John 3:16 Conference David Allen – Limited Atonement

Dr. Allen starts with John 3:16.  He plans on quoting only Calvinsts to prove his case against limited atonement.  Calvinists are going to be “shocked.”

What two things to these men have in common – Calvin, Bunyan, Bullinger, Watts, Brainerd, Hodge, Edwards, Shedd, Barnes, Strong, etc. etc.? (I couldn’t get them all)  Dr. Allen wants to be firm but fair.  Answering the questions of must a Calvinist hold to the L, did they all hold to it and does Scripture teach it.

He mentions Tony Byrne at theologicalmeditations.com  who is a four-point Calvinist.  Dr. Allen gave a six page hand-out.  (I’ll see if I can upload it tonight.)

Intent – I missed this summary.  Sorry.

Extent of the atonement

  1. Jesus died for all humanity equally.
  2. Jesus died for the elect only.

Application

  1. From eternity passed (If I remember correctly.)
  2. At the cross held by some hypers and Calvinists.
  3. Applied at the moment the sinner exercises faith.  He says this is the correct view.

Sufficiency -Sufficient for all, but only efficient for the elect. (I missed some of this.)

The opening question answer – all men mentioned are Calvinists who did not hold to limited atonement.  He is putting proof of this in a book to be published.  He mentions signers of Dordt who rejected limited atonement.  He says we don’t know this because we’re reading popular high Calvinists who are gatekeepers rather than the original sources.

He mentions reading the minutes of Westminster and the debates of limited atonement.  He challenges us to read the primary sources rather than Piper and MacArthur.  He mentions the Calvinists past did not hold to “strict” particularism.  This is the first time he’s inserted the qualification “strict.”

John Owen’s view has always been the minority view in history.  He mentions Gottschalk as the first person to hold to limited atonement and he was condemned by three French councils.

Calvin’s rejection of limited atonement

On Romans 5:18,  Hebrews 9:25, John 3:16, Acts 1-7, sermon on Isaiah 53:6

On John 3:16 he seems to think that quoting Calvin here goes against limited atonement, but he doesn’t quote the part where Calvin says only the elect will be saved.  Nor the last line of the commentary: “redemption, in the order of time, goes before salvation.

It is Allen’s contention that no one goes from a four-point Calvinism to hyper-Calvinism.  He claims that this is a five-point problem.  He didn’t have time to argue this today though.

Westminster Assembly – Henry Scudder, pp. 279 Walk in Peace.. quote that Christ’s sacrifice is enough for all men.  That all men might become salvable by Christ.

Arrowsmith – Chain of Princples – all of the world.

Baxter -Christ died for all, though not equally.

Bunyan – Death of Christ extends to all, then points to John 3:16.

Edwards – Christ in a sense died for all and to redeem Christians and by the whole world.  Freedom of the Will, Vol. 1, page 88.  Redemption accomplished is unlimited.

Categories of high Calvinism, amyraldianism, arminianism – it’s wrong to have only these three categories.  He quotes Richard Muller about the amyraldian view is consistent with Dordt.

Here he mentions Bryne and David Ponter to read all their quotes of four-pointers in history.

All and world texts

Owen on Death of Death denies Jesus has any love for the non-elect on Vol. 10, point 24.  He hangs Owen’s entire case on this belief.  Hypers get this idea from Owen and others.

D.A. Carson who is wavering on limited atonement due to exegetical problems.  Christ died for the whole world.  Here’s Carson on the atonement.

Dabney – world in John 3:16 does not mean elect.

JC Ryle – Allen loves him, especially, on holiness.  Ought to say God loves you and Christ died for you.

Limited atonement is built on a faulty foundation and should be rejected.  Calvinists make a negative inference fallacy when

Robert Raymond – a hyper-Calvinist.  Gives a logical, long quote.

Sam Waldron – In Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue the free offer of the Gospel does not require that we tell people that Christ “died for you.”  No where in the Bible is the Gospel proclaimed that Christ died for “you.”

Opposition to Waldron – 1 Cor. 15:3 – Paul that Christ died for their sins.  Acts 3:26 on Peter.  Luke 22:20-21 where Jesus states His blood was shed for Judas.  Calvin says Judas was at the table.

Go to www.Baptisttheology.org to read Dr. Allen’s arguments interacting with Dr. Nettles and others.

Mentions Ligon Duncan approving a dissertation that’s against limited atonement.

Quotes Tom Ascol on desiring all people to be saved, but God shows two wills. Quoting from the almost Caner debate.

James White is a hyper-Calvinist by the definition of Phil Johnson.  Oct. 10 on the Dividing Line White denied God wills the salvation of all men which is against Tom Ascol.

Some evangelize out of obedience of God’s command not because God’s desire the salvation of all men.

Mark Dever leaves two crucial things out of the book The Gospel and Personal Evangelism: Christ died for all men as motivation for evangelism and God universal saving will.

A consistent five-point Calvinist cannot say “Christ died for you.”

Nathan Finn mentioned.

Invitations and altar calls

SBC professor said we do not need and should not extend and evangelistic invitation.  As it is an attempt to manipulate the sovereignty of God.

Quotes MacArthur when he was at Woodstock saying “Jesus was a Calvinist.”

Allen has the largest library of Calvinists than any of his fellow professors.

Closing with “Five point Calvinism is a move away from the Gospel and not towards it.”

Mark

(Visited 378 times, 1 visits today)

tagged as , , , , , , in Arminianism,Baptist,calvinism,Church Issues,Gospel,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 294 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ABClay November 7, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Is this another instance where a person gets up and takes one quote from a calvinist and then says that they are not really a calvinist?

Calvin wasn’t a calvinist.

Spurgeon wasn’t a calvinsit.

Macarthur isn’t a calvinst.

blah blah blah….

Maybe I have just become so tired of their arguments that are silly, that I am not open to legitimate arguments against calvinism?

Hope you are having fun, and I still say that aside from Piper, Hunt is my next favorite pastor to listen to and learn from.

ABClay

2 M Burke November 7, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Yeah, it would be nice to actually see them interact with what Calvinists actually believe and the Scriptures and exegesis upon which those beliefs are based rather than name-calling and dismissing.

3 ABClay November 7, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Brother James White has already expressed his displeasure here.

4 Tony November 7, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Hi John,

There’s no “s” at the end of my last name. It is Tony Byrne. You can see it properly spelled at the bottom of the chart (the back of the last page), along with the accurate link to my blog: <a href=”www.theologicalmeditations.blogspot.comhttp://www.theologicalmeditations.blogspot.com.

5 Robert November 7, 2008 at 5:49 pm

You would think that these kinds of cheap tactics would be beneath Dr. Allen…

Evidently not.

I pray that God opens his eyes to the truth of the Doctrines of Grace.

6 Carla Rolfe November 7, 2008 at 6:32 pm

I thought of Tony Byrne when I read this:

“James White is a hyper-Calvinist by the definition of Phil Johnson.”

This was the same criteria you used against me Tony, when you to tried to prove that I was a hyper-calvinist with a “dangerous” and “unbalanced” theology.

I agree 100% with James White’s response to this statement, as posted at his blog today. If that makes me a hyper-calvinist in the eyes of someone, then I’m okay with that.

7 Tony November 7, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Carla,

When you were in Paltalk in the past, you were in agreement with the 5solas group (Brandon Kraft, etc.) that denied “duty-faith,” in addition to denying that God wills the salvation of all men by will revealed. Moreover, you were all staunchly denying common grace (i.e. the concept itself, not merely the terminology). Those are the FACTS, and those were my criteria. I don’t know what you believe today. I hope you have adjusted your viewpoints on thost topics. But, the above things used to be your actual position.

Grace to you,
Tony

8 Tony November 7, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Oh, I could also add that you were all staunchly opposed to the notion that God loves any of the non-elect in any sense.

The above topics and more are covered in Phil’s Primer.

9 KyleinWI November 7, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Tony do you not recognize there are different types of love. that is the distiction. God has a specail love for his children, his sheep. It is not the same love that he has for his emenies.

Do you love the mailman in the same way you love your wife?

10 Tony November 7, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Kyle,

Of course I recognize that, hence my “any sense” comment to Carla. Further, I have covered the distinction between different senses of God’s love very thoroughly on my blog, from both a theological and historical perspective.

Grace to you,
Tony

11 M Burke November 7, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Tony is a well known liar and troublemaker. Don’t respond to him other than to ban him .

12 Phillip Johnson November 7, 2008 at 8:08 pm

My own response to Dr. Allen’s remark about James White is here.

13 Russ Davis November 7, 2008 at 8:33 pm

“D.A. Carson who is wavering on limited atonement due to exegetical problems. Christ died for the whole world. Here’s Carson on the atonement.”
http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/carsonatonement.html
Spare me. Whether or not Carson is presently wavering on definite atonement/ particular redemption
(which I doubt, and even more doubt that Allen or other synergists have enough brains or integrity rightly to relate what he actually says versus their twisting as they do God’s Word (while I appreciate some of his contributions he’s not high on my list)),
the supplied piece from monergism.com is sufficient exhibition of Allen’s eisegetical irrationality and incoherence quite disconnected from God’s Word, with no sign of the fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom (Job 28:28; Ps 111:10; Prov 1:7), i.e. typical man-centered, God-belittling synergism and sadly quite egotistically blind that it’s happening as Jer 17:9 tells us about our deceitful heart (monergists no less so, God help us). I recall the story of the missionary who left a synergist and came back a monergist because God broke him in order to see that if Almighty He didn’t step in to break the stony hearts, then puny little he was done for, no antiBiblical “decision theology” nonsense being sufficient for the arduous task.

God help us all as we face the obamanation (www.obamanation.com); this may clarify matters as the really dark Führer prepares the camps and gas chambers for us.

14 Carla Rolfe November 7, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Micah,

I’ll respond on my own blog, since jM might ban me for hi-jacking his comment thread.
🙂

15 a helmet November 8, 2008 at 10:10 am

Two kinds of love?

There is only one love of God: The love between the father and the son. Christians are loved by God only because they are “in” Christ, like parts of Him, becoming partakers of the love of the Father towards the son.

There is no second class love whatsover.

16 ABClay November 8, 2008 at 12:26 pm

a helmet,

Are rain, sun, even breath itself not mercies from God that are extended to the reprobate?

If they are, then don’t these flow from the love of God? If not, from whence do they flow?

ABClay

17 a helmet November 8, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Hi ABClay,

What does that have to do with love? Love is not giving something but rather giving oneself. One’s life for others! God gave Himself for us, that is love. Rain and sun are not love. They belong to the world, are temporary and absolutely useless in the long term. Well, breathe is life, but unless God gives a person HIS life, it is only “life in death” and profits nothing.

But there is another reason why God loves only Himself and His son. Note the law: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Now suppose God loves something else than Himself and his son (neighbor) only, wouldn’t He forsake His holiness? Therefore, the father loves his son only who is both God (1. Commandment) and his neighbor (2. Commandment). Nothing else may be called “love”.

See also http://meditationonthegospelofjohn.blogspot.com/2008/07/fulfilment-of-law-by-jesus-christ.html

Greetings
Kehrhelm “a helmet” Kröger

18 genembridges November 8, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Opposition to Waldron – 1 Cor. 15:3 – Paul that Christ died for their sins. Acts 3:26 on Peter. Luke 22:20-21 where Jesus states His blood was shed for Judas. Calvin says Judas was at the table.

This is humorous. I’ve found frequently that those who accuse others of certain fallacies at these sorts of events are mirror-reading. For example, he accuses us of making negative inference fallacies:

1. With respect to certain passages – Notice he did not deal with the exegetical argument for Jesus dying for his sheep and no others. He forgets to mention the covenantal nature of the language, and that the sheep who are killed are the ones for whom the shepherd gives his life. No, he accuses us of fallacious logic. That’s not an exegetical argument.

2. Here, he’s making the same fallacy of which he accuses us. Judas was at the table, ergo “Jesus died for Judas.” But what we have here is an example of a universal offer. Judas got up and left the table shortly after. Therefore, Jesus did not die for Judas. Had he done so, Judas would not have apostatized.

3. All Paul says in 1 Cor. 15 is that Jesus died for the sins of us. This doesn’t say anything about whether or not we should or should not say “Jesus died for you in particular” when presenting the Gospel. That’s not even the topic of the text.

Further, Dr. Allen is a Baptist. He believes in regenerate church membership. 1 Cor. is addressed to a local church. Therefore, according to Baptist ecclesiology, the presumption is that the audience – the members of the church, are all regenerate. So, it is appropriate to presume that “Jesus died for their sins.”

Indeed, Judas had not at that time apostatized. It is therefore appropriate to presume him to be part of the “local church,” ergo appropriate to say “This is my body, broken for you.”

There is nothing here to contradict Dr. Waldron.

And Reymond is a hyper-Calvinist. I’m sure Dr. Reymond would like to know that. Dr. Allen seems awfully given to accusations. He needs to be soundly confronted by Drs. White and Reymond for these slurs.

19 ABClay November 8, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Hey,

Since Calvin wasn’t really a Calvinist, can we get a resolution or something maybe that will forbid the use of the ad hominem about Calvin burning Servertus at the stake? No more “Pope of Geneva” comments; Okay? 🙂

You can’t claim stake to the cake and pie and turkey and cranberry sauce and ice cream too.

20 Will November 22, 2008 at 5:12 pm

“Go to http://www.Baptisttheology.com to read Dr. Allen’s arguments interacting with Dr. Nettles and others.”

Actually, the website is .org, not .com.

21 Robert November 22, 2008 at 5:42 pm

I read Dr. Allen’s white paper on Calvinism.

In speaking of the Spurgeon quote: “Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else” he calls it a case of “lost priority” and says that it was a case of “unwisdom” for Spurgeon.

He said that this was a case of “misplaced priority” in Spurgeon’s sermon, even “misplaced Christological priority”

And then I threw up.

So much for a fair, even-handed factual white paper.

Remember my Arminian friends NEVER deal with the text of scripture itself…that will only lead to trouble…always speak in generalities, use philosophy, and for good measure throw an ad-hom around once in a while.

22 Stuart December 1, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Taking the Mask off Calvinism
The Danger of Human Reason
 
We live in a dangerous time.  Today, more than ever before, Satan is trying to wipe true Christianity off the face of the map.  We know that he cannot ultimately accomplish that, but we also know that he will not cease his efforts until the Lord comes.  Jesus said, “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” (Mark 3:27).  This binding of the strong man took place at the cross of Calvary.  There our Lord rendered Satan powerless (Heb. 2:14).  For the last two thousand years, He has been plundering his house, that is, rescuing poor lost souls who were formerly under his power.  He has done this through the proclamation of the Gospel, how that “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3).  When a person hears this Word and receives it in true faith, he “hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).  He is “delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Col. 1:13).  But the Scriptures also tell us that this blessed time will come to an end.  Revelation 20 speaks of a “little season” shortly before the Lord’s return when Satan will be loosed of his bonds and will make one last all-out assault on the Christian church.  Since he is loosed, his house will no longer be plundered nor his goods spoiled.  Rather, he will once again “keep his goods in peace”, that is, keep the lost in their deluded lost estate.  From this we see that Satan will silence the Gospel during this “little season”. 
 
Revelation 20 also tells us how he will silence the Gospel.  He will do this by assembling together a vast horde of spiritual enemies from the four corners of the world to oppose and overwhelm “the camp of the saints”, “the beloved city”, that is, the true invisible church of Christ.  The Scriptures call this horde “Gog” and “Magog”.  According to St. Augustine, the word “Gog” means “a roof” and “Magog” means “from a roof”, and so the two terms have reference to “a house”.  God is telling us that in the last days Satan will assemble his whole unbelieving house against the true Christian church.  In every sphere of earthly power true Christianity will be marginalized, maligned, hated, and persecuted.  Whether in the educational sphere, the scientific sphere, the vocational sphere, the economic sphere, the social sphere, the media sphere, the political sphere, the religious sphere, or any other earthly sphere of power, Satan will rise up as a multi-headed beast with a crown on every head.  He will so vilify and malign the church, so thoroughly delude and prejudice the minds of the unbelieving, that few will dare or think to take her message seriously.  The anti-Christian spirit will rule all earthly powers and will dominate and control the entire world. 
 
Do we not see this anti-Christian spirit already in place?  No matter where you turn today, the Word of God and those who truly stand with it are ridiculed and silenced.  The world will tolerate anything and everything except the truth of God’s Word.  And since God’s Word contains both His law and Gospel, those who rightly divide the Word are the special objects of this opposition and hatred.  The world does not want to hear that they are lost sinners and it does not want to hear that Jesus Christ is the one and only Saviour from sin and death.  The world seeks to kill the “two witnesses”, the law and the Gospel, who have tormented them for so long.  Ultimately, due to Satan’s influence, it is the Gospel that they are most against, because Satan knows that the Gospel is the only truth by which a human soul may be saved.  Satan hates souls because he hates God, the Creator and Lover of souls.  He will gladly promote any religion, including all false representations of Christianity, if it is devoid of the Gospel because that does him no harm.  All, except the true invisible church, will enjoy his nefarious smile and the earthly honors and treasures that go with it so long as they reject the Gospel. 
 
One such religion that rejects and destroys the Gospel is Calvinism.  Throughout this paper, I am speaking of that Calvinism that denies the universal atonement of Christ.  For this reason Satan has raised it up and established it in its many forms.  Its errors are subtle, reflecting the deep guile and great might of our old evil foe.  The Scriptures describe the serpent as “more subtil than any beast of the field” (Gen. 3:1).  The deadly danger of Calvinism is that it looks so much like true Christianity.  It is a counterfeit that can easily pass as public tender.  In fact, I would never have known or even have suspected the poisonous nature of this devilish lie if not for the writings of Martin Luther which taught me faith and delivered me from its terrible snare.  You see, Calvinism is really a false religion, despite its appearance as an advocate for Biblical truth.  It is a religion led of depraved human reason and not that true religion which belongs to the Word of God and child-like faith.  
 
Now the problem is that it is often hard to distinguish between faith and reason.  Reason looks exactly like faith so long as the Word of God appears reasonable.  It is only when the Bible asserts something that is higher than reason and seems contrary to reason, that we see reason’s true colors.  It is at this point that reason will part ways with faith and begin to oppose and argue against it.  For instance, both faith and reason are happy to partake of the Lord’s Supper in all earnestness and seriousness.  But when the elements are consecrated, and Jesus declares the simple words “this is My body, this is My blood”, then these differences become apparent.  Faith says, “Yea, Lord, Thy body and Thy blood shed for me”.  But reason says, “Nay, Lord, this is not Thy body.  This is not Thy blood.  These are but symbols of Thy body and blood”.  Now we can see the proud and defiant nature of reason as opposed to the humble and trusting nature of faith.  Reason is unwilling to honor the Word of God and to “bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).  Isaiah said, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts… For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:7).
 
Martin Luther writes, “I always say that faith must have absolutely nothing but the Word on its side and must permit no subtle argumentation or human ideas in addition.  Otherwise it is impossible for faith to be retained and preserved.  For human wisdom and reason cannot progress beyond judging and concluding in accordance with what it sees and feels or with what it comprehends with the senses.  But faith must transcend such feeling and understanding or make its decision contrary to these and cling to whatever the Word submits.  Reason and human competence do not enable faith to do that, but this is the work of the Holy Spirit on the heart of man.  Otherwise, if man could comprehend this with his reason, or if he were to resolve this in accordance with what is and what is not consonant with his reason, he would not need faith or the Holy Spirit… Reason cannot and will not remain within the Word or be captive to it, but it must also give its cleverness a voice, and thus insists on understanding and mastering everything… But against all that reason suggests or tries to fathom, yes, against everything that all senses feel and perceive, we must learn to cling to the Word and simply judge according to it… In short, if you will not esteem the Word above all your feelings, eyes, senses, and heart, you will inevitably be lost, and there is no help for you.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 28, pp. 69, 70)  The great theologian, Johann Gerhard, adds, “Human reason labors not only under weakness but also under blindness, darkness, and errors when it judges matters of faith.  Not only does it lack the divine power to know completely and perfectly, but it is also corrupted with the opposite inclination to pursue errors and faults.  ‘The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.’” (Johann Gerhard, On the Nature of God and on the Trinity, pp. 290, 291).
 
Now Calvinism is a religion of reason.  It is a system of theology that originated with John Calvin, the late 16th century Swiss reformer.  Calvin himself was the spiritual successor of Ulrich Zwingli, whom you will remember vigorously opposed  Martin Luther concerning the Lord’s Supper.  Luther did not regard Zwingli as a saved man, and refused the hand of fellowship to him at the Marburg Colloquy.  On that occasion Luther said to him, “Our spirit is different from yours; it is clear that we do not possess the same spirit, for it cannot be the same spirit when in one place the words of Christ are simply believed and in another place the same faith is censured, resisted, regarded as false and attacked with all kinds of malicious and blaspheming words.” (Luther’s Works, Vol.. 38, pp. 70, 71).  On another occasion Luther related, “Zwingli recently wrote that Numa Pompilius, Hector, Scipio, and Hercules are enjoying eternal blessedness in Paradise together with Peter and Paul and the other saints.  This statement is nothing but a frank confession of their idea that a Christian faith and Christendom are of no importance.  For if Scipio and Numa Pompilius, who were idolaters, have been saved, why was it necessary for Christ to suffer and die, or why is it necessary for Christians to be baptized or to be instructed about Christ?  So horribly do men fall into deadly error once the Word is neglected and lost.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 8, p. 134).  Upon hearing of Zwingli’s death on the Swiss battlefield, Luther said, “Zwingli drew his sword.  Therefore he has received the reward that Christ spoke of, ‘All who take the sword will perish by the sword’ (Matt. 26:52).  If God has saved him, he has done so above and beyond the rule.” (Luther’s Works, Vol.  54, p. 152).  A few years later, Luther recalled, “The landgrave [Philip of Hesse], once the patron of Zwingli, wished to establish unity between us and desired that we call each other brothers, but I was unwilling, although Zwingli declared with tears that he wished to remain in our church and to have no separation between us.  I hope he was punished on earth and had come to his right mind.  There will always be perils in false brethren.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 54, p. 264).  We should keep Luther’s thoughts about Zwingli especially in mind when considering the very same rationalistic theology of John Calvin.  
 
The Calvinists commonly distinguish themselves and evaluate others around the acronym T.U.L.I.P., their supposed five cardinal doctrines.  Interestingly, Calvin himself only held to four of these points.  He did not explicitly teach the false doctrine of limited atonement.  Rather, this was a logical deduction based upon his theological system.  It was formally set forth by Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza.  Later it became popularized by the Council of Dort in 1619.  Today it has become the litmus test as to whether one really is a true Calvinist.  So let us now look at these five points of Calvinism in the acronym T.U.L.I.P.
 
The “T” stands for the doctrine of “total depravity”, that is, that man is completely under the terrible power of sin, including his mind, will, and emotions.  He is dead in his trespasses and sins, and apart from conversion and the grace of God there is no good thing in him.  We would agree with this doctrine, as it is thoroughly Biblical and stands in opposition to Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism which attribute some meritorious powers to man.  It is the Calvinists themselves who do not hold to this doctrine as they think they do as evidenced by their high estimation of human reason. 
 
The “U” stands for the doctrine of “unconditional election”, that is, that God of His own will chose us in Christ to be His own in His eternal kingdom before the foundation of the world and predestined us to obtaining our great salvation wrought by Christ at the cross.  This also is a doctrine that in itself is true and correct to the Word of God.  The problem here is that the Calvinists take it to the next logical, though unbiblical, step and assert the false teaching of predestination to damnation.  Thus, not only did God choose and predestine who was to be saved, but He also chose and predestined who was to be damned.  While this thought may naturally follow from depraved human reason, it does not follow from Scripture.  A person is not damned because God did not choose him.  He is damned because of his own sins and his own refusal of God’s gracious offer of mercy in Christ. 
 
The third letter “L” stands for the false doctrine of “limited atonement”, sometimes also referred to as “particular redemption”.  This doctrine asserts that Christ did not die for the sins of all men, but rather only for the sins of those whom He had chosen and predestined to be saved, that is, a limited number of men, not all.  This is the chief doctrinal error of the Calvinists and we will spend a larger portion of this paper discussing it and its horrible implications upon the Gospel itself.  We definitely do not believe in limited atonement. 
 
The fourth letter is “I” and stands for the doctrine of “irresistible grace”.  This doctrine can be taken in two different ways, one correct and the other incorrect.  It all depends on how one defines this.  If it is meant that “no man comes to the Father lest the Father draws him”, we whole-heartedly agree.  God’s grace alone conquers our unbelief and resistance to His truth.  He alone makes the naturally unwilling willing.  All is from Him and all glory is to Him.  However, if the Calvinists mean that a person cannot resist God’s grace, then we disagree.  Stephen plainly said of the Jews (after seeking their conversion), “ye do always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51).  In fact, man left to himself can do nothing but resist the Holy Ghost and God’s grace.  If I am saved, it is all of God’s doing.  If I am lost, it is completely my own fault.  Reason can’t handle that, but that is the truth. 
 
Finally we have the letter “P” which stands for the doctrine of the “perseverance of the saints”.  Again this expression all depends upon what is meant.  If the Calvinists mean that a person cannot lose their salvation, then we disagree.  There are ample New Testament warnings and examples of the loss of salvation.  Paul said, “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.  Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (Rom. 11:21, 22).  However, if the Calvinists mean that it is the nature of God’s elect to persevere in true faith unto the end, then we happily agree.  We are “kept by the power of God” (1 Pet. 1:5), and God’s true elect necessarily can and will persevere in true faith unto the end.
 
Now we must underscore that our difference with Calvinism is not so much about our differences concerning individual doctrines.  A person could easily think that we are just splitting doctrinal hairs about matters that are much bigger than either of us.  But that is not the case.  Our doctrinal differences, while important, are only symptomatic of the more foundational difference of being led by child-like faith or depraved human reason in regards to the Word of God.  And since a person can only be saved by true faith, we are really talking about the issue of salvation itself when we are considering the errors of Calvinism.  There are two key issues when it comes to salvation – the correct Gospel and the correct faith.  By the Gospel, God extends the gift of salvation to us.  By faith, we extend our hand to receive the gracious gift.  And at these two crucial points, Calvinism errs grievously.
 
How is a person truly saved?  That is the most important and most fundamental question for every Christian.  We can be correct on many points, but if we are wrong on this point, we are of all men most to be pitied.  But thanks be unto our loving and gracious God that He has made the matter abundantly clear in His holy Word.  The Apostle Paul writes, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for IT is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 1:16).  The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation.  It is not just a message as any human message, but IT is the power of God unto salvation.  It is the seed that produces the entire Christian tree and its fruit.  Peter tells us that we were “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:23-25).  James writes, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth” (James 1:18).
 
Now what specifically is the Gospel of Christ?  We know that it saves us, but we must also know what it is.  We must know its contents in order to correctly identify it and receive it in true faith.  Again the Apostle Paul gives us the precise definition.  He tells us, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).  The Gospel, then, is the joyful and liberating declaration that “Christ died for our sins”, evidenced by the fact that “He rose again the third day”.   Paul tells us that it is by this truth that “ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain”.  We are saved by faith in the Gospel, this message of Good News, “how that Christ died for our sins”. 
 
Concerning the Gospel, Luther writes, “If you ask: What is the Gospel?  No better answer can be given than these words of the New Testament.  Christ gave His body and shed His blood for us for the forgiveness of sins.  This alone is to be preached to Christians, impressed upon them, and faithfully commended to them for constant meditation.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 36, p. 183).  Again, he says, “’Evangel’ (Gospel) is a Greek word and in German means a good message, good tidings, good news, a good report, which one sings and tells with rejoicing.  So when David overcame the huge Goliath, the good report and the comforting news came among the Jewish people that their terrible enemy had been slain, that they had been delivered, and that joy and peace had been given them; and they sang and danced and were happy because of this.  So the Gospel of God and of the New Testament is also a good message and report.  The Gospel has resounded in all the world, proclaimed by the apostles.  It tells of a true David who fought with sin, death, and the devil, overcame them, and thereby delivered, without any merit of their own, all those who were held captive in sin, were plagued by death, and were overpowered by the devil.  He made them righteous, gave them life, and saved them.  Thus their needs were satisfied, and they were brought back to God.  Because of this they sing, thank God, praise Him, and are happy forever if only they believe and remain steadfast in this faith.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 35, p. 358).
 
Now, this leads us to another vital question that must be answered.  What is faith?  And once again the Scriptures give us a very clear definition.  First, the Apostle Paul tells us that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17).  Here we learn that faith must be derived from the Word of God.  There is no such thing as true Biblical faith that is not founded upon the objective external Word of God.  Paul also gives us a sure and certain example of faith in the person of Abraham, “the father of all them that believe” (Rom. 4:11).  He says that Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (Rom. 4:20, 21).   So Abraham’s faith rested upon the promise of God and the truthful and faithful character of God.  He was “fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform”.  Saving faith, then, is the reliance of the heart on the promises of grace set forth in the Gospel.  The Lutheran theologians say that faith includes three things – knowledge, assent, and confidence.  We must know of what we believe.  We must assent to what we believe.  And we must trust in what we believe.  Such a faith pays no heed to the present state of things nor to the things that are seen and felt.  As the writer of Hebrews says, it is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). 
 
Concerning faith, Luther writes, “Faith is the yes of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.  On what does faith rest?  On Christ, born of a woman, made under the Law, who died, etc., as the children pray.  To this confession I say yes with the full confidence of my heart.  Christ came for my sake, in order to free me from the Law, not only from the guilt of sin but also from the power of the Law.  If you are able to say yes to this, you have what is called faith; and this faith does everything.” (Luther’s Works, Weimar Ed., Vol. 49, p. 9).  Again, he says, “The Word and faith should stand together, for the one cannot exist without the other.  He who believes, but does not have the Word, believes as do the Turks and the Jews.  They believe that God is gracious and merciful, but they lack the promise; for God will not be gracious without Christ.” (Luther’s Works, Weimar Ed., Vol. 52, p. 498).  And finally, Luther writes, “The Jews who had been bitten by the fiery serpents in the wilderness had to close their eyes, blind their reason, look at the brazen serpent on the pole, and cling to the word which God had spoken: If he who has been bitten looks at the brazen serpent, he shall become well and live.  So we, too, must close our eyes, take captive our reason, look at Christ on the cross, and believe the word: He who believes in Me shall not perish but have eternal life.  No doubt many Jews laughed at Moses and mocked him because of the brazen serpent, for they wanted to grasp and judge with their reason and affect a cure by other remedies.  But they failed.  Just so we, too, should not, on the basis of reason, argue about how these sublime matters can happen.  Nor should we presume to be redeemed and saved from the power of the devil by other ways and means.  We shall never be able to succeed by doing this.  We should cling to the Word which Christ speaks: He who believes in the Son of Man, raised on the cross, shall be saved.” (Luther’s Works, Weimar Ed., Vol. 36, p. 186 f.).
 
Now what about Calvinism, the offspring of that rebellious and faithless woman, Madame Reason?  How does Calvinism stand in regards to these fundamental and vital issues of the Gospel, faith, and the salvation of the soul?  Here we will see the full flow of the serpent’s deadly venom.  Let us look at only one, albeit the worst, of the errors of Calvinism, and that is the false doctrine of limited atonement, the central petal of the poisonous T.U.L.I.P.  As stated above, the Calvinists do not believe that Jesus Christ, our Saviour, died for the sins of all men.  According to them, He died only for the sins of some men, that is, those relatively few whom He had elected and predestined unto eternal life.  The reasoning is thus.  If Christ elected and predestined only a limited number of people to salvation, then it naturally follows that He loves only these few and that He died for the sins of only this limited number of people.  How could He love those who are not His own?  And how could He die for and pay for the sins of those who don’t end up actually saved?  This would mean that Christ’s death was ineffectual.  Furthermore, for Christ to have died for their sins, and for them to still have to pay for their sins, would be a double payment of sin.  Thus, it is conclusive that Christ died only for the elect, not for the sins of the whole world.  As you can see, this reasoning can sound convincing.  But the problem is that it is not Biblical.  It does not agree with the Scriptures, and in fact, changes the Gospel itself.  Paul said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8, 9).
 
The doctrine of Limited Atonement stands in opposition to the clear testimony of the Word of God.  At the very birth of Christ, the angel of the Lord told the shepherds abiding in the fields outside of Bethlehem, “behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luk. 2:10).  When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him, he cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  Jesus, speaking of Himself and His mission, testifies, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16).  The men of Samaria declare, “This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42).  The Apostle Paul calls Christ “the Saviour of all men” (1 Tim. 4:10).  He plainly states that God “will have all men to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4), that Christ “gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6), and that “one died for all” (2 Cor. 5:14).  He also proclaims that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor. 5:19).  The writer of Hebrews testifies that Christ “tasted death for every man” (Heb. 2:9).  The Apostle Peter speaks of false teachers and prophets who were “even denying the Lord that bought them” (2 Pet. 2:1).  He further says that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).  The Apostle John likewise testifies, “he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).  And this is only a sampling of the many verses teaching the universal atonement of Christ for the sins of the world.  There are actually at least 28 clear verses plainly stating this important doctrine.  Other verses asserting the same truth are Luke 14:16-24; 22:20, 21; John 3:17-18; 6:33, 51; 8:26; 12:47; 16:8, 9; Acts 13:26; 17:31; Rom. 14:15; 1 Cor. 8:11; 15:1-4; 2 Cor. 4:3,4; 1 Tim. 2:5; Tit. 2:11; 3:4; Heb. 10:28, 29; and 1 John 4:13, 14.  Isaiah writes, “To the law and to the testimonies; if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20).
 
It is not only the Scriptures that testify of the universal atonement of Christ, but also the many faithful voices of the early church.  The earliest church father, Ignatius (c. 35 – c. 107), the Bishop of Antioch, states, “Our God is a lover of mankind, and ‘will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth’.”  Justin Martyr (c. 100 – c. 165) of the early second century, says, “The Father of all wished His Christ for the whole human family to take upon Him the curses of all.”  He further adds, “His Father wished Him to suffer this, in order that by His stripes the human race might be healed.”  Irenaeus (c. 130 – c. 200), the disciple of Polycarp who in turn was the disciple of the Apostle John, states of Christ, “It was He who should die and be buried for the mortal human race”.  Furthermore, he says, “He removed the yoke and bondage of the old law, so that mankind, being now set free, might serve God.”  Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 225) confirms the same testimony in the third century.  He writes of “the Scripture teaching one full and entire satisfaction for the sins of the whole human race, once for all presented by our Lord Jesus Christ”.  The prolific writer, Origen (c. 185 – c. 254), adds, “But He did come, because He was willing to come, and because it was manifest beforehand that His dying upon behalf of men would be of advantage to the whole human race”.  The ancient Church historian, Eusebius (c. 260 – c. 340), testifies in the fourth century of Christ’s universal atonement.  He says, “He was the victim offered to the Supreme Sovereign of the universe for the whole human race”.  Athanasius (c. 296 – 373), the champion of Christian orthodoxy, author of the Nicene Creed, and rescuer of the faith from Arianism, states, “For whatever is written concerning our Saviour in His human nature, ought to be considered as applying to the whole race of mankind”.  He further adds, “In Him the human race is perfectly and wholly delivered from sin and quickened from the dead, and given access to the kingdom of the heavens.”  The three great Greek fathers, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil, and Gregory Nazianzen, all give voice to the universal atonement of Christ.  Gregory of Nyssa (c. 330 – c. 395) says, “And the wood of the Cross is of saving efficacy for all men.”  Basil (c. 330 – 379) says, “The Lord was bound to taste of death for every man–to become a propitiation for the world and to justify all men by His own blood.”  Gregory Nazianzen (329 – 389) adds, Christ’s sacrificial death was “not for a part of the world, nor for a short time, but for the whole world and for all time”.  Hilary (c. 315 – 367) writes, “Since the humanity of Christ is universal, His death was on behalf of all mankind, to buy the salvation of the whole human race.”  The greatest Eastern Church preacher, Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407), refers to Hebrews 2:9 and says, “’That by the grace of God He should taste death for every man’, not for the faithful only, but even for the whole world: for He indeed died for all.”  Finally, the greatest church father, St. Augustine (354 – 430), testifies, “When the angel, then, stretched out his staff and touched the rock, and fire rose out of it, this was a sign that our Lord’s flesh, filled with the Spirit of God, should burn up all the sins of the human race.”  He further adds, “And so it was at that time declared in a mystery that the Lord Jesus, when crucified, should abolish in His flesh the sins of the whole world, and not their guilty acts merely, but the evil lusts of their hearts.”
 
Now despite all of these sure and certain testimonies from Scripture and the early church, proud reason will not concede the point.  Through the mouth of the Calvinists, she insists that she knows better, because she has deducted that if God elected only a limited number of people to salvation, then God loves only the elect and Christ died for only these few.  Reason insists that she cannot be wrong.  According to her, it necessarily follows.  But do you not see that she is acting as her own lord?  She will not acknowledge that there is One who knows better than she.  She does not recognize that these truths are infinitely above her capacity to fully understand.  She does not have the wisdom of child-like faith that says “yea” and “amen” to whatever the Word of God asserts.  She hasn’t yet learned the sweet little song “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”.
 
Now to some this seems like a slight error, nothing to make too much about.  For after all, whether Christ died for the elect only or for the sins of the whole world, in the final analysis only the elect are saved anyway.  So what difference does it really make?  The difference, however, is great.  It is the difference between a true Gospel and a false Gospel.  And Paul says that if anyone perverts the Gospel of Christ let him be accursed (Gal. 1:7-9).  Furthermore, by changing the Gospel, it destroys the only means by which a person can be saved.  As David said, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psa. 11:3).  Limiting the atonement of Christ makes a huge difference.  For if Christ did not die for all men, how can I now go up to an individual man and tell him that “Christ died for HIS sins”.  I cannot tell him this because it may not be true.  For according to limited atonement, chances are that Christ did not die for this man’s sins.  Thus, I cannot preach the Gospel to him.  I cannot preach to him how that “Christ died for OUR sins – yours and mine”.  The best I can do is to tell him that “Christ died for sins”, whether his own I cannot say.  Do you see how important each word of Scripture is?  Remove one little word, the word “our”, from the Gospel, and you destroy it and entirely overthrow the Christian faith.  Franz Pieper, orthodox Lutheran’s finest theologian, says, “The Calvinistic doctrine which restricts the grace of God to only one part of mankind is a trap of despair, a pestilence, death and damnation for the soul… The Calvinist Reformed doctrine that the grace of God includes only one part of mankind is a soul-murdering doctrine.” (Franz Pieper, Theses on Unionism, p. 12). 
 
While preaching on John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”, Luther beautifully states the importance of the universal Gospel.  He says, “This is an extraordinarily fine and comforting sermon on Christ our Savior.  Neither our thoughts nor our words can do the subject full justice, but in the life beyond it will redound to our eternal joy and bliss that the Son of God abased himself so and burdened himself with my sins.  Yes, he assumes not only my sins but also those of the whole world, from Adam down to the very last mortal.  These sins he takes upon himself; for these he is willing to suffer and die that our sins may be expunged and we may attain eternal life and blessedness…  This is the basis of all Christian doctrine.  Whoever believes it is a Christian; whoever does not is no Christian, and will get what he has coming to him.  The statement is clear enough: “This is the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world.”  Moreover, this text is the Word of God, not our word.  Nor is it our invention that the Lamb was sacrificed by God and that, in obedience to the Father, this Lamb took upon himself the sin of the whole world.  But the world refuses to believe this; it does not want to concede the honor to this dear Lamb that our salvation depends entirely on his bearing our sin.  The world insists on playing a role in this too, but the more it aspires to do in atonement for sin, the worse it fares.” 
 
Luther continues, “For the Lamb itself preaches to us, ‘Behold how I bear your sins!’  However, no one will accept it.  If we believed and accepted it, no one would be damned.  What more is the Lamb to do?  He says, ‘You are all condemned, but I will take your sins upon myself.  I have become the whole world.  I have incorporated all people since Adam into my person.’  Thus he wants to give us righteousness in exchange for the sins we have received from Adam.  And I should reply, ‘I will believe that, my dear, dear Lord, the Lamb of God, has taken all sins upon himself.’  Still the world will not believe and accept this.  If it did, no one would be lost…  Refusal to believe this is not Christ’s fault, it is mine.  If I do not believe this, I am doomed.  It is for me to say simply that the Lamb of God has borne the sin of the world.  I have been earnestly commanded to believe and confess this, and then also to die in this faith.  You may say, ‘Who knows whether Christ also bore my sin?  I have no doubt that he bore the sin of St. Peter, St. Paul, and other saints; these were pious people, O that I were like St. Peter or St. Paul.’  Don’t you hear what St. John says in our text: ‘This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’  And you cannot deny that you are also a part of this world.’  For if you are in the world, and your sins form a part of the sins of the world, then the text applies to you.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 22, pp. 162-169)
 
Finally, it is important to point out that there are still true and sincere Christians in many of the Calvinistic churches.  But this is not due to her terrible doctrines, but to the Gospel itself, which is still believed by some as a result of what the Lutheran theologians called “a blessed inconsistency”.  While Calvinism officially condemns the universal atonement of Christ and thereby destroys the objective proclamation of the Gospel, many within Calvinism in their simplicity assume a universal atonement and fall back upon the true and saving Gospel, how that “Christ died for our sins”.  I say this, not to commend Calvinism in any way, but to commend the grace of God which often over-rules to the salvation of souls.  A most interesting example of this is with Calvin himself, who though he did not explicitly teach a limited atonement, certainly opened the door for this error with his theology for his successors.  But on his death bed, Calvin exhibited this “blessed inconsistency” in his own Last Will and Testament.  He writes, “With my whole soul I embrace the mercy which He has exercised towards me through Jesus Christ, atoning for my sins with the merits of His death and passion, that in this way He might satisfy for all my crimes and faults, and blot them from His remembrance. I testify also and declare, that I suppliantly beg of Him, that He may be pleased so to wash and purify me in the blood which my Sovereign Redeemer has shed for the sins of the human race, that under His shadow I may be able to stand at the judgment-seat.” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 8, p. 829).
 
I hope you can understand my heart in this matter.  I myself was once a Calvinist, and even advanced above many of my fellows in Calvinism.  I read Calvinist books, studied at a Calvinist seminary, and commended Calvinism to my congregation.  I was convinced that it was the truest expression of Biblical Christianity.  But God was gracious to show me that I was wrong.  And now I am eager to show other Calvinists the error of this way, and to bring them into the orthodox Lutheran faith, that “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).  I don’t seek their hurt, but rather their welfare.  As Paul said, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved” (Rom. 10:1).  Martin Luther expresses these same sentiments in a wonderful comment on Psalm 45:3, “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.”  He writes, “Our King does not strike in order to destroy men but in order to save them.  So I fight against Carlstadt, Zwingli, and others, because I would rather have them live than die and come to naught.  We injure not in order to damn men, but in order to heal them; as Christ said (Luke 9:56; John 12:47), ‘I have come not to destroy the world but in order that it may live.’  Thus our sword sets forth the Word of salvation, life, and righteousness, and it attempts to bring people back to the right way.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 12, p. 218).
 
 
 

23 Robert December 1, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Just one example of “Long doesn’t mean true”

24 Robert December 1, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Stuart,Just a tip for next time.If you’d like any Calvinist to stand up and take note of what you’ve written…take the time to actually exegete a passage of scripture.If you just want to have your Arminian buddies cheer you on…then what you’ve presented is fine.Assertions are not arguments.Exegete, exegete, exegeteUntil then…nobody is going to take you seriously.

25 Stuart December 1, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Robert,
 
I think I gave you 28 clear New Testament passages and another 25 or so quotes from the Church Fathers and abundant clear quotes from Luther that clearly refute the false doctrine of limited atonement.  What exegesis do you exactly need when the truth is staring you in the face?  Your empty cry for exegesis is a convenient cover for your own unbelief.

26 Robert December 1, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Stuart,Listen closely….shhhh….Exegete scripture.Not list passages, Not name early church fathersExegesis. Proper and thorough.All else is smoke, mirrors and blusterbob

27 Stuart December 1, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Robert,
 
If there is something I have written that is untrue, bear witness of it.  Otherwise, the smoke and mirrors are clearly coming from your computer, not mine.

28 Robert December 1, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Stuart,As painful as it was…I looked through your diatribe again and didn’t see one scripture exegeted….Again…if you want to be taken seriously, then that’s what you must do.Ad-hominem attacks  and baseless assertions are not exegesis.How about we start with John 6:35-45?

29 Robert December 1, 2008 at 7:30 pm

Stuart,Here is an example of what I’m talking about.Is there an inaccuracy in my exegesis of Acts 13:48?If not…then does not this support Calvinism?http://goshareyourfaith.wordpress.com/resources/reformed-doctrine/the-arminian-understanding-of-acts-1348-refuted/

30 Robert December 1, 2008 at 7:32 pm

How in the world do you get line breaks to show up on these comments? It’s driving me nuts

31 Robert December 1, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Stuart,Hopefully this won’t come out jumbled.This is a basic exegesis of Acts 13:48.Do you see an error specifically? If not, then Acts 13:48 clearly is in support of Calvinism.All kinds of machinations are used to get
around the fact that Acts 13:48 says that when the Gentiles being
preached to heard the word of God, those that were appointed believed.

It comes in a few flavors, the most common are:
1.) They appointed themselves (or disposed themselves)
2.) Their believe is what caused the appointment.

Is it possible, given the grammar, syntax, and overall theme of the word, that these are viable options?
I think not…read on:

Here is the verse:Acts 13:4848 When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice and praise the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life believed. First; notice that the verse starts by saying that “when” they heard” they “began”
to do something. This hearing is what started the action that follows.
You notice that “began” isn’t actually in the Greek text itself, but is
supplied by the translator…why? Because of the verb “ἔχαιρον which is
to rejoice. They weren’t rejoicing before they heard this, it was the
hearing that did it. (Does this align with scripture? Yes, Romans 10:17
“so faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”)How many believed? “as many as were appointed.”

Let’s begin on the structure “as many as”. The word used is: “hosoi.”

Here is what BDAG says:

pertaining to a comparative quantity or number of objects or events; how much (many), as much (many) as

all those who Mt 14:36; Mk 3:10; Ac 4:6, 34; 13:48; Ro 2:12ab; 6:3

So the meaning is simply all those who either did something, or had something done to them are being spoken about. This is the group whom the Holy Spirit is speaking of.

In this case the “as many as” is in the same case and gender as “appointed” and so it is referring to those who have been appointed, not those who have belief.

Keep investigating the cause; Could they have “appointed themselves by their belief”?

Let’s look at the word for “appointed” which is “tetagmenoi”
It’s used six times in scripture, and of those six,
three of them are in the book of Acts, so let’s look at how Luke uses
the work appointed in Acts:

Acts 13:48

and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

Acts 15:2

Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed

Acts 22:10

and there you will be told • all that is appointed for you to do.

One of the verse is our verse so we’ll skip that
and go to Acts 15:2. Paul and Barnabas were appointed to go and settle
a debate, the church was the agent of the appointment, and Paul and Barnabas were the recipients of the action.

The next verse is where Saul is on the road to
Damascus and Jesus Himself tells Saul to go and wait for everything
that Jesus will “designate” him to do.

So in Luke’s use of this word, it’s meant that the individual has been acted upon by an outside force, and appointed to perform an action.

(It’s interesting to note that nobody asserts the
following: “Maybe Paul appointed himself to do these things instead of
Jesus” or “maybe Paul’s performing of “these things’ is what made Jesus
“appoint” him to them.”)

It’s only when confronted with the idea that God appoints some to eternal life that men have an issue with this wording.

So what about the actual word “appointed”? What is it’s meaning?

This is what the BDAG entry says:

Τεταγμένοι verb, nominative, plural, perfect, passive
Lemma: τάσσω (appointed)

to bring about an order of things by arranging, arrange, put in place

of an authority structure

of a person or persons put into a specific position,

passive. belong to, be classed among those possessing ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον Ac 13:48.

Notice specifically that it’s definition is “of a person or persons put into a position.”

If we keep looking at the word, we next see that the tense is the “perfect” tense. This is the definition of the perfect tense:

perfect The verb tense used by the writer to describe a completed verbal action that occurred in the past but which produced a state of being or a result that exists in the present (in relation to the writer). The emphasis of the perfect is not the past action so much as it is as such but the present “state of affairs” resulting from the past action.

No surprise there.

Let’s turn our attention to the mood of the verb; “passive” and this is where we get into the meat of things:

Here is the definition of the “passive” state of a verb:

passive – The grammatical voice that signifies that the subject is being acted upon; i.e., the subject is the receiver of the verbal action. A verb in the passive voice with God as the stated or implied agent is often referred to as the “divine passive.”

Well, that would certainly support the idea that these Gentiles are being acted upon an outside force, and being “appointed” by someone or something else. What about the “Divine Passive” as the definition said; is God implied in this passage? Absolutely!.

So we move on to the word “believe” or “epistusan”

ἐπίστευσαν Verb, third person, plural, aorist, indicative, active
Lemma: πιστεύω (believed)

What do we see about their belief? First, that it’s the “aorist” tense. Here is what that means:

aorist – The aorist verb tense is used by the writer to present the action of a verb as a “snapshot” event. The verb’s action is portrayed simply and in summary fashion without respect to any process.
In the indicative mood, the aorist usually denotes past time, while an aorist participle usually refers to antecedent time with respect to the main verb.

So it’s simply stating a fact, and little beyond
that. But notice that when it’s coupled with the indicative mood,
(which our verse does) then it’s a “past time” verb.

Here is the definition of the “indicative” mood:

indicative – The mood in which the action of the verb or the state of being it describes is presented by the writer as real. It is the mood of assertion, where the writer portrays something as actual (as opposed to possible or contingent on intention).

Again, no surprise there.

Let’s turn our attention to the voice of the verb:

active – The grammatical voice that signifies that the subject is performing the verbal action or is in the state described by the verb.

So the subject “the Gentiles” are either performing the action, or are in the state of the verb, i.e. “state of belief.”

So the grammar of the passage makes it clear;

The writer’s point is not that belief caused this appointment, but the appointment caused the belief, and because the verb “appointed” is passive that they weren’t responsible for it themselves. It’s a case of the “Divine Passive” where God is the instrument to bring it about.

We also saw that because the verb “appointed” is in the perfect tense, the action happened and was completed in the past but the emphasis is on the present state of being.

So does this align the “bigger picture”
of scripture when it says that believers were “chosen before the
foundation of the world” as in Matthew 25:34, Ephesians 1:4, Revelation
13:8, (in the negative) and Revelation 17:8.

Or when it speaks of the Elect in Romans?

Absolutely!

32 Robert December 1, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Stuart:Here is just one example:The “T” stands for the doctrine of “total depravity”, that is, that man
is completely under the terrible power of sin, including his mind,
will, and emotions.  He is dead in his trespasses and sins, and apart
from conversion and the grace of God there is no good thing in him.  We
would agree with this doctrine, as it is thoroughly Biblical and stands
in opposition to Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism which attribute some
meritorious powers to man.  It is the Calvinists themselves who do not
hold to this doctrine as they think they do as evidenced by their high
estimation of human reason. In that whole paragraph did you deal with any scripture at all?NoYou must be aware of all of the scripture that would support the “T” must you????Deal with that instead of attacks and assertions.Again…you will be taken more seriously if you do.PS: did you get a chance to study my Acts 13:48 exegesis? Are there errors that you can specifically point to that refute it?If not…should your understanding be subject to the word of God in this?

33 Robert December 1, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Stuart:Here is just one example:The “T” stands for the doctrine of “total depravity”, that is, that man is completely under the terrible power of sin, including his mind, will, and emotions.  He is dead in his trespasses and sins, and apart from conversion and the grace of God there is no good thing in him.  We would agree with this doctrine, as it is thoroughly Biblical and stands in opposition to Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism which attribute some meritorious powers to man.  It is the Calvinists themselves who do not hold to this doctrine as they think they do as evidenced by their high estimation of human reason. In that whole paragraph did you deal with
any scripture at all?NoYou must be aware of all of the scripture that
would support the “T” must you????Deal with that instead of attacks and
assertions.Again…you will be taken more seriously if you do.PS: did you
get a chance to study my Acts 13:48 exegesis?Are there errors that you can specifically point to that refute it?If not…should your
understanding be subject to the word of God in this?

34 Stuart December 1, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Robert,
 
If we can be friends for the moment, I will try to give you some honest feedback.  I really don’t seek your hurt, but rather your eternal welfare.  You see, if a person truly holds to the false teaching of limited atonement, then he really cannot be a Christian at all.  The reason for this is that to be saved faith must be able to say that Christ died for MY sins, and faith must necessarily get this knowledge from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).  So if you do not believe that Christ died for all men, then how do you Robert know with full assurance that He died for you?  That’s what this is all about.  You and I must each come to know with certainty that Jesus Christ died for our sins.  The universal atonement of Christ is the only Scriptural warrant to allow us in the door.  Take that truth away, and you have nothing.  John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin (singular, not plural) of the world.” (John 1:29).

35 ABClay December 1, 2008 at 10:20 pm

God graces faith to those who believe that Christ covered their sins with His death.I really don’t see your point Stuart.  If Christ died for the sins of everyone, then why does anyone perish?  ABClay

36 Stuart December 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Hi ABClay,
 
The point is this – how does one come to know that Christ indeed did cover THEIR sins with His death?  If He died for all, then the Word itself objectively tells me that He died for MY sins (as He died for all).  If He only died for some, then how do I know that I am part of that some?  I am left with only my own subjective experience to make that discernment.  That is truly a sandy foundation, as I may well misinterpret my own experience, or the devil may trick me into thinking one way or another about it.  But if Christ died for all (as the Scriptures and the history of the church really do plainly affirm) then all is very clear.

37 ABClay December 1, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Brother StuartYou asked:”how does one come to know that Christ indeed did cover THEIR sins with His death?”My answer is simply that God opened my eyes to see the truth of the Gospel and believe.  “For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him,…” (Philippians 1:29)  I don’t see any subjectivity here.  The Scripture plainly says that “whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life”.    God gave me the ability to believe, therefore I know that Christ died for Me.  Maybe I am not understanding your reasoning or question to me.I restate my question to you again:  If Jesus died for everyone, why does anyone perish?Grace and Peace…ABClay

38 johnMark December 1, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Stuart,

I got a call from a friend asking if I’d seen the size of a certain comment.  I had just barely browsed it in email.  Now that I’ve gotten to actually see the whole comment you win the award for the longest blog comment ever.  Longer than some of my friends who tend to write much.  In the future, please be more focused with less text please.

Anyways, Robert has answered you well from the beginning.  You’ve offered no Scriptural exegesis in your statements.  Earlier you said, “We are saved by faith in the Gospel.” then you quote Luther as saying, “On what does faith rest?  On Christ..”  Which is it?

What do you do with Luther’s view of free-will and predestination?  In the same vein that you ask about the atonement, if our wills aren’t really free and predestination is true, how is anyone ever saved?  How do you know you’re predestined?  How do you know the moment you have the slightest doubt that you can rely on your free-will faith decision that you are in Christ?

I fear you misunderstand the very Gospel that saves.  We don’t look to our understanding of the atonement’s limitations, whether limited in efficacy or by design, for our salvation.  We look to Christ alone for our salvation. 

Even John 3:16-18 tells us that only the believing ones will be saved, therefore, if I am a believing one I am a Christian and will be saved.

You also said, “But if Christ died for all (as the Scriptures and the history of the church really do plainly affirm) then all is very clear.”  What is it that is all very clear?

Mark

39 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 12:03 am

ABClay,
 
You see, your confidence is in yourself, in the fact that YOU believe.  But how do you know that you really believe?  Perhaps your belief is nothing more than a historical faith, and not saving faith.  Perhaps it’s nothing but a head-knowledge.  You are placing your faith in your faith, rather than placing it in the Word of God.  The Scriptures say that the demons believe and tremble.  The issue isn’t THAT you believe, but WHAt you believe.  The matter must reside outside of yourself for it to be saving faith.  Our faith must be directed not to ourselves, but to God’s Word.  With the universal atonement, the eyes of my heart are plainly directed to the Word where I am told that Christ suffered and died for MY sins and YOUR sins, as He died for the sin of the whole world. 
 
As to your second question, the reason not everyone is saved (even though Christ died for them) is “because THEY RECEIVED NOT the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thes. 2:10).  “For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH” (Eph. 2:8).  We must believe the objective Word of God in order to be saved.  Faith is the hand that receives the gift, but there can be no faith without the objective Word (Rom. 10:17).  The Word of God works the very faith in us that is needed to respond.  Consider Lazurus.  The very Word that said, “Lazurus, come forth” also worked in him the ability to come forth.  No good thing comes from man, as the Arminians falsely claim.

40 johnMark December 2, 2008 at 12:21 am

Stuart,

ABClay answered you with Scripture even.  Then you came back and said, “You see, your confidence is in yourself, in the fact that YOU believe. 
But how do you know that you really believe?  Perhaps your belief is
nothing more than a historical faith, and not saving faith.  Perhaps
it’s nothing but a head-knowledge.  You are placing your faith in your
faith, rather than placing it in the Word of God.

Why don’t you show us from Scripture, as you’ve asserted, just what ABClay really believes per what he’s stated?  In whom is ABClay’s faith placed?  Atleast attempt to back up your assertions if you’re going to make so many of them.

Please show us from Scripture where evangelism is done by telling unbelievers that Christ died for them personally.

Mark

41 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 12:34 am

Hi JohnMark,
 
Sorry for the long posting, as it really was an article that I had written for another occasion, but thought that it would be appropriate here.  I believe its proofs are irrefutable and will be shown to be in accordance with the truth and purity of God’s holy Word on that final day. 
 
As for your questions, I am not a Calvinist nor an Arminian, but a true orhtodox Lutheran (not to be confused with modern-day Lutherans).  I hold completely to the true doctrines of the bondage of man’s will and of predestination.  In that sense, I am in agreement with the Calvinist.   But I also hold to the necessary doctrine of the universal atonement of Christ.  I see salvation like the Passover house.  On the outside of the house (over the door), it says, “whosoever will, let him come… for God so loved the world, etc.”  This a lost sinner needs to hear.  On the inside of the house (over the door), it says, “do not think that you chose Me, but I have chosen you, etc.”  This is so that no man might glory in himself the presence of God.  All things are from Him, and through Him, and to Him.  To God be the glory.
 
Now the most important thing to tell you JohnMark is that there is no believing upon Christ without believing upon His Word.  Any believing upon Christ without the Word is pure imagination and worse, even idolatry.  We know Christ only as He has revealed Himself in the Word.  The Word of God is the voice of the Shepherd.  When Luther speaks of believing upon Christ, he means (as can be seen in the quote) to believe upon His Word how that He is “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  Do you believe this?
 
As to your confidence in your own faith, I will refer you to what I just wrote to ABClay.  We mustn’t have faith in our faith.  Rather we must have faith in the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).

42 ABClay December 2, 2008 at 12:39 am

Brother Stuart,I can assure you that you are absolutely confusing the heck out of my simple mind.I have faith (and this is not of myself Ephesians 2:8).  This faith is in the Word of God for the Word of God tells me that Christ died for me (among other things).  What are you arguing?  My confidence is in myself?  You make Edwards easy to understand.

43 ABClay December 2, 2008 at 12:42 am

When did I say “I have faith in my faith”?  Clearly you are reading something into what I said so that you can make a point.Okay…I give.

44 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 12:45 am

JohMark,
 
I’ve got to get to bed as I have to be up early tomorrow.  But to quickly answer your question about my response to ABClay.  My point to him was that we need the objective universal Gospel, “how that Christ died for OUR sins” in order to have our faith derived from and grounded in the Word of God.  There is no such thing as faith that doesn’t come from the objective Word of God (Rom. 10:17).  With limiited atonement, there is no verse that tells me that Christ died for ME personally.  He died for the elect, I’m told, but how do I know I am one of the elect, as I stand outside the holy city as a poor lost sinner?  This is the whole issue.

45 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 12:49 am

ABClay,
 
If you have faith in the Word of God, then tell me specifically what Word of God is it (chapter and verse) that you are trusting in for your salvation?  This will show you what I am talking about.

46 Robert December 2, 2008 at 7:31 am

Stuart,
Yes…we can be friends, but that doesn’t change the fact that you refuse to support your assertions with scripture exegesis.
 
Restating your assertions is not an argument…it’s just smoke and mirrors as I said.
 
I wasn’t afraid to show you my exegesis of Acts 13:48…can you do the same with John 6:35-45?
 
If you don’t reply with that…then don’t bother replying to me again…you’ve told me all I need to know.
 
God bless and check your beliefs against scripture…not proof texting.

47 Robert December 2, 2008 at 7:51 am

Stuart,

Also keep in mind; don’t
read your “traditions” into scripture…that’s why exegesis is so
important.

You keep mentioning “whosover”
like it’s a universal offer of salvation…it’s not.

In fact is NOT in the
Greek at all, but is  representative of  3 words “pas ho
pistewn” which literally is “all of the believing ones” or
“all those that believe”

 It’s a statement
identifying a group of people; “the ones that believe.” It’s used all
through Johns writings, and you just inject the idea of universal OFFER INTO IT…it’s
not actually in the text at all.

 John 3:16 is a
great example:

 “For (gar: connecting
this statement to the preceding statements for context) in this way God loved
the world (kosmos: this is too big to get into here) that He gave his unique
(monogenes) Son, that (hina: for the purpose of) whosoever (those that believe)
would not perish, (alla: adversative “but) have eternal life.”

 

Can you see that it’s
not an OFFER of salvation; but it’s a statement about what has been done
by God?

“Those that
believe.” Calvinist’s have no problem with that…that’s
a true statement…if a person believes, then God will save them…no
question about it.

So watch your traditions
and statements about what’s “plain” to see.

48 Robert December 2, 2008 at 8:45 am

PS: Bad choice of words on my part:
 
“…if a person believes, then God will save them…
 
I didn’t mean to imply that God reacts to their belief by saving them…
 
More exactly “The ones that believe will be saved”

49 johnMark December 2, 2008 at 9:14 am

Stuart,

You claimed – My point to him was that we need the objective universal Gospel, “how
that Christ died for OUR sins” in order to have our faith derived from
and grounded in the Word of God.

Show us the above from Scripture.  If you cannot then stop making assertions. 

Have you ever spoken with someone who doesn’t speak English?  You say something and they don’t understand?  Even when you speak louder saying the same thing they still don’t understand because they don’t speak the same language.  That’s what’s going on here.  You keep repeating your assertions, but the interpretive lens continues to be you rather than God’s word.

Help us out here…

Mark

50 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 10:00 am

JohnMark,
 
The problem here is that unbelief in the plain naked objective Word of God is not allowing you to hear what I am saying (cf. John 8 & 9).  I do know what you are saying as I myself once believed in limited atonement and even taught it to others as a pastor.  But as you are seemingly sincere in wanting to understand, I will give it one more go and perhaps the truth will break through.
 
To sum up:
1.  While limited atonement is a reasonable deduction from the doctrine of election, it is not Scriptural nor in keeping with the many testimonies of the believing church (see references in my article).  Reason will commonly take one Scriptural truth and draw a conclusion that violates Scripture (i.e. shall we continue in sin that grace might aboud?)
2.  The doctrine of limited atonement changes the very definition of the Gospel from “Christ died for OUR sins” to “Christ died for sins”.  The correct Gospel must not be changed (Gal. 1:8, 9).
3.  Without the universality of the atonement, there is no way for me or any other person to be able to believe and know with certainty that Christ died for MY sins.  I must know my election BEFORE I know my salvation.  It’s really the other way around (notice where Paul discusses election in the Book of Romans – ch. 9).
4.  If I do not believe that Christ died for MY sins, I do not believe the Gospel, and thus am not saved.  And this belief that Christ died for my sins must be derived from the objective Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
 
To show the truth of all this, I will ask you the same question that I asked ABClay, If your faith in Christ’s atonement is truly derived from the Word of God, then tell me specifically what Word of God it is (chapter and verse) that you are trusting in for your salvation?  This will show you what I am talking about. 

51 Robert December 2, 2008 at 10:09 am

Stuart,
this is getting tiresome…

I’m going to ask you point blank…do you intent to interact directly with scripture or not?

If not…then don’t bother posting…you’re just clogging up the internet wires…

52 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 10:27 am

Robert,

Below are my Scriptures. All the “exegeting” in the world is not going to make them go away. And even if you “exegete” one or two away, you still have another 26 or 27 to go. This is truly “kicking against the goads”. Here are the verses. If you won’t listen to them, neither will you listen to me, nor even if “someone rose from the dead”. As God said through Habakkuk, “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you”.

The Scriptures:

At the very birth of Christ, the angel of the Lord told the shepherds abiding in the fields outside of Bethlehem, “behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luk. 2:10). When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him, he cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus, speaking of Himself and His mission, testifies, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). The men of Samaria declare, “This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42). The Apostle Paul calls Christ “the Saviour of all men” (1 Tim. 4:10). He plainly states that God “will have all men to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4), that Christ “gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6), and that “one died for all” (2 Cor. 5:14). He also proclaims that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor. 5:19). The writer of Hebrews testifies that Christ “tasted death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). The Apostle Peter speaks of false teachers and prophets who were “even denying the Lord that bought them” (2 Pet. 2:1). He further says that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). The Apostle John likewise testifies, “he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). And this is only a sampling of the many verses teaching the universal atonement of Christ for the sins of the world. There are actually at least 28 clear verses plainly stating this important doctrine. Other verses asserting the same truth are Luke 14:16-24; 22:20, 21; John 3:17-18; 6:33, 51; 8:26; 12:47; 16:8, 9; Acts 13:26; 17:31; Rom. 14:15; 1 Cor. 8:11; 15:1-4; 2 Cor. 4:3,4; 1 Tim. 2:5; Tit. 2:11; 3:4; Heb. 10:28, 29; and 1 John 4:13, 14. Isaiah writes, “To the law and to the testimonies; if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20).

53 Robert December 2, 2008 at 10:32 am

Stuart,
Ok…you just answered my question about what’s the ruling element; your undertanding, or scripture itself…

Have a good day…I’ll not post her on this subject again.

Stuart, I pray that you think about what’s been said about hermeneutics, context, and exegesis.

And I pray that God opens your eyes to the truth of Scripture.

And just one last time…if you want to be taken seriously and not waste your time, doing more that making bald assertions is probably your best bet.

54 johnMark December 2, 2008 at 10:39 am

I agree with Robert. And as the blog owner I’m not sure what to do just yet. I’ve never banned anyone and don’t want to. However, I also don’t want to have these long winded responses that are fruitless and repetitive.

So if it’s just going to be more of the same with no Scriptural interaction it will be time to end this part of the conversation with Stuart.

I appreciate everyone’s patience.

Mark

55 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 10:42 am

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” – John 3:10

56 ABClay December 2, 2008 at 10:53 am

Brother Stuart,

I think that you believe that you may have found the “end all” (after almost 1700 years) argument against limited atonement. Because it is in your best interest, whether it be self-promotion or otherwise to “prove” your argument, you refuse to reason from scripture and answer questions directly. You continually speak in innuendo and semantics and instead of letting the scripture speak for themselves, you choose to talk in circles.

In answer to your question to me, as to what scripture I have to support my belief in my salvation, I will only point to one because it will provide me with a segue into the question from me to you that you have yet to answer.

Colossians 2:14 says in reference to Christ’s work on the cross: “He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.”

Now God has opened my eyes and given me faith to believe in His Word. In the verse quoted above, the Apostle Paul summarizes the forensics of the cross as it relates to my standing before God. Because Christ took the debt that was due me (this would be eternal damnation in hell), because of my sinful transgressions against God, and nailed it to the cross.

Why did this happen? Because God knew me before time began. He wrote my name in the book of life. I of all people know that I do not deserve this, I deserve death for hating God and rebelling against Him, but He chose me, He gave me Grace so that I could believe. It was God’s plan from the beginning of time to have His Son, my Lord, Christ Jesus to do this.

But He was pierced because of our transgressions,crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him,and we are healed by His wounds

It makes me sick to think of this when I look at how wretched and undeserving that I am. What can I do to ever repay God? Nothing. Nothing that I can do will ever measure the sacrifice that was made for em and sinners like me. All I can do is pray that God will work through me, that He will continue to sanctify me so that I can bring Him glory and honor.

Now, If this is what Christ did on the cross, as scripture tells me, and if Christ died for everyone as you claim, why does anyone meet eternal damnation? Did Christ die all of the sins except “disbelief”? From the best that I can understand, your argument falls apart on this note.

And also, I express the sentiments of Robert and johnMark. Please deal with this matter from scripture. You will find that we are all loving men who welcome debate, but our standard is the Word of God, not your reasoning.

Grace and Peace..

ABClay

57 ABClay December 2, 2008 at 11:01 am

@johnMark,

Do as you wish brother. I was constructing my answer while you guys were trying to get him to reason from scripture.

I will submit to your decision with no objection because you and Robert are correct.

ABClay

58 ABClay December 2, 2008 at 11:02 am

Geez..

When I read what he wrote, it’s almost like I am reading something that David Koresh wrote.

ABClay

59 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 11:23 am

Thank you, ABClay,

You appear to be the most honest here, with JohnMark in second place, and Robert pulling up the rear.

Let’s start with that wonderful verse from Colossians 2:14, “He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.” The key word, in regards to our discussion here, is the word “us”. Christ erased the debt that was “aginst us”, and “opposed to us”. Now you believe that you are part of this “us”, as I also do. But I believe I am part of the “us” because I believe that Christ died for the sins of all men, the sins of all of “us”. You, however, believe that you are part of the “us” because you believe that you are one of God’s elect. Now the key question, then, is on what basis do you believe that you are one of God’s elect? And I am quite certain that without a universal atonement, you can point to no other basis but your own subjective experience. That basis is a foundation of sand, and will topple even Colossians 2:14 for you.

As for your question for me, that is, why are unbelieving men still condemned even though Christ died for them, I have answered sufficently above. The problem is that they do not believe, and the gift of salvation must be received by faith in the revealed Gospel promise. Unbelief makes the work and Word of Christ ineffectual to them. The Gospel promise is only effectual through the conduit of faith in the revealed Word. While Christ did indeed pay for their pardon, they end up without it, because they refuse and reject the pardon and the payment. In the final analysis, it is only their unbelief that is their “unforgiveable sin”. Jesus said, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me” (John 16:8, 9).

60 ABClay December 2, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Stuart,

You have evidenced in your last post precisely the problem that Brothers johnMark and Robert have with your arguments.

One of the rules that I use is very simple. A verse can never mean what it never meant. For your explanation of Colossians 2:14 to be true, then the epistle to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ in Colossae written by the Apostle Paul was not written the saints and faithful brothers in Christ in Colossae as shown in Colossians 1:2, but was written to all sinners everywhere.

It’s basic stuff really, and as a pastor of a church who is charged to rightly divide the Word of truth, it is my estimation that you fall short in this regard. I encourage you to examine the way in which you interpret the texts in the future so that you may not be guilty of misleading those to whom you are speaking.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

61 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 4:02 pm

ABClay,

Nice try, but no dice. I will now slay you with your own sword. You have apparently overlooked the words “in Colossae”. If you want to restrict the word “us” in Col. 2:14 to the readers only, then you yourself are excluded from the verse, excluded from the very foundation upon which you say that you stand. For you are not “in Colossae”, are you? Also, if we assume a universal atonement, the verse would still have been expressed as it was written. In fact, if Paul was limiting the atonement, we would have expected him to at least have put in a disclaimer (“I am only speaking to believers. Please do not forget that Christ did not die for everybody.”) By your reasoning, when Paul said in Galatians that “I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20), then Paul is stating that he himself is the only one for whom Christ died.

You see, in truth ABClay, I don’t really have a problem with the “us” in Colossians referring only to believers or even only to Paul’s readers in that context, but that does not mean that Christ did not also die for the sins of all men, as Paul clearly expresses elsewhere (1 TIm. 2:4; 2:6; 4:10; Acts 13:26; 17:31; Rom. 14:15; 1 Cor. 8:11; 15:1-4; 2 Cor. 4:3,4; 5:14; 5:19; 1 Tim. 2:5; Tit. 2:11; 3:4; Heb. 2:9; 10:28, 29 – look them up!). Sometimes Paul does speak particularly, and so does Jesus (John 10), but the problem is when you take those particular verses and then force them upon the universal verses. At that point you are “wresting” (lit. torturing) the Scriptures to make them confess what you want them to confess rather than letting them confess for themselves. And here is an interesting question for you, since we are talking about the Apostle Paul, how is it that Paul could wish himself accursed for the sake of his unbelieving brethren according to the flesh (Rom. 9:3), and Christ was not willing to do the same? Are we to assume that Paul had a greater love than Christ, who is Love? Think about that!

62 abclay December 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Bro. Stuart,

I see your point but it holds little water. Let me just say that while I am not “in Colossae, I am “Christ Jesus” so I have an infinitely greater claim to Paul’s exhortation than those outside of Christ, though you would not describe me this way. I am studying for exams so I don’t have much time for rebuttal at present. Please understand.

God Bless,

ABClay

63 Stuart December 2, 2008 at 5:26 pm

ABClay,

The verse reads “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse”, so my point stands, water and all. The epistle is clearly addressed to the believers “at Colosse”. Since you are not a believer “at Colosse”, it is not addressed to you if indeed you want to restrict it to its immediate recipients. Anyway, enough of that.

I know you need to study, and you don’t need to respond, but you bring up a good point that I would like you to think about. You say that you are “in Christ”, and I assume that you would agree that to be “in Christ” is also to be “in a saved state”. We would probably also agree that to be “outside of Christ” is to be lost and to be still “in the world”. Now the question we have been discussing is really how one moves from being “outside of Christ” (in a lost state) to being “in Christ” (a saved state). You and your friends basically keep saying to me that they know they are saved because they are “in Christ”. But that is like saying “I know I am in Christ because I am in Christ”. That doesn’t deal with the issue. The issue is – not where you are now, but how did you get to be “in Christ”? And the answer that I am trying to communicate to you all is that the universal Gospel is the only door by which a lost sinner can move from being “outside Christ” to being “in Christ”. I think we would agree that when a person is initally “outside Christ” he does not at that time have the knowledge that he is one of God’s elect. Thus, it is imperative that the Gospel door be addressed to him as he is – a sinful man belonging to the whole world of sinful men. Otherwise, no one would know if they were invited and whether they can legitamately accept the invitation. Carefully consider the Parable of the Wedding Feast – Matt. 22:1-14. “Many are called, but few are chosen”.

64 Thomas Twitchell December 2, 2008 at 10:59 pm

‘I assume that you would agree that to be “in Christ” is also to be “in a saved state”.’

Well, not necessarily. Let me try to clearify this statement and perhaps it will answer the universal claims.

When I say in Christ, there is two ways in which I mean this. First and for most, we are in Christ from before the foundations of the world. That is, he is one body. What that means, is what it says. Second, we are in him, in time when by the Holy Spirit we are united with him.

Now, I have begun a study in Hebrews. And the thrust of it is that it is the body of Christ which was crucified. Look at the varioius references and connect the dots. It is his blood, that sanctified his body and as one, once for all he entered into the heavenlies there to appear before God for “us”. Now put that together with the fact that Ephesians says that we are seated with him, now. And you’ll begin to get the picture as to why the universal claims are restricted to the members of his body which were lost, and not the generality of mankind. We were, according to Christ, sanctified with him when he was crucified, as Paul said if we died with him, past tense. John and Hebrews agrees that the ONE sanctified is one with those who are sanctified. Christ was sanctified at Calvary, and so were those whom the Father gave him, for they were with him where he was at, he in the Father and they in us and we in them. Then, there were no others who were there for which the blood was spilled. As Jesus said he has lost no one and puts it in past and future perspective so that we know that it is not just retrospective but prospective covering all those who through all time were to be the heirs of the kingdom. Not one is lost.

You challenged how we know. But to know is to be known. We know because we know. The other question that you had was how? And I can only refer you to the commandment, repent and believe. The Gospel call goes to all and the sheep know his voice because they are his, the rest, will not respond no matter how much he pleas. The only reason that anyone can have for knowing that they are welcome is the plea. But, the only way that we can know the plea is legitimate is if it was made for us in particular. Otherwise, if it were only general, we might not think it necessarily ours. If God has said that he has saved us, it is far more dependable that if he had merely said I will save you if… How could we trust, if, we see that not all are saved? We know from Scripture that some do believe but fail to enter. We know that not all even hear the Gospel. But, if we hear his voice saying “Return to me for I have redeemed you.” The question is settled.

As I often instruct, the reason that we can have assurance is that we are already in heaven seated with Christ. When we hear him say come to the Supper, we are already seated with him. We can cross the great gulf because, we already have.

65 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 12:07 am

Thomas,

Thank you for responding to me. I don’t doubt that you think you are really on to something here, and perhaps in your mind it’s all an air-tight, shut-and-closed case, but unfortunately it doesn’t address the issues we’ve been discussing. The question isn’t whether God sees a saved person “in Christ” before the foundation of the world. We all know He does that. The question is whether the person himself is “in Christ” before he believes. We are talking about the things that belong to time and to the common Christian experience, not to eternity and the hidden will of God. Would you not agree that the person himself does not even exist until he is born? And, when born, he is born (even conceived) in sin and belongs to the world of sinful men, a lost and condemned sinner. As such, he is “in Adam”, not “in Christ”; he is “in the world”, not “in the heavenlies”; he is “in the flesh”, not “in the Spirit”, etc. And the issue at hand is – by what means is the sinner “transferred out of the kingdom of darkenss into the kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Col. 1)?

If you read the thread of this discussion, you will see that I have asserted that it is by faith in the Gospel that this conversion takes place. As Paul said, “The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). And I have further asserted above that this Gospel must necessarily be a universal Gospel, as the Scriptures clearly teach. The reason is that when a person is initially “outside Christ” he does not at that time have the knowledge that he is one of God’s elect. Thus, it is imperative that the Gospel tidings be addressed to him as he is – a sinful man belonging to the whole world of sinful men. The only message that can be preached to him by which he may be saved is “how Christ died for OUR sins” (1 Cor. 15:3). It is this wonderful word “OUR” that announces to him the happy news that he, yes, even he, is included in Christ’s great redemptive work. The universal Gospel alone is the Jubilee trumpet that sets the captives free. No other gospel will do (Gal. 1:8, 9).

66 Thomas Twitchell December 3, 2008 at 1:03 am

Well,

The temporal I thought I answered. But, let’s get the terminology correct. We experience conversion. We do not experience regeneration. We experience the effects of regeneration, the mind along with the will are renewed, conviction of truth with the accompanying recoginition of our depravity, et cetera are all parts of the conversion experience; the effects of regeneration. The ability to hear, the hearing of preaching and the opening of the mind/heart to understand are effects of regeneration, not its cause. Conversion doesn’t happen without the preaching of the Gospel in some form. So when you mention conversion, know this, that cannot happen until after regeneration. We understand that we have been regenerated by the effects of it, one of those being faith.

Still, as I said, the universal call is necessary so that those who are Christ will be called. Only the called in Christ hear, and only those who were in Christ from eternity are those who will be in Christ in conversion and they are that by regeneration. It is the Gospel call that sets the captives free, no doubt, but we are not talking about that when discussing the limited atonement, we are speaking about the intent of the sacrifice, and that is only for those who were decreed to be atoned for. It is called substitutionary for a reason, it is the One for the one. As was pointed out to you the “our” in Corinthians is limited by the audience as Gene said. So are most other occurances. By the way that is also the case with Calvin. It is the particularity of the sacrifice, which in the OT was a this for that, which give us our confidence. And here is the case, we were in Jesus in the sacrifice, and that alone is the reason that we are regenerated in time and then experience conversion. Jesus died such that his body was resurrected, we are that body. As he said those who are drawn by the Father come to him, those who come to him take up their cross, those who take up their cross are crucified with him and if he is lifted up all those men who are drawn he will raise up. There is no exception. It is only those who were in Christ from the creation given to the Son who are drawn. In time, as our confession reads the Spirit having effectually raise our spirits from deadness does quicken our understanding by the Gospel to faith in Christ. That is how we get in. We know it after the fact, just as we know all other things after the fact, just as Jesus said, “Now you do not understand, but the when the Holy Spirit comes, then…” It is only after you have the Holy Spirit that you can understand, and you can only understand Jesus told Nick after you’re born again, and only when you are born again do you have the Spirit. It is having the Spirit which is union with Christ, something we do not understand until after conversion.

Anyway, you have been answered explicitly and at length. I and others like James White believe in the free offer. That does not however mean that it is an open offer. The Father knows those who are his, and they and they alone here his voice.

67 Robert December 3, 2008 at 9:41 am

this was posted at Aomin.
It’s a respones to the insipid rehashing of that “WHOSOEVER” that keeps getting thrown around by those who are bound my tradition (Stuart are you listening?)

take a look

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3003

68 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 10:31 am

Thomas,

That was a good and thoughtful and helpful answer, and I appreciate that. I’m not sure what Robert’s talking about, as he continues to leave dribble on his beard, but yours is a good answer. The reason I appreciate it is that it really narrows things down. You plainly state that a universal call is necessary, which for me is half the battle. Now the single crucial question here is – what specifically is that universal call? In a single sentence, how would you define the Gospel as spoken to a lost soul? Can your theology allow you to tell a person you do not know that “Jesus Christ died for HIS sins”?

69 johnMark December 3, 2008 at 11:13 am

Stuart,

You said

I’m not sure what Robert’s talking about, as he continues to leave dribble on his beard..

I’m not sure Robert even has a beard, but you continue to leave dribble on my website. It’s too bad you aren’t understanding Robert since he’s been replying well.

Can your theology allow you to tell a person you do not know that “Jesus Christ died for HIS sins”?

My answer is “yes” in so far as there is a sense in which Jesus died for all which does not necessarily mean He atoned for all sins.

Can you show us in Scripture when the Gospel is preached that the one delivering the Gospel, whether it be Peter or Paul or whoever, tells the hearers the Christ died for “their sins?” Just pick a portion from Scripture where the Gospel is preached to unbelievers and show us.

Mark

70 Robert December 3, 2008 at 11:14 am

Stuart,
Do you know what “ad-hominem” is?

It’s an example of bad argumentation and is used when a person doesn’t want to deal with the SUBSTANCE of a person’s point, but would like to misdirect it and hopefully dodge it entirely.

You have not INTERACTED WITH THE SUBSTANCE of my posts directly but only shot ad-hominems my way.

Thus showing that you do not want to honestly deal with the issues at hand but only soapbox your own; unwilling to actually study scripture honestly, contextually, hermeneutically, historically, and gramatically.

I’m ready to stop dribbling on my beard when you interact with my:

Exegesis of Acts 2:38
Challenge to exegete John 6:35-45

Those are both specific to the issue at hand, and not personally attacking you in any way.

Once again…the ball is in your court.

71 Thomas Twitchell December 3, 2008 at 11:24 am

I would not tell a person that, because I would not know. We do not know until by the Holy Spirit we are quickened. Until then the Gospel does not penetrate. It is as is it is not speaking to us. But, that is not our concern. Ours is to preach the Gospel in and out of season being ready to give every man an answer for the hope that is in us. Every man an answer for the hope in us. God knows those who are his, we will only know them in eternity. So the question never comes up. The thing that I can tell anyone is that Christ died for sinners of which I am the chief. I can tell them if today they hear his voice do not harden your heart. And this is key, no one who is not his sheep, who the Lord has not quickened by his Spirit, can hear his voice. The universal call is just that. Jesus said, “Why is it that you do not hear what I say?” And, “To you it has been granted to understand the mystery of the Kingdom, but to them it has not.” We do not know who those “them” are, though he did, and does. Ours is simply to speak the truth. To the dead the universal call will be heard as parables that are not comprehended, but to the sheep who have been given life, he explains what he says.

That is as far as it goes. We have two concepts of calling. There is as you have described it the univerality of the Gospel. And then, we have we know as the effectual call. If you want a interpretive look at it, Lazarus was called forth from the grave. However, before he came forth, logically there would have been a quickening, a call which cannot be heard by man, a call known only by the Spirit. The unconscious need to be awakened by that call, before they can hear the call of the Gospel. Now, the effectual call can be one and the same time with the external, it however logically must be the Spirit calling to life before the external call is heard. Such is the case with Lazarus as I am interpreting it, but it was also the case with people like John the Baptist who from the womb was filled with the Spirit long before he would be old enough to comprehend the words of the Gospel.

How God works as John 3 explains is a mystery with the Spirit conceiving in the hidden place beyond the sight of man. Like the wind, we see it in passing, but we do not know from where it comes. It is therefore not by outward call as a necessity or Jesus would not have said that it is hidden. To the contrary, we see and hear the wind but the power of it has already gone forth. It is a mystery as to “how a man is with a maid.” Conception prior to the modern era was a mystery and that is what the allusion to being born is about. What is done in that secret place is a secret, and when it happens also. It is not associated with the birth, which is accompanied with words of proclaimation, it is associated with the conception. For the word born in English we normally associate with the breach of the womb. But, the old English word was borne, meaning that which is carried. We do not say birthed, we say born, but the fact is, that which was birthed was born in the secret place, where it was conceived out of sight and out of mind of man through the actions, not of the conceptus, and not of those who will proclaim the birth, but by others in time past. So, the word in the Greek is not birth, tikto, but born, gennao. The second is genesis, beginning, conception. While it is true that the word is used similarly as the English, the idea it conveys is singulary distinct in John 3 due to the fact that what is anothen gennao (recreated, created above as Jesus said of his own in John 17) is done in secret. So, it is not that Jesus is saying that unless you are birthed, but unless you are conceived from above, genesissed, recreated. Having been recreated, in due time by the Word of the universal external call, we are brought forth, tikto.

We need to make the distinction that the call in the Spirit is likened to that first call in genesis when God said let there be and there was. It was afterward, after the breath of life was in Adam that he heard and responded to the gracious gift given him.

72 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 11:37 am

Robert/JohnMark,

First, Robert, I’m sorry if I have misunderstood you. From my end, it just sounds like an prejudiced mind that blindly attacks with self-selected agenda which doesn’t address my concerns, and even if answered, would take me on fruitless tangents. For instance, I have given you 28 clear verses dealing with the universality of Christ’s atonement, none of which depend upon the word “whosoever”, and you want me to listen to a sermon on “whosoever”. Even if the sermon proved the point, big deal, it doesn’t change anything.

Now, JohnMark, you have told me something very interesting. You have told me that you would answer my question with a “yes”, and that “there is a sense in which Jesus died for all”. Perhaps, I am misunderstanding you as well as Robert, but isn’t this an admission to the whole point that I have been trying to communicate? And if not, please explain to me the “sense” in which you mean? Since you believe that Chirsit died only for the elect, then on what basis could you truthfully tell a person whom you do not know that “Christ died for HIS sins”?

73 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Thomas,

JohnMark answered my question with a “yes”, and you have answered my question with a “no”. I like JohnMark’s answer better than your answer, but I confess that yours is truly consistent with your belief in a limited atonement. But while it is consistent, it is wrong and leaves you with “another Gospel”. You see, we cannot have two Gospels, one which tells a person that “Christ died for HIS sins” and one that tells him “Christ died for sins”, whether HIS OWN we cannot say. And let me ask you this, which one would come to this man as Good News? The one that addresses him in his own personal need as a poor lost sinner, or the one that communicates that the atoning work is for some but it may not be for him? In fact, how could such a man EVER come to know with certainty that it is for him? Would he not be left to his own subjective experience? Would he not be later forced to tell others, “you know because you know”? How is this any differenct than the Mormon’s “burning in the bossom”? No, away with all this, we must build only upon the Rock, that is, the plain clear objective Word of our God and Saviour, which tells us that “Christ died for OUR sins”.

74 Thomas Twitchell December 3, 2008 at 12:32 pm

“My answer is “yes” in so far as there is a sense in which Jesus died for all which does not necessarily mean He atoned for all sins.”

This is what johnMark said. You bastardized it to make your point. The fact is that his statement and mine are not in disagreement. Note his qualifier.

You have done what is being done by the detractors of J316C.

Let me ask you. Have you experience salvation.

I by the way have not negated the objectived word of God but you have negated the fact that Scripture declares that His Spirit bears witness with ours that we are the children.

What you do is to deny Scripture and at the same time proclaim yourself as its defended. Yes we know because we know. You know because the word of God tells you. We know be cause he tells us what the Word of God has said. You only lack one thing, the Spirit. Until he graces you with himself and not just the dead letter of Scripture, you will continue to believe as you do.

It is not two Gospels. And you deny the very words of Christ that says that only some can hear the offer. You blaspheme Christ and call your self a defender of Him? We offer one Gospel and a commandment that all repent and believe. And we believe the Scripture that not all hear and repent and believe. You deny it.

So, as you said, away with this. You are simply a troubler.

75 johnMark December 3, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Stuart,

First, I do not normally just say to the unbeliever, “Christ died for you” and leave it at that. I just don’t see that in Scripture. My qualification that there is a sense in which Christ died for all may be summed up by Phil Johnson here:

Now meanwhile, there are certain benefits of the atonement that accrue directly to the non-elect, the reprobate. Spurgeon said it well in a sermon entitled “Good Cheer for Many that Fear”, Spurgeon said this: “We believe that by His atoning sacrifice, Christ bought some good things for all men and all good things for some men. And that when He died He had a definite purpose in dying and that His purpose will certainly be effected.”

I think it would do you well to read Johnson’s whole article because I’m not sure you really understand what it is you’re arguing against from our perspective.

Again, my “yes” was a qualified one. Generally, we speak to people in a context. So, even saying by itself “Christ died for you” doesn’t make much sense without first understanding Who God is and what sinners people are. I might say something explaining the goodness and grace of God as seen by sending Jesus to us. God has given us all good things through Jesus death and resurrection. The most important grace God has given is eternal life to all who will repent of their sin and believe the Gospel.

Scripturally, the Gospel makes the most sense explained as Jesus died to save those who will believe in Him.

Thomas is right, we aren’t holding to two different Gospels. I don’t see Calvinists going around evangelizing people by explaining a very strict view of limited atonement. We simply let the Bible guide us.

Mark

76 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Thomas,

I believe that Ahab accused Elijah of being a “troubler”, so I will take that as a compliment. I obviously have hit a sensitive cord, and for one reason only – what I wrote there is TRUE and you cannot deny it. So you try to cover your nakedness with a the smoke of outrage and a garment of dead leaves. You say I “bastardized” JohnMark’s statement. Let’s let JohnMark speak for himself. I have asked plainly for an explanation from him, which so far it appears he doesn’t know how to respond to. From what you are saying, it looks like he will have to make a distinction between “Jesus died for all” and “He atoned for all sins”. This will be interesting to see if he can pull it off. Incidentally, this is exactly what you do everytime you run into a contradiction with the Scripture. You create a new category. So we have people “in Christ” before they are saved and “in Christ” after they are saved”, we have the distinction between “conversion” and “regeneration”; we have “being born” and “being birthed”; we have “the universal call” and “the effectual call”, etc., etc., etc. This is theology made easy, just create a new category when you run into a problem, or in other words, just speak out of both sides of your mouth. Take note, dear readers, it is the serpent himself who is known for his “forked tongue”.

On the opposite side, where we are plainly talking about two different Gospels, you insist that there is only one Gospel (which I agree with). But notice that you will not let the TRUE GOSPEL stand as written, how that “Christ died for OUR sins”, that Happy News I spoke of. No, YOUR false gospel must be the only gospel, even though it brings Good News to no one. It is plain that your foundation is not the Word of God, but the flimsy sands of human experience, just like the Mormons and the whole host of other man-made religions. The word is in your mouth, “Have you EXPERIENCED salvation?”

77 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 1:47 pm

JohnMark,

Thanks for getting back to me. I know you are laboring under a heavy burden with this terrible doctrine of limited atonement, and I believe that you really want to be able to tell a person whom you don’t know that “Christ died for HIS sins”, and you have done your best to give me an explanation of “the sense” in which this can be said. And what I am hearing is that you can tell him that “some good things” have accrued to his benefit by the atoning work of Christ, but not “the forgiveness of sins”. That, is reserved for the elect alone. According to you, this is the Glad Tidings that will set this captive free. Sorry, I don’t buy it, whether carefully explained by Spurgeon, Phil Johnson, or Lucifer himself.

Incidentally, I am very familiar with Phil Johnson. I used to teach at Grace Community Church under John MacArthur. I also once asked John MacArthur in person about the extent of Christ’s atonement. The year was 1993. And he himself told me these words. “Stuart, let me tell you something. If Christ did not die for sins of every human being, you could not preach the Gospel.” Those are his words, not mine. And he was correct. I am only sorry that he has had such a terrible fall from the truth in his latter years. He is an honest man, and I believe he would listen to an honest argument. But he is basically inaccessible, being surrounded by an entourage of carnal “yes men”, who only are seeking the advancement of their own personal careers and not the cause of truth. Thi is true of every single one of them, with Phil Johnson being the worst. Mark my words, in the final day, Phil Johnson will be shown to not be a Christian at all. He is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, despite every appearance that he and others may give to the contrary. If you don’t believe me, then send him this series of discussions we have been having, and I will personally pull the mask off of him in front of your very eyes.

78 Robert December 3, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Stuart,
you continue to evade…

ONE LAST TIME….(As if I haven’t said that a few times)

INTERACT WITH MY EXEGESIS OF ACTS 2:38

AND

EXEGETE JOHN 6:35-45

both of these requests are relevant to the questions at hand…

JUST SAYING THAT YOU GAVE 28 VERSE IS A USELESS STATEMENT AND DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING…

Can you understand???

JUST PROOFTEXTING IS USELESS

Do you get it????

Exegete the passages that are relevant to the discussion….

Do you understand english?

79 johnMark December 3, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Stuart,

Are you stating that Phil Johnson is not a Christian? On what basis? Are those who hold to limited atonement not Christians in your view?

If you are making the above charges it’s time for you to repent.

This is just like the hyper-Calvinists who says that if one doesn’t hold to Calvinism they he isn’t saved.

Mark

80 Darrin December 3, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Even if Stuart comes back from his job, I hope that you other gents don’t waste much more time with him. I do hope that one day his zeal is joined by wisdom. I also hope for his vocation’s sake that he is more skilled at that than he is in exegesis and exposition. I don’t want to sound mean, but his claims and accusations are biblically unfounded and harmful.

81 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 4:37 pm

JohnMark,

Not all those who hold to limited atonement are not Christians. There are people, who in their simplicity, do not understand the implications that this wicked doctrine has upon the pure and holy Gospel itself. These ones, possibly like yourself, assume the correct Gospel without recognizing that limited atonement negates it and establishes a false gospel. If you re-read my article (second to last paragraph) you will see that Calvin may well have been one of these truly saved ones, as evident in his Last Will and Testament. These people are saved through what the orthodox Lutheran theologians called “a blessed inconsistency”. They have blindly parroted the error of their teachers, but are still saved so long as their hope is really in the true Gospel, how that “Christ died for OUR sins”.

Now when we have a case like Phil Johnson, the situation is different. The reason being that he not only holds to limited atonement and teaches it to others, but he also persistently opposes and blasphemes the true Gospel, which is the ONLY foundation upon which a true Christian can stand. As Jonah said, “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy” (Jon. 2:8). There is not much room for “simplicity” or an unawareness of the implications towards the true Gospel, the ONLY means by which a man can be saved. Imagine that we are all trying to get into the Holy City and there is only ONE DOOR by which to enter. And that door is the holy Gospel, how that “Christ died for OUR sins”. And yet we have a man who plainly opposes people from entering THAT DOOR, and points them to another door which may or may not even apply to them. The only conclusion that we could make of such a one is that he has never himself entered the TRUE Gospel door, he has never himself heard the “joyful sound”.

The bottom line is that the true Gospel is the “first of all”, as Paul says (1 Cor. 15:1-4). If a person denies and even openly opposes the “first of all”, then he has never himself entered the city, or if he has, he has climbed up over the wall. To him, the Lord can say only one thing, “Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?” This is not a personal judgment upon Phil, but it is the judgment of the Word of God. And I am showing true Christian love by exposing all of this for you and for him. The Lord loves us all, and Christ died for us all. He also seeks our salvation through the proclamation of truth and the exposure of error. It is my sincere and honest hope that Phil and you and ABClay and Robert and Thomas will all be saved. If that wasn’t true, I wouldn’t be here spending my valuable time trying to communicate with you all. As it is now, I must rest my case for awhile, as I have a full-time job that I need to get back to. Plese, all of you, consider these most important things.

82 DLomax December 3, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Robert,

You say,:

“you continue to evade…”

He is the claim maker. Stuart has demonstrated from scripture a doctrine that seems to be self-evident. The text doesn’t need to be “interrogated” beyond the clear interpretation. I would venture that an atheist, or a Muslim, or Buddhist could make sense of the clear meaning of this following scripture:

Timothy 2:3-6

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior,who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.”

Now, the atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. might not necessarily believe it, but they could easily ascertain that God desires to save “all men”, and that Jesus’ work on the cross was enough to ransom “all men”. This is for everyone, limited to none.

So, as it seems, you are the one evading. You barely responded to anything in his article and then attempted to switch the grounds of Stuart’s argument on scripture that you evidently feel more comfortable defending, a text he never brought up in the first place.

also you said,

“Do you understand english?”

Come on man, we gain nothing by ad hominems.

Drew

83 Darrin December 3, 2008 at 5:55 pm

“…If not, you have not yet come to know the Gospel and are yet in your sins. That, my friend, is the TRUTH.”
No, friend, it is not.
So as not to defy my own exhortation to the others, I’ll try to be brief:
The TRUTH is that the Father has given the Son a particular people as His bride, His sheep, His church. He knew for all eternity that only these were His and would be His forever. To claim that He died for those He always knew had no part in Him makes no sense. As drew mentioned, “Jesus’ work on the cross was enough to ransom “all men”.” This is quite true – the atonement is not limited in power to save, but it is obviously limited in its scope, its application. Even you should see this – are all men saved? Your only recourse is to sidestep the issue and give natural, carnal man undue ability and the final say in his salvation. In this way, YOU misrepresent the gospel. You do not uphold that grace alone is required, but that the distinguishing factor between those saved and those not is their act of faith. This is very dangerous ground you are treading as you elevate man and downplay God’s power and grace.

84 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Let’s see what side of the city wall you’re on, Darrin. Does your theology allow you to go up to a person whom you don’t know and tell him that “Christ died for HIS sins”? If not, you have not yet come to know the Gospel and are yet in your sins. That, my friend, is the TRUTH.

85 Darrin December 3, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Stuart,
“no”

86 ABClay December 3, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Stuart,

This is really getting out of control and I fear that you are beginning to lose any credibility that may remain.

I find it laughable, regardless of how much you argue your case, that you would make the claim you have about Phil Johnson. Clearly you don’t understand that which you are arguing against.

You said in your implication of Brother Phil that he was “a man who plainly opposes people from entering THAT DOOR”

Do you even know what Phil, Robert, Mark, or myself for that matter even believe about the offer? I believe that it has been made clear to everyone’s standard except yours that we offer the Gospel to everyone. Jesus Christ died for the sins of all who would ever believe.

That is what I say, “Jesus died for the sins of all who would ever believe”. Yet, in your demented theology and screwy interpretation of the texts this is somehow “opposing people who want to enter”.

Anyone who wants to be saved, can be saved, and anyone that wants to come to Christ on His terms can come and Christ will in no way turn them away.

I believe that you will continue to make your claims, and you have that right…no you have that nature.

I’ve got to get back to my studies. They really shouldn’t provide email access to students at their work stations…what are they thinking, how can anyone get anything done?

Grace and peace…

ABClay

87 ABClay December 3, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Stuart,

Can you name an example, in the bible of course, where anyone ever said while presenting the gospel to someone, what you claim that we MUST say in our presentation of the Gospel or else it will not be sufficient to save them?

I mean, this is really the crux of the matter isn’t it? Give an example?

Here I am again, feeding the madness while my studies lie in wait. 🙂

88 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 5:58 pm

ABClay,

How can you offer the Gospel to everyone when you don’t believe it is for everyone? Not only is this inconsistent with your false doctrine of limited atonement, but it is downright dishonest. And your appendix “who would ever believe” forces one to put their confidence in their own subjective “belief” rather than in the external objective Word of God. This is the very problem I discerned with you from the start. You have faith in your faith. That is nothing more than pure idolatry.

89 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Darrin,

You haven’t answered the question. Does your theology allow you to go up to a person whom you don’t know and tell him that “Christ died for HIS sins”? “Yes” or “no”?

90 Darrin December 3, 2008 at 7:29 pm

“Darrin … I can only wonder on what basis you think He died for you.”
On the basis that I trust in Christ alone for my salvation, not in my own works or meritorious choices.
On the basis of 1 John 3:14,24 and many other scriptures.
On the basis of grace alone through faith alone.
On the basis of scripture alone, not a mix of humanistic dogma that insists my views of how God should be are of prime importance.

91 Thomas Twitchell December 3, 2008 at 6:32 pm

It has been answered several times, you refuse to listen.

Where does the Scripture ever say that we are to tell everyone that Jesus died for HIS sins?

You have been answered. The Gospel is that Christ came to save sinners, who those are that will be saved is His business. Ours is simply to proclaim the finished work of Christ. The fact is that Christ did not die for everyones sins, period. He sanctified himself only for those who were sanctified. Hebrews is clear on this, the one sanctified and the ones sanctified are one and Christ accomplished that once and for all at one time.

No more questions. The answer is we preach Christ and him crucified for the forgiveness of sins through repentance. We do not preach Christ crucified for every man. Otherwise, everyone would be saved.

If you believe that Christ died for every man as the propitiatory substitutionary sacrifice and you can say to every one He died for HIS sins, that is heresy. Pure and simple. Take it or leave it, Scripture commands that you cease.

Here is the truth: But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Sorry to burst your ego, but Christ died once for all those who are being sanctified, not for those who will not be. Want more: For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source.

In the second passage the term for sanctified is in the perfect present tense, it indicates a completed action in the past which was perfected and remains indefinitely perfected. In the first passage pefected emphasizes the fact that nothing is left to do. In both cases the sanctified are passive recepients of the action of the sanctifier, perfectly dove-tailing with John 17 which says that we have the same source as Christ, heaven, over against the world. And again, Jesus does not pray for all men, but only those or whom he will sanctify himself for. In his sacrifice then, all who would ever be saved were sanctified, and no one else.

You simply continue to deny the Scripture.

92 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 6:51 pm

All,

I will try to answer you all (not just the elect), but you are writing me too fast, and I want to give you true and helpful answers. I especially want to get to ABClay’s and Thomas’s question about what Scriptures require us to tell a person that Christ died for his sins when preaching the Gospel (seems ridiculous that that has to even be proved). Who ever heard of a Christianity that cannot announce the forgiveness of sins to a poor lost sinner? And this is called heresy! It’s hard to witness how so many people can be so badly deceived. It’s as Jesus said, “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luk. 18:8).

To Darrin, I will only say that I’m sorry for you that you can’t tell a person that Christ died for them. I can only wonder on what basis you think He died for you.

Lord willing, I’ll be back. Don’t snuff out the candle while it is still burning.

93 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Darrin,

Basis #1 – Your faith rests upon your own perceived trust in the Lord – idolatry.
Basis #2 – Your faith rests upon your own perceived love of the brethren – idolatry
Basis #3 – Since God’s grace is offered only through the objective Gospel, how that “Christ died for our sins”, and since you reject that Gospel, your faith rests upon a ficticious grace that doesn’t even exist – idolatry.
Bais #4 – Here you just plain lie. Your faith does not rest upon the Scriptures, but upon yourself as is clearly evident from points 1 – 3. The supposed verses you chose to show where your faith rests proves the point – idolatry.

94 Robert December 3, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Stuart and everyone here…

I’m quoting Stuart now:
Incidentally, I am very familiar with Phil Johnson. I used to teach at Grace Community Church under John MacArthur. I also once asked John MacArthur in person about the extent of Christ’s atonement. The year was 1993.

End quote.

I got in touch with Phil Johnson and let him know what was said about him.

He said that not only did he not recall anyone named Stuart on the staff there, but that what Stuart recounted here about him was false (yes man)

He said that it was no secret that Mac changed his views on the atonement in the 90s…that’s a matter of public record, and easily seen in his sermons. He wouldn’t make that same remark today.

Stuart, stick to what you know, which so far isn’t a whole lot…except assertions and bluster.

Are you ready to get serious with scripture yet or am I holding my breath for nothing?

95 Robert December 3, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Delomax,
You said:

“He is the claim maker. Stuart has demonstrated from scripture a doctrine that seems to be self-evident. The text doesn’t need to be “interrogated” beyond the clear interpretation.”

I beg your pardon?? Stuart didn’t DEMONSTRATE anything!

Just listing scriptures ISN’T MAKING AN ARGUMENT FROM SCRIPTURE.

It’s called making bald assertions; baseless assertions.

The fact is that EVERYONE interprets scripture whether they admit it or not. There is no such thing as an unbiased reading.

I asked him to do more than just LIST SCRIPTURE…that’s a reasonable request.

I even GAVE AN EXAMPLE of what I was asking…and he declined to address it.

I asked him about a passage that RELATES DIRECTLY TO THE SUBJECT AT HAND…but he declined to even mention it…or give it a shot.

Now who is being evasive?

96 Robert December 3, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Delomax,

Ok…I’ll bite…lets play dueling scriptures.

Jesus in the garden; his High Priestly prayer;

What does he say?

17:6 “I have revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed your word. …I am praying on behalf of them. I am not praying on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those you have given me, because they belong to you.…When I was with them I kept them safe and watched over them in your name that you have given me. Not one of them was lost except the one destined for destruction, so that the scripture could be fulfilled.

Ok…Jesus is praying for those THAT THE FATHER GAVE to Jesus…not the world…only those whom the Father gave…and He lost none EXCEPT THE ONE DESTINED FOR DESTRUCTION. And so scripture be fulfilled.

Now earlier in John’s Gospel, he speaks of “those that the Father gives the Son” in John 6. The passage that I begged Stuart to exegete.

Here it is in CONTEXT…Jesus is EXPLAINING THE UNBELIEF those who are following him; just after the feeding of the 5000.

He says:

6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.

(Jesus is stating a truth that we’d all agree with…the one who believes will never be hungry. Jesus will now point out that even after all they’ve seen, they don’t believe…but why don’t they? Jesus tells us)

But I told you that you have seen me and still do not believe.
Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. Now this is the will of the one who sent me – that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father – for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up

(So they don’t believe because they must be given by the Father…but they aren’t. And notice the order of events; The Father gives men to the Son, the Son loses none, and raises them up on the last day.

This isn’t an offer for everyone, Jesus is explaining their unbelief! They haven’t been given to Him!)

(Notice later in John’s gospel verse 44; Jesus says again:)

6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

(The word Jesus used for “can” is the Greek word “dunamai.” It means that they don’t HAVE THE ABILITY to come to Him. They don’t have the power. But…the Father will draw them. The word for draw is “helcouse.” It’s the word that means to “forcibly drag” someone. It’s not a “wooing” at all.

And NOTICE THIS that Jesus will, in each verse we looked at “raise them up on the last day”

Now unless you are ready to say that all are raised to eternal life with God…universalism…and no one goes to hell, then there is a limitation is their not?)

(Jesus, after having been asked about why he spoke in parables said this:)

Mark 4:10
When he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. He said to them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.

(Not to everyone??)

But to those outside, everything is in parables,

(Why is everything in parables???)

so that although they look they may look but not see,
and although they hear they may hear but not understand,
so they may not repent and be forgiven.”

(Whoa! Wait a minute…Jesus is deliberately keeping things from a certain group for the express purpose of NOT SAVING THEM???)

(How does that fit with “God wants all men to be saved”??

Ok…now we are playing dueling scriptures…

Stuart?

What do you make of this?

97 abclay December 3, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Stuart,

It is very telling of your character that you will not admit to the fact that in every Gospel presentation that we have in the bible (which is, by the way, profitable for instruction) that no one ever mentions that “all important” phrase of which you insist we should proclaim. Very telling of your character. And I don’t mean this as ad hominem, I am making a judgment based on your lack of response to questions of which you know don’t support your thesis.

I will ask you another question then. Are babies who are murdered before they are born saved? If so, why are they saved? Do you believe that God has a separate economy for the salvation of babies?

ABClay

98 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Robert,

I was actually hoping that you or someone else would get in touch with Phil Johnson, so thank you for this service. But since you seem to be accusing me of saying something untrue, let me give you (and him) the facts. I attended Grace Community Church from 1977 to 1984. I went to Talbot Theological Seminary from 1981 to 1984, graduating with a MDiv in Bible Exposition. While at Grace Church I was discipled by Fred Barshaw, longtime friend of John MacArthur and advocate for the true universal atonement (he’d be shocked if he had lived to see what’s happened). All of this can be verified by Irv Busenitz under whom I studied and who is still at Grace. I was close friends with Brian Toews and John Glass. After leaving Grace for a pastorate, I lived nearby and would occasionally still attend a service at Grace. I did not know Phil Johnson while I was there, as he came along later, but am very familiar with him and his false teachings from his blog.

Now the key to all of this is that MacArthur did indeed say to me what I said he said. After an evening service (I believe it was the year 1993), I approached him and asked him specifically about the extent of Christ’s atonement. And he himself told me these words. “Stuart, let me tell you something. If Christ did not die for the sins of every human being, you could not preach the Gospel.” Those are his words, not mine. And he was correct. I am only sorry that he has had such a terrible fall from the truth in his latter years. I am also of the mind that Phil Johnson and the other “yes men” would themselves hold to the universal atonement to this day if MacArthur himself had not made this terrible mistake. I may be wrong on that, as some may have come in from the outside after the fall, but most justly blindly follow along swallowing everything that MacArthur says hook, line, and sinker.

Those are the facts. Like everything I have said about the true and saving Gospel, that is the TRUTH. Check it out as thoroughly as you’d like. Perhaps you could report back to us what you have found.

99 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 8:46 pm

I forgot to mention that I taught a F.L.O.C.K. for two or three years at Grace Community Church.

100 Robert December 3, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Stuart,
No surprise that you misquote me.

Actually Phil is the one who said you are a liar or an imposter.

Not me…

If you want him to attend this blog combox session, just say the word…
bob

101 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 9:06 pm

ABClay,

Before you attack “my character”, realize that I am responding to about seven people all at the same time. But since you ask for a direct quote, I will give you the one that I have included in just about every response so far. What could be more clear than Paul’s own definition of the Gospel he himself preached (before they received it) in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4;

1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
[2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
[3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures;
[4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I’ll let you chew on that for awhile. If not for unbelief, it should suffice for the whole answer.

Also, Thomas, since you are studying Hebrews, why don’t you consider Heb. 2:9 and Heb. 10:28, 29. I’ll list them here for your convenience:

Hebrews 2:9 – But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.

Hebrews 10:28, 29 – He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, WHEREWITH HE WAS SANCTIFIED, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

That should hold you for awhile.

102 Stuart December 3, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Robert,

If I have misquoted you, bear witness as to where. As for Phil Johnson, bring him on. I would welcome the opportunity to unmask a false teacher.

103 Robert December 3, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Stuart,
If Phil feels like wasting some of his time, he’ll be here…I let him know what you said…

NOW MORE IMPORTANTLY…are you going to interact directly with my scripture from my last post?

bob

104 abclay December 3, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Stuart,

I thought that we had dealt with this already.

Let me see… ah yes…1 Corinthians 1:2

to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord

Let’s see.. No, I don’t see the unsaved anywhere in that qualifying statement by the Apostle Paul

Nice try though. How about the question about murdered babies?

105 Thomas Twitchell December 3, 2008 at 9:22 pm

TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN

Yes and the every man is defined by the context as the children given to him.

WHEREWITH HE WAS SANCTIFIED

And who is the he who was sanctified.

There is another approach to this. If one can walk away from the sanctification, WHEREWITH HE WAS SANCTIFIED, then it wasn’t the perfect blood of Christ of Chapter 2. If the blood of Christ is indeed a holy thing, but one treats it as non-perfecting, with what could one be re-sanctified. That is the thrust. But again, the HE is problematic for if you take the previous chapters of Hebrews and John 17, then the blood sanctified Christ. If it is possible for him to become unsanctified, then it would be possible for a believer too. This portion then does not appeal to a true believer, at all. Beside that, true salvation is described earlier in Chapter five/six. And you see, what is important there, is that people who do not move past the elementary teachings of Christ such as you, are the ones the author is warning that if they fail to progress they might not be true believers.

This only proves you do not know how to read. And let me suggest you get away from the KJV and try on one that is a little easier for you.

106 DLomax December 3, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Robert,

I fear you believe that someone like me, a laymen, untrained in ancient Greek, untrained in exegesis of scripture is incapable of comprehending a straight forward scripture such as 1Timothy 2:3-6

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior,who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.”

You say,

“(How does that fit with “God wants all men to be saved”??)”

Huh?

If there is some greater or deeper meaning that you can find in that passage that states the work of Christ is not for “all men”, then I congratulate you on your elevation to a special revelation I’m not privy to.

I suppose if you were looking over Paul’s shoulder you would correct him after each “all-men” to insert “that would believe” or something like that.

On the other hand, I am not adding to, nor taking away from God’s Word, I’m letting the scripture be itself.

After all, this is about limited atonement. By stating that atonement is universal is not tantamount to saying everyone is saved. I do not believe in such a thing. What scripture is begging to say is that the work of Christ, his saving work is enough for the entire world, limited to none.

If one believes in the Gospel, then praise God for salvation in Christ, and if one rejects, let him be accursed, but let it be said that Jesus laid His life down equally for believer and the unbeliever alike – it was enough for both of them. Both are or were (depending on whether they are in Christ or not) dead in their trespasses in sin.

God’s Peace,
Drew

107 abclay December 4, 2008 at 12:11 am

Okay Drew,

I must say that I believe that you are wrong in your interpretation of the passage in 1 Timothy for the same reasons that Robert, I’m sure, will explain, but…

You said: “If there is some greater or deeper meaning that you can find in that passage that states the work of Christ is not for “all men”, then I congratulate you on your elevation to a special revelation I’m not privy to.”

Now that’s a well written and pithy comeback!

I will add, while I certainly don’t have time to get into the decretive and preceptive wills of God, I don’t think that you will find any Calvinist this side of Heaven who will not affirm you when you said: “What scripture is begging to say is that the work of Christ, his saving work is enough for the entire world” This is definitely true.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

108 Thomas Twitchell December 4, 2008 at 12:16 am

“If there is some greater or deeper meaning that you can find in that passage that states the work of Christ is not for “all men”, then I congratulate you on your elevation to a special revelation I’m not privy to.”

Snarky!

There is this thing called context. It is not that you are not privy, it is that you are not able to read. The context is stated above. The universality of the text is limited by the context where it is found the categories of men are “kinds”. And by the way, English is a very inaccurate language. The Greek on the other hand give for pas a certain definition and the function of a adjectival/adverbial modifier like it is connected directly to the referents. In this case, the kinds of men in authority. Pas means: individually
each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything, collectively, some of all types… “the whole world has gone after him” Did all the world go afterChrist? “then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.”Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan? “Ye are of God,little children”, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one”. Doesthe whole world there mean everybody? The words “world” and “all” areused in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is veryrarely the “all” means all persons, taken individually. The words aregenerally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts– some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has notrestricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile …

In the case of 1 Timothy 2, the controlling words are leaders and authorities. That can hardly be all the men in the world and at the time it would certainly not be all women.

There is another way to look at this. The establishment of the Gospel Church is Paul’s major concern. His appeal is for stability. Then it is not the salvation of the leaders and authorities that is being spoken of, but the spread of the Gospel through the establishment of the Church. For the all encompassing effect to be extened from pas there needs to be some qualifier in the context. If it is the leaders, then the whole world is excluded, if it is the world at large then we need something else to tell us. The controlling referent is in the previous chapter, Paul himself as an example of those who would believe. So, Robert is correct, the referent is “those who would believe. It is obvious from the rest of Paul’s statements here and elsewhere that it is by mercy that some are saved. What makes them savable is the finished work of Christ on Calvary, and Jesus is explicit that only those who the Father gave him from eternity past were in Him there. Not only are they savable, but Hebrews tells us that it was a perfected work for those who are believing, past, present and future. In other words, salvation was effected for all the elect on Calvary. Since we know that all are not saved, and that God has said that he has perfected many, and not all, it goes without saying that God desires some of all men to be saved. That means that 1 Timothy 2 has to limit the all men to all manners or kinds. Any way you look at it, either the near context, leaders and authorities, or examples like Paul, or the broader context of Scripture, “I pray for these, I do not pray for the world,” pas in this context does not mean each and every person that has ever lived or will live past present or future, but only some. Those being the ones who are being saved.

109 Robert December 4, 2008 at 8:08 am

Dlomax,
you wanted scripture, I gave it to you….

Now if their is some OTHER reading besides what I offered of:

Mark 4:10-11 (Christ explaing why he spoke in parables)

matthew 17:6 (Christ ONLY praying for those given NOT the whole world)

John 6:35-44 (Christ explaing why some won’t believe)

Now…ARE YOU GOING TO DIRECTLY ENGAGE THESE SCRIPTURES OR NOT?

Just pulling 1st Timothy 2:4 out of your hat isn’t good enough…when you are done dealing with my PREVIOUSLY SITED scripture THEN we can deal with this one…

You must know that it’s no problem to deal with 1st Timothy 2:4 in context right?
(TT has done a great job explaining some of it.)

And before you throw out:

2nd Peter 3:9
Matthew 23:37

I’ll let you know in advance that in context they don’t help your case either…

Please deal with the scriptures directly; let me know why, on what grounds that these support a case against Limited Atonement.

110 Robert December 4, 2008 at 8:13 am

I correct my earlier comment:

(TT has done a great job explaining some of it.)

TO

TT has done an excellent job at explaining it!

Well done and spot on.

I suggest that both Stuart and Dlomax buy a Greek lexicon or two, and get familiar with THE LANGUAGE THAT THE BIBLE WAS ACTUALLY WRITTEN IN.

bob

111 Robert December 4, 2008 at 8:26 am

By the way…

Phil Johnson took a look at the slanderous things that Stuart said about him and said that he didn’t want to waste his time but he gave permission to use his email statements…one of which is below:

Earlier he wrote, “I used to teach at Grace Community Church under John MacArthur”–implying he held some kind of staff position as a teacher under John MacArthur’s oversight. Now he says, “I forgot to mention that I taught a F.L.O.C.K. for two or three years at Grace Community Church”–which means he taught in one of dozens of home Bible studies—not “under John MacArthur,” not even in a lay-elder’s capacity. FLOCKS leaders were not subject to any formal examination and they had no sanction to teach anything other than material developed for the home Bible studies by men on the pastoral staff. It was a volunteer function, and young men in that position were supposed to be accountable to one of our under-shepherds. The FLOCKS structure was disbanded sometime in the 90s, partly because of the difficulty of keeping renegade FLOCKS-leaders truly accountable. A few young men who thought the position conferred on them some high degree of stature (“I teach at Grace Community Church under John MacArthur”) were a large part of the problem.

It looks like someone is being a little dishonest in the way they represent their teaching role at Grace.

112 johnMark December 4, 2008 at 9:47 am

I appreciate brothers Robert, ABClay, Thomas and Darrin for being willing to answer these questions on a Scriptural basis.

As to Phil Johnson, I think we’ve seen enough ill speak of this brother. I spent 7 days on a cruise with Phil as well as sat by in for several hours on a bus. My personal witness of Phil, the witness from friends James White and Steve Camp, as well as Phil on the web only leads me to believe that Phil is a godly man contra to Stuart’s comments.

Stuart, you’ve shown us your cards with Bro. Johnson and I can’t allow anymore negative comments here towards Bro. Johnson. Phil has a strong presence on the web which includes one of the most active Christian blogs. So don’t come here to throw anymore pot shots when you know where to find him.

Further posts on this issue will be removed or edited at my discretion.

Thanks,

Mark

113 Stuart December 4, 2008 at 10:41 am

JohnMark/Robert

First, JohnMark, I didn’t come here to throw pot shots at Phil Johnson. I came here to expose the error of limited atonement as a Christian service to you all. If you care to re-read the posts, you will see that you are the one who brought Phil Johnson up, not me. And it was not until late into the discussion (perhaps two posts ago for you). But seeing as you were placing confidence in his writings, I thought it right to tell you the truth about him, a false teacher. Believe what you want, but those are the facts.

Secondly, Robert (and Phil), everything I wrote about my time at Grace Church was also true. If Phil Johnson wants to slander me based upon what he thinks are false implications, then let him slander. I did teach a FLOCK for about three years and it was under the direct authority of a pastoral-elder, Fred Barshaw, John MacArthur’s right-hand man. It was also under John MacArthur, with whom I also sat down for about two hours discussing my FLOCK on the theme of the old man/new man. I believe he would remember this. Also, if I was trying to deceive people about teaching under John MacArthur, then why would I have even mentioned that I taught this lowly FLOCK? I guess I just didn’t realize that for some a FLOCK didn’t count (try telling that to others who put in hundreds of hours preparing and presenting information – it doesn’t count as teaching, at least not “under John MacArthur”).

I was saving one last question for Phil, that would have removed his mask for you all to see, but it looks like you prefer the darkness and would rather extinguish the light and quench the Spirit. So I have made my testimony, a testimony that you will surely never forget. Unless I hear further from you with an open door, I will see you all at the final judgment where I am sure this discussion will be reviewed again.

Wishing you all God’s true and saving grace,

Stuart L. Wood

114 AzzaB December 4, 2008 at 11:50 am

Hi all,

I’ve been following this blog passively for the last few days. I feel I’m unqualified to comment on this blog as you all clearly know more of the Bible than I do, but I have to say some of the comments I have read seem unbelievable coming from grown men.

As far as I can see, Stuart posted an article on here addressing his concerns with the false teaching of limited atonement, only to be met with immediate attack and condescending remarks, showing him no respect as a fellow Christian and lover of God’s Word.

Robert, your comments have been arrogant, sarcastic and dismissive from the start. “Stuart,Listen closely….shhhh….” “Stuart,As painful as it was” “this is getting tiresome… I’m going to ask you point blank…”

It seems as though Stuart has come here desiring to help show you the errors of your believes, and all you have done is belittled him and mocked him. Suppose you are right in your beliefs about atonement… shouldn’t you out of love try to show Stuart where he is in error? You seem to be keen to prove Stuart to be in error, but it seems as though it’s only to win an argument.

There are obviously plenty of Calvinists on this blog so you can all boldly make your assertions knowing you will be back up by another if you are challenged, but I commend Stuart for continuing in the discussion even though he has been faced with stubbornness and hard-heartedness.

I fear this is the kind of arrogance that your false teaching of limited atonement produces. You arrogantly rest in the belief that you are one of the few who Christ suffered and died for, and it is shown in how you act.

I don’t know you, but I can’t help but feel that your belief in Calvinism isn’t a belief based on a pure-hearted search for the truth, because I believe that if you came to the Bible in a humble and lowly way, you would read God’s Word and know that Jesus died for every other sinner just as He died for you. And that true belief would put to death your arrogance and allow you to be more Christ-like in your dealings with others.

I have to say that the way Stuart has been responded to in this blog reminds me of how I am responded to when I speak to non-Christians about God. That is not an accusation towards any of you that you are non-Christians, I’m just saying how sad it is that even within Christ’s church there is such hatred, bitterness, arrogance and ignorance.

You can’t stand up for the truth in the world, and for the most part you can’t stand up for the truth in the Church either.

Go ahead and attack me for my lack of Biblical quotes and meaningless post, I just wanted to comment on my observations to this discussion.

115 Thomas Twitchell December 4, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Interesting Azza. You must not have read anything Stuart wrote.

I suppose from your analysis Jesus would fit your categorizations; Jesus calling people names, condescendingly disrespecting friends and foes alike.

It doesn’t justify unwarrented labels or attacks, but it surely doesn’t disqualify a disciple as a disciple for expressed emotion and legitimate labeling and judgement.

Thanks for your judgement and name calling by the way.

How do I say this with love, Azza- You hypocrite. That’s how Jesus would put it. You know he used words like that; fool, stupid, blind leaders of the blind, snakes, sons of the Devil, hardhearted, he even said some of those things about his disciples and was even known to dis his own mother and brothers. You would know that if you really did read the Scripture with eyes open.

116 Robert December 4, 2008 at 12:45 pm

TT hit it on the head…
I would only add (and I’m quoting Stuart’s original post)

“One such religion that rejects and destroys the Gospel is Calvinism.”

“…Satan has raised it up and established it in its many forms.”

“…The anti-Christian spirit”

“…Calvinism, the offspring of that rebellious and faithless woman, Madame Reason?”

It looks like Stuart fired the first shot.

By comparison my “um ah…shhh listen” looks tame.

117 johnMark December 4, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Azza,

Stuart came here making all kinds of charges against Calvinists. If you think his remarks were nothing but respectful in his disagreements maybe you should read his post again. I was going to grab some quotes, but Robert has already done so above. I’m sure more can be found.

As to your charge of attacking a “fellow Christian,” Stuart might not even consider us to be such. It’s hard to tell exactly what he believes of us.

Suppose you are right in your beliefs about atonement… shouldn’t you out of love try to show Stuart where he is in error?

We are first trying to get Stuart to establish an actually argument for his position rather than assertion. He hasn’t actually shown where we are in error he just keeps saying we are.

You seem to be keen to prove Stuart to be in error, but it seems as though it’s only to win an argument.

Even though Stuart has not really given his point exegetically he has been answered in this manner. This is why I think the direct quote of yours is wrong.

The very reason Stuart has been asked to biblically support his position is so we can show him his errors.

This quote could easily be turned no Stuart who came here unsolicited. How about: Stuart seems to be keen to prove Calvinists to be in error, but it seems as though it’s only to win an argument.

As to the rest of your post, it’s amazing that you seem to be able to read hearts and intentions. How arrogant of you to judge us in the way you have. It must be your lack of belief in Calvinism that makes you so judgmental. See how this argumentation works? It doesn’t!

For the record, I personally don’t know of anyone who believes in Calvinism. The Calvinists I know believe that Calvinism is the best explanation of understanding God’s revelation to us.

Show me a Calvinist that basis his assurance of salvation on election? How about his salvation period? This is not what Calvinism teaches.

When you stand in your own shadow and make subjective charges and judgments they can easily be turned around to make the same charges about you.

I’m sorry your feelings were hurt, however, did you ever stop to think about how your response might just hurt someone else’s feelings?

Stuart has made another reply which I don’t plan on releasing. He references me bringing up Phil Johnson. I never once sought to make any of these disagreements about Phil Johnson nor do I plan to. Enough has been said with Phil as the topic.

Thanks for playing…

Mark

118 Stuart December 4, 2008 at 3:09 pm

JohnMark,

You know and I know that what I said in that last post is true. I also stated it peacefully and graciously. It clears up two false and malicious accusations against me that had just been made by you and Robert and Phil. But you choose to silence the truth when it exposes your lies, and thus you clearly prove who your father is (John 8:44 – look it up!) YOU ARE A DISHONEST MAN.

119 johnMark December 4, 2008 at 3:23 pm

OK, I’m going to let these last two comments from Stuart through that aren’t really related to the atonement. I have no idea what false accusations I or Robert made. As for Phil, whatever is between he and Stuart is just that…between he and Stuart. I don’t want to discuss it anymore. Stuart isn’t going to prove that Phil lied about him by making accusations. How would any of us really know? That’s not for me to work out.

So I will let through a post where Stuart offers more vindication of himself.

Against my better judgment…for now…

Mark

120 DLomax December 4, 2008 at 3:50 pm

A comment and question to all,

Does one need prior knowledge of limited atonement in order to read and understand the plain and clear meaning of scripture? Here is the reason I ask, I’ll pose it in a story:

Agnostic Johnny sits in the pew of his friends Calvinist Church just for his friend’s amusement.

He is not listening to the pastor’s sermon or any of the scripture readings, especially after the pastor tried to make him feel bad about being a sinner. His friend also attempted to point out that he was a sinner in light of Gods Law before, and every time his friend did this it would pierce his heart like a sword and cause him to feel hopeless and cursed.

For the heck of it he opens the pew Bible and happens upon 1 Tim. chap. 2. He reads, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior,who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.”

Wait a second; this is very different than what his friend has been telling him. He infers from the plain meaning of this passage that it pleases God for ALL to be saved, a God who wants ALL men to be saved, and has done this by Jesus Christ Who’s ransom was for ALL men.

Suddenly, he came to his senses, and realized that Christ’s promise was for HIM. He turns to his friend and says, ” I think I get it. Jesus died for MY sins.”

His friend smiles, and after the service is over and the pastor has greeted everyone, Johnny and his friend come over to tell him what happened. He even points out the scripture.

Johnny states, “all this time I was thinking I was cursed, and here it is-Jesus died for MY sins.”

His friends pastor says, “Well…not exactly…there’s a little thing called t.u.l.i.p. and t.u.l.i.p. helps us interpret that passage in its best meaning. You see, when it says all men, it doesn’t really mean “all” men as you probably understand it. It means……….(t.u.l.i.p. doctrine ad nauseaum)………you see its very clear that when it says “all men” it really means all men “who would be saved”. Also, you probably wouldn’t be able to discern this without reading it in the ancient Greek it was written in and knowing proper exegesis, etc.”

Johnny states, “But it says all men.”

Calvinist Pastor says, “Yes, but in context with t.u.l.i.p. it really means “all men who would be saved.”

“So, how do I know that I am apart of those “who would believe”?” Johnny replies.

Pastor proclaims, “Hey, I’m not one to presume what only God knows, but do you believe?”

“Why?”

“Well, that way you could be sure.” Pastor explains.

“Help me, I’m having a little trouble following…wouldn’t I need to be certain that Jesus died for my sins, to believe? Wouldn’t I need to objectively know that my sins are paid for by Christ to warrant my believing?”

Pastor replies, “Wait a second, you told me you believed a second ago?”

“Yeah, I did, but that was before I found out “all men” really meant “all men who would be saved”. I don’t see how I can know for certain that Christ died for me. I mean, what if I’m one of the ones who were never meant to believe? How do you know your not one of them?” Johnny states.

“Because I believe silly man!” Pastor replies.

“Okay? But, how do you know?” Asks Johnny.

“Know what! I believe; that’s how I know. I couldn’t possibly believe unless I was one of God’s elect.” Pastor says.

Johnny asks, “But how could you possibly believe something if you didn’t know that it specifically applied to you? How could you be certain?”

“Because I believe.”…

Circularity ensues ad infinitum… Etc…Etc….Etc….

Finally Johnny gives up in frustration, and walks away, this time believing Christianity is a confusing mess. Hopeless and alone because the “L” in t.u.l.i.p. must be protected at all costs.

Gentlemen, perhaps there is a real “agnostic Johnny”, perhaps he has been lurking and reading and has come to the same conclusion as the fictional Johnny. It would be tragic.

God Bless,
Drew

121 Robert December 4, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Drew,
What a complete mish mash and mis representation of Calivinism…

If you are going to make a case…at least know what the other side believes.

There is no excuse for the straw man post you just threw up.

122 Robert December 4, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Drew,
Instead of making up funny stories…how about you interact directly with one of three things:

1.) My complete EXEGESIS of Acts 2:38 dealing DIRECTLY WITH LIMITED ATONEMENT.

2.) My Siting/explanation of:

Mark 4:10-11 (Christ explaing why he spoke in parables)

matthew 17:6 (Christ ONLY praying for those given NOT the whole world)

John 6:35-44 (Christ explaing why some won’t believe)

That would not only be helpful, but it’s directly related to our discussion and I think that you’d agree that scripture is our ultimate authority…then stories, while mildly interesting, are subservient to the word of God.

Right?

123 Robert December 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm

I’d also like to point out that it’s been 3 days since I posted what I thought was a very thorough exegesis of Acts 2:38 and Stuart has not responded to it.

Stuart, I’m speaking very politely to you…doesn’t this passage speak directly to the issue of “Limited Atonement”?

Wouldn’t it be useful to take a look at what I’ve offered and let me know JUST WHERE my understanding of that passage went off track?

If you get done with that, then maybe we could take a look at why Jesus spoke in parables, why Jesus only prayed for those that the Father gave to him out of the world, and the reason that some do not believe even though they were in the presence of God (according to Jesus)

what do you say?

124 AzzaB December 4, 2008 at 6:25 pm

“Stuart came here making all kinds of charges against Calvinists. If you think his remarks were nothing but respectful in his disagreements maybe you should read his post again. I was going to grab some quotes, but Robert has already done so above. I’m sure more can be found.”

I think Stuart was making charges against Calvinism, not Calvinists. I think that is where all this bickering has begun because you all have taken his attack on false doctrine as an attack on yourselves.

Robert’s chosen quotes:
“One such religion that rejects and destroys the Gospel is Calvinism.”

“…Satan has raised it up and established it in its many forms.”

“…The anti-Christian spirit”

“…Calvinism, the offspring of that rebellious and faithless woman, Madame Reason?”

Suppose Stuart was addressing Modalism and said the same things? Should we be a little more respectful of this false teaching as well?

Yes Thomas, I know the things that Jesus said and did. I know he was harsh, but only when it was justified. I think calling a false teaching a few mean names is perfectly justified.

Stuart’s comments were condescending towards the false doctrine of limited atonement, your immediate replies were condescension towards him. If you’re so confident in your belief that Jesus died for a few of us, why couldn’t you just explain your basis for this belief, instead of ignoring everything Stuart wrote and asking him for more proof in the universality of the atonement?

“We are first trying to get Stuart to establish an actually argument for his position rather than assertion. He hasn’t actually shown where we are in error he just keeps saying we are.”

Hasn’t he shown you plenty of scripture that clearly shows that limited atonement is an error? Isn’t that enough. I admit to being a simpleton in theological terms, but I do want to know the truth. So please, if you sincerely believe that Christ’s atonement was not universal, please explain to me how you can make so many passages of scripture fit to that. I’m happy to read articles or sermons, anything that you can point me to.

“The very reason Stuart has been asked to biblically support his position is so we can show him his errors.” Please explain to me how Stuart has not biblically supported his position? Did he not use the Bible as his source and proof?

johnMark, my feelings weren’t hurt so no need to apologise. But please, for a simpleton, explain to me the truth behind the L of TULIP. If it is truth then I want to know it. It’s obvious that you’ve studied enough to believe it to be true, therefore please explain it me or point me to some reading I can do to enlighten me on the subject. When reading the Bible, I can’t understand how it can be true.

125 Robert December 4, 2008 at 6:43 pm

AzzaB,
You are wrong.

Stuart has attacked us personally…

I’ve been accused of “dribbling on my beard” instead of addressing his claims.

If you’re so confident in your belief that Jesus died for a few of us, why couldn’t you just explain your basis for this belief, instead of ignoring everything Stuart wrote and asking him for more proof in the universality of the atonement?

Yes…we are confident, but the onus is on Stuart to do more than make assertions and throw out proof texts.

I’ve repeatedly ask him to do some simple exegesis and he refused.

So in response, I posted a very detailed, and careful exegesis of my own…and on a passage relevant to the discussion! Acts 2:38…

But has Stuart, Drew, or you addressed that? The ACTUAL SUBSTANCE OF OUR POSTS? no…

Just more accusations.

If ANYONE would actually address the substance of scripture INSTEAD OF PROOF TEXTING then we’d actually have a discussion…instead of the mess that we do have.

Now…I’ve asked Drew, I asked Stuart, and I’ll ask you point blank.

I’ve exegeted Acts 2:38.

I’ve offered my Siting/explanation of:

Mark 4:10-11 (Christ explaining why he spoke in parables)

Matthew 17:6 (Christ ONLY praying for those given NOT the whole world)

John 6:35-44 (Christ explaning why some won’t believe)

Is their ANYONE willing to talk calmly about these scriptures that SUPPORT LIMITED ATONEMENT.

126 Dlomax December 4, 2008 at 7:36 pm

All the answers the fictional pastor had given were the same answers found in the comments of this post. If I have erected a strawman, I made it from the straw you all provided.

Now, can anyone tell me whether one needs to understand the L in t.u.l.i.p. prior to interpreting scripture?

Can someone show me how the clear reading of “all men” means something different than “all men”. If I have to understand Greek to understand some deeper meaning, deciphering the conotation of the word used here, verses how the word is used there, then I’m afraid that my reading of scripture up to this point his been absolutely fruitless.

I never knew that that those who labored to translate scripture from Greek into English to help the common ploughboy like myself used words and context that do not mean what they say they mean. As far as I was concerned-all meant all. If all means some, then how can an un-educated dolt like myself possibly make sense of scripture?

BTW Robert, has anyone in all of ministry told stories to get their point across. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss story telling as an effetive means of comunication.

127 Robert December 4, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Drew,
The REAL question is…

Drumroll….

Did I REALLY expect a meaningful reply to my scripture references?

No.

128 Robert December 5, 2008 at 4:41 am

Drew,
Even though the tone of your question doesn’t indicate that you really are looking for the answer, I’m going to play along and help you out anyway…it’s early and I have nothing to do. ( 4:07am, dogs woke me up)

I never knew that that those who labored to translate scripture from Greek into English to help the common ploughboy like myself used words and context that do not mean what they say they mean. As far as I was concerned-all meant all. If all means some, then how can an un-educated dolt like myself possibly make sense of scripture?

Drew, you must be aware that this is not only NOT new…but it’s common. We do this all of the time when we speak, we use universal terms when we don’t mean a thought to be taken universally.

Did you notice something in that previous paragraph?

I used a universal term…”all” when I said that “we do that all of the time.” To be much more specific, what I mean was this: “when speaking, it’s common for humans to use universal terms, when speaking about things that are non-universal.”

Would you like some examples from scripture? Here you go:

Matthew 2:3
3 When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him.

Was every single man, woman, and child that was in Jerusalem at the time of Herod alarmed? Of course not…many, most likely weren’t even aware of the situation.

Matthew 4:24
24 So a report about him spread throughout Syria. People brought to him all who suffered with various illnesses and afflictions, those who had seizures, paralytics, and those possessed by demons, and he healed them.

So they had brought to Jesus everyone in the known world at that time who was afflicted with any disease? China? South America? Of course not.


Matthew 10:22
And you will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

So they were going to be hated by George Bush? My dog Pancho? Of course not…but it’s the word “pas” all.

My search brought up hundreds and hundreds of examples…but you get the idea…don’t you?

Also, the dictionary definition for “pas” which is the word we are talking about is as follows:

4246 πᾶς (pas),
all,
every,
each,
whole
any,
one of a totality
total,
complete
every kind of

Notice that it’s also rendered “every kind of.” also, it can be “all kinds” “some of every class.” etc.

The CONTEXT determines it….(as TT already explained)

And being that TT already went through this once, I’m going to guess and say that either you didn’t read what he wrote, or you are being facetious.

Now are you sincerely looking to understand God’s word or are you just being funny? The simple fact is that not only are universal terms ALWAYS limited by the immediate context in which they are found, but ***SURPRISE*** Greek has many more “shades” of meaning than English and sometimes it IS hard to make the meaning come across, things DO get lost in translation…you MUST be aware of that right?

I hope that my sincere answer to your possibly sincere question has shed some light on this.

129 Stuart December 5, 2008 at 8:59 am

Azza, Drew, and whosoever has ears to hear,

JohnMark will problably not let this post through, as he likes to stop up the wells of Israel, but I will write it anyway. The Lord is stronger than JohnMark and will prevail. First, Azza and Drew, God bless you both for your courage and your true simple Christian honesty and faith (2 Cor. 11:3). Azza, your first post actually brought me to tears (I’m only glad that no one was here to see it). You did not know it, but it came within seconds after they had notified me that they would no longer allow me to post on this issue without their censorship (can you imagine that?) My counsel to you and Drew is to now let matters rest with these people. “Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone” (Hos. 4:17). There is no reason to seek light from those who sit in darkness. Engaging with Roberet, Thomas, or ABClay with their “exegesis” is like engaging with a Jehovah’s WItness whose come to your front door. We all know that experience. No matter what clear passages you put before them to show the deity of Christ, they have their pre-fabbed canned “exegesis” to show otherwise. My advice is that you send me an email off-line, and I will direct you to the sweet green pastures beside the still waters where God’s true sheep do indeed graze. You can do no better than to start with Luther’s Works, particularly Volume 37, “Against the Fanatics”. John Bunyan has said that “apart from the Bible, there are no greater Christian writings in all the world than those of Martin Luther”. This witness is true.

Again, God bless you both. May our loving Shepherd “lead you into the paths of ritheousness for His name’s sake”.

Stuart L. Wood
rivergums@sbcglobal.net [email address corrected by moderator]

130 Robert December 5, 2008 at 9:40 am

Stuart,
Wow…I sit here stunned.

That post speaks for itself.

131 ABClay December 5, 2008 at 9:49 am

Robert,

I think that you provided a very good illustration there.

The former Pastor of the church I previously attended had an issue with this. His dichotomy was thus:

Whenever the word “pas” was used in scripture regards Christ’s atonement, he would always say that “pas” meant everyone. Then a couple of weeks later, he would talk about the atonement as “the forensic declaration of our innocence” or “us being made right with God”.

How can this be?

Why do people refuse to take “pas” in context? I would hope that it is a simple matter of ignorance.

Grace and Peace…

ABClay

What causes this refusal to look at context? I don’t know why.

132 ABClay December 5, 2008 at 9:53 am

Stuart,

Are you a member of a church?

If so, is this church affiliated with the SBC?

If so, does your pastor share your sentiments?

And, I ask again, How do you think that murdered babies are saved?

133 Robert December 5, 2008 at 10:16 am

ABClay,

What causes this refusal to look at context? I don’t know why.

As was pointed out by Stuart himself a few times…God must open a person’s eyes to the truth…there is no other way.

And even though things got heated during this whole exchange, myself included, I’m sure that we all want nothing but the truth of scripture to come through.

I pray that God will open up Stuart’s eyes…so he can see.

If God could do it to me…then anything’s possible! 🙂

bob

134 Steve December 11, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Dear Moderator: I believe the blog discussion isn’t yet finished theologically and that a last word deserves airing regarding Stuart, Dlomax, and AzzaB. I hope you include this for these reasons alone. I will do my best to be brief. Thank you.

You may reject what Stuart, Dlomax, and AzzaB had to say but at least they have been consistent and coherent throughout. Within the blog discussion (as of Sunday last) I have read many things both strange and absurd. This blog disputation has run on for 65 pages (as of Sunday); the majority of it off-topic. And you Reformed folk bear all responsibility for this. From the day he posted his paper, Stuart could do nothing other than play defendant / respondent. However, gunning from all sides, in Richard Whately’s nice phrase, you folks “aimed at nothing and hit it.” What right had anyone of you to assume that Stuart’s many Scripture passages were merely thrown together without knowledge of the original Greek, or that he had failed to do preparatory “exegesis” work? His paper (so called “assertions”) was summarily dismissed, shown no respect, repaid with insolence, never seriously examined, and attacked obliquely. Notwithstanding, throughout his paper there’s a generous disposition on Stuart’s part to find common ground with you in the remaining 4 points of Calvinism (TU_IP). Not one of you bothered to mention or commend him in this. As he wouldn’t surrender one iota on the malignant “L doctrine,” the furies stirred from their slumber. Everyone knows that the party in a disputation which believes its position weakest has at its disposal a variety of tactical obfuscations: rebutting questions with questions, false antithesis, diversion into irrelevant matters, ad hominem, or condescension and haughtier, anything at all to distract rather than resolve the topic at hand. Much of your side to this discussion falls out of this tactical toolkit: a party having no defensible position and whose only wish is to protract discussion to no resolution, hoping the superior one wearies and goes away or concedes. Stuart needs no defense. He has manfully defended the Scriptures. He handled everyone better than he himself was treated. And if he did get a bit testy at the end, it is understandable. If all you can come up with for ad hominem from him is Robert’s hurt feelings over the “dribbling on his beard” comment — then let it be said, all of you have returned more than enough at him (and worse) in kind.

JM: “Stuart came here making all kinds of charges against Calvinists.” He has made one charge: contra limited atonement; leveled against a teaching universally acknowledged as Calvinistic, not people, as your words imply. For believers, the consequence of this teaching is equally malignant. It robs a believer of complete assurance that his salvation is secure in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (“It is finished:” — Jn. 19:30). Doubt, misgivings, and irresolution often assail us. Obscuring this doctrine, universal (objective) atonement, to satisfy logical consistency or tidy syllogisms is a soul-destroying distortion of Scripture. It’s now obvious that a doctrine of limited atonement, depending on our state of being at any given moment, tends either to undermine our trust in the promises of Christ or inflame the stiff-necked security of the old Adam (so evident on this blog).

TT: “You [Stuart] challenge how we know. But to know is to be known. We know because we know.” What a cognitive mess of pottage this is. For people who hang everything they believe on a “system” which in turn is anchored in (hardly the Scriptures but) LOGIC!, the confusion illustrated by this statement is indeed delicious irony. Dlomax’s description of circularity pales before this — TT begins and ends in himself! Why, even our 1st grade S.S. kids can do better … ‘I believe because the Bible tells me so.’

Robert: [petulantly] exegesis … exegesis … exegesis … exegesis. We appreciate your masterful exegesis of “appoint”, but a child (no less) knows that a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground outside of God’s will. Your point is quite beside the point. The disputation, after all, has nothing to do between us regarding the Election to grace from eternity, to which I think we can all agree, but turns, on the contrary, on the extent of Christ’s substitutionary atonement: does it cover the Elect only, or all men?

135 Thomas Twitchell December 11, 2008 at 6:36 pm

“What a cognitive mess of pottage this is.”

Puleeeese!

And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true
but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him
I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
for I know whom I have believed

Now the conversation was more than you have remarked and your insulting demeanor is toooooo telling.

hardly the Scriptures but… Prove it!

I didn’t begin and end with myself. Which proves this, you either cannot read, or are so blinded by your hatred of truth you refuse to.

I began here: Stuart said: “The question is whether the person himself is “in Christ” before he believes.”

And I answered that clearly. Stuart, and I suppose you are one of his slavish disciples did not come here to hear the answer, but to assert his phony philosophy. He came to hurl ad hominen abusives just as you. When he was answered, he got angry and abusive. I answered with the reality of Scrpture that regeneration which by necessity includes the Spirit’s presence in us unites us with Christ. How we know is because we know and that is why we confess that we know. Scripture which we have been made wise to by the Spirit is received because we already know him. Scripture confirms what already is. So we know because we know as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2, we have the mind of Christ by the Spirit so that we might know the things of God. The word preached comes afterward and the embracing of it. So we know because we know, and more precisely, we know because we know that we are known by him.

Time to grow up, Steve.

You said: “does it cover the Elect only, or all men?”

Absolutely, the elect only. Christs blood is too precious to waste. Make it a common thing all you want. That is blasphemy. As a matter of assurance, the blood that does not actually save, has no effecaciousness in assurance. What ILLOGIC on your part. Just blatantly stupid, Sunday School, childish thinking. I didn’t say because the bible tells us, that was Stuart’s assertion. Scripture is only one of the testimonies according to John.

“the furies stirred from their slumber”

No, Stuart went out of his way to seek me out at my blog and invite me here. Then attacked. I find his approach appalling as did everyone else here.

Now, even though I am not the moderator, just a visitor, I will hold you to your “last word”. Go away little boy.

136 Robert December 11, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Steve,
I’m so sorry that I offended you and Stuart by actually asking him to do more that throw out some proof texts…

Silly me, thinking that since Stuart made the statements then it was ON HIM to substantiate his claims…which he never did…as I pointed out over and over…and I will do so again…”assertions are not arguments”

And I noticed that you didn’t take a stab at any exegesis either…I wonder why?

Just another tantrum from someone who doesn’t agree with me.

Hey here’s a novel idea! Interact directly with the CONTENT OF MY POSTS!! Yipee! Now THAT would be something!

bob

137 Robert December 11, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Just to clarify for everyone reading this comment thread, in case they don’t know..

The one MAKING THE ASSERTIONS is the one who is obligated to support them so they become ARGUMENTS.

Anyone who says that poor ol’ Stuart just came here and showed us some solid scriptural interpreation and all we did was challenge him to support his statements has to understand…

That’s not being mean.

That’s not unreasonable

That’s not a personal attack

Fair enough?

138 Robert December 11, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Has anyone pointed this out? (Since this thread is being ressurrected; no pun intended)

Arminian theology limits the atonement just as surely as the doctrine they reject.

How so?

Since scripture says that Christ became the substitute sacrifice for men, then only one of two conclusions can be drawn:

1.) All men are going to be saved

2.) The atonement was limited by something OUTSIDE of Christ, such as man.

So when we speak of limiting the atonement, we are just speaking of two different WAYS to limit it.

The only way out of this dilemma for Arminians/Synergists is to say that Christ did not die as a substitute for every man; that the death of Christ didn’t save anyone, but only “made men save-able”

There is one large problem with that:

The word says that:

“For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus…”
1 Tim 2:5

And that Jesus:
“…holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

Someone who says that Jesus died “for all men who ever lived and who will ever live must explain how it is that Jesus intercedes for those currently in Hell, while at the same time punishing them?

Question:
What is it about Reformed folks saying that “the Atonement was limited by Christ; being that it was his intention to save those whom He chose and that He did so perfectly and completely” that is to repugnant to you?

Are you saying that that’s more repugnant than the picture of God trying His best to save everyone and failing miserably? Being at the mercy of mans decision?

And just how is that better?

139 Robert December 11, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Steve,
There is a reason that I keep asking for actual exegesis of the text itself. It’s because it’s what we have. It’s all we have. We are not free to make our ideas up…nor are we free to just “proof text” each other.

Here is a text speaking of why men stumble over Christ the cornerstone:

1 Peter 2:4-10

So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and priceless in God’s sight, you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

For it says in scripture, “Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and priceless cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.”

So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over.

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

The phrase “whoever believes in Him” is “ho pistewn.” The same words as used in John 3:16 for “whosoever.”
It’s “the believing ones” or “the ones believing” indicating a certain group.

And Peter goes on to address the believers by saying:

So, you who believe see his value.

He contrasts “the believing ones” with a group “those who do not believe” or “apistew” which is the opposite.

And he says that they stumble over Jesus Christ; the cornerstone.

What’s interesting is the REASON that they stumble…Peter explains:

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

All through this Peter is addressing a group and contrasting it with another group…those who believe, and those who do not believe.

The reason he gives for those who do not believe?

They were destined to do so.

And what is the word Peter uses for “destined” here?

It’s the same word as in the above sentence speaking of Christ:

“Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and priceless cornerstone,

The word is: “titheme” which has the meaning to “set something in place for a reason” to “lay something in place”

Peter is saying that both Christ was set in place as the cornerstone and those who disobeyed the word were set in place for their purpose.

Also notice, every verb in this passage is present tense and active; the unbelievers are currently the agents of the action; the “disobedience” but when using the word “titheme” for “destined” Peter switches to the past tense, and passive voice; indicating that a past action has occurred and that they are only the recipients of the “destining”

They are not the agents.

It’s a Divine Passive I believe, God is the agent of that destiny.

Nothing there about God offering salvation to everyone equally, but there is text there saying that men who reject Christ do so because they are “destined” to do so.

That’s not a hugely in depth exegesis…but I think it was pretty easy to follow.

Is there any “friend of Stuart” that would like to comment DIRECTLY on the CONTENT of this post? Something that is RELEVANT to this post?

Possibly I got the grammar wrong? Possibly I got the words wrong?

Maybe I didn’t notice WHO this letter was written TO?

From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood.

“elect” or “elektos”

Definition: to being selected, chosen

Throughout the bible, God’s sovereignty is on display and it doesn’t change when speaking of the salvation of men.

140 Darrin December 11, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Steve,
I honestly don’t know how you or Stuart or the others think you have any right to complain. If anyone has shown lack of grace here, it has been him. For example, after explaining where my assurance of salvation is, using scriptural reasons, Stuart called me an idolator several times and a liar. Whatever doctrines of grace he or you may agree with, he continously states that those of us who believe in particular redemption are not believers. Has he or you been accused of such?
If you or he really want answers to your thoughts or questions, they are supplied in this list in abundance, but will not avail you if you can’t or don’t open your eyes. How dare Stuart or you act so foolishly and misrepresent the gospel of Christ? How dare he make a mockery of His word and His precious blood? If you indeed are a fellow believer, then STOP, and exhort him to do the same.

141 johnMark December 12, 2008 at 10:22 am

Steve,

First, I am the moderator.

Second, Stuart did come here making charges. Just read.

One such religion that rejects and destroys the Gospel is Calvinism…I am speaking of that Calvinism that denies the universal atonement…Satan has raised it up and established it…errors are subtle…deep guile and great might of our old evil foe…deadly danger of Calvinism is that it looks so much like true Christianity…a counterfeit that can easily pass as public tender.

That’s just from one paragraph. You can’t speak of “Calvinism” in the abstract without grasping that it is actually “Calvinists” you are speaking of. In other words, there are people, Christian people, at the end of these charges.

Now, let’s look at a few quotes that make charges against non-Calvinist Christians.

First, let’s look at a charge Stuart makes after the ones I am going to post.

Now Calvinism is a religion of reason.

This quote sums up the ones below it.

Now the problem is that it is often hard to distinguish between faith and reason. Reason looks exactly like faith so long as the Word of God appears reasonable.

There are two very well known non-Calvinists. William Lane Craig has a popular book Reasonable Faith which just came out in its 3rd edition. He’s also co-authored a book with JP Moreland, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview . These guys would never be mistaken for Calvinists, but they’ve written books on faith and reason.

For instance, both faith and reason are happy to partake of the Lord’s Supper in all earnestness and seriousness. But when the elements are consecrated, and Jesus declares the simple words “this is My body, this is My blood”, then these differences become apparent. Faith says, “Yea, Lord, Thy body and Thy blood shed for me”. But reason says, “Nay, Lord, this is not Thy body. This is not Thy blood. These are but symbols of Thy body and blood”.

This charge reaches far beyond Calvinists. This goes to the ~16 million in the Southern Baptist Convention and most non-denominational Christians. I don’t believe Augustine had such problems with reason.

These examples alone show how Stuart simply painted with a broad brush and just made assertions without providing a supporting argument.

Steve, you’ve done the same in your reply to me.

It robs a believer of complete assurance that his salvation is secure in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (“It is finished:” — Jn. 19:30).

How does it rob the believer of assurance? Asserting it doesn’t make it so and neither does it further your position. Just as Darrin has explained above that even after giving biblical reasons for his assurance he was called names.

Mark

142 johnMark December 12, 2008 at 9:25 am

Folks,

I just want to let you know that Stuart made another reply which I am not letting through. Why? Because it is 8,061 words! In Word using 12 pt font this comes to 12 pages!

Stuart, it just might be time to get your own blog, sir.

If anyone would like Stuart’s response you may contact me via the “contact” link at the top of the blog.

Mark

143 Robert December 12, 2008 at 9:36 am

Johnmark,
thanks for your patience with Stuart.

No…I don’t need to read it…it surely cannot take 12 pages to interact with the scripture that has been put forth here…

bob

144 Stuart December 12, 2008 at 10:41 am

JohnMark,

You don’t need to post this if you don’t want, but I just wanted to let you know that what you said there was fair enough. My last post was very long. But just so you know, I posted it as a thorough exegesis of the 1 Cor. 15:1-4 passage to finally put an end to Robert’s hollow call for exegesis, and also because I thought it thoroughly answered ABClay’s superficial handling of that passage. I hope they will request to read it, but must leave that with the Lord. Also, I wanted to thank you for keeping the blog open to me for as long as you did and for dealing with me in a fair and Christian manner for the most part (even though I don’t think you understood the vital importance of my point). In any case, despite appearances to the contrary (remember our adversary), I really have been seeking the welfare of you all. My only intention from the very start was to expose what I know is a great error and hopefully open the way of the truth for you and others.

Wishing you all every Christian blessing in Christ and in the truth always.

Stuart

145 Robert December 12, 2008 at 11:18 am

Stuart,
Is it possible for you to deal with the content of any of my post without:

1.) Name calling
2.) Hyperbole
3.) Poisoning the well
4.) Using Red Herrings
5.) Burning strawmen
Straw Man usage

“Hollow call for exegesis”…

It just never ends.

I asked so many times point blank that I’m sick of asking…can you or can you not deal with the passages that speak of Christ praying ONLY for those the Father gave him OUT OF THE WORLD, Christ keeping information from certain people for the express purpose of keeping salvation from them, and Jesus EXPLAINING THE UNBELIEF of some followers.

All directly related to Limited Atonement.

What in the world does 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 have to do with this dicussion? It’s Paul admonishing those who are “called” to be saints, and himself “Called to be an apostle by the will of God” and urging them to keep the gospel that has been preached to them…

Uh…is their a problem?

Unless you’ve come up with some amazing exegesis that no one has seen for 2000 years…Calvinists have no problem with passages urging perseverence.

146 Stuart December 12, 2008 at 12:32 pm

JohnMark,

Again, you don’t need to post this if you don’t want – it’s your call. But just to explain my words that I had addressed concerning Robert and to Darrin. I called Robert’s call for exegesis “hollow” because it is. He is not, and has never been, interested in my exegesis, so that is why I have not wasted my time on it. The clear proof of this is that I just gave him a thorough exegesis of 1 Cor. 15:1-4, and he doesn’t even want to read it. In fact, before ever having seen it, he has dismissed it as untrue, as he has his unmoveable pre-fabbed canned Calvinist explanation ready at hand. I have seen this all along with him, and that is why I said that his call for exegesis is “hollow”. It is empty, with no sincerity behind it.

As for Darrin, I am sorry that he took my comments as “name calling”. That was not at all my intent. My intent was to speak truthfully and forcefully to what he had written , for his sake. It is true that for someone to place their trust and hope in their own perceived faith or love is idolatry. It is also true that for someone to place their faith in God’s grace apart from the true Gospel is placing their faith in a ficticious grace and thus is also idolatry. And it is true that Darrin deceives himself and others by claiming that his faith is in the Word of God. The only truth given by God upon which a poor lost sinner can initially place their faith is the universal Gospel, how that “Christ died for OUR sins”. There is no other Scripturally warranted place for a lost soul to get on board but this. This is why the Apostle Paul pronounces an “anathema” upon anyone who would change its message in even the slightest way.

147 ABClay December 12, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Stuart,

I am sure that you thoroughly dealt with my simple explanation of the meaning of that passage with your usual in-depth exegetical style.

ABClay

148 Stuart December 12, 2008 at 1:37 pm

ABClay,

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” – Prov. 18:13.

149 Robert December 12, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Stuart,

I called Robert’s call for exegesis “hollow” because it is. He is not, and has never been, interested in my exegesis, so that is why I have not wasted my time on it.

You must be a mind reader! What skill!

How do you know what I am or am not interested in?

I’ve BEGGED YOU to exegete THE PASSAGES YOU’VE PROVIDED or INTERACT WITH MY PASSAGES.

But you decided to “exegete” 1 Cor 15.

All I asked was why exegete a passage that isn’t relevant to the discussion while ignoring my pleas to exegete John 6:35-45 which SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO THE LIMITED ATONEMENT ISSUE.

So I begged you to discuss the issues I’ve raised in Mark 4:11, you side stepped them.

I begged you to discuss WHY Jesus would pray for ONLY THOSE GIVEN BY THE FATHER AND NOT THE WHOLE WORLD… you sidestepped that also.

So your next step is to talk about 1 Cor 15? A passage that has nothing to do with the discussion at hand?

If you’d like me to read your exegesis and discuss it…

You know where you can reach me….I have my own blog with contact info…be my guest.

In fact, before ever having seen it, he has dismissed it as untrue, as he has his unmoveable pre-fabbed canned Calvinist explanation ready at hand.

And if you would like to be taken serioiusly, try to keep the falsehoods and ad hominem attacks to a minimum.

I actually pointed out that the passage is not relevant…I said nothing about your exegesis being untrue….how could I know that? I haven’t even read it!

Again…you know where to find me.

If you’d like me to post it on my blog and we can discuss it publicly so others can benefit, I’m fine with that.

But remember Exegesis…not editorial.

150 ABClay December 12, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Stuart,

You have misunderstood my rather cursory remark, meant to end my conversation with you, as a desire to further engage you in useless discourse.

ABClay

151 a_helmet December 12, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Roberto,

“John 6:35-45?”

Verse 44:
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Verse 45: It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

The drawing in verse 44 is the same as the learning in verse 45. The drawing action is the teaching from God.
Question: What is the content of this teaching? What does God do when He draws someone?

152 Robert December 12, 2008 at 9:01 pm

A_helmet,
Before I say anything, I’d like to thank you for responding directly to the content of my post…it’s much appreciated.

Let’s begin with verse 35 for context shall we?

Jesus has just fed the 5000, and has quite a few following him.

He uses the bread reference as follows:

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.

So Jesus states a beautiful truth, that the one coming to him, will not be turned away…He is all that is needed. He is the bread of life.

Notice that he uses a common phrase “ho erchomai” “the one coming.” It’s synonymous with believing. And notice that He is NOT addressing WHO will come yet…just that “the one coming” will not be turned away…he will not be hungry or thirsty.

But then Jesus says:

36 But I told you that you have seen me and still do not believe.

Jesus is using a strong adversative; “alla” which is to draw a hard distinction between what he just said, and what He’s now going to say…He’s going to explain why they won’t believe even though they’ve been in the presence of the Son of God, and they’ve seen the same miracles as everyone else:

Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.

The same phrase is used here: “pas ho pater didomai” which is speaking of a certain group “those that the Father gives to Jesus. It’s not an offer of anything, it’s a statement of who will believe; this group.

And then Jesus says that the ones whom the Father gives to Jesus will not be sent away, or turned away. There is no way to be given to Jesus by the Father, only to find later that you are now lost again.

The word combo that Jesus uses here is a “double negative” “ou ma” which is no, not ever, never.

The very next word that Jesus uses is “hoti” which is translated “for.”

It’s a “marker of explanatory clauses.” It’s function is to elaborate and explain what has been said in the last clause.

Jesus continues:

For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. Now this is the will of the one who sent me – that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day.

Wow…what a mouthful. The will of the Father is that Jesus lose none of those that the Father has given to Him…BUT INSTEAD raise them up on the last day.

So the ones that are given are raise to eternal life…no question about it. Jesus will not fail…that’s what He came for.

Notice that

Those that are given, are those that are raised. Same object being spoken of.

(I’m going to skip ahead to your verse)

The Jews were grumbling over the things that He said

43 Jesus replied, “Do not complain about me to one another. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Jesus is STILL addressing their unbelief…that’s the subject matter. He says that no one is ABLE to come to Jesus…unless the Father draws him. This is a continuation of the previously spoken context…he’s still addressing the inability of them to come.

The word He uses for “able” is “dunamai” which speaks to ability, not permission. They do not have the power to come, they cannot come except something happen…and what is it?

The Father draws them. The word for “draws” is commonly thought of as a “wooing” but it’s actually used of “dragging” or “to move an object by your power.”

And what does Jesus say for the third time??

If the preceding happen, then Jesus WILL raise them up to eternal life. No question.

And here we come to the next verse, no break in thoughts, no subject change.

45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me.

Jesus restates the same truth again; Being taught by God is synonymous with being “given” by the Father.

And what will happen (how many times has Jesus restated this so far?)when they are taught by God?

Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me.

They come to Jesus; no question about it.

So the sequence of events is this:

1.) The father gives men to the Son

2.) The Son loses none

3.) The Son raises them to eternal life.

In direct answer to your question: I think that the the same thing is being taught all of the way through this passage; it couldn’t be more clear…

The giving, the teaching, the drawing, all are actions that the Father does.

In answer to your last two questions:

1.) What is the content?

I don’t believe that there is a literal teaching content being spoken of here is there?

2.) What does God do when he draws someone?
I think that the text just states what happens, not anything beyond that.

I do believe that other places deal with bits of these questions, but it’s not addressed here.

I’m sorry for being so long winded but there is no way to divorce the verses from their context…they lose meaning, they can be misused that way.

My question is this:

Now that I’ve done a small amount of exegesis of these passages, can anyone comment on them?

Do they not support the idea of Monergism?

Inside these passages we’ve seen:

Total depravity (no one as the ability)

Irresistible grace (if the Father gives, Jesus will raise)

Perseverance of the saints (I will lose none of what’s been given to me)

Stuart? Any direct interaction?

A_Helmet; thanks again for a direct question to something in the comments themselves.

153 Robert December 12, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Whoops…correction to the last little bit

Irresistible grace (if the Father gives, they will come to Jesus)

154 Stuart December 13, 2008 at 10:38 am

All,

Throughout this long discussion I have had only one point that I have been trying to communicate to you all, and that is that limited atonement is a soul-destroying doctrine because it changes the definition of the Gospel. You may disagree with me, but I hope you will consider the seriousness of that point if it proves to be true.

John Mark: I believe you came very close to seeing my point when you said that there is a sense in which you can tell a person that Christ died for his sins. I think that you instinctively know that that ought to be true. In fact, just so you know, that was the first red flag that I saw when I was holding to limited atonement that something was wrong. Paul said, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Col. 2:6).

Thomas: I leave you with a quote from Martin Luther. Luther writes, “And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through and with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may thus be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word. All this is the old devil and old serpent, who also converted Adam and Eve into enthusiasts, and led them from the outward Word of God to spiritualizing and self-conceit…. In a word, enthusiasm inheres in Adam and his children from the beginning [from the first fall] to the end of the world, [its poison] having been implanted and infused into them by the old dragon, and is the origin, power, and strength of all heresy, especially that of the Papacy and Mahomet. Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and the Sacrament.” (Trigl. 495, Part III, Art. VIII, 3-10).

ABClay: You have told me, “As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.” (Jer. 44:16). Therefore, I can only tell you, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 16:25).

Robert: I posted my exegesis on your web-site, but of course, no response. You leave me with this paradox, ” Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. (Prov. 22:4, 5).

155 Robert December 13, 2008 at 11:11 am

Stuart,

Robert: I posted my exegesis on your web-site, but of course, no response.

I did see your 8000 word rant in the combox of a funny video post that I had posted.

What you posted was not an exegesis of scripture.

I think that’s where we are not communicating.

Exegesis is a drawing out of the text itself, the meaning of the author, by use of history/background, grammar and syntax. The goal would be to explain what a verse means in context. To get to the “authorial intent”

What you posted at my site was a “rant” or if I want to be nicer about it, an “editorial” on your thoughts about how Limited Atonement is of Satan.

The two are not synonymous.

bob

156 Thomas Twitchell December 13, 2008 at 12:13 pm

‘Luther writes, “And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through and with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may thus be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word.”‘

Funny thing though, Luther believed in the total depravity of man. Namely, that he could not undertand the Word except that he was regenerated. So you best look more fully into Luther. There is no doubt that the Word is the means by which we know, for faith comes by hearing. But, that betrays the nearly bankrupt view you have of the Scriptural meaning of faith.

No one can boast that they have the Spirit without the Word, for it is the Word that informs us as to who the Spirit is and how He regenerates us before we can understand the Word. Now if you can’t get this, then I commend you to Scripture rather than a cherry picked quote out of Luther: For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

You see, it takes the Spirit interpreting spiritual truths. Now how does one recieve the Word exept the Spirit already be in him? Regeneration and the Spirit given comes before we can understand the Word, Stuart. But, they are never without one another in the confessing believer. You can argue all day with quotes from men throughout history. But, please, do a little more Biblical research before you do and more fully read the men you quote.

No one here denies the fact that the Word of God does infact make us alive and we would not know except the Word is preached. The question for you Stewart, are you one of those who search the Scripture because in the you think you know God, or are you one who has been born again so that you can freely understand those things given to us by God? Which comes first Stewart, life or understanding that you are alive?

Yes there is a way that seems right to you Stuart, but it comes out of your pridefilled flesh. Thinking that because you comprehend the truths of Scripture, you are thereby regenerated. It is time you dropped the intellectual faith that you have and humbly submit yourself to the ingrafted Word of God that you might benefit from it.

157 Stuart December 13, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Thomas,

You say, “Now how does one recieve the Word exept the Spirit already be in him? Regeneration and the Spirit given comes BEFORE we can understand the Word…”. Luther says, “we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through and with the PRECEDING outward Word, in order that we may thus be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and BEFORE the Word.” Here is a fundamental difference, and you cannot both be right.

And I agree with Luther, because Luther is in agreement with the Word of God. God imparts His Spirit only via His preceding Word. Look at Peter’s Gospel word on the Day of Pentecost, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:37). Pauls says, “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). Are you telling me that there are people who are saved before they ever even hear the Gospel? And if that is what you are saying, then what do you make of James, who tells us, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth” (James 1:18)? Or Peter, who says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God… And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1 Pet. 1:23-25)?

You see, the Spirit resides in the Word, and is inseparable from it. He who receives the Gospel, receives the Spirit, and is made spiritually alive. Take Lazurus as an example. Christ spoke the Word, “Lazurus, come forth.” That preceding Word wrought in Lazurus the very power to respond and to come forth. So it is with salvation. It is only by the preceding Word that the Lord “opened the heart of Lydia to believe”.

Now if this is all true, which it should be evident to all that it is, then we see the problem with limited atonement. Limited atonement requires regeneration to PRECEDE the Gospel. Yet the Gospel is addressed to poor lost sinners, who are dead in their trespasses and sins. For such dead worldlings, there is only one message that can help, and that is the wonderful gracious Gospel news that “Christ died for our sins”.

158 Robert December 13, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Stuart,
Again…a long diatribe without addressing pertinent scripture…

John 6:35-45
Acts 2:38
Mark 4:10-11
John 17

No more essays pleeezzzeeee…

You saw my exegesis of John 6:35-45 above.

no comments that DIRECTLY ADDRESS the exegesis?

159 Robert December 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Quoting Stuart:

Limited atonement requires regeneration to PRECEDE the Gospel. Yet the Gospel is addressed to poor lost sinners, who are dead in their trespasses and sins.

Uh…wouldn’t the following scripture directly address this issue?

1 Corinthians 2:12-14
Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God,

so that (hina; for the purpose of)

we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.

He goes on to say:

The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, (“ou dunatai” not having the ability)

because (“hoti” explaining the reason for what’s stated in the previous clause)

they are spiritually discerned.

It would seem that you are on the other side of Paul’s argument.

Notice also that this scripture directly addresses the subject at hand, it’s not a red herring.

160 Steve December 13, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Dear JohnMark: Thank you for informing me that you are the gate-keeper. I have been notified of some 7 reactions to my submission to your blog (with perhaps more to follow). I hope to answer a few who have challenged me. I will identify by name, date, and time to avoid confusion. I shall try to be brief and to the point. Thank you.

12/11/08 – 6:36pm: Thomas Twitchell:
Your paragraph beginning “And I answered …” and ending “… we are known by him” has the following in it: “Scripture which we have been made wise to by the Spirit is received because we already know him.
According to your construction … ‘We know Christ already and God the Holy Spirit beforehand endowed us with the wisdom to enable us to receive the Scriptures.’ Isn’t the cart before the horse here? The Holy Ghost speaks to us through Scripture. We know Him [Christ] and are made wise to Him, through Scripture. Now according to your construction above, which “spirit” enables you to receive Scripture? And how can you be certain that the “him” you already know, antecedent to Holy Spirit endowed Scriptural wisdom, is truly Christ?

Further, you say: “Scripture confirms what already is.”
Only through Scripture can we confidently say this “is [regeneration?]” is applicable to us. The “is,” which you claim confirms Scripture, in fact came to you beforehand through Scripture. Everything necessary for our salvation comes through Scripture. Surely St. John (I Jn. 4:1) means the same thing — try against what? … what norm? … the Scriptures). I know that Charles Hodge (Syst. Theol.) taught something of this nature: the direct operation of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit working external to God’s revealed Word. Do you also believe, confess, and teach this (Pentecostal) doctrine? God the Holy Spirit works only through God’s Word, they’re inseparable (Deut. 8:3b; Matt. 4:4b).

TT: “So we know because we know as Paul said in 1 Cor. 2, we have the mind of Christ by the Spirit so that we might know the things of God. The word preached comes afterward and the embracing of it.”
This is backwards. It is through the preached Word we come to know the mind of Christ and the things of God. It is through the preached Word the Holy Spirit enables us to receive all the gifts and treasures of Christ for our salvation. Because we have first received it can we then embrace it.

TT: In answer my previous question, “Does the substitutionary atonement cover the elect only, or all men?“ … you replied “Absolutely, the elect only. Christ’s blood is too precious to waste. [!!!]
I hope we agree with St. Paul (I Cor. 15:22a), where he says “For as in Adam all die, …” Waste? … Even if what you teach is true (the Elect only), “waste” isn’t Biblical, is it? I hear in your choice of words the beginning of a false distinction between those who are saved and those who perish in their sins … i.e., Christ’s shed blood is “precious” for the Elect (who are sinners) only and “wasted” on the perishing (who are sinners). You are backing into a logical conundrum. One common escape, casuistically devised by the Lutheran “synergists,” was to posit within man himself a reason to differentiate the saved from the damned: those rescued from their sins “do not willfully resist the Holy Spirit.”

TT: “Make it [Christ’s shed blood] a common thing all you want. That is blasphemy.”
If by “common” you mean that His atonement covered the sins of the world, I agree.

TT: “As a matter of assurance, the blood does not actually save, has no efficaciousness in assurance.”
The “blood” very well does save (Heb. 9:22) and without His shed blood there is no “remission of sins” and thus no assurance of salvation to worry ourselves over. Assurance of salvation is for the body of Christ whom He “calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy” in Christ’s shed blood. Without shed blood there’s no grace, irresistible or otherwise, and without grace, there’s no Saints to persevere.

TT: “What ILLOGIC on your Just blatantly stupid, Sunday School, childish thinking. I didn’t say the bible tells us, that was Stuart’s assertion.”
“Blatantly stupid …?” Unfortunately, my dear wife has agreed with you more often than I care to admit, but for entirely different reasons. I agree with Stuart and the kids: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so (sola scriptura: we reason from Scripture not into Scripture). Or, from your statement may we speculate there is extra-Scriptural revelation, a continuing revelation (see below), hitherto undiscovered till now? TT meet Valentinus!

TT: “Scripture is only one of the testimonies according to John.”
What does this mean? I’m assuming you are referencing St. John’s Gospel 21:25. Now, John is telling us not only is this body of testimony huge beyond measure but (since God cannot lie) it consists of nothing materially or formally different from what has been revealed already in Scripture. Thus it remains “one” (regardless its size) testimony and not “one of the” [among many?] testimonies,” as your words imply. Regrettably, you have put yourself only a step from those, such as the “emergent church” movement, who teach (partly based on this text) that there are many paths to God … Christian, Judaism, Allah, Buddha, etc.

161 Robert December 14, 2008 at 7:11 am

Steve,

I know that this was meant as an answer to TT but I’m going to comment on it if you don’t mind.

There is a lot of inconsistency going on among those here who are on the “Arminian” or “Synergist” side.

I’m quoting you:

TT: In answer my previous question, “Does the substitutionary atonement cover the elect only, or all men?“ … you replied “Absolutely, the elect only. Christ’s blood is too precious to waste. [!!!]
I hope we agree with St. Paul (I Cor. 15:22a), where he says “For as in Adam all die, …

If Christ’s death was a substitutionary death(and you agreed that it was) and it secured salvation for those for whom he died (and you’d seem to agree with that)…then to say that He died for all means that all are raised to eternal life!

Are you a Universalist?

I hate to bring up the “all means all” conversation but their must be more exegetically to Paul’s statement than first meets the eye.

I quote Baker NT Commentary:

In the Greek of verse 21, Paul omits not only the verbs but also all the definite articles to stress the abstract quality of the nouns man, death, resurrection, and dead. He emphasizes that death entered the world because of sin committed by man. And death, having been caused by a human being, can be made ineffective only by a human being (compare Rom. 5:12, 18).

Paul is not schizophrenic or a universalist is he?

Then more study needs to go into 1 Cor 15:22 than just a cursory reading right?

162 Thomas Twitchell December 14, 2008 at 9:52 am

Steve,

Please read.

“Even if what you teach is true (the Elect only), “waste” isn’t Biblical, is it?”

Yes it is a biblical idea, especially if as Peter said, the blood of Christ didn’t really purchase anything. If if was spilled for nothing.

Please read and re-read what is being said.

“I’m assuming you are referencing St. John’s Gospel 21:25.”

No I am not. I am referencing the Spirit in us that testifies. The third testimony is the works that we see that are the effect of the Spirit’s sanctification in us. The word is another.

The SS comment was following the accusation that my reasoning was as shallow as a SS child. The accusations that you and Stuart bring here and the poor reasoning is along these lines: You think that you will be heard for your many words. But you do not realiize that in them lacks no evil thing. The attitude you both have displayed tells more than what you say.

163 Stuart December 14, 2008 at 10:27 am

Thomas: I am still waiting for a reply from you to my last post. In light of what I showed you from Luther and the Scriptures to the contrary, do you still stand behind this statement of yours – “Now how does one recieve the Word exept the Spirit ALREADY be in him? Regeneration and the Spirit given comes BEFORE we can understand the Word…”? Are you saying that a person is regenerated and has the Holy Spirit BEFORE the Gospel comes to him?

JohnMark: I also would be very interested if you could weigh in on this, as this is a fundamental difference, and I don’t know if this is just peculiar to Thomas (and it seems Robert) or whether you all would agree with this. Is this something that Phil Johnson would agree with? I would be very surprised if MacArthur would agree with it (but I could be wrong). Before responding, please re-read my post above to make sure you understand the distinction that is emerging here. Thanks so much.

164 Thomas Twitchell December 14, 2008 at 10:51 am

Stuart,

“You see, the Spirit resides in the Word, and is inseparable from it. He who receives the Gospel, receives the Spirit, and is made spiritually alive.”

Then why isn’t everyone who hears the Gospel saved?

How does one receive? You believe Luther but he would say that nothing can be done by the individual Godward unless he is regenerated.

Here is the case, you confuse the gift of the Holy Spirit with the Spirit’s residence in regeneration.

Luther agreed with the Word of God that man is unregenerate, depraved in all faculties, unable to do anything Godward, including spiritually understanding the Word of God. You might not think so, but the Paul thought so too, as I have already quoted out of 1 Corinthians. Part of faith is understanding and one simply cannot understand it without the Spirit. And one who cannot understand cannot trust in Christ.

Put the right Scripture with the right contexts. If as you say that regeneration is only accompanied by the preached Word, as a person regenerated only by receiving, you still have to deal with people like John the Baptist.

Now contrast: ‘And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

“for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”

“Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”‘

These describe different ways in which the Spirit operates. Note, that the Spirit is given in each case before understanding. To go along with this is Jesus discussion with Nicodemus, specifically, that before one can understand he must be born again. And Jesus chides Nicodemus for not even understanding the basic facts of life, namely, that before one can call upon their Father, they must have been conceived and born. Jesus is paralleling the reality that has always been: a person must be born, before any words make sense. First a person is conceived, then they acquire the ability to hear and then the abiliity to understand.

What is so difficult? Jesus chided Nicodemus because he was supposedly a teacher. You claim you are a teacher, and yet, you make the very same mistake that Nicodemus made.

Here is the key phrase”who boast that they have the Spirit without and BEFORE the Word.” For who can say that they have the Spirit, except those who have received the word. That is not difficult.

“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth…Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God… And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

And who doubts this? Do you believe that the worlds were created by the Word? Is the Word of God in Peter, the verbal Gospel preached, or is the Word of God the “seed” who is Christ? In this passage the context comes before, in which the seed is equated with the blood and the word, and the word is not the words of preaching, but Christ himself. And, the context is the crucifixion where by the benefit of it we are born again. In other words, it is due to Christ’s work, not the preaching of the word, in this context by which we are given birth. Beyond that the word here is anagennao over against the words in John 3:3 where it is anothen gennao. Here it is a past action and fits well with James where the word begotten is apokueo. There is a difference between regeneration and conversion as has already been discussed. It is the difference between conception and birth. But, then, one needs to know earthly things before they can undersand heavenly things, Jesus said. There is no doubt that we are born by the again by the word of truth. But you say that the words on pages and the word on the lips are the same as the Eternal Word? Again, I will ask you, why then, are not all who hear the word preached, born again? How is it that the EW that is always one with the Spirit, if indeed they are the words on pages or on lips of preachers, fail?

You do know right, that to be birthed is different than being concieved, but being conceivied is the same as being born? The English word born comes from the OE word borne, which means to carry. Being birthed, is quite a different thing from being conceived but one must have been conceived before being birthed. Being birthed is what we experience, being conceived is what Jesus is alluding to of the secret work of the Holy Spirit. You seem to not understand the facts of life.

You said: “That preceding Word wrought in Lazurus the very power to respond and to come forth.” How do you know this? How do you know that it was only with the verbal command that Lazurus awoke and heard? The only thing we know is that at the call he came forth. How is it you say you know what happened where you cannot see or hear? Pretty brazen hyper-spirituality of you to be able to see within the tomb where only the Spirit could possibly see. And by the way, just how does one wrapped in grave cloth, come forth? I don’t see anywhere that Jesus says, Lazarus, float forth, and if the words are always accompanied by the operations of the Spirit as you are intimating, don’t they have to all be there? It becomes really absurd to assert what you have.

“Are you telling me that there are people who are saved before they ever even hear the Gospel?” How about Jeremiah, David? Are you telling me that John the Baptist was not? The indication in Scripture is that these men were saved before they were born. Are you telling us that the Word of God is untrue? JtB had His Spirit from the Womb, he was born-again and filled with the Holy Spirit before he ever knew anything of the Lord. Unless you make the Word of God a liar, this must stand as soundly destroying your humanistic wisdom.

‘Look at Peter’s Gospel word on the Day of Pentecost, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”’ As above, context is king. You have muddled it. The gift that Peter is speaking of is the gift that they are seeing. Which was different then the gift they already had. Here is the problem with your take on it. Peter already had the Spirit before he receieved the gift on Pentecost, not only that, but he had the Spirit before Jesus breathed upon him, for Jesus had said that the Father had revealed the truth of who Christ was to Peter long before. The Spirit’s operation, Corinthians says is diverse, and one of those is the work of regeneration so that a man might understand the thing freely given. You don’t seem to understand that, yet you want to teach us! It is first, regenration, then as Luther would agree, the spiritual good thing done toward God, understaning the things freely given, as Paul tells us, without which we cannot say that we have the Spirit.

We appreciate Luther for teaching us along with Scripture that without a new nature, a renewed will, we cannot confess Jesus as Lord. But then, Luther agreed whith John the Apostle. You however, do not.

Steve- “‘We know Christ already and God the Holy Spirit beforehand endowed us with the wisdom to enable us to receive the Scriptures.’”

No this is not the cart before the horse. Go look at 1 Corinthians 2. We have been given the mind of Christ. Unless you want to make the Scripture lie as Stuart continues to do, you will have to accept that the Word is in us at regeneration and is called forth and established through preaching. That our minds are quickened to the facts does not negate the necessity of preaching. It is first regeneration, at which time the fulness of the Godhead comes to dwell in us, then, by the word of God preached we awaken. That shouldn’t be hard to understand. But, again, if you do not know the facts of life, how a child is conceived and birthed, then Jesus’ words might escape you. Then again, since it is not contingent upon man, but the Spirit who gives life without any other mediator, earthly wisdom, or the lack thereof is no hinderance to the bringing forth of the sons of God for whom alone Christ died.

165 Stuart December 14, 2008 at 11:13 am

Thomas,

Thank you for your response. I think we can all agree that that is a clear and resounding “yes” to my inquiry. You are asserting that that a person is regenerated and has the Holy Spirit BEFORE the Gospel ever comes to him. And I will agree that the doctrine of limited atonement is consistent with such an assertion.

Just so everyone can decide for himself, I will again quote Martin Luther, the Father of the Reformation, and leave it at that. Luther writes, “And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through and with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may thus be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word. All this is the old devil and old serpent, who also converted Adam and Eve into enthusiasts, and led them from the outward Word of God to spiritualizing and self-conceit…. In a word, enthusiasm inheres in Adam and his children from the beginning [from the first fall] to the end of the world, [its poison] having been implanted and infused into them by the old dragon, and is the origin, power, and strength of all heresy, especially that of the Papacy and Mahomet. Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and the Sacrament.” (Trigl. 495, Part III, Art. VIII, 3-10).

166 Thomas Twitchell December 14, 2008 at 11:21 am

“spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word.”

And who boasts this? The Word is Eternal. And as I have remarked, no one can know except the word is preached. So what is your hang-up?

I admit that in the Reformed camp there are those who speak of simultanaeity of preaching and regeneration. But, there are those of us who rather than assuming the order actually look at Scripture and find, as 1 Corinthians 2 remarks, and as actually agrees with Luther, that the Spirit must be resident to bear witness with the word of God preached. Now if you can reverse Paul’s order, that we have been given the mind of Christ, and the Spirit, so that we can understand, then you’ve made your point. Now, it is for you to find the textual variants of that passage. But, before you embark on that task, would you please inform us how a child is conceived? The basis of Christ’s discourse with Nicodemus is at the childlike level. So, if you want you can start there, and explain to us how it is that a child understands his father’s voice, before he is conceived?

167 Robert December 14, 2008 at 11:43 am

Stuart,
Would you like to interact with the scripture that I sited?

Do you have any comment on THE TEXT OF 1 Corinthians 2:12-14?

I realize that you like philosophical arguments, and shy away from actual scripture exegesis but it’s the only way to get to the “authorial intent” which I HOPE is what we are all striving for.

168 Thomas Twitchell December 14, 2008 at 12:04 pm

“Regeneration, or the new birth, is the commencement of this union. God brings this connection and baptism even before there is any sign of life–“while you were dead…he made you alive” (Eph.2:1). The first gift of this union is faith, the sole instrument through which we live and remain on this vine. But this is a rich vine, pregnant with nourishing sap to produce an abundance of fruit. Though we are not attached to nor remain attached to this vine by the fruit (what branch depends on the fruit?), those who are truly members of Christ inevitably produce fruit. Through union with Christ, we receive his righteousness imputed (justification) as well as his righteousness imparted (sanctification).”

So that you will know that I am not alone in my view, the above quote if from Michael Horton on union with Christ.

Another quote for you from J.I. Packer:

“Regeneration is a New Testament concept that grew, it seems, out of a parabolic picture-phrase that Jesus used to show Nicodemus the inwardness and depth of the change that even religious Jews must undergo if they were ever to see and enter the kingdom of God, and so have eternal life (John 3:3-15). Jesus pictured the change as being “born again.”

The concept is of God renovating the heart, the core of a person’s being, by implanting a new principle of desire, purpose, and action, a dispositional dynamic that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ. Jesus’ phrase “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5) harks back to Ezekiel 36:25-27, where God is pictured as symbolically cleansing persons from sin’s pollution (by water) and bestowing a “new heart” by putting his Spirit within them. Because this is so explicit, Jesus chides Nicodemus, “Israel’s teacher,” for not understanding how new birth happens (John 3:9-10). Jesus’ point throughout is that there is no exercise of faith in himself as the supernatural Savior, no repentance, and no true discipleship apart from this new birth.

Elsewhere John teaches that belief in the Incarnation and Atonement, with faith and love, holiness and righteousness, is the fruit and proof that one is born of God (1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4). It thus appears that as there is no conversion without new birth, so there is no new birth without conversion.

Though infant regeneration can be a reality when God so purposes (Luke 1:15, 41-44), the ordinary context of new birth is one of effectual calling—that is, confrontation with the gospel and illumination as to its truth and significance as a message from God to oneself. Regeneration is always the decisive element in effectual calling.

Regeneration is monergistic: that is, entirely the work of God the Holy Spirit. It raises the elect among the spiritually dead to new life in Christ (Eph. 2:1-10). Regeneration is a transition from spiritual death to spiritual life, and conscious, intentional, active faith in Christ is its immediate fruit, not its immediate cause. Regeneration is the work of what Augustine called “prevenient” grace, the grace that precedes our outgoings of heart toward God.”

As you will note, the confusion is based upon the reality that no one can even understand the Gospel without the Spirit already resident. If you want to argue simultaneity, fine. I have no problem with that. I believe it in error. I side with those who believe in both the logical and temporal order. And again, are you ever going to deal with the texts as Robert has repeatedly asked and myself also? You do not even seem to understand Luther, when the reality is that what he has said comports with what I have said. And beyond that, you have not dealt with the rest of his theology. Did he or did he not believe that before anyone could do anything Godward, they had to be regenerated?

169 Stuart December 14, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Thomas,

I sense you are squirming a bit in your seat, and would like to find a way out of your predicament, and I don’t blame you. But, unfortunately for you, the damage is already done, as we all have seen the abundant quotes from you above saying that one must be regenerated and have the Holy Spirit BEFORE hearing the Gospel. If you would like to request it, I will happily compile the statements for you and the others to see again. And your false doctrine of limited atonement actually REQUIRES this reasoning. The bottom line is that you cannot agree with Luther that “God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through and with the PRECEDING outward Word”. Isn’t that right, Thomas?

Now to thoroughly finish you off, I will again quote Luther, the Father of the Reformation. While preaching on John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”, Luther beautifully states the importance of the universal Gospel. He says, “This is an extraordinarily fine and comforting sermon on Christ our Savior. Neither our thoughts nor our words can do the subject full justice, but in the life beyond it will redound to our eternal joy and bliss that the Son of God abased himself so and burdened himself with my sins. Yes, he assumes not only my sins but also those of the whole world, from Adam down to the very last mortal. These sins he takes upon himself; for these he is willing to suffer and die that our sins may be expunged and we may attain eternal life and blessedness… THIS IS THE BASIS OF ALL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE. Whoever believes it is a Christian; whoever does not is no Christian, and will get what he has coming to him. The statement is clear enough: “This is the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world.” Moreover, this text is the Word of God, not our word. Nor is it our invention that the Lamb was sacrificed by God and that, in obedience to the Father, this Lamb took upon himself the sin of the whole world.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 22, pp. 162-169 – Read it!)

170 Thomas Twitchell December 14, 2008 at 12:19 pm

“I sense you are squirming a bit in your seat”

Give me a break. Stuart your pride and arrogance is stiffling.

“God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through and with the PRECEDING outward Word”

Have you handled the various operations of the Spirit? No you have not. So I can agree with Luther on this point.

The fact that Luther was a universalist is not even the issue, Stuart. It is what does the word of God say?

Waste the blood of Christ all you want. It is blasphemy. And, yes, Luther thought as you do, and that was blashphemy, too.

171 Thomas Twitchell December 14, 2008 at 2:20 pm

http://www.reformationtheology.com/2006/05/the_necessity_of_means_in_mone.php

In the middle of this article are two quotes, one by Luther, and one by Edwards. Note the order: Luther said:

“I say that man, before he is renewed into the new creation of the Spirit’s kingdom, does and endeavors nothing to prepare himself for that new creation and kingdom, and when he is re-created has does and endeavors nothing towards his perseverance in that kingdom; but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us, and preserving us when regenerate, without ourselves…” (Bondage of the Will pg. 268)
Likewise, Jonathan Edwards sums this up beautifully:

“The word of God is no proper cause of this effect: it does not operate by any natural force in it. The word of God is only made use of to convey to the mind the subject matter of this saving instruction: and this indeed it doth convey to us by natural force or influence. It conveys to our minds these and those doctrines; it is the cause of the notion of them in our heads, but not of the sense of the divine excellency of them in our hearts. Indeed a person cannot have spiritual light without the word. But that does not argue, that the word properly causes that light. The mind cannot see the excellency of any doctrine, unless that doctrine be first in the mind; but the seeing of the excellency of the doctrine may be immediately from the Spirit of God; though the conveying of the doctrine or proposition itself may be by the word. So that the notions that are the subject matter of this light, are conveyed to the mind by the word of God; but that due sense of the heart, wherein this light formally consists, is immediately by the Spirit of God. As for instance, that notion that there is a Christ, and that Christ is holy and gracious, is conveyed to the mind by the word of God: but the sense of the excellency of Christ by reason of that holiness and grace, is nevertheless immediately the work of the Holy Spirit.”

Luther: “but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us”

Edwards: “The mind cannot see the excellency of any doctrine, unless that doctrine be first in the mind; but the seeing of the excellency of the doctrine may be immediately from the Spirit of God; though the conveying of the doctrine or proposition itself may be by the word. So that the notions that are the subject matter of this light, are conveyed to the mind by the word of God; but that due sense of the heart, wherein this light formally consists, is immediately by the Spirit of God.”

So, we have this, that eventhough the regeneration of men most normally is enmeshed with the preaching of the word, it is not the word that is the agency of regeneration, it is the Spirit.

Our confession says: “Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.”

As I said, you must deal with the Scriptures that place the operation of the Spirit without the preaching of the word before you handle the normal operation of the Spirit in effectual call. In either case, salvation which is begun in the Spirit and completed by him is almost invariably connected to the Gospel preached. However, Scripture relates to us that those who are regenerated are indeed saved, even those who have not yet heard. The point is Stuart, in not defining things correctly you err. In only partially quoting historical writtings, you err. In only quoting partial Scripture, you err. In not looking more deeply into the language of Scripture, you err.

The summation Stuart, is that you are in error.

One would think that having been beat to a pulp here, that you would desist.

172 Robert December 14, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Stuart,
I think that you are taking Luther out of context…no?

And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding (going forth) outward Word, in order that we may [thus] be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word, and accordingly judge Scripture or the spoken Word, and explain and stretch it at their pleasure, as Muenzer did, and many still do at the present day, who wish to be acute judges between the Spirit and the letter, and yet know not what they say or declare. For [indeed] the Papacy also is nothing but sheer enthusiasm, by which the Pope boasts that all rights exist in the shrine of his heart, and whatever he decides and commands with [in] his church is spirit and right, even though it is above and contrary to Scripture and the spoken Word.

Isn’t Luther making the case for Sola Scriptura? No authority but the Spirit of God through and with the Holy Scripture?

This quote has nothing to do with the order of the events in salvation! It’s about the Authority of Scripture!

Stuart, if you are going to quote someone; use their quotes IN CONTEXT.

Do you have a quote where the SUBJECT IS the Ordo Salutis?

bob

173 Robert December 14, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Stuart,
A PS:

As much as I like Luther; he’s just a man and doesn’t make doctrine; scripture does.

And on that happy note…would you interact with ANY as TT asked?

174 Robert December 14, 2008 at 2:35 pm

And while I’m thinking about it…

It would seem that Martin Luther was a Monergist also:

“All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it;

who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned.” – Martin Luther

It seems that Ol’ Martin understood that some would be delivered and some would be condemned and it would also seem that he put the whole thing squarely in the lap of God.

175 Thomas Twitchell December 14, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Thanks Robert. I had my suspicions about the context of Luther’s statement and had surmised something along that line of reasoning.

176 Steve December 14, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Response to Darrin’s post 12/11, 11:49pm:

Darrin, you’re right, there’s been too much complaining from all of us — and I include myself. You may not like characterizations made by our side, but I assure you, it is with your soul’s final rest that we are concerned. I have seen answers “in abundance” and with some I can agree. The “doctrine” of limited atonement, however, I believe is a soul-destroying error. Check me here, but I believe this “doctrine” first appeared in the church at the Synod of Dort (1618-1619), in the TULIP formulation, contra the “Remonstrants.” I leave you with and cannot improve on the following, from C.H. Little’s slim volume Disputed Doctrines (1933), whose first chapter, “Predestination,” is devoted to this perennially disputed doctrine (a reminder that none of us are onto something new):

“If the distinction made in the beginning of this Article between God’s foreknowledge and His predestination or eternal election had been accurately observed, much confusion would have been averted …The doctrine of Predestination or Election is a great mystery. We can not with our finite minds penetrate into the secret counsels of God. Neither can we lay down rules according to which He must govern Himself in His dealings with men. (Rom. 11:33-35) … The first thing we note as we consider this doctrine is, that unlike the Gospel, which is universal, Predestination or Election is not universal, but limited. It is restricted to true Christians, to believers who constitute the holy and beloved children of God. It is essentially an election of grace. As such it has no counterpart – no decree of reprobation, as in the Calvinistic system. It has absolutely nothing to do with unbelievers, who merely reap the due reward of their evil deeds.”

177 Robert December 14, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Steve,
that sounds great but we are all supposed to get our theology from the word of God.

The REASON we here in the Reformed camp hold to Limited Atonement is because the Word teaches it…period.

Just because the Synod of Dort had to refute error doesn’t mean that it STARTED there.

Before that, there was no question, it was not something that the church wrestled with…there were other issues on their plate.

IF SOMEONE WOULD INTERACT WITH THE SCRIPTURE EXEGESIS I’VE PROVIDED then we could begin a meaningful dialog about this…but alas…no one on the “other” side is willing to deal with the actual text of scripture…just to throw out proof texts.

The cold hard fact is that 4 of the 5 points are taught in John alone! But I’ve yet to get Stuart or anyone else to even take a look at it.

I’ll tell you what refuting the Doctrines of Grace is NOT:

1.) Finding any place that the word “will” is used.

2.) Finding any place that the command to repent, believe, or follow is found.

3.) Throwing out 2nd Peter 3:9, 1st Timothy 2:4, Matthew 23:37. (have I missed any?)

4.) Constructing philosophical arguments.

5.) Calling Scripture Exegesis “elitism” or saying it’s not necessary, because a child could read the “plain meaning” of scripture.

6.) Sifting through one of the many Early Church Fathers to find quotes that seem to support against TULIP. (hint: no church father agreed with any other church father on much of anything!)

7.) Unfounded assertions. (and when challenged; change the subject or tell us how mean we are)

8.) Bringing into the conversation passages that HAVE NO bearing on the question at hand.

Now for what refuting these doctrines IS:

1.) Good sound exegesis of the RELEVANT PASSAGES showing that the meaning speaks against TULIP.

If those in the Synergistic camp are truly searching for the truth, then they shouldn’t be afraid to take a good hard look at scripture itself.

178 Robert December 14, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Steve,
I’m with you on that statement:

“Limited Atonement is a soul-destroying error”

And by that I mean this:

That Christ’s death didn’t save ANYBODY but just made salvation POSSIBLE and it’s LIMITED to those who “do something” God gives everyone the same amount of “grace” and it’s up to them to “make it effective.”

That’s how Arminians/Synergists limit the atonement in their own way.

Now THAT’S soul destroying.

179 Steve December 14, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Response to TT’s post 12/14, 9:52am:

Thomas, apropos my S.S. comment, not for a moment did I intend to denigrate you or your reasoning. Perhaps I was unclear. The point was to drive home for you (and myself also) how Jesus took opportunity, when the disciples were hurrying the little ones away, to teach about trust (Mt. 19:14; Mk. 10:14-15; Lk.18.16-17). We should note that three of the four Gospels record the account. The repetition is no accident, we require constant admonition (Mk. 9:24). Where or in what do we place our trust? God’s Word is the only infallible source for everything sufficient to our salvation.

[TT} “No I am not [cf. Jn. 21:25]. I am referencing the Spirit in us that testifies. The third testimony is the works that we see that are the effect of the Spirit’s sanctification in us. The word is another.”

Again we have the “spirit unbound” making all things possible. No where does Scripture reveal Our Triune God separated in their persons or working outside of Scripture. Thomas, I fear we are simply talking past each other. An abyss gapes between us in the most fundamental thing. Which is authoritative?: the Bible or an extra-Scriptural spiritual visitation. Is it possible that the chief element in St. Paul’s “the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2) is a disposition — in Christ — that places our ever-wayward reason in obedience and in submission to Holy Writ?

180 Steve December 14, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Response to Robert’s post 12/14, 7:11am:

Robert, it is self-evident that you have deft facility with NT Greek. Your exegesis in “anointing,” “drawn,” and other words are both welcome and unassailable. And for this reason it is inexplicable to me why you persistently resort to labeling orthodox Lutheran teaching “Arminian,” “synergistic,” “universalist” and similar epithets. Disagreement over the extent of Christ’s atonement does not a fortiori land one into the arms of one or more of the various “isms” being hurled around this blog. It is well below your expertise and detracts from your demonstrated gifts. We all have dependable Cyclopedias/Bible Dictionaries at our fingertips. I know you know better and I know you can do better — enough of the theological “McCarthyism.”

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating, Stuart, Dlomax, and myself have all left Calvinism (in my case OPC-Presbyterianism) for Lutheranism. None of us claim to be expert but we know somewhat whereof we speak. In my case, my preceptors (if that is proper) were those of “old” Princeton Seminary before it was swallowed whole by liberalism (early ‘30’s), particularly Warfield, Machen, and G.H. Clark — consistent Calvinists all. I believe Stuart’s paper, disagreeable as it may have been to everyone, objectively “unmasked” the “L-doctrine.” Yeah, it was long. But since he first challenged you, how much better it would have been, how much useless squabbling might have been avoided, if someone — you for example — had emailed Stuart, asked him to forward a MSWord version of his paper and went to work (in red letter enclosed in brackets) with Bible and lexicon unpacking and demolishing his arguments. Then post for all to see. Sadly, this was never done.

So we have an advantage in that we know you folks, theologically speaking, much better than you know us. Now I challenge you and the other Reformed folks to lend or purchase a copy of “The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church: The Book of Concord” (1580) — the Kolb / Wengert edition, Fortress Press, is easily accessible and will do. Do as I did nearly 9 years ago, when I spent the better part of a summer studying it with an open Bible, to prove it. Scales fell from the eyes of my reason and, for me, God be praised, things have never been the same.

I cannot accept or be persuaded from God’s Word of the truth of a “doctrine” that the Gospel message of “Good News” in Christ is meant for all men to hear, but for most of them it is the emptiest and futile of promises because God has predestined them to damnation from eternity.

This is my final post.

Thank you JohnMark!! — you have been a gracious and fair moderator.

God’s peace to all.

181 Robert December 15, 2008 at 7:58 am

Steve,

thanks for coming. This, then will be my final comment to you;

quote:
Robert, …Your exegesis in “anointing,” “drawn,” and other words are both welcome and unassailable

Then do the right thing and change your view

Another quote:

…it is inexplicable to me why you persistently resort to labeling orthodox Lutheran teaching “Arminian,” “synergistic,” “universalist” and similar epithets.

I’m sorry that you saw these terms as “epithets” they were not intended to be; they were supposed to be descriptive of certain traditional views of these doctrines. Like saying we are “Calvinist’s.”

I ASKED if Stuart (or you) were a “universalist” I didn’t say you or he was. His argument pointed to, and demanded that that’s where he end up.

Quote:
enough of the theological “McCarthyism.”

Uh hello? “EPITHETS”?

and for the record; Stuart gave me (at my blog) his rant that was supposed to be an exegesis but wasn’t….HE NEVER REPLIED to MY RESPONSE.

Lastly: Your last comment SPEAKS VOLUMES:

I cannot accept or be persuaded from God’s Word of the truth of a “doctrine” that the Gospel message of “Good News” in Christ is meant for all men to hear, but for most of them it is the emptiest and futile of promises because God has predestined them to damnation from eternity.

Your comment here, and your comment that EVEN THOUGH my exegesis was “on Acts 2:38 was “unassailable” are very telling.

No matter how much scriptural evidence you see, you will not be pursuaded to change your thinking.

And that, IS THE DIFFERENCE (many times) between the Reformed approach to letting the text speak, and the “opposite” camp who refuses to have their mind changed. Both you and Stuart demonstrated this when you refused to engage the text directly.

Sir, you are a walking example of the truth of the Doctrines you hate. You WILL NOT let the text speak, you REFUSE!

No matter how much evidence is brought to bear…you will not be pursuaded!

God MUST OPEN YOUR EYES…and for that I pray…

May God open your eyes and soften your heart to accept what you see with your eyes and acknowledge with your mind.

bob

182 Thomas Twitchell December 15, 2008 at 9:35 am

ME: The word is another.”

STEVE: “Again we have the “spirit unbound” making all things possible. No where does Scripture reveal Our Triune God separated in their persons or working outside of Scripture.”

You prove yourself unable to read. The context by the way was how we know, not the work or the Spirit per se.
Nowhere have I ever said that the Spirit works in anysense disconnected from the Trinity. That is just your supplementation in the argument to justify your ignorance of Scripture.

The unfortunate thing about your perspective is that it is you who undoes the Trinity in making the sacrifice of Christ universal. Interesting that you do not include the Spirit in the intent of the work of Christ, nor the Father’s giving a particular people. Christ said he had finished the work the Father had given Him and that He was glorified by Him and testified to by the Spirit. It is also funny that Jesus makes his work only for some and not for all.

Again, I hold that you wasting the blood of Christ is blasphemy. You distroy substitutionary atonement and the entire sense of Scripture that places the elect in Christ on Calvary. You’re welcome to your Lutheranism’s universal atonement, one that purchases no one, and saves no one, but depends soley upon the work of man to complete. Though you might not see the inconsistency of Luther, we do.

By the way, even in your system, who is it that applies the benefits of Christ’s atonement to you? Is Christ in you by the Spirit, or in actuality, physically present? Does the Spirit work without the Son, in that case?

“This is my final post.” Let us hope. So, no need to answer, you haven’t so far anyway.

183 Robert December 15, 2008 at 9:43 am

Thomas Twitchell,

“This is my final post.” Let us hope. So, no need to answer, you haven’t so far anyway.

I wouldn’t expect anything based on Steve’s last statement:

I cannot accept or be persuaded from God’s Word of the truth of a “doctrine” that the Gospel message of “Good News” in Christ is meant for all men to hear, but for most of them it is the emptiest and futile of promises because God has predestined them to damnation from eternity.

At least with Luther he said that IF it was shown by scripture then he’d recant…

Neither Steve nor Stuart are willing to do that.

184 Stuart December 15, 2008 at 10:23 am

Robert: Just so you know, I have a little different take on this than Steve, although I appreciate his gracious and generous tone. But I would not commend you on your Greek, “exegesis” or anything else. And it is not because you have not studied these arts. It’s apparent you have. But it is because you are using them with an unregenerate mind, and nothing good nor true can come from that. I did not respond to your email concerning my paper on the “True and Blessed Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” because it was evident to me from your comments that you had never actually read it. You dismissed it as “a rant against limited atonement”, when the paper never even mentioned limited atonement, and was rather a careful exposition of the holy Gospel. In fact, even the universality of the atonement was only asserted in one short paragraph in a paper of 12 pages.

So, contrary to Steve’s kind words, I am of the mind that you are just a willful deceiver. I also saw this when you tried to say that I had taken Luther “out of context”, because I had highlighted the key expressions from Luther that pertained to our discussion. The two sentences about Muentzer and the papacy change nothing about the point I was making. No, as I see it, you just try to make as much noise, and blow as much smoke of confusion into the discussion as you can, hoping that thereby the plain simple truth will be silenced. And that may work well among unsuspecting men, but you don’t fool God, and by His grace, you don’t fool me either. You very much remind me of Elymas the sorcerer, who likewise withstood Paul and Barnabas as they sought to speak the Word of God with Sergius Paulus on the island of Cyprus. Thus, I say to you what Paul said to him, “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10)

185 Robert December 15, 2008 at 10:49 am

Drumroll please…

And still; no exegesis of actual scripture….

I rest my case.

186 Stuart December 15, 2008 at 11:14 am

Elymas,

You praise your exegesis more than the plain statements of Scripture. The Psalmist says, “God’s word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105), not your smoky exegesis. In the temptation in the wilderness, did Jesus answer the devil with “exegesis” or with direct quotes from Scripture? According to you, he should have written a lengthy paper on how Satan was taking the Bible “out of ocntext”, proving this from careful Hebrew grammar. No, the way of Christ, the Apostles, and the true Christian church has always been to quote the Word of God. As Abraham said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luk. 16:31).

187 johnMark December 15, 2008 at 11:30 am

Stuart,

Sorry, I’ve had a busy weekend. My brothers here have been doing a great job answering you and I appreciate it. I’m not sure there is anything I need to weigh in on. Anything specific you had in mind?

I hesitate to even mention the name Phil Johnson. That link I gave of some of his work on limited atonement should answer many questions of his position.

Steve,

You may not like the Arminian label and maybe it’s not helpful. Whether 100% accurate or not let me point something out.

In Arminian Theology Roger Olson on page 22 writes the following.

His [Arminius’] followers made clear that Melanchthon, an orthodox Lutheran leader, and other Lutherans held similar if not identical views.

A few pages earlier Olson also mentions that Luther was a monergist, while Melanchthon was a synergist who influenced many Lutherans in this area.

Just an FYI…

Mark

188 Robert December 15, 2008 at 11:30 am

All,

Throughout this long discussion I have had only one point that I have been trying to communicate to you all, and that is that limited atonement is a soul-destroying doctrine because it changes the definition of the Gospel. You may disagree with me, but I hope you will consider the seriousness of that point if it proves to be true.

Stuart,
I all seriousness and love. We have been BEGGING for you to make your case from scripture.

Pertinent scripture. Scripture that speaks of the exent of the atonement.

But you have not.

And all of the way down to the last comment post of yours, you still refuse.

Are you surprised that we’ve not gotten any farther than we started a week and a half ago?

I will remind you again (from a request of mine 4 days ago:

Stuart,
Again…a long diatribe without addressing pertinent scripture…

John 6:35-45
Acts 2:38
Mark 4:10-11
John 17

No more essays pleeezzzeeee…

You saw my exegesis of John 6:35-45 above.

no comments that DIRECTLY ADDRESS the exegesis?

If you don’t understand or have the abiltiy to do proper scripture exegesis just say so…it’s not a mark of shame…but don’t keep offering editorials unsubstantiated by scripture and CALL IT exegesis.

It aint.

bob

189 johnMark December 15, 2008 at 1:04 pm

Stuart,

I don’t think Thomas’ position is as odds with Luther’s statement. Thomas is speaking of monergism. Just look at this answer from a Lutheran site.

Lutherans (and Calvinists) do not believe that human beings, after the Fall into sin, have any natural free will in spiritual matters. We are fully free in sinful matters (that is, we may choose which ways we want to sin), and partially free in indifferent or external matters (that is, what clothes to wear, which place to vacation, which church to attend), limited by the fact that we are creatures under divine providence. But in spiritual matters (to believe in Jesus or not; to be converted or not) we have no freedom of choice on our own. We are brought to saving faith only by God’s grace and power as he works through the gospel. That is the teaching of “divine monergism”–God alone accomplishes this and makes the unwilling willing as he gives us faith and spiritual life in conversion.(Source)

Mark

190 Stuart December 15, 2008 at 12:22 pm

JohnMark,

Thanks for getting back to me.

The point I was trying to clarify was that Thomas had repeatedly asserted “Now how does one recieve the Word exept the Spirit ALREADY be in him? Regeneration and the Spirit given comes BEFORE we can understand the Word…”. I disagreed with him and referred him to Luther who said, “we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through and with the PRECEDING outward Word, in order that we may thus be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and BEFORE the Word.”

So the question I had for you was the following: As this is a fundamental and important difference, and as I don’t know if this is just peculiar to Thomas (and it seems Robert), is this something that you and Phil Johnson would agree with? I said that I would be very surprised if MacArthur would agree with it (but I could be wrong).

But perhaps the whole question is superfluous at this point, as Thomas apparently recognized the error of his ways and seemingly did a 180 on the point. He now says that he is in full agreement with me and Luther, although I do not believe him. This is because he also reminded me at the same time, “Waste the blood of Christ all you want. It is blasphemy. And, yes, Luther thought as you do, and that was blashphemy, too.” Robert, of course, ageed with him. He further added that, unlike me, Luther (the Father of the Reformation) would have “repented” of his false universal Gospel (that Gospel, which delivered the Christian church from the darkness of the Roman antichrist), IF he had only heard Robert’s sound Scriptural “exegesis”.

191 Robert December 15, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Stuart,
One more time:

Drumroll please…

And still; no exegesis of actual scripture….

Untill you make your case by scripture, you are saying nothing.

Luther, or any other church father are men…not “thenostos” God breathed scripture.

the authority is found there,

Not in rants, quotes from Church fathers, or editorial.

And once again…being sarcastic only shows that that’s all you have.

Unsubstantiated assertions, and name calling.

bob

192 Robert December 15, 2008 at 12:33 pm

to everyone,
In the interest of being open about what was said between Stuart’s “exegesis” and what I wrote back as a response, just email me and you can have the whole thing and make your own determination if I misrepresented what Stuart said, or was rude or dishonest about it.

rpavich at gmail dot com

193 Thomas Twitchell December 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm

“we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through and with the PRECEDING outward Word, in order that we may thus be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and BEFORE the Word”

And it was discovered that this quote, you took out of context. You cherry picked it.

Even at that no one here is denying that one can know they have the Spirit outside the word. But, even Luther knew that without the Spirit already regenerating a person, and the vital union by the Spirit achieved by that, no one would even hear the word. And again, you have not dealt with Scripture. You merely continue your assertions.

194 Robert December 15, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Stuart,
As usual, you misunderstood what I said:

He further added that, unlike me, Luther (the Father of the Reformation) would have “repented” of his false universal Gospel (that Gospel, which delivered the Christian church from the darkness of the Roman antichrist), IF he had only heard Robert’s sound Scriptural “exegesis”.

What I said was (directed at TT):

I wouldn’t expect anything based on Steve’s last statement:

Quoting Steve:

I cannot accept or be persuaded from God’s Word of the truth of a “doctrine” that the Gospel message of “Good News” in Christ is meant for all men to hear, but for most of them it is the emptiest and futile of promises because God has predestined them to damnation from eternity.

And then I pointed out that at least Luther said that IF it was shown by scripture then he’d recant…

Unlike Stuart or Steve.

I said NOTHING about Luther’s Universalist understanding.

But again…none of this banter is scriptural exegesis is it?

Until you show by SCRIPTURAL EXEGESIS that you have support of your “as-yet-unsupported-assertions” then you have nothing.

Anyone reading this can see who is HANDLING THE WORD OF GOD CAREFULLY, AND WHO IS NOT.

And that’s the ONLY reason that I continue to post here. It’s a good object lesson on “How NOT to put forth a scriptural argument”

bob

195 Steve December 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm

JohnMark,

I have looked the site over and can find no “unsubscribe.” Can you unsubscribe me? Thanks, Steve

196 Stuart December 16, 2008 at 12:11 pm

All,

I rest my case with the following testimonies to the true and saving universal atonement and universal Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am sure that it will quickly be silenced and obscured by the noise and smoke of Robert and Thomas, but I wanted you all to see this. If you do not believe the testimonies of the simple plain clear Word of God, and you do not believe the testimonies of these Christian fathers, then why would I expect that you would believe me. I only ask that for the sake of your eternal souls, you read and consider these quotes carefully.

While preaching on John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”, Martin Luther powerfully states the necessity of the universal Gospel. He says, “This is an extraordinarily fine and comforting sermon on Christ our Savior. Neither our thoughts nor our words can do the subject full justice, but in the life beyond it will redound to our eternal joy and bliss that the Son of God abased himself so and burdened himself with my sins. Yes, he assumes not only my sins but also those of the whole world, from Adam down to the very last mortal. These sins he takes upon himself; for these he is willing to suffer and die that our sins may be expunged and we may attain eternal life and blessedness… THIS IS THE BASIS OF ALL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE. WHOEVER BELIEVES IT IS A CHRISTIAN; WHOEVER DOES NOT IS NO CHRISTIAN, and will get what he has coming to him. The statement is clear enough: “This is the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world.” Moreover, this text is the Word of God, not our word. Nor is it our invention that the Lamb was sacrificed by God and that, in obedience to the Father, this Lamb took upon himself the sin of the whole world.”

The earliest church father, Ignatius (c. 35 – c. 107), the Bishop of Antioch:
“Our God is a lover of mankind, and ‘will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth’.”

Justin Martyr (c. 100 – c. 165) of the early second century:
“The Father of all wished His Christ for the whole human family to take upon Him the curses of all.”

“His Father wished Him to suffer this, in order that by His stripes the human race might be healed.”

Irenaeus (c. 130 – c. 200), the disciple of Polycarp who in turn was the disciple of the Apostle John:
“It was He who should die and be buried for the mortal human race”.

“He removed the yoke and bondage of the old law, so that mankind, being now set free, might serve God.”

Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 225):
“…the Scripture teaching one full and entire satisfaction for the sins of the whole human race, once for all presented by our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Origen (c. 185 – c. 254):
“But He did come, because He was willing to come, and because it was manifest beforehand that His dying upon behalf of men would be of advantage to the whole human race”.

The ancient Church historian, Eusebius (c. 260 – c. 340):
“He was the victim offered to the Supreme Sovereign of the universe for the whole human race”.

Athanasius (c. 296 – 373), the champion of Christian orthodoxy, author of the Nicene Creed, and rescuer of the faith from Arianism:
“For whatever is written concerning our Saviour in His human nature, ought to be considered as applying to the whole race of mankind”.

“In Him the human race is perfectly and wholly delivered from sin and quickened from the dead, and given access to the kingdom of the heavens.”

Gregory of Nyssa (c. 330 – c. 395):
“And the wood of the Cross is of saving efficacy for all men.”

Basil (c. 330 – 379):
“The Lord was bound to taste of death for every man–to become a propitiation for the world and to justify all men by His own blood.”

Gregory Nazianzen (329 – 389):
“[Christ’s sacrificial death was] not for a part of the world, nor for a short time, but for the whole world and for all time”.

Hilary (c. 315 – 367):
“Since the humanity of Christ is universal, His death was on behalf of all mankind, to buy the salvation of the whole human race.”

The greatest Eastern Church preacher, Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407):
“’That by the grace of God He should taste death for every man’, not for the faithful only, but even for the whole world: for He indeed died for all.”

St. Augustine (354 – 430):
“When the angel, then, stretched out his staff and touched the rock, and fire rose out of it, this was a sign that our Lord’s flesh, filled with the Spirit of God, should burn up all the sins of the human race.”

“And so it was at that time declared in a mystery that the Lord Jesus, when crucified, should abolish in His flesh the sins of the whole world, and not their guilty acts merely, but the evil lusts of their hearts.”

197 Robert December 16, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Wow…what a surprise…no scripture exegesis…

Knock me over with a feather.

bob

198 Robert December 16, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Wow…dualing Early Church Fathers…Ready….Aim….Fire!

I said before that no Early Church Father agreed with any otheron much of anything…

Here is my list:

Notice that Irenaeus AND Eusebius ARE ON BOTH LISTS…Possibly one of us is taking something out of context?

Irenaeus (A.D. 180) An Interpretation of the word “all” in 1Tim 2:6
“He came to save all, all, I say, who through him are born again unto God, infants, and little ones, and children, and young men, and old men….Jesus is the savior of them that believe; but the Lord of them that believe not.” (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 291-292).

Cyprian (A.D. 250)
All the sheep which Christ hath sought up by His blood and sufferings are saved…Whosoever shall be found in the blood, and with the mark of Christ shall only escape…He redeemed the believers with the price of His own blood…Let him be afraid to die who is not reckoned to have any part in the cross and sufferings of Christ. (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 292).

NOTICE THAT EUSEBIUS IS ON MY LIST AND YOUR LIST ALSO…hmm

Eusebius (A.D. 330) In response to “He gave himself up for us all”
To what “us” does he refer, unless to them that believe in Him? For to them that do not believe in Him, He is the author of their fire and burning. The cause of Christ’s coming is the redemption of those that were to be saved by him. (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 292).

Ambrose (A.D. 380)
Can He damn thee, whom He hath redeemed from death, for whom He offered Himself, whose life He knows is the reward of His own death? (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 293).

Epiphanius (A.D. 390) In a debate with certain Pagans who did not believe…
…Thou art not of the number of them who were bought with blood, O Manes, because thou deniest the blood…He gave his life for His own sheep. (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 293-294).

Hieronymus (Jerome) A.D. 390
Christ is sacrificed for the salvation of believers…Not all are redeemed, for not all shall be saved, but the remnant…All those who are redeemed and delivered by Thy blood return to Zion, which Thou hast prepared for Thyself by Thine own blood…Christ came to redeem Zion with His blood. But lest we should think that all are Zion or every one in Zion is truly redeemed of the Lord, who are redeemed by the blood of Christ form the Church…He did not give His life for every man, but for many, that is, for those who would believe (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 294).

Gottschalk (A.D. 803-869)
Why did the Lord say to the Pharisees: ‘You do not believe, because you are not of my sheep’ (Jn. 10.26), if not because He saw them as having been predestined to eternal death, not as having been purchased for eternal life at the price of his blood.’ (Tractates, 48: translated by John V. Fesko).

Anselm (A.D. 1033-1109)
If you die in unbelief, Christ did not die for you. (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 294).

Johann von Staupitz (Martin Luther’s mentor, A.D.1460-1529)
“Because of His likeness to sinful flesh He could make satisfaction for sins, sin He could fast, pray give alms, and offer himself as a sacrifice to God. Each and every one of these penitential duties of all the elect the Lord imposed upon His own head” (Oberman, Forerunners of The Reformation).
“Nor should it escape you that the suffering of the Son of God is sufficient for all, though it was not for all but for many that His blood was poured out” (Oberman, Forerunners of The Reformation).

Martin Luther (A.D. 1483-1546)
We find, then, in this excellent lesson, the comforting doctrine taught that Christ is he whom we should know as the Priest and Bishop of our souls; that no sin is forgiven, nor the Holy Spirit given, by reason of works or merit on our part, but alone through the blood of Christ, and that to those for whom God has ordained it. (Sermons of Martin Luther Vol. 7, page 167-68, Baker edition).

Which just highlights the reason to go to the TEXT ITSELF.

You can call my “call for exegesis” hollow…you can appeal to all the extra-biblical sources you want, but in the end… the only REAL AUTHORITY IS SCRIPTURE.

199 Stuart December 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Robert,

I hope you realize that God will hold you personally accountable at the final judgment for the souls that you are misleading. As I mentioned before, it is not hard to find particular (limited) statements in the fathers (He died for the church, He died for me, etc.), even though they held to a universal atonement. Even the Scriptural writers do the same (“I lay down My life for My sheep”, “who loved me and gave Himself for me”, etc.) The problem goes the other way. If He ONLY died for the elect and did NOT die for the sins of the whole world, then they could NEVER say what I have clearly shown they did say, nor could John the Baptist say, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world”.

And to quote Staupitz (who never left the Roman Catholic Church, and rejected Luther’s Reformation) or to quote Luther, as if he held to limited atonement, is not only ridiculous, but it is also plainly dishonest. I have read over 70 volumes of Luther (everything in the English language that I am aware of), and I can plainly testify to you and to the world that Luther held to the universal atonement and the true universal Gospel. In fact I will again leave you with his very words.

Luther writes, “Yes, he assumes not only my sins but also those of the whole world, from Adam down to the very last mortal. These sins he takes upon himself; for these he is willing to suffer and die that our sins may be expunged and we may attain eternal life and blessedness… THIS IS THE BASIS OF ALL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE. WHOEVER BELIEVES IT IS A CHRISTIAN; WHOEVER DOES NOT IS NO CHRISTIAN, and will get what he has coming to him. The statement is clear enough: “This is the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world.”

Now according to Luther, you are not a Christian. So why would anyone give ear to you about spiritual truth? “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).

200 johnMark December 16, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Stuart,

According to your understanding of Luther nor am I a Christian. Is this also your position?

Please, tell us biblically, how a person is saved?

Mark

201 Stuart December 16, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Dear JohnMark,

God bless you for your question. As you know, it is the most important question that a man can ask, and it is my greatest trust and responsibility to give you a truthful and correct answer.

First, ALL must be done by God Himself, but yet not apart from His holy Word. God has bound Himself to His Word. It alone is our guide. We know nothing certain about God, ourselves, or salvation, but by its objective, provable and defendable, statements.

There are two chief doctrines of the Word of God, the Law and the Gospel, and both of these must be accurately understood in accordance with what God has Himself revealed about them. False and humanly-derived definitions will not do – as Paul makes abundantly clear in Galatians 1. So we must have the true Law and the true Gospel, derived only from God’s Word, as a starting point.

Now God uses the Law to prepare the heart to receive the Gospel. The Law is likened to a hammer that breaks apart the hard heart or a plow that breaks up the hard soil to receive the seed of the Gospel in a good and honest heart. The Law has completed its initial work when a person comes to see that apart from the grace and mercy of God he is a lost and condemned sinner.

Such a person is now ready to hear and receive God’s saving Gospel, that is, that the loving Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, has shed His precious blood on the Cross of Calvary as a complete and satisfactory atonement for his sins. The sinner is directed by the Word of God to turn the eys of his heart away from himself and his own works, and place his trust and reliance alone upon this blessed work of Christ for the forgiveness of his sins.

The issue of the extent of the atonement is crucial for two reasons. 1) God Himself has defined the Gospel in His Word as “for the sins of the whole world”. Therefore, any other gospel is not the Gospel of Christ as revealed by God, and therefore is not saving. 2) The universality of the atonement is crucial for the lost sinner himself, because by it he has the invincible assurance that what was done for all was surely done for him. If he thought that even one soul was left out of this wonderful atonement, he would always fear that perhaps he was the one excluded, and thus could not put his FULL FAITH in the work of Christ.

So to summarize. The Gospel is the seed of God that creates new life in the sinner’s heart. He who receives the true Gospel, receives the whole seed and thus the whole Christian tree that is sure to follow. He who has the Gospel has Christ, and he who has Christ has salvation, and every spiritual blessing that goes with it, including the knowledge of one’s own election.

This is why Luther says that if you want to know your election, you must look to the Cross of Christ. There, and there alone, you will see your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

If there is anything at all that I said that is not clear, then by all means, let me know, and I will make every possible effort to make it clearer. May God Himself bless these wonderful truths to your heart.

202 Robert December 16, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Stuart,
You must be the king of unsubstantiated assertions!

As I mentioned before, it is not hard to find particular (limited) statements in the fathers (He died for the church, He died for me, etc.), even though they held to a universal atonement

Nicely done.

How about another “hollow call” for scripture?

yeah right…not likely at this point.

God bless and see you later…
bob

203 Thomas Twitchell December 16, 2008 at 5:53 pm

“We know nothing certain about God, ourselves, or salvation, but by its objective, provable and defendable, statements.”

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened”

Oh that’s right you don’t necessarily believe what the Holy Writ saith.

“Now God uses the Law to prepare the heart to receive the Gospel. The Law is likened to a hammer that breaks apart the hard heart or a plow that breaks up the hard soil to receive the seed of the Gospel in a good and honest heart. The Law has completed its initial work when a person comes to see that apart from the grace and mercy of God he is a lost and condemned sinner.”

And all this is done despite Romans 8 and John 3:16. Again, I know, dismissing the pertinent Scripture is necessary if one is to believe the gospel according to Stuart. Beside, this hardly follows the Biblical patter tht God removes the heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh.

“for the sins of the whole world”. Eventhough Scripture defines this as not all who have ever lived or will live, John 17, especially.

“and place his trust and reliance alone upon this blessed work of Christ for the forgiveness of his sins.”

Except where did he get that trust? If he is not saved until he does this, is this not a good work and not grace? If he does this, how is the atonement complete? Why does it take the sacrifice of faith? And, this is known as decissional regeneration, i.e. making the decission of the individual instrumental in regeneration. A heresy.

“The Gospel is the seed of God that creates new life in the sinner’s heart.” So, is this an admission that the whole of faith is in the heart before it germinates, grows and produces understanding? Beside that Stuart, you still haven gotten it have you? The Gospel is more than words preached or printed, just as Jesus is not found or coveyed to the individual by either. He himself said that was not true. The Gospel Stuart is more, including the secret working of the Holy Spirit which regenerates a man so that he has faith and can receive. You have unregenerate sinners doin what Luther would laugh in you face over, doing good Godwards without a renewed nature.

204 Stuart December 16, 2008 at 6:22 pm

JohnMark (and others who might be listening),

I can tell from Robert’s and Thomas’ responses that they are just scoffers, so I am not going to answer them anymore because they lack sincerity. But just so you don’t get confused by their smoke, I will answer what objections they make that might seem palatible.

First, as to Thomas’ assertion about the light of nature and Romans 1, I said, ““We know nothing CERTAIN about God, ourselves, or salvation, but by its [the Word of God’s] objective, provable and defendable, statements.” I will stand by my statement, thank you very much.

Second, Thomas’ appeal to Romans 8 or John 3:16 in regards to what I said about the working of the Law makes no sense. I’m not sure what verse he has in mind in Romans 8, but John 3:16 is all Gospel, not Law.

Thirdly, I said that the poor lost sinner is directed by the Word of God to “place his trust and reliance alone upon this blessed work of Christ for the forgiveness of his sins.” And Thomas asks, “Except where did he get that trust? (notice the teachable spirit here). My answer, again for your sake, not his, is that the Gospel itself works this faith in him. As Paul said, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). No one is asserting synergism here. Don’t forget it was Luther who wrote the definitive book on this subject, “The Bondage of the Will”.

Fourthy, I said, ““The Gospel is the seed of God that creates new life in the sinner’s heart.” To this, Doubting Thomas retorts, “So, is this an admission that the whole of faith is in the heart BEFORE it germinates, grows and produces understanding?” My answer to this is the same one I gave earlier, and that is “no”. The Spirit and power of God is in the Gospel itself, like air in a football. The Gospel comes first, as Paul says “the first of all” (1 Cor. 15:1-4). It alone works faith in the heart and imparts the Spirit of God to the one who was formerly dead in his trespasses and sins.

Notice here, too, that Thomas still believes that the Spirit works APART FROM and BEFORE the Word. I told you I didn’t believe his feigned repentance on this point.

205 Thomas Twitchell December 16, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Wrong Stuart, I believe that the Spirit works only in the Gospel. What I do not accept is your assertion that the Spirit is resident in the words of a preacher or of the written text. Simply put, if that were the case all would be saved. So, you’re either a universalist of the worst kind, or confused. My position and the position in Jesus’ Gospel is that the Spirit regenerates individual so that they can and will respond to the outward call. That was Christ’s teaching. Something you refuse to accept though it is clear in Scripture. That would make you what, a denier of the Gospel? Or, we might ask, is the Gospel only the evangel? You seemingly are so shallow as to beleive that to be the case. We on the other hand include in the Gospel all that Jesus taught. How many pages are in your Bible? If by what you have presented we are to believe you have the true gospel, yours is a thin text indeed.

206 Stuart December 16, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Dear Mr. Switchell (er, Twitchell),

No matter how many times you flip flop on this point, the bottom line is that you have the Spirit doing an end-around BEFORE the objective external preached Word of the Gospel ever gets to the poor lost sinner, dead in his trespasses and sins. This puts you in the same position as the unbelieving Mormon who is trusting his “burning in the bossom”.

You say, “the Spirit works only in the Gospel”, but you have a different gospel in mind than I do or the Word of God does. I know that the word “Gospel” can be used in a wider sense (including even the whole Word of God), but we are talking about that specific Gospel message that saves a soul. As Paul writes, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the GOSPEL which I PREACHED unto you, which also ye have RECEIVED, and wherein ye stand; BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you FIRST OF ALL that which I also received, how that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

207 Robert December 16, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Stuart,
And as I pointed out in the email that I sent you that you decided not to deal with (wow…surprise) Paul saying

“Christ died for our sins”

doesn’t automatically mean “everyone who ever lived or who will ever live”

That’s the error that I pointed out that you made in your “essay” that you sent to me…you’re reading into it something that isn’t there.

208 Stuart December 18, 2008 at 12:07 pm

JohnMark,

This question is for you ONLY (no need for Robert or Thomas to answer). Since you asked me “Please, tell us biblically, how a person is saved?”, and since I responded with a clear answer, and since I have now given you sufficient time to think about it, I would now like to know your thoughts about that answer. Do you agree with my answer? If not, why not?

Thanks so much

209 Robert December 18, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Stuart,
I give up…I’m with you…when I read that Jesus died for the world, it means the whole human race from start to finish.

But now I’m confused. I was reading John 17 about Jesus’ Prayer to the Father, and He seemed to be NOT praying for “the world.” I don’t get it…CAN YOU HELP?

Here it is:

17:1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you – Just as you have given him authority over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him.

17:6 “I have revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed your word. …I am praying on behalf of them. I am not praying on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those you have given me, because they belong to you.

You can understand why I’m so confused…Why is Jesus praying this prayer and what does He mean by

“I’m not praying for the world but only those you’ve given me out of the world?”

As I said…I’m with you on Jesus dying for the whole world, but now I’m confused…help!

210 johnMark December 18, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Stuart,

Why did you stick a particular belief in the atonement in the Gospel? Just so I understand you. Are you saying that if one beliefs in a Calvinist view of limited atonement, even if they are trusting solely in Christ by faith alone, that they are not saved?

Mark

211 Stuart December 18, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Robert/JohnMark,

Robert, I am assuming that you are being sincere with me here, and I do appreciate that. I also have a good answer for you, but give me just a few minutes to get to that, as I want to first quickly give JohnMark my answer to his question. Both your responses have come in at the same time.

JohnMark, the issue here is that the Gospel is the single truth that, when received, regenerates the soul and imparts Christ and the Holy Spirit into our hearts. One cannot, in truth, begin to trust in Christ without first trusting in His holy Gospel, how that He suffered and died on the cross for our sins. This is the “first of all” (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The Catholics, Mormons, JWs, etc. would all say that they are trusting in Christ. But we know that that is not true, either because they have the wrong Christ, or do not know their own depravity, or are really trusting in themselves and their own works, or whatever. So it is if someone says they trust in Christ, but have the wrong Gospel.

I have been trying to show you all that based upon the many simple clear statements of Scripture concerning the universality of Christ’s atonement, that the one and only true Gospel is the objective proclamation to poor lost sinners that “Christ died for OUR sins”. The doctrine of limited atonement will not let this word “OUR” stand in the objective proclamation of the Gospel. For that reason, the doctrine of limited atonement actually creates another gospel, which I do not believe can or does save. There cannot be two saving Gospels (Gal. 1:6-8), one that says “Christ died for our sins”, and another that says “Christ died for sins”. God is jealous for His Word and there is also good reason why He included this word “our”.

212 Stuart December 18, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Hi Robert,

I probably believe this passage word for word exactly as you do. The main difference is that I see Jesus here speaking as the great High Priest of His Church, and not as the Saviour of the world. Thus, I don’t have a problem with Him atoning for the sins of the world, and yet praying in this context for His own people. Both are true.

To respond to the verses that you highlighted. I believe that the Father did give His Son authority over all flesh. I also believe that the Son gives eternal life only to as many as the Father has given Him, that is, to His elect. They alone believe the holy Gospel, and this faith is not of themselves but is the gift of God. I believe verse 6 is speaking specifically about the disciples at that time, but that Christ also does manifest Himself to all believers through faith in His Word. I believe verse 9 is again in keeping with Christ’s office as our great High Priest. He specifically prays for His Church, and not for the world. The writer of Hebrews says that “He ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Heb. 7:25).

I hope this helps. Please let me know if there are any other things that need more clarity, and I am happy to serve you in this way.

Thanks.

213 Robert December 18, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Stuart,
thank you for the very detailed answer…but now I’m more confused than ever!

You said that Jesus atoned for the sins of everyone who ever lived and who will ever live…

But

As you pointed out…the Father only gives some to the Son for the purpose of raising them to eternal life….

Then you pointed out rightly that Jesus raises only those who are His…

Then my question would be…What did God intend to do here?

It was His intent to atone for people that He’d also spend eternity punishing in Hell?

Forgive me if I say that that doesn’t make sense.

To me it makes more sense that God INTENDED to save His elect…Jesus atoned perfectly for them, and saved them to the uttermost. And he intercedes for them perfectly.\

Was Jesus sacrifice no good in some instances? It failed?

He took the wrath of God, now they are also?

Very confusing….

214 Robert December 18, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Stuart,

and now thinking about it more…

Jesus intercedes for the one that Jesus Himself said was “destined for destruction” just 4 chapters earlier?

How could Jesus satisfy the wrath of God; appease His requirements on behalf of Judas, and Judas being “destined for destruction” spend eternity in Hell?

It just doesn’t make sense…can you explain?

215 Stuart December 18, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Robert,

I haven’t had time to consider your second question, and will need to know what verses you have specifically in mind, but I want to first address your previous post about being “more confused”.

Isaiah said, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts… For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:7-9). Paul tells us to “bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Luther tells us that due to the total depravity of our natural minds, we are to “put a bag over our heads, as though we know absolutely nothing about spiritual matters, and let the Word of God alone be our guide, as a trustworthy Voice to those who are by nature completely blind.”

This is all to say that there are alot of things in the Bible that don’t make sense to my natural mind, but that doesn’t mean that I am to reject them. These are infinitely high truths, that are infinitely above my ability to totally understand, and I do God’s Word honor if I but receive them as they are written with simple child-like faith. I can only affirm the truths that are plainly stated in the Scriptures, and not let my natural mind draw conclusions that would violate other Scriptures. I can reason, but only within the confines of the Word of God.

So, in answer to your questions, this much I can affirm. God indeed loves the whole world. Christ indeed suffered and died for the sins of the world. The Father indeed only gives some to the Son for the purpose of raising them to eternal life. Christ indeed intended and accomplished a full atonement for people that He also knew would spend eternity being punished in hell. I would not affirm that Jesus sacrifice was no good in some instances or that it failed. But I can affirm that He bore the wrath of God for the damned, and yet, “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Th. 2:10), they “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Th. 1:9). How God puts all of this together, I will leave with Him, but that is clearly what He Himself has revealed, and it is my place to accept that. I believe that God is pleased with such faith.

Here’s one other thought that may help. While the extent of the atonement and the Gospel are universal, the application of it is particular. God grants the gift of faith only to His elect. But there is a mystery here because those who are lost are not damned because GOD did not give them faith. Rather, they are damned because THEY themselves did not believe. In other words, if a man believes, it is due only to the grace of God, but if a man does not believe, it is his own fault. “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help” (Hos. 13:9). Again, I am of the mind that we will not and cannot understand such a truth in this life, but yet God will show that to ultimately be the case.

I have many other things to share on this, but I don’t want this to be too long or tedious. So I will leave it at that for now.

Thanks again.

216 a helmet December 19, 2008 at 6:34 am

Concerning …will spend eternity in hell…

I think one must be careful not to bow too far out of the window here.
How do we know whether anyone will most definitely “spend eternity in hell? Note, there is no such prediction made. Eschatology is clothed in fancy and often figurative literary devices. Prophecy is tricky, as we know from the past. Things sometimes prove to come about in vastly different ways than people expected. Who would have thought in old times that God would save his people by a crucified Messiah, for example? Is it proper to explain the present by fancy conceptions about the future? Note, when Adam was expelled from the Garden of Eden he was actually eternally damned. But God was still able and willing to save. When Jesus was crucified he was irrevocably cursed. Damned to the uttermost! Think of this! Yet God saved Him to the uttermost! Who can safely tell where any one is going to end up? Doesn’t the gospel train us to consider that life has the final word over death? That even the irrevocable like such a curse can be overtrumped? That life overtrumps death? “The first things are over” (Rev. 21,4), the book of revelation finally says. So we don’t know what next is going to happen and what God has in store.

Prophecy is tricky and might well prove God to be wiser in the end than we allowed Him to be.

So I think we should not use an unclear picture of the future as our presuppositional basis and explain the things of the present that are given by plain language, by these unclear presuppositions. Such would be a kind of putting the cart before the horse. Again, there is nothing in the scriptures that predicts in definite terms, that anyone will “punished in hell”, as you guys put it. There is no presage, no definite divination that some will never benefit from God’s grace.

I leave the question open. However, using the eternal exclusion of some persons as a firm premise is unsupported by the scriptures. A foundation that is not firmly supported by the scriptures however, should not be used as a presupposition.

217 Robert December 19, 2008 at 6:34 am

Stuart,

Quote:
I haven’t had time to consider your second question, and will need to know what verses you have specifically in mind,

Here is the verses:

John 17:6
“(Father) I have revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed your word. …I am praying on behalf of them. I am not praying on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those you have given me, because they belong to you. Everything I have belongs to you, and everything you have belongs to me, and I have been glorified by them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them safe in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I kept them safe and watched over them in your name that you have given me. Not one of them was lost except the one destined for destruction, so that the scripture could be fulfilled.

So why was a payment necesary?

The Greek word for “Finished” in “It is Finished is “tetelestai”

In the Jewish culture at that time, that word was used in legal statements to signify that a “legal debt” had been fully paid.

Why was this necessary legally? Because sin only has power because of the law (legality) of God. The law has a punishment and the punishment is death.
• 1 Cor. 15:56, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”

• Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The whole atoning work of Christ was a legal action where Jesus substituted himself for sinners and paid the legal requirement of the punishment of sin, and death.

And I guess then I’m still left with…Jesus paid that legal debt but they also pay that legal debt?

So when YOU SPEAK OUT AGAINST Limited Atonement, you mean “the Calvinistic view” of Limited Atonement.

You have no problem limiting the atonement another way…

God intended to save everyone in history but only some are saved…and its due to something they do or don’t do….that’s a very “Limited Atonement” and a very weak God in my vew.

218 Robert December 19, 2008 at 6:41 am

Stuart,
I’m sitting here thinking about what you’ve said…Christ somehow made atonement for all….but God never intended to save all…

How am I supposed to approach a sinner and tell them that??

“Hey buddy…you got atoned for but there is a good chance that God never intended to save you…He only gave some to the Son…so that atonement? It doesn’t mean much in your case….sorry….

Isn’t that EXACTLY your argument; that Calvinists cannot tell a sinner that God died for them…????

Well, neither can I used this “system.”

219 Robert December 19, 2008 at 6:45 am

Wow…typos abound….

I meant “…that CHRIST died for them….”

and

Well neither can I using this “system” where Jesus atones, but it makes no difference….

I think that you arguing against a “limited atonement” doesn’t hold much water based on this; you’re limiting it just like those whom you decry.

220 Robert December 19, 2008 at 6:58 am

Stuart,
Sorry for the multiple posts but I just went back over your post where you say:

But I can affirm that He bore the wrath of God for the damned, and yet, “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved”
(2 Th. 2:10),

This is the text of 2nd Thess 2:10

“…and with every kind of evil deception directed against those who are perishing, because they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved. Consequently God sends on them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. And so all of them who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evil will be condemned.

It doesn’t say “because they received not the truth” it says that God SENT THEM A DELUDING INFLUENCE for the specific purpose that they WOULDN’T BELIEVE THE TRUTH.

So…tying this together…

1.) God INTENDS only to save “the elect”

2.) Jesus Atones (appeases the wrath of God) for everyone who ever lived and will ever live, even Judas who was “destined for destruction”

3.) God sends “deluding influences” to some so they won’t believe the truth, the “hardens hearts” and all this…

But the debt has been paid…

And why pay the debt for them and then harden them or delude them?

What would be the point?

And you say Calvinism is flaky?

Get real.

221 Robert December 19, 2008 at 7:00 am

A_helmet..

So you haven’t read the passages on this subject?

222 a helmet December 19, 2008 at 7:07 am

So you haven’t read the passages on this subject?

Which ones?

223 Robert December 19, 2008 at 7:51 am

A_helmet:

Well for starters:

Jesus speaking:
Luke16:22
“Now the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. And in hell, as he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far off with Lazarus at his side.

And speaking of duration:

Jn. 5:28-29
“Then both body and soul “shall be cast out from the favorable presence of God, and the glorious fellowship with Christ, His saints, and all His holy angels, into hell, to be punished with unspeakable torments, both of body and soul, with the devil and his angels forever.”

And


“The Lord Jesus [shall be] revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Th. 1:7-9).

I guess that would be a place to start.

I’m not quite sure where you’re going by implying that there is no “everlasting destruction” no Hell for eternity, These seem like straightforward statements. Yes they use figurative language but that doesn’t mean that they are “obscure” or hard to understand.

“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!”

Firgurative language…but you knew what I meant didn’t you?

…but this thread isn’t really about hell…

224 a helmet December 19, 2008 at 8:26 am

Robert,

by the way, you did not respond to the question about the verses John 6:44 and 45. Regarding verse 45, I asked what God is actually teaching here, what is the content to learn there. While you correctly explain the text in John 6:35-43, you actually skipped my crucial last verses, that I referred to. Concerning the content of the teaching in v. 45 you said:


I don’t believe that there is a literal teaching content being spoken of here is there?

Well, there most assuredly is. If there is no literal content, then what is this teaching about at all? What do people learn here? If I give a math lesson and teach that 2 times 2 eqals 4, then the content of this math lesson is “2 times 2 equals 4”. If there is nothing to say regarding the teaching in v. 45, then what is going on there? And why is this important to know? Note, God reveals everything by the Logos (John 1:1), His Word. “In the beginning was the logos”. Now, the logos means word but also reason, rationality, expressivity, clarity . This is where the word logics comes from.
(It is also the origin of the suffix -logics/-logy in various sciences like biology, psychology, theology, etc.)
Now note God reveals only through the logos. As you know, the logos is Christ and Christ is God’s one and only mediator. All truth originates with God and is reaveald only via the Word, the logos. No truth by-passes the logos , there is no other revelation channel. It is impossible to receive any revelation, any teaching from God unless it is transported by the logos, who is expressibility, reason and rationality.

Now note, if someone claims to have received a certain truth from God, a certain “teaching” or “revelation” which he cannot express, cannot pronounce in any way, than this alleged conviction cannot originate with God. Often people claim things like “God told me this and that….” but they cannot express, cannot pronounce what this conviction actually is, what exactly they experienced here.

So back to the matter of John 6:45 — we must know what the content of the teaching is, or else 1)the verse is utterly void and meaningless and 2) how do we know whether we “learned” anything at all? A teaching from God is always something expressible (and hence also shareable!) A teaching whithout a content is no teaching at all!

The other part of my question referred to v. 44 and the drawing action. You did not answer that but simply said maybe it can be found elsewhere.


2.) What does God do when he draws someone?
I think that the text just states what happens, not anything beyond that.

I do believe that other places deal with bits of these questions, but it’s not addressed here.

Well the text states that the teaching in v. 45 inevitably leads to faith in Jesus Christ. So the drawing is this teaching. That’s why it is so crucial to know the content thereof. Only those who are drawn “come to Christ”. But All who have been taught by God, have learned from the Father, “come to Christ”. You see? The content of the teaching is absolutely vital, in order to understand the entire passage of John 6 that was in question.

You are right, that the passage in question, John 6:35-45 portrays a forensic treatment of unbelief. The audience there is in fact partly “driven away” there and left with a question mark “What is God doing here?”

Now while pointing out that the passage is a judicial treatment of unbelief, that is not sufficient. The key is in verse 45 — You must know the content of the teaching . It is like the “password” to conversion. It is like the “access data” to heaven.

Now you say the “text states what happens by the drawing” and probably you mean “they come” (faith).
Sure, that was not in question at all, but note, there are different kinds of believers. There are

1) soon-to-fall-away believers (rocky ground)
2) no-fruit-believers (thorny ground)
3) true believers (good ground)

Now, what must a person learn or what is the teaching that irresistibly leads to a type 3 faith? Shouldn’t that cause you a bit of concern?

So if the teaching is not explained here, is it elsewhere in the bible? If not, if there is no content of teaching, isn’t the verse John 6:45 actually utterly dispensible and meaningless?

225 a helmet December 19, 2008 at 8:47 am

Robert,

Concerning Luke 16:22

Note, the word hell here is hades , the abode of the dead. Hades will finally be destroyed (Rev. 20,14).

Is your next example John 5:28-29 ? Sorry, this isn’t the biblical text what you are qouting there. This isn’t John 5:28-29.

Rather the passge reads like this: (NIV)

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice29 and come out- those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

Where is the eternal torment in body and soul ? Where did you get the text above from?

2 Th. 1:7-9
There is much of an eschatological literary style being used, isn’t it? And where is the eternal torment here? They shall be destructed . This normally means annihilation. Adam was sentenced to eternal destruction as well, right? To death. From the beginning to the end of history, the penalty of sin is death. As I said in the previous post, wasn’t Jesus definitely damned as well? That is the point. There is salvation even out of eternal damnation! That is the core of the gospel which we should emphasize. So this passage isn’t so convincing to be sure. In fact there is little controversy portrayed in the new testament scriptures on the topic.

226 Robert December 19, 2008 at 9:10 am

A-Helmet…

I stateed that the “content” was not explained.

I can’t go beyond what’s written and speculate…sorry…

You can speculate but like I said…I see no mention of content.

bob

227 Robert December 19, 2008 at 9:14 am

A_Helmet,
And PS:

I’m not inclined to go down anymore rabbit trails…

The issue is Limited Atonement, and it’s hard enough to stay on track with that let alone speculate on content that isn’t stated or the doctrine of Hell.

Don’t take offense…but I want to keep on subject with Stuart.

228 Stuart December 19, 2008 at 10:04 am

Robert,

You initially said, “I give up…I’m with you…when I read that Jesus died for the world, it means the whole human race from start to finish.” Again you said, “I’m with you on Jesus dying for the whole world, but now I’m confused…help!”. Now you tell me, “Well neither can I use this “system” where Jesus atones, but it makes no difference.” Did I say, “it makes no difference”? No, that’s your conclusion, not mine. And that [carnal] conclusion does not stay within the confines of God’s Word, and is therefore necessarily false. If you carefully re-read my last post you will see that the foundational problem you are having is that you haven’t yet learned “to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”. You are still trying to figure it out, rather than be led by the simplicity of God’s Word. I do not believe in the universal atonement of Christ and the universality of the Gospel because it is a “system”, but rather because it is revealed in plain and simple language in the Word of God. If it appears to others as a “system”, fine. If it appears to others as “nonsense”, fine. But for me, God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.

229 Stuart December 19, 2008 at 10:07 am

JohnMark,

I am still waiting for your response to my last post to you. I am very interested in what your conclusions were as to how I said a person is saved. Again, I would like to know if you agreed with my statements there, and if not, what specifically you would disagree with.

Thanks again.

230 Robert December 19, 2008 at 10:09 am

Stuart,

I still would like to ask how you explain to those you witness to that although Christ died to atone, that their is a possibility that God did not “give them to the son”…

And how that’s better in any way than Limited Atonement Calvinism style…

Since what you’ve said limits the atonement just as much….but in a different way…

231 Robert December 19, 2008 at 10:15 am

Stuart,
PS: you keep taking the “imagined High Ground” on this, implying that you don’t interpret scripture, but “let it speak” simply….

Well, on that level…there is a real problem…here is one example:

Has anyone ever seen God?

Exodus 33:11

And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend . . .”

Exodus 33:20

” . . . Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.”

How in the world would we reconcile these two statements without going into the history, idioms of the Hebrew culture, and the grammar of the language??

If not that…then the alternative is that there is a huge contradiction in this passage.

So which is it? A man speaks face to face with God OR no man can see God’s face and live?

232 Stuart December 19, 2008 at 11:04 am

Robert,

1) I still would like to ask how you explain to those you witness to that although Christ died to atone, that their is a possibility that God did not “give them to the son”

I would tell them that Christ did indeed die for their sins, and that this is the true Gospel of their salvation. So long as they cling to this Gospel [which cannot be done in one’s own strength], they also cling to their election, that is, that they are one whom the Father gave to the Son. He who has the Gospel has Christ. He who has Christ has election and every spiritual blessing in Christ. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which BELIEVED on him, If ye CONTINUE in my word, then are ye my disciples INDEED” (John 8:31), that is, My TRUE disciples.

2) And how that’s better in any way than Limited Atonement Calvinism style… Since what you’ve said limits the atonement just as much….but in a different way…

I don’t see how this limits the atonement. The atonement is still for all men and the Gospel is still the objective Good News that “Christ died for the sins of the world”. But if you say that the atonement is actually limited because not all are ultimately saved, then I say “so be it”. This is God’s plan, not mine. I am not opposed to the doctrine of limited atonement because it limits the number of people that will be saved, but because it violates God’s plain simple Word, and my faith can only rest upon His Word.

3) The reconciliation of Exod. 33:11 and Exod. 33:20.

I agree with you that there are many passages that take alot of study to “understand”, but “understanding” is not the chief thing – faith is. Faith must go BEFORE understanding. Jesus said to Mary, “Did I not say to you that if your BELIEVE, you will SEE” (John 11), etc. So in this passage we are to affirm both statements as being true, and if necessary concede that we do not yet understand how they go together. In this case, I believe they go together in the fact that no one can see God’s face in His naked unveiled glory, and live. When it says that Moses spoke to God “face to face” in the same passage, I understand it to mean that he was speaking with Christ, who is the “face of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). Consider Jesus at the Transfiguration.

233 Robert December 19, 2008 at 11:28 am

Stuart,
First I will comment on the Exodus scripture interpretation you gave…

What, in that text itself, leads you to your conclusion that it was Christ?

the fact is that THE PLAIN READING is contradictory!

It’s only until you go further…that any sense can be made of those to seemingly opposite statments.

But you keep saying that their is a “plain reading” and when confronted with a “contradiction” you go further than the “plain reading” and say that it must have been Christ!

But…on the Limiting of the Atonement “stuart style”

Here is the comparison:

Calvinism:
Christ Atoned for His sheep.
Christ died for His sheep; the elect.
The Father Gives those elect to the Son to save.
The Father intended to save only His elect.
When we witness to the unsaved, we can say that Christ died to save sinners…to seek and save the lost, and that they must repent and believe. (biblical)

Stu:
Christ Atoned for everyone.
Christ died for His sheep; the elect.
The Father Gives those elect to the Son to save.
The Father intended to save everyone?
When we witness to the unsaved, we can say that Christ died for them…BUT it makes no difference since they might or might not be elect.

It would seem that your understanding limits not only the atonement, but also you cannot truthfully tell anyone that they are the elect and will be saved!

You are in the same boat as the Calvinist’s!

bob

234 a helmet December 19, 2008 at 11:43 am

Robert,

The issue is Limited Atonement, and it’s hard enough to stay on track with that let alone speculate on content that isn’t stated or the doctrine of Hell.

But in your argumentation on “Limited Atonement” you are very often referring to things mentioned in that John 6 passage. You often use a phrase like “the father gives to the son…” in your explanations. For example, see this text of yours:
As you pointed out…the Father only gives some to the Son for the purpose of raising them to eternal life….

Then you pointed out rightly that Jesus raises only those who are His…

Then my question would be…What did God intend to do here?

You’re wondering about God’s intention (which is not mentioned in the passage) but don’t wonder about the teaching of v.6:45?

You are using the thoughts of this very passage frequently in order to make your point in favor of “Limited Atonement”. And also, your concept of limited Atonement obviously is quite closely related – if not dependent – on your theory of an eternal hell and the permanent and irrevocable exclusion of some persons from God’s grace, right?

So this is why the John 6 passage as well as the hell issue is not far-fetched but has very much to do with the plausibility of limited Atonement, don’t you think?

Concerning the content of the teaching in John 6:45. Your statement that there simply is no content mentioned is indeed remarkable. Note, this is exactly the forensic aspect of the entire discourse there! If you don’t know what being drawn is, then you do not know, whether you have ever been drawn. Consequently, you cannot know whether you are one of those, who persevere. Do you understand that?

Be that as it may, would you say that the verse 45

It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.

communicates nothing and is merely a dispensible utterance of words?

Note, you cannot explore doctrinal issues like “Limited Atonement” in isolation. You must take the key passages into consideration. You say “The father gives some to the son”. But you don’t bother what this giving means, what is being said here? What is going on? Or put differently, how do you know, whether you are/have been given? If you don’t know what these words are telling us (=the “content” here again), how can you establish a profound argument in favor of “Limited Atonement” on them? Why try to built a house without having a solid foundation? The same holds true for your opinion about “hell”. And limited Atonement touches on these issues, so it is not far-fetched to consider them, right?

To conclude let me say, if someone claims to have received a revelation from God, a certain knowledge, claims to have been enlightened but cannot say what the content of this enlightening is — then we know that he hasn’t received any knowledge from God at all.

235 Stuart December 19, 2008 at 11:44 am

Robert,

You initially said, “I give up…I’m with you…when I read that Jesus died for the world, it means the whole human race from start to finish.” Again you said, “I’m with you on Jesus dying for the whole world, but now I’m confused…help!”. Were you saying this sincerely? If not, then what was your point in saying it?

236 Robert December 19, 2008 at 12:20 pm

A_Helmet,
Again…I’ll restate.

I don’t know where you’re going with this…I’ve discussed limited atonement A LOT and didn’t have to define hell and speculate on what’s the “taught by God” content of John 6…

the text is there….I can’t help you further.

237 Robert December 19, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Stuart,
My point in saying that was to try and understand exactly what you are saying and I think I do understand now.

Frankly, I don’t see how you can call Calvinism all the names you’ve called it based on your understanding of the scope of the Atonement.

1.) Just was was INTENDED by the Atonement?

2.) Just what is accomplished for those in Hell?

3.) How do you evangelize and say that Jesus died for them AND SAY IT SINCERELY in it’s commonly understood meaning???

When you tell a sinnner, Jesus died for them…they understand that “my sins are forgiven”….but you must tell them…”sorry….that’s ONLY IF you wre given by God…that Atonement is worthless unless that happens”

And Calvinism is satan’s gospel because why?

What you’ve explained is just as limiting as what you call Satans Gospel, and you impose your reading of the text on it to understand it that way…when it suits you…you call it the plain reading…when it doesn’t suit you (seeing God face) you import something not found in the text (Must have been Jesus) and abandon the “plain reading”

You’re not being very consistent….

238 Stuart December 19, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Robert: I suspected as much. Also, for your sake, you really don’t yet understand what I am saying. If you did, you would rejoice in it. Also, being dishonest with someone is not Christian. I don’t think it is even Calvinistic. What are we to make of a religion that compels one to lie?

JohnMark: I am still waiting for your reply. I again post my answer to you on how a person is saved:

****************************************************

God bless you for your question. As you know, it is the most important question that a man can ask, and it is my greatest trust and responsibility to give you a truthful and correct answer.

First, ALL must be done by God Himself, but yet not apart from His holy Word. God has bound Himself to His Word. It alone is our guide. We know nothing certain about God, ourselves, or salvation, but by its objective, proveable and defendable, statements.

There are two chief doctrines of the Word of God, the Law and the Gospel, and both of these must be understood in accordance with what God Himself has revealed about them. False and humanly-derived definitions will not do – as Paul makes abundantly clear in Galatians 1:6-8. So we must have the true Law and the true Gospel, derived only from God’s Word, as a starting point.

Now God uses the Law to prepare the heart to receive the Gospel. The Law is likened to a hammer that breaks apart the stony heart or a plow that breaks up the hard soil to receive the seed of the Gospel in a good and honest heart. The Law has completed its initial work when a person comes to see that apart from the grace and mercy of God he is a lost and condemned sinner.

Such a person is now ready to hear and receive God’s saving Gospel, that is, that the loving Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, has shed His precious blood on the Cross of Calvary as a complete and satisfactory atonement for his sins. The sinner is directed by the Word of God to turn the eyes of his heart away from himself and his own works, and place his trust and reliance alone upon this blessed work of Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. And this faith is “not of himself”, but is wrought in him by the Gospel itself. As Paul said, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

The issue of the extent of the atonement is crucial for two reasons. 1) God Himself has defined the Gospel in His Word as “for the sins of the whole world”. Therefore, any other gospel is not the Gospel of Christ as revealed by God, and therefore is not saving. 2) The universality of the atonement is crucial for the lost sinner himself, because by it he has the invincible assurance that what was done for all was surely done for him. If he thought that even one soul was left out of this wonderful atonement, he would always fear that perhaps he was the one excluded, and thus could not put his FULL FAITH in the work of Christ.

So to summarize. The Gospel is the seed of God that creates new life in the sinner’s heart. He who receives the true Gospel, receives the whole seed and thus the whole Christian tree that is sure to follow. He who has the Gospel has Christ, and he who has Christ has salvation, and every spiritual blessing that goes with it, including the knowledge of one’s own election.

This is why Luther says that if you want to know your election, you must look to the Cross of Christ. There, and there alone, you will see your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

If there is anything at all that I said that is not clear, then by all means, let me know, and I will make every possible effort to make it clearer. May God Himself bless these wonderful truths to your heart.

*************************************************

I also again post you what Martin Luther said concerning the universal atonement and Gospel:

Luther writes, “Yes, he assumes not only my sins but also those of the whole world, from Adam down to the very last mortal. These sins he takes upon himself; for these he is willing to suffer and die that our sins may be expunged and we may attain eternal life and blessedness… THIS IS THE BASIS OF ALL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE. WHOEVER BELIEVES IT IS A CHRISTIAN; WHOEVER DOES NOT IS NO CHRISTIAN, and will get what he has coming to him. The statement is clear enough: “This is the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world.”

239 Robert December 19, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Ahhh..Stuart….

More insults and more Ad Hominem.

You have said more in the WAY you’ve spoken here than any theology could.

I’ve been asking you to explain just what you think that God intended by the Atonement?

And I also asked about your evangelization in that you cannot tell them with any real sincerity, and taken the “orthodox” way…that Christ died for them…which is the base accusation you made against Calvinism!

Do you evangelize? I do…

Do you street preach? I do…

If you do….what do you tell sinners?

Certainly not that Christ died to save them…that wouldn’t be the truth now would it?

He didn’t die to save them….He died…and it accomplished nothing…and ONLY for those given did it do anything for them at all…right?

At least with my “Satanist Calvinistic” Gospel I can tell them what the bible actually says!

That they are currently under God’s wrath…that they are sinners…That Christ came to save the lost, that they need to repent and believe…and that Christ can save perfectly, his sheep….losing none.

All biblical….all true…

240 Robert December 19, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Stuart…

And one last thing ok?

This simplistic “world means everyone who ever lived or will ever live and I don’t have to show it or prove it” thing you’ve got going just doesn’t fly.

You DO KNOW that “world” is used many ways in scripture right? I didn’t think it had to be pointed out but you ASSUME the meaning and then call it the “plain reading”

Examples:

Acts 17:24
Used of the Universe as a whole:

“God that made the world and all things therein seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth.”

John 13:1
Used of the earth:

Ephesians 1:4, etc., etc.- “When Jesus knew that his hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world He loved them unto the end.”

John 12:31
Used of the world-system: etc.

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the Prince of this world be cast out”—

Romans 3:19
Is used of the whole human race: etc.

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

John 15:18
Used of humanity minus believers:

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.”

Used of Gentiles in contrast from Jews:
Romans 11:12 etc.

“Now if the fall of them (Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them (Israel) the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their (Israel’s) fulness.” Note how the first clause in italics is defined by the latter clause placed in italics. Here, again, “the world” cannot signify all humanity for it excludes Israel!

Used of believers only:

John 1:29; 3:16, 17; 6:33; 12:47; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 2 Corinthians 5:19.

So when you ASSUME what meaning you are assigning to “the world” and then call it the “plain reading” what you are really doing is interpreting it the way you want, and then shutting down all dialogue about it’s meaing.

241 johnMark December 19, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Stuart,

I’m not sure what I need to respond to since my other brothers have done so well responding to you. They are much more patient than I.

Again, I do not need to tell an unbeliever that Christ died for *his* sins specifically. I can, however, tell them that God’s desire is for them to believe that Christ died for *your* sins. For if that unbeliever repents and believes that Christ died for his sins then he is no longer an unbeliever.

See, unless one believes in Christ and his work on the cross it doesn’t matter if you tell them Christ died for *their* sins or not.

The motivation to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is not to think, to put it crassly – “Jesus died for me so I better return the favor and do something for Him and believe.” That’s like trying to get a date with someone by telling them how much you like them even though they don’t really know you.

Bottom line: No one is changing their mind here. If you think we Calvinists are unsaved and have a false Gospel and we are unmoved by your arguments it’s probably time to move on.

I would have closed this comment stream a while ago if my brothers weren’t still engaging you. I don’t want to close the comment in case anyone actually has anything to say about the John 3:16 Conference, but I may.

We’ll see…

Mark

242 Robert December 19, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Johnmark,
thank you for your patience…

I’m done.

bob

243 Stuart December 19, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Robert/JohnMark,

Truly and rightly did my Saviour say, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matt. 7:6). I have learned a valuable lesson.

244 abclay December 19, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Robert/johnMark,

Welcome to the heretic doghouse brothers. It was getting cold in here all by myself 🙂

You know, I don’t think I have ever heard one of those angry Calvinist make the bald faced statements about anti-calvinists that Bro. Stuart has made about us and our faith. Just an observation.

Grace and Peace…

abclay

245 Robert December 20, 2008 at 6:07 am

ABClay,
Yeah…you are right.

I think it can safely be said and it was demonstrated from this “interesting thread” that the pattern holds true.

1.) Calvinist’s are accused of having “unloving” doctrines of men (or worse in this case; Satans Gospel)

2.) Many assertions are made…unfounded on careful Scripture exegesis of course.

3.) Calvinist tries to get Synergist (or worse) to substantiate their assertions.

4.) Synergist repeats claims over again OR rabbit trails a new path leaving the old one behind.

5.) Calvinist repeats plea for substantiation.

6.) Synergist calls Calvinist names.

7.) Conversation ends with Synergist pointing out how it’s obvious Calvinist’s twist scripture.

Have I missed anything? 🙂

Have you seen this video? “How to defeat Calvinism”?

It’s a crack up and true…this thread is proof.

http://goshareyourfaith.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/437/

246 Robert December 20, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Just something interesting considering the thread of comments that’s gone on here.

I was sitting this morning doing my bible reading and a friend of my son’s who’s 17, sat down beside me.

He asked what I was reading and I showed him…he didn’t know anything about the bible, Jesus or anything.

So I asked him; what does he think will happen when he dies…and he said he’d probably go to Hell…he’s done some bad things.

When I asked him what he felt about that…he said that he was afraid that God would not or could not forgive him…that God might refuse! So he was afraid to even ask!

So what did this Calvinist do? I showed him John 6:35-45 and showed him that Jesus himself said that those that come to him, will never be cast out…there is no way he could come to Jesus; repent and believe, and be turned away…

I showed him John 19:30; Jesus saying “it is finished” the debt has been paid.

Nobody believing has to fear that they will be cast out.

I presented the gospel message straight from scripture…no problem…and he didn’t seem to mind that I didn’t use the phrase “Christ died for you!”

bob

247 Dr. James Willingham January 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Over 40 years ago I was wading through all of the info I could get my hands on about the atonement, limited and general. When I realized that even general and universal atonement was limited (e.g., not everyone for whom the blood was shed was redeemed in this life, etc.), I thought I pretty well had the L of TULIP under control. But then I thought about it for 40 years, and I found that such a view has an inverse function to it, that it is paradoxical. In other words, the opposite effect is to be expected. So I preach particular redemption/limited atonement in order to get more people saved. There is a reason for every one of the doctrines of grace, and it is often totally contrary to the expected results. The secret of Reformations, Great Awakeings, Great Centuries of Missions, is each truth of TULIP along with Predestination and Reprobation, if set forth in the right manner and with true confidence and reliance upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Each truth is an invitation, not a billy club to beat someone over the head with. Each doctrine has the effect of lifting off the burden on every soul that hears. It is interesting to find that Mr Spurgeon believed there would be a day in which the Gospel would take the whole earth, that the whole world and every soul in it would be converted to Christ. He didn’t say for how long. So I pray for a generation and even a thousand generations of converts that reach from one end of the heavens to the other. I should add that Mr. Spurgeon prayed for every soul on earth (Read his Morning & Evening Devotion, esp. for the Evenings of Aug. 6 & Dec. 24). The wisest man I ever met asked me one day, “Have you ever thought that at any one time every soul on the face of the earth could be the elect of God?” I answeed no, and 7-8 years later that question and Jonah 3 blew my my eschatology to smithereens. I was then pastoring in the Sandy Creek Assn. (the Gum Springs Baptist Church of Moncure, NC), which as we all know grew out of the labors of Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall who had been converted in the First Great Awakening. Gum Springs Church,founded in 1829, grew out of the labors of a man converted about the time of the Second Great Awakening, Elder Hezekiah Harmon. It was strange to pastor in Sandy Creek Assn., since I had done 6 years of research in Baptist Church History and had written a MA thesis in Americn Social & Intellectual History on the subject, “The Baptists & Ministerial Qualifications:1750-1850.” That thesis had involved Philadelphia, Charleston, Sandy Creek, Ketocton, Kehukee, and Elkhorn Baptist Assns. I am utterly humbled by what I read. The secret of Baptist success in the centuries that followed grew out of those awakenings and out of the doctrines thus elucidated. What we seem to have done is to have lost the knowledge of how paradoxical and apparently contradictory teachings actually work. We have also failed to grasp how they work humility and wisdom in true believers. My prayer is God grant us the Third Great Awakening. Let the heavens drop down, let your will be done on this earth under the most adverse conditions just as your will is being done in heaven. Let deep heaven come down upon us in the presence of truth, and that for the whole earth and evey soul upon it for a whole generation and for a thousand generations. The enemy has come in like a flood, lift up a standard against him, a counter flood, a trunami. Let the whole earth be filled with your knowledge and glory as the waters cover the sea. Let the nations beat their swords in to plowshares and learn war no more. Let very man set under his own vine and fig tree, and let none make him afraid. Let the inhabitants of one city say to the inhabitants of another city, Let us go up for to worship the Lord of Hosts. God, once more, shake not the earth only, but the Heaven also by bringing Heaven down to earth in all of its tender awesome melting power. How can any evil stand in the presence of such goodness? How can any and all hate stand in the presence of omnipotent love? How can ignorance resist lovely omniscience? How can hearts of stone resist the flame of such love?

248 Robert January 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Dr. Willingham,
You have said much more elequently, (and with more knowledge)than I ever could, what I’ve thought many times.

thank you for a good, thoughtful post.
bob

249 Dr. James Willingham January 4, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Thank you Robert for a kind but undeserved comment. I wish I was as good as you make it sound. I am interested in answering Bro. Stuart above. I came to believe in Sovereign Grace as a result of wrestling with very simple terms such as can as opposed to will as in “no man can come to me”. Now, that spells inability in any one’s language. Man’s Fall in the Garden destroyed his ability. We suffer from disability, darkness, depravity as in so desperately wicked that only God knows the extent and intent, deadness. Jesus even considers the woman of Canaan as so depraved as to deserve the term dogs (surely a term descriptive of reprobation) and no one can argue that the woman didn’t accept his designation, because she said, “Truth, Lord, but even the dogs…” She treated her reprobate state as a matter of appeal to the goodness and mercy of God. Also when Jesus said in her presence to His disciples, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” the woman, no jew after the flesh, came and worshipped Him. She treated his doctrine of limited atonement as an invitation to worship. Can our dear brother understand the nature of paradoxes and how they can accomplish the very opposite of what they clearly state? Spurgeon, a limited atonement advocate, yet prayed for the conversion of the whole world. The inverse function of biblical teachings, the intellectual depths, the omniscience, reflected in Holy Truths are in their clarity another medium into which we peer and we cannot evaluate the goodness, etc. of such a thing as we tend to think of it only within the parameters of our own filters for thinking and evaluating evidence. Naturally, we suffer from the paralysis of analysis (Dr. Jess Moody more than 40 years ago). Thinking outside the box is a hard strain on the brain. Synthetical thinking is a real challenge, but worthwhile. Just ask yourself these questions: Why did God send two great awakenings and the beginning of the great century of missions upon people who believed in calvinistic (I still prefer Sovereign Grace any day of the week)theology when it came to salvation? Just consider this: Peter Peterson Van Horn and Benjamin Miller came down from the Philadelphia Assn. to NC in 1755 and persuaded some General Baptists to become particular Regular Baptists. These General Baptists had little evangelistic or missionary concern, and the limited atonement people had both. This group went along for years arfter 1755 baptizing 25-30 a year. Then in 1801 (46 yrs later), they baptized 870+. The Second Great Awakening had taken place with them. As to liberal and radical practices, the Baptists of VA fell out and got back together, because they were ashamed of their conduct. So the idea of preaching Christ tasted death for every man was allowed as no bar to communion (obviously the doctrine was He tasted death for the Elect). The Lost Sheep of the House of Israel is a greater, more powerful, more intense, more wonderully compelling, and irresistible because it is so wonderful. But some folks just can’t see that as the Syro-Phoenecian woman did in Mt.15. Like Whitefield and Wesley let us think that we will not see our fellow saints in heaven because they will be so near the throne and we so far that we won’t be able to see them. It all sort of reminds me of a children’s quarrel in the school yard. Five minutes later, the whole thing will be forgotten in a new round of fun, excitement, adventure, and understanding as we see and experience reality from different perspectives. AND ANY POSITION CAN BE MISREPRESENTED BY ANY ONE AT ANY TIME. I MEAN IF YOU HAD HEARD PETER CURSING AND DENYING HIS LORD WOULD YOU HAVE WANTED ANY PART OF THE GOSPEL HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE? OR WHAT ABOUT THE CONTENTION BETWEEN PAUL AND BARNABAS OVER JOHN MARK THAT THEY PARTED ASUNDER (ACTS 15:39)AND PAUL’S REMARK ABOUT LOVE NOT BECOMING PROVOKED (I CORS.13:5)? THE WORDS FOR CONTENTION AND PROVOKED ARE THE SAME; IT IS THE WORD FOR RAGE. THESE MEN GOT SO ENRAGED, WELL YOU GET THE IDEA. THEY WERE JUST POOR, SINFUL HUMAN BEINGS LIKE US. AND WHAT ABOUT DAVID AND ADULTERY AND MURDER? WHY DON’T THE LEGALISTS TEAR THE MATERIAL WRITTEN BY THIS MURDERER AND ADULTERER OUT OF THE BIBLE, WHEN THEY COME DOWN SO HARD ON PEOPLE WITH SECOND MARRIAGES? Let us also note the unconditional prophecy of judgment in Jonah 3. It was a literal, unconditional prophecy, but the point is that literal and unconditional is not the point. The point is the purpose for which it was stated. Could things like limited atonement, unconditional election, and irresistible grace be the most inviting, the most intensely inviting truths in the Bible? The woman of Canaan thought so. Jesus’ fellow citizens of Nazareth did not, and he did not get to depravity and dogs as they acted out That doctrine (Lk 4:18ff). Jesus used the same approach in both cases. Were these truths invitations in the one case? Were they not the same in the second? I think so. And note the humility of the woman in Mt.15. Also note our Lord’s comment on her response, one He never applied to any of His disciples. “Great is thy Faith!” Hey! It is a great time to be alive and present our Lord’s case for HIS GRACE BEING GREATER THAN OUR SINS!!!!

250 Robert January 4, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Dr. Willingham,

another good post; very thought provoking. I’ll go over it and the scriptures sited again to make sure that I “get it”…(I’m not very smart)

I would however, not expect much from our buddy Stuart. If you’ve spent time reading the amazing amount of posts here at this topic, and seen the utter inanity of some of the responses given by Stuart and others, you might not be so optimistic. 🙂

251 Dr. James Willingham January 4, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Dear Robert: We are all wanting in the smarts dept, if the truth be told. I am constantly astounded at my own obtuseness. That’s long hand for just plain dumb, unthinking. Like Thomas Aquinas I am an ox, a rather dull witted person. And Bro. Stuart is not such a bad fellow. Who knows, he might be the next Whitefield? God has a wonderful sense of humor. Just look at Paul the preacher and Saul the persecuter. I think we are all going to be utterly displeased with our own lacks and utterly dumbfounded by the fact that God could love such sorry sinners as we are so much that He would give His only begotten Son to die for us!!!! Was it John Wesley who said of a certain sinner, “If God would save him, he would never despair of any one ever again.” And was it John Newton who said, “Since God saved me, I have never despaired of any one.” We need the attitude of Whitefield who said, “The Lord would even save the devil’s rejects.” He was rebuked for such a statement and at that time received a note from a couple of fallen women who had dared to hope in Christ after his message and he showed the note to his critics. As one preacher said, “God can strike a straight blow with a crooked stick.” Ha! In this world there ain’t no other kind. We are all crooked sticks in theology, experience, practice. We are all wanting in every department, and yet the Lord loves us and receives our service if we are His. I think our service is much like when my sister and I use to make mud pies for grandma down on the sharecropper’s cotton farm in Arkansas. Grandma would pretend to at those mud pies like they were the greatest things on earth. I just hope the Lord considers my service half as well as grandma considered my mud pies. His approval means more than the whole world, and Bro. Stuart probably needs and wants that approval just as much as you and me. In fact, if he is truly saved, I am sure of it. Sometimes I utterly despair that anything I do could possibly receive our Lord’s commendation like the woman of Mt. 15 or the Roman Centurion. I would bet, if I were a betting man (and I am not. I despise gambling), that bro. Stuart feels the same way. Well,o you Bro. Stuart

252 Robert January 5, 2009 at 6:33 am

Dr. Willingham,
I’m with you on Stuart, we of all people (Calvinists) should realize that nobody understands without God doing the eye opening…and I didn’t mean to sound so harsh…it was wrong of me.

I guess I’m just still thinking about the senseless exchange we had on this combox…

It all comes down to trusting God for the understanding.

Have a good day…

Soli Deo Gloria….

253 a helmet January 14, 2009 at 6:28 pm

With respect to the Passage John 6:35-45 I lately started another blog to Combat the Doctrins of Grace. I started with this passage showing the reformed misuse of this text to establish calvinstic doctrine. Link provided here.
Check out!

🙂

254 Robert January 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

A Helmet,
Nice…”To combat the doctrines of Grace”

How aptly said.

What makes you think that you can combat that passage when you couldn’t effectively do it here?

I’ll check the link anyway.

bob

255 a helmet January 14, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Hi Robert,

well, you insisted that it was actually off-topic. Never mind.

🙂

256 Darrin January 15, 2009 at 11:45 am

A Helmet, sorry to hear that.
“reformed misuse of this text to establish calvinstic doctrine” – I know that I and other reformed believers here are not trying to estlablish any doctrine of ourselves, nor of Calvin. God has established the doctrine in His Word – these brothers are just understanding and communicating what He has revealed.

257 Robert January 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Darrin,
I went to Helmet’s blog to see what he had and truthfully, I can’t figurne out what his argument is.

I can’t figure out what he’s getting at.

Oh well.

bob

258 a helmet January 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Hi Darrin and Rober,

But isn’t it strange that no reformed believer ever answers this simple question: What does it mean “to hear and learn from the Father” according to John 6:45? What is the message there, what is the content of the teaching here?

Certainly it is not 1+1=2, but there must be something taught.

Knowing what this is is absolutely vital, because it causes someone to believe in Christ. So we must know what the message is there.

Greetings
-a helmet

259 johnMark January 15, 2009 at 3:55 pm

a helmet,

What do you mean no reformed believer ever answers your question? Have you read any reformed commentaries on John for your answer?

What do you think of this answer?

This explains the preceding verse. God teaches a man to know himself, that, finding his need of salvation, he may flee to lay hold on the hope which his heavenly Father has set before him in the Gospel. God draws men by his love, and by showing them what his love has done for them. Fear repels, but love attracts. He who is ever preaching the terrors of the law, and representing God as a vindictive judge, will never bring sinners to him. They are afraid of this terrible God: but they love him, who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.

Mark

260 Darrin January 15, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Also, from a small piece of Matthew Henry’s analysis of these verses:
“How shall those who are given to Christ be brought to him? Two things are to be done in order to it: a. Their understandings shall be enlightened; this is promised, v. 45, 46. It is written in the prophets, who spoke of these things before, And they shall be all taught of God; this we find, Isa. 54:13, and Jer. 31:34. They shall all know me. Note, (a.) In order to our believing in Jesus Christ, it is necessary that we be taught of God; that is, [a.] That there be a divine revelation made to us, discovering to us both what we are to believe concerning Christ and why we are to believe it. There are some things which even nature teaches, but to bring us to Christ there is need of a higher light. [b.] That there be a divine work wrought in us, enabling us to understand and receive these revealed truths and the evidence of them. God, in giving us reason, teaches us more than the beasts of the earth; but in giving us faith he teaches more than the natural man. Thus all the church’s children, all that are genuine, are taught of God; he hath undertaken their education.
(b.) It follows then, by way of inference from this, that every man that has heard and learned of the Father comes to Christ, v. 45. [a.] It is here implied that none will come to Christ but those that have heard and learned of the Father. We shall never be brought to Christ but under a divine conduct; except God by his grace enlighten our minds, inform our judgments, and rectify our mistakes, and not only tell us that we may hear, but teach us, that we may learn the truth as it is in Jesus, we shall never be brought to believe in Christ.”

261 Robert January 15, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Strange…no Arminian ever answers the question…what type of socks did John the baptist wear??

Are they afraid to answer?

Frankly Helmet…I still don’t get what’s significant about that question concerning the reformed exegesis of the passage?

262 Robert January 15, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Helmet,
Ok…so I didn’t see the significance. I went ahead and checked out the verse and noted the context.

No surprise; every one of them mentions that the “learning” is synonymous with “believing” “coming” etc.

Here is what Baker, JFB, and the Bible Knowledge Commentary have to say about it:

Baker

LXX Isaiah 54:13
καὶ πάντας τοὺς υἱούς σου διδακτοὺς θεοῦ.

John 6:45
καὶ ἔσονται πάντες διδακτοὶ θεοῦ.

In the LXX the quoted words are in the accusative as object of the verb θήσω; in the passage from the Fourth Gospel the words form a complete sentence. The idea, however, is the same.

Here again the divine and the human activities in the work of salvation are juxtaposed, for immediately after “And they shall all be taught of God” there follows, Everyone who listens to the Father and learns of him will come to me. In this connection, however, it should be emphasized that in showing how sinners are saved Scripture never merely places side by side the divine and the human factors, predestination and responsibility, God’s teaching and man’s listening. On the contrary, it is always definitely indicated that it is God who takes the initiative and who is in control from start to finish.

It is God who draws before man comes; it is he that teaches before man can listen and learn. Unless the Father draws, no one can come. That is the negative side. The positive is: everyone who listens to the Father and learns of him will come. Grace always conquers; it does what it sets out to do. In that sense it is irresistible. The absolute character of the cooperation between Father and Son, which, in turn, is based upon unity of essence, is stressed once more as in so many other passages in this Gospel: he who listens to the Father (not merely in the outward sense but so that he actually learns of him) comes to the Son, “will come to me.” Such a person will embrace Christ by a true and living faith. This listening and learning, however, does not indicate that any human being would ever be able to comprehend God (or to have an immediate knowledge of him apart from his revelation in Christ). Such fullness of knowledge is the prerogative of the Son. Hence, we read: Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who comes from God, he has seen the Father. (On this see also 1:18. On the use of παρά in 6:46 cf. 1:14.)

——————————————
JFB

all taught of God—not by external revelation merely, but by internal illumination, corresponding to the “drawing” of Jn 6:44.
Every man therefore, &c.—that is, who hath been thus efficaciously taught of Him.
cometh unto me—with absolute certainty, yet in the sense above given of “drawing”; that is, “As none can come to Me but as divinely drawn, so none thus drawn shall fail to come.”

Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. On spine: Critical and explanatory commentary. (Jn 6:45). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

————————————–
BKC

6:45. In support of this doctrine of salvation by God’s grace, Jesus cited the Old Testament. The quotation, They will all be taught by God, is from the Prophets, probably Isaiah 54:13, though Jeremiah 31:34 has the same thought. This “teaching” of God refers to His inner work that disposes people to accept the truth about Jesus and respond to Him. Everyone who listens to and learns from God will come to and believe in Jesus.

Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:296). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

—————————————
That’s just a sample of what they have to say about it. I could go on and on but I’m left wondering…what’s the significance again?

263 Dr. James Willingham January 15, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Wow! You all can get on a subject and just worry it to death. Personally, I would rather look at having some fun and doing something beneficial in the process. Think of how the believers in TULIP, Predestination and even Reprobation were instrumental in the First and Second Great Awakenings and in the beginnings of the Great Century of Missions. Brother Stuart much earlier was talking about heresy and how all this was so utterly false, and I wanted to lie down and howl with laughter. God was please to use such sorry people who believed such things to effectuate the events mentioned above. And by the way I do not claimed to be Reformed. I claim to believe in Sovereign Grace, because I am a Baptist and, tho I am not a Landmarker, our predecessors in the Faith were dying for these doctrines as well as baptism on profession of faith and symbolic communion before Luther ever posted his 95 theses and even before he or Calvin was ever born. Actually limited atonement is like the mathematical equation that has an inverse funtion. To put it anoher way, it is paradoxical. The woman got down and worshipped, when she heard Jesus say to His disciples, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” When he spoke of inability, depravity, and reprobation, she agreed and admitted that that term well described her. She even used it to make her case, saying, “the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” I still think God is full of good humor, and He is better than we expect. His most negative teachings are the way to the greatest joy and highest goals, e.g., “great is thy faith.” Here we might be on the verge of THE THIRD GREAT AWAKENING, THE ONE WHICH WINS THE WHOLE WORLD IN ONE GENERATION FOR CHRIST AND PERHAPS EVEN FO A THOUSAND GENERATIONS. We ought to be happy, joyful, winsome, charming, spiritual, compassionate. Yep, all these teachings ar wonderfully irresistible, utterly compelling in the freest sense of the word. They produced religious liberty, union of Separates and Regulars, getting General Baptists to become Regular Baptists and become evangelistic and missionary, establishing educational institutions to train preachers. Ironic is it not that the Father of Southern Baptist Missions, should state:”Presdestination is in the Bible and you had better preach it?” O by the way God has a delightful sense of humor in history. Finney attends the ministry of a calvinist and gets converted on his own and gets the calvinist to become more arminian like in his theology. Then Finney is instrumental in the conversion of A.H. Strong and his family, and Strong is at least a four point calvinist. Look you folks give one another room to think and work on these things on one’s own. I had some little influence on a fellow named Spurgeon, a friend of mine in college and a distant relative of C.H.. I told him grace was irresistible. He didn’t believe it. He won a woman to Christ, who told him, “O it was so wonderful that I couldn’t resist it.” He said when she said that he thought of what I said. It didn’t change his mind then (circa 1965-66), He still hadn’t changed his mind, circa 2003-3. But when I called him 1/2007, he said, “Where have you been, I have been trying to get a hold of you.” To make a long story short. He had come to the conclusion that grace was irresistible, because it was so wonderful. He also found out that he was a relative of C.H. so one genealogy researcher said. He visited Metropolitan Tabernacle while doing summer work at Oxford. Ain’t God great. That’s enough to shout about. Be sweet, gentle, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves. Sovereign Grace is going to win in the end. The brother so opposed today, might be the Whitefield of tomorrow, but if he is the Wesley, remember it as an old Wesleyan exhorter that cried to Mr. Spurgeon, “Young man, you are the most miserable looking young man. Look to Jesus.” Spurgeon said, “I looked and was save.” An Arminian is to blame for one of the great Reformed, Calvinistic Baptist preachers of all time. I tell you God has a sense of humor or we could not laugh. At one time I knew of many cases like that, but such knowledge is beginning to take its place in the memory bins of forgetfulness.

264 Robert January 16, 2009 at 5:35 am

Dr. W,
We know. We aren’t angry with Stuart or anyone else. We also know that our great arguments won’t win Stu or anyone else.

But (and I can only speak for myself) I love the Lord. Period. I HATE anyone to preach something that demeans Him. Period.

Before I understood, that is before GOD OPENED MY EYES I was oblivious to this subject…I ASSUMED that the whole shebang was some sort of a cooperation between me and God…why not?

Then I accidentally read Romans.

Since that time, I’ve had a deeper apprectiation for what God has done for me, I’ve seen it in a different light…one that elevates him, gives Him the credit that He deserves.

I know that I get a little worked up and that’s a personal fault of mine, I’ll work on it, but when people make statements diametrically opposed to the truth…I won’t stand for it.

PS: I’ll quote you:

Personally, I would rather look at having some fun and doing something beneficial in the process.

Uh…this IS fun… 🙂

265 a helmet January 16, 2009 at 6:04 am

Hello johnMark,

Thanks for resonding. If this cursive text that you provide is the content of the teaching of John 6:45 then we can do the following:

1) Mark this text:

This explains the preceding verse. God teaches a man to know himself, that, finding his need of salvation, he may flee to lay hold on the hope which his heavenly Father has set before him in the Gospel. God draws men by his love, and by showing them what his love has done for them. Fear repels, but love attracts. He who is ever preaching the terrors of the law, and representing God as a vindictive judge, will never bring sinners to him. They are afraid of this terrible God: but they love him, who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.

2) Right mouse click and copy
3) Open an email client
4) Right mouse click and paste
5) Send this text to everybody who’s email address you can fill into the recipients list. Especially include the addresses of all non-christians you know.

So send this email to all unbelivers who you know. Upon reading this very text, they must necessarily all convert to Christianity.

Really? Of course not! Imagine Muslim apologists like Ahmet Deedat or Shabir Ally, read your lines that utter the words “his only begotten son” – will they say “Uh, God has an only son, all this information emailed here is irrefutable” and then become christians?

Hardly.

Will they, after reading your email say: “This text is irresistible. It is an irrefutable conviction, now I am convinced that Jesus Christ is the son of God!!” ??

Hardly!

Imagine atheists like B. Ehrman. Upon reading your email will he become a christian? Hardly.

Does this email inevitably cause its readers to convert? No way!

So is this email text the trigger, that causese a person to come to Christ? No!

So is this email the content of the teaching that I was talking about? By no means! For “Everyone who learns from the father (=the content!) comes to me”. Everyone will definitely come.

So what about your text, which is supposed to be the content of what converts learn according to verse 45? It is only much talk about the content, about the teaching, but not the content itself ! Do you understand that?
This cursive text of yours above, is NOT the precious “access data to heaven”! It is only talking about this precious access data! About, about about.

But you do not acutally provide the content itself, the “password” so to speak.

Another example: Suppose there is a password that goes like this:
fre4_abc
Now imagine someone asks: What is the password?

And you say something like this:
This password is made up of the symbols of the alphabet. It has security level 3. Moreover it contains also digits, that is, symbols of the set 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. And it includes also special characters.

So, did you answer the question, what the password is?
By no means! You just said something about the password, but by no means does this show the password itself.The answer would rather have to be:

“The password ist this: fre4_abc
Then everyone would be very disburdened.

—-
Perhaps now the problem has become clear.

So either you are holding the content behind your back and talk about it without actually ever showing it, or you do not possess this knowledge at all.

Greetings
-a helmet

266 Robert January 16, 2009 at 6:33 am

Helmet,
Again…you completely miss the point of the passage…forest for the trees.

Not only are you going on and on over nothing, it’s getting old….

What’s the SUBJECT of John 6:35? From the TEXT ITSELF?

Is the SUBJECT “some secret knowledge” that one has to have? or is “hearing/learning” another way of saying “coming/believing”?

to me it looks like in your zeal to “stump the calvinists” you’ve missed the whole thing.

I’m not going to waste much more time on this one…it’s just not that interesting and it seems to not have a real point.

267 a helmet January 16, 2009 at 7:00 am

Robert,

did you understand what I wrote to johnMark?

Is the SUBJECT “some secret knowledge” that one has to have? or is “hearing/learning” another way of saying “coming/believing”?

“hearing/learning” is the precondition to “coming/believing”. It precedes the coming/believing. They are not the same thing.

Note: “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comest to Me.”.
Clearly, the learning is a prerequisite, the cause, to faith. So and this is only “secret” as long as you do not say what it is! You can make it public. If you don’t know what the knowledge is, then this proves that you haven’t got it. It is rather odd to say you have learned something, without knowing what.

So if you cannot pronounce, articulate the content of John 6:45 then your faith is dead. It cannot be shown.

Greetings
-a helmet

268 Robert January 16, 2009 at 7:14 am

A Helmet:

Quote:
So if you cannot pronounce, articulate the content of John 6:45 then your faith is dead. It cannot be shown.

This is the premise that you HAVE YET TO PROVE. You keep asserting it without proof.

Yes, I did understand.

bob

269 abclay January 16, 2009 at 8:17 am

Robert,

You wrote to a helmet:

to me it looks like in your zeal to “stump the calvinists” you’ve missed the whole thing.

Isn’t this always the case with anti-Calvinists and their “exegesis”? It’s why I find it frustrating to dialog with those who deny the meaning of the text. Perhaps God will grace me with greater patience.

Grace and Peace…

abclay

270 Robert January 16, 2009 at 8:31 am

Abclay,
You are right. I find that “on the whole” Synergists of all stripes look to things OTHER than exegesis as their primary way of understanding the text itself.

Also, yes; I too get impatient and it’s something that’s wrong, and I have to work on to correct.

May God grant us all patience in presenting the truth of the Doctrines of Grace because “there but for the grace of God , go I”

And we, more than anyone should get that. 🙂

271 a helmet January 16, 2009 at 11:37 am

Robert,

So if you cannot pronounce, articulate the content of John 6:45 then your faith is dead. It cannot be shown.

This is the premise that you HAVE YET TO PROVE. You keep asserting it without proof.
——————————————
That’s simple. Here we go.

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but has no works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14)

Robert, you are in such a situation now as well. You claim that your faith is of any use.

“Show me the faith by your works!” is James’ challenge to all professing believers.
Can you show your faith at all? Can you? How do you show your faith?

You must now show the content of the teaching of John 6:45. You must explain the drawing. You must show, that you have been drawn. That is crucial. So James brings us to the point I have been talking about here all the time.
You must SHOW your faith!! How do you do that? You must use the Logos (Word or God, Power of God) to reveal the content of John 6:45.

Suppose someone needs the bread of life for everlasting life. And a white wedding garment to enter the lamb’s wedding banquet. And the water of life to drink. Now Calvinists say: “Go in peace, ask God if he might graciously meet these needs for you.”

Calvinists say “I eat the bread of life. As a proof, I give you Manna! ” Doesn’t profit much, does it?

So can calvinsitic faith save? Can “saving faith” save anyone? BY NO MEANS! Why? Because saving faith CAN NEVER BE SHOWN!
Do you understand that? So-called saving faith is intrinsically inscrutable. It is by nature the very opposite of anything demonstrable. Saving faith cannot be domonstrated at all.

So you have two options, Robert:
1) Either you admit that you have not the slightest idea whether you have ever been drawn, and admit that you have not the slightest idea whether you are not just a deluded hypocrite and admit that your “genuine faith” is just smoke and dust
or
2) You stand condemned, heading for the lamb’s wedding banquet without any wedding clothing! Will you be able to explain “how were you drawn?”, when you’ll be asked at the judgment?

272 johnMark January 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm

a helmet,

What are you talking about? You come to my blog and belittle my comment that was directly addressing yours? Keep it up and I will ban you.

If you would have read your own question and my response where I asked specifically about your question, you could have easily seen the *what* I was responding to.

I was laying some ground work to show how your first assertion about reformed folks not answering John 6:45. I asked you about that quote to see where you stood. The quote I gave was from a commentary by Adam Clarke, an Arminian.

And why are you proof-texting James to try and show what John means? You quote James and then say You must now show the content of the teaching of John 6:45. Well, I’ve got news for you. James is not the content of the teaching of John.

Mark

273 Robert January 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm

A Helmet,
what IN THE WORLD are you talking about???

What IN THE WORLD does James’ discussion on fruitless Christians have to do with John 6???

All you’ve shown so far is your inability to understand sound biblical exegesis.

PLEASE…PLEASE…get real.

274 Robert January 16, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Whoops…Johnmark beat me to it! 🙂

275 a helmet January 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Hi johnMark,

I was laying some ground work to show how your first assertion about reformed folks not answering John 6:45. I asked you about that quote to see where you stood. The quote I gave was from a commentary by Adam Clarke, an Arminian.

Okay, I do not agree with that quote. Because, it is not an “irresistible” information, right? You seem to agree that this text cannot serve as an answer to the question what message is transported by the illumination according to John 6:45. That was my point. But why did you quote from an Arminian anyway, if you do not agree with that? But never mind.

You quote James and then say You must now show the content of the teaching of John 6:45.

James’ test is as follows: “Show me your faith by works”

Now, how do you do that? Note, if you show the content of the teaching I’m talking about, then you thereby show your faith, because that teaching inevitably leads the others to faith. It is the “drawing”. You thereby demonstrate that you were drawn. On the other hand, if you cannot explain the drawing, you are obviously one of those who were “drawn by themselves”.

Well, I’ve got news for you. James is not the content of the teaching of John.

It is vice versa. In the judgment situation described in James you’ll have to describe the content of the teaching of John! Show me your faith That’s vital.

That is elaborated more thoroughly in my new blog “Combating the Doctrines Of Grace”. You’re welcome to comment there.

-a helmet

276 abclay January 16, 2009 at 2:07 pm

My side is hurting… before continuing this discussion with helmet, could we examine the possible outcomes? It has already been established that his hermeneutic is not legitimate.

It is almost like arguing with a KJV onlyist.

277 Darrin January 16, 2009 at 6:30 pm

I tend to agree, abclay. There are probably more thoughts we all have regarding these verses, but it’s almost impossible to tell what is relevant because of this oddly incredible communication barrier. It’s as if we all and a helmet are speaking two different languages. I wish we could help answer his concerns directly, but until he makes clear just what those are, and what his point is, we may just be wasting time.

278 a helmet January 17, 2009 at 7:20 am

I apologize for my offensive communication style yesterday. I realize that this must have sounded very harsh. To johnMark: I used this email-example to get my point straight, not in any way to belittle you comment.
To Robert: I’m not calling you a hypocrite nor am I making a judgment. Please forgive me for this “forensic” style I used and which I’m not entitled to. I’m ending this here now, but you guys are welcome to my blog.

Greetings
-a helmet

279 Robert January 17, 2009 at 8:23 am

A helmet,
No problems. We can disagree on these things but I don’t take it personally.

bob

280 Dr. James Willingham January 17, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Sirs: Inability requires irresistible power. Spiritual deadness requires irresistible power. Darkness requires light, irresistible light. Slavery requires irresistible power to set one free from its bondage, especially the slavery of sin. A heart transplant requires what one cannot perform for one’s self. As an atheist I saw Jesus knocking at door just like it says in Rev.3:20 and like the description of 3:17 as J.P. Boyce suggested in a sermon on the text I could not and would not open the door. Then something changed my mind. Was it the Lord opening my heart for me as He did for Lydia (Acts 16:14)? I consider that whole affair an example of irresistible grace, for it sure knocked my atheism into a cocked hat as the old saying goes. That night as I prayed I felt a burden lifted off of my heart and then I was crying tears of joy. I think the Lord’s irresistible power can lie in an open hand extended in friendship, compassion, love. It is hard to resist a hand put forth to be shaken. Whosoever can be more irresistible than the predestination. Interestingly enough, Dr. Eusedin in his introduction to his translation of William Ames’ Marrow of Divinity declared that “predestination is an invitation to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage.” Particular redemption/limited atonement was used by our Lord as an irresisitible invitation to the woman of Canaan in Mt.15:24,25 to worship. Ha! I laugh! What a blessing. God is sure enough bigger, better, whatever than anything in this world or in me. In me is death, sin, hell, but His grace is greater, They abound; He superabounds with grace. Such favor, such a salvation, is so wonderfully, it just melts the heart of stone, wins over all resistance. Such is the theology of the Great Awakenings and of the beginnings of the Great Century of Missions. Get ready, Brethre, I feel it coming in my bones. I just hope I get to see it.

281 Stuart February 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Great new blog. Check it out!

http://fromonewecanjudgetherest.blogspot.com/

282 Stuart March 28, 2009 at 10:56 am

Hi JohnMark and gang,

I would invite you all to follow the discussion I am having with Frank Turk of Pyromaniacs on his debate blog. I believe you will appreciate the questions and answers that are being given.

http://q-and-a-blog.blogspot.com/

Pastor Wood

283 Dr. James Willingham March 28, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Sirs: No on seems to inclined to discuss paradoxical intervnion. If human counelors can use such technique then surely God must have anticipated it. And He did. Besides,if a mathematical equation can have an inverse function, then ideas, doctrines, etc. can. So limited atonement or “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” could be the invitation of the greatest extent and the greatest impact. You fellows waste a lot of verbiage on due to your narrow methodologies. TULIP along with Predestination and Reprobation are mot intensive evangelistic invitations than even Whosoever will. Ideological inverse functions are more compelling in reverse psychology (pop view) than are straight forward “gotchas of sweet helpless love”. As one fellow says universal atonement folks preach an atonement more lmited than do limited atonement preachers. Truth is, the partcular approach depends on the individual’s situation and need. The paralysis of analysis has seized so many today. We need the synthetical, digital,intellectual, spiritual, two pole approach of the Bible. Jesus not only preached limited atonement to the woman of Canaan, he preached it to His neighbors in Nazareth by speaking of Elijah not being sent to any widow in Israel but to a widow of Sarepta a city of Sidon and Elisha did not heal a single Israelite of leprosy, but he did heal Naaman the Syrian. After that He never got to the issue of Total Depravity and Reprobation, because His neighbors immediately proved that that was what they were (totally depraved and reprobate).

284 Robert March 29, 2009 at 2:57 am

Dr. J…

That’s way to high-falutin’ for me…I’m not that smart. 🙂

I’ll just stick with the easy stuff…

285 Dr. James Willingham March 29, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Dear Robert:
You don’t really have the option of saying it is to high-falutin’ for you. Jesus said, Mt.10:16: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Our faith has suffered enough from the romantic, emotional, anti-intellectual perspective, so much so, in fact, that now we ignore the real meaning of repent, saying, “It is turning around.” The truth is that it is a change of mind based upon reflection; it is a turning as a result of thinking through what God has revealed to us and about us and then being fully persuaded we change our outlook, turn our lives around. Also your service cannot be worth baloney, if you do not use your mind. The Bible calls fo “your logical service.”(Roms.12:1) (reasonable service could be rendered rational service, but I choose logical because the term in the GNT could easily be translated by almost a virtual transliteration of the term for logical. The word of God was written for the mind. If some one says the heart as I am sure they will, I simply point ou that God chooses to reach the heart, the inner essence of man by way of his mind. That is where the doctrine of total depravity establishes the doctrine of man’s dignity. God dignifies our conduct by addressing us in a human way, mind to mind. Thus, He uses human language (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.), the rules of logic, empirical and experiential evidence as well as intuitive. The full court press for the heart comes by way of the mind.

286 Robert March 30, 2009 at 6:16 am

Dr. James W,
I was just having fun with you.. 🙂

On a serious note…I love your passion for God and his word….

287 Dr. James Willingham March 30, 2009 at 11:12 am

Dear Robert: I am not adverse to a little fun. In fact, we all should take some time out and laugh. I think the crowd must have roared with laughter, when Jesus said, “First, get that big house beam out of your eye, and then you will be able to see how to get the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Healing, spiritual healing, is wholesome, beneficial, upliftng, inspiring,elevating, engaging, arousing, exciting, thrilling, ecstatic, stirring, moving, happy power. And why not? The Holy Spirit of God is the source and conduit and essence of such a benefit. That is what is coming upon the earth in its hour of greatest trial (Rev.3:10). Life is going to get plumb mind-boggling for the great wonders of Heaven descending upon the earth in its invisible and yet wondrous and wonderful presence. The theology which that presence shall attend could well be called THE DIVINE PARADOXICAL INTERVENTION, THE IDEOLOGICAL EQUATION WITH AN INVERSE FUNCTION. EACH TRUTH (PREDESTINATION, TOTAL DEPRAVITY, UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION, LIMITED ATONEMENT, IRRESISTIBLE GRACE, PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS, AND REPROBATION) IS AN INVITATION TO TRUST AN PRAISE GOD OUT OF GRATITUDE. EACH TRUTH ESTABLISHES THE DIGNITY OF MAN AND SHOWS GOD’S RESPECT FOR THE HUMAN PERSONALITY. CRAZY, HUH!
I get really excited when I think of how healing these divinely revealed truths are. The God who they reveal and convey to our hearts is beyond comprehension in His grace and love to falling mankind.

288 Robert March 30, 2009 at 11:25 am

Dr.Jw…

amen.

I get so excited over what I discover in His word and what he’s done for me…

I wish I could retain 1/10th of what I’ve studied…

bob

289 bishop henry nyabuto ogutu July 16, 2009 at 12:09 am

when i was searching google is where i met this ministry and we have been looking ministry can partnership with our ministry in kenya so that we can work together to build the body of christ.I.m independet in ministry here in kenya saving jehova God. I was called in 1989 when i was working in the govment of kenya i stopped working my wife she was a secondary teacher we disided to save jesus christ who is our savior.Plse you can view our webside for the ministry http/www.gmikenya.com come we work together. Thank you

290 Dr. James Willingham July 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Since I wrote my last blog here on 3/30, I have had a ht. attack (day before mother’s day)(Sat.) (got out of hosp. Weds. after mothr’s day), preached our son’s 10th anniversary (5?31), preached an ordination sermon in the Sandy Creek Assn (6/6), preached a prayer meeting at the church where we are members (6/24) fo our pastor (gone to convention), and will meet with a pulpit committee on (7/19). Please pray for us. Also will meet with someone on 8/4 regarding teaching course on Sovereign Grace Evangelism. some believers in Sovereign Grace seem to think they can just sat down and wait on God to save people. They need to read Spurgeon’s Evening Devotions for 8/6 and 12/24. In speaking wih Rev. Drew Garner today (7/16), we both expressed th sense and feeling that the Thrid Great Awakening is near; it maybe upon us shortly. So I have prayed for 36 yrs, and so another has prayed for over 50 yrs. God grant it is my prayer for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ who died for a number no man can number (so Spurgeon who believed and preached particular redemption and despised a general atonement – his words- that redeemed no one without adding man’s power to it). And he was won to Christ by an Arminian as was William Kiffin as was Strong, and then there were those Sovereign Grace ministers who won people who became Arminian preachers, e.g., Whitefield in death winning Benjamin Randall, founder of Free Will Baptists in New England. God has a sense of humor. Remember the patriarch named LAUGHTER, WE PRONOUNCE HIS NAME AS ISAAC. I actually have a friend who was named Isaac and who was raised an orthodox Jew who got converted and became a Baptist preacher. His wife won Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone With the Wind) to Christ shortly before she was killed by a car. His wife also won the man who supervised her torture in World War II (it lasted for 8 hrs. a day, 7 days a week, for 2 mos. and 28 days.). God has been doing, is doing, and will yet do even even greater things fr the glory of His Son, and He will use us in that service.
.-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

291 Robert July 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Dr. Willingham,
Welcome back…sorry to hear about your heart attack…glad you’re up and around though.

I too see the extremism of the “let’s just sit because God’s sovereign” thing…

Although i do NOT witness my faith as much as I should, I see that it’s the right thing to do 🙂
.-= Robert´s last blog ..Rick Warren speaking at the ISNA…ahh Ricky…did you forget something? =-.

292 Mark|HereIBlog July 16, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Dr. Willingham,

I’m glad the Lord left you with us for a while longer. Glad you are feeling better. I did pray for you for your preaching at Sandy Creek as you asked.

Funny, the how the Gospel saves us in spite of doctrine of particular or universal atonement. And in spite of ourselves. 🙂

293 Mark|HereIBlog July 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm

I too see the extremism of the “let’s just sit because God’s sovereign” thing…

It’s a shame that folks think and (not) act as such. It is because of the very reason that God is sovereign that motivates evangelism.

294 Dr. James Willingham July 16, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Thank you Mark and Robert for your kind wishes. I pray God will help you fellows to become the souls of responsibility and soul-winners par excellence. Also pray for me as I will be speaking with someone regarding a course on Sovereign Grace Evangelism. That is Aug. 4. Can’t say who, etc., but just pray. By the way, did you all know that in his address at the Spurgeon Centenary in England, Geo. W. Truett commented on how Calvinism pressed down upon th brow of man the sense of responsibility. Some of the most responsible people the world has ever seen were the Pilgrims, Puritans, and Baptists of England and America in the 1600s & 1700s. It was these people who had the blessings of the First and Second Great Awakenings and who initiated the Great Century of Missions. A Third Great Awakening might be just around the corner. I was speaking with a fellow by phone today who said that he felt that it might be. Of course, we must exert ourselves in prayer and other labors, if we would have any hope of such a visitation. After all, the Lord said, he would yet be inquired of by Israel to do it for them. God grant you all the grace to pray and plead the promises that Jonathan Edwards recorded in his Humble Attempt, the work that inspired Carey an others to launch the great missionar movement and even others in America who prayed for and witnessed the Second Great Awakening.
.-= Dr. James Willingham´s last blog ..The Climax of the Reformation =-.

.

Previous post:

Next post: