Misused scripture...

by Tom
(California)

You have misrepresented the story of Peter's conversion.

"Did Jesus tell Peter he was a sinful man? Did Jesus tell Peter to give up everything and follow him?"

Actually, I'm sure that Jesus did! Not that Jesus told Peter specifically, or in so many words, but you seem to have missed the part where Jesus "sat down, and taught the people out of the ship."

What do you think Jesus said? We don't know exactly, but his public sermons were always like the Sermon on the Mount: they exposed the inadequacy of self-righteousness, and called on people to commit their lives to Him.

Moreover, Peter was *already* a disciple of Jesus when this took place (John 1:35-42). Although he apparently had not yet fully committed his life to Christ, he had spent time listening to Him before.

I am not writing this to attack your larger point; I have not entirely made up my mind about this doctrine, but am in at least partial agreement with you. I am grateful for and have been edified by many things on this site.

But for the love of the truth, do not make it sound like Luke 5:4 is the only thing of consequence Jesus said to Peter before his conversion. That's just not true.

(Feel free to remove this message after you have revised your page. Perhaps some day I'll come back and write a response to your real point, if I ever make up my mind about it.)

Comments for Misused scripture...

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Jul 21, 2012
We Disagree Less than You Think?
by: Tom

"My point in this story and in all my arguments--to try some different wording--is that breaking and surrendering unleashes a floodgate. Things you heard but never understood, and things that everyone understands deep down, come unblocked and enter your spiritual bloodstream. Things get clear."

I agree with that (and indeed experienced it myself when the Lord got a hold of me). If that's what you're saying happened to Peter, then I think you should make that clearer in your original article, because that's not how it comes across. (To me, at least, but am I really the only person who's been confused by that section?)

You could briefly explain that Peter had been exposed the Law (he was a Jew after all), and had heard Jesus himself teach that day, but (as far as we know) no one ever took that bold step of confronting him, *personally*, about his sin.

As for the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus' public teaching, I will briefly say that I agree with you that He mostly convicted people by implication, rather than directly. That is why I said, "not in so many words".

Jesus also openly exhorted people to follow and commit to Him spiritually. I do not say that He gave a general command for people to follow Him physically. However, as you well know, the physical and the spiritual cannot be neatly separated.

Basically, I was referring to what you called, "things you heard but never understood", but I was trying to keep my comment short.

Anyway, I appreciate your willingness to hear criticism and discuss things openly. Too few sites like this are run by people willing to do that.

Jul 21, 2012
Couple comments on the Word
by: Paul Pavao (webmaster)

Let me post a shorter comment in addition.

I recently read John again, and once more I was struck by how essential the Word is.

Jn. 5:38 - You do not have his Word abiding in you because you don't believe the One he sent.

Jn. 6:63 - It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh gains nothing. The words that I speak to you, they are Spirit, and they are life.

Jn. 8:37 - I know that you are Abraham's seed, but you are trying to kill me because my Word has no place in you.

Jn. 8:43 - Why don't you understand my speech? It's because you cannot hear my Word.

Jn. 8:47 - He who is of God hears God's words. You, therefore, do not hear them because you are not of God.


Jul 21, 2012
I Don't Agree
by: Paul Pavao (webmaster)

Hi Tom. Thanks for your comments.

I would agree Simon (Peter) had heard Jesus preach, at the very least right there on the spot. That's clear enough in the story. Shortly before that Jesus had stayed in Simon's house, according to Luke 4:38ff.

I'm very, very hesitant to use Scripture from two Gospels and say one happened before another. I don't even trust that the Gospels are all that chronological. Mark, for example, which was considered Peter's Gospel by the early church, has the synagogue and the healing of Peter's mother-in-law *after* Peter forsook all and followed him (1:14-18; 29-31).

It does, however, seem like a story like John 1:35-40 must have happened first. However, if Peter didn't respond to that event by beginning to follow Jesus (which is what must have happened), then we really don't know how much he heard Jesus. Perhaps it was only once or twice. Jesus was a traveling preacher, not hanging around in Bethsaida (if I'm remembering Peter's town correctly).

Finally, I don't think it's true that the Sermon on the Mount calls people to commit their lives to him. It calls people to obey his words and live for his Father. Jesus could not have put a call to follow him into his public sermons because he didn't want a huge crowd following him around.

Jesus' sermons also did not focus on getting people to say they are sinners, like so many ours do. He taught the truth, explained how God wants us to live, and anyone with a soft heart would realize immediately that they were not living up to God's standards.

Not Simon, though. He'd been contacted by Andrew and renamed by Jesus, as you point out, before this day, seen many miracles, but we see no brokenness before the incident in Luke 5. In fact, Peter's Gospel (Mark's) makes it the first event that is mentioned about Peter, though it does not give all the details.

So I agree you're correct that the command about the net was not the first words he had heard from Jesus, it is entirely possible, even likely, that it was the first time he'd obeyed Jesus.

I understand your criticism, but I think that it's not only my overall point that stands, but even the use of Luke 5 is accurate.

My point in this story and in all my arguments--to try some different wording--is that breaking and surrendering unleashes a floodgate. Things you heard but never understood, and things that everyone understands deep down, come unblocked and enter your spiritual bloodstream. Things get clear.

I say this because deep down, people know. They know they are sinful, and they know God and the revelation of God, Jesus Christ the Son, are worth forsaking all for. Probably that's already the work of the Holy Spirit--or the Word--who is convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The cost, however, is too high for most until the day they receive the Word of God.

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