The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is God Violent, Or Nonviolent?


#41

Those words as they stand do not read to me that the Lord’s coming is after the working of Satan, and they never did, since I first read it at 21 years old. Common sense prevails, don’t you think? The subject of the sentence is “that wicked one”. The interjection is, “whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of His coming”. Then back to the subject describing the coming of that wicked one. If Paul had been writing today, he might have written it differently, or used parenthesies around the interjection- but really, I can’t see anyone reading it the other way without really working at it. What sounds “normal” in todays syntax is often out of sync with the sentence structure of other times and languages, but in this case it isnt so far off as to give the average English reader a problem, imo.


#42

The reason you never read it that way is because you always read a version in which the text had been altered by the translators in order to bring out what Paul actually meant.

Now read it again as Paul actually wrote it, and tell me that it doesn’t say that the Lord’s coming is after the working of Satan:

And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.

To whom does the word “whose” refer? Normally it would refer to the person in the sentence that immediately precedes it, just as “his coming” refers to the coming of the Lord, and not that of the wicked one. The person immediately preceding “whose” is “the Lord”. It would not be “that wicked one” since that expression occurs more remotely from the word “whose.”


#43

Speaking of my charismatic roots, Greg Laurie of Calvary Chapel wrote a column for World Net Daily yesterday titled
Long Life? How About A Full Life? you may find of interest.

I think his discussion (and my dissenting comment today to his column—as “Marco Gol” at the bottom of that page) is relevant to the question “Is God Violent, Or Nonviolent?”

Blessings.

(Btw, I also recently commented on another Greg Laurie post called Is David Bowie In Heaven? My comment and responses in defense of evangelical universalism are as “Hermano” starting at 4:00 PM on January 13, 2016.)


#44

I already said who “whose” refers to in my post. It is clear to me by context, either way I read it, in Greek, or in English. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. I think the Spirit is able to give the proper sense and context, and I don’t really see how anyone looking at the context with a renewed mind would get anything other than what the translators- who in this case were, imo, correct-delivered…

“Normally” is a matter of opinion that perhaps I would agree with, were i only reading and analyzing the one sentence out of the contect of the entire subject, but in this case the context makes it clear, in addition to the fact thyat common sense dictates the Lord’s coming is in no way “after the working of Satan”.


#45

Today Greg Laurie published a teaching at World Net Daily titled, "Illicit Sex: Never Lower Your Guard." But when a pastor preaches on sin, I believe he is actually throwing gasoline on the fire. That, in so many words, is what I told Greg in the comments section at the end of his article (calling myself “Marco Gol”). Fyi, I mention Pastor Bob Coy in my comment, because 1) he is a close friend of Greg Laurie’s who fell into sexual immorality, and 2) I love him dearly.

Like Greg Laurie, my background is charismatic, Arminian, infernalist. But my view of God’s true nature has dramatically changed since leaving Calvary Chapel. I discovered that “grace teachers” such as

Steve McVey -a ‘hopeful universalist’ who has rejected his Calvinism
Joseph Prince -an infernalist who has rejected his Arminianism
Richard Murray -a ‘convinced universalist,’ and
Paul Ellis -an annhilationist
are (often unwittingly) leading the church toward the acceptance of universal reconciliation. See, e.g., “The ‘Grace Teachers Lead Us Toward A Global Understanding of Salvation.”

I commend these grace teachers to you, dear friends. I owe them each so much!

Blessings.


#46

Regarding God’s nonviolent goodness, I pray the ideas presented in “Is God Violent, Or Nonviolent?” will help counteract two misunderstandings within the ‘nonviolence camp’:

  1. That God is nonviolent, but there is no devil. And its corollary…
  2. That God is nonviolent, and therefore we can marginalize apocalyptic eschatology as merely allegorical, nonliteral, poetical.

As to the first misunderstanding—that there is no devil, and so evil comes only from the heart of man—please see *“Fighting For God’s Nonviolence,” *and the discussion there of René Girard’s Mimetic Theory.

As to the second misunderstanding, I offer as an example a book I am reading called God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now (2007), by John Dominic Crossan. Crossan is a New Testament scholar who, according to Wikipedia, “portrays the Second Coming as a late corruption of Jesus’ message,” and is an advocate for “a non-eschatological view of Jesus, a view that contradicts the more common view that Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher.”

For example, Crossan doesn’t like the Left Behind series of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. (Well, join the club!)

In a chapter titled “Apocalypse and the Pornography of Violence,” in a subsection called “Armageddon as Spectator Sport,” Crossan writes:

I appreciate Crossan’s observations, criticisms and concerns. But I believe there is indeed a devil, and that tragically he is sometimes confused with God—even by writers of Scripture. So we must be careful not to 'throw out the baby with the bath water,’ when it comes to the importance of apocalyptic literature in the face of a nonviolent God.

Knowing that God is in fact nonviolent, we must realize that apocalyptic scriptures, e.g., the Book of Revelation, are to be read as part of a progressive revelation. Apocalyptic writers like ‘John’ and others were doing the best job they knew how. They were imperfectly seeing and warning us of what is to come. But I certainly believe in a literal antichrist, a literal rapture, a literal tribulation, and a literal second coming—details to be freely debated.

Beloved friends, 1 Corinthians 15:54 tells us that

Here within linear time, there is a purging going on in each one of us, and throughout all creation. Eventually there will be no more death, and this lesser reality—where we currently perceive ourselves to be—will have fulfilled its purpose, and will be absorbed into the greater reality, into eternity. But now we have work to do, in praying, preparing, encouraging, and fighting.

Blessings.


#47

And I already said, that of course, the translators rendered correctly the meaning of the passage. Do you think I was arguing otherwise?
My only point is that grammatically the Greek order of the words states that our Lord’s coming is after the working of Satan. Of course, Paul didn’t mean that. And Irenæus was not claiming that Paul meant that. He was claiming that Paul in the rapidity of his discourse wrote the words in the incorrect grammatical order. So likewise with the “God of this age” thing. Irenæus claimed the order in that case should have been, “God has blinded the minds of the unbelievers of this age.”

It should not come as a surprise that God should blind the minds of the unbelievers. Jesus Himself said that he spoke in parables for much the same reason:


#48

Hermano, I’d appreciate it if you could chime in on my thread Corporate punishment and free will


#49

Paidion, how would you describe your view on inspiration and inerrancy?


#50

I would say, that to say a writing is inspired (as in 2 Tim 3:16) is a figurative way of saying that the writer was inspired to write as he did. For a writer to be inspired doesn’t imply that what he wrote is inerrant. It cannot mean that, since there are many factual errors in the Bible. Here is just one:

Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.” (Matt 27:9,10)

These words are not found in the prophecy of Jeremiah. Rather very similar words are found in Zech 11: 12-13, a passage from which this quotation was likely made. It seems that Matthew simply made a mistake and named the wrong prophet.

Some attempt to explain away this apparent mistake by pointing out that Matthew said these words were SPOKEN by the prophet Jeremiah, rather than WRITTEN by the prophet Jeremiah. However, if one looks at other passages in Matthew that quote the prophets, one finds that it was usual for Matthew to write that his quotes were SPOKEN by the prophet when, in fact, they were written. See Matt 1:22, 2:15, 2:17, 4:14, 8:17, 12:17, 13:35, and 21:4. John also did this (John 12:38).

I see inspiration as a writer being influenced by God to write as he did about particular subjects. In general, the inspired writer’s historical accounts are correct, and his discourses on divine matters bring out truth. This does not mean that every detail is flawless.

Also, I do not see inspiration as restricted to the 66 books found in the Protestant Bible. If it were, then on what basis do we say that those particular books are the exclusively inspired writings? In the early church, there was much disputation about which writings were to be read and used in the churches. For gnostics were churning out writings purporting to be apostolic when, in fact, they were forgeries. Writings that were rejected or at least disputed in those early times included Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2nd and 3rd John, Jude, and Revelation. Clement (Paul’s fellow labourer) wrote a long letter, and powerful one, to the Corinthian Church shortly after Paul and Peter’s death. That letter was widely read and used in the early Church. Why it didn’t make “the canon of scripture” is anybody’s guess. Athanasius’ list of “New Testament” writings to be read and used in the churches is identical to those in our present New Testaments. So was Athanasius inspired to select this particular list? If so, then there must be inspiration outside the Canon. However, Athanasius’ list of “Old Testament” writings included Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah, and excluded the book of Esther.

One might ask why Esther is included in the Protestant Bible, but Judith is excluded. Both are about heroic women who saved the Hebrew nation.
In Esther, God is not mentioned even once.

Here is an interesting link from Bible Researcher concerning the Canon of Scripture:


#51

This is a great post Paidion. I agree with your stance.


#52

For your consideration:

Why Standing Against Islamic Violence Forces You To Rethink Biblical Inerrancy by Benjamin L. Corey.

Blessings.


#53

I believe God is nonviolent. When we read in Job that God allowed Satan to bring fire down from heaven the text goes on to say it was the fire of God. This is also why when God allowed Satan to take Job’s family the text goes on to say “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away”. Based on these verses I interpret those verses in the Bible that say God destroys as God permitting or allowing evil and destruction (for justifiable reasons). This is how God’s wrath was expressed at the cross. He allowed evil to have it’s way with Christ. What Satan meant for evil God meant for good - the saving of many lives. One act two intentions. The worst evil in human history was meant by God for good. Incidentally we see this in the Old Testament as well. God will bring evil to judge His people and turn around and judge the people who brought evil against His people.


#54

St. Michael, as in this essay, I often try to point people to the ideas of Richard Murray. Particularly his SATAN: Old Testament Servant Angel or New Testament Cosmic Rebel? I strongly commend this journal article to you. For me, it was life-changing.

I must disagree with the idea of “God permitting or allowing evil.” I believe God has disallowed all evil through the finished work of Christ. And as Christians, it is up to us to enforce his victory with ‘the weapons of our warfare,’ which are spiritual and not carnal. 2 Cor. 10:4.

Here is something else by Murray I hope you will find of interest: this FB post where he disputes Calvin’s view of God’s “omni-causative sovereignty.” He asks people to think through all the implications of what Calvin was saying. And to take full ownership of those implications—if they agree with Calvin’s premises.

To whit, Calvin claims:

and that

Blessings.


#55

Hermano,

Thanks. Let me just say that I hold to the view of Thomas Aquinas on predestination and control. I believe in “Free Will” and God’s total control and predestination but He permits evil. God is the Greatest Sovereign good and therefore must love Himself as such. Not to do so would be a sin and God is holy. This view of providence and predestination was held by the Mystical Doctor of Catholicism St. John of The Cross. It lays the foundation for holy living and contemplation bringing one into union with Christ. For my future is in God’s hands because I love Him and therefore I have hope. I hold this view because I’m striving to become more holy like St. John Of The Cross was.


#56

Friends, over at The Christian Post there is a column called
Greg Laurie: Jesus Christ Calls on Christians to Share the Gospel, Refusing to Can Be a Sin.”

I have had some exchanges in the Comments section there about the nature of God. Please be encouraged to chime in.

Blessings.


#57

In light of the today’s tragic events in Brussels, we remind ourselves that

-Our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12)
-The weapons of our warfare are spiritual; and whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (2 Corinthians 10:4; Mat. 16:19)
-God is not in the violence business, Satan is (John 10:10)
And from a Catholic theologian—

[size=125]Violence is Contrary to God’s Nature[/size]: Common Ground for Catholics and Atheists by Dr. Matthew Ramage of Benedictine College:

(Come on, Baptists! Come on, Pentecostals! Come on…Muslims.)


#58

The quote from the Catholic person is spot-on imo, and reminds of the the Channing piece I have linked to many times:

“We regard the Scriptures as the records of God’s successive revelations to mankind, and particularly of the last and most perfect revelation of his will by Jesus Christ. Whatever doctrines seem to us to be clearly taught in the Scriptures; we receive without reserve or exception. We do not, however, attach equal importance to all the books in this collection. Our religion, we believe, lies chiefly in the New Testament. The dispensation of Moses, compared with that of Jesus, we consider as adapted to the childhood of the human race, a preparation for a nobler system, and chiefly useful now as serving to confirm and illustrate the Christian Scriptures. Jesus Christ is the only master of Christians, and whatever he taught, either during his personal ministry, or by his inspired Apostles, we regard as of divine authority, and profess to make the rule of our lives.”


#59

In light of the today’s tragic events in Brussels, we remind ourselves that

-Our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12)
-The weapons of our warfare are spiritual; and whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (2 Corinthians 10:4; Mat. 16:19)
-God is not in the violence business, Satan is (John 10:10)

Exactly right.


#60

Fyi, today I commented on an article I found called

A THOROUGH REFUTATION OF THE FALSE-GRACE HERESY OF JOSEPH PRINCE PART 3” by Pastor Chace Gordon.

Prince is my favorite grace teacher; unfortunately he is still an infernalist—though a tepid one. But his infernalism is not the beef that Pastor Gordon has with him.

Gordon offers, and then counters, various quotes from Prince’s book Destined To Reign; I select only one particular discussion of interest—his dispute with Quote #55 regarding the Law of Moses. (Recall that 2 Cor. 3 names that covenant a ‘ministry of death and condemnation, engraved on stones.’ That hiccup—out of the unilateral Abrahamic covenant of grace—and into the bilateral Law of Moses, lasted from Sinai to the cross.)

Gordon quotes Prince, then gives his critique of the quote:

Here is my contribution to the Comments section of Pastor Gordon’s article:

Pastor Gordon’s complete article, with my disagreement, is found here.