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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « The Gospel Is For Christians | Main | Our Infinite Obligation to God by Jonathan Edwards »

    There are No Four-Point Calvinists

    Within the Dispensational theological camp there are quite a number of so-called four-point Calvinists. This means that while they fully embrace most Calvinistic soteriology, such as the biblical doctrine of irresistible grace, yet they believe Christ died with the same universal intent for all humanity. To put it another way, unlike traditional full-orbed Calvinists, they do not believe Christ died (redemptively) for the elect only. With the notable exception of the MacArthur Dispensationalists who are five point Calvinists, most others in that camp (such as those influenced by Dallas Seminary) reject the doctrine of limited atonement. Well... what I would like to demonstrate today is that rather than giving reasons why they are wrong, I am more inclined simply to call them inconsistent, for I believe it can be easily demonstrated that most of them already believe in limited atonement without consciously knowing that they do. Here's why:

    Four point Calvinists will all agree, along with us, that irresistible grace, faith and repentance are gifts of God granted only to the elect. But four-point Calvinists somehow fail to connect the dots because they have not apprehended that these benefits as part of the redemptive work of Christ. We must consider that God does not give us generic grace apart from the work of Christ but all spiritual and redemptive blessings derive their potency from Christ and Christ alone (Eph 1:3). Therefore any belief in a "Christless" irresistible grace or gift of faith is absurd. I am led to believe that perhaps many of them have simply never thought of this. The result is that it should be plain to all that Christ died in a way (redemptively - to procure irresistable grace) for the elect that He did not for the non-elect.

    If only the elect receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who irresistibly draws His own people (John 6:63, 65, 37) that they might believe the gospel .... and the same Spirit is never given in such a way to the non-elect (which four-pointers will affirm), then the only conclusion one can reach is that there is a benefit in the death of Christ which was never intended for the non-elect. By maintaining four-point calvinism one must separate the benefits from the Benefactor. In other words, the only way to consistently believe in four-point Calvinism is to erroneously conclude that irresistible grace is a grace given to people apart from Jesus Christ; something I would bet that none of them are willing to do.

    Look with me at John 16:7. Here Jesus tells his disciples, "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."

    Here the distribution of the Holy Spirit is spoken of as one of the benefits of His death and resurrection. We all agree (4 & 5 pointers) that the Holy Spirit's illumination and effectual grace is given to the elect only. Therefore the new heart granted by Jesus which produces faith & repentance is also part of the package of benefits granted for the elect and not the non-elect. To separate our desire and ability to believe the gospel from Christ Himself, who gives these gifts and benefits, makes no sense at all. I must conclude therefore that four-point Calvinists are not thinking Christocentrically with regard to the benefits of the atonement.

    Four-point Calvinists will admit that justification and sanctification are works of Christ applied by the Spirit. How is it then that irresistible grace and illumination are viewed separately from Christ? They admit the former as a redemptive benefit of Christ but somehow overlook the latter as from Christ, who Himself grants his Holy Spirit. In fact, all gracious benefits of redemption find their origin in Christ... and it is Jesus, the very Author of these redemptive benefits and graces, who procures them by His life, death and resurrection. Thus, the capacity for faith (Phil 1:29; 2 Tim 2:25) is just like any other redemptive benefit that was purchased by Christ on the cross. He bestows no grace upon us which was not also procured by His merits.

    Christ is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2) and He is a full and perfect Savior to us. Unless He had acquired faith and repentance for us, no one would ever have been united to Christ and made a partaker of salvation. Christ is the cause of all spiritual gifts bestowed on us. Four-pointers cannot therefore both grant the reality of irresistible grace and deny a particular atonement. One is dependent on the other. Irresistible grace and limited atonement are really speaking of the same blessing but looked at from different perspectives ... two sides of the same coin, so to speak. The gift of the Holy Spirit that the elect might believe and the work of Christ are, therefore, inseparable. They are always joined together in the Scripture (Rom 8:9; John 16:7). Therefore salvation does not come to any others than those to whom the Holy Spirit was given in Christ.

    Since we agree that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given only to the elect, there is no reason to believe why the gift of the Son should be more extensive. Plainly, and all agree, the Holy Spirit is given to none other than the elect, to irresistibly draw them and grant them life (John 6:63-65, 44). This benefit of infalliby drawing the elect is never given to the non-elect. Therefore, Christ died redemptively for the elect but not the non-elect. This is irrefutable.
    Unless someone is willing to separate the benefit of irresistible grace from the work of Christ (i.e. tout a Christless grace) then there should be no argument left against the biblical validity of limited atonement.

    Some many ask, is there any sense in which Christ died for the non-elect?

    Most Reformed persons do believe that there are indeed aspects of Christ's atonement which benefit all persons. So there are ways in which he died for the non-elect. For instance, God's wrath is now averted toward those who should be immediately judged, and God patience is revealed toward them because of Christ ... and this also includes the non-elect.

    As an example of one who historically believed this, Francis Turretin in his masterful work on the atonement wrote:

    "We do not inquire whether the death of Christ gives occasion to the imparting of some blessings even to the reprobates. Because it is in consequence of the death of Christ that the Gospel is preached to all nations, that the gross idolatry of many heathen nations has been abolished, that the daring impiety of man is greatly restrained by the word of God, that multitudes of the human family obtain many and excellent blessings, though not saving gifts, of the Holy Spirit. It is unquestionable that all these flow from the death of Christ, for there would have been no place for them in the Church, unless Christ had died. The question is, whether the suretyship and satisfaction of Christ were, by the will of God and purpose of Christ, destined for every individual of Adam's posterity, as our opponents teach, or for the elect only, as we maintain. " Francis Turretin The Atonement pg. 104

    Also, I would like you all to consider one more thing with regard to the atonement. Can someone consistently say that God has exhaustive foreknowledge of who would be saved and then teach that God punished Christ for the purpose of redeeming every single man that ever lived? Do you really think that God can intend to do something HE KNOWS cannot possibly come about? If God already knows and determines who will be saved (as we all agree) He would be 'wasting his time', so to speak, trying to save persons He knows will never come to Him. It is clear that we cannot paste such ignorance on God. Surely we should credit God with having as much sense as we do. What human being would make a great but useless and needless sacrifice? To think that Christ died redemptively for people that He already knows will never believe, would be making God out to be smaller than the Scriptures teach. And if He knows already who will be saved would it even be possible to think of the Holy Spirit as trying equally to save all men? This line of reasoning acts as if He had no knowledge of such things. Consider the dire consequences of this inconsistent position.

    -------------------

    This week I have written a trio of essays dealing with some errors in the Church. The first essay was about the error of pietism in sanctification; the second essay the error of free will in salvation and a misapprehension of God's love; and the third essay (today's) is about an error on the question of "for whom did Christ die".

    During reflection, I noticed a pattern emerge in each of these errors. They share in common the result of not understanding that all spiritual and redemptive blessings are to be found in Christ. Rather, each of these erroneous views have found ways to draw from their own resources to accomplish some spiritual act, apart from the grace of Christ. These theological errors are directly related to not placing Christ at the center of their understanding and exegesis. The essay on Pietism, for example, showed that perfectionism is false and that to be biblical, our sanctification must be gospel-driven, i.e. the Law should still always drive us back to Christ, not always to be obsessing on our own spirituality. The essay on the Drowning Man likewise revealed that like a good parent would never simply watch his loved ones get eaten or drown from afar hoping they will use their free will to save themselves (from oncoming traffic), but rather their love is such that it goes after and saves His loved ones, making certain that they do not perish. If human parents so willingly risk their lives, much more our Heavenly Father.

    Today's essay also points out a pervasive error, but this error, unlike the others, is not fatal but simply one of inconsistency. I believe I have demonstrated (hopefully to everyone's satisfaction) that those who call themselves four-point Calvinists may be surprised to hear that they already believe in limited atonement, perhaps without knowing it, and the reason they do not believe this also comes from failing to see Christ and His work at the center of their exegesis and understanding of what He did to procure our salvation.

    - J.W. Hendryx

    Posted by John on March 16, 2006 01:49 PM

    Comments

    This article has good timing. I work at "Lifeway" which is an SBC run Christian chain of book stores and my fellow associates all consider themselves four pointers. Yeah, they just can't get past the "L" in TULIP. They are consistant with having a good strong view of Gods sovereignty, but predestination and election for them is a matter of Gods eternal predestination of "the plan of salvation" rather then the recepients of God's eternal salvation.

    Ephesians 1:4-11 is a great way to see the difference in interpretation between a Calvinist and an Arminian. It's interesting, I interpret these verses as God choosing, calling and electing a people unto Himself. Where as an Arminian would interpret these verses as God predestinating His plan of salvation through Christ. It's also interesting how the more literal English translations such as the KJV, ASV, NASB, NKJV and the ESV all include a comma in Ephesians 1:4. But the other dynamic equivalent versions have done away with the comma, which in my mind is a pretty big deal. That is one reason why I advocate literal English translations.

    But at the end of the day, my brothers at the bookstore are dear to my heart and we both love the Lord and serve Him together as brothers in Christ. We also are steadfast in our doctrinal views and defend them. :) But it's all been good. But I'm still going to send them a link to this article. :) Hopefully God will use it.

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    Dave.

    I just finished reading The Doctrines of Grace by J M Boice and P Ryken and they did a fantastic job of making these same points, how you cannot be anything but a 5 pointer because a 3 or 4 pointer just has not thought about the implications of stopping there...it has to be all 5 or the whole thing falls apart. It's a great book, very readable and informative in both theological and historical understanding of Reformed Christianity.


    http://www.monergismbooks.com/doctrinesgrace2993.html

    Perhaps this will open a large can of worms, but how/where does the 4-point view fit into Barthian Calvinism? I know a pastor who is very strongly Reformed, and (so far as I can tell) is not dispensational--but he has said before that he sees Limited Atonement more as a logical consequence of the other four points, than as a biblically derived principle unto itself. He's jokingly called himself a 4.5 point Calvinist. He is a very big fan of Karl Barth. I don't know much about Barth, thought I've heard that he believed in a universal atonement (in some sense, anyway).

    Can anyone refer me to more info about this?

    I have never met a 4 pointer as the above describes. I have met a lot of two pointers who will admit that men are dead in sin and do not seek God, and that God preserves us to the end. They do not believe in the U, L, or the I in TULIP.

    We have some interesting converstations on "If you believe we are dead in sin and do not seek God on our own accord, how do we come to Christ." It usually ends in them claiming God gave those enough grace whom He knew would choose Him on their own accord. It always seems that it comes to "God knew who would choose Him because He can see through the scope of time." Basically a misconception on How God chooses us.

    Dallas:

    Yes ...there are plenty of the kind of folks you describe. But almost all the persons coming out of Dallas Theolgical Seminary and their many satelite Bible schools around the country genuinely believe in irresistable grace, total depravity and unconditional election.

    Have the four-pointers reading this concluded that this argument is correct? Where are all the counter-arguments against what has been presented? I have never once heard anyone attempt to counter this argument. Hundreds have already read the essay so can we assume the silence is reflective thoughtfulness and a change of mind? Or perhaps pretend this argument does not exist? If this argument is wrong lets see the points deconstructed. If right then lets put four-point Calvinism behind us once for all and unite on this important doctrine which exalts Jesus Christ.

    I was a "four pointer" until my eyes were opened to the fact that everyone limits the atonement in some way. It is either limited in intent (5 pointer) or accomplishment (4 pointer). Either God failed to do what he set out to do, i.e. save the world, or he planned to atone for the sins of the elect and accomplished it exactly as he intended.

    Many people forget that one of the greatest professors in the history of DTS was S. Lewis Johnson. I believe perhaps he was one of the most articulate exegetical theologians of the latter half of the 20th century. He was a staunch 5 point Calvinist and a dispensationalist as well. Many try to make the connection between sub-Calvinism and/ or Arminianism with Dispensationalism as if it was a logical extension of it. I have never been convinced of the argument. Anyone who listens to the massive output of Johnson's superb teaching must bear with his grand intellect and Biblical insight into the matter. Check out all the audio files at www.believerschapeldallas.org/online.htm

    Scott:

    Thanks for your comment.

    You said>>>>Many try to make the connection between sub-Calvinism and/ or Arminianism with Dispensationalism as if it was a logical extension of it.

    While understanding your concern , the connection between Dispensationalism and four-point Calvinism is not really so much a "logical" extension but a historical one (AKA Lewis Sperry Chafer). Also , the essay itself said "many within the Dispensational theological camp..." but nowhere implied any "logical extension". There are certainly few if any (at least that I know of) in the Covenant Theology camp that embrace four-point Calvinism. There is a reason for this.

    Further, we have not forgotten about S Lewis Johnson but this does make is a consensus or even create a healthy percentage. As mentioned in the essay, there are always notable exceptions to the rule with persons like MacArthur and Johnson (of whom we have the links on our website monergism.com promoting the same lectures you point to) ... but the historical connection between Dispensationalism and four-point Calvinism has clearly been established.

    As shown in a previous post, Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder of DTS, starting on page 104 of his Systematic Theology plainly rejects limited atonement and teaches that Christ did not die for the sin of unbelief. Large numbers of prominent DTS influenced Dispensationalists have followed his footsteps, including many of the folks currently over at bible.org. Even MacArthur was not convinced of the fifth point until 1997.

    While Dispensationalism is not a system of soteriology, there are clear soteriological innovations within that camp which deny monenergistic regeneration and particular redemption. The system itself may or may not logically extend to four-point but the majority of Dispensationalists have ended up believing that nonetheless. And that reaon is most probably the historical connection with Chafer. So I would contend, in this case, that the amyraldian belief of a majority of Dispensationalists is more connected with a tradition than with thoughtful exegesis.

    Here is a link to the Chafer quote...
    http://www.reformationtheology.com/2006/01/inconsistent_underlying_assump.php

    nontheless, the point of the essay is not so much about Dispensationalists but those among them who still embrace the inconsistent idea that you can affirm irresistable grace and, at the same time, reject limited atonement, an impossible supposition.

    -----------

    Note:

    Bible.org is a website which is made up mostly of prof's from Dallas Theological Seminary In his essay entitled "Soteriology - The Doctrine of Salvation by J. Hampton Keathley, III , Th.M." he defends the traditional Dispensational approach that Chafer took to this doctrine Here is the source and the quote which follows:

    http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=180

    in a paragraph about half way through the essay he says what follows....

    For Whom Did Christ Die?
    In connection with the doctrine of redemption and the our consideration of the doctrine of reconciliation, there is the question, “For whom did Christ die?” Did He die for the entire world, or for only the elect? The strict Calvinist who believes in the five points of Calvinism believes Christ died only for the elect. This is what theologians call the doctrine of Limited Atonement.

    But the Bible plainly teaches that Christ’s death and His work of redemption was not only sufficient for the entire world, but that He actually died for the sins of all the world. This belief, known as Unlimited Atonement, does not mean universal salvation, but only that Christ’s death paid the penalty for the sin of all the world and for all time. For the Savior’s death to be effective for any individual that person must personally believe or trust in Jesus Christ as his/her personal Savior.

    1 Timothy 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. (Emphasis mine.)

    The one sin for which Christ did not die is rejection of His person and work (John 3:18, 36).

    John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

    Actually, I call them 4 point arminians because if you follow through their theology, they really only believe in eternal security.

    John

    Hey John,

    Great article! As a 5-pointer and a graduate of DTS, I feel that I may have a unique insight into this particular 4-point scheme. I think that there are 2 important points that must be understood when engaging with the Dallas Seminary style of 4-point Calvinism.

    First, the most common objection that I've heard from DTS 4-pointers is that limited atonement is purely logical. When they hear us say that the whole system hangs together, they hear us saying that we are more committed to a system than to the "plain teaching" of the Scriptures. They generally understand that a vicarious sacrifice logically demands a limited atonement, but they feel that certain texts are fatal (such as 2 Pet 1:1 and 1 John 2:2) to the limited atonement position. They claim that they are comfortable with inconsistencies in their system as long they are faithful to the Bible's teaching. As long as they see individual texts heavily militating against the limited position, they will remain unconvinced by what they see as "logical" argumentation. For this reason, I have shifted my arguments for limited atonement away from the necessity of logical corollaries to a more textual defense of the doctrine involving the biblical definition of the actual achievement of the cross (for a fun surprise, check out Lewis Sperry Chafer's understanding of the accomplishment of the cross on page 50 of his book entitled "True Evangelism." I can post the passage if anybody wants me to).

    The second important part of understanding DTS style 4 point Calvinism is that many of them (though not all) hold to the (poorly named) "free-grace" position. Because of this, they will generally back off of and redefine away almost ALL of the other points. These folks will mistakenly, though vehemently, defend a mysterious balance between sovereignty and free will. This is because their free grace position requires them to hold to a portion of the will that remains untouched by depravity. This tiny portion is the "non-moral" act of faith. A person is able to cast their faith in any direction without the necessity of regeneration. For them, regeneration is limited to the work of the Spirit AFTER conversion, and this work of the Spirit is entirely optional for the believer (forgive me if I'm oversimplifying). So, you see that they must redefine depravity. Then they generally redefine election and irresistible grace as some kind of prescience on God's part. See, they believe in justification by faith alone and grace alone, but they don't believe in SALVATION by grace alone. It is God's initiative PLUS the sinner's cooperation by using his amoral faculty of faith. While they talk highly of "free grace" they don't believe in grace alone. As most of you may know, the goal of this position is to defend against what they perceive as works salvation or Lordship salvation. Because regeneration is not required before salvation, a continued work of regeneration after salvation should not be uniformly expected. And since the will does not need to be redeemed in order to cast faith onto Christ, one is assured of salvation by "faith alone," no matter what kind of fruit that faith produces. What you end up with is something like Geisler's "moderate Calvinism" where every point is denied through redefinition except for half of perseverance, of which they hang on to "eternal security."

    In my experience, dialogues with 4-pointers must keep these things in mind. It is much more helpful to talk about Scriptural definitions of what was actually accomplished on the cross rather than what one must believe in order to preserve a system (although I believe that formal inconsistencies within a system are certainly grounds for its dismissal).

    Jon

    Thanks for the points. I appreciate the spirit with which they are made....As you may know, elsewhere on this site and on monergism.com we believe we already dealt extensively with each of those passages you mention exegetically.

    With regard to your point that persons will only be convinced by exegeting 1 John 2:2 and the like, I would like to mention that these arguments we make are not ONLY for the persons who are deeply dug into their 4-point position. There are MANY people who go to these 4-point churches that sense inconsistencies or something wrong who would like an answer which resolves the issue biblically. Scores of persons in churches are not being fed with a biblically unified teaching which makes sense, and would like to hear better answers. The Holy Spirit illumines the mind of believers wherever they may be. Those who have not shut their mind to it, and there are many, may wish to hear this perspective.

    That being said, I am issuing a plain challenge which, I believe, is more than just logic. It is exegetically derived from the Scriptures themselves that irresistable grace comes from Christ's work through the Holy Spirit (see John 6:63, 65; John 16:7; 1 Pet 1:3). Even they would admit this I am willing to bet. So I want to hear any 4 point Dispensationalist admit contrariwise that irresistable grace is unrelated to the work of Christ, when the Scripture (not just logic) plainly says that it is... Some perhaps may not be convinced by this line of reason and exegeisis, -- that's fine, but I think large numbers of people who have never considered it from this persepctive, especially laypeople, may be persuaded by it.

    In short, the argument is if irresistible grace is the work of Christ, one has already affirmed its relation to the atonement in so admitting.

    Irresistable grace and limited atonement are really the same thing so in admitting one they are acknowleging the other already, something I believe they would admit if they thought about it more than a second.. There is no Biblical reason to seperate IG from LA. To say something is the work of Christ is to say it is related to the atonement... impossible to seperate because they are the same. If irresistible grace is the work of Christ, which all acknowledge, then they are already admitting that his death works in some way for the elect that it does not for the non-elect. You cannot have the work of Christ aplied to individuals as IG without reference to the atonement because the work of Christ is itself inseperable from the atonement.

    A four-pointer claims to affirm irresistible grace exegetically, correct?. Therefore I want to know if they can exegetically prove that this grace can be had apart from the work of Christ. A "Christless" grace which we all acknowedge is plainly unbiblical.

    In other words, as soon as Christ's work in IG is acknowledged due to exegesis then limited atonement is NOT ONLY admitted in a logical way but also exegetically.

    As an aside, since these same folks take the high ground of claiming to be exegetcal how can they introduce such a non-biblical philosophical concept as "free will" when this would tend to give the impression that they only use exegesis when it is convenient to them.

    Question for you ...
    you said "their free grace position requires them to hold to a portion of the will that remains untouched by depravity.

    Aside from the fact that this would break their own rule of exegesis vs. system ... in other words, in the above are they claiming that a man can come to Christ ENTIRELY APART FROM ANY WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT? That a man does not need any help from the Spirit to believe? For the moment he acknowledges the need for the Spirit then it would contradict the statement you just made about having and island untouched by depravity. If the portion of a man that can believe or not is untouched by depravity in his unregenerate state then it would men he can believe the gospel without any help from the Spirit whatsoever. This denies 1 Thes 1:4, 5 and a host of other passages...

    John

    I am a week away from graduating from a disp. school called Washington Bible College. Over the years spent here I have heard the TUIP's make many appeals for the removal of the L. None of these arguments have appealed to me. Thank you for reminding me of the logical consistancy given to us by the Lord's grace through tuLip!
    My TUIP professors will recieve a copy of this under there doors before I walk! -Peter Anselmo

    I grew up Infralapsarian "Spurgeon/RC" Calvinist and I am a student at Southern Seminary. Thus, having said that, I know and have read much by Reformed theology's finest; Owen, Gill, Kyuper, Spurgeon, Packer, Piper, Sproul, Dever, Nettles...etc. However, though I already know what questions my "brethren" ask to whomever they encounter that opposes their doctrine, it makes it easier to ask myself those same questions when I encounter those same teachings.

    So, my question would be, how is it that contemporary "Reformers" do not answer with specificity the questions that lesser-known modified calvinists ask? They ALWAYS confuse them and their questions with the arminians. Always. It is so annoying too. Their tradition is distinctively separate from Jacob Arminius and Hugo Grotius. They come from Paul Testard, John Cameron, Moise Amyraut, Richard Baxter, perhaps John Calvin, and the like; whereas the modern "renditions" are men like, Bruce Demarest, Bruce Ware, Russell Moore, and Hans Boersma.

    The interesting thing I have found in my own personal study of them is that they are both dispensational and covenant theologians, anabaptist and paedobaptist.

    Can someone tell me why no one has ever systematically refuted Richard Baxter's theology or modern renditions? Is it because of ignorance?

    Baxter alluded to the flaw in Owen's position in Death of Death which Owen (and all High Calvinists for that matter) are forced into by the nature of their model of the atonement. For instance,

    Ordu salutis
    Ius dei
    Union with Christ
    Ius conscientae
    Faith/Assurance

    This is Owen's model of the atonement according to his Death of Death. Does anyone else see a problem with his model? I will explain. The ordu salutis was the pact made between God the Father and Christ the Son to send Christ to save his own. Ius dei is Latin for satisfaction of justification in the mind of God. Union with Christ should be self-explanatory for that is the moment Spurgeon and others would call us saved. Ius conscientae is in fact the moment you first recognize that you have been saved, thus justification made manifest to one's mind of what has already been accomplished for you. You then have faith procured from the cross instrumentated to the rectified by the Holy Spirit, and Assurance, should also be obvious with no need of explanation given.

    The problem that Baxter pointed out was that according to Owen we become unified with Christ PRIOR to the moment we believe, whereas Romans says we are all born into this world under the wrath and condemnation of God; but this does not make sense Christ already made satisfaction to God on our behalf! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Yet it is also true, according to any Calvinist, that Union with Christ is necessary for the procurement of all of the benefits of the cross, because the benefits cannot be separated from the person; that is why abiding is a necessary element, for apart from him we can do nothing. I do not see any of this ever explained or refuted. It is extremely annoying. Does anyone see what I mean? Yes, granted the system itself of TULIP is fantastically logical, but I have yet to recieve scholarly answers from anyone on this point or others similar to it; not even from the professors at Southern Seminary; you'd like to think that they had at least heard of some of it, but I guess that's not necessarily the case.

    Any comments or good articles to read that haven't been expounded upon by the above mentioned authors? They either don't address it or have never thought about it it seems.

    John Hendryx,
    As a former 4 point Calvinist, I think I experienced what you are talking about. In the summer of 2007 I recognized my inconsistency. My objections fell apart when I read Calvinists for themselves, and not what 4 point Calvinists said 5 point Calvinists believe.
    Don Maurer

    (Joh 16:14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

    If the Holy Spirit was given only to the elect as the 4-5 point calvinists so believe, and according to this verse it is the Spirit who comunicates to man what Christ has done for man, then the Holy Spirit should be given to the non-elect also, so that they may also know what Christ has done(supposedly) for them, for this is the work of the Holy Spirit, to make known what God has done through Christ Jesus for man.

    I love this site

    Victor Juliao

    (Joh 16:14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

    If the Holy Spirit was given only to the elect as the 4-5 point calvinists so believe, and according to this verse it is the Spirit who comunicates to man what Christ has done for man, then the Holy Spirit should be given to the non-elect also, so that they may also know what Christ has done(supposedly) for them, for this is the work of the Holy Spirit, to make known what God has done through Christ Jesus for man.

    I love this site

    Victor Juliao

    (Joh 16:14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

    If the Holy Spirit was given only to the elect as the 4-5 point calvinists so believe, and according to this verse it is the Spirit who comunicates to man what Christ has done for man, then the Holy Spirit should be given to the non-elect also, so that they may also know what Christ has done(supposedly) for them, for this is the work of the Holy Spirit, to make known what God has done through Christ Jesus for man.

    I love this site

    Victor Juliao

    Moses lifted up the serpent promising that all who looked at it would be healed. All who looked at it were healed. All who did not look died. Jesus was also raised up promising that all who believe in him will not perish. All who belive in him are saved. All who do not perish. Both are offered to all. Both are obtained by some.
    Paul was not "careful" when he preached the Gospel at Antioch. He declared to all listening, "that through Jesus the foregiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.Through him everyone who believes is justified." To those who did not believe, he said, " ... you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life ..." Jesus died for all but some deny the Lord who bought them.
    Don't let a slavish devotion to a system of theology make you blind to the plain meaning of scripture. We four pointers may not be calvinists in your estimation, but we certainly are not Arminians. We call ourselves four pointers because it is plain to us that the Bible teaches total depravity, unconditional election,
    universal atonement,irresistable grace and absolute perseverence.
    You may not consider our arguments to be logical, but we maintain that they are biblical.

    I do not see any benefit about making any point on this. To argue whether it is limited or unlimited atonement, I think, is just for the curiosity of the theologians. I am really not leaning one way or the other. In my personal opinion, this is pointless. This much I am certain: Whoever truly trust in Christ will be saved. There is no other way besides Jesus Christ.
    Of course, you may argue that my mind is not as sophisticated. I agree with that assessment as well.

    May I start by saying that the truth of Limited or Particular Atonement is one of the most difficult truths to accept! Our business is not to reason about it, but to bow to Holy Scripture.

    Our first duty is not to understand, but to believe what God has said.

    This is the reason why many such as John Piper have openly confessed that they are four point Calvinists. Limited Atonement being the point that they have rejected.

    R.C. Sproul is right when he says – “There are a host of folks who call themselves four-point Calvinist because they can’t swallow the doctrine of limited atonement. Sometimes they say, “I’m not a Calvinist and I’m not an Arminian, I’m a Calminian.” I think that a FOUR-POINT CALVINIST IS AN ARMINIAN. I say that for this reason: When I have talked to people who call themselves four-point Calvinists and have had the opportunity to discuss it with them, I have discovered that they were NO-POINT CALVINISTS. They thought they believed in total depravity, in unconditional election, in irresistible grace, and in the perseverance of the saints, but they didn’t UNDERSTAND these points”. [The Truth of the Cross pp. 140-42 (Capital letters mine)]

    God wrote the Bible with one purpose in mind – to SAVE HIS ELECT AND TO CONFUSE AND DAMN THE REPROBATE. [see Mark 4:11, 12]

    “Christ did not intend to save those He knew He would not save. If He intended to save any it was those He knew would be saved. Christ has died for them (the elect) and NOT FOR THE WORLD. It was the elect that Christ came to save. Since God eternally decreed not to save others Christ would not be engaged in a FOOL’S errand." [Edwards]

    The fanciful delusion of many who hold to an 'Universal Atonement' is reduced to this -
    "IF the sinner believes, then Christ died for him; if the sinner does not believe, then Christ did not die for him; thus the sinner’s act is made the cause of its own object, as though his believing WOULD MAKE THAT TO BE WHICH OTHERWISE WAS NOT”. [A.W. Pink]

    “Calvinism isn't a produce stand from which we can pick and choose which doctrines we wish to keep and pass over the rest in a sort of hermeneutical reprobation. Calvinism is an interwoven system of theology which must be accepted or rejected as a whole. From the acceptance of one point, one is compelled by simple logic to the acceptance of all the rest. You can't deny one without denying them all. The four-point Calvinist is as consistent as a psalm-singing atheist”. [Christopher Alexion]

    FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE? HE DIED...
    1. For all (1 Timothy 2:6; Isaiah 53:6).
    2. For every man (Heb. 2:9).
    3. For the world (John 3:16).
    4. For the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
    5. For the ungodly (Rom. 5:6).
    6. For false teachers (2 Peter 2:1).
    7. For many (Matthew 20:28).
    8. For Israel (John 11:50-51).
    9. For the Church (Eph. 5:25).
    10. For "me" (Gal. 2:20).

    Now, somebody explain to me where the verse is that says He died only for the elect, or that somehow the sovereign Son of God's sacrifice on the cross was insufficient to save all people without exception.

    Considering how far some hyper-Calvinists run in the direction of underlining the sovereignty of Holy God, it will never cease to amaze me how hard they try to limit the work done on the cross, literally empowering the damned reprobate so that their personal rejection of the gospel and failure to repentance carry more divine power than the blood of Christ. There is a serious logical flaw here, folks. It just doesn't make practical sense.

    In my humble opinion, here is what does make practical sense: The Blood does have the power to save all, but that does not mean that it will be applied to all. Having said this, keep in mind that the saving power of the Blood is freely offered to all without exception.

    It is the personal rejection of the gospel and the personal rejection of repentance that leads a person to the gates of hell; not some insufficiency in what Jesus did on the cross because that person wasn't part of the elect. The elect are those who responded to the Spirit's call to of the gospel to salvation and repentance, not merely a group of people set aside for Calvinists to explain the L in 'TULIP.' Without first, the Spirit's call, and second, the appropriate response, the Blood will not be applied to a person's soul. However, even without the appropriate response, the Blood is always freely offered to all. To God alone be the glory!

    Aaron,I admire your fervor and zeal regarding with regards to an Unlimited Atonement. But we all know that zeal without KNOWLEDGE is injurious as it was with the religious Jews. [Rom 10:2,3]

    We need to understand that The Bible is NOT a work on Systematic Theology, but only the QUARRY out of which the stone for such a temple can be obtained.

    You can tell me ANY cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith and I’ll show you at least a couple of verses that seem to teach the EXACT OPPOSITE!

    Do you believe in the Holy Trinity? Why, my Bible tells me that ‘But to us there is but ONE GOD, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him’ [1Cor8:6]

    Do you believe that salvation is by Faith alone? My Bible tells me that ‘BY WORKS a man is justified, and NOT BY FAITH ONLY’. [Jam 2:24]

    Are you contending that the ‘Pentecostals’ are wrong and that ‘tongues’ are not for today? My Bible says – “I would that ye ALL spake with tongues”! And “FORBID NOT to speak with tongues” etc. [1Cor 14:5,39]

    But you see ‘Doctrine’ is not built on a stray verse here and there, but by the PREPONDERANCE OF SCRIPTURE. What is the overall, dominating teaching of the Scriptures on a given subject? And if a verse or two seem to teach the opposite, we don’t pit Scripture against Scripture but harmonize the seemingly opposing verse or wait till God gives us further light.

    I said this before and I'll say it again, God wrote the Bible with one purpose in mind – to SAVE HIS ELECT AND TO CONFUSE AND DAMN THE REPROBATE. Read Mark 4:11, 12 and pray God opens it up for you.

    For WHOM did Christ die? We answer, Christ died for "God’s elect". "And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save HIS people from THEIR sins [Mt. 1:21]. Christ died not simply to render sins pardonable, but "to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of Himself" [Heb. 9:26]. As to WHO’S "sin" has been "put away", Scripture leaves us in no doubt—it was that of the elect. "For the transgressions of MY PEOPLE was He stricken [Isa. 53:8]. Again the Lord’s own words are, “I lay down My life for the SHEEP” (not the goats)! [John 10:15]

    If Jesus fully paid the sins of all humankind, all men would be saved. There would be absolutely no reason to forfeit heaven with no sin involved. The reason why hell is eternal is because of the unconfessed and unforgiven sins of the ungodly that are forever before the Father. Our sins do not somehow evaporate or disappear by themselves.

    If Jesus fully paid the sins of all humankind, all men would be saved. There would be absolutely no reason to forfeit heaven with no sin involved. The reason why hell is eternal is because of the unconfessed and unforgiven sins of the ungodly that are forever before the Father. Our sins do not somehow evaporate or disappear by themselves.

    If Jesus fully paid the sins of all humankind, all men would be saved. There would be absolutely no reason to forfeit heaven with no sin involved. The reason why hell is eternal is because of the unconfessed and unforgiven sins of the ungodly that are forever before the Father. Our sins do not somehow evaporate or disappear by themselves.

    "Surely we should credit God with having as much sense as we do." That is the weakest part of your argument for me. I would say that God has superior sense than us, and a transcendent ability to act and think in ways we cannot understand. God does not elect any to go to hell. All men are condemned by their own actions, their rejection of God. However, God does elect some to be with him in heaven. This he does out of love and grace, and not because of their good works. The abundant nature of God allows for the possibility, and by my understanding, the reality of Christ's death being sufficient to cover all men while only received by the elect.

    Maranatha,
    Denis

    Perhaps the propitiation of the sins of the world did not have a universal intent.Perhaps it had the intent of securing salvation for the elect, while magnifying the perverse will of the reprobate.

    Your interpretation of the universal salvation passages does not meet the standard demanded by the rules of interpretation. The questionable exegesis of these verses causes many people to dismiss your positions entirely.

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