For 14 months starting September 2008, I had a series of exchanges with a Protestant.
When we started, I was not well-prepared then, especially compared to my Protestant friend who knows his way around the Bible.
After a few months, however, I acquired a degree of familiarity with some books of the Bible. Here, I would like to answer some of his unanswered questions.
You suggested I study Paul book by book. While I’m not done with all 13, I have done some readings, enabling me to comment on some of your previous questions.
1 Cor 9:27 : You said the “disqualified” here does not refer to losing salvation, but losing a prize like that won by athletes in athletic competitions. In other words Paul pommels his body and subdues it, not so as not to lose salvation, but so as not to lose some physical prize in some athletic competition.
How do you reconcile this with v.25 which speaks of an “imperishable” prize , which can only be one’s salvation, for what else is worth pommeling one’s body for?
1 Cor 6:9 My contention: Salvation, once gained, CAN be lost because of 1 Cor 6:9: “The unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God , neither fornicators, idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the covetous, nor drunkards.”
“Paul is referring here to the unsaved as evidenced by the kind of LIFE they live.” (In other words, you’re saying that, since the people mentioned are fornicators, idolaters, etc, they couldn’t be SAVED Christians, because the SAVED would not be displaying such behavior. Paul here is NOT referring to SAVED Christians.
How do you reconcile this with 1 Cor 5:10-11, where the same Paul who wrote 1 Cor 6:9 says that these immoral, greedy persons; idolaters; revilers; drunkards; robbers can be found among the SAVED?
1 Cor 5:1-5 You asked me if this immoral man is saved. I originally answered we would never know until the man dies and is judged. I’d like to add some more to that answer.
Paul here excommunicated the guy. Notice the four elements found in excommunication formula: (ref Navarre Bible)
- “In the name of the Lord Jesus” – showing that the Church’s judgment is on a higher than human plane
- “With the power of our Lord Jesus” – showing that the authority derives from Jesus Christ himself through the power of binding and loosing
- “When you are assembled and my spirit is present”- a reference to the collegiality of decisions taken under the hierarchical authority of the Apostle
- “You are to deliver this man to Satan” – the sentence
Is this man doomed? No, not necessarily. Excommunication is essentially medicinal in nature. Its purpose is to “cure” the offender. It’s hoped that the excommunication will bring the man back to his senses, repent, make amendments, and be accepted back to the Church