Is Limited Atonement that hard?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by CIT, Nov 21, 2008.

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  1. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation


    I hope not.
    I think so, too. Which is why I think we should, at least, continue to demonstrate and advocate our understanding to the Lutherans. I think this belief opens up the possibility to all kinds of horrible and scary stuff. Fortunately, I can praise God that the Lutherans have and still are able to walk that tightrope whereby they maintain their teaching on atonement, and yet still hold to orthodox, evangelical truth. They've walked the tightrope well. Of course, it would be better if they didn't have to walk that tightrope and just became reformed...
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  2. TheFleshProfitethNothing

    TheFleshProfitethNothing Puritan Board Freshman

    It is not necessarily a question of whether I think one is saved is JUST my point. It is what doctrine do they hold to...I would be quite happy to see that the people I partake of the Lord's Supper with, believe as I, (which is confessional), and that being in the Canons of Dordrect. (Though I have put the WCF as my main confession on PB)

    I would Sup with ANYONE professing to hold to this confession, regardless of mode of baptism, or other such disagreements. If one Agrees to the SAME gospel...I, by agreeing to partake of Communion with them, show my agreement with them, we worship the same Christ Spirit and Truth.

    Now, whether the others be saved now, or to be saved in the future, I leave to the foreknowledge and sovereignty of I consider such ones not saved, as in Lutherans...I have to confess; that by default, I would say the simple action (or rather no action) in participation of their Holy Eucharist.

    Are they saved or not? Well, ask yourself which of those Romanist you would partake of the Supper with...would you partake with the Antichrist mentioned in the WCF?

    I really think, that sooo many have their own "criteria" of who, or whom they have "fellowship" with...I speak for myself, and tell NO ONE; not one person, that they SHOULD NOT, fellowship with what I might term an unbeliever. Yet people have been thinking I have...Did I tell anyone NOT too? I believe I said (in another like-thread) you must pray about it and go with the Leading of the Spirit.

    So, whether I believe someone dead in trespasses and sins is moot, in regard to what others might believe. I'm just simply expressing what I know, and letting the person who opened the thread, decide for their self.

    If it's getting personal, as in, others feel I am attacking anyone in anyway...I will try to explain better, but, at this point I see no reason to apologize for any statements I have made, and hope it challenges others to think: that's pretty much it.

    Yes. Keep ON growing in the Grace and Knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ! There is the Elementary teachings...then there is MORE!

    God Bless His Elect
  3. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Lutheranism would say the teaching of Scripture can be held paradoxically, and won't be too interested in sorting out logical inconsistencies.
  4. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Some would argue that the Reformed doctrine of predestination is paradoxical.

    How is the Lutheran view paradoxical whereas the Reformed view is not?
  5. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    God ordains sin, but God is not the author of sin -- can be logically reconciled by showing that He did not ordain sin as sin, but as an action, and the sinfulness of the action proceeds from the creature.
  6. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Is it this last logical step that Lutherans are unable/unwilling to take?

    After reading "Bondage of the Will", I don't think Luther himself would have any difficutly with what you have said.
  7. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    For what it is worth, my biggest hurdle was the 'Irresistability of the HS' peice. And this was/is true for many that I know. The fact that Christ atoned for the sins of those who only go to heaven is perfectly logical. But growing up in a liberal mainline denom, the thought that people did not have a choice in the matter was very difficult to accept.
  8. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I was the same way. I even developed the idea that God chose to enlighten only a select few from before the foundations of the world, but man still chose to accept or not once enlightened. I was trying to hold on to my upbringing.
  9. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation


    I don't get it. Why did you ask me which Roman Catholics I would eat the supper with? Lutherans aren't Roman Catholics... They profess the same gospel that we do. And they're not Roman Catholics...

    Also, I'm not so sure that the decision of with whom we will "condescend" to eat the supper is really ours; we don't administer the supper. The minister does. And if he is ready to distribute the supper to one, I think it would be wrong to withdraw ourselves from the ordinance on that account.

    Seriously, though, I think your standards as to who is and is not a Christian are just a tad high... "A believer is one who accepts Dort; everyone else, well, I won't tell people not to have fellowship with them, but I'm pretty sure they're damned if they reject Dort." That's just some steep criteria that leave out countless souls who have labored in the name of Jesus and who have trusted in his righteousness alone.

    This is not to say that those teachings of the Canons of Dort are not important; of course they are, and I am glad that you accept them fully and are zealous for their truth. I think you might be overextending their power, however; it is not confessional subscription which saves, but faith in Christ. And people who have such a faith can have false understandings of certain things. Not every error of creed excludes one from the benefits of Christ. I fear that such teaching turns us away from reliance upon Christ and causes doubt among simple believers: "Do I really believe everything correctly enough to go to heaven?" This is not right. We seek to understand because of our faith of life in Christ; we do not have faith because we understand all things rightly. One flows from the other, and I think you're reversing the order. Let us never exclude those from whom Christ died by making them they cannot be saved until they first understand more than Christ and the apostles themselves said was required for faith, and so drive people to trust in something other than Christ.

    Grace and peace,
  10. TheFleshProfitethNothing

    TheFleshProfitethNothing Puritan Board Freshman

    Again, I didn't call Lutherans Romanists...though I might give it some thought, I was ACTUALLY refering to an example of what one believes. If you believe a Romanist partakes of the Lord's Table as Transubstantiation, would you want other's around you to believe that you also accept it as transubstantiation?

    And perhaps my "standards are a bit high"...but then, I am supposed to have higher standards... my quote from last post..."Now, whether the others be saved now, or to be saved in the future, I leave to the foreknowledge and sovereignty of I consider such ones not saved, as in Lutherans...I have to confess; that by default, I would say the simple action (or rather no action) in participation of their Holy Eucharist." I won't take of the bread and wine at a Lutheran Church...sorry if that offends someone here, but, I can't help being offensive I guess.

    If I am in a reformed church and an Arminian attends and hears the doctrine of election preached that particular Lord's Day and questions it, I will answer him honestly, and to the point as possible making it as simple to understand as possible. Now, whether he/she returns the next Lord's Day is a matter of their heart. Now, same in another situation; you go to an Arminian Church, and you ask the preacher what was the substance of his message this morning? Or even, I would like to ask you a few questions concerning your view of Election as laid out in have a not too brief conversation, and he get steamed, even to the point he desires you NOT return to his Church...would it be proper for you to have had the elements that Lord's Day, with a person who desires you NOT associate with their congregation?

    I mean, there is serious meaning in the bread and the wine, and all that they represent, and I just wonder what it is that makes it so? Is it about fellowship in the one Christ? or is it fellowship with some "other" Christ? I don't know...I'm getting worried about the whole state of the present church to begin with, and just see the NEED for a higher keep the standard and God will increase HIS church as He gives.

    Someone said I would be a verly lonely man if I kept up this high standard thing...I don't mind...I would be in good company...if anyone can recall some very lonely people in Scripture...who held to a "pretty high standard". Lastly, I don't get all tough guy with people who don't get it...or whatever, it's not up to me, OR them whether they is up to me to preach/teach, to be ready to answer, etc...and I am generally kind, in my responses...I usually can tell who HATES the doctrine of Christ, and who just really, hasn't heard it yet.

    Anywho...have some things to attend to before the day is over...
  11. Gloria

    Gloria Puritan Board Sophomore

    Same here. I'd been taught that he died for "all" so it was hard to wrap my mind around the truth of limited atonement. Shortly after the L "dropped" as I call it, I became a belligerent little thing. Thank God for gracious people and a blog I read on "the cage stage." Settled me down, quite nicely.
  12. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    You may find helpful the classic book about this deep biblical truth by John Owen, "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ."

    The introduction to the book by JI Packer is a superb summary of the subject as well.

    One of the beautiful things about the "five points" is that these doctrines of grace, when fully understood, necessarily relate to and are dependent on one another. God is indeed sovereign- and gracious.
  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The paradox is maintained by Lutherans by not allowing sin to be fore-ordained. Luther was not Lutheran in various ways.
  14. kamaujackson811

    kamaujackson811 Puritan Board Freshman

    Does anyone know of a successful defense against John Owen's double payment/double jeopardy argument of John Owen.

    Some speakers in the John 3:16 conference attempt to distinguish between a "legal" debt and a "moral" debt.

    They claim that Christ paid the legal debt to the Father, but we still have to pay the moral debt through faith.

    Hodge's attempted refutation: Calvin and Calvinism » Blog Archive Charles Hodge on the Double Payment / Double Jeopardy Fallacy

    I believe the conclusion comes down to the perspective from which we view the problem.

    If God lives outside of time, would it be fallacious to assume that He has always seen us as His children in some sense before belief and our sins had already been placed upon Christ at the very moment of the atonement. All this, because we have been elected to salvation. And therefore, it is impossible for us to have never believed.

    Are we justified from birth from our perspective? No.
    Are we justified from birth by God's eternal perspective? Maybe.

    In other words, the sins we committed in unbelief, before belief, had already been placed upon Christ. To suggest that it were possible for the elect, who momentarily by nature is a "child of wrath," to have never believed, would be to undermine the sovereignty of God in election. To even consider such a thing is foolishness, because it isn't plausible.

    When Paul states in Ephesians 2,

    "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."

    Is it possible to assume that Paul's description is representative of what the elect where by nature, rather than the eternal personhood of the elect.

    "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." (Jer 31:3)

    That while we were yet "objects of wrath" from our perspective, our Father drew US in love because of His eternal decree.

    Now, can the above position be found in scripture and defended against Hodge? I don't know....anyhow, I was simply making an argument for the sake of an argument.
  15. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    The simple fact is whether it actually IS harder to believe or not, more people get hung up on the dreadful L than all the other points, so YES it must be harder for people to accept for some reason.

    I think the reason is because modern sentiments think that all anger and hate is evil and perhaps most people are tired of the venom that comes out of religion and so they are confused when the NT speaks of Jesus' anger or God's hatred and they want a "kindler, gentler" theology.
  16. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    I have heard that the doctrine of the limited atonement is the doctrine that offends people the most. However, if you listen to some people, especially those who are antagonistic to Calvinistic soteriology, you would think that they are equally offended by all five points of Calvinism.

    I have a question about those who believe that Christ actually made a real atonement for everyone and at the same time believe that not everyone will be saved. Do they believe that the penalty for sin is paid for twice- once when Jesus died and again when some people go to hell?
  17. ManleyBeasley

    ManleyBeasley Puritan Board Junior

    The issue isn't with people having choice. People do make a choice when they repent and trust Christ. The issue is the cause of the choice. Man does not repent or believe because he doesn't want to; he is a slave to his wicked wants (desires). One huge part of regeneration is that God gives man a new, greater desire for God and righteousness. Man always chooses according to his greatest desire so when grace is given he desires God and consequently chooses Him.
  18. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    One of the things that I think stumbles people greatly is the fact that people who are not elect actually do NOT want to serve God and be subject to Him. They in fact willingly go to Hell because they will not bring themselves to fully submit to Him. People often just don't believe this is possible, and that ultimately I think because they don't really grasp the depth of the depravity of one who is dead in trespasses and sins.
  19. PresbyDane

    PresbyDane Puritanboard Doctor

    I admit upfront that I have not read all the threads so sorry if I repeat something already said.

    I heard it said like this:
    Both views of the atonement are limited, the difference is in what you choose to limit.
    Either only a few are chosen and God safes all of them, that means limited in the people chosen.
    Or God chose everybody but the work Christ did is not actually able to do it alone, people have to help, in chosing God, and this sets a limit to Christ work.

    I will rather have model a than b.
  20. SpokenFor

    SpokenFor Puritan Board Freshman

    I came across a wonderful Hip Hop CD by Shai Linne called "Atonement" that everyone should listen to. I don't listen to hip hop as a general rule, but I often have this CD cranked up in my ipod because it is sound, biblical truth. Here are the lyrics of a song, Mission Accomplished, that really made the concept of limited atonement clear for me.

    Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
    For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
    By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
    The question concerns those for whom Christ died
    Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
    Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
    Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
    Biblically, each of these must be denied
    It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
    But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
    If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
    And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
    And hell is the place you eternally reside
    That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
    But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died

    Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
    Working as a unit to get things done
    Our salvation began in eternity past
    God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
    A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
    When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
    The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
    To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
    The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
    The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
    The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
    The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
    Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
    And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
    The Father and the Spirit- completely unified

    If we can agree that the election of the Father is not universal,
    And the regeneration of the Holy Spirit is not universal,
    Why would the atonement of the Son be universal?
    That would put the persons of the trinity completely at odds with one another,
    But the triune God is completely unified.

    My third and final verse- here’s the situation
    Just a couple more things for your consideration
    If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
    With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
    So many think He only came to make it possible
    Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
    What about those who were already in the grave?
    The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
    Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
    But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
    That we must do something to give the cross its power
    That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
    That man-centered thinking is not recommended
    The cross will save all for whom it was intended
    Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
  21. discipulo

    discipulo Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you for that unexpected poem, I must say that I don’t like hip hop and I have great concerns for this younger generation. I may even get a bit cranky at times, thinking that there is not any more moral fibber left from former centuries.

    But that song's poem reminded me that the Lord is God, from generation to generation.

    Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise (…)
    as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

    Joshua 1:1,2,5

    Concerning the topic, even if not close to the depth John Owen reflected on this vital doctrine, I find the late Greg Bahnsen stated it in a very clear and practical way (a good reminder of what he really believed and stood for).

    "A very unhealthy notion that plagues the fundamentalist church is the idea that Christ laid down his life for each and every individual; that he went to the cross to save all men without exception. Such a view is not consistent with Biblical Christianity. Sometimes a person will acknowledge the total depravity of man, unconditional election of God the Father, prevenient grace of the Spirit and yet deny the particular redemption of Christ; such a position is known as "fourpoint Calvinism" and is as inconsistent as it is unorthodox(…)

    Particular redemption is the only triune, monotheistic, substitutionary, personal, effectual, and biblical (hence, orthodox) doctrine of Christ's atonement; all else (including fundamentalism's redemption for every individual) are doctrines pleasing to men but unsatisfactory in their Theology, anthropology, and soteriology. Sola Scriptura!"

    Greg Bahnsen
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  22. Cranmer1959

    Cranmer1959 Puritan Board Freshman

    This is exactly the excuse that Amyraldians use. Jesus' death on the cross is sufficient for the sins of the whole world. On the face of it this seems like the correct view. However, the Bible never promises salvation to all men without exception. In fact, the Bible says that salvation is only for those who believe. Thus, the elect are called out of the mass of sinful men among every tribe and nation of the earth. Jesus only laid down his life for the sheep. And Jesus came to save His people from their sins. I used to think that this meant He only came for Jews. But that is not what Matthew 1:21 meant at all! In fact, Matthew 4:15-16 quotes Isaiah 9 to show that Jesus had in fact come for the Gentiles, too. And if there is any doubt, one cannot ignore Luke 2:29, which is recited in the Nunc Dimittus of the Evening Prayer Service in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. "LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared : before the face of all people; To be a light to lighten the Gentiles : and to be the glory of thy people Israel."

    The Israel of God is the church, according to Paul in Galatians 6:15-16. So "His people" clearly shows that Jesus gave Himself for the church! Ephesians says the same thing. Jesus laid down His life for the church (Ephesians 5:25). So if the Bible limits the atonement to the church, we also should limit it to the church (Acts 20:28). And if the Bible limits the atonement to the sheep, we also should limit the atonement to the sheep: John 10:11. 1 John 2:2 must be interpreted in the light of these other Scripture references.

  23. kamaujackson811

    kamaujackson811 Puritan Board Freshman

    I have that CD and it's awesome; it's biblical, reformed, and God-centered.
  24. kamaujackson811

    kamaujackson811 Puritan Board Freshman

    Most certainly, but that is why they hold the John 3:16 conference after all. If that is their attempted refutation of John Owen's double payment argument, then they suggest that we are the savior of our own souls.

    Which, by the way, is not only Arminian but also Satanic.

    BTW, the part you quoted is not my thought....that's a position held by participants in the John 3:16 conference. Sorry, I wasn't sure where you were coming from exactly....
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