Lewis Sperry Chafer

Theology Thursday - Atonement and the Holy Spirit

In this excerpt from his systematic theology text, Lewis Chafer explains that the cross is not the only saving instrument God employs to redeem His people. He argues against limited redemption partially on this basis:1

It is one of the points most depended upon by the limited redemptionists to claim that redemption, if wrought at all, necessitates the salvation of those thus favored. According to this view, if the redemption price is paid by Christ it must be exagoradzo or apolutrosis, rather than agoradzo, in every instance.

It is confidently held by all Calvinists that the elect will, in God’s time and way, every one, be saved, and that the unregenerate believe only as they are enabled by the Spirit of God; but the question here is whether the sacrifice of Christ is the only divine instrumentality whereby God actually saves the elect, or whether that sacrifice is a divine work, finished, indeed, with regard to its scope and purpose, which renders all men savable, but one applied in sovereign grace by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit only when the individual believes.

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The Roots of Easy-Believism

ChaferDiscuss this article.

In 1900, a 29-year-old man entered the ministry as a Presbyterian pastor. From 1914 until 1924, he traveled as a popular Bible lecturer. In 1924, this man founded Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) where he served as president until his death in 1952. His eight-volume Systematic Theology was published in 1948 as the first dispensational, premillenial systematic theology. His name is Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer.

Chafer and others associated with DTS are the chief proponents of so-called easy-believism. Easy-believism teaches conversion through faith alone. It denies that repentance and surrender to Christ are components of salvation. Christian scholars associated with DTS such as John Walvoord, J. Dwight Pentecost, Merrill Unger, Howard Hendricks, Haddon Robinson, Zane Hodges, Charles Ryrie, etc., have promoted this doctrine within Evangelicalism. Evangelical leaders read these men’s writings and use them in their Bible schools and churches.

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