A Question for Calvinists

In the calvinist system atonement for the sin of the elect is accomplished on the cross. So is it fair to make the argument that there is NEVER a time when the elect is ever in danger of God’s wrath?

In fact, I am now wondering why repentance is even necessary for the elect; if the sins of the elect were paid for on the cross… there is nothing to repent of. God’s efficacious call is solely responsible for the elect being born again and that is accomplished by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and since the sins have been paid for in full, the Holy Spirit is not taking up residence in an unrepentant heart but rather a heart that has already been washed by the blood…

There really does not seem to be a need for a conversion experience at all in the calvinist system. Of course, the Bible says there is but that is beside the point given the tenets of calvinism.

Once new birth or regeneration has taken place every response of the regenerate is sanctification. JI Packer seems to agree with this statement as he says, “Regeneration is the “birth” by which this work of new creation is begun, as sanctification is the “growth” whereby it continues (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18).”

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About sbcissues

Interested in bringing the issues facing The Southern Baptist Convention to light.
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85 Responses to A Question for Calvinists

  1. Les Prouty says:

    Bob,

    You ask, “So is it fair to make the argument that there is NEVER a time when the elect is ever in danger of God’s wrath?”

    I would say yes, there is a time the elect are in danger of the wrath of God…in a sense. First, scripture says “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thess. 1:10) But then says, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:9).

    So it seems to me that in a sense the elect before conversion are abiding under the wrath of God but God has promised us to be rescued from that wrath.

    If we stap back and look at the scriptures, we can see that the elect can never ultimately be lost, right? Well from my theological perspective of election,and maybe in yours.

    But from a preaching perspective we are right to remind our hearers that the wrath of God awaits them if they will not repent. After all, who knows who the elect are?

    “In fact, I am now wondering why repentance is even necessary for the elect; if the sins of the elect were paid for on the cross.”

    Yes all the sins of the elect were atoned for on the cross. But at that point, God has not applied forgiveness to the account of the elect. His plan of redemption has always included a response by man, faith. This is commonly referred to as the application of redemption.

    “God’s efficacious call is solely responsible for the elect being born again…” No, I would say it as “God’s efficacious call is instrumental in the elect being born again…” And I would say it as,

    …’and that [being born again] is accomplished by the QUICKENING of the Holy Spirit…’

    …”and since the sins have been paid for in full, the Holy Spirit IS taking up residence in an REPENTANT heart [AFTER CONVERSION] but rather a heart that has already been washed by the blood [AFTER CONVERSION…”

  2. sbcissues says:

    Ok. You said, “So it seems to me that in a sense the elect before conversion are abiding under the wrath of God but God has promised us to be rescued from that wrath.”

    How do you KNOW that you are included in the “us”?

    • Les Prouty says:

      “us” is the elect. I believe myself to mercifully and graciously to have been numbered among the elect. So. I can say “us” in the same way Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed **us** with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,…”

      • Randy says:

        Hey Les – I guess one of the nagging questions for me is how do you really know you are one of the elect? I often hear Calvinist Christians saying it is impossible to know who the elect are such as you did: “After all, who knows who the elect are?” I am assuming you have a guideline / bar / standard that you are gauging your own “election” by? And if so, could that not also be applied as a litmus test to determine if somebody else is “elect”? Would a criteria be your love of God and the Lord Jesus Christ? I’m just kind of thinking as I type…because if you were not “elect” you would have no love for the Savior?

        Does is not bother you somewhat that two classes of people have been created with this theology? Basically we have a caste system in the world – the “elect” and the “non-elect”. Isn’t it arrogant on the part of anybody if that is the case to consider themselves “elect”?

        I’m not trying to hammer you…it’s just that these are the kind of questions that bounce around in my brain late at night 🙂

        Randy

      • Les Prouty says:

        Hey Randy,

        You are not hammering me. We’ve had very gracious conversations. May I take your last question first? “Isn’t it arrogant on the part of anybody if that is the case to consider themselves “elect”?”

        Well, I suppose some can be arrogant because they number themselves among the elect. But I ask you to consider these verse:

        “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” NASB uses “choosing” for “election.”

        Seems to me that it is not arrogant, according to Peter, to think on these things and consider ourselves elect. Many other places Paul refers to God’s choosing of his readers…us.

        Now, to your other questions.

        “I guess one of the nagging questions for me is how do you really know you are one of the elect?” Because I have professed my faith in Christ and seek to walk with and by Him and “the Spirit bears witness” to me. How do you know you are saved? is that the same question using different wording?

        I often hear Calvinist Christians saying it is impossible to know who the elect are such as you did: “After all, who knows who the elect are?” When talking about other people, that is correct. Who among us can know anyone else’s heart.

        I am assuming you have a guideline / bar / standard that you are gauging your own “election” by?” The scriptures (like 1 John) and faith.

        “And if so, could that not also be applied as a litmus test to determine if somebody else is “elect”? Well, no. We are not to go about and try to make determinations of everyone professing faith. Remember too, not everyone who professes faith is a Christian. Whatever our view of election, we face the fact of wheat and tares growing up together in the visible church.

        “Would a criteria be your love of God and the Lord Jesus Christ? I’m just kind of thinking as I type…because if you were not “elect” you would have no love for the Savior?”

        Well also, there are at least three types of people walking around right now regarding the elect.

        1. Those who believe they are elect (professed faith in Christ) and actually are.
        2. Those who do not profess faith in Christ but are numbered among the elect. They will before they die. profess faith in Christ.
        3. Those who profess faith in Christ and think they are elect and are yet false professors in Christ. They are self deceived (see 1 John).

        In none of these thongs are WE able to make absolute determinations about other people.

        “Does is not bother you somewhat that two classes of people have been created with this theology? Basically we have a caste system in the world – the “elect” and the “non-elect””

        They have not been so created. I looked up the term caste to make sure I’m understanding it correctly. That word has no reference to Christianity. What we do have though, is sheep and goats. Those are the biblical terms.

        That makes no one or no group better in any way than the other. Both groups are hell deserving sinners. Those chosen before the foundation of the word have not one thing to brag about or boast about are get puffed about. Nothing. That’s why we call it grace.

        Thanks brother.

        les

    • sbcissues says:

      Les….

      You answered my question, “How do you KNOW that you are included in the “us” or the elect?” in the following manner… “I believe myself to mercifully and graciously to have been numbered among the elect.”

      HOW do you KNOW that you have been saved? How do you KNOW that YOU are one of the elect?

      • Bob, I thought I had answered you. I know I am saved (thus a chosen one) the same way you know you know you are saved. Do you know you are saved? How.

      • Les Prouty says:

        I posted a great quote from the evangelistic soul winning maniac Calvinist Spurgeon on my Facebook:

        “If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust Him, then you are one of God’s chosen ones.” -Spurgeon

      • sbcissues says:

        AMEN.

        I am confident Spurgeon just MIGHT have meant this is a slightly different lite than calvinists would today. Could be wrong but do not think so.

        You see for the calvinist one can only give himself up to Christ to the extent that Christ gives him or her the ability to do so. To me evangelism does not need the disclaimer that calvinism attaches to it.

      • sbcissues says:

        You see for the calvinist one can only give himself up to Christ to the extent that Christ gives him or her the ability to do so. To me evangelism does not need the disclaimer that calvinism attaches to it.

        See highlighted area.

      • Oh, I see. That’s YOUR version of a disclaimer you say we Calvinists need or must give. Well brother, I disagree that we must give that disclaimer. To quote you from just a few minutes ago, “It is not fair to force a false premise and then argue its application.”

      • sbcissues says:

        Nothing false about the disclaimer… you guys just don’t want to own up to it except in conversations like this. It is accurate.

      • Bob, as far as what you wrote, “You see for the calvinist one can only give himself up to Christ to the extent that Christ gives him or her the ability to do so.”

        I don’t disagree that only those who can, and I would add will, give themselves up to Christ are the ones He gives that ability. I’ve said so many times. On our own, we can’t.

        I just disagree that it’s some sort of disclaimer we must give in evangelism. So I own up to the theological position.

      • sbcissues says:

        I appreciate your owning the facts of the theology you hold. If I were calvinist I would most certainly do so as well. My real point is not so much that the disclaimer is REQUIRED but that it is applicable. That is the sad part to me.

  3. sbcissues says:

    You wrote: Yes all the sins of the elect were atoned for on the cross. But at that point, God has not applied forgiveness to the account of the elect. His plan of redemption has always included a response by man, faith. This is commonly referred to as the application of redemption.

    In the Limited Atonement aspect of the tulip, I am not sure this statement is accurate. Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of the elect on the cross. Those sins were paid for at Calvary. So, they were paid for when the individual who is the elect was born. Paid in full. Done.

    Your answer that God has not “applied forgiveness to the account of the elect” is interesting since He is the One who determined those for whom Jesus would die. Now I understand the Scriptures bear out your conclusion but my point is your foundation is what is wrong, not the application side.

    I believe you are absolutely correct in saying “His plan of redemption has always included a response by man, faith. This is commonly referred to as the application of redemption.”

    Here is my problem: why would God require a response from me IF He were the Only One who can grant me the ability to make that response? This is too convoluted to make any sense. It is like saying to a group of prisoners chained to a pole… All of you… come and eat we have plenty of food for you all … but the only ones who can come are those I unchain.

    Sorry. I simply cannot wrap my mind around that “invitation.”

    • Les Prouty says:

      “Now I understand the Scriptures bear out your conclusion but my point is your foundation is what is wrong, not the application side.”

      Well we agree. Of course you don’t agree with my foundation, but we end up at the same place. Just like we’d present the gospel the same way even though we believe differently about election, etc.

      “Here is my problem: why would God require a response from me IF He were the Only One who can grant me the ability to make that response?”

      Because He is gracious. Without Him giving you that ability and desire you you and I would never respond in faith to the gospel.

      “It is like saying to a group of prisoners chained to a pole… All of you… come and eat we have plenty of food for you all … but the only ones who can come are those I unchain.”

      That’s not a good analogy. In life, we are indeed all chained to the pole. And when God reaches out to us to come and eat, no one even wants to. We all shake our fists at God and tell Him to get lost! We hate Him and would never want to eat with Him. Still He calls us all and even brings the food to us and says take and eat. But we hate Him.

      But in grace, He comes to some of us and unchains us. The rest of the ones remaining in chains still deserve to be there.

      • Randy says:

        Here is where I have a major problem Les:

        “But in grace, He comes to some of us and unchains us. The rest of the ones remaining in chains still deserve to be there.”

        Can you look at this and truly say this is a loving deity that even lines up with the one we find in 1 John 4, 1 Corinthians 13 and John 3:16? This theology turns our holy God into a pernicious individual who sees all of us in chains, regards all of us equally deserving of his wrath, but yet, by some divine roll of the dice “elects” some to salvation. This therefore makes him complicit in the eternal damnation of the souls who do not receive the offer of grace.

        The thing that makes my blood boil with Calvinism is that ultimately I see it as a system of theology that insults the name of my holy, just, and merciful Creator. You can quote your proof texts all day for Calvinism but it paints a picture of a God that falls far short of the glorious, holy and benevolent Creator found in the full context of Scripture. He becomes a fickle God that bases salvation on some formula incomprehensible to lowly mankind and himself holds the keys to all who can be saved and chooses to allow some to be cast into the fiery torment of eternal punishment. I am most definitely not cool with that Les.

        I do believe we would come to much common ground about God’s grace, holiness, glory, love and mercy. But we reach this crossroads, and then we part ways.

        Randy

      • sbcissues says:

        Randy,

        You said what I would say and did it well. To me calvinism is an affront to God’s self expressed love and mercy shown to ALL WHO WILL BY FAITH BELIEVE.

        Les will probably answer you… that is grace; all deserve hell but God graciously chose to save some.

        I am right there with you sir; this makes my blood boil. The more I look at this issue the more I am convinced that it is so far off base I cannot believe it is even a viable theological system. It is indeed sickening to me.

      • Randy and Bob,

        Only a minute now. Back later. But in the meantime, could you two interact with Olsen’s quote I put in earlier? It’s the last comment so far today downstream.

        Thanks

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy,

        I realize that you and Bob have problems with the doctrines of grace. And let me say that Bob’s analogy of men being chained to a post and my reworking of that analogy is of course not perfect.

        “Can you look at this and truly say this is a loving deity that even lines up with the one we find in 1 John 4, 1 Corinthians 13 and John 3:16? ” Absolutely. God is indeed a loving God. He is love. But throughout scripture we see that God is a God of justice and vengeance, right? His anger burns hot toward his enemies and His enemies will be crushed by Him. I really don’t understand how you and Bob and others cannot acknowledge this aspect of God’s character AND His right to act accordingly toward man.

        “This theology turns our holy God into a pernicious individual who sees all of us in chains, regards all of us equally deserving of his wrath, but yet, by some divine roll of the dice “elects” some to salvation. This therefore makes him complicit in the eternal damnation of the souls who do not receive the offer of grace.”

        First, I would not agree with the word “pernicious.” I do agree with “who sees all of us in chains, regards all of us equally deserving of his wrath.” DO YOU NOT agree with that?

        “but yet, by some divine roll of the dice “elects” some to salvation.” Where do you get the idea anywhere in scripture that God’s choosing is a “roll of the dice? or, are you just supposing that and pulling that idea out of a hat?

        Take a look at that Olsen quote below and provide some feedback please. I have responded to everything you have asked. Please interact if you will with the Olsen quote.

        Thanks brother.

      • sbcissues says:

        Les,

        No one would argue against your statement: His anger burns hot toward his enemies and His enemies will be crushed by Him. I really don’t understand how you and Bob and others cannot acknowledge this aspect of God’s character AND His right to act accordingly toward man.

        What we are arguing against is this notion that God decides who is friend or foe and THEN makes the friends out of the foes. Absolutely incredulous. We are all enemies BUT God arbitrarily chooses a few and changes them to be His elect and His adopted sons and daughters? No. He shows the world the cross and says look up and live. How much simpler could the gospel be?

        If you could get past for one moment this errant idea that man is condemned because of Adam’s sin and he shares the guilt of that sin THEN you might could begin to see the enormity of this philosophic nightmare called calvinism.

      • Bob,

        “What we are arguing against is this notion that God decides who is friend or foe and THEN makes the friends out of the foes.”

        Tell me from scripture why He does not have the right to choose whom He wants to save. I can point you to scripture where it says explicitly that He has the right to harden whom He chooses to harden.

  4. Les Prouty says:

    Hey, new question for you. I saw this said by Roger Olsen (Classic Arminian) and wondered if you agree:

    ‘Calvinism ultimately undermines that vision of the character of God by believing that He could save everyone but chooses not to for His glory.”

    It was on P. Lumpkins blog BTW.

    • sbcissues says:

      Les,

      It is hard to say whether or not I believe Olsen’s statement given the brevity of it. I would say I would be more in agreement that not. Here is my perspective on this. If as calvinism posits, God and God alone is solely responsible for who does and who does not get saved, then why would He choose so few?

      If on the other hand, God has made provision for salvation and man is responsible to believe THEN it is not God who is responsible for anyone going to hell, but the individual himself. God reveals Himself to man but it is man who MUST respond. God does not decide who can and who cannot respond. That is simply beyond sensibility!

    • Les Prouty says:

      Bob, it’s pretty simple what he says. He says Calvinism undermines the character of God? How does he say Calvinism does that? By believing that God COULD save EVERYONE but chooses NOT to.

      Now, I have answered every question y’all have thrown at me. Couple of questions for you and Randy.

      1. CAN God save everyone?
      2. Does God choose to save everyone?

      • sbcissues says:

        I do agree that calvinism undermines the character of God. I do not believe it does so because God COULD save everyone but chooses NOT to. I believe it undermines the character of God because calvinism contends God CAN save everyone but He CHOOSES to save a few.

        Does God choose to save everyone…. no; He chooses to save those who believe as He promised He would do. Does God decide who believes, NO. That is the undermining of God’s character as I see it.

      • Bob, you’re skirting the obvious. If you do agree that God CAN (has the power to) save all and He chooses not to then you and I are at the same place as regarding the so called assault on the character of God. It matters not that you will say He has chosen in His sovereignty to all man to choose. He is still choosing NOT to save all when He has the power to do so. Agreed?

      • sbcissues says:

        Les,

        Anyone who tries to say that God CANNOT save all is automatically denying His sovereignty. Your next statement is problematic. “He chooses not to then you and I are at the same place as regarding the so called assault on the character of God.”

        We are NOT at the same place. You maintain the reason He chooses NOT to save everyone is because of His choosing. I believe the Bible to be clear the reason He does not save ANYONE is because they refuse to believe. He has given the provision and He has given the promise; the provision is available to ALL who believe. All who do not believe are condemned already.

        What impugns the character of God in calvinism is that it says God is solely responsible for every person who goes to hell.

        You conclude… He is still choosing NOT to save all when He has the power to do so. Agreed?

        No. He is choosing to do what He says He will do. That my brother has never changed and fortunately for us it will never change.

      • sbcissues says:

        PS..

        Don’t accuse me of “skirting the obvious” I don’t skirt anything and you of ALL people ought to be able to recognize that.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        I apologize I offended you with the skirting comment. I was trying to say that you are avoiding the glaring conclusion to your belief that God CAN save all and doesn’t. Calvinists are often accused of impugning the character of God for believing in a God who can save all and chooses not to. Whether you like it or not and whether or not you want to admit it, you believe the same thing.

        1. You believe God CAN save all, right?
        2. You believe God doesn’t save all, right?
        3. You believe “the Bible to be clear the reason He does not save ANYONE is because they refuse to believe.”
        4. Therefore you agree that He can but chooses NOT to because He awaits their decision to believe.

        Either way you try to frame it, God is stepping back in some manner, according to you, and having made the provision, leaves the decision up to man. According to you, He calls and woos but the final decision is man’s decision. Therefore, God chooses NOT to intervene in man’s decision making and allows some to perish eternally.

        So, we end up at tha same place:

        1. He can save all.
        2. He chooses NOT to save all when He has the power to do so.

        That’s all I’m saying. If WE impugn the character of God, you do as well brother. Now, I don’t believe either of us does so.

      • sbcissues says:

        Les,

        First of all… I have not made the argument you introduce here… Calvinists are often accused of impugning the character of God for believing in a God who can save all and chooses not to.

        My argument is that calvinism contends God makes the choice of who chooses. That is MY argument.

        I do not have the same problem you suggest and here is why; God’s character is not impugned unless He fails to do what He says He will do. He has not done that.

        So you are incorrect in your final comment; if calvinists impugn the character of God, I do so as well.

        Nether your condition or premise is accurate so we do not stand on the same ground. It is not fair to force a false premise and then argue its application.

        While that argument may well be true of some, it does not apply where I am concerned.

      • Bob, lets settle it right here then brother. Yes or no,

        Does God have the ability to save all?

        Does God choose not to save all?

        If you will answer these straight up, we can move on.

      • sbcissues says:

        You answer. Does God have the ability to save all?

        I have already answered YES.

        Does God choose NOT to save all… I would say He does not save all. I believe His choice is based on our choice.

        What I do know is that the Bible says He saves ALL who repent and by faith believe.

        I do not know how God can be held to a standard beyond that which He sets. If He refuses to save anyone who repents and believes by faith then you can argue that my position has a problem.

        Now that cannot be said of your position. Your position is that God decides who is and is not saved. THAT is a problem because God never says that. Your position is one contrived philosophically.

        Mine comes from red and black ink on white paper.

      • BTW, this is helping my time pass as I sit at the doc office waiting on someone. Than,s.

        “Does God choose NOT to save all… I do not know.” Of course you do. All are not saved and you already agree He COULD save all. He chooses not to intervene or interfere with mans free will choice according to you. You just really don’t want to face up to the fact that God would make such a choice.

        “What I do know is that the Bible says He saves ALL who repent and by faith believe.” We agree. I believe that as well.

        “Now that cannot be said of your position. Your position is that God decides who is and is not saved. THAT is a problem because God never says that. Your position is one contrived philosophically.”

        I have said that God chooses His elect. He appoints their day of salvation. But, I have also said that God offers all the opportunity to repent and believe. It is called a compatible position. Both are true.

        Just like you believe that Jesus is a man. Jesus is God. And just like you believe that men like Paul actually wrote the scriptures including their personalities and styles. Yet you also believe that God superintended in a way that not one jot to tittle is in the originals that God didn’t want there. Did the men write? Or did God write? Yes. Did Paul say thus and so? Or did God say thus and so? Yes.

      • sbcissues says:

        Producing Scripture is fine but using that analogy to justify unconditional election and irresistible grace is inexcusable. The Scriptures declare God’s inspiration. However the Scriptures do not declare UE nor IG.

        Both are philosophical conclusions that I believe to be seriously errant.

      • Bob, we have produced numerous scriptures for UE & IG. It is really not brotherly in these discussions to continue to infer that our positions are NOT based on scripture but are based on philosophy. It would be great if you would refrain from doing that. We just have differing interpretations of scripture.

        And those analogies, they are really devastating to those who deny our compatible view. They prove that God can, indeed does, operate in compatible ways. Just as we have been declaring all along. God elects and saves. Man is responsible. Compatible because scripture teaches both. Just as in inspiration and the humanity and deity of Christ.

      • sbcissues says:

        I did not say that calvinism is without Scriptural basis; I said there are no Scriptural passages that themselves support the system nor it major tenets. They are philosophically derived. Now that is not an unfair statement and to prove it… the common retort to statements like mine is… neither is the Trinity… so I will say that BEFORE you do.

        I think you have said that on at least a couple occasions which is an indication that you are well aware of the criticism. It is a fact so don’t shoot the messenger because I repeat the message.

        “Compatible because scripture teaches both.” I disagree that Scriptures teach that man is responsible for decisions that God knows He is the only One that can make them. Compatibilism is a philosophical approach as well.

        See how complicated all this has gotten… I believe it is time to simplify soteriology!

    • Been away from the web all day and you boys been tearing it up! I hope this reply falls in some logical order. Let me post the quote from Roger Olsen for clarity’s sake:

      “Calvinism ultimately undermines that vision of the character of God by believing that He could save everyone but chooses not to for His glory.”

      That’s not my problem with Calvinism. My problem is that Calvinism states that God calls man to make a choice concerning Him and holds man accountable for that choice. However, God is the only one capable of empowering man go make a positive choice regarding Him. Honestly, that is illogical. I’ve been deep in the book of Romans today and I just cannot see it there. The verse that sticks out to me is this one:

      For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:11 ESV)

      Would you agree that God is showing partiality to the “elect” in your view Les? He has chosen to imbue them with the power to make a positive choice towards him while neglecting to shed such irresistible grace on the “non-elect.” I’m not sure what they call that where you come from, but down here in Arkansas we call that “playing favorites” which translates to partiality.

      My biggest beef with Calvinism is that it portrays God as playing favorites with the “elect.” However, Scripture portrays God from the beginning having a great love for all mankind. That love reached it’s climax when Christ died on the cross for the sins of all mankind so that all might have the opportunity to experience eternal life. God being the gentleman he is did not force the decision of faith on any (as per the tenets of Calvinism) but leaves the choice to man. Now I know you can say you agree with that of God giving the choice, but we disagree in that you say God must choose who has the choice which works out to a bunch of theological double-speak that adds up to ultimately God not really giving some men any choice in the matter of their eternal destiny. That’s my major problem. I believe God equally extends the offer of eternal life to every person, and each has the same chance to accept it or reject it. That is where I differ with Calvinism.

      Randy

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy, I’m in the middle of some planning for my Haiti trip. I’ll be back in a bit for a reply of more substance.

      • sbcissues says:

        Randy,

        Verse 4 is also interesting… “4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Why would God’s kindness need to lead one to repentance if effectual calling is the only for repentance to take place?

        according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up to thyself wrath, in [the] day of wrath and revelation of [the] righteous judgment of God, 6 who shall render to each according to his works: 7 to them who, in patient continuance of good works, seek for glory and honour and incorruptibility, life eternal.

        Paul here is basically saying, the unrepentant person treasures up wrath in the day of judgement; for in that day God will render to each according to his works…

        Paul did not say God will reward the elect according to God’s effectual will… He said God will render judgment based on man’s response to what? The truth found in the gospel!

        8 But to those that are contentious, and are disobedient to the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [there shall be] wrath and indignation, 9 tribulation and distress, on every soul of man that works evil, both of Jew first, and of Greek;

        10 but glory and honour and peace to every one that works good, both to Jew first and to Greek:

        11 For there is no partiality with God. God is NOT the one who determines who does and does not deserve His grace or mercy or His wrath; our choice determines His ultimate choice.

        Randy you are correct in saying, “ultimately God not really giving some men any choice in the matter of their eternal destiny.” He does not give ANYONE the choice in the matter of their eternity; according to calvinism the choice is His and His alone and brother that simply is not accurate Scripturally.

        Thanks for the comment!

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy,

        You wrote, “My problem is that Calvinism states that God calls man to make a choice concerning Him and holds man accountable for that choice.”

        Brother He is God and we are enemies after all. Why do you oppose the idea that God holds man accountable?

        But you continued. “However, God is the only one capable of empowering man go make a positive choice regarding Him. Honestly, that is illogical.”

        Well of course logic is great and useful. But the trinity is not logical, is it? The God-Man is not logical, is it? But in reality man is fallen and he can’t get up. He is incapable and unwilling to trust Christ, right? Of course we expect to see in scripture that it is God and God alone who can pluck man from his miserable and hopeless and helpless estate.

        “For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:11 ESV)”

        Ah, then you ask, “Would you agree that God is showing partiality to the “elect” in your view Les?” No, He is demonstrating His own love for us in that while were yet sinners He saved us. He is exercising grace…getting something no one deserves. Besides, you have plucked the verse from its context. What is Paul talking about in that section?

        Let’s see the context of verse 11:

        “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
        He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.”

        V. 1 Paul says therefore. Why? Because he has just concluded ch.1 with a scathing indictment of unrighteousness, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (v. 18). Therefore they are w/o excuse. He goes on and indicts them, “For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”

        Hey, you guys are practicing the very things you condemn. And then says, “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.”

        Ah, the judgement falls on those who practice those things, and rightly so Paul says.

        Then, “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”

        Ok, now…everyone will be rendered according to each’s works. And then he draws the contrast between the two.

        Then, “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good…” Ok, we’re getting closer to the context of partiality. All who do evil will experience tribulation and distress…the wrath of God. Jew and Greek alike.

        No matter whether you are Jew or Greek. God will reign wrath upon you if you practice abominable lives and Glory and honor and peace for all who do good. And just to make it clear, he repeats :the Jew first and also the Greek” at the end of the sentence.

        And your verse, “For God shows no partiality.” Partiality in what manner or context? In wrath or blessing. He is not partial to anyone in either executing judgment of bestowing blessing. He will not be partial to Jews nor to Greeks.

        So, I agree God is not impartial. He will judge anyone, no matter race, color, etc. He will bless anyone, no matter race, color, etc.

        “My biggest beef with Calvinism is that it portrays God as playing favorites with the “elect.” However, Scripture portrays God from the beginning having a great love for all mankind. That love reached it’s climax when Christ died on the cross for the sins of all mankind so that all might have the opportunity to experience eternal life. God being the gentleman he is did not force the decision of faith on any (as per the tenets of Calvinism) but leaves the choice to man.”

        Playing favorites? How about “He has mercy on Whom He has mercy.” That’s the biblical way to say it. Whether Romans 9 is talking nations or individuals in election, He will decide who He has mercy on. Your problem is not with Calvinism, it’s with scripture, and I say that in the most loving way I can. Just how do you get around that Romans 9 passage?

        And God being a gentleman? Where is that in scripture. And, saying He doesn’t force faith on anyone is a caricature. I agree He doesn’t “force” faith on anyone and I’m a Calvinist.

        Brother, we should be thankful He didn’t leave the choice to us. No one would choose Christ on our own. ““None is righteous, no, not one;
        no one understands;
        no one seeks for God. (Romans 3:10-11, ESV)

      • Randy says:

        Well Les, I’m going to have to take issue with a part of your response:

        “Well of course logic is great and useful. But the trinity is not logical, is it? The God-Man is not logical, is it? But in reality man is fallen and he can’t get up. He is incapable and unwilling to trust Christ, right? Of course we expect to see in scripture that it is God and God alone who can pluck man from his miserable and hopeless and helpless estate.”

        It seems that maybe you are implying God is illogical? To me the Trinity and the God-Man are logical. God is the Creator of logic and knowledge. I don’t believe he ever operates in a way that could be labeled “illogical”. It’s only when we fail to see His magnificent logic or try to define things by a manmade logic. The Incarnation becomes logical in light of God’s love, mercy, grace, holiness and wrath.

        All of that aside, I find this discourse has fallen into the same old rut it always does with anybody I talk to about Calvinism, except you are wonderfully polite and articulate. The whole thing wearies me. I honestly am open minded towards your theology – if a compelling argument could be presented. I also honestly believe that Calvinists are extremely close minded to the theology of others. You, as I said already, have been most diplomatic.

        I find us at a stalemate on the subject, and the exchanges could continue indefinitely. All that you’ve said I’ve heard over and over again. I think to a degree, we’ve probably both misunderstood and perhaps misrepresented the other. One thing we can agree on – Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and only by his completed work is our salvation secured.

        Randy

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy,

        Pardon if I sound like I was impinging God’s logic. I did not mean to. My point was/is that to the human mind alone, one God, 3 persons doesn’t make sense. Jesus 100% man and 100% God doesn’t make sense. That may be part of why Paul says it is foolishness to the Gentiles.

        In any case, you have been a perfect gentleman. I appreciate the dialogue. Our conversation has been engaging and as always I learned some things. I’m like you in that on occasion I have heard all the other side arguments before too. We both have.

        But in the end, we both are seeking to honor Christ in our faith and walk and on that point we can be joined together.

        One last thing. I absolutely hold no hostility toward my non Reformed brothers and I engage in ministry with some. I hold no hostility to your views. I only wish some of my non-Reformed brother would seek to reduce their anger and almost hatred toward our theology. I realize they don’t agree with it. But we are brother after all. I can only hope.

        Blessings to you brother.

  5. Bob Wheeler says:

    To return to the original question, was there ever a time when the elect were not under the wrath of God, it is indeed a very good question. You may know that there was, in fact, one hyper-Calvinist (John Gill) who argued for the idea of “eternal justification,” but that is undoubtedly an extreme position.
    The difficulty here is in understanding the relationship between time and eternity, and I will not even pretend that I know the answer. What I do know is that we are justified by faith, which means that I am not actually saved until I personally exercise faith.
    So then, what about the death of Christ? It took place 2,000 years ago. What exactly did it accomplish?
    I think that part of the answer lies in the idea of double-imputation. When Christ died, the sins of the elect were imputed to Him — otherwise His death would have been both unjust and pointless. “He was made sin for us.” On the other hand, His righteousness is not imputed to us until we actually believe.
    So how can both be true? The answer, i think, is this. Usually when we think of Limited Atonement v. General Atonement, the question is framed this way: “For whom did Christ die?” Here we are thinking of a vicarious atonement that Christ performed on behalf of a group of people, and so the question becomes, who was included in the group. But I think that a more biblical way of looking at it is that when we believe (and seal that faith in baptism), we are united to Christ by faith, and vicariously participate in His death ,burial and resurrection. It is at that point that His righteousness is imputed to us and receive the benefits of salvation.

    • sbcissues says:

      Bob,

      Thanks for the comments. This is the kind of interaction that is thought provoking and highly beneficial!

      “What I do know is that we are justified by faith, which means that I am not actually saved until I personally exercise faith.” I believe this to absolutely be true.

      You then wrote, “But I think that a more biblical way of looking at it is that when we believe (and seal that faith in baptism), we are united to Christ by faith, and vicariously participate in His death ,burial and resurrection. It is at that point that His righteousness is imputed to us and receive the benefits of salvation.” Once again, I believe you are spot on.

      My problem with the Reformed position is that I am not sure the system itself allows EITHER of these positions to be true especially where the LA tenet is true, which is the point I was making.

      LA says Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of the elect on the cross. The whole basis for LA in the calvinist system almost precludes the application side if one is going to argue that Jesus’ death on the cross was effectual for one group, the elect and not effectual for the rest of mankind. If Jesus’ death paid the penalty for sin for the elect only then it was paid for at Calvary. If it is paid for then and satisfaction made, there is need to vicariously participate in His death; the elect are never in danger of every being subject to the wrath of God because their sin has been paid for in full. The whole basis for the argument of the redeemed status of the elect is not based on man’s repentance but rather Christ’s substitutional sacrifice.

      Here is my question to you: with respect to your statement: “But I think that a more biblical way of looking at it is that when we believe (and seal that faith in baptism), we are united to Christ by faith, and vicariously participate in His death ,burial and resurrection. It is at that point that His righteousness is imputed to us and receive the benefits of salvation.”

      First of all, one might read into your statement the necessity of baptismal regeneration… but sliding past that, WHEN WE BELIEVE WE ARE UNITED TO CHRIST BY FAITH… what is the purpose of our BELIEVING if God is the One who makes the choice as to who is able to believe? If that were true then it seems to me God would just do it and that would be it and the Bible would be a handbook on sanctification. If regeneration prior to repentance and believing faith were true, there would be no real need for a discussion on the cause of sin because man is dead and dead men cannot respond unless and until God does His thing and births the elect and THEN sanctification is man’s plight once he is born again.

      While I am still working through all this, I believe the indwelling of the Holy Spirit restores our right standing before God which is only made possible by the incarnation and the crucifixion, so Christ’s death on the cross is what makes the indwelling possible… but I am not sure His righteousness is actually imputed to us. My right standing is impossible apart from the indwelling but His righteousness is not what gives me right standing… here is why; Jesus’ death on the cross did not give HIM right standing; He never lost that. His death on the cross made the indwelling possible. It is the indwelling that restores my right standing before God.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        Pardon a quick interruption of you and the other Bob. You stated,

        “LA says Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of the elect on the cross.”

        Yes, that is true about limited atonement. My question for you is,

        Do you believe that Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of everyone at the cross?

      • Bob Wheeler says:

        I don’t think that any Calvinist (even John Gill!) every tried to argue that grace eliminates the need for faith. It is grace that bestows faith, it is grace that makes faith possible! ” . . . and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).
        I was a little startled to hear you say “I am not sure His righteousness is actually imputed to us.” Imputed righteousness is central to the whole Reformation concept of salvation. (Catholic theologians argued that justification was a matter of infused righteousness). The idea of double imputation comes out in II Cor. 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who know no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Paul’s whole argument in Romans is that we are saved by a righteousness which is of faith, not by works.

      • Eric Lockhart says:

        I’m with the other Bob – you just questioned the imputation of Christ’s righteousness! Wow. I cannot help but think you have to question this in order to substantiate your belief about Adam and original sin. But Scripture makes it abundantly clear that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us – to question that is again to break from the historical and Biblical roots of Christianity. It’s heresy.

  6. sbcissues says:

    Les,

    I do not believe He paid the penalty for a select few… because the Bible NEVER says that.

    I believe Jesus’ death on the cross made provision for the forgiveness of sin so that ALL who believe may be forgiven.

    • Les Prouty says:

      That’s not what I asked Bob. Let me try again. “Do you believe that Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of everyone at the cross?”

      Should be an easy yes or no.

      • sbcissues says:

        Why was my answer not acceptable? It is Scriptural and surely you would want my answer to be Scripturally accurate as opposed to what I think?

        After all, It is the Scripture that should guide our theology right?

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob, scriptural of course. But you said earlier,

        “I do not believe He paid the penalty for a select few.”

        Is that statement backed up by scripture to prove your assertion. Plain reading will lead your assertion to conclude that YOU believe that if He did not pay for the sins of a select few, that you believe He paid the sins of MORE than a select few. How many more? SOME more? Or all?

        I think I know why you want to avoid answering yes or no. But let’s try again,

        “Do you believe that Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of everyone at the cross?”

        Yes or no.

      • sbcissues says:

        Is there a sin God cannot forgive or a sinner He cannot forgive? No.

        The position calvinism posits of LA being for the elect ONLY then the answer to that question has to be “yes” there are sins God cannot forgive and “yes” there are sinners He cannot forgive BECAUSE Jesus did not die to make their forgiveness possible.

        THAT is what I disagree with.

      • Randy says:

        I have no problem answering that one with a simple “yes” Les. I find that answer in Scripture:

        For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

        But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)

        And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

        It seems pretty explicit to me. Does that mean that every one will be saved? No, for the free gift of salvation requires faith in the sacrifice of Christ:

        For by grace are ye saved through faith… (Ephesians 2:8a)

        But how does this faith come about? By the power of the Gospel:

        For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

        So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

        The common argument I hear from the Calvinist camp is that God would not require one drop of Jesus’ blood to be shed in vain and thus diminish his glory. Now you tell me, which brings more glory to the Lord Jesus Christ – dying only for the so-called “elect” or dying for the sins of all mankind, even those who choose to remain his enemy? Which reflects the greater glory? Which reflects the greater love?

        Logic does not dictate universalism in this – only those who accept the offer of salvation by faith receive eternal life. It’s like somebody making a deposit in your bank account – until you withdraw it or use it, it serves no purpose for you.

        Randy

      • sbcissues says:

        Excellent statement.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Randy, thanks for stepping up to the plate. And Bob, by you calling Randy’s statement “excellent” I can assume you agree with Randy when he wrote, “I have no problem answering that one with a simple “yes” Les” to my question, “Do you believe that Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of everyone at the cross?”

        Thus, back to what Bob H. wrote to the other Bob,

        “If Jesus’ death paid the penalty for sin for the elect only then it was paid for at Calvary. If it is paid for then and satisfaction made, there is need to vicariously participate in His death…”

        Brothers, if that statement applies to Calvinists who hold to particular redemption (or limited atonement) then it applies to you as well. Let me make the application for you.

        According to your belief that “esus paid the penalty for the sins of everyone at the cross,” then

        [and now Bob to other Bob] “If Jesus’ death paid the penalty for sin for [everyone] then it was paid for at Calvary. If it is paid for then and satisfaction made, there is need to vicariously participate in His death.”

        Boom boys. It is a matter of the number you include in your statement Bob. Some or all. Either way we end up at the same place and your argument fails brother.

      • sbcissues says:

        Les… I did not see the [everyone] and was confused at WHAT you were actually saying… not sure I am following you but I will respond to what I believe you to be asserting.

        Your rewording does not carry the same argument that I intended and perhaps that is my fault for not properly explaining the argument. The calvinist position on LA is that Jesus death made provision ONLY for the elect means the provision He made sealed the redemption of the elect. Given this premise, it is not the application of the provision but the provision itself that secures the eternal state of the elect and also sets the eternal state of the non-elect. My point was given this tenet, there does not seem to me to be any need “to vicariously participate in His death…”

        THAT WAS MY POINT. Jesus paid it ALL… the penalty was paid for on the cross; end of story.

        Now for my position as I have stated on numerous times, “I believe Jesus’ death on the cross made provision for the forgiveness of sin so that ALL who believe may be forgiven.” In my understanding of the Scripture, the provision on the cross was for all sin and all men promised to all who repent and by faith believe. The difference in the two positions is that the calvinist position makes the provision the seal that guarantees the promise. I believe it is the promise that guarantees the provision.

        So no, we do not have the same problem nor do we end up in the same place.

      • Bob, I think you missed my point. I probably wasn’t clear. You said,

        “If it is paid for then and satisfaction made, there is need to vicariously participate in His death…”

        You were applying that statement to LA.

        My point is this. If you still agree with what you said right there, and if you still agree with Randy that Jesus paid for all the sins of all the people on the cross, your statement “If it is paid for then and satisfaction made, there is need to vicariously participate in His death…” applies to you too.

        That is, if you really believe that sins were paid for then and satisfaction made back then, not talking about application, then your argument that in Calvinism there is no need for application in your system and that whole paragraph of yours to Bob unravels.

        Bob, this is all according to what YOU said.

      • sbcissues says:

        Les… I disagree with the last statement that calvinism makes… “If it is paid for then and satisfaction made, there is need to vicariously participate in His death…”

        That statement is a conclusion I draw from WHAT LA contends… I do not agree that atonement was accomplished on the cross which is the foundation for unconditional election… that was my point originally…

        So NO we do not end up in the same place.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob,

        You: ” I do not agree that atonement was accomplished on the cross…”

        Well we certainly do not end up at the same place. Are you sure you want to stand by that statement?

      • sbcissues says:

        Not in the same manner the calvinist contends… Jesus did not die for a select group of people and THAT death guaranteed the eternal destiny of the elect. I do not believe THAT is the atonement that was accomplished on the cross.

      • Les Prouty says:

        Bob, I’m sorry brother. You seem to be going in circles and always back to the doctrines you detest. I think your disdain for Calvinism leads you to talk yourself into corners.

        Did atonement, of any kind, take place at the cross?

  7. sbcissues says:

    Les,

    I am not talking myself into circles nor into the little box you keep trying to get me to step into.

    • Bob,

      Did atonement, of any kind, take place at the cross?

    • Bob,

      I’m really not trying to trap you or anything. You said above, “I do not agree that atonement was accomplished on the cross…”

      I’m really trying to encourage you to walk that back brother. For if there was no atonement accomplished at the cross, at a minimum, there are a whorl lot of OT folks like Abraham who were already dead and they’re in big trouble with God still to this day. I’m not even talking about the EXTENT of the atonement. But you’ve denied the cross work of Jesus above in your attempt to disassociate ourself with LA.

  8. Eric Lockhart says:

    I confess, Bob, that I feel bad and am concerned for you. I feel like we’ve pushed you into saying things, that I am hoping you don’t mean. In an attempt to deny Calvinism, you’re denying the very essence of Christianity! ” I do not agree that atonement was accomplished on the cross which is the foundation for unconditional election… Fine, you don’t believe in unconditional election, we can disagree there, but to deny atonement being accomplished on the cross – that’s not non-Calvinist, that’s not Christian.

    • sbcissues says:

      If you guys will READ the context you will see that what I am saying is that atonement itself of payment in full is not what Jesus accomplished on the cross… meaning Jesus died for Joe so Joe WILL BE SAVED. Jesus’s death does make provision for the sin of all men that repent and by faith believe. We are not arguing the results of the atonement… but the means or the application of the provision.

      For the record, I am not confused in what I am writing and have not been forced into any corners to say things I do not mean. Appreciate the dialogue.

  9. Eric Lockhart says:

    ‘atonement itself of payment in full is not what Jesus accomplished on the cross”, so what was paid? As Les has asked, did any kind of atonement take place on the cross? I

    • Randy says:

      “That statement is a conclusion I draw from WHAT LA contends… I do not agree that atonement was accomplished on the cross which is the foundation for unconditional election… that was my point originally…”

      Let me try and hopefully clarify this thing that is taking you guys round and round. Bob, if I put the wrong words in your mouth, please correct me. I believe what Bob was basically saying is he disagrees with the Calvinist view of atonement, or “limited atonement.” You’ve read something into his statement that he did not say.

      Now, to the question, did any form of atonement take place at the cross. Here is my view from the Scriptures:

      And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

      Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

      Propitiation is one of the most beautiful words in the New Testament as it embodies the action and power of the atonement. John makes it clear, and I’m not sure how you can argue around it, that the sin debt of all mankind was paid at the cross. The power of the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross is sufficient to cleanse the sin of all. The original language of 1 John 2:2 clearly and explicitly bears that out for me.

      However, this does not condone universalism as the propitiation is only applied by the faith of the believer. Those that put their faith in Christ partake of this propitiation and those that reject him have no benefit of it. I do believe that is what Bob was trying to articulate.

      Eric and Les, I believe our primary point of contention is not so much the propitiation or even the faith of the believer. I see us diverging in that you believe God must first empower an individual through rebirth to have faith. These that God selects are the “elect.” Would that be correct?

      • sbcissues says:

        Randy, Eric, Les and ALL.

        The atonement is the finished product; the atonement is reconciliation. Aspects of the atonement are propitiation, expiation, ransom, substitution, sacrifice and on and on we could go.

        So my point was really very simple. According to calvinism atonement limited atonement means “particular redemption,” “definite redemption,” “actual atonement,” or “intentional atonement.” These terms correctly focus on the fact that the Bible reveals Jesus’ death on the cross was intentional and had a definite purpose that it succeeded in accomplishing redemption on the cross.

        Here is my point. If Calvary accomplished redemption or atonement for ANYONE then that person is never in danger of God’s wrath because his sins have been paid for IN FULL on the cross. Period. There is no application necessary; there is no repentance required. The elect were saved at the cross. Since this cannot be true, then my contention is calvinism is wrong.

        That is my argument. I am not saying that the cross had no salvific purpose. It unquestionably did. What it did not do is finalize the salvation of those who must be born again and through repentance and believing faith come to Christ TO BE SAVED by the blood shed at Calvary. Did it secure salvation for those who were under the Old covenant absolutely; it secured the faith they had forward looking to the provisions and promises of God prior to the cross and we are saved by the provisions and promises of God looking back at the cross.

        Thanks for the dialogue.

      • Randy, appreciate you trying to close the communication gap we seem to have.

        Let me stipulate that what I am trying to get clarification on is NOT the extent of the atonement. That is the limited atonement/universal atonement debate. That I know we, you and Bob vs me, differ on.

        Bob has appeared to say that no atonement took place on the cross. He seeks to clarify today below but still does not come right out and say that actual atonement took place on the cross. He again goes back to the Calvinism/non-Calvinism views of the EXTENT of the atonement. We differ on that issue as I said.

        That’s not the current issue I would like to see clarified.

        Whatever your view of the extent of the atonement, limited to the elect OR universal to all, did actual atonement take place?

        You, Randy, acknowledge above that sin debt was paid at the cross. And you further then go into the extent of that atonement and say that it was for all people of all time. Fine. You’re clear. We disagree on that extent. But at least you clearly said sin debt was paid at the cross (atonement took place).

        Thanks brother.

      • Bob,

        You wrote, “Here is my point. If Calvary accomplished redemption or atonement for ANYONE then that person is never in danger of God’s wrath because his sins have been paid for IN FULL on the cross. ”

        Not talking about Calvinism vs non-Calvinism, did it? Did Calvary accomplish atonement for ANYONE? Can you please just answer that without going into the extent of that atonement?

      • sbcissues says:

        Les… give me a definition for what you are referring to when you say atonement.

      • How about, “Christ’s death as a substitution for sinners where God imputed the guilt of their transgressions to Christ and then punished Him for it. This was a full payment for the price of sins, to satisfy both the wrath and the righteousness of God, so that He could forgive sins without compromising His own holy standard.”

        This definition is NOT about LA or UA.

      • sbcissues says:

        Les, YOU SAID, “This was a full payment for the price of sins, to satisfy both the wrath and the righteousness of God, so that He could forgive sins without compromising His own holy standard.”

        Hum. If the payment was paid in full on the cross… satisfying both the righteousness and wrath of God… what is there for Him to forgive?

        Stop and think about it. If you owed me $10K and someone came to me and paid your debt in full… there is NOTHING owed me on your part…

        That is the problem I have with your answer to what atonement is. You see atonement in the finished state; reconciliation is completed at the cross… not when it is applied in the life of the sinner. Your answer acknowledges what I actually believe is accurate; Jesus made provision for atonement to take place so as you said, “that God could forgive sins without compromising His own standard.” Since I believe the cross secured the provisions of atonement, God could indeed forgive sin. Your position is that the atonement was actually completed at Calvary; in that case, it is not that God COULD forgive sin but He DID forgive sin at the cross. There is a profound difference in the two positions.

        Now… I agree with your statement. (“that God could forgive sins without compromising His own standard.”) My point is that I do not believe that is WHAT calvinism posits. Limited Atonement basically says that Jesus ACCOMPLISHED the atonement on the cross. “When He said It is finished” the atonement of the elect was settled. Sins paid for. God’s wrath appeased. Man’s sin debt is paid in full. Eternity for the elect was sealed at the cross.

        So… it appears to me calvinism posits one thing and the Bible maintains another and calvinists are at least sticking to the Scripture.

  10. Bob Wheeler says:

    This sound pretty much like the standard Calvinist definition of the atonement to me.

  11. Les Prouty says:

    Bob H, I give up.

  12. Les Prouty says:

    Ok Bob H., I’m back. I repent of giving up. Your last reply to me demonstrates that you are not viewing the atonement as actually having taken place on the cross and then subsequently being applied to those who believe. You seem to believe that if we say that the atonement actually took place on the cross, then nothing else is left to be done. You said, “Hum. If the payment was paid in full… satisfying both the righteousness and wrath of God… what is there to forgive?”

    You go on to say, “That is the problem I have with your answer to what atonement is. You see atonement is the finished state; reconciliation is completed. Your answer acknowledges what I believe is accurate; Jesus made provision for atonement to take place so as you said, “that God could forgive sins without compromising His own standard.””

    But notice what and how you said it. ” “That is the problem I have with your answer to what atonement is. You see atonement is the finished state; reconciliation is completed.” You say here that you “have a problem” with me saying “atonement is the finished state; reconciliation is completed” and THEN you say “Your answer acknowledges what I believe is accurate.”

    So, you say you have a problem with my answer, then say that my answer acknowledges what you believe to be accurate. Bob, that is very unclear. Which is it? Do you have a problem with my answer? Or do you believe what I said? Which is it? It can’t be both.

    To further complicate it, after seeming to indicate that my answer is what you acknowledge to be accurate (even though you also said you have a problem with my answer) you then try to bring what you say to be accurate and what I believe with this sentence, “Jesus made provision for atonement to take place so as you said, “that God could forgive sins without compromising His own standard.”

    Bob, you used the words “provisions for atonement.” You are conflating two things. I did not say the cross made “provisions for atonement.” I said actual atonement. YOU are saying the cross was “provisions for atonement.”

    See why this is confusing? I am saying actual atonement took place. You are saying “provisions for atonement” took place.

    Now, which is it brother?

    • sbcissues says:

      Les… I edited my statement above so that perhaps it communicates more clearly what I was trying to say the first time. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

    • Bob, do you all sing hymn #285 in the Baptist Hymnal? may be a different number depending which hymnal version you use. Here are the words.

      “1 I will sing of my Redeemer
      And His wondrous love to me;
      On the cruel cross He suffered
      From the curse to set me free.
      Chorus:
      Sing, oh, sing of my Redeemer,
      With His blood He purchased me;
      On the cross He sealed my pardon,
      Paid the debt and made me free.
      2 I will tell the wondrous story,
      How my lost estate to save;
      In His boundless love and mercy,
      He the ransomed freely gave.[Chorus]
      3 I will praise my dear Redeemer,
      His triumphant power I’ll tell,
      How the victory He giveth
      Over sin and death and hell.[Chorus]
      4 I will sing of my Redeemer,
      And His heavenly love to me;
      He from death to life hath brought me,
      Son of God, with Him to be.[Chorus]”

      Look carefully at the words you are singing if indeed you sing this one from time to time. And I know, you need not remind me that a hymn isn’t scripture. I know that.

      But can ou sing this hymn in truth as praise to God? Notice the chorus:

      “With His blood He purchased me;
      On the cross He sealed my pardon,”

      That’s the orthodox position, and has nothing to do with LA.

  13. bobscotton says:

    Folks, I got on to this merry-go-round about 3 years ago, and I am seriously thinking about getting off because when I decide to get off, I will exiting at the very same spot from which I entered. My journey will continue, but I am uncertain as to where it will lead me. The ‘Great Awakening’ is not being revisited and the Reformation is not going to happen again, but the Calvinists within the SBC are seemingly making such claims. I think that they may very well claim the Convention as their own in the near future and the Traditional churches, I am afraid, will be having to make some very, very difficult decisions.

    With that said, I want to add my ‘two cents’ into this dialogue, and they are this; over the course of these three years I have read many books, articles and blogs written from many people on both sides of this Jordan. What I have found most interesting is that ‘biblicists’ such as Steve Lemke, Malcolm Yarnell, and others present their arguments against Calvinism from incredibly sound exegetical studies. But from what I have noted in things written by Al Mohler and others who are staunchly Calvinistic, they seem to practice what is called eisexegesis, that is to say something into the text that is just not there. It has often been said ‘a text without a context is just a pretext’.

    In light of this, did Joshua choose or did God make the choice for him? “Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship Yahweh. But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.” Joshua 24:14,15 HCSB

    I see the that the merry-go-round may stop any moment because as far as I am able to see, this conversation will never cease…at least until Jesus returns. Jesus is Lord.

    Bob Williford

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