John Piper and Definite Atonement | Part Two

October 10, 2014

Dr. David L. Allen | Dean of the School of Theology
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Definite Atonement & the Free Offer of the Gospel.
Piper asserts his belief that the free offer of the gospel to all people is one of the “benefits” or “intentions” of God in the atonement (657-664). Scripture teaches the “free offer” of the gospel to all. But this is not something that the atonement itself “accomplished,” especially on Piper’s view of things. In fact, this is one of the key problems with definite atonement and is one of two main reasons why so many in the Reformed tradition like Bruce Ware (see Part 1) reject it (the other being the exegetical evidence is clearly against limited atonement).

Piper correctly states that Shultz argues one cannot preach the gospel sincerely to all people on the platform of definite atonement: “If Christ did not pay for the sins of the non-elect, then it is impossible to genuinely offer salvation to the non-elect, since there is no salvation available to offer them” (658). Piper takes strong umbrage at this claim. We need to note that this claim articulated by Shultz has been made by many in the Reformed tradition since the days of the ascendency of limited atonement in the late 16th century.

Piper, quoting Roger Nicole, totally misses the point of Shultz’s argument: “if the terms of the offer be observed, that which is offered be actually granted” (658-59). Certainly no one disputes this. All Calvinists and all non-Calvinists agree with this statement. Piper attempts to justify the validity of an “offer” if the one offering “always and without fail gives what is offered to everyone who meets the terms of the offer” (659).

But is this all that is necessary? What would constitute a valid offer? At least four elements would seem to be necessary.

  1. A sincere desire on the part of the one offering to give something.
  2. The one offering possesses that which he offers.
  3. The one offering desires that the thing offered be accepted.
  4. The recipients of the offer are able to fulfill the condition of the offer.

 

The key point Shultz is making is that one has to be able to give what is offered to any and everyone who comes. The simple fact is, according to definite atonement, if one of the non-elect were to respond to the offer, it would be impossible for God to give salvation for no atonement exists for the non-elect to be given to any one of them.

Piper, following John Murray, attempts to blunt the force of this by arguing that what is offered in the gospel is Christ. This is a clever sidestepping of the issue. Of course it is Christ who is offered! But on what grounds is Christ offered to all? He can be offered on the grounds that He has paid the price for every person’s sin.

Furthermore, though Piper himself does not make the claim, it will not do to argue that the non-elect will not come since they are not given the effectual call. This, too, sidesteps the issue. Here is an example of Piper’s confused logic:

“What is offered to the world, to everyone who hears the gospel, is not a love or a saving achievement designed for all and therefore especially for no one; but rather, what is offered is the absolute fullness of all that Christ achieved for his elect. This fullest of all possible achievements is offered to all — because Christ is offered to all. And thus definite atonement turns out to be the only ground of a fully biblical offer of the gospel” (659-660).

  1. Piper says what is offered is offered to the “world, to everyone who hears the gospel.”
  2. What is offered is not something “designed” for all.
  3. What is offered to the whole world is the “absolute fullness of all that Christ achieved for his elect.”

 

How, by any stretch of logic, can that which Christ designed and achieved only for the elect be offered to everyone in the world? Piper’s conclusion, “And thus definite atonement turns out to be the only ground of a fully biblical offer of the gospel,” is totally unwarranted. This claim is astounding to me. Piper thinks that all Calvinists and non-Calvinists who affirm unlimited atonement do not have grounds for offering the gospel in a “fully biblical” manner. Piper turns from a consideration of the validity of the universal offer to the genuineness of that offer (661-64).

First, Piper mentions those who appeal to God’s foreknowledge as problematic for the sincerity of the gospel offer. I do not know of a single Calvinist or non-Calvinist who makes the argument that the offer of salvation to all cannot be sincere since Christ knows who will accept and who will not. The reason the offer cannot be sincere on a definite atonement scheme is because the non-elect are being offered something that does not, in fact, exist for them.

Second, Piper states that the “bottom line objection” is not what God knows, but what God desires. Piper takes the position of most Calvinists by arguing that God is able to desire something sincerely, yet nevertheless decide that what he desires will not come to pass. But again, Piper engages in a subtle shift away from the issue at hand. The issue is not the question of God’s two wills as many affirm in Reformed theology. The issue is our offering something to the non-elect which does not exist for them to receive.

Piper never answers this question. He rather engages in futile evasions. His argument here is off point and is simply a red herring. I might also add that it is ultimately incoherent to argue that we do not offer people the possibility of salvation. Even on the Reformed understanding of salvation, salvation for the elect is both possible and inevitable because of election and efficacious calling. Unless one wants to argue for justification in eternity or justification at the cross (Hyper-Calvinist errors), then one has to affirm Christ’s death make’s possible salvation until the point of faith when that salvation is applied to the elect.

The Atonement’s Sufficiency & Definite Atonement.
Piper fails to address this issue directly in his chapter, but it is a vital issue for the question of the extent of the atonement and preaching. Several points are in order.

1. If limited atonement is correct, Jesus did not substitute himself on the cross for the sins of the non-elect.

2. Therefore, it is impossible that the non-elect could ever be saved since there is no atonement made for their sins. They are in the same unsaveable state they would be if Jesus had never come at all.

3. It is impossible that the atonement can ever be described as sufficiently able to save the non-elect in any way other than hypothetical: something can’t be sufficient for anyone for whom it is non-existent. To suggest otherwise is simply to engage in word games, obfuscation, or equivocation.

4. Further complications emerge concerning the preaching of the gospel. How can preachers universally and indiscriminately offer the gospel in good faith to all people, which clearly includes many who are non-elect, when there is no gospel to offer them, that is, when there is no satisfaction for all their sins? The usual response is that we don’t know who the elect are, so we offer the gospel to all. But this misses the point and the problem. The issue is not that we don’t know who the elect are. That is a given. The issue is we are offering something to all people, including those who turn out to be non-elect, that indeed does not exist for all to whom the offer is made. An offer made to all sinners entails contradiction as the preacher knows that the satisfaction for sins by Christ on the cross was not made for all to whom the gospel comes, but pretends and speaks as if there is a legitimate offer to all to whom the gospel is preached.

5. The problem is even more acute with respect to the gospel offer by God when it is understood that it is God Himself making the offer through us. Second Corinthians 5:18-20 makes it clear that it is God offering salvation to all people through the church on the grounds of the atonement of Christ. If He Himself has limited that substitution to only the elect, how can He make such an offer genuinely to all people? It would appear such is not possible.

6. If Christ did not die for the sins of all people, what exactly is it unbelievers are guilty of rejecting? There is no atonement for their sins for them to reject! Unbelief of the gospel by its very definition involves rejection of God’s provision of grace through Christ’s death. The Scripture makes use of universal exhortations to believe the gospel. Definite atonement deprives these commands of their significance.

Calvinists who affirm definite atonement cloud the issue of sufficiency when they tell us that Christ’s death is sufficient in the sense that if anyone believes the gospel, he will find a sufficient atonement for his sins. Therefore, all people are saveable, insofar as if anyone believes, he will be saved. No one doubts that! That proposition is true as far as it goes because it only speaks to the causal relationship between faith and salvation: anyone who truly believes will certainly be saved.

But Calvinists exhibit their confusion on this issue when asked why this is so. Their response: because there is an atonement of infinite value able to be applied to the one who believes. Of course there is. But ask the question this way: suppose one of the non-elect should believe, could they be saved? Not according to the definite atonement position because no satisfaction for sins exists for the non-elect.[1]

Imagine that Christ had not died at all on the cross. Now, in such a scenario, imagine this statement: “if anyone believes in Christ, he shall be saved.” Such a statement is meaningless nonsense and is, in fact, false. In this scenario, there is no means provided for anyone to be saved regardless of whether they believe or not. This is precisely where the non-elect stand in relation to the cross of Christ and their sin in the definite atonement scheme.

If there is no atonement for some people, then those people are not saveable. If no atonement exists for some, how is it possible that the gospel can be offered to those people for whom no atonement exists? If anyone is not saveable, he is not offerable. One cannot offer the gospel in any consistent way to someone for whom no atonement exists. Only universal atonement grounds the free offer of the gospel to all people. There is a provision of forgiveness for all to whom the gospel comes. There is a provision of forgiveness for all who come to the gospel.

Summing up the Problems with Piper’s Chapter.
Adherence to definite atonement negatively impacts three areas of practical theology.

1) The Problem of the Diminishing of God’s Universal Saving Will
Calvinists have trouble defending God’s universal saving will from the platform of limited atonement. The basic issue is this: if Christ did not die for the non-elect, how can this be reconciled with passages of Scripture such as John 17:21,23; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; and 2 Pet 3:9 that affirm God desires the salvation of all people? Moderate Calvinists and non-Calvinists have no trouble here since they affirm Christ did indeed die for the sins of all people, hence God can make “the well-meant offer” to all.

Without belief in the universal saving will of God and a universal extent in Christ’s sin-bearing, there can be no well-meant offer of the salvation from God to the non-elect who hear the gospel call.

2) Problems for the Genuine Offer of the Gospel in Evangelism
We are to express and display God’s love for humanity in the way we command all men to repent, in our preaching of the gospel, in our compassionate invitations, and in our indiscriminate offerings of Christ to all. Christ’s own heart and ministry, in this respect, is our pattern. We are to point the lost to the sufficiency of Christ to save them. In addition to Christ’s express evangelistic commands and God’s will that all be saved, Christ’s actual sufficiency in his atonement for all should also form a basis for our evangelism.

Limited atonement undermines the well-meant gospel offer. We are to evangelize because God wills all men to be saved and has made atonement for all men, thus removing the legal barriers that necessitate their condemnation. Christ died not only for “sinners” but for the sins of all sinners. When Calvinists use the terminology “Christ died for sinners,” the term “sinners” becomes something of a code word for “the elect only.” In order to be consistent with their theology, Calvinists must resort to the deliberately vague statement “Christ died for sinners.”

3) Problems for Preaching
Anything that makes the preacher hesitant to make the bold proclamation that “Christ died for your sins” is wrong. If one thinks it is true that Christ only suffered for some, preaching will be deeply affected. The preacher does not know who the elect are, so he must preach to all as if Christ’s death is applicable to them, even though he knows and believes all are not capable of salvation. This makes the preacher operate on the basis of something he knows to be untrue. This is a problem for the pulpit.

From the standpoint of preaching, the free and well-meant offer of the gospel for all people necessarily presupposes that Christ died for the sins of all men.

Piper’s Conclusion: Preach the Fullness of Definite Atonement.
Piper concludes that the aim of preaching is to display the fullness of God’s glory. “The glory of the cross is the fullness of its definite achievement. Therefore, we diminish the glory of the cross and the glory of grace and the glory of God when we diminish definite atonement” (667). Just the opposite is true. There is no statement in Scripture that says Christ died only for the sins of the elect. There are many statements that affirm Christ died for the sins of all.

Definite atonement represents a departure from the historic Christian consensus that Jesus suffered for the sins of all humanity. 2) Biblically, the doctrine of limited atonement simply does not reflect the teaching of Scripture. 3) Theologically and logically, limited atonement is flawed and ultimately indefensible. 4) Practically, limited atonement creates serious problems for God’s love and universal saving will; it provides an insufficient ground for evangelism by undercutting the well-meant gospel offer; and it undermines the bold proclamation of the gospel in preaching.

Definite atonement is a distortion of the gospel. When we fail to preach the gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:3, which includes preaching the fact of Christ’s death for the sins of all people, we diminish the glory of the cross and the glory of grace and the glory of God . . . and the glory of God’s love. The doctrine of limited atonement truncates the gospel and the glory of God by sawing off the arms of the cross too close to the stake. God’s glory is indeed what it is all about. Unlimited atonement brings God not just “greater glory” but maximal glory.

[1] Some may try to evade the issue by arguing that the non-elect will not believe because they cannot believe apart from effectual calling. There are two problems with this response. First, it begs the question whether the Reformed understanding of total depravity as total inability and the Reformed notion of effectual calling are correct. Second, even if these are correct, the problem is not lessened: one cannot offer something to another in good faith when that “something” does not exist.

*This article was originally posted HERE and was used by permission

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Alan House

Limited Atonement is just as contra-scriptural as inevitable perseverance (the supposed impossibility of apostasy).

Allen M Rea

Dr. Allen,

I have read and heard many times from our Reformed brothers that no one has ever defeated Owen’s “The Death of Death in Death of Christ.” I personally found John Goodwin did a magnificent job of it. I took the time and energy some time ago to tackle Owen’s treatise. I was unconvinced by his arguments. The Reformed brothers offered their best candidates to write about limited atonement in “He Came From Heaven and Sought Her”. Over these past few months, as you have published these reviews, I have seen you dismantle Owen and force these brothers to their theological conclusions. I have especially enjoyed seeing you examine Piper’s arguments. You have done the church a great service by critically, intelligently, and respectfully, confronting the dangerous doctrine of limited atonement. Thank you.

Ron F. Hale

Dr. Allen,

You have covered a lot of “theological ground” in this wonderful essay(s). So much to take in. Thank you for your careful scholarship and kind way of making your point.

In your chapter on The Atonement in the book: Whosoever Will, you demonstrated that neither Calvin nor the first generation of Reformers held to the doctrine of limited atonement. And from the inception of the Reformation (until now)—many Calvinists have rejected it. Piper has gained much influence in the last couple of decades in pushing all five petals, with a strong emphasis on limited atonement. However, I think we’ll see a greater harvest when more and more “Andrew Fuller” kind of New Calvinists rise up within reformed ranks. When he modified his theology by agreeing with Dan Taylor (General Baptist) on the universal extent of Christ’s death – missions and evangelism escalated greatly among Baptists in America and a greater sense of partnership evolved between the two camps.

Blessings!

Rick Patrick

Dr. Allen,
Thank you for exposing so clearly that what is often passed off as a “well meant” offer of the gospel is nothing of the kind, since it comes with the hidden caveat that certain of the offer’s recipients have sins for which there exists no atonement. Regardless of how “well meant” someone may consider it to be, it is actually not an *offer* at all, for there would be absolutely nothing to offer a sinner if Christ did not die for their sins.

Michael White

I haven’t read much of Piper, so I can’t really comment on him. I can say that if he thinks the Gospel proclaimed is an offer to all en, he is confused.

So rather than speak ofPiper, let me address the Gospel.

First let me say that Dr.Allen has put a lot of material in this post. He is a hard working man for the Lord. That he and I disagree here and there does not diminish the respect i have for him and for his work for our King. May the eyes of the Lord ever be on Him.

The gospel is more than just an offer. The Gospel is a proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus the promised Messiah. The Gospel proclaims His person, His work, which includes foremost His death and resurrection, but also includes His sinless life, and His future coming, and the Gospel also proclaims the sinfulness of man in that man has willfully rebelled against God and has earned eternal condemnation. The Gospel declares these things as true and offers salvation, eternal life, to all who believe in Jesus: to those who put their trust in Him.

If Piper and anyone else simply reduces the Gospel to an offer to everyone, they do the Gospel and the One proclaimed by it, Jesus a great disservice.
Let me use a well known verse:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The offer is eternal life. But the offer is not to everyone. The offer is only to those who believe. Believe here means to put one’s trust and hope in the person of the crucified and risen Lord of all: Jesus Christ. Thus we see that if one has trust in Jesus they will receive the offer: eternal life. I am so glad that we are Baptists who believe that when Jesus saves, He saves us eternally. Many baptists don’t believe that. The offer is to those who put their trust in Jesus.

From Romans 10: For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The offer here input in different terms, but it is still the same. Here the Scriptures call the offer “not be disappointed,” and “be saved.” In the one place, only those who believe reeve the offer. In the other place, it is those who call on the Lord who get it.

When the Gospel is preached, what happens more often than not, is that there are doe, sometimes most and even all at times, who do not believe, who do not call. They are offered nothing.

Now i know that many on this website and even Dr, Allen disagree with my understanding of the Atonement since I hold to all 5 points. So for the moment, let us disregard what each of us think about who could call, or who could believe. We are not going there. Instead we are speaking of who the Gospel offer is offered to.The Word offers eternal life to only those who call/believe. Yes, many do say that any one in the crowned could call/believe. But when they do not, there is no offer.

What then is there?
There is the proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus, which includes the truth that He will judge all people, and that one sin. just one, on the soul leaves a man condemned and rightfully so, before a righteous God. And that everyone in the crowd has sinned and deserves eternal punishment.

The Bible tells us that there are two type of responses to the Gospel. Summed up, we read from 1st Corinthians 1: 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.
To some, the Gospel is but foolishness. To these people there is no offer of eternal life. They consider the words of the cross unneeded in their lives and they reject it as truth. God is not offering them anything. At least not at this time. Paul when he was named Saul also rejected the Gospel, thinking it foolishness, and sought to persecute those who proclaimed Jesus as the Way. As long as Saul considered the Gospel foolishness, there was no offer. But when he no longer saw the Gospel s foolishness, he was saved. But until then he was one of the perishing.

So then to others that hear the Gospel, they see it as the power of God unto salvation. They believe and call upon the Lord. They will not be disappointed on Judgment Day. They are of the saved. They will live eternally.

in Christ as your servant,
mike

    Johnathan Pritchett

    You are correct that the Gospel is a proclamation to all hearers, but the offer of eternal life contained embedded within the proclamation extends only to those who meet the conditions of the benefits.

    However, instead of marshaling a bunch of prooftexts, as you asked below, we should just simply cut to the underlying presuppositions. Given that the Gospel is a proclamation to all people, the conditions of the offer of eternal life being met is also either open to all hearers, or it is not. You operate under the assumption that meeting the conditions for the benefits is not possible for all hearers of the proclamation. It is this others like me reject. Moreover, that underlying presupposition you embrace COMPLETELY OBLITERATES grace (properly understood in the Ancient Near Eastern context of patron-client reciprocity).

    A proclamation made that also contains an offer can either be met by the hearers, or it can not. If it can not, then it is an offer made in bad faith to the audience and would be considered a disingenuous lie according to the canons of rhetorical discourse in the Ancient Near East where the proclamation was made …and, of course, it offends basic universal morality as well.

    God doesn’t lie, nor is He immoral. Those are my underlying presuppositions.

    The issue isn’t Bible verses here, but underlying presuppositions.

    Theoretically, you at least have to believe that the proclamations of the Caesar gospels (like announcements of a Caesar’s ascension or birthday) and the conditions contained in those proclamations regarding benefits (grace) could be met by the audience (typically faith, honor, etc.). Why then, assume that if gospel proclamations of Caesars are legit and “moral” in that sense but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not?

    Your underlying presupposition makes little sense to me as I read Scripture, but then again, so does a lot of so-called Christian “theology” from the 5th century onward that overindulges in speculative theological metaphysics and pays too little attention to Scripture itself in its contextualized situatedness in its original cultural and social contexts.

      Michael White

      Johnathan,

      Well first the term ‘offer’ is not the best word to describe what is in the proclamation. The better word is ‘promise’. Now the promise is not singular bye plural in that there is a contrasting promise. The proclamation declares that Jesus is the the Lord of all and that all people have sinned against God and are condemned and will receive eternal death unless they surrender to the Lord whereby they will receive eternal life.

      So if we use the less precise word of offer, we can say that the proclamation has two offers. One offer is if you don’t believe the proclamation you will die in your sins and suffer forever. The other offer is that you believe the proclamation and receive the offer. But such language is imprecise and easily misleading.

      In the proclamation the hearers are told that if they do not believe that Jesus is Lord they will go to Hell, and that if they do they will go to Heaven.
      The real problem you have with me is in how we understand how one comes to have faith. For without faith in God who will embrace the life promised?

      So Johnathan, why did you believe?

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Offer is actually very precise. That it contains promise does not negate it containing an offer. As such, that is a distinction that doesn’t make a difference in the nature of the proclamation of the Gospel. While claiming “offer” is “less precise,” you precisely came to understand the contents of the Gospel contain offer(s) anyway. Thus…moot.

        In any case, I still have questions for you that went unanswered.

        “For without faith in God who will embrace the life promised?”

        No one, but no one will receive the life promised unless they have faith in the first place. Faith to receive, continued faith to embrace. You are right that we disagree how one “comes to have faith.” We probably also have different understandings of what the words like faith (pistis) and believe (pisteuo) mean in the context of the Bible. So…

        As for why did I believe, well, that depends on the intent behind your question. Are you asking for my personal thoughts and experience with the Spirit convicting me of sin and my recognition that the proclamation is what I needed and accepted as truth at the point of my conversion, or are you fishing for some supposed “correct theological answer” posited by your tradition via inference and yet not actually grounded in Scripture?

          Michael White

          Johnathan,

          Why yes, it was a personal question. No one can answer it as well as you. Maybe no one else can answer it at all.
          But you made a choice, did you not? I am asking why you made it.
          Or maybe their is more to the story than I know, if so please enlighten me.

            Johnathan Pritchett

            Well, I received Christ at 17.

            I was at a youth event and realized that it was time to identify with Christ and his people. So, I followed the prescript of “the sinner’s prayer” during an invitation. It wasn’t emotional or anything. There was no existential breakdown or ripples of anything flowing through me or whatever. It was a fine sermon that night though, but I can’t remember the guest speaker’s name.

            I simply came to the realization that Christ deserves my full worship and loyalty based on who he was and what he did for sinners. I can now say looking back that it was the Holy Spirit that enlightened me to it as I later came to appreciate and understand the ins and outs of “conversion” theologically, but for me at the time, the message was simply finally and fully compelling enough to register with me that I needed to make that decision to become loyal to Christ and identify with his people in a meaningful way, and have identified with Christ and his people ever since.

            In fact, I had been in a Reformed tradition since age 13, and upon conversion, remained in it until my late-twenties. Even after I finally rejected Reformed theology, I remained a member in good standing at a Reformed SBC church, for these last ten years, up until six months ago when I moved out of state and started attending my new boss’ church.

            At my old church, it didn’t matter that I was no longer in agreement with the LBCF 1689, which they used in addition to the BF&M. No one asked me or my family to leave (my wife was never a Calvinist…she grew up Free Will Baptist). We had our debates and discussions on occasion, but it was never a big deal. Just a typical SBC church, with good people who loved Jesus and one another, and the pastor was (and is still) my best friend.

            I didn’t know that Baptists argued vehemently over this until I got sucked into this blog several years ago by a friend, and it was then that realized that not all SBC Calvinists are like the ones with whom I had been in fellowship.

            But if Calvinists want to draw swords rather than plowshares, then I bring out the canons. The Internet is a rough place. LOL

            :)

              Michael White

              Johnathan,

              Wonderful testimony.
              God is so wonderful!

              your servant in Christ,
              mike

Ron F. Hale

Michael,

Thanks for your comment and laying out your position in a straightforward way.

I think your position is somewhat summed in by this statement you wrote:

“The offer is eternal life. But the offer is not to everyone. The offer is only to those who believe.”

I respectfully disagree, especially … “But the offer is not to everyone.”

I see that the Gospel is a genuine offer (by God) to every sinner – but only effective to those who believe. And, the intent of the atonement is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God died equally for all men—making salvation possible to all who believe—and securing the salvation of those who do believe. The atonement of Christ is applied at the very moment the sinner (whosoever will that comes) exercises faith in Christ through the Gospel (for it is the power of God unto salvation).

    volfan007

    What Ron Hale said.

    David

    sean

    What you just described is the governmental theory of the atonement which is adhered to by classic Arminianism.

    Kenneth Grider a leading Arminian/Nazarene scholar has said this:
    “A spillover from Calvinism into Arminianism has occurred in recent decades. Thus many
    Arminians whose theology is not very precise say that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Yet
    such a view is foreign to Arminianism, which teaches instead that Christ suffered for us.
    Arminians teach that what Christ did He did for every person; therefore what He did could not
    have been to pay the penalty, since no one would then ever go into eternal punishment.
    Arminianism teaches that Christ suffered for every one so that the Father could forgive the
    ones who repent and believe; His death is such that all will see that forgiveness is costly and will
    strive to cease from anarcy in the world God governs. This view is called the governmental
    theory of the atonement.” (From James White’s The Potter’s Freedom as quoted in
    “Arminianism in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology”)

    Here’s my question for Trads: do you believe in an actual penal substitutionary atonement which actually propitiats Gods wrath and obtains salvation or do you believe in a possible or provisional atonement that only becomes effective when a sinner believes in Christ? How does the view espoused above relate to a real, actual penal substitutionary atonement? Thanks

      David (NAS) Rogers

      I believe in an actual penal substitutionary atonement that propitiates God’s wrath and obtains salvation when it is applied according to the condition that God requires of persons, namely, faith in the offered grace of Jesus Christ.

      Robert

      Sean there are some confusions in your post that need to be dealt with before the discussion goes too far off track. The first confusion is your claim that “classical Arminians” hold to the governmental theory of the atonement rather than the penal substitutionary theory. This is not accurate because Arminius himself and other “Classical Arminians” such as I. H. Marshall a well known Armininan exegete hold the penal substitutionary theory rather than the governmental theory. So it is false to claim that “classical Arminians” hold the governmental theory and reject the penal substitutionary. The second confusion is more important in the context of SBC today. Many here view themselves as “Traditionalists” and they believe themselves to be **neither** calvinists nor Arminians (this has been discussed many times here on this blog, check out previous threads to see this. So Sean in claiming that “Classical Arminians” hold to the governmental theory and reject the penal substitution view is in itself inaccurate and many here who view themseves as “Trads” would say that what you say of “classical Arminians” does not apply to them anyway. The third confusion in your post Sean is that you seem to miss or neglect a distinction when speaking of the atonement that many here make. It is the distinction betwen the provision of the atonement and the application of the atonement. We make this distinction because there is a timing factor involved here. For believers the atonement is not applied to them individually and personally until they believe. If we leave out this timing element and this distinction we end up with some real and unnecessary problems in our thinking regarding the atonement. For example, if there is no distinction betwen the provision of the atonement and the application of it to us indivudually: then before we born or before we believed the atonement which occurred thousands of years ago was already applied to us! Another problem is that Paul says in Ephesians that the wrath of God is upon us before we become believers. How could that be true if the atonement had alreayd been applied to us before we believed? So aware of these kinds of difficulties people rightly make the distinction betwen the provision of the atonement which occurred at the time of the crucifixion and the application of the atonement which occurs when we believe. Others have already states this and they do so to avoid the unnecessary problems that result when you do not make this distinction. Some of spoken of it another way saying that the atonement is sufficient for all but efficient only to those who believe. Again the distinction is getting at the timing issue, that the application of the atonement to us individually cannot occur before we believe and it will only be applied to those who believe. My observation is that so-called “trads” hold to substitionary atonement and not the governmental theoy of atonement. So while discussing the atonement here in this context keep these things in mind so we don’t go off tangent when we do not need to do so.. The discussion here is Dr. Allen pointing out problems in Pipers’ limited atonement view. Dr. Allen is not arguing for the governmental theory of the atonement nor are others here doing so. And again if you want to understand “trads” keep in mind the distinction between the provision of the atonement and its application at the time when individuals believe.

      Robert

        Dennis Lee Dabney

        Excellent post. I like how the late Dr. Vernon McGee put this as it relates to one aspect of what the blood of Christ Jesus provided, even our righteousness. He said it this way and I am quoting now, “And that righteousness is like a garment. It is “available” to “all”, but it only “comes” upon “all” that believe. As you so eloquently unpacked this portion of the doctrine of Christ, and I paraphase, “timing” truly is everything in “time”.

        Behold He cometh!

        Michael White

        Robert,
        Correct.
        There is a distinction between the provision of the atonement and its application.

    Michael White

    Ron,
    Okay, you see it differently.
    Would you please show me the Scriptures that tell us or teach us that the offer is for everyone?
    Thanks,
    mike

      Michael White

      Ron,
      I assume, and please correct me if I am wrong, that you believe God knows the future, including the destiny of every man.
      Assuming we agree there, then God knew, before He created the world, the actual extent or participation of every one who would accept the offer, and of course of those who wouldn’t. Thus the intentions or the aims and plans of God would certainly reflect His knowledge and understanding. Now you and I might have intentions and act accordingly with the idea and hope that our actions would bring about our intended plan. This is true of us because we do not see the future. As it is said, even the best laid plans of mice and men…
      But God is not a man, nor does He lay out plans in hope that they might come to fruition.
      So when you say:
      ~~”And, the intent of the atonement is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God died equally for all men”~~~ it is off the mark. No matter how one believes the elect come about, God’s intentions are rooted and grounded in the reality of life -in what really will happen. When God sent His Son, he knew exactly who would be saved and who would not. And thus he knew exactly who would believe and who would never believe.

      And as the Scriptures offered point out, the offer is to those who believe. Now the word offer is not the best word. The better word and the Scriptural word is ~promise~. Those who put their trust in Jesus receive the promise of God of eternal life, and the promise of God that they will never be ashamed. And the promise is only for those who believe.

      Much peace,
      mike

Dennis Lee Dabney

As long as Saul considered the Gospel foolishness, there was no offer. But when he no longer saw the Gospel s foolishness, he was saved. But until then he was one of the perishing.”

I would frame the above as the apostle Paul did in his own words as he reheased the Damascus rd event in the presence of King Agrippa, Acts 26. When our blessed Lord Jesus Christ informed him of the purpose He had appeared unto him. 1.) To open their eyes 2.) To turn them from darkness to light 3.) To turn them from the power of Satan unto God that they may receive forgiveness of sins. This deals exclusively with repentance and faith in Jesus Christ by believeing the gospel. The apostle stated in verse 19, “I was not disobedient to the Heavenly vision but shewed first unto them of Damascus , and at Jerusalem, and throughout the coast of Judaea, and then the gentiles that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Now Paul preached his own “salvation” experience every time he preached as he presented his experinec to King Agrippa . First , his own eyes, the eyes of his understanding and his blinded mind had to be open to the glorious light of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and so forth as the the indicated by the Lord Himself what his ministry would consist of both to both Jew and Gentile. These items outlined by Paul transpired in his own salvation experience. From his spiritural eyes and even his nature eyes.

Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish! It is not an offer nor good advice, yea rather but a Holy command from God.

Christ laid it out in this fashion in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: Now what follows is directly connected with the gospel and should never be loosed. Verse 47, And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached IN HIS NAME AMONG ALL NATIONS, BEGINNING WITH JERUSALEM!

Now to engage the topic at hand. We know that the atonement in the O.T was shadow and type of a future atonement for the nation Israel and the whole world. The O T “sacrifices” pointed to Christ and the “sins’ pointed to the Nation, the entire Nation, all the people, even to those who were not “all” Israel or the remnant. The question better asked is “Who will be raised from the dead”. Christ said He’s the Resurrection and the Life. If all will be raised and they will, then He died for all, even the sins of the whole world. Some will be raised to life and some to damnation but nevertheless raised. Now , any Theological discomfort with that statement is answered in eternal judgement even Hades and the Lake of Fire. All who end up with the Devil, the Beast, the False Prophet and the Fallen Host “had” to disobey God’s clear command which is His WORD when it was their time simply put, to “obey” God. No one goes to Hell without having committied the “Sin” of the age, that is to SAY NO TO GOD, NO TO HIS WILL, NO TO HIS WAY!

    michael White

    Dennis,
    The Day of Atonement was not for the whole nation of Israel unless the whole nation of Israel approached that day with repentance in their heart. If one was proud and unrepentant, there was no atonement made for that person’s sins.

      Andrew Barker

      Lev 23:26-32: The passage is quite clear. The day of atonement was meant for the whole nation of Israel. Nobody was excluded other than those who refused to obey God’s word. So we see this foreshadows the true Atonement in the New Testament, which after all is to what it refers.

      So we see yet again, the intent of the atonement is that all should be included. Provision is made for all. The extent of the atonement is that those who, through disobedience, refuse to follow God’s word are not covered.

        volfan007

        Andrew,

        AMEN!!

        David

        Michael White

        Andrew,
        Thanks for the Scripture Lev 23:26-32::

        23 Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord.’”
        26 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 27 “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord.

        Which comes first, the offering or the humbling of the soul?
        Now whether for the whole nation or a smaller group [say a family] or an individual, if the people or person comes before the Lord with a proud un-humbled heart is the offering acceptable to God?
        Of course not. And has God been propitiated for the sins of the proud one? Nope. Thus the offering, the sacrifice is only for the humble and not for all, unless of course all are humble.

        Now we proclaim the Gospel. Who can be saved by it, but the humble? Just the humble.
        So let me ask you Andrew, why did you humble yourself before the Lord?

        May His eyes always look favorably on you,
        mike

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          John 11:47-52King James Version (KJV)

          47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

          48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

          49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,

          50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the “people”, and that the “whole nation” perish not.

          51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he “prophesied” that Jesus should die for that “nation”;

          52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

          Brother Michael,

          How do you exegete the above passage?

            Michael White

            How do i exegete that passage?
            Carefully and with prayer.
            Now let me ask you something.
            Please exegete that passage for me.

              Robert

              Sorry Michael your response here will not do. I have noted that you repeatedly challenge others to provide biblical texts for their claims. Here one single passage is given and the person aks you to exegete this single text. Instead of doing so, you completely evade and avoid the person’s request with a cop out response: “Carefully and with prayer.”. You then ask him to exegete the passage. I don’t think that is right nor does it indicate a genuine and sincere desire to engage in a discussion. Seems the passage contradicts your false limited atonement view and refutes it quite nicely.

              I could understand if you had been given a list of verses to exegete (most of us just don’t have time to deal with “machine gun” exegesis, i.e. a zillion verses thrown out at us at once). But you were not given multiple passages, only one. And yet you refuse to provide even a brief interpretation of it and instead try to put it on the other person to do so. Your response is a total cop out and suggests that your calvinistic theology cannot handle this verse at all.

              You want him to give his exegesis first so that you can attack it while at the same time not having to provide some bizarre calvinistic reinterpretation of the text away from the plain and intended meaning of this text. That is an old debaters trick: throw out a red herring to divert the discussion to give yourself more time to give a response to a question or point that has you stumped. I notice that you have had plenty of time to make points that you wanted to make to argue for your calvinism: now when your view is severely challenged by a clear text that contradicts it, you engage in an evasive manuever to buy yourself more time.

              Robert

                Dennis Lee Dabney

                Amen Brother!

                Preach!

                  Robert

                  Hello Dennis,

                  Since Michael White the five point Calvinist who argues for limited atonement chose not to exegete the John 11 passage that you brought up.

                  Let’s look briefly at why White is avoiding this passage.

                  I am citing from the NASB and want to focus on two verses:

                  “nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” Now this he did not say on his own initiative; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation.” (John 11:50-51)

                  In the first verse here (v. 50) we have the high priest being quoted. It is significant that he says that “one man should die for the people” and adds more detail to his comment with the following phrase “that the whole nation should not perish”.

                  We know from the reactions of Jews in Acts in particular and also the apostle Paul’s anguish for their unbelief (expressed explicitly at the beginning of Romans 9) that the majority of them did not believe, did not accept Jesus as their Messiah. This means that most of those Jews that the high priest refers to here in v. 50 were not believers.

                  And yet he says “that one man should die” “for the people”/”the whole nation”. So according to these words Jesus is dying for the whole nation, all of Israel at that time, and that would include **unbelievers**.

                  This is almost a perfect description of the unlimited atonement view (i.e. that Jesus died for the whole world, which includes both believers and unbelievers). But the case is made even stronger by v. 51.

                  Verse 51 is no longer the actual words of the high priest but is John’s Holy Spirit inspired editorial comment. We have the words of the high priest in v. 50 and the apostle John’s comment on the priest’s comment in v. 51. And what does John writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit say? He says that the high priest was unwittingly prophesying about the cross of Christ!!!!

                  And look at the words of this prophecy: “he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation”. That is an explicit and clear statement of the unlimited atonement view. We know for a fact that not all of that “nation” believed or would become believers. The majority of them were unbelievers who rejected Jesus as their Messiah. And yet according to John, inspired by the Spirit, John tells us that nevertheless Jesus died for the whole Jewish nation (which would include both believers, unbelievers and those who would never become believers).

                  If limited atonement were true, then John writing under inspiration would have written not that Jesus would die for the whole nation but that he would only die for the elect (or only die for those who would become believers). There is no indication whatsoever in these verses that Jesus died only for the elect as five point Calvinists mistakenly believe and claim. This passage explicitly and clearly refutes the false doctrine of limited atonement. And how can a five pointer escape this passage, they have to engage in some really creative eisegetical gymnastics!

                  Robert

              Dennis Lee Dabney

              I won’t take the time to exegete but I will summarize the context as it relates to Christ sacrifical death for Israel as Andrew pointed out from Leviticus. Now since you would not exegete the text verse by verse, I see no need to do so either.

              Listen, Caiaphas, the enemy of Christ, the foe of the grace of God, when he spoke, he had his cronies in mind first and foremost and their “seats” before Rome and their lucrative positions and influence over the “whole” nation of Israel. If the nation perished, that meant as the nation go so go their leaders. This was a way in his mind to get rid of Christ, by putting Him to death in order to “save” the nation. Really! You and I both know he meant it for evil but God meant it for “good”. As the text indicated, he prophesied that “One Man” should die for the “people” who happen to make up the “the” nation of Israel. The remnant was included and also those hell bound sinners who Christ pronounced in another place, “Some of you here will die in your sins” was included in the “the” nation. He made that statement twice and He gave them the reason why, “because you will not believe in Me”. He was willing to die for them and did, yet they would not believe in Him. Their punishment and all others will fit the crime of the age, that is to say NO TO GOD.

              Michael, He told them in so many words that they would go to hell not because He didn’t die for their sins but because of the hardness of their hearts to believe on the one Moses spoke of who would destroy all who disobey His word!

              Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.

                Michael White

                Dennis,
                Thanks for your reply.

                You started:
                ~~:: won’t take the time to exegete but I will summarize the context as it relates to Christ sacrifical death for Israel as Andrew pointed out from Leviticus. Now since you would not exegete the text verse by verse, I see no need to do so either.
                Listen, Caiaphas, the enemy of Christ, the foe of the grace of God, when he spoke, he had his cronies in mind first and foremost and their “seats” before Rome and their lucrative positions and influence over the “whole” nation of Israel. If the nation perished, that meant as the nation go so go their leaders. This was a way in his mind to get rid of Christ, by putting Him to death in order to “save” the nation. Really! You and I both know he meant it for evil but God meant it for “good”. As the text indicated, he prophesied that “One Man” should die for the “people” who happen to make up the “the” nation of Israel.”~~~

                Okay, we agree so far. Well kind of. In a physical sense, the nation is Israel. And in the physical sense, that is what he means, for as you said, he is looking out for himself and his cronies. But we also know that there is more to his words than an evil man looking out for himself. There is a spiritual component. When we look at the Jewish nation we see a mix of believers and unbelievers. And we remember these verses from Matthew 1:
                20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

                Now “His people” can also be called the elect. Now i am sure that you and I might disagree on how the elect become the elect, but in the end, at that Great Day of the Lord, we will agree that the elect are those who have been saved by grace through faith. And that these people are the people Jesus has saved from their sins. So i think we also can agree that Jesus saves all those who come by faith in Him, and that these are His people.

                Now we know that in the end, the whole nation will not perish because Jesus saves His people fro their sins, and many of these people are of the Jewish nation, both then and now, and later.
                So while the evil man was speaking secularly, he was prophesying spiritually that the death of Jesus would indeed save all the true israelites, the people of God, as well as the other children of God who would come to believe from every tongue tribe and people group.

                We can also ask ourselves did Jesus indeed save every single living Israeli alive at that time? And the answer is no. Was that His intention? We answer “no”, for we know that Jesus did not fail in His mission.

                You continued:

                ~~~ “The remnant was included and also those hell bound sinners who Christ pronounced in another place, “Some of you here will die in your sins” was included in the “the” nation. He made that statement twice and He gave them the reason why, “because you will not believe in Me”. He was willing to die for them and did, yet they would not believe in Him. Their punishment and all others will fit the crime of the age, that is to say NO TO GOD.” ~~~~

                Okay, you lost me there. Let me guess and you correct me if I have you wrong. Are you saying that the word nation means every Israeli alive at the time? If so, i answered that up above.
                If you are also saying that the crime of the age is to say “NO” to God, i am sure i agree with that on its face, but there is not enough information given to know if we agree completely on that. In other words, I believe that all men are condemned, not because Adam sinned, but because each person chooses to sin and by sinning they are saying “NO” to God. And that because of their sin they are blinded to the truth of the Gospel [2nd Cor. 4:3] and can only be saved by the grace and mercy of God. Therefore those millions upon millions who perish, dead in their sins, who never hear the Gospel, are justly condemned by God because they sinned and sinned and sinned, and have fallen short of His glory, the standard of His holiness. They like all sinners, including you and me, deserve everlasting torment.

                Your final word on this passage:
                ~~~ “Michael, He told them in so many words that they would go to hell not because He didn’t die for their sins but because of the hardness of their hearts to believe on the one Moses spoke of who would destroy all who disobey His word!” ~~~

                Well I think that goes beyond the passage. But i agree that they perish because of the hardness of their hearts and the disobedience to His Word. The point you seek to make about Jesus dying for those who end up in hell has not yet been Scripturally proven. Rather, the sacrifice and propitiation is for those who do repent is borne out in the idea that without humbling one’s self before God the sacrifice is not for you.

                But I praise God brother that you have humbled yourself before Him and by His grace have been saved.
                mike

                  Robert

                  Michael is playing games in his interaction with Dennis. Why do I say this? Because Michael wrote:

                  “The point you seek to make about Jesus dying for those who end up in hell has not yet been Scripturally proven. Rather, the sacrifice and propitiation is for those who do repent is borne out in the idea that without humbling one’s self before God the sacrifice is not for you.”

                  Michael admitted earlier in this very thread that I was correct in making a distinction between the provision of the atonement and its application. Michael had written:

                  “Michael White 12-10-2014, 22:12
                  Robert,
                  Correct.
                  There is a distinction between the provision of the atonement and its application.”

                  Michael said to Dennis that “the sacrifice and propitiation is for those who repent”. That speaks to the **application** of the atonement (i.e. it is only applied to believers). Michael denies that Jesus died for “those who end up in hell” claiming that “has not been Scripturally proven”.

                  Actually it has been “Scripturally proven” as John 11 makes clear. John 11 says that Jesus died for the nation, for all of Israel (which would have included nonbelievers). Yet we know that not all Israel was saved at that time that most rejected Jesus as Messiah (the scripture proving this is the narratives in Acts where Jews reject the gospel message and persecute the Christians AND the apostle Paul’s words in the beginning of Romans 9). So we know from scripture that not all of the Jews believed in Jesus (those who continued in their unbelief would end up in hell). We know from other scripture passages that universalism (the claim that at the end all will be saved) is false (e.g. Matt 25 speaks of sheep going to eternal life and goats going to eternal punishment). So not all people for whom Jesus died will be saved (add the truth of Jesus dying for all and the truth that universalism is false).

                  So how can all of this be simultaneously true? Easy, the provision of the atonement is made for the whole world, for all (including believers, nonbelievers at that time, and even people who never end up becoming believers): the application is only for those who are believers.

                  Where five pointers like Michael White are in error is in regards to the provisional aspect of the atonement (i.e. they deny that it is provided for nonbelievers, they argue it is provided only for the elect). The scriptures are clear, universalism is false, the atonement is only provided for believers, the provision of the atonement if for all (both believers and unbelievers). The five point Calvinists because of commitment to their system of theology reject unlimited atonement. But unlimited atonement is not universalism (an unfair and false charge often made by Calvinists against non-Calvinists) and unlimited atonement includes the belief in the two elements (provision of the atonement for all and application only for those who believe).

                  John 11 clearly and explicitly teaches that Jesus died for the whole nation of Israel (which we know from scripture at that time included nonbelievers). If we put these scriptural truths together (universalism is false, Jesus died for the whole world [including both believers and unbelievers], the atonement is provided for all but applied only to believers) then that Jesus died for those who end up in hell is proved scripturally (i.e. Jesus dying for those in hell refers to the provisional element of the atonement, not the applicational element).

                  I have observed many times that five pointers like Michael Smith when arguing against unlimited atonement will focus upon passages that are dealing with the application of the atonement (e.g. verses on propitiation) in order to deny that Jesus died for all (including unbelievers including those who end up in hell). This is what I mean by “playing games”: the five pointer shifts the focus on the verses dealing with the application of the atonement (which is only for believers) in order to avoid and negate the verses dealing with the provision of the atonement (which is for everyone).

                  But it does not logically or scripturally follow that since the application of the atonement is only for believers that the provision of the atonement is only for believers (because the provisional and applicational elements of the atonement are not the same).

                  Robert

                    Michael White

                    Robert,
                    Jesus died on Calvary. Were all atoned for then? Were you born atoned for? Uh, no.
                    i said that there is a distinction between the two, the sacrifice and the application.
                    Since we are not born atoned for, and instead when we sin we become condemned, and then we receive the provision of grace.
                    Since I was not alive at Calvary where the sacrifice was made, atonement for me happens at another time. Thus there is a distinction between the two.

                    I am sure you agree that is a distinction.

                  Dennis Lee Dabney

                  Matthew 1 “election” is in view. Our discussion here is regarding who Christ died for? Who did He shed His blood for? The text before us states He died for the “people” of that nation, Israel. Now the phrase “whole nation” in verse 50 is the same “that nation” in verse 51. Now the people in the above text are those “people”, the “whole nation”, that nation Israel who He atoned for, which is “all” the people. The people in Matthew are the overall elect. You are making the “people” in Matthew (election) one and the same as the “people” (propitiated for) in the above passage.

                  You also said I was vague regarding those who Christ said would go to Hell. Now this has always been the question my fellow Calvinist brethren would never answer. So let me set this up. First of all, Hell wasn’t prepared for man, but the devil and his angels. So why will Satan, the Beast and the false prophet end up in the lake of fire? Why will the fallen angels and demonic host find themselves in the same lot? Once you have the answer to that question, you will know why “man” will end up in Hell and it has absolutely nothing to do with his being elected or atoned for.

                  Limited atonement accuses the Sovereign of sending those souls He created to a place prepared for the Devil and his angels. The Devil and the angels deserve to be there because of their DISOBEDIENCE. What about man, he wasn’t atoned for?. Not!

                  Preach!

          Dennis Lee Dabney

          1 John 2:1-2King James Version (KJV)

          2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

          2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

          Brother Michael,

          Verse 2, must be received as it is without pressing another meaning upon the text to support a belief system. The O.T Day of Atonement can be poured into this verse without violating the “clear” meaning of scripure here and elsewhere. There is no need to interprete this verse, the Spirit through the apostle expressed the meaning of the text in the words supplied. As you know, where scripture is clear there is no need for human intervention.

          Preach!

            Michael White

            Dennis,

            Thanks for the verses,
            Did you miss the post on Lev 23:26-32?
            Oh maybe so;.
            But we see there that the atonement was only for those who are humble before the Lord.
            So now let us pour that idea into the verses you so graciously supplied:

            My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

            If the Day of Atonement propitiation is for those who humble themselves before the Lord, and we pour that into these verses we get what?
            We get the truth that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of any one in the world who humbles themselves before God.

            lets check that idea with another Scripture from Romans 3:

            21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

            So what does it mean to propitiate God?
            “Propitiation means the turning away of wrath by an offering. In relation to soteriology, propitiation means placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.” [Theopedia]
            Now in the Gospel proclamation, we declare that all people are sinners and under the wrath of God, destined for Hell, unless they by faith turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.
            And the passage in Romans tells us exactly that. It tells us that propitiation of God is for those who humble themselves before God. For we know that the only way to be humble before God is in having faith, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. And Romans 3 tells us that we are justified by grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

            In other words, according to the Gospel we preach, God’s wrath is only turned away when the individual humbles himself before the Lord and trusts and believes in Jesus Christ. Therefore there is no propitiation for those who never believe and/or are never humble before God.

            So 1st John 2:2 is telling us that anyone in the whole world who is humble before God in faith has his sins propitiated before the Holy God.

            blessings,
            mike

            .

              Dennis Lee Dabney

              Brother Michael,

              I have one other post on this subject. I know all of the Calvinistic terms and word meaning modification etc. I almost entered the camp myself but it required too much “tooling” of God’s Holy word. So this is where I usually get off.

              Blessing to you and yours!

              Preach!

                Andrew Barker

                Michael White: “But we see there that the atonement was only for those who are humble before the Lord”.

                Not so Michael. The atonement was there for ALL to receive it. Granted, those who were not humble and felt they could do without it could exclude themselves but that is a world away from saying what you are trying to imply. In fact, what you are saying is running dangerously close to advocating that unless a person is right before God, they cannot be forgiven. Now I’m sure after careful consideration you will not go down that road. The message of the Gospel is that God takes us as we are and then wants to change us to be like Jesus. The Gospel does not say we have to put ourselves right before God in order to receive his forgiveness!

                  Michael White

                  Andrew,
                  From my perspective there is a nuance that you just aren’t seeing.
                  God commanded the people to humble themselves and then present a sacrifice of atonement.
                  In the NT mo one is saved and filled with the Spirit until they humble themselves before the Lord.
                  Thus in both testaments, humility comes before forgiveness and the washing away of sin.

                  I am not divorcing the sacrifice from the atonement. The sacrifice was made to make propitiation for the sins of all those who humble themselves before God.
                  Yes i am a C and that means I see these penitents as chosen by God, but that is not what we are debating here. We are not debating how or why one becomes humble before God. We are speaking of the aftermath of that humility: namely that their sins are atoned for.

                  Now you want to argue the intent of the sacrifice, all the Jews and thus every person. But you are not actually responding to the points I made on that. Intent starts before. God intends to bless [atonement applied] every one who humbles themselves before Him. The intent is not to give everyone a chance to humble themselves, the sacrifice applied does not do that, That speaks to the intent of the hearer, which comes before the sacrifice. If on the Day of Atonement, you had not humbled yourself prior to the sacrifice, the sacrifice was not for you. The penalty, if it was known, was to be put out from the people of God. Now these are physical OT types that point us to spiritual NT truths. Basically of an unbeliever does not humble themselves before God they are not part of the people of God.

                  Now you and I do things with hope. We might plan a community breakfast in the hope then when eating and hearing the message, some people might turn to the Lord, or that others might feel the love we have and start coming to our church. We plan and act in hope. Our intentions are ‘up in the air’ as to if they will be fulfilled or not. We okay and trust God and do our best. But God is not like that. Since He knows the future, He does not have hope. He knows. So God did not send Jesus into the world HOPING that all would be saved. He knew exactly who and how many, and what their names would be. So when we speak of God’s intent, we speak of what will actually happen, since he does things with a purpose that will come to pass.

                  So when we speak of the Atonement, the cross of Christ, and God’s intent for sending Jesus to die, we can’t speak of what God was hoping for, as if God was man like you and me. Rather we look at what is accomplished by the work of our Lord and see that as the intent of God concerning His doing. And we can also know His intent by what His Word tells us. One thing His Word tells us is that the saved will be from every tribe, and tongue, and people group. So therefore we know that God will save a diverse people. And from the OT types, we know that God saves the humble. Thus the atonement sacrifice is for the humble.

                  And you gave us the passage from the OT. But John 3:16 tells us the same story: that whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting life. Whosoever does not mean everybody who ever lived, it means anyone that believes. Now it is another subject altogether that speaks to who it is that comes to believe, but our subject is who the atonement is for: it is for those who believe.

                  But we both can preach and witness that God will save everyone who believes.

                  So whether OT or NT, the atonement is for all the people who humble themselves before the Lord.
                  Or as one of us here closed out his post:
                  Repent or perish.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Michael: “The sacrifice was made to make propitiation for the sins of all those who humble themselves before God.”

                    This is plainly incorrect. The propitiation is made irrespective of whether people humble themselves or not. Those who refuse to humble themselves effectively self exclude themselves. This is not just a matter of nuance or not understanding your position. I think I understand your position well enough. It’s just that we disagree! 1 John 2:2 …. He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for [those of] the whole world.

                    Michael White

                    Andrew,

                    you said: “This is plainly incorrect. The propitiation is made irrespective of whether people humble themselves or not.”

                    So color me confused about you brother. Do you know what propitiation is? It is the appeasement of wrath. Wrath propitiated is gone. yet are we all not under God’s wrath until we come by faith? And aren’t all those who never repent have His everlasting wrath to look forward to? yes and yes.
                    Therefore wrath is only propitiated when a person comes by faith, as the Scripture plainly tells us in Romans 3:

                    21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

                    Look at the this from the idea of righteousness: we are under wrath until we participate [by faith] in the death of Jesus where then the wrath we deserve is propitiated by the blood shed. Until then, God’s wrath rightly falls on us and it would be unrighteous of God for it to not do so.

                    Now let us look back to the Old Testament type. Unless a person humbled them self before God, the sacrifice of atonement which propitiates the wrath of God was not for them.
                    Let me repeat because the truth of this is important:

                    Unless a person humbled them self before God, the sacrifice of atonement which propitiates the wrath of God was not for them.
                    That was the type. The New Testament truth is the same:

                    Unless a person humble them self before God, the sacrifice of atonement which propitiates the wrath of God is not for them.
                    They have no part in the death of Christ. Romans 6 tells us:

                    3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

                    God’s wrath for our sin is propitiated when we come to Him by faith, when at that time we are baptized into the death of Jesus.
                    Romans 6 continues:
                    For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

                    Because our old self was crucified with Jesus we are no longer under the wrath of God. And why is the wrath of God no longer against us? because it was propitiated by our union with the death of the Lord. When we come by faith, it is now true that we have died with Christ. And it is that union with that death that propitiates the wrath of God we deserve. Until then we are still under His wrath [it has not been propitiated} as we see from Ephesians 2:

                    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

                    Therefore we know that the wrath of God for mankind has not yet been propitiated except for those who come by faith and trust in Jesus. How do we know? the Word tells us that the rest of mankind are still the children of wrath.

                    So what then of 1st John 2:

                    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

                    Doesn’t this say that Jesus has propitiated the sins of the whole world?
                    No it does not. It says that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the world. But it doesn’t say that those sins are yet propitiated.
                    The rest of mankind [from Ephesians 2] save those who believe, are still under the wrath of God and therefore their sins are not yet propitiated. For any one of them, or all of them, to get their sins propitiated, it must be through Jesus Christ the righteous by being crucified with Him and thus being united with His death, and so making it their own. Unless they come by faith and trust in the Lord, they have no part in the sacrifice of Atonement he suffered.

                    No part at all. Only those who come by faith have any part in the atoning sacrifice. Jesus’ death was for everyone in the sense that if anyone comes by faith, they will be saved by it.

                    Now to the intent of God. God knew from creation EXACTLY who would be saved by the cross and who would not. God is not like man for our intentions of our actions do not always pan out. Simply my every shot is intended to go through the basketball hoop. Since I am not an NBA superstar, we all know my every intention doesn’t become reality. But what God intends does always happen [for we read: Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”]. Thus we can know God’s intentions by observing the results. Since God knows exactly who will be saved by the cross, even if we say that both His best efforts and ours are employed, then when He made the world, His intention in sending Jesus was to save all who would believe. To say God intended to save by the cross those He knew would never believe is hog’s slop after a week in the sty. To say that God intended the cross to give those whom He knew never would believe a chance to believe is just as bad and erroneous. Belief does not come about by chance. i shoot hoops with a chance one might go in. But if you compare those saved versus those who have died unsaved in this world, my hoop shooting is doing better than God.

                    There is more, but that is all I have time for today.
                    Blessings to you from our Lord and Savior,
                    -mike

                    michael White

                    Andrew [and anyone],

                    To continue.
                    Let me look at the other passage brought up, John 11: 47-53:
                    47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48 If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 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.” 51 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, 52 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. 53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.

                    Some seem to think that Jesus dies for every person of the nation of Israel. It doesn’t say that. It speaks to the nation in general.
                    So what did the high priest actually say?
                    “You know nothing at all, 50 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 we know that he was looking at the situation from a earthy point of view. And we also know that, by the Word of the Lord, that he was also prophesying.
                    So what actually happened? Jesus died and the whole nation did not perish. Well, it did not perish spiritually. If Jesus had not died, then the whole nation would have perished in their sins, as would everyone else. But we also know that, from history that Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 AD and that by 135 AD after another Jewish revolt, the remaining Jews were forced out by death or slavery out of the land. In other words, killing Jesus did not save their political nation.

                    We also know that killing Jesus did not save all the Jews spiritually. But the whole nation did not perish. Some we’re saved by the blood of the Lamb.

                    Now let us look at: “he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52 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.”

                    Jesus died for two reasons. One: for the nation. Two: to gather into one the children of God scattered abroad.

                    Now there are different ways to understand these two reasons.
                    One way to understand “the nation,” is to see it as the living Jews at that time. How then is His death for them?
                    Another way is to see “the nation” to mean all the Jews in history from Abraham to Revelation end times. How does the death of Jesus help those Jews who had already died in their sins as unbelievers?
                    Still another way is to see “the nation” as the people of God saved by faith, both Jew and Gentile, all those that had been and would be grafted into the Vine that is Christ.
                    of course, there could be other ways, tell me what you think,one of these or another?

                    There is also different ways to understand what it means when it says: “to gather into one the children of God scattered abroad.”

                    One way is to think it means to gather in the present-at-that-time [ mostly Jewish] believers into one group from the various places they had roamed to.
                    Another way is to see that the Word is speaking of believers across time, all part of the spiritual nation of Israel, from all lands,tongues, and people groups.
                    As we read from John 17, selected passages:
                    6 “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; 8 for 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; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.

                    13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

                    20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.~~~

                    We see Jesus praying that these [His Jewish disciples] AND those who would believe on Jesus because of the disciples’ witness, would be made one, with both Him and the Father.

                    So then here is what I see from the passage:

                    The high priest prophesies that jesus must dies so the WHOLE nation will not perish. They put Jesus to death, and though the nation, as a political entity is gone in 100 years or so, the whole nation does not perish because [a] some are saved by the blood of Jesus, and [b] the nation is equal to the people of God, both believers at that time and believers from the past and all who would believe from that time on [like you and me], that not only that they would not perish but that they would be gathered together into One Body as the children of God.

                    INTENT
                    Do you believe that the Father God sent Jesus His Son into the world to die with the INTENTION of saving everyone or not?

                    Anyone?

                    or do you believe that God sent Jesus to die with the INTENT to give people a chance to be saved or not?

                    Or just what is it you all believe?

                    Well I am glad you believe in the Lord and Savior, may His eyes ever be on you,
                    -mike

      Dennis Lee Dabney

      Yea, what Andrew said. . .

Dennis Lee Dabney

There are many scriptures which deal with preaching the gospel as we go to all. A local application is when Christ sent out the 12 to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He gave them special instructions and prepared them for personal rejection, He prepared them for refusal of their words which happened to be His words. As you know, the instruction to shake the dust off their feet pointed to divine judgement for that city which speaks of those who heard but resisted the Holy Spirit by unbelief.

The parable of the Sower and the seed sts forth the proclamation of the seed to 4 conditions of the lost hell deserving, lake of fire doomed sinners. Christ gave His disciples then and the Church now a window into the hearts of lost humanity to use as divine insight. That is, to see what God sees and to know what God knows. The wayside hearer, which is the hard hearted sinner, rejected the word, then trampled it under foot and Satan came immediately and take the word that was sown. Now the stony heart hearer, the host received the word and the word does what the word is suppose to do, seek to put down roots in order to bring forth fruit, but there was not enough of the heart to do so. Satan can’t take the word sown because the host received the word. So he sends difficulty because of the word sake. The stony ground hearer has a short shelf life in the local church and by and by is offended and then the masquerade is over. Next we have the thorny heart which receives the word but Satan uses the growth that’s already in this heart against the word of God. He uses the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches and other things under score “entering” in to choke the word. Finally we come to the good ground. Now remember Christ identified this heart as “good” ground. Now we know there is nothing the loss sinner can do to promote “good” that is acceptable to God. Christ reconized the work God had done in concert with the loss sinner. Listen, good ground here means the heart could receive the word unto salvation and that there was room enough for the Lord Jesus Christ. The sinner must receive the Sower and the seed!

Robert

I came by to just see if the thread is basically done and what do I find? Michael White engages in a really ridiculous tirade and attack on the biblical doctrine of unlimited atonement (i.e. that Jesus died for the whole world, that this atonement was intended for all, even those who never end up becoming believers because God loves the whole world): look at what White says about unlimited atonement:

“To say God intended to save by the cross those He knew would never believe is hog’s slop after a week in the sty. To say that God intended the cross to give those whom He knew never would believe a chance to believe is just as bad and erroneous.”

Hmm, so the doctrine of unlimited atonement which many of us here believe to be biblical because it is based on explicit and clear scripture is “hog’s slop after a week in the sty”???

This merits no response and shows once again that Michael White is not interested in honest and civil discussion of atonement views, he just wants to defend his false Calvinistic doctrine of limited atonement and make verbal slams of the truth.

Robert

    Andrew Barker

    Robert: This comes out of, or at least in part, Keller’s pig-sty repentance concept where it is argued that the ‘prodigal’ son never repents until he is home and the father enables his repentance. There is little in the way of scriptural backup given to support this idea and quite what the boy was doing when he “came to himself” is never fully explained. Nor is the renaming of God to ‘the prodigal’. I think he got applauded for that too, so ….. ?!

    I think you were correct though in that this thread is rather ‘done’ :-)

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    Exactly,

    Michael made the atonement all about the humbling of the sinner. We all know there’s a problem with that. First, the Holy Scripture do not sent forth such doctrine and support his dogma as it relates to who Christ died for. Second, the question is how much humbling is necessary, a little, or some and who determines how much is enough. Look like to me the sinner who is under extreme conviction by the Spirit concerning sin, righteousness and judgment would need to know how much humbling is required. As one of my old mentors used to say many years ago, “if crying is necessary the sinner would need to know just how many tears are needed and one tear short”, well, you get the idea.

    The reality is “humbling” is a good ways down the road from a broken heart and crushed spirit. Humbling is still yet a ways “off” from total despair once the hell deserving sinner realizes how lost he is darkness, how dead he is in trespasses and sins in the mirror of the law of God and face of Christ. We only close in on humbling once the fear of God and imminent penalty for sin flood the soul. Then we arrive somewhere in the neighborhood of “humbling”. However this humbling has nothing to do with the propitiation of Lord Jesus Christ and who he died for?

    Calvinist fail to see Christ as He is set forth in scripture; He is The Resurrection and The Life. All will be raised, some to life others to eternal damnation! Why because He died for all! The two cannot be separated. The first Adam committed the offense and died for none. The phrase “much more” in context in Romans5, contrast the disobedience of Adam, to the “free gift” and “much more” of the grace of God by Jesus Christ.

    John 3:16-21 sets forth clearly the love of God for the whole world.

    John 3:16, “The Old Road Traveled” is still the only way home!

    Preach!

Andrew Barker

Michael White: The reply link was not functioning I’m afraid. Overuse I guess!

Please don’t go into great detail because there is little point. This is a direct copy of what Strongs has to say:
2434 hilasmós – properly, propitiation; an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party. 2434 (hilasmós) is only used twice (1 Jn 2:2, 4:10) – both times of Christ’s atoning blood that appeases God’s wrath, on all confessed sin. By the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate 2434 /hilasmós (“propitiation”).

Only used twice, so a bit of care is needed but the meaning I think is clear enough.

So we’re into intent and extent territory again. I see clear intent on God’s part that propitiation is there for the whole world. The extent to which this propitiation is drawn on is also clearly down to the individual who either confesses sin or not. But nowhere is there the slightest hint that God ever sent Jesus to be the propitiation for some and not others. Neither do you have any scriptural authority for saying so.

Dennis Lee Dabney

Exactly,

Michael made the atonement all about the humbling of the sinner. We all know there’s a problem with that. First, the Holy Scripture do not sent forth such dogma as it relates to who Christ died for. Second, how much humbling is necessary, a little, or some and who determines how much is enough. Look like to me the sinner who is under extreme conviction by the Spirit concerning sin, righteousness and judgment would need to know how much humbling is required. As one of my old mentors used to say many years ago, “if crying is necessary the sinner would need to know just how many tears are needed and one tear short”, well, you get the idea.

The reality is, humbling is a good ways up the road from a broken heart and crushed spirit. Humbling is still yet a ways “off” from total despair once the hell deserving sinner realizes how lost he is darkness, how dead he is in trespasses and sins in the mirror of the law of God and face of Christ. We only close in on humbling once the fear of God and imminent penalty for sin flood the soul. Then we arrive somewhere in the neighborhood of “humbling”. However this humbling has nothing to do with the propitiation of our Lord Jesus Christ and who he died for?

Michael and others fail to see Christ as He is set forth in scripture; He is The Resurrection and The Life. All will be raised, some to life others to eternal damnation! Why because He died for all! The two cannot be separated. The first Adam committed the offense and died for none. The phrase “much more” in context in Romans5, contrast the disobedience of Adam, to the “free gift” and “much more” of the grace of God by Jesus Christ.

John 3:16-21 sets forth clearly the love of God for the whole world.

John 3:16, “The Old Road Traveled” is still the only way home!

Preach!

D. L. Dabney

The limited atonement view makes the “crime of the age”, which happens to be, “NO TO GOD” when it was their time to obey God, His fault!
Let’s give Lucifer full credit for being the Devil, the man of Sin for being the Beast, the False prophet for being the, the False prophet etc.

Dennis Lee Dabney

Mark 6:1-6King James Version (KJV)
6 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

The only thing under the sun that can “limit” the atonement of Christ is the sinner who has “unbelief” in his heart and dies in that same spiritual condition.

Christ was willing in His hometown to minister to His own but due to their unbelief He could do no miracles except heal a few sick folk. So who limited Christ, the Father. So who limited Christ, the Spirit? No, He was limited, His power was limited, by man in unbelief while He was willing and yet powerful.

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