Contend Earnestly: Atonement Debate: Opening Post

Monday, November 12, 2007

Atonement Debate: Opening Post


John 3:16-17 states:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

The purpose that Christ came for was to save the elect.

"For God so loved the world" can be fairly paraphrased: "This is how God loved the world"

The way he loved the world is that he sent Jesus to die to save


"whosoever believeth in him," which can be fairly paraphrased: "all those who believe."

Jesus did not come to save any besides those who believe, just those who believe.

Ergo, the scope of Christ's sacrificial work is properly defined by the elect, and general terms like "world" are explained to refer to the broad expanse of people who will believe (the elect is a numerous and global group), and not to create an exhaustive class of "each and every person."

19 comments:

David Ponter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Ponter said...

Hey Turretinfan:

I hope this is not your strongest argument.

One stated assumption: I assume Turretinfan you will abide by the valid inferences of logic, keeping to the basic rules of valid and sound inference?

You say:

"For God so loved the world" can be fairly paraphrased: "This is how God loved the world"

David: Well there is some debate over whether houtos means "so...." or "in this manner..."

Turretin: The way he loved the world is that he sent Jesus to die to save "whosoever believeth in him,"

David: We can agree with that. Jesus didnt come to save the impenitent, ie it save apart from faith. But I am sure thats not what you mean exactly.

Turretin says: which can be fairly paraphrased: "all those who believe." Jesus did not come to save any besides those who believe, just those who believe.

David: Sure, if by that we mean something like, he didnt come to save the "righteous" but the sick, the needy etc.

Turretin: Ergo, the scope of Christ's sacrificial work is properly defined by the elect,

David: But now you changed the terms, believers and elect are not identical, not equipollent are they. Can you justify the move from "believers" to "elect" as a total class?

Where does it say that the sacrificial work is properly defined by the elect? I guess you mean, the sacrifice is limited _only_ to the elect. Where do you get this from the text?

Even if we grant that world=elect here, where does it then prove that the sacrifice was ONLY for the elect?

Turretin: and general terms like "world" are explained to refer to the broad expanse of people who will believe (the elect is a numerous and global group),

David: But this move depends upon your smuggling in the conversion of believers into elect, right?

Turretin: and not to create an exhaustive class of "each and every person."

David: Well just to let you know, we take world in John, in the critical passages to denote the apostate world of man kind. And to be clear, he is not talking about a mere quality of badness, but a world of bad people.

Further, "the one who believes" is a subset of the world, as much as "the one who believes not" is. You would have to say that the one who believes not, is not a subset of world. But thats very counter-intuitive.

So to provide two counter-factuals to your reading.

1) John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. The structure is the same, v15 corresponds with 16b. As the Serpent was for the nation, Christ is for the world,--so that all who believe will not perish. As the Serpent was given to the nation, so that the all of the nation, who believe will not perish but be saved; so Christ was given to the world so that all of the world who believe will not perish but be saved.

Now no one would seriously propose that the serpent was only lifted up for the believers only. The serpent was lifted up for the nation, as a whole. And so the same structure of v15. So that the one who believes may be saved.

What is more, the lifting up corresponds to the giving of the son.

2) John 12:46 "I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. 47 "And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

The man who rejects is not now condemned... why? Because Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. This passage would make no sense if world here means only the elect. Why is this man not condemned? Because Christ did not come to condemn him, but to save him. But rather, this man, the one who rejects Christ, will be judged at the last day. This hypothetical man, therefore, is a reprobate man.

The structure of this verse images that of 3:17. Its just nonsense to say that the man is not meant to be part of the world which Jesus didnt come to condemn but to save. And its also absurd to say that the worlds here, as in 3:17, are equivocal.

David

David Ponter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Ponter said...

For interests sake, I updated the Dabney on John 3:16: file.

David

orthodox said...

Since saving those who believe is well accomplished by dying for all but applying it to those who believe, this is not a good opening argument despite the requirement for a small opening statement.

Even Turretinfan has to admit the atonement is not applied to elect who do not yet believe. Since there is a distinction between application and provision there will be a strong need for Turretinfan to prove his attempt to equate them.

Seth McBee said...

I found this to be pretty interesting from Bunyan on the subject. I was reading his treatise on Reprobation Asserted and found this:

First, In the language of our Lord, ‘Go preach the gospel unto every creature’ (Mark 16:15); and again, ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved; all ye ends of the earth’ (Isa 45:22). ‘And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely’ (Rev 22:17). And the reason is, because Christ died for all, ‘tasted death for every man’ (2 Cor 5:15; Heb 2:9); is ‘the Saviour of the world’ (1 John 4:14), and the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.
Second, I gather it from those several censures that even every one goeth under, that doth not receive Christ, when offered in the general tenders of the gospel; ‘He that believeth not, - shall be damned’ (Mark 16:16); ‘He that believeth not God hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his son’ (1 John 5:10); and, Woe unto thee Capernaum, ‘Woe unto thee Chorazin! woe unto thee Bethsaida!’ (Matt 11:21) with many other sayings, all which words, with many other of the same nature, carry in them a very great argument to this very purpose; for if those that perish in the days of the gospel, shall have, at least, their damnation heightened, because they have neglected and refused to receive the gospel, it must needs be that the gospel was with all faithfulness to be tendered unto them; the which it could not be, unless the death of Christ did extend itself unto them (John 3:16; Heb 2:3); for the offer of the gospel cannot, with God’s allowance, be offered any further than the death of Jesus Christ doth go; because if that be taken away, there is indeed no gospel, nor grace to be extended. Besides, if by every creature, and the like, should be meant only the elect, then are all the persuasions of the gospel to no effect at all; for still the unconverted, who are here condemned for refusing of it, they return it as fast again: I do not know I am elect, and therefore dare not come to Jesus Christ; for if the death of Jesus Christ, and so the general tender of the gospel, concern the elect alone; I, not knowing myself to be one of that number, am at a mighty plunge; nor know I whether is the greater sin, to believe, or to despair: for I say again, if Christ died only for the elect, &c. then, I not knowing myself to be one of that number, dare not believe the gospel, that holds forth his blood to save me; nay, I think with safety may not, until I first do know I am elect of God, and appointed thereunto.

Bunyan, J. (2006). Reprobation Asserted. (2:348). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Any thoughts on what Bunyan offers? Pretty straightforward.

natamllc said...

hmmm, well,

I would say if we were doing what Bunyan was doing to produce such instead of debating what Bunyan produced, we would be doing the same thing before Our God and Father as Bunyan!

But, not to worry, I have some time to keep involved in this debate! :)

I am struck by two verses from two different men from two different times, albeit they overlapped ministries focusing on the one and same God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ:

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

submitted!

Seth McBee said...

natamllc.
What my intent was, was not to say, "see Bunyan believed it, now you should too." My reason for posting reformers and their quotes, which I will also be doing in my posts as well, is to show that this is not a new formula for the atonement but actually quite historic as well.

So, when I post and comment I will both be proving exegetically, historically and also secularly (speaking of judicial formulas for debt payments) that Christ's payment was universal in payment, effective and limited in application.

natamllc said...

Seth

thanks for that, but honestly there is no need, unless you needed to respond.

I was just having fun at your expense and I do love a good debate.

I am wagering right now on Turrentinfan as he has become the most formatable mind for me.

I am not so sully as to be a bully though and want an honest clean debate because I just don't know the answer to these divisive doctrinal issues which was my point in my comment about Bunyan.

In any event, let's debate it!

natamllc said...

TF

here it comes!

So, you wrote this:::>

"Jesus did not come to save any besides those who believe, just those who believe."

I would say it this way:::>

Jesus did not come save anyone!

Jesus came to fulfill the Will of the One Who Sent Him. And even today, if He, that is Jesus, came up to you or me on the street and God, Our Heavenly Father, were to be standing next to me talking and both He, that is God Our Heavenly Father, asked Jesus to do something for Him and I, at about the same time asked Jesus to do something for me, who would you suppose Jesus would do something for?

Christ came as you eloquently paraphrase:

"This is how God loved the world"

Yes, Jesus purely and solely demonstrates even still God's love for the world They created. Even now the power to remove as far as the east is from the west, sin, works moment by moment until the last moment by His selfless act on the cursed tree!

I need the field pared down a bit more.

Can you state unequivocally WHO CHRIST DIED FOR? WHO DID CHRIST NOT DIE FOR?

Sincerely I need a bit more of a foundation to base the debate on.

David Ponter said...

Hey Seth,

Any forward movement on this yet?

Thanks,
David

David Ponter said...

Hey Seth,

I should have been clearer, I mean, should we expect any replies or rebuttals from tfan?

Thanks
David

Turretinfan said...

A quick comment:

I had been viewing this as primarily a debate between myself and Mr. McBee.

I'm not going to promise to respond to every argument that comes into the comments.

That said, let me take a crack at Natamllc's comment:
"So, you wrote this:::>

"Jesus did not come to save any besides those who believe, just those who believe."

I would say it this way:::>

Jesus did not come save anyone!


I answer:

No, Jesus came to save the elect.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

D: Hey Turretinfan:
TF: Hey David!

D: I hope this is not your strongest argument.
TF: I hope that's not your best rebuttal.

D: One stated assumption: I assume Turretinfan you will abide by the valid inferences of logic, keeping to the basic rules of valid and sound inference?
TF: I'm sure it's the relevance and application of the rules to particular situations that we will disagree on. Not all rules are to be applied the way each person would like.

D: You say: "For God so loved the world" can be fairly paraphrased: "This is how God loved the world"
D: Well there is some debate over whether houtos means "so...." or "in this manner..."
TF: "So" also means (among other things) "in this manner." "This is how" or "in this manner" is less ambiguous.

TF (previously): The way he loved the world is that he sent Jesus to die to save "whosoever believeth in him,"
D: We can agree with that. Jesus didnt come to save the impenitent, ie it save apart from faith. But I am sure thats not what you mean exactly.
TF: If you can agree with that, we can go home, for it negates univesality of intent.

TF (previously): which can be fairly paraphrased: "all those who believe." Jesus did not come to save any besides those who believe, just those who believe.
D: Sure, if by that we mean something like, he didnt come to save the "righteous" but the sick, the needy etc.
TF: I don't think the analogy is very close, so I'm not sure what to tell you.

TF (previously): Ergo, the scope of Christ's sacrificial work is properly defined by the elect,
D: But now you changed the terms, believers and elect are not identical, not equipollent are they. Can you justify the move from "believers" to "elect" as a total class?
TF: The justification is, all and only the elect believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, as I'm sure SDM (and even Norman Geisler) would agree.

D: Where does it say that the sacrificial work is properly defined by the elect? I guess you mean, the sacrifice is limited _only_ to the elect. Where do you get this from the text?
TF: Presumably this is linked to the request for justification above, given that you have agreed with what you already agreed to above that.

D: Even if we grant that world=elect here, where does it then prove that the sacrifice was ONLY for the elect?
TF: Presumably this is moot in view of my rebuttal, which I posted before reading your comment. Additionally, see above.

TF (previously): and general terms like "world" are explained to refer to the broad expanse of people who will believe (the elect is a numerous and global group),
D: But this move depends upon your smuggling in the conversion of believers into elect, right?
TF: The "smuggling"/"conversion" issue is addressed above. Regardless, the point of the word "world" is to show that the group of "all believers" is a numerous and global group.

TF (previously): and not to create an exhaustive class of "each and every person."
D: Well just to let you know, we take world in John, in the critical passages to denote the apostate world of man kind. And to be clear, he is not talking about a mere quality of badness, but a world of bad people.
TF: That's not particularly clear to me, but I'm not sure it matters.

D: Further, "the one who believes" is a subset of the world, as much as "the one who believes not" is. You would have to say that the one who believes not, is not a subset of world. But thats very counter-intuitive.
TF: Since, in John 3:16, there is no "the one who believes not" you seem to importing ideas from somewhere else.

D: So to provide two counter-factuals to your reading.
1) John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. The structure is the same, v15 corresponds with 16b. As the Serpent was for the nation, Christ is for the world,--so that all who believe will not perish. As the Serpent was given to the nation, so that the all of the nation, who believe will not perish but be saved; so Christ was given to the world so that all of the world who believe will not perish but be saved.
Now no one would seriously propose that the serpent was only lifted up for the believers only. The serpent was lifted up for the nation, as a whole. And so the same structure of v15. So that the one who believes may be saved.
What is more, the lifting up corresponds to the giving of the son.
2) John 12:46 "I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. 47 "And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.
The man who rejects is not now condemned... why? Because Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. This passage would make no sense if world here means only the elect. Why is this man not condemned? Because Christ did not come to condemn him, but to save him. But rather, this man, the one who rejects Christ, will be judged at the last day. This hypothetical man, therefore, is a reprobate man.
The structure of this verse images that of 3:17. Its just nonsense to say that the man is not meant to be part of the world which Jesus didnt come to condemn but to save. And its also absurd to say that the worlds here, as in 3:17, are equivocal.
TF: Since SDM ended up making similar arguments, and I have now rebutted them (though I had not read your comments at the time), I think that perhaps there is no further argument you have made out that SDM omitted, and consequently, no further rebuttal is needed here.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

O: "... saving those who believe is well accomplished by dying for all but applying it to those who believe ..."
TF: "Well" is not the word. Your wife would not consider your money "well" spent if you paid for the entire grocery store to bring home a dozen eggs.

O: " ... this is not a good opening argument despite the requirement for a small opening statement ..."
TF: Your vote against the opening statement in favor of a position you oppose is duly tallied.

O: "Even Turretinfan has to admit the atonement is not applied to elect who do not yet believe."
TF: The benefit of justification is not applied to them. Other benefits are. The sacrifice of Christ accomplished more than just justification.

O: "Since there is a distinction between application and provision there will be a strong need for Turretinfan to prove his attempt to equate them."
TF: Symbolically, your comment is: "Since A and B are not equal, there will be a strong need for TF to prove his attempt to equate them." The rather blatent question begging should be obvious to anyone.

In any event, I don't equate the making of the sacrifice with the application of its benefits; I also don't equate the swing of Peter's sword with the servant's ear falling off.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

TF,

thanks for being so abrupt. An ass such as me needs a good two by four chastised upon one's brow at times!

I do see my error.

If I might clean it up a bit I will duck never the less so swing fast and loose baby and hit while I am thinking. I tend to move as slow as I think!

My correction and revision to extend my remarks then:

I typed this above earlier:::>
[I would say it this way:::>

Jesus did not come save anyone!]

TF, as we can see, answered thus:::>

[[I answer:

No, Jesus came to save the elect.]]


I mean to correct my remarks to say:

JESUS DID NOT COME TO SAVE ANYONE. HE CAME TO DO THE WILL OF THE ONE WHO SENT HIM. HE SENT HIM TO SAVE THE ELECT BY BECOMING THEIR SIN AND REMOVE IT AS FAR AS THE EAST IS FROM THE WEST HAVING THEREBY RECONCILED ALL THINGS TO HIMSELF, WHETHER ON EARTH OR IN HEAVEN, MAKING PEACE BY THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS.

Scriptural text:

Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Col 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
Col 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

And to make one final remark about HIM, the first-born from the dead, I will by pointing to the first-born of the dead:::>

Job 18:5 "Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out, and the flame of his fire does not shine.
Job 18:6 The light is dark in his tent, and his lamp above him is put out.
Job 18:7 His strong steps are shortened, and his own schemes throw him down.
Job 18:8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walks on its mesh.
Job 18:9 A trap seizes him by the heel; a snare lays hold of him.
Job 18:10 A rope is hidden for him in the ground, a trap for him in the path.
Job 18:11 Terrors frighten him on every side, and chase him at his heels.
Job 18:12 His strength is famished, and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
Job 18:13 It consumes the parts of his skin; the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.
Job 18:14 He is torn from the tent in which he trusted and is brought to the king of terrors.
Job 18:15 In his tent dwells that which is none of his; sulfur is scattered over his habitation.
Job 18:16 His roots dry up beneath, and his branches wither above.
Job 18:17 His memory perishes from the earth, and he has no name in the street.
Job 18:18 He is thrust from light into darkness, and driven out of the world.

Turretinfan said...

Dear Michael,

"JESUS DID NOT COME TO SAVE ANYONE. HE CAME TO DO THE WILL OF THE ONE WHO SENT HIM. HE SENT HIM TO SAVE THE ELECT BY BECOMING THEIR SIN AND REMOVE IT AS FAR AS THE EAST IS FROM THE WEST HAVING THEREBY RECONCILED ALL THINGS TO HIMSELF, WHETHER ON EARTH OR IN HEAVEN, MAKING PEACE BY THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS."

With that clarification, I think I see what you mean, namely that Christ did nothing at his own initiation, somehow separate and apart from the Father. If I understand you correctly, that seems perfectly scriptural.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

TF

I would say Jesus did not wink without first seeing Papa wink!

But I won't and just accept your acknowledgement.

Seth, TF, this is the best!

Might I ask???

Will we ever:

1Ch 16:31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"

Rom 5:17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Rev 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

REIGN?

Will we? What sayst thou?

Turretinfan said...

Dear Michael,

If Scripture says we will reign, we will. There's no way around it. But, obviously, that gets off the topic of the atonement, so I won't delve deeper into that here.

-Turretinfan

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