The Satanic Church

Last week I mentioned I was reading Jacques Ellul. In his book The Subversion of Christianity I wanted to point you to an interesting take Ellul has on Jesus's comment in the gospels about seeing Satan fall from heaven like lightning:

Luke 10.17-18
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."
What might his passage mean? Ellul focuses on the literal interpretation of the Hebrew word הַשָּׂטָן (ha-satan)--accuser. So what might it mean that our accuser has "fallen from heaven"? Ellul's analysis:
"I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning," Jesus tells us. This is basic. Let us recall again that Satan is not a person. (There is no real need to use a capital; the term is a common one.) He is not Satan but the accuser, or even the accusation. We have to say that wherever in any form or for any motive an accusation is made (including true and justified accusations), there is satan. Satan is then at work, is present, and becomes a person. The process (as for the devil) is clear-cut. The accusation crystallizes in some way, and it results in the development of a personalized accusing presence. We are familiar with the process in the development of accusations, for example, collective accusations. Jesus tells us that satan is no longer in heaven. What he means is clear. There is no longer any personified accusation before God (as in Job) now that Jesus the Son of God has come to pardon us. To use the patristic image, an advocate, not an accuser, now stands at the side of God.
Most are familiar with the biblical allusions Ellul is making to Job and Jesus. You'll recall that Job's problems start with accusations made by Satan in the Heavenly Court:
Job 1.6-12
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
So Job is afflicted because, as Ellul notes, the accuser stands before God in heaven. Consequently, throughout the book of Job Job cries out against this. Rather than an accuser standing before God in heaven Job wants a witness, intercessor, friend, advocate and redeemer, someone to compassionately plead his cause before Yahweh:
Job 16.18-21; 19.23-27
“Earth, do not cover my blood;
may my cry never be laid to rest!
Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend."

“Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!"
Curiously, we never see Job's prayer answered. The redeemer/friend/witness/advocate never makes an appearance in the book. But in the New Testament we do find an answer to Job's prayer. As Ellul notes, Satan is no longer accusing us in heaven. Instead of Satan we find Jesus at the right hand of God as our advocate, friend, and redeemer. Job's prayer is finally answered.
Hebrews 4.14-16
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
So accusation has been cast out of heaven--"I saw Satan fall like lightning"--and in its place is the redeemer Job had longed for, an advocate at God's hand who can "empathize with our weaknesses."

But Ellul goes on. Given that accusation/satan has been cast down from heaven we confront the fact that accusation (the satanic) is now on earth. Accusation has become human sport. Ellul on this point:
God does not hear, does not want to hear, will not listen to the accusations that assail him from every side. But if accusations are no longer in heaven, if they no longer emanate from heaven, if God is not himself as accuser in any matter, then not only is accusation still on earth but it is also flourishing there. It is developing to the same degree as it is banished from heaven. That which no longer explodes as hatred and accusation in heaven is condensed on earth...Thus satan, accusation, proliferates in our world.
In this sense, we are satan. We are the accusers. We act like Job's satan, judging and accusing each other before God. We speak the words of the Pharisee in Jesus's parable, "I thank you Lord that I'm not like these other people."

Or the words of the crowd seeking to stone the woman caught in the act of adultery: "The Law says to stone her."

Or the words of the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son: "This son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, and you kill the fattened calf for him!"

Or the words of the religious leaders to the disciples: "Your teacher eats with tax-collectors and sinners."

Satan on earth.

And guess who is really good at this accusation, and often the very source of it? The church. Ellul goes on:
The church becomes the origin, the perfecting, and finally the model of all accusations and all systems of inquisition. It has brought the mechanisms of accusation out of the individual and private domain and into the collective and institutional domain. I do no want to overemphasize the Inquisition but it is still true that this was a prodigious perversion of revelation. A totality based on pardon became a totality based on inquisition...[S]atan came to lodge in the church's heart, the church itself became the great mistress of accusation and transformed itself into an invading cancer, crushing without end.
And because the church became preoccupied with accusation rather than pardon the rest of the world followed her example:
Alas, this development of accusation characterizes Christendom and then moves into secular movements. If our actual world is a world of insatiable accusation--political, social, intellectual, and moral--it is because of this mistaken switch on the church's part, under satan's influence. Satan made the church his special prey so that by means of it as his intermediary he might make the world truly mad.

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53 thoughts on “The Satanic Church”

  1. Richard,

    Rene Girard has a book titled "I See Satan Fall Like Lightening" in which, among other things, he explores how the church makes use of sacral violence to victimize and accuse.

    Recently, I was reading Eliot's "Choruses from the Rock" which reminds us in concluding lines of our need and our frailty for a pardoning church:

    In our rhythm of earthly life we tire of light. We are glad when the day ends, when the play ends; and ecstasy is too much pain.
    We are children quickly tired: children who are up in the night and fall asleep as the rocket is fired; and the day is long for work or play.
    We tire of distraction or concentration, we sleep and are glad to sleep,
    Controlled by the rhythm of blood and the day and the night and the seasons.
    And we must extinguish the candle, put out the light and relight it;
    Forever must quench, forever relight the flame.
    Therefore we thank Thee for our little light, that is dappled with shadow.
    We thank Thee who hast moved us to building, to finding, to forming at the ends of our fingers and beams of our eyes.
    And when we have built an altar to the Invisible Light, we may set thereon the little lights for which our bodily vision is made.
    And we thank Thee that darkness reminds us of light.
    O Light Invisible, we give Thee thanks for Thy great glory!


  2. So what does that mean when the church acts like the prophets calling for judgement or correction?  Isn't that an act of accusation instead of pardon?

  3. This question is one that I wonder about, too.  I would be interested to hear your thoughts, Dr. Beck.

    In the most simple terms, my thought is that "love" is the difference between accusation and prophecy.

    But I have learned that people have a way of subjectively defining "love."  So that simple definition is more complicated, isn't it?

  4. I think the answer to that question might be the same as the difference between self-righteousness and love. One points to one's own assumed standards, the other points away from self to the divine. Again, on the one hand the self stands over the other in accusation, on the other hand, the self is placed under the same judgement. The former is proclaimed from a place of self-preserving anxiety, the other from a stance of love.

    So the next question would be... is there ever an unambiguous manifestation of prophecy? Or are the two always mixed?

  5. I've been mulling this over over coffee this morning. Let me add a thought to what Alex and Susan have said. And this is just one thought.

    More and more, as regular readers will know, I'm drawn to the language of the principalities and powers. Our accusations shouldn't against "flesh and blood." Again, this isn't the whole ballgame but I think it helps to mark a separation between prophecy against "the powers of this dark age" and accusations against people.

  6. I like this. It's resonant with a notion of love as a drive toward reunion. One cannot be reunited with that which is the final object of accusation.

  7. Great, solid take on the satan and on its role in heaven and then on earth. Helps us all know what to be on guard against. And the principalities/ powers languages are indeed helpful to keep us from accusing people even when we name the powers that might be tearing them apart.

    I have one question I hope some of you can answer. What is the role of perception in all this? The reason I ask is that pretty often I'll go to the same church (or class) with a friend, and at the end of it my friend will have heard accusation--the satanic, the racist, the sexist--where I heard words of pardon and grace. Even an indirect insinuation that principalities or powers might be misleading them sounds (to them) like a judgmental accusation. I literally can't figure out how the grace/ pardon/ acceptance wasn't heard, or why what they heard as "accusing" didn't sound liberating and loving to them. In such a situation, am I blind/ deaf to (or in collusion with) the satan--or has the satan (who is also, at least sometimes, called the deceiver) interfering with how grace and gospel get heard? Either way, what could be done about it?
    I think this problem is especially apparent to me when the "church as accuser" truth gets played out as, itself, an accusation. Whether it's "those Catholics teach judgment, not grace" or "that conservative church is so judgmental"-- I have to take people's experience of the-church-as-judgmental as convicting, but it can become as damaging (and as potentially untrue) as any other accusation.

  8. For my part, I don't have any great answers. To be honest it's in moments like these where I despair of making sense of the biblical witness. The call to holiness and the call to love--two huge impulses in Scripture--seem so antagonistic at times.

    In answer I come up with in Unclean is that the issue is affectional. Miroslav Volf's "will to embrace." Calls to holiness aren't accusations when they are among the community of love. Inside the sphere of love such calls are acts of love. But when leveled at outsiders--people whose humanity, as outsiders, is already fragile and, thus, prone to demonization--the accusations become "satanic." Forms of out-group denigration. When the will to embrace isn't secured the conversation about holiness can't be experienced as anything but hostile.

    A freind can pull me aside and say, "Listen Richard, you're being an asshole." And that might be the most loving thing he can say to me. And as this is a friend, I can, after some soul-searching, hear this as grace. But I can't walk up to a stranger and say something like this. The will to embrace hasn't been established between us.

    Which brings me to perceptions. Though I can't say this is what is going on for sure, one guess I have would be about the expereince of the will to embrace your friend and yourself have with church. If you experience the will to embrace then what you hear in church is experienced as grace. But if a person is suspicious about the will to embrace from the church they will hear accusation. That is, it might have to do with the degree of reciprocial affection you each feel toward the church.

  9. My knee jerk training is law/gospel.  And one of the ingrained phrases is that the law always accuses.  And that isn't bad.  The law is good (Rom 7:16).  But the law doesn't save.  It increases sin. It teaches.  If I was trying to make a distinction between prophetic voice and accusation - I'd attempt to say that the prophetic voice is one that accuses for the purpose of correction or leading to the gospel and grace.  Whereas accusation would just be the action of a cynic saying the at the entire game is rigged (of course he follows you, you haven't given him any reason not to, said the accuser about Job).  The psalmists words in Psalm 130:3-4 would be the distinction -

    If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

    God is good.  God is love.  He does make iniquities, but he also erases.  We know this through the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Therefore any accusation of the law can be heard in grace and teach us to walk in the paths of righteousness.  The accusation from the powers and principalities just leads to despair.

  10. Thanks. I just so despair of working through this, especially when it's accompanied by suspicion/ skepticism/ bitterness. The churches I love show people the will to embrace in (what seem to me to be) tangible, self-sacrificial ways, day after day after day--but it doesn't count unless the recipients recognize it as such. And someone can come in and cherry pick the words of my community, in order to make the case that we're hypocrites/ judgmental/ satanic--and there's no way forward (if I disagree or defend, all that makes me is self-righteous or defensive).

  11. I see that. For my part, I just don't spend a lot of time defending Christians or the church (as you might have noticed). It's too hard to defend them. They are humans after all. Fickle and inconsistent. Sometimes saintly and exemplary. Other times petty and judgmental.

    I'll defend the Kingdom/rule of God until I'm blue in the face. But I don't defend the church or Christians very much.

  12. Very interesting, Richard.  I feel like this some incredible potential, but right now it seems to much to digest at once.  

    Specifically I'm wondering about how all of this fits in with a Christus Victor theology, understanding the qualitative aspects of "eternal", and how we can understand this within the scheme of heaven/hell not being within time/space reality.  Any thoughts?

  13. As long as the governing authorities are good we are to be subject to them Christian anarchy is nonsense.

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
    Romans 13:1

  14. Christus Victor is just one aspect of what Christ was doing in His death and resurrection. Annihilationism is most likely to be true. As a human being Christ took on the sins of His people. They were imputed to Him and He died as His human soul was destroyed forever. His Divine, immortal soul was infused back into His body as He was resurrected from the grave. I was recen...tly reading Paul Copan's chapter in "Contending with Christianity's Critics" and listen to what he says on the incarnate Christ. This is pretty close to saying Christ has two souls:"We can usefully compare Jesus' two levels of awareness ("Minds") with our two levels of awareness - the subconcious and the conscious:Jesus' human awareness can be likened to our concious, and His divine awareness is analogous to our subconcious. When God the Son took on human form, His fully aware eternal, His divine cnciousness, His union with Father and Sprit, His sustenance of the universe didn't cease but rather continued uninterrupted. Yet in His limited, developing human conciousness, Jesus grew and developed with an earthly, first century Jewish awareness of the world....Jesus' human consciousness significantly interacted with is divine consciousness and wasn't cut off from certain heavenly illuminations like the glow of divine light that streams through a cloth curtain. Jesus, however, didn't regularly rely on His divine conciousness while on earth but primarily operated in His human consciousness, just like us, with an added depth of divine awareness, being fully human".

  15. How on earth could anybody know any part of that?  I'm not saying that quote is "wrong", per se, but it just seems like a whole bunch of useless pontificating about the greatest of mysteries in the history of the world.  Furthermore, I think this blog (and the comments) are rather obvious indications that Annihilationism as "most likely true" is certainly not a majority-shared opinion.  Common, perhaps, but only among other perspectives which are equally biblical, if not more so.  Again, I'm not saying that Copan is "wrong", but I've never heard/seen any convincing biblical evidence, express or implied, that would lend itself to the idea that Christ had 2 souls.  It seems to me that talk about souls being destroyed and fused back into a body wreak of a duality I don't think I could go along with.

    On top of all of this, I don't really get how your response addresses the questions I have.  I'm not trying to be overly critical or cut you down, but I fail to see the connection.  If there's something relevant I'm missing in how your response connects to my questions about how to fit together the concept of Richard's post and these other soteriological aspects, then please enlighten.  However, I must warn you that I'm not sure I'm on board with this version of Annihilationism you seem to think is also "at work".Thanks.

  16. Well, think about it. There were things that Jesus didn't know. He had to learn and grow. This was His human finite soul. In His Divine soul He knew everything. It was immortal. Our sins were imputed to Him as He died in our place removing all our sins as His human soul was destroyed forever. Christ wasn't tormented forever in our place. His Divine immortal soul was infused back into His new glorified body. You are going to have to come to grips with the fact that Christ died in our place as a substitutionary sacrifice and universalism isn't true. 

  17. I have to note here the story of Paul, the author whom you quote, and Silas when they were arrested for casting out the demon in the girl. This is the story with the singing and the earthquake and all that. But the important aspect of the story is the way Paul deals with the law. First he disrupted the general way of things, you could say his charge was disruption of the peace and he knew it was risky to do this. So for this charge he was arrested and imprisoned, but as a Roman Citizen he had rights, and should not have been thrown in prison. Alas, Paul subjected himself to the authorities. Then when the earthquake breaks him free, he again subjects to the authority in place and stays there rather than breaking free. Then after he spends some time with the jailer, note here he is still under guarded watch, the magistrates realize they have a Roman citizen illegally arrested and they try to get rid of the issue silently with a messenger. At this point Paul refuses and decides to remain imprisoned wrongfully as the authorities had done. Paul waits until they come and personally let him out with an official apology as they are obligated to do.

    Paul subjected himself to the authorities, but not once did he consider the Laws and Authorities to be the rules by which he decided his fate. Paul showed the absurdity, corruption, and foolishness of the legal system, and he did it by obeying the law. Paul is not one to pledge loyalty to Caesar, Paul is not one to worship the gods of the roman state. Paul utilized a humble demeaning attitude towards the law to illustrate its limits and problems. Its very important, I believe, to remember this story about Paul when we quote this scripture. Paul wasn't exactly a Roman Patriot from anything we have to see.

  18. I thought I'd read something along these lines before and I found it:

  19. Who said I believed in Universalism???  

    Furthermore, I'm am fully aware that your claims aren't outside the realm of speculative logic about the God-man situation, but unfortunately it is pure speculation.  By what authority can you claim anything about what Christ did or didn't know, let alone about the working-out of some 2-soul theory?  I'm not necessarily calling you illogical.  Rather, it's that I don't necessarily agree with the grounds you're building your argument on, especially when I don't see how it addresses my questions at all.  I, for one, do not particularly like to indulge in exercises of pure speculation on unknowable things and try to act like they must be so.  I'm okay with a bit of ambiguity.  Furthermore, I don't know why I have to come to grips with any "facts" that are grounded in the limited perspectives of socially conditioned situations that gave rise to the popularity of words like "substitutionary".  The word alone implies things about an angry God that I'm not sure I agree with, and the only thing I have to come to grips with is Christ Himself.  Don't forget, Cole, that even your verbage about "imputation" and "substitution" are grounded in a belief about God that is also finite.  Personally, at this point in my life, I don't see how the imputation of sins and the substitutionary sacrifice have to be considered all that necessary.  I'm not saying they have to be wrong, but it's not like the Bible lends itself to one interpretation.@14d9a2b43646487ffeabd2a53e3272c9  , thank you for your response, not only because it's pertinent, but also because it shows there are multiple ways to interpret the meaning of what Christ has done.

  20. Thanks. Great.

    Maybe my problem is that I'm trying to figure out what it means to make the (rather odd) claim that the savior of the world has come and died and been risen in a way that defeats the principalities and powers, fulfilling the hope of Israel, creating a real change in the world or in me.
    If I didn't try to make that odd claim, I'd be set. God's spirit/ kingdom/ rule is working in mysterious ways that I don't have to be able to identify, much less defend. Always has been. Always will be. No problem there--and no need for anyone's face to turn blue.

    But what does it mean to claim that someone already won the major victory in this war? That this guy didn't leave us a book or a cure for cancer, but a tangible community which changes the rules of the game, which really brings God's kingdom near? That this guy changes people, so that (however much I respect all religions) people who know him might be different from people who don't?

    Granted, the church is (like every synagogue, mosque, Buddhist monastery, or rotary club) a mixed bag of saintly/ judgmental/ gracious/ petty/ exemplary/ inconsistent humans. Has anyone ever thought otherwise?

    But I do wonder whether the church is really a community that Jesus instituted, something that the gates of hell (the powers of accusation) will not overcome, with a special role in bringing in the Kingdom--precisely because it has hold of a story and is serving a Master that matters. Some days I even think that those with eyes to see could see this in really concrete ways: because the church has healed more of the sick than had ever been healed in history, and given food to more of the poor than had ever been given food in history, and cared for more orphans and widows than had ever been cared for in history, and forgiven (and reformed) more sinners than had ever been forgiven (and reformed) in history.

    Some days, I even believe that in the church God's rule is being revealed to the principalities and powers (Ephesians). The church is not perfect, not to be defended exactly, not exempt from satanic infiltration. But it is something more than simply another rotary club, another mixed bag that has no cosmic role in the invisible/ abstract battle of grace versus accusation.

    So I'll stop trying to defend the church. But I will keep looking for evidence that, far from being the main vehicle of satan's accusation, the church is the center of grace and hope for the world--the real church, with its real sinners and recovering jerks who are learning to love people besides themselves.

  21. I don't need to assert it... you already have: 

    "Our sins were imputed to Him as He died in our place removing all our sins..." 


    "Christ died in our place as a substitutionary sacrifice."Those are your words. If Christ "died in our place removing all our sins" then there are no sins left for us to die for. Why do you now seem to dispute your own conclusion?

  22. When I said "our" I was referring to us as Christians. If Christ paid for the sins of the reprobate and then they must pay for them again in hell you have a double payment for sins. This makes no sense. Universalism can't be true.

  23. "If Christ paid for the sins of the reprobate and then they must pay for them again in hell you have a double payment for sins. This makes no sense. "

    Exactly. It does NOT make sense. The sins of ALL (those "wise" believers like yourself, and the "stupid" reprobate like the rest of us) have already been paid for. Therefore, the notion of an eternal "hell" for anyone is nonsense. Therefore, universalism is true.

    Thanks for clarifying.

  24. This is great stuff. I've only read a small amount of Ellul but I've liked what I've read. Ben Myers over at 'Faith and Theology', spoke at a discipleship conference earlier this year on John's gospel. One of the many important things he drew to light, was that only Christ is the 'Judge'. That is to say, that while we all would assume that role for ourselves, it is our Christian confession that only Christ Jesus is given that authority. Ben used the story of the woman caught in adultery as his example. You'll no doubt remember, the woman is caught and accused by the mob of men and brought to Jesus (to condemn her, and test him). His judgement? "Nor do I condemn you; go and sin no more." That is the new paradigm, where accusation is replaced by grace and reconciliation, that I think Ellul is getting at. Not, ‘no longer are we judged’, but the judge has given his verdict: we are redeemed (bought out of slavery and then set free). No doubt, the church as the body of Christ, living in the spirit of Christ, should witness to this new paradigm. No doubt we fail, and have become the loudest accusers. But, there is always the hope of redemption, even for the church.

  25. Well, since Christ was our substitutionary sacrifice that died in our place it follows that eternal suffering isn't true. For Christ suffered and died on the cross. He wasn't tormented forever. Christ was fully human. This means that He had a human body and a human soul that was finite and grew as He learned. He was also Divine. This means that He also had a Divine soul. On the cross Christ died as a human being. This means both His human soul and body was killed on the cross. His Divine soul however cannot die and didn't die. For He said on the cross, "Father into Your hands I commit my spirit" Either way Christ didn't suffer an "eternal" suffering thus showing that the doctrine of eternal conscious suffering isn't true. Christ died for our sins. Showing that annihilationism is true.

  26. The Ellul and Beck combo pays dividends for my reading.  I also enjoyed Prayer and the Modern Man by Ellul.  Met a guy in college that learned French just because of Ellul's writings. Later, he also met with Ellul. My understanding is that Ellul joined a denomination in spite of his christian universalism beliefs because he wanted to be among a large group of christians and try to make a difference rather that be isolated.

  27. Well, the Bible knows nothing of Christian anarchy. The scripture assumes that the Governing authorities are good. If they are good then we are to obey them.

     1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

  28. "Either way Christ didn't suffer an "eternal" suffering thus showing that the doctrine of eternal conscious suffering isn't true. Christ died for our sins. Showing that annihilationism is true."

    You are correct, "eternal conscious suffering isn't true."

    And you are also correct that "Christ died for our sins."

    But contrary to your conclusion that "our" refers only to Christians: "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. " 1John 2:2

    If annihilationism is true then Christ would NOT be the "savior of all men, especially of believers" (1Tim. 4:10), but ONLY of believers. If annihilationism is true then Christ would not be the "savior of the world," but ONLY of Christians. If annihilationism is true then Christ failed.

  29. (1 Tim. 4:10) Christ is the Savior of all people namely, those who believe. That is, Christ is the propitiation of our sins (Jewish believers) and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (Gentile believers scattered abroad). For  51He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad(John 11:51-52).Cross references:John 11:51 : John 11:49 John 11:51 : Exodus 28:30; Num 27:21; 1 Sam 23:9; 30:7; Ezra 2:63; Neh 7:65John 11:52 : Isa 49:6; 1 John 2:2 John 11:52 : John 10:16

  30. (1 Tim. 4:10) Christ is the Savior of all people namely, those who believe. That is, Christ is the propitiation of our sins (Jewish believers) and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (Gentile believers scattered abroad). For He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad (John 11:51-52). The "whole world" means all nationalities and people groups. Not every single individual. For the Bible says Jaccob I loved but Esau I hated.

  31. Let's be cautious of the logic here. Satan accuses people, but not every accuser is satanic. "But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:7-8) "The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day." (John 12:48) "Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? [...] Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!" (1 Cor 6:2-3)
    Ellul is a gifted man, and I agree that the corruption of a church can lead her to satanic pursuits. But I think his exegesis quoted here is in err.

  32. "Christ is the Savior of all people namely, those who believe. That is, Christ is the propitiation of our sins (Jewish believers) and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (Gentile believers scattered abroad)"

    I'm sorry Cole, but that is religion speaking through you -- redefining "ALL" and the "WORLD" so that it fits your exclusivist theology; so that you can then consider yourself "better" than others (non-believers) and show how you EARNED God's grace. 

    To quote from another: "If we had to admit that people had some intrinsic good or value based solely on the fact that they are a precious, unique, image bearing creation of God then we actually have to start treating them like they have value."

    It is much easier to cast our fellow man into the "fires of hell" AFTER we have dehumanized them and "proven" that they have no value -- first to God and then to us. It has happened all throughout history. The Nazis did it with the Jews, and the Christians are doing it with the non-Christians. Since "no one can say that 'Jesus is Lord' (believe) EXCEPT by the Holy Spirit" (1Cor. 12:3) you are denying that faith is a GIFT of God and are boasting in yourself by claiming that you did something (believed) that others did not. It is nothing less than salvation by works.

    I wish you the best of luck in "earning" God's grace. How is it going so far?

  33. "The "whole world" means all nationalities and people groups. Not every single individual. For the Bible says Jaccob I loved but Esau I hated."

    The Bible also says that to be a disciple of Jesus you must "hate your mother and father." Do you? 

    The Bible also says to "love your neighbor as yourself." Which ones do you love and which ones do you hate?

  34. I'm not sure what to say. You are so off base I'm speechless. God's children are saved by grace through faith and this is not of ourselves but a gift from God so that no one can boast. The believing ones are God's children. Not the ones who commit the eternal sin and have no forgiveness in this age or the age to come. They will be condemned to extinction and be no more forever as they are reduced to ashes.

     “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—(Mark 3:28-29 ESV)

    It's not religion but a fact that God loves some more than others. Just as we are to love God more than we love our parents.

  35. "It's not religion but a fact that God loves some more than others.'

    What unbelievably fantastic "good" news that is. I cannot wait to share that with my fellow man! 

    "You are so off base I'm speechless." 

    Apparently not.

    Why don't we both just become "speechless" and end this discussion of our irreconcilable differences? 

    I wish you nothing but peace in your understanding of God's limited love.

  36. "You didn't respond to the scriptures I provided........................"

    So much for speechlessness.

  37. I was wondering about that as well.  Is there a difference between the roles of judge and roles of accuser?  Anyone have any thoughts on that? 

  38. A few things:  Was Paul speaking to a specific group about a specific instance?  Can we treat this passage as a universal principle?  I'm not sure, I'm just speculating.
    I do believe, however, that definitions often get muddled when we're talking about anarchy.  I would argue that most Christians believe in obeying the rules of the land if they are proper and submitting to the laws of the government.  I think most where Christian anarchy comes from is the non-conformity to the pattern of this world.  Too many American Christians nowadays are more passionate about the political landscape than they are about the Kingdom of God. 

  39. A few things:  Was Paul speaking to a specific group about a specific instance?  Can we treat this passage as a universal principle?  I'm not sure, I'm just speculating.
    I do believe, however, that definitions often get muddled when we're talking about anarchy.  I would argue that most Christians believe in obeying the rules of the land if they are proper and submitting to the laws of the government.  I think most where Christian anarchy comes from is the non-conformity to the pattern of this world.  Too many American Christians nowadays are more passionate about the political landscape than they are about the Kingdom of God. 

  40. 1) There is no authority except from God. The greatest human ruler should humbly confess he is where he is by virtue of God's sovereign appointment. 2) Nevertheless, some rules and governments are good and some are bad. Some reward the right and punish the wrong. Others do the reverse. Most do a little of both. 3) Therefore, the demand for subjection is relative, not absolute. It depends on whether the demands of the governing authorities require us to disobey Jesus. If they do we will not be subject at that point but will say with Peter, "We must obey God rather than men." We will honor God above the state. But if the demands of the state do not require us to disobey Jesus (as with speed limits, stop signs, income taxes, curfews, building codes, fishing licenses and many other laws) we will be subject for the Lord's sake (1 Peter 2:13). And it is very important to stress that, just as we may have to disobey the civil authorities for Christ's sake, so all our obedience should be for his sake as well. We never have two masters. All our submission to man is not only limited by the Lordship of Christ; it is also an expression of our yieldedness to that Lordship. Every time we say yes to any law, it should be a yes to Jesus. If Jesus is that much with us then  the goal for the Church as a happy, peaceful, loving group of aliens and exiles in the world will become a reality.

  41. Well, Satan tries to condemn God's elect but we know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Alot of times in the Bible when God judges a nation He will do it by allowing evil men to have their way with the objects of His wrath. We see this at the cross when God judged the sins of His people that killed Christ's human soul and body. I think this is what God will do in the end when He hands people over to a reprobate mind. Satan will be allowed to destroy the reprobate in hell both body and soul as they are reduced to ashes and condemned to extinction forever.

  42. So much for literalism. I guess that makes the conversation in early Matthew just an allegory? What are us struggling Fundamentalists going to do?

  43. The phrase that comes to mind is "speaking truth to power." I hear this one used a lot in certain circles; I'm sorry that I can't point to its source. But, anyway, it seems that perhaps prophecy is directed to institutions, institutional positions, or movements, and less to people. I'm not correcting here, but rephrasing to make a point...

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