Samer is a guy I've known for quite a while. I don't mean to smear him, though I probably could rather easily, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to be a little blunt about him. He doesn't like me. He finds every possible excuse that he can to disagree with me. And now he's deleted a thread with my previous article on it. AFTER he found out that the owner of the site had ok'd the post. If that's not abusing one's power, then I don't know what is!!
So every time I bring up Biblical Dispensationalism, he immediately quotes the whole of Romans 4 and expects all the Dispensationalists to drop dead on the spot. Strangely enough they don't, which I'm sure is a bit of a quandary to him. I'm going to try to clear up any questions that he may have about the issue here and now.
"is" denotes being, in the present. "The pizza IS cold" meaning the pizza currently is cold.
"was" denotes past tense, as in a past point in time. "The pizza was hot" meaning the pizza at one point was hot, and by implication is no longer hot.
Rom. 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.Ok, good verse. Now let's see what it says. "...is the reward not reckoned of grace...." Notice the tense? That's an important word: "Tense."
tense 2 |tɛns| |tɛns|Ok, so a tense denotes in which time or times a certain occurrence...occurs. Simple enough, right? Ok so I'm going to throw a few things out here and see what happens.
a set of forms taken by a verb to indicate the time (and sometimes also the continuance or completeness) of the action in relation to the time of the utterance : the past tense
Rom. 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.Always watch those slippery tenses. Is, are, etc. are rather complicated unless you pay close attention. Notice that Paul in Romans 4 is making a comparison, using Old Testament occurrences and making them fit the doctrine that he is teaching right now. Let's see something else that gets changed to fit what the author needs it to say!
Rom. 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
Rom. 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.Good verses! These verses, or at least the first two, show that we are to live by the faith of Christ, which faith is really the gift of Ephesians 2:8-9, if you pay attention. The third verse is applicable to the HEBREWS in the Tribulation (does His soul really have no pleasure in you if you draw back??) and therefore is not DOCTRINALLY applicable to us.
Gal. 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Heb. 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
The funny thing about these passages is that they're quoting an Old Testament verse. Wanna' see what it is?
Hab. 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.Cool! See what a little Bible study...um, wait a second...reread that verse. Another time. Once more for good measure. Look at the word ALL THREE of the NT verses leave out!! The OT passage that's being quoted says that a just man lives by HIS faith, speaking of his own, while the NT verses say that a just man shall live by CHRIST'S faith!! Rather interesting predicament, eh? PAUL JUST MISQUOTED THE BIBLE!!!
So? Ok, so Paul misquoted the Bible to make a point. Your problem? See, the Bible doesn't have to make sense to you. The authors, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, didn't have to wait for your opinion to write what they did. They just did it and God blessed it. No, that missing word isn't a scribal error. It's missing on purpose.
So, what have we learned from this? That God, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on men, can write what He wants to, to make what points He wants to, and it doesn't matter a bit what you or anyone else thinks about it. Ok, hopefully that's clear enough.
Next point: debunking the myth that Romans 4 proves that everyone got saved by repenting of their sins and trusting Christ. Sorry, but that in and of itself is laughable! If the DISCIPLES didn't know that Jesus was going to rise again, then how on God's green earth could DAVID have known? Or anyone before the actual resurrection?? Come on now, use that brain God benevolently placed within your skull!
Rom. 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.Quick question: does this passage say that Abraham was not justified by works? Yes or no answer; it's really quite simple. In fact, if you pay attention, Paul's making a rather misleading question here. He asks if Abraham was justified by his works, and then instead of answering the question, he turns it around and talks about glorifying before God, when that wasn't even part of the original question! In fact, Paul just avoided answering his own question, because it would have totally messed up his point! Don't believe me? Well read the next verse.
Rom. 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?Everyone likes to try to do away with this little problem to their theology by making this "justification before man," but they don't realize that it's their theology at fault. Abraham WAS justified by his works. He was NOT sanctified by his works, but he WAS justified. That verse says so. So basically, Paul's premise in Romans 4:1 is correct, just misleading. He WAS justified by his works, but he does NOT have whereof to glory before God. See? Again, simple English grammar. An understanding of the difference between Sanctification and Justification helps too.
James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
See, the simple explanation is that Paul is writing to one group of people, namely the Church, of which you and I are a part, and James is writing to someone else, or a group of someone elses. Which theory makes sense, since Paul addresses all of the letters with "To the church which is at (insert city here)" and James starts his epistle with "To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad." See, when viewed from a literal, grammatical, logical perspective, the Bible makes complete and perfect sense.
It just doesn't agree with you.