Limited Atonement

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by mbj0680, Sep 10, 2007.

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  1. elnwood

    elnwood Puritan Board Junior

    I don't think we can draw a direct correlation between the prayer of John 17 and the intercession that Christ does in a high priestly role.

    For example, Christ prays for the disciples, which includes Judas, and clearly Judas is not elect. Christ says he prays them, and that he has not lost one of them except the son of perdition.

    Interesting. That doesn't make any sense to me. I don't know how they get around the idea that everyone in the New Covenant is regenerated. If you don't mind, I'd be interested in know which RBs argue this.

    I'm not going to push that argument because forming doctrine from typologies is always tenuous, but I think the argument can be made. Obviously Christ's sacrifice is better than the OC sacrifices because it actually does (or can, to a 4-pointer) remove sin.

    I don't think that Jesus becomes a person's high priest until he intercedes for him, and he doesn't intercede for someone until they have faith.
  2. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    Why would God the Father subject his Son to the torments so great that he cried of being forsaken for those he knew could never believe because he had decreed never to save them?

    Read this please. :)
  3. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore


    It appears we're at an impass. It seems clear to me that Hebrews teaches that Christ dies *as a high priest* and it is *for his people.* Atoneoment in the OT wasn't made for non-Israelites. The universalist idea is foreign to Scripture.

    John 17 is known as "the high *priestly* prayer." And, I don't think Judas *was* prayed for. When you read what he prays, and then you read that this was for even unborn and unregenerate non-elect, I think you have a kink. You have to wonder why it comes right after the Lord's supper, where Jesus says the blood is poured out for *many.* Then he doesn't even pray his atonement prayer for *all* people. For me, the position you're defending stretches the limits of credulity. For more on this, and his intercession for *all those* he makes atonement - not just the regenerate - read Berkof (starts at p. 404). That this was seen as *priestly intercession* is also seen by the guys at Founders. And Pink too.

    As it is, I don't think a lot of arguments given here have been addressed. And I don't see a way around Hebrews and John 17. But, I certianly am not going to get involved in what could be a lengthy debate; especially given that we're going in for a c-section on friday morning! So, if you're not satisfied at this point, then there's not much I can contribute right now. I do not belive that I can make everyone cry uncle, but I think the case presented in this thread (especially if studied out further) is *objectively* the better and stronger far. That doesn't mean all 4-pointers will go away.

    The motivation for 4-point is (a) the "died for all" passages (we can easily answer that) and (b) the genuine offer of the gospel (we can easily answer that). Since we have no problems answering any dilemma, and Scripture does not teach Jesus died for wolves, and 4-pointers are left with problems they can't solve (as I've pointed out in this thread), I see no reason to accept the 4-point system.

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2007
  4. elnwood

    elnwood Puritan Board Junior

    I agree that we are at an impass. I don't think the John 17 prayer was prayed for the non-elect, but I don't think that the prayer is so necessarily connected to the intercessory work.

    4-point Calvinism doesn't require reading "all" into every possible atonement passage, but 5-point Calvinism requires discounting universal applications in every atonement passage. 4-pointers agree that there is a particular love for the elect, and that the intention of the atonement was for the elect. So there is no problem with passages that talk about the particular nature of the atonement or even of an intercessory prayer. The question is whether the atonement is exclusively for the elect in every respect.

    John 17:12 says "I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled." The "them" is the same them that is used throughout the prayer, and from this verse, "them" includes Judas. If it did not, then Jesus would have said none were lost, PERIOD.

    What you have defended was not a genuine offer of the gospel, but a genuine offerer of the gospel, as I argued. Surely you recognize that there is a tangible difference in the offer of a 4-point Calvinist and the offer of a 5-point Calvinist? The 4-pointer wants to say that Christ actually died for that person and offer that.

    If I may add a third motivation, I think the 5-point Calvinist position, in saying that the atonement is what "secures" salvation, places less emphasis on the "faith" component of salvation. Why is it the atonement that "secures" salvation, and not election itself, or the drawing of the Holy Spirit? Is faith actually necessary if the atonement is what secures salvation?

    The WCF runs into this issue regarding salvation of those who die in infancy. It argues, not that infants who have been given faith will be saved (which is what I would argue), but that elect infants will be saved (and seems to imply that non-elect infants will not).

    I think it can be dangerous to say that by election and atonement people are saved, and that, perhaps, a dying infant who does not have faith but is elected and had Christ pay for their sins could be saved. Once you go down that road, you could say that God elected and died for people who never hear the gospel, or anyone, and remove salvation from faith.

    All the best with the C-Section, Paul. It's been real.
  5. A5pointer

    A5pointer Puritan Board Sophomore

    I am with Tom all the way on this, he has been thourough and clear in the defense, not much to add except to bring up this repeated idea that because the scriptures are silent, ie "the bible does not say that Christ did not die for the non-elect therefore it is a likely possibility that he did" This idea seems to me to be an absurd approach. There are many things the Bible is silent on. Using this approach could lead one to conclude many rediculous notions.

    As a side, I am wondering why some of the most accomplished theologs on this site have not come in and put this thing to rest. Where are you guys?
  6. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I think many considered Paul (aka Tom) and Pastor Winzer to be accomplished enough to handle the job. ;)
  7. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    Perhaps the reason is that four-point "calvinism" is out of bounds in all the confessional statements that supposedly are subscribed to on this board... and hence most folks who might otherwise be perfectly capable of setting aside any arguments in its favor are surprised that people are being allowed to post in its favor?
  8. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior


    You said "unless Christ specifically says". Scripture doesn't say, "God is Trinitarian". So, if we follow your logic, the doctrine of the trinity isn't true. I would say, this argument made it worse. Since Christ did infact say he would die for the sheep, and God has this in mind when sending His son to the cross, yet, is silent about the goats, your argument is from silence. In other words, the scriptures don't say "Christ died for the goats too". Are you following your own logic here?

    (I wanted to let you know, I'm not trying to attack you. I'm very passionate about Christ and the atoning sacrafice for my sins. I hope you don't take me as an attacker but as a brother who loves God and His son whom he sent to save lost sinners.)
  9. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    Interestingly the reason that the remonstrants had a horrible missunderstanding of election is because of their misunderstanding of the atonement. But then we would have to get into the subject of "modern" arminians vs. "classical" arminians. That's for a different thread though. ;)
  10. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Todd, this is a good point and is of some concern. Hashing out why Amyraldianism is not right (and even discussing arguments used in support of it) is part of edification and a help to many of us.

    Defending it is not.
  11. elnwood

    elnwood Puritan Board Junior

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your concern.

    When I say "unless Christ specifically says," I'm not asking for a specific wording, I'm looking for a specific teaching. The argument against the "Trinity" is that the word itself isn't used.

    I don't find a specific teaching excluding the non-elect, whereas there is explicit teaching affirming the divinity of both Christ and the Holy Spirit, and the word "Trinity" is the word used to describe them. So I don't think the comparison is analogous.

    The ambiguity for me comes in that I am not certain that 1 John 2:2, 2 Peter 2:1 and others are not teaching universal atonement. I think they could be interpreted in both ways, such that I can't say for certain that the passages do not teach universal atonement.

    For example, I've heard the LA argument, for 2 Peter 2:1, but I've never completely "bought" the argument that the Master who bought the false teachers is in fact referring to the Exodus. It seems anachronistic. But it could be correct. Or, it could be that God did indeed purchase those false teachers, but they rejected it. I don't want to read that verse with presuppositions in mind. I'd take the 5-point view if the 4-point interpretation was contradicted elsewhere in Scripture, but I'm not convinced there's a contradiction, so I will simply remain undecided.

    For the record, Charles Spurgeon thought this verse included both the elect and the non-elect.
    PyroManiac: Is there a universal aspect to the atonement?
  12. elnwood

    elnwood Puritan Board Junior


    I don't believe 4-point Calvinism is out of bounds in the confessional statements. I read the LBC and and WCF and I believe a 4-point Calvinist can affirm them. If you think they are out of bounds, could you start a new thread on that topic and say why? Thanks.
  13. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Stick a fork in it. This thread is done.
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