« F. H. Kerfoot softened James P. Boyce's strict Calvinism in first major edit | Main | Ron Vietti and Jim Crews' critics on Exposing Calvinism »

Oct 17, 2014

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

rhutchin

Peter writes, "Why is it that Baptist Calvinists apparently have a very difficult time holding on to particular redemption? Or, more popularly known today, Limited Atonement?"

Isn't that the story we see repeated time and again in the Scriptures. Eve was enticed to eat the fruit. The people of Israel were pleased to worship a golden calf. Jeroboam sets up calves of gold to keep the people from going to Jerusalem. Judas sells Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Peter is called out by Paul for his treatment of the gentiles.

People want it easy - pray a prayer or go to confession every week and salvation is yours regardless the life you live. Limited atonement puts God in charge of salvation; general redemption puts people in charge. People seem to like to be in charge, thus they, so easily, are enticed to reject the Scriptures. At least, that's the way it seems to me.

Joshua David Kelso

"Why is it that Baptist Calvinists apparently have a very difficult time holding on to particular redemption? Or, more popularly known today, Limited Atonement?"

As with many churches, eventually people become less interested in understanding scripture and eventually biblically-based reformed churches devolve into easy believe-ism congregations that can boast large numbers of weekly "salvations" by convincing religiously minded people that parroting a prayer and having an emotional experience after a period of spiritual coldness every few years constitutes "being saved".

Another question: "Why is it that Southern Baptists apparently have a very difficult time holding on to their own redemption? Or, more popularly known today, "getting off track"?"

link deleted by moderator

Scott Shaver

Based on comments above, I have a question. How do two Calvinist gadflys with very little background in pastoral ministry and probably less in classic theological education provide accurate and expert analyses on all things Baptist?

Perhaps access to a laptop and an ability to write complete sentences makes experts of us all :)

The term "limited", from my perspective, is the very definition of the insights they have shared heretofore.

volfan007

Amen, Peter. It's always good to see Christians, who grow out of immaturity, to maturity in the faith. It's always good to see Christians, who grow in their faith, to see the Bible's teaching, rather than trying to make the Bible fit into their philosophical framework. It's good to see Believers, who expand, and leave their theological box, which they're trying to make the Bible fit.

David

Max

Scott,

It's amazing how many expert theologians are springing up in the reformed ranks! They are everywhere! I sure wish I had it all figured out! You wonder why God elected some of these arrogant know-it-all's. If there is anything "limited" about the atonement of Christ is that it is restricted to those who come by way of the Cross ... one heart at a time ... once for ALL. I know that is too simple for the reformed mind, with its complex point system, but that's just the way it is ... simple (and limited) enough for a child to grasp.

peter lumpkins

rhutchin,

"Isn't that the story we see repeated time and again in the Scriptures." It certainly is for fallen humanity and known apostates. But such a dismal conclusion for God's elect, God's church--born again children of God and followers of Christ--is plainly odd, if not frightening, since the sheer hopelessness would have crushed out the church long ago. Even more, equating the convictional rejection of Limited Atonement born of an ADHERENCE TO SCRIPTURE rather than a REJECTION OF SCRIPTURE (i.e. with eating forbidden fruit and worshiping a golden calf) is sober reasoning in what way exactly?\

"Limited atonement puts God in charge of salvation; general redemption puts people in charge." Begging pardon in love, but how does it necessarily follow from general atonement that people are in charge of salvation? Supposing for argument's sake that God set it up that way--i.e., Jesus' death fully satisfied the sin accounts of everyone who appropriates by faith the satisfaction He gave? Please demonstrate how it necessarily follows people are ultimately in charge.

Furthermore, granting your first assertion for argument's sake--i.e."Limited atonement puts God in charge of salvation"--from my perspective, also makes God into a Cosmic Prankster by proclaiming Jesus is Savior of the world--the ONLY Savior of the world--when, in fact, He's only Savior of a predetermined few. Those few cannot not be saved while the masses predetermined to unbelieve cannot not burn in hell. Evangelism, then, becomes little more than a great cosmic joke played on the human masses, a rigged game show acted out on the stages of human history. No wonder Wesley indicated a love like this is a love that makes one's blood run cold.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Joshua,

"As with many churches, eventually people become less interested in understanding scripture..." Yes. All but those who, like you, are truly faithful to the Scriptures, the presumable implication of which is, the Providence church which dumped Limited Atonement and F.H. Kerfoot which dumped Limited Atonement out of Boyce's textbook had become less interested in understanding the Bible and were devolving into "easy believe-sim." While you may embrace such, as for me, I don't think that makes good historical-theological sense. What is more, such a view reeks the kind of theological snobbery for which Calvinism has unfortunately become notorious.

'...congregations that can boast large numbers of weekly "salvations" by convincing religiously minded people that parroting a prayer and having an emotional experience after a period of spiritual coldness every few years constitutes "being saved".' Question, Joshua. Suppose you're correct. Suppose for argument's sake, that these congregations convince religiously minded people into sincerely thinking they are saved when, if fact, it's all a farce. They are not saved, and they are going to hell. Granted. But given your theological convictions, in what way exactly is the sovereignty of God in salvation frustrated? No church, no preacher, no culture, no language, no religion--indeed no barrier in heaven or earth--can or could frustrate in the least God's salvation of His elect. If these people "parrot a prayer" as you suggest, none of them will be salvifically injured because of it. Neither elect nor non-elect. God will resurrect His elect by "borning" them again so they will inviolably believe the Truth, irresistibly embrace the Truth and perseveringly live the Truth. What does it ultimately matter if the non-elect think they are saved when they are not? After all, they ultimately cannot not unbelieve. They must unbelieve; they cannot not burn in Hell. They must burn in Hell.  Please explain if you care to.  

'Another question: "Why is it that Southern Baptists apparently have a very difficult time holding on to their own redemption? Or, more popularly known today, "getting off track"?"' I'm usure of what you're looking for here. It appears you were just writing filler so you could post a link to your favorite site. Know I deleted your link not because the blog actually has substantial challenges to what we post here; rather I deleted the link because I want absolutely nothing to do with the contributors of the site. They've proven themselves to be--at least to my satisfaction--one of the most vile, hate-filled, vindictive groups of stalking and harassing personalities I've ever encountered in my 35+ years of Christian ministry. Those who've followed me closely through the years know I'm not one to pull punches in passionate exchanges with people over notions, doctrine, ethics, and all things Baptist. In short, I'll exchange with almost anyone over something either I write or another writes. But the people affiliated with the site you linked, I want absolutely nothing to do with.

All said, don't come back here with a link to anything these people write. It won't be published. If another site makes the same point (e.g. there's plenty of people who are opposed to the "sinner's prayer"--David Platt, J.D. Greear, among others), feel free to leave it. I or others may find it helpful.

With that, I am... Peter

Mark

Peter,

I hope rhutchen responds to the Doctrinal correction you offered him on his view of Limited Atonement.

peter lumpkins

Mark,

Thanks. Well he hasn't been too reluctant thus far. I suppose he's busy.

Lord bless!!

Jim G.

Ahhh, limited atonement. That peculiar doctrine of high Calvinism.

I think there is something missing in the discussion of LA, and that is the metaphysical commitment to nominalism. I think, without such commitment, LA makes no sense whatsoever.

Nominalism did not arise until the early medieval period, and did not take a firm hold in western thought until the 14th century. Nominalism is the denial of the independent existence of "universals" outside of the objects they describe. Nominalism is opposed to "realism," or the acceptance of the existence of such universals. Universals are things like truth, beauty, goodness, or adjectives like blue, hot, or poor. I don't think it is at all a coincidence that the only advocate of LA prior to the nominalistic revolution was the heretic Gottschalk of Orbais.

Nominalism, as one of its symptoms, tends to flatten out the divine nature, making God's essence identical to his will, among other things (which comes with a host of theological and christological problems). It also gives rise to the federal concept of anthropology, making Adam the federal (representative) head of all humanity, since the concept of a shared human nature is a universal. Thus, the organic union of the human race is shattered in nominalistic Calvinism, and replaced by a collection of individuals, whom God can elect or reprobate at will. The problem lies, then, when God becomes incarnate, dies and is raised.

LA says that there exists some people for whom Christ did not die. LA is nominalistic, because LA is based on the unconditional individual election of those whom God wants to save. It shatters the organic wholeness of the human race, leaving a collection of individuals of whom some God wants and some he does not. The problem is, the God of creation and sustaining providence becomes human in Jesus Christ. The God in whom we live, move, and have our being died at Calvary (imagine that!). To say that there is one human being outside of the death of Jesus Christ is to say that he is not fully God, containing all creation in himself, but to say that he is some kind of demigod who only contains those whom he elects. Only in metaphysical nominalism is such maneuvering possible, and we must remember nominalism was unknown to the OT, Jesus, and the first 13 centuries of Christianity.

Jim G.

dr. james willingham

Peter: Everyone believes and preaches a limited atonement. General atonement is limited in its power to save, because something else must e added to it to make it work, usually faith. Even the Universalist preaches a limited atonement, because his view cannot get everyone saved in this life; it must do it in the next life, if at all. And then there is the idea of purposes. What is our Lord's purpose in preaching a limited atonement? Take for example, Mt.15:21-28 where our Lord says to His disciples and the woman of Canaan hears: "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." The woman's response was to fall down before Him in worship. In Lk.4:16-31 our Lord speaks to His neighbors in Nazareth telling how God chose to use Elijah to minister to a widow of Sidon and no widow in Israel, while Elisha healed Naaman the Syrian and by-passed all the lepers in Israel. In the case of Nazareth, our Lord's neighbors acted like the dogs they were, the dogs of which He spoke to the woman of Canaan (in the coasts of Sidon) who immediately agreed with Him that she was one of those dogs (you know, don't you that the Jews think of Gentiles as dogs. She knew it, no doubt then), and her response is this, "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." The point of a definite atonement, a finished work, a satisfaction to justice, is that of a therapeutic paradox. It is the use of an opposite to get the person to respond in a different way. Professional counselors know this, and the Christian Faith certainly uses paradoxes. Actually, the idea of limited atonement involves the purpose to save more souls than we can scarcely imagine. In Rev.7:9 we are told that the number of the redeemed in Heaven cannot be numbered, that is, no one can number them. Could it be that there will be a thousand generations and quadrillions of planets inhabited by mankind that will be converted? Seems John Owens suggested that the atonement could be sufficient for the people of multitudes of worlds and that Andrew Fuller noted this. The idea of a definite payment made, of satisfaction truly given to the claims of Divine justice, has been of comfort to multitudes of saints for many generations. Such a work evokes and produces saving faith, faith that depends upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning work. Rather definite, and much more preferable than something which I add to it even an act of my choice. I have never forgotten some minister's comment to the effect that there are multitudes in Hell that even the blood of Jesus could not save. Where is the omnipotence of God revealed, if not in the blood that produces our redemption from sin? And why not use that doctrine to win the whole earth in this generation and continue for a 1000 generations (anywhere from 20,000-900,000 years? After all, when God would win Nineveh, He sent a prophet with the message of unconditional judgment, "Forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown." There was not a word of invitation in that message, and the prophet did not give one and did not want the Ninevites saved. In fact he got made at God, when they were. The Ninevites started repenting, when their king said, "Who can tell?" He then ordered everyone to start repenting, including signs of such on the animals. If professional counselors can use what seems utterly contradictory to their aim to be accomplished and thereby succeed (sort of like saying, go ahead smoke, one after another to a person seeking counseling on quitting. Soon, however, if he or she follows it, that person will become sick as a dog and be unable to continue. You all should read some of the examples of what counselors have been able to do with paradoxes. The doctrine of Limited Atonement, along with Predestination, Reprobation, and the other four points of the TULIP doctrines, is designed to invite and to win the whole world. FBC of Providence would have pastors in the 1700s who believed in Particular Redemption, and their sister church, FBC, Newport, held to the same truth. Both Williams and Dr. John Clarke (founder of FBC Newport were noted for their Calvinism. In fact, near the end of his life Williams wrote to the church at Newport and mentioned that he still held to the Baptist views (his problem was the desire for apostolic baptism) and Sovereign Grace/Calvinism. General atonement, and there are many good people who believe it, is the slippery doctrine. A definite atonement, a particular redemption, is limited only by the purposes of God, and He plans, evidently, to win the whole earth with such truths.

pam knight

What helped settle my mind on the extent & intent of the Atonement was a better understanding of God's purpose in creating man and what God's provision was for bringing about and accomplishing that purpose. I think God made it clear and simple, so that He by His Holy Spirit could reveal it to someone simple like me.
In Christ
pam knight

peter lumpkins

Dr. Willingham,

You write, "Everyone believes and preaches a limited atonement." Really? Then what in the Sam Hill are we arguing about?

With that, I am,
Peter

Andrew Barker

Dr. James Willingham: "there are multitudes in Hell that even the blood of Jesus could not save.

I think this gets to the nub of the matter. These people in hell are there not because they specifically chose to be, after all under the Calvinist system, people can only choose to repent if God has enabled them? They are there because God in his infinite love and wisdom chose for them to be there. They were in effect unable to repent.

If I have misunderstood or misrepresented your point of view, please accept my apologies. But if the atonement is limited by God's purposes, it does bring into question the character of the Calvinist's God?

Lydia

"But if the atonement is limited by God's purposes, it does bring into question the character of the Calvinist's God? "

Bingo.

The comments to this entry are closed.