I wanted to address one final point from my “Twitter fight” with Michael Foster.
I get the impression that Michael is not interested in pursuing this topic further, but I wanted go a little further here for my own interest. Plus, I think it’s a good example on analyzing arguments.
The tweet above is a perfect example of the “Argument by Repetition” fallacy.
The leading point of the argument is “Rom. 3:9-18 is a solid description of man’s fallen state.”
But my very point of contention was whether the Bible teaches a “fallen state” at all. Rather than make an argument to justify this claim, he simply repeated his claim.
Regardless, let’s examine the Scripture in question…
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sinRomans 3:9
While the Greeks were “obvious” sinners. The Jews believed they were righteous because of their possession of the law.
Paul then quotes some poetic descriptions from the Old Testament to illustrate that Israel has indeed been living under sin.
He then describes how the law provided an awareness of sin, not justification from it.
We then come to that all-important statement:
But Know apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of GodRomans 3:21-23
Many Evangelical Christians like to quote the last part of that verse “for all have sinned…” but they ignore the context that frames the meaning (“for there is no distinction.”)
Nowhere does Paul teach that all men born before and that ever will be born have been corrupted by sin in “his mind, will, emotions, and flesh.”
What he did say is both simple and profound: both the Jews and the Greeks, in spite of their contrasting cultures, were living under sin and needed a Savior.
Implied in this statement is the remarkable reality that God does not show partiality to people based on their religion or culture. He desires to save all peoples.
Lest, anyone think I’m advocating an “all people all good” worldview, I am not.
Evil is real. And it is still in the world. And it is people who do this evil.
What I am saying is let’s not add to God’s word by calling what He created “good” sinful. And let us not call God’s redeemed people “sinners.”
Such thinking diverts our attention from the fact there is still evil in the world that needs to be exposed.
And it is the children of light who must expose the deeds of darkness.