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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

How Some Interpret Scriptures

HOW TO INTERPRET SCRIPTURES
 
EXEGETICAL
THEOLOGICAL
BIBLICAL
 

The issue of interpretation is one of hermeneutics. 
 
 
Charity and I were sitting listening to Frank preach at Bigelow Church in Portsmouth Ohio, and as he was preaching, I said to Charity, I know by his preaching where he is going theological.  I know his position on doctrine of salvation, is doctrine on last events.
 
 
When you deal with issues in connection with soteriology, one must start with a sound theology of soteriology and scripture.
 
 
If you start with man you will arrive at a man made position.  If you start with God you will arrive at another position, the God position.
 
 
Many want to defend God and speak for God. But we must see or let God be God.
 
There is no compromise in the doctrine of Sovereignty.
 
In any interpretation of Scripture you start first in light of doctrine.  What does the whole of Scripture teach. 
 
On the surface of most text you are going to get a view that is not in the text.
 
As we all do we start with Scripture and we quote it and then make an scriptural argument that the verse apply to our point of view.

Martin Luther speaks of this issue with Erasmus
 
The scriptural passages cited by some to set forth their  case are the following: Genesis 4:6, 7; (Apocrapha) Ecclesiasticus 15:14-17; Isaiah 1:19-20; Isaiah 45:20, 27; Ezekiel 18:31; Ezekiel 33:11.
 
 (click on the verse)
 
Besides these, there are also texts which he cites to argue that God's call for us to keep the law implies not only the duty to do it but also the ability to perform it. Such texts are: Genesis 2:16, 17; Exodus 20; Jeremiah 26:4.
Other texts that he used are texts which speak of a serious call by God for sinners to repent. He thinks that such a call must necessarily imply natural ability. Such texts are: Joel 2:12; Jonah 3:8; Jeremiah 26:3.
In these texts he reasons that Scripture always speaks about salvation as "a striving after better things."
In addition, he uses those texts that speak about threats and promises for sinners who reject and obey God's commands: Exodus 32:9; Micah 6:3; Psalm 81:13.
Of all these texts, Ecclesiastes 15:14-17 seems to be the principal text that he used. It is with this text that he begins his defense and it is from this text that he derives his definition of free choice. One can see why he bases his argument strongly on this text, for here he has the elements necessary for his thesis. The elements are, a conditional "if"; a promise; an appeal; and the word "choose," which he claims presupposes ability.
The several texts that he refers to from the New Testament are texts such as: Matthew 23:27; John 14:15; Matthew 5:12; 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25; 1 Timothy 6:12, etc.
Looking at these texts, it seems that Erasmus makes a rash jump, for texts that have the words "if" and "reward" in them, or suggested in them, are pertinent.
Although they many  thinks that the whole of Scripture supports his view, he nevertheless admits that they are texts which seem to oppose free choice in man. Such texts he considers to be: Exodus 9:12; Isaiah 63:17; Romans 9:17; 9:11-13.
Of all these texts and others, he says that "there are two that stand out in particular."12 The two are Exodus 9:12 and Romans 9:17. Both of them have to do with God hardening Pharaoh's heart.
Without at this moment examining his exegetical errors, we turn from his scriptural proofs to his theology. Since it is in this part of the book that he discusses his theology, we will present his theology also in the same context.
Firstly, he sees that Scripture makes a clear distinction between man before and after the Fall. He contends that man before the Fall is in no need of grace. He writes,
In man the will was so upright and free that, apart from new grace, he could continue in innocence.13

After the Fall, he sees man's will as only weakened, and not totally depraved and corrupted. He writes that the will is, after the Fall, "obscured by sin, but not altogether extinguished."
In other words, he speaks about a partial depravity after the Fall. This is clear from the language that he uses immediately following this statement. He says,
Thus, as the sin of our progenitors has passed into their descendants, so the tendency to sin has passed to all.

This, he says, is owing to the fact that after our first parents fell, God immediately acted to forgive their sins, and by his grace has restored man to a morally able condition. By this grace man is enabled to continue to do the right, yet not without the tendency to sin. He underlines the latter and says that sin is not totally rooted out owing to the vestiges of original sin in us.
On the one hand he seems to say that the image of God in man is not totally extinguished, because man is still a reasonable creature. But, as he goes on, it is clear that buried inside these reasonable and moral faculties is the ability to do some good. Although it is not a saving good, nevertheless it is a good that enables him to merit salvation. He writes,
And in these things it is probable that there was a will in some way ready for the good but useless for eternal salvation without the addition of grace by faith.

Thus, he sees not only the ability to do good in man, but also that the good he does is able to bring him a step nearer to salvation. The goodness that man does is then a stepping stone to saving faith. This is akin to the idea of a common grace that some Reformed people speak about.
Indeed Erasmus mentions common grace. More than this, to rescue him from his own dilemma, he speaks about three or even four kinds of grace. By grace he means merely a benefit freely given. As such there can be manifold ideas of grace.
 
 
Firstly, there is common grace, by which he means the common benefits God gives to all men alike.

Secondly, there is peculiar grace. This is the grace by which,
God in his mercy arouses the sinner wholly without merit to repent, yet without infusing that supreme grace which abolishes sin and makes him pleasing to God.

This grace only assists the sinner, but never saves him. It makes him displeased with himself, and leads him to do a good that makes him a candidate for the highest grace. One may call this a preparing grace, but Erasmus calls it an operative grace, or stimulating grace.

This second grace is given to all men alike. This second grace will enable one to cooperate with the third kind of grace, which he calls cooperative grace, that will make man's salvation effective. This third grace, like all the other graces, can be refused and resisted. But when man, having being enlightened and enabled by the preparatory grace, and by his awakened will cooperates with this third grace, then his salvation is completed. Thus he writes,
The first arouses, the second promotes, the third completes.



Free Will and God's Foreknowledge