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March 12th, 2011

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Junto 4

May 31st, 2011

Just so you can catch up from this Junto…. here is what we did….

  1. On Friday Night, We watched Devolution of the Law
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     Audio 1 from Saturday

  3. At Lunch we listened to

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    this audio, Why? Because your view of your future determines what you do in your culture.  We need to realize this and we will be working through some of these issues in future Juntos.

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    Audio 2 from Saturday, This topic was because we needed to answer a question that came up from Friday night’s video, “Where did Satan and demons come from”.

  5. The Book that I was reading from in item #4 is “The Myth That is True” chapter 5.  Here is a link to the whole book.  We will be going over some more of it in the future.
  6. I also read a verse from I Enoch (Chapter 15)
  7. I would like you to read this article which we did not get to but you need to read it to understand the Two Kingdom versus One Kingdom view
  8. I would also like you to listen to the second message from the Bulgarian Minister (that did the lunch message above)…

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  9. You might also be interested in some of the messages from this Conference that the Bulgarian man who I have his two audios above spoke at.  This is a really a good look at some people who have echatalogical arguments that are other than pre-millineal dispensationalism.  I believe we need to know that there are other eschatalogical views than the standard ones we typically hear.
  10. I was going to go into this subject… found an article you can read about it… it is dealing with the weird subject of the goat in the desert… why… because it actually brings up some interesting questions about the origin of Satan and Christ’s atonement relationship… was the cross Penal (having to do with a punishment)… or was it a price?… it is something that you might want to read and we can discuss…
  11. This is a copy of the email I sent out about this junto….
    ok… a lot of things are coming together in terms of themes….

    I am stuck on the word “Culture”… so lets define it

    a : the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior
    that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge
    to succeeding generations

    b : the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a
    racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features
    of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by
    people in a place or time <popular culture> <southern culture>

    c : the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that
    characterizes an institution or organization <a corporate culture
    focused on the bottom line> or social practices associated with a
    particular field, activity, or societal characteristic <studying the
    effect of computers on print culture>

    My simplistic view of Culture:

    1. it is the way I view (or believe in) something
    2. it is the way I act (or respond) to something or perhaps my normal
    way of doing something
    3. it defines how I measure things (i.e. what is important what is not)

    here is what I am seeing…

    Cultural changes come before Structures, or at least it comes with
    structural changes… so if you want to change something structurally
    then the underlying culture change comes first… because culture
    supports structure… in fact, if culture is not there, then the
    structure will not remain in place… (there are tons of business
    related books which came out in the late 1990’s about this subject of
    how to turn a business around… they mostly dealt with changing the
    Corporate Culture… then changing how the business was set up)

    We had a long discussion at the Father-Son camp out… on building a
    community (read people with the same culture) around Christian
    Family… and what that meant… and how important that was to having
    something that lasts… for multi-generations… Your cultural views
    have an impact

[some audio links were here]

Basically here is the issue… we were discussing what to talk about
next in Junto… Christian family or eschatology… you picked
Christian family… but this flows out of your view of eschatology…
I just recently obtain the two audio above… and they were spot on…
so I don’t want to talk about eschatology, in specifics… but it is
clear to me that your view of the future defines a lot of your
culture… and so this is a “meta”-issue of how we define the
Christian Family and the culture you must create surrounding it…

I also want to point out something… if you ask how has the world
invaded the church… these two messages show a long term invasion of
worldly ideas…

JDS – Jesus Died Spiritually

May 16th, 2011

We discussed in Junto 2, about JDS (Jesus Died Spiritually) doctrine.  Although not strictly anything that would make you Calvinist or not, most Calvinist would reject the notion.  Mostly they say that when Jesus said “it is finished” on the cross that everything was done.  Although, we know that can not be the case since Paul said in I Cor. 15 that if Christ was not resurrected, your believing was in vain.  So we know that the resurrection has something to do with it.

JDS has a lot of implications.  One is what is called “Born Again Jesus”.  This comes from a bunch of scriptures which lead from JDS.  If Jesus died spiritually than how did he become alive again?  I believe it is these implications and not JDS itself which have caused the back lash against the doctrine.  But, you have to answer some questions about what certain scriptures are implying if you do not hold this doctrinal position.

I am going to send you to a series of well written articles by Peter Smythe who does an excellent job of laying out these positions:

  1. Colossians 1.18: The Firstborn of Firstborns
  2. Colossians 2:13

 

JDS is doctrine strongly held by Word of Faith “camps”, since it was strongly endorsed by Ken Hagin, Ken Copeland, E.W. Kenyon and the like.  It also had it its detractors such as Dad and Mom Goodwin, who were Ken Hagin’s closest friends, who never let Hagin bring anything in their church that had such things in it.

Peter Smythe – Colossians 2.13, Reverse Engineering, and Heresy

May 16th, 2011

Colossians 2.13, Reverse Engineering, and Heresy

by Smythe on November 5, 2008

On the website, GodTube.com, there is this videoclip of Kenneth Hagin and Benny Hinn. The tagline to the video is: Hagin and Hinn – Jesus was born again!!!???The video’s uploader says, “Beware of this heresy taught also by many preachers!”

 

 

In the video, Kenneth Hagin refers to Hebrews 1.5 which says:

For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are my Son, Today I have begotten you?”  And again, “I will be a father to him and he shall be a son to me?”

Hagin impliedly references Hebrews 2.9 for the proposition that Jesus tasted spiritual death for every man.

But Jesus made some little less than messengers we do behold: By reason of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, To the end that, by favour of God [separated from God] in behalf of every one he might taste death.  (Hebrews 2.9, Rotherham with variant reading)

Benny Hinn shares the same thought pattern in saying that if Jesus was not reborn, then no man could be born again.

While lanuovania.org, the video’s uploader, attempts to scare away folks by crying, “Heresy!” it fails to provide a sound basis for why Hagin’s and Hinn’s preaching in the video qualifies as a “different gospel.”  If Jesus was not “begotten” on the third day as Hebrews 1.5 appears to indicate and “death” in Hebrews 2.9 could not possibly mean spiritual death, lanuovania.org should lay it out.  We shouldn’t just have to take that ministry’s (if that is what lanuovania.org is) word for it.

In Colossians 2.13, Paul wrote the following passage:

And as for you who were dead by your offenses and by the uncircumcision of your flesh, He hath brought you to life together with Him [συνεζωοποιησεν ῾υμας συν αυτο], having in favour forgiven us all our offenses. (Rotherham)

Mainline Christianity doesn’t seem to have a problem with the first part of the verse: “And as for you who were dead by your offenses and by the uncircumcision of your flesh.”  You could walk into virtually any church in America and hear the pastor preach about how mankind is sinful and dead in sins.  Those very same preachers also wouldn’t have a problem with the third part of the verse: “having in favour forgiven us all our offenses.”  They are more than happy to say that God can forgive you your sins (technically that’s not 100% correct, but we’ll move on).

It is the middle part of the verse that makes the Theologically Astute like lanouvania.org squeamish.  In the Greek, it literally says “he made alive together y’all with him” or “he-together-alive-made y’all with him.”  What peels back their fingernails is that the Father’s action (he’s the active agent here), the “making alive” part, is the same for Jesus as it is with us. Paul does not make any distinction between Jesus’s resurrection and our “being made alive.”

We have been well-schooled in our own “being made alive.”  In John 3.1-3, we hear Jesus speaking to Nicodemus about being “born-again”:

There was however a man from among the Pharisees, Nicodemus, his name, – ruler of the Jews.  The same came unto him, by night, and said unto him – “Rabbi!  We know that from God thou hast come, a teacher; For no one can be doing these signs which thou art doing, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, – Verily, verily, I say unto thee: Except one be born from above, He cannot see the kingdom of God.  (Rotherham)

In Paul’s writings, he speaks of being spiritually born-again or being “made alive” as being a “new creation”:

So that if any one is in Christ there is a new creation.  (2 Cor. 5.17b, Rotherham)

For neither circumcision is anything, nor uncircumcision, But a new creation.  (Gal. 6.15, Rotherham)

When we return to Colossians 2.13 with the understanding that “being made alive” is one in the same as being “born-again,” we must face the music of Paul’s language concerning Jesus.  Jesus, he says, is also made alive by God’s power.  If you pick up a handy-dandy Greek lexicon, you’ll see agreement on this:

BDAG: make alive together with someone;

Louw & Nida: to cause again to live with others – “to raise to life together with”;

Thayer: to make one alive together with another;

Greek Strong’s: to reanimate conjointly with … quicken together with.

It doesn’t take much to see that both Hagin and Hinn are right on the money with the literal translation of Colossians 2.13 – we were “made alive” or “born-again” as Jesus was “made alive” or “born-again.”  So how do the Theologically Astute get around this?  Louw & Nida shows us how:

There are serious semantic difficulties involved in a literal translation of συνευειρω or συζωοποιεω, for a literal rendering could either be interpreted as ‘to be raised to life at the same time with’ or ‘to be raised to life in the same way as,’ but the reference in Col 3:1 and Eph 2:5 is to a spiritual existence more than to a literal resurrection of the body. This means that both συνευειρω and συζωοποιεω must be understood as highly figurative. Hence, in Col 3:1 it may be necessary to translate ει ουν συνηγερθητε τω Χριστω as ‘since you have been raised to life, so to speak, with Christ’ or ‘since, as it were, you have been raised to life with Christ.’ In this way one may point to the fact of a figurative element involved.

[Note: The statement ‘to be raised to life in the same way as’ really says it all.]

So, instead of taking scripture for what it says, they “figurize” it – it really doesn’t mean what it says. It means what the Theologically Astute says it means.

The problem with that is if you say that the Jesus side of “he made alive together with” is highly figurative, then the “y’all” side of the verse must also be deemed highly figurative.  That kind of reading takes the factual “ye must be born-again” and Paul’s “new creation” and turns it into a “highly figurative” redemption – a redemption that has all the substance of an Oprah show.

It is telling that the mainline church has come to the point of calling a strict and literal reading of scripture heresy.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Dickey 11.05.08 at 5:22 pm

My wife and I just had a discussion on this point. We had to really think hard about it. Here is what we came up with, we are born again believers indwelled by the Holy Spirit, she and I.

We have no comment on Hagin or Hinn. We do have a comment on Jesus. Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world. It was always planned. He was going to die for the sins of the world.

Humans are flesh, plus they are spirit. We must be born again. Jesus said we first must have a human birth, then he recommended to Nicodemus the new birth, Spiritual birth, being born again.

Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb. So he had a human body of flesh, but he had a perfect sinless non-Adamic spirit. And if that weren’t enough, the Holy Spirit came upon him at his baptism. Why? It was partly a sign to John that Jesus was Messiah, even though he doubted it later when he was jailed. It is said of Jesus too that on the cross he could have called down angels to deliver him from his affliction.

Jesus knew what he was doing, he’d sweated blood over it, but he was determined to accomplish the will of the Father. As Jesus died, he said Into thy hands I commend my Spirit, so he knew where he was going, he was going to the Father ultimately.

We know Jesus fleshly body died, it was buried in a tomb. So was his body reborn, you betcha, what was the agent of that rebirth, no doubt the Holy Spirit caused his body to live again.

Okay, did Jesus Spirit die? Well, let’s ask another question, when we die does our spirit die or just our body? The way I understand it, the spirit is made to live forever, especially the born again Spirit.

Jesus was aware of whatever happened in the grave, and yeah if he faced Satan, preached to those in prison while he was there, and led captivity captive, my guess is that Jesus Spirit never died.

Jesus is the first born of many brethern (and sistern) and he tasted death for every man. He had to be aware of what was happening, so I feel that awareness was his Spirit, not his fleshly body which presumably lay in the tomb. Jesus flesh was born again, but it was not the kind of flesh we think of as normal. Flesh that passes through closed doors is which even those who knew him went unrecognized.

Kind of my standard line, if we can’t absolutely know for sure and have scripture line for line, let’s go for simplicity and grace for others. I don’t think anyone would argue that Jesus came and fulfilled the requirements of the Father?

I don’t think anyone doubts the power of his name to save to the uttermost? And if He does save us, then does it matter how HE died or how HE was resurrected, as long as it works and was according to the Father’s will?

[Reply]

Peter Smythe 11.06.08 at 8:34 am

Bruce,

I don’t suppose that you’ve read a lot of my articles on Jesus becoming sin. I refer you to those for the balance of your comment.

I also leave you with this: “If it doesn’t matter how he died or how he was resurrected, then why on earth did Paul say that he wrote his letters so that we could understand his intelligence in the mystery of Christ?” Over the course of this blog, I’ve run into lots of people who ask, “Why spend time on an area of the Word that is divisive? Why don’t you stick to those things that virtually all Christians agree on and leave the other stuff alone?” That position, which impliedly says that we don’t need to understand certain portions of God’s revelation or that we may choose to elevate certain portions of scripture over others, comes off as pretty cocky to me. Who are we to say to the Lord that a portion of the facts of redemption aren’t really that important for us to know and understand?

[Reply]

Bruce Dickey 11.06.08 at 10:19 pm

I don’t suppose that you’ve read a lot of my articles on Jesus becoming sin.
No Peter, but I have read my bible quite a bit.

I refer you to those for the balance of your comment.
Hmmm, I thought the idea of a blog is to have a conversation?

I don’t think anyone doubts the power of his name to save to the uttermost? And if He does save us, then does it matter how HE died or how HE was resurrected, as long as it works and was according to the Father’s will?
So here is my comment above restated:
If Jesus died and was resurrected according to the Father’s will, and Jesus is able to save through the power of his name, then do the particulars of how he died or how he was resurrected matter as long as God himself accepted what transpired?

I didn’t comment on the men in question because that could divide.
The definition of mystery itself , means something unknown that we can be okay with as long as it’s God’s intention it remains a mystery until such time as it is fully revealed. It probably is unimportant to know if Jesus died spiritually or just physically to get a man saved from his sin.
Is that cocky?

Nor do I claim as the video presenter does that what they shared was heresy.
These ministers are men and prone to making mistakes as all men do, what they said is unorthodox for sure, heresy, nah, I doubt it. For if I were without sin, shucks, I just might chuck a few rocks myself.

[Reply]

Peter Smythe 11.07.08 at 9:28 am

Bruce, in Ephesians 3.4, Paul writes that he wrote his letter so that we could understand his intelligence into the mystery [or secret] of Christ. The mystery isn’t a secret anymore.

With regard to comments, I don’t mind them at all, but I’d rather they be specific to the post.

[Reply]

Bruce Dickey 11.07.08 at 10:14 am

Ah, read on down a few lines: Paul defines the mystery you are alluding to here:

Eph. 3:6 This mystery is that through the gospel, the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

This stuff isn’t rocket science, anyone can grasp these things. If we make it so folks have to get theological training to discuss the things of God, then that narrow road, just keeps getting narrower. Who then can be saved?

If these men missed it then they will stand accountable to God for what they shared. If I miss it in some areas the same is true. It’s good we serve a loving and forgiving Abba Father.

[Reply]

Bruce Dickey 11.07.08 at 10:53 am

Giacinto Butindaro, is the minister linked to the website you shared above.

http://www.the-new-way.org/wwbat/38_our_position_on_various_things.html

Peter, I went over to the website you mentioned, the fellow over there and his site seems to be fairly well developed. They are not novices to the things of God. They appear to be fairly strict pentecostal / charismatic types.

A link to what they believe:

http://www.the-new-way.org/wwbat/index.html

Does God want us battling each other or the enemy of our souls? A question to ponder.

And as Paul tells Timothy in 2Tim.4:2,3

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.

It goes on to say: Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Peter, thanks for providing this avenue for interesting dialogue. May God bless you and the things he’s called you to do, bro…. bd

[Reply]

Bruce Dickey 11.10.08 at 8:44 am

Peter,

Hebrews 1:5 says, “Today I have become your Father…” What day was that? Of course it was the same day your earthly father became your father, inception. We know Jesus was conscious of the fact he would die, he knew he was slain from the foundation of the world, he was to be the sacrifice Lamb. God knows the end from the beginning, he knew his Son Jesus would meet the claims of the law, a blood sacrifice, which I propose is theologically met in the physical shedding of blood and the spirit being rendered up to God which Jesus actually proclaimed on the cross.

Hebrews 2:9 says, ” ….Jesus tasted death for everyone.” What it doesn’t say is how he did it, it simply does not say. Implying anything more than what is written, wouldn’t that be adding to or taking from the words of scripture…..?

Colossians 2:13 says, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins….” This passage mirrors other verses especially on describing the new birth experience: Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Again, no clue of Jesus dying spiritually, silence on that point.

Hebrews 9:11 says, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Peter, in this couple of verses we learn that by Jesus own blood he obtained eternal redemption for us. I ask a simple question, is blood of the physical body or is it of the spirit? It’s pretty plain that if Jesus blood had not been spilled he would not have died, that apparently is what God the Father required to rid the world of sin through faith in Jesus.

I’m glad you used Nicodemus and Jesus discussion over the requirements of God. That verse is some of the most plain teaching in the entire New Testament. It shows natural childbirth and the spiritual birth in close context. 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual rebirth was foreign to Nicodemus, but Jesus chided him for not knowing these things. He didn’t cut him any slack, telling Nick, “You people do not accept our testimony.” Ouch.

Later in the passage in John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus in verse 21, ” But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly, that what he has done has been done through God.” Peter, show me plainly, through scripture, that Jesus died spiritually, not just physically, and I will believe. Bruce

[Reply]

Bruce Dickey 11.10.08 at 9:00 am

Peter,

Hebrews 1:5 says, “Today I have become your Father…” What day was that? Of course it was the same day your earthly father became your father, inception. We know Jesus was conscious of the fact he would die, he knew he was slain from the foundation of the world, he was to be the sacrifice Lamb. God knows the end from the beginning, he knew his Son Jesus would meet the claims of the law, a blood sacrifice, which I propose is theologically met in the physical shedding of blood and the spirit being rendered up to God which Jesus actually proclaimed on the cross.

Hebrews 2:9 says, ” ….Jesus tasted death for everyone.” What it doesn’t say is how he did it, it simply does not say. Implying anything more than what is written, wouldn’t that be adding to or taking from the words of Jesus…..?

Colossians 2:13 says, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins….” This passage mirrors other verses especially on describing the new birth experience: Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Again, no clue of Jesus dying spiritually, silence on that point.

Hebrews 9:11 says, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Peter, in this couple of verses we learn that by Jesus own blood he obtained eternal redemption for us. I ask a simple question, is blood of the physical body or is it of the spirit? It’s pretty plain that if Jesus blood had not been spilled he would not have died, that apparently is what God the Father required to rid the world of sin through faith in Jesus.

I’m glad you used Nicodemus and Jesus discussion over the requirements of God. That verse is some of the most plain teaching in the entire New Testament. It shows natural childbirth and the spiritual birth in close context. 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual rebirth was foreign to Nicodemus, but Jesus chided him for not knowing these things. He didn’t cut him any slack, telling Nick, “You people do not accept our testimony.” Ouch.

Later in the passage in John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus in verse 21, ” But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly, that what he has done has been done through God.” Peter, show me plainly, through scripture, that Jesus died spiritually, not just physically, and I will believe. Bruce

[Reply]

Bruce Dickey 11.11.08 at 9:55 pm

In Matthew 10 we find these verses:

27What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

This verse shows that Satan is powerless to destroy much more than the body. That would leave the soul of man and the spirit of man and Jesus intact would it not?

Thanks Peter, I’ve enjoyed a few days talking to myself here!

 

Peter Smythe – Birth of the Church

May 16th, 2011

Birth of the Church – Part 1

 

A Scriptural Defense to

John MacArthur’s John 20:22 Exegesis

And Jesus breathed into them, and says to them, [you] take spirit holy. (John 20.22, Literal)

In his provocative book, Charismatic Chaos, John MacArthur, Jr., claims that Jesus’s command of “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” and blowing into his disciples in John 20:22 did not birth the Church, but rather constituted a predictive act foreshadowing the Church’s birth at Pentecost. He states that the synthesis of John 7:39 and John 16:7 shows that the disciples could not receive the Holy Ghost until the day of Pentecost.

 

(37) Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (39) But this spake he of the spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7)

Based upon John 7:39, MacArthur holds “the Spirit would not come until Jesus had been glorified, and He could not be glorified until He had ascended.” He then uses John 16:7 to state that Jesus did not “go away” until he ascended as recorded in Acts 1:9. Upon these premises, he declares that pouring out of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, not John 20:22, was, in fact, the Church’s birth, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or the gift of tongues, was a special manifestation specific to that time period as a sign to Israel and confirmation of the apostles’ spiritual authority. This article will demonstrate by exegesis of the Greek New Testament that the Scriptures irrefutably show that Jesus birthed the Church in John 20:22, which then set the stage for the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of tongues at Pentecost as a second definite experience for all Christians.

Jesus could not be glorified until he completed his mission. In Luke 13, Jesus, himself, declared when his mission would be completed. In that chapter, certain Pharisees came to Jesus and told him to leave the region because Herod sought to kill him. In response, Jesus made this provocative statement,

Go and say to that fox, Behold, I cast out devils and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I am perfected.

The word “perfected” means the total fulfillment or completion of a mission. From John 10:10, we understand that Jesus’s mission or reason to come was to give mankind zoe-life, the God-kind of life. Therefore, by Jesus’s own statement in Luke, his mission to provide the means for mankind to have or possess the zoe-life of God would be completed in its entirety on the “third day,” which was the day of his resurrection.

Jesus actually spoke of his own glorification in John 13. While Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, he announced that one of them would betray him. After his disciples asked him who it was, he told them the betrayer was Judas. At that very instant Satan entered Judas and Jesus said to him,

That thou doest, do quickly.

Thereafter Judas immediately left the house. Jesus then turned to his disciples and said,

Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.

By MacArthur’s logic and exegesis of John 7:39, the Holy Spirit should have been poured out at that moment since Jesus said He was glorified, but we know that it was not.

At first blush, it appears that Jesus misspoke because he used the word “now” which means now – “at that moment” in the Greek – and “glorified” is past tense. The key to understanding this is found in the word “straightway” in the next verse. In that verse Jesus says,

and God shall glorify him in himself, and straightway shall he glorify him.

The Greek word for “straightway” is euthusEuthus is usually translated “immediately” or “at once” in modern English translations. The New Testament, however, shows more a specific use of the word than what is derived in the English. In Matthew 3:16, Jesus went up immediately (euthus) out of the water after he was immersed by John the Baptist. In Mark 1:12, the spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness immediately (euthus) after his baptism. In John 19:34, blood and water poured out immediately (euthus) after a soldier pierced Jesus’s side. In all of these passages and others, euthus is an adverb used to express the immediate, but conditional cause and effect. In other words, it expresses the idea that one event occurs immediately after the execution or completion of a prior event.

This same usage is seen in John 13. Once Jesus identified Judas as his betrayer – the completed prior event – all conditions needful for his glorification had been placed in motion, so it was considered done at that moment. In effect, God deemed Jesus’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven one complete act that was fully accomplished when Judas walked out the door. Consequently, Jesus could and did say that he was glorified right then and there.

 

 

 

Peter Smythe – Colossians 1.18: The Firstborn of Firstborns

May 16th, 2011

Colossians 1.18: The Firstborn of Firstborns

by Smythe on 1 April 2009

“[Smythe’s] account, vivid though it may be, is not in the Bible.  It misuses the phrase “firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1.18) to bolster the “born again Jesus” doctrine.  Actually, the term “firstborn” (Greek: prototokos) primarily denotes primacy, headship, and preeminence.  And the phrase itself points to Christ’s supremacy “over all creation” (v. 15) in general and those who will be raised from the dead in particular (alluding to Christ’s bodily resurrection – not some spiritual resusitation in hell).”  (Hank Hanegraaff, What’s Wrong with the Faith Movement? (Part Two) The Teachings of Kenneth Copeland, JAW 755.2)

“And that’s a wrap with our first annual Word of Faith Heresy and Blasphemy Convention.  We will have the next one in Dallas in conjunction with the Christian Book Expo.  You won’t want to miss that – Christopher Hitchens, the infamous atheist, has agreed to come for another debate.  It should be a real good time for you and your family.”

“Hello?  Hello?!  No, over here!  I’m over here!  Yeah, yeah – way in the back!  Can you see me?  I know the lights are bright on the stage.”

“Who?  What? Uh – let’s see – you?  With the big plastic glasses and some kind of tweed coat?”

“Are my glasses big?  I didn’t know they were big.  Nobody’s ever said  . . .”

“Yes, yes, I see you.  What is it that you want?”

“Do you mind if I ask you about your Smythe ‘firstborn’ talk and this heresy business?”

“Uhm – this is a convention.  This is really not the place to pose any questions.  Our speakers have already presented their papers and we only have a short time to get to the Golden Corral.”

“No questions!?!  Why, Jesus never hesitated to answer questions!”

Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?      (Matthew 17.19, KJV)

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately,     saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming,     and of the end of the world? (Matthew 24.3, KJV)

“If you are really concerned about this Word of Faith heresy business, don’t you think you ought to find the time to answer questions?  I mean, what if my eternal soul depended on it?

“Uh, can we all stay for a moment so I can answer his question?  All right!  Okay!  What’s your question?”

“It’s about what you said about Smythe and his construction of firstborn in Colossians.  You say that prototokos doesn’t mean firstborn literally, but “primacy, headship, and preeminence.”

“Yes, yes, I said that.  Smythe misuses the word in order to preach that Jesus was born-again in hell – one of the most damnable heresies ever preached.”

“But doesn’t prototokos mean firstborn literally in Luke?  I mean, “primary, headship, and preeminence” doesn’t really jive in Luke does it?”

And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes,  and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.   (Luke 2.7,     ASV)

“Yes, prototokos means firstborn literally in Luke.  But I wasn’t talking about Luke.  My statements were about Paul’s use of prototokos in Colossians.”

“But didn’t Luke accompany Paul on his missionary trips?  I thought they were kimosahbees.”

And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women that were were come together. (Acts 16.13, ASV)

But these had gone before, and were waiting for us at Troas. And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days, where we tarried seven days. (Acts 20.5,6, ASV)

And when it came to pass that were parted from them and had set sail, we came with a straight course unto Cos, and the next day unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: (Acts 21.1, ASV)

And when it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Augustan band… . And as we labored exceedingly with the storm, the next day they began to throw the freight overboard … And when neither sun nor stars shone upon us for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was now taken away… . But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven to and fro in the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors surmised that they were drawing near to some country:   (Acts 27.1, 20, 27, ASV)

And after three months we set sail in a ship of Alexandria which had wintered in the island, whose sign was The Twin Brothers. (Acts 28.11, ASV)

Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee; for he is useful to me for ministering. (2 Timothy 4.11, ASV)

Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas salute you. (Col. 4.14, ASV)

“You’re saying that these guys – Luke and Paul – though they both wrote in the Koine Greek and worked the mission field together and were even shipwrecked together – that they both used the same word prototokos but with entirely different meanings?  And that Luke’s meaning for Paul’s use of the word in his letters is damnable heresy?”

Crowd mumbling.

“Okay, hold it down.  Hold it down.  Charlie called the Golden Corral and they have agreed to reserve a table for us.  This should only take another minute.  Now, Mr., uh . . .”

“Mac, you can just call me Mac.”

“Okay, Mr. Mac, I believe that you are taking things out of context.  I really don’t have time to explain proper theological exegesis to you, but I can tell you . . .”

“Sir, I hate to interrupt, but I know that everyone is getting antsy about Luby’s.  Let me ask, wasn’t prototokos used for the literal firstborn in the Koine Greek period – Luke’s and Paul’s time?  I mean, it isn’t one of those “Holy Ghost” words that is only found in the Bible or only used by Christians, right?”

“firstborn.”  As additional proof that this word is to be taken out of the list of purely “Biblical” words, Deissmann (LAE, p. 88) cites the undated pagan sepulchral inscr. Kaibel 460.4 i˚ἱρευς γαρ εἰμι πρωτοτοκων ἐκ τελεθ[ων]?] … , “for I am a priest by the rites of the firstborn,”  and notes that the editor suggests that in the family of the deceased the firstborn always exercised the office of priest.”  (Moulton & Milligan, Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament)

A Jewish tomb inscription from Tell el-Yehudieh (Leontopolis) of ca. 5 B.C. is considered the oldest documentation of πρωτοτοκος [prototokos] used of human beings in the  pass. sense; “In the labors of the birth of my firstborn child fate led me to the end of my life.”  (Preisigke, Sammelbuch 6647, 6).  The other rare occurrences speak mainly of animals and come from the 4th cent. A.D.Πρωτοτοκος has thus a general meaning related to the extrabiblical term προτογονος.”  (Balz & Schneider, Exegetical Dic. of the N.T. vol. 3 at 190)

“I mean, if it was used to describe pigs and goats and gorillas, those Greek guys surely didn’t have it mean “primacy, headship, and preeminence” – I guess unless they were into saying something like, ‘Hey, look at my preeminent primate’ or something like that, right?  Come to think about it, that’d actually be pretty funny.  ‘For sale: Preeminent Pig or Headship Hog.”

“No, that’s not funny.  Yes, prototokos was a common word in Koine Greek times and, yes, they used the word for firstborn animals.  But what you are not understanding is Paul’s theological use of the word.  You see, in the Hebrew prototokos – well, prototokos is Greek, so the Greek translation of the Hebrew, which is the Septuagint, shows us that in . . .”

“Sir, I don’t mean to interrupt again, but I’m just trying to let the guys get to the Waffle House.  You mention the Hebrew, but Paul didn’t write his letter to Jews, did he?  I know that Colossians was written in Greek, but maybe I’m missing something.”

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae  (Colossians 1.1, 2, NRSV)

“No, he wasn’t writing to Jews in Colossians.  But Paul was a Pharisee of the Pharisees which means that he was well aware of the Jewish meaning .  .  . ”

“Sir, again, I hate to interrupt again because it looks like you might have a mutiny on your hands if you don’t let these guys get to IHOP.  But didn’t Paul write Hebrews? I know that Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians, at least some anyway.”

“Oh, I don’t believe this!  Yes, yes, yes!  Though some scholars quibble with it, I believe that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews.  Hebrews was part of the earliest collection of Paul’s letters that we have.”

The oldest manuscript of Hebrews, the Chester Beatty papyrus (P46, ca. 200 A.D.) situates Hebrews at a place in the New Testament between Romans and I Corinthians, thereby suggesting that it was written by Paul.

The New Testament contains 27 separate books (3 x 3 x 3).  Of these 27 books, 21 (3 x 7) are Epistles.  If we take the agents employed, we have 28 writers (4 x 7) in the Old Testament, and 8 in the New Testament; or together, 36.  Of the 21 Epistles of the New Testament 14 (2 x 7) are by Paul and seven by other writers.  In this we have an argument for the Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews; an argument which is confirmed by the numbers of verbal occurrences [shown in the book].”  (E.W. Bullinger, Number in Scripture 26)

“In the Old Testament, didn’t the angel of death kill all of the firstborn sons of Egypt?  And by firstborns I mean the literal firstborns.”

“What in the world does that have to do with anything!?!”

By faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn [prototokos] should not touch them. (Hebrews 11.28, ASV)

“Chief, just one last question and then all these guys can head out to Dennys.  By saying that prototokos means “primacy, headship, and preeminence,” you’re not out putting yourself on the same level as the Lord Jesus Christ?”

“What on God’s green earth are you talking about!?!  That is exactly the problem with that damnable Word of Faith heresy, especially the ilk that guy Smith, Smythe, Smoothie, or whatever his name is preaches!  Prototokos means and only means “primacy, headship, and preeminence” and, by definition, that only pertains to the Lord Jesus Christ!”

“I don’t know that Smythe puts himself on the same level as Jesus – that’d kinda be crazy – but you’ve read Hebrews 12.23, haven’t you?”

to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Hebrews 12.23, ASV)

to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, (Hebrews 12.23, NASB)

and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, (Hebrews 12.23, ESV)

“Of course I have.  Everybody in this convention has.  So what!?!”

“Then you know that firstborn is plural in the Greek, right?”

And unto the assembly of firstborn ones enrolled in the heavens, and unto God judge of all, and unto the spirits of righteous ones made perfect (Hebrews 12.23, Rotherham)

And to [the] church of [the] firstborn ones having been registered in [the] heavens and to [the] judge, God of all and to [the] spirits of [the] upright having been perfected (Hebrews 12.23, Interlinear)

“Uh … what was that?  What did you say? … What’d he say?”

 

Junto Meeting 3

May 15th, 2011

Our Third Junto meeting will be held on 28 May 2011. beginning at 9:30am, at our home (503 West Aurora Vista Trail, Aurora TX 76078).

Topic:

A Look at Calvinisms Key Scriptural References

  • This study will entail a look at Calvinism’s proof text from the Bible and ask if they are what they seem and if they could not be interpreted in a different way than Calvinism’s view

Required (this is to be done before the meeting):

  • Make sure that one has listened to everything from the last junto

Optional (this is optional helpful material in our discussion):

-n/a

Of Interest (this is off topic material but may be of interest):

– n/a

After Meeting

First Session:

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Second Session:

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Woman questions

April 8th, 2011

How do we become saved?

April 8th, 2011

Read

Peter Smythe: 2 Corinthians 5:21 – Glossy Imputations

March 30th, 2011

The Irenaeus Irony

One ironic twist of delving into the mechanics of 2 Corinthians 5.21 and the calls of blasphemy is the use of Irenaeus’s quote about heresies. Irenaeus was an Early Church father who wrote extensively against heresies that sought to infiltrate the Church’s basic doctrines about Christ and His redemptive work. In many of the current articles that equate the literal reading of 2 Corinthians 5.21 with outright blasphemy, one can find the following quote:

Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1:2 as quoted in D.R.McConnell’s A Different Gospel, Updated Edition at xv)

While there is nothing inherently wrong with Irenaeus’s statement, it’s ironic to find it used against those who take the literal reading of “He made Him sin.” Why so? In his third volume, Irenaeus says this:

For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God. For by no other means could we have attained to incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to incorruptibility and immortality. But how could we be joined to incorruptibility and immortality, unless, first, incorruptibility and immortality had become that which we also are, so that the corruptible might be swallowed up by incorruptibility, and the mortal by immortality, that might receive the adoption of sons? (Irenaeus, Against Heresies3.19) (emphasis added)

It appears that Irenaeus, himself, would have been castigated as an outright blasphemer today.

The Issue – Imputational Gloss

He Made Him Sin – 2 Corinthians 5.21

Jesus did not literally become sin; sin was symbolically imputed to him. (D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, Updated Edition at 125).

On the cross, God treated Christ as if He had committed all the sins of every sinner who would ever believe, so that He could treat believers as if they had lived Christ’s perfect life.” (John MacArthur, The Gospel of the Apostles, 2000) (emphasis supplied)

“[God] made Him to be sin for us.” This verse is impossible to explain adequately without understanding the concept of imputation that lies at the heart of Paul’s teaching on justification. Because Scripture repeatedly stresses the utter sinlessness of Christ—including right here in the very verse we are considering. Only if Christ was “made sin” by imputation can the full sense of this text make good sense. (Phil Johnson, Pyromaniacs Blog at Back to 2 Corinthians 5.21)

The core issue surrounding the blasphemy epithets (see prior post) concerns the doctrine of imputation, a theological gloss emphasized in the Reformation that is smeared over the actual words of the text. Imputation speaks of the idea of a forensic or judicial decree, but not the real deal. Accordingly, “He made Him sin,” is true only with the gloss rubbed in – God treated Jesus as sin, but He did not make Him to be sin in reality – and the actual words alone, well, that’s just plain blasphemy to some (which begs the question, “Did Paul blaspheme the Lord in 1 Cor. 5.21?”).

This idea of imputation doesn’t make just a pit stop at 2 Corinthians 5.21, but its reverberations quake all throughout the rest of the Word. Before heading into the text, we thought we’d demonstrate how this gloss, smudged on 2 Corinthians 5.21, ripples across the board distorting the coherent content and drama of our redemption:

Not Abandoned in Hell (Acts 2.27)

In this series, we examined the actual words of Acts 2.27 and fleshed out this translation:

for you will not abandon my soul in Hades, neither will you give your Holy One to see destruction (Smythean personal)

If we apply imputational gloss to 2 Corinthians 5.21, then we necessarily have to apply it to this verse (see prior post: utter blasphemy to say that Jesus took on sin nature or went to hell [hades]). Given that Acts 2.27 is a quote from Psalm 16.1, we’d also have to glob imputation on that psalm. And as Psalm 16 references several other psalms, we’d have to also dress those up with imputation goo and yada, yada, yada (notice that neither Acts 2.27 or Psalm 16.1 were written by Paul and are therefore outside of his “teaching on justification”). Of course, we could massage it some and say that “hades” does not mean Hades as Jesus spoke of it, but then we’d have to find some other kind of gloss to apply to Luke 16 (the rich man in hades) and destruction in Psalms and Job 33.28.

Ephesians 4.9: Where’d He Get Those Keys?

In this essay, we demonstrated that “he descended” means that Jesus descended into hades. In Revelation 1.18, Jesus speaks to John on the isle of Patmos and says, “I have the keys of death and of Hades.” With imputation, we’d have to turn it into something like, “I have the keys of death and of Hades … well, not really, but they’ve been imputed to me.” (And when he says, “I was dead,” you’d have to consult your local theology professor to ask, “Was it real or was it Memorex imputed death?”)

Jonah 2.2 – Echoes of Jesus (Romans 15.3)

Here we showed that Jonah 2.2 (“I cried for help from the depth of Sheol”) is an echo of Psalm 18 which proves to be Jesus’s own words (see Romans 15.3). With imputational gloss, the verse would have to be re-worked in the mind to be saying something like, “I cried for help from what I feel like is the depth of Sheol. I wasn’t in Sheol. Never been to Sheol, but it sure felt like Sheol to me.”

Matthew 12.40: In the Belly of Hell

In our Matthew 12.40 essay, we took issue with Wayne Grudem’s idea that the sign of Jonah (“Just as Jonah was three days in the belly of the sea monster, so will the son of man be in the heart of the earth”) was really just a prophecy of a weekend retreat to heaven and back for Jesus. Slathering on the gloss reinvigorates Grudem’s teaching, but that brings us back to our original conundrum, “Why would Jonah have to endure 3 days and nights in ‘the belly of hell’ just so Jesus could tell the Pharisees that his weekend retreat with the Father would be three days?”

The Sign of Jonah -2 (Romans 15.9)

In the Sign of Jonah-2, we showed that Psalm 69.9 which says, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me,” were the first-person words of Jesus Himself. With the gloss on, Romans 15.9 (and Psalm 69.9) would have to be restated to say something like this: “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell – not in reality, but just forensically – on me.” Of course, since Psalm 69 references Jonah, Psalm 40, Psalm 32, etc., we’d have to find Mac (our resident virtual theologian) and ask him just how many verses would be affected by this single splotch and just how heavy we ought to make it.

Trouble in Paradise (Luke 23.43)

With Jesus’s “I say unto you today, you will be with me in Paradise,” the gloss could be applied, a la Grudem, to demonstrate that Jesus went directly to the Father and just hung out in heaven for three days before being resurrected. The verse, however, would have to be re-worked with regard to the thief because he couldn’t come to Paradise until Jesus was resurrected (see 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 17). (We could say that “today” was a scribal error, but Mac would have to take that to the translator committees. He hasn’t done too well with them in the past.)

Luke 23.46 – Jesus’s “Geronimo”

With the gloss on, we could, in fact, keep the English versions of the verse and just throw out the God-breathed Greek. In Luke 23.46, Jesus says, “Father, I set before you, in your hands, the spirit of me” which is a quotation from Psalm 31.5 which includes the phrase, “You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me.” Glossed up, we could keep the English “into your hands I commit my spirit,” believing that Jesus took an immediate trip to the Father since he wasn’t actually sin (see above) and totally ignore the balance of Psalm 31 (that’s some heavy glossing there).

Psalm 40: No Self-Help Here (Hebrews 10.5-10)

Though the literal verses show that Psalm 40 consists of the first-person words of Jesus ( e.g., “he brought me out of the destroying pit”), the imputational gloss would really require an entire overhaul of Psalm 40 to escape its relationship with “He made him sin” as no figural reading could do. Maybe we could say that the “destroying pit” was some unmentioned pit in the Gospels that Jesus fell in during His earthly ministry. If that didn’t work, we’d have to go back to the same ‘ole “you forensically [or judiciously] saw me in the pit [I really wasn’t in the pit] and you forensically pulled me out … “ thing.

This imputation concept also brings into question the veracity of many of Jesus’s own statements, many of which we haven’t covered. For instance, when he was on the cross and said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” was that for real or was he speaking forensically (“My God, my God, why have you [forensically] forsaken me?”). And if we say, “No, imputation doesn’t apply there,” why doesn’t it? If it applies to 2 Corinthians 5.21, who’s to say that it shouldn’t apply here too?

Unlike Phil Johnson, we do not see where “[o]nly if Christ was ‘made sin’ by imputation can the full sense of this text make good sense.” We see the verbiage of 2 Corinthians 5.21 as being just as God-breathed as John 3.3 (“ye must be born-again”). In the next few essays, we will demonstrate why 2 Corinthians 5.21 is as clear as glass.

 

Peter Smythe: 2 Corinthians 5.21 – This Imputin’ Ain’t Computin’

March 30th, 2011

He Made Him Sin – The Apostle Paul

Jesus did not literally become sin; sin was symbolically imputed to him. (D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, Updated Edition at 125)

“[God] made Him to be sin for us.” This verse is impossible to explain adequately without understanding the concept of imputation that lies at the heart of Paul’s teaching on justification. Because Scripture repeatedly stresses the utter sinlessness of Christ—including right here in the very verse we are considering. Only if Christ was “made sin” byimputation can the full sense of this text make good sense. (Phil Johnson, Pyromaniacs Blog at Back to 2 Corinthians 5.21) (emphasis supplied)

In the Body of Christ, there has been a vociferous campaign against the “faith teachers” over the literal aspects of 2 Corinthians 5.21 (whether we are “faith teachers” is open for debate). While some teachers have clung to the literal reading of the scripture, the critics have shot back that the verse simply does not make sense and is actually blasphemy unless imputation theory is glossed over it (wearing a scarlet “B” wherever you go is not a whole lot of fun). While some will never give up the glossed imputation shine (or their manic invectives), the question is whether the literal God-breathed text is an orthodox reading.

The God-Breathed Grammar and Vocabulary

τον μη γνοντα ῾αμαρτιαν [ton me gnonta hamartian]

the one not knew [having known] sin

῾υπερ ἡμων [huper hemon]

on behalf of us

ἁμαρτιαν εποιησεν [harmartian epoiesen]

sin he made

Him who knew not sin, In our behalf he made to be sin … (Rotherham)

The Greek constitutes Paul’s original God-breathed words (no textual criticism here). For this essay, we earmark just “the one not knew sin … sin he made” which doesn’t do any violence to the original meaning. The first thing to note about these words is their bareness. Paul did not use a lot of flowery adjectives or adverbs in reporting this spiritual reality. The one not having known sin sin God made. There is not a more direct way to say it.

The second thing to note is that “sin” is singular. That gives sin an ontological meaning (“nature”). Some have said that it means sin offering, but that cannot be the case, i.e.:

the one not knew sin offering … sin offering he made.

As even Phil Johnson concedes, the verse should make sense. Sin as a nature is the only way that it does (imputation is a work-around the hard fact of Jesus taking on sin as a nature as set out in the verse).

Mowing in Greek

The third thing to notice about our phrase “the one not knew sin … sin he made” is its grammatical structure. The words “knew” and “made” are in what the Greeks call the aorist (past) tense. This is highly significant for understanding the verse. We can explain the aorist tense in this little example about mowing:

He mowed the grass. (aorist)

In this sentence, mowed would be the aorist tense. What can we say about “mowed?” Not much. We can say that he mowed the grass sometime in the past, but we can’t say when and we can’t say that it took a long time. The sentence doesn’t tell us anything more than “he mowed” and the grass might have grown since then. (“The aorist tense describes an undefined action that normally occurs in the past.” William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek at 194).

He has mowed the grass. (perfect)

In this sentence, “has mowed” would be the Greek perfect. What’s that mean? It means that he mowed the grass sometime ago, but it still looks mowed. In other words, the effects of the mowing are still present. (“The perfect describes an action that was fully completed and has consequences at the time of speaking [writing].” William Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greekat 224).

So, with the aorist tense, he mowed the grass sometime in the past and it might even be overgrown by now. With the perfect tense, he “has mowed” the grass in the past and it still looks beautiful (this is not one of my lawns).

So what does all that have to do with “the one who knew no sin … he made sin?” Frankly, quite a bit. Since “knew” and “made” are in the aorist tense, that means that at one time in the past Jesus did not know sin and that at one time in the past “sin [God] made.” The big deal about this is that if Jesus had never, ever known sin at the time that Paul penned 1 Corinthians then he would have used the perfect tense. He didn’t do that. Indeed, given that Paul used the aorist tense and not the perfect tense actually clues us in that Jesus could have “known sin” subsequent to “not knew sin” and, indeed, that is what “sin [God] made” is all about.

[This does not render Jesus a “sinner” or even a “demoniac,” but that is for another essay.]

Context: God, the Apostle, and the People

Sometimes we hear that “the verse doesn’t mean what it is sounds like it’s saying” all because of context. From examining the actual text of the scripture, we understand that there is no word present at all for “imputing,” “imputation,” “accounting,” “treating,” or even “reckoning.” But according to both D.R. McConnell and Phil Johnson, there should be and is from the context. The historical context, however, cuts a wide swath against such a reading.

According to some Bible scholars, the letter of 2 Corinthians was written in approximately A.D. 57. It is addressed specifically to “the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia.” It is a follow-up letter to 1 Corinthians which was also addressed “to the church of God which is at Corinth.” What is significant about this is that the Corinthian church was not comprised of a bunch of New Testament Ph.D.’s who could spend the day sipping their Cafe Americanos at Starbucks and wax philosophically about Paul’s “doctrine of justification.” Rather, the Corinthian church was comprised of “not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble” (1 Corinthians 1.26). Consequently, if the apostle had envisioned an underlying theological gloss about imputation in 2 Cor. 5.21, then he would have needed to have spelled it out, especially since there’s no evidence that the Corinthians possessed any of Paul’s other letters and there is no “see Hebrews 4.15” in the letter.

[This conjures up a scene out of Monty Python (you can imagine the accents):

“Him who knew no sin, sin He made”

“O’, ‘e was made sin, he was?”

“No, of course not!”

“But that’s what you just read. Sin He made”

“Yes, but no. Sin He made, yes. But no, He wasn’t made sin. There’s imputation in there.”

“Amputation? Where was he amputated? The legs? I do remember something about the legs.”

“Imputation! Not amputation! Paul says that he was made sin, but he really wasn’t made sin.”

“But why did he write that? If he wasn’t made sin, then why did he write, “Sin he made?” Maybe it was amputation after all.”

“No, no, no. It’s not in the letter, but we know it to be true.”

“But how do you know? Do you have another letter to us that says so?”

“No, I don’t have another letter that says so. Just accept it. Now I see why he wrote ‘not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble’ in the first one.”

“How do you know that’s right? I mean, if He wasn’t made sin, but it says so, then maybe we really are high and mighty. Ha ha, that’s funny. Hey Marty! Paul says that we’re high and mighty! Isn’t that a laugh?!”

“Oh just shut up! I’m through with you. Now, where did I put that cappuccino?”

Personally, I’ll throw my hat in with the not so mighty and not so noble.]

Some might ask, “Aren’t you supposed to cross-reference scriptures to determine accuracy?” The answer to that is yes, but that is not to say that any Pauline letter, standing alone, connotes falsehood. If that were the case, we could say that Paul (and God, for that matter) propagated blasphemy to the Corinthians by failing to tell them that they needed all of his other letters for proper construction of the verse.

The Galatian Comparison

Another aspect of 2 Corinthians 5.21’s context is actually the letter to the Galatians. Historical scholars say that Galatians was Paul’s first letter and that it was written around A.D. 49, approximately eight years before 2 Corinthians. In Galatians 3.6, Paul writes:

Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned [imputed] to him as righteousness. (NASB) (emphasis supplied)

In this verse, Paul expressly speaks of imputation which tells us that he was quite aware of the term and its use. In light of Galatians 3.6, it is appears more than a just a theological blunder to say that he must have employed imputation in 2 Corinthians 5.21 when the term is completely absent from the text. Moreover, just seven verses down, in Galatians 3.13, Paul writes:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ – (NASB)

Since Galatians 3.6 expressly refers to “reckoning” or imputation and Galatians 3.13 does not, we must assume that it is absent in 3.13 for a compelling (read: God-inspired) reason. And, as “having become a curse” is a parallel to “sin He made,” imputing the imputation gloss into 2 Corinthians 5.21 appears to contravene both Galatians 3.13 and Paul’s (read: God’s) original intent.

[Note: Technically, “knew” in 2 Corinthians 5.21 is an aorist participle which does not change the analysis. As is shown in Rotherham’s translation, most translators translate the participle as “knew” and not as “having known” (cf. NASB, ESV). And for the Greeksters, it is understood that our mowing example actually speaks more of aspect, but it is faithful to the text and this isn’t a Greek class.]