Some Things That “Limited Atonement” Does Not Mean:

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Monergist, Jun 25, 2002.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
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    Over and over I see objections being raised to this doctrine that are not based upon a proper understanding, but rather a misconception. Can we clear up some things?

    Limited Atonement does not mean that God will ever refuse anyone who calls upon Him. The Bible plainly teaches that this is not the case at all. “ For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."” Romans 10:13 (ESV). “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 (ESV). There is no need for an argument against this doctrine based on a portrayal of people begging God for salvation, with God unwilling to hear and forgive: that argument is absurd.

    Limited Atonement does not mean that evangelism is unimportant since God will save those He has chosen anyway. Evangelism is important because our Lord commanded it, and that’s really as far as any argument about the matter needs to go. While God has not revealed to us the identity of His elect, He has revealed to us His instrument in bringing His elect to Himself- namely, the gospel. A proper understanding of this doctrine empowers our evangelistic efforts and gives real hope to our prayers for the salvation of others. (Btw, I find it rather ironic that in Southern Baptist circles, the many opponents of Calvinism often portray us as lazy and indifferent in our evangelism, when according to outgoing SBC president James Merritt, over 95% of SB’s have never shared their faith. Go figure!)

    Limited Atonement does not mean we can never have assurance of salvation because we can never be sure we are one of the elect. John was very distinct in his gospel concerning the extent of the atonement (John 6:37, 6:44, 15:16, 15:19, 17:2, 17:9), yet he wrote “ I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13 (ESV).

    Limited Atonement does not mean that God’s saving work is somehow limited in its purpose. Actually it is the “Un-limited Atonement” view that limits the atonement, since it becomes apparent that view doesn’t allow the possibility that Christ’s death actually saved anybody! The atonement becomes “limited” in that is not sufficient to save unless man does something. The Biblical, Calvinist view is “unlimited” in the sense that there are no limits on the sufficiency of Christ’s work to save to the uttermost. As Spurgeon put it, the Calvinist sees the atonement as a narrow bridge that goes completely over the chasm between God and man, while the Non-calvinist sees a wide bridge that only goes halfway across.

    Last of all, the doctrine of Irresistible Grace does not mean that God forcibly saves someone against his or her will. He never drags someone kicking and screaming into the kingdom. Rather the Bible speaks of God “making us alive” when we are dead. The problem with this argument is that those making it don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word “dead.” …Even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— Ephesians 2:5 (ESV). And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, Col. 2:13 (ESV).

    [ June 25, 2002, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: TimothyW ]
     
  2. KenH

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    Amen and amen. Preach on, brother, preach on!!

    Ken :D

    [ June 25, 2002, 10:12 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     
  3. Brutus

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    absolutely right on brother!!!!! :D :D :D
     
  4. tyndale1946

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  5. ForumChaplain

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    Amen... Well almost anyway..
    Thou shall have no other God before me, this is also a command: Is it’s only significance in our lives the fact that God commanded it. How about, love thy neighbor as thyself; no intrinsic value save God commanded it. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, without these commands, would the status quoi remain the status quoi.

    All of God’s commands have meaning and purpose in our daily lives, why should evangelism be any different. I am in no way suggesting disobedience, but to me your comments have the appearance of suggestion that God was on a roll giving out commands and just went over and gave one command that is without intrinsic value in his relationship with man.

    Your conclusion reminds me of a time right out of high school, I got a job operation a grinding machine. Boss came out one day and asked if I was finished with a job, and I said yes. He then asked me how many parts had I finished. I told him three hundred twenty five.. He said, how could you have finished three hundred & twenty five parts when there was only three hundred to begin with. I told him that I was going so fast that I did not realize that I had ran out of parts, by the time I realized that there were no more, I had finished an extra twenty five.

    The potency of atonement is not determined by how many avail themselves of it. Just a the potency of medicine is not determined by whether one takes it or not. Yet it’s ability to heal certainly is.

    Mr. Spurgeon was and is wrong. As a non Calvinist myself, I see no such thing…

    Rom 3:10-16
    As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways:

    Considering the doctrine of total depravity that you subscribe to, would you say that they came running, asking; what must I do to be saved. If they did not resist, would you say that they came willingly. What do you think happened when God made them willing. Were they not irresistibly overpowered. How were they made willing so that God overpowering them was not necessary….

    Dead in our sins and trespasses means that we are totally unable to save ourselves. It does not mean that we are totally unable to respond to the prompting of God’s holy Spirit.
     
  6. KenH

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    How can you simply come up with your own definition of the word "dead"? Doesn't dead mean...dead?

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite
     
  7. BobRyan

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    False advertisement - and circular reasoning.

    Limited Atonement "means" that INSTEAD of "So loving the World" - God only "So loved the FEW of Matt7 and then CALLED that - So loving the World".

    Limited Atonement means that only those arbitrarily select few of Matt 7 CAN call upon the Lord - so "of course" all who call upon the Lord are atoned for --

    And here is the "real beauty" of limited atonement, as described in this Calvinist eutopia of the future...

    (Now come on you guys - you know what is coming.. yes - its that unnaswerable quandry for Calvinism)

    In Christ,

    Bob

    [ October 01, 2002, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: BobRyan ]
     
  8. ForumChaplain

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    Well Ken:
    That certaintly clears things up... Dead does mean dead...

    Yet we were dealing with a phrase instead of a single word. Does dead also mean, dead in your sins and trespasses? Dead in your sins and trespasses could be accurately paraphrased thus, "seperated from God through our sins and trespasses. Gotta look at death a little differently here dontcha? Or is "dead", still just dead?

    Essentially, the word "dead" describes a condition of seperation. Physical death, soul and spirit seperates from the body. Spiritual death, we are seperated from God.

    So we have physically dead is dead, and we have spiritually dead is dead.

    So, hopefully; as you can now see, dead requires a little more understanding than, "dead is dead". We can be spiritually dead, and be dead: And we can be physically dead, and still be dead.

    So, is the scripture talking about physically dead in your sin and trespasses,(which produces a corpse) or is it talking about spiritually dead in your sin and trespasses? (Which does not produce a corpse.)

    So as you can see, one that is physically dead, is dead; and one that is spiritually dead, is dead: Yet each have a different set of problems. Physically dead men seldom talk, spiritually dead men seldom shut up.

    Hope that helps a little bit..

    Chappie said that.
    A Christian..

    [ October 06, 2002, 07:48 PM: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  9. Ray Berrian

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    Inability to come to Christ is a misnomer. The Apostle John says in his fourth chapter of first John, verse 14 ' . . . that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.' None of us would ever think that the cosmos that we stand on needs Jesus, so one is to believe that He died for individuals who were and are sinners in this world that He speaks about. If sinners were restrained as the non-elect, He would not have hypocritically invited them to come to the Cross to receive everlasting life.
     
  10. KenH

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    So both sides can muster evidence that man is unable or that man is able? Will the truth please stand up?

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite
     
  11. ForumChaplain

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    Here ya go;
    The word of God, the gospel, the power of God unto salvation. So then, faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. In response to the Gospel, it is within the realm of possibility for all men to come to Christ.

    So what we have here is more than a misnomer, it is a mistake.

    Chappie.
    A Christian...
    No other affiliations.....

    [ October 03, 2002, 01:25 AM: Message edited by: Chappie ]
     
  12. KenH

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    I would certainly agree that the only thing that hinders anyone from coming to Christ is their sin. If man had the natural ability to come to Christ, then yes, it would be possible for all men to come to Christ.

    However, no non-Calvinist has yet made a convincing case, Scripturally, that all men either have the natural ability to come to Christ or that all men are supernaturally given this ability by God.

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite
     
  13. Paul of Eugene

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    from Ken:
    a "convincing case scripturally" is surely, like beauty, in the eyes of the beholder. It might consist of a verse like this:

    John 1:11-12 He came unto his own, and his own received Him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
     
  14. ForumChaplain

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    Smoke screene.
    Not even the issue... The issue is that all men are drawn.
    Chappie
    A Christian.
    No Other Affiliations.

    [ October 03, 2002, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: Chappie ]
     
  15. ForumChaplain

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    a "convincing case scripturally" is surely, like beauty, in the eyes of the beholder. It might consist of a verse like this:

    John 1:11-12 He came unto his own, and his own received Him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Speaks of the glorification of those that are saved. Says nothing about how salvation is effected in the first place.

    All that i am convinced of is that the scripture is applied in a context in which it was not given. "His own", neither deals with freewill nor election, this scripture is revlant only after the fact of salvation..

    Can I get a wittness?????

    [ October 03, 2002, 11:27 AM: Message edited by: Chappie ]
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    Why didn't you quote v. 13 as well?
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    Actually, this is quite the issue we contend. All men are not savingly drawn as is evidenced by the fact that not all men are raised up at the last day (John 6:44). John 12 is very easily explained by the context. The Greeks have requested to see Jesus but Jesus, for some reason, does not permit them to. He has ministered largely to the Jews exclusively. In John 12:32, he is saying that when he is lifted up he will draw men, not simply the Jews. Hence the context seems to indicate all nations rather than simply Jews. I must admit that early on this verse was a real struggle for me and for a while I let the tension stand. However, in further thinking and studying the whole chapter (rahter than lifting one verse out of it), I have come to the conclusion that this is indeed the proper interpretation. John 6 is simply too clear.
     
  18. KenH

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    Amen, Pastor Larry. [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, when clear truth bumps up against preconceived ideas in the evangelical world, often the waters are muddied up in order to keep the preconceived ideas in place, rather than simply accepting the truth that is plain as the nose on the person's face laying there on the page.

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite [​IMG]

    [ October 03, 2002, 01:35 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     
  19. KenH

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    Can anyone say in all honesty in their dealings with people that all of the people that they interact with are being drawn to Christ? Isn't it the fact that most people(currently) are repulsed when they think of Christ, hate Christ, want nothing to do with Christ Jesus?

    Ken
    A Spurgeonite
     
  20. Sovereign Grace

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    If every man without exception is drawn, perhaps you could interpret I Corinthians 1:26-31.

    "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

    Or perhaps you could interpret Matthew 11:25-26.

    "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."

    In John 6:44, "draw" (Gr., helkuo or helko) by no means can be interpreted "to beg" or "to plead." The word is interpreted "to draw by inward power, lead, impel." The drawing is effectual, for "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (Jn. 6:45) Pastor Larry is absolutely right; John 6 is too clear.

    In regards to John 12:32, I agree Jesus was referring to the Gentiles, the other sheep not of the Jewish fold Jesus said that He must bring (Jn. 10:16). Ephesians 2:13 teaches this.

    "Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were wthout Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

    The Song of Solemon 5:2-4 beautifully illustrates the drawing of the people of God.

    "I sleep, but my heart waketh: [it is] the voice of my beloved that knocketh, [saying], Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, [and] my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? My beloved put in his hand the hole [of the door], and my bowels were moved for him."

    At first, the woman says that she cannot approach her beloved. When her beloved puts forth his hand, her bowels are moved for him; The yearning for him becomes yet stronger. In 3:3, the woman asks the watchmen of the city, "Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?" There is no reply recorded from the watchmen, for they cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God; They cannot know them. The woman is being drawn by inward power to him whom her soul loves. This is the effectual working of the power of God, not "trying," but accomplishing that with which He is well pleased.

    "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (Jn. 6:37)

    [ October 03, 2002, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: Sovereign Grace ]
     

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