John Piper on Limited Atonement

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Sonoftheday, Dec 13, 2007.

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  1. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    As Matthew Poole notes in I Timothy 4:10, God is the preserver of life for all men. There is no common grace found in that life of a lost man? Like the rain falling on the just and the unjust?
     
  2. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    I believe part of the difficulty is that Piper in the quoted piece is inconsistent...while including Owen's
    summary (a masterful piece!) he also argues for Christ's death as effecting some other things apart from
    salvation for the elect. He seems, at this reading, to go beyond what Owen wrote and argue for Christ's
    dying in some sense for all men.
     
  3. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    This was why I said that sometimes unnecessary comments are made about brothers in Christ. Whether it's about the brother himself, what he believes, or his ministry. If I was too harsh in my comment then I ask for forgiveness. I'm not sure of a better way of putting it. It is true - (See the "Piper is down" thread).
     
  4. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    I gather you're not seeing my point, so I'll stop :deadhorse:

    I fail to see how it is merciful of God to keep a man alive who is not elect - to give him further opportunities to condemn himself and stoke the fires of His wrath through his sins. Sin begets sin; it is itself punishment - and the longer a non-elect person lives, the longer he lives in the deadness and darkness of his sin-filled mind. I just cannot see this as in any way mercy to him. My last word on this - it's clearly not sinking in.
     
  5. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    The action is a mercy; there is no basis for saying God is "being merciful," or expressing a disposition of mercy. If earthly favours really did flow from a disposition of mercy in God then we should call them blessed who prosper at their will and welcome the prosperity gospel with all its carnal attractiveness. But even if one were to say God shows a disposition of mercy, whence would one derive the idea that this mercy is grounded in the death of Christ? It's fictitious. Any generalisation of the death of Christ serves to undermine the particularity of grace and to throw the believer's assurance into confusion.
     
  6. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks for the post, brother. You say it's clearly not sinking in. So, obviously I need to get it right.

    Jesus Christ says the Father, "maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." I believe that is a merciful Creator that does so. Not salvific mercy, but mercy nonetheless.
     
  7. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    Here is where Piper states his case:
    He MAY very well be wrong. Romans 2:4 makes a pretty strong argument that a lost man despises the goodness and forbearance and longsuffering of God. Piper believes that is based upon the cross of Christ. Perhaps it is fictitious in your thinking, but obviously not in his.
     
  8. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Whether it's fictitious or not should be fairly easy to determine. What evidence is there in holy writ for claiming earthly favours as the fruit of Christ's death? Nil. If there were such evidence it would turn the heavenly orientation of the Christian life on its head.
     
  9. BLD

    BLD Puritan Board Freshman

    My wife and I have sat under Piper's preaching for the last 4 1/2 years. For three of those years I've occasionally expected that his weird take on the law, which seems to border on New Covenant Theology, would make his preaching on justification and the atonement obviously unorthodox. This has not happened. Piper's preaching on the atonement, as far as I see it, is obviously orthodox. I'm confident that an examination of his sermons in the last ten years would substantiate my claim. The claim my be further strengthened when we consider the fact that the only theologian he's more versed in than Edwards is Owen.
    Regarding the alleged poison of view on the atonement: I can certainly see the validity of what both sides have brought up here. I have no doubt that great harm would come to the person who followed Piper's view of the law to its logical conclusion. I've voiced this to the elders at Bethlehem. But I've never seen it come out in his articulation of justification or the atonement; not in his preaching or his writing. I humbly ask anyone who thinks otherwise to bring forth some better evidence because anything brought forth thus far could have been said by Durham or Boston or the Marrow Men, in fact, they said much more radical things when discussing the atonement than Piper.
     
  10. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Both Durham and Boston upheld a simple design of the atonement. Both men's writings have regrettably been misinterpreted to present a general reference. That misinterpretation is based on a misunderstanding of what is meant by saying that Christ died for sinners as a class. Those seeking to find a general reference in this terminology think that what is done for a class must be applicable to every individual which belongs to the class. This is a fallacy, and fails to take into account an important distinction in these theologians' writings between the death of Christ as unconditionally purchasing the benefit of salvation and the death of Christ as conditionally preached to sinners as such.
     
  11. BLD

    BLD Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree completely. I'm almost done reading Lachman's thesis on the subject, which was quite good. I guess I really have no idea how your last posted added anything to the discussion. I mean no disrespect. I'm just left thinking, "well...yeah, of course."
     
  12. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    This would be the particular thought I was seeking to correct: "in fact, they said much more radical things when discussing the atonement than Piper." Obviously they didn't, if you agree with the summation of their position which has been provided. Piper allows for a dual design of the atonement whilst Durham and Boston maintained a single design.
     
  13. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    I'm writing this late at night, very tired and in some physical pain, so if I seem uncharitable please bear with me.

    As I read the above, Piper seems to be arguing that the benefit Christ's death provides for unbelievers is that it allows God to remain just while providing common grace to those who are not Christ's sheep, an action that (if Christ's death had not occured) would make God unjust. A question for those taking issue with Piper on the point: does Owen in "Death of Death" specifically deny that Christ's death is the foundation for common grace and if so, where is his argument found? (Chapter and/or page numbers in the Banner of Truth Edition appreciated).

    To say that Christ died to justify God from the otherwise true charge of being unjust when he offered common grace instead of immediate death and hell to those who would ultimately end in hell is not to at all to say that Christ died for those in hell. Piper is saying the former not the latter.

    Nor does Kennedy's argument apply to Piper for Kennedy is not considering Christ's death in relationship to sustainining the righteousness of God. And although Piper's argument is non-Confessional it is not anti-Confessional. I wonder whether Piper's specific argument was known to the Divines of the day; the Divines do not seem to have Confessionally defined how God could remain just without immediately destroying the wicked.

    I also don't see why it is inconsistent to argue that Christ's death achieved salvific mercy for the elect for the elect and common grace for the non-elect. Cannot the one action achieve the two results especially since it allows God to remain just while postponing or averting the punishment due ungodly sinners?

    And if any deny that common grace for the non-elect is grounded in the mercy of God, I ask, where else can you ground it without making God unjust for not punishing non-elect sinners with immediate death?
     
  14. BLD

    BLD Puritan Board Freshman

    A single design with respect to who the atonement redeems? If that's what you meant, which is how I read it, then yes. I'm thinking I read you wrong though. I apologize and I think we disagree. I'm now wondering how you would read this paragraph from David Lachman's The Marrow Controversy (Edinburgh: Rutherford House, 1988), 33:

    So isn't Durham saying something different than what you're saying? The proper design of the atonement is the redemption of the elect, no one is saying Piper disputes that, right? But in an improper sense, sine qua non, Christ's death can be seen to cause the glad tidings of the gospel preached to all. Piper, and I think Durham, would take issue with you if you deny the second statement. Are you denying it?
    Again, I apologize for not understanding you. I thought, at first, you might have been claiming that Piper denies the sufficient/efficient idea.
     
  15. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    In Durham's view, as with all orthodox divines, there are temporal benefits which follow the death of Christ, but not as the fruit of Christ's death. It is simply that these benefits are given to elect and non-elect alike in the purpose of God, and this purpose as a whole centres upon the death of Christ. It would be more correct to say that the death of Christ is the occasion of these temporal benefits rather than the cause of them. But since Durham denies these benefits are the fruit of Christ's death, his single intention view of the atonement remains intact. Piper, however, has said that Christ's death accomplishes something with relation to all men in general which makes it possible for God to "treat the world with mercy." Hence temporal benefits do not merely follow, but are the fruit of Christ's death, thus introducing a dual intention in the atonement.
     
  16. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Kennedy's argument pertains to the double reference theory, which supposes Christ died to make possible the salvation of all as well as to secure the salvation of the elect. Piper maintains Christ's death not only secures the salvation of the elect, but also that it means God can mercifully give unbelievers an opportunity for salvation. That is the double reference theory which Kennedy contradicts. Yes, Piper is considering the righteousness of God, but it is in the specific context as to how God can be righteous in making salvation possible for all men, and the answer is to be found in the death of Christ, according to Piper.

    As for Owen, he states quite clearly, "To me nothing is more certain than that to whom Christ is in any sense a Saviour in the work of redemption, he saves them to the uttermost from all their sins of infidelity and disobedience, with the saving of grace here and glory hereafter." (Works, 10:192.)
     
  17. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    His position is NOT Amyraldianism. It's the same position that the Synod of Dordt held - Christ's sacrifice is of infinite value - enough to purchase the whole world if it were so intended to do, without Christ having to spend one additional second on the cross.

    *shaking my head*

    When will the Piper-bashing stop ?
     
  18. BLD

    BLD Puritan Board Freshman

    So...I suppose then you're not saying anything different than Durham, but you still want to say something different than Piper, though I don't think you are. I guess I'll leave it at that. But it does seem like things cause things in different ways and we should have no problem throwing the word "cause" in there, we just need to be careful. Perhaps Piper has not been as careful as we would have liked here. Either way, an "occasion" is still a cause, if even an improper one.
     
  19. BLD

    BLD Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, it is certainly shoddy historical scholarship to call it Amyraldianism, just like it would be to call it Arminianism or Socinianism. These were real errors (in the case of the former) and real heresies (in the case of the latter) that sharpened the position of the orthodox. If someone is willing to throw any of those labels on Piper's view of the atonement it calls into question, I believe, their own understanding of it, simply because it appears they don't know what it is not. It would help if we keep history in mind when we use historical terms.
     
  20. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    When it comes to soteriology I go with Gill not Piper.
     
  21. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think Rev. Winzer's earlier answer was that God is not doing the non-elect any favors by keeping them alive and letting them heap more and more judgment on themselves. It could be considered a form of punishment in itself.
     
  22. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    I doubt Piper holds the same position as Dort, but that's besides the point. What we need to do then is define Amyrauldism. I define it as "hypothetical universalism" "Sufficient for all, efficient for the elect" "COnditional salvation upon faith" Perhaps I am incorrect in the definition I use. We are constantly seeing this word thrown around, accusing some of adhering to it, then they are defended as not saying the same thing. It is very confusing. Now some may say,"It cannot be narrowly defined" Well it can. So let's not get into 50 diferent understandings of Amyraulidism. Anything that speaks of universal benefits for all head for head is unscriptural, no matter what you call it. If Piper says this, well he is unscriptural..PERIOD. ANyone who attaches the death of the elect's savior, the one who would not even pray for the world head for head, yet say in some sophist, mysterious way, He died for them is wrong. It could be Piper, Calvin, Witisius, Edwards, Spurgeon, etc etc etc.
     
  23. Sonoftheday

    Sonoftheday Puritan Board Sophomore

    http://www.desiringgod.org/download.php?file=/media/audio/seminars/tulip_l_lecture.mp3

    This is the link to the message he delivered. If I somehow miss represented the argument he delivers here please correct my understanding. I love John Piper and regardless of his posistion on this one doctrine he is godly servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. My intentions in starting this thread were in no way to bash Piper or even Amyraldianism (whatever that is), but to see how his position (as I understand it) aligned with that of the reformers.

    The whole TULIP series can be found here.
    Seminars :: Desiring God Christian Resource Library
     
  24. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    No it cannot achieve 2 results. Just as Adam did not immediately die, the reprobate do not either. The rain and sun shining on all is not tied to the cross.
     
  25. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    This argument fails to distinguish between things that differ. Piper is not saying that the opportunity for salvation that is given to reprobate men is a potential salvation of those men as the double reference theory argues. Instead, as the rest of his message makes clear, Piper is explicit that the saving benefits of the cross are for the elect and no one else. His use of preaching that offers salvation to reprobate sinners is just one of several illustrations of God's kindness toward reprobates.

    Something is wrong here. Either there is a division in the Godhead at this point (unthinkable) or Owen is contradicting the apostle Paul who in 1 Timothy 4:10 wrote that God is "the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." Their must be a non-salvific sense in which God is the Saviour of all reprobates because all reprobates are included in "all men". Piper is justifying how God can be the saviour of that group of men which do not believe.
     
  26. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    That is good he is not saying that. Man can proclaim Christ to all head for head indiscriminately, yet in no way does God proclaim salvation for the reprobate. The foundation is wrong with this thought. For some reason, those who propose this think that unregenerate men can respond to Christ proclaimed, when scripture is clear they will not nor cannot. It is never the case that a person can respond savingly, and be left out of the kingdom. The preaching of Christ just hardens the reprobate more and more and more.

    Especially is a bad translation. It should be "Namely" Paul is just emphasizing the intent of Christ towards His sheep.
     
  27. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    God, we are told [loves] His enemies... and... is kind to the wicked" ()Luke 6:55,56). If this is not an illustration of the mercy of God to unbelievers, why did Christ adduce it as if it was? And where can such mercy be justified without destroying God's righteousness except by the cross? Is there some other means by which God can justify a delay in punishing the sins of the reprobate and if so what is it? If you can't answer we are left with an unjust God.
    Let me explain the problem in more detail.
    God is just, right? I am sure you will say "Right?"
    He has announced to mankind that "If you sin, you die" right? "Right"
    But he lets moments, days, weeks, years or even decades go by before that that punishment is executed, right? "Right"
    And, as the writer of Eccliesiastes realized "When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong" (Eccl. 8:11).
    OK then why is God not unjust for temporarily passing over the sins of the reprobate?
     
  28. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    FOr a brief answer becasue I have a metting. Immediate death is NEVER spoken of in scripture as a result of sin. God's sentence of eternal death is prescribed for the reprobate. HE has no forebearance towards them. WHy would it make God unjust to let them live this temporal life? IT makes no sense whatsoever to claim that since God does not immediately destroy the reprobate, there must be some benefit derived from the cross of Christ. God is not bound by anything. He dos as He pleases to whomever and however. In David's imprecatory pslams, throughout the whole writ, people complain on why the wicked are allowed to live and continue in their wickedness. The Holy Spirit had ample time to speak of some benefits from a sacrifice. Yet He does not even implicitly say as such. In John's Revelation, the elect are begging God to vindicate them. Yet God does as He will. In due time it is revealed what happens to the reprobate
     
  29. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    John Kennedy (Man’s Relation to God):

    This seems like a broad brush stoke. Have you found this to always be the case?

    John Kennedy (Man’s Relation to God):

    :amen:
     
  30. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    In which Greek dictonary do you find "namely" as a possible tranlsation for malista? The possibility is not even mentioned in BAGD and given that the root mala means "very, exceedingly" and the suffix ista makes it a superlative, i.e. "most of all" or "above all" (Liddell Scott), (LS's possibility "precisely" is not a good description of the usages they cite. A better meaning is "exactly" as in "What exactly is the matter." i.e. the samples provided do not require a more narrow and focused stament of the matter than what has already been given). In view of these facts and the problem that your reading makes Paul contradict himself in the same breath, your interpretation is highly unlikely.
     
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