The God Who is There - Romans 9:1-10:4 (Part 2)

(Read the series so far.)

Recognition of God’s sovereignty in His work with people can be a tough subject to tackle. Even believers can become so earthly minded that we forget that God is not an elected leader Who seeks our approval. He is the Supreme. He is the Creator. All answer to Him, and He answers to none.

That can be deeply offensive to the American mind, but that makes it no less true. God is God—and as such, He is the Planner, the Author and the King. Don’t skip what Paul wrote and focus only on the offense: Paul made the point that God had (and has) a plan. He is at work. He has decided on the basis of His own desire to work through some people, and that wasn’t based entirely on them—but on His sovereign right to make such a decision.

Before you dive into what seems objectionable about those words, look at them. If you have a relationship with the Living God, you can celebrate the fact that you are not a cosmic accident. God has a plan He is working. He wanted you, and He chose you! How can that not be an exciting reality?

To be fair, any sensitive believer immediately thinks beyond their own chosen status and considers those who don’t know God. The converse of the choosing of God seems harsh. As a result, almost in the same breath, Paul recognized the objection of people to this stark truth about God, so Paul offered a bit of further explanation…

Because in God’s Plan He Chose to Have Only Some Relationships, Has God Been Unjust?

“What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!” (Rom. 9:14).

Paul un-spooled answers to this objection along several lines of reason.

  • He attacked an “underlying presupposition” (that people deserve a relationship with God).
  • He unraveled an “approach error” (that people can sit eye to eye with God and call His judgment into account).
  • He suggested a “limitation error” (that we may not fully grasp what God is doing in His choices).

The objection was over the justice of God. Let’s take a moment and see how Paul responded.

First, he made clear there was a “Presupposition Error.”

Such a challenge to God’s justice begins with the notion that people deserve a relationship with God—but that is wrong! Look at Paul’s writing for a moment, and follow the words closely:

For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it [does] not [depend] on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate my power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. (Rom. 9:15-18)

It is easy to frame these words in the harshest way, and make God look uncaring and unloving in His justice. That is a mistake. The qualities of God are so deeply intertwined that they do not separate from one another. God isn’t merely just—His being defines justice. God isn’t merely good—His being defines goodness. God isn’t merely merciful—His being defines mercy. Christians need to stop viewing life through dualism There isn’t “good” and “bad” and God falls into conformity to doing good. God defines good and evil. He is the beginning template of all things. No one loves more than His love—since He is the core definition of love. No one is more just than He, since His character is the basic form from which the idea of justice flows.

We believe the Bible explains God’s revealed perspective of humanity. In the beginning of the human experience, the Bible explained that people began with a relationship with God and after a time they rebelled against Him. Given an opportunity to stand with God against the temptation of God’s enemy or follow that enemy—man chose rebellion. He didn’t do it because He was underprivileged or ignorant of God’s will—it was a mutiny pure and simple. That set the tone for the entire story of the Bible between man and God.

Don’t think of people in terms of innocence anymore—that isn’t the biblical view at all.

Think of the woman who walks into the house and discovers her man with another woman for the fifth time. Later, you meet the man and the line of his reasoning is that “He deserves more chances from her.” Do you agree? His desire for a renewed relationship overcame his memory of infidelity—but she remembered! HE abandoned the relationship, and now HE feels he is entitled to more chances. That is the kind of mutiny men pulled on God in the Garden. It isn’t right to blame God and assume people have a right to a relationship after a mutiny.

God wasn’t heartless—He made a way to bridge the gulf of man’s mutiny. Yet, here is the interesting thing: even today, a great many men seek another way to God that isn’t according to His plan.

They choose religion or good deeds over the plan God revealed of the gift of Jesus’ full payment at Calvary. When they attempt an alternative way to God, they continue their mutiny. Mutiny is a willful rejection of God’s plan in favor of our own. It happened in the Garden of Eden, and it is happening in churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and philanthropic pursuits around the world even now. When men make their own way to God, they continue to deny His absolute right to set the rules for all things—including how He is to be accessed.

Let’s be clear: God loves more than any of us. God is just in the purest sense of the word. Yet, God has been snubbed. Men are not innocent. They cheated on Him. They have no right to claim they deserve God’s changing of the plan to overlook their mutiny.

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jimcarwest's picture

God chooses to save ALL who come unto Him by Christ.  Their not coming is not because He didn't choose them.  It is because they refuse to come (John 5:39).  Of course, men have no claim on God, on His mercy, or on His grace.  Man's condemnation rests upon his refusal to use the free will God gave him in a way that makes him a subject of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ (1 John 2:2).

This article appears just another attempt to pit the sovereignty of God with the free will God gave to man.  I dare to predict it will be no more successful than a myriad of other attempts.  The capacity of man to bring together these two parallel lines of thought will only be resolved in eternity, but yes, they will be resolved to the glory of God and to the satisfaction of God's justice.  

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Jim, I think you're reading into it.

"God chooses to save ALL who come unto Him by Christ."

Absolutely no one questions that.

But we also must let Romans say what it says and let it guide us to better know who our God is. Paul's argument in Rom 9 is pretty clear... and it's also clear that he understood some of these truths are inherently disturbing to some extent--and hard to accept.

So if we feel reluctance, that's kind of a good sign, but it should end in "the eyes of our understanding being enlightened" to borrow from Ephesians.

jimcarwest's picture

The context is specifically Israel and the Gentiles, not the saved and the unsaved in general.  Paul intimates that Jews have a problem with God saving Gentiles (9:30), who have not followed the Law.  He says that God can show mercy on anyone he pleases, and it pleases Him to show mercy on Gentiles.  And it also conforms to His plan to "harden those whom He pleases, who have only pretentiously followed the Law (Jews).  Hardness is what occurs in those who know God's will and reject it (as was the case with Pharaoh, and is in this case with Israel, whom God hardens until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled; then a remnant will be saved).  So the key thought about election here is that God may elect to save those who were not His people (Gentiles) and show wrath towards those who are His people (Israel).

The problem with Calvinism is that it pits God in his sovereignty against man with the free will God gave him, creating an image of God that is inconsistent with other aspects of His character.  It makes John 3:16 say something it doesn't.  It perverts 1 John 2:2.  It finds itself guilty of adding words to Scripture to make it say something it doesn't.  When are we going to stop this nonsense and simply take the plain sense of Scripture for what it says?

 

Jim's picture

Oh, The great mystery of God's sovereignty and man's free will!

I accept that God chose before time to elect (Eph 1:3-5) "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world"

I accept that any who will repent and trust the Lord will be saved! (John 3:16)

I happily wear the tag "Calvinist" and I endeavor to tell as many as  have opportunity. 

 

jimcarwest's picture

This is the guiding principle -- foreknowledge.  The primary meaning of the word is "to know beforehand."  Even this, however, has been "theologized" by some to support a belief system that wants for  biblical support without twisting Scripture.  It is said that the word could not mean "to know beforehand" in every case because this would make God's decision to save dependent upon the exercise of man's will, thus robbing God of His sovereignty.  However, according to Scripture man's choice (before he made it) was known to God before man made it, and thus God's predestination was dependent upon His foreknowing and not upon man's decision.  So the divine order is: (1) prior knowledge from eternity of a person's faith in Christ -- salvation in prospect -- because there is nothing God cannot know; (2) predestination in eternity past of the believing person to all the divine blessings that faith produces, but based upon foreknowledge; (3)  decision of the person in time to believe  -- salvation in actuality.  This sequence of events  makes sense of sovereign choice and human will.

Some have tried to equate the idea of a man's "knowing" his wife sexually with the idea of God's knowing (choosing) man, i.e. God's having a relationship with believers before a man's having believing faith.  The two ideas do not agree at all.  The Hebrew word for "sexually knowing" is "yada," and while God is said to have this kind of relationship with His covenant people (Hosea 13:5; Amos 3:2), the word "yada" does not mean "to know in advance."  "Yada" in Hebrew, and "proginosko" in Greek are not equivalent to the best of my understanding.

As one writer explains: "We affirm that from eternity past God has known all that would happen in the universe and in the minds and affairs of men -- not because He "wills all things" but because "He knows all things," i.e., He is omniscient."

God could certainly determine apart from man's choice to save some and damn others, but would He be the God of the Bible?  Is He not more glorified in creating the environment of freedom and permitting man to determine his destiny by his own choices to love God or to hate Him?  Is not such a God more worthy of worship and love by His creatures? 

 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm probably not interested enough in the debate to stay with it for long.
But 2 things...
1- John 3.16 is not in dispute. Everybody agrees that "whoever believes" will have everlasting life.
2-We discover what kind of God is worthy of worship by finding out what the God Scripture reveals is like... We don't decide what He is like by asking what seems worthy of worship. That's backwards.

jimcarwest's picture

Are you intimating that God didn't know from eternity who would and who would not believe?  And He just created hell so He could send some there?  That's a naughty conclusion, and one not worthy of you from what I have read of your posts before. Hell was created for the Devil and his angels.  It was enlarged to receive those who chose to follow him rather than follow Christ.  God didn't create any man to go to Hell, though He could not be unaware that it would happen.

 

jimcarwest's picture

No one disputes what John 3:16 says.  Some dispute to whom it may apply.  Some imply that "whosoever" applies only to those who are "the elect."  Others do not fit into the verse.  Some Calvinists are infamous for adding to Scripture when they mutilate certain Scriptures by implying they refer to "the elect only," when in fact they have universal application.

The thought of "God being worthy of worship" is not meant to imply that God is on trial, but rather with reference to how apologetically we answer those who doubt His worthiness to be worshiped because some present Him as a God who only created some (as Jim above implies) to send them to hell.

Man alone is responsible for God's condemning him to hell.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." - ESV

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Where does this verse fit into this discussion?  Is this indicative of Limited or Unlimited Atonement? 

jimcarwest's picture

Well, it sure doesn't fit well with the Limited Atonement view, does it?

TylerR's picture

Editor

I'm in the middle of writing some discipleship lessons for new Christians for use in my church. I'm laying a foundation for appreciating God's grace in salvation, so the new Christian will understand his obligation to live a holy life for the Lord out of love and gratitude. I've already covered election and predestination with a new Christian, and it was amazing to me how calmly she took the entire issue. She hadn't been poisoned with caricatures of God's sovereignty, so she had no trouble at all in accepting the truths of unconditional election and effectual calling to salvation. 

During one lesson, the issue of God's justice came up. Was God somehow evil for not choosing to save everybody? I used these two graphics in the lesson packet to help her understand how God really sees as in our natural state - as rebellious criminals in his eyes. We ought to be grateful He decided to save anybody, instead of impugning His character:

                        

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Some dispute to whom it may apply.  Some imply that "whosoever" applies only to those who are "the elect."

Nobody denies that it applies to all who believe.

It's just easier to represent the view as though it excluded someone who wants to be saved. But it does not.

One question I've never heard a free-willer answer (as opposed to evade) is this (it takes a bit to set it up...)

  1. Suppose that everybody is equally able to believe and respond positively to a presentation of the gospel.
  2. Suppose two guys hear the gospel at the same time.
  3. Suppose one (Ralph) believes and the other (Lars) did not.
  4. What was the mechanism that triggered (I think in Aristotelian terms it would be the "efficient cause") Ralph to believe? To say it another way, in what way is Ralph different from Lars at the moment of decision?

Now, some of the usual answers I've heard are things like these:

  • a. The Spirit convicted Ralph, but did not convict Lars.
  • b. Ralph saw the truth but Lars did not.
  • c. It's a mystery and we shouldn't try to answer that.
  • d. Ralph was more humble than Lars.

I suppose I've heard some other variants I don't recall now. But they boil down to two possibilities:

a. There is something different about Ralph
b. There is something different in God's interaction with Ralph

If you go with "a".... sorry, it begs the question. Why is Ralph different? How did that happen?

I think I remember someone trying to say that it could be c. Circumstances were different... but this is rephrasing a. If the circumstances are different for Ralph than for Lars, Ralph is different. His circumstances have affected him. 

But even if we admit c. as a third option, how did these circumstances come about?

----

(On a mostly unrelated note, I'm so glad to see that SEP--Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) is back. For several months I couldn't find it. Domain name changed or something. But hurray! It's back. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-causality/#FouCau)

 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Not sure what letter I'm on...!  Remembered another answer I've heard to this:

e. Completely random chance

But this leads to very similar questions to what I've already raised because if you dig into what they mean by "chance," it leads to some condition or other that just happened to occur. But why/how did that condition/circumstance occur?

Larry Nelson's picture

 

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth." - (1 Timothy 2:1-7 ESV)

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Help me out here.....are these verses teaching/referring to a Limited or Unlimited Atonement?

Larry Nelson's picture

 

"Salvation is made free to all by the Gospel. It is initiated by God and is accomplished by grace apart from any human works (1). It is the duty of all persons to accept it by personal faith (2). Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Christ as Savior (3). All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are forgiven, regenerated, and justified (4). The perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to them (5). They are given spiritual life which is manifested in their growth in grace (6). True believers are saved forever and can never be lost (7)."

http://www.centralseminary.edu/about-central/foundational-documents/doct...

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 Does a Limited Atonement make the bolded statements above incorrect/untrue? 

Jim's picture

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

"Salvation is made free to all by the Gospel. It is initiated by God and is accomplished by grace apart from any human works (1). It is the duty of all persons to accept it by personal faith (2). Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Christ as Savior (3). All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are forgiven, regenerated, and justified (4). The perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to them (5). They are given spiritual life which is manifested in their growth in grace (6). True believers are saved forever and can never be lost (7)."

http://www.centralseminary.edu/about-central/foundational-documents/doct...

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 Does a Limited Atonement make the bolded statements above incorrect/untrue? 

No!

jimcarwest's picture

Everything being equal and the same in the case of Ralph and Lars, the deciding factor is probably that each one considered the decision in light of what each considered to be in his own best interests.  Faith and Reason guided each one in his decision.  This is consistent with the free will God gave to man and with the capacity God imparted to each.  In Isa. 1:18, God says: "Come, now, and let us reason," says the Lord.  Let's say Ralph admits he is a sinner, that his sinfulness produces guilt, that reason argues that justice will demand a payment, that he can not meet the demands of a just payment, that he is therefore condemned without hope unless the loving God he has heard of is willing to make that payment for him, and that it is a reasonable thought that such a God exists, and that this God loved him so much that he provided His only Son as a Substitute for his sins.  Of course, we know that the Holy Spirit is working on Ralph, and Ralph makes a decision of his own free will to believe these Good News.

On the other hand we have Lars.  Everything is the same with him, but he rejects the truth which Ralph has heard.  Lars does not believe these Gospel facts.  He doesn't believe it is in his interest to stake his future on them.  He would rather pursue a life of self-interest, believing that his sins will not be judged.  Guided by his own self-deception, he chooses to reject the Gospel and thus take his chances.  He perverts the use of his God-given freedom to choose to his own damnation.

It is God who established the way of escape, which is available to both Ralph and Lars, but although each is enlightened by the Spirit with the same facts, each is guided by his own "reality."  One believes and is saved, and the other rejects the gospel.  

There is no need to confuse the plain and simple facts regarding the gospel by muddying the water with "one being elected and the other not."  That raises all sorts of issues that have created unnecessary debate and divided the Body of Christ.  

jimcarwest's picture

[quote=Jim]

 

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

 

"Salvation is made free to all by the Gospel. It is initiated by God and is accomplished by grace apart from any human works (1). It is the duty of all persons to accept it by personal faith (2). Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Christ as Savior (3). All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are forgiven, regenerated, and justified (4). The perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to them (5). They are given spiritual life which is manifested in their growth in grace (6). True believers are saved forever and can never be lost (7)."

http://www.centralseminary.edu/about-central/foundational-documents/doct...

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 Does a Limited Atonement make the bolded statements above incorrect/untrue? 

 

 

No!

Jim:  You can't use "to all" and then add a limit to it without the offer being suspect.  Central's statement is plain English, and your statement qualifies and limits it.

Larry Nelson's picture

Jim wrote:

 

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

 

"Salvation is made free to all by the Gospel. It is initiated by God and is accomplished by grace apart from any human works (1). It is the duty of all persons to accept it by personal faith (2). Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Christ as Savior (3). All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are forgiven, regenerated, and justified (4). The perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to them (5). They are given spiritual life which is manifested in their growth in grace (6). True believers are saved forever and can never be lost (7)."

http://www.centralseminary.edu/about-central/foundational-documents/doct...

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 Does a Limited Atonement make the bolded statements above incorrect/untrue? 

 

 

No!

 

As Rolland McCune states here on pages 177 to 178, Fundamentalism has typically been 3 or 4 point Calvinistic:

http://2013.dbts.edu/journals/1996_2/nonissue.pdf

[Note: the section referenced, "Calvinism and Arminianism," is one of the "Doctrinal Non-Issues in Historic Fundamentalism" addressed in McCune's article.]

I struggle with "Limited Atonement." 

If it is limited, shouldn't the first statement I bolded above more accurately read: "Salvation is made free to all the Elect by the Gospel."?

Or how is the second bolded statement reconciled with a Limited Atonement?  If the Atonement is limited, that would certainly supersede "Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Christ as Savior."

jimcarwest's picture

Yes, we are all guilty rebels towards God.  What is universal is God's condemnation.  What is universal is the offer of salvation.  What is universal is the payment which authenticates the offer.  What is limited is the offer to save, which is only available to those who repent and believe the Gospel.    

Larry Nelson's picture

 

"Soteriology"

"The Bible faculty are committed to teaching a biblically balanced soteriology. We believe in the divine source of salvation, that all of salvation flows from God’s free and unmerited grace. We also affirm the responsibility of all people to repent of their sins and believe the gospel. We recognize that good men have differed throughout church history regarding the difficult questions of election and predestination. While believing that it is essential that every student of the Word work through the numerous passages that touch on these difficult issues, we grant both our faculty and students the liberty to investigate the sovereignty of God and the freedom of man in various ways. We reject theology that denies the responsibility of all people to repent and believe, or the responsibility of all believers to evangelize everyone they can. We do not support positions that attribute the source of evil to God or that limit the extent of Christ’s atonement to the elect. We also reject man-centered theologies that depreciate human depravity, emphasizing free will to the extent that they depend upon methodologies and strategies as the crucial components in evangelism and revival. We uphold the biblical doctrine of eternal security. The Bible faculty believe that carelessly disparaging men as Calvinists or Arminians is unhelpful and intellectually chilling. At Maranatha the great doctrines relating to God’s gracious work are treated with reverence and respect and believers are evaluated according to their obedience and faithfulness to the Word regardless of the labels men ascribe to them. Both scholarship and truth require accuracy and grace when evaluating men and ministries. We believe professors and students ought to be able to interact thoughtfully and respectfully on this issue, bringing all of their theological formulations to the bar of careful biblical exegesis."

http://www.mbu.edu/about/statement-of-faith/commitment-statements/

[Emphasis mine.]

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"We do not support positions.....that limit the extent of Christ’s atonement to the elect."

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Jesus Christ:

We believe that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary; that He is One Person possessing two natures and thus is true God and true man; that He lived a sinless life and gave Himself as a perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all humanity; that He arose bodily from the grave, ascended into Heaven where He is seated on the right hand of God interceding for His people and will return to the earth in keeping with His promises.

Salvation:

We believe that salvation is all of grace through the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ Who paid the full redemptive price and fully satisfied God's righteous demands by suffering the death penalty for humanity's guilt, and that He imputes His righteousness, thus reconciling sinners to God; that salvation is made effective only upon the exercise of personal faith in Jesus Christ, which faith is not a meritorious work but possible only by the grace of God. We believe that salvation includes justification, regeneration, adoption in to the family of God, sanctification (positional, progressive, and final) and glorification; that one who is truly born again will be preserved by divine grace, being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

http://www.faith.edu/about-faith/position-statements/doctrinal-statement

[Emphasis mine.] 

-----------------------------------------

"He.....gave Himself as a perfect substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all humanity"

"Jesus Christ Who paid the full redemptive price.....for humanity's guilt"

Not as outright as Maranatha's statement, but are these not proclaiming an Unlimited Atonement?

I'm not perceiving any limitations on the extent of the Atonement in these statements. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Just FYI, the bolded portion from Central Seminary's doctrinal statement about how "nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Christ as Savior," is basically lifted from the 1833 NHCF, which is a Calvinisic document.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

In my post, I wasn't referring to the intent of the atonement, but to unconditional, single election.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jim's picture

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

Jim wrote:

 

 

Larry Nelson wrote:

 

 

"Salvation is made free to all by the Gospel. It is initiated by God and is accomplished by grace apart from any human works (1). It is the duty of all persons to accept it by personal faith (2). Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Christ as Savior (3). All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are forgiven, regenerated, and justified (4). The perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to them (5). They are given spiritual life which is manifested in their growth in grace (6). True believers are saved forever and can never be lost (7)."

http://www.centralseminary.edu/about-central/foundational-documents/doct...

------------------------------

 Does a Limited Atonement make the bolded statements above incorrect/untrue? 

 

 

No!

 

 

 

As Rolland McCune states here on pages 177 to 178, Fundamentalism has typically been 3 or 4 point Calvinistic:

http://2013.dbts.edu/journals/1996_2/nonissue.pdf

[Note: the section referenced, "Calvinism and Arminianism," is one of the "Doctrinal Non-Issues in Historic Fundamentalism" addressed in McCune's article.]

I struggle with "Limited Atonement." 

If it is limited, shouldn't the first statement I bolded above more accurately read: "Salvation is made free to all the Elect by the Gospel."?

Or how is the second bolded statement reconciled with a Limited Atonement?  If the Atonement is limited, that would certainly supersede "Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Christ as Savior."

  • I differentiate between  the "how" and the "why" of salvation
  • Electric switch illustration: Even a 3 year old can flip the lights on (the "how" of electric lights). But behind the scenes are power cables, switches, transformers, transmission lines, power plants, coal mines, trains that carry the coal, et cetera. The behind the scenes is the why
  • Believers are to preach the gospel to every creature, not knowing who will respond
  • The how is John 3:16 and like verses. The why is the selection process
  • There is a selection process known only to God
  • The elect ultimately respond
  • About the selection process: The Father elects, the Son procures, the Spirit regenerates 
  • That there is an Ordo salutis is clear from Romans 8:29,30, " For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
  • Re: "Nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner except his own voluntary refusal to accept Christ as Savior". To me this speaks to human responsibility and accountability. I agree with this statement. The saved man declares "Christ died for me" (I Tim 1:15). The lost one ultimately will be judged for his failure to repent and trust Christ as Lord and Savior. 
  • So far (10 years at 4th) no one has called me a heretic. I've been completely transparent about my position (5 pt) which I believe to be a mainstream, historic Baptist position.
  • I was ordained 30+ years in a GARBC church as a 5 pointer. The questioning was robust. The council was unanimous. My doctrinal statement is public (signiture line) and has been consistent for the entire time. 
  • I have graciously cooperated with those who have disagreed with me on issue of limited atonement
Jim's picture

I said: About the selection process: The Father elects, the Son procures, the Spirit regenerates

  • The Father chose to elect some and not others
  • The Son (my view of what I call "particular redemption"): procured the salvation of the elect.
  • The Spirit effectually calls and gifts faith to those whom the Father elected and the Son redeemed

Re the position of others (schools, personalities or movements. I greatly respect Faith to the extent that we have financially supported the school (in a small but consistent way) for a number of years. I personally do not claim the label fundamentalist for the reasons in this link.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

University Creed:

"I believe in the inspiration of the Bible (both the Old and the New Testaments); the creation of man by the direct act of God; the incarnation and virgin birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; His identification as the Son of God; His vicarious atonement for the sins of mankind by the shedding of His blood on the cross; the resurrection of His body from the tomb; His power to save men from sin; the new birth through the regeneration by the Holy Spirit; and the gift of eternal life by the grace of God."

http://www.bju.edu/about/what-we-believe/

[Emphasis mine.]

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Does this express a belief in a Limited or an Unlimited Atonement? 

"Mankind" is a broad, universal term, which as far as I've always known refers to "everyone." 

Merriam Webster seems to support this:

 

Full Definition of MANKIND

1 \ˈman-ˈkīnd, -ˌkīnd\ :  the human race :  the totality of human beings

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mankind

 

So I infer from this that BJU is not expressing a belief in a Limited Atonement.  (If they were, why not just declare something like: "His vicarious atonement for the sins of mankind the Elect"?)

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