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)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior

Dear Readers of Free Grace Theology blog,

Over the months I have been writing concerning consistent Free Grace Theology as pertaining to the invitation in our evangelism. During this time I have met many new people, two of which are Jonathan Perreault and Liam Moran (I instictively, for some reason, wanted to type Neeson, lol). For the most part we have enjoyed cordial communications concerning the topic at hand.

Many people are aware of two articles done by Zane Hodges called "How to Lead People to Christ" Pts 1 & 2. However, many don't know that these journal articles are condensed versions of two plenary sessions that Zane did at the GES National Conference in 2000. The audio for these sessions is a little under 2 hours; the papers being able to be read in under 15 minutes apeice.

In any communicative endeavor, one desires to be understood. Furthermore, in any discussion, one hopes to be fairly represented. It is the case that as I have read the treatments of the position I hold to, I find many disappointments. Misconceptions, liberty with statements taken out of context, and a fundamental deficiency in understanding both the driving convictions and emphasis of consistent Free Grace theology fill the pages of those wishing to show it to be heresy.

Jonathan Perreault had decided to listen to the audio of Zane Hodges, upon my encouragement, and write something in response. The following link is to a paper that he wrote entitled, "Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior". It was with his desire to understand more fully the position I hold to and defend the position he is persuaded of that he penned this treatise.

Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior by Jonathan D. Perreault

I have no reason to question the sincerity of Jonathan Perreault, nor would I want to, or have any grounds to do so. He is seeking to defend the tenets of biblical Christianity as he is persuaded of them. For this I applaud and commend him. You will be the judge if he has convincingly done so.

I have read his paper twice, even going so far as printing the whole thing up and marking all the margins with my comments. I have submitted it to you for your consideration.

As with any testimony it is imperative for us to read with a critical mind. Does his arguments stand up? Do his conclusions follow his arguments? I am deeply persuaded that this paper is flawed and here are some of the general comments I have given about it:

Anytime you ask a Traditional FGer for biblical support of their position you get journal articles, dissertations, complex arguments, machine-gun apologetics (rapid-fire proof texting) -- but no simple biblical proof. The reception of eternal life is the milk of the Word! It doesn't take a theological degree to ascertain from the scriptures what one must do to have life! It doesn't take the theological astuteness of a Calvin or Luther. The answer is clear: one must simply believe in Jesus and he will both have everlasting life and certain assurance of its possession. It should not take a dissertation in order to tell someone what one must do to have eternal life and prove it to them.

Jonathan Perreault's eighteen page argument states that the Gospel of John, in the end, modifies the doctrine of saving faith that John goes into great detail expounding for his readers in the first 12 chapters of his book. The arguments were confusing and the conclusions were simply non-sequitor. This eighteen page article failed to do what John could have done in a sentence or two: clearly state that the content of saving faith (that he gave elaborate testimony to in his 1st 12 chapters [13-17 being the Upper Room Discourse]) had changed, precisely defining for us the new content.

In reading this treatise I have found that a response would not be the best use of my time. The article, along with Tom Stegall's articles, would take too much of my time to correct. I just don't have that kind of time. I find the thesis of the paper insupportable.

The conclusion of the paper does not follow the arguments or data. That is a huge thing! In college, I took two logic courses and a critical thinking course. On every page their were assertions being made that the arguments did not prove. The insistence that the death and resurrection of Christ are now additions to what it means to "believe in" Him does not necessarily follow the arguements, even if I were to stipulate the correctness of them (for the sake of argument).

The conclusions just do not follow the arguments. Furthermore, the arguments supporting the conclusion have many holes which I found, showing a lack of exegetical care and deductive logic; non sequitors plague the paper.

In the conclusion section of the paper, Jonathan quoted Merril Tenney:

"the signs are the basis of belief; the person of Christ is the object of faith, and eternal life is the result of belief"

I basically agree with his assessment as stated.

The signs are the basis of faith. They are the authenticating proofs that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, guaranteeing eternal life to all who simply believe in Him. Belief in the signs don't save. It is belief in Jesus that does. The signs are what persuade us that faith alone in Christ alone receives everlasting life. No one will believe in Jesus unless persuaded by evidence. The signs are one front of evidence that we use in our evangelism to bring someone to faith in Jesus.

The reasoning from this paper's arguments does not provide a necessary certitude of its conclusion. I fully convinced that the Refined Free Grace position better, more simply, and with greater clarity accounts for all the available data in the gospel of John. RFG is proven easier and its arguments more compelling.

Jonathan's eighteen page paper failed to do what John could have done in a mere sentence or two: modify the understanding of saving faith that he went into great detail expounding for us in the first twelve chapters of His treatise, in other words, what it means to "believe in" Him. His eighteen page paper failed to do what John could have done in a mere sentence or two: qualify, modify, or change what it means to soterically believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (the faith bringing everlasting life) which he had already defined for us in the first 12 chapters of His gospel.

By all means, read Jonathan's paper. But do so thinking about his arguments critically. Is his evidence and arguments sound? Does his conclusions certainly follow his arguments?

43 Comments:

Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

I am glad to see this post. Thank you.

In Grace,
Jonathan Perreault
http://www.freegracefreespeech.blogspot.com

November 28, 2007 2:46 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Antonio, thank you for finally posting this.

Antonio said: "Anytime you ask a Traditional FGer for biblical support of their position you get journal articles, dissertations, complex arguments, machine-gun apologetics (rapid-fire proof texting) -- but no simple biblical proof"

Do realize that your reasoning here is self-refuting? The GES has years of journal articles, dissertatinos, and complicated explanations to defend their/your crossless gospel. Your side decries us for not meeting it's standard of evidence while consistently failing to meet it's own standard. I've only been involved in the debate for a few months but I have yet to see a SINGLE "simple biblical proof" from your side of the aisle that explicitly supports your view. It must be "explicit" to make your case because that s the standard your side has set -- all I'm asking is that you meet your own standard.

Antonio said: "In college, I took two logic courses and a critical thinking course. On every page their were assertions being made that the arguments did not prove."

How is it then that you fail to ack the same error in your arguments as well? John 3:16 simply does not explicitly support your arguments. The Samaritan woman at the well does not explicitly support your claims about that encounter. The account of the Philippian jailer does not explicitly support your case either. Neither does John 6:47. There's more, but these are some of the most repeated examples of "simple biblical proof" your side has presented and, when examined, turn out to be not-so-simple after all, and certainly are not not "proof" of your conclusions.

Again, all I'm asking is for you and yours to meet your own standard -- "simple biblical proof". That should be, well ... simple.

Stephen

November 28, 2007 5:55 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan,

Many blessings to you.

Stephen,

How to receive eternal life is the milk of the word. It is not something complicated. Jesus states that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life. That is my biblical proof. It is the unadultered and most solemn assertion from the Savior. And it is an assertion that is found in many places in the Scriptures.

The issue is eternal salvation -- the reception of eternal life and guaranteed deliverance form perishing. It is in this context that Jesus states whoever believes in Him has everlasting life.

When the colloquial expression "believe in" someone or something is used, the context determines its import. Believing in Jesus is entrusting yourself to Him in the context of his promise.

It is that simple. It is the milk of the word!

What must a man do to have eternal life?

Quite simple put, he is to believe in Jesus!

I am quite aware of the GES's articles. Many of which address the meat of the word.

Also, it sometimes takes some effort to put straight those who have made complex that which is inherently simple.

For me to explain the saving message to a potential convert is a simple matter. I use the words of Jesus Christ Himself, who has the words of everlastin life - whose words are spirit and life. As the invitation and appeal of my evangelistic endeavors, I simply tell them "whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life and will never perish". This is abundantly clear and manifestly biblical.

However, your appeal cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. It takes a string of loosely related passages that really don't say the same thing as what your invitation to faith does.

If asked how these verses you are giving them prove that your requirements for eternal life are exactly that, requirements for eternal life, one would have to have a complex argument and dissertation to answer.

My appeal is biblical, and is found on the lips of Jesus Christ Himself, who is Eternal Life and whose words are spirit and life, and who has the words of everlasting life. It is simple and easily defended.

Your appeal cannot be found in the Bible, and is not in any one place in the Bible, and is found on noone's lips but your own. It is complex, and only with many words is it defended.

Antonio

November 28, 2007 8:10 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Antonio said: How to receive eternal life is the milk of the word. It is not something complicated. Jesus states that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life. That is my biblical proof.

But your "proof" begs the question, so it simply isn't logically a proof at all. Surely you realize that what it means to "Believe in Jesus" is the crux of the discussion, don't you? Simply stated, none of your proof texts explicitly validate even your short checklist. Besides, it's not about whose gospel is the least complicated, it's about being biblically correct. i.e. Where do you get the idea that because your checklist of what it means to "believe in Jesus" is shorter than mine that it necessarily follows that you're correct?

Antonio said: Also, it sometimes takes some effort to put straight those who have made complex that which is inherently simple.

Double standard again? That is exactly why we too must post and reference lengthy articles and arguments, to thoroughly refute false doctrine such as yours. When it comes to the lost man, our presentation is really pretty simple, even for a child to sufficiently understand. As mentioned elsewhere, my wife was saved at 5 by what you claim is our complicated gospel. Your claim then, that our gospel is fundamentally overcomplicated, just doesn't hold up.

Antonio said: Your appeal cannot be found in the Bible, and is not in any one place in the Bible, and is found on noone's lips but your own. It is complex, and only with many words is it defended.

Your view apparently takes many words to defend as well. And again, so what, where do you see the Bible state brevity or simplicity as the litmus test of correct soteriology?

As for the rest of your quote, simply not true. My appeal is found many places in the Bible as well. You may disagree with me about 1 Cor 15:3,4 but it is one place that sums up the content of the Gospel as I understand it and it is not fundamentally any more complicated than John 3:16. For that matter John 3:16 will suffice for me as well. Romans 4:23-5:2 is another single section that I believe supports our claim. You may disagree that these passages say what we think they say, but to claim we must paste together a string of unrelated passages to make our point is simply unfounded.

A plus of the 1 Cor 15 and Romans passages -- and possibly even John 3:16 too, if it is indeed commentary injected by John rather than the words of Jesus, as some do indeed contend -- is that these passages are post Christ and clearly apply to 1) non divine ministers and 2) to this side of the atonement.

Surely you would agree that Jesus being here to minister in-the-flesh is a unique period in history. Your side says "if we witness as Jesus did then certainly we can't be wrong!" but, frankly, we CAN'T witness as Jesus did. Are any of us omniscient? Can any of us reply to someone who asks that "I AM?" No. Jesus is a model for us, true, but he demonstrated uniquely divine attributes during his earthly ministry that will never be ours to mimic. i.e. WWJD is inspiring but ontologically ludicrous. Consider this; That Jesus is God is demonstrated more in John than in any other Gospel. So, even if I were to be allowed to perform miracles on Jesus' scale, my goal could never be to prove to anyone that "I am God" for the purpose of convincing them that I could keep my promises. Ontologically ridiculous, wouldn't you agree?

2 Tim 3:16 says "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof , for correction, for training in righteousness;" so, frankly, the words of Paul carry just as much weight as the words of Jesus... unless you want to question inspiration. Do you?

It's late, this long enough for now, good night.

November 28, 2007 9:56 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Knetknight,

Most excellent insight when you stated:


"2 Tim 3:16 says 'All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof , for correction, for training in righteousness;' so, frankly, the words of Paul carry just as much weight as the words of Jesus... unless you want to question inspiration. Do you?"


Also see Psalm 138:2 but I think 2 Timothy 3:16 is more pointed.

November 28, 2007 11:03 PM  
Blogger knetknight said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 29, 2007 6:18 AM  
Blogger knetknight said...

Jon, I found your paper very thought provoking. Our Sunday school teacher was out of town a couple of Sundays ago and left a message that he wanted to know if I'd sub for him. By the time I returned his call he had already roped someone else to do it, but I had planned to accept and use your paper as a guideline for one or more lessons. I still plan to do that when the time comes because this issue is timelessly relevant. Thank you for your work.

Antonio, you said: "Your appeal cannot be found in the Bible, and is not in any one place in the Bible, and is found on noone's lips but your own."

Upon further consideration, I find that this actually applies to you and not me at all. I have 1 Cor 15:3,4, from the "lips" of the Holy Spirit, post Christ, which explicitly supports my claim to content of saving faith. Your side, on the other hand, has yet to produce a single verse that explicitly supports your god-less, sin-less, cross-less, redemption-less message. These are not pejorative labels, they accurately describe your message which considers all the above optional so far as the lost man is concerned. So, please, I'm still waiting for passages that explicitly support your claim. Greg has pointed out here that the common denominator argument doesn't work for you either so don't cherry pick unclear verses and expect us to accept your hermeneutic as valid. Allow the clear to interpret the unclear, not the other way around.

It is your message then that does not have the lips of biblical truth -- that does not have a leg, a foot, or even a tip-toe to stand on.

November 29, 2007 6:43 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Knetknight,

Thank you for those encouraging words. As much as I know I'm saved today I know the Lord helped me to understand the truths I have set down in this article. As I told the free grace scholar who reviewed my paper, when I first read John 21:14 in my study of John's Gospel a tremendous epiphany occurred in my understanding! That was the key verse that unlocked these truths in my mind! May the "Lamb standing, as if slain" (Rev. 5:6) recieve all the glory!

November 29, 2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

You stated:

"Anytime you ask a Traditional FGer for biblical support of their position you get journal articles, dissertations, complex arguments, machine-gun apologetics (rapid-fire proof texting) -- but no simple biblical proof."

Actually, my article can be summarized in a single sentence:

"And truly Jesus did many other [resurrection] signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these [three resurrection signs] are written that you [the post crucifixion and resurrection church-age reader] may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you [the post crucifixion and resurrection church-age reader] may have life in His name." (John 20:30-31, NKJV)

November 29, 2007 6:29 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

"And truly Jesus did many other signs [a word used throughout the discourse in John's book of authenticating miracles and NOT used even once in relation to Jesus' appearing to His disciples] in the presence of His disciples [where all His authenticating miracles took place], which are not written in this book; but these [signs found through out the book] are written that you [the reader who has learned the words of Jesus Christ (whose words are spirit and life and who has the words of everlasting life) by reading the majority of this treatise] may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God [as did the pre crucifixion and resurrection saints did throughout the contents of the book, whereby their examples are plentious and plenary], and that believing you [you who have already learned that eternal life comes through faith alone in Jesus] may have life in His name." (John 20:30-31, NKJV)


Antonio

November 29, 2007 7:48 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

In reading your post and your last comment about John 20:30-31, only once do you refer to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (and this was in a description of Old Testament believers). In John chapter 20, do you believe that the apostle John draws special attention to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? And if John does, why don't you?

November 29, 2007 10:04 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

To make my question even more pointed:

In reading through your post on the "Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior" and your last comment about John 20:30-31, only once do you refer to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (and this was in a description of Old Testament believers). In John chapter 20, do you believe that the apostle John draws special attention to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? And if John does, why don't you?

November 29, 2007 10:28 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Allow me to address another point.

You stated:

"And truly Jesus did many other signs [a word used throughout the discourse in John's book of authenticating miracles and NOT used even once in relation to Jesus' appearing to His disciples]"

In my article I cite evidence to the contrary. On pages 1-2 I write:

"How important is the sign of Christ's death and resurrection? Jesus indicated this sign to be His greatest. When the Jews questioned His authority to cleanse the temple by demanding of Him one incontesable sign to justify His actions, Jesus did nothing but prophecy of His own death and resurrection on the third day (Jn. 2:18-22)!"

Additionally, on pages 6-7 I state:

"Third, Christ’s statement in John 2:19 further demonstrates that the 'signs' of John 20:30 refer to Jesus’ resurrection appearances in the presence of His disciples. The great 'sign' of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection emphasized in John 2 is linked to Jesus’ resurrection 'signs' evidenced in John 20-21! In John 2:18 the Jewish leaders ask Jesus a specific question: 'What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?' Jesus, of course, refers to the sign of His death and resurrection on the third day when He declares: 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up' (Jn. 2:19b). Regarding this, the apostle John notes: 'When therefore [Jesus] was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken' (Jn. 2:22). John clearly presents Jesus’ great statement in the light of the resurrection! How do the three resurrection signs of Jesus in the presence of His disciples relate to the one great sign of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection on the third day? The answer to this important question may 'connect the dots' for many readers. In John 2:18-22 the sign of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection is prophesied. In John chapters 18-19 Christ’s crucifixion is performed and then proved (by His burial). In John chapters 20-21 Christ’s resurrection is performed and then proved (by His appearances, or resurrection signs). The three resurrection signs (as opposed to all the signs recorded in John’s Gospel) are the final proof of Christ’s original prophecy!" In the footnote I add: "These key truths are consistent with the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: 'For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.'”

It is also significant that the word "sign" (Gk. semeion) referred to in John 2:18-22 is the same word used in John 20:30. Contrary to your statment above, the word "sign" (Gk. semeion) is used in relation to Jesus' appearing to his disciples" (cf. Jn. 2:22, 20:30). In my paper I cite many cross references to substantiate this truth. Please see Acts 1:2-3, 10:36, 38-43, 13:28-31, and 1 Cor. 15:3-5 (pg. 3).

November 29, 2007 11:27 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Furthermore,

You said (in reference to John 20:30 and the signs Jesus performed):

"in the presence of His disciples [where all His authenticating miracles took place]"

If you read the context of John 20-21 it is clear that "in the presence of His disciples" means "in the presence of only His disciples". In both His first and second resurrection appearances "in the presence of His disciples", Jesus appears to the disciples while they are hiding "for fear of the Jews" (cf. Jn. 20:19,26)! No crowds or onlookers are gathered as there were with Jesus' pre-cross signs. Similarly, Jesus' third resurrection appearance "in the presence of His disciples" is to an even smaller group of only the disciples (Jn. 21:1-2)!

These truths are verified by other Scriptures, as I cite in my paper:

until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:2-3, italics added)

The word which He sent to the sons of Israel [in context], preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all). . . You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One [i.e. the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ, the Son of God] who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. (Acts 10:36, 38-43, italics added)

And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. And when they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. (Acts 13:28-31, italics added)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5, italics added)

November 29, 2007 11:55 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Also you said (referring to John 20:31):

"which are not written in this book; but these [signs found through out the book]"

I believe you are correct in saying that the term "these" (Jn. 20:31) refers to "signs" (Jn. 20:30), but not to the "[signs found through out the book]". The pronominal adjective "these" (Jn. 20:31) is related to the noun "signs" (Jn. 20:30) and specifically speaks of a select number of "signs in the presence of His disciples" (Jn. 20:30) that John chose to write down in his gospel narrative. As I demonstrated in my previous comment, Jesus' "signs in the presence of His disciples" (Jn. 20:30, NKJV) are those signs performed "in the presence of only His disciples". Besides the context of this passage, a number of cross references establish this important truth: Acts 1:2-3, 10:36, 38-43, 13:28-31, 1 Cor. 15:3-5. Also see the section in my paper titled "The Resurrection Signs and John 20:30-31" (starting on page 5 of my article) where I go over 6 evidences supporting my statements above.

November 30, 2007 12:33 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Also you said (referring to John 20:31):

"are written that you [the reader who has learned the words of Jesus Christ (whose words are spirit and life and who has the words of everlasting life) by reading the majority of this treatise]"

In my article go into some detail concerning the significance of John directly addressing his church-age audience with the word "you", as he does in John 20:31. John directly addresses his church-age audience only two times throughout his entire gospel narrative, and he does it with the words "that you may believe" (NKJV). The first time is at the foot of the old rugged cross in John 19:35, and the second time is at the feet of the Risen Savior in John 20:31. Quoting from page 9 of my article: "The main point is this: The apostle’s direct references to his church-age audience ('you') in the contexts of John 19:35 and John 20:31 highlight the importance and coherence of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead as necessary elements of belief for eternal life. This double coherence (of John’s church-age audience and Jesus’ crucifixion-resurrection action) would be greatly reduced and even lost if the 'signs' cited in John 20:31 referred to all the signs recorded in the book of John, and not specifically to the three resurrection signs of the Savior!"

For more information on this point, please see pages 8-9 of my article.

November 30, 2007 12:52 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

JP,

John indeed draws attention to the resurrection. Furthermore, I am convinced that it is one of the signs that John is speaking about that authenticates and substantiates Jesus' claim that all who simply believe in Him have everlasting life.

Antonio

November 30, 2007 2:57 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

You write:

How important is the sign of Christ's death and resurrection? Jesus indicated this sign to be His greatest.

I am not going to argue about the greatness of Christ's resurrection as a sign. Truly it is the greatest sign. Throughout your paper you make assertions that your arguments do not substantiate. Did Jesus indicate that this sign would be His greatest? How? All He said was, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." (Jn 2:19). Jesus definitely does not speak as to his assessment of the resurrection being his greatest sign.

It kind of gets off topic and to argue this point is worthless. But I show you this because it is just one of MANY examples of your bald assertions without convincing evidence.

I have never said that the resurrection is not a sign. Indeed it is. It is one of the signs John speaks about in John 20:30.

You write:

It is also significant that the word "sign" (Gk. semeion) referred to in John 2:18-22 is the same word used in John 20:30. Contrary to your statment above, the word "sign" (Gk. semeion) is used in relation to Jesus' appearing to his disciples" (cf. Jn. 2:22, 20:30).

The word sign is used in reference solely to his resurrection (it is not even used of His death), NOT of His resurrection appearances. Are you now illegitametly equating the fact that Jesus was resurrected on the third day (which is the sign) with Jesus appearing to the disciples?

The appearances are merely a proof of the great sign: the resurrection (the resurrection being an authenticating and substantiating testimony to Christ's words that anyone who simply believes in Him has everlasting life).

The word "sign" is NOT used of Christ's appearances, as it is used of the great sign that those appearances prove: the resurrection.

The word "sign" is used of the resurrecion from the dead of Jesus Christ and NOT used of His appearances to His disciples.

Antonio

November 30, 2007 3:11 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

You write:

If you read the context of John 20-21 it is clear that "in the presence of His disciples" means "in the presence of only His disciples".

This is unproven, bald assertion. What is the proof? What in the context convincingly shows that "in the presence of His disiples" means only in their presence? This is pure eisegesis. There is nothing in the context or the words themselves that states that the signs that John is talking about refer only to those done in the sole presence of His disciples.

You are building up a house of cards, purely on speculation, conjecture, hypothesis, and wishful thinking.

The sign is singular, and it is the resurrecion (does not include the death).

Nowhere is the word "sign" used in connection with the appearances of Jesus.

Since you can't prove that John is talking only about the appearances of Jesus to the disciples in John 20:30 when referencing the signs, because the word "sign" is not even used at all in reference to the appearances (and is used many times by the author in the rest of the book), you cannot use this as an indicator that John means signs done ONLY in the presence of His disciples. There is no certain or convincing proof of this bald assertion of yours that has no basis whatsoever.

Like I said, assertion without proof, and conclusions that are not proven by the arguments.

John says that Jesus did MANY other signs in the presence of His disciples! The many other signs would be all of the signs that Jesus did that were not written in this book, such as the multitudes of miracles that are discussed in the synoptics (all the healings, exorcisms, making whole, calming storms, cleansings, water walking, etc). This makes the best sense! You are so driven to find SOME kind of link between saving faith and the deity, death, and resurrection of Christ, that you will simply overlook the clearest explanations! John makes it a point to say basically the same thing at the very end of the book, "And there are also many other things that Jesus did."

The whole book of John is a book of signs and what Jesus did, all authenticating and substantiating Jesus' claim that whoever simply believes in Him has everlasting life and will not perish.

The text does NOT say "ONLY" in the presence of his disciples. This is wishful thinking and bald assertion tailored to bolster an already weak argument.

Antonio

November 30, 2007 4:41 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

The death is not a sign.
The resurrection is a sign.
The resurrection appearances are not called signs.
All of Jesus' signs (miracles) were done in the presence of His disciples. It was by them that they believed in Him(see John 2:11).
Jesus did MANY other signs (miracles) in the presence of His disciples, Jesus did many other things not written in the book of John. Edwin A. Blum (The Bible Knowledge Commentary) counts 35 different miracles in the four gospels (and I am sure that this is only a cross-section).

People believed in the name of Jesus when they saw the signs He did (John 2:23). The signs were written in this book in order that they may persuade us to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (as did the disciples, and the Samaritans, and Martha, and the man born blind, etc) in order that they may have eternal life!

It is just HIGHLY UNLIKELY that John would use the term "sign" or "miracle" 15 times in his treatise, and not refer to them whatsoever when he says that "Jesus did many other signs". You would rather have us believe that Jesus' resurrection appearances are the sole signs being referred to here, when they are not even called "signs" while you would have us believe that the 15 times the word "sign" is used, referring to Jesus miracles performed in the presence of His disciples, are not included in the purpose statement of his gospel.

This is very odd and incredible.

The Gospel of John is a book of signs, 8 to be exact. Hand-picked out of all the signs He did do (Jesus did many OTHER signs). But you would have us believe that when John writes:

"Jesus did many other signs"

that he made no reference whatsoever to the MAJOR construction of his book, whereby he gives abundant and elaborate testimony to 8 signs; signs which when saw, encouraged faith in Him for everlasting life, the VERY PURPOSE OF HIS LETTER, and ONLY meant 3 appearances to His disciples that take up a very few paragraphs, that are never called "signs".

This is incredible and is beyond the scope of the imagination. It is wishful thinking and sophistry.

Antonio

November 30, 2007 5:06 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

You write:

The pronominal adjective "these" (Jn. 20:31) is related to the noun "signs" (Jn. 20:30) and specifically speaks of a select number of "signs in the presence of His disciples" (Jn. 20:30)

Exactly. These are the signs that "have been written", the signs that are actually CALLED signs in the body and majority of the book. They are a select number of signs (8 in total) that were related to the reader in order to substantiate Christ's claim that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life. They "have been written" so as to authenticate the claim that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who guarantees eternal life and resurrection to the one who believes in Him.

You write:

As I demonstrated in my previous comment, Jesus' "signs in the presence of His disciples" (Jn. 20:30, NKJV) are those signs performed "in the presence of only His disciples".

You have failed to demonstrate this fact. Your "demonstration" would not hold up in any impartial scholarly review. The only place you have made such a claim certain is in your own mind, and I do not even believe you are certain of it.

Antonio

November 30, 2007 5:13 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

You never answered my pointed question in which I said:

“In reading through your post on the "Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior" and your last comment about John 20:30-31, only once do you refer to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (and this was in a description of Old Testament believers). In John chapter 20, do you believe that the apostle John draws special attention to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? And if John does, why don't you?”

To which you responded:

“John indeed draws attention to the resurrection. Furthermore, I am convinced that it is one of the signs that John is speaking about that authenticates and substantiates Jesus' claim that all who simply believe in Him have everlasting life.”

You do not deny my thought that “In John chapter 20 . . . the apostle John draws special attention to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead”. And so I again pose this question to you:“And if John does, why don’t you?”

Second, you said:

“I am not going to argue about the greatness of Christ's resurrection as a sign. Truly it is the greatest sign. Throughout your paper you make assertions that your arguments do not substantiate. Did Jesus indicate that this sign would be His greatest? How? All He said was, 'Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.' (Jn 2:19). Jesus definitely does not speak as to his assessment of the resurrection being his greatest sign.”

Antonio, you need to recognize that Christ’s death “and” resurrection is one sign. I talk about this in my paper on page 2 and you have yet to refute it. Even John Niemela admits this fact. And so it is not simply Christ’s resurrection that is the sign, but Christ’s death and resurrection that is, in fact, the sign. Again, I refer you to page 2 of my article and pages 22-23 of John Niemela’s article “The Cross in John’s Gospel” in the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 16 (Spring 03).

You asked, “Did Jesus indicate that this sign [of His death and resurrection on the third day] would be His greatest? How?”

Antonio, there are three points that I would like to bring out in answering your question. First, the Jews’ initial question in John 2:18 indicates the signs’ greatness. Notice their question to Jesus in John 2:18: “The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do you show to us, seeing that You do these things?” The Jews’ question is a question of power, right, and authority. John Niemela asserts, “When the Temple authorities demand a sign validating Christ’s right to cleanse the Temple, He identifies that sign (John 2:18-22).” See John Niemela, “The Cross in John’s Gospel”, JOTGES 16 (Spring 03), 20. And so the Jews’ question to Jesus speaks of the greatness of the sign. My second point is simple: In light of the Jews’ question, Jesus’ very mention of His death and resurrection on the third day establishes this signs’ greatness! And so the question and the answer establish the greatness of this sign. But furthermore, what is not mentioned also establishes this signs’ greatness. It is very significant that in answer to the Jews’ question of power, right, and authority, Jesus never mentions any other sign besides His own death and resurrection on the third day! Jesus never mentions or prophecies of the healing of an invalid at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (5:1-18), the feeding the 5,000 near the Sea of Galilee (6:5-14), walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee (6:16-21), healing a blind man in Jerusalem (9:1-7), nor the raising Lazarus in Bethany (11:1-45)! You may say this is an argument from silence, but the fact remains that Jesus answered the Jews question of power, right, and authority with a prophecy of His death and resurrection on the third day! If you want to argue that this is just another sign, why aren’t any of the other signs mentioned right along with the sign of Christ’s death and resurrection on the third day? To illustrate, remember the story of Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:8-11: “Now Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘What will be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD the third day?’ And Isaiah said, ‘This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?’ So Hezekiah answered, ‘It is easy for the shadow to decline ten steps; no, but let the shadow turn backward ten steps.’ And Isaiah the prophet cried to the LORD, and He brought the shadow on the stairway back ten steps by which it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.” So what’s my point? My point is that in answer to the Jews’ question of power, right, and authority, Jesus would not and did not answer by mentioning just any old sign, but instead cited His greatest sign, the sign above all others, “a work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you” (Acts 13:41b) and “neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead” (Lk. 16:31)! And so I believe that the Jews’ question, Jesus’ answer, and Jesus’ emphasis all support my initial statement that “Jesus indicated this sign to be His greatest” (p. 1).

Antonio, let me address another statement in which you say:

“The word sign is used in reference solely to his resurrection (it is not even used of His death), NOT of His resurrection appearances. Are you now illegitametly [sic] equating the fact that Jesus was resurrected on the third day (which is the sign) with Jesus appearing to the disciples? The appearances are merely a proof of the great sign: the resurrection (the resurrection being an authenticating and substantiating testimony to Christ's words that anyone who simply believes in Him has everlasting life). The word 'sign' is NOT used of Christ's appearances, as it is used of the great sign that those appearances prove: the resurrection. The word 'sign' is used of the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ and NOT used of His appearances to His disciples.”

You obviously have a misunderstanding of the single sign Jesus foretold in John 2:19 – the sign of His death and resurrection on the third day. According to Jesus, this great sign does include His death. (Please see my discussion above concerning this point.) Furthermore, you said: “The word sign is used in reference solely to his resurrection . . . NOT of His resurrection appearances.” Antonio, in John 20:30, the apostle specifically mentions “signs” (Gk. semeion) Jesus performed in the presence of His disciples. If John 20:30-31 is taken out of context, you would have an argument. But context is key in understanding any passage of Scripture, and especially true in seeking to understand John 20:30-31. As I said in my article: “First, the context surrounding John 20:30-31 clearly indicates that in these two verses the apostle John speaks of Jesus’ three resurrection signs in the presence of His disciples. The skilled exegete of Scripture will recognize that John 20:30-31 is not an island of two verses by itself. Instead, these two verses are directly connected to and associated with the surrounding context of John chapters 20-21 (which describes the three resurrection appearances of Jesus to His disciples)” (p. 5). You go on to say: “Are you now illegitametly [sic] equating the fact that Jesus was resurrected on the third day (which is the sign) with Jesus appearing to the disciples?” Antonio, I am not illegitimately equating these things, but I am saying that they are related! I discuss this point on pages 6-7 of my article. The resurrection signs of Jesus in the presence of His disciples cannot be separated from the great sign of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead on the third day. I believe John 2:18-22, and 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 are important passages in understanding this truth. Again, notice John 2:18-22: “The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews therefore said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken.” Notice the Jesus says “and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn. 2:19). John then writes, “When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken” (Jn. 2:22). Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, and according to John, this is when Jesus’ disciples knew about His resurrection and were reminded of Jesus’ earlier prophecy! In his narrative, John further confirms this important truth. In John 20:1 the apostle indicates that the events of the passage occur on the “first day of the week”, which would be resurrection Sunday morning. On this day, Jesus not only appears to Mary Magdalene, but also to a group of his disciples hiding in a locked room for fear of the Jews (Jn. 20:19). Jesus’ first resurrection appearance in the presence of His disciples occurred “when . . . [Jesus] was raised from the dead” (Jn. 2:22) on the third day! In light of these Biblical truths, your premise (“Are you now illegitametly [sic] equating the fact that Jesus was resurrected on the third day (which is the sign) with Jesus appearing to the disciples?”) is what is illegitimate!

Let me address one last point in which you quote me and then respond. You say:

[My statement:] “’If you read the context of John 20-21 it is clear that ‘in the presence of His disciples’ means "in the presence of only His disciples’. [Your response:] This is unproven, bald assertion. What is the proof? What in the context convincingly shows that ‘in the presence of His disiples’ means only in their presence? This is pure eisegesis. There is nothing in the context or the words themselves that states that the signs that John is talking about refer only to those done in the sole presence of His disciples.”

Antonio, I would really suggest that you learn how to interpret a passage in its context, I believe that putting this vital principle into practice would answer many of your questions! John 20:30-31a says: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written”. As I said, I believe the context establishes that these are signs in the presence of only Jesus’ disciples. This is easily demonstrated from the immediate context. In John 20:19 the apostle John writes the first resurrection appearance of Jesus to a group of His disciples recorded in the gospel narrative. The text reads: “When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week [i.e. the very same day Jesus rose from the dead on the third day], and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” John is very clear that in this first resurrection appearance of Jesus to a group of His disciples recorded in John’s gospel narrative, it was in the presence of only His disciples! In John 20:26, the apostle John goes on to write about a second resurrection appearance of Jesus in the presence of His disciples. The Biblical text reads: “And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” Notice the words “And” and “again” in the above verse. The setting is the same as in Jesus’ first resurrection appearance. The disciples are again inside a locked room for fear of the Jews and the doors are shut! No one else is around. No crowds, no bystanders, no onlookers, no other Jews, nobody! It is the disciples alone in a room by themselves. This again is a most obvious fact that the apostle John is very clear to describe. It is in this setting that Jesus “came . . . and stood in their midst”. Again, John is very clear that in this second resurrection appearance of Jesus to a group of His disciples recorded in John’s gospel narrative, it was in the presence of only His disciples! In John 21:1-14, the apostle John goes on to write about a “third” resurrection appearance of Jesus in the presence of His disciples. This time only seven disciples are present. Besides Jesus Himself, no one else is ever mentioned in the context! At the break of daylight Jesus appears alone on the beach! There is no mention of any crowds, and no one is clamoring around Jesus as there were many times prior to His resurrection from the dead. The text is clear: “This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead” (Jn. 21:14). In light of these clear Biblical truths, your statement (“This is pure eisegesis. There is nothing in the context or the words themselves that states that the signs that John is talking about refer only to those done in the sole presence of His disciples.”) is falsified. Your statement is shown to be weak and insipid and stands on the strength of your own misunderstanding!

December 01, 2007 12:39 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

JP,

The gospel of John is a book about 8 particularly picked signs of Jesus which He did. These signs are couched within the narratives that lead up to and proceed from these signs. Throughout the narratives we see Jesus lifted up through His power and authority being exalted. Through these testimonies, Jesus' many assertions and claims that whoever simply believes in Him has everlasting life are substantiated.

Miracles are performed and people believe in Him based upon those miracles and signs. Jesus gave the signs so that men and women would believe on Him. This is the main of the whole book. It happens time and again.

The crescendo and climax of all signs is the resurrection in the account of John. It is after His resurrection had been validated by all of his disciples (the last being Thomas) that the apostle John immediately gives the purpose statement for the whole book.

John gave elaborate testimony to 8 signs and the word for signs was used 15 times throughout the testimony. When the last sign, which is His greatest, was believed by the last remaining of the apostles, John immediately gives the purpose for the book.

If your consensus about John 20:30-31 were correct, we would expect this statement to follow 21:14, which it does not. John 20:30 would then read, "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples... Oh wait, I am going to give you an account of one more!"

John got finished presenting his 8 hand picked signs about Jesus, and immediately following its validation by all of His intimate disciples, he gives the purpose for writing:

"And truly Jesus did many other signs [other than the 8 that are given substantial and elaborate testimony to throughout the book] in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book [like the other 8, highly elaborated signs are], but these are written [the 8 signs that ARE found in this book], in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God [just like the many people did in the course of the book wheh they saw His signs], and that believing [in Him] you may have life in His name."

Purpose statements are unique, Jonathan. They take into account the context of the complete work. They do not merely speak as to what immediately precedes them and follows them. They speak for the book!

Furthermore, It is just HIGHLY UNLIKELY that John would use the term "sign" or "miracle" 15 times in his treatise, and not refer to them whatsoever when he says that "Jesus did many other signs". You would rather have us believe that Jesus' resurrection appearances are the sole signs being referred to here, when they are not even called "signs" while you would have us believe that the 15 times the word "sign" is used, referring to Jesus miracles performed in the presence of His disciples (and through which many believed in Him for eternal life), are not included in the purpose statement of his gospel.

This is very odd and incredible!

The Gospel of John is a book of signs, 8 to be exact. Hand-picked out of all the signs He did do (Jesus did many OTHER signs). But you would have us believe that when John writes:

"Jesus did many other signs"

that he made no reference whatsoever to the MAJOR construction of his book, whereby he gives abundant and elaborate testimony to 8 signs; signs which when saw, encouraged faith in Him for everlasting life, the VERY PURPOSE OF HIS LETTER, and ONLY meant 3 appearances to His disciples that take up a very few paragraphs, that are never called "signs".

This is incredible!

As pertaining your claim that the death of Christ is called a sign, language is very important.

The Jews asked Him:

"What sign DO YOU SHOW US...?"

What was His answer?

"YOU destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up"

Firstly they asked for a singular sign. Secondly they asked for one that Jesus, Himself, would do. Thirdly, Jesus states that upon the JEWS doing something He, Himself, will give the sign:

"I will raise it up"

The Jews did the destroying. This was not something that Jesus did.

Jesus merely introduced His sign by setting it up! The sign was only the resurrection. This was something He did! He "raise[d] it up!" THE JEWS were the ones who DESTROYED the temple of Jesus body. This is no sign DONE by Jesus! This was DONE by the JEWS. The sign that Jesus DID DO was RAISE IT UP on the third day.

Language means something. We must pay special attention to it. The answer to the Jews question about what sign Jesus shows is that upon the temple of Jesus' body being destroyed by the Jews

JESUS WOULD RAISE IT UP!

Antonio

December 01, 2007 3:01 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

You still have not answered a very important question in which I said:

“In reading through your post on the 'Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior' and your last comment about John 20:30-31, only once do you refer to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (and this was in a description of Old Testament believers). In John chapter 20, do you believe that the apostle John draws special attention to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? And if John does, why don't you?”

To which you responded:

“John indeed draws attention to the resurrection. Furthermore, I am convinced that it is one of the signs that John is speaking about that authenticates and substantiates Jesus' claim that all who simply believe in Him have everlasting life.”

You do not deny my thought that “In John chapter 20 . . . the apostle John draws special attention to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead”. And so I again pose this question to you: “And if John does, why don’t you?

Furthermore, let me address your following statement in which you say:

“The crescendo and climax of all signs is the resurrection in the account of John. It is after His resurrection had been validated by all of his disciples (the last being Thomas) [i.e. these are Jesus’ resurrection signs in the presence of His disciples] that the apostle John immediately gives the purpose statement for the whole book. John gave elaborate testimony to 8 signs and the word for signs was used 15 times throughout the testimony. When the last sign, which is His greatest, was believed by the last remaining of the apostles, John immediately gives the purpose for the book. If your consensus about John 20:30-31 were correct, we would expect this statement to follow 21:14, which it does not. John 20:30 would then read, 'And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples... Oh wait, I am going to give you an account of one more!' John got finished presenting his 8 hand picked signs about Jesus, and immediately following its validation by all of His intimate disciples, he gives the purpose for writing”.

Antonio, your reasoning is flawed because you admit that Jesus’ “resurrection had been validated by all of his disciples” immediately before John’s purpose statement. You cannot separate the first two appearances of Jesus in the presence of His disciples from the third appearance of Jesus in the presence of His disciples. John 21:1 sandwiches the third resurrection appearance of Jesus in the presence of His disciples to the first two resurrection appearances and onto the end of John’s purpose statement with the following words: “After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way” (Jn. 21:1). If you think that John made a mistake (i.e. "Oh wait, I am going to give you an account of one more!") then that is something to take up with the apostle John, not me! Furthermore, John 21:14 clearly ties all the resurrection signs of Jesus in the presence of His disciples together with the words: “This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.”

You go on to state:

“Purpose statements are unique, Jonathan. They take into account the context of the complete work. They do not merely speak as to what immediately precedes them and follows them. They speak for the book!”

I would respond to your statement above similar to Greg Schliesmann. Greg made the following insightful comment concerning my paper on the Pursuit of Truth blog, “losing sight of the lost man” post. He writes:

“I was only able to spend a short time reading your paper but enjoyed it. I think the thesis of the paper is very strong. Recently I’ve been thinking of a couple facts that would support your thesis of John 20:31 relating to the resurrection signs. First of all, it’s interesting the so-called “purpose statement” comes near the end of the book. It is well known that purpose statements for letters of the time came at the beginning, not the end. Secondly, John 20:31 does not claim to be the purpose statement for the book but the purpose statement for the writing of 'these signs' (whatever they are). Third, similar purpose statements, using the same near demonstrative pronoun ('these') found in his first epistle (1 John 2:1, 26; 5:13) refer to the immediate context, not the entire book. This would fit about your point of John 20:31 fitting solely within the scope of resurrection signs."

Antonio, you state: “You would rather have us believe that Jesus' resurrection appearances are the sole signs being referred to here, when they are not even called ‘signs’"

I responded to this point in my previous comments but for your convenience I will paste some of it here. I wrote: You obviously have a misunderstanding of the single sign Jesus foretold in John 2:19 – the sign of His death and resurrection on the third day. According to Jesus, this great sign does include His death. (Please see my discussion above concerning this point.) Furthermore, you said: “The word sign is used in reference solely to his resurrection . . . NOT of His resurrection appearances.” Antonio, in John 20:30, the apostle specifically mentions “signs” (Gk. semeion) Jesus performed in the presence of His disciples. If John 20:30-31 is taken out of context, you would have an argument. But context is key in understanding any passage of Scripture, and especially true in seeking to understand John 20:30-31. As I said in my article: “First, the context surrounding John 20:30-31 clearly indicates that in these two verses the apostle John speaks of Jesus’ three resurrection signs in the presence of His disciples. The skilled exegete of Scripture will recognize that John 20:30-31 is not an island of two verses by itself. Instead, these two verses are directly connected to and associated with the surrounding context of John chapters 20-21 (which describes the three resurrection appearances of Jesus to His disciples)” (p. 5). You go on to say: “Are you now illegitametly [sic] equating the fact that Jesus was resurrected on the third day (which is the sign) with Jesus appearing to the disciples?” Antonio, I am not illegitimately equating these things, but I am saying that they are related! I discuss this point on pages 6-7 of my article. The resurrection signs of Jesus in the presence of His disciples cannot be separated from the great sign of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead on the third day. I believe John 2:18-22, and 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 are important passages in understanding this truth. Again, notice John 2:18-22: “The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews therefore said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken.” Notice the Jesus says “and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn. 2:19). John then writes, “When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken” (Jn. 2:22). Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, and according to John, this is when Jesus’ disciples knew about His resurrection and were reminded of Jesus’ earlier prophecy! In his narrative, John further confirms this important truth. In John 20:1 the apostle indicates that the events of the passage occur on the “first day of the week”, which would be resurrection Sunday morning. On this day, Jesus not only appears to Mary Magdalene, but also to a group of his disciples hiding in a locked room for fear of the Jews (Jn. 20:19). Jesus’ first resurrection appearance in the presence of His disciples occurred “when . . . [Jesus] was raised from the dead” (Jn. 2:22) on the third day! In light of these Biblical truths, your premise (“Are you now illegitametly [sic] equating the fact that Jesus was resurrected on the third day (which is the sign) with Jesus appearing to the disciples?”) is what is illegitimate!

Antonio, you state: “As pertaining your claim [and John Niemela’s claim as well as the claim of many scholars that I cite on page 2 of my article 'Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior'] that the death of Christ is called a sign, language is very important. The Jews asked Him: 'What sign DO YOU SHOW US...?' What was His answer? 'YOU ['You' is not written, but simply understood] destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up' Firstly they asked for a singular sign. Secondly they asked for one that Jesus, Himself, would do. Thirdly, Jesus states that upon the JEWS doing something He, Himself, will give the sign: 'I will raise it up' The Jews did the destroying. This was not something that Jesus did. Jesus merely introduced His sign by setting it up! The sign was only the resurrection. This was something He did! He 'raise[d] it up!' THE JEWS were the ones who DESTROYED the temple of Jesus body. This is no sign DONE by Jesus! This was DONE by the JEWS. The sign that Jesus DID DO was RAISE IT UP on the third day. Language means something. We must pay special attention to it. The answer to the Jews question about what sign Jesus shows is that upon the temple of Jesus' body being destroyed by the Jews. JESUS WOULD RAISE IT UP!”

Antonio, you fail to recognize the twin truths of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, both are involved in the death of Jesus Christ. Of course the Jews crucified Christ, just as He prophecied they would. The Scriptures are clear on this. Speaking to the Jews, the apostle Peter declares: “this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Acts 2:23, cf. 2:36). Notice that although the Jews crucified Jesus, it was GOD’S predetermined plan! Jesus affirms this truth in John 10:17-18 by saying: “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.

And so once again your claims are falsified by God's Word.

December 01, 2007 7:00 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Knet knight and Jonathan. I know I still have some business in the other blog and I expect to have time to study that with in the next week or so. I am slowly getting settled in.

Just from perusing this however something jumps out at me that perhaps has been stated elsewhere. If so I apologize.

It seems that you are confusing belief in the signs, and belief in Christ for eternal life. The signs were given "so" that you could believe in Christ for eternal life. It is evidence. If you do not believe, or do not know all of the evidence, but know enough to convince you to believe in Christ, then John has accomplished his mission. If someone is convinced by John Chapter 2, Praise GOD. If by chapter 10, Awesome! And if it is at Chapter 20, God is still good! A person may need to read even more signs before believing, but John gave those 8 in his evangelistic gospel, so that you might believe in the CHRIST.

It does not say these signs are given so that you may believe in the signs. I hope this brings clarity. :)

I am glad there are believers willing to defend what they believe, and look forward to spending time reviewing the scriptures in the other post and considering them.

Grace and Truth.

Trent

By the way, please visit my blog and contribute! its still new and I am trying to get some traffic going. I would love your input on my new topic.

December 04, 2007 11:02 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Trent,

You said: “It seems that you are confusing belief in the signs, and belief in Christ for eternal life. The signs were given 'so' that you could believe in Christ for eternal life. It is evidence. If you do not believe, or do not know all of the evidence, but know enough to convince you to believe in Christ, then John has accomplished his mission. If someone is convinced by John Chapter 2, Praise GOD. If by chapter 10, Awesome! And if it is at Chapter 20, God is still good! A person may need to read even more signs before believing, but John gave those 8 in his evangelistic gospel, so that you might believe in the CHRIST.”

In my article I argue that the three resurrection signs “have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20:31).

I disagree when you say: “If you do not believe, or do not know all of the evidence, but know enough to convince you to believe in Christ, then John has accomplished his mission.”

In John 20:30-31 the apostle cites specific evidence (the three resurrection signs of Jesus in the presence of His disciples) in order “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God”. If an unbeliever doesn’t believe the proof, he won’t believe the truth! I make a point in my article to say: “The fact is, if someone disbelieves the three resurrection signs of the Savior [highlighting the death and resurrection of Jesus], they will disbelieve that He is the Christ, the Son of God! Similarly, Josh McDowell writes: John Locke, the famous British philosopher, said concerning Christ’s resurrection: “Our Saviour’s resurrection. . . is truly of great importance in Christianity; so great that His being or not being the Messiah stands or falls with it: so that these two important articles are inseparable and in effect make one. For since that time, believe one and you believe both; deny one of them, and you can believe neither” (Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict, 183). Tenney seems to convey this idea when he writes, “the signs are the basis of belief; the person of Christ is the object of faith, and eternal life is the result of belief” (“Literary Keys to the Fourth Gospel, Part 1: The Symphonic Structure of John,” Bibliotheca Sacra 120, April 1963, 125). Commenting on John 20:30-31 Tenney also states: "There is logic in this structure, too. Belief presupposes that which will produce it. The Scriptures never demand belief without furnishing adequate reason for committal to the person or proposition toward which belief should be directed. . . . Just so, the signs were intended to demonstrate the kind of person in whom the Gospel seeks to focus belief" (John: The Gospel of Belief, 33). Also see the “Conclusion” section of my article “Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior” as I expand on some of these truths there as well.

Trent, above you said: “If someone is convinced by John Chapter 2, Praise GOD. If by chapter 10, Awesome! And if it is at Chapter 20, God is still good!”

A major premise of my article is this: “Christ’s resurrection signs in the presence of His disciples will demonstrate that Jesus Himself modified the content of belief for eternal life as a natural result of His crucifixion and resurrection” so as to now include His substitutionary death and subsequent resurrection on the third day (p.10). (This relates to the doctrine of progressive revelation.) John 20:30-31 describes what the unsaved CHURCH-AGE reader must know and believe to have eternal life - and it includes the three resurrection signs of the Savior (not all the signs in John's gospel narrative). An unbelieving church-age reader of John’s gospel would not be aware of the three resurrection signs of the Savior (highlighting the substitutionary death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus) until John writes them in the final chapters of His narrative.

Trent, you go on to say: “It does not say these signs are given so that you may believe in the signs.” I will answer this statement in much the same way as I responded to Jim Johnson on the GES blog (and he never falsified my comments). I said: Furthermore, when you imply that the resurrection ‘signs’ cited in John 20:30 don’t have to be believed, let me respectfully say that you do err, not knowing the Scriptures. Do Jesus’ three resurrection signs in the presence of His disciples cited in John 20:30-31 have to be believed? What term immediately precedes John 20:30-31? “believed.” (Jn. 20:29b) What thought immediately precedes John 20:30-31? “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (Jn. 20:29b) What theme immediately precedes John 20:30-31? In Jesus’ second resurrection appearance in the presence of His disciples, the apostle John emphasizes the idea of belief five times in six verses: “believe” (v. 25), “unbelieving” (v. 27), “believing” (v. 27), “believed” (v. 28), and “believed” (v. 28). Again, there is no dichotomy between believing the resurrection signs of the risen Savior and believing the risen Savior! (These are the Savior’s signs! His risen presence is the sign! “The Lamb standing, as if slain” is the sign!) Notice that in the context of His second resurrection appearance, Jesus never says: “Believe that I am the Christ, the Son of God.” (That comes later.) Jesus specifically and literally points to His nail scarred hands and pierced side and says: “Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (Jn. 20:27). Such belief is urged not just upon Thomas and the disciples, but upon all people: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn. 20:29).

December 04, 2007 5:42 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Jonathan, so that I don't put words in your mouth, could you please list what it is you must believe to have eternal life? I think that will help clear up some of my confusion.

Then for me to review, one verse or passage that you think refers to this.

December 05, 2007 3:10 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Trent,

I'll answer your question the same way I responded to George Karl on the GES blog when he asked me a similar question. I said:

"Believe in the Jesus described in John chapters 20-21 / 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures thus proving that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you have life in His name (Jn. 2:18-22, 20:19-21:14)."

December 06, 2007 11:20 AM  
Blogger Trent said...

I would ask why stop at vs 5 since it continues? Do you believe you must continue believing this or you lose your eternal life? (I am assuming you believe saved means eternal life here?)

December 06, 2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Trent,

You asked: "I would ask why stop at vs 5 since it continues?"

Trent, I would stop at verse 5 of 1 Corinthians 15 because Paul's sentence stops at verse 5. Concerning this, Norman Hillyer writes: "This is a very early summary of the preaching and shows a tendency to set it forth in brief credal form (note the fourfold that in vv. 3-5; also the vocabulary is not Paul's usual style). Far from being ideas of human origin, they are objective facts concerning God's Christ which were long ago divinely anticipated and have recently been historically fulfilled." (The New Bible Commentary:Revised, 1 Corinthians) Similarly, David Lowery comments on 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 by saying: "These verses, the heart of the gospel, were an early Christian confession which Paul described as of first importance. It was really a twofold confession: Christ died for our sins and He was raised. The reality of this was verified by the Scriptures (e.g., Ps. 16:10; Isa. 53:6-10) and by historical evidence verified by time in the grave and out of it, in the presence of the living. The fact that He was buried verified His death, and the fact that He appeared to others verified His resurrection. Peter, the first male witness, was soon joined by the remaining disciples who composed the Lord's immediate circle." (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, 1 Corinthians) Furthermore, the apostle John also refers to other resurrection signs of Jesus in the presence of His disciples (Jn. 20:30), but particularly emphasizes three resurrection appearances of Jesus to "the twelve" (Jn. 20:19-21:14).

You also asked: "Do you believe you must continue believing this or you lose your eternal life? (I am assuming you believe saved means eternal life here?)"

Trent, in short, I would answer "no" to your first question and "yes" to your second question above. In my previous comment to you I was simply quoting John 20:31b almost verbatim: "and that believing you may have life in His name." I understand this "believing" to be a reference to "saving faith". I would agree with Charlie Bing when he says concerning John 20:31b: "Furthering the argument for evangelistic intent is the third emphasis that presents eternal life as the result of belief: 'that believing you may have life in His name.'" ("The Condition for Salvation in John's Gospel", JOTGES 9:27)

December 06, 2007 11:41 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Hello Jonathan. :)

I said "Do you believe you must continue believing this or you lose your eternal life? (I am assuming you believe saved means eternal life here?)"

Jon said "in short, I would answer "no" to your first question and "yes" to your second question above"

While I agree with you in your answer to the first, I would ask for clarification on your second.

1 cor 15:2 By which also you are saved, IF you hold fast that word which I preached to you...

If this is eternal life, and not a temporal issue, how do you explain this? In my opinion, much of your argument requires this to be eternal life, yet if it is, then there is more to faith in Christ.. you must remain faithful.

Peace and Truth

Trent

PS thank you for being willing to clearly answer about what you believe. I hope you feel I do the same. I am dealing with Lou for the first time in another post, and it can be frustrating.

December 07, 2007 10:36 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Trent,

My apologies . . . my previous response was written at about 1:30am this morning. I misunderstood your question.

When you asked: “(I am assuming you believe saved means eternal life here?)”, I thought you were referring to John 20:31, not 1 Corinthians 15:2.

To clarify, I do understand John 20:31 to be referring to eternal life. However, I understand the term “saved” in 1 Corinthians 15:2 to be referring to the sanctification of believers, not the justification of unbelievers. The verb “saved” in 1 Corinthians 15:2 is present tense (literally “being saved”), and speaks of the Corinthian Christians’ ongoing sanctification.

This does not mean that “the gospel” (1 Cor. 15:1) is only Christian life truth. Regarding this, it is important to understand that “the gospel” (1 Cor. 15:1) not only sanctifies believers (1 Cor. 15:2; cf. Rom. 16:25), but also justifies unbelievers (1 Cor. 1:17-24, 4:15; 2 Cor. 4:3-4).

The Corinthian Christians had previously “received” (1 Cor. 15:1) Paul’s gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:3-5) and thus were spiritually "begotten . . . through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15, NKJV). However, these Corinthian Christians were not “holding fast” to what they had initially received and believed (1 Cor. 15:2, 11-12). Though the Corinthians’ justification was never in doubt (1 Cor. 6:11, 15:1, 50-52, 58, etc.), their ongoing sanctification (1 Cor. 15:2a, literally “being saved”) was jeopardized due to their denial of the resurrection - and by extension the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:13, 16), which is a key tenet of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:4-5; cf. Rom. 4:25, 10:9-10, 15-16). Thus, in 1 Corinthians 15:2, Paul is not referring to the Corinthians justification/eternal salvation (as in 1 Cor. 6:11, etc.), but is instead referring to a vain life of unfruitfulness (cf. 1 Cor. 15:10, 14, 17, “vain”, “worthless”; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Pt. 3:17).

Concerning these truths, I agree with Harold Barker when he says: “Nowhere in the Bible is anyone said to be saved from the penalty of sin by ‘holding fast’ or keeping anything in ‘memory’ (King James Version), but by believing. Salvation from the penalty of sin is spoken of as an already accomplished fact for the believer, not as a process now going on. However, the believer is being saved from the power of sin as a continuing process in his life. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 presents salvation in the past and present tenses. In 1 Corinthians 15:1, Paul says that he is making known to them the gospel which he preached, which they also received (past tense, Greek – aorist, active, indicative), and in which they stood. This shows that they were already saved from the penalty of sin. In 1 Corinthians 15:2, he goes on to the present tense of salvation, ‘By which also you are saved’ (literally ‘are being saved’ – Greek – present, passive, indicative – indicating action now going on). They are ‘being saved’ from the power of sin, that is, they are growing in grace, maturing as Christians, if they were holding fast (keeping in memory) what Paul preached to them.” (Secure Forever, 218)

December 07, 2007 3:23 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

I think I agree with you Jon. :)

The Gospel they had recieved and by which they would be saved if they persevere in it.

So are you agreeing that "this" passage does not teach what you must believe to have eternal life, and in fact leaves out Belief in Christ for eternal life. ( I understand that you are not stating you believe my conclusion, just this passage under discussion)

December 07, 2007 4:44 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Trent,

You asked: "So are you agreeing that 'this' passage does not teach what you must believe to have eternal life, and in fact leaves out Belief in Christ for eternal life. ( I understand that you are not stating you believe my conclusion, just this passage under discussion)".

I want to emphasize a key point from my last comment. I said: "This does not mean that 'the gospel' (1 Cor. 15:1) is only Christian life truth. Regarding this, it is important to understand that 'the gospel' (1 Cor. 15:1) not only sanctifies believers (1 Cor. 15:2; cf. Rom. 16:25), but also justifies unbelievers (1 Cor. 1:17-24, 4:15; 2 Cor. 4:3-4)."

I cannot agree with your statements above because as I said, it is inaccurate to view "the gospel" as merely Christian life truth. The gospel is Christian life truth, but it is more than that - it is also "the message preached to save [Greek aorist tense] those [perishing] who believe" (1 Cor. 1:21b, cf. 1 Cor. 1:18).

December 07, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Jonathan, are you saying then that all Gospel truth is nessecary to be believed for eternal life? My assumption was that originally you believed because of that passage that the top things were needed. Yet if you understand that the salvation under discussion is not possession of eternal life, then why would you assume it is a belief needed, and is that the only belief needed?

I know you attempted to cover some of this in your paper, but I still do not follow your argument. It seems you must have the premise that there is more, before approaching scripture, or it does not seem to reason.

Thanks for your patience with me.

Trent

December 07, 2007 8:20 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Trent,

No problem on the interaction!

You asked: “Jonathan, are you saying then that all Gospel truth is nessecary [sic] to be believed for eternal life? My assumption was that originally you believed because of that passage that the top things were needed. Yet if you understand that the salvation under discussion is not possession of eternal life, then why would you assume it is a belief needed, and is that the only belief needed?

I know you attempted to cover some of this in your paper, but I still do not follow your argument. It seems you must have the premise that there is more, before approaching scripture, or it does not seem to reason.”

Trent, I’m not sure what you mean by “all Gospel truth”. In answer to this question though, I believe the content of “the gospel” (1 Cor. 15:1) is specifically declared in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (I went into some detail concerning this in a previous comment). The apostle Paul only preached one gospel (Acts 20:24; Rom. 2:16; 1 Cor. 15:1; 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6-9, 2:2, 2:7), and as I stated in my previous comments, this Gospel truth (i.e. 1 Cor. 15:3-5) justifies unbelievers (Acts 20:24, 26:18; Rom. 15:20; 1 Cor. 1:17-24, 4:15; 2 Cor. 4:3-4) and sanctifies believers (Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 15:2). The context of 1 Corinthians 15 has to do with the sanctification of believers - although I understand 1 Corinthians 15:1 to be referring to the Corinthians initial acceptance of Paul’s gospel message and hence is a reference to their previous justification (cf. 1 Cor. 4:15).

In the final chapters of John’s Gospel, the apostle John narrates the same truths declared 35 years earlier by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, namely Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death, burial, resurrection, and resurrection appearances. Thus, there is no dichotomy or contradiction between the teachings of these two apostles concerning the gospel. As I documented in my article, the three resurrection signs of the Savior recorded in John 20:19-21:14 narrate and highlight the saving gospel message of Jesus’ substitutionary blood death for the forgiveness of anyone’s sins and subsequent bodily resurrection on the third day - thus proving that He is the Christ, the Son of God (Jn. 20:30-31; cf. Rom. 1:4)!

This is why I answered your previous question “could you please list what it is you must believe to have eternal life?” by saying: "Believe in the Jesus described in John chapters 20-21 / 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures thus proving that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you have life in His name (Jn. 2:18-22, 20:19-21:14)."

December 08, 2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

I believe Paul taught a lot more then one gospel. There is a link somewhere to a chart on the faithalone.org site of all of the different Gospels taught in the NT. He is specificaly referencing specific good news there in 1 Cor, but my challenge to you now, is where does it say you must believe a specific gospel content to have eternal life other then Christ? (and I am not arguing that evangelizing is not good news) Remember, in 1 Corinthians, it does not reference Belief in Christ for eternal life. I think you would add that requirement too, right?

To your list of beliefs, do I have to believe that he physically rose or can I believe He had a spiritual body? Do I have to believe he lived a life with out Sin? Do I have to believe in his Deity? Do I have to believe there is only one God? I could add more, but there is so much theological truth involved with what you are saying that how do you know you believe everything needed for eternal life? Because it does not seem to be simple.

Romans 1:1-2 Paul includes in his gospel the promise, the good news the Messiah would come. Is this also nessecary to believe that Christ was prophesied? He mentions that in 1 Cor but it is not considered part of the list.

Ok I am going to try and address some of the scriptures you fired off.

You said "The apostle Paul only preached one gospel

Acts 20:24; In context he is discussing rewards and sanctification, however like other things, it could include belief in Christ but does not reference it.

Rom. 2:16; I believe Sanctification again under discussion.

1 Cor. 15:1; Temporal salvation again and sanctification.

2 Cor. 11:4; He is speaking of Bible truths, more then the specific one of 1 Cor 15 IMO and includes other teachers. Again speaking to those who are already saved. Start in Vs 1 at least. Defined in verse 7 as the gospel of God not just Grace.

Gal. 1:6-9;2:2,2:7 Contextually, he has to be including more then just your definition of the gospel, or else much of the New Testament is false. Note that he had a different gospel then Peter. Was it a different way for Eternal life? Or different teaching for Christians to be sanctified based on whetehr they were his chosen people or not.

I can see your fervor for Gods Word, and think that in most things we agree! The only think I think is that you are adding "IMPORTANT" biblical truths that are nessecary for growth and Sactification (as you recognize) but requiring them to be known for eternal life. Please consider these things. Consider how many truths are bound up even in the death and ressurection and Christ's deity. ( I add that assuming thats a requirement of yours as well)

Contrast that with the message of Jesus the Son of God who said "anyone who believes in ME has eternal life"

I would say not say Paul only taught one Gospel, but he did teach a lot of Gospel. :) And all of it Gospel to those who Love God.

December 09, 2007 10:22 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Trent,

You said: “I believe Paul taught a lot more then [sic] one gospel. There is a link somewhere to a chart on the faithalone.org site of all of the different Gospels taught in the NT. He is specificaly [sic] referencing specific good news there in 1 Cor, but my challenge to you now, is where does it say you must believe a specific gospel content to have eternal life other then [sic] Christ? (and I am not arguing that evangelizing is not good news) Remember, in 1 Corinthians, it does not reference Belief in Christ for eternal life. I think you would add that requirement too, right?”

Trent, if you will reference my last comment previous to this you will have the answers ex abundant – in abundance - to your first question above. I noticed that in your last reply to me you never interacted with most of the arguments I set forth in my previous comment(s)! In answer to your second question above, 1 Corinthians (and the rest of the N.T.) does reference belief in Christ for eternal life (cf. 1 Cor. 1:17, 21, 23-24, 1 Cor. 4:15, 1 Cor. 15:1, 3; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; 2 Thess. 1:8-10, etc.) and so this is obviously a requirement for eternal life. As I said on the GES blog: “the Scriptures demonstrate that there is no dichotomy or bifurcation between Christ’s name and Christ’s work. Allow me to share two Scriptures quickly: In Acts 8:35 Phillip preached ‘Jesus’ to the Ethiopian eunich. But by this is meant that Phillip began to share about the death of Jesus from Isaiah (Acts 8:28-35). In Acts 9:15 ‘Jesus’ (see Acts 9:5) told Ananias to inquire about Saul/Paul. The Lord told Ananias, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, Kings, and the children of Israel.’ Paul himself explains what it means to ‘bear [Jesus’] name’ and it involves the gospel. Paul says, ‘But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of the grace of God’ (Acts 20:24). And so there is no dichotomy or bifurcation between Christ’s name and His gospel message. In this regard JOTGES has something to say. Gregory Sapaugh has written in your journal: ‘[Hodges] has artificially bifurcated the person and work of Christ. For sure, I believe that salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone. But my faith is in the Christ who died in my place, paying the penalty for my sin.’ (Gregory P. Sapaugh, JOTGES 14 (August 2001): 29” (also cf. 2 Cor. 4:3-5; Gal. 1:7).

You said: “To your list of beliefs, do I have to believe that he physically rose or can I believe He had a spiritual body? Do I have to believe he lived a life with out Sin? Do I have to believe in his Deity? Do I have to believe there is only one God? I could add more, but there is so much theological truth involved with what you are saying that how do you know you believe everything needed for eternal life? Because it does not seem to be simple.”

Trent, I answered these questions in my previous comments by saying (among other things): “In the final chapters of John’s Gospel, the apostle John narrates the same truths declared 35 years earlier by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, namely Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death, burial, resurrection, and resurrection appearances. Thus, there is no dichotomy or contradiction between the teachings of these two apostles concerning the gospel. As I documented in my article, the three resurrection signs of the Savior recorded in John 20:19-21:14 narrate and highlight the saving gospel message of Jesus’ substitutionary blood death for the forgiveness of anyone’s sins and subsequent bodily resurrection on the third day - thus proving that He is the Christ, the Son of God (Jn. 20:30-31; cf. Rom. 1:4)! This is why I answered your previous question ‘could you please list what it is you must believe to have eternal life?” by saying: "Believe in the Jesus described in John chapters 20-21 / 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures thus proving that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you have life in His name (Jn. 2:18-22, 20:19-21:14).’" Furthermore, you said, “it does not seem to be simple.” This is the wrong question to be asking! The question should not be: “Is it simple?” but instead: “Is it Scriptural?” The first question is subjective; the second question is based on the objective reality and truth of God’s Word!

You said: “Romans 1:1-2 Paul includes in his gospel the promise, the good news the Messiah would come. Is this also nessecary [sic] to believe that Christ was prophesied? He mentions that in 1 Cor but it is not considered part of the list.”

Trent, in both 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 and the gospel of John, fulfilled prophecy is specifically mentioned in relation to the great sign of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3b, 4b; Jn. 19:34-37). Romans 1:1-2 declares that “the gospel of God” was promised beforehand through God’s prophets in the holy Scriptures. In these verses Paul does not cite any particular Old Testament Scripture passages, but Isaiah 53 would be a good example (cf. Acts 8:30-35).

Trent, you said: “Ok I am going to try and address some of the scriptures you fired off. You said ‘The apostle Paul only preached one gospel’ . . . . I would . . . not say Paul only taught one Gospel, but he did teach a lot of Gospel.”

Trent, your explanations “of the scriptures [I] fired off” failed to falsify my premise that Paul only preached one gospel! Arguing for a sanctification context for the verses in question really proves nothing (because it misses the point). Even if your arguments for a sanctification context of the verses in question were true, I have already affirmed that Paul’s gospel justifies the unsaved and sanctifies the saved. This is the premise that you need to address but so far have not! It is interesting to note that Paul never speaks of his “gospels” (plural). Instead he uses terms like “the gospel” (Acts 20:24; Rom. 1:1, 9, 16, 10:15-16; 1 Cor. 1:17, 4:15, 15:1; Gal. 1:7, 11, etc.), “my gospel” (Rom. 2:16, 16:25; 2 Tim. 2:8), “another gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6), and “any other gospel let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9)! Even in 1 Corinthians 9:23 the term “gospel’s” is simply the possessive form of the singular.

December 10, 2007 3:37 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

All of the passages you bring up, still work if you believe the Gospel was given so that you may believe in Christ for eternal life. Yes belief in Christ is in other parts of the Bible, but not in the Gospel as definined in the few verses at the gospel by Paul under discussion. So you are adding things outside of that. Oh, and I agree with you. “Is it Scriptural?” is the important question. :) But remember, it must be simple enough for child like faith as well.

Do you believe the Disciples had Eternal life the same way as we have it now, or do we have to believe differently? Can someone be saved as John claims just by using the gospel of John written in the last part of the first century?

I believe the crux of our discussion, is what must be believed for eternal life. You said "belief in Christ is mentioned else where in 1 Cor. and other places in the New Testament." But the passages you quote do not back that up.

Where is the term Belief in Christ and Eternal life in any of those verses in 1 Corinthians? Your assumption based on your theology is since belief (or recieved the) in Gospel is there thats what it means. Where does it say belief in Gospel = eternal life? (yes its specific, but Christ was specific when he said "whoever believes in me has eternal life" so I want specific to override that"

Since belief in Christ is nessecary, (and I agree) but its not defined in the Gospel there, you have more then is there nessecary for eternal life.

You answered my list of what must be believed to be saved by saying "Believe in the Jesus described in John chapters 20-21 / 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. "

Ok.. not the one mentioned in the rest of the NT? Especially the earlier chapters of John where so many believed for eternal life? Its the Same Jesus.

"Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures thus proving that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you have life in His name (Jn. 2:18-22, 20:19-21:14).’

Ok, thats not bad. So what if someone believes in the 3 partial day, 2 nights death and ressurection but in their mind its 3 days? You are not requiring beleving in his Deity? Thats good. But up above, you did add substitutionary death, bodily ressurection, and that he was seen by witness's. Do we have to believe he died for all of our sins or can we misunderstand? Or can we be Catholic, because Catholics believe 1 Cor 15:1-5. If they do, do they have eternal life? What about his voluntary sacrifice? Could you believe he had no choice and did not voluntarily give his life up? Do you have to believe he loves us?

To show that you must believe in Christ, you went back to the book of John. John is either incredibly decietful or its true. If its true, then why can't you make the arguement of the content of faith from it alone?

What I believe is convincing you to believe in Christ for eternal life, you believe is nessecary to believe to have eternal life. If it saves you with out trusting in Christ alone for your salvation, then the reformation was not nesscary. (I know you do not agree and I know you believe faith in Christ is also needed, I am trying to make the point that 1 Cor 15 does not cover the content of Faith for Salvation. Its missing the one thing Christ said you must do)

Jon said "Trent, your explanations “of the scriptures [I] fired off” failed to falsify my premise that Paul only preached one gospel! "

If the gospel is as you define it, what you must believe to have eternal life, he must have, because belief in Christ is not mentioned in 1 Cor 15:1-5."

If the Gospel includes more truths or you want to include all truth, thats fine.

Jon said " Arguing for a sanctification context for the verses in question really proves nothing (because it misses the point). Even if your arguments for a sanctification context of the verses in question were true, I have already affirmed that Paul’s gospel justifies the unsaved and sanctifies the saved. This is the premise that you need to address but so far have not!"

I agree with you. If I hear the Gospel, and I believe in Christ for eternal life, Christ saves me though, not the gospel.(I think you agree that it is not saying the gospel gives you eternl life) The gospel is what brought me to faith or convinced me to believe. I disagree that believing facts about Christ give eternal life. Believing in him gives eternal life.

Jon says "It is interesting to note that Paul never speaks of his “gospels” (plural). Instead he uses terms like “the gospel” (Acts 20:24; Rom. 1:1, 9, 16, 10:15-16; 1 Cor. 1:17, 4:15, 15:1; Gal. 1:7, 11, etc.), “my gospel” (Rom. 2:16, 16:25; 2 Tim. 2:8), “another gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6), and “any other gospel let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9)! Even in 1 Corinthians 9:23 the term “gospel’s” is simply the possessive form of the singular.

Ok, so are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John Accursed? Or is it gospel? What about other things defined as gospel with in the NT? Could not 1Cor 15 be part of the Gospel he shared? I think it makes sense. He does not say "THis is all of it"

Where did the theory come from, that there is more to do then believe in Christ for eternal life? Can you get that from simply reading John, or do you have to have the idea before? I just don't see why you would not believe the Gospel is what is used to give people eternal life.. to convince them of the truth.. why make it an additonal thing to be believed and cause tension with John. Where in John does it say to believe that Christ was seen by witness's? Were the Disciples saved when they believed Christ was dead and was not coming back?

Long post I know. :) we keep trying to reword things to try and communicate things better to each other. The fact that you said "I have already affirmed that Paul’s gospel justifies the unsaved and sanctifies the saved" shows me that you are a Bible Scholar. I just think you are over complicating things. But I know you believe that Christ saves you through no action of your own.

I am curious how you confirm that someone believes all of those things when you evangelize? I can just finish with John 3:16 and ask them if they believe that..

Grace and Truth

Trent.

December 11, 2007 4:07 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Trent,

You said, “All of the passages you bring up, still work if you believe the Gospel was given so that you may believe in Christ for eternal life. Yes belief in Christ is in other parts of the Bible, but not in the Gospel as defined in the few verses at the gospel by Paul under discussion. So you are adding things outside of that.”

I believe you have a misunderstanding of “the gospel”. Please read Greg Schliesmann’s comments on the subject on Jeremy Myer’s “Till He Comes” blog under the post “How I Evangelize”, from July 13, 2007. Here’s the link for you to copy and paste:

http://www.tillhecomes.org/blog/2007/07/13/how-i-evangelize/#comments

You may want to consider that Paul’s gospel centered on Christ:

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach THE GOSPEL, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of CHRIST should not be made void.” (1 Cor. 1:17, 21)

“we preach CHRIST crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23)

“CHRIST the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:24)

“in CHRIST JESUS I have begotten you through THE GOSPEL” (1 Cor. 4:15, NKJV)

“THE GOSPEL which I preached to you, which also you received . . . . For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that CHRIST died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” (1 Cor. 15:1, 3-5, NKJV)

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of THE GOSPEL of the glory of CHRIST, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4)

“in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey THE GOSPEL of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” (2 Thess. 1:8-10, NKJV)

Trent, you asked: “Do you believe the Disciples had Eternal life the same way as we have it now, or do we have to believe differently? Can someone be saved as John claims just by using the gospel of John written in the last part of the first century?”

In answer to this, please read (or reread) my article “Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior” available on my blog (www.freegracefreespeech.blogspot.com).

Trent, you state: “I believe the crux of our discussion, is what must be believed for eternal life. You said "belief in Christ is mentioned else where in 1 Cor. and other places in the New Testament." But the passages you quote do not back that up.”

In his article that I linked to above, Greg Schliesmann exposits in context all of the Scripture passages I have cited. In my brief comments to you I may not have explained these passages to your understanding, but again I would refer you to Greg’s article.

Trent, you asked: “Where is the term Belief in Christ and Eternal life in any of those verses in 1 Corinthians? Your assumption based on your theology is since belief (or recieved the) in Gospel is there thats what it means. Where does it say belief in Gospel = eternal life? (yes its specific, but Christ was specific when he said "whoever believes in me has eternal life" so I want specific to override that."

As I have already stated in my previous comments to you, John 20:30-31 is consistent with 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. Both passages teach the same truths. The Scriptures are clear that these truths form “the gospel” (1 Cor. 15:1), and that this gospel, this message, must be believed for eternal salvation, eternal life, justification, redemption, forgiveness of sins, etc. My comments and verses above speak of this, my article “Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior” speaks of this, Tom Stegall’s many articles on the “crossless gospel” speak of this, and Greg Schliesmann’s comments on “the gospel” (see link) speak of this as well! I implore you to consider what we say and may the Lord give you discernment in all things. Also, I understand 2 Timothy 1:8-10 to be a close parallel of 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

Trent, you said: “Since belief in Christ is nessecary [sic], (and I agree) but its not defined in the Gospel there, you have more then is there nessecary [sic] for eternal life.”

If you are referring to 1 Corinthians 15 this issue has been address numerous times already. Paul “first of all” (1 Cor. 15:3) evangelized the Corinthians who in turn “received” “the gospel” he proclaimed (1 Cor. 15:1). “The Gospel” Paul preached includes belief in Christ: “that CHRIST died for our sins . . . .” (1 Cor. 15:3). This is the testimony of the New Testament Scriptures concerning Paul’s gospel, the gospel he preached, some of these Scriptures I have included above for your convenience.

Trent, you said: “You answered my list of what must be believed to be saved by saying ‘Believe in the Jesus described in John chapters 20-21 / 1 Corinthians 15:3-5.’ Ok.. not the one mentioned in the rest of the NT? Especially the earlier chapters of John where so many believed for eternal life? Its the Same Jesus.”

Obviously, after His crucifixion and resurrection Christ had taken on certain defining characteristics that he now commands the lost to believe (Jn. 19:32-35, 20:19-21:14; 1 Cor. 1:17-24, 15:3-5, etc.). I cited the two passages above simply because they highlight the content of the gospel more clearly than other passages in the New Testament.

Trent, you said (initially quoting me): "‘Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures thus proving that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you have life in His name (Jn. 2:18-22, 20:19-21:14).’ Ok, thats not bad. So what if someone believes in the 3 partial day, 2 nights death and ressurection [sic] but in their mind its 3 days? You are not requiring beleving [sic] in his Deity? Thats good. But up above, you did add substitutionary death, bodily resurrection [sic], and that he was seen by witness's. Do we have to believe he died for all of our sins or can we misunderstand? Or can we be Catholic, because Catholics believe 1 Cor 15:1-5. If they do, do they have eternal life? What about his voluntary sacrifice? Could you believe he had no choice and did not voluntarily give his life up? Do you have to believe he loves us?”

Trent, Christ was raised “on” the third day (Lk. 9:22, 24:7, 21; Jn. 2:19; Acts 10:40; 1 Cor. 15:4), not “after” three days. The Jew reckoned any part of a day as a full day and so there is no contradiction when Jesus declares: “for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Mt. 12:40; cf. Lk. 16:22 “Abraham’s bosom”, Lk. 23:43 “paradise”). Moving on, I am requiring belief in Jesus’ deity as I understand the phrase “Son of God” to signify deity. This is another discussion that has been addressed my men other than myself. Let me simply say I reject Hodges understanding of “the Christ” and would point to you passages such as John 5:18 and Romans 1:4. As far as Jesus being seen by witnessing, I have always said that this fact cannot be overlooked in John 20-21 and even the apostle Paul mentions Christ’s resurrection appearances to the twelve disciples in 1 Corinthians 15:5. However, in both passages they are proofs of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, which is where the emphasis belongs. You asked if the lost have to believe that Christ died for all their sins. This forgiveness of sins (Jn. 20:23) / Christ’s death for sins (1 Cor. 15:3) is unqualified in both instances, and so to restrict the efficacy of Christ’s death is unwarranted and unbiblical. Sure, Catholics believe 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, but they also believe John 6:47 and even Ephesians 2:8-9. I know because I’ve heard them say this! Most often, however, I do not think they truly understand the passage as they continue to trust to some degree in their good deeds to merit eternal life/eternal salvation/justification/forgiveness of sins, etc. The truth of Romans 10:1-17 would apply here (and notice it involves “the gospel” in verses 15-16). You asked about believing in a voluntary sacrifice of Christ for eternal life. A friend of mine believes that Christ suffered in hell after He suffered on the cross. Now, I think that is a false teaching, but not so much a false gospel because it is still CHRIST that is suffering. He is still paying the full penalty for our sin. He is still dying in our place. This truth is part of the gospel and hence that is what needs to be understood and believed. Finally, you asked if the lost has to believe Christ loves them. I don’t think so, although that is certainly implied and even evidenced in Christ’s death for our sins (Jn. 15:13; Rom. 5:6-8). Many gospel passages and even John 20:30-31 do not explicitly mention Christ’s love. Here’s what I do think, if someone doesn’t understand that Christ’s finished work on the cross in some way demonstrates His love for us, then I don’t think that person will understand the gospel. Christ’s work is the most substitutionary, self-sacrificing work that anyone could ever do for another, and if someone can’t see the love in that then I think they may be either too young or too retarded (no offense) to understand the gospel. That is just my personal feelings on it, and I understand displays of love are interpreted differently based on culture, personality, etc.

Trent, you said: “To show that you must believe in Christ, you went back to the book of John. John is either incredibly decietful [sic] or its true. If its true, then why can't you make the arguement [sic] of the content of faith from it alone?”

Trent, sometimes I wonder if you have even read let alone referenced any of the articles that I have been citing? My article “Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior” was written to answer your question. Please (re)read it.

Trent, you said: “What I believe is convincing you to believe in Christ for eternal life, you believe is nessecary to believe to have eternal life. If it saves you with out trusting in Christ alone for your salvation, then the reformation was not nesscary. [sic] (I know you do not agree and I know you believe faith in Christ is also needed, I am trying to make the point that 1 Cor 15 does not cover the content of Faith for Salvation. Its missing the one thing Christ said you must do)”.

Trent, “the gospel” is the saving message. It is this message that must be believed (Rom. 10:16-17; 1 Cor. 1:17, 21, 15:1; 2 Thess. 1:8-10, etc.). The Scriptures are very clear on this. It would be a tautology, needlessly repetitious, and in fact absurd to tell the lost to believe they must believe that Christ died for their sins and rose again. The gospel is good news because it is all about what great work Christ has done for helpless sinners. The gospel is all about what Christ has done. The gospel is about Christ’s work. The lost must RESOND to this saving message of “the gospel” by “not work[ing], but believ[ing]” (Rom. 4:5). Over and over again in the Scriptures, belief is the only proper RESPONSE to the gospel of Christ.

Trent, you said: “If the gospel is as you define it, what you must believe to have eternal life, he must have, because belief in Christ is not mentioned in 1 Cor 15:1-5."

I understand belief in Christ/“the gospel” to be referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:1: “the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received”. Notice, that here too, believe/receive is the proper RESPONSE to “the gospel”.

Trent, you said: “I agree with you. If I hear the Gospel, and I believe in Christ for eternal life, Christ saves me though, not the gospel. (I think you agree that it is not saying the gospel gives you eternl [sic] life) The gospel is what brought me to faith or convinced me to believe. I disagree that believing facts about Christ give eternal life. Believing in him gives eternal life.”

Trent, when you believe in Christ, as you say, you are believing in the fact of His existence. When you believe in Christ for eternal life, you are believing in the fact of His existence, the fact of eternal life, the fact of Christ’s possession of eternal life, and His promise to give it to you if you believe in Him. So even you would have to admit that the lost need to believe in facts, in certain facts about Christ, in certain facts in general - this is self evident. The real question is: Concerning the saving message/“the gospel” - which set of facts are Biblical? Is your set of facts Biblical, or is my set of facts Biblical? Of course you have to believe in Christ for eternal life/eternal salvation/justification/forgiveness of sins, etc. I have repeatedly affirmed this and even highlighted this fact earlier in this comment using key Scripture passages. But “CHRIST” is only part of “the gospel”. (Even you admit this. You admit that the lost have to believe certain facts about Christ, i.e. that Christ will give them eternal life, etc.) “The gospel” is the good news of what CHRIST has done! Of course, the truths/facts of “the gospel” must be personally believed. Notice in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul doesn’t say: “Christ died for sins” (nor even “Christ died for His sins”), but instead: “Christ died for our/my sins”! You need to consider these things and again, please (re)read Greg Schliesmann’s article on the technical use of the term “the gospel” as this will help clarify some things.

Trent, you said: “Ok, so are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John Accursed? Or is it gospel? What about other things defined as gospel with in the NT? Could not 1Cor 15 be part of the Gospel he shared? I think it makes sense. He does not say "THis is all of it"

Trent, again, Greg Schliesmann’s article explains that there is a general, non specific usage of the word “gospel” in the New Testament, but there is also a technical, specific, well defined, usage of the term “the gospel” in the New Testament. In his article, he deals with the latter (but I think also may give an example or two or the former. And so in the New Testament “gospel” is not necessarily the same as “the gospel”. Context is key as is the definitive article (i.e. “THE gospel”). Paul may not say “This is all of it”, but as I said in my previous comments: It is interesting to note that Paul never speaks of his “gospels” (plural). Instead he uses specific terms like “the gospel” (Acts 20:24; Rom. 1:1, 9, 16, 10:15-16; 1 Cor. 1:17, 4:15, 15:1; Gal. 1:7, 11, etc.), “my gospel” (Rom. 2:16, 16:25; 2 Tim. 2:8), “another gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6), and “any other gospel let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9)!

Trent, you said: “Where did the theory come from, that there is more to do then believe in Christ for eternal life? Can you get that from simply reading John, or do you have to have the idea before? I just don't see why you would not believe the Gospel is what is used to give people eternal life.. to convince them of the truth.. why make it an additonal thing to be believed and cause tension with John. Where in John does it say to believe that Christ was seen by witness's? Were the Disciples saved when they believed Christ was dead and was not coming back?”

Trent, first of all, when someone asked the apostle Paul: “What must I do to be saved?” He replied: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). But even Paul went on to fill in the details (Acts 16:32). The gospel is the gospel of Christ. It concerns Him, and certain facts about Him - what He did. Paul said he preached Christ crucified. There is no dichotomy, bifurcation, or contradiction between Christ’s person and Christ’s finished work. They are as closely connected as the nail prints in our Savior’s hands! Jesus Himself emphasizes this truth in His second resurrection appearance to Thomas in John 20:26-29. I wrote about this in my article. Again, please read Greg’s articles and in fact all the articles now on my blog under “documents”.

You asked: “Where in John does it say to believe that Christ was seen by witness’s?”

Again, my article answered this question. Notice the three resurrection signs of the Savior in John 20-21. I said in my article: “Toward the close of his Gospel narrative, the apostle John specifically describes three resurrection appearances of Jesus to various groups of His disciples. These three unique sign appearances furnish the final and compelling proof and presentation of Jesus’ greatest sign, His death and resurrection. The three resurrection signs of the Savior highlight not only Jesus’ substitutionary blood death for the sins of the world, but also His subsequent bodily resurrection on the third day. These key facts are inherent in the three resurrection signs of the Savior! In John 20:30-31 the beloved disciple describes the two purposes of the three resurrection signs of the Savior by saying: ‘Many other [resurrection] signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these [three resurrection signs] are written that [1] you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that [2] believing you may have life in His name.’”

Moving on, you asked, “Were the Disciples saved when they believed Christ was dead and was not coming back?”

The disciples (except for Judas Iscariot) were already saved in John 13 when Jesus says: “He who has bathed [Gr. leutroo – whole cleansing, a complete bath, i.e. regeneration] needs only to wash [Gr. nipto – partial washing, spot washing, i.e. fellowship] his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” Concerning these things, let me again quote from my article: “The doubting disciples’ [i.e. Thomas’] encounter with Jesus in John 20:26-29 conveys an elementary yet essential truth: As a result of Jesus’ resurrection, believing in Him now involves believing that He did, in fact, rise from the dead! According to Jesus, one must believe in the Man described in John 20:26-29! For those already possessing eternal life prior to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, such belief was an essential part of sanctification, as in the case of Thomas (cf. Jn. 13:10-11, 20:24-28). For those coming to eternal life after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, such belief is an essential part of justification (cf. Jn. 20:23, 30-31).”

Trent, you asked: “I am curious how you confirm that someone believes all of those things when you evangelize? I can just finish with John 3:16 and ask them if they believe that..”

Trent, at the 2007 Grace Conference outside Chicago, IL, Larry Moyer said something like: “We are not called to bring the lost to Christ, we are called to bring Christ to the lost.” What he was getting at is that we are called to proclaim the gospel of Christ and ultimately leave the results with God (cf. 1 Cor. 1:17-24; 2 Cor. 4:3-4, 2 Tim. 1:8-10, etc.). However, this is no excuse to preach the wrong message. This is no excuse to preach something other than “the gospel . . . the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:17, 21). Also it is no excuse to give the lost a false assurance and hope of heaven and eternal life when in fact they haven’t believed “the gospel . . . the message preached to save those who believe” and thus are still on their way to Hell!

Lastly, about your question on John 3:16, I addressed it generally in my article and specifically on Antonio da Rosa’s blog in the comments under the post: “Are We Robbed of John 3:16?”

In closing, I think you can see that I have written a long comment and spent time doing so. I hope and believe it will be profitable to you and others who read it. Yet I feel that much and in fact most of what I have said has already been addressed by myself and/or others that I have already referenced. This being said, I think it would be wise for you to become thoroughly familiar with these documents and direct further questions regarding them to me on my own blog (where these documents are for the most part located), specifically referencing any documents you have further questions concerning.

Blessings in Christ as you study to show yourself approved, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of Truth, and as you proclaim "the gospel" of Christ crucified!

Jonathan Perreault
http://www.freegracefreespeech.blogspot.com

December 12, 2007 8:13 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Hi Jonathan. I read your post, and reviewed again your argument, and I want to ask my question a different way. I had said "do you believe the Disciples had Eternal life the same way as we have it now, or do we have to believe differently? Can someone be saved as John claims just by using the gospel of John written in the last part of the first century?”

Let me ask it differently. When did the disciples have eternal life, because they clearly did not understand the gospel as you define it until at least after the ressurection.


All of the passages you cite, still work clearly in the framework of my belief. There is no tension, and no need to input any other meaning then what is clear.

John 20:30-31 especially fits with my understanding, and it does not state that you must believe that he was seen by many witness's. That was not one of the signs as I understand it, yet one thing you must believe for eternal life according to you.

You repeat over and over again that the gospel is the saving message, but have already stated you understand that saved can have many meanings. If it causes them to believe in Christ, then it can save from hell, but it also can have a saving effect on thos who believe. Still no tension.

You said "I understand belief in Christ/“the gospel” to be referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:1: “the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received”. Notice, that here too, believe/receive is the proper RESPONSE to “the gospel”.

It is stating a fact, not listing a requirement. In fact that is what the gospel is. A list of facts and there are many more. I understand the logic in limiting it to the list you want(though I still don't understand where the deity comes in), but I also understand the logic of letting the simple clear teaching of scripture help you with the more difficult.

John could have easily added 1 sentance to the book of John, and we would not be having this discussion. But instead, he did not, and thus it stands and is much easier to understand with out adding to it.

You said "Trent, when you believe in Christ, as you say, you are believing in the fact of His existence. When you believe in Christ for eternal life, you are believing in the fact of His existence, the fact of eternal life, the fact of Christ’s possession of eternal life, and His promise to give it to you if you believe in Him. So even you would have to admit that the lost need to believe in facts, in certain facts about Christ, in certain facts in general - this is self evident."

Some of these, I don't think you have to believe, because you may not consider them, even though they are logical. But all of them fall under believing in him for eternal life. They are not added. If I believe in him do I believe he exists? yes. Do I believe in him for the promise? yes. Do I believe in eternal life? Yes but those are with in the statement.

You said "The real question is: Concerning the saving message/“the gospel” - which set of facts are Biblical? Is your set of facts Biblical, or is my set of facts Biblical? Of course you have to believe in Christ for eternal life/eternal salvation/justification/forgiveness of sins, etc. I have repeatedly affirmed this and even highlighted this fact earlier in this comment using key Scripture passages. But “CHRIST” is only part of “the gospel”. (Even you admit this. You admit that the lost have to believe certain facts about Christ, i.e. that Christ will give them eternal life, etc.) “The gospel” is the good news of what CHRIST has done! Of course, the truths/facts of “the gospel” must be personally believed. Notice in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul doesn’t say: “Christ died for sins” (nor even “Christ died for His sins”), but instead: “Christ died for our/my sins”! You need to consider these things and again, please (re)read Greg Schliesmann’s article on the technical use of the term “the gospel” as this will help clarify some things."

You can disbelieve/not understand and be ignorant of facts of the gospel. The disciples were and they believed in Christ for eternal life as did Martha. You can link to greg's article, but his definition of the gospel, if it contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible, is wrong. You assume because the believers recieved the gospel (which I would argue is everything that Paul shares) that we must believe it for eternal life. that is an assumption. It is not clearly stated, and John clearly states the 1 condition for eternal life.



You said "Trent, first of all, when someone asked the apostle Paul: “What must I do to be saved?” He replied: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

AMEN.

"But even Paul went on to fill in the details (Acts 16:32). The gospel is the gospel of Christ. It concerns Him, and certain facts about Him - what He did. "

Of course he did. We are to preach the gospel, and we are to make disciples, not believers (which we don't make anyway) But then you assume that they had to believe the rest to be saved.

"Paul said he preached Christ crucified. There is no dichotomy, bifurcation, or contradiction between Christ’s person and Christ’s finished work. They are as closely connected as the nail prints in our Savior’s hands! Jesus Himself emphasizes this truth in His second resurrection appearance to Thomas in John 20:26-29. I wrote about this in my article. Again, please read Greg’s articles and in fact all the articles now on my blog under “documents”."

The fact that he preached it still does not make it a requirement for eternal life. Paul did not say believe all these things for eternal life. Jesus did say believe in me for eternal life. You are taking the clear and making it unclear. I preach the gospel and Christ crucified as well and I know you do. I believe it is a saving message. I do not believe you have to believe in more the Jesus Christ for eternal life.

In regards to the signs, I believe that there are more then 3 signs to help you believe in Christ for eternal life, however, your edited quote "‘Many other [resurrection] signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these [three resurrection signs] are written that [1] you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that [2] believing you may have life in His name.’” still makes perfect sense. It has the condition, and the consequence. Belief in Jesus Christ the Son of God = eternal life.


You said "The disciples (except for Judas Iscariot) were already saved in John 13. "

Ok I would say much earlier, but you clarify below stating that what you must believe to be saved has changed after his death and ressurection.. but for those who already believe it was a sactification issue. I would argue that it still is.. although many will believe it prior and may be convinced that Christ can do what he promised based on believing it first. I believe we are saved the same way they were, and that John clearly did not change the conditions. Your argument requires you to already have that assumption. You cannot make the argument with out making things complicated and unclear. John is clear. Believe in Christ for eternal life. Not believe in his signs, or a gospel. He could have easily listed what additional must be believed, but he says these are written so that you might believe in Christ.

Amen, we are to preach the gospel to the lost. I agree. However, when I want to know if someone is saved, or they ask me, I revert back to the words of Jesus, both for assurance, and to the question "What must I do to be saved?"

If I am dealing with someone who believes the Bible is true, then I focus on John, until they have professed that they have believed his promise. I of course cover his death and ressurection, but as you and I agree, there is a lot of truth tied into these facts. Its easier for a believer to believe the Trinity, understand substitionary atonement etc, then an unbeliever.

I know this is near and dear to you, and can see your passion for the Gospel of Christ. I have it to. I appreciate the time you put into this. Let us continue to study. Thus far, I agree with much of what you say and all of the verses you quote, but I disagree with your conclusions. Thus, one of us (or both?) is viewing scripture through his beliefs rather then getting his belief from the Bible. I know I have been guilty of that before, but do my best it.

Love in Christ

Trent

http://www.sola-scriptura-truth.blogspot.com/

P.S. this was getting a bit long, so I tried to shorten your quotes, and address your points. feel free to clarify if needed.

December 17, 2007 11:19 AM  
Blogger Trent said...

I asked this to Rachel, but I hope it will help our discussion as well.

My understanding is that you believe that if someone believes

"1Cr 15:3-5 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve."

that they have eternal life.

Are you saying that if someone believes those historical Truths given in those verses has eternal life with out any clarification or needing to add to "The Gospel"

I hope that perhaps by your answer, you will see the difficulty in your conclusion... or perhaps not. :)

Grace and Truth

Trent

December 17, 2007 2:34 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Trent,

You dismiss the Word of God all too easily.

You stated to JP:

All of the passages you cite [regarding the gospel], still work clearly in the framework of my belief. There is no tension, and no need to input any other meaning then what is clear.

And:

You can disbelieve/not understand and be ignorant of facts of the gospel. The disciples were and they believed in Christ for eternal life as did Martha. You can link to greg's article, but his definition of the gospel, if it contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible, is wrong. You assume because the believers recieved the gospel (which I would argue is everything that Paul shares) that we must believe it for eternal life. that is an assumption.

In regards to "the gospel", you argue that passages which indicate people were born again through believing the gospel (e.g. Acts 15:7-9; 1Cor. 4:15; 15:1-4; Eph. 1:13, ect.) only speak of the gospel's relationship to salvation in a non-essential sense. In other words, you say, the gospel "caused" them to believe in Christ, but it would also be possible, hypothetically, for someone living in the church age to believe in Christ without believing the gospel.

While that argument could be theoretically true (though it demonstrates an insensitivity to and unfamiliarity with Scripture in general), it ignores many of the verses and arguments that have been presented. Not only does Scripture indicate the gospel's relationship to salvation in the positive sense, i.e., that people were born again through the gospel, it also indicates the same truth in the negative sense, i.e., that those who do not believe the gospel will go to hell. Your argument does not deal with such verses:

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

1 Corinthians 1:17-24 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND BRING TO NOTHING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRUDENT." 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

In regards to your comments about the disciples, these comments are irrelevant in respect to the meaning of the gospel. My article clearly pointed out that the term "the gospel" was only used in the sense we are speaking about after this good news came to pass, i.e., after Christ's resurrection.

It's troublesome how easily you will dismiss my article with already-rebutted GES mantra without dealing with any of the specific passages.

-- Greg

January 18, 2008 7:47 PM  

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