Thursday, July 20, 2017

The “Catenization” of Universalism

Truths We Believe About God, Part 9

A Biblical & Theological Rejection of Wm. Paul Young’s book, Lies We Believe About God  

Part 1: Truths We Believe About God 
Part 2: Doing the Universalist Twist 
Part 3: OUR Way or THE Way? 
Part 4: An Imaginary Cosmic Reality 
Part 5: Universalism & Trinitization 
Part 6: A Catena: The Chain of “All” 
Part 7: A Catena: Universalism's Troubles With “All
Part 8: A Catena: Universalism's “World” and “Everyone” 

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

A Review of the Book’s Chapters

A Conclusion About Young's A Catena  
Paul Young’s A Catena exhibits thirty-four Scripture passages to support and promote among Christians his belief in universal salvation, especially those persons who reside within the spectrum of pan-evangelicalism. “I have listed a chain of scriptures, a catena, that relate directly to this conversation.” (LWBAG, 119) Note: Young calls his “chain of scriptures” (plural) A Catena when more accurately it should be titled A Catenae (Lat. plural.). If Young is intentionally using the collective singular (Catena) , then it must be concluded that the singular verses in his A Catena are to be chanted or meditated upon together as a collective unit, in one long chain; i.e., a narrative. In other words, it is a package deal. In order to describe this process, I have coined the word Catenization:

The “Whole, Every, Cosmos and Other” Passages (29-34)

The “Whole” Passage 

29. 1 John 2:2 (Berean Study Bible, emphasis Young’s): 
“He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” 

Prevalent in the ancient world was the belief that the gods were offended, and that the sacrificial rite would “atone” for the offense. In short, sacrifices to the gods were the way ancient people sought to appease their gods so that they would become kindly disposed toward them. Leon Morris wrote that, “In the ancient world the universal religious rite was sacrifice. All over that world people offered animals on their altars, trusting that their gods would accept their sacrifices and that their sins would be forgiven.”[91] In her national life in that ancient pagan world, Yahweh ordered Israel to annually observe the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16-17). The idea of “atonement” is rooted not only in the sacrificial systems of the Gentile peoples, but also by the Law God gave to Israel. But does John’s use of the word “atonement” (Greek hilasmos) in this verse to describe Jesus’ death—that He died not for our sins only but for the sins of the whole world—communicate that all humanity is therefore saved? Again the answer is, “No!”

Though Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, the whole world is not of consequence saved. John’s Gospel clearly communicated that the benefit of Jesus’ atonement applies only to those who, as Jesus stated, exercise acceptance by faith; that “whosoever believeth should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). In his last testimony about Jesus, John the Baptist bore witness to Jesus as follows: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). So what does it mean that Jesus’ death was atonement for the sins of the whole world?

Disregarding the debate as to whether the atonement’s scope is limited (Calvinism—Jesus died only for God’s elect) or unlimited (Arminianism—Jesus died for everybody), I believe that there’s another sense in which “the atonement for the sins of the whole world” can be understood (1 John 2:2); and this against the backdrop of all the sacrificial systems prevalent in the ancient world, including Israel’s. It is this: Jesus’ “once-for-all” atonement is the only sacrifice by which people may find atoning forgiveness for their sins from God! No more sacrifices, animal or human, need be to offered by any people anywhere to obtain forgiveness. Completed in the Son, God accepts no other atonement for sin other than Jesus’. Exclusively, His atonement is for the whole world. As Jesus is “the only way” to come to the Father, so Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross is “the only basis” upon which people can find forgiveness for their sins from the Father. So this atonement statement (See also 1 John 4:10) not only forbids any continuance of sacrifices, but also sends a message that both syncretism (an ecumenical system that tries to combine—synthesize—all religions into one) and pluralism (there are many—plural—paths leading to God) are wrong, both of which Wm. Paul Young espouses (The Shack, 182). As Dick Lucas insightfully wrote:

Christians have always confessed that there is but one God; they have also found themselves in loyalty bound to confess that there is but one way to that God, the God-man Christ Jesus. He alone is the God-given mediator. God has made him the agent of reconciliation for all just because there is no other mediator capable of reconciling any.[92]

The “Every” Passages 

30. Philippians 2:10-11 (NASB, emphasis Young’s): 
“At the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

In the transition between time and eternity, all the glory in the universe will pass through the Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. All “things celestial, and terrestrial, and subterranean” will “bow to the imperium [Lat. command, ed.] of the exalted Jesus.”[93] All beings in heaven are worshipping the Lord now and when resurrected, all persons living, whether believers, skeptics, agnostics, atheists, rebels or unbelievers will kneel, bow and publically confess, “Jesus Christ is Lord.” That every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord is understood by Paul Young to imply that in the end everyone in the universe will abruptly become fond of Jesus, choose relationship with Him and be saved. But one blunt statement in Philippians, as do others in Paul’s letters, contradicts such an assumption.

The Apostle exhorts the Philippians to follow his Christian example and teaching but grievously warns the congregation about those who neither follow his behavior nor preach the true Gospel.

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
—Philippians 3:17-19, Emphasis added.
Questions: Will these “enemies of the cross of Christ” who “mind earthy things,” whose “glory is their shame,” whose “God is their belly,” and whose “end is destruction” be saved? Will these enemies who now despise the cross of Christ suddenly become enamored with the cross and be reconciled to God? Will their confession “Jesus Christ is Lord” be rendered because they suddenly morph to love the cross? (“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:18.). Will these “worldlings,” these false teachers and their followers, have an after-death break-though experience when they abruptly change from being enemies of the cross to being friends of the cross?

That’s what Young would have us believe, and he advocates this interpretation despite dogmatically stating that if the Son’s Father “originated the Cross... we worship a cosmic abuser.” (LWBAG, 149) In my thinking, if people are not “fond” of the cross now, they will not become “fond” of it in the end. Motyer summarizes the submission of everyone to the Lord Jesus Christ like this:

[A] confession made for the first time in response to the visible manifestation of his glory will not be a saving confession, but a grudging acknowledgement wrested by overmastering divine power from lips still as unbelieving as they were through their whole earthly experience. All will submit, all will confess, but not all will be saved.[94]

31. Revelation 5:13 (Holman CSB, emphasis Young’s): 
“I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say: Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 

Again Young interprets “every creature” to include without exception every human who ever lived. The problem with “cherry picking” this biblical text to support a scenario of universal/redemption/salvation is that Young’s “picking” ignores other contradictory passages in Revelation. Because these statements conflict with what Young considers Lies We Believe About God—“You need to get saved.”; “Hell is separation from God.”; “Not everyone is a child of God.”; “Sin separates us from God.”—the author gives no mention of these contradictory passages. So while choosing a verse he twists to support his universalism, he ignores other statements in Revelation which do not support his hope that in the eschatological end every human being will wind up in heaven. Yet Revelation clearly identifies unrepentant sinners who will not reside in the eternal city. These examples are offered:
  • And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. (Revelation 9:20-21)
  • For without [the New Jerusalem] are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Revelation 22:15)
  • But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8) 

The Apostle Paul also lists sins, which when persisted in and not repented of, disqualify people from life in “the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21).

Please note: The passages cited above do not teach salvation by works. Rather they characterize the lifestyles of people who are aliens either from God’s kingdom now or to come (John 3:3, 5; Matthew 25:34). We Christians can number ourselves among those who commit sin, but by God’s grace have been forgiven of it. To the Corinthians the Apostle Paul explained, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of out God” (Emphasis added, 1 Corinthians 6:11). The Gospel gives no room for self-righteous people to get into heaven, but only those who submit to and receive the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). As Dr. Walvoord described:

Obviously many will be in heaven who before their conversions were indeed guilty of these sins [Revelation 21:8] but who turned from them in the day of grace in trusting Christ as their Savior. Though works are the evidence of salvation or lack of it, they are never the basis or ground of it.[95]

As someone once put it, three surprises await us in heaven. First, some people we expected to be there will not be there. Second, others we did not expect to see there will be there. And finally, “Surprise!” we’re there.

The “Cosmos” Passage 

31. 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NIV/Greek NT, emphasis Young’s): 
“For God was in Christ reconciling the cosmos to Himself, not counting their sins against them.” 

Young does not accurately quote the NIV. He uses the preposition “For” when NIV translations read either “For in Christ” or “that God.” Scholars debate how the comparative particle plus the subordinating conjunction (Greek particle hos + conjunction hoti) should be understood. Various English versions reflect this: “to wit” KJV, ASV; “that is” NKJV, NRSV, ESV, HCSB; “namely” NASB; “that” or “for” (NIV); not translated (NCV); “for” NLT; “how that” Young’s Literal Translation, Darby; “our message is” TEV. But these versions share one thing in common: they suggest that verse 19 defines the message of reconciliation (as also verse 21) which ministry God delegated to the Apostles and the Apostles to the church (i.e., “us” and “we,” verses, 18b, 19b, and 20). The delegated message of reconciliation is this: God “was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses sins against them,” (NASB), and God “hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (1 Corinthians 5:21). This message therefore demanded the apostolic command: “be reconciled to God” (1 Corinthians 5:20).

Now based upon God’s commission of the Apostle and his urgent appeal for the church to declare this “word (i.e., logos) of reconciliation,” a question arises. If everybody’s reconciled to God, why did the Apostle make this appeal to the church—“we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God”? (2 Corinthians 2:20, NKJV). In Young’s scheme of universal reconciliation, everybody’s either actual or potential friends with God anyway. Is the appeal to be reconciled really just an announcement to the cosmos that God was “not counting their sins against them,” end of story? By including this verse in his A Catena about the salvation of the cosmos Young apparently desires to communicate to his readers that this is just an announcement, not appeal.

To shed some light on Paul Young’s belief about reconciliation, we look at a conversation in The Shack between Papa and Mack. Crossing her arms on the table, Papa leans forward and says to him, “Honey, you asked me what Jesus did on the cross; so now listen to me carefully: through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world.” (The Shack, 192) Fully reconciled Elousia told Mack, as if there was/is no further obligation on the part of people to believe and be reconciled to God. So what’s all this ambassadorial “appealing” and “begging” and “ordering” people to “be reconciled to God” about? Why such urgency on the part of the Apostle if in the grand cosmic scheme of redemption everybody’s already saved?

In a later conversation with Mack, Papa tells him, “In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship.” (Emphasis mine, The Shack, 225) “Be reconciled” is reduced from an urgent appeal to be saved into a mild nudging for the Corinthians to choose relationship with God. That he invites humanity into “relationship” negates any thinking that Jesus’ atonement was either penal or substitutionary, thus softening Young’s inference that any God demanding the Cross is a “cosmic abuser” and unworthy of worship. (LWBAG, 149) In Young’s scheme of salvation it’s more important for God to be subjectively reconciled to man than it is for man to be objectively reconciled to God. If Young is right, then any urgency to command “be reconciled to God” can be dismissed. This reduces the understanding of Christ’s atonement and sacrifice to be mystically and morally inspirational, a divine nudge for people to choose “relationship” with God.

About Young’s use of the word cosmos to suggest that all humanity is redeemed-reconciled to God, Colin Kruse makes this distinction: “It [the word cosmos] hardly applies to the created order, as the trespasses involved are those of humanity, and it is difficult to see it applying extensively to every individual human being, because elsewhere Paul clearly implies that the sins of unbelievers are and shall be counted against them (cf. Rom. 1:18-32; 2:5-11; Eph. 5:3-6; Col 3:5-6).”[96] Philip E. Hughes adds that, “This should not be understood in the sense of an indiscriminate universalism....”[97]

In making forgiveness one-sided, Paul Young makes God, being the bigger person He is, to be the one who needed to forgive sinful human beings so that they might be inspired to choose “relationship” with Him. But as James Denney (1856-1915) pointed out in his classic work The Death of Christ,

Where reconciliation is spoken of in St. Paul, the subject is always God, and the object is always man. The work of reconciling is one in which the initiative is taken by God, and the cost borne by Him; men are reconciled in the passive, or allow themselves to be reconciled, or receive reconciliation. We never read that God has been reconciled.[98]

“Other” Passages 

33. Ephesians 2:8-9 (Aramaic Bible/Greek NT): 
“For by grace we have been saved through faith, and this [faith] is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast.” 

After the pronoun “this,” Paul Young inserts the word “faith” in brackets suggesting that “faith” is “a gift of God” and not like Abraham sourced in a believer’s heart (Genesis 15:6). Young interprets this verse like a deterministic hyper-Calvinist. So the question becomes, is a believer’s faith irrelevant to salvation? In fatalistic theologies like hyper-Calvinism or universal reconciliation-ism, faith becomes unnecessary because either God gives faith to some, or as in Young’s belief system, He gives faith to everybody.

Young cites a version of Ephesians 2:9, he claims to derive from the Aramaic Bible/Greek New Testament. By inserting “faith” in brackets after “this,” naïve readers, under the appearance of scholarly interpretation, will think that the pronoun and bracketed defining noun are grammatically related, that “this” is explained by “faith.” Young’s bracketed insertion means to suggest that Young finds reason for his interpretation in the Aramaic Bible and New Testament’s original language, Greek. But it does not.

Koine Greek: the lingua franca
From the about the 6th to 5th centuries BC onward Aramaic (an ancient Semitic language with characters similar to Hebrew) became the lingua franca of the ancient world. Ancient peoples used Aramaic to conduct commerce. Part of Daniel and Ezra were written in Aramaic. Likely, John the Baptist and Jesus spoke it. Though Jesus’ original sayings may also have been preserved in Hebrew/Aramaic, the New Testament Scriptures were written in common (koine) Greek, the new lingua franca of the Roman Empire. But scholars claim to find influences from Hebrew (called Hebraisms) and Aramaic (called Aramaisms) in the Greek New Testament. Those findings though suggestive, can be subjective. Nevertheless, the extant manuscripts of the New Testament were written in Koine Greek (i.e., common Greek as opposed to Classical Greek). Though written in a “rugged and vigorous koine,” the Apostle Paul’s letters appear “marked throughout by his close acquaintance with the LXX [the Greek translation of the Old Testament which appeared in 70 B.C., ed.] and by his native Aramaic.”[99] But that acquaintance does not change the grammar of Koine Greek. I raise this issue because Young cites the Aramaic Bible as if it bears upon the interpretation (i.e., exegesis) of this verse when it does not. So we turn to Greek grammar to see whether or not the noun “faith” defines the pronoun “this.” Is faith the gift of God? 

The pronoun “this” (touto, neuter gender) does not agree in gender with either the nouns “faith” (pistis, feminine) or “gift” (charis, feminine). This grammatical fact marks Young’s equating of the pronoun “this” to the noun “faith” questionable. Dr. Daniel Wallace states that, “On the grammatical level, then, it is doubtful that either ‘faith’ or ‘grace’ is the antecedent of touto.”[100] So lacking gender agreement, what then could the neuter pronoun “this” refer to? Does the context provide a better option? Agreeing with a host of other scholars, Professor Dr. Harold Hoehner (1935-2009) preferred that, “Rather than any particular word it is best to conclude that touto refers back to the preceding section.”[101] (Wallace calls this a “conceptual antecedent.”)[102] In the preceding section (Ephesians 2:4-7) the Apostle Paul states that “when we were dead in our transgressions” God in His mercy did three things for us: 1. He “made us alive together with Christ”; 2. He “raised us up with” Christ; and 3. He “seated us... in the heavenly places” with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5-6). So as regards salvation’s security and hope for heaven we’re as good as “there.” Here is there! The pronoun “this” can be interpreted as generally referring to the whole “package” of God’s gracious works for us—making us alive, raising us up, and seating in heavenly places in Christ. These gracious acts of mercy, not faith, are the gift. The recurrent statement “by grace you have been saved” verse 5 and “by grace you have been saved” verse 8, ties the section together (Ephesians 2:4-10). The whole described package of salvation is wrapped in grace. Now there’s a Christmas gift to believers! As regards Young’s implication that this verse inferences universal salvation, Hoehner wrote:

Whereas “grace” is the objective cause or basis of salvation, “through faith” is the subjective means by which one is saved. This is important, for the salvation that was purchased by Christ’s death is universal in its provision, but it is not universal in its application. One is not automatically saved because Christ died, but one is saved when one puts trust in God’s gracious provision.[103]

Further, thinking that faith is a gift disregards the Apostle Paul’s quotation that personally and actively, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3, 9; See also Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23.). God’s word was the objective stimulus of Abraham’s faith (If God had not spoken to Abraham he would not have been justified.) while Abraham’s faithful response was counted by God unto him for righteousness (See 1 Thessalonians 2:13.).

34. Romans 8:38-39 (ESV): 
“For I am convinced [ESV “sure”] that neither death, [ESV no comma] nor life, nor angels nor principalities [ESV “rulers”], nor things present, [ESV no comma] nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, [ESV no comma] nor depth, nor any other created thing [ESV “nor anything else in all creation”], will be able to separate us from the love of God, [ESV no comma] which is [ESV no “which is”] in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

In comparing my copy of the English Standard Version to Young’s above quotation of it, I observed discrepancies which are marked by bracketed inserts. For comparison purposes, my ESV copy reads:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, ESV) 

Without any notice, Young’s citation appears to conflate the ESV with other translations and their punctuations, most noticeably the King James Version and the New American Standard Bible. Though he documents to readers that it is, Young’s citation is not strictly from the ESV. Now we turn to the question, do these “no separation” verses teach universalism?

We notice first the objective pronoun “us” and the possessive pronoun “our.” Nothing shall be “able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Can the meaning of these personal pronouns of address be expanded to refer to everybody in the world? Is there no distinction say... between Christian and non-Christian (i.e., Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or even nominal Christians, etc.)? As Christ Jesus is “our Lord,” is He also everybody’s Lord? I don’t think so! One can only believe these verses teach universalism by warping the pronouns to mean something other than “us” or “our.” By the way, in this section of the Romans letter, the personal pronouns “we” occur thirty-eight times, “us” eleven times, and “our” nine times. By what arbitrary leap of faith, if language means anything at all, can such pronouns be transformed into meaning everybody. While this section of Romans makes mention of unbelievers, it was not written to them but to believing Christians. The following statements bear this out. Dear readers, about these quotations from Romans ask, “Do they unlimitedly refer to everybody alive or limitedly refer to believers who are alive to God in Christ?”
  • “Consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). 
  • “Sin shall not be master over you” (Romans 6:14). 
  • “Having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit... the outcome of eternal life” (Romans 6:22). 
  • “But now we have been released from the Law... so that we serve in newness of the Spirit” (Romans 7:6). 
  • “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ” (Romans 8:1). 
  • “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9). 
  • “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). 
  • “The Spirit... intercedes for all the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27). 

From these statements in Romans chapters six through eight, it’s obvious that the chapters and the two closing verses sloppily quoted by Young to support universalism, apply to believers who are spiritually alive in Christ as distinct from unbelievers who are spiritually dead in the world (See Romans 1:18-3:18). To say otherwise, obliterates the obvious.

A Conclusion About A Catena 
Paul Young intends for his A Catena to feign massive Scriptural support for universal reconciliation which it in fact does not. For those who might not believe that Young is promoting the salvation of everybody, what he states to readers in exposing a lie “You need to get saved.” is here repeated:

Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? 
That is exactly what I am saying! 
This is real good news! (LWBAG, 118) 

That Young views his amplified gospel to be “real” good news, implies that the New Testament gospel is just “good news.” Young doesn’t really believe “3:16.” The Apostolic Gospel is not like Young’s apostate gospel, and believers must understand that his message as such, is “accursed!” (Galatians 1:6-9; See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.) Because the Apostle Paul placed other apostate gospels (i.e., health, wealth and now universalism) under a ban, believers are to have nothing to do with Young’s gospel. Disappointing it is to see that much of pan-evangelicalism reads the book or watches the movie, The Shack, with no regard for anything other than the good vibes they get from them (See Jeremiah 23:16-17.). If people really believe what they are reading and seeing, it appears that universalism is building to become the next wave within the evangelical movement, and devoted souls will either catch this wave and ride it or get “left behind.”
(Mesmer, who developed Mesmerism,
an induced hypnotic-like
altered state of consciousness*)

Because Young advises reading his A Catena aloud with gravitas, suggests he believes that such a ceremonial recitation of the verses will enhance the meaning of the written Word he errantly quotes. Sound becomes more important than substance (“OM....”).  Perhaps Young intends for the gravitas to mesmerize* readers into accepting the error he is teaching. Fact is, not one of the thirty-four verses he “catenizes” teaches universal reconciliation. Young might wish and hope they do, but they don’t.

Some of you might question, well what’s wrong with reading the Scriptures aloud? (By the way, this contemplative activity is known by the Latin words lectio divina, reading sacred things.) Don’t pastors do it all the time? The error lies in the intent as well as the content of the various Bible versions Young conflates and cites. Intent is determinative. Are the Scriptures being read aloud by sound to support God's truth or promote the Devil's error? In tempting Jesus the Devil may have quoted Scripture with gravitas, but he assigned meanings to his narrative that the Old Testament Scriptures did and do not possess (Matthew 4:1-11). And that is what Paul Young is doing with his A Catena. The Apostle Peter states that like the Devil, false teachers “wrest” (KJV, ASV), “distort” (NASB), “falsely explain” (NCV) or “twist (NKJV, NRSV) Scriptures to say what their words do not communicate. Young believes occurrences of words like “all... every, etc.,” teach universalism. But not one of these passages in his A Catena... let it be repeated, not one of these passages when considered semantically, grammatically, syntactically, and contextually support universalism; that everybody’s saved. For sound exegetical reasons I conclude that Young’s A Catena does not support universal salvation at all. Let A Catena be anathema!

[91] Leon Morris, New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986): 73. 
[92] R.C. Lucas, The Message of Colossians & Philemon: The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1980): 57-58. 
[93] Handley C. G. Moule, Philippian Studies: Lessons in Faith and Love (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d.): 96. 
[94] J.A. Motyer, The Message of Philippians: The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1984): 122. 
[95] John F. Walvoord, “Revelation,” Bible Knowledge Commentary: 2, 985. 
[96] Colin G. Kruse, The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987): 127. 
[97] Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962): 208. 
[98] James Denney, The Death of Christ (Minneapolis, MN: Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, Inc., 1982 Reprint): 103. Hafemann points out, “Reconciliation is God’s initiative and God’s work.” But then explains that “God is not reconciled with us, as if we were the point of reference and God were the transgressor (!); we are reconciled with God.” Scott J. Hafemann, 2 Corinthians: The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000): 245. Leon Morris also states: “It is interesting to notice that no New Testament passage speaks of Christ reconciling God to man. Always the stress is on man being reconciled.... It is man’s sin which has caused the enmity.” See Leon L. Morris, “Reconciliation,” The New Bible Dictionary, J.D. Douglas, Organizing Editor (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962): 1077. Of the eleven New Testament mentions of reconciliation, “in every instance man is said to be reconciled to God.” See John F. Walvoord, Jesus Christ Our Lord (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1969): 179.
[99] J.N. Birdsall, “Language of the New Testament,” The New Bible Dictionary, J.D. Douglas, Editor (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,1962): 715.
[100] Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: 335.
[101] Harold W. Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 2002): 343.
[102] Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: 335.
[103] Hoehner, Ephesians: 341.

1. The definition of catenization is inspired by the late Pastor Ken Silva, who often satirically coined new words along with Pastor Larry DeBruyn and Sarah Leslie for posting either on his website and/or the Herescope blog. 
2. The two graphic images of lingua franca and catena are adapted from definitions posted at, which also influenced the definition of catenization
3. Most of the graphic images of chains in this 4-part A Catena commentary are from photographs taken by Sarah H. Leslie. A few unattributed images were obtained via Google Images. 
4. This series by Pastor Larry DeBruyn is being concurrently published at his website Articles are used with his permission. 
5. The photo of the shack in this post comes from the book cover of Larry DeBruyn's book UNSHACKLED, his critical review of Young's book The Shack. See:  

*Mesmer, mesmerism: See: and See also our article "Altered States: A Different Gate" at