Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

TULIP ... Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)

I have been trying to understand the Calvinist doctrines represented in the popular acrostic TULIP for some time. I have, on this blog looked at Total Depravity, and (again,) Unconditional Election, and again, and now I will take a look at the doctrine of Limited Atonement.

Limited: Restricted, to have a limit on the bounds, to curtail or reduce in quantity or extent, lacking breadth, the scope or exercise of powers strictly defined.

Atonement: the removal of obstacles to reconciliation with God, the reconciliation of alienated parties, the restoration of a broken relationship, making amends, blotting out offenses, and giving satisfaction for wrongs done, reparation for an offense or injury. (according to Webster!)
When I first heard of TULIP, and the points were being explained to me, that was the first time I had ever heard anything like the doctrine of “Limited Atonement”. "What does that mean?" I wondered if it meant that the covering and cleansing of sin that I had found in Christ was available to all, but limited in effectiveness only to believers. I had learned that doctrine from the Bible, so if that was what it meant, well then absolutley ... it is true! I was corrected on this. This is not what it means. My 4-point Calvinist friend tried to make me understand what the word efficacious had to do with this. He believed that Christ died for the sins of mankind, but that the death was only “efficacious” for those predestined to salvation. (Efficacious: having the power to produce a desired effect.) Well, what is the conclusive difference between believing that He died for all men, but not efficaciously and believing that He only died for the elect … not much of a difference, I believe. The bottom line in this doctrine is: salvation is not available to all people, because Christ did not die for all of humanity.

I have searched for explanations to make sure I understand and I now think I clearly do grasp what the belief is (although I could be wrong). One of my favorite Calvinists has said: The doctrine of "Limited Atonement" answers the question of how God saves His elect. He sent His Son to die for them. That's the doctrine plain and simple. "Limited Atonement" means limited in scope, not in power or sufficiency. "Definite Atonement" might be a better description of the doctrine in this regard. Christ died for a definite people.

So it is: Christ died for the elect, (which had been chosen before the foundation of the world, for no other reason than that it was God’s will and that they are who they individually are) and ONLY for the elect. There are different reasonings behind this doctrine, a few of which are:

  • Christ would not die for the sins of people He didn’t intend to save.
  • Whoever He died for, would be saved and could never be lost .
  • No person could go to hell if the atonement was not limited (Double jeopardy, hence God would be unjust).

One troubling thing with this doctrine is the lack of Biblical passages presented to support it. All the reasoning I have read is in some way based on the other points of Calvinism. Here is one example:

"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)

The Calvinist would say to the questioner of Calvinism (that’s my new label), “Did Christ really save His people from their sins or did He just make it a possibility?” Always there is a reference to His “people” being a group of unconditionally predetermined individuals, which hearkens back to the second point of Calvinism, Unconditional Election. I think it makes logical sense. If Unconditional election is true, then of course Limited Atonement is true. So often the biblical proof that is offered for Limited Atonement is connected to the “fact” of Unconditional Election. Any doubts that arise are overcome by hearkening back to the basics of the TULIP and viewing from that perspective. I have a real problem with this kind of reasoning. Why not, instead, take the questions that the Scriptures raise in the Bible believer’s mind about Limited Atonement and then, cast the doubt back onto the doctrine of Unconditional Election (asserted by John Calvin)?

There is plenty of doubt about whether there is room in these verses for the doctrine of Limited Atonement:

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (Romans 5:18)

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:14-17)

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. (John 12:47)

It is interesting to read what Calvinists say to these verses. The position is not defended from a contextual perspective; there is not usually a reference to who the audience was or what the intent of the writer or speaker was. It usually boils down to a redefining of the terms. All doesn’t mean all. “The Greek word 'pas' (all) can either mean every single one, or some of every type.” Also, the word world is not all encompassing in relation to its people. The passages that say “the whole world is going after him” or “if a man could gain the whole world are used to point out that world does not mean everyone. This doesn't seem honest to me. The first impression when reading these passages is the correct one, otherwise the gospel wouldn’t be the power of God unto salvation to anyone who believes. Also, can a little child do these kinds of acrobatics with language? (Matthew 11:25) You could look here for an interesting post and comments on Limited Atonement and wordsmithing.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Does this verse say that he was made to be “the sins” of the elect? The absence of the article “the” is interesting to note. “Sin” is a pretty all-encompassing term. So does He save because of His death … the atonement? Is it necessary to say that the atonement is limited because otherwise we have a universal salvation (and we know this is not true, the scriptures say that many go to hell.)

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)

The atonement only applies to us if we believe. Just like Passover, (note that Jesus referred to it right when He was getting ready to atone) you must apply the blood to be passed over. Also note that the atonement it is an Old Testament concept. When the priests offered sacrifices, they were for all of Israel who would believe and obey God’s Word. (Were these references to atonement, for provision or payment? The difference between those two concepts is something I want to study further.) It’s important for the discussion to enter the OT ground from which it originated. I want to repeat the following passage with that in mind. Note the reference to the serpent which was lifted up for ALL of Israel (Numbers 21:8) so that whoever looked upon it would find healing.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:14-17)

I read where one man said, “Did Christ enter the Holy Place having made salvation a possibility? Or had He actually obtained eternal redemption? The text is clear (Hebrews 9:11-12) that the Son’s work is, in fact, complete and perfect and not dependant upon man’s additions (even the addition of mere “faith”) is also taught in Hebrews… (Mere faith [!] ... Faith … which is how we are told that men receive salvation … is derided as being insignificant in the plan of God.) Does anyone else have a problem with this thinking? (I don't want to come right out in the post and disclose the quotee ... so as not to be inflammatory.)

Here is a question for my 5 point friends: If you are telling a person about the salvation in Christ, witnessing, sharing the gospel, (whatever we want to call the act that we have been commanded to perform), and they ask you, “What does that have to do with me?” … can you say to them “Jesus Christ died for you?” No, not according to your doctrine. What if you say, “Jesus Christ died for sinners.” … and they ask “Did he die for me?” What do you say to that person?


  • Hi Rose,

    Your posting is full of many thought provoking points and excellent, searching questions, as usual. Limited Atonement is a subject on which Calvinists are very sensitive. I once read a sermon by Charles Spurgeon in which he actually tried to reverse the implications. He said something like this:

    ‘We say a great multitude beyond number will be saved without fail. You say it is for those who believe – and who knows if that approach will ever apply to anyone? So who has limited the atonement? Why, it is you . . .”

    Sophistry from Spurgeon, I never thought I’d see the day! But ‘Limited atonement’ is their own description for their open belief, so perhaps we may answer Spurgeon with that. Now let me shock you with what I think.

    The love of Christ constrains me to believe that Jesus has died for the sins of every person who has ever been born, or ever will be, whether they ever believe in Him or not (2 Cor 5:14). This includes Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, you and me, and everyone else. He has already paid this price in full, and has taken away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

    This does not mean, however, that they are saved, because the matter is not that simple. Rather than going away, the form of our debt toward God has changed. For now we are indebted to Him, not for our sins, but for the life of His Son – life for life.

    “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
    (2 Cor 5:14-15)

    This means that the basis on which we are either saved or condemned has been changed as well, to reflect the same emphasis:

    "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    (John 3:18)

    "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
    (John 3:36)

    Think of it this way. You have rolled up a huge debt on a credit card. The bank is on to you about certain individual expenditures. But then another bank buys your note. They are no longer concerned, primarily, about your individual items of debt; their primary focus is on the whole price that they have paid to assume your debt. In their eyes, this is the new debt that you owe. (I know this analogy understates it, but it’s to give an initial feel for the concept.)

    This also answers the ‘double jeopardy’ argument. Even if we are no longer indebted for our sins, we are still indebted with our lives. So as long as we live, our lives must be devoted to Him.

    So when you are witnessing to someone, tell them yes, Jesus did die for them. But it will only save them if they respond with faith in the gospel (1 Tim 4:10).

    I’d love to write more but this is getting long, maybe more later.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/27/2005 10:14 PM  

  • Tough questions indeed. Jesus' cry was for those who thirst, let him come to me. If you thirst for Him he will freely give you the water of life. He will not deny you.

    oddly enough He summed it up in one paradoxial statement, "All that the Father gives me shall come to me and him that commeth to me I will in no wise cast out!"

    So if someone asks, "Did He die for me?" I would reply, "Do you want Him in your life? Do you hunger and thirst for him? Are you fed up with your life of sin and almost feel dead because of it. Then yes He will Happily and eagerly recieve you, cleanse you and give you His Spirit for the rest of Eternity if you want to know Him."

    Notice that Jesus told his disciples that He had food they knew not off when he spoke of the Samaritan women. You see He is satisfying His hunger as well as yours when you come to faith in Him. When he ate the passover with His disciples He said he longed(greek word means to crave or to lust of a sort) to eat with them.Let us not lose sight of this. His purpose is to consume His desire for what He wants and in the process we gain Him and sup with that hunger He has.

    He will not deny anyone who is repentent knowing all hope is gone outside of Jesus Christ alone.

    After they recieve Christ, then they are to be told and discipled into the truth that it was the Father alone who caused this hunger within them. So in one sense we come to Him an Arminian and realize much of what Calvin taught afterword is true. Ah ha! And the debate goes on.

    I really don't believe any of us are going to fully unlock this. It is a Bermuda Triangle of sorts. And to think Methane bubbles were the solution to that mystery. Here on earth we won't figure this one out, but I reckon its fun trying. I hope we can keep it fun and not get to tied down emotionally with this.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 11/27/2005 11:18 PM  

  • Wow.

    Great post, Rose.

    You put together a lot of intriguing evidence that something is not quite right with that doctrine.

    & Loren, I hope you do follow up...

    Rose, just to through this in, R.T. kendall's view is that Calvin believed in unlimited atonement even though he (Calvin) also believed in double election.

    His view is that Calvin believed that it was at Christ's High Priestly Prayer (John 17)that 'election' grasped the subset of humanity we call the elect.

    But at the atonement God was still dealing with all men.

    Kendall even makes a case that Calvin strongly believed this! For this reason: so that each believer could be fully reassured by the atonement!!

    (Talk about prescient!)

    The idea is that if the atonement is limited than a believer could become concerned about that, and wonder if Christ died for him in particular.

    That's why Calvin believed people shouldn't enquire into God's election in an unhealthy way.

    I'm not positive Kendall is right but he does put forward a stunning slew of quotes from Calvin.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. Have you considered skipping I & going straight to P??

    Your friend,hk

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 11/27/2005 11:33 PM  

  • I agree Rose~. Good post.

    I have a friend who is a Five-Pointer. We preached together on saturday. He told the crowds that Chrsit did not die for everyone, quoting 'to be a ransom for many'. He said 'many' is not everyone.

    A year or so ago, my friend said soem really silly things when preaching. He told the crowds, 'If you would be saved, you should ask Christ to die for you and bear your sins.' He has stopped saying this now, hopefully because he has realised that it is completely unscriptural and rather silly to ask Christ to bear our sins when He already has taken our sins.

    Antonio had an interesting post on this subject. He argued that Christ's death for unbelievers is fully efficacious, but is not granted to them because of their unbelief. Interesting, but I am not convinced he is right.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/28/2005 3:47 AM  

  • Hi Loren,
    As usual, I appreciate your thoughts. I must consider them. I am not sure about your idea of the nature of debt changing. I will not disregard that idea. I must seriously look into it, what if you are right? Thank you for bringing it up.

    And so you answer a question with a question? (just like Jesus). ;~)
    Bermuda Triangle and Methane bubbles? I would like to know more about that. Brian, if more Calvinists were like you, I wouldn't have such an issue over all of this! It is the idea that all of this is so clear, and "why don't you see it?" That is the attitude that has caused me to embark on this journey of questioning them. But you, you are admired by me because you embrace the contradictory nature of some of this and you admit that you can't grab hold of God's mind.

    HK Flynn,
    Thank you for the comment!! It looks like you like the same books that my friend Antonio does. You know, you bring up this idea that Calvin himself didn't actually believe in the LA. Guess what? I don't care! :~) I don't care what Calvin REALLY believed. I do care what my contemporary Christian brethren believe. That is why you don't see me quoting Calvin or reading a lot of His material. I am reading those who claim to be enlightened by his doctrines. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Thanks as usual for reading and "sharing". Your friend is a case in point, isn't he? This is what can happen if we try to get ahold of something that is beyond our capability. We need to preach the gospel we have been given, right? ... not the decree of God ... or the secret counsels of His will ... those are not the gospel. Blessings, brother.

    p.s. I'm not sure about the Free Grace theology either, but it is good to get another perspective to balance out that which we are saturated with already. Maybe he IS right, ... needs further study.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/28/2005 11:17 AM  

  • To answer the question at the end of your post, if someone asked if Christ died for me, the answer is "Yes, if you repent and place your faith in Christ, he most certainly died for you."

    I would also tell him that now is the time for salvation. Don't put it off.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/28/2005 11:41 AM  

  • I for one use the sermons in Acts as models of preaching. I point people to Jesus and tell them how He alone has paid for our sins. Then when they ask what must they do I tell them to repent and believe Acts 2:37-38;16:30-31.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 11/28/2005 11:41 AM  

  • Rose,Hi again,

    In all my years of witnessing for Christ-and that includes a short term missionary trip to India-I have never heard anyone respond by asking that question"did Christ die for me?" In fact, I never even concieved of such a question until I read Dave Hunt's book.

    I also don't preach anything close to what you suggest Calvinists preach- nothing like what Matthew's friend does or did- so please don't paint Calvinists with such a broad brush

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 11/28/2005 11:54 AM  

  • In one way or another, most Christians believe in Limited Atonement. Did Christ's death result in the salvation of everyone? Most would say no, salvation only is given to those who believe. So, right there is limited atonement. Christ's atonement is limited to those who ultimately repent and believe.

    You see, I can't make sense of the alternate title: "Unlimited Atonement". In some sense, Christ's atonement is limited. You can say it is limited in its application, but it seems to me that is a distinction without a difference.

    Whenever we talk about this topic, there are a lot of qualifications we've got to specify when we talk about.

    Because of time I haven't read all the discussion here. I don't subscribe to Loren's view that our basis for salvation has changed. Sin has as its connotation the idea of "debt". That is why some form of the Lord's Prayer is "forgive us our debts...". Because we failed in obeying the law, both the law in our hearts and the written law, we have failed in paying God his due in obedience. We needed a perfect sacrifice to pay for our sin. This mode of our justification is basically the same with Abraham (he believed and it was credited as righteousness) as it is with us.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/28/2005 12:33 PM  

  • Rose,

    I have a problem with the idea that Christ's death was merely provisional. You then would be guilty of the same eisegesis (a reading into the text) that the Calvinists are guilty of.

    When you look at 1 John 2:2 it most definitly does NOT say:

    And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the ones in the world who believe

    Neither does John 1:29 say:

    John 1:29

    The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of those in the world who believe"

    John 1:29 explicitly and plainly describes a taking away of the sin of the world.

    1 John 2:2 explicitly and plainly describes Jesus as THE PROPITIATION for the sin of the world.

    Neither verse has any contingency nor provisional quality whatsoever!

    No verse whatsoever in the whole of the Bible can be referred to in order to make a case that Christ's "propitiation" and "taking away" was PROVISIONAL.

    Now the free gift of eternal life is received through the intermediate agency of purposeful (with a view to receiving eternal life) faith in Christ IS provisional, justification, and all the attendent blessings in the salvation package are provisional, but you would be having to compare apples with oranges and arbitrarily mix up completely different issues to make the jump.

    What is the answer? Well I wrote an article on it. Rose, did you ever have the time to read the article? Here is the link:

    Christ: The Propitiation for the Sins of the World


    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/28/2005 2:25 PM  

  • Bluecollar,
    I have never read the book by Dave Hunt that you are referring to. The last book I read by him was "the Seduction of Christianity." The question might come up, though ... it is well within the realm of reasonability. I am about to start a book right now co-authored by him and James White. I didn't think that you have witnessed that way ... it is nonsensical. I'm glad that you can tell people that Christ died for "our" sins. Didn't mean to paint you with any brush!

    That is interesting what you would say to them ... using the "IF". What about Antonio's view of the atonement or Loren's for that matter? They don't believe the atonement is limited at all. So most Christian, ?

    Explain what you meant by making this last statement, if you will:

    We needed a perfect sacrifice to pay for our sin. This mode of our justification is basically the same with Abraham (he believed and it was credited as righteousness) as it is with us.

    Thanks for coming over!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/28/2005 2:28 PM  

  • Antonio,
    I love how you repaet this phrase so often:

    intermediate agency of purposeful faith

    I need to get my mind around that one. I have read that post of yours. I am still thinking about it. You make some strong points.

    Thank you so much for offering an alternative point of view.

    May I say it again: THANK YOU SO MUCH! It is refreshing to be challenged on a different front. Bless you!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/28/2005 2:35 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Here's another passage that shows the 'form of our debt' changing from sin to life in some essential way, so that we are now indebted life for life:

    "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
    Therefore, brethren, we are debtors . . ."

    (Rom 8:11-12)

    Regardless if one agrees with my perspective or not, they must still explain what they think such passages mean. In what regard does the sacrifice of Christ make us debtors? I'm open to hearing some alternative explanations, though I do hope they will not take the form of 'explaining them away'.

    Here's another point based on something that you said, that has gotten me thinking:

    How much of what we believe on this subject is designed to match the Bible, and how much is designed simply to match an earlier point of Calvinism or Arminianism? Doesn't the latter approach assume something to be true, instead of actually proving it to be true? Especially when it assumes the very thing it is setting out to prove?

    That seems too self serving. I think we should be open to challenging some of our more fundamental assumptions.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/28/2005 2:37 PM  

  • Rose: “Did he [Jesus] die for me?” What do you say to that person?

    A young lad caught a small bird and went to the wisest man in the village. He, wanting to appear wise himself, determined to ask the wise man whether the bird would still be alive tomorrow. Had the wise man said the bird would live - the boy would kill it, and had the wise man said it would die, the boy would protect it and nuture it. And so he approached the old man, and puffed up in his own estimation he arrogantly asked, "Shall this bird live until the morrow?" the old man didn't even blink, "Only you, dear lad, can answer that question..."

    In the same way, I wouldn't answer such a question because it is a theological trap. If someone actually asked me the question, I would probably repeat what Jesus said about Himself, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" - my question would follow this biblical passage, "Do *you* consider yourself to be a sinner? If you do, Jesus is calling --you--."

    I answered a charge of Amyraldianism (hypothetical atonement) back in July here which gives my thoughts on the atonement. I think that it is an error to couple God's offer of salvation with the atonement as though the offer were "invalid" because all men reject it.

    Also I have no illusions about *what* sends men to hell - it isn't because God didn't save them - they go to hell because that is what their sin deserves.

    One's view of the atonement is usually derived, not from scripture, but from one's personal estimation of God's character (which is really a shame, since most people have a very small/limited view of God). If one says, "If God has the ability to save a soul, and doesn't save that soul, but saves another who is equally wretched - then God us unfair!" Since God cannot be "unfair" they reject the idea based on nothing but their own interpretation of what "fair" and "unfair" is.

    But such a notion about fairness is entirely carnal and twisted. If I am a judge and my two sons commit a murder together, and are brought into my court - and having the authority to do so, I condemn them both - because I am righteous and whether they are my sons or not, and whether I love them or not - I must condemn them or give up being righteous - so I condemn them both to die. If however for my own reasons I decide to offer my own life in the stead of one of them - am I being evil to the one that I am not offering myself for? Has he not earned his penalty? He has no claim on my generosity - as though he deserved to be saved because I saved his brother - NO, NO, NO! A thousand times no. Both are deserving of death, and my generous act to the one doesn't make me evil - even if I only determine to die for one of them - even if I could have died for both - my choice is my own, and since neither has earned my free gift, the giving of it to one and not the other is not "unfair" but entirely generous. I can only be called "evil" if someone imagines that they deserve the same mercy I offer another just because both are equally guilty. Only in utter, can a man imagine he *deserves* whatever fortune befalls another on the grounds that both are guilty. Guilt demands justice not mercy. Mercy isn't mercy anymore if one deserves it.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 11/28/2005 5:07 PM  

  • Hmm - my link didn't work. Try this one?

    By Blogger Daniel, at 11/28/2005 6:02 PM  

  • The Calvinist's analysis of 1 John 2:2 is sorely lacking. The words contained in the verse firmly contradict the Calvinist view that Christ died for some group of "elect" only. The tortured efforts made to defend that view in the face of this verse are futile.

    The contrast here is explicitly between the believers that John is addressing and "the whole world" of mankind which John later says "lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19). Johnannine thought and terminology leave absolutely no room for any such concept as "the world of the elect."

    Christ's death covers the totality of human sin from the beginning of creation until the end of history when eternity begins. For the apostle John, Jesus Christ is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," just as John the Baptist announced Him at the beginning (John 1:29).

    To this, the progenitor of Calvinism, John Calvin himself, agreed. John Calvin was no advocate of limited atonement (For this I refer you to the great and magnificent work of "Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649" by R.T. Kendall).


    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/28/2005 6:47 PM  

  • What happened to Shawn? Does he have nothing to say about LA?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/28/2005 8:01 PM  

  • For Antonio:
    "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." - 1 John 2:1-2

    We all agree I hope that it is a dangerous and careless thing to take a snippet out of the entire context of the bible and inflate it with our own preconceived opinions such that the snippet, in isolation teaches something foreign or contrary to the remainder of scripture. Surely we all agree this is so.

    In the first chapter of 1 John we see John referring to himself in the first person plural ("that which we have seen.. we declare to you (plural)..."). John identifies himself with one group writing to another group. It is this same group that John identifies himself when he contrasts "his group" with the rest of the world - "not only for our sins [myself and the group I am associating myself], but also for the sins of the whole world"

    The writers of the New Testament understood that "whole world" could be used in hyperbole (as an exaggeration to emphasize a point). We see this all over the New Testament:

    Colossians 1:5b-6a - "Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing..."

    If whole world here is not an exaggeration, then scripture lies - since the gospel was not being preached in the whole world at the time.

    Mark 8:36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"

    Is this saying really suggesting that a man can gain the whole world? - Of course not - it uses the term the same way we would - as a statement of extreme, or another way of saying "lots and lots"

    Even in the same epistle John says in 1 John 5:19, "We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."

    If we insist that scripture is teaching that all the Apostles and Christians were in the power of the evil one - we contradict the scripture that says we have power over all the power of the enemy.

    The reality is, it is not a stretch or an uncommon thing for John himself (or any other writer) to use the term "whole world" in hyperbole.

    So we mustn't be foolhardy and dismiss the possibility just because it is convenient for our pet theology to do so. In the same way we must not insist that it *is* hyperbole just to satisfy a contrary theological view.

    That is why it is important to look at the text in the context of the remainder of scripture, as well as in its own immediate context. If John were saying that Christ had satisfied God's wrath for all the world, the text would be saying that all the world was saved - and scripture plainly teaches elsewhere that not all will be saved.

    It is therefore correct to understand this term "whole world" as an hyperbolic exaggeration meaning not every single person - but a non-specific group of "others"

    John is in essense saying that the propitiation offered by Christ is the only propitiation available - thatis it is not just our propitiation, and another propitiation will satisfy someone else through an alternate gospel - rather this is the only propitiation for us or for anyone.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 11/28/2005 8:02 PM  

  • Daniel's analysis is very good!

    Loren, the Romans 8 "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors . . ."
    passage is speaking to "brethren" -- who are indebted to Christ because Christ has rescued them. So I don't see this alternate interptation as nearly as probable as the standard interpretation.

    Rose, you had a question, but I'm out of time. Long day at the ranch with lots of runnaway cattle -- so to speak. Perhaps I'll get to it soon.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/28/2005 8:02 PM  

  • Daniel,
    I think you say things in a very interesting way. I have to tell you, though ... I have never thought that God was unfair for not saving the whole world. I haven't spoken of "fairness" at all. That would be kind of silly. What I am wondering about is how do I look at all the people around me? Are they just extras in a theatre production where the elect are the stars? Or is God reaching out to them through the cross and the gospel? This is my fundamental question. Not fairness.

    Also - I don't think there is anything of a trick question in the question at the bottom of the post. That question is an important one to me personally because the men who spoke to me of the Lord looked me squarely in the eye and told me "Jesus Christ loves you." They told me at another time "Jesus Christ died for you." That had a real effect on me. Can I say that to others in the same beautiful way this was given to me? So it is not a trick question ... it is a question I think I might have asked, not as a tricky theologian, I knew nothing ... but as a person who would really want to know if it had anything to do with me.

    Also Daniel,
    We all agree I hope that it is a dangerous and careless thing to take a snippet out of the entire context of the bible and inflate it with our own preconceived opinions such that the snippet, in isolation teaches something foreign or contrary to the remainder of scripture. Surely we all agree this is so.

    Absolutely. And especially when you say contrary to the remainder of scripture. Where is the scripture that teaches this Limited Atonement?

    Thanks for coming over and for speaking graciously.
    I'm wondering when my Calvinist blog friends are going to take me off their links. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/28/2005 9:29 PM  

  • >you admit that you can't grab hold of God's mind.<

    Thanks Rose and that is where I would like to stay rather then to venture off into the deep waters assuming I am prepared for them when Methane Bubbles are awaiting me:-)

    Scientist believe that these Gases underwater cause a tractor pull that at some points even goes into the atmosphere and sucks ships as well as planes underwater. They have found wreckage in these areas.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 11/28/2005 9:56 PM  

  • BTW,I see you've got Super "D" stirred over on the Doxoblog. The masked avenger has been silent for some time. Methinks him to be in his Geneva phone boothe.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 11/28/2005 10:03 PM  

  • Hi Earl,

    Regardless of whether it applies to brethren, it implies that a new form of debt exists. The big question I have is whether the form of the debt changed, or whether the old debt was cancelled and a new form of debt emerged in it's place? Either way it is a result, but methinks the latter, what thinkest thou?

    By Blogger loren, at 11/28/2005 10:14 PM  

  • Speaking as one Calvinist, You are never coming off my blogroll!

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 11/28/2005 11:46 PM  

  • Daniel argues that the 'Whole world' means a non-specific group of others.

    The Gospel is offered to a non-specific group of others and is preached to them.

    Is it not possible that the interpretation of 'whole world' as a non-specific group of others supports the conclusion that Christ's death is sufficent to save all sinners potentially?

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/29/2005 8:07 AM  

  • Clumsy Fundie - Is it not possible that the interpretation of 'whole world' as a non-specific group of others supports the conclusion that Christ's death is sufficent to save all sinners potentially?

    I don't think the verse is saying that - but I don't think we really need the verse to believe that Christ's death would have sufficed for all the sins of all men that were ever born. We lose focus however when we worry ourselves about whether Christ's death was infinitely sufficient, or finite in its suffiency. The reason why one would want to suggest that Christ's death had a finite suffiency is to explain the finite nature of the atonement. It is suffient to say, that even if the bible provided a verse that plainly stated an infinite suffiency - that same suffiency doesn't impact the finite nature of the atonement - the two things being entirely uncoupled.

    Rose - Where is the scripture that teaches limited atonement?

    Think this through - chew on it for a while - if the atonement is not limited, does election make any sense at all?

    People who have trouble with the atonement really have trouble with election - they cannot imagine that God picks and chooses who will be saved.

    I suspect your trouble in accepting this doctrine stems entirely from your trouble with election.

    Let me know, I am not trying to dodge the bullet - but rather to explore what hinders you.

    You asked, Can I say that "Jesus Died for you?" and mean it? My answer is absolutely - yes.

    I can say that because I believe two things:
    1. God is entirely and utterly sovereign.
    2. Though I have perfect freedom of will, God's sovereignty is not hindered by my freedom to do what I choose.

    God hardened Pharoah's heart, but Pharoah was the one who was guilty for what he did. That is what scripture teaches. We might not understand how it works, but I accept that it is true.

    That being the case, I have no trouble telling someone that God loves them. God determined where I would be born, when I would be born, who my parents would be, when I would be born again, etc. If through the providence of God I have opportunity to share the gospel, I do not imagine for a moment that it is a random encounter - God himself has ordained that I be there at that moment able to speak those words, and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to say them with all the sincerity of a man entirely convinced that what he says is true.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 11/29/2005 10:19 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    I very much agree with you when you say "People who have trouble with the atonement really have trouble with election " they go together.. you can not separate.

    While all Christians would recognize that God is sovereign, or the supreme authority in all and over all, it is a separate issue to conclude that God has necessarily chosen to make man's choices. Surely God has the power to make all choices for man, but He also has the power to allow man a sphere of sovereignty, or free will to choose within God's plan.

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/29/2005 12:24 PM  

  • Thank You Rose for letting me share

    Please consider the following Old Testament account, which occurred during King David's escape from King Saul:
    "Then David said, "O LORD God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard?

    O LORD God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant."
    "And the LORD said, "He will come down."

    Then David said, "Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?"
    "And the LORD said, "They will deliver you."

    "So David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah and went wherever they could go. Then it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah; so he halted the expedition." I Samuel 23:10-13

    In this passage, God made two clear decrees concerning the future:

    1) Saul would come down to the city of Keilah.

    2) the men of the town would turn David over to Saul. However, after learning this, David quickly left Keilah. Saul did not come to Keilah, and the men never turned David over to Saul.

    Now if predestination be true, how could God have told David something that was not true?

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/29/2005 12:31 PM  

  • Bluecollar,
    I don't know why you like me so much, but thanks! I have 4 brothers, (and 2 sisters) but there is so much more family in Christ.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/29/2005 12:47 PM  

  • Daniel,
    you say:
    Think this through - chew on it for a while - if the atonement is not limited, does election make any sense at all?

    I have to smile becuase if you had read my post, that is exactly my point! Here is small exerp:

    I think it makes logical sense. If Unconditional election is true, then of course Limited Atonement is true. So often the biblical proof that is offered for Limited Atonement is connected to the “fact” of Unconditional Election. Any doubts that arise are overcome by hearkening back to the basics of the TULIP and viewing from that perspective. I have a real problem with this kind of reasoning. Why not, instead, take the questions that the Scriptures raise in the Bible believer’s mind about Limited Atonement and then, cast the doubt back onto the doctrine of Unconditional Election

    You're kind of proving my point about the whole tulip thing. But in your paragraph to Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, I have some things to chew on.

    To me you say:
    If through the providence of God I have opportunity to share the gospel, I do not imagine for a moment that it is a random encounter - God himself has ordained that I be there at that moment able to speak those words, and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to say them with all the sincerity of a man entirely convinced that what he says is true.

    To that I say AMEN! Your visits here are appreciated.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/29/2005 12:56 PM  

  • BTW, Matthew (Dyspraxic Fundamentalist) and Daniel, I think there is a slight misunderstanding: Daniel thinks that you are using that title as a "handle". I don't think he means to offend by calling you "clumsy fundie".

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/29/2005 12:59 PM  

  • Rose, concerning Antonio's and Loren's view that the atonement is not limited at all, perhaps we need to define our terms:

    Not limited atonement -- what would be the definition of that? Unlimited atonement? No limits whatsoever? Does this mean everyone's sins are atoned for? Antonio's answer does not come close to unlimited atonement -- there is a condition to the atonement, faith. Hence Antonio believes in some kind of limited atonement.

    Loren takes a unique approach. He substitues the requirement of obedience to the law, which Christ fulfilled, and replaces it with another kind of law -- faith in Christ. So, in one sense, Loren presents unlimited atonement because the basis of our justification was replaced from obedience to the law, but replaces it with another law, faith in Christ. This sin, the lack of faith in Christ, however, was not atoned for in Christ's death, hence even Loren believes in some form of limited atonement.

    Of course, neither Antonio nor Loren believe in the same kind of limited atonement as Calvinists do, but they do not express "not limited atonement", otherwise all people would be saved.

    With respect to your second question, I believe that Paul explicitly teaches everyone, from the Old Testament and beyond, were and are saved by God's grace though faith. In the OT, it was looking forward via signs and shadows of the sacrificial system that pointed to Christ, after Christ, we see more clearely the object of our faith, Jesus Christ, the lamb of God.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/29/2005 1:05 PM  

  • I am not offended at being called 'clumsy'. The main effect of being Dyspraxic is being clumsy. It used to be called 'Clumsy Child Syndrome'. I am not sure what a 'handle' is.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/29/2005 1:12 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Just saw that Earl has commented on my comment. Hope you won’t mind a quick clarification. In some initial sense, the death of Christ is applied to all persons, whether they have believed in Him or not, or even whether they happen to like it or not (1 Tim 4:10; 2 Cor 5:14-15). So this part is not really a ‘law of faith’, it is simply a consequence of what Jesus has done. For whether they intended it or not, it was against God that they sinned, and they have obliged Jesus to clean up their mess. Whether or not they wanted it cleaned up is not the issue either – God did want it cleaned up, this is what it took to do it, and He is the judge to whom they must give an account for it.

    So, this part of what Jesus has done is universally applied. However, it doesn’t save anyone. What it does is produce a new form of indebtedness to God, based on the life of His Son. Nor is this a law-like requirement, but it is based on relationship:

    "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
    (John 17:3)

    For brethren, this is new status-quo is actually called a debt (Rom 8:12), though it is really better described as a bond of faithfulness. It is also a debt for others, as shown in 2 Cor 5:14-15. In fact, since this debt over the life of Christ exists, those who do not believe in Him are ultimately condemned on that basis (John 3:18).

    I do have a question for you, and for all. Maybe we need some clarification. What exactly is do we mean by the term ‘atonement’? Is it simply redemption, or does it include the whole concept of reconciliation? In other words, was the cross enough, or are we discussing the resurrection as well? Thoughts?

    Gotta run, but I hope that helps.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/29/2005 3:20 PM  

  • No, the death of Christ is a subject distinct from His resurrection.

    There is some benefit to non-beleivers in the resurrection of Christ securing their resurrection. However, it is believers who are risen with Christ, not unbelievers.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/29/2005 3:54 PM  

  • Earl,

    You haven't read my position then.

    Faith is not a requirement for atonement.

    It is really discouraging that people answer a matter before even hearing it.

    Did you read my comments on this thread?


    PS: the links are still on this page to my article

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/29/2005 4:56 PM  

  • Hi Loren,

    I'm pretty simple minded. Is it a sin to not place your faith in Jesus? From Jesus' reaction in the Gospels, it certainly seems to. Jesus rebukes many for their lack of faith.

    From 1 John 3:4, we see that sin is breaking the law. Therefore since a lack of faith in Christ is sin, this implies we are breaking the law, and hence faith in Christ is a law.

    I am a falable human. Where is my thinking wrong?

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/29/2005 5:23 PM  

  • Antonio, I have not read all you've posted, and so I stand corrected on your position.

    My apologies.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/29/2005 5:25 PM  

  • Antonio, now that I have read your position, it is not clear to me.

    BUT, you did not read my reply closely (I don't hold that against you, I do the same :o). I didn't say that you believed that faith was a requirement for the atonement. I was commenting what I say on Loren's position.

    From my imperfect reading of your comments, you seem to be saying that you don't believe in limited atonement (as you were saying Calvin didn't believe in it).

    I guess we need to define our terms. Here is a definition of atonement:
    An atonement is a reconciliation of alienated parties, the restoration of a broken relationship. Atonement is accomplished by making amends, blotting out offenses, and giving satisfaction for wrongs done.
    (Taken from the Reformation Study Bible, a natorious Calvinistic study Bible -- offered as a starting point for definition of atonement).

    Those who don't have faith in Christ are not reconciled to God. Hence Christ's atonement did not cover them.

    As I told Loren, I am a fallable human (with inconsistent spelling), where is my thinking wrong?

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/29/2005 5:38 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Either you’re working on the ‘I’ in TULIP, or you’re quietly taking all this in. Anyway I wanted to tell Antonio that I almost had a knee-jerk reaction to something he said, then I realized he had a point. He said that ‘Faith is not a requirement for atonement’. That may actually be a key understanding.

    Let’s use the OT sacrifice as an example. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, a sacrifice was made for all the people, which was a typology of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. Let’s say someone noticed that his neighbors were all staying inside that day, and the next day he asked them about it. “Why, yesterday was the Day of Atonement, of course!”they would say “Aaack!” he answers, “That’s right! I forgot!”

    Nevertheless, even without his faith, or even his knowledge, the atonement would still apply to him because it was an atonement for all the people. So there is a point of truth in this perspective, but also an important distinction to be made. The atonement only addresses the death of the sacrifice, and what this death was meant to accomplish. It did not address resurrection in any way, nor what resurrection was meant to accomplish.

    Salvation, of course, comes through the resurrection of Christ, not through His death (Romans 5:10 breaks this down pretty well). So one could be atoned for and still not saved. There could, in fact, be universal atonement and still have some of these same people not saved. Now, we are so used to seeing those terms as synonymous that this probably sounds strange. But they’re not synonymous. Here’s a helpful analogy to explain this:

    Just as Jesus’ death on the cross ended His human life, everything that was accomplished through His death pertained to our old man, to end that situation and settle the old account with God. This would include such topics as justification, righteousness, forgiveness of sins, the washing of our slate, etc.. And just as His resurrection brought newness of life, everything that pertains to our new life comes through His resurrection. This includes salvation, the adoption of sons, the resurrection itself, etc. Check this out some time, and you’ll see this natural distinction appear.

    Now there is one exception. There is a sense in which our sins are dealt with by the cross, but it would not have ‘held’ without the resurrection as well (1 Cor 15:17). I don’t fully understand that sense, but it may have a bearing on our discussion. So I am all for getting our terms straightened out to see what is what.

    Hi Earl,

    I agree that it is a sin not to place one’s faith in Jesus; whatever is not of faith is sin. But lawlessness is not really necessarily the same thing as the Law of Moses. It’s been a long time, but this is off the top of my head:

    There are two Hebrews words, and five Greek words, that are translated ‘lawlessness’. But they all basically mean the same thing. In the KJV they are translated ‘iniquity’. If you look at them in their context, they always portray a religious sort of sin (ex: Matt 7:22-23; 24:11-12; Acts 1:18; 2 Thes 2:7; 2 Pet 2:16). So lawlessness, so to speak, it to fret against God in our religious conduct; faith is to yield to Him and trust Him. I’d primarily look at both in terms of relationship rather than terms of law.

    Hope that helps.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/29/2005 7:15 PM  

  • I'm sorry y'all for not having put the definitions up. I have now done that. What confusion. Although I think the confusion might still be there becuase of the "how" involved.

    Loren, yes, taking it all in.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/29/2005 7:34 PM  

  • Rose, thank you for the definition of atonement.

    Strictly speaking, there is a difference between the definition you offered and the definition I gave. Here is the implied definition of atonement given in the Westminster Larger Catechism:

    Q. 44. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
    A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering himself
    a sacrifice without spot to God, to be a reconciliation for the sins
    of his people; and in making continual intercession for them.

    Rose, you describe it as a process, a Calvinist describes it as a completed action. I don't know if there is a significance in this, or this is the same to you.

    In the Reformed sense of the word (btw, Antonio is correct, Calvin, strictly speaking was not ... a Calvinist! -- that is why I prefer the word Reformed, which aligns itself to one of the standard set of Confessions and Catechisms), when we speak of atonement, we speak of the actual reconcillation of people to God. This implies that people are redeemed at the cross and that redemption is applied at faith.

    When a Reformed person speaks of "Limited Atonement", they are using that deinfition of atonement, the accomplished action of reconcillation. We can redefine the word atonement, but then it all becomes moot for the Reformed because you are now talking about a different concept.

    This is why "unlimited atonement" does not make sense to a Reformed person, because not everyone has been (or will be) reconciled to God.

    Now, if salvation was not accompished on the cross, then atonement did not occur then, and it doesn't make any sense to talk about any kind of atonement at all with Christ's death, because strictly speaking, no one is reconciled to God with that view.

    In other words, we have a language problem.

    Do you all see what I'm talking about?

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/29/2005 9:58 PM  

  • There, Earl, I took out the word "process". You know I kind of did that in haste and actually got my definition from Webster's dictionary so as to try and not be skewed by any theological view. Then again, I guess the "Reformed" definition would be best since it is their doctrine we are talking about. I'm kinda busy tonight ... getting sloppy. Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/29/2005 10:50 PM  

  • Loren,

    I agree with you, "But lawlessness is not really necessarily the same thing as the Law of Moses". When I speak of the law, it is a more general concept than the Law of Moses. It is any command from God (direct or implied) that we should obey or conform to. Any time we go against God, in fretting, or anything, we are not trusting God, which is the opposite of what we are to do.

    So, we're in agreement on that point. :o)

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/29/2005 10:51 PM  

  • Hi Earl,

    See your point now, point well taken. Thanks.

    By Blogger loren, at 11/29/2005 10:54 PM  

  • It really is futile to talk about "atonement", as it is not even a New Testament word (not found anywhere in the New Testament).

    Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the world and He, as the lamb of God, took away the sins of the world.


    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/29/2005 11:12 PM  

  • Hi Rose.. Morning..

    I thought you would like to see this ..so many Charles Spurgeon , he had some great insight


    God Bless

    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/30/2005 7:54 AM  

  • did not work try this

    Charles Spurgeon


    By Blogger forgiven, at 11/30/2005 7:57 AM  

  • Thank you, forgiven (Doug),
    I followed that link and saved it in my favorites to read later. I appreciate you posting that here. I also want to make sure I tell you that appreciate your earlier comment. I think the passage you brought up is a good one ... too bad no one took up the challenge to explain how they view that. Maybe Jeremy at Doxoblogy will help us understand when he does his post on "Calvinists are not Fatalists". Looking forward to that one. Hey! neat picture!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/30/2005 8:28 AM  

  • Antonio, you're correct that "atonement" is not found in the New Testament (neither is "Trinity" for that matter). However, atonement is literally found all over the Old Testament. Jesus said the all the Scripture (which at the time of his speaking was the OT) spoke of him. All of the atonement in the OT pointed to Christ.

    You're right, the cross propitiated God. In other words, the cross removed God's wrath by removing our guilt and made ammends for our sin. We are thus reconciled to God. Thus protitiation fits with the concept of atonement.

    Simply because a word is literally not in Greek New Testament does not mean the concept of that word is not expressed in the Bible. Otherwise we must remove all mention of the Trinity in our discussions.

    Rose -- that you for your accomodation to us wierd Reformed people with your definitions :o). I really appreciate what you're doing.

    By Blogger Earl, at 11/30/2005 8:28 AM  

  • Rose

    I did assume that "Dyspraxic" Fundamentalist was more of a handle than a description of a physical condition. It does make for a very clever play on words - being "clumsy" at fundamentalism.

    I only just now looked at "Dyspraxic Fundamentalist's" profile and saw that he actually suffers from Dyspraxia.

    A poor oversight on my part - though I loved the name when I thought it was clever...

    Sorry Dyspraxic Fundamentalist if I have offended - it was entirely good natured on my part and inadvertant.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 11/30/2005 12:35 PM  

  • Earl, I think the discussion is very informative. Thanks for participating. Thanks for saying the thing about appreciating too. You're gracious.

    He said he wasn't offended up above in the comments, but I was sort of afraid that he might be, that is why I brought it up. You didn't have anything more to offer here about LA?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/30/2005 2:27 PM  

  • Earl always makes Rose~ and I welcome on his blog though we are not Reformed.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/30/2005 3:09 PM  

  • If you want a really stimulating analysis of Christ's sufferings. You should read J.N. Darby's controversies with B.W. Newton and his later adoption of views that were very similar.

    Newton had argued that Christ, by virtue of the incarnation suffered the guilt of Adam necessarilly and also God's judgment on Israel. Thus, Christ was by birth a man under guilt. Darby condemned this error.

    Funnilly enough, Darby later decided that this idea had something going for it and argued that Christ voluntarilly chose to enter into some of the sufferings of Israel under God's judgment, which effectively formed a distinct class of non-vicarious sufferings.

    Brethren really had some fun in their theology!

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/30/2005 3:15 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Had busy family stuff going on on both sides of our family, so finally... I wanted to say that concerning what you said:
    I do care what my contemporary Christian brethren believe. That is why you don't see me quoting Calvin or reading a lot of His material.

    I think you're right to focus on whether TULIP is biblical rather than whether it's an accurate representation of Calvin's belief.

    And I think you're right to care about what your christian friends, online and off, believe, since iron sharpens iron.

    And I do tend to change the topic a bit in general and this was probably an example of that.

    But frankly, you have more intellectual patience than I. Since I don't see LA as even very arguably biblical I just move on to other things. And I think while you question LA, you also really want to understand it, and why your friends see it as so important. And that's totally excellent.

    But to me TULIP is the shaddow and Calvin's ideas are the object casting the shaddow.

    And to me history is fun.

    But the reason I blogged on Kendall is he is seen as more of a threat than he deserves. His book is very calm and non-argumentative. He's much more pro-Calvinist than is understood.

    I also think he may have purposefully seperated himself from Dispensationalism by befriending and 'bringing good news' to Yassar Arafat. He was sort of like Jonah bringing God's message to Israel's enemies. His website is interesting. (If you click on his name it links to his site.)

    Take care,

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at 12/10/2005 2:24 PM  

  • Thanks, HK,
    I understand why you would care about what JC really believed then, if you are that into history. Thanks so much for reading.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/12/2005 5:22 PM  

  • It is funny how the debate always centers around all and world. It really has to do with tradition. We today even use these words as the apostles did. Example:

    All the city of boston went out to see the red sox. Did every individual go to see them?

    We must eliminate all the world hunger. Is every individual in the world starving?

    We don't see what we don't want to see. God bless.

    Don't let tradition or what we think is fair to God get in the way.

    2889 kosmos {kos'-mos}
    Meaning: 1) an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government 2) ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, 'the heavenly hosts', as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3 3) the world, the universe 4) the circle of the earth, the earth 5) the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human race 6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ 7) world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly 7a) the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ 8) any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort 8a) the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc) 8a) of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19
    Origin: probably from the base of 2865; TDNT - 3:868,459; n m
    Usage: AV - world 186, adorning 1; 187

    All the definitions of the Greek word world. The Greek experts declare these definitions, not calvanists.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/06/2006 9:02 PM  

  • Anonymous,
    It seems to me that your listing for the word "world" just goes to buttress the idea that Christ died for all the people of the entire human race, not just a secret few. I am not getting the point that you are trying to make. Are you agreeing with me or trying to challenge? Like I said, I see in those definitions an agreement with the idea of "unlimited atonement". It would be great for you to clarify if you want to. Thanks for visiting.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/06/2006 9:09 PM  

  • No Rose, you are reading it wrong. All does not mean every individual in Boston just as world in the case I used it does not mean every individual in the world. Think about. Even today we use they words to mean a group of people in many instances. Context rose. God does not attempt to save every individual in the world.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/06/2006 9:31 PM  

  • Hi anonymous,
    (what a nice name ;~) - why not enter a name so I can talk with a person?)
    Imagining that Christ would use the word "world" in a flippant way as you or I would when saying "all the world went to see the red sox" is a little sloppy, don't you think?
    Would not Christ be more measured with His words in John 3:16, since His message was of such great consequence? (and then there are all the other places where the HS would have been flippantly using these all-inclusive terms. I can't accept that.)
    This is re-interpreting the plain meaning of Scripture.
    Thanks for your comment!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/06/2006 9:43 PM  

  • Rose,
    You have completely changed the sentence around. I did not say the world went after the Red Sox. What this tells me is the truth you are searching for is your truth. So with that I will leave you with this verse.

    Rev 13:3

    Rev 13:3-4
    3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.

    So I guess if you are around during this time you and all people will follow the beast. World means world,right?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/07/2006 10:16 AM  

  • What this tells me is the truth you are searching for is your truth.

    What it should tell you is that I made a little mistake.

    Let me try again:
    Imagining that Christ would use the word "world" in a innacurate way as you or I would when saying "We must eliminate all the world hunger" is a little sloppy, don't you think?

    I am not searching for "my own truth." You totally misunderstand. I just do not grasp TULIP from my study of the Bible. I do not believe you to be insincere and I don't think you should believe that about others who you have never met.
    God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/07/2006 10:38 AM  

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