"Let The Word...
Dwell In You"
Memory Verse Archives
Bryan Matthew Dockens
Many students of the scriptures assume that the book of Hebrews was penned by the apostle Paul. He did write nearly half the books contained in the New Testament, so it is easy to suppose he must have written this anonymous epistle, too. However, the evidence indicates otherwise.
First of all, the fact that the writer of the book goes unnamed within its own pages is strong evidence Paul should not be credited with it. Nearing the end of his second Thessalonian letter, Paul said, "The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write" (2 Thessalonians 3:17). The apostle himself stated that his signature was a trademark of all his writings. Indeed, he consistently used his own name as the first word of every other epistle credited to him (Romans; 1 Corinthians; 2 Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; 1 Thessalonians; 2 Thessalonians; 1 Timothy; 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon). This characteristic is noticeably missing from the epistle to the Hebrews.
Moreover, consider the internal evidence. The Hebrew writer asked, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him...?" (Hebrews 2:3; cf. 4:2). Those who heard Jesus speak and confirmed that word to others were the apostles (Luke 24:48; John 15:27; Acts 1:22; 10:40-42). The Hebrew writer places himself outside that category by including himself among those who received their testimony. Paul adamantly denied that he learned the gospel in this way. He identified himself as "Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)" (Galatians 1:1). He commented further, "But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11-12).
Having established that Paul did not pen the book of Hebrews, one is left to wonder who did. There is little evidence who the writer was, but it is known that he was a Christian of Jewish origin as indicated by the greater context of the book. He was either presently or previously in prison (Hebrews 10:34), he was an associate of Timothy the evangelist (Hebrews 13:23), and at the time of writing he was either in or had recently visited Italy (Hebrews 13:24). The writer could have been Aquila, Luke, Apollos, Silas, or any one of many brethren known or unknown to us. While it remains a point of curiosity for inquiring minds, who wrote the book of Hebrews is ultimately irrelevant because "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever" (Deuteronomy 29:29). Since God has chosen not to reveal the name of His servant, we should be content to remain uninformed on this point.
No matter who put ink to paper in providing us this book, we know assuredly that it was the Holy Spirit who moved that man to do so (2 Peter 1:20-21), God having breathed it forth (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and that Jesus Christ Himself is the Author (Hebrews 5:9; 12:2).
Calvinism's view of salvation, that salvation is completely and totally in the hands of God and has nothing to do with man, has serious implications. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of God and His revelation will recognize the absurdity of the following points.
First, it implies that man has no freewill whatsoever, and that everything we do, good or bad, is completely predetermined and controlled by God against our will. Second, it implies that, when we sin, we are not willfully sinning, but are being forced to sin by God against our will. Thus, every sin committed by mankind was ultimately caused by God. Third, it implies that man cannot seek God on his own, but must be forced to seek God against his will. Fourth, it implies that salvation cannot in any way be conditioned upon any act of obedience. In other words, Calvinism nullifies repentance, confession, faith and baptism. Fifth, it makes evildoers not responsible for their sin. If God is forcing them to sin against their will, then they cannot in any way be held guilty. Sixth, it makes God an arbitrary respecter of persons, choosing certain people to go to hell and others to heaven for no reason. It makes God contradictory, confusing, evil and cruel. Seventh, it makes the death of Christ pointless, as it was not really for everyone, but only for those arbitrarily chosen by God. Eighth, it makes the Bible pointless. If actually knowing God's will and doing it has no part whatsoever in salvation, then we do not need the Bible.
This Calvinistic view also contradicts several scriptures. First, the scriptures clearly teach that man has freewill and the ability to seek after God (Romans 2:5-8; Galatians 2:17; Matthew 16:24). Second, James 1:13- 16 states that God does not tempt us to sin. He does not desire that we sin. We sin because we succumb to lust. Third, not only does God not force anyone to sin against his will, but He actually wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4). If He wants everyone to be saved, but not everyone will be saved, then we must have the freewill to choose salvation or not. Fourth, there are conditions of salvation set forth by God, including repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16). These are not presented in the scriptures as actions forced upon us against our will. Fifth, Matthew 25:31-46, along with other passages, teaches that our obedience plays a part in determining our eternal destiny. Sixth, Calvinism says that Christ only died for those predestined for salvation. Yet John 1:29 and 1 John 2:2 say that Christ died for the sins of the world. The entire world will not be saved, but the potential for salvation exists for everyone. Seventh, if Calvinism is true, then all of the passages which exhort people to stop sinning and to do right are meaningless (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
The truth is that salvation is based completely on God's undeserved grace, yet conditioned upon our effort and obedience to His will (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation does not give us license to sin, or revoke the need to do right. Instead, it forgives us of our sin and gives us another chance to do what we were supposed to do (Luke 17:7-10).Download the PDF Back to the archives...
|Having problems with this page? Please report it to the webservant.|