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Wednesday, April 06, 2011 | Comments (67)

Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It!As much as we’d like to abolish slavery in practice, and even from our memories, the Bible demands that we remember. Slavery has everything to do with our relationship to Christ. We are His slaves, and our slavery to Him is the guarantee of our eternal security.

Historically, nearly every society on earth has practiced human slavery. In the Roman Empire, during the time the New Testament was written, slaves accounted for roughly one-fifth of the population. Slaves were of all ages, ethnicities, and both men and women. Some slaves engaged in hard labor, while others had an easier, domestic existence, serving in a household.

No matter what kind of slave labor they performed, every slave was owned by a master. Slaves did not have personal rights. They had to obey their master. Disobedience guaranteed severe punishment; more serious offenses could result in death.

Slaves from Birth

Not many today know what it’s like to be treated as a piece of property, forced to serve a human master. But the Bible tells us in Romans 6:17, “we were slaves to sin.” The verse before that says “we obeyed sin.” Sin was our master and we had no choice but to obey.

John MacArthur, in his recent book appropriately entitled Slave (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010), gives us a picture of sin as a domineering master,

Sin is a cruel tyrant. It is the most devastating and degenerating power ever to afflict the human race, such that the entire creation “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Rom. 8:22). It corrupts the entire person – infecting the soul, polluting the mind, defiling the conscience, contaminating the affections, and poisoning the will. It is the life-destroying, soul-condemning cancer that festers and grows in every unredeemed human heart like an incurable gangrene. (pp. 120-21)

The Bible tells us the truth: we were not only infected by sin, it owned us. Sin was our master and we had no choice but to serve.

But we didn’t think of ourselves as “enslaved to sin,” did we? No, we thought we were free! And in a warped, twisted, perverted sense, we really were free: “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness” (Romans 6:20). But our pride deceived us about our true condition, making us think we were free when we were wrapped in the chains of our depravity.

We had no resources to free ourselves, just as a human slave can’t buy freedom from his human master. The only hope we had was if someone would purchase our freedom.

Redeemed by Christ

And that’s the good news: Jesus redeemed us from the slave market of sin—that’s the doctrine of redemption. Redemption is Jesus Christ paying a price we could never pay to deliver us from our bondage to sin through His death on the cross.

Redemption has its roots in the Book of Exodus where we read of God liberating His people, Israel, from their bondage as slaves in Egypt (Exodus 6:6; 15:13). The picture of redemption became clearer, more specific, and more profound when Christ came to die on our behalf. His death ransomed us, purchasing us from the slave market of sin so that now we are slaves to Him (Romans 6:18, 22). When He died, we died too, which is what Romans 6 tells us: “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (vv. 6, 7).


Paid in Full

When we consider Romans 6, (along with other passages in the NT), the truth of our redemption will not only fill our hearts with joy that we have been ransomed from sin, but also strengthen the confidence in our eternal security.

Our redemption has a divine origin. God is the one who initiated our redemption. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). We did nothing to earn it. We could no more contribute anything to our redemption by God than an impoverished slave could contribute to his purchase by a human master.

Our redemption delivered us. Paul writes in Galatians 1:4 that we are “delivered from this evil world” and in Colossians 1:13, “He delivered us from the power of darkness.” Before we were Christians we were slaves to sin, free from Christ; now we are slaves to Christ, free from sin. “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

Our redemption is complete and certain. Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:18, 19: “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible [or perishable] things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

God did not purchase our freedom with gold or silver, the typical currency for buying human slaves, but with the blood of His beloved Son. Christ paid full price to secure our ransom from slavery to sin, to seal our salvation. He paid the price of His own precious blood, which is incorruptible.

Christ’s redemption signals an eternal change in our relationship to Him.

  • God did it, so it can’t be undone.
  • Christ delivered us—we are under a new Master now, and our old master can’t get us back.
  • God paid the full price of the precious blood of His Son. There’s no person, there’s nothing in existence that can pay a higher price to buy us back.

He bought us with His life. We are His slaves. He is our Lord.


Jesus Christ, Lord of All

Let me draw this to a conclusion by delivering what I promised. How does slavery to Christ guarantee the security of our salvation? Historically, slaves didn’t leave their human masters at will—if they tried, they were hunted down, captured, severely punished, or killed. Likewise we don’t have the liberty to walk away from our masters in the spiritual realm. It requires the power of God to part us from slave-master Sin, and once His redemption is accomplished and applied, there is no power that can break the hold our Master has over us. We belong to Christ. We are His slaves, His precious possessions forever.

Unlike the slave-owners throughout human history—from the cruel to the benevolent, and everyone in between—Jesus Christ is the greatest, most tender Master. Here are His words to all who would surrender to His lordship: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Jesus Christ is the only Master worthy of our devotion. It is He who cements the connection between slavery, redemption, and eternal security. His redemption is perfect, final, and forever, and those who are His slaves, though they be prone to wander, can never walk away.

Fred Butler
Volunteer Ministries Coordinator


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#1  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 5:40 PM

Amen, Jesus is a better, greater, merciful, forgiving master than human masters. It's good remember to think twice before saying I

am free. Good post.

#2  Posted by steve stricker  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 7:39 PM

Jesus said.........." He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?

"So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"

Luke 17:9,10

Yep.

#3  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 7:45 PM

And why do I have this funny feeling that for some reason you think this proves a person can lose his salvation.

#4  Posted by steve stricker  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 8:06 PM

Hi Fred!! How are you? Nope......I dont think this verse says that at all. Now I believe others do you know that. I was just about to summarize my thoughts on Calvinism but you changed subjects.....maybe that's a good thing!! lol Be blessed brother.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. Jesus John 14:15

#5  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 9:31 PM

I am currently studying Romans and this Book of the Bible gives a clear description of who all humans are at their core and I am so thankful for Gods plan of redemption. After reading JM's book Slave I was able to see my relationship with Christ in a very different way. Yes, I am a friend of Jesus (John 15:15). But I also consider myself a slave to Christ for a slave is bought with a price and what greater price then the blood of Jesus.

#6  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 9:38 PM

Steve,

I hope you're not trying to say we're not slaves of Christ. Fred certainly isn't saying we're only slaves and nothing else.

Plus Paul thought "slave" was a good word to use of Christians (Rom 1:1; 6:16-17, 19; 2 Cor 4:5; Gal 1:10; Eph 6:5; Phil 1:1; Col 4:12; 2 Tim 2:24). If you haven't heard John's messages on being a slave, this one is a good introduction.

#7  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 9:42 PM

Scott:

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed John's SLAVE book. It's one of my favorites, too. I would encourage anyone who wants to understand more about Calvinism and the Doctrines of Grace--as taught in Scripture--to pick up a copy.

#8  Posted by steve stricker  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 10:22 PM

OMGosh.........after perusing the article I am reminded of this verse and Fred thinks I'm trying to talk about the fact that we can lose our salvation and Gabriel thinks

I'm trying to say we are NOT slaves of Christ. Gabriel this is the most radical verse in

Scripture that I can think of to prove the point we ARE slaves and UNWORTHY ones at that. Can you find me a verse that is more to the point than this one??? Sheeesh. Tough crowd.

This is one of the most radical verses in all of Scripture.

ps I had one copy of 'Slave' and I bought 3 more gave one away already and my son is reading the first copy I received. Haven't read all of it myself yet......didnt realize there is alot of Calvinism in there. Sigh........

#9  Posted by steve stricker  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 10:27 PM

Gabriel I have heard one message on this subject by John but it wasnt this one. Thanks for sharing.

#10  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, April 06, 2011at 11:04 PM

Steve:

If you have time, you can check out pages 147-148 of SLAVE for John's summary of how the Doctrines of Grace relate to our slaveship. It's great stuff!

#11  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 2:53 AM

It is so funny how the word slave can have such a negative connotation, and conjure up such repugnant feelings in the thoughts of so many people, but to the ear and the heart of the regenerate, the word slave is more than beautiful, because God has spoken……

I truly don't see how anyone could disagree with this article.

Very well written, Fred, keep it up!!!

#12  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 5:51 AM

I think it's interesting that John Calvin was the one responsible for the error that has resulted in so much confusion and lukewarmness. Of course that does not surprise me at ALL! It's kinda his legacy.

#13  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 6:09 AM

Calvinism or not I never want to get too far away from Johnnie.......The guy is absolutely incredible as a Bible teacher!!! So blessed to have found him! Love that guy! He is an aroma of Life to me. 2 Cor 2:15,16

#14  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 6:10 AM

Steve writes,

I dont think this verse says that at all. Now I believe others do you know that.

Well that's good Steve. Because it isn't. But in light of this theme of Christ's lordship, His ownership of us, and sin no longer having any legal authoritative power over us, those so called "other" verses can be seen much more clearly. And they too aren't saying a Christian can lose his salvation.

Steve writes,

I think it's interesting that John Calvin was the one responsible for the error that has resulted in so much confusion and lukewarmness. Of course that does not surprise me at ALL! It's kinda his legacy.

You say that so dogmatically like you have actually studied the man's life. Have you? What did you read? I take it that you read his Institutes?

Seeing that Calvin adopted his theology from a handful of lesser known teachers of his like the second generation Lutherans who discipled him and a pastor friend, Lefevre. Were they just as confused or lukewarm? Or how about William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, Jon Huss, even Martin Luther. Luther wrote more on the doctrines we call "Calvinism" than what Calvin did. Was Luther lukewarm and confused, too?

It may benefit you to study a bit on the Reformation before making such bold, misinformed statements. Steve Lawson just published his second volume on the subject of the history of Calvinistic thought take works you through from the 1st century AD to around the 1500s or so.

#16  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 7:28 AM

In post #6, Gabriel gives the link to the sermon Slave or Servant. I implore everyone to listen to it. I have heard many, many beautiful sermons, but this one takes your breath away. Please listen!

#17  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 8:43 AM

Tommy 10........I definitely will.

Fred 14 Im sure there would be some benefit to that, studying the Reformation that is, but I dont agree with their theology so why spend alot of time on that? A very wise Bible teacher once said in response to a question about the cults, " Dont spend a lot of time studying what they believe, study the Word of God so that you will be able to recognize error when you see it!" Hmmmm very wise......his initials were/are JM.

BTW I once heard John MacArthur say 'God never sends anyone to Hell who doesn't chose to go there!". That is not very Calvinistic to say the least.

I want to be a free agent for the truth. Buy it dont sell it. Prov 23:23

John Hus, John Wycliffe, Wm Tyndale amazing men of God I would love to know of the best biography on any of those guys. Suggestions?

#19  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 11:27 AM

Steve:

I say this for your benefit and the benefit of those who enjoy following this blog, but rarely post comments.

You don’t understand the Doctrines of Grace. That’s not an attack on your character. It’s an honest assessment of your comments over the past several weeks. You don’t get it. I don’t think that surprises anyone who’s taken the time to interact with you. Maybe it doesn’t surprise you either.

I say that because you have consistently misrepresented the Doctrines of Grace. As a rule, if you argue against a theological position, you should first be able to represent that position in such a way that the person holding it would nod in agreement, saying, “Yes, that’s exactly what I believe.”

I can’t nod in agreement with most of what you’ve tried to pass along as “Calvinism” in your comments.

So, follow this logic. Is it possible to argue biblically, rationally and persuasively against something you fail to understand? No.

So here’s some friendly advice. If you want to contend against the Doctrines of Grace, hit the books, Steve. Remember, you came to this blog as a guest who disagrees with Fred’s articles.

If you’re going to argue against his position, I think you owe him the courtesy of understanding it first. And you’ve indicated that you do not.

Maybe you should rethink your philosophy on reading the reformers. John MacArthur was not referring to them in his statement you quoted on interacting with the cults. Most of the Calvinists you interact with on this blog have read Arminian material and understand their position. In fact, most of us were Arminians at one point.

I hope you'll consider those thoughts, Steve. I say them in love.

-Tommy

#22  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 1:02 PM

#17 - Steve, you are taking JM's ONE sentence out of its context. Yes, what JM said is true, but it's because of man's responsibility, and not because man has the power to reject the Gospel if he is one of the elects.

The truth of the matter is, if God has elected you, you will never reject salvation. God is more powerful than you, is He not? Oh, sorry, forgot that you think election is heresy.

Tommy says: "If you’re going to argue against his position, I think you owe him the courtesy of understanding it first. And you’ve indicated that you do not."

Steve, you continue to show you don't understand what you so strongly oppose. I'd be very interested to read your opposing arguments once they are based on what the Doctrines of Grace really are (and not what you think they are).

As for the topic at hand, thanks Fred for another great article. In talking with Christians on this very subject, I've noticed something interesting. The ones with a not very solid biblical foundation and the ones coming from another soteriology view have a hard time with the concept. They reject it totally, always pointing to the fact that we are children of God only.

Grace and peace to you!

#23  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 2:40 PM

Steve - Look at Martha and Mary. Jesus said Mary made a wise choise - listening to Jesus, while He was teaching.

There is only one Truth. Strive with tears to get it right.

#24  Posted by steve stricker  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 3:32 PM

You are probably right Tommy.....that's why Im here ...to learn! Could you be a little more specific on how I misrepresent the Doctrines of Grace ....Im not even trying to represent them so wow yeah I'm probably messing it up somewhere. I have not studied and am not familiar with them, I have limited my discussion to Calvinism......TULIP. Total Depravity, Unconditionl Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints.

So you wern't a Calvinist and now you are and I was a Calvinist and now I'm not! Funny.

Where would I find out about them?

Should I quit while I'm ahead?

Maybe I'm not ahead!?!

Hey....wait a minute I just read a line in you comment that I disagreed with Freds articles......I was AGREEING with Fred here and everybody started picking a fight w me!! I brought up a verse that came to my mind that I thought was most appropiate for the discussion. Then people started in. I came in peace. Seriously though can you be specific where I was misrepresenting Calvinism? I'll recant or clarify. (Or be quiet).

#25  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 3:50 PM

Joseph shares the same true story in Genesis in the OT as Jesus in the Gospels.

#26  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 6:10 PM

In Proverbs 23;23 on the next line says get wisdom, discipline and

understanding.

That's awesome to buy the truth and would be crazy to sell it. I think

this verse has to do with children with parents. Like a growing lesson

of life.

#27  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, April 07, 2011at 7:03 PM

Thanks for your humble response, Steve.

I’ve read every comment you’ve made within this series, so I’m not throwing out vague generalities when I say you misrepresent Calvinism. Here are a few:

Philippians 1:6, Calvinists quote this like it is some kind of proof of once saved always saved. I’ve never heard a Calvinist explain or apply Phil 1:6 like that. Can you name any?

God is faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us but we must draw near to Him and then He will draw near to us. This is wrongly thought by Calvinists to impinge on His sovereignty. I’ve never heard a Calvinist claim James 4 or Hebrews 13 threatens God’s sovereignty. I kinda doubt you have too. Objections?

Some have mistakenly made fun of this verse (Heb. 6) saying it teaches ‘once lost always lost’ but that is just another Calvinistic misunderstanding. A Calvinist making fun of Heb. 6? That’s one of the most sobering warnings in Scripture. I doubt it.

Calvinists cannot allow for the possibility of losing your salvation because it does not fit their theological system. Really? Have you ever squeezed that confession out of a Calvinist?

You are not a robot contrary to Calvinist doctrine. Source? Can you name any Calvinists who call humans robots?

Salvation is conditional on faith. It is not unconditional as Calvinism claims. You got that wrong too. Election is unconditional. Salvation is not. That’s what Calvinists believe.

I think it’s interesting that John Calvin was the one responsible for the error that has resulted in so much confusion and lukewarmness. Of course that does not surprise me at all! It’s kinda his legacy. Confusion and lukewarmnes—Calvin’s legacy? Is that your take on church history?

I heard John MacArthur say “God never sends anyone to Hell who doesn’t chose to go there!” That is not very Calvinistic to say the least. As a Calvinist, I wholeheartedly agree with John. I’m guessing you’ve never met any who didn’t.

Who wants to walk up to Christ and look Him in the eye and say “Jesus it’s too bad your death did not provide for my neighbors salvation. He went to his grave denying you. But I guess what else could he do? He obviously wasn’t one of the “chosen.” You didn’t die for him Jesus. It’s too bad for him…..but I’m in and that’s great for me!...Calvinists should feel comfortable saying that since that is what they believe. Never met a Calvinist who says, believes, or is comfortable with this. Have you?

A little error here, a little twisting of God’s Word there, and presto! you have ineffective believers. People who believe God “does it all,” that all things were predetermined before the foundation of the world, not people who are begging others to be reconciled to God as God’s Word tells us in 2 Cor. 5:20. So Calvinists are ineffective, diobedient, lazy, and unevangelistic because they embrace God’s Sovereignty, right?

#28  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 12:10 AM

Another great post Fred, thank you for taking time to write these. I know that I am not the only one who appreciates it! I have not had a chance to read Macarthurs book "slave" yet but I just received it in the mail and am finishing up a couple of other books before I dig into that one. You mentioned Steve Lawson's foundations of grace series. Has anyone read those yet? I just ordered the first one and am looking forward to reading the series also.

Steve Stricker-

I am wondering what your issue is with reformed theology. Forgive me if I am wrong but you come across pretty bitter about it and it seems you have some serious issues regarding John Calvin. I am just curious as to why? Honestly you come across as really inconsistent with your statements, in one post you will say

"A little error here, a little twisting of God’s Word there, and presto! you have ineffective believers. People who believe God “does it all,” that all things were predetermined before the foundation of the world, not people who are begging others to be reconciled to God as God’s Word tells us in 2 Cor. 5:20."

And then today you say things like

"Calvinism or not I never want to get too far away from Johnnie.......The guy is absolutely incredible as a Bible teacher!!! So blessed to have found him! Love that guy! He is an aroma of Life to me. 2 Cor 2:15,16"

So which one is it, does JM twist God's word and is he an ineffective believer who teaches ineffective believers or is he the aroma of life to you?

You just claimed in post #24 that your here to learn but quite honestly you are not coming off like that in any way at all. At least that is my perception. It seems to me you are here to cause discourse and to argue. My apologies if I have read you wrong. God bless

Micah

#29  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 5:31 AM

Philippians 1:6, Calvinists quote this like it is some kind of proof of once saved always saved. I’ve never heard a Calvinist explain or apply Phil 1:6 like that. Can you name any?

Tommy,

I can.

For one, myself, and as for other Calvinist:

Salvation is wholly God's work, and for that reason its completion is as certain as if it were already accomplished. MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Philippians.

God has no unfinished works. The God who saves is the God who justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies. The God who begins is the God who completes. During His incarnation, the Lord gave this absolute and unambiguous assurance, which is a source of joy to all those who will ever trust in Him: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37).

MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Philippians.

In addition to this, God is not like men, so as to be wearied out or exhausted by conferring kindness. (36) Let, therefore, believers exercise themselves in constant meditation upon the favors which God confers, that they may encourage and confirm hope as to the time to come, and always ponder in their mind this syllogism: God does not forsake the work which his own hands have begun, as the Prophet bears witness, (Psa 138:8; Isa 64:8;) we are the work of his hands; therefore he will complete what he has begun in us. When I say that we are the work of his hands, I do not refer to mere creation, but to the calling by which we are adopted into the number of his sons. For it is a token to us of our election, that the Lord has called us effectually to himself by his Spirit. ~ John Calvin Commentary – Philippians

"this the saints may assure themselves of, from many considerations; as from the nature of the work itself, which is called living water, because it always continues, a well of it, because of its abundance, and is said to spring up to eternal life; because it is inseparably connected with it, where there is grace, there will be glory; grace is the beginning of glory, and glory the perfection of grace; this work of grace is an incorruptible seed, and which remains in the saints, and can never be lost; it is a principle of life, the root of which is hid in Christ, and that itself is maintained by him, and can never be destroyed by men or devils" ~ John Gill Commentary – Philippians

#31  Posted by Caleb Wilson  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 6:05 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#32  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 6:23 AM

Dear Steve:

It is obvious that you have come here with an agenda. This blog and John Macarthur’s ministry happen to be devoted to the doctrines of grace; it will do you little good and probably much harm, spiritually, to immerse yourself in attempting to bring down Calvinism in one fell swoop, due to the fact that these men, here at GTY, KNOW the Word of God very well, and God speaks abundantly clear on these matters.

I have not had the time, as of late, to devote myself to a rebuttal concerning your belief that “once saved always saved” is a false doctrine. But it all hinges on the premise, and is grounded upon the simple fact that you do not hold God to be a faithful God, and worthy of your implicit trust. Fred had mentioned in the other post that it denigrates God’s character to not believe in this very important doctrine; which, I too, agreed with Fred. You seem to not hold God, and revere God in the highest esteem possible, and that is “extremely” critical to understanding all passages of Scripture, both explicit and implicit. And without such high esteem, one will always question God’s Word and mistrust His character. Having an august fear of the Lord, is an essential element and naturally leads one to a proper understanding of His holy and FAITHFUL character; it is the very foundation on which we as Christians stand. Please correct me if I am wrong? But this is the way I am reading you.

Please read the following verse and deeply meditate on it, then, if you have access to JM’s Bible commentary, read on page 1804 what he has to say about this verse (not sure I can make reference to it because of copyright laws). “…For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2 Ti 1:12).” This particular verse gives an undeniable description of what saving faith looks like. The Apostle Paul "KNOWS" INTIMATELY in whom he has believed, and he is not just pretty sure, but he is in fact “PERSUADED” that He is able to keep him. How much clearer can that be?

to be continued...

#33  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 6:25 AM

Part two

You must take a systematic approach to Scripture, and compare Scripture to Scripture, and where the preponderance of evidence falls, you can rest assured that God has spoken in perspicuous language. There will always be Scripture verses that seem to contradict, but when study is done systematically and in context, these verses soon become clear in the light of the more explicit verses.

I will be brief here, as this is getting too long. Also, Hebrews 6:4 is a cakewalk, look at verse 9, and you will see how the focus shifts from talking about the unregenerate to now speaking TO the regenerate. It is an unmistakable transition. The unregenerate are also “partakers” of the Holy Spirit, in the sense that they also take part in hearing the Word of God preached, and many are even baptized in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. That is not too difficult to figure out. So much more could be said, but I do not want to dominate the blog.

If you would like, I can give you many, many passages, which refer to the preservation of the saints? This will aid you in your study.

God bless you in your search for truth,

Mary

#34  Posted by Caleb Wilson  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 7:29 AM

Hey everyone,

First of all great original article Fred, really enjoyed it. As I have been reading through this blog I have liked Tommy and Fred's responses, and I would like to add my own two cents.

As a current Bible student and an aspiring full time minister I have found myself drawn, by the grace of God, to exploring, learning and wholeheartedly believing in the doctrines that make up the soteriology of Calvinism and Election and Grace. As I was reading today Charles Spurgeon's "sermon: A defense of Calninism" I couldnt help but feel that what it was quite relevant to this blog. I hope that you will read this, Mr. Stricker, and use this as a tool to help you become more knowledgeable on this topic just as I have, praise God...

"I have my own Private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, UNLESS we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism IS the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor."

Very well stated Mr. Spurgeon...

Again he states, and I agree..."If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, I should reply, "He is one who says, Salvation is of the Lord." I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible...Tell me anything contrary to this truth, and it will be a heresy!"

If you would like to read more on this great sermon: A Defense of Calvinism by Charles Spurgeon, you can access it at biblicalproportions.com, Charles Spugeon sermons. In Christ,

Caleb

#35  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 9:17 AM

Greg:

Yes, I agree with the guotes you gave from MacArthur, Calvin, and Gill. My contention is with the phrase Steve used, "Once Saved Always Saved." You won't find that statement in any of the commentaries you listed. I equate that phrase with someone who justifies sinful living by tossing out a cheap, superficial statement about our guaranteed security. Did you read Fred's article with that title? Here's a helpful quote:

It’s the “once saved, always saved” idea that says, once you are saved, you’re saved no matter how you may behave.

I've never met a Calvinist who believes that, and I've certainly never heard someone try and make that point from Philippians 1:6.

I should have been more clear. Thanks for pointing that out.

That being said, Steve has plenty of other misrepresentations. I could have quoted many other examples.

#37  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 10:31 AM

Tommy,

Steve is not concerned with the statement, He say's and I quote "the idea".

I would still argue as well "that how you behave" has little to do with the topic and is rather ambiguous.

I would remind all that "behavior" was a problem in the Corinth Church, had we witnessed the immorality that was going on there we would have certainly been convinced that their behavior was that of false professing believers.

But does Paul condemn them?

1Co 5:5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

"Legalism is the notion that a sinner can, by his own efforts, or by the power of the Holy Spirit in his life, do some work to obtain or retain his salvation. Some legalists think man has free will and can perform good works if he just sets his mind to it, thereby obtaining the favor of God. This type of legalist thinks that a sinner can believe the Gospel on his own steam. Other legalists think that a sinner does not have free will, that any good he does is done by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, and it is these good deeds done by the power of the Holy Spirit that obtain or help obtain, retain or help retain, his salvation. Both types of legalists, but especially the latter, may acknowledge that Christ's work of obedience is necessary for salvation, but both deny that Christ's work is sufficient for salvation. Both types of legalists assert that to Christ's work must be added the works of the sinner, done either under his own steam, or by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is what makes them legalists: their shared belief in the incompleteness or insufficiency of the work of Christ outside of them. They may differ on what constitutes good works; they may differ on whether only God's law or church law as well is to be obeyed; but they agree that the work of Christ alone is insufficient for their final salvation." ~ John W. Robbins

Ro 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

#38  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 10:43 AM

Greg:

You're missing my point, brother, and I'm not seeing yours. How did we go from Steve misrepresenting Calvinism to a long quote on legalism...?

#39  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 10:47 AM

I agree that Steve is misrepresenting Calvinism.

I don't believe I'm missing your point at all.

"It’s the “once saved, always saved” idea that says, once you are saved, you’re saved no matter how you may behave."

How is it that you are missing mine?

#40  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 11:01 AM

I struggled to understand your first few sentences, Greg. They were unclear to me. Also, I think you confused Fred's quote for Steve's.

#41  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 11:43 AM

Talking about slaves, we are bound by love, always to fight for the Truth (Jesus). This is the fastest way to lose friends, and be separated from this world. You love them. They like you, but hate your Lord. I have been called to the boss’s office several times, for rebuking people openly. And also here there is a line I think, the invisible line between law and love. (The letter of the law or the spirit of the law)

#42  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 11:45 AM

I see, you are correct, I did confuse Fred's statement with Steve's.

My apologies on that issue.

However I do not think Steve believes we find the statement "Once Saved Always Saved" in scripture but by implication we read our doctrine into the verse. Calvinist do not read a doctrine into scripture but receive the doctrine from scripture. So on this I think you and I both agree. At least I think so.

Again my apologies for the confusion, but I still leave the remainder of my comment to stand.

#43  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 11:57 AM

Steve asks,

Could you be a little more specific on how I misrepresent the Doctrines of Grace ....Im not even trying to represent them so wow yeah I'm probably messing it up somewhere.

This is your main problem as I see it. You're NOT even trying to represent them, either accurately, or fairly. If you wish to disagree, at least KNOW what it is you are disagreeing with. Most of what you say is representing Calvinism is really a cartoon caricature. Tommy pointed out a number of examples.

My suggestion is that you at the most read and digest one good book so you know what Calvinism believes. Just start with John's messages on the subject. We have linked them a number of times in the comments.

I'm just trying to help you out here, because it is for your benefit if you want to be taken seriously by those with whom you may disagree.

#44  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 12:41 PM

Tommy:"You won't find that statement in any of the commentaries you listed. I equate that phrase with someone who justifies sinful living by tossing out a cheap, superficial statement about our guaranteed security."

The issue of eternal security, or "once saved, always saved," has been hotly debated throughout much of church history. Everyone agrees that the truth or falsehood of that doctrine is of immense importance. But it is also crucial to the believer to recognize the evidence that he actually has that real salvation. Once security is established as a fact of salvation, then assurance must be maintained in the heart of the Christian subjectively.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Romans 1-8.

#45  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 1:14 PM

Greg:

Thanks for the quote, but there's a reason John puts that phrase in quotation marks in his commentaries. It's not his preferred means of describing the doctrine of eternal security--probably because of the stigmas attached. He says this in his commentary on Revelation:

Some refer to this as the doctrine of eternal security; others dub it the “once saved, always saved” teaching. While those definitions are accurate, they do not express this truth as clearly as the biblical phrase the perseverance of the saints. That statement emphasizes the reality that God keeps His own saints by sustaining their faith to the very end, no matter what occurs. (John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22)

You can read more about that phrase in this article. I hope this digression hasn't distracted anyone from the real point :-)

#46  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 1:18 PM

Greg:

Also, just to be clear, that quote you listed came from John's commentary on Romans, not Philippians. So you cheated :-)

#47  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 1:39 PM

Steve – I have been thinking and praying a lot over you. Yes, you have been rebuked in public here, and that maybe hurts your pride. But as Fred said earlier, it is not a matter of pig piling you, but more of turning on the bright shining light of the Truth, so you (and everyone else) can see the sinfulness of rejecting and twisting the Truth. And yes, I can recognize myself in you many years ago, so just a humble advice: download all the essential doctrines, even if you think you are an expert yourself, and I can guarantee you, that you can learn things you missed or did not see many years ago.

#48  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 3:23 PM

Which bible translation do you use. Just wondering, Steve S.

God bless.

#49  Posted by steve stricker  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 5:48 PM

Dan 48.......NAS mostly.......Thanks for giving me an easy question to answer. I gotta find the energy for the rest of these things :-)

Ok here I'll try and tackle one concern Fred says I'm not representing Calvinisn well (43)....Ok, what I have put forth every chance I get is for SOMEONE to explain Limited Atonement to me in a reasonable fashion. Why do you Calvinists hold to this doctrine that says Christ died only for the Elect? The BIBLE remember that book? says Christ died for the world......not just the Elect so why do you prefer John Calvin over the Holy Spirit? or how do you understand this doctrine to harmonize with the Word?

With all due respect here's the kind of answers I get "Oh I LOVE the Doctrines of Grace blah blah blah..... ", "John Calvin what a great man so adept at Greek blah blah blah...", "The Reformers were amazing people I wish I had lived in the sixteenth century blah blah blah...", "Go read the Institutes and when your done with that go read Bondage of the Will and when your done with that go read blah blah blah.....". Never an answer. Never two or three sentences or a paragraph that rightly explain why to ditch the clear Word of God for the teaching of a man. I am getting more and more confident that you dont have a real answer and that is why I dont get one. I appreciate all the prayer, I really do, I love it I need it, but I may not need it like you think I do. However maybe I do. Tell me with Holy Scripture and evident reason why you believe in Limited Atonement. Show me how asking this question shows a lack of understanding of Calvinism? And if you are a Calvinist why WOULDN'T you feel comfortable asking Jesus why he didnt die for my neighbor? That is what your beliefs say. Then I can leave or at least be quiet!!! I just want to know the truth.

Blessings to all who have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and have partaken of the Holy Spirit and who continue in His kindness. 2 Pet 2, Heb 6, Rom 11

#50  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 6:26 PM

Steve (#49)

I was unfamiliar with the doctrine of limited atonement until this blog but many links have been suggested which I have begun to read. The links explain it well according to the scriptures. I have started with reading John MacArthur’s sermons on the doctrines of grace. It takes time to read all the links but someone who wants to learn will do so. Remember, we are to search for truth like treasure (Proverbs 2:1-5).

#51  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 6:34 PM

Thanks...

Yes, I will try to be more literal and will provide bible

verse...

ok...

Oh, good point. But what Jesus meant is those whom recieved

Jesus are to proclaim the gospel to all flesh. I think from

the point of view is you are saying why did'nt Jesus die

for my neighbor. Well, praying and asking Jesus to help. And

do something for your neighbor, so he may wonder why

and ask? A thought.... with a humble heart?

God bless.

Hope I am not confusing anyone??

I am lost for words of what to say....

#52  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 6:47 PM

Steve,

Since you have admitted that you haven't studied these doctrines, it would be foolish for us to discuss it with you since you have no foundation. It is not our responsibility to instruct you in the

Doctrines of Grace through the medium of blog comments. Furthermore definite atonement is beyond the issue at hand. Therefore I encourage you to begin with this sermon, and then go from there.

John Calvin has nothing to do with this discussion. He didn't come up with so-called Calvinism or TULIP. No one is arguing based on what he said.

#53  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 7:18 PM

Steve writes,

what I have put forth every chance I get is for SOMEONE to explain Limited Atonement to me in a reasonable fashion. Why do you Calvinists hold to this doctrine that says Christ died only for the Elect? The BIBLE remember that book? says Christ died for the world......not just the Elect so why do you prefer John Calvin over the Holy Spirit? or how do you understand this doctrine to harmonize with the Word?

Steve. I don't understand. Do you even bother reading any of the other comments? I can't speak for everyone else, but I have interacted with you on this subject on a number of occasions. What was wrong with my response?

First, I linked you to a sermon John preached on 1 John 2:2 in comment #140 under the introductory post on this subject. I take it that you read it? I recall asking you a couple of times what YOU think about his exegesis of the passage, which goes into great detail about limited atonement, the word "world" and the elect.

Then second, on the third post in this series, "Once Saved, Always Saved," I gave you a brief answer as to why I believe in limited/actual atonement in comment #41.

I wrote,

In brief, I believe in limited atonement, Steve, because I believe that what Christ did on the cross actually accomplished what God intended for it to do: to appease the wrath of God. Obviously there are those who go to hell as the Bible proclaims. If the atonement had been made for them, they would not be in hell. They are, so it wasn't made for them.

Did you even read that? I never saw you interact with my argument. How can I take your inquiry seriously when I do respond to your questions, answer them or provide you resources that answer them, yet you don't really interact with what I have provided? You keep asking the same question pretending no one has answered you.

Are you willing to try now?

#54  Posted by steve stricker  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 7:59 PM

Yep, Im not a universalist either. I would say the the death of Christ DID appease the Father like you do, unlike you I would say it appeased the Father in some sense for all sin done by anyone for all time. However I would say that the gift of salvation is appropiated by faith. And while Christs death is sufficient for every sinner to be found in Heaven most do not believe and are without Christ and that is why there are people in Hell. Here is where I have heard Calvinists make a big deal out of whether Christs death accomplished redemption or not. Real or potential, I say potential and that is in tune with what Scripture says. Christ really accomplished redemption but it is only actual for those who believe. You must believe......it's all over Scripture. It grants eternal life. It's God's plan.

In Calvinism their fate (the lost) was predetermined by God before the foundation of the world they have no way they can ever believe and escape Hell because they are spiritually dead, please no lectures on depravity, and yet God holds them responsible for their unbelief. God ordains their sin, and who can resist His will? Rom 9, and then punishes them for what He ordained they do. Here is where the Calvinists typically claims Deut 29:29 because that makes no sense.

I will read more of the article by JM, I read part of it back when you posted it. There's a start.

#55  Posted by steve stricker  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 8:48 PM

Ok im reading the sermon and I come to this quoting JM............Now when we talk about the death of Jesus Christ then we are talking about an actual purchase. We’re not talking about a potential purchase, we’re not talking about a general sort of act on Jesus’ part that may in the future become a purchase. We are talking about a real purchase. It is the act of Christ dying on the cross that pays the price to God, purchasing the people who will be redeemed from every tribe and tongue and nation. Now what I want you to put in your mind is that the death of Jesus Christ is an act by which He purchases His people. It is not a potential act, it is an actual act. It is not a general act, it is a particular act."

Here JM equates the act of Christ dying which was an actual event to the idea that it had a prescribed limit as to what it accomplished just the elect no one else. That is not what the Bible says John 1:29. Here JM says that Jesus' death actually accomplished salvation for His people .........that is a true statement. Nothing wrong w that. He says it is not a potential act but an actual act......that is a true statement and its a particular act not a general act .....true again. He says Christs death paid a price to God..also true. What he implys by this though is that only the elect sins are paid for. The lost have no potential to be saved. The Bible doesnt say that. 1 John 2:2

then JM says "You can’t make the final atonement up to the sinner or you have Jesus dying for everybody in general and nobody in particular. And therefore you’ve redefined what it means that He purchased us. The notion that God loves everybody so much that He gave His Son for everybody but only in some kind of limited way, some kind of marginal way, some kind of half way is contrary to what the Bible teaches. And the idea that God has done in full for the people in hell, the very same thing He’s done for the people in heaven, is just not possible...just not possible."

Except that is EXACTLY what the Bible teaches. It IS possible. God has provided salvation for the world. It is appropiated by faith and that gives you the right to become a child of God. Gal 3:26. You cannot dictate to God how He runs His universe. You cannot tell God how redemption will work. How can we assume to know how Christ really paid for our sins and the sins of the world? That is a Trinitarian exchange. It is arrogant to assume we know how that works really. Here is where you could use Deut 29:29.

Blessings

#56  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 9:06 PM

Steve writes,

I would say the the death of Christ DID appease the Father like you do, unlike you I would say it appeased the Father in some sense for all sin done by anyone for all time.

Okay. But here is where I provide a bit of push back on your claim. Prove it. Build an exegetical, theological case for this conviction. You particularly need to answer your assertion that Christ's death "appeased the Father in some sense..." What exactly does "some sense" mean? Either he did or he didn't. There is no "some sense" in Scripture.

Continuing,

However I would say that the gift of salvation is appropriated by faith.

I would say it is appropriated by faith as well. Our difference is that you seem to believe this "saving faith" is natural to fallen men, where as I have been arguing in all of these posts, it is not. Such "saving faith" has to be given to the sinner by God.

Continuing,

And while Christs death is sufficient for every sinner to be found in Heaven most do not believe and are without Christ and that is why there are people in Hell.

Why are they in hell, then, Steve? Is it because of their unbelief? Was that the one sin Christ could not atone for? At least that is what you seem to be advocating.

Continuing,

Here is where I have heard Calvinists make a big deal out of whether Christs death accomplished redemption or not. Real or potential, I say potential and that is in tune with what Scripture says.

Okay, show us where the Scriptures tell us it is merely potential and didn't actually accomplish what the Father intended it to accomplish? I may be going out on a limb here, but do you believe Christ's death was substitutionary, in that he was the substitute in the place of sinners?

If you believe his death is only potential, then you don't believe in substitution, for either Jesus was a substitute in all sense of the word, or he was not. He can't "really accomplish redemption" as you argue for even those who "believe," because the full accomplishment of their redemption is left up to them to appropriate as you argue above. I am sorry, but this not what biblical Christianity teaches.

#57  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 9:59 PM

Steve Striker has some really good points. God bless you Steve! & everyone else! Its good to be open minded as a Christian, its good to realize that you don't have everything figured out and that you there is a possibility you could be wrong on some issues. 1 Corinthians 13.12 Therefore Calvinism and Arminianism both have their faults. God Bless.

#58  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, April 08, 2011at 11:08 PM

Steve,

Except that is EXACTLY what the Bible teaches.

Where does it say that, exactly?

Have you considered that possibly "world" could be taken in multiple ways? For example, depending on the context, it could refer to believers. Or it could refer to all people. Or it could be speaking categorically (e.g. that Jesus is the Savior of the world doesn't mean Jesus saves the world, but that He is the only Savior the world has).

You quote John 1:29 as if it says Jesus takes away the sin of all sinners that have ever lived. It doesn't say that. It is a general statement, a categorical one, not a comprehensive one. How do I know? Because I compare Scripture with Scripture, and don't proof-text. According to your interpretation, John 3:17 teaches universalism. If you're going to stand by you understanding of John 1:29, then you cannot escape the universalism of John 3:17.

You have continually avoided answering the question of God can remain just and punish sin twice over (once in the death of Christ and again by eternal torment of unbelievers). How does double payment reconcile with a just God?

#59  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 1:54 AM

Steve-

Your statement that nobody has answered your question regarding limited atonement is not true. Like Fred has already stated I am wondering if your even reading the posts. I answered that question and so did a couple of other people in the last blog. I have asked you multiple questions on numerous threads over the last two weeks and you have answered very few and in most cases did not even acknoweldge the questions at all. Again it leads me to believe that you are not here to learn as you claim but here to argue. You really tend to come across like your condemning reformed theology making phrases like "you Calvinists this" and "You Calvinsits that" you also come across as very sarcastic and condescending with some of your comments about "sorry to bring the Bible into this" and other comments of that nature. If I am wrong in saying this then I hope Fred or one of the other long time members on this site calls me out on it so I can be corrected and repent myself, but truly Steve, I think it's time to repent, change your patronizing attitude and do some actual studying that you have already stated you have not done!

You stated in #55 Salvation is appropiated by faith and that gives you the right to become a child of God.

The key part that you seem to be refusing to acknowledge is that our faith that gives us the right to be called children of God comes not from blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13 Our faith comes from God, we can't save ourselves, left to our own devices we go to hell. If it came down to a choice of human will and not God's sovereign choice then heaven would be empty. We would never choose God. No one would go. There would be no atonement at all, Christ would have died for no one! Praise God that is not the case, that the Father lovingly elected some in eternity passed to claim the right to be a child of God, that the Son willingly went to the cross to appease the wrath of God for the elect, and the indwelling Holy Spirit WILL continue to progressively sanctify the elect until the day of redemption! I'll say it again, Praise God!

You asked not to be lectured on depravity, which tells me you probably know deep down that is the root of your misunderstanding of reformed theology or calvinsim. Without a true understanding of the depravity of man and the impact the fall had on the human race then I am of the opinion you will not truly understand the rest of what has been said in the last several weeks and will continue to rebel against it. I no that I am not the only one to bring this point up. If you really intend to do some studying I encourage you to start there, with the fall, with the impact of sin on humanity and work your way from there. I truly hope you do, and that you approach it prayerfully.

God bless

Micah

#60  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 3:25 AM

Steve - Just one question: When Jesus says "You did not chose me, but I chose you". Implicit in this is that even faith is only granted to those who "My Father gives Me".

This is the whole key.

#61  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 6:13 AM

I have enjoyed reading the back-and-forth between you guys and Steve. Here is my .02:

Steve is more clever than you guys give him credit. He keeps luring you guys in with his supposed naivety then sinks his claws everytime you respond to be able to promote his Arminianism...a system I perceive he has been highly trained within.

I know for one I have pointed Steve to John Owen (post #161 Is Eternal Life Always Eternal) who dealt extensively with his universal atonement/potential redemption theology (which is exactly what Jerry Falwell promoted when he was alive...to the point of calling limited Atonement heresy).

Further, Steve has been pointed to James White, John MacArthur, Jeff Noblit, and a host of other men and resources who are alive today...not to mention the great men of faith from the bible and early church fathers who clearly and decisively (some to the point of martyrdom) promoted and defended the great Doctrines of Grace.

What Steve is promoting comes from the pens and pulpits of men such as Paige Patterson, Normon Geisler, David Allen, Steve Lemke, et al Arminians. He is stating nothing more or less what they are parading around the country stating in crusades and college chapel meetings and in classroom settings...the resources to support this are available online for anyone to see...just do a search and listen/read for yourself.

Finally, perhaps the most compelling resource provided to Steve for support of Limited Atonement came from the link I provided by James White where he succinctly details Christ's work as our High Priest being the reson he (James) apprehended the Limited Atonement understanding. I gave this link in post #173 of Is Eternal Life Always Eternal (I also provided a quote from Spurgeon in that link plus my own views from scripture):

http://vintage.aomin.org/Was%20Anyone%20Saved.html

Steve stated in one of his posts (sorry...not taking the time to find the number) something to the effect that he came to this blog series to refute Unconditional Election. It is my assertion that what has been presented by Steve is circular argumentation...here is the logic:

Unconditional Election is false

Here is my evidence why it is false

Your evidence is not suffecient to refute my original assertion

Therefore, Unconditional Election is false

That is circular argumentation. No scriptural exegesis to support the first statement. No proper exegesis given in the supporting statements. An unsubstantiated conclusion that merely asserts what the opening assertion states...silly argumentation which should not be used by men of God who should know better.

Greg Bahnsen stated numerous times that simply providing more evidence to someone who is operating from a completely different set of presuppositions is ineffective...they will always employ a rescuing device. This fact is clearly seen with the interraction between Steve and most everyone else here.

Keep up the fight guys...God's glory is worth it.

#62  Posted by steve stricker  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 6:56 AM

Ok gabriel Im reading 'Sacrifice that Satisfies' and in it I'm good w nearly everytjing John is saying but around 80% thru he says this.........."Is this universalism? Does this mean that Jesus has literally propitiated God for the whole world? Does the whole world mean the whole world? Has Jesus actually satisfied God's justice for everybody who has ever lived? If so, then where is hell in that? Where is condemnation? Why are all the warnings and why preach the gospel?

It's not universalism. It is not telling us that the atonement was literally made for everyone. "

He's right it's NOT universalism but he is wrong when he says atonement was not made for everyone. Because THAT'S WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS!! He goes on an somewhat redeems himself he says this later........."Jesus on the cross offered an atonement for those in Israel who would repent and believe and those throughout the world who would repent and believe. "

Ahhhhh.........yes. That's it!! But......then he also says this.........."It is not a universal appeasement of God. Jesus didn't pay for the sins of Judas because when Judas died, he went to his own place to pay for his own sins. Jesus didn't pay for the sins of Herod. Jesus didn't pay for the sins of Pilate. Jesus didn't pay for the sins of Adolph Hitler. Jesus didn't pay for the sins of the mob that screamed for His blood. Jesus didn't pay for the sins of all that mass of humanity that show up at the Great White Throne and are cast into the Lake of Fire forever and ever where they will give their satisfaction to the offended Law of God. But He did pay for the sins of all who will believe in Israel and the world. The point is, it went beyond their normal provincial idea of propitiation. And He didn't just make salvation an option, He actually purchased salvation for all who repent and believe because they are called by God. It was an actual substitution."

Well He made salvation available to EVERYONE, those who BELIEVE actually experience forgiveness of their sins. They actually BECOME children of God, they GET the Holy Spirit as a downpayment, they ESCAPE the defilement of the world thru the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are PARTAKERS of the Holy Spirit and they can WALK in the light! Notice MacArthur says "all who will believe in Israel and the world", YES YES YES YES the elect MUST BELIEVE to be SAVED!! God didnt GIVE Israel faith He required faith FROM them. This is what I've been saying for the past 650 blogs. Then sadly he says "He didn't just make salvation an option, He actually purchased salvation for all who repent and believe...". Yes He did actually purchase salvation but no He doesnt ravage you and force you to accept He says "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Rev 3:20.

#63  Posted by steve stricker  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 7:28 AM

Fred 56 says........"I would say it is appropriated by faith as well. Our difference is that you seem to believe this "saving faith" is natural to fallen men, where as I have been arguing in all of these posts, it is not. Such "saving faith" has to be given to the sinner by God."

I say......I want to bang my head against a wall.......Fred you know I dont believe that.... I made that clear 400 posts ago when we were talking about John 6. Please PLEASE no lectures on the depravity of man, no No I beg you.....have mercy on me. Please. NEWSFLASH!!!! God knows this too!!!!! And yet he says in Rom 1 that we are without excuse!! Hmmmmm.

Wrong Doctrine = Wrong Living

#64  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 7:51 AM

Just for clarity let's look deeper at one of the verses that has been used in opposition to Limited Atonement...John 1:29 (Fred used John 3:17 to show that Universalism necessarily results from a view of Unlimited Atonement in order to avoid contradiction...I agree and wish to go further):

"The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

a)-If this verse means that Jesus actually removed the sin of the entire world (world being defined as every single human being ever born) then why does sin and its penalty still exist? In fact, the text says He "takes away the sin of the world"...it does not say He merely provides a plan whereby men can actuate the taking away of sin through their own faith as free moral agents not subject ultimately to God's sovereign work in salvation (this understanding is what Arminianism teaches).

b)-If we are to understand "world" here to mean every single human being ever to be born then we see a blatant contradiction by our Lord Himself in His High-Priestly prayer of John 17:9. Matthew Henry commenting on this passage says:

"Christ prays for those that are his. Thou gavest them me, as sheep to the shepherd, to be kept; as a patient to the physician, to be cured; as children to a tutor, to be taught: thus he will deliver up his charge. It is a great satisfaction to us, in our reliance upon Christ, that he, all he is and has, and all he said and did, all he is doing and will do, are of God. Christ offered this prayer for his people alone as believers; not for the world at large. Yet no one who desires to come to the Father, and is conscious that he is unworthy to come in his own name, need be discouraged by the Saviour's declaration, for he is both able and willing to save to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him. Earnest convictions and desires, are hopeful tokens of a work already wrought in a man; they begin to evidence that he has been chosen unto salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. They are thine; wilt thou not provide for thine own? Wilt thou not secure them? Observe the foundation on which this plea is grounded, All mine are thine, and thine are mine. This speaks the Father and Son to be one. All mine are thine. The Son owns none for his, that are not devoted to the service of the Father. (Jn 17:11-16)"

What Henry clearly re-enforces is that Jesus actually accomplished on the cross what He set out to accomplish. His High-Priestly prayer began His intercession for His own which He continues to provide in Heaven (Hebrews 7:25) If Unlimited Atonement is true we have a major problem with Fred's example of necessary Universalism and my example of blatant contradiction and failure of Jesus to accomplish what He set out to accomplish...which is directly in opposition to 2 Timothy 2:13

#65  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 9:07 AM

Steve writes,

I say......I want to bang my head against a wall.......Fred you know I dont believe that.... I made that clear 400 posts ago when we were talking about John 6.

Well Steve, yes you do believe that. You seem to be confused. If you believe saving faith is appropriated by the sinner, but it is apart from God doing anything in the heart and will of the sinner to change him, THEN you believe men naturally have the ability to believe savingly upon Christ on their own. You can't have it both ways.

Continuing,

Please PLEASE no lectures on the depravity of man, no No I beg you.....have mercy on me.

I realize you are being silly here, but you cannot talk about the doctrines of salvation WITHOUT talking about what the Bible teaches on the depravity of man.

Listen.

I am the one moderator who has desired to long suffer with your comments the longest. Simply because I wrote the posts and wanted to offer my time to respond to readers, but more importantly, because you represent the typical, misinformed "anti-Calvinist" many folks reading these comments encounter weekly in their churches and throughout the routines of their daily lives. I use you as a model on how to respond to such individuals for those who may not be as nuanced as myself in answering their objections.

But your comments have increasingly become mocking as we have moved along in this series. Additionally, you seem to have no desire to show your responders any respect, because you don't take their answers seriously, you provide thoughtless, knee-jerk reactions to what they write, and you do as Keith mentioned above, argue in a circle repeating a lot of the things all of us have already answered.

This is not my observation, but one from many others. I would step back and think about what they are telling you.

All of that to say that my long suffering has reached a limit and I will be ending this repetitive discussion because it is no longer profitable. You yourself have admitted to being ignorant on these issues, including the history and theology of these doctrines. For the future, if you sincerely want to interact with "Calvinists" I do hope you will inform yourself of what they truly believe before you falsely accuse them of believing things they don't.

Now don't take that as being banned. Next week we have an entirely new subject coming, so you are more than welcome to comment there.

#66  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 9:12 AM

I believe we've come to the point where this discussion is not profitable anymore, and I might not be the only one seeing that. Steve clearly has an agenda, and it's not learning. His mention, again, of Rev 3:20 reveals that. I suspect he's going to try and return to the same synergism discussion in every single blog he can. His request not to be "lectured" on depravity tells a lot about him. We are not interacting with someone who has honest zeal for the Word; he tries again and again to twist Scripture to support his own opinions.

God is our Judge and enough truth has been declared to Steve.

#68  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 9:27 AM

Elaine,

Relax. Its not like Steve is condemned for having different views. We all have different views and opinions, but you can't condemn someone for not sharing your own opinion and interpretation.

#70  Posted by Caleb Cook  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 10:49 AM

Mr. Stricker #55

Steve,

What does John 17:9 say? Here, I will save you the time from finding your Bible.

John 17:9 (New American Standard Bible)

9 "I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;

John 17:9 (English Standard Version)

9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

John 17:9 (New King James Version)

9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

-----

These words as you know came from Jesus. How you reconcile your understanding of the word "world" from this text and from others throughout the NT and what the Greek word "cosmos" in the original languages mean are DIFFERENT meanings.

What I am saying is this: the Greek word cosmos has about 8 or 9 different meanings in the Greek language and depending on the CONTEXT of the passage of Scripture in reference will determine what the meaning meant. Whatever the case, the world cosmos translated into the English word "world" does not always mean the ENTIRE WORLD!!!

You have got to stop reading your Arminian doctrines into a verse! That is what you are doing Steve, you are finding Scripture that you can force your hermeneutic onto and make it say what you want. That is not how we interpret Scripture properly.

This verse above (John 17:9) clearly demonstrates that God has revealed to us through the Bible that it teaches the doctrine of Limited or Particular Atonement. Jesus did NOT die for the possibility or the potential ability for everyone in this world to be saved. This was NOT God's intent through His pre-ordained plan of the death of His Son.

There are many more verses that clearly show and explain that the Bible clearly explains this doctrine.

Steve and Cristian, please take a look at this link below:

http://www.gospeloutreach.net/limited_atonement.html

Like many on here have said already: please get a grasp of what you are disagreeing with before you start chopping things down.

Take care,

Caleb

#71  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 11:16 AM

Dear Steve:

Go to Desiring God and read an article by John Piper called "Are There Two Wills in God? It discusses many issues including divine election and God's desire for ALL to be saved. It is a really deep read, but so worth it.

And, if I get the chance today, I will find the information on the explanation of the words ALL and WORLD. I know Boettner has a good one and A.W. Pink, but you can quote liberally from Boettner because there is no copyright.

Let each and everyone of us be reminded that many of the Reformers and many past theologians have had to humble themselves before God concerning these difficult truths. When first confronted with these doctrines of grace, many had the initial shock and awe response. The shock came first, then the AWE factor followed, and only then did they come to a deep love and understanding of these precious truths. I wish I had kept track of all the theologians, who had difficulty at first, but unfortunately I didn't.

If Steve persists in his unbelief, then there is a problem, it may be the Dave Hunt syndrome he is affected with, but please give him time, at least God gave us that, but always, always defend the faith.

Lastly, I leave all with another great quote from George Mattern.

But, if a person stumbles at the very easiest point of perception, and persists in error after a number of godly men have examined his conclusions and found them to be faulty in the light of the simplest Scriptural objectivity, then that person would do well to interpret that as a warning and a good reason to examine the motives of his heart. He should ask himself, "Am I so stubbornly set in my opinion that I am eager to mutilate the meaning of any Scriptural word, verse, or passage until it agrees with me, or am I approaching the Bible as the authoritative pronouncement of the God of the Universe, before whose majestic revelation I must always bow in reverent submission and constant willingness to change my opinions when corrected by it?"

In other words, "Am I shaping the Bible with my opinions, or am I shaping my opinions with the Bible?" King David solemnly acknowledged to the Lord, "You have magnified Your word according to all Your name" (Ps. 138:2). Therefore, since "the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His NAME in vain" (Ex. 20:7), the same penalty certainly awaits all who would take His simalarly exalted WORD in vain by misusing it. Let every man sincerely examine himself in this very serious matter!

Georg has given me permission, or I would not quote him.

#72  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 11:56 AM

Cristian Balint and Steve Stricker

I don't think either of you do fully understand the magnitude of what you are doing!

I do fully agree with Mark, Keith, Elaine and many more. Fred was even talking about blasphemy. It was defined as willfully speaking against what God clearly says. You do both speak against the clear teaching of God, without even bothering to check out what you reject! That takes it to another level – not ignorance, but willfully.

If you want to be taken serious, you better present a consistent theology on your views.

#73  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 1:24 PM

Christian:"Elaine,

Relax. Its not like Steve is condemned for having different views. We all have different views and opinions, but you can't condemn someone for not sharing your own opinion and interpretation."

This is where you are wrong Christian.

Gal 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;

7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!

9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

Was the Apostle Paul concerend with "different views and opinions" when it came to matters of doctrine?

2Pe 1:20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

#74  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 1:45 PM

RC Sproul interviews DA Carson on biblical exegesis:

http://vimeo.com/20890650

#79  Posted by steve stricker  |  Saturday, April 09, 2011at 8:27 PM

Thank you Fred for hosting this website and I wholeheartedly agree that it is not profitable any more to continue this discussion now. I feel frustrated and that's not a good place to be .......but hey God is still on the throne! And wow the comments directed at me are getting more and more hostile. No light is being shed, I dont see any light bulbs going off, you can tell by the reactions. I knew it woud be tough to change peoples minds but I thought Id give it a shot. You know this, I dont think Calvinism matches up well with a full orbed understanding of the Word of God ......Ive tried to make my points, it seems none have been the least bit moved by them. Oh well ........like I said Jesus said ' Sow the seed and go to bed.....' Mark 4. Thanks for letting me join the discussion. God's best to you and yours!

Steve

Col 3:12-17

Jer 29:13

ps this is not an excuse I dont think, but several times people said I ignored resources. To be fair there were a lot of things put out there and it was 10 against 1 , me being the 1. I read several sermons and listened to several messages and commented on what I agreed with and what I didnt. It is what it is I guess.