behavior is (past, present, or future), then you can get fire-insurance and live like the devil.

I happen to agree with the last statement. The RCC and Lordship Salvation, and Arminianism would all be on the same page and dissent against grace.

The person who lives like the devil, in RCC, Lordship Calvinism, and Lordship Arminianism, does not go to heaven. Works all have an integral part, one way or another, in one's final entrance into heaven.

The person who lives like the devil (who never the less has eternal life) in FG theology will lose his soul, both in time and for eternity, yet he will be in the kingdom.

Thanks for dropping by!

Antonio

December 17, 2006 5:58 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Thanks Antonio. Could you please clarify your statement:

"The person who lives like the devil (who never the less has eternal life) in FG theology will lose his soul, both in time and for eternity, yet he will be in the kingdom."

Can you really "lose" your soul in heaven? Is this the weeping and gnashing of teeth part of "heaven"?

December 17, 2006 8:17 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan,

I appreciate the questions. Let me tell you why:

As long as you are asking questions, you are trying to get clarified for you the Free Grace position, not disseminating mischaracterizations.

There is no "weeping and gnashing of teeth" part of heaven, as if it is an actual geographical place.

'weeping and gnashing of teeth' is a figurative expression denoting remorse, sorrow, and anguish over one's wasted life that has now resulted in serious loss in the kingdom of God.

The non-overcoming Christian will be judged by God's word. This word will figuratively cut him in two. Have you ever been confronted with a sin by someone you have hurt and it felt like you were cut in two? It is the same thing.

Your sin nature will be gone, and there will be nothing (no rationalization, no justifications) to hinder the full weight of your shortcomings as a servant/steward. Shame, sorrow, remorse are all appropriate.

But like with any tragedy, one, in the course of time, gets over, and deals with sorrow. And of course, at the ushering in of the eternal state, God wipes away every tear.

Jonathan, one way I have seen the LS distort FG theology is by presenting FG interpretations of parabolic passages as literal, when indeed, the FG interpret them figuratively, corresponding the elements of the parable to truth.

There is no 'outer darkness' geographical area in heaven. Sub-comers are not literally cut in two, or bound hand and foot.

the term 'outer darkness' is better translated 'the darkness outside', IOW, outside the parabolic banquet hall where the overcomers are celebrating.

I do believe that I have even seen you make this mistake in misrepresenting FG. We understand the parabolic passages parabolically and do wooden-literally equate them. The figures in the parable correspond to spiritual truth.

Now to answer your question.

From the time forward at regeneration, the Christian constructs a life. If he constructs it by taking heed to the words of Jesus, he will be saving his life (soul). When we create our life in time, we can construct it in such a way where its meaning and significance transects INTO eternity.

Receving with meekness the implanted word, and being a doer of that word, will result in the abundant life, the saving of the life (soul) in time. It saves one from the temporal effects of spiritual impoverishment and consequences of sin.

To lose one's soul (life) in eternity, is to forfeit the abundant life (vis-a-vis: the intimacy of being one of Christ's metachoi, co-ruling/reigning with Christ, attendant priviliges and honors).

The salvation of the soul, in its eternal ramifications, refers to the abundant life which shall be the eternal experience of the believer whose faith stands the fiery tests.

In other words, if believers are faithful in their earthly trials, not only will they experience the temporal satisfactions: joy, peace, significance, and meaning, they will obtain the abundant life forever!

I appreciate this opportunity, Jonathan, to clarify my statements.

Our behavior certainly has significant eternal repercussions. Just not in the realm of whether one enters the kingdom or not.

Antonio

December 17, 2006 8:55 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Antonio, have you written a post on this parable? It would be nice to see a detailed explanation that I can reference.

December 18, 2006 5:33 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Relevent to this thread:

Dead Horse Post Mortem

Relevent to Antonio:

Eventually, if you follow the path you have outlined to Dr. Moorhead, you are going to find yourself in 100% agreement with the actual Lordship position. The consequences of Grace are both eternal and temporal -- and when you abandon the straw man that reformed theology demands works first to get grace seocnd, and see that reformed theology deamnds grace first and sees works as logical and necessary secondary consequences of grace, your first work will be to apologize to those you have taken to task for disagreeing with your evolving theological awareness.

Think about this, Antonio: the first time you confronted me at the D-Blog, you bailed out when I demonstrated through questions that there are necessary consequences of grace. Now, in arguing with Moorehead, you have said without any qualifications, that there are necessary consequences to grace. The only thing separating you from Jonathan and me right now is the meaning of the word "necessary". In your view, Grace saves, but one's emotional self-awareness can be harmed in some way -- you can be spiritually sad rather than joyful, spiritually weak instead of strong. In my view, Grace makes us spiritually strong -- and in that it causes us to be joyful and strong.

We are almost at the place where the question is really "how big is Grace"? That is, when Grace saves, how great a salvation is evident?

It is a great salvation, Antonio. It is the kind of salvation which in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of joy even in extreme poverty will overflowed in a wealth of generosity. When you see this, and admit it, you will be a new man. Even in my eyes.

December 19, 2006 2:07 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Antonio,

I have a hard enough time keeping up with your thoughts here, I don't know how you have the time to post and comment.

God bless you brother, may the Lord grant you much wisdom and grace.

December 19, 2006 7:35 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Frank,

I frankly don't know what you are talking about.

I have not discussed any position of mine that could be described as something 'necessary'.

My position against the Lordship is the same difference as day is to night.

Concerning your dead horse post mortem, and your other inadequate responses, I plan on reviewing next.

Antonio

December 20, 2006 11:11 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan,

here is a link to where I discuss one of the parables:

The Darkness Outside

Tell me what are your impressions.

Blessings,

Antonio

December 20, 2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Antonio,

"I have not discussed any position of mine that could be described as something 'necessary'."

Uhm, yes you did. The very ideals that you describe as "Lordship" you place on being an overcomer, that is, a faithful believer. In Frank's position, grace works in all believers; in your position, grace works in only a few. In Frank's position, works are done as a result; in your position, works are done not directly as a result, but in order to obtain.

I don't think you'll be able to see it though.

December 20, 2006 6:35 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Doug,

I meant as in 'necessary consequences', which is the sense that Frank Turk was using.

Of course I believe that works are necessary for rewards.

That is not what Frank was talking about.

Furthermore, this 'grace works only in a few' in my position is a straw man.

Grace justifies and eternally saves all who believe in Christ. Therefore, grace works in all.

In the sense you are trying to paint FG, it would be more accurate to say that not all Christians avail themselves of the grace that is at their disposal.

I would also say that Grace works in all Christians, but that it is not irresistable.

Furthermore, I would also say that grace does not drag anyone down the path of obedience.

If I wanted to throw something around toward Lordship Calvinism, I could say something as well:

In Lordship Calvinism, God's grace is insufficient and partial, able to keep the Christian from heinous sin (most of the time), but not able to keep him from the little sins he commits everyday.

Grace does not force, for if it did, it wouldn't be grace anymore.

Enjoy your Christmas, and blessings to your family,

Antonio

December 20, 2006 7:01 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Hi Antonio,

"That is not what Frank was talking about."

Uhm, yeah it is.

"Furthermore, this 'grace works only in a few' in my position is a straw man."

No it isn't, since in your position, not all are overcomers. I'm sorry Antonio, but in your position, only those who are wise and strong enough make use of this grace to become overcomers. the end result is that they have something in them that the non overcomers do not.

"Grace justifies and eternally saves all who believe in Christ. Therefore, grace works in all."

Grace does more than justifies us. God also takes a spiritually dead sinner and by His grace gives them spiritual life. That grace teaches us to deny ungodliness (Titus 2:11 and 12). God bringing discipline to a believer is part of that grace.

What grace is and does is a big issue here. There are two different concepts being advocated.

"In the sense you are trying to paint FG, it would be more accurate to say that not all Christians avail themselves of the grace that is at their disposal."

Not trying to paint anything, and this goes directly back to the previous. There are two ideas of grace going on here. Regardless, a person doesn't go to heaven based on their sanctification, but on their justification, although all who are justified are also sanctified.

"I would also say that Grace works in all Christians, but that it is not irresistable."

That has nothing to do with what Calvinist mean by "irresistable grace" if by that you are referring to sanctification.

"In Lordship Calvinism, God's grace is insufficient and partial, able to keep the Christian from heinous sin (most of the time), but not able to keep him from the little sins he commits everyday."

I would say that is somewhat of a strawman. Grace trains us in righteousness, and just as it trains us in righteousness, it is also bigger than our sin. Those "little sins" are just as heinous to all Holy God as the big sins. However, it obviously wasn't His purpose to make us sinless here while on this earth. The problem, as I am sure you would agree, isn't with grace. Therefore, it would be inaccurate to ever describe it as insufficent or partial. On the other hand, it is also just as wrong to ever describe grace as cheap, something that you would never do. By the way, I also know that it wasn't your intent to "downgrade" grace, but you are going to have to get Frank or someone else to respond to your statement as I think it is framed wrong.

"Enjoy your Christmas, and blessings to your family"

The same to you and your family.

December 20, 2006 8:08 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Doug,

Frank was talking about "necessary consequences".

What about my position has such a nuance? Unless I were to say "rewards are necessary consequences for work done".

Frank has mistaken my discussion with Jonathan Moorhead for something else.

December 20, 2006 9:26 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Antonio,

"What about my position has such a nuance?"

Have already told you.

December 21, 2006 2:20 AM  
Anonymous Trent said...

I am confused at the confusion. Frank (if I understand it correctly) states that all true believers overcome. Antonio is stating that some believers overcome, and some do not, but all if they believe, they still have eternal life. Some strive for rewards, and some fall away, or decide not to commit their life to serving the Messiah. How can you combine this as being the same?

December 22, 2006 1:13 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Hi trent,

Already answered that. Regardless, there are two different ideas of grace going on here. One supplies what is necessary, the other doesn't, but the works are the same and both necessary for what is in each view. In short, Antonio is LS in a different area than Frank.

December 22, 2006 6:07 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I think I like that, Doug:
----------
the works are... necessary for what is in each view
----------
In my view, works are necessary for temporal salvation and salvation at the Bema.

In Frank's view, works are necessary for heaven.

Antonio

December 22, 2006 7:02 PM  

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