Thursday, August 6, 2009

Getting The L Out of Here. Part 6

Double Jeopardy! This is the response one gets from those who believe, teach and confess Limited Atonement. The thought behind it is that if Jesus died for the sins of every person then to send the unbeliever to eternal hell is to punish them a second time. This would be unfair to our fair mindedness but God is free to operate under his own rules or none at all.

2 Corinthians 5:18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.ESV

However, we see in the above section that because of Jesus’ perfect life, death, burial and resurrection God is no longer counting trespasses against anyone. One will object and mention that people still go to hell. Those who go into everlasting punishment do not end up there because of sin but rather unbelief. John 3:18.

Each and everyone of us are by nature sinful, unclean and an enemy of God. In loving kindness Jesus came and bore the entire curse of the law for every person ever born. This gift is received by faith and is reject able by those who either do not see the need for saving or rather try and do it for themselves. St Paul addressed this type of unbelief in his letter to the church at Galatia. So horrible is this and terrifying he uses extremely harsh language later stating that those who seek to justify themselves have fallen away from grace and are severed from Christ:

Galatians 5:2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. ESV

When we trust solely in the finished work of Jesus we have nothing to fear. The fact that he paid for all sin we do not have to fear that he did not pay for us. Rather we can look with confidence that our sin was nailed to the cross and paid for entirely by Jesus who was later raised so we also shall be raised. We can hear with confidence the good news that Jesus died to redeem us. This is probably why John Calvin was so unsure when teaching on the sacraments. One cannot have firm trust in baptism and the Lord’s Supper when one is convinced Jesus did not die for everyone for how can you know these gifts are for you? Jesus died for each of us! We can trust the promises associated with baptism and the Lord’s Supper not doubting that it is for us! Is that radical good news or what?

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. †


Anonymous said...

Saint David,

That is the crux of the issue and Chemitz points this out concerning Calvinism and the sacraments. Even the Reformed within their own ranks, sans the Baptist inclusion among them, cannot settle on what the Sacraments mean, especially the Lord’s Supper. That in and of itself is very telling. As a whole when you ask the Reformed, “Give an answer what do you confess on this, tell us plainly in one voice”. Some are more Zwinglian, some more Calvin leaning (both are really the same when its all boiled down, Calvin is not a “middle ground” at all).

When predestination is foisted above all other doctrines as the will of God, the Sacraments are not just a little lost, but ENTIRELY lost. Calvin LOST utterly, the sacraments. This is why you see in later day Calvinism, especially among the American Puritans the great terrors of conscience and seeking out “what is real conversion, what are its true signs”. Books and piles of books written by Puritans were written to say what conversion is not and searching out what it is in the order of salvation (attributed first to Bucer). The sacraments entirely thrown out as means of assurance of grace. Jonathan Edwards nearly exhausts the subject in “Religious Affections”. It got so bad that one puritan lady threw her infant child down a well, as recounted by one Puritan writer, killing it and then saying, “There, now I know I will go to hell”. It was better to be certain of hell for her than not know at all and have assurance. This is the kind of hell on earth Calvin’s doctrine leads to. When you unhinge the certitude of the Sacraments, the for me (which IS the Gospel by the way, Luther said without it you have not been converted nor heard the Gospel), that’s the kind of searching it begets. And after the Puritans comes the Arminian versions who started the whole and various conversion experience track – which is NOTHING less than the “order of salvation” extended!

It’s funny that such, when you read of them, are no LESS terrified than the poor souls under the Papal thumb before and at the time Luther came on the scene. Roman Catholics really no more trust in their baptism or the LS than do Reformed or Baptist and as such look to secondary causes and effects, which are NEVER assuring for they do not have one single Word of God attached to them like the Sacraments do. One sees the antichristic signature on both of these. And the few Reformed that seem to be coming back toward the sacraments as assurance can ONLY do so because they are leaning more and more toward Luther NOT Calvin, even if they don’t admit to it. That’s why and why I heard a lot in Reformed circles that certain Reformed theologian of our day have been accused of being ‘crypto-lutherans’. And the “purest” Reformed are right on this part, they are not really Reformed, but more Luther leaning Reformed. It’s like I told my Baptist buddy/pastor on an issue of baptism in which he was speaking like Luther on it and some men in his congregation were saying, “That’s not Baptist”. I told him, “You know he is right, it’s not Baptist but Lutheran. So on that point he is correct.”



Anonymous said...

The Calvinist think the better show of God’s sovereignty is like this, “God didn’t have to save a single soul”. And that is true. What they don’t see as equally true and shows God’s mercy, in fact His grace shows the essence of His sovereignty is this, “God saved the ENTIRE world”. For some reason that does not show His sovereignty and they do not see that in saying this they eliminate His sovereignty.


Steve Martin said...

The Calvinists and Reformed folks just aren't reading what it says on the page.

The whole world get this...the whole world.

Anonymous said...

One does wonder at the lengths they must travel to arrive at the destination of Limited Atonement. Did the idea of 'world' not meaning world, and 'all' not meaning all occur to them as a natural reading of the words in scripture? Or did they have to force new meanings upon the words to fit it into the mosaic?

It seems fairly obvious to me what happened. Better to have a scriptural theology, and I can't quite squeeze in all the pieces, than to find that my puzzle is perfectly done, but is not the right puzzle at all.

Anonymous said...

That’s the heterodoxy of the Reformed. When I was reformed all sorts of verbal gymnastics had to be used to make “world” mean a “select/elect sub-group of the ENTIRE world”. Yet, not even John Calvin, the man himself to whom the Reformed supposedly owe their origins interpreted “world” to mean anything but ENTIRE. Calvin goes as far to say as to (sounding more Luther than the Reformed the supposedly bear his name) “not be in the world would mean you would have to take a man out of the world”.

Thus we see just how far unbiblical modern Reformed have taken the argument themselves.


Anonymous said...

The body and blood of Christ really and truly in the Lord’s Supper – Luther saw with GREAT acuity what the problem was at Marburg:

The journey of heresy – “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees” – imperceptible at first but then…

Calvin unhinged the sacraments from the believer and very subtly inserted in their place election, the arrow shot only about one degree off course. Placing God’s will not in the sacraments but in the divine election. This is the crux of the issue with the Lord’s Supper, make no mistake about it – without the body and blood of Christ truly there (the Zwinglian/Calvinistic unhinging) the will of God is now placed in eternal election whereby one is forced back INTO themselves to ultimately determine, “where, how and has the will of God exercised in me and what is its secondary sign”.

A few years later this new theological trajectory, one degree off with unhinged sacraments and election re-inserted in their place, what Calvin read as “world” meaning all and everybody without exception logically becomes “world” = a sub-select group within the group “world”, something other than everyone without exception.

Throw in some anabaptistic thought in this new off target religious mélange which fits absolutely perfectly with the now unhinged sacraments and reasserted in their place election, and suddenly one has the Calvinistic Baptist. After all the sacraments don’t really DO anything and are now unhinged and so now it makes most sense that they become ordinances and law that we do to more or less “prove” our faith. The logical extension of the off trajectory unhinged sacraments practically carves its path out in a most obvious way. Now the Baptist take the sacraments and call them ordinances, proofs of faith and dependant on faith. Recall that Calvin makes the LS depend upon faith in order to be, so does the Baptist make baptism depend on faith in order to be a real baptism. Yet this is sheer idolatry making the creature, even faith, the god in front of God (a violation of the first commandment). For assurance is not garnered in the sacraments where the name, Word, will, body and blood of God is – but rather if and only if faith is discerned, and this “faith” is determined by all kinds of secondary causes to show ultimately that the will of God has operated upon and within me to be elect. With election firmly in the place of the sacraments limited atonement becomes in its highest form, a false god and a clear theology of glory (for it depends upon secondary causes perceived and assessed to detect the will and operation of God, whereby I may know I’ve been reborn and hence elected).

In this scenario, it is not surprising to find, that the Law cannot nor is ever preached in all its killing force because when all is said and done if and when the Law is preached in its 200 proof form, it must of necessity annihilate utterly and absolutely all secondary causes – the very same secondary causes one is looking to to “detect” God’s will toward one as being reborn and thus elect whereby and only true faith (according to the doctrine) is, whereby assurance of salvation is supposed to be had/found. If the Law in all its killing form cannot be preached truly, then neither can the Gospel in its pure 200 proof form, the only Gospel there really is, whereby true saving faith may be had. One must either be deceived necessarily into believing one is pulling it off in the secondary causes (recall the sacraments are unhinged), or utter hopeless despair, that of Judas, must ensue. Both are lost, both are not saving faith, both have no true assurance.


Ieuan said...

So you are getting there slowly David, you point out correctly that the 'Unforgivable Sin' is in fact unbelief. Those that die in unbelief will be rejected by the Lord on judgement day. I nevr knew you, he will say.

To those that beleiev on the Lortd Jesus Christ, for them, the slate will be wiped clean. There will be no reocrd of their transgressions, it will have been covered by the blood of the lamb.

We sing it, don't we? Hides all our transgressions from view.

John the Baptist cried out, "Behold the lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world."

But when their sins were taken away on the cross and as they died in unblief then their sins remain.

WE are justified by faith, that is, made right with God by faith.

Their sins remain, so Jesus' blood did not atone, their sin remains. Their sins remain they stay in the unbleief...they go to punishment and removed from God's mercy for ever.

YOu and the Calvinists are both right, some of you just don't know it yet.

A friend of Ieuan aka Hugh

Ploughed Ground said...

I read the Ausberg Cnfessions and assume it is the Lutheran?
Article IX: Of Baptism.

1] Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary 2] to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God's grace.

I thnik that this confession is rather weak in places and can see why the Baptists give you so much greif. Allowing for Luther just having come out of the Romaist system I feel there is an element of his former undertsanding remaining in this confession. Which is undertstandable un der the circumstances. I rather think the WCF 1646,130 years later, is a better staement of faith and rightly condemns the practices of Baptists in not baptising babies. maybe they had more time to consider Baptism?

IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized.

V. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.

VI. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time.

3] They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism.

David Cochrane said...

I would refer you to the Large Catechism and the rest of the Book of Concord for further teaching on baptism.

In the WCF we see Holy Baptism moved from a sacrament into an ordinance. This makes it rather a work of man rather than a means of grace.

Scripture clearly teaches that the Lord saves through baptism.(Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21)

The WCF goes on to state that grace,regeneration and salvation are not associated wtih it. Further we see the reason is that the entry point into scripture is the Sovereignty of God rather than the Gospel of Jesus. I whole heartedly agree with the Soveriegnty of God and as such believe he is capable to make sure those he wishes to be saved are baptized if they are to live in this decaying and fallen creation. Persons are converted by hearing the word however, there is no baptism of the Holy Spirit apart from the Sacrament as some imagine.(Acts 2:38-39; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Titus 3:5-6)

And yes it is a great tragedy to wait until a child is older in order for him or her to make up their mind as to whether to believe and be baptized. This gift is especially precious to parents for assurance of the salvation of sons and daughters especially if he or she perishes at a young age before verbal confirmation.

Ploughed Ground said...

For an ex-calvinist you seem to be sorely misinformed Dave. The only two sacraments we regognise are Baptism and Communion, both commanded by our Lord Jesus. The WCF does not say different. The Westminster says that there is grace in baptism but that it doesn't necessarily save...big difference if you don't mind me pointing it out.
There is grace in the sacraments, but Grace is not always saving grace. And Grace that is not saving still imparts a blessing albeit in a temporal blessing but a blessing nevertheless.
The Hypers will scearm, What good is there in a blessing if it does not save? A good question, but why should we question the workings of the Almighty?

David Cochrane said...


I was referring to this:

V. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.

This clearly states that grace, salvation and regeneration are not annexed to the sacrament of Holy Baptism.

The next section refers to Holy Baptism as an ordinance. This clearly states that it is a work of men not of God. And as an ordinance it cannot be also a sacrament which is a work of God delivering the fruits of the cross to the baptized. Our Baptists refer to Holy Baptism as an ordinance as well and only refer to it as an act of the persons involved.

God's word in the referenced sections in the previous post teach differently.

God's peace. †