Friday, September 26

Two question one is a Threefold Question concerning Limited Atonement answered by John MacArthur

The Movie FIREPROOF with Kirk Cameron Came out today, go support it, it is very important that we support this movie its opening weekend. Lets make noise in the Box Office! Here's a link for it FIREPROOF!

Check the Trailer:

These questions were answered by MacArthur at his Church.

First Question:

Do you hold to "Limited Atonement"--that Jesus Christ did not suffer, substitutionarily, on the cross, for the sins of the whole world?


Yes. But don't go out and say "John MacArthur advocates 'Limited Atonement,' because I don't. And I will tell you why--because I don't like that term, because it is not Biblical. It is obvious when something is not explicitly stated in Scripture, and when you are dealing with the inscrutable nature of God and the mysteries of redemption, and the mysteries of the unfolding divine purpose, and the mind of God--there will always be grappling with these issues. Whatever it is that you believe about the inherent nature of the atonement, whatever it is that you believe about the limits of the atonement, whether they're there or not there--whatever it is that you believe about the actual efficaciousness of the death of Christ and to whom it is applied, whatever nuances of that discussion you particularly believe--in the end, the atonement will only have value to those who believe--whatever it is that you believe.

My point is, arguing about that really is pointless in a sense. I understand the debate and I certainly engage in it heartily, but in the end we make our best shot. It is like trying to define the Trinity, it is like trying to unscrew the unscrutable, it's like trying to figure out things that are beyond our capacity--whether you're talking about the security of the believer measured against the perseverance of the saints, or you're talking about volition and divine election, whether you are talking about any of those kinds of issues, you are always are going to be in the dilemma, and that is why theological debates like this have gone on always. In the end, however, we don't need to separate, we don't need to become divisive, we don't need to sort of break fellowship over what exactly is the inherent, innate character of the atonement, because in the end, the death of Jesus Christ is only efficacious for those who believe. And in the end, whatever was going on, on the cross, it has no application to those who don't believe--right? So, whatever you want to say about it's inherent limits or non-limits--in the end you come to the same place.

It is like the argument about Predestination--people always say, "Well, I just can't handle that God predestined. I just can't handle that He elected; I just think He knew what was going to happen." O.K., let's take that view: "God just knew what was going to happen." When did He know it? Well, He always knew it. Well, then if He always knew it, why did He create the people to whom it would happen, if He didn't want it to happen? Even if He knew it was going to happen and nothing more, and went ahead and created the people He knew it was going to happen too--He acted sovereignly in doing that--did He not? You can't escape these issues. I'm certainly not going to say all truth resides with me. I believe in a gospel offer that is universal. I understand the exegesis of 1 John 2:2, that "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world." I understand that. I understand John 3:16, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever . . . ." I understand all of that. I understand the call to go to preach the gospel to every creature on the face of the earth, which means you have to have an honorable, legitimate call to salvation or you're illegitimate in that. I wrote a lot of this in the book on the Love of God, trying to cover a lot of these things.

In the end, these things are very difficult for us to grasp, because they are things that are in the divine mind and we are not capable. Suffice it to say, I've always been content to fellowship with those who would take an unlimited view, and those who would take a limited view, because in the end, as long as you believe that people who are putting their faith in Christ go to heaven and those who don't go to hell, then you are orthodox--and that's the issue. But it is the nature of seminary; it's the nature of grappling day in and day out, hour in and hour out, as I do constantly in my life, with these kinds of issues, and reading widely on these things, to sort of pick and chose where you feel the weight of evidence, and it is usually related to how much you respect the "scholar of choice" or the "author of choice" and that's fine. That's all about establishing trust and confidence in those that God has given to us as teachers. The very fact that we are still discussing this issue is pretty good indication that it is not crystal clear, so that we could all rally around it, such as we are able to rally around some things in Scripture, for which there is really little discussion, because they are so explicit.

But anytime you are crawling into the mind of infinite God and trying to sort out those matters, you have to stand with a bit of humility and a sort of a soft dogmatism, and I'm happy to softly dogmatic on this point, understanding as best I can what the Word of God has to say. I have such a strong view of the atonement that I would have to believe that if Jesus, on the cross, actually paid the penalty for the sins of somebody, then they wouldn't go to hell, because that would be double-jeopardy. So there is that issue, theologically, to deal with, and I know how those passages are dealt with as well. But I think in the end, we want to maintain some humility. It seems like the younger you are, the harder you hold to these views, and as you grow in your understanding of Scripture, you are more comfortable with allowing yourself to leave the real hard questions to the Lord. As I say, what matters in the end is who believes, and who doesn't believe.

The second Question is a threefold question asked to John MacArthur at the Church he Pastors. I found it very interesting therefore I'm posting it!

Here it goes:

This question is threefold,

1. How can the Bible be read to teach "Limited Atonement?"

2. How can the Bible be read to teach "Unlimited Atonement?"

3. What do you believe that it teaches and why?

John MacArthur answered it this way:

Let me qualify this, because this is a little bit of a theological question.

There has been through the years a debate about the Atonement, and the debate basically is, "Did Jesus Christ die for everyone?" In that sense, His
atonement was unlimited. In other words, He died to pay the penalty for sin for the whole world, and then the gift of salvation is generally offered to
the world.

The second viewpoint is, that Jesus Christ died only for the elect. That it is more logical to assume that if only the elect are saved--that Jesus died only for the elect, otherwise Jesus died for people who He knew would never be saved, and what's the point of that?

So this particular debate rages hot at this particular time in history. There are some who believe in a "Total Redemption," that is, that Jesus Christ provided a full redemption for all human beings, and there are some who believe in what is called a "Particular Redemption," that He died providing redemption particularly, that is only, or specifically for the elect.

I find in my own mind and in my own study of Scripture a strong case for a "General Atonement," for a "Universal Atonement," for an "All Encompassing
Provision." For Jesus dying as the propitiation for our sins--and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world, tying it in particularly with John, chapter three, "God so loved. . . ." What? "The world"--not the elect. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever beleiveth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." It seems to me that the giving of the Son was in response to the loving of the world, and that the propitiation which Christ was, was sufficient for the sins of all the world.

So, I would say, that I believe, and I think this is maybe one way to understand it--I believe that the atonement of Christ was sufficient for the world, but is efficient for those that believe. I believe in, I guess what you could call a "Limited and Unlimited Atonement." It is unlimited in the sense that it was sufficient to cover the sins of the whole world--it is limited, in that it is applied only to those who believe. I don't like to get pushed beyond that, but I don't like to just take the title of believing in "Limited Atonement" or "Particular Redemption," that Jesus died only for the elect, because I think that that has some exegetical problems. I think you would have problems explaining certain passages of Scripture, but I admit to you that it is a very difficult issue, because there are many passages that apply His redemptive work "only to the elect," "only to those who believe." But I believe, compared with other passages, His redemption encompasses, in its sufficiency--the world.

It is no more a contradiction than the many other things that appear to be contradictory. Like, how is it that people are saved by the election of God and damned by their unbelief? I mean, I think that there are other issues in theology that are very difficult for the human mind to resolve and that has passages, apparently, on both sides. For example, you have passages in the New Testament on "Eternal Security" that say that God keeps us. You have
passages in the New Testament that says that you will be saved if you persevere to the end. So, I think that we can't get too threatened by the fact that with regard to theological issues, particularly in the realm of salvation, we may not be able to harmonize everything. You can read some Scriptures which appear to be limited, some Scriptures which appear to be unlimited--a better way to understand that is in somewhat paradoxical terms--in some points it is limited, in some points it appears to be unlimited.

C'Ya tomorrow!


Doulos said...

I am gonna be honest, I really didn't like what MacArthur had to say. It sounded like a waffle to me. I don't get why he is so concerned what people think of his view concerning the extent of the atonement.

The post seemed to be loaded with double speak. Like this one.

"My point is, arguing about that really is pointless in a sense. I understand the debate and I certainly engage in it heartily, but in the end we make our best shot."

He says, arguing is pointless, but I engage in the argument. That sounds silly to me. The debate is NOT pointless. It has a very important point, hence the reason people are still debating it.

He says this too.

"The very fact that we are still discussing this issue is pretty good indication that it is not crystal clear, so that we could all rally around it, such as we are able to rally around some things in Scripture, for which there is really little discussion, because they are so explicit."

I disagree. The reason we are still discussing the issue is because man hates God's sovereignty and it rubs them the wrong way. It is going to make them mad until Jesus comes back! The discussion will always be around because people will always attack truth.

Secondly he is taking shots at the perspicuity of scripture. Is kinda like "Well God mumbled when he spoke on this issue, so lets not divide or argue."

I mean cmon Johnnny, I love you but that aint right. Jesus was clear when he said "no one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him". We can try and say that election is very nuanced and sidestep the issue, or we can humbly grab the bull by the horns and take a stand for truth.

I believe I am 100% right in all of my beliefs. At the same time, I know for a fact that I have wrong theology. That doesn't stop me from being dogmatic, I am a human so I am prone to be in error. I still need to stand on my two and defend the truth I believe in!

Am I being a meany?

-Solid Deo Gloria

The Real Pae said...

I agree with you Mitch, in posting this I was a bit hesitant, but at the same time I thought it would be good to provoke thinking and challenge (me in particularly) to further study the point of Limited Atonement, I see him being very unclear yet trying to label himself as one who holds to the idea of Limited Atonement. I found it interesting that he waivered back and forth on one question to the next. Mitch, I appreciate your insight, I respect and hold your opinions in high esteem, and I know you do your best in interpreting the Scriptures, do me a favor can you find a good article and/or essay from a thorough yet reputable figure who is clear and Biblical in support of Limited Atonement? Speak to ya soon Bruh, hav a great weekend! Holla atcha RIB!

Won, Les!

Doulos said...

This is the best resource I can give you on esssays, articles, mp3s etc.

Specifically on the doctrine of Particular redemption.

Here is an article specifically on the subject from my boy James White.

Piper, sproul both do a good job on this subject. Piper's view is a little odd, but still reformed. Piper and Driscoll have a very nuanced view of the atonement. I think its just cute academic word play, but hey I am dope.

Here is a fantistic quote from the White Article. This is what I have been saying for years.

"Most objections that are lodged against the doctrine are actually objections to one of the preceding points, not against limited atonement itself."

If you reject T, then you will reject the lot. If you accept T, the rest will follow logically and there will be no struggle. A biblical view of man is the key to a biblical view of the atonement.

-Soli Deo Gloria

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