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Tim
Tim
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Recent Posts
Election
by Tom
Yesterday at 09:14 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
Two more new articles by Richard Bennett
by Pilgrim
Friday, March 6, 2015 1:33 PM
Thursday, March 26, 2015 10:23 PM Election by Tom

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

Quote:
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.

Tom

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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,
Quote:
"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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Sunday, March 15, 2015 9:19 PM For he shall save his people from their sins by chestnutmare

It was already shown that the particularistic view of the design of the atonement is in harmony with the universalistic passages of Holy Scripture. It remains to be shown that this view’ is expressly taught by Scripture. When an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph of Nazareth and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, that which was conceived in her being of the Holy Ghost, the angel added: “And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). In the allegory of the good shepherd Christ foretold that He would give and lay down His life for His sheep (John 10: 11, 15). Speaking to His disciples and referring to them He said: “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Paul declared to the Ephesian elders that Christ purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28), and he reminded all the believers at Ephesus that Christ “loved the church and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). And when Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome that God “spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32), he was referring, according to both the immediately preceding and the immediately following context specifically to the elect. All of the statements just quoted are explicit in character. In another passage Christ teaches by inescapable implication that He gave His life for none other than those whom the Father had given Him. In His high-priestly prayer He said: “I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me” (John 17:9). Indisputably Christ’s sacrificial work and His intercessory work are both priestly activities and therefore simply two aspects of His atoning work. Therefore the scope of the one cannot be wider than the scope of the other. If Christ prayed exclusively for those whom the Father had given Him, He also bought only these with His blood.
~ R.B. Kuiper

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Sunday, March 15, 2015 9:15 PM To speak of all His praise by chestnutmare

When God placed the first man in paradise, his soul no doubt was so filled with a sense of the riches of the divine love, that he was continually employing that breath of life, which the Almighty had not long before breathed into him, in blessing and magnifying that all-bountiful, all gracious God, in whom he lived, moved, and had his being.

And the brightest idea we can form of the angelical hierarchy above, and the spirits of just men made perfect, is, that they are continually standing round the throne of God, and cease not day and night, saying, “Worthy art thou, O Lamb that wast slain, to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Rev. 5:12.

That then, which was man's perfection when time first began, and will be his employment when death is swallowed up in victory, and time shall be no more, without controversy, is part of our perfection, and ought to be our frequent exercise on earth: and I doubt not but those blessed spirits, who are sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation, often stand astonished when they encamp around us, or find our hearts so rarely enlarged, and our mouths so seldom opened, to show forth the loving- kindness of the Lord, or to speak of all his praise.

~ George Whitefield

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