Limited Atonement vs. Provisional Atonement

Limited Atonement versus Provisional Atonement

Dr. Leighton Flowers

 

I.              Our Agreement:

a.     The gospel appeal is for all: The gospel is for every man, woman, boy and girl. We should all agree (unless you affirm Hyper-Calvinism) that all are to be the recipients of the gospel offer.

b.     The atonement is sufficient to save all: Christ’s death is sufficient for all. Everyone should agree that the value of Christ’s atoning work is sufficient to cover the sins of every man, woman, boy and girl.

c.     The atonement only benefits those who believe: Christ’s death is only efficacious for those who believe. Every Christian should agree that the saving benefit (efficacy) of the atoning work of Christ is limited to those who believe (regardless of how you think the lost come to believe).

II.            Our Disagreement: What is God’s intention in the atoning sacrifice of His Son?

a.     God’s intention is to certainly save people by His Son’s death.

i.     Held to by 5-Point Calvinists who conclude His intention is only to effectually save the elect, therefore God’s intention for the atonement was limited. (Limited Atonement)

ii.     Held to by Universalists who conclude His intention is to effectually save all, therefore God’s intention for the atonement was unlimited and universal. (not for the purpose of this outline)

b.    God’s intention is to provide a payment for all people which is only effective when the individual savingly believes.

i.     Held to by Arminians, Southern Baptist Traditionalists and all other non-Calvinistic believers. (Provisional Atonement)

ii.     Held to by Amyraldians (4-point Calvinists, such as Bruce Ware.* — Not for the purpose of this outline.)

III.         Two Positions On The Atonement With Key Biblical Arguments:

a.     Limited Atonement (5-Point Calvinism): Christ died for the purpose of actually and certainly saving people from their sin, but since not all are in fact saved, it requires then that he only died for and saved a certain people (i.e. “the elect”).

i.     John 6:37-40 – All the Father gives the Son will come and he will not lose any but will raise them up on the last day

[Rebuttal: Those being “given to the son” while he is “down from heaven” is only said in reference to the apostles as reflected in John 17.]

ii.     John 10:11, 15 – Christ laid down his life for his own sheep

iii.     Acts 20:28 – the church of God which Christ purchased with his own blood

iv.     Romans 8:31-39 – Christ was delivered up for “us all”, which clearly is the elect

v.     2 Cor. 5:15 – He died for “all” that they who live, likely indicating that the “all” for whom he died is the same group as those who believe

vi.     Eph. 5:25 – Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her

vii.     Titus 2:14 – Christ gave himself for us, to redeem us from every lawless deed

[Rebuttal: The 5-Pointer must invoke “the negative inference fallacy” in order to appeal to these last 6 passages as proof of their position. “The proof of a position does not prove its converse.” One cannot prove that Christ did not die for the whole by showing that he did die for a part of that whole. For instance, in Gal. 2:20 Paul says that Christ died for him, but no one would infer from that statement that Christ only died for Paul. Yes, some passages say Christ died for His own, His sheep, His church, but no passage says He died only for these. His atonement can be provided for all people while only those who believe are actually saved by His atonement. His death for His own, then, is part of the larger whole in which He died also for the world.]

b.    Provisional Atonement (Traditionalism, Arminianism, Non-Calvinism): Christ died for the purpose of providing payment for the sin of all people making it possible for any and all to be saved. God loves all and wants all to be saved. In His love for all, he sent Christ to provide payment for the sin of all. Belief in Christ is necessary, however, to receive the benefits of Christ’s death and be saved. The gospel should be preached to all, and, upon hearing the gospel, any can come because Christ died for the sins of all people in the world.

i.     1 Tim. 4:10 – God is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. So, there is a sense in which Christ is savior of unbelievers (i.e., he died for their sin, though they reject His payment on their behalf), yet a special sense in which he is savior of believers (by faith, they receive Christ’s payment for their own sin).

ii.     2 Peter 2:1 – refers clearly to unregenerate people as “denying the Master who bought (aor. act. prtc. of agoradzo, “to redeem”) them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”

iii.     1 John 2:2; 4:14 – Christ is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only, but also for the “whole world;” and he is “savior of the world.” Notice that “world” occurs 28 times in 1 John, 26 of which are used either in a comprehensive sense (e.g., 2:17; 3:17; 4:1, 9) or more narrowly as the world of the unsaved (e.g., 2:15-16; 3:1, 13; 5:19). This makes doubtful that 2:2 and 4:14 refer to a world of the elect.

iv.     1 Tim. 2:6 – Christ gave himself a ransom (antilutron, “a payment” or “ransom”) for all.

v.     2 Cor. 5:14-15, 19 – One died for all. He died for all that they who live . . . . This indicates that while Christ died for all, only some will live through him. In some sense, the whole world is reconciled through Christ.

vi.     John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8 – indicate God’s love for the entire world and that Christ came to save sinners generally.

vii.     1 Tim 2:4, 2 Pet 3:9 and Ezk. 18:30-31 show that God wants all to be saved.

viii.     Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-47; John 6:35, 40; Rom. 10:13 – texts which stress the necessity of the proclamation of the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection on behalf of the world.

ix.     John 3:18; 12:48 – texts which indicate that rejecting Christ is a further basis for judgment. They can only rightly be held accountable for rejecting what was offered them if a real offer had been made to them.

x.     Romans 8:20-23; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 1:9-10; Phil. 3:21; Col. 1:19-20 – texts which indicate a far broader cosmic extent of the atoning work of Christ.

IV.          Two Positions On The Atonement With Key Theological Arguments:

a.     Limited Atonement (5-Point Calvinism)

i.     Efficacy Argument: Scripture teaches Christ came to save His own (Eph. 5:25; Tit. 2:14), not merely provide a payment that may or may not succeed in saving people. Therefore, Christ died to actually save, not potentially save.

[Rebuttal: See the actual point of disagreement under point II. We disagree over what God’s intention was in sending Christ.  If God’s intent was to actually save people (apart from any condition – like faith) then this argument would be valid. As it is however, we know that only believers (regardless of the effectuality of the means by which they come to faith) will actually be saved. Therefore, we too can claim that Christ died to actually save those who believe.]

ii.     Sovereignty Argument: If Christ died for all, and by this paid for the sins of all, then, because God is sovereign and His will cannot be thwarted, all would be saved. Since all are not saved, it must be the case that Christ died for those who are saved (i.e. the elect).

[Rebuttal: Calvinists wrongly define the concept of divine sovereignty as meaning “meticulous deterministic control over ever thing, including the evil intentions of creatures.” The scriptures simply never teach this concept. Instead, divine sovereignty is reflected as God’s ability to do whatever He is pleased to do (Ps. 115:3) even if that may include giving the world over to creature’s free dominion (Ps. 115:16). God sovereignly decreed not which choice man would make, but that he would be free to make it. A God less than sovereign would be afraid to bestow genuine freedom to His creatures (see AW Tozer*).]

iii.     Double-Jeopardy Argument: It would be ethically wrong for God to hold people accountable for paying for their own sin through their eternal punishment if Christ has already paid fully for their sin.

[Rebuttal: See the actual point of contention under point II. This is not a problem for those who hold to the provisional nature of the atonement. Just as the serpent lifted on the pole in the desert was provided for all, it only benefitted the ones who look to it for healing. No one would argue the serpent did not sufficiently provide the means for healing to all simply because some may have refused to look to the provision for healing. This argument requires its adherents to hold to a relatively obscure view called “equivalentism.” The argument is goes like this: “if Christ’s death was substitutionary then He died for particular sins of particular people. And if He died for particular sins then He didn’t die for other sins than those.” The adherents of equivalentism seem to see a one for one equivalence between our sins and the price of their atonement which ultimately denies the sufficiency of the atonement to save anyone except those for whom it was designed to save. This notion that Christ suffered just so much, a finite amount, in relation to the sins of the elect is a position that stands in opposition to the Synod of Dordt and to most of mainstream historic Calvinism (see Phil Johnson and Charles Hodge.*]

iv.     Comprehensive Payment Argument: If Christ paid for all the sin of all people, then He paid for their sin of unbelief (among other sins). If their sin of unbelief is paid for, then God cannot hold them accountable for their unbelief. But He does, so only the sin of the elect is paid for in Christ’s death.

[Rebuttal: Again, this is not a problem for those who hold to the provisional view of the atonement. The provision of payment is made for all but the benefit is not applied until one believes. This argument would be like saying, “If the serpent lifted on the pole provided the means of healing for all, then it provided healing for those who refuse to look at the serpent for healing,” which would not make any sense given the conditional nature of the provision. The same is true of Christ’s provision on Calvary.  Whoever looks to the provision in faith will be healed because the means of healing is provided for all through those given means.]

b.    Provisional Atonement (Traditionalism, Arminianism, Non-Calvinism)

i.     Universal Divine Love Argument: If God truly loves all equally and impartially, and if He truly wants all to be saved, then it is inconceivable and impossible that He would offer Christ to pay for the sin of only some. Universal love of God requires a universal payment. God must love because He is love (see HERE). Further, if Christ did not self-sacrifically love all His enemies, as the Law demands, then He would not meet the requirements as the perfect sacrificial lamb (see HERE).

ii.     Universal Gospel Offer Argument: Since the offer of salvation is clearly to go to all people (e.g., Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), there must be a payment made on behalf of those to whom the gospel offer is extended, otherwise the offer is disingenuous. If no payment has been made for everyone, then we cannot sincerely say that God offers salvation to everyone. Since we are commanded to preach the gospel to all people as “Christ’s ambassadors” (i.e. 2 Cor. 5:20; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), the unlimited atoning sacrifice of Christ renders this offer of salvation fully and uncompromisingly genuine (e.g., John 6:35, 40; Rom 10:13).

iii.     Limitless Scope Argument: Christ died for the purpose of providing payment for the penalty of all sinners making it possible for all who believe to be saved (e.g., 1 Tim 4:10; 1 John 2:2; 2 Cor. 5:14-15). Belief in Christ is necessary, however, to receive the benefits of Christ’s death and be saved. The limited atonement position appears to strain the natural and intended meaning of texts.

iv.     Just Condemnation Argument: Those who hear and reject the gospel that has been genuinely provided and then offered to them are justly condemned for their rejection of that offer. Christ’s death for the sins of those who reject him and are condemned (e.g., 2 Pet 2:1) insures that their judgment for rejecting Christ (which is only part of the full basis for their judgment) is just, because they reject a real gift that is really, freely and graciously provided and offered to them (John 3:18b).

v.     Cosmic Triumph Argument: Christ died for the purpose of reconciling all things to the Father. Were Christ to die for the sin of the elect only (or for any partial amount of the totality of sin), this would leave sin that stands outside of His atoning work and hence outside of His victorious triumph over sin. Since sin is not only a penalty that must be paid (which payment is only efficacious by faith) but also a power that rebels against God’s rightful authority and reign, sin’s penalty must be paid (so that believers may be saved) but its power must be defeated that all might be conquered and laid at the feet of the Father (Romans 8:20-23; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Col. 1:19-20). Colossians 1:20 is especially important because it shows two things clearly: 1) the universal scope of the reconciliation wrought by Christ (“all things,” “things in earth and things in heaven”), and 2) that this reconciliation is accomplished by the atoning death of Christ (“through the blood of his cross”). That this does not entail universalism is clear because in the very context Paul warns that these believers will one day be holy and blameless only if they continue in the faith (1:23). So, the reconciliation of Col. 1:20 is one in which the rebellion is over, yet God’s conquered foes do not share in His glory.

vi.     Part-To-Whole Argument: Yes, some passages say Christ died for his own, his sheep, his church, but no passage says he died only for the elect, while many others do explicitly say He died for all. His death can be for all people while only those who believe are actually saved by his death. His death for those who believe, then, is part of the larger whole in which he died also for the world.

vii.     Necessity of Saving Faith Argument: If, as limited atonement proponents say, Christ died actually and certainly to save people (i.e., the elect) and not merely provide the means for their salvation, then it follows that nothing else is needed for the elect to be saved. They are saved because of the full, perfect and finished work of Christ which actually and certainly saved the elect. But is it not true that the elect are born into this world under the condemnation of God, dead in their sin, and facing the impending wrath of God (e.g., Eph. 2:1-3)? Is not saving faith required for the elect to be saved? If so, how can it be said of the death of Christ in itself that by His death alone He saved those for whom He died? As long as one believes that all people (including the elect) are born into this world with the sin of Adam so that until anyone savingly believes in Christ he or she remains unsaved and under God’s wrath, then we cannot speak correctly of Christ’s death as actually and certainly saving the elect. No, even here, the payment made by His death on behalf of whosoever believes renders their salvation possible while that salvation becomes actual only upon their exercising saving faith. If Christ’s death, then, is a payment for sin that makes possible the salvation of people, which salvation actually occurs only when they savingly believe, then there is no problem saying Christ’s death provided payment for the penalty of all the people in the whole world, because until any believes, he or she is not saved.


*Portions adapted from “Extent of the Atonement: Outline of The Issue, Positions, Key Texts, and the Key Theological Arguments” by Bruce A. Ware: accessed here: http://www.epm.org/static/uploads/downloads/Extent_of_the_Atonement_by_Bruce_Ware.pdf

*AW Tozer, “God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.” – A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God

*Phil Johnson, “The Nature of the Atonement,” accessed here: http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/SC03-1027.htm

* Charles Hodge taught, “It is a gross misrepresentation of the Augustinian doctrine to say that it teaches that Christ suffered so much for so many; that He would have suffered more had more been included in the purpose of salvation. This is not the doctrine of any Church on earth, and never has been.” Accessed here: http://www.apuritansmind.com/tulip/for-whom-did-christ-die-by-dr-charles-hodge/

 

 

59 thoughts on “Limited Atonement vs. Provisional Atonement

  1. Pastor Flowers has built a strawman to avoid having to deal with the unpleasantries of Calvinism. Calvinism begins with the exaltation of God that concedes His omniscience. When God created the world, He knew those who were to be saved and those who were to be condemned and their numbers could not be changed. God would not save one more person or condemn one less person.

    The above comments are careful to omit any mention of God’s omniscience. It is because of omniscience that the elect and the non-elect are known before God created the world. Thus, Paul can write to the believers in Ephesus and Phiippi, “God chose us in him before the creation of the world…he predestined us to be adopted…it is by grace you have been saved…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus….we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” To the Colossians, Paul writes, “God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”

    All these statements are based in God’s omniscience predicated on His sovereign plan – “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will…”

    Non-Calvinists continue to prove that they cannot handle omniscience. Some recognize this problem and now advocate Open Theism as the only sound argument against the Calvinists (other than Universalism).

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    1. rhutchin, you are correct. Universal atonement proponents have to redefine omniscience to get to their position. I think also they have to make hash of what the atonement actually accomplishes.

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      1. Les this is disappointing, you know perfectly well that most non-Calvinists do in fact believe that God is omniscient. I have no need to redefine omniscient (God knows everything, He knows all possibilities, He knows all actualities, He knows the past, present and future exhaustively). Just because some hold the false theology of open theism, it does not follow that the rest of us redefine omniscience as open theists do. It is established Christina orthodoxy across all theological traditions, including Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant that God is omniscient.

        Regarding making hash of what the atonement actually accomplishes, we have been through this before as well. There are two elements to the atonement, The provisional element, Jesus is given to the whole world as scripture makes clear (and you redefine scripture in order to avoid the conclusion that Jesus is given for the whole world in the provisional sense). There is also the applicational element of the atonement (i.e. it is not applied to able minded persons unless they have faith first). the atonement is not applied to us before we believe. If we do believe it is applied to us. Calvinist such as yourself seem to forget this distinction.

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  2. “That Christ, the redeemer of the whole world, commands the Gospel to be preached promiscuously to all does not seem congruent with special Election. … But the solution of the difficulty lies in seeing how the doctrine of the Gospel offers salvation to all. That it is salvific for all I do not deny. But the question is whether the Lord in His counsel here destines salvation equally for all.” John Calvin, Eternal Predestination of God, pp.102-3

    Devil is in the details.

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      1. Why wouldn’t there be a hell if you were unconditionally reprobated? That’s the point. Calvinism blocks access to salvation in Christ.

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      2. Jeff D. writes, ” Calvinism blocks access to salvation in Christ.”

        Unless you subscribe to Open Theism, then the issue is not who is able to come to salvation – God already knows who will come to salvation – but how a person comes to salvation – whether a Calvinist system where God saves a person or a Pelagian system where God provides the means of salvation and a person must make a personal free will decision to accept salvation.

        The Calvinist/non-Calvinist debate has nothing to do with access to salvation – both sides preach the same thing; you are saved by grace.

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      3. Of course the Calvinism/non-Calvinism debate has EVERYTHING to do with who access to salvation! Can an unconditionally decreed non-elect individual have any access to salvation? No, because his non-election was unconditional and was decreed in eternity. No access! That’s what supralapsarianism double predestination is–a caste system fixed in eternity whereby members of one caste can never ever believe in Christ, nor was Christ given to them as Savior, nor was an atonement offered or provided, nor was irresistible grace given, nor had God ever loved them.

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  3. Praise the Lord that He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world! Let’s go into all the world and preach this good news to everyone! Let’s be like Paul — warning every man and teaching every man with all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ. For God now commands all men everywhere to repent! He is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance. He wants all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth, for He gave Himself a ransom for all! Praise His name for His wonderful salvation!

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    1. Les there are loads of errors in Wagner’s response above. It is the typical arminian response of course that he and I both have went round and round about. He does not understand where the apostle John is talking about “Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world”. He tries to use the verse that the “whole world lies under the sway and power of the evil one.” Nope, cannot be done because that cannot be everyone without exception because Christians have been delivered by Christ, (not by possibility salvation) no they shall call his name Jesus and he shall be save His people from their sins yes actually be the propitiation for their sins.) When propitiation is made the law is satisfied, that says “the soul that sins shall die and wrath of God is appeased.” So Christ is the propitiation not only for our sins for for the sins of the whole world he is the propitiation for those chosen to be saved scattered abroad in a universal limited sense. Christians are not under the sway and power of the evil one so it is speaking in a universal limited sense there likewise. The two verse below illuminate what I just said.

      John 11:51 -He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation,

      John 11:52 – and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.

      Now Brian will say, “see he also died for the “whole nation.” Once again in a limited sense as we see it beginning on the day of Pentecost when some 2 or 3 thousand was saved. It this not what Revelation 5 teaches us?

      Revelation 5:9 -And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed (purchase buy) us to God by thy blood TO TAKE OUT of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

      Notice it says in the verse above that Christ redeemed or purchased with his spilt blood, actually bought sinners from the whole world in a universal limited sense. It says he actually TOOK OUT OF every kindred tongue people and nation a people for himself. What you purchase or buy belongs to you and you have a right to take it and Christ spilt blood redeemed those God chose or elected in Him from alll eternity.

      The same as he did when salvation first came to the Gentiles:

      Acts 15:14 -Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.

      Not to save all but to TAKE OUT OF THE GENTILES A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME.

      I agree with my friend when he says to “Let’s go into all the world and preach this good news to everyone!”

      That is a command of Christ for us all to obey. We are not to discriminate who we preach the gospel, we let God do the discriminating showing mercy upon whom he will have mercy. We do not know who the elect are so we obey God’s revealed command in scripture as given by Jesus Himself.

      Mark 16:15 -Then he told them, “As you go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to everyone.

      Knowing that God will do the discriminating but at the same time “doing as the apostle Paul did “enduring all things for the elect’s sake that they may be saved.”

      2 Timothy 2:10 -Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

      Yes indiscriminately preaching the gospel to all without exception because we do not know who the elect of God is who have been predestined to be saved, but doing as the Apostle Paul did in 2 Timothy 2:10 – enduring all things for the elect’s sake that they MAY OBTAIN SALVATION (NOT POSSIBLY, BUT ACTUALLY AND IN REALITY)

      So yes we preach Christ to the “whole world” indiscriminately knowing that through Christ’s saving grace God will take out of the world in a universal limited sense a people for his name, those Christ is a propitiation for from every tribe, tongue and nation.

      If Christ is really the “propitiation for the sins of the whole world meaning everyone from the beginning of time to those burning in hell and those living who are not saved who will be in hell and the word “propitiation” for sins of the whole world means Christ has actually mediated peace between those I just mentioned and a Holy God of awful anger and whose Holy Wrath is the fuel that keeps the fires of hell burning.

      If he actually is the “propitiation” as “John Owen” has said and Brian rejected Owen’s logic and exegesis of scripture, why are these people still suffering God’s judgement and eternal torment or going to be in hell for all eternity if Christ was their propitiation for sins, his death and shedding of His blood satisfied satisfied the just demands of the law and appeased the wrath of God but still they suffer the wrath and punishment of God. This is where Brian says Salvation is just “possible” Ultimately dependent upon the individual’s choice or will (as if Christ did not die for these sins of unbelief and rejection) and I believe Jesus to be really and actually Jesus. His name means Savior, he is the one who saves from sins and even the sins of unbelief and rejection. They shall call His name Jesus, FOR HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS!!!!!!! Not maybe or possible, but guaranteed, my Jesus cannot fail to do the will of the Father the jesus/god of open theism.

      Christ did not come to make “salvation possible”. Show me in scripture where this fallacy is taught. No, Christ is an actual real Savior who will save His people from their sins. Christ is still saving me and billions of other Christians right now.

      Where does tell the sinner just “get up from that pew, walk down that isle, kneel before this alter and repeat this prayer after me????????????????????

      Then Brian believes in “eternal security” I call him my ‘ONE POINT CALVINIST WHO SERVES the diminished humanistic heretical god of open theism.

      Brian believes God enabled sinners to choose yes or no to Christ’s salvation, but after they are saved they are eternally secure. NOW THAT IS THE BIGGEST CONTRADICTION OF THE HERESY OF OPEN THEISM HE HAS EVER SPOUTED. Is God now irresistibly making them believe Brain so that cannot become apostates? But wait!!!! God does not know the future. It is only partially open. It does not exist yet according to the heresy of Open Theism!!!!! How does God know if Christians are going to stay eternally secure or not if he does not know THE FREE CHOICES OR ACTIONS OF MEN OR THE FUTURE ACTIONS. There is definitely a contradiction here and something to be looked at closely. As far as the diminished humanistic heretical god of open theism knew Christ could have started hating the Father and the Holy Spirit. Because God the Father did not Christ’s free actions not having definite exhaustive foreknowledge of the future because it did not yet exist of the free choices or actions of men. It amazing the Open Theism contingency plan of Christ dying on the cross (of those Open Theist who believed their was to be a salvific cross of Christ, Sanders) that it happened the exact way God predetermined it and with His definite foreknowledge knew intimately exactly what billions and billions of free actions of men would lead to the murder of Christ upon the Cross.

      Brian, says God changes His mind and his favorite go to verse is where a unknown prophet is sent to Hezekiah and told him to get His house in order because he was going to die. That was God’s revealed will. One thing Brian will not tell you is that Hezekiah was in the linage or seed that Christ was to go through and eventually be born into the world. Hezekiah, did not have no heir. If he had died right then and there the seed of Christ’s incarnation would have been nullified. But there was God secret will of decree, God knew by sending the unknown prophet to Hezekiah, it would move him to brokenness, humility and prayer and he prayed and God added 15 years to his life and he had an heir and Christ seed continued. Oh the power, wisdom, knowledge and sovereignty of God, incomprehensible and infinite and knows no bounds contrary to the heresy of Open Theism!!!!! Praise to the Glory of our Saviour in whom is all definite exhaustive infinite wisdom and knowledge!!!! Let all else Lord God fall to ground powerless and Christ be exalted King over the whole earth as your glory covers the earth as the waters cover the sea!!!!!!

      Just like the most criminal and brutal crime ever committed on planet earth by the free actions of men. The murder of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just think according to open theism how many billions and billions of free choices and free actions of men down through the ages had to be just right for this murder to take place. But scripture tells us in Acts 2 and 4 that it happened exactly as the determined foreknowledge of God and His hand (will of decree that cannot be altered or Holy Purpose from eternity, “the lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world) Open Theism says Christ says Christ could have said no to dying on the cross, blasphemy, definitely a gospel issue. Amazing how we all got lucky and the God who works all things according to his Holy Purpose (decree that cannot be altered) can now wipe the sweat off His diminished humanistic forehead because it all worked out.

      Murder was against God’s revealed will, but permitted by His predetermined definite exhaustive foreknowledge. Kinda like the Hezekiah issue above.

      But wait we all still have free choices and actions, can we not all apostatize even in heaven as a 3rd of the angels did. Brian says no, Christians are eternally secure, I am not sure how he balances that with Open Theism. Is God now forcing Christians to love him always like robots as the Reformed Faith are always accused of. I would be interested in Brian’s understanding of a god who does not know the future choices or the free actions of man how they are eternally secure in Christ.

      Then Brian says: “warning every man and teaching every man with all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ. For God now commands all men everywhere to repent!”

      Cannot argue with this, it is scripture, but ultimately only God’s elect will respond. But remembering this from Holy Scripture also;

      2 Timothy -correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

      You can correct your opponents with gentleness, warn them, teach them, but PERHAPS, JUST MAYBE GOD WILL GRANT THEM REPENTANCE LEADING TO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.

      Then Brian says something completely unbiblical: He is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance.” Just like the devil twisting the Holy Scriptures to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

      God never said that above that “He is not willing that should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. Let’s look at the verse from scripture and not through arminian/open theism glasses.

      9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

      Look who the LORD IS LONGSUFFERING TOWARDS, THE PRONOUN IS “US” AND GOD IS NOT WILLING THAT ANY OF THE “US” SHOULD PERISH BUT THE ALL OF THE “US” SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.

      2 Peter 1:10 -10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your CALL and ELECTION sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;

      1 Peter 1New King James Version (NKJV)

      Greeting to the Elect Pilgrims

      1 Peter 1 -1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

      To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

      2 ELECT (CHOSEN) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:

      2 Peter 1:1 – Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have OBTAINED A FAITH (like precious faith) of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

      Brian has completely evaded audience relevance exegesis that should have been done here in 2 Peter 3 :9 and arbitrarily said God’s word says “he is not willing for anyone to perish” when the audience is actually “US” the elect according to God’s definite exhaustive foreknowledge who have obtained like precious faith, as a gift from the regenerating of the Holy Spirit. For it is the efficient Spirit who gives life through the instrumentality of God’s word. What we have from Brian is mere human tradition and exegesis not connecting who the audience was that Peter was applying this teaching too.

      Jesus said if the miracles that had were done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom and Gomorrah they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes. If God wants to save everyone as Brian continually asserts then why did he miss such a strategic opportunity. Also how did Jesus know the free actions of Sodom and Gomorrah if Jesus had performed miracles there causing them to repent according to open theism. I have told Brian before that there are now (and anyone can research it) there are 6000 people groups on the earth that have never heard the gospel. They are dying in their sins by the thousands and millions. Because how can they hear unless someone is sent, and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Jesus said I am the way the truth and life and NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME. There is no other way of salvation for these 6000 people groups who have people dying daily who have never heard the gospel. God is all powerful, nothing is to hard for him the Bible says, and the great Commission says where are to preach the gospel to the whole world, so Brian, if God desires to save everyone why did he not do miracles for Sodom and Gomorrah that Jesus (he knew what the results of their free actions would have been) so they would have repented. Jesus said they would have and you said he wants all to be saved. Why has he not sent ministers of the Gospel to these 6000 people groups who are dying in their sins and are in hell right now and have never heard the gospel. They cannot hear unless someone is sent and cannot believe unless they hear. So your final words are from your own opinion and imagination my friend and truly not the counsel of Holy Scripture

      Let Rutchin Roger be heard O God of Heaven and his words find increase in the hearts of those on this site that dishonors your name.

      Brian said and which all I have written above refutes it: “He wants all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth, for He gave Himself a ransom for all! Praise His name for His wonderful salvation!””

      Blessings my friend

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  4. Good work, Dr. Flowers. Here’s something I wrote on this recently:

    It’s really so simply to disprove at least that the atonement was not sufficient for all: Jesus is God. He has not limit to his worth. If you target and limit who the atonement was made for, you still always have *sufficiency* left over, just like Arminians have *sufficiency* left over for those who reject. Both think the saved are the intention for the atonement, whether by determinism or by free will response to election. Both should think, by virtue of the worth of Christ, there is left over sufficiency to save all else. Sorry but—if Christ’s blood *could* save the whole world, there’s *no* way to get out of so-called “wasted” Blood.

    And the lost are condemned *because* they have not believed in Jesus? Why are the lost condemned for not believing Jesus did *not* die for them? Would believing Jesus did not die for them help them, yet this is their judgment!?! There’s no rational reason to limit the atonement, except to preserve unconditional election and eternal security. Can Christ not atone for those who yet end up in hell, if he pays Adam’s sin, buys the field of the world to redeem the treasure in it, or obtains the right to judge all flesh himself as a man? Can Christ not do with his own what he wants? Are our eyes evil because Christ is generous to allow the refusal of his gift?

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    1. dizerner asks, “And the lost are condemned *because* they have not believed in Jesus? Why are the lost condemned for not believing Jesus did *not* die for them?”

      Per the Calvinists, people are lost because they are sinners and no sinner will enter heaven. Sinners cannot save themselves and must believe in Jesus to be saved.

      Then, “Can Christ not atone for those who yet end up in hell, if he pays Adam’s sin, buys the field of the world to redeem the treasure in it, or obtains the right to judge all flesh himself as a man? Can Christ not do with his own what he wants? Are our eyes evil because Christ is generous to allow the refusal of his gift?”

      Per the Calvinist, Jesus can do all those things. However, Jesus said, “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” It is God who sent Jesus to die on the cross and Jesus went to the cross in obedience to accomplish God’s will.

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  5. I think that L is the weakest link of Calvinism.

    As to John 6, I don’t buy the Calvinist interpretation nor your limitation of Jesus’ comments to the 11 disciples. Rather I think that the interpretation has to do with the relationship between the Father and the Son.

    Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

    My conclusion here is: If we grasp this is the focus of Jesus’ discourse here, we can see that when Jesus says that the Father draws men to Jesus, the Father is drawing those who already know him (God who provided the manna) to Jesus. It is not so much that the Father is drawing people who don’t know God to Jesus; he is drawing those who know him to meet his Son.

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    1. Hi Beth! Your interpretation is possible, but the bigger problem is helping Calvinists to be logical and to show them how they try to twist more out of this John 6 text than is there. They would agree with you also, but they would just call the ones who already “know him” the elect. However, Jesus is ONLY saying that the Father’s initiative of drawing is necessary to coming to Jesus, and that Jesus will raise up those who came after being drawn. Those are the only logical truths necessary to Jesus’ statement.

      Jesus’ statement does not prove three things. 1. It does not prove that there are not other prerequisites to coming to Jesus. The context, however, does mention two others, including looking to the Son and believing in Him. These are man’s responses to the Father’s drawing. 2. It does not prove that others may be drawn who eventually do not come. This is what Calvinist’s try to deny by drawing the implication that all who are drawn, do eventually come. But logic dictates that the drawing clause is seen only as a non-distributed term (i.e. some) relating to who gets raised up. Coming is the distributed term (i.e. all) to be raised up. The Calvinist’s point could still be true that all drawn are raised up, but they can’t prove it from this verse. And then they also have to twist John 12:32 which does say that all are drawn, because they don’t want all to be raised up, but only the “elect” of their misconceived system. It is easier to see from John 12:32, that this one, John 6:44, is not implying only those who end up coming are drawn. 3. It does not prove that Jesus will not raise up other people who did not come. It is still logically possible that others may be saved, for this verse does not prove, “Only those who come will be raised up.” This leaves the door open for the salvation of infants before the age of accountability, in my view, though you cannot prove it from this verse.

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      1. brianwagner writes, “Jesus is ONLY saying that the Father’s initiative of drawing is necessary to coming to Jesus, and that Jesus will raise up those who came after being drawn. ”

        No, Brian. v44 says, ““No-one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” The “him” that God draws and the “him” that Jesus raises up are the same person. The verse makes no distinction between them. You are adding to the verse reading it as, ““No-one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him at the last day [if he decides to come to me after being drawn by God].” For emphasis, Jesus says, “this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” For your “distributive” argument to work, you need to separate “him’ from “him.” You have not done that.

        Then, “1. It does not prove that there are not other prerequisites to coming to Jesus. The context, however, does mention two others, including looking to the Son and believing in Him. These are man’s responses to the Father’s drawing.”

        “…looking to the Son and believing in Him…” may attend God’s drawing, being identified with God’s drawing, but they are not identified as prerequisites to Christ raising them up – only God’s drawing is stated as being required for Christ to rise them up. Jesus is emphatic, “All that the Father gives me will come to me.”

        Then, “2. It does not prove that others may be drawn who eventually do not come. This is what Calvinist’s try to deny by drawing the implication that all who are drawn, do eventually come. But logic dictates that the drawing clause is seen only as a non-distributed term (i.e. some) relating to who gets raised up. Coming is the distributed term (i.e. all) to be raised up. The Calvinist’s point could still be true that all drawn are raised up, but they can’t prove it from this verse. ”

        Here, your argument must prove a distinction in Jesus’ statement between “him” and “him.” So far, you only imagine a distinction to get the conclusion you want.

        Then, “And then they also have to twist John 12:32 which does say that all are drawn, because they don’t want all to be raised up, but only the “elect” of their misconceived system. It is easier to see from John 12:32, that this one, John 6:44, is not implying only those who end up coming are drawn. ‘

        Not exactly. Calvinist make a distinction between God drawing in 6:44 and the cross drawing in 12:32. In 6:44, God draws His elect to Christ; in 12:32, we see that both Jew and gentile will be drawn to Christ as salvation was not for the Jew only.

        Finally, “3. It does not prove that Jesus will not raise up other people who did not come. It is still logically possible that others may be saved, for this verse does not prove, “Only those who come will be raised up.” This leaves the door open for the salvation of infants before the age of accountability, in my view, though you cannot prove it from this verse.”

        In that case, nothing we read in the Bible proves anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Work on your rules of logic some more Roger! The “him” in “draws him” is the him who is drawn and who comes because the “him” who is drawn is subordinate to the “no-one comes”, It cannot just stand by itself in relation to the promise that follows. The same is true that the “him” in the promise to be raised up must include the him who is drawn and who comes And the conditions of the first two premises do not limit who can be raised up, for there is no limiting term in the promise, like “only” or “no one else”.

        There is a similar situation in the verses in this chapter about who is being given or who was given to Christ. The Calvinist once again tries to prove too much from those verses. The present tense “giving”, when used, proves that there is a process still going on and that not all were given to Jesus before creation, if any were! They may have been given to Jesus earlier in His ministry when the looked at Him, heard Him and started trusting Him. And this passage does link man’s responsibility of looking and believing to these events of coming and giving.

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      3. brianwagner writes, ” The same is true that the “him” in the promise to be raised up must include the him who is drawn and who comes”

        You have added the condition, “…and who comes.” This condition is not said of those who are drawn. v35-36 says, “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.” So Jesus allows for people to come and then tells us that none do so. In this context, Jesus makes the statements “All that the Father gives me will come to me…Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me…This is why I told you that no-one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

        The most you can do is challenge the meaning of “enabled,” but as we see elsewhere, you don’t know how to define this term – other than to say that hearing the gospel preached is the extent of the enablement but even you seem to recognize that more is required than that but how much more escapes you.

        Then, “…the conditions of the first two premises do not limit who can be raised up, for there is no limiting term in the promise, like “only” or “no one else”.”

        I think we both recognize that the first “him” is subordinate to the “no one” and Jesus is emphatic – “No one comes.”. The second “him” is subordinate to the first “him” and your argument is that God draws certain people but not all these people actually come to Christ, thus the second “him” is a subset of the first “him.” The text does not make this distinction. There are times in Christ’s teaching where He speaks of people believing but these comments are then subsumed under statements that no one comes (i.e. believes) or at the least, that they must be “enabled” in order to come. The limiting factor is that the only active force in a person coming to Christ is God and something He does. No one is said to come outside God’s action to bring about that result – by giving one to Christ, drawing one to Christ, being taught by God.

        Then, “The present tense “giving”, when used, proves that there is a process still going on and that not all were given to Jesus before creation, if any were!”

        The present tense argument proves nothing. That “giving” is present tense can describe a process – God is giving people to Christ – but it is also a statement of fact – God is giving people to Christ. When people are physically given to Christ is a different issue than God’s knowledge that He would give certain people to Christ. Nothing prevents God making a decision in the past – deciding whom to give to Christ – and then actualizing that decision at a point in time – drawing such people to Christ.

        Then, “They may have been given to Jesus earlier in His ministry when the looked at Him, heard Him and started trusting Him. And this passage does link man’s responsibility of looking and believing to these events of coming and giving.”

        You basically are saying that God enables at a point in time and that enablement manifests in a response sometime in the future. That’s OK but adds nothing to this discussion – which is whether all whom God enables, gives, draws end up coming to Christ or just some. Your argument is that some can reject the salvation even if enabled but how this happens cannot be known because you cannot explain what you think enabling means and then how it could be negated by the person.

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      4. I’ve done the best I can Roger… you are still getting the ordus salutis as taught in this passage confused and trying to link things together as necessary that are not logically necessary as a link. Jesus is giving more information of the description about those who are saved then how to get saved, but He does give some of that information also and exhorts the crowd to do their part to believe! Blessings, my friend.

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      5. Thanks Brian. I agree with 1. Drawing is needed, but may not be sufficient. 2 is dependent on whether drawing is resistible, and I see no reason to suppose that irresistible drawing of inanimate objects implies that conscious objects can’t resist. Uncertain about 3 being implied by the passage.

        To Jesus’ comment: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

        As a stand alone passage it can read like, “you can’t come unless the Father….” However, the larger context of the passage makes me wonder about my interpretation. I have linked to my post on this passage above (mouse over “here” above, or this link: http://bethyada.blogspot.com/2011/09/drawn-by-father.html). Because the repeated connections that Jesus makes between himself and the Father in this chapter, I think this points to the Father drawing his own to the Son. In other words, you can’t come because the Father hasn’t drawn you to me and he hasn’t drawn you to me because you are not his.

        The fact that Jesus is the new manna I think reinforces my reading. The Father gives manna to sustain life, the Father gives Jesus to give true life. The Father gives Jesus to those who are the Father’s.

        I don’t think this concedes Calvinism, it just makes this passage less relevant to the discussion.

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    2. There is no strong doctrine in this Calvinist petals. Total Depravity is a redundant expression, Inability is not equivalent to Depravity, the Bible is clear about salvation being conditional upon faith in Christ, there are way, way, way too many verses that show Christ died for all sinners and even many Calvinists have been forced to abandon limited atonement, there are ZERO verses that show irresistible grace or a regeneration that leads to belief (this may indeed be the weakest link), and perseverance is what the believer OUGHT to do, not what he will do inevitably.

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    3. Yea. For me their mistake in John 6 is simply this: They try to say those who are drawn are whom the Father gives. The text says those who come are those whom the Father gives.

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      1. dizerner writes, “…The text says those who come are those whom the Father gives.”

        “…All that the Father gives me will come to me…” v37

        Which text did you have in mind?

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    4. The L is only slightly weaker than the I. There are no verses in all of Scripture where regeneration precedes faith. That’s a doctrinal fabrication that was required as a result of the presupposition of meticulous divine determinism, as were the other 4 TULIP doctrines.

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      1. Jeff says “There are no verses in all of Scripture where regeneration precedes faith”. This is true. It is also true that there are no verses in all of Scripture where it says that Jesus died ONLY for the elect. It is not there, so the doctrine of limited atonement as presented by Calvinists is also a “doctrinal fabrication”. And this is true with regards to Irresistible grace as well. There are not verses that teach this. In fact there are explicit verses where people resist the grace of God. This leads to the major problem with Calvinism, it is a system that is internally consistent, but its elements are doctrinal fabrications, invented by Calvinists, but not presented in scripture.

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    5. I find T and L are the weakest. T because T’s conclusion clearly goes against scripture (regeneration preceding faith.)

      L: Calvinists have a tad bit more wiggle room to try Scriptural gymnastics verses that of regeneration preceding faith. But a rejection of L will likely lead you to a rejection of T, see below.

      In both cases, they must redefine terms in the Bible to fit their meaning, but act like the natural reading of the text supports their position when context says otherwise.

      I was a 4-pointer for a while (because I saw from context that you can’t redefine world and all for just the “elect.” And exploration into the conclusion T as regeneration preceding faith led me out of it.

      Funny thing is, I was discussing with a Calvinist (as a 4-pointer) about L, and they kept on asking what distinguishes me from those who don’t believe (in terms of provisional atonement) and he couldn’t seem to grasp my reply that it is belief that differentiates. He accused me have holding onto Arminian views.

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      1. Ean writes, “In both cases, [Calvinists] must redefine terms in the Bible to fit their meaning, but act like the natural reading of the text supports their position when context says otherwise. ”

        Can you provide examples of terms where this happens?

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  6. I do not believe the Bible teaches the atonement was limited or provisional . John the Baptist exclaimed, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John wrote that Jesus was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Paul wrote that Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all and in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, There is nothing provisional in these statements. The sins of the world have been forgiven and are not a barrier that prevents man from approaching God in faith. The veil has been torn. This does not lead to universalism as some claim. Jesus explained that in order to see the kingdom one must be born again and this occurs when we believe in the Son.

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    1. erneststrauss writes, “I do not believe the Bible teaches the atonement was limited or provisional .”

      That probably means you have a different definition of “atonement” that others. What is your definition?

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      1. RHutchins Atonement is actually an Old Testament concept in which the High Priest sprinkled the blood of a sacrifice on the mercy seat for the forgiveness of sins for the nation of Israel. It was a shadow of what Christ did when He gave His life for the sins of the world. It did not save anyone as the Calvinist try to teach. Salvation occurs when we believe in the Son Christ’s death propitiated the Father for the sins of the World.

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      2. erneststrauss writes, “Atonement is actually an Old Testament concept in which the High Priest sprinkled the blood of a sacrifice on the mercy seat for the forgiveness of sins for the nation of Israel.”

        When the priest fulfilled his duties by sprinkling the blood, the sins of the people were forgiven. The Calvinist use this to say that Christ’s atonement provides forgiveness for the sins of those people for whom He died. They say that Christ died for the elect so the sins of those elect are forgiven. If Christ died for all people then the sins of all people have been forgiven.

        Of course, forgiveness of sins does not save a person. The person who has his sin forgiven is still a sinner and no sinner can enter heaven. Thus, Romans 4, “Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Christ’s death provided atonement for sins; Christs resurrection provided justification. The Calvinists point out that “our sins” and “our justification” refer to the same people.

        Then, “Salvation occurs when we believe in the Son Christ’s death propitiated the Father for the sins of the World.”

        I don’t think this is true. Believing that Christ died for sin does not save you. “..if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead [for your justification], you will be saved.” (Romans 10)

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    2. erneststrauss writes, “Jesus explained that in order to see the kingdom one must be born again and this occurs when we believe in the Son.”

      Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” The new birth is something that the Holy Spirit gives to a person. Nothing precipitates or causes the Spirit to act give a person a new birth – it is somewhat mysterious like the wind; “you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.”

      It is more likely that the person believes because he has been born again based on John 3. How can a person believe in the kingdom of heaven if he cannot see the kingdom of heaven?

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      1. RHutchins. If you keep reading you will see Nicodemus ask the question How can a man be born again and Jesus answered – Believe – whosoever believes will have eternal life.
        I’m afraid you like many Calvinist have the cart before the horse because you feel the need to defend the error of total depravity.

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      2. erneststrauss writes, “If you keep reading you will see Nicodemus ask the question How can a man be born again and Jesus answered – Believe – whosoever believes will have eternal life.
        I’m afraid you like many Calvinist have the cart before the horse because you feel the need to defend the error of total depravity.”

        Christ attributes the new birth to the Holy Spirit without reference to what the person believes. Your eisegesis seeks a different outcome. It is later in the passage that we read that those believing have eternal life. The conclusion can be drawn that a person cannot see the kingdom of God (and therefore believe) unless, and until, the person is born again. People, like you, conclude otherwise, not on the basis of the Scripture but because of personal preference.

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      3. RHutchins, I did not say believing in Christ saves you. No one believes that. – God saves you by His act of regeneration -Titus 3:5 He does that WHEN we believe – Whosoever believes has eternal life. The Bible tells us that propitiation was for the sins of the whole world – not some subset of mankind

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  7. RHutchins
    Jesus responds to Nicodemus question of how one can be born again just four verses later giving the example of Moses and the Serpenr and saying that 15 so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. John 3:15 (HCSB)

    I do not know how you can read that and claim “Christ attributes the new birth to the Holy Spirit without reference to what the person believes. ”

    To SEE the kingdom of heaven does not mean believe. It means to see with your eyes. To see with ones eyes does not require a new birth but to be born again does require one to believe according to what Jesus told Nicodemus.

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  8. Personally I don’t buy the argument that John 6 was said in reference to the apostles. It is true that Jesus was interacting with his interlocutors but while doing so, it seems to me that he was actually talking in generic terms that will be applied to all generations who follow him. If we take your view, what assurance we have of John 3:16 that Arminians touts more often? Was it specific to those who were around him at the time?

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    1. I’ve heard this argument before and I honestly don’t understand it. How does acknowledging the audience and context of any statement make the meaning of that statement more or less applicable to us today?

      Establishing the context and audience only helps us to understand what that truth actually is. We can only understand the true intent of the author by acknowledging his context and what he is addressing. THEN you can rightly apply that truth to our context.

      Ignoring the context of Israel being temporarily blinded in their unbelief leads some to think that the reason people can’t come to Jesus is because of an innate disability from the fall.

      The reason the audience of John 6 (in general) could not come to Christ in faith was EITHER

      (1) Because they were born in a condition of Totally Inability due to the Fall

      Or

      (2) Because God was hiding the truth in parables (Mk 4:11-34) from the Israelites of his day with the exception of his closest followers who are being trained by Christ directly.

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      1. Pastor Flowers writes, “The reason the audience of John 6 (in general) could not come to Christ in faith was EITHER
        (1) Because they were born in a condition of Totally Inability due to the Fall
        Or
        (2) Because God was hiding the truth in parables (Mk 4:11-34) from the Israelites of his day with the exception of his closest followers who are being trained by Christ directly. ”

        The “why” is not at issue. The condition is stated and that is the case. It is the solution to the problem that is important.

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  9. Rhutchins you wrote /The “why” is not at issue./ Perhaps you should rethink that. Knowing the condition is not enough to solve the problem unless you know why the problem exists. Would you treat someone for a stomach ache with out determining why it aches. The why is of paramount importance.

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    1. The condition does not matter because the solution is specified and no one denies that it is the correct solution. The solution specified works regardless whatever conditions contributed to the problem.

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      1. By “all” people, Jesus included Gentiles and not just the Jews. However, John 6 is emphatic with the use of the negative so John 12 is subordinate to John 6 (unless, of course, you are an Universalist which you may well be given your comments).

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  10. RHutchins you wrote /John 6 is emphatic with the use of the negative so John 12 is subordinate to John 6 / That may be the most absurd statement I have read this year. It demonstrates a major problem with Calvinism where it attempts to pit one scripture against another rather than recognizing the truth of both. Yes Jesus does universally call All Jews and All Gentiles Just as John writes.

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    1. erneststrauss writes, “That may be the most absurd statement I have read this year…. Yes Jesus does universally call All Jews and All Gentiles Just as John writes.’

      Yet, the verses under discussing refer to “drawing” and not to “calling.” Do you mean to equate “draw” with “call” (and if so, why didn’t you establish that point earlier and show how they mean the same so everyone would know it?). However, you have expanded the issue from drawing (or calling) ALL people to include both Jews and Gentiles to drawing (or calling) ALL Jews and ALL Gentiles. Fancy footwork on your part.

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  11. RHutchins.
    Yes I would equate calling with drawing. All Jews and All Gentiles are universally drawn by Christ according to John. Jesus said Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – That would be everyone –
    It is an invitation to come to Christ in faith . All Jews and All Gentiles would be all people.without exception.

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  12. If you define a universalist as one who believes all men are savable and that God desires all men to be saved as the Bible says, then yes I am a universalist. I do not hold to the caste system advocated by Calvinism and Hinduism.

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    1. If you subscribe to the concept that God is omniscient – maybe, you do not – then you also believe that God knew those that would be saved and those that would be lost when He created the world. It was never God’s plan to save all people but only a select few. So you believe that all men are savable but that God knows who will not be saved and that God desires all men to be saved but God knows who will be saved and has no intent to save the others. You seem to be a confused Universalist.

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      1. RHutchin – I believe what the Bible says:
        1. God desires all men to be saved and none to perish.
        2. God loves the world so much that He gave His life for it.
        3. By His death on the cross, Christ propitiated for the sins of the whole world and reconciled the world to God. He gave Himself a ransom for all.
        4. Christ is the Bread of life and anyone may eat of it and not die.
        5. Everyone who believes in Christ will not perish but have eternal life.
        6. Men are not saved because God knows they will be saved. They are saved because they believe and God has made this a condition for salvation – He decreed He would save all believers.
        7. Men do not believe because God knows they will believe. God knows men will believe because they will.
        8. All men are created in the image of God and are savable.
        9. Judas was elect and was called a devil – probably meaning he was lost.
        10. Universalism is false.
        11. The 5 points of Calvinism are false.

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      2. A. God created the world at Genesis 1:1.
        B. God knew the identities of those who would be saved and those who would be lost.
        C. No more people can be saved than God knew and no less will be lost than God knew.

        1. God desires all to be saved and none to perish. (This is an expression of Universalism denying point 10)

        2. God loves the world so much that He gave His life for it.

        3. By His death on the cross, Christ propitiated for the sins of the whole world and reconciled the world to God. He gave Himself a ransom
        for all. (This is also an expression of Universalism again denying point 10)

        4. Christ is the Bread of life and anyone may eat of it and not die.
        5. Everyone who believes in Christ will not perish but have eternal life.
        6. Men are not saved because God knows they will be saved. They are saved because they believe and God has made this a condition for salvation – He decreed He would save all believers.

        7. Men do not believe because God knows they will believe. God knows men will believe because they will. (This is a denial of omniscience)

        8. All men are created in the image of God and are savable.
        9. Judas was elect and was called a devil – probably meaning he was lost.

        10. Universalism is false. (Which erneststrauss denies in points 1 and 3)

        erneststrauss is a confused Universalist.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. RHutchins

    1. God desires all to be saved and none to perish. (This is an expression of Universalism denying point 10). Stated by Paul and Peter respectively who were not Universalists.
    3. 3. By His death on the cross, Christ propitiated for the sins of the whole world and reconciled the world to God. He gave Himself a ransom. for all. (This is also an expression of Universalism again denying point 10) This was stated by Paul – not a universalist
    7. All men can believe.. No matter which man believes, God will know it because He is omniscient. No universalism here.

    There is nothing that I have stated that is not found in the Bible unlike the 5 points of Calvinism which has no scriptural support.

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    1. 1. God desires all to be saved and none to perish. (This is an expression of Universalism denying point 10). Stated by Paul and Peter respectively who were not Universalists.

      Peter said, “God is not willing that any perish.” If you believe that this means that God is not willing that any individual perish, then you are an Universlist. Paul said, “God wants all men to be saved.” If you believe that this means that God wants every individual to be saved, then you are an Universlist.

      3. 3. By His death on the cross, Christ propitiated for the sins of the whole world and reconciled the world to God. He gave Himself a ransom. for all. (This is also an expression of Universalism again denying point 10) This was stated by Paul – not a universalist

      God commanded all people to repent and believe the gospel. To disobey is to sin. If Christ propitiated all the sins of each and every person, then the sin of unbelief is also propitiated. So say the Universalists with whom seem to agree.

      7. All men can believe.. No matter which man believes, God will know it because He is omniscient. No universalism here.

      No person can believe without faith; faith is a gift from God – so say the Calvinists. The Pelagians take your position.

      So, erneststrauss reveals himself to be a confused Pelagian Universalist.

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  14. RHutchins –
    1. Its what the Bible says. Calvinism forces you to believe it universalism proving Calvinism is false.
    3. All sins were propitiated for but propitiation does not provide salvation, only reconciliation. Jesus said you must be born again to be saved. God regenerates us when we believe.
    7. The faith required for regeneration is not a gift. It is man’s response to hearing the Gospel. God grants us an opportunity to respond by revealing Himself in His word.
    I suggest you learn what Pelagianism is before bestowing that title on me, bur Pelagius was more correct than Calvin.

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  15. There are so many particular Definite atonement verses in the Bible that I think are being overlooked. I believe I will got to Dr Flowers article on Calvinist proof Texts and interact respectfully with him on that text. God bless to all.

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    1. Hi, whoever is behind the cryptic title – allofgracesite! When you make your list of verses that you believe prove “particular Definite atonement”, don’t forget Gal 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” That verse most definitely “proves” that Jesus only died for the apostle Paul, leaving all the rest to be damned! 😉

      Oh wait… that goes against the clear verse that says – “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1John 2:2

      We thank the Lord for providing the payment that was more than satisfactory for all the sins committed before He made that payment on the cross, or that might be committed after He made the payment. We thank the Lord that such a payment was immediately applied, after Christ died, to the accounts of those from the OT who had died trusting in God’s mercy, and that HIs payment has since been applied to the account of any who have placed their trust in God’s mercy, or will trust in it. Much more than the debts of mankind’s sins has been the grace available from Christ’s sacrifice! Praise His name!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The intro to Galatians 2:20 is v17, ““If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!” That which follows is a personal example to build on “Absolutely not!” No one actually reads this as Paul limiting salvation to himself.

        I John 2:2 identifies Christ as the only propitiation for sin that is possible. Christ is the propitiation for any, therefore all, sin; “[God] sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” “our” refers to God’s elect and God’s action toward His elect, as Pastor Flowers points out, is all of grace.

        These verses have no bearing on the atonement discussion other than to describe the basis for atonement.

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