A Limited Atonement?
I've responded to Nathan's post about Limited Atonement over at Daniel's blog. See his Monday, January 30, 2006 entry: Are you sure that you want to say it like that? entry.
[I brought this post here so that it would be easier to access and for posterity.]
Nathan: “Judging us to be in error and not seeking reconciliation is a characteristic of the Pharisees.”
Why do you write such caustic words? Can you not just agree to disagree without always charging people of being something they are not or doing things they have not done? First we’re not humbling ourselves and now we’re Pharisees. Can you please lay off the ad hominem? I don’t believe that any one of us who disagrees with you is in ANY way Pharisaical. Please Stop.
Has it ever occurred to you that maybe someone just doesn't have the time to pursue a rebuttal, but wants to voice their dissent?
It’s one thing to challenge us, it is completely another to slander or belittle us.
I will attempt to “seek reconciliation.”
Nathan: "If we are wrong, by all means show us!”
Mark 16:15; Luke 2:10,30-32; John 3:16; Romans 5:18, 11:32; 2 Cor 5:14-15; I Tim 2:1-6,4:10; Heb 2:9; Titus 2:11-12; II Peter 2:1.
Nathan: “Again, why do we 'force' our understading into the text and determine that 'world' in 1John 2:2 cannot mean all without exception? Because taking world to mean everyone:
A) Is inconsistent with a plethora of other passages (detailing the nature of the atonement and whether Christ actually accomplished anything in His death)."
Jesus accomplished the means of salvation for every man/whosoever will. He was THE passover lamb, right? Just as those who applied the blood on the lintel posts in Egypt were spared physical death, those who are covered in/apply Jesus' blood by believing and receiving Him are spared spiritual death. The passover meal was open to anyone (Jew or Gentile) who would commit to the God of the Israelites and be circumcised. A commitment first and then a circumcision. (Exodus 12)
Please provide the scripture from the OT where it states that those who were saved by looking ahead to the Messiah were given saving grace first.
Jesus died for everyone, but not everyone will accept His gift. So the atonement is limited only insofar as one must believe and receive Him for the atonement to be effective. That doesn’t in any way cause His death to be in vain. If only ONE person accepted Jesus out of all the world, His death would still not be in vain. The only way it would be in vain is if no one ever accepted His death. But please feel free to provide the scripture which states that Jesus' death is in vain if He died for everyone, but not everyone will accept that atonement.
As an aside, Abraham was not circumcised when He “believed” God and his faith was accounted to him for righteousness. Abraham believed and then he was circumcised. Right? And that is how the NT teaches it. Repent + Believe/Faith + Receive = Saving Grace. God gives us a new heart upon our receiving the Lord’s gift of grace. The word of God by the Spirit of God renews our minds/hearts.
Nathan: "B) Is inconsistent with basic logic and rational."
It is only inconsistent with the logic and rationale of Calvinists. It is perfectly consistent, logical and rational to what the word of God teaches. And that is that salvation is available to every man (i.e., whosoever believes/faiths). Jesus died for all (Heb 2:9), but only those who believe and receive will have their sins atoned.
Nathan: "C) Is inconsistent with the actual meaning of the word 'propitiation'."
Please tell us what propitiation actually means since you think we don't seem to understand it.
Nathan: "E) Ignores the many other uses of the term -in the same book and by the same author- where world does not mean every man without exception."
It depends upon the context.
Nathan: "F) Is easily reconcilable with John 11:49"
So. John 11:49 is merely honing in on the fact that the atonement is only effective to those who believe and receive which is something that will happen to men from every part of the world. This scripture doesn't hurt my position, but rather affirms it.
Nathan: "G) Affirms what every true Christian believes (but will not always admit): that there is a limit to who Christ died for -otherwise all men would be saved."
I admit that the atonement is only effectual to those who believe and receive the Lord. But Jesus’ death was the propitiaton that was made available to all men (whosoever will). Calvinists have made up the part that Jesus' death requires all men to be saved if He died for all men.
Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
1 John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Luke 2:10,14 “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
1 Timothy 2:1-6 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
All emphasis added to the scriptures.
Nathan: “I just blogged about this recently and I argued that we must understand the intent of the atonement before we understand the extent. That is, if Christ actually accomplished anything by His death, then we must put a limit on it. So your options are: Christ did not actually save anyone, thus you would agree with the Roman Catholics that 'grace' must be added to by our merit. OR, you must affirm that Christ did accomplish something in His death, thus if He died for all then all will be saved.”
OR, we can go with what the word of God actually states and know that Jesus died for all and only those who believe and receive will have their sins atoned.
Nathan “Do you guys realize that you are agreeing with the Catholic view of the atonement? That is, Christ did 99% of the work, but our obedience here on earth determines whether you can appropriate that 99%?”
Do you realize that we do NOT agree with the Catholic view of atonement? Do you realize that Calvinists have just made up this so-called 99/1 % ratio? Do you realize that faith is not a work? Do you realize that it is 100% of God’s grace that saves us when we believe and receive because we have no power within us to save ourselves and that NONE of us deserves to be saved? Do you realize that God LOVES everyone?
Nathan: “Have the Catholics gotten this right?”