Sunday, November 17, 2013

Eligite Hodie 1

Before you hand-grenade the phrase “choose you this day” into an argument, you might want to read the whole verse.

οἵτινες μετήλλαξαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ ψεύδει καὶ ἐσεβάσθησαν καὶ ἐλάτρευσαν τῇ κτίσει παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα, ὅς ἐστιν εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.
Romans 1:25 2

Last post, I featured a YouTube video by Christian author, expositor, marathon debater and prolific vlogger, Dr James White. I’d been watching a lot of White’s videos since my recent conversion to the Critical Text Cult, gravitating to him the minute I’d exhausted all the videos of Daniel Wallace, because he is one of the best and more ubiquitous—well, on Youtube, anyway—apologists of the Critical Text of the New Testament and of Biblical Textual Criticism itself.

Along with discovering him to be a staunch defender of Textual Criticism, I was also extremely pleased to find out that Dr White is an impassioned proponent of Reform theology. Although I don’t consider myself a Reformer, per se, I do subscribe to the so-called Five Points of Calvinism and to the doctrines of Sovereignty and Election, albeit not in the classical sense, lacking as I do a classic theological education, but I’m definitely under the same, large tent and have been for some time.

Anyway, I only mention this because earlier today I was watching a video discussing the topic of being a servant of God (in it Dr White rebuts some nonsensical statements made by the late Christopher Hitchens) and it reminded me that, for some time, I've wanted to debunk an extremely common and persistent exegetical error made by believers in human free will on that very subject—an error which I'd made myself many, many times in the past: Namely, this bedrock conviction that when Joshua says to the Israelites “choose you this day whom ye will serve”, one of the choices before them is Yehovah. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The most amazing aspect of this erroneous idea is that it is so easily debunked. All one has to do is read the entire sentence where that phrase is found. You don’t even need to read it in Hebrew; the wrongness of the idea is clearly seen in any translation. Here’s Joshua 24:15 in English: 2
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River , or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
There are two points here that even the most ardent Arminian can't ignore (or miss, thanks to the yellow font):
1. That before choosing whom they would serve, they first had to find serving Yehovah “evil in their eyes”.

2. That the choice of whom they would serve is between two sets of false gods, not Yehovah.
Now, I don’t expect this little revelation to change anyone’s mind regarding the Free Will versus Predestination controversy, but I do expect it to stop those on the wrong side of the argument from misusing the phrase "choose you this day" to uncritically perpetuate their traditional—and erroneous—doctrine.


1. Translation: Chose ye this day. I am currently learning Latin, using the 7th edition of Wheelock’s Latin along with multiple online resources. Putting my blog titles in Latin is pure self-indulgence—ignosce me!

2. Unless otherwise indicated, all English Scripture text is taken from the ESV2011 (the English Standard Version, 2011). Greek text is from NA28 (28th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece).

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