Sunday, July 25, 2010

Getting the L Out of Here. Part 9

Hebrews 2:9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.ESV

“You have that verse out of context.” That was the response I received when discussing Limited Atonement with a Calvinistic buddy of mine. The word context is a lead balloon often used to quench an argument. Context is definitely needed in finding out what scripture teaches on a subject. My challenge is to show how many verses, such as the one above, one needs to make it say that Jesus did not taste separation from God for every person. Without that proof context is just that a lead balloon which is supposed to shut everyone up that disagrees with the person using the word.

Limited Atonement is a presupposition that is read down on top of scripture to try to answer the question of why some are saved and others lost. In reading this on top of scripture then sections of scripture which clearly teaches that Jesus is Savior of all men is read to say the opposite. This is an attempt to protect the Sovereignty of God for if God wants all men to be saved, 1 Timothy 2:4, and all men are not saved then we do not have a Sovereign God is the fear. This fear is a challenge to the Sovereignty of God in that we once again fall upwards in an attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible. This is fascinating that a professing Christian would refuse to affirm a clear teaching because it does not make sense to a finite mind steeped in sin.

I accept the challenge:

Hebrews 2:5 Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
13 And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”
And again,
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Wow! Far from teaching Limited Atonement the near context throws more incredible and incomprehensible stuff our way. Jesus made us perfect through suffering in order to call us brothers? Yes God is Sovereign. Jesus exercised his Sovereignty in being born of a virgin, suffering under Pontius Pilate, crucified, died and was buried. He was Sovereign in descending into hell and raising from the dead. And is now Sovereign at the right hand of the Father giving us his gifts through word, baptism and body and blood. All in order to call us brothers!

Now the challenge is yours my Calvinists. Put this into context to show it is for fewer than all. Or believe this good news and live in the peace it offers.

In the name of Jesus. Amen. †


Julie said...

Where are my socks? That just blew them clear across the room! I look forward to a response from a Calvinist or two.

Larry said...


Part 1 of 3 (Sorry for the length)

Your “Get the ‘L’ out of here” series is my favorite one.

You are precisely right that it is a presupposition of reason that presses down and into Scripture the false teaching of Calvinism. Luther rightly identifies fallen human reason to be against faith in every way, it must be subdued by Christ not to over-ride Christ. Becker points this out in his power packed book “The Foolishness of God” (a TREMENDOUS book). It’s the same reason that the trinity is denied, the two natures, the real presents, regenerative baptism…etc…

ALL articles of faith are offensive to fallen human reason. Luther points this out specifically as the very nature of the fall and the essence of original sin in which God’s Word was no longer trusted, then left to his own self man uses reason ridden by Satan to assess “where God is” now. When in fact in the face of God’s Word, which is absurd to reason, reason is to bow down. But it does not and rather insists on telling God how to be God.

Reason, Luther would say, is good for using in the sense of it understands the grammar and word meanings but it cannot at all grasp the theological only faith can do this. The contrasts are sharp but obvious once pointed out: In the realm nature and reason, reason draws conclusions on the things that it experiences through the senses (including feelings). Faith on the other hand concludes based solely on the naked Word and promising of God (its why Luther and Lutherans define faith as “God cannot lie” and not the Calvinistic “I believe”). For reason, assent or trust unto, experience ALWAYS precedes assent or trust. For faith experience always comes after assent or trust. Reason only believes what it experiences as measured by the senses (including emotions), faith on the other hand believes that which it does not see nor have but has heard via the Word and promising of God (one begins to see the real issue of the Sacraments and God’s Word was no and is no mere unessential thing here). For this reason faith must snuff out reason and move forward, not based on nothing (Peter Pan faith), nor on experience, feelings, etc…(pagan, Islam, Calvinism, Rome, baptist, etc…), but on the Word alone (Sola Scriptura in the REAL since of the term not the Calvinistic dopple ganger). Thus, even though my reason says, “I do declare I only see and sense bread and wine perhaps Calvin and Zwingli were right”, reason crucifies that liar an NAKED BELIEVES and comes to the sacrament anyway saying, “yes but Christ SAID…”.

Luther points out that by and of necessity all articles of faith offend reason, so that room may be made for faith. In the fall of man the very first thing that happened was as Luther put it, as is all temptation, faith is put on trial and “unhinged” from God. Once God is not trusted man is forced into himself for that’s all he has, which is really nothing (the enthusiasm, god-within-ness and original sin) from there he uses the good gift and creature reason for idolatry dictated to by the devil (now it is his mistress as Luther puts it). This is what Paul is directly getting at in Romans 1:18 in particular. And so reason
seeks out God in ways where there is no Word or promise in the creatures (here we see the idolatry in seeking assurance in one’s faith, conversion experience, decision, changed life, etc…no Word or promise is given to any of them).

Larry said...

Part 2 of 3

Faith on the other hand concludes on the naked Word and promising of God without seeing or “detecting” otherwise. Reason is offened. Why? Luther points out that all the true promises of God hold out the Cross on the one hand and a blessing afterward on the other hand. Reason is offended by both of these. How so? Because it cannot through any experience of the senses detect or conclude the blessing promised and so it accounts it as nothing (recall what a theology of glory does concerning the Cross, calls good evil and evil good), and secondly perceives the mere beginnings of evil, the suffering, to never end. So reason flees the Word and promises of God. E.g. it was not to reasons liking that Abraham would go to sacrifice Isaac, it was against reason at every level, but faith stomps under foot reason and concludes based on the Word and promising of God in the very face of opposition. Now we begin to see the issue regarding the Word and the Sacraments and why Luther was right. Take the example of the Lord’s Supper. The Words of Christ are as plain as day, but reason experiences only bread and wine by the senses and concludes “just bread and wine” and “no forgiveness” actually given in this way in reality. Why? Same thing as above, the promises of God always hold forth the Cross and promise a blessing, it bids us come and die in Christ and promises a blessing of forgiveness of sin. It is of necessity that the Word and promise of God is attached to something earthly that makes no sense to reason so that there is room for faith alone that, again, concludes only on the naked Word and promising of God. Faith puts under foot reason that says, “just bread and wine” and hears the Words and promising of Christ (God) say, “This is My body/blood…given/shed…for you…for the forgiveness of sin”. Here proud reason recoils at the Cross and blessing for it cannot see nor detect the blessing that is utter in God’s Word and all it sees is an evil that will never end, the Cross, that bids reason to come and die and give up its “doing” to save itself, have assurance or otherwise “know it is saved/reborn/converted…etc”. So reason returns to its idols thinking seeks God yet is fleeing from Him.

This is the critical link, or at least a taste of it, between Luther’s ToG/ToC and the issue of reason versus faith and idolatry/original sin and faith in the naked Word/promising of God. It’s literally everywhere in Scripture. Noah for example endured scorn and such building that boat for 500 years (best I can recall). At times his reason must have said, “this is nothing”. Yet attached to that boat and the flood to come (a baptism) was the very promising of God that held out (1) the Cross and (2) the blessing. This is why during his construction of such he was called a preacher all those years he was doing it. Reason, those who mocked him ruled by it was offended on the same two accounts (no flood, not a cloud in the sky, surely not the whole world…etc…). Abraham the same thing when he was called out to leave his home, this was not reasonable, it held out a Cross to him but promised a blessing, reason only saw the loss of what he had that such was the beginnings of evil that would never end and did not sense or experience the blessing and thus considered it as nothing (same as mentioned above concerning his son).

Larry said...

Part 3 of 3

All of the promises of God do this up to the ones we have today, the naked Word whether it comes through the voice box of a pastor, water, bread or wine. Even Spurgeon missed this when he once asked regarding infant baptism “how can water save anyone”, his fallen reason ruled him and not faith in that. Luther’s answer was and is “not just water but water with the Word of God”.

In limited atonement it is the devil’s old whore, reason, that concocts that doctrine because it cannot resolve all saved and why some fall away. So concocts a dream and presses that dream INTO the Scriptures thinking, so deluded it is, that it is “reading it from Scripture”. It’s like an addict that says, “I’m fine”, when it is so very apparent they are not.

It’s the fall and original sin all over again. Luther says the devil’s temptation never really varies. First, faith is put on trial (faith in the naked word), once that is lost man is turned inwardly to the self and uses the tool, reason, to now assess God for him. He’s now utterly lost (they, Calvinist, do not grasp the REAL total depravity of the fall and limited atonement is a proof of this along with their doctrines on the supper and baptism) and must hear of another word, the devil’s, or assess the things reason can grasp, experiences via the senses (including feelings) and says, “Ahha, here is God”. So that limited atonement, reason’s confession of faith, now forces the rest of man away from the Word, especially the Word IN the sacraments (God cannot lie), unto OTHER things to detect and be assured of election/conversion/rebirth/etc… See how the whole Satanic system works once faith is put on trial and reason takes over in Calvin!

That’s how limited atonement works, the devil’s ORIGINAL temptation ALL OVER AGAIN. To wit: Baptism gives nothing, you are not regenerated in baptism, the spirit is not given, you are not forgiven for real in baptism and there is no body and blood there just bread and wine, the pastor is not giving you the sacrifice that was given FOR YOU for the forgiveness of sin, no real forgiveness given there either. (Faith put on trial via Calvin, especially the puritans). IF one ascends to believe and hear that and not stomp under foot the head of the serpent right then and there; saying depart Satan God hast CLEARLY said in His Word (don’t let the devil look into your eyes and bewitch you, don’t debate him here like Luther said put reason under faith’s foot), then one HAS to ascend to looking where reason can see…namely experience via the senses and/or feelings for the “signs” of conversion/election/rebirth. Then, either one of two things happens. Either you despair of hope into hell or think you are pulling it off, again, into hell.

Calvinism is in no way the Christian religion.