Martin Luther on the atonement

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by examiningcalvinism, May 14, 2007.

  1. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    I am convinced that John Calvin and Martin Luther were 4-Point Supralapsarians, meaning that they held a belief in an unlimited atonement, though also with a Hard Deterministic, symmetrical Double Predestinationist perspective. Nevertheless, in terms of Unlimited Atonement, I offer the following for your review:

    Martin Luther: "The Gospel supplies the world with the salvation of Jesus Christ, peace of conscience, and every blessing. Just for that the world abhors the Gospel." (http://blueletterbible.org/Comm/martin_luther/Gal/Gal001.html)

    Martin Luther: "Why does the world abhor the glad tidings of the Gospel and the blessings that go with it? Because the world is the devil's. Under his direction the world persecutes the Gospel and would if it could nail again Christ, the Son of God, to the Cross although He gave Himself into death for the sins of the world." (http://blueletterbible.org/Comm/martin_luther/Gal/Gal001.html)

    Martin Luther: "Isaiah declares of Christ: "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." We have no right to minimize the force of this declaration. God does not amuse Himself with words. What a relief for a Christian to know that Christ is covered all over with my sins, your sins, and the sins of the whole world." (http://blueletterbible.org/Comm/martin_luther/Gal/Gal003.html)

    Martin Luther: "All the prophets of old said that Christ should be the greatest transgressor, murderer, adulterer, thief, blasphemer that ever was or ever could be on earth. When He took the sins of the whole world upon Himself, Christ was no longer an innocent person. He was a sinner burdened with the sins of a Paul who was a blasphemer; burdened with the sins of a Peter who denied Christ; burdened with the sins of a David who committed adultery and murder, and gave the heathen occasion to laugh at the Lord. In short, Christ was charged with the sins of all men, that He should pay for them with His own blood." (http://blueletterbible.org/Comm/martin_luther/Gal/Gal003.html)

    Now some may suggest, "Well when Luther spoke about the world, he meant the whole world of the elect."

    If so, then consider this statement: "Here someone may be tempted to call the Christians crazy. Deliberately to court danger by preaching and confessing the truth, and thus to bring upon ourselves the hatred and enmity of the whole world, is this not madness? But Paul does not mind the enmity of the world." (http://blueletterbible.org/Comm/martin_luther/Gal/Gal005.html) Additionally he says: "And this is our glory today with the Pope and the whole world persecuting us and trying to kill us." (http://blueletterbible.org/Comm/martin_luther/Gal/Gal006.html)

    Calvin sounds similar to Luther in this respect, and Calvin's quotes are found in abundance on my website. This is not just one or two off-handed references. I'm talking about a library of quotes from Calvin. Ironically, in some of the pet verses in which the 5-Pointer raises issues, not only does Calvin not reflect their 5-Point views, but also even refutes them, as Matthew 1:21 particularly comes to mind.

    http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/files/Gospels/Matthew1_21.html

    Here is a link to a 4-Point Calvinist, Roh Rhodes. (Most 5-Pointers have absolutely no idea whatsoever how Unlimited Atonement can be reconciled with the Calvinist doctrine of Unconditional Election.)

    http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/files/RollCall/Rhodes.html
     
  2. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
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    I'd pause from giving either Luther or Calvin the label "supralapsarian." They both predated the debate over the divine decrees, so as nice as it is to speculate it's an anachronistic label for both of them. Calvin has passages that imply a universal atonement/particular redemption and others that do not. I'm not sure why you care about either person's positions. Other 16th-century Reformers clearly held to universal atonement/particular redemption like Bullinger and Musculus, but that's neither here nor there.

    Why does this thread exist? There have been not a few discussions about atonement here with "4-pointers" airing their opinions (I am among them). Is this another mechanism to get traffic to your site?

    PS-If your site still says that Lutherans are a Reformed, calvinistic denomination, then you really need to change that out of respect for Lutherans.

    BJ
     
  3. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    In terms of lumping Lutheranism in as Calvinistic, I'm trying to briefly introduce readers to a perspective on "who" typically teaches Calvinism. Obviously some branches of Baptists (hardshells, primitive, ect), and the Presbyterians and Lutherans have each professed Unconditional Election, Monergism and Preterition. So I lumped them all in together as having that common bond, in contrast to the Arminian denominations of evangelicalism.
     
    #3 examiningcalvinism, May 14, 2007
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  4. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
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    What? Lutherans hold to the Westminster Confession? Where did you hear that? Do your homework before launching a website.
     
  5. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    By the Westminster comment, I was referring to Calvinists and Lutherans sharing the Unconditional Election portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
     
  6. StefanM

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    Southern Baptists are not Arminian. Most have Arminian tendencies, but Southern Baptists do not believe one can lose/forfeit salvation. There is also a significant minority of Calvinists within the SBC.
     
  7. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
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    Here's what I have an issue with from your site's front page:

    [FONT=Georgia, Times, serif]Calvinism is perhaps the central theme of what is known as “Reformed Theology.” Presbyterians and Lutherans are prominent denominations of Calvinistic, Reformed Theology.[/FONT]

    Lutherans do not participate in "Reformed theology" and are not a prominant denomination of "Calvinistic, Reformed Theology." Yes, Lutherans believe in unconditional election, but not the same way that Reformed people do, and besides "Reformed theology" is more than merely affirming unconditional election. This is sloppy on your part.

    Why not contact some Lutherans to get set straight before speaking for them on the Internet?
     
  8. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    Stephan

    Arminianism has a wide umbrella that also includes Classical Arminianism, which includes an affirmation of Total Depravity. Also, if you will recall, the Remonstrance was explicitly neutral on the point of Eternal Security. I am a Classcial Arminian of the Molinistic variety and who professes Eternal Security, rather than Perseverance of the Saints or Conditional Security. What I offered in the intro of the website was not intended to be comprehensive.
     
  9. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    Bcj

    I was trying to give a very brief overview, in order to provide readers with the denominations that hold to Calvinism. I will trying to rework that intro.
     
  10. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
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    Thanks, I'll help you out if you want someone besides Presbyterians. Why not include the Reformed Church, you know the continentals. They don't hold to Westminster, but do hold to the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism. Then you can have two denominations that really do hold to Reformed theology (though they're not that rabid on matters of soteriology and stuff that gets argued here, but officially they believe it).

    Two major branches in America are the RCA and CRC.
     
  11. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    Bcj

    Thanks, I'll update the website when I get home.
     
  12. Rippon

    Rippon
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    Reformed Churches hold to the Three Forms of Unity . They are : the Belgic Confession , Heidelberg Catechism and Canons Of Dortdrecht ( Dort ) .

    The PRC certainly is strong on soteriology .There are a number of Reformed denominations that are not strictly Presbyterian such as the Evangelical Reformed , and Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregations .
     
  13. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    I made a revision. Like I said, my desire is merely to give a very brief overview of which denominations that teach Calvinism, with Presbyterians and Lutherans being two most well-known.

    http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/index.html

    Does anyone dispute whether Calvinism is the central theme of Reformed Theology? After all, Sprugeon argued that Calvinism was the central theme of the Gospel.
     
  14. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
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    Ok, nevermind. I'm not sure what you "revised." :BangHead:
     
  15. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    Bcj

    Look again, because I did make a revision, and as shown below, where I've set up the last two statements as True/False. (I can do an article that will deal with the matter more fully, but as an intro, all I have to work with is one paragraph, and with it, I want to introduce some foundational points.)

    I say true. Spurgeon called Calvinism the central theme of the Gospel. If Calvinism is not the central theme of Reformed Theology, then what is its central theme?

    Again, I say true. Of course Lutherans teach Calvinism, though perhaps as 4-Pointers, as Monergistic sub or infra lapsarian Preteritionists. Again, the purpose is to give two readily identifiable denominations of Calvinism, just as, in contrast, I had given two readily identifiable denominations of Arminianism (granting that Arminianism is broad) being Southern Baptists and Methodists. I'm not saying that there aren't Calvinists in the SBC. Again, the purpose of the intro is to provide a factual overview, not an exhaustive thesis.
     
    #15 examiningcalvinism, May 14, 2007
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  16. Allan

    Allan
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    Being a SBC and knowing many pastors therein, I can say the SBC is NOT Arminain in the Soterology since one must adhear to all it points to be so called.
    If you used the 'broad' view with Calvinism most would be called Calvinists as well.
    Methodists do hold to Arminianism but Southern Baptists do not. They might hold a couple of views of differing persuations but now you are trying to mix and match.

    If you are simply saying C and A only views then all non-reformed and Calvinistic churches are "A".
    But if you are speaking theologically (refering to soterology), you need to re-check your statement because the SBC as a whole makes NO claims as being Arminian.

    Now since the SBC is only a grouping of Churches that are working together, there may be some Churches IN the grouping that hold to those views but on the whole regarding those things we the Churches agree on scripturally, Arminian Soterology has never been so named.
     
    #16 Allan, May 14, 2007
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  17. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    Sbc

    Would you consider former SBC president, Adrian Rogers, as being an Arminian? Certainly not, yet functionally, he was one. As a backdrop, "Arminian" was a label that was assigned to me by my Calvinist brothers when I left their fold, and I have kept it ever since, and became especially confortable with it, when I learned about who Arminius was, and what he taught. Classical Arminianism is precisely what Adrian Rogers teaches, though he may not adopt its name, and I feel that he truly exemplifies the SBC, along with Johnny Hunt, Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson. Each of these individuals would not dare profess the "Arminian" label, yet each teaches just that, especially considering that Classical Arminianism was NOT a movement of Conditional Security (refer to the Remonstrance), and which DID affirm Total Depravity and the necessity of Prevenient Grace, in contrast to Calvinistic Irresistible Grace. So if you are talking about "labels," then I agree with you. But if you are talking about "functionality," then I have to disagree with you.

    Click on the link to the Calvinist Gadfly and tell me which category you find Jerry Falwell, Ergun Caner, Charles Stanley and Hank Hanegraaf: http://www.calvinistgadfly.com/

    None of them would confess to being "Arminian," and yet the Gadfly accurately diagnoses them as functionally "Arminian." That's precisely why I listed the SBC as an Arminian denomination.
     
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  18. Brandon C. Jones

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    False: Lutherans don't teach "calvinism." That's what I've been trying to tell you. Do you not know the differences between what Lutherans believe and what you call "calvinism?"

    BJ
     
  19. examiningcalvinism

    examiningcalvinism
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    Are you saying that Lutherans don't teach Unconditional Election?, that they don't teach Preterition?, that they don't teach Monergism?, that they don't teach Irresistible Grace? (Yes/No?)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheranism

    Clearly, Lutherans are here shown to believe in Preterition, just as that last statement affirms, which many Calvinists, like Spurgeon, Sproul and MacArthur, similarly profess in agreement with Lutherans. Therefore, I confidently stand by my answer that Lutherans teach Calvinism. The only way that you could deny this, is by reducing "Calvinism" to one narrow focus that Lutherans are here shown to reject. Yet, the fact is that Calvinism is a very broad theology, covering sublapsarians, infralapsarians, supralapsarians, Single Predestinationists, Double Predestinations, ect, ect. Calvinism is broad, and Lutherans very much have a place at its table, just as I've accurately stated on the intro of my website.
     
    #19 examiningcalvinism, May 14, 2007
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  20. Brandon C. Jones

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    Your point being? Let Lutherans define their own teaching, and trust me they do not view themselves as "calvinistic." They have a different nuance of things than Reformed orthodoxy on the points you bring up.

    Why are you determined to give them a label that doesn't fit them? Furthermore, why are you determined to arbitrarily define the label "calvinism?"
     

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