Author Topic: Hard to let go of John Piper's teaching  (Read 814 times)

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Offline Moses

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Hard to let go of John Piper's teaching
« on: April 21, 2014, 10:04:24 PM »
I had mentioned in my first post that I come from a Reformed Baptist theology and there are some authors that I have had much respect for and thus when they argue against UR it still makes me pause and say "wait do I have this right?"  Sometimes that is when it is good for me to review all of the verses that makes God's universal plan to save all so clear.   One of those authors though is John Piper who taught me to learn to find joy in God and His supremecy and sovereignty.  But of course he rejects UR and here is one of his arguments below.  What are the flaws in his reasoning? 

Some have used Colossians 1:20 to argue for universalism — that all rebel creatures, including the devil will be reconciled to God in the end and there will be no eternal hell.

Colossians 1:19–20,


In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

What's Said Elsewhere

I don't think such universalism fits with what Jesus or Paul or John say elsewhere. Nor is it a necessary meaning of Colossians 1:20.
■Jesus says that there are some who "will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:46).
■Paul said there are some who "will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
 ■John says of these that "the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever" (Revelation 14:11).
 
"All Things" Then, Not Now

One of the reasons some think Colossians 1:20 says something different from these three texts is that it's assumed Paul means "all things" in the universe now will someday be reconciled to God. I don't think he means that.

I think he means that the blood of Christ has secured the victory of God over the universe in such a way that the day is coming when "all things" that are in the new heavens and the new earth will be entirely reconciled to God with no rebel remnants.

Before that day comes, all those who refuse to be reconciled by his blood will be cast into "outer darkness" (Matthew 8:12), so that it is not reckoned to be a part of the new heavens and the new earth.

The rebels in hell will simply not be part of the "all things" which fill the new heavens and the new earth. They are "outside" of the new reality, in the "darkness."

Heinrich Meyer explains Colossians 1:20 in the same way. He puts it like this:


Through the Parousia the reconciliation of the whole which has been effected in Christ will reach its consummation, when the unbelieving portion of mankind will be separated and consigned to Gehenna, the whole creation in virtue of the Palingenesia [new creation] (Matthew 19:28) will be transformed into its original perfection, and the new heaven and the new earth will be constituted as the dwelling of "righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13) and the "glory" of the children of God (Romans 8:21); while the demoniac portion of the angelic world will be removed from the sphere of the new world, and cast into hell. Accordingly, in the whole creation there will no longer be anything alienated from God and object of his hostility, but ta panta [all things] will be in harmony and reconciled with him. (H. A. W. Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Hand-Book to the Epistles to Philippians and Colossians and to Philemon [Winona Lake, Indiana: Alpha Publications, 1980 (1883)], 241–42, biblical citations updated.)

No Whiff of Rebellion

One more pointer in this direction.

Perhaps there is a very good reason why Paul omits the term "under the earth" when he says that Christ will "reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven." He does not say: "whether on earth or in heaven or under the earth," as he does in Philippians 2:10. Indeed there is a good reason for not saying this.

The reason would seem to be that there will be an "outer darkness" — an "under the earth" — that does indeed have unreconciled beings in it. But this does not take away from "all things" being reconciled in heaven and on the earth in the age to come.

In God's new universe (the new heaven and the new earth) there will be no whiff of rebellion. All of that is in another dimension. "Outside" in "darkness." Real. But not part of the new reality. In the new reality all things are reconciled to Christ by his blood
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Offline Seth

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Re: Hard to let go of John Piper's teaching
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 12:28:03 AM »
Quote from: Moses
John Piper: I think he means that the blood of Christ has secured the victory of God over the universe in such a way that the day is coming when "all things" that are in the new heavens and the new earth will be entirely reconciled to God with no rebel remnants.

Actually this part is true. There will be no rebel remnants, but this is the reason why. The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote. I will provide the link afterward

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Yes, there is actually a scripture in the Bible - while not in Revelation - that literally says "then cometh the end." And you can believe that everything that cometh in "the end" - according to that scripture - is just as much true as the book of Revelation.

"The end" commences here:

1 Cor 15:22-28
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.


OK, let's stop right there for a second. We know that Jesus died for all who were dead in Adam, the world. We see Christ and his first fruits. That's the Bride. Because God was in Christ to reconcile the world to himself, we know that Jesus died for EVERYONE who was dead in Adam. As in Adam ALL die. SO, in Christ, ALL will be made alive. Many Christians will see this and say that Paul is simply speaking about resurrection, not spiritual Life. The problem is that they ignore the words. Let's look at each word: As in Adam all die...so...in Christ...shall all be made alive.

Did it say they will be made alive BY Christ? No. It deliberately says that everyone will be made alive: "in Christ."Jesus says, "I AM the resurrection and the Life." (John 11:25). Life is about more than being conscious and animated. It's also about being "in Christ." That's why he says "I am the resurrection AND the Life." You now know the reason that the gates of New Jerusalem are always open. When they have repented and enter the City, all who died in Adam will be made alive.....in Christ.

What does the church say about every unbeliever who was dead in Adam eventually living "in Christ?" Nothing. In fact, they actively deny it. Nevertheless, the Bible says that anyone dead in Adam, not "might," but WILL be made alive. How? In Christ, that's how. I'm just repeating the words here. Send your complaints to Apostle Paul if you have them.

Let's continue with 1 Cor 15:22-28, to see HOW this will happen:

Then the end will come (KJV, "then cometh the end"), when he (Jesus) hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under-his-feet (Greek - hupotasso - under control). The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he "has put everything under his feet." (Greek - hupotasso)

Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him (hupotasso), it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything (hupotasso) under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject (hupotasso) to him who put everything under him (hupotasso), so that God may be ALL in ALL.


You just witnessed - unlike Revelation 20, 21, and 22 - everything that will happen when "cometh the end" what will happen with "the times will have reached their fulfillment:" the restoration of all things. We see the order described as first Jesus, then his Bride...then the end. What happens in "the end" is much different than what you heard in church. In the end, Jesus places all enemies under his feet. The phrase "placed everything under his feet" stems from one Greek word (hupotasso)

It appears six times in the original Greek text between verse 24 & 28 alone! That's alot of hupotassos! Here is the definition according to Strong's Concordant:

To subordinate; reflexively to OBEY: - be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto."

You can see for yourself how this word is used in other contexts: James 4:7, 1 Pet 5:5, 1 Cor 14:32, 1 Cor 16:16, 1 Pet 3:22.

All the enemies of Christ outside the city will enter the city for this reason:

Matthew 21:43-44
Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.


If you know how important it is to spiritually discern the things of God, what is he saying in that scripture, by comparing it to a stone? He is saying that anyone outside the kingdom who has not inherited it will be "ground down" to powder and "broken" by it. When the Bride says "come everyone who is thirsty" they are telling the thirsty the truth about themselves: they are desolate and wanting. Grinding down to powder and being broken, signifies that "every knee shall bow." It signifies the humbling of man. That's why it's important to inherit the kingdom, than to be "broken" and "ground" by it, and enter as one who was put through the Day of the Lord as a woman enduring labor pains.

Again, what Jesus was speaking "in the dark" about that "stone," Paul is explaining to you in the daylight. The stone is Jesus. Anyone within the stone is in his Kingdom. That stone will demolish all rule and authority, and guess what? That includes SELF authority, and SELF rule. That is why "hupotasso" is being used so frequently. He is going to grind it all up and break it all down, and hand it all to his father so that God will be "all in all."

Now, one thing we know about the lake of fire is that it is "the second death." But according to Paul, when the end comes, "the last enemy to be destroyed (done away with)…is death." So not only does Revelation not claim to be "the end" we have assurance through Paul, that when the end DOES come death itself will be done away with.

Death, after all, is an enemy to God. But, the reason death will be destroyed is stated in the next sentence, "for he has placed everything under his feet." (hupotasso) The word "hupotasso" appears within 32 verses of the Bible and it is never, not even once, translated to mean anything other than being placed under obedience to greater will.

http://mercifultruth.com/links-savedbygrace2.html

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Offline Seth

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Re: Hard to let go of John Piper's teaching
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 12:51:31 AM »
See? No more "rebel remnants." And Colossians retains it's all encompassing, universe filling power.

Offline Moses

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Re: Hard to let go of John Piper's teaching
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2014, 04:45:04 AM »
That is good stuff Seth!  Also it struck me as I read that it is the same Greek word hupotasso used for Jesus being in submission to the Father as it is for the rest of all things being in submission to Jesus and subsequently to the Father (I don't intend to get into trinitarian discussions here and now).  So how is it that the same word is used according to the ET crowd to mean Jesus submission to the Father, and our submission to Jesus and the Father, but also it means the eternal punishment of those who didn't believe?  That seems like a huge stretch. 

Also it seems to me that Piper is infusing a predetermined theological perspective into this passage.  It is a bit circular.  It is as though he is saying, "well I know that it says all things but it really must mean all OTHER things since we have already determined that there is a place of eternal torment."    I have looked and there are MANY more passages that clearly discuss the salvation of all but he wants to use the FEW passages that look like eternal torment (when read from a biased translation) to interpret the many verses rather than interpreting the few by the many. 

Anyways I am off to check out your website now!  Grace and peace to you!

Offline Graph1159

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Re: Hard to let go of John Piper's teaching
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2014, 04:51:25 AM »
Although I think the author is making a true effort to rightly handle Scripture, there are two issues I see with the interpretation in the article quoted:

1. The article asserts that Col. 1:20 is referring to those who live on a future, new earth. But, if those people make it to the new earth, then they were reconciled with God long before. Thus, the Scripture would speak of already-reconciled people being actively reconciled again on a new earth. But this creates an illogical redundancy.

2. The very next verse (21) uses the present experience of believers to illustrate the reconciliation spoken of in verse 20. Therefore, the reconciliation of verse 20 cannot strictly refer to a future time.

The conclusion I draw from Colossians Ch. 1 is that God's plan of reconciliation through Christ shall ultimately include all (v. 20), but those who believe come into that reality now (v. 21).

I hope this helps,
Samuel

Offline Seth

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Re: Hard to let go of John Piper's teaching
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2014, 04:52:58 AM »
That is good stuff Seth!  Also it struck me as I read that it is the same Greek word hupotasso used for Jesus being in submission to the Father as it is for the rest of all things being in submission to Jesus and subsequently to the Father (I don't intend to get into trinitarian discussions here and now).  So how is it that the same word is used according to the ET crowd to mean Jesus submission to the Father, and our submission to Jesus and the Father, but also it means the eternal punishment of those who didn't believe?  That seems like a huge stretch. 

Right. Exactly. It's a huge stretch to say that it somehow that "huppotasso" means eternal damnation for his enemies (who he said we should forgive), but not for himself. Real quick about the trinitarian implication: The idea of Christ being subject to his father, I understand to mean that Christ was given a certain purpose to be a mediator between God and man. This makes Christ a representative of God. When God is all in all, you no longer need a representative because you are all one in Him, and in Christ, all perfected.

It is as though he is saying, "well I know that it says all things but it really must mean all OTHER things since we have already determined that there is a place of eternal torment."   

Glad you caught that. He's now working backwards. Rather than being informed by the immediate context itself, which does not restrict the universal meaning of "all" - he starts with an overall preconceived notion and forces it into the text. Therefore he limits the "all" with his own ideas, rather than the actual context.

Offline Moses

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Re: Hard to let go of John Piper's teaching
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2014, 05:25:07 PM »
Good stuff Graph and Seth, much appreciated!