[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Calvinism and the Sins that Christ did NOT Atone For

by Antonio da Rosa

I was responding to a comment on a thread on my other blog tonight when it struck me.

To the Traditionalist, there is a list of sins, that if someone commits them, then there is no way that person can be a truly regenerate person.

The list may vary from Calvinist to Calvinist, but there is one sin, inparticular, that would make it on all of their lists:

Apostasy

All Calvinists would say that any body who apostasizes from the faith cannot be a truly born-again person and will end up in the Lake of Fire.

Think about this for a moment.

Since, in the estimation of the Traditionalist, only the elect will be saved, when we add into the equation the Perseverance of the Saints, we are faced with an interesting thought:

There is a list of sins that Jesus in no way could have practically propitiated the Father for, died for.

Since Christ died only for the elect, and the elect cannot apostasize, Jesus could not have died for the sin of apostasy. He did not die for the sin of apostasy, because no elect person can apostasize and stay saved!

The Traditionalist says that Christ's death is an actual satisfaction for all the elect's sins. If the elect can't apostasize, then Christ didn't die for the sin of apostasy!

It is in this way that the Traditionalist has put his qualifiers on Christ's blood. Not only have they limited the extent of Christ's death only to the elect, but they must necessarily limit the breadth of that death to exclude the list of sins, specifically that of apostasy.

They may say, well Christ died for all the elect's sins but the elect can't apostasize.

If Christ died for sin as a whole and in general, then apostasy would have to be included in it. Apostasy is a sin! Therefore Christ must have propitiated the Father concerning the specific sin of apostasy.

Yet the Traditionalist will say that apostasy negates the faith that the apostate once held, therefore is a deal-breaker. The only way they can guard from the charge that the apostate lost his salvation is to say that he had a merely spurious faith. This, too, is a man made doctrine.

The bottom line is that if Christ died for sin (period), apostasy would have to be included in that scheme, and therefore, Jesus would have had to die for apostasy in the elect!

If Jesus died for the sin of apostasy, why would such a sin negate someone's eternal standing before God? If Jesus died for all sins, then the only logical answer from the Traditionalist would have to be that Jesus did not die for the sin of apostasy. For if Jesus died for all sin, apostasy being a specific under that banner, and the believer gone apostate WOULD STILL BE UNDER THE BLOOD of CHRIST!

If a believer commits apostasy, and Jesus died for all sin (apostasy being one), then Jesus' death propitiated completely for that sin of apostasy, and the apostate is still under the blood of Christ and still has the declaration of justification (although he will be under the chastening and discipline of the Lord as well!)

But in the Traditionalist religion, which is substantially less realistic than the Bible itself, Christ's death cannot atone for the sin of apostasy. It is a deal breaker, and the one who once believed but now apostasized has lost his salvation (how else are we supposed to look at it?).

Your thoughts?

Antonio da Rosa

45 Comments:

  • Antonio,
    Now you got me thinking on Sunday morning!

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Sunday, August 13, 2006 5:07:00 AM  

  • Some time ago I began working on an article about Peter's apostasy and the significance for Calvinism.

    I had to lay it aside due to time constraints. It might be worth someone else's picking up.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at Sunday, August 13, 2006 6:12:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Malchymist, at Monday, August 14, 2006 7:39:00 PM  

  • Antonio, thanks for the thought provoking post. I'm new to the FG position, so forgive the dumb question on my part. Is there the possibility in your mind or in FG that a Christian can deliberatly walk away from the faith and enter a state of not being justified?

    By Blogger Earl, at Tuesday, August 15, 2006 5:57:00 AM  

  • Antonio
    Again the question keeps going through my mind, "Can these people possibly have read the epistle to the Galatians?"

    By Blogger Malchymist, at Tuesday, August 15, 2006 12:01:00 PM  

  • Earl,

    The short answer to your question is no. Once a person is saved they are a member of the body of Christ and cannot lose their salvation. However, anyone who adheres to the Calvinist position will also agree with that statement. The real disagreements come in to play when the mechanics of salvation are examined. I am familiar with three different views on salvation (I am more familiar with the free grace position than the others), these being Calvinism/Reformed/Traditionalist, Arminian, and Free Grace. I would like to present a quick summary of the three positions and this should help clarify the issues. I would like to first state a disclaimer, the summary I list below is an honest summary of the various positions as I understand them. I am not trying to caricature or misrepresent any of them, if anyone feels that I have left some important point out then please correct me and keep in mind it was not intentional. Even though I am a Free Grace advocate, I do not pretend to speak for all Free Grace advocates in general or Antonio in particular.

    1) Calvinism/Reformed/Traditionalist
    a. In eternity past God foreknew all humans who would ever live and, using his sovereignty, chose who he would save and who he would not save.
    b. When Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross he paid the price for only the elect (those whom God chose to save).
    c. People are condemned to eternity in the lake of fire because of their unforgiven sins.
    d. Those who are elect have no choice but to believe, God's grace is irresistable. For people to have the choice as to whether or not they accept God's gift of salvation would violate God's sovereignty. All who believe are secure because they must perservere.
    e. Those who are elect have no choice but to perservere in the faith. They may lapse into apostasy for short periods but, once again, they cannot become apostate without violating God's sovereignty.

    This is the point Antonio made in his article, to a Calvinist apostasy is proof that a person is an unbeliever (I believe they use the term nonbeliever). All apostates are unbelievers therefore by definition God never atoned for the sin of apostasy.

    2) Arminian
    a. In eternity past God foreknew all humans who would ever live and whether or not they would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He allowed the use of man's free will without violating his sovereignty.
    b. When Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross he paid the price for only those who would believe.
    c. People are condemned to eternity in the lake of fire because of their sins.
    d. Mankind can exercise free will and choose whether or not to believe. However, they are not secure and they must choose to perservere until the end of their lives.
    e. Those who are elect can deny the faith and loose their salvation and once again face eternal condemnation.

    3) Free Grace
    a. In eternity past God foreknew all humans who would ever live and whether or not they would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He allowed the use of man's free will without violating his sovereignty.
    b. When Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross he paid the price for all humanity, those who believe and those who do not believe. The payment of the price for our sins does not reconcile us to God, we lack Gods perfect righteousness (virtue) which is necessary for any relationship with God. When we accept the Lord as savior his righteousness is credited to our account.
    c. People are condemned to eternity in the lake of fire because they lack God's perfect righteousness.
    d. Mankind can exercise free will and chose whether or not to believe.
    e. After someone has believed they may indeed apostatize without losing their salvation. Once a member of the body of Christ always a member of the body of Christ. However, this is not an invitation for a believer to do whatever they want and blow God off (apostatize). For those who do apostatize, they will have a lousy life here on earth suffering the sin unto death. In heaven they will be ashamed at the Judgment Seat (bema) of Christ and suffer permanent loss of reward in eternity.

    I hope you find this useful.

    Glenn W.

    By Anonymous GlennW, at Tuesday, August 15, 2006 5:42:00 PM  

  • Glenn, thank you very much. I did find that very useful.

    By Blogger Earl, at Tuesday, August 15, 2006 6:02:00 PM  

  • Glenn,

    I really like what you write.

    I personally would personally relate a few points differently.

    e) of Calvinism:
    I would say that in Calvinism, the 'Christian' is to give all exertion and energy to persevere. And if they do not persevere, they perish (showing they weren't elect). The elect must use all efforts on his part to persevere.

    Also, the basic effect of both Calvinism and Arminianism is the same:

    if you fail to persevere, you go to hell

    Under Free Grace theology, I liked your description under "b"

    Under the FG, point A is debatable. FG theology ranges between Middle-Knowledge and mild Open Theology.

    Also, election and predestination are not to personal salvation, but to roles, functions, blessings and responsibilities by virtue of our en Christo relationship.

    under "d" of Free Grace I would spell it out thus:

    Men are commanded and directed (their wills entreated) to look to Christ for eternal life. They are to be open to the gospel and consider the evidence.

    But faith itself is not an act of the will. People cannot will to believe something. Faith is the passive result of being convinced that something is true.

    So although our wills are entreated to look to Christ, faith itself is a passive result, taking Christ at His word, it is receiving.

    I have an interesting article on faith on my blog:

    Faith is the Passive Result of being Persuaded

    I enjoyed reading your comment, Glenn and thank you so much for your participation!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, August 15, 2006 6:31:00 PM  

  • Earl,

    a Christian who is justified can indeed walk away from the faith. This is a tragic.

    But in the Bible there is a highly articulated doctrine of both temporal and eternal accountability for the Christian.

    Such a person cannot lose his positional standing. He is justified and remains that way, not because of his faithfulness, but because God is faithful.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, August 15, 2006 6:33:00 PM  

  • Also, under the last point of Glenn's free grace list, I would say that God has many avenues at His disposal to correct, discipline, encourage, chasten, and prompt the falling and failing regenerate one. Premature death is only one of countless others.

    Also in eternity real loss can be incurred for the unfaithful Christian. Loss of glories, honors, position, and privleges (sp?) await the shipwrecked Christian.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, August 15, 2006 6:38:00 PM  

  • They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. (I John 2:19)

    Hmmm!

    By Blogger takin, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 7:21:00 AM  

  • Antonio, thanks for the response and further refining the FG position. It would seem that under FG the only sin Christ did not atone for is the sin of complete lack of faith (rather than apostacy). FG seems to have a version of Once Saved, Always Saved (with caveats about loss of rewards) -- in distinction from the Reformed Perseverance of the Saints. I'm organizing the information in my mind on the distinctives of FG theology.

    By Blogger Earl, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 9:20:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    You said, "The bottom line is that if Christ died for sin (period), apostasy would have to be included in that scheme, and therefore, Jesus would have had to die for apostasy in the elect!"

    I may be wrong, but I believe a Calvinist would say that the elect would never apostasize. It's not that the person had saving faith and then turned from and lost it, it's that they never had true faith to begin with. They never believed in Christ for eternal life. Like I said, I may be wrong.

    And, I believe, in other posts, you've caracterized the idea of election according to Calvinistic doctrine as if God were dragging the person, kicking and screaming, into heaven wether or not they wanted to come. Is that a fair synopsis?

    Then would this scenerio be true of the apostate according to FG? He/She believes in Christ for eternal life, years later decides he/she hates Christ, in fact doesn't even believe He exsited or that He's God and turns his/her back on the truth of the Gospel. Wants nothing to do with God. Yet God is obligated to drag the person into heaven, kicking and screaming, because he/she believed.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 9:39:00 AM  

  • Takin, that verse has nothing to do with salvation. It concerns the apostolic company.

    The individuals mentioned were false teachers who had shown that they were not part of the apostles' company by abandoning their work and fellowship.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 12:12:00 PM  

  • "In heaven they will be ashamed at the Judgment Seat (bema) of Christ and suffer permanent loss of reward in eternity"

    I'm not saying that sin has absolutely no effect on eternity, (indeed, how can something that takes place between two people in a relationship in the past not effect their relationship in the future in some way? I don't believe in God erasing the past as regards to sin: that would destroy his glory displayed in redemption) but do you think possibly that the Judgement Seat of Christ has more to do with the Millennium than with eternity?

    After Christ is done with his 1000 years of millennial reign in which His glory and wisdom is displayed in Israel and his Church, he hands everything back to his Father. We know that he will continue to show us the riches of his grace in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus in the ages to come. I'm not saying there's any kind of levelling of souls that goes on to make everyone exactly alike, but I don't think it's a time for rewards of merit.

    Besides, are any of us really under the impression that it will be our own glory displayed in the crowns we wear? We won't be then. We will bear them, for the works were wrought in us, but the elders cast their crowns at His feet: it's really His glory that we wear and display, and it glorifies Him all the more that we are justly fit to bear it.

    However, eternity is a time in which God will be all in all: in which He Himself will display his own glory to us in Christ. Somehow I don't think he'll be holding back from those who suffered loss.

    I'm not trying to be dogmatic here. I would be very interested to hear what others think about this topic.

    By Blogger Tim, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 12:45:00 PM  

  • Tim, I believe that eternity is in many ways a continuation of the Millennial Kingdom.

    I see little evidence to indicate any change in the status of glorified beleivers resulting from the transition between Millennium and eternity.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 12:52:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    Just a couple of quick comments. First I agree that God has many avenues at his disposal to correct believers and that at different times we all require correction. I did emphasize the sin unto death and the loss of rewards in eternity in order to keep anyone from charging the free grace position with being antinomian as will happen from time to time. Thank you for giving a more in depth explanation.

    I was surprised when you said that "FG theology ranges between Middle-Knowledge and mild Open Theology", I did not realize this. The understanding I have of Middle-Knowledge and Open Theology has not persuaded me that those positions are correct so you did correctly understand my position.

    Ten Cent,

    I believe Antonio does understand the Calvinist position that the elect would never apostatize. The point I believe he is making is that the Calvinist logic is as follows:

    Proposition A: On the cross Jesus atoned for the sins of the elect only, the sins of the unbeliever were not atoned for.
    Proposition B: God will not permit the elect to apostatize.
    If Proposition A and Proposition B are both true then Jesus never atoned for the sin of apostasy.

    A question I have asked in the past, without receiving a satisfactory answer, is are there any other sins God does not allow the believer to commit? Is apostasy the only one? How do we know this?

    As for your statement regarding an apostate believer being dragged kicking and screaming into heaven is correct. God is faithful even when we aren't.

    Do you understand why Antonio made the statement you quote? While both Free Grace and Calvinist theologies agree that mankind is not able to reconcile itself to God they disagree as to whether there is any free will allowed in the process of regeneration.

    Calvinists hold to the doctrine of Total Inability which says that an unbeliever is unable to even recognize a need for Christ and the salvation he offers. A person believes only after God has regenerated them (in other words they are saved before they actually believe).

    Free Gracer's, as far as I know, hold to the doctrine of Common Grace which says that the Holy Spirit makes clear to unbelievers the offer of eternal salvation at which point they can accept or reject that gift. If an individual accepts the gift of salvation they then become regenerate (they believe and then are saved).

    Glenn W.

    By Anonymous GlennW, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 5:03:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    The difference I see is that in the Millennium, righteousness reigns (Isaiah 32:1) through Christ, and his Bride with him. There is still sin to be kept in check. In Eternity, sin is eradicated and righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).

    In the Millennium, the Glory of Christ is on display in his Bride, while in Eternity, the glory of God is displayed in Christ.

    There is no change in status. We will always be the Bride of Christ. The difference is in the role that we play.

    By Blogger Tim, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 5:40:00 PM  

  • Glenn,

    I mispoke. I was speaking about the majority. It actually ranges from determinism to open theism, as Free Grace theology has crucial essentials and varying views on other doctrines.

    The Grace Evangelical Society has never taken an official stand on such matters. Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin believe in a Middle Knowledge scheme. There are Calvinist Free Grace believers who take a more deterministic model. And there are some who take a mild Open view.

    Reason I made a comment is that many take a corporate view of election (although many who take the corporate view, as myself, do not believe that election is unto personal salvation, but to the attendent blessings and responsibilities of salvation).

    Free Grace theology has a few sine qua non, such as faith alone, assurance is of the essence of saving faith, radical accountability, rewards, etc.

    After the sine qua nons, there are issues that are not agreed upon.

    You may be a Free Grace advocate and still be a Calvinist (with modifications) such as R.T. Kendall, Charles M. Bell, Charles Ryrie, Michael Eaton, etc.

    Most, however are not Calvinists.

    Glennw, you are right on the mark with your theology. I hope I didn't give any other impression. I am glad to make your acquantence (I must look up the spelling for this word) and am your ally in the gospel proclamation.

    Thank you for your participation on this blog!

    Email me, please, so that we can talk. My email address is in my profile.

    Earl,

    I don't believe you understand the FG view of propitiation yet.

    Christ died actually (not merely potentially) for all sin, for the sins of the whole world (period!).

    Glennw's point 'b' under 3. Free Grace, is an excellent summary of what we believe.

    Christ died for the sin of unbelief, because He died for ALL sins, for the whole world!

    Your brother,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 7:17:00 PM  

  • Antonio, thanks for responding. I'm not surprised I don't understand FG yet. Perhaps I'm operating under different assumptions. I've thought that if Christ died for any particular sin, then that sin is forgiven and not held against that person anymore. Unbelief is held against that person and the net result is condemnation at the judgement. It's a similar kind of thing with the Calvinist. Although you make the case that apostacy is the unforgiveable Calvinist sin, it really in the Calvinist mindset is ultimately unbelief, because in theory in the Calvinist view of perseverance the believer with justifying faith will never become an apostate.

    I'm not saying this to detract from FG, just an observation from the practical logical results of FG theology, which at this particular point is similar to Calvinistic theology. I see you note that there are FG Calvinists, so this point must be permissible in the FG umbrella, since this kind of thing comes with Calvinism.

    I'll gladly take further correction on this point.

    By Blogger Earl, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 8:56:00 PM  

  • A further point of clarification. When I said that the practical result of Christ dying for any particular sin was that sin was forgiven. I should clarify there is a point in which the death of Christ pays for that sin (Christ's death), a seperate point in which the payment is applied (when the person exercises justifying faith), and when the payment is consumated at the second coming (or rapture, whatever escatoloogical viewpoint) where the believer enters heaven.

    Sorry for my babbling.

    By Blogger Earl, at Wednesday, August 16, 2006 9:10:00 PM  

  • I take a Simple Foreknowledge view.

    I believe God knows the future, but He has not determined every event that comes to pass. I do not believe that Middle Knowledge is a possible kind of knowledge.

    My view of God's Sovereignty is essentially a Risk-Model, as is Open Theology.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, August 17, 2006 12:23:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    This post is very interesting! It is not necessary for Christ to die for the sin of apostacy. hmmm...
    I don't recall getting a sense of that ... or any limit on the death of Christ ... when I have read the Scriptures.

    For me, when I consider the death of Christ, I always see a picture of this thick tapestry/curtain being torn right down the middle, in a dramatic way - no threads remaining attached between one side and the other.

    Great discussion in the comments too.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, August 17, 2006 4:37:00 AM  

  • Matthew, I'm curious about your view (not to argue about it, but simply to understand). You believe in simple forknowledge. Is that forknowledge on everything that happens in the future? When you say that God has not detemined every event that comes to pass -- do you mean that God did not foreknow it would come to pass, or that He did not actively determine it would come to pass? Are you saying you accept some form of Open Theology?

    By Blogger Earl, at Thursday, August 17, 2006 5:52:00 AM  

  • I believe God has perfect knowledge of the future.

    I reject the Open theology view of God, though I agree with John Sanders that the Simple Foreknowledge view and to a lesser extent, the Middle Knowledge view offer a risk model of sovereignty.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, August 17, 2006 8:42:00 AM  

  • Matthew, thanks. I thought that was your position. I don't read well and so I can jump to all sorts of conclusions.

    By Blogger Earl, at Thursday, August 17, 2006 9:37:00 AM  

  • Earl,

    Christ's death forgave no one actually. It removed the barrier of sin between God and man.

    For a brief article articulating the Free Grace understanding of the "atonement", please click this article from my blog:

    The Purpose of Christ's Death

    Earl,

    I am interested in your comments on this article. Please leave them on this thread.

    Please read the article.

    Your friend in "the faith"

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, August 17, 2006 3:38:00 PM  

  • Antonio, thanks. I am going to be away on vacation and I'll respond when I get back. It looks like a good entry.

    By Blogger Earl, at Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:47:00 PM  

  • If I'm not mistaken, isn't there at least one sin we would all have to agree upon that cannot be forgiven? Didn't Jesus Himself say that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an unforgiveable sin? If so, wouldn't Jesus Himself put a 'limit' upon this atonement? Therefore meaning that the atonement of Christ would, in Christ's opinion at least, be exclusive, not all en-compassing.

    Therefore it would not only be the Traditionalist that put 'qualifiers' on Christ's blood, but Christ would as well. Likewise it would not only be the Traditionalist that limit the breadth of the death to exclude the list of sins, Christ would as well.

    Forgive me Antonio, if it comes between accepting an all encompassing blood covering and being in your favor, or accepting with Christ that His blood does not cover all sins, I'd a hundred times over, and twice on Sunday side with Christ.

    Nothing personal of course.

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Friday, August 18, 2006 4:41:00 AM  

  • Sofyst,

    you have made a tragic category error.

    It is one thing to be regenerated and declared righteous.

    It is another thing to have temporal forgiveness.

    Let me give you a quick example:

    A man may be born again and days before his death he has not confessed his sins.

    When he dies, he will have died with those sins temporally unforgiven.

    Forgiveness is a relational matter, a familial matter.

    Justification is a judicial matter.

    And besides:

    I was arguing from a Traditionalist point of view. In this position, since Christ only died for the elect, and Christ's death actually forgave the elect, if the elect cannot apostasize, then it follows that Christ did not die for the sin of apostasy.

    But in my view Christ died for all sins of all mankind. Why do I have this view? Because the Bible is explicit that Christ is the propitiation of not only our sins but for the sins of the whole world.

    But the death of Christ neither saved anyone or forgave anyone.

    The death of Christ satisfied God for the sins of the world in the sense that it took the barrier of sin that was between God and man completely away, so that God may unconditionally accept those who appropriate His absolutely free gift by faith in His Son.

    Forgiveness is a fellowship issue.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, August 18, 2006 1:25:00 PM  

  • Antonio, simple question: where does the Scripture state specifically that Christ died for every sin?

    You stated that the Scripture states that Christ died for not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world. But this still doesn't state that He died for every sin.

    Let me explain it this way. If you had five dollars, and I had five dollars, and Rose had five dollars, and then let us say that Kc came along and took two dollars from each of us. It could be said that Kc has taken the money of all us.

    Now you could come along and say that this is incorrect, Kc has not taken 'the money' from all of us, as he did not take ALL of the money from all of us. But you would be assuming. For it was never said that Kc took ALL of the money, but rather that he took 'the money'.

    Understand.

    I am not necessarily here arguing that Christ didn't in fact die for every sin of every person. You'd be amazed to know that I am actually slipping from my Calvinism in that regard. I would probably accept that Christ did cover every sin upon the cross...

    What I am simply asking is for you to show Scripture to back up your assertion. You say that the Bible is explicit in saying that Christ died for the sins of the world. But by this, you mean to say that the Bible is explicit in saying that Christ died for every sin of the world. It is not. The Bible is not explicit in this, as I have proven above with my analogy.

    Therefore, when you fault the Traditionalist, saying that they go against the 'explicit Scripture', when in reality, they are simply going against your assumption, your view, your specific interpretation of the Scripture.

    I have another question regarding your response. You said: 'A man may be born again and days before his death he has not confessed his sins.'

    Are you saying here that one can be born again and not confess their sins? As in one can believe in Christ (and hence be born again), but never confess of their wicked ways, never confess that they have sinned?

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Saturday, August 19, 2006 7:24:00 AM  

  • One more question. You said:

    'But the death of Christ neither saved anyone or forgave anyone.

    The death of Christ satisfied God for the sins of the world in the sense that it took the barrier of sin that was between God and man completely away, so that God may unconditionally accept those who appropriate His absolutely free gift by faith in His Son.

    Forgiveness is a fellowship issue.'


    So Christ's death really didn't accomplish anything. Yes, granted, it took down the barrier, or let us say opened the door. But the only time anything is accomplished, in the eternal sense, is when we choose to walk through that door? I mean, if Christ simply opened the door, and no one walked through, we wouldn't really call that much of an accomplishment. But if He opened the door, and scores of people walked through, and thus were saved, then we would attribute to Him a great deed.

    But in reality, since He simply opened the door, and it is we who walk through that door, He is in reality nothing more than a bellhop.

    Hopefully I have misunderstood you...

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Saturday, August 19, 2006 7:35:00 AM  

  • Nathaniel,

    Regarding Christs Atonement for All Sins
    You asked where does scripture say that Christ died for all our sins, 1 John 2:2 says:

    And he himself is the propitiation for our sins [believers]; and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.

    I also claim that 2 Cor. 5:14-15 and 1 Tim 4:10 support this view.

    I have to admit your idea that God paid for some of everyone's sins but not necessarily all sin is novel. What makes you think that the word "sins" in this verse is only some sins but not all sins? Is there something in the Greek of this passage that implies partial atonement?

    Also, Free Gracer's will, correctly I believe, state that the "whole world" is all of mankind while Reformed will interpret the "whole world" to mean the elect only. The one thing they seem to agree upon is that those who's sins Christ died for on the cross had all of their sins forgiven. I have never heard of any church/tradition/denomination that holds to a doctrine of total atonement for some, partial atonement for others, and (maybe) no atonement whatsoever for others. Is there an author who has advanced this position?

    Regarding Christ's Removal of the Barrier to Salvation
    You made the following statement:

    So Christ's death really didn't accomplish anything. Yes, granted, it took down the barrier, or let us say opened the door. But the only time anything is accomplished, in the eternal sense, is when we choose to walk through that door?

    There are a couple of things that need to be stated regarding this. To say that Christ's work on the cross, thereby removing the barrier, would have meant nothing if no one had believed is both silly and moot. Is it so inconceivable to you that God would choose (yes, God makes choices too) to allow mankind to decide whether or not to accept the gift of salvation? Must the gift only be forced upon some and not even offered to others or he is somehow less than God?

    I understand that you are trying to make a point here and things can get heated. I am sure you thought that your quip about turning God into a bellhop was a cute rhetorical point but, as far as I am concerned, it was disrespectful and bordering on blasphemy. As believers we are all responsible before God for what we believe and will be held accountable before our creator for those beliefs. You should make your points with a little more respect and if those of us who hold to different beliefs are wrong, God will correct us.

    Glenn W.

    By Anonymous GlennW, at Saturday, August 19, 2006 2:15:00 PM  

  • Glen, you said:

    Christ's Atonement

    Regarding Christs Atonement for All Sins
    You asked where does scripture say that Christ died for all our sins, 1 John 2:2 says:

    And he himself is the propitiation for our sins [believers]; and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world.


    You likewise asked:

    I have to admit your idea that God paid for some of everyone's sins but not necessarily all sin is novel. What makes you think that the word "sins" in this verse is only some sins but not all sins? Is there something in the Greek of this passage that implies partial atonement?

    Nothing within the Greek (that I know of), but something that came from our LORD's mouth. HE is the one that said that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven. He said it, not Calvin.

    Therefore, if His belief is that there is at least one sin that cannot be forgiven, then I do not hesitate one moment to think that His blood did not in fact cover every sin.

    Return again to my analogy. If we think of every person as having five dollars. But we likewise add the factor in of some people having dollars that they cannot give up, perhaps we say that they are glued to their foreheads, unable to be removed. If we then said that Christ came and took the dollars of all people. We wouldn't necessarily have to say that He took every dollar of every person. Remembering of course that there are dollars that He could not take (as they were glued to the people's foreheads).

    Corney, yes, I know....but it gets the point across.

    Christ came and died for the whole world, EVERYONE. His blood covered EVERYONE. His blood covered the sins of EVERYONE.

    But some people have sins that cannot be forgiven. Some people commit blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, even though all their other sins were covered and forgiven by Christ upon the cross, they are still stuck with sins that cannot be forgiven.

    We then would not have to grasp as straws as the Calvinist does and say that 'whole world' means 'whole world of elect'. We wouldn't either have to ignore Scripture with the non-Calvinist and say that Christ covered every sin, when Christ said He can't forgive every sin. We would have Christ forgiving the sins of the world (world being everyone, and sin not necessarily being every single sin) and yet we would not be universalist as some people are left with some sins, disqualifying them from heaven...

    I want to ask you a question in return. You asked me what made me think that 'sins' in the verse meant only some sins and not every sin. Could I ask you what makes you think that 'sin' means every single sin and not only some? Would we not both be assuming in either case?

    I think that I would have reasonable explanation for my assumption, as I have our LORD saying that there are some sins He cannot forgive. Therefore we would either have to accept a contradiction, wherein Christ says He cannot forgive some sins, but John saying that Christ covered (forgave) every single sin...or we acknowledge that our LORD is speaking truth, and John, once again, is not being as all enclusive as the non-Calvinist wish him to be...

    Regarding Christ's Removal of the Barrier to Salvation

    As respectfully as I can be, simply stating that my assertion was moot or pointless does not make it so. I do not believe I have misrepresented Antonio in my assertion. Antonio was the one who stated that Christ's death did not accomplish forgiveness, but only made way for forgiveness.

    If I am to believe that Christ did not, by shedding His blood, forgive the sins of those covered by His blood, and believe that by shedding His blood He only made way for forgiveness to be possible, then my bellhop analogy is quite beautiful.

    If the assertions are correct, then I am not incorrect in stating that Christ's blood only opened the door. Doing nothing more.

    And no, it is not inconcievable for me to imagine that God would choose to allow man to decide whether to accept the gift or not. I can conceive of such just fine. But I can likewise concieve of pink bunnies and unicorns...but I believe none of them.

    And for the record, I do not believe even God has choice. But that is a path I am sure you do not want to tread with me...ask Kc though, he loves to walk it with me...

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Saturday, August 19, 2006 9:34:00 PM  

  • Nathan,

    Unforgivable Sins
    When you say that the Lord said that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven could you please accompany that with some kind of reference to a particular passage? I would like to understand the context of the quote you are using. As I had stated earlier, I do believe that the ministry Holy Spirit makes the offer of salvation clear to the spiritually dead and then they have the ability to chose. If they decline the offer they are condemned.

    When the passage in 1 John says Christ died for the sins of the world that seems to make the point. In claiming that Christ paid for the sins of the world if John did not mean all of the sins of the entire world why would he have phrased it this way? Why not qualify it in a way that would say Christ died for the forgivable sins?

    As for Christ paying (atoning) for some of an individual's sins but not all of them, I think is a very difficult point to support. If this was the case I believe that scripture would list a very explicit set of sins and make it clear that committing any of these sins makes a person unredeemable (I know you believe God has done this, please quote supporting passages). However, I do not believe this to be the case. Every sin is offensive to God! Offensive in a very deep, personal sense. It is easy for people to fall into the trap of thinking that some sins are more offensive to God than others because some sins are more offensive to us than others.

    We know that the Mosaic Law could not save a person because we are all sinners and have no ability of keeping the law of our own power, all it did was convict us of the need for a saviour. If we cannot keep the Law then many of us (or all of us) won't be able to keep from committing the unforgivable sins either (yes, this is assuming that we can still exercise free will once saved).

    Regarding Christ's Removal of the Barrier to Salvation
    You had asserted that if Christ had died for our sins but no one, from there own free will, had accepted the gift of salvation then Christ would have accomplished nothing. First of all, this point is moot since many millions have accepted the gift of salvation. Secondly, you are thinking in a very modern, utilitarian fashion. If God does what is right and in accordance with his divine attributes (justice, righteousness, sovereignty, love, etc.) then he has accomplished everything.

    You are convinced of the fact that all who spend eternity in the lake of fire will do so because of their unforgiven sins. Once again, I will defend the position that all sins are forgiven and people will spend eternity in the lake of fire because by refusing God's offer of salvation they lack his perfect righteousness (virtue) and therefore cannot have any relationship with God. Sin is not the only brick in the barrier between man and God.

    Your bellhop analogy came up a bit short of beautiful for me. Even if you are convinced that you are right on this one please be sensitive to the fact that it could be found to be offensive to other believers. I am not asking you to hide your beliefs but be mindful of other believers and do not strive to offend them, in fact you should strive to make your points while not offending. Leave it up to the ministry of the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

    Glenn W.

    By Anonymous GlennW, at Sunday, August 20, 2006 9:49:00 AM  

  • Glenn (Glen?),

    Unforgiveable Sins

    The passage in question is: Matthew 12:31

    And John doesn't seem to make any point explicitly, that is why there is this debate. John neither says, 'Jesus paid for some sins of everyone', nor does he say 'Jesus paid for every sin of everyone'. This you must admit.

    I must assume, just as much as you must, that John means by 'sins', only some sins, as you must assume that when he says 'sins', he means every sin. I could ask the very same question. Why did John not qualify the word and say that Christ died for EVERY sin, why did he just say that Christ died for the sins??

    And it is not a difficult point to show that Christ only atoned for some sins, as Christ says specifically He cannot forgive one sin, therefore meaning that He cannot atone for that sin. It is called the unforgiveable sin for a reason. I think...

    And I will not provide you with some list as to what sins Christ did not pay for, as I have provided you that list already. There is but one sin that is not going to be paid for by Christ, and that is the blasphemy of the Spirit. Therefore the slates of every person will be wiped clean, but if that is upon their slate, that will be the only thing remaining, and sufficient reason to send them to hell...

    You said:

    It is easy for people to fall into the trap of thinking that some sins are more offensive to God than others because some sins are more offensive to us than others.

    Yes, this is very easy. Especially when Christ gives us that inclination. Christ says that all sins will be forgiven, but blasphemy of the Spirit will neither be forgiven in this world nor the next. Thus giving people SUFFICIENT REASON to fall into the 'trap' of thinking some sins (one sin to be more precise) is more offensive to God. If this sin (blasphemy of the Spirit) is not more offensive to God, why in Heaven's name would it be unforgiveable and dubbed as such?

    I really think you are missing the point entirely here or are thinking that I am saying something I am...

    Regarding Bellhoppianism

    Sir, I need your help here. I am not understanding you at all.

    You say:

    Once again, I will defend the position that all sins are forgiven...

    Your position is that all sins are forgiven. But how is anyone in their right mind supposed to believe this, and accept it with you (and how on earth do you believe and accept it), when the words of our Savior are that blasphemy of the Spirit WILL NOT BE FORGIVEN.

    Perhaps I should quote Him.

    Mat 12:31-32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. (32) And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

    Perhaps it is my deep-rooted determinism that is creeping up, or my denial of the man-made choice that is hindering me, but I cannot help but read Jesus, when saying, 'blasphemy of the Spirit will not be forgiven' as 'blasphemy of the Spirit will not be forgiven'.

    Jesus says this particular sin will not be forgiven, you say that every sin will be forgiven. Pardon me for believing with Jesus that this sin will not be forgiven, and being completely dumbfounded as to why you would still posit that it will...

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Sunday, August 20, 2006 4:11:00 PM  

  • While reading your comment through again, I came across a couple questions I have for you. You said:

    Sin is not the only brick in the barrier between man and God.

    You say sin is not the only brick in the barrier, but how can this be? I had assumed your position was that all sins were forgiven...therefore, sin is not even a brick in the barrier, sin is not even in question, all sins were forgiven, therefore no sinful bricks within the barrier.

    Once again, I will defend the position that all sins are forgiven and people will spend eternity in the lake of fire because by refusing God's offer of salvation they lack his perfect righteousness (virtue) and therefore cannot have any relationship with God.

    Simple question, is refusing God's offer of salvation a sin? Is it sin to refuse God's salvation?

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Sunday, August 20, 2006 5:15:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I read the blog entry, and the comments associated with it, along with the comments here. I must say I now realize I *really* didn't have a clue of your position with regard to sin. I also see why you refer to most other Protestants/Evangelicals as "traditionalists", because what you are advocating is quite different from the traditional teaching of Evangelicals from Luther and Calvin. I can see that my comments regarding the FG position on sin are virtually non sequiturs given the greater context of your writing. Our approaches to biblical interpretation are markedly different in many ways. For instance, I do not interpret James as you do, as being soley dealing with santification. How we interpret 1 John on forgiveness of sins is markedly different. Our patterns of interpretation are so different, that I am not sure when you and I speak of "sola fide" that we are talking about the same thing. You've mentioned Gordon Clark as a FG Calvinist, but I don't know if Gordon Clark would speak the same kind of "sola fide" as you do.

    Thus, reading your entries more closely, I'm discovering I see there is such a difference in approaches that I don't know where to even begin to discuss this.

    Are they many FG oriented churches around? I could see how you'd find services/sermons in "traditional" churches like finger-nails scratching on chalkboards. I wouldn't fit in FG churches too well, sonsidering from the other side.

    I'm going to be in an out of the blogging world, due to vacation/work and lots of family activities. I'll drop in as I get the chance.

    By Blogger Earl, at Sunday, August 20, 2006 10:42:00 PM  

  • Nathaniel,

    I contend that the sin Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 12:31-32 was rejection of the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. As I have said before, it is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that we all are made aware of our need for a savior. By blaspheming the Holy Spirit the Pharisees were rejecting the gospel. I also will state that Christ dies for the sins of those who rejected him. I also state again that sin is not the only brick in the barrier between man and God.

    I do not see how our continued discussion is going to benefit either of us at this time. I am going to e-mail Antonio with some free information that goes into much greater detail on this subject. I encourage you, or anyone else who is interested, to e-mail Antonio so he can forward this information on to you.

    As for my comment on, as you put it, "Bellhoppianism" I will try to make myself more clear. If you are trying to make a case for your doctrinal point of view I encourage you to continue doing so. I was asking that you back off on the stridency of your rhetoric, you knew that quip would be offensive. If you were trying to sway any of the readers to your point of view I doubt this tactic will work. I was trying to point out that if the point you were making is true, and readers of this blog are in search of truth, then the Holy Spirit will use your words to cause them to see that truth.

    On the other hand if you were just trying to be flippant then a Christian blog is not the place for this. We are ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ while on this earth and should always keep this in mind. If you cannot exhibit the fruits of the spirit (Galations 5:22-23) then you should at least be able to follow the golden rule. If you need to be sarcastic, disrespectful, and full of high dudgeon I would recommend finding a sports or political blog where that kind of behavior is expected.

    Glenn W.

    By Anonymous GlennW, at Monday, August 21, 2006 5:52:00 PM  

  • Glenn,

    Very well, all flippancy aside, with every amount of respect and earnest care and love I can muster within this little sofyst head of mine.

    You said:


    I contend that the sin Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 12:31-32 was rejection of the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit.

    So you agree that blasphemy of the Spirit is sin.

    I also will state that Christ dies for the sins of those who rejected him.

    So you contend that Jesus died for the sins of those that reject Him? Those that blaspheme the Spirit?

    I am only pushing this point, my new friend, as I am partly confused, partly scared for you. It seems that you would be so earnest in your desire to have Jesus die for every sin, that you would ignore the clear words of our LORD. Jesus says quite unequivocally that rejection (blasphemy) of the Spirit is a sin that will not be forigiven. Yet you still maintain your systematic belief that since all sins will be forgiven, blasphemy of the Spirit will as well..

    If you choose to shrug this off or ignore it, then I can do nothing more than shake the dust from my shoes. If my constant referral to 'bellhopianism' was so crass and rude that it would hinder you from accepting the clear biblical witness, then may God damn my soul for keeping one of His children from the truth. But now I ask for your forgiveness for such previous words, and earnestly plead with you to open your eyes and accept what has clearly been laid out for you.

    Jesus does not forgive blasphemy of the Spirit, and still covers all other sins...

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Tuesday, August 22, 2006 5:15:00 AM  

  • For any of you who are interested in reading a Free Grace discussion of the unpardonable sin, please copy and past the following web address into your web browser:

    http://www.faithalone.org/news/y1997/97march2.html

    Bob Wilkin does a very good job of discussing this issue.

    Glenn W.

    By Anonymous GlennW, at Tuesday, August 22, 2006 8:31:00 AM  

  • Bob Wilkin does a good job. Points that I would quibble with:

    (1) I think that possibly Hebrews 6:4-8 and possibly 1 John 5:16 might also refer to the "unpardonable sin".

    (2) The idea that Christ died for all sin of everyone, universally, without exception, and that many with sins died for by Christ enter hell.

    Point number (2) shows I don't understand the FG position. Point number (1) also shows I don't understand the FG position also. But look at all those who can't understand Calvinism, asking how in the world I could love a God who predestines people to hell. What a fine mess we are. :o)

    But other than that, Bob Wilkin makes some excellent points, that even us Calvinists state. Ultimately, it is the persistent lack of placing faith in Christ that damns. Damning is a judgement, it means that Christ did not propitiate that action, or lack thereof, because God's wrath is not satisfied with that person. A person misses the mark with lack of faith, which is a definition of sin.

    Well, I'm afraid we'll go around and around in circles on this. I'll shut up now. Thank you all for your patience with me.

    By Blogger Earl, at Tuesday, August 22, 2006 10:11:00 PM  

  • Earl,

    thank you for your comments.

    I really want to know what you think about that entry of mine other than your few comments.

    What are your impressions. What are your objections.

    Do you find it internally consistent?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, August 22, 2006 10:38:00 PM  

  • Glenn, I just made a post upon my blog. I would be interested in your response to it. If you have time.

    http://www.protestantpub.com

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Tuesday, August 22, 2006 11:20:00 PM  

  • Antonio, in answer to you question, have I read the entry on the purpose of Christ's death, I've been reading it over and over. I'm in the mode of trying to absorb it. One thing I note that you said:

    Christ's death has freed God to unconditionally accept those who believe.

    That is very similar to the concept of Limited Atonement. Are you familiar with the Necker Cube? (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necker_cube). There may be ambiguity with that statement that I could read it as limited atonement, but you're looking at it as universal atonement, but applied to those who believe.

    You speak of unconditional acceptence by God, I am assuming of all humanity, but there is a condition: each person must believe. That is not unconditional acceptence if there is one condition. I think you're coming to a form of limited atonement through the back door. If this is true, I don't have as many issues with FG theology.


    You later say:

    There is in no sense of my position that Christ’s death forgave the sins of the world. No. It took them out of the way as the barrier to God’s unconditional acceptance of the sinner.

    But, there is the implicit understanding that the acceptence is based on those who believe from your previous statement.

    Do you see what I am saying?

    Thank you for your patience with me.

    By Blogger Earl, at Wednesday, August 23, 2006 3:00:00 AM  

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