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

    Do you mean the "owenians vs double enders?"

    That is becasue propitiation is the root. And double enders are wrong!!!! :D

    I do not believe I am explaining away the text Marty. We cannot approach scripture without any presumed truths. If one does, we will be most miserable in our faith and understanding. Why look for a middle road or compramising solution? We know that cannot be truth in a matter as this. One that I find most needed of debate. We are talking of the atonement here. This trumps secularism and post modernism. There is just too much weight of scripture against universal benefits. If I took your approach, I would be led to believe I could earn my way in if I read the account of "Christ with the lawyer and sell all you have and follow me." So what do we do there? We do not allow one smidgen of truth to Law salvation. Yet, for some reason we have to hold in tension the 2 or 3 verses pulled out of context and compramise the Atonement. First of all, I am not giving the reprobate any of Christs blood for temporal benefits. If I am wrong, well then I pray to receive more light on the subject.
  2. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    TO be honest K., I do not understand Romans 13 at all. I almost wish I could rip it out of my bible. It has been used to pervert so much, that I do not spend time on it. Prematurely, I do not see the connection here. maybe wrath here is not the same as the one in John or Paul's other writings. I would say this is the answer, but like I said, I will have to call in a lifeline to even see if this passage remotely can be used for this discussion. I is clear to me the elect are not under His judicial wrath at all ever. They could be temporarily found under it, but not in a judicial sense.
  3. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    You know what else came to my mind? How can one have the grace of Christ's atonement for a benefit and not have Christ himself actively or passively doing anything for the reprobate? He neither bled, nor prays nor intercedes on their behalf. You cannot have one without the other. Or are we spiritualizing the book of Ruth and the reprobate glean the edges of the field? (Deserved sarcasm) Perhaps in easy terms it would be like this. I put gas in my car. I get the special benefit. But the emissions junk destroys(benefits) the environement from the same gas. That is exactly what happens in referance to the elect and reprobate from the Cross....

    Since the Bible is the Word of God it is self-consistent.
    Consequently if we find a passage which in itself is capable of two
    interpretations, one of which harmonizes with the rest of the Scriptures
    while the other does not, we are duty bound to accept the former.
    (Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2007
  4. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dear Nicholas, great to hear from you again brother.

    Yup, absolutely. It's ultimately a debate about the emphasis and place of exegesis versus systematics. The issues involved are not simple (as some want to make it), and hence that's why I'm not willing to be completely black and white on it. To do so, only causes an equal and oppostie reaction. It is an intrumural reformed debate, and I don't want to fling anathemas or use strong language at anyone in it.

    As I said before, we in the reformed tradition need to unite together to fight greater battles rather than mutilate each other over this issue.

    I love the frankness--perhaps I should try it some time too. :pilgrim:

    Dear brother, therein lies the root of your problem. If you don't approach Scripture without presumed truths at some point, then your systematics (which is errant because humans are errant) will never be challenged. Hence, all you find in Scripture is what you already believe. This is a hermeneutical vicious circle, rather than a hermeneutical spiral.

    So as to be faithful to all of Scripture, not some of Scripture. When a half-truth becomes a whole-truth, it becomes an untruth. This is precisely how JWs argue. They find all the texts which expound Christ's humanity, and explain away all the texts about Christ's divinity because they supposedly contradict the texts which speak of Christ's humanity. However, we can't logically tie down all that Scripture says about the hypostatic union of Christ's divine and human natures. For example, how is it that Christ's divine nature knows everything, and yet in Christ's person there are things he doesn't know, like his return? I don't know how to harmonize that logically, but I believe it, tension and all, because this is what all of Scripture says.

    Well, that's a very debatable point. The double-enders would say that the Owenians muzzle many texts. Owen's explanation that "world" = "elect" in John 3:16 is a classic example. It is exegetically unsustainable (especially in light of the context, namely the use of "world" in the very next verse).

    Thanks for the interaction on this topic brother. Every blessing to you Nicholas.
  5. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    It is very good to dialogue with you Brother Marty. I have no malice towards you or any double ender and will not fling the "papal bull" of anathema towards them. For one, who am I to do so? I know many in this new internet enlightenment self elevated importance of opinion world feel free to do so, but I am nothing but a worm!!!! Therefore I call it a papal bull when I see anyone use terms as that because a papal bull is a declaration that means absolutely nothing. One on the internet may think they have the right to be an ecclesiastical judge, but they are most amiss and fooled by there own self imagined importance.

    I obviously mispoke or mistyped on my one point above about approaching scripture. I find the error of Biblical Theology, one of looking at it with an attempt at 100% unbiased presups leads to a mish mash of beliefs. Therefore a systematic study, one with the same vein of truth woven throughout is much more honest to the Word of God. That said, it also has its problems when ones grid is soo small, you begin to avoid troubling texts ot spiritualize them to mean what they never intended. What I should have said is exactly like the quote from LB above;

    Since the Bible is the Word of God it is self-consistent.
    Consequently if we find a passage which in itself is capable of two
    interpretations, one of which harmonizes with the rest of the Scriptures
    while the other does not, we are duty bound to accept the former.
    (Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

    Therefore when I see 1 Tim 4;10 or 1 John 1;2 et the 2 others, I have to look at other places to find the weight of truth in its favor. And there is too much evidence that God has ALWAYS had a covenant people that the sacrafice was intended for. Lev 19 shows this clearly. The stranger of the commonwealth was not atoned for in any sense..
  6. k.seymore

    k.seymore Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, that is basically what I was trying to point out, that one can exclude all wrath upon the regenerate in one sense and then use wrath in another temporal sense and say the regenerate can suffer it. So when scripture speaks of the fact that God doesn't remove the eternal anger of wrath from the non-elect, that is not proof that he doesn't, in another sense, treat then in a non-angry way. If Christ's death does in some sense provide benefits to the non-elect, scripture makes it clear that it is not in the eternal sense. So if there are benefits, it would be in the temporal sense. The reason I brought this up is because you were using verses which spoke of the regenerate not having God’s eternal wrath to prove that the unregenerate don’t receive temporal grace from Christ’s death... but your verses don’t even prove that the regenerate don’t suffer temporal wrath, so how can they be used to prove that the non-elect were not intended to enjoy temporal blessings as an effect of Christ’s death?
  7. k.seymore

    k.seymore Puritan Board Freshman

    I’m curious why no one wants to interact with my post about Peter saying God “sent him to you... to bless you... every one of you.” Oh well, maybe what I was saying didn’t make sense. I do have have some more to add to it... Calvin and Berkhof on Eph 1 and Col 1. I hadn’t thought about what they are saying before, but if correct it would, at the very least, say that Christ’s death does more than just reconcile humans to God:

    "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." (Col 1:19-20)

    Calvin on Col 1:20
    Both upon earth and in heaven. If you are inclined to understand this as referring merely to rational creatures, it will mean, men and angels. There were, it is true, no absurdity in extending it to all without exception... I prefer to understand it as referring to angels and men... It was, however, necessary that angels, also, should be made to be at peace with God, for, being creatures, they were not beyond the risk of falling, had they not been confirmed by the grace of Christ... But the Spirit declares that the greatest purity is vile, if it is brought into comparison with the righteousness of God. We must, therefore, conclude, that there is not on the part of angels so much of righteousness as would suffice for their being fully joined with God... Hence it is with propriety that Paul declares, that the grace of Christ does not reside among mankind alone, and on the other hand makes it common also to angels.“

    And Calvin on Eph 1:10
    “So far as they are creatures, had it not been for the benefit which they derived from Christ, they would have been liable to change and to sin, and consequently their happiness would not have been eternal. Who then will deny that both angels and men have been brought back to a fixed order by the grace of Christ? Men had been lost, and angels were not beyond the reach of danger. By gathering both into his own body, Christ hath united them to God the Father...”

    Berkhof in his systematic theology, under the heading, “The Wider Bearing of the Atonement” says that these benefits from Christ’s death are not in the same sense as each other:
    “That the atoning work of Christ also has significance for the angelic world would seem to follow from Eph. 1:10 and Col. 1:20... [but] naturally Christ is not the Head on the angels in the same organic sense that he is the head of the church.”

    It would seem to me that “if all things in heaven” includes angels, and if Paul says that God reconciles all things in heaven, “by the blood of his cross” then reconciling all things to God is the one end or aim of the cross, and within that one end there are a number of benefits, at the very least (if their interpretation is correct) to humans and angels.

    This reconciliation of all things through the cross that Paul speak of beautifully captures (in my opinion) what I quoted in Acts that I have yet to hear a response to. Peter says (in some sense) God sent Jesus to reconcile each member of the nation of Israel and God:

    “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you... God, having raised up his servant,sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” (Acts 3:18-26)

    And as I pointed out in my earlier post, the way in which he proclaims this using the promise of blessing to all nations implies (in my opinion) that Peter also assumes God send Christ to bless each member of all the families of the earth (again, in some sense). Even if I am wrong about this implication, Peter still says very plainly that he understands Jesus as being sent to bless each member of Israel, and thus the promise has a reference to each member of Israel, not to the elect only. If such is the case then wouldn’t this mean that this promise of blessing–God “sent him to you... to bless you... every one of you”–have Christ’s death and the reconciliation from Christ’s death in view? If Peter says this gift of blessing is for each of them, doesn’t that sound different than saying blessings from Christ’s work were not intended for the non-elect in any sense?
  8. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I have never understood why people think this interpretation is 'exegetically unsustainable'. Moses lifted up the serpent on the cross that whosoever in the tiny nation of Israel looked upon it was saved. God lifted up Christ on the cross that whosoever in the world looked upon it was saved. The context seems to point to the 'world' as those all over the world who look upon the cross. Not every single person who ever lived.
  9. k.seymore

    k.seymore Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm confused... you sound like you are disagreeing with him and agreeing with him at the same time. He said "world=elect" is unsustainable. You compare the world to Israel which had elect and non-elect people which seems to prove what he is saying. Yet you preface this by saying you don't know why it is 'exegetically unsustainable' to interpret it as only being the elect. Oh maybe I just haven't had enough sleep and should read your post again later ;)
  10. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    In the account of the serpent on the pole in Numbers 21 we are told that many people died of the serpent bite before the pole was even lifted up. It was only in response to those who came to Moses in faith and repentance that the pole was lifted up. It seems that Jesus (or John) is drawing a parallel. Therefore, Christ on the cross is not lifted up for everyone who ever lived, but those who respond in faith and repentance. The pole was lifted up to the elect of the tiny nation of Israel and provided temporary life. Christ is lifted up to the elect all over the world and provides eternal life.

    In addition, I don't see how the use of 'world'/'kosmos' in vs. 17 could ever mean the exact same thing as it does in vs. 16. If 'world' means 'every single person who ever lived' in vs. 16 then that would mean Christ came 'into' every person who ever lived and 'condemned' every person who ever lived. If 'world' in vs. 17 means 'the ungodly multitude' then Christ came 'into' the ungodly multitude. I don't think it is so easy to make 'world' in vs. 17 define 'world' in vs. 16 in light of vs. 14 and 15.

    If I am off-base please show me.
  11. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

  12. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Your statement would be true only if I claimed that Christ was the Saviour of all men in the same way as he is the Saviour of those who believe. Piper's entire argument is that Christ is not the Saviour of all men in the same way as he is the Saviour of those who believe.

    Those men can only say that Christ's death has, for them, only the effect justifying God's forbearance in postponing the punishment they will receive for living to themselves, so that they will live long enough to achieve God's purposes for them, in spite of themselves. This is not contrary to the apostle's argument which is that Christ is Saviour (in the fullest sense) of those who believe, and the Saviour of all men (in a different sense for those who do not).

    And as I am trying to make clear, I don't hold that Christ died for all men.
    And if God is simply the Saviour of all men in that sense why does Paul not say what you think he says rather than what he does say?
  13. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    This is my final post on this subject.

    The apostle makes a general statement which does not allow for any qualification: "If one died for all, then were all dead." Whoever the "all" are for whom Christ died, they are now considered dead, each and every one of them. If you aver that Christ died for another group of people in some other way, then you contradict Paul's statement and negate his argument. It's not the truthfulness of my statement you are calling into question, but the truthfulness of the apostle's statement.

    Paul says exactly what he says -- God is the Saviour of all men. I haven't added anything to the sense of his words. If anyone is saved either in this life or in the life to come, it is God who saves them and no one else. There is nothing here about the nature of the salvation or the means in which it is accomplished. It is a basic maxim that is true in each and every case, and one that is learned from the light of nature -- if Jonah's mariners and the people of Nineveh are anything to go by.
  14. k.seymore

    k.seymore Puritan Board Freshman

    You are right, many did die, but I don't think that necessitates understanding "world" as "elect". The elect are the form in which the world doesn't perish as I understand the passage. As you mentioned, what John or Jesus is saying is paralleling the story in Numbers: "whoever believes in him may have eternal life... whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." and "everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live... anyone... look at the bronze serpent and live" (Num 21:8-9). Here are the whole passages, the similarity of structure is so striking:

    "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
    so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
    that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
    that whoever believes in him
    should not perish but have eternal life."

    "'Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole,
    and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.'
    So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole.
    And if a serpent bit anyone,
    he would look at the bronze serpent and live."

    The nation was saved though threatened by snakes even though all those in it were not. God loved the nation and saved it in fulfilment of his oath to Abraham, as he told them: "because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers" (Deut 7:8). As Paul interpreted this: "As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers." (Rom 11:28). The quoting of numbers would seem to interpret the nation as being used in a general sense. The nation would perish if all died by the snakes, God loved the nation and didn’t desire the nation to perish, therefore if some of the members of the nation don’t perish the nation survives. Likewise, the world (humankind) would perish if all died because of the sting of sin, God loved the world and didn’t desire that it should perish, therefore if some of the members of the world don’t perish the world survives. Think about it like this: humankind wouldn't perish as long as some humans existed.

    So John 3:14-16 is paralleling the earlier story like this:

    "As God lifted up Christ on the cross, so was the snake on the pole lifted up, that whoever would look at it would have life. For God so loved the nation, that he gave them the serpent on the pole, that whoever would look at it should not perish but have life."
  15. k.seymore

    k.seymore Puritan Board Freshman

    What!? I was looking forward to your take on my questions about Acts and Colossians 1:20. I'll pretend that it is because you can't answer them within your perspective on this subject. Just kidding, I've been trying to bow out too due to the overwhelming amount of thinking this thread is racking my brain with... But I just keep getting dragged back in. :)
  16. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you for that exegesis brother! It is a joy to discuss this passage at all. I am always moved by it!

    I don't think we disagree too much on this. I am happy to go with 'nation of Israel' and 'humankind' as long as we do not stretch it to mean every single member therein. God did not lift the pole to every single member of the nation so I don't see how we can insist on the fact that God lifted up the cross to every single member of humankind.

    I sure am glad He lifted up the cross to me!

    This is the nature of PB! Some have had to quit because they were sucked in to the detriment of their families! Be careful. :D (Also, you can go into Rev Winzer's profile page and look up all of his posts. That way you don't miss any)
  17. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dear Nicholas,

    Sorry to take so long to get back about your last post. The surf over here in Manly has been cranking, so I'm trying to make the most of the good waves whilst on holidays. My arms feel like noodles. :cool:

    There are two issues this quotation raises:

    [1] The opaque element in this definition is "capable of two interpretations". This is a huge linguistic issue that is difficult to pin down simply. In a nutshell: the less words one quotes from a text the more open they are to multiple interpretations. However, the more words we quote from a text the more clear the utterance becomes and the less likely other interpretations can be given to it.

    [2] If we believe that God is transcendent, and hence ultimately beyond our understanding (not illogical) then we must be very careful to assume that a certain reading of a text contradicts another part of Scripture. JWs object that the Trinity and the incarnation are both irrational. Hence, they muzzle certain scriptures because they supposedly "contradict" others ("the father is greater than I" trumps other texts). So we must be very careful to assume 1 John 2:2 contradicts Rev. 5:9 in this debate about the atonement.

    The Piper position and double-enders believe that, far from being poison, the universal reading of texts like 1 Tim. 4:10 and 1 John 2:2 actually guard another crucial teaching of Scripture: the fact that anyone can be told that if they repent and believe they will be saved. The single-end view of the atonement can't accommodate that message. All a single-ender can say is this: "if a person repents and believes". They cannot say, "if you repent and believe", because that person might not be one for whom Christ died, and hence that person can't be forgiven because Christ didn't die for them.

    However, as Piper and the double-enders argue, Scripture is full of statements of the type, "if you (definite person) repent and believe" (Acts 17:30; John 12:36 etc.), and not just "if a person (indefinite) repent and believe ...".

    God bless Nicholas.
  18. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Brother Marty: please remember one thing I am certain about. The commands to repent and believe in all of scripture are not a one time event. They are correctly translated, begin repenting/believeing. Therefore telling anyone to repent/believe, as a one time event is wrong for either elect or reprobate. I personally see no issue with saying "Believe on the Lord and you shall be saved" ANd I am a single ender as you call it. The other issue we have is that the reprobate NEVER recognize or see any of the commands spiritually.

    Luke 8;10 sums it up well:

    And He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.

    Therefore I will NEVER say Christ died, or is dead for you. But I will say, 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    The double enders invite all becasue of some universal aspect, yet there is no atonement for them.

    As an aside, I think more discussion and study has to be done on the OT sacrafice. The shadow of Christ has answers in it, yet I must pass this to one who is more gifted in that area and can speak more clear on the subject bringing more light to the truth.. Prematurely, those outside the Covenant did not receive any benefits from the High Priest offering.
  19. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Amen brother! I'm with you here.

    Well the problem for the single-ender goes something like this:

    [1] The death of Christ has one end, to save the elect and the elect only. Hence, Christ's death is not for the reprobate.

    [2] If Christ's death is not for the reprobate then all can't be called on to believe and repent, because it's not for all, only the elect.

    [3] Hence, the only way a single-ender can preach the gospel without lying is to say, "if a person (indefinite) believes and repents they will be saved ...". One can't say: "you (definite person) believe and repent", because the atonement might not be for them.

    However, in Scripture people are indiscriminately called upon to believe and repent, that is, the gospel is for all people:

    "In the past [i.e. OT period] God overlooked such such ignorance, but now [i.e. the new covenant period] he commands all people everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30)

    Indeed, God will judge people because they disobey the gospel:

    "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ". (2 Thess. 1:8)

    In other words the gospel is somehow for more than the elect.

    Hence, to do justice to this aspect of Scripture, arises the Piper and "double-end" view of the atonement. Christ's death has two ends, one for all, and one for the elect. Christ's death is efficient for the elect but sufficient for all. Notice the two "for"s.

    I don't think we can neatly formulate the atonement. If we agree that Christ's death has an infinite aspect to it (which both sides affirm) we must recognize we are dealing with something transcendent: we can' t comprehend it all as finite humans. Hence there will arise tensions in our formulation, just like there are tensions in our formulations of the incarnation and the Trinity. I'm happy to say that Christ's death saves the elect and makes all saveable and leave the tension there. It is when we try and relieve this tension that unbiblical extremes arise. And all extremes do is cause equal and opposite re-actions.

    God bless Nicholas.
  20. moral necessity

    moral necessity Puritan Board Junior


    I think you are right on that scripture seems contrary to not inviting all to the gospel. And, I agree with you and others, that changing the gospel to make it applicable to the reprobate is not the answser.

    To me, there is another way out besides coming up with a "double-end" view of atonement, as many say Piper does (I haven't read enough of his material to make a solid conclusion yet). As a high calvinist (and I don't mean one who smokes dope), I have no problem with saying to anyone, "if you repent and believe in Christ, you will be saved." For, it is true, that if they can repent and believe, then they will be saved, for, only the elect can do such. A reprobate person cannot repent and believe, so it is a safe request of them. The gospel is for "whosoever will", and only the elect will respond, for only the elect can. So, I invite all, for all are invited, just as the wedding parable seems to imply. "Many are called, but few are chosen."

    That's how I see it for now. Thanks for your helpful insight.

  21. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dear Charles,

    Thanks for your thoughts brother, I appreciate them.

    Yes, that's a good point indeed. However, it seems to me that Scripture goes even further than the "whosoever will" language in presenting the gospel.

    In Acts 17:30 we read that "now [new covenant times] God commands all people everywhere to repent". This is more than "if you repent and believe" but "you must repent and believe" (see say John 12:36). That is why people will be punished for not responding to the gospel (2 Thess. 1:8) which logically means that Christ's death in some way applies to them.

    Every blessing dear brother.
  22. danmpem

    danmpem Puritan Board Junior

    :amen: I was about to suggest it. I don't like talking about someone too much when he is still alive to defend his views; I would much rather gossip about Simon Peter or the Pharisees. :lol:

    While Piper has written quite a bit on the subject and calls himself a seven-point Calvinist (he's partly joking about it), it wouldn't be too much to ask him about his views. :wave:Would someone like to draft a letter of inquiry on behalf of PB?

    I've read the "Two Wills" essay before, though it's been a year or two. Even though it was my first exposure to the questions and answers he raised, I never got the feeling that he really believed there were two wills in the more literal sense. It seems to me that the phrase "two wills" was used purely because there was no better phrase that was that short, and for the fact that he was answering the question "Are there two wills of God?" (hence, the title of the essay). It's a question raised before Piper's time, and he was probably just using the language the ones asking the questions used. It appeared to be used more to show the non-linearity of God's decrees and design rather than make a case for a God divided against Himself.
  23. dwayne

    dwayne Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't see were Piper has not preached the doctrines of grace .He did not state that the Atonement was for all men he cleraly stated that it was for elect and elect alone
  24. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

  25. danmpem

    danmpem Puritan Board Junior

    Piper's coming to my town next month. Does the PB want me to ask him anything? :lol:
  26. heartoflesh

    heartoflesh Puritan Board Junior

    Piper's TULIP seminar is next month here in Minneapolis. I will ask him then.
  27. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    I have heard this reasoning was from a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. The idea that Christ's sacrifice has the potential of saving everybody, but is only effectual in saving the elect.

    It seems to be an effort to bridge the gap between particular/definite atonement and universal/indiscriminate atonement. I don't see there needing to be a bridge as particular atonement is the biblical teaching, and we don't have to water it down to be more palatable to those holding other beliefs.

    To define terms, let's say that "potential" means "existing as a possibility"...then Christ sacrifice being potentially able to save all does not hold water...because it is not a possibility that all will be saved, but is only possible for the elect.

    Another reason some folks like the "potential" caveat is that it seems to them that the power of Christ's sacrifice should have no restraining otherwise it is being "limited." But the problem with this is that while they seek to empower the reach of Christ's sacrifice, they strip power from the effectiveness of His sacrifice.
  28. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    I think Matthew hit the nail on the head in the above quote. Those who maintain a dual reference in the atonement take the sufficiency from the old "suffient for all, efficient for the elect" phrase to imply a universal provision in the atonement, rather than a reference to the intrinsic value of Christ's death.

    This seems to be the thrust of John Davenant in England following Dort. Davenant may be seen as an improvement over the French Hypothetical Univeralists (like Amyraut), but he argues for a dual reference in the atonement based on the "sufficiency" being understood objectively. This is the same idea seen in all "dual enders" or "dual reference" guys who have followed.

    The Canons of Dort say it this way: "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" (II.3). But this is clearly referring to the intrinsic value of Christ's death, not a general reference or universal provision in the atonement for all mankind.
  29. holyfool33

    holyfool33 Puritan Board Freshman

    Well untill somebody said it that just didnt seem right to me but i could see how one would think it could be four point calvinism I would have to hear the sereis to decide for myself.
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