Contending ministries robs Romans

 

contendingministries: Romans 1 told us this would happen: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Man is prone to suppress the truth. Pray that their eyes will be opened that they might know and accept the truth.


cormackytyrone: Is Romans 1 saying that man is prone to that as a whole, or just certain men, the same ones who Gods wrath is revealed against?

contendingministries: Great question! At Contending Ministries we believe that all of mankind is prone to suppress the truth due to the fall. It is our nature to justify sin, even if our conscience tells us it’s wrong. There are many places in Scripture that tell of the people doing right in their own eyes.

 

We also see verses, such as Romans 2:15-16, that tell us God’s law is written on our hearts. For man to do right in his own eyes, he must suppress the truth written on his heart. All of mankind is born with a natural tendency to do this. With that said, this verse is speaking of those who suppress the truth for life. Because of their suppressed truth, they deny the need of a Savior and die in their sin—making them targets of God’s wrath.

 

So man as a whole is prone to suppress the truth but God’s wrath is revealed to those who do not repent. We may be born with a natural tendency to suppress the truth but we can be born again. Christ tells us in John 8:31-32 that if we abide in his word then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. Thank you for the great question!

cormackytyrone: And thank you for the gracious reply! So, according to Romans 1, Gods wrath is revealed against those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Does Romans 1 say all men suppress the truth or are prone to suppress the truth, or does the chapter single out certain men?

contendingministries: Let me highlight a few things in verse 18:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, WHO by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. This seems to say that all unrighteousness and ungodliness is a result of suppressing the truth. As I pointed out in my previous post, everyone falls into that category at some point in his or her life.

 

Verse 16 of the same chapter says the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. What is the gospel?

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, —— he then goes on to explain that the gospel is that Christ died, was buried and was raised again.

 

Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the grave is the power for salvation. While upon the cross, God poured out his wrath on Christ. God’s wrath was revealed on the cross against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. By looking at the cross, we can repent of our truth-suppression, confessing we are wrong and trusting in Christ. Or we can suppress the truth even further and die in our sin. God then reveals his wrath to them as targets of his wrath.

 

The verses before and after verse 18 show the life of those who repent and those who do not. Verse 18 tells of God’s wrath being revealed. The verse before it tells about those who repent now living by faith. There is no longer a suppression of the truth because they are trusting in God’s word. The verses following verse 18 tell about the lifestyle of those who continue to suppress the truth. Great discussion! It really encourages digging deep into the Scripture. Feel free to contact us directly if you would like to continue our discussion 😀

cormackytyrone: And thanks again for that reply. Although I’m meaning to ask about Romans chapter 1 specifically, not anything else. Everyone falling into that category “at some point in...life” doesn’t answer my earlier question. If this chapter is referencing people who “suppress the truth for life” that wouldn’t include many people. Just reading the verse, it says Gods wrath is revealed against certain men who suppress the truth. It doesn’t say “ALL” unrighteousness and ungodliness is the result of anything, but rather that Gods wrath is over and revealed against “ALL” unrighteousness and ungodliness.

 

It seems to be about Gods wrath against every act, not about where every act came from. I don’t see any arguments in the text to say any action is “the result” of anything else. I do see the verse saying the same people who suppress the truth are also doing unrighteous and ungodly things. Still I’m not seeing any order argued for in the verse. Cheers again! I understand if you’d rather receive comments privately. ✌🏻

contendingministries: I am certainly not intending to make any arguments but rather discuss theological doctrine. I believe we are ultimately saying the same thing in different ways, at least as far as our main points are concerned. I also always hesitate when conversations are confined to one verse, as it is easy to twist the Scripture. I much prefer to look at Scripture as a whole.

 

To briefly sum up what I’ve tried to communicate:
Unrighteousness and ungodliness is suppressing the truth. As to what is the cause and what is the result of something is not what I was attempting to communicate. I was looking at everything after the comma as defining the things before it, not the cause of it. You absolutely nailed what I was trying to say when you said, “I do see the verse saying the same people who suppress the truth are also doing unrighteous and ungodly things.”

 

Adam and Eve suppressed the truth, exchanging it for a lie. They denied God’s word and believed the serpent. People deny God’s word today, knowingly or unknowingly, and thus suppress the truth. This is not to say that it is limited to people who reject all truth, for that would be a very small summer. Rather, I intended to communicate that they suppress the truth of their sin, do not put their faith in Christ and die in their sin. That would be a very large number of people. Christ tells us the road to destruction is large and many people find it.

 

I also attempted to broaden the scope a bit in saying everyone was doing ungodly and unrighteous things, suppressing the truth knowingly or unknowingly, and God revealed his wrath through the cross. Romans 5 addresses Christ dying for the ungodly. People suppress the truth at various levels, some to the point they become completely calloused.

 

I also believe you are correct in that the verse seems to be about God’s wrath against every act, not about where every act came from. As said, I believe we are saying the same thing in different ways. Apologies for anything that wasn’t communicated clearly.

In respect for the original poster, I look forward to continuing in direct message. God bless!

cormackytyrone: I mean argument in the original Greek sense. Not a quarrel but rather setting forward a persons case for why something’s true. About twisting scripture. Reading a verse might be unhelpful but I’m asking about an entire chapter. It seems far more likely that Christians may wrongly interpret a chapter by not using the chapter and going elsewhere. Trying to interpret Romans 1 by “A leopard can’t change its spots” or “who are you O man” could be a disaster. It’s easier and safer to read the immediate context and work outwards.

 

Reading Romans 1 in context the writer doesn’t argue that unrighteousness and ungodliness ARE suppressing the truth. He argues Gods wrath has been revealed against unrighteousness and ungodly by people who also suppress the truth. There’s no need right now to confuse the three, namely unrighteousness, ungodliness and suppressing the truth. Suppressing the truth is indeed unrighteous but not every unrighteous act is to suppress the truth. A man who hated God shouting “I hate God!!!” wouldn’t be suppressing the truth but rather proclaiming it, yet that’s still an unrighteous and ungodly thing to be doing.

 

Using the commas doesn’t always help since in the original Greek there’s no punctuation. Everything’s just in block caps so far as I’m aware. I pointed out a great many people wouldn’t be included if you were meaning to write lifelong deniers of the truth are being mentioned by Romans 1, so my original point wasn’t about how many people are doomed but rather what a great many are saved according to the Bible. Revelation explains a great many too numerous to be counted.

 

In addition since people become calloused, isn’t it more possible that Romans 1 is teaching on calloused man in the heat of his rebellion rather than mankind as a whole. The large list of sins and offences which follow in chapter 1 point towards hardened sinners and not any kind of sinful state that Joe average must wrestle with daily. For which using Romans 1 to condemn humanity wouldn’t be appropriate.

 

Lastly I thoroughly believe @drfrankturek appreciates Christian iron sharpening iron in an open, respectful and pubic way so that everyone can enjoy a good public Bible study. I’m sure it’s not disrespectful to the original poster and might even be a shot in the arm to somebody reading. 👍🏻🔥🔥🔥

contendingministries: Those are all good points. Glad to know your meaning behind the word argument. Again, I feel we agree on our main points. I do believe context is important for individual books but I also believe it is important to let Scripture interpret Scripture and look at the Scripture as a whole.

 

Your main points are things I do not disagree with. I just believe a suppression of the truth does extend beyond what you are saying. To say “I hate God” is typically going to be an atheist who hates the idea of God or a Satanist who has rejected the truth to follow satanic doctrine. So again, I haven’t really disagreed with the point of what you are saying. We simply have different interpretations of how far suppressing the truth goes.

cormackytyrone: Many thanks for highlighting the areas in which we agree. My main point though would be something more straightforward. To rewrite very quickly: Romans 1 appears to be about certain men, not mankind. So using the chapter to condemn mankind as suppressing the truth would be a misuse of the text and an unfortunate witness for the Christian.

 

You pointed out it’s good to make use of the entire Bible, which means there might be Bible chapters and verses which paint humanity in that same unflattering light. Still, moving onto auxiliary verses so to make the point more pronounced leads me to believe that Romans 1 doesn’t make the global point it was originally intended to. Pardon if it seems as though I’m belabouring our attention on the chapter. It’s something I’d love to get right though, unless you or I move on with our walk without getting the extent of the chapter fleshed out.

― Tyrone Cormack