Home > Calvinism, Calvinist > Responding to Calvinist Arguments of Sam Storms (II)

Responding to Calvinist Arguments of Sam Storms (II)

This is my second post in response to an essay entitled Faith and Repentance written by Sam storms of Enjoying God Ministries: http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/faith-and-repentance/.  This article was sent to me by my dear friend and ardent Calvinist Colleen in support of her contention that God chooses certain individuals for salvation and also gives them the grace to accept salvation and the faith to believe.

Mr. Storms references 2 Pet 1:1 as another verse that speaks to the issue of faith as a gift of God.  The verse reads;

  • “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Mr. Storms states that the Greek word translated “have received” is related to a verb that means “to obtain by lot” and states, “Thus, faith is removed from the realm of human free will and placed in its proper perspective as having originated in the sovereign and altogether gracious will of God. For it is not by chance or the luck of the draw that some come to saving faith, but by virtue of the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

That got me to thinking – how do various versions of the Bible prior to the ESV and NIV translate 2 Peter 1:1?

  • KJ (1611) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
  • ASV (1901) Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
  • RSV (1952) Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
  • NASB (1971) Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
  • NIV (1978) Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
  • ESV (2001) Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

That then begs the question, what is the definition of the word “obtain’?  For that, I look to my trusty Webster Dictionary which says:

  • To hold on to
  • To gain or attain usually by planned action or effort

And, what does my trusty Webster Dictionary say is the meaning of the word “received”?

  • To come into possession of
  • To acquire

One obtaining salvation by accepting Christ as their savior appears to be another way to say that as soon as you accept Christ as your savior, you have received salvation.  It seems reasonable, then, to conclude that the original Greek probably does support both “have received” and “have obtained” as there doesn’t appear to be a significant difference between the applications of these words.

Regrettably for Mr. Storms’ argument, there is no implication with this verse that it is God who is doing the “bidding” (pun intended because I was looking for something involving gambling) and determining who will be saved and who will be damned.  So, what then is the reason to believe that 2 Peter 1:1 means anything other than the Gentiles had received the same faith as the apostles?  What am I missing?  More importantly, what are Greek scholars and Bible translators missing for surely, if Mr. Storms is correct, the NIV he quoted from (or any other version for that matter) would have been written to include this Calvinist concept.

I can’t help but conclude that Mr. Storms is guilty of twisting the clear intent of this verse to better support Calvinism.  Mr Storms, there’s no reason to alter, add to, or otherwise interpose the meaning of this verse.  If you wish, I’d be happy to provide you with verses I find troublesome for Calvinistic interpretation.  2 Peter 1:1, however, does not appear to be a verse supporting Calvinistic arguments.

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  1. September 14, 2009 at 10:23 am

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