Thursday, May 9, 2013

Other "Elect" or Other "Salvation"?

I hardly know what title to give to this posting. Several seem fitting. I could borrow that of Brother Garrett's post Fanciful Interpretation because the quote I pen below certainly falls into that category. I could name it A Common Contradiction because the writer is guilty of committing one that I have seen numerous times from within his order. I have settled, however, on the one which it has as I want of focus on one particular error made.

2 Thes. 2:10 is a key passage in scripture which shows that God's decree of election is compatible with evangelism. The Apostle Paul did not let his allegiance to the former hinder him from preaching the gospel in its fullness.

He writes:

"Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory (2 Timothy 2:10).

Since this passage is an obvious gospel means passage it is necessary for the Conditional Hardshells to go to work in explaining it away so as to fit within their paradigm. One in particular, Elder Kerry Lathrop, has this to say on the passage in an article called The Middle Phase Of Salvation (a contradictory title for his system, by the way):

"It is also clear who the recipients of this salvation is, the elect. Paul rather dwells on the subject of obtaining another phase of salvation. He makes it clear by stating he has endured all things so that the elect may ALSO obtain this salvation. The using of the words 'also' and 'with' implies that it is associated with something else. The salvation that Paul is speaking of here is a timely salvation for the elect of God who are eternally secure in Christ."

So, according to the author the ALSO has nothing to do with Paul's desire for OTHER of God's elect to experience the eternal salvation he received, but for the elect to receive ANOTHER salvation in addition to the one they already had.

Fanciful interpretation?


Ignoring the context?


Approached with a preconceived gird?

This interpretation would not have been reached otherwise.

How come other writers, commentators, and theologians don't see Paul expressing his desire to see the elect get saved a second time? The learned John Gill comments on the phrase:

"that they may also obtain; as well as himself, and other chosen vessels of salvation, who were called by grace already; for the apostle is speaking of such of the elect, who were, as yet, in a state of nature:"

As well as HIMSELF, not as well as ANOTHER salvation! Gill correctly sees the true intent of the Apostle Paul's inscription as intending to convey his utmost desire to see other members of the elect family come to salvation.

Matthew Henry comments as well:

"Next to the salvation of our own souls we should be willing to do and suffer any thing to promote the salvation of the souls of others."

Let's see. The salvation is said to be the salvation which is "in Christ Jesus". If Lathrop is correct, then why are not all who are united to Christ in the new birth made definite recipients, but only the relative few who get to hear the gospel preached? Is there a salvation "in Christ" not conveyed to those who are made partakers of Christ?

The salvation is singular: THE salvation in Christ Jesus. If this qualifier has reference to time salvation then is Paul contrasting this with an eternal salvation which is NOT in Christ Jesus?

Since Paul is considering God’s elect as in their state of nature, as Gill correctly notes, the salvation he desires for them to see must be that particular one received in regeneration: that one great eternal salvation in Christ. Hardshells never speak of gospel time salvation forthcoming for the unregenerate. It is strictly a post-regeneration experience. Only if the Apostle was treating the elect as already regenerated could Lathrop’s theory gain any footing.

And should not a passage which explicitly clarifies the salvation under consideration is associated with "eternal glory" be interpreted as pertaining to eternal salvation? Do not the addition of these words stand in defiance of the reader who is trying to squeeze it into a temporal framework? In such a case, would not "temporal glory" be a more fitting expression? Only one who has an a priori commitment to anti-means could stare "eternal glory" in the face and continue with a temporal application!

Paul is not expressing in this place his desire to see those of God's elect, already saved, get saved yet again. He was no Hyper-Calvinist, but rightly understood himself as an instrument through whom God would administer salvation to those of His whom He had yet to call.

The "also" is not to be associated with "something else", but SOMEONE else.

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