Archive for the ‘definite atonement’ Category

Arminianism cannot hold to penal substitution

December 19, 2011

A spillover from Calvinism into Arminianism has occurred in recent decades. Thus many Arminians whose theology is not very precise say that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Yet such a view is foreign to Arminianism, which teaches instead that Christ suffered for us. Arminians teach that what Christ did he did for every person; therefore what he did could not have been to pay the penalty, since no one would then ever go into eternal perdition. Arminianism teaches that Christ suffered for everyone so that the Father could forgive the ones who repent and believe; his death is such that all will see that forgiveness is costly and will strive to cease from anarchy in the world God governs. This view is called the governmental theory of the atonement.

J. Kenneth Grider, “Arminianism” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Walter Elwell, ed., (Baker, 2001), p. 97.

NB Grider is an Arminian. He understands that Arminianism cannot hold to penal substitution without falling into the problem of double jeopardy – if Christ actually took away the sins of all then all must be saved. Arminianism really says that Christ make salvation possible not actual.

What does ‘limited atonement’ mean?

November 15, 2011

What does ‘limited atonement’ mean? When a Calvinist uses the term, it means. it means ‘Christ’s intention in His death was the perfect and substitutionary atonement of all of His elect’ The scope of His work is in perfect harmony with His intention, which is the salvation of His elect people who are entrusted to Him. It makes no sense for Christ to offer atonement for those the Father does not entrust to Him for salvation. Obviously, a person who does not believe the Father entrusts a particular people (the elect) to the Son has no reason to believe in particular redemption. But since it is His intention to save all those given to Him by the Father (John 6:37-39), He bears their iniquities in His body on the tree in their place. B.B. Warfield is correct when he asserts that the substitutionary aspect of the work of Christ on the cross is ‘as precious to the Calvinist as is his particularism, and for the safeguard of which, indeed, much of his zeal for particularism is due.

The Potter’s Freedom (2nd ed.) , James White, 2009, p.231-2

Christ’s death does not make the salvation of sinners a mere possibility

November 15, 2011

In its simplest terms the Reformed belief is this: Christ’s death saves sinners. It does not make the salvation of sinners a mere possibility. It does not provide a theoretical atonement. It requires no additions, whether they be the meritorious works of me or the autonomous act of faith flowing from a “free will.” Christ’s death saves every single person that it was intended to save.

The Potter’s Freedom, James R. White, Calvary Press Publishing, 2000 p. 230.

I know there are some who think it necessary to their system of theology to limit the merit of the blood of Jesus: if my theological system needed such a limitation, I would cast it to the winds

November 18, 2009

I know there are some who think it necessary to their system of theology to limit the merit of the blood of Jesus: if my theological system needed such a limitation, I would cast it to the winds. I cannot, I dare not allow the thought to find a lodging in my mind, it seems so near akin to blasphemy. In Christ’s finished work I see an ocean of merit; my plummet finds no bottom, my eye discovers no shore. There must be sufficient efficacy in the blood of Christ, if God had so willed it, to have saved not only all in this world, but all in ten thousand worlds, had they transgressed their Maker’s law. Once admit infinity into the matter, and limit is out of the question. Having a Divine Person for an offering, it is not consistent to conceive of limited value; bound and measure are terms inapplicable to the Divine sacrifice. The intent of the Divine purpose fixes the application of the infinite offering, but does not change it into a finite work. Think of the numbers upon whom God has bestowed His grace already. Think of the countless hosts in Heaven: if thou wert introduced there to-day, thou wouldst find it as easy to tell the stars, or the sands of the sea, as to count the multitudes that are before the throne even now. They have come from the East, and from the West, from the North, and from the South, and they are sitting down with Abraham, and with Isaac, and with Jacob in the Kingdom of God; and beside those in Heaven, think of the saved ones on earth. Blessed be God, His elect on earth are to be counted by millions, I believe, and the days are coming, brighter days than these, when there shall be multitudes upon multitudes brought to know the Saviour, and to rejoice in Him. The Father’s love is not for a few only, but for an exceeding great company. “A great multitude, which no man could number,” will be found in Heaven. A man can reckon up to very high figures; set to work your Newtons, your mightiest calculators, and they can count great numbers, but God and God alone can tell the multitude of His redeemed. I believe there will be more in Heaven than in hell. If anyone asks me why I think so, I answer, because Christ, in everything, is to “have the pre-eminence,” and I cannot conceive how He could have the pre-eminence if there are to be more in the dominions of Satan than in Paradise. Moreover, I have never read that there is to be in hell a great multitude, which no man could number. I rejoice to know that the souls of all infants, as soon as they die, speed their way to Paradise. Think what a multitude there is of them! Then there are already in Heaven unnumbered myriads of the spirits of just men made perfect—the redeemed of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues up till now; and there are better times coming, when the religion of Christ shall be universal; when—

“He shall reign from pole to pole,
With illimitable sway;”

when whole kingdoms shall bow down before Him, and nations shall be born in a day, and in the thousand years of the great millennial state there will be enough saved to make up all the deficiencies of the thousands of years that have gone before. Christ shall be Master everywhere, and His praise shall be sounded in every land. Christ shall have the pre-eminence at last; His train shall be far larger than that which shall attend the chariot of the grim monarch of hell. Some persons love the doctrine of universal atonement because they say, “It is so beautiful. It is a lovely idea that Christ should have died for all men; it commends itself,” they say, “to the instincts of humanity; there is something in it full of joy and beauty.” I admit there is, but beauty may be often associated with falsehood. There is much which I might admire in the theory of universal redemption, but I will just show what the supposition necessarily involves. If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine be true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins.

Once again, if it was Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood. That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Saviour died for men who were or are in hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all the sons of men, and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves, seems to conflict with all my ideas of Divine justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities. God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the just and wise and good! There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer—I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual
condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no
Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one “of whom the world was not worthy.” I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.

Charles Spurgeon

Christ died for us personally and individually not abstractly – Thomas Goodwin

October 16, 2008

Obs. 5.—Fifthly, I make this observation from hence likewise: That God in his love pitcheth upon persons. ‘For the great love wherewith he loved us,’ saith he. God doth not pitch upon propositions only; as to say, I will love him who believeth, and save him, as those of the Arminian opinion hold; no, he pitcheth upon persons. And Christ died not for propositions only, but for persons; he knows his sheep by their names: Jer. 31:3, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love;’ and, Rom. 11:7, ‘The election hath obtained it, and the rest were hardened.’ My brethren, God loved us distinctly, and he loved us nakedly; let me express it so in a word:—
He loved our persons distinctly; that is, singling out and designing whom. Not only so many, —I will love so many of mankind as shall fill up the places of the angels that fell, as some have imagined,—but he sees who they are distinctly. The Lord knows who are his; the text is express: ‘Jacob have I loved,’—he names him,—’and Esau have I hated.’ ‘Rejoice not,’ saith Christ, ‘that the spirits are made subject unto you, but that your names are written in heaven.’ In Exod. 33:19, where God saith, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,’ he speaks it upon occasion of having peculiar mercy to Moses; and therefore the Apostle pertinently quotes it in Rom. 9:15, for election of persons.
And, secondly, he loved us nakedly; he loved us, not ours. It was not for our faith, nor for anything in us; ‘not of works,’ saith the Apostle; no, nor of faith neither. No, he pitcheth upon naked persons; he loves you, not yours. Therefore here is the reason that his love never fails, because it is pitched upon the person, simply as such. I will love such a one, let his condition be what it will be; if he fall into sin, I will fetch sin out of him again, that I may delight in him. The covenant of grace is a covenant of persons, and God gives the person of Christ to us, and the person of the Holy Ghost to us; he chooseth our persons nakedly and simply as such.

http://www.puritansermons.com/goodwin/good02.htm