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Recent Posts
No longer a post Christian nation
by John_C
Sunday, March 29, 2015 7:07 AM
by Tom
Saturday, March 28, 2015 11:31 PM
Unconditioning hardening
by Pilgrim
Thursday, March 26, 2015 9:05 AM
Sufficient atonement
by Tom
Friday, March 20, 2015 1:20 PM
The church calender helps us to be balanced - I disagree
by grace2U
Friday, March 13, 2015 4:06 AM
Single meaning of a text but many (endless?) number of applications
by Tom
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 12:46 PM
Sunday, March 29, 2015 8:17 PM The excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus by chestnutmare

Howbeit, that real view which we may have of Christ and his glory in this world by faith, —however weak and obscure that knowledge which we may attain of them by divine revelation, — is inexpressibly to be preferred above all other wisdom, understanding, or knowledge whatever. So it is declared by him who will be acknowledged a competent judge in these things. "Yea, doubtless," saith he, "I count all these things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." [Phil 3:8] He who does not so has no part in him.
~ John Owen

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Saturday, March 28, 2015 5:29 PM No longer a post Christian nation by John_C

Seeing all the boycotting and leaving Indiana by companies and organizations mean we have past being a post Christian nation to an anti-Christian nation. Secular Europe looks a lot better now.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015 10:23 PM Election by Tom

Is the following argument a good way to prove the Reformed doctrine of election? Why or why not?

However, all one really needs to do to prove the doctrine of election, is to think about the OT. Up until Pentecost the Jews were the only ones who were given the opportunity to be saved; with just a few exceptions.
The Jews were a relatively small nation of people, yet we know that all the rest of the people on earth died in their sins. They had no knowledge about the only way of salvation.
Most Arminians understand this, but do not seem to grasp the fact that this is a major proof of the doctrine of election.
This disconnect that they have would not think to say that God was unfair in choosing the Jews and not other people of the world. Yet they still say that the Reformed view of election is unfair.


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Thursday, March 26, 2015 7:40 AM Unconditioning hardening by John_C

Is Romans 9:18 a proof-text for unconditioning hardening? Maybe it would help to have a good definition of biblical hardening.

Hendriksen in his commentary says,
"A striking expression of God's sovereignty!
There is no reason to doubt that the hardening of the Pharioh was the object was final. It was link to the chain: reprobation -- wicked life -- hardening -- everlasting punishment. This does not mean, however, that divine hardening is always final (see on Rom 11:7b, 11)."

I'm not sure if that answers the question of whether hardening is unconditional. And why did Hendriksen throw in the words, "divine hardening" in the last sentence, instead of just using hardening?

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015 10:28 AM Sufficient atonement by Tim

I've been reading a number of discussions on The Highway about atonement, especially in regards to some of Piper's statements. I am in agreement with the sufficiency/efficiency qualification made by many reformed writers. I have no problem saying that Christ died for everyone sufficiently. This in no way denies vicarious substitutionary atonement. I'd like to attempt to briefly reconcile Christ's death being for all with the doctrine of limited atonement. I only desire this to be helpful so that there is greater understanding among the reformed who uphold the doctrine of limited atonement, regardless of the exact terminology used.

1. To my knowledge, the scriptures never state anywhere that Christ did not die for anyone.

Oftentimes, Isaiah 53:11 and John 17:9 are listed as proofs that there are people for whom Christ did not die. However, to come to that conclusion from these texts seems erroneous since these passages do not deal with the negative but the positive. Proving that Christ did not die for some from these passages is only a deduction from the positive. Of course, Christ only purposed to save the elect by His sufferings, but the text only gives us that much. For example, if I said that I traveled for the purpose of visiting my uncle in Maine, can we conclude from the statement that I visited with no one else? Of course not! All we can conclude is that the primary objective was to visit my uncle.

2. I think that the word "atonement" is often used as a synonym with Christ's sufferings, particularly His death. However, when we consider that "atonement" means "covering" or "at-one-ment," the word has more to do with the application of Christ's merits than the death itself. In other words, it has more to do with justification than the sacrifice. Stated another way, we are covered in Christ's shed blood not at the point of sacrifice but at the point of faith, hence the reformed doctrine of "justification by faith alone." Before this point we were children of wrath (Eph. 2:3) i.e. those who are not covered by the atoning blood of Christ and therefore subject to wrath. In stating that Christ's sacrifice is the atonement and arguing the extent of the atonement based on the extent of the sacrifice seems to logically run into the doctrine of eternal justification when we consider the definition of the word.

3. The promise of the gospel (whoever believes will be saved) is true because of the sufficiency of Christ's sufferings. For the reprobate to believe is certainly an impossibility because of total depravity, but the promise is just as good to them as it is to the elect. See Ezekiel 18:21-32, John 12:40, 2 Thes. 2:10. For the promise to be good for the reprobate, even though they will never exercise faith and repentance, Christ's death would seem to be sufficient for them (and His death "for" them in this sense). Otherwise, their hypothetical faith could not save them because there is no satisfaction of Christ as its foundation. In 2 Thes. 2:10, for example, how could it be true that those who reject Christ would have been saved if there was no sacrifice for them? Unless faith has intrinsic merit and expiatory power, how could the statement be true if Christ did not die for them?

Calvin on Rom. 5:

"He makes this favor common to all,  because it is propounded to all, and not because it is in reality  extended to all; for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole  world, and is offered through God's benignity indiscriminately to all,  yet all do not receive him."

Heidelberg Catechism:
"37.   What do you understand by the word “suffered”?
That all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, He bore, in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race; in order that by His suffering, as the only atoning sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life."

Canons of Dort, 2nd head, article 6:

"And, whereas many who are called by the gospel do not repent nor believe in Christ, but perish in unbelief, this is not owing to any defect or insufficiency in the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross, but is wholly to be imputed to themselves."

My purpose in writing this is not to start a debate, but rather to briefly describe what is a prominent position in reformed theology so that those who believe that Christ in a very real sense died for all indiscriminately are not classified as Arminians or Amyraldians. Shedd does a good job summarizing both positions:

“Again, the preposition ‘for’ is sometimes understood to denote not intention, but value or sufficiency. To say that Christ died ‘for’ all men then means, that his death is sufficient to expiate the guilt of all men. The one who denies that Christ died ‘for’ all men, takes ‘for’ in the sense of intention to effectually apply. The other who affirms that Christ died ‘for’ all men, takes ‘for’ in the sense of value.”

I hope this is helpful...

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