Jonah: The Runaway Prophet

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Jonah: a paradox

Jonah is “a paradox: a prophet of God, and yet a runaway from God: a man drowned, and yet alive: a preacher of repentance, yet one that repines at repentance.”1

In the early part of Joash’s reign, Jonah prophesied the restoration of Israel’s northern borders lost in wars with Syria and a time of prosperity and safety that would follow to rival the nation’s former greatness.2 However, in her prosperity, Israel became complacent and arrogant thinking that they alone were the people under the divine favor and no other nation was so esteemed (Amos 9:7) by the Living God (Amos 6:1-8).

Exasperated with Israel’s unfaithfulness, God sent prophets to declare judgment against Israel warning them that He would use the Assyrians, whose capital city was Nineveh—a feared nation known for its cold-blooded barbarity—to punish and expel Israel from the land because of her sins (Hos. 9:3, 10:6, 11:5; Joel 1:6,7; Amos 9:11). In this setting God called Jonah to preach judgment against “Nineveh the great city for their wickedness” (NASB, Jon. 1:2). However, Jonah decided to make a run for it in the direction opposite Nineveh.

Jonah: his love for God and Israel

Some commentators attribute Jonah’s action to moral faults in his character but such accusations are unwarranted and implicitly denied within the narrative.3 In addition, there is the idea Jonah ran away because he was afraid for his own safety should he confront the powerful and evil people of Nineveh.

It is not expressly stated why Jonah “rose up to flee unto Tarshish4 from the presence of Jehovah.” However, the implication may be set forth on this premise: Jonah was a faithful Jew more in tune with Yahweh’s revelatory character than other Jews of his time. He correctly apprehended God’s gracious character and anticipated God’s compassion to extend beyond the borders of the nation of Israel, His chosen people.

As such, Jonah did not want to take the chance that God would forgive Nineveh. Nineveh’s existence remained an omen of God’s judgment against Israel, threatening Israel’s national existence. It was Jonah’s concern for the people of God, and not rebellion or fear, which prompted his flight.

Jonah was aware of the ways of God all too well: “I knew that you were a gracious God, merciful, slow to get angry, and full of kindness: I knew how easily you would cancel your plans for destroying these people” (LBP,5 Jon. 4:2). It was not in rebellion but rather in protest against God’s decision to destroy the nation of Israel for her sins. He was taking the same stance as Moses who confronted God in order to protect God, that is, His reputation before the heathen nations (Ex. 32:9-13, 30-32). It was not fear for his own life, but love for God’s people that prompted Jonah’s run away from God.

Torn between his love for Israel and his prophetic insight into God’s love for all men, Jonah ran away to escape his responsibility as God’s spokesman. He did not want to risk the chance that Nineveh would be spared if that would assure Israel’s divine punishment. Jonah “had shown himself prepared to forfeit his prophetic office, prepared to flee into exile, prepared even to resign life itself, rather than that Nineveh should be spared! Now such deliberate self-abandon…transforms his motive from apparent pettiness to something touchingly heroic.”6

Jonah found a ship on its way to Tarshish in order to make good his escape. However, while taking flight to the “remotest part of the sea” (NASB, Ps. 139:7-12), he was relentlessly pursued by the “Hound of Heaven.”7 While Jonah slept, and to the sailors’ terror, the Lord caused “a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.”

Having found out the reason for the storm, the crew finally took Jonah’s advice and reluctantly threw him overboard leaving him to drown. However, God “had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah,” preserving his life. At the end of three days’ confinement in the belly of the “great fish,” Jonah made his lamentation to God; being at the end of his rope, he repented, promising to obey God’s commands (Jon. 2:7-9).

Again, God repeated His command to Jonah (3:1-2). This time Jonah complied and went “to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord” (LBP, 3:3). Once deep inside the city, Jonah proclaimed that God’s judgment would be executed in forty days because of their wickedness. But, in contrast to the obstinacy of the covenant people, the “people of Nineveh believed God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth.” Even the king of Nineveh “arose from his throne, laid his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and ashes” and proclaimed a decree for all the people of the city to express repentance in the hope that God would be inclined to “withdraw His burning anger.” Seeing their earnest repentance, God did not destroy Nineveh as He had intended (NASB, 3:5ff).

God’s change of mind “greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry.” Finding a place outside and in full view of the city, Jonah waited impatiently to see if God would destroy it. With ever increasing despondency, to the point of suicide, his hopes failed. Nineveh remained a threat to Israel because, unlike Nineveh, Israel refused to repent.

Jonah rested under the shelter of a plant provided by God to shield him from the scorching sun. As he slept, God then “appointed a worm…and it attacked the plant and it withered.” Consequently, the direct exposure to the sun made Jonah unbearably weak and he “begged with all his soul to die” adding to his sorrow over Nineveh’s repentance and God’s act of forgiveness (4:1-8).

God spoke tenderly to Jonah asking if it were proper for him to be angry that Nineveh was spared. Jonah answered that he had every right to be angry because, now that Nineveh was spared, he knew God would surely fulfill His intention to punish Israel—and why should Israel be punished and Nineveh be spared? Is not the nation of Israel God’s special people above all the nations? Are not Nineveh’s sins still deserving of, not pardon, but punishment? Though not surprised by God’s mercy towards the repentant people of Nineveh, nevertheless, Jonah implicitly accused God of having wronged His own people (4:9)!

God taught Jonah an important lesson (4:10-11). If Jonah could have compassion on that which concerns his own safety and comfort (and how limited in scope were his concerns!), did not God have the right to extend His compassion to those things that concern Him, especially to the helpless? Should compassion be limited to the people of Israel? Should mercy, on the one hand, be shown to those who persist in ignoring laws clearly presented and, on the other hand, judgment be exacted on those who are unaware of what they are doing? Should God punish the repentant in order to spare the unrepentant?

Jonah needed to learn that God’s special favor toward Israel did not mean a lessened love for others… The election of one nation did not mean the rejection of others!8

Israel’s election does not prevent God’s mercy to others.

[Jonah] confronts the reader with the serious…question whether his own response to human need is the same as that…exemplified by God.9

Observations

I glean the following observations from the book of Jonah:

  1. The favored status of a child of God does not exempt him from judgment; neither does another’s alienation from God exempt him from mercy. We should not take God’s mercy for granted just because one is His child. God who is quick to forgive is also certain to judge the unrepentant. No one sins with impunity. Neither should we resent the blessings God pours on those we judge to be less deserving (Matt 5:45b).
  2. Understanding is not a prerequisite for obeying God; neither is disobedience excusable even on noble grounds. When God’s command is clear, though seemingly unreasonable, our responsibility is not to take the time to understand, but to immediately obey. For example, we cannot shirk family responsibilities on grounds that we must spend time reading the Bible or going to church.
  3. Though God does not minimize the guilt of disobedience, He does bring His understanding of our reasons to bear in determining the proper discipline. At times our hearts may be right but our actions wrong as, for example, when Moses killed an Egyptian who was “beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren” (Ex. 2:11-12). Moses was cast off into the wilderness as a complete failure in his attempt to serve God, but for only a time, not permanently. In Jonah’s case, God appointed a “great fish” as his discipline, not to kill but to swallow him up alive. Jonah’s life was spared because of the hope that God had in him. He knows us and has pity on our strivings to do what is right (Ps. 103:14).
  4. Finally, and on a more personal note, human failure does not mean divine abandonment. Though Jonah ran away in disobedience to God’s command, God ran after Jonah, not to punish but to restore. A Christian may find that he is “on a shelf,” but this does not necessarily mean God is not at work in his life. God works to make the unwilling willing; the unprepared prepared; the not cared for, cared for.

It is my understanding, in sympathy with the story of Jonah, that a believer can be disqualified for service. However, disqualification does not necessarily constitute total rejection. As in Jonah’s case, God may decide to shut one away in isolation because of disobedience, anticipating the proper time to again call him to repentance and back into service (1 Cor. 9:27).10

Ah my dear angry Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.

I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve:
And all my sour-sweet days
I will lament, and love.
11

Notes

3 Contrast Armor D Piesker’s comments in the Beacon Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 161 with J. Sidlow Baxter’s one volume commentary, Explore the Book, Lesson 92.

4 Spain

5 Living Bible Paraphrased

6 Explore the Book, J. Sidlow Baxter, vol. 1, Lesson 92

7 Title of the poem by Francis Thompson (1859-1907). William Harmon, editor of the Top 500 Poems, notes that Thompson’s depiction of God as a “canine pursuer shocked some Victorian readers who were more accustomed to Frances Alexander’s” gentler version of God (848).

8 Explore the Book, J. Sidlow Baxter, vol. 1, Lesson 92.

9 Wesleyan Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 668.

10 The apostle Paul was aware that it would be tragic if “one who had instructed others as to the rules to be observed for winning the prize, should he himself be rejected for having transgressed them.” Robertson and Plummer quoted in the Beacon Bible Commentary, vol. 8, p. 403.

11 Bittersweet, George Herbert.

[node:bio/nbanuchi body]

Enjoyed

Great article. Really enjoyed the insights you brought. I think placing Jonah's story in the context of Israel's disobedience really highlights the mercy of God.

Mathew Sims

Diff. POV

I never looked at Jonah quite this way.
I think it's possible that "moral faults" were involved along with his nobler motives... and the case could be made that even when you do it out of love for your people, will disobedience to God is rebellion, nonetheless. But what gives me pause here is that it does seem likely that Jonah wasn't quite as bad a guy as I've represented him as in the past.

Seems entirely plausible to me that he was not just a heartless guy who wanted to see Nineveh suffer... but viewed mercy on Nineveh (potential, then later, actual) as an even stronger indictment of his own nation and a hastening of its judgment.

Thanks for the reminder

Nbanuchi - I was especially struck by this statement, "Jonah needed to learn that God’s special favor toward Israel did not mean a lessened love for others." Sometimes, it is so easy to get into a "God and me" mentality that I forget that God loves that person with whom I am in conflict as much as He loves me. God's love is boundless and inexhaustible Smile

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén.

I hate to be Johnny Raincloud....

One of my mentors would gently chide "Go as far as Scripture goes; but stop where Scripture stops." This effort goes as far as Scripture goes, but doesn't seem to stop where Scripture stops.

While we might all get the warm fuzzies by considering Jonah to be more noble than we had previously considered, and construct a whole scenario around it based on his prophetic gift and position, the Scripture account of Jonah simply does not support it. This little flight of fancy could be true. However, there are any number of scenarios that could be as equally true, such as the gap theory explaining the existence of demons (one of my personal flights of fancy), or making definitive identification of the witnesses of Rev. 11, etc. They're good for killing time when the fish aren't biting, but do little to further our understanding of the absolute applicable truth of Scripture.

What we DO know about Jonah's motives are quite limited. He was sent to Nineveh, but refused to go for only one stated reason: "...I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil." I am as intrigued as the next person is about what was going on in Jonah's mind and heart in the whole process, but all I know from Scripture is that the consideration of God being merciful to the Ninevites was worse than death. Anything beyond that is pure conjecture, likely projecting our particular paradigm as to what we would like his motivation to be because it is what we think our motivation should be.

I am not above projecting paradigms in this scenario:
(1) The great fish was the mother of all largemouth bass, and that's a fact.
(2) The reason the book ends abruptly is because Jonah answered the question with some smarmy remark and God back-handed him into eternity.

You get the picture--possibly true, but conjecture not based on Scripture.

I think we would serve ourselves much better by concentrating on what we know Scripture is communicating ("Go as far as Scripture goes...") and leave it simply at that. I doubt God is surprised that we don't have all the answers about Jonah's motives. But we do have all the information about his actions, and God's response to those actions, that we need to walk obediently and circumspectly in this day and age.

Lee

Evidence

I think Lee raises good questions here. But there is evidence for Nelson's idea here (which didn't originate with him, as his footnotes show).

To the degree that there is supporting evidence and argument, the view is not a flight of fancy.

So a couple of key questions would be:
Is there evidence that Nineveh's repentance would increase Israel's guilt?
Is there evidence that Jonah would want to spare his people from judgment?

Aaron Blumer wrote: I think

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I think Lee raises good questions here. But there is evidence for Nelson's idea here (which didn't originate with him, as his footnotes show).

To the degree that there is supporting evidence and argument, the view is not a flight of fancy.

So a couple of key questions would be:
Is there evidence that Nineveh's repentance would increase Israel's guilt?
Is there evidence that Jonah would want to spare his people from judgment?


Not desiring to be argumentative, but I am curious as to what evidence you reference as for this scenario being the particularly true driving motivation behind Jonah's actions. All of the information we have about Jonah is found in the book of Jonah, with the exception of a brief mentioning in II Kings. And that is all the information. I do not question whether it could be the driving motivation, but after studying Jonah in depth for some time, I fail to see where this scenario is more specifically bolstered through Scripture than that Jonah simply hated Assyrians, which also could be equally true.

In my limited sphere I have found that conjecture and neat "Biblical" illustrations not presented in Scripture tend to muddle truth rather than clarify it.

Lee

Jonah is in the New Testament as well

Lee - I believe that Jesus makes reference to Jonah as well. In fact, he draws parallels between himself and Jonah and as a sign against wickedness. He is mentioned twice in Matt 16, once in Matt 12 and once in Luke 11. Jonah is a type of Christ as Jesus makes clear in Matt 12:40. I do believe that one can use these scriptural references to impact the narrative in the book of Jonah.

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Oops!

Lee - In the second instance in Matt 16, Jonah should be translated John as he calls Peter the Son of Jonah.

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Reply to Aaron

Aaron - You wrote, "Is there evidence that Nineveh's repentance would increase Israel's guilt?" That does seem to be answered by Jesus in Luke 11:32. "The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here." Jesus, I believe is speaking to Israelis at this point...

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drwayman wrote: Lee - I

drwayman wrote:
Lee - I believe that Jesus makes reference to Jonah as well. In fact, he draws parallels between himself and Jonah and as a sign against wickedness. He is mentioned twice in Matt 16, once in Matt 12 and once in Luke 11. Jonah is a type of Christ as Jesus makes clear in Matt 12:40. I do believe that one can use these scriptural references to impact the narrative in the book of Jonah.

Okay, I'll bite. What new information about the motivations behind Jonah's rebellion and subsequent argumentation with God do we glean from these NT references?

Lee

Reply to Lee

Lee - You wrote, "Okay, I'll bite." There really is nothing to bite on. I was simply reacting to this statement that you made, "All of the information we have about Jonah is found in the book of Jonah, with the exception of a brief mentioning in II Kings." I was pointing out that Jesus did make references to Jonah, that we do have other information. The point of the Jonah story must have been so well known at the time that Jesus did not see a need to expound upon it. We don't have the advantage of knowing what the point of the Jonah story was at Jesus' time. However, we are blessed today to have the Holy Spirit to help us in our understanding of God's Word.

Besides what I wrote to Aaron (which I think is a very important point), the only other thing, in my mind, that adds to the Jonah narrative is that Jonah is a type of Christ. Jesus references this, so there must be some parallel there. However, I am unsure how far to take the parallel/analogy. We do know that Jesus' parallel, for sure, included being representative of Him being in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights.

I believe, that as a type of Christ, I can safely say that Jonah's motives were similar to Jesus' motives: repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached (luke 24:47). However, for some reason unknown to me, beyond what the Bible says that Jonah knew God was merciful, Jonah chose to not obey at that point. However, he did end up accurately relaying God's message of salvation.

Nevertheless, I would like to think that Jonah was benevolent like Jesus since Jesus used him as a parallel for His own life. However, just in my immature understanding, I think that Jonah didn't like it that other people, beyond God's chosen people, could be saved. This seems to be a theme in Jesus' ministry that was expanded upon later in the New Testament.

So, I guess that is the only bait that I offer Smile

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understanding

drwayman wrote:
...I think that Jonah didn't like it that other people, beyond God's chosen people, could be saved. This seems to be a theme in Jesus' ministry that was expanded upon later in the New Testament.
I want to make sure I understand your point here.

Are you saying that "other people, beyond God's chosen people" CAN be saved?

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Reply to JohnBrian

Thanks for asking rather than assuming. I simply mean: other people, beyond God's chosen people could be saved = gentiles

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Reply to JohnBrian

I thought this was an irenic discussion site. Have I misunderstood the intent of this blog?

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Reply to nbanuchi and JohnBrian

nbanuchi wrote, "Oh, man, JohnBrian! You got me craking up like a crazy man That was the most unique and funniest comment I've seen!"

That may have been a funny statement for someone who is known. I realized that it was an attempt at humor. It didn't feel very welcoming.

I interpreted it as I better not say the wrong thing or I am gonna get my head lopped off. I thought we were sharpening iron to edify each other, not to sharpen a sword to "hurt" someone. Hence, my statement of this being an irenic site.

This was my first day in this forum and it struck me as kind of odd considering the posting policies of not threatening violence in our posts. Maybe as I get to know JohnBrian better, I will get to understand his sense of humor.

Interesting that JohnBrian said, "I'll be irenic from now on!" Does that mean that he was not irenic before? Wink

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén.

Welcome, etc.

drwayman, sometimes the worst way to be left out of a group is to not be the target of friendly ribbing while everyone else is, know what I mean? Although I'm sure he did mean to say that had you gone the other way he was ready to do some serious argumentation.
JohnBrian doesn't really bite... unless you say something Arminian. Wink

At any rate, welcome aboard.

Lee wrote:
All of the information we have about Jonah is found in the book of Jonah, with the exception of a brief mentioning in II Kings.

I would counter that anything we know about Jonah's context we also know about Jonah. So, though it's true that the only direct info we have is Jonah, 2Kings and a couple of references in the Gospels, we know much more about Jonah's context.

Having said that, I didn't detail my point there and left it in question form because I didn't have time to go back and refresh my memory on Jonah's context. I suspect the sources Nelson cited for the essay did their homework before they put their ideas in print, but you can never be 100% of that... or whether you'd agree with their analysis of "their homework."

So what I'd want to look for is where Jonah fits in the chronology of the OT and what sort of prophetic witness had occurred in the recent past/contemporary with Jonah. I think there'd be insight there as to his possible mix of motivations.
...and we should view it as a mix, I think. Most people don't do what they do for a single reason and we shouldn't assume that Jonah either cared about Israel's fate or hated Assyria and wanted to see them get what was coming to them. Some combination seems likely to me.

But as somebody has pointed out, the NT ref's to Jonah do also hint at the idea that what might happen to Nineveh would have powerful implications for Israel.
The presence of the book of Jonah in the OT argues for this also, since the OT (from Abraham on) is about God's dealings with Israel under His covenant with them (I speak of Moses not a "covenant of grace.") So it makes sense to me that part of the original purpose of the book being inspired and written down was to say something to Israel both about God's heart toward gentiles and also about His heart toward His chosen people.

just having fun with the new guy

I thought of adding a smiley but that would have defeated the point of the humor. Something along the lines of "if you have to explain the joke, then the joke wasn't funny."

I had hoped my over the top language - lopped off - and the strikethrough would have been enough clue that humor was my intent.

I am most often serious, my funny bone just needed itching a little.

So seriously, welcome to SI. Hope you will enjoy the dialogue as much as I have in the 5+ years I have been a member (from SI v.1 and way before the complete crash, when everything was lost).

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Welcome

JohnBrian wrote:
So seriously, welcome to SI.

Because you are not 'one of the guys' until someone has tied your shoelaces together and pushed you into a puddle. This is, as I understand it, being the mother of 3 boys, an exuberant display of affection. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-confused002.gif[/img ]

I'm so glad I'm a girl. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-happy120.gif[/img ]

I enjoyed the article.

Quote:
...human failure does not mean divine abandonment. Though Jonah ran away in disobedience to God’s command, God ran after Jonah, not to punish but to restore. A Christian may find that he is “on a shelf,” but this does not necessarily mean God is not at work in his life. God works to make the unwilling willing; the unprepared prepared; the not cared for, cared for.

Experienced this many times, and grateful that God never stops working in our lives to conform us to the image of His Son.

to JohnBrian

JohnBrian - You wrote, "I want to make sure I understand your point here. Are you saying that "other people, beyond God's chosen people" CAN be saved?"

I am unsure why you needed clarification on this. To me, it was obvious I meant the gentiles. I am new to the blogging world and this is my second day here at SI. I want to be clear when I write as this medium of communication is fraught with potential to be misunderstood...

So, I need your help. What were you thinking that I could have been possibly going with my statement?

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén.

reply to Aaron

Aaron - You wrote, "JohnBrian doesn't really bite... unless you say something Arminian. ;-)"

Thanks for the clarification about JohnBrian. Does that mean if I say something Arminian, that I will get bit, get my head lopped off?

I understood this to be an irenic site, open to diverse Christian perspectives, a place to have an online Christian community. Is this an anti-Arminian site?

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén.

My Apologies

drwayman wrote:
That may have been a funny statement for someone who is known. I realized that it was an attempt at humor. It didn't feel very welcoming.

I apologize, drwayman; did not mean to offend; since it wasn't directed to me, I guess I easn't sensitive enough. Again, my apologies, and I can understand how you would not view it as funny.

Everyone else, I can't stay online for long but I do intend to answer some of the objections posted here. Just life is a little busy now...thanks for your patience...[/quote]

to nbanuchi

Nbanuchi - No need to apologize. I wasn't talking about what you said, I was talking about what JohnBrian said. My apologies for not being clearer.

However, I consider that all water under the bridge now... A sort of hazing, if you will XD

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Site sensibilities

Dr. Wayman,

I can't really speak for Aaron, but as one of the moderators on this site, I can assure you that no, this is not an anti-Arminian site. There are a number of non-Calvinist members and admin/mod team members. We try to keep things balanced in areas like this, so differences of viewpoint and opinion can be discussed. (And yes, in irenically a fashion as possible).

As Lee mentioned, there is no sharpening of iron without a few sparks. We do try to keep the tone reasonable here, however, we also don't try to stifle spontaneous conversation. SI goes back in its original form to early 2005, and there are a number of members here who have been members since that time. In any group of people that begin to know each other, you josh around a lot, even when newcomers are present. In a lot of ways, we are like a group of people having an informal discussion that pops up at any time. Like those discussions, people can say things that are misunderstood, but they do get clarified -- it's just that the time factor is so much different.

As we get to know each other, we have some idea what their hot-button issues are, what they feel strongly about, how they argue, etc. As Aaron attempted to explain, John Brian is a strong Calvinist, and argues points related to that, sometimes forcefully. I thought it was obvious with the strikethrough font and how he stated his "lop off your head" comment, that it was not intended seriously, but I have been seeing his interactions here for years, and you have not. If you are new to this, and intend to contribute regularly, give it some time, and you will eventually get a good feel for the regulars here as well.

One other thing you should remember. If you haven't been discussing things on the internet long, you are probably not aware of the informal "netiquette" that loosely governs internet discussions, and goes back at least 25 years for the internet at large (much longer for those involved with Arpanet, etc.). Although we try to keep things much more civil at SI than on the internet at large, the feeling of discussions here still has a flavor that in some ways hasn't really changed much from the internet in general.

The only advice I would have for you is to not get quickly offended and read a lot before you think you think someone is attempting to offend or is out to get you. Because sinful people are involved, conversations can get out of control, even here. Just try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt where possible, and a lot of misunderstandings will be avoided.

Dave Barnhart

Thanks Dave

Thanks Dave, I appreciate the information and history. I wasn't terribly offended by JohnBrian, I was more surprised than anything as he didn't know me from anybody, we have had zero interaction before that. Hence, easing into discussions, understanding the tenor of others before saying such a thing to me, didn't seem prudent as I am a newbie. I knew that he was joking and I understood the use of strike through to make his point. Yet, I believe that getting to know each other is a two-way street.

I have had unfortunate experiences with individuals espousing a particular branch of Christianity who were not joking when they said similar things. I remember, in another forum, a gentleman who was totally serious when he said, "if God told me to chop off my daughter's head, I would do it!" So, I was putting some of my own stuff on JohnBrian and for that I apologize.

I joined SI in support of my friend, nbanuchi. We are on another closed forum and he knows full well that I am one of the major jokers in that forum and enjoy a good laugh as well. Frankly, I was surprised at such a reception by JohnBrian with it being my first day. However, I consider all that as a hazing and don't hold any grudge or anything against JohnBrian, I saw/see his comments as a joke.

There is a gentleman at my church who is very interesting. I agree with him about 90% of the time and he has a really BIG and GOOD heart and is an earnest Christian. However, I don't introduce him to new people until they get more comfortable with their surroundings. That could be another reason why I was surprised by JohnBrian, again, my own stuff.

Lastly, as I explained to JohnBrian above, I was flummoxed that there could be alternate meanings to what I wrote. Hopefully, he will answer my question and help me understand his thinking so that I can be clearer in the future. I hate it when there are misunderstandings. I hate it more when I contribute to misunderstandings. So, please accept my deepest apologies as a I attempt to understand the SI culture and I will try not to be offended/surprised so quickly in the future. However, I do appreciate that there is an openness to discuss disagreements, misunderstandings and a variety of Christian opinions. I hope that I can make positive contributions in the future Smile

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drwayman, I'm, sure Johnbrian

drwayman,

I'm, sure Johnbrian will chime in when he has time. However, I think he was probing to see if you were talking about some group of non-elect people being saved somehow. At least, that's what I thought when I first read your post.

Welcome to SI by the way.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

thanks, Chip

Thanks, Chip for helping to clarify what JohnBrian might have been thinking.

In using the word "chosen people" I thought I would avoid the connotations of election, I carefully worded it that way.

Thanks for the SI welcome.

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén.

getting caught up

sorry to take so long to get back to this thread. I was lopping off heads elsewhere!

Aaron wrote:
JohnBrian doesn't really bite... unless you say something Arminian.

Guilty, as charged, BUT it's the rabid anti-Calvinists more than the Arminians that I want to bite!

dcbii wrote:
John Brian is a strong Calvinist, and argues points related to that, sometimes forcefully.

Guilty as charged.

drwayman wrote:
To me, it was obvious I meant the gentiles.

What were you thinking that I could have been possibly going with my statement?

Chip wrote:
I think he was probing to see if you were talking about some group of non-elect people being saved somehow. At least, that's what I thought when I first read your post.

Chip is correct, and that is why I asked for clarification.

drwayman wrote:
Is this an anti-Arminian site?

dcbii wrote:
I can assure you that no, this is not an anti-Arminian site.

SI is not an anti-Armenian site either!

Here are 2 threads about Arminians:

http://sharperiron.org/article/society-of-evangelical-arminians-what-arm... ]Society of Evangelical Arminians: What is Arminianism?

http://sharperiron.org/article/wanted-more-arminians ]Wanted: More Arminians

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

back to JohnBrian

JohnBrian - Thanks for responding to me. I hope that your head lopping was successful Smile

You said that Chip is correct that you were looking for clarification because you wondered if I meant a group of non-elect people.

There is some kind of disconnect for me there in that statement. I never used the term "elect" or "non-elect." I used the word "chosen" instead, in the context of Jonah and Jesus. How does one conflate "chosen" and "elect'? I must be missing something there. Outside of one reference in Luke 18:7 (and some versions don't use the word "elect" in that reference) "elect" comes after the church is established. Does "chosen" have some connotation for which I am unaware? I believe that chosen clearly refers to God's people, the Israelites. Hence, "other people, outside of God's chosen people" how could it have any other connotation but gentiles, given the context of the discussion (Jonah and then i brought in Jesus' statements)?

Are "elect" and "non-elect" buzz words or words that you filter thru a hermeneutic unnecessarily? Do you read "elect" and "non-elect" into passages that don't mention such?

I have been reading SI for a while, so I did read the SEA writeup. Thanks for the "Wanted: More Arminians" thread. I didn't know about that one.

These are earnest and honest questions. Thank you for the dialogue. I hope that you respond to me again Smile

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén.

interchangeable

drwayman wrote:
There is some kind of disconnect for me there in that statement. I never used the term "elect" or "non-elect." I used the word "chosen" instead, in the context of Jonah and Jesus. How does one conflate "chosen" and "elect'?

I would use the words interchangeably, so the "chosen ones" would also be the "elect ones," and vice versa.

The elect have been so since before the foundation of the world, when their names were recorded in the Book of Life.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

drwayman wrote: JohnBrian -

drwayman wrote:
JohnBrian - Thanks for responding to me. I hope that your head lopping was successful Smile

You said that Chip is correct that you were looking for clarification because you wondered if I meant a group of non-elect people.

There is some kind of disconnect for me there in that statement. I never used the term "elect" or "non-elect." I used the word "chosen" instead, in the context of Jonah and Jesus. How does one conflate "chosen" and "elect'? I must be missing something there. Outside of one reference in Luke 18:7 (and some versions don't use the word "elect" in that reference) "elect" comes after the church is established. Does "chosen" have some connotation for which I am unaware? I believe that chosen clearly refers to God's people, the Israelites. Hence, "other people, outside of God's chosen people" how could it have any other connotation but gentiles, given the context of the discussion (Jonah and then i brought in Jesus' statements)?

Are "elect" and "non-elect" buzz words or words that you filter thru a hermeneutic unnecessarily? Do you read "elect" and "non-elect" into passages that don't mention such?

You didn't ask me, but I'll answer for myself. The reason I wondered about your meaning is based in passages where reference is made to NT saints as those God chose or the chosen ones of God. Such include Matthew 20:16 and 22:14, Mark 13:20, Ephesians 1:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, James 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 17:14.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Back to JohnBrian and Chip

I appreciate the time the two of you took to respond to me. I can see now that my writing wasn't as clear as I thought it was. I was thinking racially, fairly unidimensionally, instead of considering that my comments may have drifted into some of dispensational rabbit trail.

Hence, my statement was proffered from an OT perspective. Ultimately, I recognize that the only people who ever will experience eschatological salvation are God's people (those who put their faith in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile).

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I will try to be clearer in the future. Again, thank you for asking for clarification rather than assuming Smile

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén.

A Legitimate View of Jonah

Hi, Lee. Sorry my response has taken so long.

Lee wrote:
One of my mentors would gently chide "Go as far as Scripture goes; but stop where Scripture stops." This effort goes as far as Scripture goes, but doesn't seem to stop where Scripture stops...
Respectfully, your mentor's advice may lead preachers to present boring sermons. Every preacher I’ve come across, at one time or another, sooner or later, more or less, adds to the reading of the Scripture what is not there so the hearer can imagine it and, perhaps, understand it better and remember it long after the sermon is over.

As such, I believe there is a legitimate use of imagination to fill in the gaps when attempting to understand Scripture in a way that violates neither the text nor the revelatory truth.

In any case, the view that Jonah’s disobedience was without any ill intent is plausible, as noted by a couple of respondents on this thread, and even by you.

As such, while I don’t entirely discount your mentor’s advice, I don’t entirely agree with it, either. Even Jesus went against your mentor’s advice. Where does the book of Jonah read that the Ninevites would have condemned others under different circumstances (no less a hypothetical notion!) or that Jonah symbolizes the Messiah?

I don’t think my paper presented Jonah as imore noble than the Scriptures may imply; and what is so offensive about seeing the good in other believers despite their flaws? Like Louis C. Shimon wrote,

“Wouldn’t life be lots more happy
If the good that’s in us all
Were the only thing about us
That folks bothered to recall?”

In any event, no essential revelatory teaching from the Bible is overturned but, in my assessment, enhanced for edification as I showed in the section on “Observations”.

Lee, if I may be respectfully honest, although I do appreciate your input it seems your objection is based on an overly simplistic way of engaging the text.

If you could demonstrate how I may have, by neglecting your mentor’s advice, substantially altered the text to the point of violating a specific and clearly essential Scriptural truth, then it would give me more serious pause.

In addition, your suggestion that “we would serve ourselves much better by concentrating on what we know Scripture is communicating…and leave it simply at that” would prohibit much exposition or exegesis or, at least, render it all useless, permitting only a dry reading of the text.

If there are any questions I may have missed, please advise.

Certainties and ....less than that

I think Nelson has a good pt.
That is, I don't believe there is any harm in engaging the imagination in the act of preaching, even in reference to the text. It's important though that we don't present as certain what we have imagined as a possibility. But it's good for listeners to be given possibilities to consider.
I would hesitate to make applications from what I've imagined, though... unless I support them with other passages.

nbanuchi wrote: Hi, Lee.

nbanuchi wrote:
Hi, Lee. Sorry my response has taken so long.

Lee wrote:
One of my mentors would gently chide "Go as far as Scripture goes; but stop where Scripture stops." This effort goes as far as Scripture goes, but doesn't seem to stop where Scripture stops...
Respectfully, your mentor's advice may lead preachers to present boring sermons. Every preacher I’ve come across, at one time or another, sooner or later, more or less, adds to the reading of the Scripture what is not there so the hearer can imagine it and, perhaps, understand it better and remember it long after the sermon is over.

As such, I believe there is a legitimate use of imagination to fill in the gaps when attempting to understand Scripture in a way that violates neither the text nor the revelatory truth.


What you've just described falls more under the job description of an illustration. What the article presented was an unsupported foundational presupposition for a particular passage. Though I consider Scripture its own best illustrator, I am not aghast with someone using a real, or even imagined, illustration that helps clarify the text. I'm not sure how the alternative rendering can possibly clarify the text, the purpose of the book, or whatever.

nbanuchi wrote:
In any case, the view that Jonah’s disobedience was without any ill intent is plausible, as noted by a couple of respondents on this thread, and even by you.

As such, while I don’t entirely discount your mentor’s advice, I don’t entirely agree with it, either. Even Jesus went against your mentor’s advice. Where does the book of Jonah read that the Ninevites would have condemned others under different circumstances (no less a hypothetical notion!) or that Jonah symbolizes the Messiah?


I have a sneaking suspicion that on a more clear day you will want to re-think this statement, especially the part about Jesus, the embodied Word of God, extending His revelatory authority so as to circumvent the bounds of the Scripture.

nbanuchi wrote:
I don’t think my paper presented Jonah as imore noble than the Scriptures may imply; and what is so offensive about seeing the good in other believers despite their flaws? Like Louis C. Shimon wrote,

“Wouldn’t life be lots more happy
If the good that’s in us all
Were the only thing about us
That folks bothered to recall?”


"...touchingly heroic" seems to me quite a bit more noble than the Scripture may imply. I would bet you my whole years' paycheck for the year 2525 that if I had 50 people from any background read the Book of Jonah for the very first time not one would comment "wow, that was one heroic dude!" And the reason for that is--Scripture simply doesn't communicate it. Not in the book, not elsewhere.

nbanuchi wrote:
In any event, no essential revelatory teaching from the Bible is overturned but, in my assessment, enhanced for edification as I showed in the section on “Observations”.

Lee, if I may be respectfully honest, although I do appreciate your input it seems your objection is based on an overly simplistic way of engaging the text.

If you could demonstrate how I may have, by neglecting your mentor’s advice, substantially altered the text to the point of violating a specific and clearly essential Scriptural truth, then it would give me more serious pause.


The central theme of the Book of Jonah is not about Jonah. It is not about Israel, nor is it about Assyria/Nineveh. It is not about a boat full of unnamed pagan sailors, or even about a fish, a worm, or a gourd. The central theme of Jonah is about God. Anything that detracts from or diminishes this clearly communicated theme has to affect an "essential revelatory teaching from the Bible." Your scenario, if presented authoritatively (and discussing what if scenarios when the fish aren't biting is not authoritative) has changed that theme. Instead of communicating that which God wished to be communicated in regard to His dealing with individuals (Jonah), situations (chap 2), the Gentile heathen (chap 3), or His purposes in chastisement, mercy, compassion, etc. (chap 4), it is now about Jonah, a national hero, willing to "take one for the team," to stand between God and national judgment in a Tiananmen Square moment pitting good against evil where God comes off, at least in regards to His plans for national Israel, as evil.

If that is what is being communicated in Scripture, so be it . But if not, we do a grave disservice to Scripture.

nbanuchi wrote:
In addition, your suggestion that “we would serve ourselves much better by concentrating on what we know Scripture is communicating…and leave it simply at that” would prohibit much exposition or exegesis or, at least, render it all useless, permitting only a dry reading of the text.

If there are any questions I may have missed, please advise.


Not sure where coming up with a completely unsupported scenario is good exegesis or exposition. But in regards to your viewpoint, it seems to me that a book that is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword..." will rarely have to suffer from a "dry reading of the text" if the communicator has any gifting at all for the position they are filling in preaching/teaching the Word.

But even a "dry reading of the text" has a leg up on presenting a likely fallacious viewpoint on a Scripture narrative which could conceivably result in communicating a wrong opinion about God.

Lee

Enough

nbanuchi wrote:

Do you think I have brought sufficient and proper texts to bear to support the view expressed in my paper?

Well, you can only say so much in one essay. There's definitely enough there to get the mental wheels turning and send readers off digging.... which is enough. Sometimes it's better to provide "less than enough," so to speak, because it works better as a curiosity prompt, know what I mean?

On "touchingly heroic"... I do think Sidow Baxter is overstating his point a bit there. But I think I get his point. But sinners are capable of being wicked and--in a way--noble at the same time. (This is partly the ethical problem that Fletcher--if I'm remember the name right--aimed to solve in Situation Ethics. But his solution was to argue that when a person acts with the intention of love, that erases every other moral/ethical consideration. I would say that people can and do engage in sinful deeds all the time with at least partly beautiful motives. But the beautiful part doesn't alter the nature of the whole. If you dress a toad up in fine jewelry he's still a toad....but his jewelry is still fine.)

Lee wrote:
The central theme of the Book of Jonah is not about Jonah. It is not about Israel, nor is it about Assyria/Nineveh.... The central theme of Jonah is about God.

I think you're getting close to doing what you're faulting Nelson for doing here. The book does not say it is "about God." You're getting that by reconstructing the historical setting.... which is also what folks are doing who make a case that it is about Israel.

Also, you seem to have an underlying assumption that the book cannot be about more than one thing. Why would that have to be? Seems to me that it's about everything that gets significant attention in it, which would certainly have to include Jonah, his conduct and his heart. We can certainly argue for one primary theme and it's certainly likely that God's character is that theme. But even that conclusion requires making a case from other passages.

So the debate should really move away from "Do we allow external evidence to shape our interpretation beyond what the individual book says?" to "Who is making the best case from external evidence?"

Aaron Blumer wrote: ... I

Aaron Blumer wrote:
...
I think you're getting close to doing what you're faulting Nelson for doing here. The book does not say it is "about God." You're getting that by reconstructing the historical setting.... which is also what folks are doing who make a case that it is about Israel.

You don't think that Joe Average, as he reads through and realizes that better than 2 of every 3 verses reference some aspect of God by name or pronoun, action or word, and also recognizes that Israel gets no mentioning at all (though Jonah does identify himself as a Hebrew) that he might conclude without external evidence that the Book is about God and not Israel?

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Also, you seem to have an underlying assumption that the book cannot be about more than one thing. Why would that have to be? Seems to me that it's about everything that gets significant attention in it, which would certainly have to include Jonah, his conduct and his heart. We can certainly argue for one primary theme and it's certainly likely that God's character is that theme. But even that conclusion requires making a case from other passages. So the debate should really move away from "Do we allow external evidence to shape our interpretation beyond what the individual book says?" to "Who is making the best case from external evidence?"

Not tracking you here. Why would I need to go to other passages to determine that the theme of the Book of Jonah is certain aspect(s) of God? I don't go to other passages to determine the theme of Acts, or Revelation, or Joshua, or Judges, or Ruth, or.......................................................... Either it is what is being communicated, or it isn't.

Like any other book, the Book of Jonah can communicate many truths about many things, but it will only have one overarching theme. Likely as not, those other communicated truths (themes if you please) will, of necessity, stem from the main theme.

Lee

Context = external evidence

As a general rule, it's a good idea to read every book of the Bible in light of every other book of the Bible. That is, we can't fully develop a particular book's message without the context of teaching that is external to it.

As for "about God and not about Israel." I've already argued that there is no reason why it cannot be "about God" and also about Jonah, and Nineveh and Israel.

And I argued as well, a few posts before that, that the entire OT is "about Israel" as well as "about God." The two cannot really be separated, because God is revealing Himself through His dealings with the covenant people. Furthermore, the first audience for the book of Jonah would have been the people of Israel/Judah. It was written with a message for them mainly in view and its message to us, much later, is derived from that.

But the statement "It's about God" and the statement "It's about Israel" are not mutually exclusive.

I really don't know where the idea that a book of the Bible must have a single dominant theme comes from either, frankly. It's kind of conventional wisdom, but nobody says why.
I grew up hearing "The theme of Ephesians is..." etc. talk pretty often. A funny thing happened: different teachers and commentators would claim different things as "the theme."
As I acquired the skills to form my own convictions about themes, I found that the case for one or another as "the" was frequently not persuasive.
In any case, it would be interesting to see a thorough argument for the whole "singularity of theme" idea. I'm not personally convinced of it... even less convinced that it's very important to distinguish the dominance of theme #1 from theme #2 in a book's overall message.

I.e., if we've got the top three themes, we've got what we need. Which is #1 seems both unimportant and impossible to determine for certain. (But I'll grant that there are probably a few books that are pretty clear on a singular theme... I just can't think of any off hand. I don't look at them that way.)

Maybe Jesus meant Jonah instead of John

I was researching more the instance in Matt 16 where Jesus called Simon the son Jonah. Maybe there is some external evidence that Jesus is referring to that is relevant to the Jonah story.

Simon Bar-jonah probably should in fact be translated "Simon son of Jonah," rather than "Simon son of John." The two names are similar, but may not be equivalent. Matthew's Jesus may have wanted us to make some sort of connection between Simon and Jonah the prophet: "Blessed are you Simon--who may be compared with Jonah the prophet, for flesh and blood did not reveal this...."

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén.

Objection Shows No Serious Violation of Texts

Lee wrote:
…What the article presented was an unsupported foundational presupposition for a particular passage... I'm not sure how the alternative rendering can possibly clarify the text, the purpose of the book, or whatever.
Your objection is appreciated but I do not believe my “illustration” (as you suggest) violates either the text or revelatory truth; furthermore, the polyvalent nature of Jonah would exclude any dogmatism on my part (as it should on your part). I’ve clarified the text, albeit from my standpoint, and have proposed some practical observations to add to its meaning and purpose.

If the only reason you are opposed to my view Jonah is because it goes beyond the reading of the text, I must remind you that such an objection is trivial unless you can demonstrate how it clearly violates the text, the nature of God as revealed in the whole of Scripture, and/or the theology of the gospel message.

That it has not helped you in particular does not nullify a hopeful profit for others. I can only apologize that I have failed to provide a word for your edification in the Lord.

Lee wrote:
I have a sneaking suspicion that on a more clear day you will want to re-think this statement…
Where I am at today, it is a clear day. Who said anything about Jesus circumventing Scripture? I am only saying that Jesus did what you oppose doing, that is, to show a perspective of the Scriptures that goes beyond its reading. That he circumvents it is your impression, not mine.

Lee wrote:
…I would bet you my whole years' paycheck for the year 2525 that if I had 50…not one would comment "wow, that was one heroic dude!”…
Now I’m wondering if that’s the year of your retirement; then you won’t be receiving any more paychecks (since you’re not betting against your SS check). Not very heroic of you, is it?

In any case, let me just say that, (a) 50 people is not many; (b) the “Scripture simply doesn't communicate” that Jonah’s disobedience was with any evil intent, cowardice, or prejudice on Jonah’s part either; either of these interpretations would be, as you say, “unsupported foundational presupposition(s)” because nothing is clearly.

Please understand, I am not so much defending the position I have taken with regard to Jonah as I am defending the idea that it is polyvalent and opposing your objection as trivial and unnecessarily rigid.

As I stated before, I can only take your objection seriously if you demonstrate any violation of the text or essential doctrine.

Lee wrote:
The central theme of the Book of Jonah is not about Jonah. It is not about Israel, nor is it about Assyria/Nineveh…
That I have changed what you deem to be the central theme, true or not, does not demonstrate a serious violation of the text; you reflect a mere opinion. There are those (as Aaron suggests) who would disagree with your rigid suggestion. Regarding its meaning and purpose, have you not read my “Observations”?

Also, we have Moses (on two occasions where one was misdirected) and Paul the apostle “willing to take one for the team" and “stand between God and national judgment”, which although may not be the “central theme” of their respective books, is nevertheless significant.

I repeat, I don’t deny your position of a “central theme”; I do deny that (1) there necessarily is a central theme, and (2) you exclude other avenues of engaging the Scriptural texts.

In any case, the “central theme”, as you claim, being God is so ambiguous it leaves much room for various interpretations – sub-themes, if you wish - of the texts including my observations regarding God’s nature and interactions with men (see “Observations”).

My intent was not to be authoritative and I don’t believe my essay reads as such.

Are you not also proposing something beyond what Scripture states? Where does it explicitly read that the book of Jonah is centrally about God? It is an unsupported assumption you are making beyond what the texts actually states?

Lee wrote:
Not sure where coming up with a completely unsupported scenario is good exegesis or exposition.
Respectfully, your objection seems trivial. You have yet to demonstrate wherein my view is detrimental to a proper understanding of Scripture and God. You are making, as Shakespeare says, “Much ado about nothing.”

What I perceive here is a minor disagreement citing no serious breach of the Scriptural text.

I would like to comment on something you stated to Aaron:

Lee wrote:
Why would I need to go to other passages to determine that the theme of the Book of Jonah is certain aspect(s) of God? I don't go to other passages to determine the theme of Acts, or Revelation, or Joshua, or Judges, or Ruth, or... Either it is what is being communicated, or it isn't. Like any other book, the Book of Jonah can communicate many truths about many things, but it will only have one overarching theme. Likely as not, those other communicated truths (themes if you please) will, of necessity, stem from the main theme.
I’m not sure this is good advice for the study of Scripture. Sometimes what is being communicated is not as clear as you, I must respectfully suggest, naively think it is. That would render the books of the Bible to be unrelated, independent, and unnecessary in order gain the necessary proper and full revelation of God, especially as it concerns his nature and ways with mankind. What may be communicated in one book may not be so properly and fully understood if not seen in relation to other books in the Bible.

For just a simple illustration, just imagine if the Bible started with Exodus. How would one understand how or why Israel is depicted as God’s people? Or, is that not important to know? Or, how would one understand the harshness of divine judgments against Moab in the prophetical writings if we did not have the historical setting? Granted, we may not have everything in all the book necessary to get a full understanding of what is actually happening but we can obtain enough necessary information and explanation between books to assist us in obtaining a proper understanding of God, as to who he is and our relationship to him.

As Paul asserts, the history in the Hebrew texts “happened as examples for us” and “All Scripture…is profitable for training…that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

From my perspective, the books of Scripture are necessarily interrelated and provide, if one takes into consideration their relationships with each other, the adequate, proper, and requisite knowledge to inform faith. Of course, that is not what the Bible may clearlt communicate as its central theme, but it is the view I hold.

Since this is a likely

Since this is a likely scenario, how about posting a link to a sermon, written or audio, where someone has preached this message from Jonah. 2000 years of church history and hundreds of thousands of sermons on the internet, it shouldn't be too hard of a search. Honestly, I'm not seeing it yet, but there are a lot of people out there smarter than me. A good, practical sermon or two from a reputable preacher making sensible, normal application could go a long way in making a believer out of me.

Lee

An Objection of Substance Helps to Advance Discussion

Lee wrote:
...could go a long way in making a believer out of me.
My intention is not to convince.

From my perspective, being dogmatic on peripherals never advances a discussion, especially when the dogmatist neglects to demonstrate a serious objection to that, which it opposes.

I do appreciate your position and, unless an objection of substance is put forth, I think I've exhausted my responses. Again, I do apologize that my essay was not helpful to you.

Footnotes

Lee wrote:
Since this is a likely scenario, how about posting a link to a sermon, written or audio, where someone has preached this message from Jonah. 2000 years of church history and hundreds of thousands of sermons on the internet, it shouldn't be too hard of a search. Honestly, I'm not seeing it yet, but there are a lot of people out there smarter than me. A good, practical sermon or two from a reputable preacher making sensible, normal application could go a long way in making a believer out of me.

Lee, Nelson has already cited support for most of his view in the essay's footnotes.... though, really, the idea should stand or fall on his supporting argument not on appeals to authority.


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