Evan has written a response to my response to his response of my response, this will now be my response to that. Evan starts off by accusing me of misrepresentation. Evan asks how he is presupposing a universal salvific will an then answers his own question when he says he assumes the text is universal unless proven otherwise. That’s called a priori reasoning, Evan.
Evan goes on to cite some examples where universal language is used but he rightly sees the limitations based on the surrounding context. However, his use of Romans 3:23 is yet another example of a limiting universal text. When it says that everyone has sinned, many Pelagians will point out that Jesus, truly man, did not sin. So, how could it be everyone? In this case, we argue that even though Jesus is truly man, He is also truly God and therefore “all have fallen short of the glory of God” Jesus falls into the “God” part of the verse and not the “fallen” part. This is just an example of how to deal with a text that uses universal language without indiscriminately applying it to everyone, I’m sure Evan would agree with my interpretation of Romans 3:23.
Evan then cites several verses such as Philippians 2:10 and John 3:16 and says that they’re “absolutely universal”. You’re making it very hard for me to believe that my assertion that you’re assuming universal application to universal language was a misrepresentation.
Evan then grossly misinterprets John 3:18 to mean that simply if you don’t believe in Jesus, you will be condemned. He changes this statement to a future tense statement when it is in fact a present tense to past tense statement. Ellicott’s commentary for English Readers mentions this important change of tense that Evan seemed to miss.
Evan conveniently leaves out my response to 2 Peter 2:1 and just re-asserts the “natural reading” ambiguous as it is, since anyone can claim the natural reading. Just like plain, natural can easily mean “first glance” or “makes the most sense in the chapter” but it still doesn’t account for exegesis, cultural context and the development of ANE studies. If Evan were to read just a little bit further, his whole “burden of proof” paragraph would have never materialized. He left out the majority of my answer. I answered you, Evan. Here it is.
“If the Master bought them in 2 Peter 2:1, they would be his. If you followed my argument that “bought” always refers to a saved group of people to which you conceded, these false prophets aren’t bought people who are going to hell, they’re false prophets who are going to be saved by Jesus Christ. In fact, this is a plausible interpretation and much stronger than what you presented. Either that, or as I mentioned in the previous post, Peter could be referring to the fact that they’re claiming to be saved by Christ but are damning themselves by lying about the effacious work of Christ. Either way, this verse doesn’t help Arminianism, it doesn’t help Calvinism either except that it doesn’t support the unlimited atonement notion exegetically.”
He accuses me of special pleading but never seeks to prove that it was. Evan still has a problem with understanding the historical context tabula rasa was used and shows no understanding the Lockean approach to the subject. He merely restates his position that isn’t tabula rasa and calls it tabula rasa.
Evan then doesn’t respond to my Romans 5:15, 18 argument that I made here, for two blog posts in a row, that must be a new record. He then says I didn’t attempt to prove that his trilemma is false. To falsify your trilemma, I’d only need to provide another interpretation than the ones you presented. Hodge provided that for you but you’re convinced he doesn’t apply to you.
Evan states that regarding 1 Timothy 4:10, Jesus is the savior of all people because he died to save everyone. Well, back to the fireman analogy, if the fireman fails to save the person, can he be called the savior of that person? In the popular show 9-1-1. One of main characters “Buck” seeks to save some people who are stuck on a roller coaster that is upside down. Buck reaches out with his equipment and even resorts to reaching out with his hand, in other words, he did everything he could but the man refuses to take his hand because he was embarrassed that everyone around was recording and *spoiler alert* it was revealed he suffered from depression as his sister later told Buck.
In this analogy, you have the Arminian God portrayed as Buck and the free will agent as the man who just wouldn’t take the hand. In the show, Buck is not viewed as the savior of that man. How can Arminianism account for someone who tries his hardest to save someone but doesn’t do so because of the free will of the agent to be seemed the savior of the agent he didn’t save?
Evan was disappointed I didn’t react to his rebuttal, I was hoping he’d know why, when he asserted that God has mixed feelings on punishing people. Perhaps I will make a separate post on why God having mixed feelings is problematic theologically, for omniscience among other things. Also, the idea that God is conflicted in his thoughts is to use Evan’s terminology “plain and natural” to me that it is wrong. A God conflicted with his moral judgments isn’t the God I see in the Bible.
Evan disregards the context of 1 John 2:2 (Judaist heresy) and restates his universal presupposition. He asks “Why can’t it be the whole world?” I’m not saying it can’t be, I’m saying it’s improbable because I take into account context and the let the Bible define its own terms (Revelation 7:9) instead of proof-texting verses into my model of theology.
It seems Evan will be done responding to me, so I will summarize what has happened as follows.
Evan wrote a post saying we can’t wiggle out of 5 passages. Kevin Courter and I, who are Calvinists, offered counter interpertations to the passage, Evan responds by saying “That doesn’t actually address my argument”. He says he doesn’t presuppose then admits to presupposing. He says I’m out of “wiggle energy” but I’m not the low-energy one here. I’ll let the reader decide. He says I’ll have the last word, I will let Jim Boucher have the last word.