John Piper on Limited Atonement

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

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  1. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Let us not get involved in a dispute about words. Paul admonishes those who do. To translate it "namely" is proper according to Zodhiates. But just to solidify this thought.

    Act 25:26 Of 4012 whom 3739 I have 2192 no 3756 certain 804 thing 5100 to write 1125 unto my lord 2962. Wherefore 1352 I have brought 4254 0 him 846 forth 4254 before 1909 you 5216, and 2532 specially 3122 before 1909 thee 4675, O king 935 Agrippa 67, that 3704, after examination 351 had 1096 , I might have 2192 somewhat 5100 to write 1125 .

    Paul uses the same word here. You, thee, specially are ONLY connected to Agrippa.
  2. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Can we once and for all determine how to define Amyrauldism? I do not believe we can continue until we do this.
  3. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    First, there is no bashing here. Nothing has been said to attack his character. As noted earlier, this pertains to teaching. The teaching of ministers is a matter of public record, and there ought to be public accountability for it. In the early church a prophet was to deliver his message and the others were to judge. The idea that a man's teaching cannot be scrutinised is a denial of ministerial accountability.

    Secondly, Dort's doctrine of sufficiency doesn't accomplish anything for all men with relation to the justice of God. It is only intrinsic with regard to its own value. Piper claims the death of Christ has made it possible for God to be just in giving all men the opportunity to be saved. Hence it is not mere sufficiency, but is also effective in some way, producing actual results for all men.
  4. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    An occasion is not a cause. A cause prooduces something. An occasion is simply the context within which something happens. Durham does not say that Christ's death produced results with regard to all men. Piper does. There is the difference. Durham has a single intention and Piper a dual intention doctrine of the atonement. The orthodox doctrine is single intention, and the Amyraldian doctrine is dual intention.
  5. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    "Opportunity for salvation" is explicit and clear. The mercy of God gives this opportunity, and it can do so because of Christ's death. The statement is not complicated. It introduces a second reference into the atonement with relation to all men in general. This is precisely what Kennedy opposes. Besides the fact that Piper introduces the concept of the moral government theory into the nature of the atonement, which the quotation by Hugh Martin effectively combats.

    First, I find it strange that you are defending a view as orthodox and then objecting to the orthodox position in doing so.

    Secondly, Jesus Christ the God-man is the Saviour of God's elect alone. God considered in His essential nature is said to be the Saviour of all in the same sense that He says, Isa 43:11, "I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour." The only reason this distinction would prove a difficulty is if one thought that the incarnation wasn't necessary.
  6. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    A. A. Hodge (The Atonement, 375, 376):

  7. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    So, what is the proper exegesis of II Peter 3:9?

    By the way - I have been considering your arguments all day, and I can see what you are trying to say. I'm still not convinced Piper is teaching Amyraldism though. Hence, my problem with calling what he teaches poison. I don't have a problem with calling a doctrine poison, but when one claims that someone is teaching that doctrine then the claim is that the preacher is a spewer of poison. That's what I took exception with.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007
  8. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    For 2 Pet. 3:9, see my review article on Murray's Free Offer of the Gospel at

    I don't think it would be moderate to say that Piper is a "spewer of poison." Men are fallible and it's merely a matter of humility to recognise that we all have the capacity to espouse teachings which seem good to us but we don't really grasp the consequences of them.
  9. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    John Gill:

    What do you think about Gill's exegesis?
  10. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    Fair enough. I apologize to both you and Todd Pedlar if I offended you.
  11. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior


    That is basically how Piper teaches it. I'm not sure about the "two wills" appendix in Desiring God. It's been a while since I read it. I'll have to go back and read it again.
  12. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2007
  13. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

  14. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    :handshake: No offence taken; we all need to be careful to observe the apostle's advice -- "not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another," 1 Cor. 4:6.
  15. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Can we agree on this? Or is there someone else besides AA who may speak a tad more plain?

    1) A belief in a schzophrenic God who has 2 conflicting wills?

    2) Conflicting wills within the Godhead.

    3) A desire for all to be saved by the Father

    4) God decreed the Atonement of Christ for all head for head, but knowing none would believe, He then elects some in Christ.
  16. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    Agreed, and very well said. I know I sound like a Piper "lackey", and there is somewhat of a reason for that. He is the one whom God used to bring me out of semi-pelagianism and over to the doctrines of grace. With that said, I do keep in mind the verse you quoted and I can definitely say that I don't agree with everything he teaches.

    I would like to get back to this statement. I understand this covenantally. It makes perfect sense that all a lost man does is reject the gospel and heap coals of fire upon his head. The gospel is a savor of death unto death to the lost man covenantally. He treasures up wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God as Romans 2:5 explains.

    But one verse earlier it says that the man despises the riches of God's goodness. Is that not mercy? If so, from whence does it flow? Piper says it's the cross. After long consideration of this all day I have come to the conclusion that the burden of proof is on him to show where the Scripture teaches this.

    But with that said, I would like to know where you think this mercy comes from, if it is indeed mercy? On what grounds can a Holy and Righteous and Just God show any "mercy" or "common grace" to the non-elect?

  17. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    On the grounds of His sovereignty, as Nebuchadnezzar learned in Dan. 4. Temporarily they enjoy certain blessings, but it is also true that from an eternal perspective these blessings are fattening the calf for the slaughter. Most of our problem as we look at subjects like these is our inability to look beyond the scope of a few years to see God working out His purpose over many generations.
  18. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Not to quibble, but this is not a disagreement about words but about the meaning of a word. And I'll stop pressing the issue once you concede that "world" in John 3:16 must mean "all persons without exception." ;-) And Zodhiates has a very mixed reputation with specialists in the period. Does he give examples and does the meaning "namely" make sense in the context? Is the one you quote from him?

    You have just made my point for me. "Namely" does not mean the same thing as "specially". If the word means "specially" in 1 Tim 4:10 as well, then "God is the saviour of all men" in one sense and "specially" the saviour of believers in another sense.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2007
  19. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Where does Piper introduce the moral govt. theory into the atonement? If you mean that Piper introduces the mg theory in place of substitutionary atonement in e.g. the following...

    ... you are again reading Piper's words in a sense he would deny. Piper is as thorough a believer in the substitutionary view of the atonement as you will find anywhere. (see his sermons on Rom 3:21-26 at the Desiring God website or The Pleasure of God in Bruising the Son in The Pleasures of God). If he sees any "moral influence" in the atonement it is in addition to and built on the foundation of substitutionary atonement.

    You will have to elucidate, I don't understand your point.

    Except that Paul does not say God is not the only Saviour. Instead he says that God is "the Saviour of all men" and that group is greater than believers who are specifically identified "...especially of those who believe."
  20. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    This the very problem of the double reference theory. In addition to a definite atonement made for the elect, it introduces another aspect of the atonement which has reference to all men. You here grasp the nature of the problem; now you just need to call it what it really is.
  21. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Who said anything about the reprobate? The "opportunity for salvation" is given "to all men," and this "opportunity" is made possible by the death of Christ. This is the clear intention of his words.
  22. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    God is the Saviour of all men. That is, there is no other Saviour of men but God. The text seems fairly straightforward to me. There is nothing in it about Jesus Christ, the God-man, dying as the Saviour of all men. You seem to be trying to find something in the words that simply isn't there.
  23. k.seymore

    k.seymore Puritan Board Freshman

    Great thread. I haven't had time to let everyone's thoughts fully sink in, but I do have a huge collection of quotes on various subjects and just thought I'd post some that might be on topic. I've highlighted areas which I thought related in some ways to the sufficient for all, efficient for the elect concept:

    AA Hodge in "The Atonement":
    "Christ did and suffered precisely what the law demanded of each man personally and of every man indiscriminately, and it maybe at any time applied to the redemption of one man as well as to another, as far as the satisfaction itself is concerned. Putting these two things together, therefore, the sufficiency for all and the exact adaptation to each, it is plain as the sun in the heavens that the death of Christ did remove all legal obstacles out of the way of God s saving any man he pleases. In this sense, if you please, Christ did make the salvation of all men indifferently possible, a parte Dei. He can apply it to any whomsoever he will; but since his will never changes, there canbe no distinction between his present will and his eternal design."

    Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology:
    "The righteousness of Christ being of infinite value or merit, and being in its nature precisely what all men need, may be offered to all men. It is thus offered to the elect and to the non-elect; and it is offered to both classes conditionally. That condition is a cordial acceptance of it as the only ground of justification. If any of the elect (being adults) fail thus to accept of it, they perish. If any of the non-elect should believe, they would be saved. What more does any Anti-Augustinian scheme provide? The advocates of such schemes say, that the design of the work of Christ was to render the salvation of all men possible. All they can mean by this is, that if any man (elect or non-elect) believes, he shall, on the ground of what Christ has done, be certainly saved. But Augustinians say the same thing. Their doctrine provides for this universal offer of salvation, as well as any other scheme. It teaches that God in effecting the salvation of his own people, did whatever was necessary for the salvation of all men, and therefore to all the offer may be, and in fact is made in the gospel. If a ship containing the wife and children of a man standing on the shore is wrecked, he may seize a boat and hasten to their rescue. His motive is love to his family; his purpose is to save them. But the boat which he has provided may be large enough to receive the whole of the ship’s company. Would there be any inconsistency in his offering them the opportunity to escape? ...This is precisely what God, according to the Augustinian doctrine, has actually done. Out of special love to his people, and with the design of securing their salvation, He has sent his Son to do what justifies the offer of salvation to all who choose to accept of it. Christ, therefore, did not die equally for all men. He laid down his life for his sheep; He gave Himself for his Church. But in perfect consistency with all this, He did all that was necessary, so far as a satisfaction to justice is concerned, all that is required for 557the salvation of all men. So that all Augustinians can join with the Synod of Dort in saying, “No man perishes for want of an atonement.”

    "...Christ gave Himself as a propitiation, not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world. He was a propitiation effectually for the sins of his people, and sufficiently for the sins of the whole world. Augustinians have no need to wrest the Scriptures. They are under no necessity of departing from their fundamental principle that it is the duty of the theologian to subordinate his theories to the Bible, and teach not what seems to him to be true or reasonable, but simply what the Bible teaches."

    Synod of Dort:

    This death of God's Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.
    ...Moreover, it is the promise of the gospel that whoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be announced and declared without differentiation or discrimination to all nations and people, to whom God in his good pleasure sends the gospel.
    ...However, that many who have been called through the gospel do not repent or believe in Christ but perish in unbelief is not because the sacrifice of Christ offered on the cross is deficient or insufficient, but because they themselves are at fault.
    ...For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving effectiveness of his Son's costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant justifying faith to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation. In other words, it was God's will that Christ through the blood of the cross (by which he confirmed the new covenant) should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those and only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation and given to him by the Father...
  24. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Well you must know my take on this passage, so we will not enter that realm.

    How can you conclude this? 'Specially' in the context from the words of Festus shows that Agrippa is 'namely' the one whom Paul is brought before. I neve once disagreed that Christ is the savior of all men. WHat is meant by this is exactly what it says, "There is no other name by which one can be saved" Christ is it. He is the King of the World. But to conclude that this means He died in some mysterious way for the reprobate is in error. He is the Savior of all men head for head, there is no other name by which one can be saved, yet, His design and intent is only to shed His blood for His sheep.
  25. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    I am afraid that Mr. Piper is one slippery slope away from Arminianism in his explination. WHy dont we just ask him. Will he defend his position clear?
  26. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    Here is the series that is being referred to.

    TULIP, Part 4 - Limited Atonement :: Desiring God Christian Resource Library

    John Piper does not say anything like this. The closest thing to it is the belief that Christ's death benefited everyone, sort of like common grace. Piper does belief that Christ died only for the ones the Father gave him and them only. He is not an Amyraldian. He often brags about being a 7-point Calvinist. Anyway, listen for yourself and decide.
  27. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Actually I could have been stronger. Piper specifically rejects "moral influence" as a theory of the atonement in The Pleasure of God in Bruising the Son in great detail and specifically advocates substitutionary atonement.

    I was using "moral influence" only in the sense that "beholding the glory of the Lord" transforms us "into the same image", i.e.. as we behold the Lord's goodness we know, approve and love his goodness and want to go and do likewise, even though we will not rely on our attempts nor achieve full Christlikeness in this life. And I don't think Piper or any Christian will disagree with this.

    And I have from the beginning grasped your point that you do not like to think that Christ's atonement has benefits for the non-elect. But it is a good and necessary consequence of Rom. 3:25 that it does. If Christ's propitiation was needed to demonstrate God's righteousness because God in forbearance had passed over sins previously committed, the atonement justifies not only God's permanent forgiveness of the elect (the greater result), but also his kindness to "ungrateful and evil men" in not immediately judging their sins with death (the lesser result).

    I cannot help but wonder if you and the other critics of Piper in this thread have read Bruising. For if had, you would have seen that Piper defends his exegesis of Rom. 3:25 as follows:

    "...God passes over sins...And Romans 3:25 says that because of this, God's righteousness is called into question.
    The reason God's righteousness is impugned when he passes over sin and does not judge it, is that sin is an attack on the worth of his glory. And God's righteousness is his unswerving commitment to uphold the worth of his glory and promote his fame in all the world (see The Pleasure of God in his Fame in "The Pleasures of God" for the development of these concepts). When sin is treated as though it is inconsequential, then the glory of God is treated as inconsequential. When God passes over sin, it looks as though he is agreeing that his glory is of little value. But if God acts in such a way as to deny the infinite value of his own glory, then he commits the ulimate outrate; he desecrates what is infinitely holy and he blasphemes what is infinitely sacred. He joins the sinners of Romans 1:23 and exchanges the glory of the immortal God for the creature. This prospect is so terrible that if it came to pass, there could be no gospel and no hope, for there would be no righteous God.
    ...When we look at the wracking pain and death of the perfectly innocent and infinitely worthy Son of God on the cross, and hear that He endured it all so that the glory of his Father, desecrated by sinners, might be restored, then we know that God has not denied the worth of his glory, he has not been untrue to himself; he has not ceased to uphold his honor and display his glory, he is just — and the justifier of the ungodly." ("The Pleasures of God" pp.164-6).

    And if Christ's propitiation justifies God's righteousness in passing over the sins of the elect permanently, it also justifies God's temporary passing over of the sins of the reprobate.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  28. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    So when you go out field preaching you are not giving an opportunity of salvation to unbelievers? Of course you are. For all you know, God may have one or more of his elect in the crowd. Or to put it another way: the class "unbelievers" when seen from eternity is composed of two types. The reprobate is one and the elect who do not yet believe is the other. When the gospel is preached to unbelievers, it is the elect who are presented with the opportunity of salvation.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  29. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Actually, I should have taken a closer look at the Acts passage. For Festus literally says "Wherefore I have brought him before you (plural, referring to "King Agrippa and all you gentlemen here present with us" of v. 24) and (malista) before you (singular) King Agrippa". Here malista must, in some sense, draw a distinction between the crowd and Agrippa because Festus distinguishes the crowd from Agrippa by his pronouns. To make this point, the NASB translates malista by "especially" not namely. Which is precisely the point in 1 Tim. 4:10. Christ is the Saviour of all men in one sense yet the Saviour of the elect in another.
  30. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Romans 3:25 is specifically referencing the OT elect who look forward to the Cross of Christ for their atonement only. The reprobate were not in mind in the inspired Pauls' usage of this verse. There is no scripural reason to conclude that sin begets immediate death. There is not one example of this. I hope you believe in imputed/original sin, therefore acording to your opinion, God could have reason to have every reprobate be still born. Yet becasue of the blood of Christ, he does not do this. ANd you call this some sort of grace given to the reprobate. Sustained life this side of the grave for the reprobate does not impugn God's righteousness.

    I have asked this question before, and pergemum, a member here has been the only one to offer scriptural evidence of any benefit to the reprobate, that is a bodily resurrection to be thrown into the second death. I disagree that it is a benefit, but it is a result,possibly. Other than that, I hear this thought of being able to live on this earth, fully condemned as another benefit procured. Yet nothing explicit nor implicit scripturally to prove this. I have also asked, and been unanswered, that if this is true for the reprobate, then why not immediately take His elect to Glory with him instead of living in this rotten world? Paul expresses this thought in Phillipians 1.

    Romans 6:23 "The wages of sin is death." Yet this cannot nor ever has meant immediate phisical death, for we learned that through Adam. Yet, the prolonged life on earth has nothing whatsoever to do with the cross of Christ.

    Why does God allow the wicked
    to live and prosper in the world?

    (from Edwards sermon, "The Final Judgment")

    The infinitely holy and wise Creator and
    Governor of the world must necessarily
    hate wickedness. Yet we see many wicked
    men flourishing. They live with impunity;
    things seem to go well with them, and
    the world smiles upon them. God allows
    so much injustice to take place in the world.

    Now it seems a mystery that these things
    are tolerated, when he that is rightfully the
    Supreme Judge and Governor of the world
    is perfectly just. But at the final judgment
    all these wrongs shall be righted.

    Many who have not been fit to live, who
    have held God and religion in the greatest
    contempt, who have been open enemies
    to all that is good, have by their wickedness
    been the pests of mankind.

    Many cruel tyrants, whose barbarities have
    been such as would even fill one with horror
    to hear or read of them; yet have lived in
    great wealth and outward glory, have reigned
    over great and mighty kingdoms and empires,
    and have been honored as a sort of earthly gods.

    Now, if we look no further than the present
    state, these things appear strange and
    unaccountable. But we ought not to confine
    our views within such narrow limits.

    God sometimes allows some of the holiest
    of men to be in great affliction, poverty, and
    persecution. The wicked rule, while they are
    subject. The wicked are the head, and they
    are the tail. The wicked domineer, while they
    serve, and are oppressed, yes are trampled
    under their feet, as the mire of the streets!
    These things are very common, yet they
    seem to imply great confusion.

    Now, it is very mysterious, that the holy and
    righteous Governor of the world, whose eye
    beholds all the children of men, should allow
    it so to be, unless we look forward to the day
    of judgment. And then the mystery is unraveled.
    For although God for the present keeps silence,
    and seems to let them alone; yet then he will
    give suitable manifestations of his displeasure
    against their wickedness. They shall then
    receive just punishment.

    There are many things in the dealings of God
    towards men, which appear very mysterious,
    if we view them without having an eye to this
    last judgment, which yet, if we consider this
    judgment, have no difficulty in them.

    Though God allows things to be so for the
    present, yet they shall not proceed in this
    course always. Comparatively speaking, the
    present state of things is but for a moment.

    When all shall be settled and fixed by a
    divine judgment, the righteous shall be
    exalted, honored, and rewarded, and the
    wicked shall be depressed and put under
    their feet.

    However the wicked now prevail against
    the righteous, yet the righteous shall at
    last have the ascendant, shall come off
    conquerors, and shall see the just
    vengeance of God executed upon those
    who now hate and persecute them.

    Nothing mentioned about some benefit from Christ. If there is some sort of benefit from Christ, some form of grace from His death, then there must be some sort of intercession for them. ANd this is an impossiblity.

    I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We [are]. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, [are] in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare [it], that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:9-26 NKJV)

    Could anyone please tell me how Christ who does not even pray for the reprobate, can shed His blood for them in any way?
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