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A Four Point Calvinist #49648
Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:18 PM
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I am a five point Calvinist, but of all the issues that have me stumped and to which I cannot find reconciliation or resolution, has to do with Limited Atonement and 2 Peter 2:1 "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction".
I have read and heard a lot of exegetical gymnastics that attempt to make sense, so it fits for those who believe in limited atonement, which I do, but none have been very convincing. Can you give me a clear and simple explanation that I can preach and teach in a sermon or Bible study to the average Christian understanding so they will be able to fully embrace being a five point Calvinist? Thank you... Michael

Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Kodiak] #49651
Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:46 PM
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Michael,

1. We come to understand the doctrine of the atonement from comparing ALL of Scripture and not basing it upon one text. The general principle of biblical hermeneutics (interpretation) is that the perspicuous (clear) always interprets the obscure (unclear). 2 Pet 2:1 is a difficult passage IF taken in isolation from its immediate context and particularly so from the rest of Scripture.

2. Gary Long has done an excellent job in exegeting this text which you can find HERE. There is also a nice collection of articles that deal specifically with the doctrine of the atonement HERE. IF you have already found these, my apologies. But most who come here aren't aware of the main The Highway website which contains over 1600 books, articles, sermons, etc. grin There is a contextual Search feature on the main page and at Calvinism and the Reformed Faith. This Search feature will give results for both material found on the main website and discussions here on the Board.


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Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Kodiak] #49653
Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:50 PM
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This one is easy to resolve. First of all, the verse is spoken to those who are members of the visible church. There is no indication whatsoever that this refers to the invisible church of the elect. Not everyone who is a member of the visible church is regenerate. Although they have accepted outwardly the redemption of the Lord offered to sinners--and in that sense they reject the Lord "who bought them"--they were never redeemed nor were they ever of God's elect. Calvin's commentary on 2 Peter 2:1 makes this more evident:

Quote:
1. But there were. As weak consciences are usually very grievously and dangerously shaken, when false teachers arise, who either corrupt or mutilate the doctrine of faith, it was necessary for the Apostle, while seeking to encourage the faithful to persevere, to remove out of the way an offense of this kind. He, moreover, comforted those to whom he was writing, and confirmed them by this argument, that God has always tried and proved his Church by such a temptation as this, in order that novelty might not disturb their hearts. "Not different," he says, "will be the condition of the Church under the gospel, from what it was formerly under the law; false prophets disturbed the ancient Church; the same thing must also be expected by us."



It was necessary expressly to shew this, because many imagined that the Church would enjoy tranquillity under the rein of Christ; for as the prophets had promised that at his coming there would be real peace, the highest degree of heavenly wisdom, and the full restoration of all things, they thought that the Church would be no more exposed to any contests. Let us then remember that the Spirit of God hath once for all declared, that the Church shall never be free from this intestine evil; and let this likeness be always borne in mind, that the trial of our faith is to be similar to that of the fathers, and for the same reason— that in this way it may be made evident, whether we really love God, as we find it written in De 13:3.


Further down Calvin says:

Quote:
Even denying the Lord that bought them. Though Christ may be denied in various ways, yet Peter, as I think, refers here to what is expressed by Jude, that is, when the grace of God is turned into lasciviousness; for Christ redeemed us, that he might have a people separated from all the pollutions of the world, and devoted to holiness and innocency. They, then, who throw off the bridle, and give themselves up to all kinds of licentiousness, are not unjustly said to deny Christ by whom they have been redeemed. Hence, that the doctrine of the gospel may remain whole and complete among us, let this be fixed in our minds, that we have been redeemed by Christ, that he may be the Lord of our life and of our death, and that our main object ought to be, to live to him and to die to him. He then says, that their swift destruction was at hand, lest others should be ensnared by them.


Calvin's Commentary, 2 Peter 2:1

Last edited by Cranmer; Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:54 PM.

For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJ)
Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Pilgrim] #49654
Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:36 PM
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Thank you for the input. For me the general understanding of atonement is not at issue. I believe I have a grasp on that. Even with the referenced links and the other passages of scripture (I also hold to the principle of scripture interpreting scripture and the difficult is given light by the less difficult), the interpretative problem is not properly solved for me.
Part of the problem is the way it is handled by many exegetes. I think they fail to follow these important steps
1. What is the individual who is speaking or writing actually saying in this particular passage in this specific context at this particular moment?
2. Once this has been established, then and only then, the rest of scripture can be brought in to give clarity if clarity is needed.
3. Too many times, exegetes bypass step 1 and rather than say,"...here is what the author seems to be saying in this specific context..." they jump immediately to other passages to try and protect their position, before simply stating what the author is saying or seems to be saying first.
4. Peter really does appear to be saying that the false prophets have been redeemed or bought by Jesus even though they are denying him. I have found no simple explanation that makes clear sense (although other passages make Limited Atonement very clear) therefore, I know what it is not saying from the rest of scripture. Peter cannot be teaching Universal Atonement.
The explanation (although I do not necessarily believe it) may be as simple as this, they have indeed been bought, but this has not been revealed to them yet, they are speaking as unregenerate elect, from the perspective of unconverted false prophets, much like Saul who was not yet Paul. The destruction may be something in their here and now to bring them to their elect realization and to a place they no longer preach such heresies. To me that is a good an interpretation as any I have heard or read. I think this particular verse will always be left in an imperfect exegetical state for me. Thank you.... Michael

Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Kodiak] #49657
Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:34 PM
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Quote:
Peter really does appear to be saying that the false prophets have been redeemed or bought by Jesus even though they are denying him. I have found no simple explanation that makes clear sense (although other passages make Limited Atonement very clear) therefore, I know what it is not saying from the rest of scripture. Peter cannot be teaching Universal Atonement.


The first question to be asked here is who 2 Peter is addressed to:

Quote:
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1:1 NKJ)


As this letter is not addressed to the reprobate, 2 Peter 2:1 cannot mean that the Lord bought the reprobate in any real sense. That would be an outright contradiction. The next option is that you use this verse to adopt Arminianism and a general, universal atonement. But this fails to meet the test of Scripture compared with Scripture. Hebrews has similar passages where temporary believers appear to partake of the divine nature but not really:

Quote:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6 NKJ)


Reading this verses in light of those who are members of the visible congregation and who partake of the visible signs and seals of the sacraments, it would "appear" that they partake of the Holy Spirit and were "bought" by the Lord. But it turns out that they were not. This is only a problem verse if you believe that the visible church and the invisible church are one and the same thing:

Quote:
`Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."'" (Matthew 13:30 NKJ)


The explanation based on the term from buying and selling in the market does not settle anything in my mind, although it was an interesting argument. Scripture does not contradict Scripture because God's revelation is logical and rational, not irrational. There is usually a logical solution that is plainly stated in the text.

Calvin's commentary on Hebrews 6:4-6:

Quote:
The knot of the question is in the word, fall away. Whosoever then understands its meaning, can easily extricate himself from every difficulty. But it must be noticed, that there is a twofold falling away, one particular, and the other general. He who has in anything, or in any ways offended, has fallen away from his state as a Christian; therefore all sins are so many fallings. But the Apostle speaks not here of theft, or perjury, or murder, or drunkenness, or adultery; but he refers to a total defection or falling away from the Gospel, when a sinner offends not God in some one thing, but entirely renounces his grace.



And that this may be better understood, let us suppose a contrast between the gifts of God, which he has mentioned, and this falling away. For he falls away who forsakes the word of God, who extinguishes its light, who deprives himself of the taste of the heavens or gift, who relinquishes the participation of the Spirit. Now this is wholly to renounce God. We now see whom he excluded from the hope of pardon, even the apostates who alienated themselves from the Gospel of Christ, which they had previously embraced, and from the grace of God; and this happens to no one but to him who sins against the Holy Spirit. For he who violates the second table of the Law, or transgresses the first through ignorance, is not guilty of this defection; nor does God surely deprive any of his grace in such a way as to leave them none remaining except the reprobate.




Charlie

Last edited by Cranmer; Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:39 PM.

For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJ)
Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Kodiak] #49658
Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:48 PM
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Here is more evidence that Calvin viewed these false prophets not as elect but as false prophets who were also members of the visible church:

Quote:
3. Their idea that the truth cannot remain in the Church unless it exist among pastors, and that the Church herself cannot exist unless displayed in general councils, is very far from holding true if the prophets have left us a correct description of their own times. In the time of Isaiah there was a Church at Jerusalem which the Lord had not yet abandoned. But of pastors he thus speaks: “His watchmen are blind; they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way” ( [Isa. 56:10, 11] ). In the same way Hosea says, “The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God” ( [Hosea 9:8] ). Here, by ironically connecting them with God, he shows that the pretext of the priesthood was vain. There was also a Church in the time of Jeremiah. Let us hear what he says of pastors: “From the prophet even unto the priest, every one dealeth falsely.” Again, “The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them” ( [Jer. 6:13] ; 14:14). And not to be prolix with quotations, read the whole of his thirty-third and fortieth chapters. Then, on the other hand, Ezekiel inveighs against them in no milder terms. “There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls.” “Her priests have violated my law, and profaned mine holy things” ( [Ezek. 22:25, 26] ). There is more to the same purpose. Similar complaints abound throughout the prophets; nothing is of more frequent recurrence.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. But perhaps, though this great evil prevailed among the Jews, our age is exempt from it. Would that it were so; but the Holy Spirit declared that it would be otherwise. For Peter’s words are clear, “But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily will bring in damnable heresies” ( [2 Peter 2:1] ). See how he predicts impending danger, not from ordinary believers, but from those who should plume themselves on the name of pastors and teachers. Besides, how often did Christ and his apostles foretell that the greatest dangers with which the Church was threatened would come from pastors? ( [Mt. 24:11, 24] ). Nay, Paul openly declares, that Antichrist would have his seat in the temple of God ( [2 Thess. 2:4] ); thereby intimating, that the fearful calamity of which he was speaking would come only from those who should have their seat in the Church as pastors. And in another passage he shows that the introduction of this great evil was almost at hand. For in addressing the Elders of Ephesus, he says, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” ( [Acts 20:29, 30] ). How great corruption might a long series of years introduce among pastors, when they could degenerate so much within so short a time? And not to fill my pages with details, we are reminded by the examples of almost every age, that the truth is not always cherished in the bosoms of pastors, and that the safety of the Church depends not on their state. It was becoming that those appointed to preserve the peace and safety of the Church should be its presidents and guardians; but it is one thing to perform what you owe, and another to owe what you do not perform.
Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book IV, Chapter 9, Sections 3-4


For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJ)
Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Kodiak] #49661
Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:26 AM
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Originally Posted By: Kodiak
The explanation (although I do not necessarily believe it) may be as simple as this, they have indeed been bought, but this has not been revealed to them yet, they are speaking as unregenerate elect, from the perspective of unconverted false prophets, much like Saul who was not yet Paul. The destruction may be something in their here and now to bring them to their elect realization and to a place they no longer preach such heresies. To me that is a good an interpretation as any I have heard or read. I think this particular verse will always be left in an imperfect exegetical state for me. Thank you.... Michael

I personally find your interpretation of the text quite wanting... forced, if you will. We definitely agree on how this or any passage, for that matter, should be approached, i.e., taken first in its immediate context, both near and far. But the principle by which that is carried out must be with the "Grammatico-Historico" (grammatical historical) hermeneutic. I think that Gary Long's approach follows that principle quite well. His focus upon the word "agorazo" I believe is key to the proper understanding of the text. As we all know, or at least should know, words have varying meanings which are to be determined by the context in which they are used.

We know from using the Analogy of Faith, what Peter was NOT saying, i.e., Christ's atoning death was not designed for "all"; indiscriminately for every single individual. If that were the case, then one would be forced into a form of Amyraldianism; Christ actually paid the penalty for "all", thus satisfying the penalty due to them "all", but it is not made effective unless it is received by faith. Thus, the challenge is to determine in what sense "bought" is to be understood.

My understanding is that these false prophets were teaching a doctrine which denied the necessity of or who were diminishing the vicarious substitutionary atonement of Christ by adding to it, thus in essence they were denying it as the only remedy for sin and reconciliation with God. Put another way, these false prophets were denying that which they professed to believe and by which profession they were received as members into the Church. There are doubtless many examples which we could refer to that exist even today. One that comes to mind immediately are the false prophets/teachers who profess to hold to the doctrine of Sola Fide; justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone... Yet, they deny this truth that salvation is ALL of God by adding to that grace man's works, whether it is by "being faithful to the covenant, aka: good works which will be considered along with an alleged professed faith on the last day, or more subtlety by making faith a work, aka: a free-will decision for Christ.

Lastly, although we would like to think that we can understand everything written in Scripture (some actually hold to this view tenaciously, saying that we can not only understand everything written but we can know it perfectly as God Himself knows it), we must humble ourselves and admit that this is not possible due to 1) some things written are hard to understand (2Pet 3:16), 2) our own intellectual inabilities, and 3) that we all labor under the noetic effects of the Fall.


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Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Cranmer] #49663
Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:43 AM
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Thank you for the information and your response...

Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Pilgrim] #49664
Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:44 AM
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Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question....

Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Pilgrim] #49680
Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:46 PM
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Quote:
We know from using the Analogy of Faith, what Peter was NOT saying, i.e., Christ's atoning death was not designed for "all"; indiscriminately for every single individual. If that were the case, then one would be forced into a form of Amyraldianism; Christ actually paid the penalty for "all", thus satisfying the penalty due to them "all", but it is not made effective unless it is received by faith. Thus, the challenge is to determine in what sense "bought" is to be understood.


I would like to know where Scripture is ever given the blanket term of "analogy" in the text itself? Since truth can only be stated in propositions, how is truth an "analogy" rather than a logical proposition? Was David the king of Israel, or is that merely an "analogy"?


****

Quote:
Lastly, although we would like to think that we can understand everything written in Scripture (some actually hold to this view tenaciously, saying that we can not only understand everything written but we can know it perfectly as God Himself knows it), we must humble ourselves and admit that this is not possible due to 1) some things written are hard to understand (2Pet 3:16), 2) our own intellectual inabilities, and 3) that we all labor under the noetic effects of the Fall.


It is certainly true that men make mistakes in theology. Some understand the theology and reject it outright. Both are the results of the noetic effects of sin. However, to say that because some students make mistakes in algebra does not mean that algebra is an analogy of the truth rather than being true in and of itself. If the Bible is not THE Word of God, what IS it? Pray tell? Your view that Scripture is an analogy of the truth is the neo-orthodox view, not the view of the Scriptures themselves. Simply because people make mistakes in algebra does not make algebra an "analogy of the truth" and neither do mistakes in reading the Bible make the Bible an "analogy" of the truth.

I may not understand all the propositions of the Bible, because there are many of them. But if I understand even ONE proposition of the Bible and I understand what the logic of that proposition plainly says, then I know what God knows on that point. Surely God knows many more propositions than I know. He knows directly and intuitively while I only know what He has revealed in His Word. But when God says in the Bible that David was the king of Israel, am I to understand that God doesn't intend for me to know that information? If that proposition is something different for God and for me, then I cannot understand anything God says in the Bible.

Scripture alone is the Word of God.

Charlie


For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJ)
Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Cranmer] #49688
Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:02 PM
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Originally Posted By: Cranmer
Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
We know from using the Analogy of Faith, what Peter was NOT saying, i.e., Christ's atoning death was not designed for "all"; indiscriminately for every single individual. If that were the case, then one would be forced into a form of Amyraldianism; Christ actually paid the penalty for "all", thus satisfying the penalty due to them "all", but it is not made effective unless it is received by faith. Thus, the challenge is to determine in what sense "bought" is to be understood.


I would like to know where Scripture is ever given the blanket term of "analogy" in the text itself? Since truth can only be stated in propositions, how is truth an "analogy" rather than a logical proposition? Was David the king of Israel, or is that merely an "analogy"?

Charlie,

You have a problem.....!!! You are so enamoured with Gordon Clark that you go off on tirades that have no bearing upon what is being discussed or in this particular case what I wrote, i.e., ONE PHRASE; "Analogy of Faith". Take a pill, will ya? igiveup

The phrase "Analogy of Faith" is a much used and recognized orthodox phrase which is synonymous with "comparing Scripture with Scripture". It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Van Til's description of scriptural writing being an "analogy". You would do well to READ what people write in CONTEXT and exercise some of the fruit of the Spirit which you should possess.


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Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Pilgrim] #49696
Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:07 PM
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Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
Originally Posted By: Cranmer
Originally Posted By: Pilgrim
We know from using the Analogy of Faith, what Peter was NOT saying, i.e., Christ's atoning death was not designed for "all"; indiscriminately for every single individual. If that were the case, then one would be forced into a form of Amyraldianism; Christ actually paid the penalty for "all", thus satisfying the penalty due to them "all", but it is not made effective unless it is received by faith. Thus, the challenge is to determine in what sense "bought" is to be understood.


I would like to know where Scripture is ever given the blanket term of "analogy" in the text itself? Since truth can only be stated in propositions, how is truth an "analogy" rather than a logical proposition? Was David the king of Israel, or is that merely an "analogy"?

Charlie,

You have a problem.....!!! You are so enamoured with Gordon Clark that you go off on tirades that have no bearing upon what is being discussed or in this particular case what I wrote, i.e., ONE PHRASE; "Analogy of Faith". Take a pill, will ya? igiveup

The phrase "Analogy of Faith" is a much used and recognized orthodox phrase which is synonymous with "comparing Scripture with Scripture". It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Van Til's description of scriptural writing being an "analogy". You would do well to READ what people write in CONTEXT and exercise some of the fruit of the Spirit which you should possess.


"Tirades" is purely propaganda since I am speaking purely in terms of logic.

The term "analogy of Scripture" is common in neo-orthodox circles. Although Aquinas did use the term, Aquinas' theology was rationalist. The Scriptures are propositional in nature, not "analogy". If Scripture is not a rational revelation in the verbal-plenary view of inspiration, then what you have is simply "inspired" myth and meaningless words.

Faith is believing and assenting to the knowledge revealed in Scripture.

Charlie


For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJ)
Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Cranmer] #49697
Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:59 PM
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Originally Posted By: Cranmer

"Tirades" is purely propaganda since I am speaking purely in terms of logic.

Tirades describes accurately how you conduct yourself here and on other sites, e.g., Facebook groups. It has nothing to do with "logic". You can't even stick to the topic being discussed. igiveup

Originally Posted By: Cranmer
The term "analogy of Scripture" is common in neo-orthodox circles. Although Aquinas did use the term, Aquinas' theology was rationalist. The Scriptures are propositional in nature, not "analogy". If Scripture is not a rational revelation in the verbal-plenary view of inspiration, then what you have is simply "inspired" myth and meaningless words.

Again, you go off on some hobby horse tirade on something totally irrelevant to what I wrote and which I made very clear had nothing to do with viewing Scripture as "analogy/analogous". The Reformers coined the phrase and used it extensively against apologists from Rome who added to Scripture. See HERE

Originally Posted By: Cranmer
Faith is believing and assenting to the knowledge revealed in Scripture.

Yes, faith is believing but that doesn't define what faith is. Again, do you agree with John Robbin's statement that faith is assenting to the truths of Scripture.... ONLY? Is faith restricted to an intellectual assent to biblical truth?


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Re: A Four Point Calvinist [Re: Pilgrim] #49698
Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:49 AM
Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:49 AM
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Pilgrim
Wondered whether I should even chime in here seeing I really don't have anything more to add to this discussion.
However I must say that I think you have been very clear what 'analogy of faith' means. It appears that Cramner is ignorant of what the term actually means having already made up his mind on its true meaning,despite any evidence to the contrary.
It also appears he is calling Reformed Christians neo-orthodox.

Tom


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