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FROM THE PASTOR'S STUDY

Topic: Message Outlines: Chapter 11

Romans 11:16-24 (2)

by Darrel Cline
(darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)

Chapter # 11 Paragraph # 5 Study # 2
September 15, 2009
Lincolnton, N.C.

(528)

Thesis:Because there are two kinds of "holiness" in Paul's teachings, "holy" branches can be broken off of the tree which has the "holy" root.

Introduction:In our study last week I put forth the idea that the doctrine of election is the application of a certain level of determinism in the indeterminate universe of persons. There is a determinate universe of impersonal entities wherein lock-step cause-and-effect is the rule and "miracles" are aberrations from that rule. But there is also an indeterminate universe of personal entities wherein the complex of Love/Faith/Choice/Action is the rule and "election" is God's interference with the vagaries of Sin's corruption of the human heart and mind.

Having made that argument, I made the claim that Paul's use of the metaphor of pruning and grafting was the use of an illustration from the determinate universe for our greater understanding of the indeterminate universe in which we function as persons.

But, at the end of the study, there was some confusion. For that cause we are going to spend some time this evening pressing Paul's argument a bit further in order for us to gain some clarity.

In a nutshell, the problem for us is Paul's declarations that, on the one hand, a "holy root" produces "holy branches" and that, on the other hand, some of the "holy branches" were broken off so that "unholy branches" from an "unholy root" might be grafted into the olive tree. What do we make of this, and what is Paul's "point"?


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