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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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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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    The Five Points of Hyper Calvinism

    "Remember, two cardinal rules to debating Calvinism: first, while some Arminians are Armenians and some Armenians are Arminians, Armenians and Arminians are two very different groups. Second, while it's true that some Calvinists can be a bit hyper, that doesn't make them Hyper-Calvinists." - Justin Taylor

    According to Timothy George (from his book Amazing Grace: God’s Initiative–Our Response), a Hyper-Calvinist departs from orthodoxy on five key doctrines:

    1. Hypers teach the doctrine of eternal justification, which effectively removes human responsibility to respond to the gospel.

    2. Hypers deny the free moral agency and responsibility of sinners to repent and believe the gospel.

    3. Hypers deny the free offer of the gospel to all people, regardless of whether a person is presumed to be elect or not.

    4. Hypers teach that sinners have no warrant to believe in Christ until they feel the evidence of the Spirit’s moving in their hearts–in other words, a sinner needs to be convinced he is elect before he has a right to believe.

    5. Hypers deny the universal love of God. Hypers claims that God hates sinners and has no meaningful love for the non-elect.

    You will find a very interesting article on these issues by Nathan Finn found here.

    Posted by John Samson on August 8, 2007 11:30 AM

    Comments

    There have been shorter and longer lists citing the deviations of the Hyper-Calvinist. In terms of method, this kind of "connect-the-dots," or formulaic theology in confessional Calvinism, arises when human logic, looking for certitude of faith in theology, takes precedence over the tensions of history in the revelation of God's word. Such folks, seek first to be systematic Calvinists rather than biblical Calvinists, though they help each other. By "biblical" I mean taking seriously the contexts and contours of biblical books and the progressive revelation in history that develops a mature, living faith (i.e., Abraham). When you combine the logic of systematic theology as divorced from biblical theology, with the pressing need for certitude about God's will, Hyper-Calvinism will arise. It is really a intellectualized way to resolve biblical tensions between soveriengnty and responsibility, but in a way that separates itself from the dynamics of the Gospel. How easier it is to resolve theological tensions by a logic rather than face the struggle and demands of a living faith that demands trust and sacrifice and love.

    As an added thought to the above comment I made earlier, Hyper-calvinism results because of this: A construct of human logic on God's sovereignty is imposed upon the Word of God, so as to remove an uncomfortable tension, rather than our logic submitted to the Word of God, which accepts the tension as necessary to live a life of faith and dependence on God.

    Here is an illustration to show the difference. A majestic mountain peak in the Alps represents the sovereignty of God. How do we best approach it so as to appreciate it? One can approach the peak by going up quickly in a helicopter and be put down right on the top to survey a magnificent view that opens up of the whole Alpine range. There is some degree faith in hoping the helicopter will reach the top, and understanding of the mountain, but it is rather like an idealized construct of its majesty. Another approaches the same peak by going up it step-by-step with other climbers, navigating the obstacles and barriers, dealing with fatigue and danger, enjoying small triumphs, but not knowing always what is over the next ledge. trusting the pathway with skill and equipment and experience and support, and knowledge of the mountain (gained as he goes) will serve the team well on the journey. When they reach the top, they too, will survey the majesty of the view and see the entire Alpine range. But who will understand and appreciate the majesty better? The one who climbed it through applying a lively faith, or the one who was plopped down on the mountain from above? I cannot help but see that the Hyper-Calvinist, with a more sterilzed, academic approach to God's sovereignty, is more like the former, with little (tested) faith, not the latter, where sovereignty is appreciated only though a tested, maturing, Abraham-like faith. Which is the biblical picture of how we should come to worship the sovereign majesty of God?

    I don't believe the Acts message is an "offer" but a "command." I don't believe that God has a "meaningful love" to the reprobate. I don't consider myself a hyper-Calvinist. But get beyond labels; Must God make an offer to Egypt just like He did Abraham? No, and He did not. How "meaningful" is a love for 90 years on earth which results in 90 zillion and beyond in Hell, when at the first He says "Depart I never knew you (but I did love you in a meaningful way)" Esau I hated, (yet technically I loved him in a meaningful way and a had an offer for him before He was born.)

    By the grace of God I'll still tell all mankind to repent and flee the wrath to come. If God chooses to harden (instead of quote "offer" him something) and hate the listener like Easu, He is FREE to do so. When God chooses to do so, who are you o man to tell the potter what to do with the clay?

    It is Satanic to say God has a meaningful love for Satan, so why presume to think God has a meaningful love to those who have Satan for a father, and have not been given a Holy Lamb to die in their place.

    To say God has a meaningful love for the reprobate, complete denies the defintion of "reprobate"; Jesus never told the brood of vipers that His Father had a "meaninful love" to the scribes in John 10, He simply said "you are not my sheep."..."I laid my life down for the sheep."

    God giving men over to a strong delusion has never been my defintion of a meaningful love; but then again "my defintion" is not the standard of how a "meaningful love" should be determined. I submit the Bible teaches that a meaningful love is the substitutionary death of Jesus for the elect.

    The problem with the above "majestic mountain" illustration is two-fold: 1) the doctrines we're discussing are not about feelings and experiences but about what the Bible says; and 2) hyper-Calvinism is not "a different perspective" but downright wrong! We're dealing with right vs. wrong, not two viable options.

    What I've observed about hyper-Calvinists is they are joyless, cult-like, legalistic, and doubt their own salvation.

    And permit me to say something about God's wonderful love. God's love, from what we see in Scripture, is displayed in two ways: in Christ's substitutionary death on the cross (Rom. 5:8), and in God's adopting us as His sons (and His treatment of us as such) (1 Jn. 3:1).

    Therefore, it makes you wonder, if this notion that God loves every human being is true, then what about those who go to hell? Were they ever His sons? Can God love people but not adopt them as sons? Why does He adopt some whom He loves but not others whom He loves? Or does God's attribute of love have differing degrees? Does any other attribute of God, such as His holiness, have differing degrees? At any rate, did these people lose their sonship when they died? Does He still love them through the flames of hell? Or did He stop loving them the day they died? Love is an attribute of God (1 Jn. 4:8), remember, not simply something He "does." How, then, can He "shut off" His attribute of love when a person dies? For that matter, on what basis did He love them while they were alive on the earth, if not on the basis of His Son's payment in their stead? If God loves people not on the basis of His Son's sacrifice in their place, why does Romans 5:8 link God's love with the gift of His Son? That verse would have to be excised from the Bible if we can tell people "God loves you regardless if Jesus died for you or not." And if God loves everybody, then seriously, what's so special about His love for us? If your wife loved every man on this planet, would you really revel in her love for you? And would you dare tell somebody in hell that God still loves them? Exactly what about the God-hater and the enemy of God does He love anyway? And why does not God ensure the salvation of those whom He loves? What kind of love does that? Why kind of loving Father allows His beloved ones to go to hell when He has all the power and love to prevent it? Does that thought alone not reek of the impotency of His love? And if not for the love of Romans 8:35-39, what assurance do I have that this God Who loves me won't also send me to a place where He sends others Whom He so loves, namely, hell? And another question: on what basis does God not love satan? Watch your answer, because you might find that on that same basis it would eliminate a lot of humans from being loved by God.

    The verse that convinced me is 1 John 4:19 – "We love Him because He first loved us." People who never end up loving God prove one thing – that they never knew God's love for them, for if they had, they would have infallibly loved God back (cf. Lk. 7:47). So if God did love everyone, then guess what: everyone would love Him, according to 1 John 4:19!

    As Arthur Pink in his "Sovereignty of God" and Tom Wells in his "A Price For A People" note, nowhere in the Gospels does it say God loves sinners. And no evangelistic sermon in Acts says, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." The people we say "God loves you" to should be confined to Christians, the same people we say "God elected you" to.

    Moreover, look at the end result of God's fore-loving in Romans 8:29-30: glorification! God glorifies everybody whom He fore-loves. So again, if God loved everybody, then He'd glorify everybody too!

    Ephesians 5:25 teaches husbands to love their "wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her." Robert Reymond points out in his "Systematic Theology" that if Christ had loved every human being, then husbands should follow suit and love every woman, not just their own bride; quite a "grotesque ethic," to use his words.

    And then there are those verses which say "whom the Lord loves He chastens" (Heb. 12:6), and "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten" (Rev. 3:19), and "he who loves Me will be loved by My Father" (Jn. 14:21), and "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him" (Jn. 14:23), and "for the Father Himself loves you" (Jn. 16:27), and "having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end" (Jn. 13:1), and " that you love one another; as I have loved you" (Jn. 13:34), and others listed below. The only way I know how to understand these verses is if I see God's love as directed to certain ones, namely, those whom He has always seen through the atonement of the One slain before the foundation of the world.

    Now look at this. We can learn the truth about God's love by noting the connection between the Father's love for His Son and the Father's love for those who are in His Son.

    1. THE FATHER LOVES THE SON. (Mt. 3:17; Jn. 3:35; 5:20; 10:17; 15:9, 10; 17:25, 26; Col. 1:13).
    Why does the Spirit reveal so emphatically the Father's love for the Son? If for no other reason, to set the stage for how we will be assured of the Father's love for us, that is, if we are hid in the Son of His love. That leads us to see those verses which teach:

    2. THE FATHER LOVES ALL THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST. (Jn. 14:21, 23; 16:27; Rom. 8:39)
    Since our position with Christ determines our standing with God, our security of the Father's love for us is found in being in union with His Son, not in our performance! Therefore, God has precisely the same love to those who are in Christ that He has to Christ Himself (hence, 1 Jn. 4:17)! So, all those--and only those--who are in Christ are assured of God's love for them. These precious verses would have to be stripped of their intended meaning if you relegated God's love to every human being.
    There is a third love we read of:

    3. THE SON LOVES HIS OWN. (Jn. 13:1, 34; 15:9, 10; Rom. 8:35, 37, 39; 2 Cor. 5:14; Eph. 3:17-19; 5:25)
    The Son loves us because we have been given as a gift to the Son by His Father. It's only fitting that the Son would love whatever His Father gives Him (Jn. 17:6, 9, 11, 12, 22, 24; Heb. 12:2).

    Finally, all this love for us is supposed to translate not only into our love for God, but also our love for others (Mt. 22:39; Jn. 13:34; 15:12; Eph. 5:2; 1 Thess. 4:9; 1 Pet. 1:22; 4:8; 1 Jn. 3:11, 18, 23; 4:21; 5:1).

    I find many out there that are what I call Calvinist "lite". They graze so close to the Arminian fence that they can't resist the temptation to stick their head through and taste the "greener" grass. To attribute some of the above to Hyper-Calvinism is dilute Calvinism to the point of being Arminian, in which case, what's the difference?

    Excellent.

    Todd,

    You wrote, "It is Satanic to say God has a meaningful love for Satan, so why presume to think God has a meaningful love to those who have Satan for a father, and have not been given a Holy Lamb to die in their place."

    Jesus himself said to Israel, "37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! " Matthew 23:37

    He manifestly loved them and they refused, spurned, and rejected His love. You are certainly right in saying the Gospel is a command. It is both a gift and a command. We should tell everyone to repent and believe the Gospel. Many will refuse to believe and will be judged for unbelief and their rejection of God's love.

    Hebrews 4:2 " Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word F9 preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."

    This is the message we should preach to unbelievers and professing believers alike. And remember hell was prepared not for unbelievers but for the devil and his angels. Unbelievers will suffer there, but not because God didn't desire their salvation.

    "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" Matthew 25:41

    The Gospel is truly available to all and is commanded of all.

    "30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent," Acts 17:30

    Alan

    It was Todd's entry that gave rise to these words; I have much to learn however am inclined to write the following on this topic. Did God love Satan before his rebellion? and the angelic beings that he followed after him? I've been a believer for about 5 years now and often thought about this topic of how God loves all yet all are not saved. He chose to create us and angelic beings and both apparently have some will to choose what they will do, at least from a human perspective. Why would satan have rebelled? Could there be something inherant in a created being (sin) that gives rise to a struggle betwen doing what is in line with a holy God and what opposes it? God couldn't create sin, being holy, so, from where did it come? Perhaps there is a nature that all living things have that ranges between what is prideful and what is humble. Angels, being so close to our God suffered still a third of their losses to pride. How many will our human race suffer by the time time ends? Why did our God choose a father figure to relate to us? Many reasons for certain. Does any father who is just and knows what is holy, right, etc., who raises a child which then chooss to live foolishly and especially in rebellion love that child less? Should they go to prison or would be executed is a father still not a father and a creator of that child? We, being unholy, can see a human father or mother defending their child for the most evil of crimes b/c even the most educated of us are still plagued with the cancer of sin in our minds and souls. God as I understand has no choice to sin. Jesus was tempted it's true but He didn't not sin on earth but rather He could not sin or could not refrain from sin b/c that trait was not in Him at all. Thus my thought, God's children rebelling against Him in their entire lifetime are loved by Him no less for what they are, but for what they should have been are loved all the more. Their rejection is of a holy God Who can not not be what He is, holy, and that warrents their punishment. In my time left on earth (I am 42) I can see much regret of life not truly lived if I choose to or to rather look eternally at the remainder of my time to allow my Lord to correct the consequenses of sin in my life and through my obedience to that from Him allow God to show to those about me even my family still in sin a changed life pointing toward Jesus. What happens from that point (season) goes back to my aforementioned comment about what inherent thing in them might pursuade their rejection of Him or their repentance~ As I also wrote, I have much to learn.

    Alan, I believe you are misunderstanding the point of Matthew 25:41, and therefore misapplying it. I once thought it meant what you think it means, but have recently read somewhere that such an understanding (regardless of who taught it to us) is not right. Try to look at the verse in this light: the emphasis is on how torturous hell will be for human beings, seeing it is designed to torture spiritual beings. If hell can torment fallen angels, how horrible it will be for mere earthlings! In the phrase “prepared for the devil and his angels,” don’t put the emphasis on the word “for” (so as to insinuate sinners don’t really belong there), but rather on “the devil and his angels” (so as to teach how terrible it will be when humans get there). Hope that’s enlightening. It was for me.

    Nick,

    I understand the point you are trying to make. And I do agree with it. However, I don't think it is an either or propostion. I think the passage shows both implications.

    1. That Hell was primarily not prepared for the wicked, but the devil and his angels, though the wicked will suffer there.
    2. That because they suffer there and are greater in power and strenght, how much more will the ungodly suffer there?

    Also, you said, "Try to look at the verse in this light: the emphasis is on how torturous hell will be for human beings, seeing it is designed to torture spiritual beings." We are spiritual beings as well. I think it might be better to refer to them as being greater in might and power.

    "10and especially(A) those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and(B) despise authority.

    Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11(C) whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord." 2 Peter 2:10-11

    Again though, God commands all men to repent and believe. This fact shows that he has loved all through Jesus Christ. Salvation is available to all.

    "30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent," Acts 17:30

    Alan

    Alan,

    Stick with the sentence. Where in Matthew does it say that Jesus had a meaningful love for Satan? Jesus fulfilled the 2nd great command to love his neighbor as his self (in humanity), but not as himself (in divinity; which would be idolatry).

    None of the other texts you used were explicit nor implicit to indicate God had a meaningful love for Satan. The point still remains , what is meaningful, when Easu is hated before He was born, and even Pharaoh was hardened;

    Do not confuse God's mercy with God's love. Uphold Particular Redemption, Jesus did not die for Esau for God did not have a meaningful love for him, God is angry with the wicked every day and His wrath abides on the lovers of darkness.

    todd

    Peter, may I challenge your thinking in two statements you made:
    (1) “God's children rebelling against Him in their entire lifetime are loved by Him...”
    In what sense are you calling these children of the devil (Jn. 8:44; 1 Jn. 3:10) “God’s children”? Those who don’t “pass the test” of Hebrews 12:8 are said to be “illegitimate and not sons.” Your illustration of an earthly father seems to be forgetting one important piece of reality--no human father is the father of every child on this planet! Your illustration actually strengthens the very point you were opposing; that is, fathers dearly love their OWN children! And everybody knows that fathers don’t love every child on the planet like they love their own children--children they gave life to. It may also help to review John 1:12-13, which teach (contrary to Mormonism) that the children of God are those and those only who have been given the right to become God’s children, namely, those who believe on His Name. No others have been given that right. To quote J.I. Packer:

    What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father.
    But cannot this be said of every person, Christian or not? Emphatically no! The idea that all are children of God is not found in the Bible anywhere. The Old Testament shows God as the Father, not of all, but of his own people, the seed of Abraham. “Israel is my firstborn son,….” Let my son go’ (Ex 4:22-23). The New Testament has a world vision, but it shows God as the Father, not of all, but of those who, knowing themselves to be sinners, put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their divine sin-bearer and master, and so become Abraham’s spiritual seed. “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…You are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed” (Gal 3:26-29). Sonship to God is not, therefore, a universal status into which everyone enters by natural birth, but a supernatural gift which one receives through receiving Jesus. “No one comes to the Father” in other words, is acknowledged by God as a son--“except through me” (Jn 14:6).
    The gift of sonship to God becomes ours not through being born, but through being born again. “To all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decisions or a husband’s will, but born of God” (Jn 1:12-13).
    (Knowing God, p. 181) http://www.dartmouthbible.org/Knowing%20God%20CHAPTER%20NINETEEN.htm

    (2) “Their rejection is of a holy God Who can not not be what He is, holy, and that warrents their punishment.”
    But doesn’t your sin and my sin warrant God’s wrath to come against us too, and not just “the bad guys”? “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) I submit to you the reason God treats us special is NOT (as your statement seems to intimate) because our sins did NOT warrant God’s punishment (for they DID, hence, the Cross!), but rather because God did something for us that He did not do for the rest, namely, save us. Now if that is the case, and I believe it is, then what other Biblical explanation is there for such preferential treatment than that God has a special love for those whom He sees through His Son? To recap: we were just as deserving of hell as the rest of the world who goes there. Why, then, does God save some, if not for any thing bound up in the sinner? The answer: God’s love for such sinners. Therefore, it stands to reason that those lacking salvation must also lack God’s love. Indeed, those who are never saved can never say they know the saving love of God.

    Peter, may I challenge your thinking in two statements you made:
    (1) “God's children rebelling against Him in their entire lifetime are loved by Him...”
    In what sense are you calling these children of the devil (Jn. 8:44; 1 Jn. 3:10) “God’s children”? Those who don’t “pass the test” of Hebrews 12:8 are said to be “illegitimate and not sons.” Your illustration of an earthly father seems to be forgetting one important piece of reality--no human father is the father of every child on this planet! Your illustration actually strengthens the very point you were opposing; that is, fathers dearly love their OWN children! And everybody knows that fathers don’t love every child on the planet like they love their own children--children they gave life to. It may also help to review John 1:12-13, which teach (contrary to Mormonism) that the children of God are those and those only who have been given the right to become God’s children, namely, those who believe on His Name. No others have been given that right. To quote J.I. Packer:

    What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father.
    But cannot this be said of every person, Christian or not? Emphatically no! The idea that all are children of God is not found in the Bible anywhere. The Old Testament shows God as the Father, not of all, but of his own people, the seed of Abraham. “Israel is my firstborn son,….” Let my son go’ (Ex 4:22-23). The New Testament has a world vision, but it shows God as the Father, not of all, but of those who, knowing themselves to be sinners, put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their divine sin-bearer and master, and so become Abraham’s spiritual seed. “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…You are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed” (Gal 3:26-29). Sonship to God is not, therefore, a universal status into which everyone enters by natural birth, but a supernatural gift which one receives through receiving Jesus. “No one comes to the Father” in other words, is acknowledged by God as a son--“except through me” (Jn 14:6).
    The gift of sonship to God becomes ours not through being born, but through being born again. “To all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decisions or a husband’s will, but born of God” (Jn 1:12-13).
    (Knowing God, p. 181) http://www.dartmouthbible.org/Knowing%20God%20CHAPTER%20NINETEEN.htm

    (2) “Their rejection is of a holy God Who can not not be what He is, holy, and that warrents their punishment.”
    But doesn’t your sin and my sin warrant God’s wrath to come against us too, and not just “the bad guys”? “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) I submit to you the reason God treats us special is NOT (as your statement seems to intimate) because our sins did NOT warrant God’s punishment (for they DID, hence, the Cross!), but rather because God did something for us that He did not do for the rest, namely, save us. Now if that is the case, and I believe it is, then what other Biblical explanation is there for such preferential treatment than that God has a special love for those whom He sees through His Son? To recap: we were just as deserving of hell as the rest of the world who goes there. Why, then, does God save some, if not for any thing bound up in the sinner? The answer: God’s love for such sinners. Therefore, it stands to reason that those lacking salvation must also lack God’s love. Indeed, those who are never saved can never say they know the saving love of God.

    Todd,

    I think Jesus did not make such a distinction between God's love and His mercy as you do. He said, ""You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor F24 and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, F25 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren F26 only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors F27 do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. " Matthew 5:43-48

    And the comments concerning Satan and his prodginy. We were once children of wrath just as the others(Eph 2). Does God hate the wicked? Yes, he does. Does God love sinners. Yes, he does. The two truths are not contradictory. They may not be easy to reconcile, but our reason must accept both truths. For those who reject God's love, they will spend eternity experiencing his wrath.

    Paul tells the unrepentant sinner in Romans 2 that God has been kind to him. "And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, " Romans 2:3-5

    What goodness, forbearance, longsuffering is God showing to the unrepentant sinner. The sacrifice of Jesus and offer of His mercy to all who repent and believe. That is his kindness that is meant to lead them to repentance. Does not Peter say the same when he says, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, F10 not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

    Look, this is the point. God commands *all* men to repent and believe. If Jesus did not die for all men (elect or not), God would only command the elect to repent. The fact that God commands all men to repent demonstrates that Jesus' work at the cross is available to all.

    As, for the Gospel being an offer or command. It is both. Matthew 22 certainly shows the concept of the Gospel being an invitation. Paul talks of it as being a command.

    Does God command all men to repent and believe the Gospel?

    Alan

    Nick,

    You say some portant things. But regarding the "majestic mountain" illustration, and your reply to that, you missed the point I make with it. I am not emphasizing "feelings and experiences," (though they are a valid part of human response) but addressing the unbiblical way hyper-calvinists de-value the role of faith specifically, and by consequence, faith-living in human responsibility and practice in our dependence on God. That is not about "feelings" as about how one sees the doctrine of faith in salvation by grace alone and the Christian life. The gift of faith to receive life is no less a gift from God as His gift of new life itself.

    In their attempts to exalt God alone - the God of their own construct - hyper-calvinists misrepresent biblical revelation in how God orders the place of faith as a means through which He works. I, too, agree with your description that hyper-calvinists are (more or less) "...joyless, cult-like, legalistic and doubt their own salvation" as you say. I could add, relationally distant, overly-critical, and often lacking in good works. This manner flows from their theological position, for as we think about God, so we live before God. It is because they are wrong, as you point out, that they have a "different perspective" in Reformed thinking. "Different" can mean not Christian at all, or in some way sub-Christian. I am not trying to minimize their heresy, or make it merely subjective, but illustrate how they wrongly picture the sovereingty-to-faith relationship.

    Also, since you mentioned him, some see A. W. Pink as too close to hyper-calvinism in some of his language of sovereignty.(His life in the pastorate and generally has been described by those who knew him, as one where he could not get along with folks. He eventually lived and wrote in isolation.)

    The Gospels or Acts may not use the phrase, as you say, "God loves sinners", nor in the popular way of a Campus Crusade tract, but the concept is not so remote in the preaching ministry of Jesus by both word and deed. He expressed it in his association with "tax collectors and sinners" by eating, ministering and healing sinners. Out of that love Zacchaeus and Centurian and others are saved. He fed the five thousand which is not merely a social act. He showed the presence of the kingdom in doing so, but through the expression of love (i.e. heartflt compassion).

    God's love is described in various ways and degrees in Scripture (cf. D.A. Carson's helpful book on this topic), like rain falling on the just and the unjust is a form of it, though not salvific. True, saving love is selective; it is a predestinating love. But no less it is a great love that has been proclaimed to sinners. It would be splitting hairs to preach Christ died for sinners, and not also imply Christ loved sinners in His dying, as we make the Gospel known.

    Hi Alan,
    Matthew 25:41, like the rest of Scripture, has only one right interpretation. The one right interpretation is that which the original author intended to say.

    May I draw your attention to notice what the author did NOT say. He did NOT make a NEGATIVE statement, but rather a POSITIVE statement. That is, he did NOT say who hell WASN’T prepared for, but who hell WAS prepared for. So for you to extrapolate from that a theology about who hell WASN’T prepared for is in fact reading into the text what is not there, and I do not see your warrant for doing so. What part of the verse or context tells us who hell was NOT prepared for? Just because A = C does NOT NECESSARILY mean B doesn’t equal C, unless we’re told so elsewhere. So again, where do you see that hell was NOT prepared for humans? I believe you’re importing a popular belief into the text which is not supported by the Bible.

    Now you also said “We are spiritual beings as well.” I’m a bit leery about such an unqualified statement. I don’t deny that we have spirits. But I think the final answer to this must come from 1 Corinthians 15. Verse 44b says “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” But we don’t get our “spiritual body” until we’re resurrected (v. 44a). It reiterates that “the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual” (v. 46). The illustration is Adam, whom the Bible calls “dust”, not “spiritual”. Then the application is driven home in verses 48-49: that today we are still dust like Adam until that future day when “we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” After all, if we WERE “spiritual beings as well”, then the Apostle would have no need to say “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (v. 53). But you’re absolutely right in that angels are greater in might and power. And I can see how that truth sheds light on Matthew 25:41.

    The most disturbing statement you made was “Again though, God commands all men to repent and believe. This fact shows that he has loved all through Jesus Christ. Salvation is available to all.”
    Just where do you see that “God’s command for all men to repent” of necessity shows that “He has loved all through Jesus Christ”? I, along with my Calvinist friends, am not seeing the connection you made. Show us the steps in how you got from A to Z. And then show us how you take God’s command for all to repent and conclude that “Salvation is available to all.” Maybe God’s command for all to repent will show the majority of them that they are UNABLE to obey unless God first regenerates them. Jesus even said without Him, we could do nothing. (cf. Jn. 6:29, 44) So it doesn’t necessarily mean, as you assumed, that God’s command must imply man’s ability to obey, nor that salvation is available for all.

    And how can you say “salvation is available for all” when there are so many people around the world who die every day having never heard the name of Jesus? Certainly salvation is NOT available to them.

    And there’s more. IF salvation were “available to all,” then what, may I ask, converts this “possible-salvation” into an “actual-salvation”? Is it man’s work of faith and repentance that turns the key? That would amount to a works-based salvation.

    Just some tin sharpening iron.

    Alan,
    A. #1. Matthew 5:43-48 Does not Say the Triune God had a meaningful love for Satan nor Esau, nor the Reprobate. #2. God can tell us to love our enemies and yet God free to flood His enemies. #3. God can tell us not to kill our enemies, but God can kill Pharaoh. #4. God can tell us to pray for our enemies, but tell Jeremiah not to Pray for Israel. #5. God can tell us to greet tax collectors, and yet only show His resurrected body to Thomas and not to Pilate. #6. Jesus can pray for Peter, and yet not for the world. #7. Samuel can kill Agag, and Joshua all the women in Canaan. Neither were told of the Love of Jesus, the love of God, the ‘offer’ of circumcision, neither were prayed for;

    One cannot base God’s moral commands as the totality of God’s purposes; I am to “avoid such people” in 2 Tim 3:5 and reject folks, Titus 3:10, and shake the dust off my feet. Matt 10:14, Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5, Acts 18:6, I guess now you will say God doesn’t love them. God never did love the reprobate, but my basis is not derived from moral precepts as you attempted to do from the sermon on the mount. That is poor exposition to think the purpose of the sermon on the mount was to teach atonement issues. In v.22 God inspired Solomon to write Proverbs which uses the word “fool” as well as Luke 12:20, so I guess God is danger of Hell fire? Point being, God can hate Esau, though we are told to pray for our enemies, and yet Jesus did not pray for the world.

    A2. Jesus did not muddle the waters of love and hatred as you do. “I do not pray for the world.” “The wrath of God abides upon him.” “You are not my sheep.” “It is not given” (to them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God)” By the way Jesus is fully God, and God inspired the book of Joshua and Romans 9 and Nahum, so if you want to hear the words of Jesus read the book of revelation and the plagues, read the book of Nahum;”

    B. Ephesians 2 is GREAT! Thank you! How is it that Christians are no longer children of wrath?? V.4 Says that God loved “us” the elect, not the “the world”, if God did love the non-elect then they too would have experienced v.5 to be made alive with Christ! It is precisely that God loved the elect while they were yet sinners that He sent Jesus to die for the elect! If God loved the non-elect then He would have sent Jesus to die for them and He THEY TOO would have been made alive in Christ by God’s power, (but in such a case they would no longer be called non-elect.

    For the sake of time I will not expand all of Eph 1, 2 which only adds to this evidence.

    C. You said, “The 2 truths are not contradictory…they may not be easy to reconcile.” This is double speak, and unacceptable. People do not go to Hell for rejecting God’s love, they Go to Hell because of their Fallen Nature in Adam, Babylon was never given nor told the Abrahamic Covenant, and certainly not told of God’s love. In fact, you say they will experience God’s wrath, while in fact His wrath DOES abide currently on them today. John 3:36. People do not go to heaven for “accepting God’s love”, if that were the case then Jesus did not need to die and bleed. But if Jesus did not die and bleed then we all go to Hell, even the elect, but it is precisely because of the blood of Jesus being shed for the elect that the elect will be regenerated.

    D. Your misuse of 2 peter 3:9, and Romans 2:3-5, and the understanding of “all men” can be clearly rejected if space permitted;

    E. It is foolish to think that God can ONLY command people to repent if Jesus died for them; Can a police man command a murderer to repent though the police has not died a substitutionary death for him? Yes. How much more so can God. Does God command Satan to his limits, and Does Jesus command demons to flee, and yet not die for them? Yes. Do we command our children to obey without dying a substitutionary death for them? Are the 613 laws only given to people who have the power to keep them? No. Well, then why give such a law if man is enslaved? God has a right to command 613 laws though man cannot earn his salvation, and cannot keep them;
    God shows mercy to Satan, and yet that is not to imply Jesus died for Satan. God shows mercy to the reprobate, yet that is not to imply Jesus died for the reprobate.
    The atheist will pin you down Alan asking, “Jesus died for a Pharaoh who is already dead? And Jesus died for a Pharaoh whom God hardened? And Jesus died for a man who was never given a burning bush like Moses, why com’on if this God of yours had any real interest in convincing Pharaoh then He should have given Him a burning bush like He did Moses, our better yet give Him the Holy Spirit in the womb like John the Baptist; Jesus died for Easu who was hated before He was born? Jesus died for a vessel prepared for destruction? Your resurrected Jesus was willing to show himself to a doubter like Thomas and a mere 500, but not willing to show himself to Pilate or 5,000? Peter and John did not “ask” for a transfigured Jesus to be revealed, so why won’t this loving Jesus be transfigured in public to increase their faith.

    F. But the greater and more sound solution is the clear evidence of the misuse of the word “all” which refers to Gentiles beyond Jews; The abundance of this material includes more than 30 verses. As a final note I can only refer you to John Owen’s Death of Death, and a Display of Arminianism, and John Gill’s Cause of God and Truth, and 10 other such works.

    General Atonement Theology is more dangerous than blatant atheism for it attempts to appear humble and believing, yet at the same time flatly rejecting the Sovereignty of God, the Depravity of Man, the Effectual Work of Jesus Christ, and the Divine Power of the Holy Spirit. Any such “claims” to still agree to these points while also teaching General Atonement is trickery from the father of lies.

    My fervor is not against you personally Alan, it is for Christ personally; when we find Christ insulted and the will of man esteemed, then fervor should be to even the sweating of blood, resisting such sin;

    And General Atonement is the biggest insult to Christ. The Passover Lamb in the OT did not fail a SINGLE HOUSE and none where slain that were left discarded; How much more so for the true Lamb of God.

    todd

    Gentlemen,

    I don't have much time to write, but would appreciate your take on what John Piper says concerning the doctrine of definite atonement. Please listen to the last twenty minutes of the message at the following link.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Seminars/2281_TULIP_Part_4__Limited_Atonement/

    He does not seem to hold to I what I understand the classical Calivinist explaination of the doctrine of definite atonement. In this seminar, he states that the Gospel is Universally Available. I think my postition is close to his. Such thing as a 4.5 point Calivinist?

    Jesus first sermon was, "Repent and believe the Gospel." Paul's message in Acts was, "God commands all men everywhere to repent." God desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. This has to mean that the Gospel is available to all who will repent and believe.

    And in standing for this truth I said nothing of man's ability to obey. Augustine expressed the truth of man's inability when he said, "Command what thou wilt, and grant what thou hast commanded."

    I'll try to write more later,

    Alan


    Alan,

    I certainly fail at being a gentleman, but I'll chime in anyway. ha.

    The error again is understanding, "all." The message of the gospel was never told to those in Canada during Abraham's life time, they were never told of Jesus, the cross, of repenting, nor believing; yet it says that even Moses esteemed Christ!

    Jesus lays down his life for his sheep, not his sheep and some goats; Jesus came to save his people from their sins, not save his people and save those whom He never knew. God does not say, "Depart from me those whom I have loved and whom I have sent Jesus to die"

    The Father has HIDDEN these things Luke 10:21; John 3:16 was never, ever, ever, EVER told in public; Not in Acts, nowhere. The resurrected Jesus was NEVER shown to more than 500 folks, (??What about telling all people then, if Jesus himself is not telling all people) If Jesus is going to tell all people then He could have at least travelled as much as Paul, instead of 3 quick years in one nation. Under your theory Jesus should have shown His transfigured face every minute of the day; After all Moses was there and that's whom the Pharisee's claimed to respect.

    Jesus spent 40 days after the resurrection, under your theory He should have stayed 40 years, after all isn't He telling ALL men? Why not repeat John 3:16 to the John 6 crowd, or 10x before Pharaoh, or to Pilate, or Herod, or the Sanhedrin

    Matt 13:11 It is NOT given for them to know. Rom 9:8 God gives people eyes NOT to see and ears NOT to hear. What about telling all people if He is doing this?


    John 15:19 I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (Why not chose all men? If He is supposedly telling all men?)

    John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you...

    So you suggest Jesus dies for people whom He did not choose? He might as well and go ahead and also choose them too; Do you choose 2 watermelons, pay a million dollars and hope that 90000 watermelons now choose you? When the first 2 watermelons did not choose you in the first place?

    After all "Few are chosen" Matt 22:14, and even "Many are called", why not even "call ALL"

    Would you tell someone, "Hey if you end up in Hell, don't worry for after 90 years of burning God will grant you pardon if you pray down there after that season."

    If you believe in such a thought, that is heresy. But if you reject such a thought you KNOW, God is not going to change His mind concerning those in Eternal Hell.

    Thus, you must conclude it is INSANE to TELL people that; Yet it is just as insane to imagine that God is sending Jesus to die FOR people whom He KNOWS will never repent;

    In Heaven God will not tell Jesus, "Well, I knew they were not going to repent, but hey I sent you to die for them and give it a shot; at least 9 trillion years in Hell they'll remember that Jesus died for them but didn't DO THEM MUCH GOOD, they'll think sarcastically, "BIG HELP THAT WAS, DIDN"T DO ME MUCH GOOD; I only have myself to blame" (thus the Arminian only has himself to credit)

    God will not say,"I guess Jesus' death did not persuade them afterall, I should have figured that out 2 trillion years before sending Him, well they can't be mad at me, I tried, but I failed." Jesus' death is not a moral persuasion, it is EFFECTUAL ATONEMENT.

    There is not one OT person who gave any message to those in Canada during their era. So what is the command to them? What are they to believe? On judgment day they will be in Hell and say, "hmmm, at least our hell isn't as bad as Judas', and at least Jesus did die for us, too bad we never knew Hebrew, Greek, nor Elijah;"

    Elijah was not sent to "ALL" nor even Elisha sent to "ALL" and this is precisely the point which angers people to die. Go back and require a burning bush for all mankind,

    But finally Alan, my original post, was about the labels of Hypercalvinist; when I said I resemble 2 of T. George's points and yet do not consider myself hyper.

    I am sure Monergism has more articles of Particular Redemption, and even so I will be happy to find even more.

    In all calm objectivity...there is nothing that resembles a gentlemen by declaring the blood of Jesus was powerless over the reprobate.

    todd


    Todd,

    You said, "The Father has HIDDEN these things Luke 10:21; John 3:16 was never, ever, ever, EVER told in public; Not in Acts, nowhere. The resurrected Jesus was NEVER shown to more than 500 folks,"

    How does this statement square with the Great Commission? Mark 16:15-16 "15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." And the Gospel is for public proclamation.

    There is no misunderstanding of the word all from Acts 17:30. Are the unelect as well as the elect not commanded to repent and believe the Gospel? They are. And Paul and Barnabas declare this when they said to the disbelieving Jews, ""Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles." Acts 13:46

    Paul preached the Gospel to those who 'judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life.' He told them to be reconciled to God through repentance and faith in Christ. How could he urge them to believe in Christ if Christ did not die for them.

    Look, when I witness to someone I use the apostolic pattern, which is this: "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corithians 5:18-21

    So when in conversation at work with Joe, I can say to him, "I plead with you to be reconciled to God. God made Jesus, who knew no sin to be sin for *us* that we might become the rightousness of God in Him(Jesus)."

    I will also say to him to "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven" Hebrews 12:25

    1 John 2:2 says, "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. " This is a clear statement telling us Jesus died not only for believers but the those in the world rejecting Him. John's use of 'whole world' in this context manifestly means unbelievers. We know this because 1 John 4:19 says, " We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one."

    The "whole world" that lies under the sway of the wicked one, Jesus is the propitiation for their sins.
    They are disobedient to the command to repent and believe. "Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone," 1 Peter 2:7

    I know I was obedient only because God had mercy on me and granted repentance to me. It is his free gift to the elect according to His grace. The reprobate are held responsible for disbelief. They resist His grace.

    I guess you could say grace is irresistable in the case of the elect and resistable in the case of the reprobate. It is the mystery between divine sovereignty and humnan responsibilty. Our logic has to bow its knee to what God declares in His word.

    Praise to Him who died for you and me,

    Alan

    PS. What did all of you think of Piper's take on definite atonement?

    Todd,

    You said, "The Father has HIDDEN these things Luke 10:21; John 3:16 was never, ever, ever, EVER told in public; Not in Acts, nowhere. The resurrected Jesus was NEVER shown to more than 500 folks,"

    How does this statement square with the Great Commission? Mark 16:15-16 "15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." And the Gospel is for public proclamation.

    There is no misunderstanding of the word all from Acts 17:30. Are the unelect as well as the elect not commanded to repent and believe the Gospel? They are. And Paul and Barnabas declare this when they said to the disbelieving Jews, ""Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles." Acts 13:46

    Paul preached the Gospel to those who 'judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life.' He told them to be reconciled to God through repentance and faith in Christ. How could he urge them to believe in Christ if Christ did not die for them.

    Look, when I witness to someone I use the apostolic pattern, which is this: "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corithians 5:18-21

    So when in conversation at work with Joe, I can say to him, "I plead with you to be reconciled to God. God made Jesus, who knew no sin to be sin for *us* that we might become the rightousness of God in Him(Jesus)."

    I will also say to him to "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven" Hebrews 12:25

    1 John 2:2 says, "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. " This is a clear statement telling us Jesus died not only for believers but the those in the world rejecting Him. John's use of 'whole world' in this context manifestly means unbelievers. We know this because 1 John 4:19 says, " We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one."

    The "whole world" that lies under the sway of the wicked one, Jesus is the propitiation for their sins.
    They are disobedient to the command to repent and believe. "Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone," 1 Peter 2:7

    I know I was obedient only because God had mercy on me and granted repentance to me. It is his free gift to the elect according to His grace. The reprobate are held responsible for disbelief. They resist His grace.

    I guess you could say grace is irresistable in the case of the elect and resistable in the case of the reprobate. It is the mystery between divine sovereignty and humnan responsibilty. Our logic has to bow its knee to what God declares in His word.

    Praise to Him who died for you and me,

    Alan

    Todd,

    You said, "The Father has HIDDEN these things Luke 10:21; John 3:16 was never, ever, ever, EVER told in public; Not in Acts, nowhere. The resurrected Jesus was NEVER shown to more than 500 folks,"

    How does this statement square with the Great Commission? Mark 16:15-16 "15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." And the Gospel is for public proclamation.

    There is no misunderstanding of the word all from Acts 17:30. Are the unelect as well as the elect not commanded to repent and believe the Gospel? They are. And Paul and Barnabas declare this when they said to the disbelieving Jews, ""Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles." Acts 13:46

    Paul preached the Gospel to those who 'judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life.' He told them to be reconciled to God through repentance and faith in Christ. How could he urge them to believe in Christ if Christ did not die for them.

    Look, when I witness to someone I use the apostolic pattern, which is this: "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corithians 5:18-21

    So when in conversation at work with Joe, I can say to him, "I plead with you to be reconciled to God. God made Jesus, who knew no sin to be sin for *us* that we might become the rightousness of God in Him(Jesus)."

    I will also say to him to "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven" Hebrews 12:25

    1 John 2:2 says, "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. " This is a clear statement telling us Jesus died not only for believers but the those in the world rejecting Him. John's use of 'whole world' in this context manifestly means unbelievers. We know this because 1 John 4:19 says, " We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one."

    The "whole world" that lies under the sway of the wicked one, Jesus is the propitiation for their sins.
    They are disobedient to the command to repent and believe. "Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone," 1 Peter 2:7

    I know I was obedient only because God had mercy on me and granted repentance to me. It is his free gift to the elect according to His grace. The reprobate are held responsible for disbelief. They resist His grace.

    I guess you could say grace is irresistable in the case of the elect and resistable in the case of the reprobate. It is the mystery between divine sovereignty and humnan responsibilty. Our logic has to bow its knee to what God declares in His word.

    Praise to Him who died for you and me,

    Alan

    Todd,
    You said, "The Father has HIDDEN these things Luke 10:21; John 3:16 was never, ever, ever, EVER told in public; Not in Acts, nowhere. The resurrected Jesus was NEVER shown to more than 500 folks,"
    You said, “How does this statement square with the Great Commission? Mark 16:15-16.” Exactly Alan, how does the Great Commission square with Jesus’ own ministry, David’s army, Joshua’s Army, Moses’ battles, the battles in Esther; The private transfiguration, the private news of John 3, that angels told of Jesus birth only to shepherds, that Elijah only went to 2 gentiles, that Jesus did not show His resurrected body to all the World, that Jesus did not announce Himself during turning water into wine, that Jesus did not go up to the feast in John 7, that Jesus secluded himself to pray from the crowds, that Jesus left the crowds in John 6, that Jesus did not tell in public what He revealed in secret, that the burning bush is not shown to Pharaoh, that God has shut eyes, and shut ears.
    Under your premise EVERY JEW AND GENTILE must get a Damascus road experience, Paul did not deserve one nor ask for one, and yet is was solely God to reveal and choose.
    God could not have meant ALL the world because it limits to only people who have lived after the resurrection. From even Acts 17:30, does word now mean that he has not previously commanded gentiles to repent as in chronology, If so, we again limit the word all to a post-resurrection audience. Are you now limiting God’s command? Yet we know God sent Jonah to Nineveh? But if you then say God has commanded gentiles to repent prior to the resurrection, then it fails, because the 14 or so prophets were only sent to Israel in the Old Testament. How many OT prophets went to Australia commanding ALL men to repent. Either way and either period you limit the word “All”.
    There IS a misunderstanding of the word all in Acts 17. “All” is clearly described as GENTILES, alan, not every single creature; Nowhere in Genesis does Noah say, “Repent for Jesus died for you.” That is not stated in any book of the Bible! Show me one verse where an unregenerate person is told Jesus died for you. It says Jesus was crucified and resurrected for the remission of sins, but not for you personally and not as a sign of love to you personally. Not one. In fact Jesus never told crowd, “I am dying for you personally because I love you personally.” Tearing down His temple and building it back up was so shadowy that NO ONE UNDERSTOOD it until after the resurrection when Jesus OPENED the eyes of the disciples in Luke 24. Why didn’t Jesus open the eyes of Pilate after the resurrection.
    What a minute Alan. Why did Paul and Barnabas turn from the Jews? Do not tell me ALL jews to every single solitary one had heard the message yet! So how can Paul stop telling Jews here? Why is He just now turning to the Gentiles? Should he not have been turning to the Gentiles in Acts 2! Why was Pentecost all Jews and not a mix of gentiles and jews, why weren’t all men being told when Peter heard the Great Commission too?
    Again, we can show you 50 verses were “all” doesn’t mean “all”
    How can Noah command people to repent when He did not build a boat big enough for more than 8? How can Moses command Pharaoh to repent when God had promised to drowned him and hardened His heart? How can a government command me to obey the speed limit, until they die for me? How can Paul TURN FROM JEWS now, when He has not meet all 6 million plus and made sure they each had an individual message? How can Paul delay the gentiles till AFTER the Jews were rebellious?
    In fact in Romans 1111,25 Paul says God shut the eyes of the Jews IN ORDER TO PREACH to Gentiles, as to say that otherwise if the Jews were receptive the fullness of the gentiles would not have existed.
    Paul will not say, “Jews and Gentiles remain unbelieving, unrepentant, un-reconciled, disobedient.” All sin is a sin of unbelief, un-repentance, non-reconciled, disobedience. After all Jesus say, “let them (JEWS!) alone, the blind lead the blind.” Matt 15:14; But Jesus go back and say, “I am dying for you personally and I love you.” This message was not told in John 10, to the rich young man, to the woman at the well, to the lame in John 5, to the blind man in John 9, to the leaders who asked plainly in John 10, to the audience in Luke 4 synagogue,”
    Alan, in Acts 17 Paul does not say, “Jesus loves you personally and died for you personally.” His commands to repent can be just as valid as if Jesus had never came to die. You think if God never sent Jesus that God would be forbidden to tell sinners to repent and trust Jehovah? What must Jehovah do for Cain before Jehovah has the “rights” to tell Cain to repent and trust me. Furthermore, Achan was required to make confession and give God glory in Josh 7:19 and still stoned!! With his family!! But you ask, How can Joshua command such a thing unless Achan also be pardoned, given life, forgiven and told of God’s love and offer.
    Can you tell me the numerical audience of Noah’s message and what ratio that was to those living? Did Noah tell 50% or 99% or 20%, when was Jesus, God’s Love, an offer, (on a overcrowded boat) told? So Noah did not even tell “ALL” the world. What is God doing to confuse the languages at the tower of Babel, is that not hindering the elect from learning languages and now tell all languages, and hunting down where in 7 million miles they were flung too? If you were a missionary 1 day after the Babel confusion I don’t think your hopes would be to learn 20 languages and traverse now what God has just scattered.

    You say that God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD to Himself; There you go. The ENTIRE WORLD is reconciled, that is what the text says according to Arminian usage of the word world. God has not imputed their (the WORLD’S) trespasses against them. One MUST be a Universalists taken the Arminian usage of the word “world” here. No one in Noah’s day has any trespass imputed against them, because Christ is reconciling the World. Even if you suppose that “reconciling” is a present tense verb, it does not indicate that Christ fails at his “attempt” to reconcile the World. Did Christ not reconcile Moses, thus Christ’s reconciliation was applied to those before His incarnation and resurrection.
    Ephes. 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ; It does not say “your faith in the blood” made you nigh
    Ephes. 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; It does not say “your faith is your peace, and your faith has made us one, your faith hath broken down the middle wall.” Thus Jesus is the peace for all reprobates and all must be in heaven, this is also clear from Romans 5:9-11.
    We are justified by the blood! We were reconciled by the death of His Son! We shall be saved by His life! We have received atonement! Yes Romans 3-5 talk about being justified by faith, but this only denotes the fruit of the Holy Spirit, not the fruit of mankind, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit is faith in Chirst.
    Faith is a gift of God. Eph 2:8. Gifts are not earned. The gift of faith is not earned by the application of faith, dead men do not have faith. God gives the gift of life, water, food, to the unjust why not just give all the unjust faith in Christ too. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…Does God not work in ALL, does Jesus not create All; if so, universalism prevails.
    If Jesus is propitiation for the sins of the whole world in 1 John 2:2, according to your application of World, then the whole world IS propitiated; Do we say the sins of John and John’s direct reader “could possibly be propitiated” no-- They ARE propitiated. And if God has turned His wrath away from the whole world, then the whole world will be in heaven, including Noah’s neighbors.
    1 John 4:19 the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one? Really? even Christians who are more than conquers? Alan is Christ in you and the Holy Spirit residing in your temple, and your fellowship is with the Father, and yet you are among the whole world and you are lying under the sway of the wicked one? Are you a new creation, greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world? If Jesus is greater how are you under the sway of the wicked one, I thought if the Son set you free you are free indeed? So here the word world EXPRESSLY limits the number to those who are not believers, and does not refer to every single solitary soul.
    God’s eternal grace and purpose’s can be thwarted? Who stops God? A foolish vapor? God purposed to raise Lazarus, but Lazarus forbade? God purposed to cast our demons, but they refused? God purposed to remove 1/3 of the angels from heaven, but they hung around. God purposed to put 100% in heaven, but 75% overcame his arm? Will God raise up children from these stones Matt 3:9, and some stones say, “nahhhh, we will stay stones.” Will you pat God on the back in consolation and say, “I know you are upset, you tried, you did all you could do, don’t blame yourself there is nothing more you could have done, maybe if you had to do over again God you could send everyone a transfigured Jesus, maybe you hadn’t thought of that, maybe your hunch was it would not be enough either; but hey every knees is bowing and every tongue confessing after death, since you make the rules around here, just let that count and your true purpose will find 100% in heaven, and you want have to resort to plan B;”
    Go foolishly praise an idol who has to resort to plan B, cause his true purpose just didn’t get permission from barbarians who cannot even speak light into existence ex niliho.
    Our logic has to bow its knee to what God declares in His Word? I don’t find you doing so Alan. What logic is it that a pot of clay prevents the true purpose of the potter.
    I can’t change you Alan, and you cannot change me. If God is going to save or sanctify either of us, it will only God’s work, honoring the blood of Jesus, with the power of the Holy Spirit, imparting His Holy Word. I am eager (as you are) to write tracts for the gospel and give to all mankind, and if God determines to harden them, fine, if to draw and save them, wonderful. If a Mormon has no interest in reading or accepting exposes on his heresy then usually a wall is hit, if a general atonement proponent in reading or accepting exposes on his heresy, then I can only leave such work to the good pleasure of God.

    Alan, you wrote:

    “In this seminar, he states that the Gospel is Universally Available.”

    and

    “God desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. This has to mean that the Gospel is available to all who will repent and believe.”

    Yes! You’re right! Quite obviously the Gospel must be available to all who will repent and believe, or else they would never be able to be saved! But what about those who never repent and believe? That is the question. Is the Gospel “available” (to use a lousy term) to those who’ll never repent and believe? Are you saying God is trying or has tried to save people whom He infallibly knows (yea, decreed) will never repent and believe? If God is wise, He’s not going to attempt something which He infallibly knows He will never succeed at.

    Now if we’re going to have meaningful dialog, we need to have the same understanding of at least two theologically-loaded terms: “Gospel”, and “available.” Later, we can discuss “all” and “world” and “irresistible grace.”

    You asked:

    “How does this statement square with the Great Commission?”

    and

    “How could he urge them to believe in Christ if Christ did not die for them.”

    Don’t try to rationalize it; just believe it. You can ask God that when you get to heaven. Well, since you asked, you should get an answer. Here’s my sloppy attempt off the cuff. There is an “outward call” and an “inward call.”

    The outward call is the call to repent and believe on Jesus for one’s salvation. It should NOT be “Jesus died for you, now invite Him into your heart.” It SHOULD be along these lines (besides quoting Scripture): “You have sinned against Almighty God, and now God is telling you to repent, whether you feel like it or not. But there’s wonderful news I want to share: for every sinner who repents and turns to Jesus for their salvation, God glorifies Himself through saving them!” Of course much more can be elaborated, especially on the Person and work of Christ. So indeed, there is a delicate line you don’t want to cross when witnessing. You want to present Jesus as the Savior for sinners, yes, the only hope of the person you’re talking to. He needs Jesus, without question. Every human being--elect or not--needs Jesus, without question. And everybody is told to put faith in Jesus and submit to Him as Lord. But carefully note that none of those statements assume that Jesus atoned for the sins of the non-elect. For if He had, then 1) God would have no reason to send them to hell, and 2) the Spirit would come along and regenerate them, seeing the Third Person of the Trinity regenerates all for whom the Second Person of the Trinity shed His precious blood.

    The best resource I know that will guide you to be faithful to all 5 points of Calvinism (not 4.5), and yet fulfill the great commission, is J. I. Packer’s little book, “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.” You must read it if you haven’t already.

    If you want some excellent examples of reformed tracts, you can find them here:
    http://www.migliacci.com/Tracts.html

    Now there’s also the “inward call,” which is the Spirit’s regeneration. Does the Spirit regenerate all who hear the “outward call”? Of course not. While many are called outwardly, of those, only a few are chosen to be regenerated.

    But it should be noted that God’s work of regeneration (the “inward call”) is not independent of His commands (the “outward call”). Indeed, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” When one of God’s lost sheep hears from God’s Word about his sinfulness, and his inability to save himself, and his need for a Savior, and how the only Savior is Jesus Christ, the Sprit of God uses the Word of God at just the right time to convict, draw, and regenerate him. (In fact, I believe that without the Word of God, true conviction cannot take place, and consequently, neither can salvation.) I say all that because God’s way of bringing the inward call to the “few” is to cast the outward call on the “many.” So, 10,000 people at a crusade may be told to repent. That’s God’s method for regenerating the handful of people there. Is it a waste of time to set up a crusade for 10,000 people if only one or two get saved? Absolutely not! That’s what Paul meant when he said “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect” (2 Timothy 2:10a). The rest who never believe still receive the outward call, but not, as you supposed, to teach us that Jesus atoned for their sins, but rather so that when they get to hell God will remind them that they heard the call to repent and their sinful nature refused to obey. So God tells us to present the Gospel to all without discrimination, so that He can either regenerate the “few” elect, or judge the “many” non-elect. Either way, the outward call is not a waste, nor is it disingenuous--if it’s presented carefully. And of course, even those who never hear the Gospel will still be judged for their other sins.

    Let me give two Biblical illustrations: Jonah, and Jesus. The storm that tossed the boat that Jonah was on was sent by God for one and only one man: Jonah. Had there been any other boats nearby, they too would have been affected by that same storm! But it wasn’t designed for them. It was only designed for Jonah. God sent a real-life storm that could have conceivably affected many, many, people, but it was only designed for one man: Jonah. There we see the large-scale work of God being sent for one individual.

    Secondly, the census that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem affected thousands of people, but it was designed for one purpose: to get Jesus where He needed to be to fulfill prophecy. Again, we see a large-scale event, affecting many people, orchestrated by God, but for only one Person.

    So when you say something is available to all, what do you mean by that? Is that “something” the gift of eternal life? Is that “something” the total forgiveness of sins? Is that “something” a full atonement for sins? Is that “something” a ransom from sin’s slavery? All that, you know, is what Jesus purchased on that tree 2,000 years ago. Surely you can’t say all that is given to every human being! I’m quite confident John Piper would never mean to say that. And surely you’re not going to say, with the Romanists, that man must do something to finish what Jesus said He finished.

    The dilemma you’re faced with in saying salvation is equally available to all is why, then, are some saved and others are not? If salvation is equally accessible to all humans (which the Bible, experience, and history cry against such a notion), then why did you find it and others never do? The only explanation is that you were more highly evolved than the rest. That is stealing God’s glory.

    So instead of saying the Gospel is available to all, it’s more accurate to say we should tell all to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Who died for sinners, and there is good news if they do. As far as those whom God never gives an opportunity to be saved, like many of those in the tsunami, or those who were already in hell when Jesus was dying, the Gospel--including Jesus Himself--obviously wasn’t “available” to them. And as far as those who do hear the call to repent but who never believe, Jesus is indeed presented to them as the Savior for sinners, and as the One who has the power and ability to save any sinner who repents, yes, even them, but you don’t want to leave the impression that if the person goes to hell, that Jesus “failed” somehow. It’s men who fail, not Jesus. How could Jesus fail when the command is to repent? Jesus is not saying “I’m trying to save you, now repent so that I can.” He’s saying “I came to seek and to save that which was lost”, now “repent or perish!”

    Just make sure that in presenting the Gospel that you don’t make it sound like faith and repentance are prerequisites for regeneration (being born again). They are requisites for sure, but not prerequisites. Justification is conditioned on faith (Rom. 3:26-5:1), the “gift of the Spirit” (which is synonymous with adoption, or the sealing of the Spirit, not to be confused with regeneration) is conditioned on belief (Acts 2:38; John 1:12; Eph. 1:13), but election is not conditional (Rom. 9:11), and regeneration is not conditional (John 1:13; 3:3--must be given birth before you can exercise sight).

    And one more thing. Make sure you know the difference between a statement of reality and a statement of condition. For instance, Romans 10:9, 13 are verses of reality, not condition. Salvation is a reality, salvation is said to be in your possession, if you are able to believe. Believing is proof of your salvation. I can explain further if you’d like.

    Steve,

    You portray so many straw men in your comments that it is difficult to know where to begin a response. To change the disposition of the heart from stone to flesh is an amazing mercy and you suggesting it means forcing someone to believe is so blatantly misguided.

    God uses means to achieve His ends, which includes giving warnings against falling away - and who will indeed heed those warnings but God's elect people. The other verses you mention have been explained here on the blog many times, from their biblical context.

    The whole point of Romans 9:6-13 is the fact that divine election is unconditional and anyone who is filled with pride because he is elect has totally misunderstood the doctrine. If on the other hand you believe you came into the kingdom because while given the same exact measure of grace as your unbelieving neighbor, but you were more insightful, or more spiritually sensitive than he - that indeed would be a foundation for pride. Election (properly understood) does not just keep pride to a minimum, it totally removes it.

    You obviously do not understand the doctrine you seek to refute. We believe election is unconditional (as Romans 9 makes clear) but salvation is conditional - people need to repent and believe the gospel. Election merely teaches us, who indeed will do so (Acts 13:48) "and all who were appointed to eternal life believed."

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