Culinary Calvinism: Considering Jay Adams’ TULIPburger

Jay Adams has a way with words, and an excellent way of explaining the significance of the doctrine of limited atonement in the Reformed view. He describes the T (total depravity) and P (perseverance of the saints) as the bun, holding the burger together, and the U (unconditional election) and the I (irresistible grace) as the lettuce and tomato. But the part that makes the burger a burger is the “meat” of the L (limited atonement).

Adams suggests,

To hold to the fact that Jesus didn’t die for “mankind,” or, as that means, persons in general—but for persons in particular, is essential to having a “Personal Savior … He didn’t die for people in general, but that He knew His sheep, and called them by name, and gave His life for each one of them individually is a blessed truth, not to be omitted from the burger … Jesus didn’t come to make salvation possible—He came to “seek and to save that which was lost… . He didn’t die needlessly for millions who would reject Him. if universal atonement were true, then God could hardly punish men and women for eternity for whom Christ had already suffered the punishment. There is no double jeopardy. And therefore, there is no burger unless it is a TULIPBURGER!

In asserting limited atonement Adams makes four key assertions:

  • Jesus died for people specifically, not people in general, otherwise He would not be a personal Savior.
  • Jesus didn’t just make salvation possible, he accomplished it.
  • To die for those who would reject him would be unnecessary.
  • To die for those who would reject Him is unjust, because it would be double jeopardy, or double punishment.

Each of these four are problematic in the light of Scripture.

Jesus didn’t die for people specifically.

First, Jesus Himself speaks in general terms when describing the beneficiaries of His own death in John 3:16. Further, the “seek and save” passage narrates how Zacchaeus was saved before Christ died (Lk 19:10) – just like Abraham before him (Gen 15:6). As Ephesians 2:8-9 describes, grace is the means through the vehicle of faith whereby the gift of salvation is applied to the believer. Even Caiaphas recognized that Jesus would die for “the people” (Jn 11:50). In John 8:24 Jesus proclaims in the temple a warning to all who were present that they needed to believe in order to avoid dying in their sins. While many believed (Jn 8:30), not all did. Jesus made the offer to all—even to those who would not believe. Why would He not have provided, in addition to His offer, a way for them to receive what He had offered? Here is a case of false dichotomy: we are not left with only two choices (that Jesus died for people in general, or that He died for people specifically). The answer is simply all of the above. Jesus died for all generally, and every individual specifically.

Jesus didn’t just make salvation possible, He accomplished it.

If He accomplished salvation on the cross, then where is the need for faith? The doctrine of regeneration preceding faith takes care of that. According to this particular brand of Calvinism, God has regenerated the person before they had faith, in order that they would have faith. But consider God’s own metaphor of the salvific process: the Passover. Exodus 12:7, and 12:12-13 describe how the Israelites had to apply the blood of the lamb in order to be saved. An Israelite could kill the lamb, but if the blood wasn’t applied to the doorposts, the angel of death would not spare the firstborn of that household. Again, Door #3 is the correct answer here: it appears that neither regeneration precedes faith nor faith precedes regeneration, but that they are concurrent. Also, Peter recounts how Gentiles were told they would be given words by which they would be saved (Acts 11:14) – the verb is future active indicative. It had not yet been accomplished when the message was given. Christ’s death didn’t save them, their appropriate response to Him was the vehicle that completed the transaction.

To die for those who would reject him would be unnecessary.

This statement assumes that the only purpose for His death was to accomplish salvation. However, His death demonstrated also His worthiness to receive glory (Rev 5:12), it served as an opportunity for Him to be submissive to the Father, and ultimately receive glory (Php 2:5-9). While His death was necessary for more than just the salvation of those who would receive it, whether necessary or necessary is not the issue. Whether or not Jesus died for all is. John explains that Jesus is the propitiation (satisfaction, hilasmos) for the sins not only of “us,” but also of the whole world (1 Jn 2:2).

To die for those who would reject Him is unjust, because it would be double jeopardy, or double punishment.

In Christ, the Father was reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:19), and Paul is entreating people to be reconciled to God (5:20). Christ died once to pay for sins – just for unjust (Heb 7:27, 1 Pet 3:18). Just as one act of Adam brought condemnation for all men, the death of Christ brought “justification of life” to all men (Rom 5:18). Jesus died once, was forsaken by His Father once (Mt 27:46), and in doing that He covered all sin for all humanity. It was one sacrifice for all, once and for all.

Does that mean that all are saved? No. Notice the distinction between “all” in Romans 5:18, and “many” in Romans 5:19. To all were brought justification of life through Christ’s death, but the result is that many will be made righteous, not all. Those that are not made righteous still had their sins paid for (just like any Israelite who had slain the lamb at Passover), but they simply have not applied the death of Christ to their own account (just like any Israelite who had not put the blood on the doorposts).

The wages of sin is death. That is an eternal penalty, and can never be paid off by the individual who is attempting to pay it. In Christ’s death, He brought to humanity a way for their account to be resolved. As we see in Abraham’s case, the belief in the Lord was accounted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6), but Abraham’s sin still had to be covered. Christ’s death later was the payment for sin that God required in order to remain just in crediting righteousness to Abraham. Paul refers to the gospel as the ability (or power) of God to save people (Rom 1:16-17). All are condemned and under sin (Rom 3:9), but all who believe in Jesus Christ are justified as a gift by His grace (3:22-24). This gospel of personal salvation is to be preached to all creation (Mk 16:15-16). Some will believe, some will not. Jesus has already paid for the sins of all. For those who don’t believe, their sin is paid for, but not applied to their account. That is the simple lesson of the Passover event. Salvation is by grace through faith.

To say that God can’t use double jeopardy sounds catchy, but it places God under a western judicial principle that He simply isn’t obligated by. Further, there are no “overages” in payment for sin (hence, no double jeopardy or double punishment). The application of grace is and has always been through the vehicle of faith in Him. To suggest that salvation is accomplished apart from faith is contrary to that longstanding principle that the just shall live by faith (Hab 2:4).

With all due love and respect to Jay Adams and others who hold to TULIP, this is one of the rare occasions where I will skip the burger and enjoy another meal instead. Exegetically, the TULIPburger isn’t quite right – just too many artificial ingredients.

Christopher Cone 2016


Dr. Christopher Cone serves as President of Calvary University, and is the author or general editor of several books including: Integrating Exegesis and Exposition: Biblical Communication for Transformative Learning, Gifted: Understanding the Holy Spirit and Unwrapping Spiritual Gifts, and Dispensationalism Tomorrow and Beyond: A Theological Collection in Honor of Charles C. Ryrie. Dr. Cone previously served in executive and faculty roles at Southern California Seminary and Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute, and in pastoral roles at Tyndale Bible Church and San Diego Fellowship of the Bible.

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I appreciate this analysis... and I do see some problems with Adams' TULIP burger.

A couple things, though, about this:

Does that mean that all are saved? No. Notice the distinction between “all” in Romans 5:18, and “many” in Romans 5:19. To all were brought justification of life through Christ’s death, but the result is that many will be made righteous, not all. Those that are not made righteous still had their sins paid for (just like any Israelite who had slain the lamb at Passover), but they simply have not applied the death of Christ to their own account (just like any Israelite who had not put the blood on the doorposts).

First, by the reasoning here about Rom. 5:18-19, this would mean that Adam's sin only made "many" to be sinners rather than all. But this is not Paul's point. In the passage he is making a point about asymmetry: the actions of one affect more than one. So his "manys" here mean simply "more than one." (Why didn't he say "more than one?" because he's being concise and assuming readers have been following along with what he's already said in Rom. 1-5). 

So there's no evidence in Rom. 5:18-19 that "all" are atoned for but only "many" made righteous.

Second, as for the idea of particular atonement (a.k.a. "limited atonement") as a whole, there's really alot of saying the same thing different ways in the debate... or at least implying the same thing in different ways. Any view that rejects universalism necessarily implies that Jesus only effectively atoned for those who believe. At best, His sacrifice was only potential for the rest. But for those who accept the other four points of the TULIP, there was never really any potential for those who ultimately do not believe. So why choke on the L in TULIP?

I get that there are a couple of passages that don't fit it well, but this is true of all the other options as well. Unless we're prepared to deny that God "chose us in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4), we really can't say Jesus atoned, even potentially, for everybody.

So what about, for example, 1 John 2:2? "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world"?

Well, some kind of nonuniversalist understanding of that verse is required, in light of the abundance of NT witness elsewhere. The verse is just about equally problematic for all non-universalists. In what sense is He "propitiation" for those who do not believe?

Doesn't the interpretation any non-universalist, non-particular-atonement position gives to this verse ultimately work just as well for a non-universalist, particular atonement position?

Romans 5:18 follows the same pattern. In light of the many passages that make eternal life, etc., contingent on personal faith, the "gift" there cannot be coming to "all" in the fullest sense of "coming" and "all." A non-universalist interpretation is required by the context of Scripture as a whole (or even just by Paul as a whole). And the non-univ. views of the passage are also pretty amenable to the particular atonement position.

Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I can't recall any non-universalist view of 1 John 2:2 or Rom. 5:18 that doesn't ultimately serve just as well in the defense of particular atonement. The debate between particular non-universalists and non-particular non-universalists comes down to what sort of language we want to use to basically say the same thing: that only those who believe are actually atoned for in the fullest sense (that is, in any sense that matters much in eternity)--that only those who believe can claim that Jesus died for them in the fullest sense (again, in any sense that matters much in eternity).

David R. Brumbelow's picture

“The key theological argument used to support limited atonement is the Double Payment argument, which says justice does not allow the same sin to be punished twice. This argument faces several problems:

* it is not found in Scripture
* it confuses a commercial debt and penal satisfaction for sin
* the elect are still under the wrath of God until they believe (Ephesians 2:3)
* it negates the principle of grace in the application of the atonement (nobody is owed the application).”

-David L. Allen, SWBTS

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2010/11/limited-or-universal-atoneme...

David R. Brumbelow

Jay's picture

To die for those who would reject him would be unnecessary.

This statement assumes that the only purpose for His death was to accomplish salvation. However, His death demonstrated also His worthiness to receive glory (Rev 5:12), it served as an opportunity for Him to be submissive to the Father, and ultimately receive glory (Php 2:5-9). While His death was necessary for more than just the salvation of those who would receive it, whether necessary or necessary is not the issue. Whether or not Jesus died for all is. John explains that Jesus is the propitiation (satisfaction, hilasmos) for the sins not only of “us,” but also of the whole world (1 Jn 2:2).

I appreciated this section by Dr. Cone.

I think that we usually misunderstand the concept of 'getting glory' as being inexorably tied to salvation.  That's not correct, because God clearly uses the obstinacy and hardness of people's hearts, especially in the rejection of a salvific offer, as an opportunity to demonstrate His wrath against sin - which still glorifies Him and His righteousness and justice.  See Exodus 14:4,17 and John 12:21-28.  God also receives glory for His perfect and righteous judgment of sin as well in Rev. 18.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Agree about His glory being served both in those He saves and those He does not.

My initial comment was pretty long so it might help to repeat the central question: Is there any non-universalist interpretation of 1 John 2:2 or Rom. 5:18 that doesn’t work just as well as a defense of particular atonement?

As for the “double payment” argument, I don’t doubt that some defenders of particular atonement have relied heavily on that argument, but I don’t really see why it’s especially important. I mean, I believe non-double-payment is an unavoidable inference from the whole idea of substitution (etc.), but I don’t think particular atonement needs that argument.

To me, it’s evident from the timelessness of God’s relationship to His creation (Rom. 8:29ff, for example, as well as the “chose us in him before the foundation of the world” and similar passages… “from eternity to eternity I am God,” if I’m remembering the wording correctly) that “until” and “before” and “after” and so forth are expressions with limited (no pun intended) relevance to the whole question.

There is also no question at all that God owes salvation to everyone He has promised it to. He obligates himself. And so He does indeed owe it to those who believe… but I’m not sure how that specific point argues one way or the other though.

Let me just say, if I haven’t already, that I respect the best of both sides on these questions. Wherever believers are striving to take a position that properly conforms to all that is revealed, and not being lazy in that effort, I’m encouraged and blessed to see that.

dgszweda's picture

I have just finished studying Galatians 1, and verse 15, states "But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me,".  Everywhere I look, it continues to drive home that Scripture is soaked with God choosing us, and nothing about us choosing God.  I am compelled to lean toward TULIP.  It had nothing to do with a "double payment" argument.  It has to do with the insight we glean from what Christ reveals to us in the process, whether it is something like the priestly prayer, or Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus.  The entire construct of Scripture for me is all about God choosing and God limiting.  Besides General Grace and General Revelation, I struggle to find anywhere else it is not about choosing and limiting.  When Christ said, "It is finished", it truly was.  It accomplished something, not just create a "possibility for all".  The cross is central and it accomplished it's task 100% completely at that moment.  I struggle to say that it covered the sins of the world, when I know It did not cover the sins of Judas.

Ron Bean's picture

"Are there souls in hell for whom Christ died?"

Is there a simple (and I stress SIMPLE) answer that doesn't raise more questions? 

Personally I'm thankful for a seminary professor who told me to quit asking pastors and reading books the question and spend my summer studying Romans, Ephesians, and Galatians in a Bible with no footnotes or commentary. It worked.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

TylerR's picture

Editor

Yes. I agree with that prescription!

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?

ScottS's picture

Some of you know that my view of universal atonement is a bit distinct, so let me answer some of the points from my perspective, as I have some agreement and some disagreement with both Dr. Adams and Dr. Cone, as well as some of the posts here. My view came about, as all the major views would contend they do, from studying Scripture, but doing so with the mindset that something must be getting missed by both sides, since I believed there are some major flaws in each side of the fence's arguments (and hence, I could not whole-heartedly jump on board with either position).

Let me give my view as an answer to Ron Bean's challenge: 

"Are there souls in hell for whom Christ died?" Is there a simple (and I stress SIMPLE) answer that doesn't raise more questions? 

Of course, "simple" is relative, but my answer to Ron's core question is this: 

Yes, souls are in hell (hades) for whom Christ died (2 Pet 2:1-2, 12, 17), but because of His penal substitutionary death for all the unjust (Mt 20:28 [Mk 10:45]; 1 Tim 2:6; 1 Pet 3:18), propitiating not only for believers, but for the whole world's sins (1 Jn 2:2) and reconciling that world to God by not imputing their sins to them (2 Cor 5:19), they all will be resurrected (Jn 5:29, Acts 24:15; 1 Cor 15:22) out of the penalty of the first death that was imposed on them for sin (Gen 2:17, Rom 5:12-14, 6:23), because the substitutionary payment now serves "to all men unto justification of life" (Rom 5:18); and so the good news to be preached to all people (Lk 2:10-11; Mk 16:15) when presenting the gospel to unbelievers is that through Christ's death for each person's sins and His resurrection (1 Cor 15:3-4), He truly becomes the "Savior of all men" (1 Tim 4:10 [a]), just as God desires (1 Tim 2:4), from that original penalty of death, for he will abolish that death by the resurrection (1 Cor 15:54-57; 2 Tim 1:10; Heb 2:14). 

But He also serves as a Savior "especially of those who believe" (1 Tim 4:10 [b]). Especially how? Because resurrection is only one aspect needed to save a person. Resurrection is the universal salvific act done by God based on Christ's atonement, necessary to save any sinner (thus, any person), but also the specific consummation of the redemptive act that is the fulfillment point of adoption for believers (Rom 8:23); without payment of the penalty and thus without resurrection, not even believers could be saved from the first death that God had decreed for our faith would be in vain (1 Cor 15:14-19). Resurrection saves from the first death. But not only believers are given that saving grace of resurrection, all people are.

The question then is whether, in that new life granted by the resurrected state, will a person remain eternally in it, growing in relation to God and Jesus (John 17:3) or face the second death at his or her resurrection (Rev 20:5-6)? What, double jeopardy?! Well, yes and no; I'll let you decide, but I say "not really." Though the fact that there are two deaths does show a scripturally based double payment potential related to sin, I believe the payments are for two distinctly different aspects of sin. The first death is the penal result of sin, the penalty due for disobedience, paid for and fixed by Christ’s obedience and death. The second death comes through a judgment of a person's character, nature, and status in the sight of God; it is a relational judgment upon mankind's nature.

Believers are deemed righteous, not because of works (Rom 4:2; Titus 3:5), but because their "faith is accounted for righteousness" (Rom 4:5-6, 4:23-25). They only have believed in, or "received the reconciliation" (Rom 5:10) that God made for the world and that preachers are to proclaim (2 Cor 5:19), calling on unbelievers to receive it (2 Cor 5:20), so that one might have righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). And so believers are granted not only "the grace of God" (Rom 5:15 [b]) that brought the resurrection for "all men" through the "justification of life" (Rom 5:18 [b]), but from faith they also partake in "the free gift ... the gift by the grace" (Rom 5:15 [a], [c]), which is "justification" (Rom 5:16), "the gift of righteousness" (Rom 5:17), which comes not to "all," but to "many" (believers) who are made so (Rom 5:19). Believers only are cleansed from their sins (Acts 22:16; 1 Cor 6:11; 1 Jn 1:7; Heb 9:14; Rev 1:5), through regeneration (Titus 3:5), and not just released from the penalty of it by resurrection.

But those who have chosen to stand in their own works (Rom 4:4), remaining unclean in their sins (Jn 1:24), God judges their worthiness by their own works (Rev 20:12-13) against the design He originally intended for mankind, to be in His likeness (Gen 1:26), which would include reflecting His perfect holiness and righteousness (1 Pet 1:16). Unbelievers' works fall short of His glory (Rom 3:23) and appear as filthy rags to Him (Isa 64:6). The person who stands upon his or her own works for judgment of their 'righteous' nature fails and experiences the second death, the lake of fire (Rev 20:14; 21:8), because they were not accounted equal to God's righteousness. Yet because they have an immortal, resurrected body (due to their salvation from the first death), they are not consumed by the fire, but burn eternally as their own sacrifice to God in this place of fire (ghenna; Mt 25:41; Mk 9:43-48; 2 Thes 1:8; Rev 14:10-11).

So the resurrection, in my opinion, is given far too little thought and credit about its relation to atonement by both sides of the debate. Both the universal provisionalist and the non-universal particularist often forget that resurrection is an actual (not just something potential), salvific act (not just some general act) that relates to the penalty for sin, death, and that resurrection is something God will do for all people.

Whether one chooses to hold to unconditional election or conditional election, that is irrelevant to the extent of the atonement in its universal saving aspect of providing for the resurrection. Election deals with faith's relationship to the greater, "especially" saved aspect of the believers salvation that requires the receiving of regeneration, cleansing, and righteousness. Faith may be viewed as granted by God (unconditional election) or as a human response to God (conditional election), but in either case, faith has no relationship to freedom from the first, physical death. Believers and unbelievers alike are shown grace by God to be raised from the penalty of death. That is the good news of the gospel to all; one's faith in God's work through Christ for that then determines one's fate with respect to the second death, or in the case of believers, the continuation of eternal life such that they will "never die" (Jn 11:26).

Scott Smith, Ph.D.

The goal now, the destiny to come, holiness like God—
Gen 1:27, Lev 19:2, 1 Pet 1:15-16

David R. Brumbelow's picture

"Are there souls in hell for whom Christ died?"

Yes. 

Jesus died for all, tasted death for every man, is the Savior of the world, died for the ungodly.  Therefore, any in Hell today had Salvation purchased for them. 

Jesus died for false prophets in Hell: 

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. -2 Peter 2:1

Jesus died for all.  Salvation is honestly offered to all.  Those who reject His salvation, go to Hell. 

David R. Brumbelow

G. N. Barkman's picture

Did Jesus die for all potentially or effectively?  Does "for" mean "on behalf of all" or "for the benefit of all"?

Does "all" mean everyone without exception, or all kinds of people without distinction?   (Such as all kinds of people, Gentiles as well as Jews.)

One needs do answer these questions, and thereby define precisely what one means before postulating an answer to the question,​"Did Jesus die for all"?

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

Berkhof redirected the question to intent, in an effort to get to the point. He asked whether Christ died with the deliberate intent to save all, or save some. That, I believe, is the right way to frame the question and begin moving forward. Intent matters. If you frame it that way, the question can seem very simple.

But, could Christ's atoning work have a deliberate intention and purpose for unbelievers? Many Reformed folks would answer "No." I'm not so sure. John 15:22ff has always been very determinative for me.

I need to read Scott's dissertation. I haven't done it yet. In a recent "three views" book, edited by (I believe ) Naselli and Snoeberger, I completely agreed with Hammett's multiple-intention view of the atonement. I'd already reached that decision before I read the book, but it confirmed my own position. There's always more to learn, of course, but that's where I'm at now.

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

On “souls in Hell for whom Christ died?”

Looking for points of agreement here: I’m pretty sure those who hold to a “yes” answer to this question would admit to needing to qualify it. That is, they would not say Christ’s death was applied to/accepted by/effective for those in Hell. This means “for” (in the phrase “for whom Christ died” has a technical meaning for them. There’s nothing wrong with that. Certainly limited atonement/particular atonement (LA/PA) advocates have to give some words somewhat special (as in, maybe not what’s immediately apparent) meaning in certain passages.
So even for those who reject LA/PA, this question does not have an unqualified yes.

An important question I have for brother Brumbellow and others is, can you clarify for me what Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished for all those who never believe? I’m asking because (a) I vaguely remember reading some views on this that nuanced reconciliation and propitiation, but don’t recall the particulars, (b) I think many on seemingly opposite sides of the LA/PA question are not as far apart as they believe, assuming they’re both nonuniveralists.

(Tyler, if you can nutshell the multiple intent view you referenced, that would probably be one helpful answer)

So a followup question I have for non-LA/PA would be this: is it possible that what you believe what Christ accomplished for “all” (including those who never believe) is not actually “atonement”?

In reference to Scott S’s view…
There are probably good reasons why this view isn’t widely represented in the historical theology. I guess I have one question about it, to the degree I understand what you’re saying: Is there any biblical evidence that unbelievers would not have been resurrected apart from the death and resurrection of Christ? I guess I have another: Maybe this is in your post and I missed it, but what would say is the purpose of providing all of humanity with a release from the “first death” via resurrection, only to condemn most of them in the “second death” later?

And a third, I guess: you seem to say that everybody is basically saved until they decided not to be. Do I have that wrong?

At any rate, it looks to me like this view only moves the particular/comprehensive atonement question back a step rather than solving it. That is, in this view, it looks to me like we still have the problem of in what sense Christ’s death atoned or didn’t atone—(in reference to eternal judgment)—for those who never believe, and whether the ultimate state of both the unbelieving and the believing was planned by God in advance.

G. N. Barkman's picture

Intent is indeed the heart of the question.  So now we need to ask, does the word "for" mean "for the saving benefit of" or can it include other benefits that apply to the non-elect?  I would argue the latter.  The death of Christ is for "all without exception" in some sense, but for "all without distinction" as to saving purpose.

G. N. Barkman

dgszweda's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

 

At any rate, it looks to me like this view only moves the particular/comprehensive atonement question back a step rather than solving it. That is, in this view, it looks to me like we still have the problem of in what sense Christ’s death atoned or didn’t atone—(in reference to eternal judgment)—for those who never believe, and whether the ultimate state of both the unbelieving and the believing was planned by God in advance.

Did not God plan for, "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction"?  If the maker prepares the end state of the vessel that he created before, was it not planned by God in advance.  Some vessels he prepares for mercy and some for destruction.  Even though Esau had done nothing good or bad, as he was not even born yet, God hated him.

ScottS's picture

In "Divine Intention and Cosmic Implications," I spend pages 56-72 of my dissertation discussing the role of intent in the discussion on the extent of atonement, and how the improper focus on intent has been part of the issue with moving the discussion forward. To summarize, the main issue is that particularists point to the ultimate salvific intent (i.e. God only intends to save a subset of people) as sort of a pat "answer" to the extent question. Yet all but a staunch universalist (i.e. ALL people are ultimately saved) agree on that ultimate intention. God does not ultimately intended to save the unbeliever. A non-particularist acknowledges God only plans to (eternally) save believers, even if He may desire or have provided for the salvation of everyone.

Instead, the discussion needs to focus not on the ultimate intended goal, but the nature of the process God chose to use to bring about that goal. Atonement is a step in the process, it is not the sum total of the process. I prefer Wayne Grudem's statement of the question of extent (though there are some other issues also):

Did he pay for the sins of the entire human race or only for the sins of those who he knew would ultimately be saved? (Systematic Theology, 594)

That frames the extent question on the process/nature of the payment (the atoning act) and does not automatically exclude "the entire human race" (any non-particularist view) from the discussion with a wrong focus on only those who would "ultimately be saved."

Before answering Aaron's questions to me, let me make a couple of comments to some related comments of his. Then I'll directly answer the questions. First, he stated:

I’m pretty sure those who hold to a “yes” answer to this question [Souls in Hell for whom Christ died?] would admit to needing to qualify it. That is, they would not say Christ’s death was applied to/accepted by/effective for those in Hell. This means “for” (in the phrase “for whom Christ died” has a technical meaning for them.

My answer above did qualify it, but notice that my answer did advocate two fo the three points, "Christ’s death was applied to/accepted by/effective for those in Hell." It pays for their resurrection. Regarding the term "for," if "in the place of" (i.e. penal subsitution) is considered a "technical meaning," then yes, I have a technical meaning (but I think every view, even of particularists, have a "technical meaning" if that is the case).

Then regarding my own view, Aaron commented:

There are probably good reasons why this view isn’t widely represented in the historical theology.

I actually cover that in my dissertation. There are historical evidences as far back as some of the Church Fathers (Athanasius of Alexandria being a chief one) who tie Christ's atonement to the resurrection of all people. And then, modern provisionalists will sometimes note that as an effect, but then they are making the illogical step of not admitting that there was something actual, effectual, and salvific to that (so not merely provisional). Additionally, I also note that the focus on intent distracted from the real discussion of extent, as summarized above, but that has been a big factor in misdirecting the discussion at least since Theodore Beza's “Table of Predestination”—Briefe Declaration of the Chief Poyntes of Christian Religion set forth in a Table (published 1575). At least the more recent multi-intentioned views have begun to challenge any singular or ultimate intent ideas regarding atonement.

Now to answer the questions:

  1. "Is there any biblical evidence that unbelievers would not have been resurrected apart from the death and resurrection of Christ?" The biblical evidence follows two lines. First is a logical/philosophical point that interrelates various points from Scripture. Succinctly, if death was God's penalty for sin, how can He remain righteous by freeing people from that penalty by the resurrection? Once God had decided to put someone to death (i.e. enact the penalty), they should remain dead forever. To moved from the state of life to a state of death was the penalty. Second is the exegetical points, for various scriptures I note above in my first comment  above (and my dissertation) show the relationship of Christ's necessary death to defeat death, and to be able to bring about the resurrection. 
  2. "What would [you] say is the purpose of providing all of humanity with a release from the 'first death' via resurrection, only to condemn most of them in the 'second death' later?"  Various purposes. First, the corporate need in order to save particular individuals. All people die due to Adam's sin, it is a corporate issue with mankind. For Christ to save believers (the ultimate purpose), He had to resurrect them from death, but to do that, He had to pay the penalty of death (this corporate issue), but to do that, He had to take on the human nature (a corporate connection to the race of Adam), and by taking on the human nature, He became the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45), the effect of which corporately is that His death pays for the resurrection of any human person (1 Cor 15:22). So the corporate work of atonement so that anyone could be raised from the dead was for the ultimate purpose of being able to save any believer. Abraham was considered righteous in his time by faith, but he died, so to save him, God needed to have cause to resurrect him from the penalty of sin. Second, the corporate expression of God's grace. God actually does something toward the salvation of all people, just as He promised. He made the provision (Gen 3:15). This is the good news to all people; the resurrected Christ has defeated death. The fact upon which they should trust God (i.e. have faith) that He will give His promise of eternal life to those who believe. Third, it places final judgment on the individual's, not corporate humanity's, nature. Because the atonement paying for the resurrection was corporate, unbelievers were going to be raised as well (Jn 5:29, Acts 24:15). But God's ultimate intent is not to keep unbelievers in a state of eternal life, so the second death handles that. Because humanity was designed to be like God, God judges unbelievers against that standard on what they wanted to be judged on, their own 'good' works. It is an evaluation against the infinite positive righteousness they should have manifested, but of course, they fail, and God's wrath for their not being what He designed them to be is manifest. Believers never face this judgment, because once faith comes, they are already accounted as having God's righteousness.
  3. "You seem to say that everybody is basically saved until they decided not to be. Do I have that wrong?" Partially wrong. I am saying that everybody will be saved from the penalty of sin, the first death. What happens as they face God, who saved them from that, after that fact of their resurrection is determined on their having a proper relationship to Him (however one may conceive of that relationship coming about via faith, election, etc.). All people are saved from death (the "lesser" or corporate salvation), only believers are saved from God's wrath (the "greater" or individual salvation), for "we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe" (1 Tim 4:10).

So then Aaron's final comment about my view I beg to differ with:

At any rate, it looks to me like this view only moves the particular/comprehensive atonement question back a step rather than solving it. That is, in this view, it looks to me like we still have the problem of in what sense Christ’s death atoned or didn’t atone—(in reference to eternal judgment)—for those who never believe, and whether the ultimate state of both the unbelieving and the believing was planned by God in advance.

What my view does is answer "in what sense Christ’s death atoned or didn’t atone—(in reference to eternal judgment)—for those who never believe," the answer being that Christ's death freed them from an eternal state in the first death. And yes, it is true that "the ultimate state of both the unbelieving and the believing was planned by God in advance," but that does not address the question of the extent of the atonement, but rather the ultimate intent. The process God used to get to that ultimate intent goes through the universal atoning work to handle the corporate issues and thereby pay for the resurrection.

Scott Smith, Ph.D.

The goal now, the destiny to come, holiness like God—
Gen 1:27, Lev 19:2, 1 Pet 1:15-16

G. N. Barkman's picture

Maybe I'm missing something, but this lengthy answer seems to sidestep the issue.  The question of the extent of the atonement is about salvation, not resurrection.  Did Christ offer an atoning propitiation for the sins of everyone without exception, or for the sins of the elect?  Atonement and propitation are about an acceptable sacrifice for sins.  The basic issue is "Whose sins are removed from their record in heaven so that they are spared divine justice."  Applying this to resurrection not only does not offer a third alternative to this age-old question, but tends to confuse the issue.

G. N. Barkman

Greg Long's picture

Being a 4.5ish Calvinist, I have sympathy for the Limited Atonement position as it makes sense logically, but I just haven't been convinced that the Scriptures actually teach it. Having said that, I have no problem with those who hold to that position.

What I do have a problem with, is people like Jay Adams saying it is the central teaching of Calvinism--the "burger" in the TULIP burger. If you don't have the burger, you don't have much of a sandwich, and so I guess if you don't believe Limited Atonement you don't have Calvinism?

This to me is just ridiculous, to place that much priority and emphasis on something so unclear in Scripture. I have much more agreement for the sentiments of Wayne Grudem (who is a 5 pointer). [I think I post this just about every time there is a Limited Atonement thread on SI!]

Finally, we may ask why this matter is so important at all. Although Reformed people have sometimes made belief in particular redemption a test of doctrinal orthodoxy, it would be healthy to realize that Scripture itself never singles this out as a doctrine of major importance, nor does it once make it the subject of any explicit theological discussion. Our knowledge of the issue comes only from incidental references to it in passages whose concern is with other doctrinal or practical matters. In fact, this is really a question that probes into the inner counsels of the Trinity and does so in an area in which there is very little direct scriptural testimony--a fact that should cause us to be cautious. A balanced pastoral perspective would seem to say that this teaching of particular redemption seems to us to be true, that it gives logical consistency to our theological system, and that it can be helpful in assuring people of Christ's love for them individually and of the completeness of his redemptive work for them; but that it also is a subject that almost inevitably leads to some confusion, some misunderstanding, and often some wrongful argumentativeness and divisiveness among God's people--all of which are negative pastoral considerations. Perhaps that is why the apostles such as John and Peter and Paul, in their wisdom, placed almost no emphasis on this question at all. And perhaps we would do well to ponder their example (Systematic Theology, 603).

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Don Johnson's picture

Greg Long wrote:

What I do have a problem with, is people like Jay Adams saying it is the central teaching of Calvinism--the "burger" in the TULIP burger. If you don't have the burger, you don't have much of a sandwich, and so I guess if you don't believe Limited Atonement you don't have Calvinism?

Tofu, anyone?

I have no other comment to make in this discussion.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

ScottS's picture

Mr. Barkman, I appreciate the interaction. You stated:

G. N. Barkman wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something, but this lengthy answer seems to sidestep the issue.  The question of the extent of the atonement is about salvation, not resurrection.  Did Christ offer an atoning propitiation for the sins of everyone without exception, or for the sins of the elect?  Atonement and propitation are about an acceptable sacrifice for sins.  The basic issue is "Whose sins are removed from their record in heaven so that they are spared divine justice."  Applying this to resurrection not only does not offer a third alternative to this age-old question, but tends to confuse the issue.

From my perspective, you are missing something. The dichotomy you make is the unfortunate result of the theological discussion overshadowing the Bible's revelation. There is no salvation without resurrection. Resurrection is part of salvation, part of what is needed to handle the effects of sin, and it is one of the chief focal points of the gospel message (especially seen in Acts). My argument is that no resurrection of anyone (believer or unbeliever) would have occurred if Christ had not offered "an atoning propitiation for the sins of everyone without exception." That is how I believe the Bible has atonement tie to resurrection and thereby achieve ultimate salvation.

I also disagree on what the "basic issue" is, which I would state more like: "What part does atonement have in the process by which God has chosen to handle the various effects of sin on the human race so that He could save those whom He would?" Creation has a part. Incarnation has a part. Grace has a part. Election has a part. Atonement has a part. Faith has a part. Regeneration has a part. Cleansing from sin has a part. Application of righteousness has a part. Adoption has a part. Resurrection has a part. Glorification has a part. Etc. (No need to go on, I think). The ultimate salvation of any person is a process, not a single thing. Atonement plays a role in that process, and is interrelated to other pieces of that process, but atonement does not necessarily have a role that only has a relationship to believers (hence, the age-old debate on the extent of the atonement as to whether it does only have a role for believers or not). So the basic issue is figuring out how atonement fits into the process of salvation. We all agree it is an "atoning propitiation for sins," but different sides articulate how it fits into that role, and to what extent that role plays for humanity in general versus believers specifically.

To be "spared divine justice" requires dealing, at least, with the first death and the second death in relation to sin, since those are two different points of divine justice. My focus on atonement here (and primarily of my dissertation) has been on what I consider to be the universal aspect (since that is where the atonement debate resides), which is the need for freedom from the first death by the resurrection through the payment of death by Christ. This is a corporate aspect, much like the Day of Atonement sacrifice needed for all Israel once a year. But I do believe there is an individual aspect of the atoning work, only applied to those seeking it, chiefly the cleansing from sin by the blood of Christ. This is much like the required individual atonement sacrifices an Israelite who desired to believe and obey God would need to make for their own specific sins--the corporate atonement did not suffice for those. This individual aspect of Christ's atonement, applied only to believers, solves the sinners need of avoiding the eternal expression of God's wrath against one who is unworthy, which expression is the second death.

So my answer may not suffice you, but I hope I at least have clarified my position and specifically resurrection/salvation relationship in my viewpoint (and really, not just my view, as I do not know of any Christians that would say they could be considered saved without being freed from their coming physical death, except those that do not believe in a bodily resurrection, which Paul argued so strenuously against in 1 Cor 15).

Scott Smith, Ph.D.

The goal now, the destiny to come, holiness like God—
Gen 1:27, Lev 19:2, 1 Pet 1:15-16

G. N. Barkman's picture

Scott,

Thanks for the explanation.  I'm still not sure I "get it," but I appreciate what you have said, and I will endeavor to think it through some more.  For anyone who is interested in further study, I recommend the classic, "Redemption Accomplished and Applied" by John Murray.

G. N. Barkman

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Only have a minute and haven’t organized this info much yet. But for what it’s worth, exerpts from some theologicans on the meaning of “atonement.”

Lexham Bible Dictionary

Atonement. The third ritual effect associated with blood is the making of atonement (e.g., Lev 8:15; 16:16–19). Atonement is a complex theological topic and the exact process and nature of atonement is debated. However, it can be generally understood as a state of restoration or reconciliation. In the Old Testament, atonement is associated with the Hebrew root כפר (kpr), often defined as “cover” (see Rodrigues, “Atonement”). Milgrom points out that while “atone” is a common translation for כפר (kpr), the actual usage of the word reveals a much more complicated range of possible meanings in context, including “wipe,” “remove,” “purify,” “decontaminate,” “cover,” “rub,” and “ransom”; Milgrom prefers to use “purge” in most contexts (Milgrom, Leviticus 1–16, 1079–82).[1]

William Shedd

universalism used in at least two senses: (1) to identify the teaching that everyone ultimately will be saved and (2) in relation to atonement theory, to refer to the teaching that God intends Christ’s atonement to apply to all human beings, its failure to do so being thwarted only by unbelief. In this second sense, the doctrine of universal atonement contrasts with the Reformed (and Shedd’s) position of particular redemption, in which God intends to apply the benefits of Christ’s atonement only to the elect. See also apokatastasis.[2]

A distinction is made by some theologians between “satisfaction” and “atonement.” Christ’s satisfaction is his fulfilling the law both as precept and penalty. Christ’s atonement, as antithetic to satisfaction, includes only what Christ does to fulfill the law as penalty. According to this distinction, Christ’s atonement would be a part of his satisfaction. The objections to this mode of distinguishing are that (a) satisfaction is better fitted to denote Christ’s piacular work than his whole work of redemption; in theological literature, it is more commonly the synonym of atonement; (b) by this distinction, atonement may be made to rest upon the passive obedience alone to the exclusion of the active. This will depend upon whether “obedience” is employed in the comprehensive sense of including all that Christ underwent in his estate of humiliation, both in obeying and suffering.[3]

The atonement is sufficient in value to expiate the sin of all men indiscriminately; and this fact should be stated because it is a fact. There are no claims of justice not yet satisfied; there is no sin of man for which an infinite atonement has not been provided: “All things are now ready.” Therefore the call to “come” is universal. It is plain that the offer of the atonement should be regulated by its intrinsic nature and sufficiency, not by the obstacles that prevent its efficacy. The extent to which a medicine is offered is not limited by the number of persons favorably disposed to buy it and use it. Its adaptation to disease is the sole consideration in selling it, and consequently it is offered to everybody.[4]

Charles Hodge

The word atonement is often used, especially in this country, to designate the priestly work of Christ. This word does not occur in the English version of the New Testament except in Romans 5:11, where it is interchanged with “reconciliation” as the translation of the Greek word καταλλαγή. In the Old Testament it frequently occurs. The objections to its use to express the work of Christ are,—

1. Its ambiguity. To atone is properly to be, or cause to be, at one. It is so used in common language as well as in theology. In this sense to atone is to reconcile; and atonement is reconciliation. It, therefore, expresses the effect, and not the nature of Christ’s work. But it is also, in the second place, used to express that by which the reconciliation is effected. It then means satisfaction, or compensation. It answers in our version to the Hebrew word כִּפֵּר; which in relation to the offence or guilt, means to expiate. Thus in Leviticus 5:16, it is said, if a man commit an offence, הַכּהֵו יְכַפֵּר עָלָיו, the priest shall make atonement for him; i.e., shall expiate, or make satisfaction for his offence.[5]

When a sovereign pardons a criminal, it is not an act of justice. It is not on the ground of satisfaction to the law. The Bible, therefore, in teaching that justification is on the ground of an atonement or satisfaction; that the sinner’s guilt is expiated; that he is redeemed by the precious blood of Christ; and that judgment is pronounced upon him as righteous, does thereby teach that justification is neither pardon nor infusion of righteousness.[6]

A. H. Strong

The atonement, like every other doctrine of Christianity, is a fact of life; and such facts of life cannot be crowded into our definitions, because they are greater than any definitions that we can frame. We must add to the idea of substitution the idea of sharing. Christ’s doing and suffering is not that of one external and foreign to us. He is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh; the bearer of our humanity; yes, the very life of the race.[7]

Note, Strong seems to affirm multiple definitions of atonement simultaneously. This is just one of them:

A work of priestly mediation, which reconciles God to men,—notice here that the term ‘reconciliation’ has its usual sense of removing enmity, not from the offending, but from the offended party; a sin-offering, presented on behalf of transgressors; a propitiation, which satisfies the demands of violated holiness;—and a substitution, of Christ’s obedience and sufferings for ours.—These passages, taken together, show that Christ’s death is demanded by God’s attribute of justice, or holiness, if sinners are to be saved.[8]

Views of the atonement determine the views on justification, if logical sequence is observed. We have to do here, not with views of natural justice, but with divine methods. If we regard the atonement simply as answering the ends of a governmental scheme, our view must be that justification merely removes an obstacle, and the end of it is only pardon, and not eternal life.”

But upon the true view, that the atonement is a complete satisfaction to the holiness of God, justification embraces not merely pardon, or acquittal from the punishments of law, but also restoration to favor, or the rewards promised to actual obedience. See also Quenstedt, 3:524; Philippi, Active Obedience of Christ; Shedd, Dogm. Theol., 2:432, 433.[9]

Roland McCune

The atoning life and death of Jesus Christ (i.e., His active and passive obedience in earning the necessary merit/righteousness and paying the penalty for sin required for anyone to be accepted by God) is infinite in its dimension. In the words of R. L. Dabney, “Christ’s atonement surmounts the demerit of all possible sin or ingratitude. His righteousness is a complete price to purchase the sinner’s pardon and acceptance.” Our Lord made a complete payment for sin. In truth, being infinite, it exceeded in its worth all the liability of the sin of all finite rational beings combined. [10]

In the words of the title of John Owen’s monumental work, the atonement was “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ,” and His resurrection singularly demonstrated that fact.[11]

In Roman Catholicism, remission of the guilt of sin really amounts to the displacement of guilt by the infusion of grace and, hence, its removal or remission. Pardon is a consequence of sanctification and is not a result of the satisfaction of justice. In Romanism there is no real satisfaction of justice, and guilt is more or less ignored rather than actually paid for in an ethical atonement.[12]

 

[1] Mangum, Douglas. “Blood.” Ed. John D. Barry et al. The Lexham Bible Dictionary 2016 : n. pag. Print.

[2] Shedd, William Greenough Thayer. Dogmatic Theology. Ed. Alan W. Gomes. 3rd ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2003. Print.

[3] Shedd, William Greenough Thayer. Dogmatic Theology. Ed. Alan W. Gomes. 3rd ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2003. Print.

[4] Shedd, William Greenough Thayer. Dogmatic Theology. Ed. Alan W. Gomes. 3rd ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2003. Print.

[5] Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. Vol. 2. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. Print.

[6] Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. Vol. 3. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. Print.

[7] Strong, Augustus Hopkins. Systematic Theology. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907. Print.

[8] Strong, Augustus Hopkins. Systematic Theology. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907. Print.

[9] Strong, Augustus Hopkins. Systematic Theology. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907. Print.

[10] McCune, Rolland. A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity: The Doctrines of Salvation, the Church, and Last Things. Vol. 3. Allen Park, MI: Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, 2010. Print.

[11] McCune, Rolland. A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity: The Doctrines of Salvation, the Church, and Last Things. Vol. 3. Allen Park, MI: Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, 2010. Print.

[12] McCune, Rolland. A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity: The Doctrines of Salvation, the Church, and Last Things. Vol. 3. Allen Park, MI: Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, 2010. Print.

G. N. Barkman's picture

"For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died: and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."

1) In what sense did "all" die?  Is this spiritual death, as in Adam in the Garden?  Ans:  No.  Is this physical death?  Ans: No.  It is the death of the old man.  All for whom Christ died have died to the old self.

2) Who now lives?  Ans:  All for whom Christ died, who consequently die to the old self and now live for the One who died and rose again on their behalf.

3) Is this true of all men without exception?  Ans:  No, because not all men die to the old self and henceforth live for Christ.

4) Conclusion:  The "all" for whom Christ died are the elect of God, who are raised to newness of life on the basis of Christ's death and resurrection applied to them.

G. N. Barkman

David R. Brumbelow's picture

What did Jesus accomplish when He died for the world?  He purchased salvation for every person on the face of the earth.  He made it possible to honestly offer that salvation to everyone.  I believe it is deceptive to offer it to someone for whom Christ did not die; if that is the case, it is not for him. 

If someone rejects that salvation, it is not a failure on God’s part, it’s a failure on man’s part.  And, by the way, the Bible never says it would be a failure on God’s part. 

I think many who believe in Limited Atonement make this much more difficult than it really is.  Simply put, Jesus died for all; but His salvation is only effective for those who place their trust in Him.  But, God’s salvation is honestly purchased and available to all. 

It makes a big difference to me to honestly look a lost man in the eyes and say Jesus loves you, died for you, and wants to save you.  Those who believe in Limited Atonement cannot say that. 

For any who want to delve into the depths of Limited Atonement, on both sides, see David Allen’s “The Extent of the Atonement.”  He does a masterful job. 

David R. Brumbelow

G. N. Barkman's picture

Unless you know who are the elect, it is not possible to knowingly offer Christ to one for whom Christ did not die.  In obedience to Christ's command, good Calvinists preach the same gospel to everyone without exception, and declare the benefits of the gospel freely available to any and all who will believe.  Can a universalist do any better than this?

G. N. Barkman

David R. Brumbelow's picture

To those who believe in Limited Atonement – the gospel is for some of you, not all of you.  The gospel is not even for most of you.  

Again, if Jesus did not die for you, you cannot believe.  You have nothing to believe in.  You have nothing by which to be saved.  

David R. Brumbelow

JohnBrian's picture

Quote:
He purchased salvation for every person on the face of the earth.  He made it possible to honestly offer that salvation to everyone.

These sentences are not equal. Calvinist's disagree with the 1st but have no problem following the command to offer salvation to all men everywhere.

Quote:
I believe it is deceptive to offer it to someone for whom Christ did not die; if that is the case, it is not for him.
Already answered by G.N. Barkman

Quote:
If someone rejects that salvation, it is not a failure on God’s part, it’s a failure on man’s part.  And, by the way, the Bible never says it would be a failure on God’s part.

Agree. 

Quote:
Simply put, Jesus died for all; but His salvation is only effective for those who place their trust in Him.  But, God’s salvation is honestly purchased and available to all.

Disagree, because I do not find that in the Scripture.

Quote:
It makes a big difference to me to honestly look a lost man in the eyes and say Jesus loves you, died for you, and wants to save you.  Those who believe in Limited Atonement cannot say that.

Agree that Calvinists cannot say that. The Bible never tells us to offer salvation on the basis of "God loves you, died for you, and wants to save you." The message we proclaim is that God commands all men everywhere to repent.

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

What did Jesus accomplish when He died for the world?  He purchased salvation for every person on the face of the earth.  He made it possible to honestly offer that salvation to everyone.  I believe it is deceptive to offer it to someone for whom Christ did not die; if that is the case, it is not for him. 

I appreciate this. I may have not been clear what I asking earlier though... or else the thinking I've been doing has me wanting to ask the question differently. Anyway, what I'd like to know from those who reject particular atonement is what benefits of Christ's death are applied to to all people, even those who do not believe?

My brief fly-over of Strong, Hodges, Shedd, McCune, cursory though it was, surprised me on some points. Shedd, for example, is emphatic that Christ's death made an infinite payment (as is McCune), sufficient for all sins by all sinners. He denies that it was ever God's intention that this payment be applied to any but the elect (I do not have McCune on this point yet. More digging to do... So also with Hodges, Strong, and I'd like to get some other sources too.)

But David, and others who are not for LA/PA, what would you say about this intention distinction? And JohnBrian, and GN Barkman... Is Shedd not really a proponent of Limited Atonement then or do you concur with his "infinite value, but particular intention" view?

(At the moment, I think Shedd's take answers well to 1 John 2.2, Rom. 5:18, and "denying the Lord that bought them" ... but maybe he is departing from the Reformed position on this?)

Lee's picture

Kingdom parables of Matt. 13.  If we don't know anything else we do know that when Jesus used a field in a parable, specifically these, "...the field is the world (Mt. 13:38)."

 

Vs. 44--"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."

There's no argument to be made from Jesus' own teaching--when gathering His kingdom he paid the price for the whole of the field.

Lee

Larry's picture

Moderator

There's no argument to be made from Jesus' own teaching--when gathering His kingdom he paid the price for the whole of the field.

You have conflated parables there. The "field is the world" line comes from the parable of the tares. The "buying the whole field" line comes from the parable of the hidden treasure. They are not referring to the same thing. The guy buying the whole field is not Jesus, and he is not buying the world. That parable is indicating the value of the kingdom--that the man "sells all that he has" in order to be part of the Kingdom.

G. N. Barkman's picture

I have long believed that the value of Christ's death is infinite, sufficient to pay for the sins of 10,000 worlds, if there were such.    I believe that is the position of most Calvinists.  The question is not value, but purpose or intention.  What did Christ intend to accomplish with His death?  Answer:  to redeem His chosen bride, His elect people, given to Him by the Father.

G. N. Barkman

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