A Selective Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 2

August 13, 2012

David L. Allen

Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.


(Ed.’s note: Dr. Allen’s “Part 2” is approximately 8,000 words in length. SBCToday will therefore publish Part 2 in 2,000-word (approximate) increments. These shorter installments will be signified thusly: Part 2A; Part 2B; etc. What follows below is Part 2A. This follows sequentially Dr. Allen’s “Part 1” that appeared on Aug. 10.)

In Part 2 of this review, I intend to cover the first two sections of David Schrock’s chapter “Jesus Saves, No Asterisk Needed: Why Preaching the Gospel as Good News Requires Definite Atonement,” 77- 119. Schrock replies in part to my chapter in Whosoever Will: a Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism entitled “The Atonement: Limited or Universal?” (61-107). Schrock’s chapter is divided into five sections: “Christ’s Death is Particular,” “Christ’s Death is Efficacious,” “Priestly Arguments for Particular and Effective Atonement,” “The Covenantal Nature of the Atonement,” and “The Universal Impact of Definite Atonement.” I intend to offer a detailed two-part critique of Schrock’s chapter. What follows is the first installment covering his sections “Christ’s Death is Particular” and “Christ’s Death is Efficacious.” By way of clarification throughout this review, with respect to definitions, the phrases “limited atonement,” “particular redemption,” and “definite atonement” as used in Schrock’s chapter and by me in this review all should be defined to mean that “Christ died only for the sins of the elect.” The “limited” in “limited atonement” refers to the limited sin-bearing nature of Christ’s death; he only satisfied for the sins of the elect.

Let me note at the outset that my trenchant critique below and in a subsequent post should not be interpreted to mean that I do not love and respect David and the other men in this book with whom I disagree. Some of them I know personally; the others I hope to get to know in the future. I appreciate their ministries while disagreeing with some of their doctrine. I have taken no pleasure in pointing out what I consider to be major problems with David Schrock’s chapter. Since it is, in part, a response to my chapter in Whosoever, I felt it was important to respond. Dialogue and critique are valuable within the Southern Baptist family and within the larger Christian family. I consider David a brother in Christ, as I’m sure he feels the same way about me. This is not personal. I hope he will feel free to respond to my critique should he desire to do so. I wish him well as he concludes his PhD studies and as he pastors his church. My prayer is that as students, pastors, laypeople, and others read his chapter and mine, they will compare both and judge both within the light of God’s only true source of truth outside of the Lord Jesus Christ – the Scriptures.

1) Misunderstanding of Amyraldian and Moderate Calvinism.

Schrock’s chapter title is intriguing. What does he mean by “no asterisk needed” and preaching the gospel “requires” definite atonement? Answers to these questions will become clear as we proceed. Schrock believes that “those who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as the power unto salvation (Romans 1:16) must embrace and declare a cross which actually saves, and the only view that will support such preaching in the long run is definite atonement” (78). Schrock informs us that he will use the term “egalitarian” for all views of the atonement other than the definite atonement view (Arminian, Amyraldian, Molinist, and modified Calvinist [his categories]) because all these views assume that Christ’s death makes equal provision both for those that would at some point believe, as well as those that never would be brought to belief (Ibid.). He states that all these views “fail” because “they articulate a view of the atonement that is indefinite” (Ibid.). This is the first of many serious errors in the chapter. The Amyraldian and moderate Calvinist views (and probably the Molinist view as well) do not promote a view of the atonement that is indefinite. As Calvinists, along with many non-Calvinists, those who have held and hold today these views very clearly affirm a definite atonement in that the intent of Christ’s death was to secure the salvation of the elect. There is nothing indefinite here. Amyraldians and Hypothetical Universalists (the two are not always nor necessarily identical) affirm that while the sufficiency of the provision is equally for all, the intention to apply it is not. To lump together Amyraldians, Molinists, and Hypothetical Universalists with Arminians is historically inaccurate and faulty. One has to wonder whether Schrock understands the positions of Amyraldianism and Hypothetical Universalism, both legitimate positions within Reformed orthodoxy (see my footnote 19 on page 68 and footnote 60 on page 78 in Whosoever.)

For clarification’s sake, with respect to the extent of the atonement there are three possible options:

1) Christ died equally for all. (Arminian and non-Calvinist position [this distinction is explained in my chapter in Whosoever.]).
2) Christ died unequally for all in that he died for the sins of all, but with special intent to save the elect only (Amyraldian and/or Hypothetical Universalism position).
3) Christ died only for the elect (High Calvinist/hyper-Calvinist position of Limited Atonement).

Notice that options 1 and 2 agree in affirming that Christ died for the sins of all people. The only difference is in the question of intent. Option 3 collapses the question of intent and extent and makes the two identical. Christ died only for the sins of those whom he intends to save. Schrock is making the argument for 3 above and the onus is on him to prove it and/or to disprove 1 or 2.

Schrock makes another significant mistake when he asserts that all these views above borrow “the theological capital of definite atonement” (78). This is historically anachronistic since the limited atonement view developed in history within the Reformed camp after the hypothetical universalist position. As I stated in Whosoever, “The controversy that occurred within the second and third generation of Reformed theologians did not involve the rejection of limited atonement but the introduction of limited atonement” (“The Atonement: Limited or Universal?”, 77).

I presume Schrock’s nomenclature “modified Calvinist” intends to convey the same thing as the more common term “moderate Calvinist.” In general use, a “moderate Calvinist” is one who rejects the more strict and narrow “L” in the Tulip acrostic. In footnote 4 on page 78 Schrock informs us, rightfully and thankfully, that he is not arguing that definite atonement is the gospel.

Schrock moves from these opening remarks to the first of five sections in his chapter: “Christ’s Death is Particular.” He asserts “Textual proof for definite atonement begins with the straightforward statements that Christ died for a particular people” (79). He lists Matt. 1:21; Titus 2:14; Acts 20:28; and Ephesians 5:25-27, and in a footnote he adds Romans 5:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:1-19; Galatians 1:3-4; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18. With respect to Titus 2:14, Schrock states, “In this case, Paul goes further. He explicitly speaks of a people “redeemed” and “purified” by His death, for His own purposes” (79). Schrock appears to be following Smeaton in his general line of argument here (see footnote 7). It would not be at all unusual to have these kinds of texts in the Bible when many of them occur in epistles addressed only to believers and not to the “world” as a whole. This is a point often overlooked in the discussion.

Notice here and throughout Schrock’s chapter his continual use of vague terms like “His people,” “the people of God,” “a people,” “all who are His,” “His peculiar people,” “them,” “they,” “His own,” “the ones given Him,” “His sheep,” and “us.” This kind of generalization blurs the distinction between believers and all the elect in the abstract. If you think about it, the “elect” are actually in two groups: 1) those who have believed, and 2) those yet to believe. Schrock often conflates these two. But the texts he cites above pertain to believers. Schrock takes what is true of believers and then seeks to apply this to all the elect as an abstract class.

For example, see my critique of Sam Waldron and John Murray on this issue on pages 13-14 of my “Calvinism: A Review” http://www.baptisttheology.org/documents/CalvinismaReview.pdf.

Finally, concerning these texts, not a single one states Christ died only for the group mentioned in context. To infer such is to commit the negative inference fallacy (more below). When Paul says in Galatians 2:20 that “. . . I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me,” are we to infer that Christ died only for Paul? There are two sets of texts in the New Testament with respect to the extent question: 1) Christ died for “all,” the “world,” and “everyone,” etc.; and 2) Christ died for His “sheep,” “friends,” and “church,” etc. The first group includes those in the second group. The second group includes people who comprise a subset of the first group. It only takes one clear statement in Scripture that Christ died for the sins of all people to confirm unlimited atonement no matter how many statements indicate Christ died for a limited group of people. Likewise, it would only take one clear statement in Scripture that Christ died only for the sins of the elect to confirm limited atonement. There is not one single statement in Scripture that overtly states Christ died only for the sins of the elect. There are easily a dozen New Testament Scriptures overtly stating Christ died for all people.

Schrock next taps D. A. Carson’s The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (16-21) and avers: “However, against egalitarians who indiscriminately universalize God’s variegated love, Christ loves His bride in a way that He does not love the merchants of Babylon who prostitute themselves with the Great Harlot (Revelation 17-19)” (79). The problem with this statement is that Amyraldians and moderate Calvinists don’t indiscriminately “universalize” [I presume Schrock means to say “equalize” by his use of “universalize”] God’s variegated love. It is true that most Calvinists distinguish degrees in God’s love in that they affirm an electing love and a general love. Many non-Calvinists would affirm the concept of degrees in God’s love. One might say there is a sense in which no evangelical is properly an “egalitarian.”

(Ed.’s note: This concludes Part 2A of Dr. Allen’s post. Coming tomorrow: Part 2B.)

 

 

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Ed

I really appreciate Dr. Allen saying,

“My prayer is that as students, pastors, laypeople, and others read his chapter and mine, they will compare both and judge both within the light of God’s only true source of truth outside of the Lord Jesus Christ – the Scriptures.”

This stuff is kind of deep for me, but I look forward to the rest of the series.

One sort of related question on Calvinism. It was back on August 1 that the Gospel Project/Ralph Green review was promised and then on August 3, you all posted,

“SBCToday personnel remain indisposed with matters out-of-state. However, we want to reassure our readers that the interview with Pastor Ralph Green regarding his impressions of the Gospel Project curriculum will be posted at our earliest convenience.”

I have really been looking forward to that review so I can make up my mind, or at least read that viewpoint. Any update on when that review might be published?

Thanks, Ed

Bob Hadley

Dr. Allen,

I agree with the following statement: If you think about it, the “elect” are actually in two groups: 1) those who have believed, and 2) those yet to believe. Schrock often conflates these two. But the texts he cites above pertain to believers. Schrock takes what is true of believers and then seeks to apply this to all the elect as an abstract class.

To me, this is one of the more critical mistakes I see being made with respect to much of the discussion related to the support of calvinism. This is especially true of the John 10 passage you reference. Calvinists love to quote verse 15 and especially verse 26 but the primary problem I have is their failure to acknowledge verse 9. To me, verse 9 qualifies who the sheep are and the other verses refer to those who have already come through Jesus as the door that He promises will save. Interestingly enough, Jesus’ statement is a conditional invitation; He promises to save those who come or enter through Him.

Thank you for your work for the kingdom and for your friendship.

><>”

    Max

    ” … the “elect” are actually in two groups: 1) those who have believed, and 2) those yet to believe.”

    I’ve found there to be subtle, but distinct, differences in terminology between non-Calvinist and Calvinist belief and practice – at least, in my region of the SBC landscape. I suppose we are dealing with semantics for the most part as we toss terms around in church, but “Christ-Follower” appears to be preferred by certain young reformed pastors in my area vs. “Christian” or “Believer”. There is also a lot of reference to being “Gospel-Centered” this and that, without invoking the name of Jesus. I suppose all this is a result of the different views regarding who the elect are and their election process . I Praise God for all the folks I’ve seen “elected” in the red-hot fire of revival!

    Bob Hadley

    Max,

    I think the problem goes a lot deeper than that. I think phrases that refer to those who are already saved are being errantly used to apply to conversion. One of the problems is that salvation encompasses the whole process and so references made to sanctification are used to support conversion and all kinds of conclusions are then offered that were never intended.

    ><>”

Don Johnson

It is often stated by Calvinists that Christ died for “His sheep.” However, that is never stated in the Bible.

    jdbarker

    “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
    – John 10:14-15

      Don Johnson

      J D Barker,

      Thank you for pointing out one of the errors of Calvinism. Christ died for “THE” sheep, not “HIS” sheep. Of course “THE” sheep would be “ALL” sheep, whether they were Christ’s or not.

        Darryl Hill

        Don, just before He said, “I lay down my life for THE sheep,” He also said, “I know my own and my own know me.” It’s in the same verse man.

        He also said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.”

        It’s clear, people who hear the message of the Gospel and are THE sheep who are “My own”, will hear His voice and follow Him. He knows them and they follow Him because they hear His voice.

          Don Johnson

          Darryl,

          No, it is not the same verse. Nor is vs. 15 the first time it mentioned. John also states the same earlier in vs. 11.

          Jesus said “I am the door of “THE” sheep in vs. 7. He is “THE” door for all sheep, because He died for all sheep. Those that go through the door are saved, but the door is available to all the sheep, just as salvation is available to all people.

          It’s true in the context that Christ’s sheep hear His voice and follow Him. These sheep were already believers in the Father, which is why they were the Father’s before they were the Sons (John 1029, John 17:6). All of Christ’s sheep are believers.

            Alan Davis

            Brother Don,

            If I could respectfully disagree with you here;
            “Of course “THE” sheep would be “ALL” sheep, whether they were Christ’s or not.”

            If they are sheep they are believers already, those who are not believers are goats according to biblical principle and teaching.

            Also the context in that chapter is on Jesus’ sheep, which would be all those in His omniscience that He knows (which is everyone from all the ages that will be born again). Seems (to me) this would lead us to believe that every-time He mentions sheep He is talking about the same thing, all those who have and will believe (which of course He knows). Just giving my take on it brother.

            Alan Davis

            Don Johnson

            Alan,

            As long as you respectfully disagree it’s OK.

            No, unbelieving Jews are not goats. Jesus was not sent to unbelieving goats. He was sent to LOST sheep of the house of Israel Mt. 15:24).

            No. Christ’s sheep follow because they are believers. Christ’s sheep do not eventually hear His voice and follow. Anyone not believing is not one of chrst’s sheep (John 10:26).

            No, it is not for everyone who will be born-again thru the ages. Christ was only referring to the sheep (Jews) of His earthly ministry.

            Alan Davis

            Brother Don,

            Forgive me for responding in this location, there was no reply button below your last response.

            In your first paragraph I would still have to disagree with you. Unbelievers are not sheep in Scripture. I do not believe that unbelieving Jews here in chapter 10 are the sheep referred to at all.

            In the second paragraph of your response I feel I may have made myself mis-understood. I believe only those who believe are His sheep. Just to clear that up.

            I do not want to take your words wrong so I will put this as a question; are you saying in your last paragraph that the sheep referred to in chapter 10 of John are just those out of the house of Israel? I am not sure I could agree to that interpretation at all. But I do hear what you are saying, if that is what you are saying.

            Alan Davis

            Don Johnson

            Alan,

            Are you saying the LOST sheep of the house of Israel are really believers?

            Yes, the sheep referred to in John 10 are Jews living at the time of Christ. In verse 16 He said “other sheep I have.” He did not say “other sheep I WILL have.” Which means they are presently believers. Unbelievers are not Christ’s sheep, they are the children of wrath.

            Trust this helps. I’ll explain further if this does not suffice.

            Alan Davis

            Brother Don,

            I too believe that unbelievers are not sheep but children of wrath (just clearing that up).

            So I am going to take from your last response that sheep in 10 is the believing Jews not the unbelieving Jews. And also that every reference to sheep in Jn 10 is to believing Jews.

            Alan Davis

            Don Johnson

            Alan,

            No, that is not what I believe. One must look at the individual verses to determine what sheep refers to. Give me a for instance, and I’ll tell what I believe.

            Darryl Hill

            Don, how do you deal with the verse which says, “the reason you do not believe is because you are not of my sheep.” If ALL those who were hearing are sheep, how could Jesus make that statement? Let me quote the entire section:

            ” 24The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.”

            He told them who He was but they didn’t believe. And he said that the REASON they didn’t believe is because they were not His sheep. He didn’t say that their refusal to believe is the reason that they are not His sheep. There is a vast difference. Indeed, this is where He continues. His sheep hear His voice. They weren’t His sheep so they couldn’t hear His voice. It’s seems very clear to me.

            Don Johnson

            Darryl,

            Jesus didn’t say they were not sheep. He said they were not His sheep. You’re right it’s clear.

            Don Johnson

            Darryl,

            I should have added, the reason they were not Christ’s sheep is because they were not first the Fathers sheep. The Father gave them to the Son. Only those who believed the Father could believe the Son. If one would not believe the God of the Old Testament, He could not believe the God of the New Testament, because He is the same God.

            Darryl Hill

            On a related note, Don, what do you do with this text from John 17 and Jesus’ priestly prayer?

            ““I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7“Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9“I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;”

            This is Jesus making this distinction between people in the world and those whom the Father had given Him. It’s the same distinction He is making back in John 10.

            Don Johnson

            Darryl,

            I agree completely. I’m not seeing a problem.

David R. Brumbelow

Dr. David Allen,
Great article. A couple of what I think are notable quotes:

“The controversy that occurred within the second and third generation of Reformed theologians did not involve the rejection of limited atonement but the introduction of limited atonement”

“There is not one single statement in Scripture that overtly states Christ died only for the sins of the elect. There are easily a dozen New Testament Scriptures overtly stating Christ died for all people.”

In my humble opinion, these should be copied and remembered.
David R. Brumbelow

    Joseph

    I would add that no where does the Bible overtly state that Christ died to merely make salvation possible. And yet that is what Universal atonement inevitably leads to.

    The Bible teaches Definite Redemption. The problem is that Universal Atonement inevitably leads to limiting the efficacy of Christ’s death. Show me a Universal Atonement that does not limit the efficacy of Christ’s atonement and I will accept it. But you can’t. That is the problem with your position.

      jdbarker

      Lets assume that Christ did die for the sins of all people. What about those who will go to hell? Are they still the hell while all of their sins are paid for? That is double jeopardy. God would be demanding payment after payment has already been made. You might answer that they were damned because of their unbelief. Is unbelief not a sin? Do you not claim that Christ died for all of their sins?

        David R. Brumbelow

        If the Bible says Jesus died for the sins of all people, and it does, then any philosophical arguments to the contrary don’t really matter.

        Jesus provided salvation for all, but only those who repent and believe in Him are saved.

        For those who argue Limited Atonement – if Jesus died specifically for the sins of the elect, does He therefore “owe” salvation to them?
        David R. Brumbelow

          Max

          “Jesus provided salvation for all, but only those who repent and believe in Him are saved.”

          And everybody said AMEN (or at least they should have)! Theological bias is needed if one is to read 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and not see unlimited atonement in “… who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

          We are indeed saved by His grace … but grace is still grace even if it is accessed and received by faith.

            Lydia

            “Jesus provided salvation for all, but only those who repent and believe in Him are saved.”

            Here is another Amen, Max. :o)

        Kyle Gulledge

        JD,

        Would that not be the same as a father buying his son a new car but if the son does not accept the car he doesn’t receive the benefit. The father still paid for the car whether the son takes it or not. Sin was paid for, but it is up to us to accept it.

          jdbarker

          To man be the glory.

        Don Johnson

        J D Barker,

        People don’t go to Hell to pay for their sins. Their sins were already paid for by Christ. If people went to Hell to pay for their sins, they would eventually get out out. People in Hell die in their sins, because they were not redeemed, but they do not pay for them.

        People go to Hell because they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved (2 Thes. 2:10). Man’s willful unbelief is what sends him to Hell. Though payment has been made for his sins, they have not been forgiven or redeemed.

          jdbarker

          “People go to Hell because they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved (2 Thes. 2:10). Man’s willful unbelief is what sends him to Hell. Though payment has been made for his sins, they have not been forgiven or redeemed.”

          Again, no one addressed my question. Is man’s willful unbelief not a sin that Christ died for?

            Don Johnson

            J D Barker,

            Yes, Christ died for the sin of unbelief.

Joseph

Has anyone here read J.I. Packers Introduction to Owen’s “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” and refuted it? Here is your chance. It is one of the best defenses of Limited Atonement. It can be found at this link:

http://www.all-of-grace.org/pub/others/deathofdeath.html

    Joseph

    A quote from the aricle by the Baptist, J.I. Packer. He wrote this about Arminianism, but I include it because of some parallels with Traditionalism:

    “First, it should be observed that the “five points of Calvinism,” so-called, are simply the Calvinistic answer to a five-point manifesto (the Remonstrance) put out by certain “Belgic semi-Pelagians” in the early seventeenth century. The theology which it contained (known to history as Arminianism) stemmed from two philosophical principles: first, that divine sovereignty is not compatible with human freedom, nor therefore with human responsibility; second, that ability limits obligation. (The charge of semi-Pelagianism was thus fully justified.) From these principles, the Arminians drew two deductions: first that since the Bible regards faith as a free and responsible human act, it cannot be caused by God, but is exercised independently of Him; second, that since the Bible regards faith as obligatory on the part of all who hear the gospel, ability to believe must be universal. Hence, they maintained, Scripture must be interpreted as teaching the following positions: (1.) Man is never so completely corrupted by sin that he cannot savingly believe the gospel when it is put before him, nor (2.) is he ever so completely controlled by God that he cannot reject it. (3.) God’s election of those who shall be saved is prompted by His foreseeing that they will of their own accord believe. (4.) Christ’s death did not ensure the salvation of anyone, for it did not secure the gift of faith to anyone (there is no such gift); what it did was rather to create a possibility of salvation for everyone if they believe. (5.) It rests with believers to keep themselves in a state of grace by keeping up their faith; those who fail here fall away and are lost. Thus, Arminianism made man’s salvation depend ultimately on man himself, saving faith being viewed throughout as man’s own work and, because his own, not God’s in him.

      Robert

      Joseph wrote:

      “A quote from the aricle by the Baptist, J.I. Packer. He wrote this about Arminianism, but I include it because of some parallels with Traditionalism:”

      Couple things here.

      First, J. I. Packer IS NOT A BAPTIST, he is Anglican.

      So Joseph saying that Packer is Baptist is both wrong and misleading.

      Second, Packer’s comments about Arminianism/non-calvinist positions, are some of the best examples of a hack job that you will ever see. I recommend that people read Packer only if they want to see how badly a calvinist determinist can mangle and misrepresent non-calvinist positions. It is quite frankly, embarrassing how a scholar can mess things up so badly.

      Robert

      Lydia

      JI Packer is a Baptist? Wow.

    Godismyjudge

    Joseph,

    I actually blogged through Death of Death a few years ago and while I was at it I reviewed Packer’s introduction. If your interested:

    http://www.traditionalbaptistchronicles.com/search/label/H.3.a%20Death%20of%20Death%20in%20the%20Death%20of%20Christ

    God be with you,
    Dan

      Joseph

      Thanks. I’ll check it out.

      Joseph

      Dan, I looked it over but I had a hard time getting past your John Leland quote, since I believe that freewill is a myth since the time of Adam. Moreover, he praises parts of Arminianism, but I was guess that the traditionalists here are more like Hyper-Arminians in reality because they are more Arminian than Arminius himself. For instance, can you agree with Arminius quote here:

      “Arminius writes: “He [Adam] transgressed the command given to him for life. By this foul deed, he precipitated himself from that noble and elevated condition into a state of the deepest infelicity, which is under the Dominion of Sin. . . . In this state, the Free Will of man towards the True Good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost: And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace.”

Dave

Did I miss a joke somewhere or did you really just refer to Packer as a Baptist? Did he renounce his Anglicanism and I missed it?

    Joseph

    Opps. My mistake. I was thinking he was Baptist. Guess I was wrong.

Dean

It appears Joseph in his haste to insult us semi-Pelagian, Arminian trads was in to big of a hurry. He is annoying a lot of people. He calls trads Arminian and were not and now he calls Packer a Baptist. I can’t wait for his evidence that Packer is a Baptist. :)

    Joseph

    No. You are quite mistaken Dean. I neither called Traditionalists Armianian nor did I call them semi-Pelagian. You should read more carefully before making such false assusations. What I DID SAY was that Arminianism, as defined by Packer share “some parallels” with Traditionalism. I did not specify what those parallels were. Read Packers quote again, you will see that there are somethings there in his definition of Arminianism which Traditionists do believe. And they do. Read the statement again for yourself. My statement is accurate.

      Joseph

      …accurate, except for the Baptist part. I don’t know where I got that from.

        Dean

        Joseph I read your statement and my reply was all tongue in cheek. No offense taken at by me by your post. I meant none in reply . I have made a dozen such mistakes as your Packer-baptist comment. I was just ribbing you. Forgive if I offended.

          Joseph

          No problem brother. I just didn’t want anyone here to think I was accusing them of such things. Thanks for the explanation.

            Dean

            Thank you brother.

Robert

Joseph wrote:

“I would add that no where does the Bible overtly state that Christ died to merely make salvation possible. And yet that is what Universal atonement inevitably leads to.”

Joseph appears to be bothered by the idea that “Christ died to merely make salvation possible.”

It concerns me to see someone present half of another person’s position, as if that is their full position.

If someone said of a quarter that: “quarters only have a heads side, they do not have a tails side”. I would conclude that this person is really trying to mislead others about the nature of a quarter.

Joseph says that those who hold the UA view supposedly believe ONLY that Christ’s died to merely make salvation possible. He says that this is “what Universal atonement inevitably leads to.” So according to Joseph, the person who holds to UA believes that Christ’s death only made salvation possible. This is a really bizarre and misleading way of presenting the UA view.

If we believed that Christ’s death only made salvation possible, then how is anybody saved then?

I can’t speak for others, but I want a salvation that is actual not merely possible.

Those who advocate UA who are orthodox Christians (i.e. they deny universalism, the false claim that eventually all people will be saved) hold certain beliefs regarding the atonement. They believe that a proper doctrine of the atonement will be seen as involving multiple elements. (1) One element is that Jesus died for the entire world (e.g. 1 Jn. 2:2). Another element is that (2) not everyone will be saved (so the atonement of Christ does not save every human person, only the universalist affirmst that). Another element is that (3) the atonement in order to save an individual must be applied to that individual. Another element is that (at least in regard to able minded persons who hear the gospel message, leaving out those who have never heard, infants and the mentally disabled) (4) the atonement is only applied to those individuals who are believers (i.e. those who respond with faith to the gospel message).

If we combine these elements we end up concluding that the provision of atonement is universal (it is intended for all people) while its application is limited only to those whom God chooses to apply it (for those who are able minded and hear the gospel, to those who believe the gospel, and possibly to those who have never heard, infants and the mentally disabled, though opinions vary on this point).

This means that all able minded persons who hear the gospel and who trust the Lord alone for their salvation will have the atonement of Christ applied to them.
This also meanst that the atonement of Christ does not merely makes salvation possible, it saves believers (because God will apply the atonement to believers).
Those who do not believe, unbelievers, will not have the atonement of Christ applied to them. Thus while the atonement of Christ is provided for all, it will save only those who trust the Lord.

As a point of logic, it should also be noted, that the atonement must make salvation possible before it can make salvation actual in regards to an individual.

To use an obvious example for all of us who are saved persons now in the twenty first century, we were not saved at the time Jesus was crucified in the first century. That atonement which makes our salvation possible was accomplished in the first century. We were not actually saved until thousands of years later when the atonement of Christ was applied to us individually. We were not born saved, and may have gone years without being saved (without having the atonement applied to us individually). So the atonement of Christ had to first make our salvation possible, before it was applied to us. Our salvation is made possible by the provison of atonement, it is made actual by the application of the atonement to us individually (i.e. in God’s plan of salvation, the provison of atonement is made for all, but the application of the atonement is only applied to believers).

Some theological determinists zealous to be argumentative and argue for their theological system will frame things as if the unlimited atonement view only makes the atonement something that possibly saves but does not actually saved. But this ignores that for the unlimited atonement view, the atonement is first provided (i.e. makes salvaton possible) and then later is applied (i.e. makes salvation actual for a person). To disregard this provision/application distinction is to fail to understand the unlimited atonement view. To claim that the view only makes salvation possible is to grossly misrepresent the view. Yes it merely makes salvation possible: if you restrict yourself to the provisional element. But the view does not only involve the provisional element it also involves the applicational element. It is like a genuine quarter that has two sides. If you said a quarter only had “heads”, you would be misrepresenting the nature of the quarter. To speak of the quarter correctly, factually, you would have to say it has BOTH “heads” and “tails” sides to it. Likewise, the atonement is not just the provisional element. It also includes the applicational element. That determinists have known this for a long time and yet continue to spew out this claim that the view only makes salvation possible but not efficacious, suggests some dishonesty and intentionally misleading people about the view on the part of some determinists.

“The Bible teaches Definite Redemption.”

No it does not. There is not a single statement anywhere in the bible that Jesus died ONLY for people who would end up as believers. In contrast there are multiple statements in the bible that Jesus died for all, died for the world.

“The problem is that Universal Atonement inevitably leads to limiting the efficacy of Christ’s death.”

This is a real humdinger of a statement here. The fact is, everybody who holds an orthodox position regaring the atonement (i.e. who denies universalism, affirms that the atonement will actually save all who trust the Lord, and both advocates of limited and universal atonement deny universalism and affirm that it will save all who trust the Lord) believes that the “efficacy of Christ’s death” is limited. It is limited (or applied to) only those who believe. Where the real difference is between the two views is in regard to the provisional element. Non-calvinists believe it is provided for all and applied only to believers. Calvinists believe it is provided only for the elect and applied only to believers. So you can see both limit its efficacy, limit its application. The disagreement is in regards to for whom it is intended (with non-calvinists claiming it is intended for all, because God desires the salvation of all, determinists claiming it is intended only for believers because that is what their deterministic system demands, the non-calvinist is driven by proper exegesis of scripture to their conclusions, the calvinist is driven to their conclusion by **the logic of their system** rather than what scripture presents).

“Show me a Universal Atonement that does not limit the efficacy of Christ’s atonement and I will accept it. But you can’t. That is the problem with your position.”

Joseph’s challenge is to show him a Universal Atonement that **does not limit the efficacy of Christ’s atonement”. But there is no such thing. Nobody denies the efficacy of the atonement. Universalists believe it is efficacious for all, non-calvinists and calvinists believe it is efficacious only for believers not for unbelievers. Joseph’s statement here shows he really does not understand the view he is attacking.

Robert

    Joseph

    As the Packer quote points out, and is true about Universal Atonement: “Christ’s death did not ensure the salvation of anyone, for it did not secure the gift of faith to anyone (there is no such gift); what it did was rather to create a possibility of salvation for everyone if they believe.”

    This is what we reject. We believe that Christ’s death secured everything necesssary for our salvation. We believe that Christ’s death ensures our salvation. You who believe in Universal Atonement cannot make that same statement without qualification, thus you limit the efficacy of Christ’s atonement. I am happy to accept universal atonement if it would not lead to the unbiblical assertation that all will be saved, nor the unbiblical notion that qualifiers have to be placed of the efficacy of Christ’s atonement. But since that is impossible, the best option, which does not limit the efficacy of Christ’s death is Calvinisms “Definite Redemption”.

      Don Johnson

      Joseph,

      Did the high priest make an atonement for some of the people of Israel or all of Israel? Answer: ALL Israel

      Were all the people of Israel saved? Answer: NO

      Did Christ atone for some people or for all people?
      Answer: ALL people

      Do all people get saved? Answer: NO

        Joseph

        So in other words the atonement of the Old Testament was not for the whole world but only for the the People of God? Interesting.

        Joseph

        Or stated another way, the atonement of the Old Testament was for “God’s Chosen People”.

          Don Johnson

          Joseph,

          Did it save all of them?

          mike white

          Actually it was really only for those who afflicted themselves.

            Don Johnson

            Mike,

            Do you mean afflicted themselves like the prophets of Baal?

Dean

The Passaover is a wonderful shadow of Christ. The blood of the lamb was available to every Hebrew but beneficial for only those who applied it. John the Baptist said in John 1:29 behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Jesus is the Paasover Lamb for the whole world. Under Limited Atonement God would have provided a list for Moses to tell about the Lamb. A list containing the name of the ones that God loved and the rest would be left to die for God did not love them and created them for destruction. There is no defense of Limited Atonement. All who hold to this teaching do so by placing a grid on Scripture that Is not honest exegesis. What world in John 1:29 or John 3:16 or I John 2:2. Honest exegisis!! I could list dozens more. I’m waiting for the paasage that tells me Jesus dies for the elect.

    Joseph

    Honest exegesis of 1 John 2:2 will lead either to
    1. Calvinism,
    2. Universalism or
    3. Contradition.
    There is no other option because Christ cannot be the “propitiation” for every human being unless no human being will be punished in Hell. The only way your interpretation of 1 John 2:2 can stand is if you throw out the biblical meaning of the word propitiate.

      Dean

      Whole world you do the exegesis.

      Joseph

      …or prehaps your interperation of 1 John 2:2 can stand “if” you place a “qualifier” and thus “limit” the “efficacy” of Christ’s atonement. You will say that for the propitiation to take affect it must be apprehended by faith. Thus, you limit the efficacy of Christ’s atonement. We place no such qualifiers on the efficacy.

        Dean

        Joseph I’m not dealing with logic or reason but exegesis. What does the passage say. I will not use a system or logic to produce eisegisis but deal with the passage without your grid in honest exegesis. You have no defense for limited atonement in SCRIPTURE. Don’t quote Packer or Piper. Let me see an honest treatment of the text that says Christ didnt die forbthecehole world.

          Dean

          Should read for the whole world

            Mary

            That word “whole” gets ’em every time. Calvinists act as if it’s not even there.

            Joseph

            Did Jesus die for the people who were already suffering in Hell with no hope of salvation?

            Joseph

            “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” (Rom. 1:9)

            By your definition, every human being on the planet at that time heard about the faith of the Romans.

            “Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!” (John 12:19)

            By your explanation of world, I guess we should suppose that every person on the planet started to follow after Jesus.

            “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world.” (Col. 1:6)

            Wow! The Gospel had been preached in all the earth at the time of Paul! (If we follow your use of the word world)

          Don Johnson

          Joseph,

          Yes!

            Lydia

            “Did Jesus die for the people who were already suffering in Hell with no hope of salvation?”

            They were not saved because they had no faith in God.

            Even Rahab had faith in Yahweh and is in the lineage of Christ . By “faith” Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteous.

        mike white

        World means the earth in general, not necessarily every single person who ever lived.

          Don Johnson

          Mike,

          Did Jesus take away the sin of the “earth”?

          Dean

          He is propitiation for our sins and not only our sins but sins of the whole world. Mike I am asking for an honest exegesis of this passage. I have not seen any justification IN Scripture. If you say John meant world of the elect or some in the world you are making this passage say so. John is consistent in all His writings that the atoning death of Christ is for the whole world. I am waiting on someone to show me in Scripture that Jesus died for only the elect. It cannot be done.

            Joseph

            The Apostle John, in his consistency, recorded that Christ died for “the scattered children of God”. (John 11:51-52)

            Don Johnson

            Joseph,

            Those were other believing Jews scattered throughout the world. Only believers are the children of God. Before becoming a child of God, a person was first a child of wrath.

    Robert

    Hello Dean,

    “The Passaover is a wonderful shadow of Christ. The blood of the lamb was available to every Hebrew but beneficial for only those who applied it. John the Baptist said in John 1:29 behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Jesus is the Paasover Lamb for the whole world.”

    Good observation Dean. If we look at scripture in the Old Testament regarding atonement. We see this same pattern: the atonement is provided for all, but limited in its application only to those who believe.

    Another OT example that comes to mind is the Day of Atonement. The sacrifices given on that day were for all of Israel. And yet we know that all Israel was not saved (cf. this with what Paul says in Romans 9-11 where he differentiates the believing Jews from the disbelieving Jews).

    “There is no defense of Limited Atonement.”

    Limited atonement comes from the logic of the calvinist system, not from proper exegesis of scripture.

    It is interesting that even some calvinists, the so-called four pointers, such as Bruce Ware, due to exegesis of scripture hold to unlimited atonement. Five pointers chide the four pointers for not being consistent. And they are correct, the four pointers are not consistent with the calvinist system (though they **are** consistent with scripture on this point which is why they are four pointers!! :-) ).

    “All who hold to this teaching do so by placing a grid on Scripture that Is not honest exegesis.”

    The grid they put on is their belief in determinism. It is like a pair of yellow glasses that they wear. So everything they see or read is tainted by these yellow glasses and so appears yellow! The more they are committed to being consistent calvinists the more these yellow glasses are cemented to their faces.

    “What world in John 1:29 or John 3:16 or I John 2:2. Honest exegisis!!”

    Determinists **are** honest, they are honestly committed to determinism and so everything is yellow!! :-)

    “I could list dozens more.”

    Right, the bible clearly and repeatedly presents unlimited atonement, in both the Old and New Testaments. So you are correct the case is there unless someone’s wearing those yellow tinted glasses.

    “I’m waiting for the paasage that tells me Jesus dies for the elect.”

    I believe that you meant to say: “I’m waiting for the passage that tells me Jesus ONLY dies for the elect.”

    There are certainly passages that tell us Jesus died for his sheep, for the church, etc. So in some places the bible teaches Jesus did die for the elect.
    But what needs to be seen is that there are no bible passages that teach that Jesus died ONLY for the elect (i.e. that Jesus did not die for the whole world, did not die for all people including those who never end up becoming believers).

    Think of it this way, the maxim regarding proof is that “he who asserts must prove” (i.e. the one making an assertion must provide evidence for the truth of his assertion). The advocate of limited atonement asserts that Jesus died only for the elect, that he did not die for the world, did not die for people who would never become believers. Advocates of limited atonement are quick to point out bible verses where it speaks of Jesus dying for believers (his sheep, the church). But this does not satisfy their burden of proof. In order to satisfy their burden of proof it is not sufficient to prove that Jesus died for believers.

    They have to show that Jesus died ONLY FOR BELIEVERS.

    This cannot be shown from scripture and they have never shown this to be true.

    In contrast for the advocate of unlimited atonement we need to show from scripture that Jesus did die for the world, for all, for some who will never end up becoming believers. And we can do this precisely because that is exactly what the bible properly interpreted (i.e. that Jesus died for the whole world) presents. So we meet our burden of proof while the determinists fail to sustain theirs.

    Robert

      Dean

      Robert, only the elect is exactly what I meant. Thank you for the added thoughts. God bless, dean

      Joseph

      Dying not only for the nation of Israel but also for the “Scattered children of God” means He died for believers.

        Don Johnson

        Joseph,

        Yes, the scattered believers at the time of Christ.

Robert

Joseph presents a classic example of painting yourself into a corner with his words:

“You will say that for the propitiation to take affect it must be apprehended by faith. Thus, you limit the efficacy of Christ’s atonement. We place no such qualifiers on the efficacy.”

If Joseph is going to ****define**** “limiting the efficacy of Christ’s atonement” as the belief:

“that for the propitiation to take affect it must be apprehended by faith”:

THEN SIGN ME UP!!!!!! :-)

The whole New Testament, especially Romans and Galatians makes this very point, that salvation is “apprehended by faith”. According to my bible THAT is a good thing. Paul even tells us that salvation is through faith in order that it would be through grace and not works. So I will gladly take the clear and explicit teachings of the New Testament concerning the role of faith over the argumentation of a theological determinist arguing for his deterministic system of theology.

If Joseph is right in what he says above then “apprehending” the cross of Christ by faith is a bad thing (he defines it as putting limitations on the efficacy of the atonement of Christ!!!!). That is what he implies since he says that he and and other theological determinists (“we place no such qualifiers”) do not limit the efficacy of the atonement by suggesting that it is apprehended by faith!!!!

I guess I am really, really, bad, cause that is one of the constants of my teacing and preaching: that the believer apprehends spiritual blessings like the atonement of Christ by faith. And yet Joseph speaks as if this is a bad thing. As if the atonement of Christ will be efficacious in our lives APART FROM FAITH. Wow. He implies it is a bad thing to apprehend spiritual blessings through faith, and that his position is better because “We place no such qualifiers on the efficacy.” So I guess Joseph does not believe we apprehend the atonement through faith. And if he actually believes that, he is simultaneoulsy denying one of the cardinal teachings of the Reformation (justification through faith). It is sad that modern determinists like this who are so zealous about arguing for their theological determinism end up denying the importance of faith and actually attacking the role of faith in the Christian experience.

Robert

    mike white

    Robert,
    Maybe you did not not read all of what Joseph said.
    He said that even the gift of faith is procured for the elect by the cross.
    In that light, it is not a condition limiting the cross, but a consequence of the cross.
    Thus he gives all the glory to God for salvation.

    There are others who believe that faith is of man’s will alone or at least by the decisive choice, and in doing so, whether they desire to do so or not, rob God of ALL the glory for their salvation and take some of it for themselves.

      mike white

      And that is what separates synergism from monergism.
      Synergism declares that each and every saved person had a hand in their own salvation. And without that positive input from themselves, they would not be saved. Monergism says that God alone chooses whom and saves them.

        Don Johnson

        Mike,

        If monergism is true, why does God use man to get out the Gospel? No one gets saved without man’s help. Every person who believes the Gospel does so with the help of some other person. Sounds like synergy.

          Joseph

          Don: Where did you hear that? Saying things like “No one” and “Every person” is going to get you in trouble. It is so easily disproved. For example, no one led me to the Lord. I was alone in a room, opened a Bible and believed in Jesus. No person was involved. Just me and a Bible. So your entire theory was just destroyed by my testimony.

            Don Johnson

            Joseph,

            Did man print your Bible or did it magically appear? If you didn’t have the Bible you would not have believed. Man prints Bibles, not God.

            volfan007

            I have to agree with Miami Vice on this one. Every person, who gets saved, is saved thru the efforts of other Believers. God chose to use us to get the Gospel out to the world.

            Also, people must respond to the Gospel…and to the convicting of the Spirit…in order to be saved. That’s the way God has chosen to save people. Acts 20:20-21; Romans 10:9-13.

            It really does sound a lot like synergism to me. And, synergism does not take away from God’s glory not one iota. Salvation is all by the grace of God. And, salvation is only because God has done it. All man does is respond to God’s working. And then, once saved, man must work to get the Gospel out to people.

            Otherwise, you’ll be like the hyperCalvinist of old, who said that God didnt need our help. So, there was no need to send missionaries. Why, God could use a tree, or a rock, to save people, if He so chose to do so.

            David

          mike white

          Don,

          You misunderstand what synergism is. It is not that God does not use man to preach His Word. Rather it is that the sinner must have a part in his own salvation.
          Likewise monergism is not that God does not use preachers of the Word, but that he does not save a person DUE to that person’s will.

            Don Johnson

            Mike,

            I know what Calvinists mean when they use the term monergism. I just find it interesting how they selectively use it. God works with men to get people saved, but they would never think of calling that synergy.

      Joseph

      Amen Mike! I agree with you. Christ died for our sin of unbelief. He died to assure our regeneration and that we would surely come to faith. Jesus’ death does not just make salvation possible–it ensures the salvation of all for whom it was intended. This is why I refuse to limit the efficacy of Christ’s atonement, as do our Traditionalist brethren.

        Dean

        I will write a dozen passages stating Christ died for the world, sinful man, the ungodly. I would like one saying Christ died for only the elect.

          jdbarker

          If Christ died for the sins of the whole world then why are all not saved?

            Dean

            May I read the passage that Jesus died for only the elect? How many do you want saying He died for the world?

            Don Johnson

            J D Barker,

            It’s called free will. “They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” 2 Thes. 2:10

            Joseph

            What is this freewill myth you are talking about Don? Freewill is more disprovable than Limited Atonement. The Bible does NOT say there has been freewill since Adam. What the Bible DOES say is that our wills since Adam have been slaves to sin.

            I deny the unbiblical myth of freewill. Man can only do what is in accord with his nature and his nature is only inclined toward sin.

            Don Johnson

            Joseph,

            Why does Jesus say sinners do good in Luke 6:33?

            Actually it’s a myth of Calvinism that’s there’s no free will.

            Joseph

            “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5)

            Don Johnson

            Joseph,

            But it doesn’t say they could not believe the truth. Even if it did, it still has no bearing on today. God destroyed them all in a flood.

            Joseph

            Don writes “But it doesn’t say they could not believe the truth. Even if it did, it still has no bearing on today. God destroyed them all in a flood.”

            God didn’t destroy all of them. There were 8 of them in the ark. The people of the world got in that horrible state because of their sin nature that came to them from Adam, the same sin nature that we have today. Are you actually arguing that we have improved somehow?

            Don Johnson

            Joseph,

            I never said man is not a sinner. Just because man is a sinner does not mean he cannot believe the Gospel. If you can show me man is unable to believe the Gospel, I’ll gladly retract my statement.

            By the way when you said it was just you and your Bible, were you seeking God?

            mike white

            Don,
            that only tells us why they are damned, because of their bent towards sin, they received not the love of the truth.

            Monergism says that the saved man does receive and love the truth ONLY because of God.

            Synergism says that such a receiving depend ultimately [but not completely] on the man.

            Don Johnson

            Mike,

            What TRUTH did these not receive or not believe? Whatever this truth is, it is able to save. How many TRUTHS are there that are able to save? Remember it can’t be the TRUTH of Christ dying for them, because Calvinism says He didn’t. So it must be some other TRUTH that saves. Any ideas on what it could be?

Dean

Mike you are proof texting and not very good at that. The high priest prophesied Jesus would not only die for the Jews but also for the scattered Children of God in John 11. If this is a proof text for la then all the Jews are the elect for Christ died for them. You use the high priest’s prophecy and argue against John’s consistency that Jesus died for the world. I wonder if the Sanhedrin knew they were Calvinist?

    jdbarker

    Dean,

    John 10:11, 10:15, Acts 20:28, Romans 8:32, Ephesians 5:25, John 17:9, Romans 5:8

    Don,

    Men who are in hell are receiving the punishment for all of their sins which you claim has been paid for by Christ, even the sin of unbelief. If Christ has indeed paid for every sin of all men then how could any man go to hell? You said yourself earlier that unbelief was a sin. Christ should have paid for that, right?

      Don Johnson

      J D Barker,

      Yes, Christ paid for the sin of unbelief.

      Dean

      JD I have read them all preached through each of those books. Now I’m asking you to honestly produce a passage that states Jesus died only for the elect. Again I can do honest exegisis of passages that state Jesus died for the whole world. You cannot name one that honestly says Jesus died for only the elect. When the Bible says Jesus died for the world in John 1 and 3 and I John 2 it means the world. You can’t treat the passage honestly and it say something else. When the Bible says Jesus died for the church it does not state He died for only the church. Again to claim it says so is not honestly dealing w the passage. Limited atonement is a belief based on logic and reason not Scripure.

      Joseph

      How could God punish in Hell the same people for whom He has been propitiated? It makes no sense.

      Please see the defintion of propitiation and get back with me. Thanks.

        Dean

        Joseph, Propitiation is the atoning sacrifice that satisfies God. He offered His begotten Son to satisfy our sin. One burns in hell not to pay for their sins. They burn for unbelief. To reject the sacrifice of God’s Son condemns you to hell. Now once more I offer a challenge base your argument for l a on scripture and not reason and logic. You cannot show me a passage that says Jesus does only for the elect. I’m a one string banjo – Biblically l a cannot be defended.

          Joseph

          We take the various verses together. For instance, Scripture teaches that the death of Christ is “for us” (Rom. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:10), or for his own “sheep” (John 10:11, 15), or for “the church” (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25), or for “the children of God” (John 11:52), or for “those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Christ died for his church—his bride (Eph. 5:25)

          Of course, you will say that the above can include the world, but I don’t agree. There is a reason the Bible focuses the attention of the atonement to the bride and the sheep.

          And the reason the non-sheep don’t believe? Jesus teaches that too:

          “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep” (John 10:26) Can a noncalvinist possibly explain this verse without twisting it?

            Don Johnson

            Joseph,

            Jesus didn’t say they were non-sheep. He said they were not His sheep.

            The reason these sheep don’t believe Christ is because they don’t believe the Father. The Father gave His sheep to the Son (vs. 29). They were the Father’s because they believed the Father.

    mike white

    Dean,

    Proof texting what?
    Please be careful in your reading, brother.
    You said,
    “Jesus would not only die for the Jews but also for the scattered Children of God in John 11.”
    here is the verse in a context:

    But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad

    Certainly you could read this as ONLY pertaining to the ethnic Jews. [a]
    And you also do not have to. [b]
    The nation could mean the ethnic people either in general or predestined elect ethnic Jew or simply those who already were ethnic Jew believers.
    The children of God scattered abroad could mean ethnic Jews scattered abroad in general or only the believing scattered ethnic Jews or the elect ethnic Jews both saved and yet to be saved or the predestined elect, Jew and gentile, who were believers or would someday become believers, like you and me.
    That is because we read:

    Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “ Uncircumcision” by the so-called “ Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

    And we see that this idea of being far way and near relates to a prophecy in Isaiah 57, where that context was only [at the time] thought to be the ethnic Jew:

    And it will be said,
    “Build up, build up, prepare the way,
    Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.”
    For thus says the high and exalted One
    Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
    “I dwell on a high and holy place,
    And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
    In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
    And to revive the heart of the contrite.
    “For I will not contend forever,
    Nor will I always be angry;
    For the spirit would grow faint before Me,
    And the breath of those whom I have made.
    “Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him;
    I hid My face and was angry,
    And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart.
    “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
    I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners,
    Creating the praise of the lips.
    Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,”
    Says the Lord, “and I will heal him.

    We see that God is speaking about those YET to trust in Him, and He is calling them my people. And we see Paul using this same idea speaking about the Gentiles.
    And we know that God heals us individually of our ‘turning away… in the heart’.

    Taking these things into account, along with other Scriptures that speak on these things, the conclusion is that the high priest was saying this[prophetically and without understanding]: That the one man, Jesus, should die for all of God’s people so that they would not perish.

    And we know that all would perish if Jesus had not died. And that even the people chosen by God to be His people would also perish if Jesus had not died.

      Don Johnson

      Mike,

      Other than the nation of Israel, God does not call any unbelievers His people. They become His people when they get saved.

      In Eph. 2 Paul states “But now in Christ.” Before that time they were “without God.”

      In Isaiah 57 you started with verse 14, you should have started with verse 13. Which says “. . .but he that putteth his trust in Me shall possess the land, and inherit my holy mountain.” God calls them His people because they ALREADY trust Him. All of God’s people ARE believers. All unbelievers are the children of wrath and are not God’s people.

        mike white

        Don, i beg to differ. In the Isaiah passage, God is speaking about those He will heal, not those He has already healed. Thus the context informs us of the change God will make in these people.
        Likewise In Is 53, we see that God is again speaking about His children as being those Christ would heal, whom he had suffered for, and for whom He paid the price for their iniquities.

          Don Johnson

          Mike,

          People that TRUST God are God’s people.

          Again I repeat, other than the nation of Israel God has NO unbelieving people.

Dean

In Matthew 23 why didn’t Jesus gather Jerusalem like a hen her chicks? The were not loved by God – no. They were not the elect – no. Christ didn’t want them – that’s not it. They could not – nope. They would not. They chose not to receive Christ as the Messuah.

    jdbarker

    Just like the son of perdition made a “free” choice that had nothing to do with God’s preordained will?

    Joseph

    The same son of perdition that was doomed to Hell in order to fulfill the Scriptures.

      Don Johnson

      Looks like Christ picked the right person. Imagine what would have happened if He chose Matthias instead of Judus.

    mike white

    Dean,
    mat 23
    God as the righteous judge has given the Jews the chance to use their will to turn to God and be saved. Instead they continually rejected God via His prophets, wise men, and scribes. This is a lesson to those who think man can turn to God by their own free wills. If man could have done that, Jesus would not have to die. men could chose the good and be saved:

    But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.

    But man, shown by the Jews who had so many advantages to act and be of God, shows themselves unable to walk with God by their own will. Firat it was Adam, who had no worldly evil influences, who WOULD not turn away from sin, and then it was the Jewish people, whom God gave many chances and did many miracles from Moses to Jesus. They too would not turn to God.
    Neither, given the chance, will people today turn to God UNLESS God moves in them first and brings them to Himself.

David L. Allen

JD and Joseph,

Thank you for reading the post and for the points you are raising. Let me attempt to respond to your questions. First, you ask how is it that people who die without Christ can be said to have had their sins paid for by the death of Christ. In fact, you will find the exact language that Christ “died for” or “redeemed” even the non-elect in the writings of many in the Reformed tradition who believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world on the basis of their interpretation of the many universal passages that speak of the extent of the atonement in the New Testament. They, of course, believed that with respect to the intent of the atonement, God had elected those who would be saved and that through irresistible grace, they would be regenerated. Some moderate Calvinists spoke of Christ “redeeming” the world by which they did not mean that all the world would be saved, but that the death of Christ had paid for the sins of the world, thus removing the legal obstacles such that all could be saved if they believed. The condition of salvation is repentance and faith. God has so designed that only those who believe in Christ will have the atonement applied to them.

I was surprised to learn a few years ago that even Augustine used the language of “redeem” to express what Christ did on the cross for the non-elect. He even went so far as to say that Judas was “redeemed,” in the sense that Christ paid for his sins on the cross. Here is what Augustine said about Judas. “To suffer indeed He had come, and He punished him through whom He suffered. For Judas the traitor was punished, and Christ was crucified: but us He redeemed by His blood, and He punished him in the matter of his price. For he threw down the price of silver, for which by him the Lord had been sold; and he knew not the price wherewith he had himself by the Lord been redeemed. This thing was done in the case of Judas.” [Italics mine] Augustine, Exposition of Psalm LXIX, Section 27, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st series, ed. P. Schaff (1888; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004), 8:309.

Joseph, you said that the cross purchased our faith. Actually, the cross purchased salvation for all who believe; it did not purchase our faith. That is the mistake John Owen makes in his “Death of Death in the Death of Christ.” Where does it say that the cross purchased faith for all those for whom he died? The verse Calvinists point to is Philippians 1:29: “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Nothing is said here about “purchasing” faith. If faith is purchased according to this verse, then so is suffering. Who talks about suffering being purchased by the cross? Finally, Philippians 1:29 is talking about believers, not “all for whom Christ died.”

JD, you ask if Christ died for the sins of all people, then why are not all saved? The answer is because the Scripture teaches that the death of Christ does not save anyone apart from their repentance and faith. This is the design of God with respect to Salvation. The atonement is only applied on condition of repentance and faith. You also asked about the double jeopardy argument made popular by John Owen. I will address that argument in the next couple of posts, so I won’t comment on it here.

Finally, as I pointed out in the above post, it only takes one clear statement in Scripture that Christ died only for the sins of the elect to establish limited atonement. But there is no such verse in Scripture.

    Joseph

    Thanks for taking the time to write us, Dr. Allen.

    You wrote “it only takes one clear statement in Scripture that Christ died only for the sins of the elect” But I would retort that it is implied when the scripture tells us that the death of Christ is “for us” (Rom. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:10), or for his own “sheep” (John 10:11, 15), or for “the church” (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25), or for “the children of God” (John 11:52), or for “those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Christ died for his church—his bride (Eph. 5:25)

    I know we disagree but I appreciate your gentle approach. Thanks brother.

      Robert

      Some people are dense about something because they just don’t get it. That is understandable and that happens to all of us. Some people are dense about something intentionally not because they don’t get it but because they don’t want to get it. Unfortunately we can all do this as well: if we choose to do so. In the New Testament the disciples are a good example of the former while the Pharisees were a good example of the latter.

      When it comes to the limited versus unlimited atonement debate it seems to me that the determinists who actually know what the bible says (i.e. first that it has clear statements that Jesus died for all, for the whole world, etc. and second, that it has no clear statements that Jesus died ONLY FOR THE ELECT). And yet keep parading the same bible verses to prove their limited atonement doctrine are being just as obstinate as the Pharisees were behaving. Why say this? Because as many of us have said repeatedly and as Dr. Allen stated at the conclusion of his post:

      “Finally, as I pointed out in the above post, it only takes one clear statement in Scripture that Christ died only for the sins of the elect to establish limited atonement. But there is no such verse in Scripture.”

      As Dr. Allen correctly states, and it cannot be overemphasized: THERE IS NO SUCH VERSE IN SCRIPTURE.

      And yet zealous determinists keep bringing up the **same** bible verses as proof and none of these bible verses state that JESUD DIED ONLY FOR BELIEVERS.

      The latest example is Joseph who writes:

      “You wrote “it only takes one clear statement in Scripture that Christ died only for the sins of the elect” But I would retort that it is implied when the scripture tells us that the death of Christ is “for us” (Rom. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:10), or for his own “sheep” (John 10:11, 15), or for “the church” (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25), or for “the children of God” (John 11:52), or for “those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Christ died for his church—his bride (Eph. 5:25)”

      Well there they are again: Rom. 5:8, 1 Thess 5:10, John 10:11, etc. etc.

      And AGAIN none of these verses says that Jesus ONLY died for the church.

      If we look at each of these bible verses we find they are stated in contexts where the writer is speaking not to unbelievers but to believers. So of course in the case of believers, we can say of all of them that Jesus died for them (whether we call these believers “us”, “the children of God” or “church.” But in none of these verses do we see the word “only” or some other linguistic term designating limitation of any kind. No hint or statement that the atonement was given *******only****** for believers.

      Pretend Joe is a democrat and that Obama gives everyone in the US a $100 bill (whether they are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, whatever). Say that Obama says: “I want everybody to have a $100 bill, I want the whole country to have this $100 bill.” And say that Joe is at a meeting of the local chapter of the Democratic party and says “Isn’t it fantastic that Obama gave all of us Democrats a $100 bill!” Or he says “Isn’t it fantastic that Obama gave Dems a $100 bill!” Or he says “Isn’t it fantastic that Obama gave we of the best political party in America a $100 bill!”

      We would all see that the terms “us Democrats”, “Dems” or “the best political party in America” are all different ways of referring to the Democtatic party in Joe’s mind. We also would not conclude that because Obama gave all of the Democrats a $100 bill that HE ONLY GAVE Democrats a $100 bill. We would not conclude that the $100 bill was only given to Democrats because of Obama’s statements that He intended to give the $100 bills to “everybody”, the “whole country.” If we are operating logically with the available statements we would conclude that Joe’s comments were in reference to Democrats, but that based on Joes’s comments we cannot properly conclude that Obama ONLY gave those $100 bills to Democrats!

      Now if someone else came along and argued: well the $100 bills were given ONLY to the Democrats because Joe said that it was fantastic that they were given to “us Democrats”, “Dems”, and ‘the best political party in America”. We would rightfully conclude that Joe’s statements do not demonstrate that the bills were given ***only*** to the Democrats. We would also rightfully conclude that Obama’s statements that “everybody” should have a $100 bill, that he wanted the whole country to have that $100 bill demonstrate it was intended for all, not just the Democrats. Joe never said the bill was given ***only*** to Democrats, he said only that he was excited that it was given to democrats (and used different terms for Democrats).

      Now all of this is so obvious, and yet determinists will intentionally ignore all of it and continue to press the statements in scripture that Jesus died for believers (as if those statements proved that Jesus died ***only*** for believers). And we all know that Jesus died for believers. What we don’t see and no determinist has ever provided them: is bible verses that say that Jesus died ONLY for believers. And yet these are the very statements that the determinist needs to have to prove his case (i.e. the burden of proof is upon the one making an assertion, if you assert that Jesus died only for believers then it is your burden of proof to provide evidence not only that Jesus died for believers, but that HE DIED ONLY FOR BELIEVERS). And those who know the scripture and keep pushing their argument that since Jesus died for the church he only died for the church are just behaving in an intentionally dense manner.

      And we know exactly why they are pushing this view, it is motivated by the logic of their own theological system, not by exegesis of scripture. The bible does not teach limited atonement, it can only exist in someone’s mind if someone argues along the lines of the deterministic theological system of calvinism. What this also means is that those who argue for unlimited atonement are arguing for an objective fact presented by the scriptures. Those who argue for limited atonement are arguing for a subjective opinion (what they believe in their minds, what they believe must be true if their system is true, what they want to believe) demanded by the internal logic of their theological system. When the objective facts and the subjective thoughts collide, those who choose to hold onto their subjective thoughts rather than acquesing to the objective fact, will not be persuaded.

      Robert

    mike white

    Dr. Allen,
    I too thank you for your irenic way.
    Romans 8 also speaks of why I believe faith is also a gift procured by the cross for it says:
    What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

    “ For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
    We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

    But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    And specifically here:
    What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

    When is God for us? Who is God against?
    In context, the answers would be this:
    For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren…

    So God is for us when He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

    And who is God against?
    And this is answered negatively:
    God is against those He has not predetermined to be conformed to the image of the Son.
    God is not against those he intercedes for.
    Not against those He justifies.
    Not against those that are never separated from His love.

    And thus He is for those He intercedes for.
    He is for those He foreknows to be predetermined to be conformed to the image of His
    He is for those He justifies.
    He is for those He never condemns.
    He is for those that he loves, FOR…
    nothing can separate those God loves from His love.

Dean

Dr Allan I’m not sure Luke wrote Hebrews but I love and appreciate you brother. Thanks for your review of the book.

Steve Martin

“…it only takes one clear statement in Scripture that Christ died only for the sins of the elect to establish limited atonement. But there is no such verse in Scripture.”

Exactly.

He atoned for all. But all do not hear and come to faith.

No universal salvation.

If we believe, God gets all the credit. If we do not, we get all the blame.

That is biblical.

    jdbarker

    If someone doesn’t believe then they have made the worst choice. If you believe then you have made the best choice. If God “looks down the corridor of time and sees all who will choose him” and decides to elect them, then His election is completely based upon works, namely the supreme good work; accepting Christ.

    I like to credit my salvation to God, not to my good judgement.

      Robert

      Anybody notice that we have a calvinist attacking justification by faith an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, openly on this blog???

      JDBarker wrote:

      “If someone doesn’t believe then they have made the worst choice. If you believe then you have made the best choice.”

      So faith is a choice, a choice to trust the Lord to save you. JD says this is the “best choice”.

      “If God “looks down the corridor of time and sees all who will choose him” and decides to elect them, then His election is completely based upon works, namely the supreme good work; accepting Christ.”

      Notice here that ACCEPTING CHRIST is declared to be THE SUPREME WORK.

      So JD is declaring saving faith to be a work.

      That is not the bible.

      The bible distinguishes faith from works.

      The bible says we are justified through faith (see especially Romans and Galatians) not by works.

      But JD is so zealous to argue for his deterministic theology that he ends up attacking saving faith as a work, according to him “the supreme good work.”

      This is really, really sad, I wish we would have some other calvinists/determinists challenge JD on this (but I doubt you will see it).

      I used to work a lot with non-Christian cults (such as the JW’s) who teach that we **are** justified by our works and not by faith alone.

      When it was pointed out that we are saved through faith according to the scriptures one of their standard responses went like this. Non-Christian cultist – “Is faith something that you do?” (Yes, they knew you had to answer that it is something that you do, God does not do it in your place, it is not your parents faith or somebody else’s faith, it is your faith). Non-Christian cultist – “well if it is something that you do, then it is a work.” Note that in order to attack justification through faith they have no qualms about resorting to this argument that makes FAITH INTO A WORK. In that way they can attack justification by faith alone and simultaneously argue that we are in fact saved by our works.

      Now I saw this plenty of times coming from non-Christian cultists. But here it is coming from JD a calvinist. This is precisely what he is doing. He equates anything that we do to a religious work.

      If the non-calvinist says that we are saved through faith and that faith is something we do, JD then responds that this amounts to salvation by works!

      He actually calls faith the “supreme good work, accepting Christ.”

      I expect this kind of thing from the non-Christian cultist, but it is really, really sad when it comes from a professing Christian. And this is motivated because of an intense commitment to promoting and defending theological determinism at all costs. Even if that cost includes attacking justification through faith and employing the same arguments against it that cultists employ against it.

      Robert

        jdbarker

        My comment was assuming the arminian view point that Steve put forward. Of course I do not deny justification by faith alone. I was illustrating the problem with that system. I would argue that under the arminian system, saving faith is a good work that man does apart from God. But if all of salvation is a gift from God, then He gets all of the glory, not man. I like that view better. Dead men have a hard time responding to anything. That’s why God has to grant us faith. God predestined it, Christ secured it, and the Holy Spirit enacted it. All God’s work from the beginning of time to the end.

    mike white

    Steve,
    you said,
    “If we believe, God gets all the credit. If we do not, we get all the blame.”

    And that is because our faith is not of our will but due to God.

Lasaro Flores

Permit me to make some questions:

1) Does the “traditionalist” Southern Baptist (TSB) believe that a sinner dead in trespasses and sins and has a nature that is under the power of sin, has a “free will” to make ‘a decision for Christ’ to be saved?’

2) Does the TSB believe that the sinner of question 1) is elected by God because He foreknew which sinners would repent and believe in Christ; and so He chose them?

3) Does the TSB believe that Christ died to make possible salvation for every sinner and is not limited only for the elect?

4) Does the TSB believe that the sinner can effectually resist the grace of God; and that God cannot save the sinner unless the sinner lets God’s grace save him?

5) Does the TSB believe that the professing believer who made ‘a decision for Christ’ is Once Saved Always Saved without making Jesus Lord of their life and so may continue in sin knowing Jesus as Savior but not as Lord?

Are these 5 questions the soteriology of the “traditionalists?” Please enlighten me if they are not. Thank you and God bless you all. Amen.

    Don Johnson

    Lasaro,

    1. Yes.

    2. Yes

    3. Yes

    4. Yes

    5. Yes

Robert

Mike White wrote:

“Maybe you did not read all of what Joseph said.”

Actually I read it, but sometimes when I read something so off the wall and off base, I don’t even take the time to comment upon it. Some of us have real world ministries and limited time, so we have to pick our “spots”. But since you are bringing it up I will comment upon it and explain why I find it to be so farcical and off base.

“He said that even the gift of faith is procured for the elect by the cross.
In that light, it is not a condition limiting the cross, but a consequence of the cross.”

I have occasionally seen determinists bring up this point (e.g. John Piper is an example). But let’s think about this claim that “even the gift of faith is procured for the elect by the cross” for a moment.

The first and equally the most devastating point against it is something anyone familiar with their bibles knows: the bible never anywhere speaks of the cross procuring faith. You can look in both Testaments and you will not find this claim being made or even aluded to ANYWHERE. If I had a scientific theory and absolutely no data in support of it, my theory would not only be sunk it would be laughable.

So there is absolutely no evidence for this claim in the bible whatsoever.

So that makes it a doctrine with no scriptural basis.

But to hear some determinists speak of it so highly reminds me of the boy in the story of the Emperor with no clothes. While the theological determinists speak so highly of “how the cross procures the faith of the elect”, little biblicists like me, observe, the theory has no data/clothes. There is not a shred of biblical evidence in support of this claim. The Emperor literally has no clothes here! I always thought that story was hilarious.

Likewise I find it hilarious to hear determinists speaking of this theory in glowing terms in the complete absence of any biblical evidence in support!!!! :-)

But let’s put aside the FACT there is no biblical evidence in support of this claim and consider how much gobbledygook this really is. My bible says that faith comes by hearing and specifically it is hearing the Word of God. A person hears the Word and the Spirit works through this Word giving them understanding and enabling faith.

And let’s use those of us who are believers involved in this thread as our examples. All of us experienced this process of faith coming by hearing the word and choosing to trust it in either the twentieth or twenty first century. So as a point of fact, when Jesus died on the cross a couple of thousand years ago, none of us were present at the time of the crucifixion. If we were not present then, our faith could not have been in existence then (we were not hearing the word and believing it back then). So that leads to the question: if our faith never existed prior to the twentieth/twenty first centuries, how could the cross of Christ which occurred thousands of years ago **procure** something that did not even exist? Neither we, nor our faith existed at that time, so there was nothing to procure. Now if you want to say that Jesus was dying for people whom he knew would later come to faith, that is fine. But the determinists are not talking about foreknowledge here: they are talking about faith ***as if it were something*** that existed back then and so could be “procured.”

A friend of mine likens this theory to some sort of magical pixie dust. God sprinkles it on a person and wham they are saved! He chooses to sprinkle it only upon the preselected lucky ones. God procured this pixie dust at the cross. Although the bible never talks about this pixie dust and there was no evidence of it in connection with the crucifixion of Jesus. Nevertheless, the determinists speak of it in glowing terms. While they speak mystically of this faith that was procured at the cross, the rest of us have a much more mundane explanation for faith (i.e. faith comes by hearing and hearing . . .).

Now I know it might make determinists feel nice talking about this concept of the cross procuring the faith of the elect. And they might have good reasons to want to believe this theological invention/fiction. But for the rest of us who are not theological determinists, how do you expect us to get excited about a theory with no biblical evidence in support of it, which overlooks the true nature of faith and how faith comes about? Our faith did not exist, could not exist back then when Jesus was crucified. So since we did not exist and our faith did not exist, there was nothing to procure regarding our faith back then. In light of these considerations I find this theory so ridiculous as to be laughable. That is why I ignored it and did not comment upon it earlier. But Mike you really asked for it, you must really want to believe that the clothes the Emperor is supposedly wearing are spectacular! :-) So I will keep laughing while you determinists keep making these grand statements about the Emperor’s new clothes. :-)

Robert

    mike white

    Robert,
    Thanks for your reply.
    here is one thing you said that kind of agrees with me:

    “But let’s put aside the FACT there is no biblical evidence in support of this claim and consider how much gobbledygook this really is. My bible says that faith comes by hearing and specifically it is hearing the Word of God. A person hears the Word and the Spirit works through this Word giving them understanding and enabling faith. ”

    I said kind of because no where in the Word does it say anything about “enabling” faith. It says those without understanding are of the perishing and those who God opens their eyes are set free:

    For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “ Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

    Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

    Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.

    P.s. the answer to this should not be in a boast. thanks

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available