Thursday, February 5, 2009

Atonement is it Limited

Charles Spurgeon once said "I may be called Antinomian or Calvinist for preaching a limited atonement; but I had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than a universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of man be joined with it."

I get asked this question by many people being DoI would agree with the Reformed position on Limited Atonement? So if I may, I want to break it down for my readers as it has been done many other times by many other people.

First every Christian believes the atonement is limited in some way. At least they would say the effect is limited. The "scope" is what is usually debated. The reason is if you do not believe the atonement is at least limited to those who believe then you would not be a Christian you would be a Universalist.

Second if you believe in God's Sovereignty then you at least believe in his foreknowledge. The difference is a reformed person believes that if it is in God's foreknowledge then it is a part of His will. See God's will and foreknowledge are inseparable because if He knows what is to happen that would also be his will, otherwise things would happen outside of his will.

So this results in God's foreknowledge knowing who will come to Him and who will not, if that then is also his will then he has chosen those who are his.

This is the most simple way I can break it down. Did Christ make salvation merely possible or did he truly make it secure?

Please note I have many friends who disagree with me on this position and have some great arguments. I respect their interaction greatly.


Anonymous said...

First I believe limited atonement is not biblical. The Bible is very clear that Christ died for the sins of the whole world. See the verse here:
1 Timothy 4:9-10:
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (ESV)

There are two groups mentioned here. The first group being all people. The second group is the believers who are a smaller part of the group. Here we see that God is the Savior of all people. However it is up to the people not to reject God’s will for their life. Is it possible to reject God’s will? Absolutely, Luke 7:30 says that the Pharisees rejected God’s will for their lives.

Second, I believe like the reformist that it is impossible for man to reach out to God without God making Himself available to us and calling us. Take Peter’s sermon at Pentecost for example: Acts 2:37-41

37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." 41So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (ESV)

Here we see the words “everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself”. This indicates God’s sovereignty in calling those to Himself. But, look at Peter’s exhortation: "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." It was still the responsibility of the people to reject or believe in the gospel of Christ. It is grace through faith, faith through grace! They work hand in hand.

Whom does the Lord call then? Everyone. Col 1:21-23

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

The gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven! Everyone is able to see God in the creation around him and they are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20).

Alas my lunch break is over. I can move on to predestination and God’s foreknowledge some other time if you are interested.

Andy said...

Thank you Drew for stopping by.

I am going to post my response in the form of a link to an opposing view to mine. Please read it and read the comments section it address most of the issues in a gentle way.