Jonah: The Runaway Prophet

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]

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There are 47 Comments

Mathew Sims's picture

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

Aaron Blumer's picture

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.

drwayman's picture

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

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Lee's picture

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

Aaron Blumer's picture

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?

Lee's picture

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

drwayman's picture

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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drwayman's picture

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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drwayman's picture

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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Lee's picture

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

drwayman's picture

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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JohnBrian's picture

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

drwayman's picture

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

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drwayman's picture

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

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drwayman's picture

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

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Lee's picture

Ain't much iron sharpening iron if the sparks aren't flying! Just sayin'............... :bigsmile:

Lee

Aaron Blumer's picture

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.

JohnBrian's picture

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
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Susan R's picture

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.

drwayman's picture

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.

drwayman's picture

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.

nbanuchi's picture

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]

drwayman's picture

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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dcbii's picture

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

drwayman's picture

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

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

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?

drwayman's picture

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.

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