Contend Earnestly: Q & A from Turretinfan

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Q & A from Turretinfan


Turretinfan has posed some questions to me which I will answer here. We can then comment on them and I am sure that Turretinfan will then follow up with a post.


I will give my answer and then follow up most of my comments with another theologian who also answers in the positive. If any need clarification on any of my responses, just ask away.


1) There have been various comments made that (not necessarily all by you) that seem to hint at the idea that you hold that Christ died on the cross not only to secure the salvation of the elect, but also to obtain something salvation-related (not merely incidental) for the reprobate. Is that true?

Seth: Yes, this is true. Christ then, died for the whole world, especially the elect. Christ, being God, knows who was the elect, who was to be regenerated and called, and who would be given faith and who would receive the imputation of the price that was paid at the cross. #2 will answer this more fully.

2) In what way has Christ taken away the sins of the reprobate? Has he actually taken away the guilt of their sins?

Seth: Jesus has taken away the sins of the world. Jesus has canceled the legal claims of the law to sinners. This is different than being pardoned, these two; cancellation of legal claim and pardon are separate. He has bore their sins on the cross and they have been paid.

He is called the Lamb of God that taketh away (beareth) the sins of the world (John 1:29). Ye were not redeemed, says the apostle Peter, with corruptible things as silver and gold from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Charles Hodge, The Way of Life, (Philadelphia, American Sunday School Union, 1869), 165.

VOL. II., p. 441. The expiation of sin is distinguishable from the pardon of it. The former, conceivably, might take place and the latter not. When Christ died on Calvary, the whole mass, so to speak, human sin was expiated merely by that death ; but the whole mass was not pardoned merely by that death. The claims of law and justice for the sins of the whole world were satisfied by the "offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10); but the sins of every individual man were not forgiven and "blotted out" by this transaction. Still another transaction was I requisite in order to this: namely, the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner working faith in this expiatory offering, and the declarative act of God saying " Thy sin is forgiven thee." The Son of God, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, " sat down on the right hand of God " (Heb. 10:12) ; but if the redeeming work of the Trinity had stopped at this point, not a soul of mankind would have been pardoned and justified, yet the expiatory value of the "one sacrifice "would have been just the same.
Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 3:418.

Besides the arguments already mentioned in favour of the unity of mankind, next to the direct assertion of the Bible, that which after all has the greatest force is the one derived from the present condition of our moral and spiritual nature. Wherever we meet a man, no matter of what name or nation, we not only find that he has the same nature with ourselves; that he has the same organs, the same senses, the same instincts, the same feelings, the same faculties, the same understanding, will, and conscience, and the same capacity for religious culture, but that he has the same guilty and polluted nature, and needs the same redemption. Christ died for all men, and we are commanded to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven. Accordingly nowhere on the face of the earth are men to he found who do not need the gospel or who are not capable of becoming partakers of the blessings which it offers. The spiritual relationship of men, their common apostasy, and their common interest in the redemption of Christ demonstrate their common nature and their common origin beyond the possibility of reasonable or excusable doubt.

Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:90-91

3) In what way has a ransom been paid for the reprobate? Has he actually purchased them as a possession for himself? Do the reprobate belong to Christ as Redeemer?

Seth: Ransom is deliverance language. So when we hear the word, "ransom" there is not someone being "paid off." This is what Origen thought and then also Muslims continue to accuse us of. Origen and the Muslims would say that God paid Satan off, as a ransom payment. In the Old Testament the term ransom, as the Lord uses it, would connotate deliverance. I would not say that the reprobate are a possession of Christ or belong to him. They have merely been ransomed for (delivered), by His death, out of the Law of death.

“Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam."
Micah 6:4

Into Your hand I commit my spirit;You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.
Psalm 31:5

Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from death?
O Death, where are your thorns?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion will be hidden from My sight.
Hosea 13:14

The priestly work of Christ is also represented in Scripture under the figure of a price or ransom. This, also, is an objective term. The price is paid by the subject to the object: “The Son of Man is come to give his life a ransom (lytron)70 for (anti)71 many” (Matt. 20:28); “the church of God which he has purchased (peripoiēsato)72 with his own blood” (Acts 20:28); “the redemption (apolytrōsis)73 that is in Jesus Christ” (Rom. 3:24); “you are bought (ēgorasthēte)74 with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20); “Christ has redeemed (exēgorasen)75 us from the curse” (Gal. 3:13); “redemption through his blood” (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14); “who gave himself a ransom (antilytron)76 for all” (1 Tim. 2:6). The allusion in the figure is sometimes to the payment of a debt and sometimes to the liberation of a captive. In either case, it is not Satan but God who holds the claim. Man has not transgressed against Satan, but against God. The debt that requires canceling is due to a divine attribute, not to the rebel archangel. The ransom that must be paid is for the purpose of delivering the sinner from the demands of justice, not of the devil. Satan cannot acquire or establish legal claims upon any being whatever. Some of the early fathers misinterpreted this doctrine of a “ransom” and introduced a vitiating element into the patristic soteriology, which however was soon eliminated and has never reappeared.
Shedd, W. G. T., & Gomes, A. W. (2003). Dogmatic theology. "First one-volume edition (3 vols. in 1)"--Jacket. (3rd ed.) (701). Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub.


4) Is Christ the federal head of the elect only, or of all mankind exhaustively?

Seth: Yes, as Adam was the head of the whole of humanity, so Christ as the second Adam, better than the first, represents the whole of humanity, especially the elect.

It is true that the angels well knew that Jesus Christ was the Head of all mankind, but how that should come to pass, or what time, or by what means, that was hidden from them.
Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians, Sermon 18, 3:-12, p., 264

5) Did Christ die intending to save the reprobate? intending to make their salvation possible? intending to save only the elect, but yet provide other incidental benefits to the reprobate? (or some other option I have not imagined)

Seth: Christ died to pay for the sins of the world with the intention to save the elect. God's salvific will is purposed for only the elect, but his desire is for all to come to salvation. This is the famous "two-wills of God" theory, which I hold to. So this is where the multiple intentions comes in the discussion. Christ died for the whole of mankind, but his special love for the elect was the "joy set before him" and that is why he "endured the cross." If when you say incidental benefits, you mean ransomed, then I would say yes.

In the third place, an atonement, either personal or vicarious, when made, naturally and necessarily cancels legal claims. This means that there is such a natural and necessary correlation between vicarious atonement and justice, that the former supplies all that is required by the latter. It does not mean that Christ’s vicarious atonement naturally and necessarily saves every man; because the relation of Christ’s atonement to divine justice is one thing, but the relation of a particular person to Christ’s atonement is a very different thing. Christ’s death as related to the claims of the law upon all mankind, cancels those claims wholly. It is an infinite "propitiation for the sins of the whole world," 1 John 2:2. But the relation of an impenitent person to this atonement, is that of unbelief and rejection of it. Consequently, what the atonement has effected objectively in reference to the attribute of divine justice, is not effected subjectively in the conscience of the individual. There is an infinite satisfaction that naturally and necessarily cancels legal claims, but unbelief derives no benefit from the fact... This reasoning applies to vicarious atonement equally with personal. Justice does not require a second sacrifice from Christ, in addition to the first. "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many," Hebrews 10:28 [sic]. This one offering expiated "the sins of the whole world," and justice is completely satisfied in reference to them. The death of the God-man naturally and necessarily cancelled all legal claims. When a particular person trusts in this infinite atonement, and it is imputed to him by God, it then becomes his atonement for judicial purposes as really as if he had made it himself, and then it naturally and necessarily cancels his personal guilt, and he has the testimony that it does in his peace of conscience.
Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:437, 438.




49 comments:

YnottonY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YnottonY said...

T-Fan said:
"5) Did Christ die intending to save the reprobate?"

Tony now:

It depends on what you mean by "intend." Christ, as with each person of the Godhead, desires/wills/wishes the salvation of all mankind, but purposes/decrees the salvation of the elect alone. Since the term "intend" normally connotes "decree" or "purpose" in popular Calvinistic terminology, we are not saying that God decrees/purposes to save all. However, some Calvinists and Puritans have used the term "intend" when referencing the revealed will of God. If that is being referenced, then yes. Christ, in suffering the legal penalty of all mankind, did express an ardent desire to save all mankind.

T-Fan said:
"intending to make their salvation possible?"

Tony now:

Again, caution is needed with regard to the term "intend." If the revealed will of God is being referenced, then Christ did suffer so as to make the salvation of every man possible. No one dies for want of a satisfaction. There is a sufficient remedy made available for all and revealed throught the gospel call. If the salvation of the non-elect is not possible in some sense, then they are not offered anything in the gospel call. There is nothing available for them. They are not saveable and there is no good news for them, which is contrary to scripture.

T-Fan said:
"intending to save only the elect, but yet provide other incidental benefits to the reprobate? (or some other option I have not imagined)"

Tony now:

Christ acted upon and gave expression to the entirety of God's will, both secret and revealed. Therefore, when Christ gave himself up as a sacrificial Lamb to satisfy what the law requires of each sinful human being, he willed the salvation of all (revealed will), but especially the salvation of the elect (secret will). We differ from the strict particularists, since they cannot say that Christ gave his life to save any of the non-elect due to a limited imputation of sin to Him. While some in the limited imputation camp allow for some benefits to flow to the non-elect as a result of Christ's work (the blessings of common grace), they cannot say that he rendered all men saveable by His sacrificial act. Those of us in the unlimited imputation (i.e., the guilt of all mankind was imputed to Christ) camp not only believe in common grace, but we believe such bounties of providence are given to move men to repentance and faith. Wrath is postponed and a sincere offer of life is given to all through the call of the gospel because of Christ's cross-work (either because of a future promise of Christ in the days of the Old Testament or by a fulfilled promise since the days of the New Testament).

YnottonY said...

Actually, the unlimited imputation view is not complicated. It is this:

---> Christ willed to suffer sufficiently for the salvation of every human being by virtue of his natural union with them (common humanity), but, in so doing, especially intends the salvation of the elect alone since he is decretally united with them.

The sufficient aspect grounds the well-meant offer of the gospel, and the efficacious aspect is manifested through the application of his death to the elect by the Holy Spirit in regenerating grace through the preached word and instrumentality of faith.

The position only gets complicated when these concepts get unpacked in order to compare and contrast it with the Owenic/limited imputation model. Things get further complicated when persons in either party are merely listening in order to refute, instead of listening so as to test their own respective positions in light of scripture, history and sanctified reason.

Magnus said...

If Jesus has taken away all the sins of the world and canceled the legal claims of the law to sinners, then why are some damned? I get that you would say because they were not pardoned, but if all legal claims have been satisfied I have a hard time seeing why some are damned. To me it would be like telling a death row inmate that his legal claims have been satisfied, but he is still going to die of lethal injection unless the Governor pardons him. What exactly is the pardon for in this case? The legal claims that bring the penalty have been paid.

Thanks

YnottonY said...

Hi Magnus,

The idea is that the law necessitates the condemnation of every sinner. Unless the demands of God's holy law are satisfied, He cannot approach sinful man with offers of grace and pardon. Christ is sent to take upon himself the guilt of the whole human race in order to remove the legal obsticles that stand in the way of reconciliation. Through the legal satisfaction of Christ (either by promise in the OT or fulfillment in the NT), God can now freely pardon as He sees fit. No man must of necessity be condemned since there is now a way of life opened up for him.

However, the benefit of Christ's legal moral donation will not be granted unless one appropriates it through faith. Christ's mere substitionary sacrifice, by itself, does not bring about pardon or the salvation of any man. All unbelievers stand exposed to the wrath of God and condemned, even the unbelieving elect. Why is this? It's because there are conditions that must be fulfilled in order for man to be reconciled to God. Even though God is now reconciled to man by means of Christ's satisfaction, man must be reconciled to God by means of faith and repentance. Pardon is conditional. Even though Christ has died in the place of a person, they will not go free unless they believe.

There are two types of unbelievers in hell. There are those that heard the gospel but did not believe and those that never heard it. The later group suffer for their sins, but do not have the additional guilt of rejecting the gospel offer. The former group, i.e., those that heard the gospel, suffer for their own sins and have the additional guilt of rejecting the offered remedy in Christ's blood. How can they have additional guilt if there is nothing in Christ's death for them? if there is no remedy for them? if a way of salvation is not really opened for them? How can they suffer more for rejecting what was never for them? They were never more saveable then the damned angels, yet they suffer more than they for rejecting what was never for them?

Anyway, the death of Christ is a personal and penal substitution that will avail no one unless they believe. The damned in hell who heard the gospel suffer for their own guilt because the remedy was not applied through faith.

Even though pecuniary terms are used in scripture to describe Christ's death, they are metaphorical. It's not a literal payment. Moral debt and commercial debt are significantly different, but the later is sometimes used to analogously describe the former.

If Christ's death is a literal payment, then there isn't grace in the application of it. It's a matter of justice and rights. God owes you the application since Christ paid the debt. Why then is the application postponed in the case of the elect? Why are some left in unbelief for long spans of time if they are owed the gift of purchased faith? Why are they justly exposed to the wrath of God and suffer for their own guilt in this life when in unbelief? Moreover, how can God sincerely threaten the unbelieving elect in the warnings of the gospel? Are the threats fake in their case? How can they be real threats if the thing has been paid? It is their right to go free.

All of these questions can be answered by distinguishing between penal debt and commercial debt. These distinctions were even used in the past to answer Socinian heresies regarding the nature of Christ's death.

David Ponter said...

On the question of possiblity:

2. It is here, as well as elsewhere taught, that it was the design of God to render the salvation of all men possible, by the gift of his Son. There was nothing in the nature, or the value, or the design of his work to render it available for any one class of men only. Whosoever believeth, etc. This is not inconsistent with other representations that it entered into God's design to render the salvation of his people certain by the death of his Son. Charles Hodge, "God So Loved the World," in Conference Papers, (New York, Charles, Scribner's Sons, 1879), 17.


David: most of the time I have seen this question set up as a strawman. Its presented like this, either Christ ONLY came to make the salvation of all men merely possible. OR he came ONLY to save some men effectually.

We are never really told why it cannot be both. Hodge says it can be both.

David

David Ponter said...

Hey Magnus,

I posted on some of this only recently.

BB Warfield on the removal of legal obsctacles

David

David Ponter said...

Btw, it strikes me as ethically strange that one can post anonymously. It just perplexes me that someone like Turretinfan can post so long, debate so much, and not tell us even her first name? The same with some of the others I have seen.

It makes me curious.

David

Anonymous said...

I did not know that Turretinfan was a female.

David Ponter said...

ah the irony, anom asks a question.

Who knows, its all so post-modern anyway. I decided to just be post-modern too and instead of engaging in a paternalist stereotype use a feminine pronoun.


:-)
David

natamllc said...

Anon

I did not know She was a female either, but that does not advance a thing.

TF is TF and She has Christ. He is not a SHE, He is ETERNAL.

I am a male, but I am a wife to the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the Wordl.

To Magnus:

your interesting words here:::>

"To me it would be like telling a death row inmate that his legal claims have been satisfied, but he is still going to die of lethal injection unless the Governor pardons him. What exactly is the pardon for in this case? The legal claims that bring the penalty have been paid."

Yes!

I want to mix it up a bit and pose it this way and see what comes of it?

What if the sentence has been issued, and now the man is "transfered" to the Death Row Cell Block, to be readied for execution of the sentence and in the process is murdered by a guard because he is the one who murdered the guard's niece and then the guard is found guilty and is also in the same transfer now as the man he murdered but he is safely brought to the Death Row Cell Block and is readied for the execution of the sentence put upon him by the LEGAL CLAIM?

And we all know that the first guy deserves to be executed but is murdered instead of serving out the execution of his sentence and all are now against the second man, now a murderer and now must face the first man's fate and then the time of serving the execution of the sentence has come and he goes to the gallows unrepentant and is put to death. And then a news conference is held where the "Pastor" of the first guy says,

Oh, though he murdered the second guy's niece and was murdered but not executed, he is still, nevertheless going to meet us that are going to Heaven at Heaven's Door and I know for a fact the second murderer is going to meet all those that do not go to Heaven at Hell's door?

Jesus died for murderers too!

Jesus carries out JUST SENTENCES rendered upon the guilty too!

Why does the one murderer go to Heaven and the other murderer go to Hell?

My answer:

I don't know, but I am going to ask my Pastor the next time I see him! :)

YnottonY said...

Hi David,

Actually, the fallacy is both a straw man and a false either/or dilemma, at least if it is applied to our position.

They say,

A: "Did Christ comes to merely render the salvation of all men possible, (straw man)

B: or (false either/or dilemma begins) did he come only to save some men effectually?"

(A) is a straw man against our position because he did not "merely" come to make possible the salvation of all men. They also want to associate us with the free will advocates who say that men are the ultimate deciding and efficacious factor for their salvation.

(B) starts the false dilemma, as if one cannot maintain that Christ also makes the salvation of all men possible (hence free and sincere offers) as well as purposing the salvation of the elect alone through that death.

Observe what Charles Hodge says in his Systematic Theology as well:

"The advocates of such schemes [Anti-Augustinian schemes] say, that the design of the work of Christ was to render the salvation of all men possible. All they can mean by this is, that if any man (elect or non-elect) believes, he shall, on the ground of what Christ has done, be certainly saved. But Augustinians say the same thing. Their doctrine provides for this universal offer of salvation, as well as any other scheme. It teaches that God in effecting the salvation of his own people, did whatever was necessary for the salvation of all men, and therefore to all the offer may be, and in fact is made in the gospel."

Notice also how Charles Hodge associates the universal offer with the possibility of the salvation of all men by virtue of Christ's unlimited expiatory satisfaction. If one takes away the unlimited nature of his legal donation in the case of all men, then those left out cannot be saved and cannot, with any consistency, be given a free offer. Hypers discern the association of the ideas and reject free offers, as John Gill so plainly did in his The Cause of God & Truth. Others who are less than consistent try to maintain a limited imputation of sin to Christ and free offers.

Seth McBee said...

Magnus.

The problem with being on the West Coast is that by the time I get to work and get settled in, sometimes the questions have already been answered, which I am greatful for. So, I believe that Tony answered your question, but if not let us know. Or even if you have any concerns about the answer, let us know as well.

Seth McBee said...

Nat.

You are bringing up some ridiculous analogies.

Magnus said...

Please forgive me, I am not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but I still do not understand how one suffers the penalty when the legal claim has been satisfied. I take it that my death row analogy was a poor one, perhaps it would help if I was pointed out how my analogy is wrong/right/not applicable in this discussion. Thanks.

Magnus said...

Natamllc,

In the immortal words of Winnie the Pooh I will have to think, think, think on what you said and on how you changed my analogy.

I will let you know if I can come to some understanding of it:)

David Ponter said...

magnus,

faith is the sine qua non for the application of the benefit of the satisfaction.

Its all there in my Warfield post btw.

At least I believe it is.

:-)
David

Seth McBee said...

Magnus.

Being that Chirst paid a penal payment for all there is still something owed or maybe better put required by the one whose penalty was paid.

It might be better thought of as this:

You steal a candy bar from a shop owner and he catches you. I pay for the candy bar for you. Can the shop owner still require something from you? yes, of course. He could say, I accept the payment but I want the boy to also sweep my shop for ten days or I will call the police and he will go to jail.

At this point, you, as the thief can either sweep or go to jail, up to you.

Now to us, we don't understand why you wouldn't accept this offer, but this is a completely different topic at this point. It's like asking why a sinner doesn't receive the gospel.

What we are saying is that Jesus paid your moral penalty, but God still requires something of you, and that is faith. Now, as a Calvinist, I believe that God gives this salvific faith to whom He desires, but that is a different topic.

This is how penal penalty works.

If it were merely commercial in nature then it would be more like you going to a restaurant and you owe ten dollars for your meal. I pay for it, so the owner of the restaurant has no legal claim upon you to pay up.

Is this making more sense?

YnottonY said...

Magnus said:
"To me it would be like telling a death row inmate that his legal claims have been satisfied, but he is still going to die of lethal injection unless the Governor pardons him. What exactly is the pardon for in this case? The legal claims that bring the penalty have been paid."

Tony now:

What may be confusing is the term "legal claims." Consider your analogy for a moment, even though it will come short of the biblical sitatution.

Magnus is a death row inmate. The law necessitates his final condemnation. Judge Pater happens to love Magnus and so he wishes to pardon and restore him, but only in a just way. Judge Pater and his Son, Emmanuel, graciously agree to allow Emmanuel to suffer what Magnus deserves, but also agree that Magnus should not be freed unless he humbly confesses his guilt and asks for forgiveness. Emmanuel lays down his life for the sake of Magnus as gracious a penal satisfaction, but Magnus is not automatically liberated. Magnus cannot claim his liberty as his right. He is not owed pardon just because Emmanuel suffered for him. Magnus must meet the conditions that Judge Pater and Emmanuel stipulated. If he does not, then Emmanuel's penal substitution will not avail him. Magnus will have to suffer the penalty himself. There would be no injustice if Magnus himself has to suffer since he refuses to meet the conditions. In fact, his own ingratitude against Judge Pater would be underlined, even as the graciousness of Judge Pater was also underlined. If Magnus is finally condemned, the glory of Judge Pater's gracious and merciful nature was still on display. Magnus received a sincere offer of pardon but failed to meet the conditions. He had the real possibility of being liberated (offered pardon) since the absolute necessity of his condemnation ("legal obstacles") was removed. However, the righteous requirements of the law ("legal claims or requirements") must still be satisfied by Magnus if he fails to avail himself of the gracious substitution through confession, etc.

Does that help yet?

Magnus said...

Seth,

Thanks that helps clear some of the cobwebs.

David,

I will read your post and hopefully understand what Warfield says.

It seems hard for me to grasp some of these things seeing as my background is not Calvinistic. It makes no sense for Christ to pay the penalty for all and then still say that they must believe which apparently they can not do unless granted by God. It seems as God is saying I paid for all of you, but I only picked to apply it to the ones I chose.

BTW, I know that the paragraph above is way off topic so no need to feel obligated to respond to it.

Thanks

Magnus said...

Tony,

You wrote

He had the real possibility of being liberated (offered pardon) since the absolute necessity of his condemnation ("legal obstacles") was removed. However, the righteous requirements of the law ("legal claims or requirements") must still be satisfied by Magnus if he fails to avail himself of the gracious substitution through confession, etc.


Me now,

This is my hardest part with Calvinism. How can one have a real possibility of being pardoned if they are unable to satisfy the requirement that goes with it? Oh well, like I said this is way off topic and I am learning a great deal from this debate so thank God for that. Perhaps one day you guys will debate these other issues and I will learn from that as well.

natamllc said...

Tony

knowing you might have a problem with my analogy, I will point to a problem I have with yours at this sentence:

T:"Magnus must meet the conditions that Judge Pater and Emmanuel stipulated."

Nat:

Magnus is dead, so how can he meet the conditions you just imposed on him?

Judge Pater and Emmanuel can stipulate all day long and it's not going to move dead magnus one bit towards those conditions you imposed in your analogy.

michael

YnottonY said...

Magnus said:
"This is my hardest part with Calvinism. How can one have a real possibility of being pardoned if they are unable to satisfy the requirement that goes with it?"

Tony now:

There is some confusion that comes in when it is said they are "unable" to meet the requirement or condition. Jonathan Edwards and others distinguished between senses of ability. All men are able to believe in the sense that they possess all the necessary faculties to do so. They are not lacking the equipment, so to speak. What they lack is a moral willingness to do so since they are slaves of sin. So, they possess natural ability to meet the condition, but not moral ability to meet it. If their inability is moral and not natural or constitutional, then God cannot be blamed. It is their own fixed stubborness that hinders them, and not their natural design. If God determines not to grant some the moral ability to believe, that is his prerogative. The non-elect love their sin and that affection governs their will. They do not lack will power (natural ability). The problem is with their WON'T power (moral inability).

Observe what W. G. T. Shedd says:

"The fact that God does not in the case of the nonelect bestow special grace to overcome the resisting self-will that renders the gifts of providence and common grace ineffectual does not prove that he is insincere in his desire that man would believe under the influence of common grace any more than the fact that a benevolent man declines to double the amount of his gift, after the gift already offered has been spurned, proves that he did not sincerely desire that the person would take the sum first offered."

W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2003), p. 349.

Magnus said...

Tony,

Let me ask you if this would be a fair characterization of Calvinism.

God want all men to believe and come to faith and repentance, but man is unable to do that because of his complete inability due to his sinful nature. God or his prophets can talk all day and all night, but man will never seek Him nor come to Him. Knowing this God has taken it upon Himself to pick a people to Himself that He will bring to salvation by giving them a new nature in order for them to respond to Him.

Fair representation?

YnottonY said...

The "deadness" of the unbelievers in this world does not obliterate the image of God in them. They still have minds and wills, and therefore have abilities (all the necessary faculties) to respond. Their inability is moral, not natural, physical or constitutional. When God regenerates a man, he does not add faculties to that person. He grants them liberating grace so that they are morally able to use their God-given faculties rightly, i.e., to believe in His Son.

Magnus, while in prison, is still in the image of God, and therefore has natural ability to respond to the gracious offer of Judge Pater.

Seth McBee said...

Magnus...

these are very good questions so please keep asking away, don't feel shy.

If, though, we get too far into this we can always start posting on these things after the debate if you would like and discuss it in that way. Might help you a little more.

But, still ask away.

Magnus said...

Seth,

Thank you for your kindness and I will try to stay on topic if I post on this debate in the future. I look forward to learning from all of you about atonement and its extent. I will also welcome any future learning opportunities about some of the things I have mentioned above.

Turretinfan said...

Michael and Anonymous,

No, I'm not a woman or a gal. I'm not female. Not that there's anything wrong with being female. Almost half of the Christians I know are female!

And the church itself is the bride (female) of Christ (male). So I guess, in that sense ... but I digress.

Can you smell a heckler in the crowd?

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

Dang TF,

now I am kinda wishin' you were because it would take on a whole new meaning in courtesy to this debate.

But my point was not that you are or not, my point is I hear Christ My King clearly when I read you and I hear clearly Christ My King when I read Seth and most all of those engaged from the sincerity of "heart" in this debate. 1Tim. 1:5

1Ti 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.


I am more of a novice with all this stuff and as one has said and I say repeatedly, this debate has done more good to me by all of you so engaged in it in giving me a sense of clarity on the issue of "unlimited"/"limited" atonement and "world" and "who" should hear the Gospel; which by the way I believe we are not to judge who should hear it only that we are mandated by God, through Christ and the Holy Ghost to "PROCLAIM" the Gospel like a sower sows His seed. What God does after the seed is sown is still His Work in giving it Life.


1Co 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
1Co 3:7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1Co 3:8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.
1Co 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.


Refer also to Acts 13, 14 and 15. It's there.

I will post the verses that most establishes in my mind, [whichever way the coin lands at the end of this debate, heads or tails], why we should do more proclaiming the Gospel than debating who to proclaim it too:::>

Col. 1:3-8 and "my emphasis" is on verse 6 and the "power" of what the Gospel can do in one God chooses to open their ears and eyes to both hear and see the FRUIT!

Col 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
Col 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,
Col 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
Col 1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing--as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
Col 1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf
Col 1:8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

natamllc said...

Seth

a question of clarification here?

I believe it is the Shedd quote, vol. 2, p. 441, two things:

the quote first:::>

[Still another transaction was I requisite in order to this: namely, the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner working faith in this expiatory offering, and the declarative act of God saying " Thy sin is forgiven thee." ]

Is there a typo in that sentence? It doesn't read right to me. If there is no typo, please edit the sentence for me for clarification, thanks!

Second, whether or not, here's my point by way of asking the rhetorical question following.

Hebrews 9:13-14:

Heb 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,
Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.


Which of you have been "sprinkled" with His objective literal "Blood"?

Turretinfan said...

Seth,

Followup:

1) Is Christ's taking away "the legal claims of the law" of any ultimate benefit to the reprobate? If so, what?

2) Ransom is deliverance language, true, but it specifically is deliverance by payment (in English, anyhow - cf. Proverbs 6:35 or 13:8 or Psalm 49:7 or Job 36:18). Is your claim that this is a mistranslation (or just weak translation) or that it has become a weak translation (because English used to mean something else) or what?

Is "delivered ... out of the Law of death" exactly equal to having the "legal claims of the law" removed, or are you trying to say something different here?

3) Was Christ the federal head of mankind (exhaustively) only with respect to the "legal claims of the law"? (or with respect to other aspects of salvation, assuming there are other aspects)

4) Does the Father also desire those to come whom the Son desires to come? If so, why does not the Father draw all men universally to himself? If not, why does the Son differ in his desire from the Father?

-Turretinfan

Seth McBee said...

Nat:

You said:

which by the way I believe we are not to judge who should hear it only that we are mandated by God, through Christ and the Holy Ghost to "PROCLAIM" the Gospel like a sower sows His seed. What God does after the seed is sown is still His Work in giving it Life.


Just curious. When you share the gospel with someone, do you tell them that, "Jesus died for you"

Turretinfan said...

Michael, in your sentence to be edited, the pronoun "I" in the first part of the sentence should be removed.

Thus: [Still another transaction was [[I<]] requisite in order to this: namely, the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner working faith in this expiatory offering, and the declarative act of God saying " Thy sin is forgiven thee." ]

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

Tony

extracting from your responses you wrote:

"Christ acted upon and gave expression to the entirety of God's will, both secret and revealed."

My question, direct and forthright,

are you thinking of this verse when you make that claim, "Christ acted"....:>

Deu 29:27 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book,
Deu 29:28 and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.'
Deu 29:29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

respectfully,
Michael

natamllc said...

Seth

thanks for you kind and quick reply.

Clarification?

Are you asking me what I do?

Michael

TF,

thanks, I will hire you to edit my autobiography, if only you will share with me the costs to me? ":)"

natamllc said...

TF

after going back and seeing the depth of understanding you have brought into this debate, on second thought, I take back my request to know how much you charge to edit autographs, so, sorry, I realize now after second thought, I could not afford such brilliance.

But, if you are willing to pro bono, I might send a contract for yours? ah, autograph?? :)

natamllc said...

Tony

you provide a wealth of knowledge to query, so please allow me too then?

Your wrote:

Tony: "While some in the limited imputation camp allow for some benefits to flow to the non-elect as a result of Christ's work (the blessings of common grace), they cannot say that he rendered all men saveable by His sacrificial act."

Would you give commentary to this verse in light of those words: "allow for some beneifts to flow to the non-elect"?

Job 3:16 Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light?
Job 3:17 There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest.


respectfully,
michael

natamllc said...

Tony,

again:

"The idea is that the law necessitates the condemnation of every sinner. Unless the demands of God's holy law are satisfied, He cannot approach sinful man with offers of grace and pardon."

My quote from another time months back unrelated to this debate and at another's blog:

Grace, as defined is What God Gives us that we don’t deserve.
Mercy, as defined is What God does not give us that we do deserve.
Peace is the outcome of both Grace and Mercy from God in our daily lives.

What about Jesus, what did He get and did not get??

Jesus did not deserve what He got from God and was given, so hence, He was shown no Grace.
Jesus did not deserve what He got from God and was not given, so hence, He was shown no Mercy.
Therefore Jesus was deprived of Peace from God.


My question:

Tony, who's system executed the sentence of death upon Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, three persons, One God, or the god of this world system?


In short, who's system, God's or the god of this world system, carried out the execution of the sentence of death Jesus was killed by?

respectfully,
michael

natamllc said...

Tony,

with respect, I am not trying to take issue with you but saying that, I will post the whole paragraph and say with respect and sincerity, I see no foundation for any of it in Scripture:

Tony:

{{""However, the benefit of Christ's legal moral donation will not be granted unless one appropriates it through faith. Christ's mere substitionary sacrifice, by itself, does not bring about pardon or the salvation of any man. All unbelievers stand exposed to the wrath of God and condemned, even the unbelieving elect. Why is this? It's because there are conditions that must be fulfilled in order for man to be reconciled to God. Even though God is now reconciled to man by means of Christ's satisfaction, man must be reconciled to God by means of faith and repentance. Pardon is conditional. Even though Christ has died in the place of a person, they will not go free unless they believe.""}}

To use your words, let me "unpack" a couple parts then:

The first sentence in the paragraph:

"However, the benefit of Christ's legal moral donation will not be granted unless one appropriates it through faith."

How can anyone "appropriate anything through faith" if God has not given them the Gift of Faith through the Gift of Grace?

Wouldn't that be impossible?

You write: "Even though God is now reconciled to man by means of Christ's satisfaction, man must be reconciled to God by means of faith and repentance."

In light of this verse, doesn't that sentence nullify the verse?

the verse:

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.


Respectfully,
michael

Turretinfan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Turretinfan said...

Ah, wait, now I see. But does the fixed quotation make sense?

The writer is saying that Christ's redemption transaction is not enough - we also need the justification transaction.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

Tony,

now I know I am not getting your understanding.

You wrote Magnus again:

"Anyway, the death of Christ is a personal and penal substitution that will avail no one unless they believe."

How can someone "believe" in the "death" of Christ and the cause of that death if they do not have the Faith once delivered to the Saints?

Without Faith, it is impossible to please God. So I guess I just don't understand you.

I want to. Would you help me get to where you are in your understanding of "believing" without the Gift of Faith? It just seems you words are missing that important "salvation" element.

Only those who believe Christ died for their sins are saved according to you, correct? Isn't that what you are saying here?

And, if that is what you are conveying to us by addressing Magnus' post, how can anyone be saved without "first" being given the Gift of Faith which we all know and believe, God reserves for Himself alone?

Cf Matthew 11:27

Respectfully,
Michael

natamllc said...

geeesh, Tony, it seems you argue now for "limited atonement"?

Tony: "If Christ's death is a literal payment, then there isn't grace in the application of it. It's a matter of justice and rights. God owes you the application since Christ paid the debt. Why then is the application postponed in the case of the elect? Why are some left in unbelief for long spans of time if they are owed the gift of purchased faith?"

Seth McBee said...

Nat.
I am seriously going to scream.

I am going to be as patient as I can with this comment, so bear with me. I wouldn't be as perplexed by your statement if you had not read the entirety of this debate, but you have.

You say to Tony:

geeesh, Tony, it seems you argue now for "limited atonement"?


YES

We believe in limited atonement, but we don't believe in that alone, we also would add unlimited, so that we would say we believe that Jesus died for all men, especially purposed for the elect.

I don't know how to be more specific.

natamllc said...

Seth

honestly, I am having a difficult with this:

unlimited/limited.

How clear is that?

It is confusing?

With as humble and sincere gentleness, you are going to have to unconfuse that phrase for me.

I want to open up other areas of Scripture, that to me would try to do that, but I have refrained. I have been choosing to remain reading each of those who are here with you and you in putting your understanding forth. I know when I have commented I have wondered off topic some. I apologize.

I am grateful you let an unlearned dimwit such as I am to comment here in the debate. I know I can be hard to read. I have tried to be more singular and not as amalgamated in my wording so as to keep my points succinct.

Have I improved any?

By the way, for me, the best help you have given me in understanding you was here with this q and a, your minute commentary and then quoting a scholarly or close to it scholarly work of historical precedence which says what your point is.

For me though, I would encourage you to make a commentary of the Very Scripture/s which, in your mind, you believe the "Holy Ghost" has illuminated and enlightened you on that supports your eisegesis comments and put that next to your comparative exegesis.

I know the voice of the Holy Ghost. I spend plenty of time daily just pondering and meditating on His Word in the "Spirit". Don't you believe if you are accurately expressing His "Heart" on the matter, He would bring a "witness" to it Himself when one such as this commenter prays to Him for clarity and confirmation of what you are putting forth as direct revelation from Him? He too is God and learns nothing.

Even still you have to admit there is no easy common unity here among our contemporary brothers or those who now know for certain whether their views and commentary were correct back a hundred, two hundred, a thousand or so years passed?

So, please, I am grateful for all the patience you have applied to my wretched but now elected soul in this debate and thank you sincerely for doing it and providing some time with merit and substance for me during the hours of the day and night these many days passed.

thank you!

I appeal to you brother, work with me and help bring clarity where the confusion is and I state it as confusing to me as you do when I post something you deem confusing to you or silly or off point.

What confuses me is this:::>

It's here: your phrase, "unlimited/limited" atonement.



I don't get it, yet.

By the way, I have been chomping at the bit to ask, as I have heard and never looked beyond what I heard, was there seriously a time in history where there was a debate on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin within the reformed or other, if you know?

with respect and sincerity
michael

oh yeah, was TF's response accurate to you regarding what was now to be a typo of Shedd at P.441?

natamllc said...

grrrr, geesh, hasty, I apologize.

difficulty with this:::>

michael, :(

Seth McBee said...

Nat.
Sorry that I was so frustrated.

My frustration is not in the fact that you don't understand the unlimited/limited position per se. My frustration came from the fact of you seemingly ignoring us as we continue to affirm a limited piece of the atonement.

You see the difference? As far as why I am frustrated?

And yes...I was asking, do you say to people, "Jesus died for your sins."

natamllc said...

When a question is raised by the one I am "working" like the analogy of a fisherman, fishers of men fishing for the souls of the Elect, and I am so "anointed" to say it, of course, I want to give evangelical evidence to Christ's death, burial and resurrection,:

Act 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

Those given ears to hear hear, now don't they? You have, haven't you? I heard. In fact I will quote the verse "I read" that touched my heart and opened it to Kingdom realities:

Mat 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."


I have been outspoken, most foolishly and have caused sheer terror sadly at times in my zeal and boldness and courage to engage an unwilling public in fundamental Biblical Christianity and most likely the only good to come from it is hiding behind infamous Scriptures like we do in Romans 8, after all the damage, God knows how to cause it to turn out for Good, right? :(,,,:)!

When I think about your question and what the purpose of it is, I too wonder, is this a set up question to engage me in frivolous and foolish discussion about evangelism or do you want to engage me in a heart felt discovery as the Holy Ghost might want in finding our place in demonstration in our sphere of influence as the Evangelical Elect Angel does as is indicated here:

Rev 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.
Rev 14:7 And he said with a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."

I use to try and "win" souls I perceived to be "sitting" in darkness and argue them into the Light!

I have since realized that I and you are not asked to do that or try to convince anyone they are sinful! Paul wrote this:

1Co 10:26 For "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof."
1Co 10:27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.
1Co 10:28 But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience--
1Co 10:29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience?
1Co 10:30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
1Co 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1Co 10:32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,
1Co 10:33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.



Now I proclaim the Truth letting the Faith given to me to be understood because I am convinced now after thirty plus years of "walking by Faith" that I too have the "Gift of Faith" so that I am confident that this is the outcome of my evangelism, some good results and not so good:

Mar 16:15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Mar 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
Mar 16:18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Mar 16:19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
Mar 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]



As for your frustration with me, I can only say that when I find that I am being frustrated by someone I have really in a sense lost my way with Christ and kicked Him off His Throne as My Federal Head and have taken an unauthorized sitting where I do not belong! We are the Lord's Servant and should not strive as Paul teaches us, yes?:::>

2Ti 2:20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.
2Ti 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
2Ti 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
2Ti 2:23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.
2Ti 2:24 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
2Ti 2:25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
2Ti 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Here's a little scenario that hopefully conveys my point? When My Heavenly Father sees me sitting on Jesus' Throne, and He sets His Loving Eyes on me and I notice He notices me sitting there, I am embarassed because now I have to go to another seat in the presents of all His guests, kinda like the humiliating feeling Jesus describes here:::>

Luk 14:7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,
Luk 14:8 "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him,
Luk 14:9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this person,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.

I honestly believe human events recorded are events I and you can experience too, events as described here at Acts 13 and Acts 14:

Act 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
Act 13:3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.


Act 14:3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Act 14:4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles.

One of my "spiritual" mentors pointed to this one verse on a number of occasions to assist me in denying myself and walking in His "Spirit":

Php 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.


This verse here, Philippians 4:9 has emboldened me to receive from you and your guys in this debate because what was true for Paul the Apostle is also a standard that can be true for you too.

So I am happy to learn and receive and in this case, "read" what is posted here, test it and see if the God of Peace is in it or the words are simply as the Prophet said, clouds without any water in them!

Michael

Turretinfan said...

Seth, since I still don't see answers to the followup questions above, I'm asking an open question on my own blog.

Here

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