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It does appear from your post and the quotes that many modern day Calvinists have, as sometimes happens, out Calvined Calvin. I've also seen in our day some inerrantists out inerrant inerrantists.

I guess we all are, after all, in the position of a need for the Holy Spirit to do His work of giving understanding of scripture and the need to love people because of Jesus not on the basis of agreement on
points of theology. That's sure my approach to you and your thoughtful research. You've given some food for thought. I'll get to thinking. Thanks.

Paul B.



very enlightening stuff.
thank you for sharing this.



My Brother Paul B.,

I appreciate the interaction already you have made on this site. And, others such as Chris, have also expressed their deep gratitude as well on another post.

I think you are correct. It seems innately human to take a well-accepted position a "step further" than the former generation. And that blade cuts both ways, regardless of theological heritage.

I have on my "about page" that while I am definitively a theological conservative, I presently am cursed, if you please, by being trapped in the skin of a moderate. By that I mean I refuse to allow non-essentials to keep me from loving my Brother together with whom I am saved by the identical blood as is he.

Have a great evening. With that, I am...




Thank you, my brother. I am glad it is helpful.

Study hard this week. The sheep need nourishment. With that, I am...




You have a solid grasp of some of the "finer points" of Calvin. Terrific insight.

I also would like to thank you for pointing me (via your "Blogs worth finding)towards some terrific biblical scholarship that I had previously found lacking in the blogosphere.

I am thinking particularly of the "Generous Orthodoxy" link.

Your choice of links suggests that you are indeed an ecclectic individual.

Blessings to you,




Thank you for your kind words, my Brother in Christ. And, yes, I guess you could say I'm ecclectic, especially, in that, I do not at all think I am the only person in God's Kingdom who possesses any particular insight, much less the only Baptist :)

I am also glad the links I chose are helpful.

Grace this evening and peace in the morning. With that, I am...


Jazzy Cat

Rom 5:18 says “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”

To be consistent with your exegesis this verse would have to mean universal salvation as justification does mean one is saved. Since we know from other passages that universal salvation is not true, shouldn't we consider that perhaps 'all' and 'world' sometimes does not mean every single person that has lived and will live?

In the Calvin commentary of Col. 1:14 you quote, Calvin is very clearly talking about believers, therefore I would conclude 'sins of the world' refers to sins of believers worldwide.


Christopher Redman


Your resourcefullness is to your credit. However, those of us who hold to the 5 points do not believe that John Calvin is the author of the 5 points but rather they are revealed through scripture.

As Spurgeon said, "Calvinism is the gospel". But, calvinism is a nickname only. John Calvin, though he contributed tremendously to Christian understanding, was a man and erred. I'm not suggesting that his commentaries and your quotes are examples of his error but I am suggesting that none of us hold Calvin to the level of inerrent or infallible. We don't hold to his view of church government, separation of church and state, infant baptism, and perhaps more items still.

We learn from what men of God have contributed to our understanding, we accept what we find in scripture and reject what we do not.

I have another comment to post but I wanted to get this out of the way so as not ignore the content of your post.



Christopher Redman

Now, on to the comment I would like to post...

Peter in a previous thread on 1 John 2:2, you stated that there are "unpardonable sins" that the atonement does not atone for. You went on to postulate that the sin of rejection would be included as an unpardonable sin.

I did not respond at that time but now wish to pose a few questions -

1) Where is the text that states rejection is "unpardonable"?

2) The very nature of "unpardonable" seems to imply that once it is committed, there is no opportunity or provision for pardon in the future. Seeing that all humans reject Christ naturally and repeatedly, often for many, many years but some still come to repentance and faith, it seems that rejection is not "unpardonable".

3) If rejection is the limiting factor in Christ's atonement rather than limited in extent, can we assume that saving faith is the solution to the sin of rejection? If we can agree here, then it seems important to explore the source of saving faith and why some recieve it and some do not.

I think you know where this will lead and if you don't, well... it leads to the elect again.


Chris Redman


the pharisees had committed the unpardonable sin. they had hardened thier hearts...according to all the light that they had shed on them. they had gone too far. they could not be saved anymore.

the people in noah's day had gone too far. they could not get into the ark.

chris, you always try to nitpick everything to death...thus, your dilemma. you always try to squeeze every verse to fit your philosophy. thus, you try to make much ado about things that we dont know, nor can we know. all we can know is what we see in the bible...what is clearly spelled out in the bible. and, not try to add all of our ideas and personal beliefs and philosophies to it.

thus, that's why some people get into five point calvinism. and, that's why some people are more calvinistic than calvin.

i do hope that you will have a great day in the Lord.



My Brother W.H.

Know I very much appreciate the dialog your posts have created. Thank you.

I must note, however, that when you write "To be consistent with your exegesis this verse would have to mean universal salvation..." and assume "my exegesis", you are entirely mistaken. I was quoting John Calvin, not giving any exegesis at all. Thus, your charge humorously belongs to Calvin :) And, if you read carefully the editors' footnotes (#2) under Calvin's comments on Romans 5.18, you will discover these interesting words:

"'Nam etsi passus est Christus pro peccatis totius mundi. atque omnibus indifferenter Dei benignitate offertur; non tamen omnes apprehendum." It appears from this sentence that Calvin held general redemption.' -- Ed." If I am reading Calvin in a skewd manner, I guess his translators did too :)

Secondly, as for your comment about "all" and "world" possessing different nuances, you have my complete agreement. No one disputes this. The insurmountable difficulty for Calvinists, as D.A. Carson has noted, are the sheer number of these "alls" and "worlds" that coincidentally, according to the Calvinists, ALWAYS means "less than all" or "all the world [of the elect], etc. Even if I granted the possibility of this verse meaning what DAers must insist, it stands virtually impossible, apart from mangling the obvious meanings of the context, to read all the "alls" and "worlds" as the Calvinist must in order to maintain his committment to DA.

In addition, I must record my protest to your reading of Calvin's term "world" in Col 1.14 your way. Indeed, Calvin uses "world" twice in his comments on Col. 1.13, both uses of which are clearly the "world" of men in rebellion against God. And for one to read, then, "world" in his comment on v. 14 as the "world of believers worldwide" seems, at its finest, my Brother W.H., a huge stretch.

For me, it is fairer to Calvin to either a) charge him with an inconsistency because of his obvious statements that seem to speak of DA along side statements that clearly imply general atonement b) view Calvin as changing his mind from DA early on in his Institutes to GA later on in his Commentaries (similar to the 'former Augustine and the 'latter' Augustine on Free Will).

Given the absolute theological genius he evidently was, I cannot at all believe Calvin was oblivious to the obvious discrepancies in his statments concerning DA. Therefore, for me, I choose b). That is, Calvin either never fully believed DA, or, if he did hold to it at one time, he dumped it later on in life.

But to hear modern Calvinists--especially SBC Calvinists, DA is intrinsic to pure, undiluted Calvinism. For me, my W.H., that never fails to give me a smile.

I trust your day today will be filled with His guidance. With that, I am...




I agree personally with the points Chris has made. Of course, you and Chris, and others would probably have guessed as much.

I especially like the point that whatever we believe, speaking of people who hold to certain doctrines being debated, we hold, not because of Calvin, but because we see it in the Text of Scripture. I realize you and others would say the same thing about your positions theologically as well. That's a good thing for both sides of any discussion.

I also have to admit that, while firmly holding to what I believe I see in scripture, I have to recognize there are passages that I can't fit together other than with logic. While I have no problem with logic or systematic theology, I like the fact that it doesn't all fit together for me. There are areas of inexplicable mystery that I will forever marvel at. Also, my logic and reasoning will never be fully trusted by me as I keep looking for answers.

It may be, to some degree, when we get to heaven, we will discover things that no group fully understood. It is that reality that keeps me energized to research and study, to read your research with appreciation, and to refrain from dogmatism on some things that are not necessary to understand for salvation to be experienced by the Grace of God.

That's a long way of saying, I like following you guys in this blog. Keep it up.

Paul B.



You are always a challenge. I appreciate the "P" of the Tulip being so creatively expressed in dialog here :)

First, you are right on as far as Calvin goes. And, know, of course, I do not at all believe you guys eat at his table always. Yet, it is odd, is it not--not to mention humorous--that one's theological heritage is named after someone so different than one's own developed theology? At least I think so.

However, that is really not why I brought Calvin's theological ambiguity into the equation. Rather, I think it stands telling that Calvin himself, at minimum, evidently did not consider LA intrinsic to Calvinism. That honor belongs to Beza, Calvin's successor and, modern Calvinists, who follow Beza, not Calvin at that point.

Now, you spoke of a comment I made earlier. There I wrote: "surely none of us would hold that Christ died for ultimate, incorrigible unbelief. That is, if a person dies in unbelief, that sin is forgivable."

There I was referring to ultimate unbelief, Brother Chris, not just unbelief. Do I really need a proof text for that? Does anyone believe that an unbeliever who dies in his/her sin possesses the possibility for forgiveness? In that sense, then, that is sin for which Christ's blood is inapplicable.

And as far as saving faith being a remedy for rejection, the obvious answer is, of course. However, there is no remedy for ultimate unbelief, a condition for which Christ did not die. Nor, according to our Lord, is there remedy for Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

How one receives faith in the first place? I think that is the topic of a good provocative :) post, do you not?

Have a great afternoon, my brother. With that, I am...


Christopher Redman

Peter, Volfan, and all -

Brothers, may we be specific? There is only one unpardonable sin revealed in scripture and that by Jesus is "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" (Mark 3:28-29). And exactly what is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? It is attributing the work and person of God to the work and person of Satan. See Mark 3:30. The pharisees committed this sin against Christ Himself but it is very safe to say that not one of God's elect has ever committed this sin.

All of us know that a person who dies in "ultimate unbelief" or can we simply say one who dies in a "lost state" goes to hell.

The rub here is first that people go to hell because of breaking God's commandments which is sin. God has commanded all men everywhere to repent and believe on Jesus Christ for salvation and their rejection is another example of breaking God's commandments.

People go to hell for their sins which include unbelief along with all of the other commandments, refer to at least 10 of them in Exodus 20.

Peter, you have forced the scriptures to say that Jesus propitiated every sin of every person of all time except the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and the sin of Ultimate Rejection.

My point is still the same -

1) You limit the atonement every bit as much as a Calvinist for we believe that every sin of every elect was paid IN FULL by Christ and not IN PART. Thus, in time, the Holy Spirit draws them effectually and grants them the gift of faith that comes through the preaching of the gospel. This grace is granted to them because of Christ's satisfaction on their behalf at the cross. (ie: literal vicarious substitutionary atonement)

2) You make rejecting the gospel the only justifiable reason for anyone to go to hell which begs the question: is the gospel necessary for pagan peoples who live in remote places who live and die and never here the gospel to be saved? (Before you answer to quickly, just this past week I heard a professor say that he believed there will be people in heaven who died after calvary who have never heard the gospel or the name Jesus Christ. He is btw a General Redemptionist.)

This brings us full circle to my previous dialogue when I asked, "Why does anyone go to hell?" You answered that they go to hell because of their sins. (Right!) However, you capitulate here because they don't really go to hell for their sins because their sins are propitiated (ie: the sins against the 10 commandments). They really only go to hell for the unpardonable sins that are not covered in the propitiation, right?

Where is that verse? I remember Jesus saying "It is finished" (debt paid in full!)

You can also refer to Dr. Nettles work "By His Grace and For His Glory" p. 405-406 and see that DL Moody rejected LA and made the argument that pagans can be saved apart from the gospel.

This is the slippery road that lead General Baptists 3 centuries ago into universalism and why I am glad that we are standing on the shoulders of Godly Particular Baptists today.

Blessings All, (Even Volfan)



even volfan!?!!!??!!! what's that supposed to mean?


Christopher Redman

Oh sorry volfan, I forgot the :-)

but, you just don't get it do you :-)



Brother Paul,

I fully understand. Also, I too see Scriptures that, if I am honest with the text as it stands, does not at all fit within any hermeneutical grid to which we may subscribe. Nevertheless, we do the best we can.

His grace tonight. With that, i am...




God bless you.



My Brother Chris,

Me-oh-my. I go to Chattanooga, drive back, and what do I find? Busy Bees on this blogsite :)

Chris, my brother, I so appreciate your generous attribution, but I am afraid my conscience will not let me keep it. I feel much too guilty. You write: "Peter, you have forced the scriptures to say that Jesus propitiated every sin of every person of all time except the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and the sin of Ultimate Rejection" Chris, I just don't feel I deserve such distinction :)

Seriously, I fail to see, quite frankly, where I've forced the Scripture to say anything. As I recall, Chris, you ask me some questions to clarify a comment on another stream: "Peter in a previous thread on 1 John 2:2, you stated that there are "unpardonable sins" that the atonement does not atone for...now [I] wish to pose a few questions..." How answering questions about my comment is supposed to "force Scripture", I remain confused, my Brother. What's interesting is, it very well may be the person who attempts to squeeze John's "whole world" down neatly into "whole world of the elect" that is caught with his skirt up. That is, "forcing Scripture" to say something...

Secondly, Chris, if it really seems the same to you the way Calvinists and non-Calvinists view the Atonement--similarly Limited--then I suggest to you, my Brother, just keep right on believing it. Indeed, while most on both sides of the aisle will think it strange, I would not let that stop me were I you. We've all a few strange beliefs. I'm quite sure I possess my share.

Besides, Chris, to demonstrate that because the non-Calvinist, General Atonement person does not believe Christ's atonement provided forgiveness for sin that, by its very nature, is unforgivable, and therefore, his position is aptly described "Limited", appears to me a hollow victory at best. It kinda falls into the "distinction without a difference" category. That is, an admission [of Limited Atonement] without a concession [of [Unlimited Atonement]. I rather like those kind of terms, don't you? :)

As for the other questions, I have dealt more than once with most of them. I cannot think of a thing I could add.

Finally, one thing does seem evident, my Brother Chris. It remains extremely difficult for systematic Calvinists to make sense out of some texts, one of which, is 1 John 2.2. Try as one may, but John's words simply do not fit within the structure of DA. That, in the end, is the real issue of this series of posts.

Have a great evening. I trust your Wed. assembly was most blessed indeed. Grace. I am...


Christopher Redman


I really hate to confuse anyone.

As for "forcing scripture" - I grant that it may be a bit too strong of a term. But to imagine that there are sins categorized as unpardonable besides "THE unpardonable sin" and thus were not propitiated seems a stretch.

Perhaps I haven't been clear; I know that you don't limit the atonement in the same way a Calvinist does but you have limited it in another way. That was the point.

Unless you are a universalist, you must limit the atonement in either extent or efficacy. The question has always been in which way is it limited? I have simply tried to point out the ramifications of your type of limitation, ie: efficacy.

If this does not resonate with you, okay.

Finally, you said, "It remains extremely difficult for systematic Calvinists to make sense out of some texts, one of which, is 1 John 2.2. Try as one may, but John's words simply do not fit within the structure of DA. That, in the end, is the real issue of this series of posts."

This is a tremendously clear and concise purpose statement for your posts. And, might I say, aren't there many biblical doctrines that have difficult passages? We don't just throw them out.

Trinity has many verses that need deeper study to align.

Deity of Christ, same.

Eternal Security, same.

Inerrency of scripture, same.

Oh, and Limited Atonement, SAME.

Oh well, I have mid-terms today. I'll leave you to your hopefully, unconfused, study.

Blessings to all and especially volfan,




Thank you very much for your response. Just a clarification, at least for me, and then I'll leave this thread and move on.

You write, my Brother: "to imagine that there are sins categorized as unpardonable besides "THE unpardonable sin" and thus were not propitiated seems a stretch."

For me, I do not at all see it as a stretch, Chris. In fact, there are at least two other scenarios in the NT that appear to indicate an unredeemable condition--the "Impossible to renew to repentance" condition of Hebrews 6 and John's "sin unto death", both of which, while baffling scholars as to their exact identity, fit similarly with the Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

And, even in the OT, there was the sin known as the "high-handed" sin which no sacrifice could atone.

Given these other Scriptural cases, I do not at all think the point I unsuccessfully tried to make is a stretch.

I trust you do well in your mid-terms. Grace for the journey.

With that, I am...




i hope that your blessing me is sincere. is it?

God bless you.


Keith Schooley


In The Abolition of Man, CS Lewis discusses moral relativists whose actual behavior is much better than their philosophy. In much the same way, the best Calvinists I have known are those who are, to their credit, inconsistent with regard to election, acting as if the salvation of every individual person was to be desired and as if evangelism would truly make a difference in who and how many would be saved. It appears that Calvin may have been such a one himself.

Grace and peace,



Volfan, My Brother,

I trust you are well today. I further trust that your Assembly last evening was simply divine. Did you teach a particular portion of our Lord's Words from the Gospel or another?

Frankly, Volfan, I would not worry at all whether or not Chris's blessing to you was sincere. Surely if someone blesses me--even were it the greatest enemy I could imagine--I would kindly receive it.

In addition, from my observation, I cannot imagine Chris offering insincerity to you.

In the end, my Volfan, I guess I am simply saying I do not think it wise nor, from my perspective, productively edifying to press someone about the sincerity of a blessing they blew my way. I'd just assume it was geniune and then enjoy a sweet donut with a good cup of coffee.

Grace today and Peace for this Evening. With that, I am...




good words. thanks. right now i am preaching thru the gospel of john. i am in the fourth chapter about the woman at the well. after she got saved, she just wanted to tell everyone about Jesus in her town. and, a lot of people got elected...didnt they?

last nite, we had a good time...a blessed time....in spite of it being business meeting nite. the Lord truly blessed. good things were done. the Spirit was very evident there.

i hope that you are having a very good time today, peter. God bless you.

God bless you, too, chris. i just hope that you will get out there and preach the gospel so that many of the elect will be saved.


Christopher Redman


I sincerely appreciate your moderated tone toward us extremists and me in particular.

Thank you,



i love everybody, and i aint that hard to get along with. i'm just a big ole teddy bear.

halelujah! glory to God! for saving an ole hillbilly sinner like me.

let's get out there and preach the gospel so that more people will be elected.


L P Cruz

Dear Sir,

You are on your way to liberation. "L" in TULIP firstly is not biblical, secondly it is a term levied on the Calvinist by Arminians which amazingly Calvinist try to defend. Thirdly, it affects evangelism if one be consistent with his Calvinism, fourtly, it robs people of their assurance. These shows something must not be right.

L. P. Cruz


Dear L.P.

Thank you for your comment. I agree with you that "L" is not the best unsderstanding of the Scripture. I'm unsure what you mean by it being
"levied on the Calvinist by Arminians". Also, I am unsure about how "L" undermines assurance. From Calvinists with whom i converse, they are quite certain it establishes assurance for them.

Have a great evening. With that, I am...



Hi Peter,

You complain that Calvinists are not very epistemologically self-aware when it comes to their interpretation of various passages. Well, that’s the case with most Christians today, not just Calvinsts. It’s especially the case in fundamentalist Baptist circles where traditional methodology and inherited concepts go unchecked. There is very little critical thinking going on today, and that’s partly due to a great deal of ignorance in the area of historical theology. It’s very difficult for today’s modernists and hyper-modernists (postmoderns) to understand premodern conceptual schemes. Calvin was immersed in a premodern/classical categories that he received through the scholastics and church fathers.

So, it’s not really the case that Calvin was ambiguous. The church today just doesn’t understand the particular premodern paradigm of his day. For instance, Calvin clearly believed in the scholastic formula that at least goes back to Peter Lombard: sufficienter pro omnibus, efficaciter pro electis. Calvin employs this distinction in his theology, but he doesn’t always use it as an explanatory formula for understanding some passages. In terms of the sufficiency of Christ’s satisfaction, Calvin believed that Christ died for all mankind. This grounds the well-meant gospel offer and common grace. He clearly believes that God ardently desires the salvation of all mankind in the revealed will of God, but that he wills the salvation of the elect alone in the secret will of God. This idea is very old. Since Calvin believed in the real sufficiency of superabundant satisfaction, he had no hesitation in affirming that Christ died for the whole world. His language is not guarded like the High Calvinists so prevalent today.

At the same time, however, Calvin also believed in an efficacious decree of God that concerns the salvation of the elect alone. This special decree or intention issues in the efficacious application of Christ’s work by the Holy Spirit to the elect alone through the instrumental means of faith. Thus, there is a limitation in the decree and the special application resulting therefrom, but no limitation in the imputation of sin to Christ in his penal substitutionary satisfaction. Since Christ expiates the sins of the whole world, just as John the Baptists says in John 1:29, we can indescriminately invite all to the abundant gospel feast in his flesh. Consider this quote from Calvin on Romans 5:18:

"He makes this favor common to all, because it is propounded to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all; for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God's benignity indiscriminately to all, yet all do not receive him."

I commented on Calvin’s statements here:


Some of the Reformed, after the days of Calvin, argued for a limitation in the imputation of sin to Christ (in addition to a limited intent and application) in order to sustain a STRICTLY limited viewpoint. It's totally unbiblical and unnecessary, and it does undermine the sufficiency of Christ's satisfaction, i.e. it undermines the ground for a well-meant gospel offer by implication. It also undermines Calvin's view on common grace, since he thought that God was good to all in order to stimulate them to repentance and salvation (see his comments on 2 Peter 3:9). God wants to save all by means of a blood sacrifice, and not apart from a blood sacrifice, therefore there must be something provided in the death of Christ for all mankind, including the non-elect.

The two areas in which High Calvinists today are going to run into trouble (i.e. hyper-Calvinism) are 1) The well-meant gospel offer and 2) Common Grace. Why? Because of their strictly limited view of Christ's death. Also, if they consistently reason through their literal commercialistic/pecuniary debt payment arguments (like Owen's Trilemma), they will end up denying that faith is man's duty (duty-faith) in order to be justified. Justification will preceed faith in their ordo salutis by implication, for all the elect were literally "saved" when Christ died in ad 33.

Anyway, that's enough for now :-) Feel free to check out my blog. These subjects are very important to me, so I post on such topics frequently.


Web site going up on free will. Appreciate any comment.

Just one question:
Where in the Bible does it state that mankind is born with a bit of righteousness that enables him to choose or not choose God?

Let's say that when you boil the Bible down you get the righteousness of man and the righteousness of Christ.

John 3:16 speaks of God's love for the world. Assume that this refers to everybody in mankind down through the ages. Now go to Matthew where Christ talks of Judgment Day where people are being sent to hell. Ok. So it isn't all of mankind.

Paul the apostle said (Romans 3) all our goodnesses are filthy rags. There is none that doeth good, none that seeketh after God, no not one. Ok. Again, all-encompassing, all of mankind. The exception to this would be free will, which is the ability to choose or not choose God. There would have to be something clean about us, or a fragment of righteousness in us that is not polluted by sin.

I can find the sinner part in the Bible pretty easy, but the free will stuff I can't find anything. What am I looking for? Something, anything in scripture where it says that someone chose God apart from any righteousness or mercy coming from God. A clean rag of -man's- righteousness.

Different religions are holding books of authority other than the Bible, and they ALL have one foundational commonality: Freewill. Their text says to do this or do that, meaning that they can. Good works, of course. Even atheists believe in free will. When was the last time you heard one complaining that he was being forced to reject God?

If your doctrine includes freewill, remember that free will is the creed of all atheists.

Free will. It's everywhere! Tell a friend!

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