Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
angels4u

more indept study of Armenian and Calvinist

Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, thilipsis said:

 You had me till you rejected original sin:

Sin came as the result of, 'many died by the trespass of the one man' (Rom. 5:15), 'judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation' (Rom. 5:16), the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man (Rom. 5:17), 'just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men' (Rom. 5:18), 'through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners' (Rom. 5:19).

There is no one righteous, not even one;there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Romans 3:12 Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20)

The New Testament word for repentance isn't a change of behavior, that's the effect. It's a change of attitude at the 'seat of moral reflection':

Repent, Repentance: lit., "to perceive afterwards". meta, "after," implying "change," noeo, "to perceive;" nous, "the mind, the seat of moral reflection".    (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words Strong's #G3340)

This requires a change of the inner man, the New Testament is crystal clear on this point. The sinner can repent of nothing apart from an imputation of the divine nature:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:1-2, 8-10)

Well first off, I didn't reject original sin because you never broached it, you talked about sin nature and that's what I responded to.  We're not going to get very far if you keep reframing your thoughts after I respond to them. It would probably be better if you proof read what you want to post before you actually post it to make sure you're conveying what you're actually wanting to?

I appreciate you quoting parts of Romans 5 but the fact is it must all be read and understood together, not as separate points to support a single concept, but in its entirety to convey the thoughts that Paul was teaching.  Paul was drawing parallels between the Old Testament / Covenant and the New Testament / Covenant. In verse 14 Paul shows that there are people that did not sin but they still suffered the consequences/ repercussions of the fall.  As far as the "no one is righteous" verses, it appears you don't really understand the context that Paul used them in Romans 3, nor how they were being used in the Old Testament.  Never-the-less, they are not applicable to what I was addressing you about.

As far as repentance is concerned, I don't know why you're bringing up this lexical lesson because I did not address it, but repentance is not only a change in behavior, precipitated by a change in direction, it is also agreeing with God that what you have done is sin.

3 hours ago, thilipsis said:

Either way this comes down to justification by grace through faith, indeed there is a choice to receive repentance but there is no part of salvation that is our own work. It is not by the force of human will that we repent but by submitting to the will of God. We do that by grace through faith. 

Grace not only saves us but sanctifies us, apart from Christ we can do nothing and to make myself clear, your merit counts for nothing. If one were to ask the Apostle Paul how it is that he worked so hard and suffered so much and bringing so many the Gospel, he would, and did, tell us that it is by grace.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of themyet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (I Cor. 15:10)

A good working definition for grace is 'unmerited favor', Paul worked in the ministry field by grace alone and he is crystal clear on this point. The merits of Christian ministry are Christ's alone we can add nothing. James in speaking to believers who were obviously showing favoritism was simply telling them that this is not how saving faith works. He was outraged that a wealthy Christian could teach a poor Christian as inferior when they themselves apart from Christ are poor, pitiful, blind and naked. We will receive that full recompense of righteousness and be glorified forever based on Christ's merit.

That's why total depravity is essential, every part of salvation is a gift of grace. You carnal behavior is your essential nature, it cannot be repaired it must be replaced. Indeed before Christ we are the guy in Romans 7 and we are afterwards. That's why Romans 6 tells us we must be a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness because after conversion we have a new nature born of incorruptible seed. Then having received the new nature and the promised Holy Spirit we can walk after the spirit and are the children of God as we see in Romans 8.

The book of Romans tells us that God's invisible attributes and eternal nature have been clearly seen but we exchanged the truth of God for a lie (Rom 1:21,22). As a result the Law of Moses and the law of our own conscience bears witness against us, sometimes accusing, sometimes defending (Rom 2:15). We all sinned but now the righteousness of God has been revealed to be by faith through Christ (Rom 3:21). Abraham became the father of many nations by faith and the supernatural work of God (Rom 4:17). Through one man sin entered the world and through one man righteousness was revealed (Rom 5:12). It looks something like this:

  1. Exchanging the truth of God for a lie, the creature for the Creator.
  2. Both the Law and our conscience make our sin evident and obvious.
  3. All sinned, but now the righteousness of God is revealed in Christ.
  4. Abraham's lineage produced by a promise and a miracle through faith.
  5. Through one man sin entered the world and death through sin.
  6. Just as Christ was raised from the dead we walk in newness of life.
  7. The law could not save but instead empowered sin to convict.
  8. Freed from the law of sin and death (Adamic nature) we're saved

The Scriptures offer an explanation for man's fallen nature, how we inherited it exactly is not important but when Adam and Eve sinned we did not fast.

It's not 'either way', it's the way I explained it in response to your assertion. Glossing over it like this is is not very conducive to productive discussion and makes me think you're either not understanding what is being said or don't want to admit to it?

As far as Grace is concerned, I completely understand what the Bible says about it, just not why you brought it up or made this unwarranted 'dissertation' about it?

I think it will be much more productive if we just address each other's posts succinctly rather than wander off into minefields of scripture.  Have you heard of the old expression, 'Cutting off your nose to spite your face'?  

Let's just try to deal with one issue at a time, shall we?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, StanJ said:

Well first off, I didn't reject original sin because you never broached it, you talked about sin nature and that's what I responded to.  We're not going to get very far if you keep reframing your thoughts after I respond to them. It would probably be better if you proof read what you want to post before you actually post it to make sure you're conveying what you're actually wanting to?

Maybe you don't like my approach and that's fine, the subject is total depravity at least as far was we have gone at this point.

Quote

I appreciate you quoting parts of Romans 5 but the fact is it must all be read and understood together, not as separate points to support a single concept, but in its entirety to convey the thoughts that Paul was teaching.  Paul was drawing parallels between the Old Testament / Covenant and the New Testament / Covenant. In verse 14 Paul shows that there are people that did not sin but they still suffered the consequences/ repercussions of the fall.  As far as the "no one is righteous" verses, it appears you don't really understand the context that Paul used them in Romans 3, nor how they were being used in the Old Testament.  Never-the-less, they are not applicable to what I was addressing you about.

Two natures, that was my point. Repentance is not a change of life style or behavior but a change in nature. There is only one way that happens, God must produce that in you. The earthly, carnal, sinful nature still exists but the believer has a new nature and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. I understand the context of Romans 3 perfectly fine, especially at the point of the heart of the emphasis:

 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:21-23)

Paul is quoting from the Old Testament and it's directly relevant to what we are discussing. You are incapable of repentance apart from the new nature. 

Quote

As far as repentance is concerned, I don't know why you're bringing up this lexical lesson because I did not address it, but repentance is not only a change in behavior, precipitated by a change in direction, it is also agreeing with God that what you have done is sin.

The seat of moral reflection is the heart, God must give you a new one. Behavior is the effect, grace is the cause. The lesson gets to the heart of the issue of what repentance really is.

Quote

It's not 'either way', it's the way I explained it in response to your assertion. Glossing over it like this is is not very conducive to productive discussion and makes me think you're either not understanding what is being said or don't want to admit to it?

As far as Grace is concerned, I completely understand what the Bible says about it, just not why you brought it up or made this unwarranted 'dissertation' about it?

I don't think a discussion of justification by grace through faith is unwarranted, l think it is vital. Now I may well be misunderstanding you but when it comes to repentance being grieved over sin is only part of it, you can only truly repent when God gives you new birth. The seed comes to you incorruptible, if the devil doesn't steal it away from unbelief, it doesn't get dried up under testing, if it doesn't get chocked out by the weeds of worldly care and the deceitfulness of riches it bears fruit to the glory of God. That seed becomes the new man and the one clearing, plowing and weeding the soil is God. Not you.

Quote

I think it will be much more productive if we just address each other's posts succinctly rather than wander off into minefields of scripture.  Have you heard of the old expression, 'Cutting off your nose to spite your face'?  

Let's just try to deal with one issue at a time, shall we?

Fair enough, the issue is total depravity. I'm not cutting anything off, this conversation is just getting started. Maybe I seem a little confrontational, my apologies if that is the case. I honestly believe that there is no such thing as repentance apart from new birth. When Adam ate we did not fast, just as when Levi paid a tithe through Abraham Levi paid tithes. We are cursed, we are ruined and left to ourselves we will only get worse. I have no animosity toward Arminian theology except for one major point, justification by grace through faith. That simply means that you have to come to realize that you are lost, hopelessly broken and helpless, apart from the grace of God.

Adam didn't listen to the warning not to eat the forbidden fruit, there is a simple explanation for that. He didn't believe it or do you have a better explanation?

Grace and peace,
Mark

Edited by thilipsis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, thilipsis said:

Maybe you don't like my approach and that's fine, the subject is total depravity at least as far was we have gone at this point.

Well at least you got my point and yes if you want to deal with total depravity then let's deal with it and then move on. 

40 minutes ago, thilipsis said:

Two natures, that was my point. Repentance is not a change of life style or behavior but a change in nature. There is only one way that happens, God must produce that in you. The earthly, carnal, sinful nature still exists but the believer has a new nature and is empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Repentance is a recognition of wrongdoing which includes doing a 180.  The recognition comes when one is honest with themselves and honest with God. As human beings God already gave us these innate abilities which include recognizing and repenting of our sins. For God so loved THE WORLD! Not just the Elect.

48 minutes ago, thilipsis said:

Paul is quoting from the Old Testament and it's directly relevant to what we are discussing. You are incapable of repentance apart from the new nature.

It's not relevant because it's not pertinent to this 'Total Depravity' thing unless you make it so. Your statement here totally leaves out the fact that people repented all the time in the Bible and obviously as most of it was in the Old Testament they couldn't have had this 'new nature' you refer to.  why exactly do you think God appointed John the Baptist to be the preparer of the way if nobody can repent without being born again and you even understand what it means to be born again?

I think this is enough to move on with and once we've dealt with this issue and we can move on to some of the other things you have brought up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can agree with Scripture.  So I can agree with both Calvinism's Scriptures and Arminian Scriptures, as well as Lutheran Scriptures ( which are closest to 4 point Calvinism).  

I cannot agree with Catholic, Lutheran and Calvin's soteriology which all state that salvation is by sacraments.  While they are a blessing and possibly a means of grace, they are nothing without God's Word.  And they are not a means of saving grace--that is not found in Scripture--but are a means of drawing close to Jesus.  I agree with those Scriptures that state salvation is a gift by grace through faith.  We also walk by faith not by sight, and the just shall live by his faith.  That faith is in God, His Word, His reputation (Name), His Savior  and His Spirit moving in accordance with the Scriptures.  We cannot understand Who Jesus is and all that He claims to be apart for the Bible.  True faith is founded on these things.

The problems I have are where man has gone beyond the plain truth of Scriptures to try to further define how or why God does anything.  That is philosophy, not doctrine.  

Calvinism explains theology from God's point of view, which is truth.  Arminianism explains theology from man's view, which is the reality we live in.  There is truth in both when they don't go beyond Scripture.  It is where puny man tries to outguess God that they get into trouble.  So I hotly disagree with man's explanations and things added to Scripture.  I disagree with the logic that leads to the doctrine of entire sanctification in this life.  We are made perfect when we meet Jesus, but grow to be more like Him in this life.   Nowhere in Scripture does it say there is a little spark of goodness in the natural man as Wesley maintained.  Nowhere in Scripture does it say that God chose that the majority of man to burn in hell. 

1Co 3:18  Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 1Co 3:19  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "HE CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR OWN CRAFTINESS";  1Co 3:20  and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE THOUGHTS OF THE WISE, THAT THEY ARE FUTILE."  1Co 3:21  Therefore let no one boast in men [such as Calvin or Arminius]. For all things are yours:  1Co 3:22  whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 1Co 3:23  And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

So I believe that God gave some to Jesus Who kept all but the son of perdition.  I also believe that Jesus died for all men.  1Ti 4:10  For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.  And I believe that God's grace and call of the Holy Spirit can be resisted as Stephen and others maintained.  Act 7:51  "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.  

So I am like Ezra--not a good Calvinist nor a good Arminian.  Not even the best Lutheran.  I stick to Scripture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

"The Defense of Calvinism"  a sermon by Charles Spurgeon  contains this  excerpt (It is my story too- for I actively rejected the call of the Holy Spirit well into mature adulthood:

..." I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul—when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man—that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, How did you come to be a Christian? I sought the Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment—I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, "I ascribe my change wholly to God."

 

When I ( Neighbor) was turned about it was in a personally dramatic fashion, one that made me very aware of what I was up against. 

My freewill was exercised while I was under the demand that I choose now, no more lifelong debate. Now or done. Given that I did say aloud, "If that is true I want it!" to no one present, for I was alone except for the presence of God the Holy Spirit.  Being in the presence of God (The Holy Spirit is God) makes one particularly humble and submissive, and if one is sane  I suspect they no longer deny God. To exercise my freewill to deny the call of the Holy Spirit would have required that I be insane. Perhaps I had the freewill to do so, but really.... how could I?

I instantly was born again. Didn't know doctrine one. Didn't know Calvin, from any other cat.

I knew an instant change within me, and  received a personal reminder gift. I had been a very heavy smoker, some five and a half packs a day. And yet I was no longer a smoker, I couldn't even be around tobacco. I had no cough, no withdrawals, nothing. It was personal, has nothing to do with whether one is Christian or not, but it is the daily reminder to me, and has been for some 37 years now.

Over the years I have found myself living the very facets of faith of Jesus that Jacob Arminius objected to in his revolt of 1560 against the church expressed at the Synod of Dort, and have moved ever more closely to  what Calvin embraced and later Charles Spurgeon preached with mighty power.

Knowing  nothing of any controversy-  I was fully saved, even while not even knowing the deep meaning of the term itself. Certainly before having a clue about what brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus debate ad nauseum, I was saved by God's specific call to me personally to repent, to turn about abruptly, to embrace the gift of eternal life the redemption paid by Jesus- all the things I did not even know at the time.

Yes I am a Calvinist I suppose, but what I really am is a soldier of my Lord Jesus, serving at the post where I have been placed. I do my duty as a bond-servant. I really have no other sane choice. And I love that my God first called me, even when I had no perceived need, no appreciation of him, no want of Him whatsoever, and  while I had thought I had insulated myself from any appeal from any witness giving testimony of Him.

 

 At this point in my journey as a bond-servant I find that  God is sovereign, sovereign over all nations, all kings, all persons, all things.  He has told the saints in Christ Jesus to go into all the world to share of Jesus' gospel so that many may be presented  mature in the faith of Jesus. It is in Him alone via His grace and mercy alone that the elect are saved, and He does not lose a one that  His Father has granted Him. And not by the works of any man are any saved.

 All that said I embrace my brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter their understanding, or their support  of any doctrines, of any group, denomination, or persuasion,  or academia presentation, as long as they love our Lord Jesus and proclaim Him as Lord God and savior. For then  we have solid common ground under us.

 

Praise Jesus

 

Edited by Neighbor
changed sentence structure for clarity, hopefully-
  • Thumbs Up 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/20/2016 at 10:57 PM, angels4u said:

 

I don't want to take anything away from Bobeep thread but I love to go a little deeper of what it really stands for and why you think you are Arminian or why you think you are Calvinist.

For me it's sort of a labeling because I go by what the Bible tells me and not really by what people think I should or should not believe.

I believe many of us do not really grasp the meaning of both and that's why I would like everybody's input of in which camp we belong.

I try to figure myself out but I don't think I really know what I am,I look at the 5 points and believe all of them,does this make me a Calvinist?

I also believe in a free will:

By free will , I believe God gives us all a choice to either accept or reject the gospel message.

God knows already who will reject or accept Him

.Does this make me Armenian?

Please share all you know about this topic or everything you want to ask,we're all here to learn :)

 

http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/do-arminians-preach-a-sufficient-gospel

http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/watershed-differences-between-calvinists-and-arminians

I will have to study this more tomorrow ,it's too late know and it's time to shut the computer off !!

Goodnight~~

 

Howdy, you can't believe in the five points if you believe in free will saying that the natural man can embrace the gospel.

1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

Calvinism is a theological system of Christian interpretation initiated by John Calvin. It emphasizes predestination and salvation. The five points of Calvinism were developed in response to the Arminian position (See Arminianism). Calvinism teaches: 1) Total depravity: that man is touched by sin in all parts of his being: body, soul, mind, and emotions, 2) Unconditional Election: that God’s favor to Man is completely by God’s free choice and has nothing to do with Man. It is completely undeserved by Man and is not based on anything God sees in man (Eph. 1:1-11), 3) Limited atonement: that Christ did not bear the sins of every individual who ever lived, but instead only bore the sins of those who were elected into salvation (John 10:11,15), 4) Irresistible grace: that God's call to someone for salvation cannot be resisted, 5) Perseverance of the saints: that it is not possible to lose one's salvation (John 10:27-28).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I add this to this page for people who don't really understand the difference between free will and pre- destination .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Excerpt :   The Extent of the Atonement:
Limited Atonement Versus
Unlimited Atonement

by Ron Rhodes

The following discussion of limited atonement versus unlimited atonement has been put together because many people have contacted me for more information regarding what this debate is all about - and why I (Ron Rhodes), in particular, hold to unlimited atonement.

The following discussion is intended as a brief summary. Not every argument for limited atonement has been listed; not every argument for unlimited atonement has been listed. But the major arguments for both positions are set forth in a brief fashion. I also quote from advocates of both positions.

Though I strongly believe in unlimited atonement, I have many friends who believe in limited atonement. We do not divide over this issue; neither should you.

My position is known in theological circles as "4-point Calvinism."

"5-point Calvinists" hold to T-U-L-I-P:

Total Depravity.

Unconditional Election.

Limited Atonement.

Irresistible Grace.

Perseverance of the Saints.

As a 4-point Calvinist, I hold to all the above except limited atonement.

I point this out simply because it has been the habit of some of the limited atonement persuasion to say that all who hold to unlimited atonement are Arminian in their theology. This simply is not so.

The Issue Defined

Theologian Walter Elwell summarizes the debate over the extent of the atonement this way: "Although there are variations as to the basic ways in which this subject can be addressed, the choices boil down to two: either the death of Jesus was intended to secure salvation for a limited number or the death of Jesus was intended to provide salvation for everyone. The first view is sometimes called 'limited atonement' because God limited the effect of Christ's death to a specific number of elect persons, or 'particular redemption' because redemption was for a particular group of people. The second view is sometimes referred to as 'unlimited atonement' or 'general redemption' because God did not limit Christ's redemptive death to the elect, but allowed it to be for mankind in general."

LIMITED ATONEMENTDefinition of Limited Atonement: "A reference to the view that Christ's atoning death was only for the elect."

Arguments Set Forth in Favor of Limited Atonement

The Bible speaks of a limited extent of the atonement.

The Bible says Christ died for a specific group of people - "the church," "His people," "His sheep."

Louis Berkhof says: "Scripture repeatedly qualifies those for whom Christ laid down His life in such a way as to point to a very definite limitation. Those for whom He suffered and died are variously called 'His sheep,' John 10:11, 15, 'His Church,' Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25-27, 'His people,' Matt. 1:21, and 'the elect,' Rom. 8:32-35."

UNLIMITED ATONEMENT

Definition of Unlimited Atonement: "A reference to the doctrine that Christ's redemptive death was for all persons."

Representative Passages Offered in Support of Unlimited Atonement

(Note: To clarify my position on a few of these verses, I have added some expositional text and quotations from various biblical scholars.)

Luke 19:10: "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (The "lost" seems to refer to the entire world of lost humanity, not just the lost elect.)

John Calvin says of this verse: "He uses the word sin in the singular number for any kind of iniquity; as if he had said that every kind of unrighteousness which alienates men from God is taken away by Christ. And when he says the sin of the world, he extends this favor indiscriminately to the whole human race."

Ryle similarly states: "Christ is...a Savior for all mankind....He did not suffer for a few persons only, but for all mankind....What Christ took away, and bore on the cross, was not the sin of certain people only, but the whole accumulated mass of all the sins of all the children of Adam....I hold as strongly as anyone that Christ's death is profitable to none but the elect who believe in His Name. But I dare not limit and pare down such expressions as the one before us....I dare not confine the intention of redemption to the saints alone. Christ is for every man....The atonement was made for all the world, though it is applied and enjoyed by none but believers."

John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

The Greek lexicons are unanimous that "world" here denotes humankind, not the "world of the elect."

John 3:16 cannot be divorced from verses 14-15, wherein Christ alludes to Numbers 21 with its discussion of Moses setting up the brazen serpent in the camp of Israel, so that if "any man" looked to it, he experienced physical deliverance. In verse 15 Christ applies the story spiritually when He says that "whosoever" believes on the uplifted Son of Man shall experience spiritual deliverance.

John Calvin says: "He has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term world which He formerly used [God so loved the world]; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favor of God, yet He shows Himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when He invites all men without exception [not merely 'without distinction'] to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life."

John 4:42: "They said to the woman, 'We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.'"

It is certain that when the Samaritans called Jesus "the Savior of the world," they were not thinking of the world of the elect.

Likewise, when Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world" (John 8:12), He was not thinking of Himself as the Light of the world of the elect. "The sun in the heavens shines on all men, though some, in their folly, may choose to withdraw into dark caves to evade its illuminating rays."

When Jesus called His disciples "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14), He did not mean they were the "light of the elect."

Likewise, the "Savior of the world" in John 4:42 cannot be limited to the elect.

Acts 2:21: "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Romans 5:6: "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."

2 Corinthians 5:14-15: "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."

1 Timothy 2:3-4: "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

1 Timothy 2:5-6: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men - the testimony given in its proper time."

1 Timothy 4:10: "We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."

Titus 2:11: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."

Hebrews 2:9: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."

The word "everyone" is better translated "each."

Henry Alford comments: "If it be asked, why pantos (each) rather than panton (all), we may safely say that the singular brings out, far more strongly than the plural word, the applicability of Christ's death to each individual man."

2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

1 John 2:2: "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (Note the distinction between "ours" and "the whole world.")

1 John 4:14: "And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world."

Arguments Set Forth in Favor of Unlimited Atonement

There are certain Scripture passages that seem very difficult to fit within the framework of limited atonement. For example:

Romans 5:6 says: "At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." It doesn't make much sense to read this as saying that Christ died for the ungodly of the elect.

Romans 5:18 says: "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men."

Regarding this verse, John Calvin says: "He makes this favor common to all, because it is propoundable to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all [i.e., in their experience]; 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."

Regarding the two occurrences of the phrase "all men," E. H. Gifford comments: "The words all men [in v. 18] must have the same extent in both clauses."

1 John 2:2 says: "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." A natural reading of this verse, without imposing theological presuppositions on it, seems to support unlimited atonement.

Isaiah 53:6 says: "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6).

This verse doesn't make sense unless it is read to say that the same "all" that went astray is the "all" for whom the Lord died.

"In the first of these statements, the general apostasy of men is declared; in the second, the particular deviation of each one; in the third, the atoning suffering of the Messiah, which is said to be on behalf of all. As the first 'all' is true of all men (and not just of the elect), we judge that the last 'all' relates to the same company."
---

1 Timothy 4:10 says: "...we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."

There is a clear distinction here between "all men" and "those who believe."

In 2 Peter 2:1, it seems that Christ even paid the price of redemption for false teachers who deny Him: "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves." Millard Erickson notes that "2 Peter 2:1 seems to point out most clearly that people for whom Christ died may be lost....there is a distinction between those for whom Christ died and those who are finally saved."
John 3:17 says: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

Regarding this verse John Calvin says: "God is unwilling that we should be overwhelmed with everlasting destruction, because He has appointed His Son to be the salvation of the world."

Calvin also stated: "The word world is again repeated, that no man may think himself wholly excluded, if he only keeps the road of faith."

Many passages indicate that the Gospel is to be universally proclaimed, and this supports unlimited atonement.

Matthew 24:14: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

Matthew 28:19: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..."

Acts 1:8: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Acts 17:30: "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent."

Titus 2:11: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."

In view of such passages, it is legitimate to ask: "If Christ died only for the elect, how can the offer of salvation be made to all persons without some sort of insincerity, artificiality, or dishonesty being involved? Is it not improper to offer salvation to everyone if in fact Christ did not die to save everyone?"

"How can God authorize His servants to offer pardon to the non-elect if Christ did not purchase it for them? This is a problem that does not plague those who hold to General [Unlimited] Redemption, for it is most reasonable to proclaim the Gospel to all if Christ died for all."

Those who deny unlimited atonement cannot say to any sinner, "Christ died for you." (After all, he may be one of the non-elect.)

----

"To believe that some are elect and some nonelect creates no problem for the soulwinner provided he is free in his convictions to declare that Christ died for each one to whom he speaks. He knows that the nonelect will not accept the message. He knows also that even an elect person may resist it to near the day of his death. But if the preacher believes that any portion of his audience is destitute of any basis of salvation, having no share in the values of Christ's death, it is no longer a question in his mind of whether they will accept or reject; it becomes rather a question of truthfulness in the declaration of the message."

2 Peter 3:9 says: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." How can this be if Christ died only and exclusively for the elect?

Romans 5 indicates that through Adam's act of disobedience the entire human race became the recipients of sin. And through one act of obedience the last Adam made provision for the gracious gift of righteousness for the entire human race. The disobedience of the one was co-extensive with the obedience of the other.

Scripture says that Christ died for "sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 5:6-8). The word "sinner" nowhere is limited to the elect or to the church. It is used exclusively in the Bible of lost humanity. Scripture tells us that Christ died for sinners, not penitent sinners, and for the ungodly, not for just some of them.

Seemingly restrictive references can be logically fit into an unlimited scenario more easily than universal references made to fit into a limited atonement scenario.

"The problem that both groups face is the need to harmonize passages that refer to limited redemption with passages that refer to unlimited redemption. To the unlimited redemptionist the limited redemption passages present no real difficulty. He believes that they merely emphasize one aspect of a larger truth. Christ did die for the elect, but He also died for the sins of the whole world. However, the limited redemptionist is not able to deal with the unlimited redemption passages as easily."

The two sets of passages noted earlier - one set seemingly in support of limited atonement, the other in support of unlimited atonement - are not irreconcilable. As Elwell puts it, "It is true that the benefits of Christ's death are referred to as belonging to the elect, his sheep, his people, but it would have to be shown that Christ died only for them. No one denies that Christ died for them. It is only denied that Christ died exclusively for them."
_________

To sum up, Christ did not give Himself in the atonement only for Paul, or only for Israel, or only for the church, but for all men.

Universal terms like "world" should not be restricted in contexts which speak of the atonement.

It is true that words like "all" and "world" are sometimes used in the Bible in a restricted sense. But context is always determinative. Robert Lightner comments: "Those who always limit the meaning of those terms in contexts that deal with salvation do so on the basis of theological presuppositions, not on the basis of the texts themselves."

A word study of the word "world" - particularly in the apostle John's writings, where it is used 78 times - indicates that the world is God-hating, Christ-rejecting, and Satan-dominated. Yet this is the world that Christ died for. Particularly in John's writings, interpreting "world" as "world of the elect" seems a great distortion of Scripture.

Among the scholarly lexicons, encyclopedias, and dictionaries that know nothing of the meaning "world of the elect" for the biblical word "world" (kosmos) are:

Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.

Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament.

Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

Souter's Pocket Lexicon of the New Testament.

The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

The New Bible Dictionary.

Baker's Dictionary of Theology.

Arndt and Gingrich's A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute, observes: "John the Apostle tells us that Christ gave His life as a propitiation for our sin (i.e., the elect), though not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2)....[People] cannot evade John's usage of 'whole' (Greek: holos). In the same context the apostle quite cogently points out that 'the whole (holos) world lies in wickedness' or, more properly, 'in the lap of the wicked one' (1 John 5:19, literal translation). If we assume that 'whole' applies only to the chosen or elect of God, then the 'whole world does not 'lie in the lap of the wicked one.' This, of course, all reject."

We must also ask, How can the Holy Spirit have a ministry to the whole world in showing men their need of Jesus Christ (John 14-16) if the death of Christ does not make provision for the whole world?

John 16:8-11 says: "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned."

Notice in this passage that "the world" is clearly distinguished from "you" and "your."

Yet the Holy Spirit is said to bring conviction on the world. And one of the things the Spirit convicts "the world" of is the sin of not believing on Christ (v. 9).

We are not to conclude that "the world" that is convicted of unbelief is the world of the elect, are we? (If so, then Satan, the "prince of this world" [v. 11, same context], must be the "prince of the elect.")
Calvin says of this passage that "under the term world are, I think, included not only those who would be truly converted to Christ, but hypocrites and reprobate."

Though God is completely sovereign over all things, this does not mean He brings into reality everything He "desires."

______

Consider Matthew 23:37: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." What Christ desired was not what came about.

One further example relates to Jesus, who told some Jews in John 5:34: "I say these things that you may be saved." But "saved" they were not. Why? Because Christ added in verse 40, "You are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life." Here is a clear case of "but ye would not," despite the clear offer of salvation.

"There are reasons which are based on the Scriptures why our sovereign God might provide a redemption for all when He merely purposed by decree to save some. He is justified in placing the whole world in a particular relation to Himself so that the gospel might be preached with all sincerity to all men, and so that on the human side men might be without excuse, being judged, as they are, for their rejection of that which is offered to them."

That one rejects limited atonement does not in any way mean that one lessens or diminishes the clear scriptural doctrine of the sovereignty of God.

Any who make such an allegation are simply uninformed.

"Without the slightest inconsistency the unlimited redemptionists may believe in an election according to sovereign grace, that none but the elect will be saved, that all of the elect will be saved, and that the elect are by divine enablement alone called out of the state of spiritual death from which they are impotent to take even one step in the direction of their own salvation. The text, 'No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him' (John 6:44), is as much a part of the one system of doctrine as it is of the other."

Matthew 26:28 says, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." The reference to "many" in Christ's words do not support limited atonement but rather support unlimited atonement.

One must keep in mind that earlier in Matthew Jesus had said that few find eternal life (Matt. 7:14) and few are chosen (22:14). But Christ did not say His blood was poured out for a few, but for many.

John Calvin thus declares of this verse: "By the word many He means not a part of the world only, but the whole human race."

This is the same meaning as in Romans 5:15: "For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Note that the "many" of verse 15 is clearly defined in verse 18 as "all men": "...just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men."

Notice that in this verse Paul speaks of Adam's sin, and of the resultant death coming upon all his descendants. But then the apostle goes on to speak of the grace of God and of its resultant gift (of life), abounding to the same company.

I say, "to the same company," because "the many" in the second clause of the verse is coextensive with "the many" in the first clause.

Answers to Three Common Questions

1. If Christ died for those who go to hell, what benefit have they from His death? Answer: "We may as well ask, What good did the bitten Israelites get from the brazen serpent to which they refused to look? None, of course, but God got the glory of being a God generous enough to provide for them."

2. If satisfaction has been made for all, how can any go to hell? Answer: "Though God has provided atonement for all, He has also stipulated that none get the good of it, except through repentance and faith. Deliverance from doom was not contingent on the atonement itself but on the reception of it. Men can starve in the presence of a free feast, if they refuse to partake of it."

___

Reply to Some Criticisms Made By Proponents of Limited Atonement

The charge that unlimited atonement leads to universalism is special pleading. "Just because one believes that Christ died for all does not mean all are saved. One must believe in Christ to be saved, so the fact that Christ died for the world apparently does not secure the salvation of all. Those who assert this are simply wrong."

God makes the provision of salvation for all men, but it is conditioned by faith. Thus, salvation becomes actual only for the elect, although it is potential and available to all. "Our inheriting eternal life involves two separate factors: an objective factor (Christ's provision of salvation) and a subjective factor (our acceptance of that salvation)."

Moderate Calvinists distinguish between the provisional benefits of Christ's death and the appropriation of those benefits by the elect.

Although the provision of atonement is unlimited, yet the application of it is limited.

In his book The Death Christ Died, Robert Lightner explains: "[Moderate Calvinists] believe the cross does not apply its own benefits but that God has conditioned His full and free salvation upon personal faith in order to appropriate its accomplishments to the individual. This faith which men must exercise is not a work whereby man contributes his part to his salvation, nor does faith, in the moderate Calvinist view, improve in any way the final and complete sacrifice of Calvary. It is simply the method of applying Calvary's benefits which the sovereign God has deigned to use in His all-wise plan of salvation."

God is not unfair in condemning those who reject the offer of salvation. He is not exacting judgment twice. "Because the nonbeliever refuses to accept the death of Christ as his own, the benefits of Christ's death are not applied to him. He is lost, not because Christ did not die for him, but because he refuses God's offer of forgiveness."

The electing purpose of God is not complete until the elect are in glory. Since this is true, and since the cross provides salvation dependent on faith for its reception, and since the cross does not secure salvation apart from that faith, there is no contradiction with God's sovereignty.

Unlimited atonement has been held by a majority of scholars throughout church history.

Millard Erickson points out that unlimited atonement has been "held by the vast majority of theologians, reformers, evangelists, and fathers from the beginning of the church until the present day, including virtually all the writers before the Reformation, with the possible exception of Augustine. Among the Reformers the doctrine is found in Luther, Melanchthon, Bullinger, Latimer, Cranmer, Coverdale, and even Calvin in some of his commentaries....Is it likely that the overwhelming majority of Christians could have so misread the leading of the Holy Spirit on such an important point?"

Robert Lightner addresses Calvin's position on the issue: "Those who subscribe to a limited atonement generally argue that that is the position espoused by Calvin. But it is highly debatable that he did, in fact, hold that view....Whereas some scholars have attempted to show that there is harmony between Calvin and later orthodox Calvinism, others have argued that contemporary Calvinism has veered significantly from Calvin's teaching, including his teaching on the extent of the atonement."
(The reader will recall that a number of Calvin's citations in this paper show him favorable to unlimited atonement.)

Quotations from the Early Church Fathers

Clement of Alexandria (150-220): "Christ freely brings...salvation to the whole human race."

Eusebius (260-340): "It was needful that the Lamb of God should be offered for the other lambs whose nature He assumed, even for the whole human race."

Athanasius (293-373): "Christ the Son of God, having assumed a body like ours, because we were all exposed to death [which takes in more than the elect], gave Himself up to death for us all as a sacrifice to His Father."

Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386): "Do not wonder if the whole world was ransomed, for He was not a mere man, but the only-begotten Son of God."

Gregory of Nazianzen (324-389): "The sacrifice of Christ is an imperishable expiation of the whole world."

Basil (330-379): "But one thing was found that was equivalent to all men....the holy and precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He poured out for us all."

Ambrose (340-407): "Christ suffered for all, rose again for all. But if anyone does not believe in Christ, he deprives himself of that general benefit."
He also said, "Christ came for the salvation of all, and undertook the redemption of all, inasmuch as He brought a remedy by which all might escape, although there are many who...are unwilling to be healed."

Augustine (354-430): Though Augustine is often cited as supporting limited atonement, there are also clear statements in Augustine's writings that are supportive of unlimited atonement. For example: "The Redeemer came and gave the price, shed His blood, and bought the world. Do you ask what He bought? See what He gave, and find what He bought. The blood of Christ is the price: what is of so great worth? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations?"
He also stated, "The blood of Christ was shed for the remission of all sins."

Cyril of Alexandria (376-444): "The death of one flesh is sufficient for the ransom of the whole human race, for it belonged to the Logos, begotten of God the Father."

Prosper (a friend and disciple of Augustine who died in 463): "As far as relates to the magnitude and virtue of the price, and to the one cause of the human race, the blood of Christ is the redemption of the whole world: but those who pass through this life without the faith of Christ, and the sacrament of regeneration, do not partake of the redemption."
He also said, "The Savior is most rightly said to have been crucified for the redemption of the whole world." He then said, "Although the blood of Christ be the ransom of the whole world, yet they are excluded from its benefit, who, being delighted with their captivity, are unwilling to be redeemed by it."

Quotations from the Reformers of the 16th Century

Martin Luther (1483-1546): "Christ is not cruel exactor, but a forgiver of the sins of the whole world....He hath given Himself for our sins, and with one oblation hath put away the sins of the whole world....Christ hath taken away the sins, not of certain men only, but also of thee, yea, of the whole world...Not only my sins and thine, but also the sins of the whole world...take hold upon Christ."

Philip Melanchton (1497-1560): "It is necessary to know that the Gospel is a universal promise, that is, that reconciliation is offered and promised to all mankind. It is necessary to hold that this promise is universal, in opposition to any dangerous imaginations on predestination, lest we should reason this promise pertains to a few others and ourselves. But we declare that the promise of the Gospel is universal. And to this are brought those universal expressions which are used constantly in the Scriptures."

Other people involved to some degree in the Reformation who held to unlimited atonement include: Hugh Latimer, Myles Coverdale, Thomas Cranmer, Wolfgang Musculus, Henry Bullinger, Benedict Aretius, Thomas Becon, Jerome Zanchius, David Paraeus, and, as noted earlier, John Calvin.

Quotations from Other Luminaries from Recent Church History

Philip Schaff: "His saving grace flows and overflows to all and for all, on the simple condition of faith....If, by the grace of God, I could convert a single skeptic to a childlike faith in Him who lived and died for me and for all, I would feel that I had not lived in vain."

B. F. Westcott: "Potentially, the work of Christ extends to the whole world." And "the love of God is without limit on His part, but to appropriate the blessing of love, man must fulfill the necessary condition of faith."

A. T. Robertson: [The word "world" in John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world" - means] "the whole cosmos of men, including the Gentiles, the whole human race," and adds that "this universal aspect of God's love appears also in II Cor. 5:19; Rom. 5:8."

MY CONCLUSION

In this brief outline, we have looked at both sides of the debate regarding the extent of the atonement. I believe that when one considers all the scriptural evidence collectively, the correct view is unlimited atonement.

Go Back to Downloadable Articles

The above article is an example of the quality materials produced by Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. Write us for a full listing of other available resources:

Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries
P.O. Box 80087
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was at a Bible Study session a while back and this term "Arminianism" cropped up. At first what sprang up in my mind was a place somewhere near Russia. So like a good student not to appear too ignorant and open my mouth so that people know, I'm ignorant, I kept my mouth shut and went to look it up,This is what I found which might prove useful when comparing the two concepts.I got this from "What is Arminianism, and is it biblical?gotquestions.org2019Web".Hopefully, this might prove helpful to someone else out there and hear as it does for me.However, some might not agree with this assertion.

 

"What is Arminianism, and is it biblical?"

Answer: 
Arminianism is a system of belief that attempts to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will, especially in relation to salvation. Arminianism is named after Jacobus Arminius (1560—1609), a Dutch theologian. While Calvinism emphasizes the sovereignty of God, Arminianism emphasizes the responsibility of man. If Arminianism is broken down into five points, similar to the five points of Calvinism, these would be the five points:

(1) Partial Depravity – humanity is depraved but still able to seek God. We are fallen and tainted by sin but not to the extent that we cannot choose to come to God and accept salvation, with the help of prevenient grace from God. Given such grace, human will is free and has the power to yield to the influence of the Spirit. Note: many Arminians reject partial depravity and hold a view very close to Calvinistic total depravity. (2) Conditional Election – God only “chooses” those whom He knows will choose to believe. No one is predetermined for either heaven or hell. (3) Unlimited Atonement – Jesus died for everyone, even those who are not chosen and will not believe. Jesus’ death was for all of humanity, and anyone can be saved by belief in Him. (4) Resistible Grace – God’s call to be saved can be resisted and/or rejected. We can resist God’s pull toward salvation if we choose to. (5) Conditional Salvation – Christians can lose their salvation if they actively reject the Holy Spirit’s influence in their lives. The maintenance of salvation is required for a Christian to retain it. Note: many Arminians deny "conditional salvation" and instead hold to "eternal security."

The only point of Arminianism that four-point Calvinists believe to be biblical is point #3—Unlimited Atonement. First John 2:2 says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” Second Peter 2:1 tells us that Jesus even bought the false prophets who are doomed: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” Jesus’ salvation is available to anyone and everyone who will believe in Him. Jesus did not just die for those who will be saved.

Four-point Calvinism (the official position of Got Questions Ministries) finds the other four points of Arminianism to be unbiblical, to varying degrees. Romans 3:10–18 strongly argues for total depravity. Conditional election, or election based on God’s foreknowledge of human action, underemphasizes God’s sovereignty (Romans 8:28–30). Resistible grace underestimates the power and determination of God. Conditional salvation makes salvation a reward for work rather than a gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8–10). There are problems with both systems, but we see Calvinism as more biblically based than Arminianism. However, both systems fail to adequately explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will—due to the fact that it is impossible for a finite human mind to discern a concept only God can fully understand."


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...