July 19, 2006

C. H. Spurgeon (1834–1892) Chiding Some "Older Calvinists" on 1 Tim. 2:4

"God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."—1 Timothy 2:3, 4.

In another post, I dealt with how some Calvinists seek to convert the "all men" of 1 Timothy 2:4 into "some of all kinds of men," i.e. the elect. Charles Spurgeon chides some "older Calvinistic friends" for doing that very thing in his sermon on the passage. He says:
What then? Shall we try to put another meaning into the text than that which it fairly bears? I trow not. You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. "All men," say they,—"that is, some men": as if the Holy Ghost could not have said "some men" if he had meant some men. "All men," say they; "that is, some of all sorts of men": as if the Lord could not have said "all sorts of men" if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written "all men," and unquestionably he means all men. I know how to get rid of the force of the "alls" according to that critical method which some time ago was very current, but I do not see how it can be applied here with due regard to truth. I was reading just now the exposition of a very able doctor who explains the text so as to explain it away; he applies grammatical gunpowder to it, and explodes it by way of expounding it. I thought when I read his exposition that it would have been a very capital comment upon the text if it had read, "Who will not have all men to be saved, nor come to a knowledge of the truth." Had such been the inspired language every remark of the learned doctor would have been exactly in keeping, but as it happens to say, "Who will have all men to be saved," his observations are more than a little out of place. My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God. I never thought it to be any very great crime to seem to be inconsistent with myself; for who am I that I should everlastingly be consistent? But I do think it a great crime to be so inconsistent with the word of God that I should want to lop away a bough or even a twig from so much as a single tree of the forest of Scripture. God forbid that I should cut or shape, even in the least degree, any divine expression. So runs the text, and so we must read it, "God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
C. H. Spurgeon, “Salvation by Knowing the Truth,” in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 57 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1881), 26:49–50.


July 15, 2006

On The Fat-Making Dress

Has your wife or girlfriend asked you the question, “Does this dress make me look fat?” Well, as a single guy at age 36 (this alone should warn you not to listen to the following), I have some advice for you.

I was recently listening to a radio host discussing the issue of whether or not it’s right to lie in some situations, and the fat-making dress question came up. The host staunchly affirmed that men should “lie” to their wives and tell them “no.” Being an analytical sort of dork, I actually began to ponder the nature of the question. What is actually being asked? Is a “no” response necessarily a lie?

Consider the question again. She asks, “Does this dress make me look fat?” Now, one of two things is the case: either 1) she does NOT appear to you fatly or 2) she does appear to you fatly.

If she does NOT appear to you fatly, then there is no danger. You can just say “no” and you may sleep well that night. However, if she does appear to you fatly, then there’s a dilemma. This should not cause you to worry. You can still say “no” and not lie. She’s asking you if the dress "MAKES" her look fat. If she’s actually fat, then this is a false cause fallacy. It’s not the dress making her look fat, but her own body. She has an a priori assumption that she’s not fat, but thinks that the dress might be “making” her look fat. You may tell her “no” because you know that it’s not the dress making her look fat. You are not lying. She’s just not asking a carefully worded question.

If your plump wife or girlfriend words it differently and asks “Do I look fat in this dress?,” then you can just answer a different question (the other poorly worded question above) and respond by saying, “That dress doesn’t make you look fat.” You have avoided answering her specific question (my single roommate pointed out this tactic to me), but she won’t know that. You have successfully avoided lying again and you may sleep well that night, so long as you didn't steal any of her twinkies.

Either way, as a single guy, I know I will definitely sleep well tonight :-) Oh, and I will also wake up any time that I please!

July 10, 2006

Declaring the Love of God Through Christ

On a discussion board, the question was asked "Should we tell everyone that God loves them and that Christ died for them?"

Here's part (not all) of my reply:
"After some reflection on the question(s), I feel content to go ahead and say yes. By the very fact that Christ commands us to go out and indiscriminately declare the good news, we are declaring the love of God for mankind. So, we need not say "God loves you" to still communicate the idea. When the Holy Spirit works in us to go and preach the gospel, the world should know that we are doing so out of a concern for their salvation and well-being. They should implicitly know, at the very least, that God is loving them through us.

God is pleading through us in the gospel call for men to be reconciled to himself by means of Christ. That is a loving act on His part and our part when we join Him in that pleading. Since we are to declare that God has set forth his Son as a sufficient means for the salvation of every man, we are telling them that Christ has died for them. The Apostle Paul, when he first spoke to the Corinthians who were dead in trespasses and sins, said that "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." If Christ did not die for all in terms of the sufficiency of his satisfaction, then all do not have warrant to believe. They could only have warrant if they were first sure they were one of the elect, which is hyper-Calvinistic absurdity.

If God wants all men to live and not die according to Ezekiel, then he is declaring that he loves them and wishes them well. If He does that, then we should do the same. Even warning a calloused sinner to turn from their wicked ways and live is a loving act that God would have us do according to his revealed will.

Whether explicitly or implicitly, by some form of communication, we should let people know that God loves them and that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was ordained as a sufficient sacrifice to save them through faith."

I will put the rest of my reply in the comment section.