Conversations on Particular Redemption

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Andy T., Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Andy T.

    Andy T.
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    Like I have said, 99% of my thoughts are unoriginal. This is no different. Below are two dialogues between an unbeliever and one who holds to Particular Redemption and one who holds to Universal Atonement. This was written by an internet acquaintance of mine named John. He and I participate on another forum. Here is his post:

    These two little scenarios are the best way I can demonstrate how incomprehensible it is to me that someone needs to have a hypothetical atonement that he's free not to believe in before he can actually believe.

    Since we all agree that the one who will believe has his atonement objectively up there on the cross, this whole discussion really boils down to the one who will never believe. That's what the Calvinist is having to justify to the Universal Atonist--that there is an objective atonement up there that we can objectively offer to the one who will never believe. Of course, I think it's absurd to even want to do that, since God's elective decree works hand in hand with His gift of regeneration.

    Here's the way I see the issue between the Particular Redemption view and the unbeliever, which hopefully will demonstrate my problem with this whole line of thinking:

    REPROBATE: Is my objective redemption up there on the cross?

    JOHN: Do you believe it is?

    REPROBATE: No.

    JOHN: Well, redemption is for those who believe. Believe and you will be saved.

    REPROBATE: Well, I don't believe. I don't want to believe. I never plan to believe. But I still want to know if my redemption is up there.

    JOHN: Redemption is for those who believe. Believe and you will be saved.

    REPROBATE: Okay, what about the possibility of my redemption. Is that up there?

    JOHN: Yes, it is. If you truly believe, you will be saved. And as far as I know, it's quite possible that you will believe.

    REPROBATE: I already told you I will never, EVER believe. But is the possibility of my redemption there anyway?

    JOHN: No, there is no possibility of redemption if you will not believe. But yes, if you believe, you will be saved.

    REPROBATE: No, you don't understand. What I want to know is: can I never believe and still have my salvation objectively up there? That's what I really am dying to know.

    JOHN: Well, as I said, redemption is for those who believe. I'm having trouble understanding. Are you asking me if a savior in whom you do not believe provided a real, objective redemption for you? To me, that's sort of like saying you don't believe in unicorns, but you just have to know what their meat tastes like.

    REPROBATE: Hmmmm. No, not exactly. I'm asking if the metaphysical possibility of my redemption through faith exists anyway even though I will never actually have faith and be redeemed.

    JOHN: Why in the world would you care about such a thing if you don't believe and are determined not to believe?

    REPROBATE: I have no idea. Idle speculation, I guess.

    JOHN: Well, I'm not really into idle speculation. I can tell you this: believe and you will be saved. It's been nice talking to you.

    ___________________________________________

    On the other hand, here's how I see the discussion between the universal atonement advocate (labeled "UA," who desperately wants to convince the unbeliever that Christ died for him), and the unbeliever who will never believe (since, as I said, we all agree that the atonement is objectively there for the elect):

    REPROBATE: Is my objective redemption up there on the cross?

    UA: Yes.

    REPROBATE: Whoo hoo! I'm saved! Even though I don't believe in Christ.

    UA: No, not quite. You still have to believe it to be saved.

    REPROBATE: Why do I have to believe it? If my redemption is objectively up there on the cross, then I'm saved objectively whether I believe or not.

    UA: Well, no. It's a hypothetical redemption. Everything necessary for salvation is up there on the cross. It's up to you to take it.

    REPROBATE: Well I don't want to take it. I'll never want to take it. I'm a reprobate, after all. But I appreciate at least having a concrete object for my eternal non-faith, even though I don't actually believe that the concrete object exists. I find it epistemologically satisfying. Thanks.

    UA: You're welcome.
     
  2. Bill Brown

    Bill Brown
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    Andy, do you mind if I move far away from you for a bit? I took a look outside and the line of Arminians that are "locking and loading" to respond to your hypothetical is stretched around the block.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Andy T.

    Andy T.
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    [​IMG] That's alright, I can always just blame it on John - he's the one who wrote it anyways!
     
  4. 4His_glory

    4His_glory
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    Nice post Andy, but I am with Bill, and I don't have any body armorer so I better not stand to close to you.
     
  5. J.D.

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    Andy that's brilliant. I pray that they'll get it.

    If I'm understanding that correctly, what's happening here is that the reprobate finds great comfort in knowing that salvation is readily available IN SPITE OF his unbelief. Yes?? This would be set against the gospel of a J. Edwards that wrought great terror in the hearts of the reprobate, and true repentance in the hearts of the elect, where ever it was received. If this is so it would explain the failure of modern evangelism to change the world in spite of astronomical numbers of professions of faith. Am I on the right track on this?
     
  6. J.D.

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  7. Andy T.

    Andy T.
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    If I'm understanding that correctly, what's happening here is that the reprobate finds great comfort in knowing that salvation is readily available IN SPITE OF his unbelief. Yes?? This would be set against the gospel of a J. Edwards that wrought great terror in the hearts of the reprobate, and true repentance in the hearts of the elect, where ever it was received. If this is so it would explain the failure of modern evangelism to change the world in spite of astronomical numbers of professions of faith. Am I on the right track on this? </font>[/QUOTE]Yes, the whole point of the dialogue is to show that the UA's ultimate concern is that the [eternal] unbeliever's salvation is always held as a real possibility. Every Evangelical agrees that the the believer's sins are atoned for on the cross - that, we all agree on. So really the UA's beef is that the unbeliever's sins are also really atoned for. The dialogue shows the absurdity of such thinking.

    But the thing that Calvinists need to remember (else we fall into Hyper-Calvinism) is that we don't know who the elect are and we don't know who Christ died for. As far as we are concerned, it can be any unbeliever that we know, so we plead with them to be reconciled with Christ. And that is what the first dialogue shows.
     

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