I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thinking About Hebrews 6:4-6

Hebrews 6:4-6 has been a much debated and analyzed passage.

4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of he age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (NASB)

There are basically four approaches to this passage. The first two should be quickly rejected. One argues that this passage isn't even addressing an authentic believer. This is wrong for several reasons, but I'll mention one: "To renew ... AGAIN to repentace (v.6) clearly shows they had repented previously. Another view argues that this passage is merely hypothetical. Huh? I just odn't buy that especially when you consider it the context of the entire book. The other two views of this passage have merit.

A Christian can fall away (be lost) yet can still return to Christ. Admittedly, I like this view on the surface and it is still the view I am inclined to accept. Jack Cottrell skillfully agrues for this view in his "Faith Once for All: Bible Doctrine for Today". Among other consideration, Cottrell suggests that The Lost Son" of Luke 15 should be considered . Billy Dyer and I discussed this passage last night and he holds this view. He pointed to James 5:19-20 for support. This camp would favor the alternate rendering of verse 6: if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because[a]to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
(NIV alternate rendering - "Or repentance while" ). The idea is that it is impossible to restore someone while he or she continues in this fallen state.

If you fall it's final = no second chance. This appears to be correct when I initially read the passage. Tim Warner of Pristine Faith Restoration Society makes a strong case for this view. This is also Roy Ingle's positon. You can read a good discussion of this passage on his Arminian Today blog. Douglas Jacoby sees a distinction between wandering and falling and supports this view rather than the above interpretation.

I'm not going to wade into all the pros & cons right here & now, but I will continue to look closely at this passage. Any insights are appreciated.


Levi said...

I pray the view that a brother can be restored is the correct view or I'm not going to be forgiven on judgment day. You see after becoming a christian I walked away for about a year or two. Not sure you remember the day i came back and came forward to ask for forgiveness in tears at Christ Church of the Peninsula. Until then I guess I'll have the hope that I can be restored and I'll continue to preach to the lost and win as many as I can.

David H. Willis said...

Your testimony (as well as others) lead me toward that view. It is arguable biblically and I've seen it in real life too. Even those with the other view would say you were backslidden and in danger but "completely" gone. I'm just glad you came back!

Anonymous said...

David, I doubt you remember this but the old "Mr. Jesus' Neighborhood" skit that me and Chuck and Tim and Larry and Loveall and ... (a bunch of different people over the years) used to do was based on Hebrews 6:6. The idea was that our sin (be it greed, idols, lust, whatever) without repentance crucifies Christ all over again. You may or may not remember the last scene where Oscar has a conversation with a bloodied and crucified Jesus who directs him to that very passage. Useless trivia, but I thought (if nothing else) I could take you on a stroll down "High School Days" lane! :)

David H. Willis said...

I'm always up some "High Shcool Days" Stories. I do seem to recall this skit. Now I'm in a nostalgic mode...and remembering a lot of good times & laughs, etc. Remember when you, McCants & C-bird did "It's Time" by the Winans? I can't remember if there was anyone else singing, but I'm pretty sure it was you 3. Has Laura ever seen any of those classic videos?

Anonymous said...

Remember? Dude, I've spent the last 15 years trying to break off a few of C-Bird's dance moves and, even as a caucasian myself, found them physically impossible to duplicate. Were you there when Daryl Hairston dressed up in that pink tutu and flew around Scott Canady as a fairy in chapel? Classic!!!

David H. Willis said...

Goos stuff. I think I missed Daryl & Scott show - probably sleeping in.