14 May, 2007

$40 Million Dollar Debt Paid, But Debtor Still Faces Prison


Three years ago Paul Kerovian lost it all. He had invested heavily in the "dot com" boom around the turn of the century only to watch his investments crumble one by one. Finally, in 2004, his portfolio hit rock bottom leaving him $39.8 million dollars in debt, jobless, homeless and virtually friendless, that is until help came.

As it turns out Kerovian's older brother, Donald, had invested his own money elsewhere, focusing on more stable technology stocks. As a result Donald Kerovian had amassed a fortune of some $2.5 billion dollars in net worth. Taking pity on his younger brother's plight, Donald Kerovian paid off his debt in full. Paul Kerovian was then totally free of his obligations to his creditors, yet one problem remained - he did not believe that his older brother had paid his debt, and now, because of that, he faces prison time.

"When I heard about the trouble that Paul was in I immediately contacted his creditors and settled his accounts" said Donald Kerovian. "He's totally square with the banks now. He owes nothing."

But despite the evidence, Paul Kerovian still refuses to believe that his brother has freely paid for all his debts. And now the various financial institutions that he was once indebted to are pursuing legal action against him for not paying them back.

"On paper Mr. Kerovian has no debt with us" said William Purcell, President of Purcell Trust and Lending. "Mr. Kerovian's brother paid off all of his debts in full. So he owes us nothing. But we recently found out that Mr. Kerovian has not accepted this fact and therefore still lives under the belief that his debt is not paid. Therefore, because of his unbelief we intend to press full charges to have him punished for his criminal negligence in not paying us back."

Other creditors of Paul Kerovian have expressed similar sentiments regarding his situation indicating that since Mr. Kerovian has not accepted that his debt has been paid then he must still be punished for his debt.

"We've tried to tell Mr. Kerovian that his brother has paid for all his debts" said Purcell. "But he fails to freely accept this. So he must suffer the penalty of the law. Even though his brother has paid for everything it doesn't count unless he accepts it personally. Even though he has no debt he must be punished still."


Malachi_Abaddon said...

Kinda shows the reaction of the people who are unsaved, and never will be, doesn't it?

Malachi_Abaddon said...

I should amend my last statement somewhat.

While this does draw a parallel to the Atonement of Christ, it also seems to parody the Arminian version of it, where the guy has to accept that his debts have been paid off.

If I'm just showing that I stayed up way too late (doing work) please forgive me.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post - transcending satire and moving to the profound.

Bryan said...

*starts a slow clap that moves into a full standing ovation*


Mike said...

I'll echo Bryan's "movie clap" sentiments. This post does beg the question of who *really* limits the atonement. Did Christ die to fully satisfy the debts of his "family" or did he die to almost (but not completely) satisfy the debts of everyone?

Excellent post.

Anonymous said...

Atonement!?!?!? Its a story about a bad investment strategy !!!!

C'mon people read the story before you comment...


Team Tominthebox News Network said...


Well, it is a story about a bad investment strategy, but one could apply the principals elsewhere if one thought about it.


Lee Shelton said...

This must be true. A well-known financial guru in Houston, Texas, with a blindingly white smile once said that it's possible for someone to end up in debtor's prison without ever knowing that their debt has been forgiven. Sure, I guess that means our economic system is unjust, but hey...it's the only one we've got, right?

Matthew Hoskinson said...

Brilliant satire. Nice piece of work.

Anonymous said...

YOU MUST be very careful here TOM!

Already people are referrencing a "well-known financial guru in Houston, Texas, with a blindingly white smile"... Pretty soon (he'll) be borrowing your story and applying those same principles to show that this man is living HIS BEST LIFE now...

Honestly... Sometimes I fear the sarcasm gets lost when it translates to Houston.

Shep Shepherd said...

Well done. I have made this same argument myself against Arminianism, but not as well or in a satire form. This was excellent. Keep up the good work.

The Aspiring Theologian
Knight of the Living God

Stefan Ewing said...

If it weren't for the clear soteriological/polemical overtones, this would make one heck of a Kafkaesque story!

Vaughan Smith said...

One of the best posts I've seen here yet.

pilgrim said...

In a sense you could say this post is priceless...

Baxter said...

The absurdity of the situation in this story should move those in the "Jesus paid it...mostly" camp to [at least] rethink their stance against the "heresy" of limited atonement.

Anonymous said...

Better yet, write it like it is.

God has "allowed man to choose", so the calvinists say, between Cheerio's and Lucky Charms.

However, God has not enabled man to desire Cheerios. So while the man is 'freely choosing' the Charms, lets just admit that he never really had a choice.

Come on, guys. We can choose Heaven or Hell, but we're not able to desire/choose Heaven? How is that a choice?

"Gee, you can have coke or pepsi, but I just spit in your coke. You can still choose it, though."


Team Tominthebox News Network said...


Not sure if I understand you very well. Can you rephrase your question in the form of a question?


Anonymous said...

But is the nature of the atonement legal or filial? The analogy assumes a legal atonement with legal exoneration. But what if the real issue is reconcilation? Let us suppose the younger brother in this analogy resented the success of his elder brother and despised him and did many hurtful things to him. Now, what if the elder brother told the younger that he forgave him completely for all the hurtful things he had done? This statement of mercy also is a word of judgment. Now the younger brother can turn in repentance or else turn away, even more hardened than before. So it is with Jesus, our Elder Brother. The mercy of gospel is also a word of judgment; some respond in grateful tears of repentance, others are hardened by it, but respond we must. That, at least, is how I see it. - Mike Cheek

Anonymous said...

Adam evidently did not possess the ability to not sin.

Therefore sinning was not result of a choice. It was his only pickable option.

Ergo, he was made to sin.

pilgrim said...

Just a question for anonymous-

Anon posted-"The analogy assumes a legal atonement with legal exoneration. But what if the real issue is reconcilation?"

How are the two things exclusive? Can't a legal atonement reconcile anything?

Of course it can, and it does.

Team Tominthebox News Network said...


Well, Scripture defines Christ's sacrifice as a "propitiation," a sacrifice to satisfy divine wrath. How can you say that on the cross Christ appeased the divine wrath of God for Judas Iscariot and yet Judas went to hell? Why did he perish? For what is he being punished? Why is he under the everlasting wrath of God if the everlasting wrath of God against him has been appeased? You say "unbelief," but I respond "If Jesus died for Judas then he also died for that unbelief too."

The problem with the Arminian doctrine of the atonement is that Christ really did nothing on the cross. His death, burial and resurrection actually accomplished nothing. But when he died he uttered the word "tetelestai," literally "The debt is paid." The cause for enmity was removed.

As to the use of the language of legality, well of course it's legal. We have broken the law of God. We are transgressors of the covenant. We stand under a legal penalty from which we need to be freed. The reason why we need filial reconciliation is because we are at enmity with God because we have committed "any want of conformity unto, or transgression of the law of God."

I would assert boldly that the only way one can avoid the doctrine of particular redemption is to totally redefine what Christ accomplished. And to do so is to come up with something wholly unbiblical.


Team Tominthebox News Network said...


One further thing. Even in your own analogy, whether the younger brother turns and repents or not, he's still forgiven. And if the older brother has truly forgiven his younger brother he will in no wise press charges against him, take revenge upon him, or seek to take out wrath upon him. So you see, how can a person go to hell whose sins Jesus has died for and whom God the father has forgiven?


Anonymous said...

Thanks to Pilgrim and Tom for your replies. Just a note of clarification, there is more than one anonymous posting. I am signing my name (Mike Cheek) to my own postings. In partial response, Tom, to your last question, it is nevertheless true in the human experience that in a relationship there may be one party who forgives another party, and yet the other party remains alienated and bitter. Yet forgiveness has happened which means even the present emnity and bitterness is forgiven as well. So similarly it can be with us and God. You're saying that philosophically this is impossible, yet we see this happen (not very often to be sure) within the human experience. Enmity and bitterness are foretastes of hell, as we surely have all experienced. Of course, you said much more of significance as well, but I was trying to focus on one little bitty bit. - Mike Cheek

Gordan said...

To the anonymous who said Adam had no "pickable option" but sin:

First, you assume what the text doesn't say, but let's run with that:

How do you know that in any choice you've ever made that the apparent options were in fact "pickable?"

I realize they looked pickable at the time, but since you can't go back and replay the situation and choose differently, you really have no way of knowing that you actually could have done it differently.

To the anonymous with the Coke and Pepsi analogy:

Yes, there is spit in one (and worse than spit) and yet fallen man always picks it anyway. His sensibilities are so damaged by sin that he thinks it's delicious, and if given the choice he will always choose it. No one forces him to choose the nasty option, but he always does because that what he likes. They love death rather than life.

Chris Latch said...

RE: Drinkning coke with spit in it...

It's not spit - it's iniquity. Natural man likes it better than coke, even coke with sugar instead of syrup. We drink it down like water.

Brian said...

In the coke analogy:

Actually, the natural man sees the "restraining" law of God, the "megalomaniacal-ness" of the deity "demanding" worship, the prospect of strumming a harp for all eternity and insists that the "spit" must be in the "heaven" can. He would much rather guzzle from the "hell" can.

Because of the grace given to him, the saint sees the holiness and right-ness of the "heaven" can and wants nothing but the pure Living Water there. The other can is worse than spit.

Chris said...

Hehehehe touche', Tom, on the article!

I would contend with the amounts, though. I think you're too low. Matthew 18 says we owed a 10,000 talent debt. I looked at the footnote and 1 talent = 20 years of labor for the average laborer.

So I did the math, assuming a $30,000 annual salary for your average laborer (at least, here in Jacksonville, FL): $30,000 x 20 years x 10,000 = $6 billion dollars!!

Also, many Arminians have gotten around this problem by stating that Jesus didn't actually pay for the sins of everyone. My beloved Olivet Nazarene University, where I didn't attend but practically the universe of my entire family going back generations has attended, had a professor on staff that wrote a book in which he stated that very thing! I don't recall the professor or the book but they quoted it on the Amazing Grace (History of Calvinism) DVD. That's borderline blasphemy.

Anonymous said...

Oh bravo.