During the recent G3 Conference I live blogged there was a panel discussion Q&A. Questions were submitted months in advance of the conference. The first question was for Paul Washer. The question was on substitutionary atonement pitting limited atonement against general atonement.
Washer’s answer modeled a great way to think in terms of Christian unity through all of our internal, and often public, theological battles. Brother Paul gave a wise answer.
The submitted question.
If substitutionary atonement is the true biblical doctrine, does it provide any room for a universal or general atonement as many Free-Will Baptists believe – that Jesus died for the whole world without exception?
This is something – I’m going to answer it. I’m going to answer it by maybe even answering it. Here’s why. When I take a doctrine like substitutionary atonement which is talking to me primarily about a glorious salvation and a glorious death reveling in all that that includes – and then to see people that the only time they ever talk about it is in a debate over Calvinism. It really upsets me.
I believe in particular atonement. I’m a five point Calvinist or a five point Spurgeonist or whatever you want. But this is just my point: some people will take a doctrine and just grind with it. When this thing is actually used…it’s best used proclaimed to the masses of a Christ who died and a great cry to all men to repent and believe. So that would be my answer.
Washer then followed-up his answer.
Let me give you another example. Even John 3:16…the purpose of John 3:16 is not to argue particular atonement, general atonement or anything else. It’s to proclaim the glorious Savior. And sometimes I feel like we just, on both sides, take texts, and instead talking about just the beauty of what He’s really trying to speak forth, we use it to grind out some theological issue. There are other verses in the Scriptures to do that with. We should use each verse according to the purpose for which it was written.
For the Kingdom…