Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Definition of Faith or Belief and Prayer, pt. 2

Part One (and a recent related post)

I should perhaps just call this series "prayer," because that what it's about.  A couple of points before I dive into this again.  One, people aren't interested in prayer.  People don't buy books on prayer.  My wife mentioned the book Prayer of Jabez, and, yes, that is a popular book on prayer, something that 'unleashes power to make you rich.'  Part one of this series received no comments and as few hits as I get (I know, it's because I'm a bad writer).  Two, people are touchy about prayer, even though, I believe it should be one of the most criticized areas of Christian life. Matthew 18:19 gives a prerequisite of agreement.  Agreement requires evaluation.  Agreement suggests possible disagreement.  Agreement isn't agreeing to disagree.  It is in fact agreeing.

One of the most life-changing events of my life came when I preached the first time through the Lord's model prayer.  Prayer is important in the Bible and to God.  Knowing how Jesus said we are to pray, then, is very important.  Jesus said, "Pray after this manner" (Matthew 6:9) and "When ye pray, say" (Luke 11:2), and the requests of that prayer contain zero mystery.  Jesus' model prayer contains nothing that we are not certain we will get.

Only one of the requests in Jesus' model is physical.  Daily bread.  Do Christians already know that they will get daily bread?  Do they already know God is going to take care of them and meet their physical needs?  I think so.  In the Old Testament, Psalm 37:25 says,  "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."  In the New Testament, I remember Philippians 4:19: "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  1 Timothy 6:8 defines "need" nicely:  "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."  God will supply food and raiment.  And yet Jesus taught believers to pray, "Give us day by day our daily bread" (Luke 11:3).  They are already going to get it, but they are still to pray for it.  You know you're getting bread and yet you pray for bread.  You are expressing your dependence on God about something you know you will get when you pray.  You know.

Faith and evidence go together (Hebrews 11:1) [talked about in part one].  This is where the "will of God" and prayer go together.  The will of God is something we know.  Praying for what we know fits with Jesus' model prayer.  Add to this 1 John 5:14:  "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us."  A prerequisite to God hearing our prayers is that we ask according to God's will.  This can't be talking about something we don't know.  God doesn't ask us to do something about which we can't be certain.  We've got to know what God's will is in order to be sure to pray it.  So again, we pray for what we know, for what we are certain.

Scripture isn't going to contradict itself.  God doesn't deny Himself, so whatever request is in scripture, the person praying it must have been certain about it.  There are explanations for those passages.  We've talked about Paul wanting Philemon to pray for him to get out of prison in Philemon 1:22, "But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you."  That prayer won't contradict the teaching about praying in faith and according to God's will.

We can believe what we know God will do.  I don't know if God will save someone.  I don't know if God will heal someone.  The not knowing of either of those two explains why we don't see them as prayers in the New Testament.  It doesn't mean that we don't pray for unsaved people or that we don't pray for sick people.  We pray what we can believe that God will answer.  Again "faith" and "the will of God" coincide.

Praying for what God will do is not the same as praying for what God can do.  We know that God can do anything and we should rejoice in all that God does.  I rejoice He can do anything.  I praise Him for His wisdom, knowledge, and power.  He can heal people.  He can save people.  Do I know if He will save or heal a particular individual?  I don't.  So I don't pray that prayer.

For a moment, I want us to think about this in a practical way.  If God saved everyone we prayed to be saved, then we should pray for every person on earth to be saved with the confidence that God will save every person.  If God healed everyone we prayed to be healed, we should pray for every person on earth to be healed with the confidence that God will heal every person.  We have two born again blind men who are members of our church, both about 60 or so.  If God will heal in answer to prayer, then I should pray for them to see.  I've asked those who believe in praying for healing if they would pray for these two men to be healed.  They won't.

The practical ramifications of the teaching of praying for physical healing reminds me of the Charismatic movement.  I can't see how they are different and I'm open to any ideas.  People without limbs can't count on getting new limbs by a Charismatic healer.  Jesus can do that.  Jesus put Malchus's ear back on.  But the Charismatic healers aren't doing that kind of thing.  They expose their fraudulence.  Let's turn this over to prayer for healing.  How do men know what diseases and injuries to pray for?  Do we pray for someone to walk again who has had his limbs blown off by an improvised explosive device?  Why not?  What is the biblical basis for God not doing that today?  Today people will pray for a young lady to bear a child, but why not a 65 year old who would love to have one?

There is a way to pray for sick people.  There is a way to pray about evangelism and even pray for the lost.  We should do that.  God can and does heal people.  He saves people.  But as it relates to these, we are to pray for what we believe God will answer.  Again, not can answer, but will answer.

What about Old Testament prayers?   The prerequisites don't change.  However, God made promises to Israel that Israel could then pray for.  Read 2 Chronicles 6 and Solomon's dedicatory prayer for the temple. He prayed that God would hear their prayers of repentance in the temple.  God answered the prayer in 2 Chronicles 7 with a familiar passage.  Yes, if His people did humble themselves and pray there, God would hear and forgive and heal.  When someone prayed that kind of prayer, like Jehoshaphat does later in 2 Chronicles, God in fact hears on those very terms.

Some scriptural prayers for the Apostle Paul were prayers not in God's will for us.  He knew things that we don't know.  But the common ground is scriptural prayers.  We follow what scripture says about prayer.  I know that this is where the discussion should form.  Certainly we pray in everything.  Whatever situation we're in, whether sickness or in other difficulties, we should pray.  But what we pray should be scriptural.

Do we see New Testament prayers for healing and do we see New Testament prayers for God to save someone?  I believe the answer is "no."  We don't see a prayer for someone to be healed and for someone to be saved.  These are not scriptural prayers.  We have no basis for those prayers, so we shouldn't pray them.

In many cases, relating to this discussion, people ask about examples from history.  Any record of events from history holds no authority over what we should pray for.  The usual argument for a "prayer for revival" comes from the history of revival.  Someone evinces prayer for a "miraculous birth" with an illustration of a "miraculous birth."  It's fine to talk about history and prayer, but history is not an authority for prayer.  People ask about historical examples:  "If that's true, then how do you explain Jeremiah Lamphier and his prayer revival in New York City?"  Or, "how do you explain the prayers of George Mueller?"  I'm happy to explore an explanation to these types of questions, but we should start by understanding that the examples themselves are non-authoritative.

I really do not find much difference between the historical or experiential examples people use and those also used by the Charismatic movement.   Hundreds of times I have entertained these stories at someone's door, and I find myself arguing about a story instead of someone relying on scripture. This is how false doctrine grows and spreads.  People place these experiences over scripture.  If you argue against personal experience, the people very often get very upset or angry.

When I get sick, I start by thinking I'll get better.  I do the physical things that it takes to get over the illness:  drink more water, take vitamin C, get more rest -- those types of things.  If I still don't get better, I go to the doctor.  I did this recently with a bad case of poison oak.  I got a shot and it improved quickly and dramatically.   I think I'm going to get better.  Part of my thought is that I have a good God.  I trust in His hand, in His providence.  He is sovereign.  He knows I'm sick.  He knows what His purpose is.  If he wants me to get better, I will.  If He doesn't, I can be fine with that too.  I expect I will get better, as I meditate on His mercy.

I also consider how sickness and difficulty will help me grow or be purified.  I explore how God is allowing or causing to conform to the image of Christ.  I struggle to keep the right spirit and disposition that will be a good testimony for the Lord.  If any one of these got worse, and I was dying.  There was seemingly no cure.  I would then count myself to have been greatly blessed with the life I did have and still do have, joyous in my eternal salvation, knowing that I would be going to a place far better.  I see that as the attitude of the Apostle Paul.  He desired to depart.  Departure isn't the end for a believer.  I don't want to act like it is.

I had jury duty this last week.  After most of the day, and I didn't get on the jury, the rest of us, who didn't make it, were dismissed.  We had to turn in our badges, and I was walking behind a man with artificial knees.  He was walking very slowly.  If anything hurts on me, it's my hip.  My brother, three years younger, already has an artificial hip.  Maybe I'll have one some day.  But the man apologized for slowing me down, and I said, "That's OK.  I'll probably be there soon."

If I want to slow down the process toward getting an artificial hip (not saying I'll ever get one), I lose weight by changing my diet and exercising.  I don't feel hip pain and pray to be healed.  I don't.

I started into this incursion into prayer off a post about making Acts normative.  I still see the problem as coming out of revivalism.  The proof is first experience and then making the wrong application from a biblical prayer out of this dispensation.  You hear a wrong usage of the word "miracle."  I'm convinced now that we shouldn't be using miracle to apply to providential events today.  I'm not saying that providence is less powerful than a miracle.  It could be more powerful, but a miracle suits a particular purpose, as a sign.  Providence represents God's supernatural working in the age in which we live.

Further, since prayer is, as I said, a touchy subject, people go on with unbiblical prayers without criticism.  Even if they were biblical, the prayers should be analyzed, chiefly to see if they're the will of God, if they're scriptural.

A good starting place for everyone is to follow the model of Jesus.  If you follow that model, you won't go wrong.  If Jesus wanted us to go further, why didn't He add to that?  The other propositional teaching of the New Testament fits with the model.  Organize your prayer life around Jesus' model prayer.


Don Johnson said...

James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Jon Gleason said...

Kent, the Lord's Prayer is a pattern, not a liturgy.

If a man in our church is out of work, I'm going to pray that the Lord provides a job. I don't know that the Lord is going to provide a job. Perhaps the Lord has another way of meeting the need. Perhaps he will inherit a relative's business, and I was mistaken to ask for a job. I trust the Lord.

The pattern from the prayer is that, as we pray for spiritual needs (forgiveness, protection from temptation, etc), so also we pray for temporal needs (daily bread). Health is a temporal need, or at least it often is.

If a man in our church can't work because of illness, I'm going to pray that the Lord will heal him so he can work. Maybe instead the Lord will provide a kind of work he can do even with his health problem. I'm ok with that.

You really need to find an answer to Zacharias. Hannah is difficult for you, because she prayed for a child (that is reiterated over and over again), and the Lord gave a child. But the Scriptures say He "remembered" her, they don't say He answered her prayer. They certainly don't condemn her, but there's not an explicit endorsement of her prayer. Endorsement is implied by the repeated emphasis that she prayed for the child, but not directly stated.

Zacharias is beyond difficult. Gabriel told him, "Thy prayer is heard." That's an endorsement of the prayer.

So is Hezekiah. In Isaiah 38:5, the Lord says to him, "I have heard thy prayer."

Are we directly taught to pray for healing in the NT? I think we are in James 5, but I understand why you view it the way you do. And certainly, our typical list of prayer requests is a long litany of "Joe has a sore toe, Pete has cancer," etc. That is simply not consistent with the emphasis of prayer in Scripture.

But prayers for temporal requests, including health, certainly including things God has not guaranteed or told us are His will, are included in Scripture and endorsed as prayers. Without a clear statement that such things should not be asked, I think you are on shaky ground to forbid it.

Did Hannah or Zacharias or Hezekiah have the right to expect births (or healing in Hezekiah's case)? Absolutely not. Nor do we. Yet, these prayers were made, and were called prayers and accepted as such by God Himself.

So even with your take on James 5 (which I think is doubtful), I think you've got some work to do on this one.

Faith is faith in God, not faith in my request. That includes trusting Him that if my request needs modification, He will do so.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

At the end of the very long series of comments on the related post you linked to at the top of this post, I had asked the following questions. I think you might have missed it and thus neglected to answer them, or perhaps you did not have time, or perhaps you thought they were already addressed elsewhere. If you have the opportunity to make further comments, I would appreciate it. This is what I had said:

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Thanks for your comments. Again, I appreciate that you want to take what Scripture says about prayer very seriously.

1 Tim 2:1-2 reads:

2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

You affirmed that we are not to pray for peace with our governmental authorities (if I understood you correctly), because it isn't something we can be 100% sure of. What do you think we are commanded to pray for in 1 Tim 2:1-2?

In relation to the Ephesians text, you affirmed:

The Ephesians one is similar. I pray that someone might experience the love of Christ. I don't think that the consequence, again in the subjunctive, follows.

Aren't we then praying for something that isn't 100% certain to happen? And if we can do that, why can't we pray the moral will of God in 2 Pet 3:9 and pray for people to be saved?

I also don't understand how, if we can only pray for things that are 100% certain to happen because of Scriptural promises, texts like the following work:

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Mt 17:20).

It seems very clear that Christ connects faith with getting the answer to the prayer. James 1 does the same thing--the person who doubts won't get the answer. But if we are only to pray for things that are 100% certain (like the 2nd coming, etc.) how does having faith have anything to do with the prayer being answered? Christ is going to come whether we pray for His return or not.

The view that I have heard on faith in relation to prayer for things not specifically addressed in Scripture is that since God works in us to will and do of His good pleasure, if the prayer is in His will, He can give the person praying the faith to be certain that it will come to pass, while He won't give the faith for that if it isn't His will. Thus, for example, Paul could ask God to have the thorn in the flesh removed, but He couldn't have the "faith and doubt not" of a text like Mt 17:21 for the answer because God wouldn't give Paul the faith for that since it wasn't His will.

(The verse:

Matthew 21:21 - Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this [which is done] to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.)

Thanks again for the help.

KJB1611 said...

A few further new comments here – in relation to part one, I highly suspect that Turretin was talking about the nature of saving faith, not what is involved in answered prayer, in a section that was quoted.

It also really looks to me like in Romans 10:1 and following Paul is praying for the salvation of the Israelites who were living at that time, who were rejecting Christ, and for whom Paul had a great sorrow in his heart, that is, for his living kinsman. I may be missing something, but at least at this point I have great difficulty seeing that Paul in Romans 10 was really just praying for the national conversion of Israel in the tribulation, and that he really would have been against praying for the salvation of his fellow living Israelites.

Also, if the model prayer guarantees that we will always have daily bread, were the believers who starved to death or suffered martyrdom in some related way (cf. Hebrews 11) sinning by failing to pray for daily bread?

Finally, I appreciate your desire to be against false revival, and to not get our theology from uninspired books rather than Scripture alone. I highly suspect that you would agree that it is very appropriate for us to pray: "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" (Psalm 85:6) and so there is a sense in which it is appropriate to pray for revival, although I trust I'm open for correction on this.

I definitely appreciate your desire to pray scripturally and your emphasis upon carefully studying what the Bible says about prayer.


Anonymous said...

I don't think we can just dismiss James 5 as dealing with prayer for the sick as Kent seems to be doing. From the newer post above (I know, I know, I'm a thread...threader),

"And then you have the absence of praying for sick people to be healed anywhere in the New Testament."

First of all, this is a circular argument. James is in the New Testament. Perhaps James 5 *is* where we see prayer for the sick being taught? I don't see the praying for the sick application as being out of step with the rest of the chapter. In fact, it seems to be pretty much in-step with the tenor of being patient, enduring, and then seeking the Lord while enduring.

I'm not so sure we can make the argument that James 5:15 is teaching only that this sickness is due to a specific sin that God is chastising a believer for, and thus what we see here is really someone having to get right. The "if" kan is conditional - it does not demand that this sickness be due to sin, only implying that it *may* be, and if so, then this needs to be dealt with as part of the prayer approach by the elders of the church. James 5:14 seems to be speaking generally, with vv. 15-18 dealing with one specific application.

And of course, we have the case of Paul's praying for himself in II Cor. 12:8 - prayed thrice, which was not answered, and he was instead given the assurance of God's grace to endure *through* the infirmity.

Re: praying for the lost, Romans 10:1 has been mentioned above, and I would reiterate it as well. Quite clearly, Paul says that his prayer for Israel was that they might be saved. This is neither a prayer for Israel only during the tribulation, nor is it just Paul's own close kinsmen. It is *Israel*. At that present time. Paul prayed that Israel at that present time would be saved. Really, there's no getting around this.

With respect to praying for the lost and it being a matter of God's will, well, II Peter 3:9 tells us that He is not *willing* that any should perish. This is a statement of God's will. His will is that no soul would go to hell, but that all would come to repentance. Quite clearly, God's will involves the lost being saved. As such, when the Lord taught us to pray, "thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..." the salvation of the lost, their return to obedience to Him and acknowledgement of His lordship, is encapsulated in this.

Final note: with regard to *knowing* that something is the Lord's will before praying, what about Romans 1:9-10, where Paul quite clearly says that he prayed *IF* by any means now at length that he might be able to see the Roman Christians and teach them further in the Gospel. Doesn't this seem to suggest that Paul did not know if the Lord would be willing to allow him to go to Rome or not, at that present time when he was writing this epistle?

Tim Dunkin

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm going to be answering hopefully a lot of the concerns and arguments of these comments in posts, I believe. I think it is good to have the thoughts critiqued. God is one God and He will not deny Himself. It all fits perfectly, I know, but it does all fit.

Kent Brandenburg said...

One more short comment before I konk off of here for now. I only go mon and wed. I added the Tues post this week, which was going to be a Sunday post, because if I add a third, usually it's personal and that isn't usually going to get a discussion. I might make an announcement as a third, such as having new sermons up at the website, which we do, by the way, 72 new ones just this summer.

But two a week is a good enough pace, especially if there is discussion.


Just as an example. The "if" in Romans 1:10 is not a condition of possibility, because it is a 1st class condition, a condition of reality. Paul wasn't unsure about it. It is the same condition as "if ye then be risen with Christ" there in Colossians 3. Paul wasn't saying they might not be risen with Christ. Something you should know.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Thomas,

I deleted your comments, and saved them for myself. I refuse to have that kind of argument with you, where you use the word "sin" when I didn't use it, and then you talk like I made an argument with someone over a brief, brief mention of a 1st class condition, since I'm pretty sure that he didn't know that about "if." You've got some time on your hands. Great. But I meant it when I said I would take this in posts and and I'll do it in good time.

We can have those types of arguments, but in private, and perhaps with a referee.

Kent Brandenburg said...


One more thing. I didn't delete them because there is no answer. If you really, really want a debate, we can do some of it in the comment section, but when we both have time, not just when you can unload a boatload of cut and paste for me to answer.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kent,

I don't think that we can really consider the "if" in Rom. 1:10 to be a first class conditional. The modifying particle "pos" introduces the element of uncertainty, and also pretty much removes this from being a FC conditional since the "pos" is not in the apodosis. This particle is not found in Col. 3:1, where instead we see "ei oun," which "oun" more properly suggests a consecutive certainty in connection with "ei." "Pos" carries with it the element of uncertainty.

FWIW, at least some of the lexicons note that this construction cannot reasonably be construed in any other way except to be conveying a sense of uncertainty.

There are three other places where we see this particular construction: Acts 27:12, Rom. 11:14, and Phil. 3:11. In at least two of these cases, the uncertainty element is *clearly* to be understood. In Acts 27:12, the "if" involves Paul's ship the harbour of Phenice (something which, by the way, we know was not to happen). In Rom. 11:14, Paul's "if" statement, in context, involves seeing Israelites come to the Lord in salvation - something which did happen, but to no certain prior knowledge of Paul's in any particular case.

The third case, Phil. 3:11, is interesting because it involves Paul's hope to attain unto the resurrection of the dead, which while not blatantly uncertain by any means, still keeps in mind the admonition of the Lord that "he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 10:22; see also Rom. 2:7, Hebr. 3:14, Jude 21, Rev. 2:26, etc.)

Synthesising these uses in the NT, the construction "ei pos" seems to be conditional, but in a "hopeful" sense - there is a strong hope or faith on the part of the subject. Certainly, though, I don't think we see the sort of "absolute certainty that something is God's will" through the use of this construction that you seem to be suggesting, especially when we observe that its use in Acts was directly followed by the *failure* of the hoped for thing coming to pass.

Probably the most reasonable understanding of Romans 1:10 is that Paul did not necessarily know that he would see the Roman Christians, but he had a strong desire that he would, and also had faith that his request of the Lord would be answered (likely suggesting that he believed it to be the Lord's will).

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Titus,

I'll likely answer your stuff in the next post or the next post.

Off the top of my head though, Acts 27:12 isn't the same construction, because it has an optative, I believe, in it, without looking. It has the same version of ei, but not the indicative, but the optative, so those are apples and oranges.

But next time, I'll give you my take.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kent,

You're right, there is the optative, but I don't think it's as relevant here, since the optative is found in the dependent clause (without either "eithe" or "an" accompanying it), which still suggests that it is involving "potentiality" instead simple "wishing." So Paul was doing more than expressing a simple wish that something would happen (esp. since he tells us that he was "making request" for this to happen). Keep in mind too that in Rom. 11:14 and Phil 3:11, the accompanying verbs are subjunctive mood, and we know that in Koine Greek, the optative was already beginning to give way to the subjective, making at least these two references functionally similar to the Acts 27:12 cite.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I just finished teaching a class. The optative is in the protasis right after eipos. In Romans 1:10, eipos is followed by the indicative future in the protasis. You are saying those are not relevant? They are the same?

Anonymous said...

Hi Kent,

I just finished teaching a class. The optative is in the protasis right after eipos.

The protasis in this case IS the dependent clause. As I said above, its construction in Acts 27:12 causes it to be functionally similar to the other uses of "ei pos" given above.

In Romans 1:10, eipos is followed by the indicative future in the protasis. You are saying those are not relevant? They are the same?

Keep in mind first of all that what I was referring to when I discussed relevancy was your argument that Acts 27:12 has the optative - it is true, but not altogether relevant to the point at hand. I then connected that optative use to the subjunctive uses in Rom. 11:14 and Phil. 3:1, pointing out that the optative was giving way to the subjunctive in Koine anywise, so these three uses are functionally similar in referring to "potentiality" rather than mere "wishing" (which is what the optative is often, though erroneously, said to always indicate). I didn't mention Romans 1:10 in connexion with this, so your question is somewhat off-base.

However, let's talk about the first class conditional, and its possible appearance in Romans 1:10.

First of all, as I pointed out above, the presence of the enclitic "pos" renders it suspect that this verse is even a first class conditional at all. It is not without interest to me that James Boyer (who also taught some Greek classes) provides a comprehensive list of all 308 places where the first class condition of "ei + infinitive" appears, and omits Romans 1:10 from that list. I doubt this was by accident. The presence of the very much conditional enclitic "pos" is incompatible with the attribution of "obvious actual, reality."

But, let's also note that the idea that the first class condition always and at all times indicates the assumption of certainty or the assumption of truth for the sake of argument in the protasis is simplistic.

"And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges." (Matthew 12:27)

Was Jesus saying that it was a certain reality or that we could assume it were true that He was casting out demons by Beelzebub? Of course not.

"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God." (Romans 4:2)

Was Paul saying that it was certainly reality or that we could assume it were true that Abraham was justified by works? Of course not.

"And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased." (Galatians 5:11)

Was Paul saying that it was a certain reality or that we could assume it were true that he was preaching circumcision? Of course not.

"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39)

Was the Lord saying that it was a certain reality or that we could assume it were true that He could avoid the cross? Of course not.

In each of these examples, and dozens more, we see examples of bona fide FCC constructions in which conditionality is present. The FCC is much more subtle and nuanced than the simplistic argument of "first class conditional = assumption of truth" would have it appear.

So what of Romans 1:10 again? I'm sorry, but a face-value reading of this passage (and remember, you more than anyone else knows that scripture is perspicuous) suggests that Paul strongly hoped and desired to see the Roman Christians, if it were God's will for Him to do so, but that this was still (at the time of writing) a conditional thing for him. Paul strongly hoped and desires it to be true, according to God's will. I don't see how we can draw the opposite conclusion from this, either from the English or the Greek.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm going to deal with your overall point in a future post, that is, you can make and want to make the whole court heave for a prayer, praying that it will go in, because you want it with no promise from God, no knowing that you will receive it, in direct violation of Mark 11:24. You have to have Romans 1:10 say something to permit that. It's not the teaching of the NT on prayer. You haven't proven that any more than Church of Christ proves baptismal regeneration with a few proof texts.

I've noticed that when you're wrong, you admit nothing. So if you are proven wrong, you move along and search for something else to make your point, a kind of scorched earth method.

Titus (Tim Dunkin) says the following: "The protasis in this case IS the dependent clause."

Can you give me an example of "the protasis" that is not "the dependent clause"? I would be interested in a sentence in which the protasis is not dependent or subordinate.

I don't mind dealing with your other stuff, but I'd like to start there. Perhaps you could help me.

Anonymous said...

Can you give me an example of "the protasis" that is not "the dependent clause"? I would be interested in a sentence in which the protasis is not dependent or subordinate.

I cannot, because there is none. Which is why I wondered at your comment because it seemed that you were trying to correct my use of "the dependent clause" by saying that it was in "the protasis." If I was misunderstanding your purpose there, then I apologise and will admit I was wrong about that.

And perhaps I should not have used "in this case," since I did by trying to soften my language was to introduce some confusion.

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Hi Kent,

I'm just getting to reading these. Praying Biblically has been a concern of mine for a long time. I am very happy to see that you have done and are still addressing the issue with several posts. The ones I've read (all up to this one) have been quite helpful.

Thank you, Jeff Voegtlin

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Jeff. Glad you are reading and good to see you.