Piper says he’s also an Arminian

In Taste and See (Multnomah,1999, p325), John Piper endorses the conditional false gospel. “Christ died for all sinners, so that IF you will repent and believe in Christ, then the death of Jesus will become effective in your case and will take away your sins. ‘Died for you,’ means if you believe, the death of Jesus will cover your sins. Now, as far as it goes, this is biblical teaching.”

Piper then goes on to disagree with Arminians for not teaching that Christ died to purchase faith for the elect. But he does not disagree with the Arminians about propitiation and substitution and punishment.

Piper’s false gospel does not teach that Christ was specifically punished for the elect alone . It still only has a punishment in general, to be assigned later to those who believe. But  he does insist that Christ also died for the elect to give them something extra that He will not be giving the non-elect?  Piper’s false gospel misses being true gospel in two important and related ways.

First, the false gospel fails to report that Christ was punished specifically for the elect, and when it does that, it will be heard every time as saying that there was enough punishment done to Christ to save even people who will nevertheless end up being punished. Thus, even though it has punishment, this false gospel is not about punishment that replaces punishment for all whom Christ intended to save. It has punishment without any intention of Christ to save anybody in particular at all.

Piper’s punishment- in- general gospel (with faith purchased extra for the elect) is no gospel in a second and important way.  It makes the important atonement to be something other than the punishment of Christ. It makes the real reconciliation to be the Spirit Christ purchased giving people faith to believe, even if they happen to believe a message that says Christ died for every sinner.

The alternative here is to either claim that people who have never heard the gospel are saved, or to claim that general punishment for nobody in particular is the gospel. In any case, it is not the good news about the real meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection.

If we jump ahead to the things Christ has bought for believers, even including their believing, without telling it straight about the punishment of Christ specifically for the elect, then we will continue to love a gospel which has no election in it and no punishment to release the elect from guilt. If we jump ahead in that way, we jump over why God’s love for the elect is never described apart from the death of Christ.

If the death of Christ is not that which saves any specific sinner, then the death of Christ does not save sinners. If the atonement is Christ purchasing faith to give elect sinners a portion in a general punishment, then the punishment of Christ was not for salvation. The false gospel which nullifies election also nullifies justification by the punishment of Christ.

The false gospel which nullifies justification by the punishment of Christ nullifies justification by the righteousness of Christ. It talks about justification by the imputed righteousness, but without ever talking about God’s imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ. It won’t say whose sins were imputed to Christ.

It refuses to say anybody’s sins were imputed to Christ, because it refuses to say it was the sins of the elect alone which were imputed to Christ. Such a false gospel nullifies the love of God for the elect. But God’s grace by which God gives Christ to be punished for the elect will not be nullified.

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13 Comments on “Piper says he’s also an Arminian”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    So Piper, just be simple a minute, do you believe Jesus died for all people?

    Just give us a straight out answer. And I’m not going to play politics, I’m not going to answer another question. I’m going to do this.
    Before I answer it, i’m going to force you to define for all people, i’m going to say, now just tell me exactly what you mean and i’ll answer you, because I dont want to answer in a way that would cause you to misunderstand.

    What do you mean by for all people?

    Now I think I know what most, is it okay if I use the word arminians? just, just most people who, who are having a hard time, they’re not all arminians, having a hard time with limited atonement. That is the atonement that effects something special for a limited group.

    I think I know what they all mean, and i’m going to quote Miller’s Erikson’s theology because I think he’s right. He says:

    “God intended the atonement to make salvation possible for all persons. christ died for all persons but this atoning death becomes effective only when accepted by the individual. This is the view of all arminians.” closed quote.

    If that’s the view of all arminians I totally agree with it. No qualifications. So if you say “did christ die for all people” and I say “what do you mean for all people?” and you answer “I mean did he die in such a way so that anybody anywhere who believes will be saved by that blood.”
    I say “absolutely he did.” That’s John 3:16 pure and simple. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son in such a way that whoever believes will not perish, I believe that totally without qualification. Every individual person on planet earth who believes in Jesus has their life covered by the blood of Jesus. so you preach that, you stand up on sunday morning and you say christ died in such a way so that anybody in this room who believes, your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus.
    (John Piper – Acts 29 conference – The Whole Glory of God – Imputation – Impartation of His righteousness – Part 2)

  2. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    Jacobus Andreae, Acta Colloquij Montisbellogartensis, 1613, 447

    “Those assigned to eternal destruction are not damned because because they sinned. They are damned for this reason, because they refused to embrace Jesus Christ with true faith, who died no less for their sins than for the sins of Peter, Paul and all the saints.

    Beza—p448–”To me what you say is plainly new and previously unheard–that men are not damned because they have sinned….

    Garry J Williams, p 513—The notion that the lost will be punished for the sin of unbelief and not for sin in general allows Lutherans to hold that Jesus died for every general sin of every individual, and yet not all must be saved, because unbelievers may still be justly condemned for their unbelief since Christ did not die for it. This reply limits the sins for which Christ died..

    The Lutherans have created a difficulty with biblical texts referring to the sins for which Christ died. Every affirmation that sins have been borne by Christ must now be understood to contain a tacit restriction—except the sin of unbelief….If a sinner believes and becomes a Christian at age forty, and the Lutherans teach that Christ did not die for the sin of unbelief, this means that Christ did not die for this man’s sin of unbelief committed over forty years.

    Psalm 130: 3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?

    II Corinthians 5: 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.

    mark: Most people have not heard the true gospel. Most people do not believe the true gospel because most people have not heard the true gospel.

  3. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    Piper’s description of the doctrine is weak, and virtually worthless in the great controversy it addresses, because of what it does not say. It does not say that the extent of the atonement is governed by the eternal predestination of God. Canons, 2.8 begins thus: “This was the sovereign counsel and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect,” etc. The Canons article continues: “It was the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross…should effectually redeem…all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father.”

    Piper’s account of the atonement is weak and worthless because of its deliberately concessive language- “effective for those who trust him.” What should be said is that the cross is effective in itself for all those in whose stead Christ died according to the eternal predestination of God. Christ’s death paid in full the debt that the elect sinners in whose stead Christ died owed to the divine justice.
    “Effective for those who trust in him” is deliberately compromising language, leaving the impression and intending to leave the impression that the effectiveness of the cross, after all, depends upon the trusting sinner. Similar is the language of the phrase, “to save all who believe.” In itself, this is true. In preaching, there is need to say and emphasize this, while making clear that the faith itself is the gift of God, earned by the cross. But in a treatment of the controversy over the extent of the atonement the phrase is compromise with the heretical foe. What Piper should say is, “to save all the elect for whom He died.”
    Piper’s description of the atonement is false and heretical in that it affirms that “the availability of the total sufficiency is for all people.” Here Piper shrewdly but erroneously plays with the sufficiency language of the Canons. Canons, 2.3 affirms that the death of the Son of God “is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.” The Canons affirm sufficiency because of the person of the crucified–the eternal Son of God–and because of the nature of the suffering of Christ crucified (see Canons, 2.4). It does not affirm sufficiency in any sense whatever having to do with the amount of persons for whom Christ died–the extent of the atonement. But Piper makes sufficiency applicable to the extent of the atonement. Thus, he necessarily drifts into, or compromises with, the heresy of universal atonement. Piper’s implicit teaching is that Christ died for all humans sufficiently. This is false doctrine, according to the Canons, which faithfully express the teaching of the Bible. Christ did not die for all humans, that is, for more than the elect in any sense whatever, whether sufficiently, hypothetically, or any other sense. He died for the elect only, a death that intrinsically is of infinite worth and value–to the comfort of every elect, believing sinner. To use Piper’s language, the cross is not available with its total sufficiency “for all people.” “For” signifies ‘for the sake of’ with regard to “God’s purpose with the cross. The cross in regard both to its sufficiency and its efficacy was and is “for” all those whom God has elected, and those only.
    And then to get cute with the favorite Arminian phrase, “whosoever wills…will be covered,” is inexcusable. I know the phrase is biblical. But in the Bible it does not refer to the efficacy of the cross but to the enjoyment of the salvation of the cross by those in whom the cross has worked its saving efficacy (Rev. 22:17). The truth is that whosoever God has willed will be covered by the blood of the atonement.
    With friends like Piper, the doctrine of limited atonement needs no enemies.
    David J. Engelsma

  4. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    Piper’s Future Grace teaches works not only as evidence for us and other people but for God

    How then can I say that the judgment of believers will not only be the public declaration of our differing rewards in the kingdom of God, according to our deeds, but will also be the public declaration of our salvation – our entering the kingdom – according to our deeds? The answer is that our deeds will be the public evidence brought forth in Christ’s courtroom to demonstrate that our faith is real. And our deeds will be the public evidence brought fourth to demonstrate the varying measures of our obedience of faith. In other words, salvation is by grace through faith, and rewards are by grace through faith, but the evidence of invisible faith in the judgment hall of Christ will be a transformed life. (Future Grace, p 364)

    Several times Paul listed certain kinds of deeds and said, “those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In other words, when these deeds are exposed at the judgment as a person’s way of life, they will be the evidence that their faith is dead and he will not be saved. As James said, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). That is what will be shown at the judgment. (Future Grace, p 366)

  5. markmcculley Says:

    ware—-a first-order discussion of a second-order doctrine. The contributors to this volume agree that the question of the extent of the atonement falls short of being placed in the top tier of doctrines central and non-negotiable to the Christian faith, yet they also rightly see the importance of this doctrine for faith and practice. Hence, the discussion here is spirited yet charitable, firm yet gracious

    Happily the dire predictions of what lies at the bottom of the slippery slopes situated on either side of this debate are rarely realized

    The debate on the extent of the atonement of Jesus Christ has long been expressed as a debate between correspondence (exegesis) and coherence (theology). On the one hand, many texts suggest a general atonement, announcing, apparently, that Christ has borne in common the sins of the whole human population (Isa 53:6; John 1:29; 3:16; 12:32; 2 Cor 5:14–15, 19; 1 Tim 2:4–6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; Heb 2:9; 10:29; 2 Pet 2:1; 3:9; 1 John 2:2; 4:14; etc.). Too often those who hold to particular redemption dismiss such texts or respond with exegesis that smacks of special pleading.4 On the other hand, those promoting universal theories of atonement sometimes dismiss the theological tensions that their positions raise: the nature of substitution, the problem of double jeopardy, and the specter of universalism. All too often justification for this dismissal comes in the form of the trump card of biblical correspondence: the Bible says Christ died for all people, so whether or not this makes sense, it must be true—absolutely clear statements are not threatened by the theologian’s inability to coherently harmonize them with the systematic whole. Rather, such theological antinomies stand as monuments to the mysterious character of the Creator, whose thoughts and ways far exceed those of his creatures. This does not mean that those adhering to a definite atonement have no supporting texts or that those adhering to a general atonement have no theological concerns.

    • On the particularist pole we could have added at least two views: (1) the so-called “commercial view,” a minority variation of particularism that denies the atonement’s infinite value and excludes common grace from the atonement,9 and (2) the “eternal application” model that sees the accomplishment and application of atonement as simultaneous—either in eternity past or on the cross.10

    9 Thomas J. Nettles argues for this less common particularist understanding (though without using the commercial label) over and against Andrew Fuller’s more widely held historical expression of particularism (By His Grace and for His Glory: A Historical, Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life, rev. and exp. 20th anniversary ed. [Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2006], 335–59). 10 Once a rare view even among hyper-Calvinists (see, e.g., John Brine, A Defence of the Doctrine of Eternal Justification from Some Exceptions Made to It by Mr. Bragge, and Others [London: A. Ward and H. Whitridge, 1732]), this view has few if any modern proponents

    mark— i am in on #1, but not #2, but most people assume 2 if you have 1

    at least four distinct views associated with a general atonement position: (1) that Christ’s death secures the expiation of all sins and with it prevenient grace so that all may either accept or reject that expiation;11 (2) that Christ’s death simply provides for the expiation of all sins except unbelief, which is a separate category;12 (3) that Christ’s death merely satisfies God’s wrath without properly substituting for each sinner;13 and (4) that Christ’s death expiates for all, universalism

    11 This view is common among professing Arminians who reject the governmental view of atonement. Grant Osborne ably defends this view in this book. 12 Robert P. Lightner, The Death Christ Died: A Biblical Case for Unlimited Atonement (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1998), 101; David L. Allen, “The Atonement: Limited or Universal,” in Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism, ed. David L. Allen and Steve W. Lemke (Nashville: B&H, 2010), 88. 13 Anselm’s satisfaction view, which still dominates in Roman Catholic circles, arguably fits this description.

    g., P. L. Rouwendal, “Calvin’s Forgotten Classical Position on the Extent of the Atonement: About Sufficiency, Efficiency, and Anachronism,” WTJ 70, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 317–35. 17 E.g., Bruce A. Ware, “The Extent of the Atonement: Select Support for and Benefits of a ‘Multiple Intentions’ Understanding,” outline presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (November 18, 2010). See also a thesis prepared by Gary Shultz under Ware’s tutelage: “A Biblical and Theological Defense of a Multi-Intentioned View of the Atonement” (PhD diss., Southern Baptist Theological

    For these a definite atonement is no less essential a piece of the Reformed system than, say, justification by faith or any of the other four “points” of Calvinism

    Brian Armstrong’s dissertation, “The Calvinism of Moïse Amyraut: The Warfare of Protestant Scholasticism and French Humanism” (ThD diss., Princeton University, 1967), available in a more popular format as Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy: Protestant Scholasticism and Humanism in Seventeenth-Century France (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969). This view gained considerable popularity in 1979 with the publication of R. T. Kendall’s dissertation, Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979). Among other works sympathetic to this thesis, two stand out as key sequels to these earlier treatments: Alan C. Clifford, Atonement and Justification: English Evangelical Theology 1640–1790—An Evaluation (London: Oxford University Press, 1990); and G. Michael Thomas’s The Extent of the Atonement: A Dilemma for Reformed Theology from Calvin to the Consensus (Carlisle, England: Paternoster, 2002). Most recently, Kevin D. Kennedy has furthered this theory by condensing salient portions of an earlier Peter Lang publication as “Was Calvin a Calvinist? John Calvin on the Extent of the Atonement,” in Allen and Lemke, Whosoever Will, 191–212

    Many today who hold to a general atonement also teach a substitutionary view of atonement (a marked advance on the governmental and moral influence views that were formerly more common in Arminian circles). Particularists, however, see this claim as inconsistent: while advocates of general atonement may hold to an atonement that involves penal satisfaction, it is not accurate to call this a penal substitution, except in some potential sense.

    Nowhere does Scripture say Christ merely made provision to expiate sin, propitiate wrath, or reconcile people to God. Rather, he actually took away sins (John 1:29), bore God’s wrath (1 John 2:2; 4:10), redeemed us (Gal 3:13–14), and reconciled us to God (Rom 5:10– 11; 2 Cor 5:18–19). For this reason, then, the title of Murray’s little book is not Redemption: Provided and Applied, but Redemption: Accomplished and Applied

    For advocates of universal atonement, God did accomplish all that he intended. But God did not intend to effectually redeem anyone; he simply intended to provide redemption for everyone. And in this, they claim, God was perfectly successful. 3 The precise relationship of faith to atonement is a matter of debate among advocates of universal atonement. All agree, however, that faith delimits the application of the universal atonement.

    Details about the source of this faith vary between advocates of general atonement. Some suggest that all people possess the native capacity to believe (Pelagianism), others that faith is made available as a manifestation of prevenient grace (Picirilli and most Arminians), and still others see faith as connected with an efficacious call (Lightner and many “four-point” Calvinists). In any case it is the sinner’s failure to believe that limits the application of atonement.

    Christ died to make simultaneously both a “universal atonement” and a “limited redemption.”44 Historically, this centrist view finds its greatest early Protestant endorsement in the school of Saumur and its greatest early champions in John Cameron and especially Moïses Amyraut.45 Amyraldism, which is properly a minority variation of Calvinism, early on adopted Peter Lombard’s understanding that Christ’s death was “offered . . . for all with regard to the sufficiency of the price, but only for the elect with regard to its efficacy, because he brought about salvation only for the predestined.”46 The connotative elasticity of the phrase “sufficient for all but efficient for the elect” proved useful as a vehicle of mediation at Dordt, where in 1618–19 a mixed body of both “high” Calvinists and Amyraldians crafted a united response to the threat of the Arminian Remonstrance—the famed Canons of Dordt, from which the wellknown “five points” derive.

    http://www2.bhpublishinggroup.com/PDF/9781433669712_sampCh.pdf

  6. markmcculley Says:

    to be mainline Reformed, you must first agree that nobody can be gracious unless they begin by saying that Amyraldians also believe the same gospel as you do
    http://www2.bhpublishinggroup.com/PDF/9781433669712_sampCh.pdf

    But I say—-wrong about the extent of the atonement, wrong about the nature of the atonement

    correct about the extent of the atonement, not necessarily correct about the nature of the atonement

    Ware—-a first-order discussion of a second-order doctrine. The contributors to this volume agree that the question of the extent of the atonement falls short of being placed in the top tier of doctrines central and non-negotiable to the Christian faith, yet they also rightly see the importance of this doctrine for faith and practice. Hence, the discussion here is spirited yet charitable, firm yet gracious

    Happily the dire predictions of what lies at the bottom of the slippery slopes situated on either side of this debate are rarely realized

    The debate on the extent of the atonement of Jesus Christ has long been expressed as a debate between correspondence (exegesis) and coherence (theology). On the one hand, many texts suggest a general atonement, announcing, apparently, that Christ has borne in common the sins of the whole human population (Isa 53:6; John 1:29; 3:16; 12:32; 2 Cor 5:14–15, 19; 1 Tim 2:4–6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; Heb 2:9; 10:29; 2 Pet 2:1; 3:9; 1 John 2:2; 4:14; etc.). Too often those who hold to particular redemption dismiss such texts or respond with exegesis that smacks of special pleading.4 On the other hand, those promoting universal theories of atonement sometimes dismiss the theological tensions that their positions raise: the nature of substitution, the problem of double jeopardy, and the specter of universalism. All too often justification for this dismissal comes in the form of the trump card of biblical correspondence: the Bible says Christ died for all people, so whether or not this makes sense, it must be true—absolutely clear statements are not threatened by the theologian’s inability to coherently harmonize them with the systematic whole. Rather, such theological antinomies stand as monuments to the mysterious character of the Creator, whose thoughts and ways far exceed those of his creatures. This does not mean that those adhering to a definite atonement have no supporting texts or that those adhering to a general atonement have no theological concerns.

    • On the particularist pole we could have added at least two views: (1) the so-called “commercial view,” a minority variation of particularism that denies the atonement’s infinite value and excludes common grace from the atonement,9 and (2) the “eternal application” model that sees the accomplishment and application of atonement as simultaneous—either in eternity past or on the cross.10

    9 Thomas J. Nettles argues for this less common particularist understanding (though without using the commercial label) over and against Andrew Fuller’s more widely held historical expression of particularism (By His Grace and for His Glory: A Historical, Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life, rev. and exp. 20th anniversary ed. [Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2006], 335–59). 10 Once a rare view even among hyper-Calvinists (see, e.g., John Brine, A Defence of the Doctrine of Eternal Justification from Some Exceptions Made to It by Mr. Bragge, and Others [London: A. Ward and H. Whitridge, 1732]), this view has few if any modern proponents

    mark— i am in on #1, but not #2, but most people assume 2 if you have 1

    at least four distinct views associated with a general atonement position: (1) that Christ’s death secures the expiation of all sins and with it prevenient grace so that all may either accept or reject that expiation;11 (2) that Christ’s death simply provides for the expiation of all sins except unbelief, which is a separate category;12 (3) that Christ’s death merely satisfies God’s wrath without properly substituting for each sinner;13 and (4) that Christ’s death expiates for all, universalism

    11 This view is common among professing Arminians who reject the governmental view of atonement. Grant Osborne ably defends this view in this book. 12 Robert P. Lightner, The Death Christ Died: A Biblical Case for Unlimited Atonement (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1998), 101; David L. Allen, “The Atonement: Limited or Universal,” in Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism, ed. David L. Allen and Steve W. Lemke (Nashville: B&H, 2010), 88. 13 Anselm’s satisfaction view, which still dominates in Roman Catholic circles, arguably fits this description.

    g., P. L. Rouwendal, “Calvin’s Forgotten Classical Position on the Extent of the Atonement: About Sufficiency, Efficiency, and Anachronism,” WTJ 70, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 317–35. 17 E.g., Bruce A. Ware, “The Extent of the Atonement: Select Support for and Benefits of a ‘Multiple Intentions’ Understanding,” outline presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (November 18, 2010). See also a thesis prepared by Gary Shultz under Ware’s tutelage: “A Biblical and Theological Defense of a Multi-Intentioned View of the Atonement” (PhD diss., Southern Baptist Theological

    For these a definite atonement is no less essential a piece of the Reformed system than, say, justification by faith or any of the other four “points” of Calvinism

    Brian Armstrong’s dissertation, “The Calvinism of Moïse Amyraut: The Warfare of Protestant Scholasticism and French Humanism” (ThD diss., Princeton University, 1967), available in a more popular format as Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy: Protestant Scholasticism and Humanism in Seventeenth-Century France (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969). This view gained considerable popularity in 1979 with the publication of R. T. Kendall’s dissertation, Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979). Among other works sympathetic to this thesis, two stand out as key sequels to these earlier treatments: Alan C. Clifford, Atonement and Justification: English Evangelical Theology 1640–1790—An Evaluation (London: Oxford University Press, 1990); and G. Michael Thomas’s The Extent of the Atonement: A Dilemma for Reformed Theology from Calvin to the Consensus (Carlisle, England: Paternoster, 2002). Most recently, Kevin D. Kennedy has furthered this theory by condensing salient portions of an earlier Peter Lang publication as “Was Calvin a Calvinist? John Calvin on the Extent of the Atonement,” in Allen and Lemke, Whosoever Will, 191–212

    Many today who hold to a general atonement also teach a substitutionary view of atonement (a marked advance on the governmental and moral influence views that were formerly more common in Arminian circles). Particularists, however, see this claim as inconsistent: while advocates of general atonement may hold to an atonement that involves penal satisfaction, it is not accurate to call this a penal substitution, except in some potential sense.

    Nowhere does Scripture say Christ merely made provision to expiate sin, propitiate wrath, or reconcile people to God. Rather, he actually took away sins (John 1:29), bore God’s wrath (1 John 2:2; 4:10), redeemed us (Gal 3:13–14), and reconciled us to God (Rom 5:10– 11; 2 Cor 5:18–19). For this reason, then, the title of Murray’s little book is not Redemption: Provided and Applied, but Redemption: Accomplished and Applied

    For advocates of universal atonement, God did accomplish all that he intended. But God did not intend to effectually redeem anyone; he simply intended to provide redemption for everyone. And in this, they claim, God was perfectly successful. 3 The precise relationship of faith to atonement is a matter of debate among advocates of universal atonement. All agree, however, that faith delimits the application of the universal atonement.

    Details about the source of this faith vary between advocates of general atonement. Some suggest that all people possess the native capacity to believe (Pelagianism), others that faith is made available as a manifestation of prevenient grace (Picirilli and most Arminians), and still others see faith as connected with an efficacious call (Lightner and many “four-point” Calvinists). In any case it is the sinner’s failure to believe that limits the application of atonement.

    Christ died to make simultaneously both a “universal atonement” and a “limited redemption.”44 Historically, this centrist view finds its greatest early Protestant endorsement in the school of Saumur and its greatest early champions in John Cameron and especially Moïses Amyraut. Amyraldism, which is properly a minority variation of Calvinism, early on adopted Peter Lombard’s understanding that Christ’s death was “offered . . . for all with regard to the sufficiency of the price, but only for the elect with regard to its efficacy, because he brought about salvation only for the predestined.”46 The connotative elasticity of the phrase “sufficient for all but efficient for the elect” proved useful as a vehicle of mediation at Dordt, where in 1618–19 a mixed body of both “high” Calvinists and Amyraldians crafted a united response to the threat of the Arminian Remonstrance

    • markmcculley Says:

      Amyraut—“Sin seems to have changed not only the whole face of the universe, but even the entire design of the first creation, and if one may speak this way, seems to have induced to adopt new councels”

      and thus God becomes the God who declares not the end from the beginning but the end from the fall

      the fall is conditioned on the sinner, and the creation is either plan a or no plan at all

      did God make the world, and then decide (after man decided) what to do with the world

      why must we deny that death is God’s work also?

      why must we deny that the fall of Adam is God’s work also?

      why must we keep talking about what Adam “could have done” or “might have done”?

      was God’s plan a to be glorified in a church of human Adams who never sinned? (Ephesians 3:20)

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Carl Truman, Perspectives on the Extent, p 59—“I have no problem telling somebody, ‘Christ died for your sins’, if I have made it clear how the statement connects to the overall teaching on salvation.”

    Carl Truman—“But what does it mean to say to someone, Christ died for you, if that fact in and of itself, makes no difference? ….Surely the answer is John 3:16, not ‘Christ did and did not die for you, depending on what you mean.”

    p 58–“Listeners might ask, what does it mean to say that Christ died for all, if not all are saved.”

    Luther, works, 22:169—-“Christ bears all the sins of the world from its beginning. This implies that Christ also bears your sins, and offers you grace.”

    Gerhard–If the non-elect are condemned because they do not believe on Christ, it follows that to the non-elect also the death of Christ pertains”

    Grudem, p 602—Systematic Theology–“It really seems to be only nit-picking when Reformed people insist on being such purists is their speech that they object any time that someone says that ‘Christ died for all people’. There are different ways of understanding that statement…”

    John Piper–“Two Wills in God”—“God’s stated will for all people to be saved is genuine but restrained by his will to demonstrate the full range of His mercy through both mercy and wrath.”

    Moo, on Romans 8:32—-“Note however that the text does NOT say ‘only for all you believers'”.

    Howard Marshall, p 56, The Grace of God, the Will of Man—“We must distinguish between what God would like to see happen and what God does will to happen, and both of these things can be spoken of as God’s will.

    Precious Blood: The Atoning Work of Christ, edited by Phillips , chapter by Carl Trueman on “Post-Reformation Developments in the Doctrine of the Atonement.”, p196

    “Socinius says if Trueman’s sin have been punished on the cross, it is not mercy for God to forgive Trueman but justice. But Grotius says, if the punishment on the cross is merey an equivalent of Trueman’s sins, then it is still possible to build mercy into the equation…If Trueman’s sins are not imputed to Christ, then it’s possible that Christ’s righteousness is not imputed to Trueman. That fits well with an Arminian view of justification, but I can assure you that Trueman
    has a problem with it.”

  8. markmcculley Says:

    John Piper: May no one react and say, O, that cannot be. All you have to do is believe in Christ as Savior; you don’t have to overcome sin by the power of the Spirit. That error cheapens faith, contradicts the teaching of Romans 8:1, 2, and runs the risk of hearing Jesus say on the judgment day: Depart from me, you evildoers, I never knew you.

    You don’t want to believe in a Christ who makes no difference in your life, do you? Who wants a Jesus who is so nothing that all he can produce is a people who think, feel, and act just like the world? We don’t want that.
    http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-liberating-law-of-the-spirit-of-life..

  9. markmcculley Says:

    Piper’s commentary on Romans 9:

    The clarifying question that must now be posed is this: If, as we have seen (p53), God’s purpose is to perform his act of election freely without being determined by any human distinctives, what act of election is intended in Rom9:11—13—an election which determines the eternal destiny of individuals, or an election which merely assigns to individuals and nations the roles they are to play in history? The question is contextually appropriate and theologically explosive.18 On one side, those who find in Rom 9:6-13 individual and eternal predestination are accused of importing a “modern problem” (of determinism and indeterminism) into the text, and of failing to grasp the corporateness of the election discussed. 19 On the other side, one sees in the text a clear statement of “double predestination” of individuals to salvation or condemnation and claims that “the history of exegesis of Rom 9 could be described as the history of attempts to escape this clear observation” (Maier, Mensch und freier Wille, 356)…

    J. Munck (Christ and Israel, 42) argues that “Rom 9:6-13 is therefore speaking neither of individuals and their selection for salvation, nor of the spiritual Israel, the Christian church. It speaks rather of the patriarchs, who without exception became founders of peoples.”

    The list of modern scholars on the other side is just as impressive… On the larger context (including Rom 9:16) Henry Alford (II, 408f) writes, “I must protest against all endeavors to make it appear that no inference lies from this passage as to the salvation of individuals. It is most true that the immediate subject is the national rejection of Jews: but we must consent to hold our reason in abeyance if we do not recognize the inference that the sovereign power and free election here proved to belong to God extend to every exercise of his mercy – whether temporal or spiritual… whether national or individual.”…

    The basic argument against seeing individual, eternal predestination in Rom 9:6-13 is that the two Old Testament references on which Paul builds his case do not in their Old Testament contexts refer to individuals or to eternal destiny, but rather to nations and historical tasks. The argument carries a good deal of force, especially when treated (as it usually is) without reference to the logical development of Paul’s argument in Rom 9:1-13…

    By this election of Isaac instead of Ishmael God shows that physical descent from Abraham does not guarantee that one will be a beneficiary of the covenant made with Abraham and his seed… But, the interpretation continues, the covenant blessings for which Isaac is freely chosen (before his birth) and from which Ishmael is excluded (in spite of descendancy from Abraham) do not include individual eternal salvation. One cannot legitimately infer from Rom 9:7-9 that Ishmael and his descendants are eternally lost nor that Isaac and his descendants are eternally saved. What God freely and sovereignly determined is the particular descendant (Isaac) whose line will inherit the blessings of the covenant: multiplying exceedingly, fathering many nations, inhabiting the promised land and having God as their God (Gen 17:2-8). This benefit, not eternal salvation, is what is not based on physical descent from Abraham, but on God’s unconditional election…

    A plausible case can be made for the position that “Paul is no longer concerned with two persons [Jacob and Esau] who have been raised to the level of types” (Kaesemann, Romans, 264)… But… the decisive flaw in the collectivist/historical position is not its failure to agree with Kaesemann’s contention. It’s decisive flaw is its failure to ask how the flow of Paul’s argument from 9:1-5 on through the chapter affects the application of the principle Paul has established in Rom 9:6b-13. The principle established is that God’s promised blessings are never enjoyed on the basis of what a person is by birth or by works, but only on the basis of God’s sovereign, free predestination (Rom 9:11,12)… We may grant, for the sake of argument, that in the demonstration of this principle of God’s freedom in election Paul uses Old Testament texts that do not relate explicitly to eternal salvation… [But] the solution which Rom 9:6-13 develops in respons to this problem [9:1-5], must address the issue of individual, eternal salvation…

    [W]hether Paul sees the election of Isaac (Rom 9:7b) as the election of an individual to salvation or as the election of his posterity for a historical task, the principle of unconditional election is immediately applied by Paul to the present concern, namely, who in reality does constitute true, spiritual “Israel” (9:6b), whose salvation is guaranteed by God’s word?

    – John Piper, The Justification of God, p. 56-73

  10. markmcculley Says:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/do-arminians-preach-a-sufficient-gospel

    can an Arminian preach the gospel effectively?

    My answer: Yes, he can.

    Now notice,

    He didn’t ask: Can an Arminian preach the gospel fully?
    He didn’t ask: Can an Arminian preach the gospel without implicit or explicit theological defects?
    He didn’t ask: Can an Arminian preach the gospel without tendencies that lead the Church in harmful directions?
    He didn’t ask: Can an Arminian preach the gospel in the most Christ-exalting way?
    And my answer to all those questions would be: No, they can’t.

    What he asked was: Can an Arminian preach the gospel effectively? Which I take to mean: Can an Arminian speak enough of gospel truth so that God is willing to use it to save sinners. And the answer to that is: Yes.

    Now, let me say something about why I say this, because this is important. We need to not under-state or over-state the issues here. Why do I say that? Spurgeon said, “There is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism.” And then he unpacks some of what Calvinism means.

    The problem with this way of saying it is that it creates an unrealistic picture of what really happens in preaching. He treats gospel preaching as all there or not there at all. And when he says it this way, it is misleading, because, in fact, preachers — Arminian andCalvinist — always preach aspects of the gospel in different ways of saying the gospel with different emphases on the gospel. And all of us use language in preaching that at least sometimes is not perfectly clear as to whether the words that we are using carry a Calvinistic meaning or an Arminian meaning. They could go either way, depending on what you are intending by the words. We don’t always specify. We can’t. We can’t qualify that often.

    So whether you are a Calvinist or an Arminian, you can’t qualify every sentence you speak as you preach Christ to make sure that every sentence carries a distinctive Calvinist or a distinctive Arminian meaning, which means that the same Bible sentences about the death and the resurrection of Jesus will be quoted by both preachers — both Calvinists and Arminians — and God can use those Bible sentences to save sinners, even if all the Arminian or all the Calvinist implications of those sentences are not made explicit.

    So here is the gospel. Let’s see if a Calvinist and an Arminian could say what I am about to say. I am going to preach the gospel now.

    God is a glorious, all-holy, all-righteous, all-just God, and he created us for his glory. All people have sinned by not living for the glory of God, but preferring other things over God and, thus, dishonoring God. And we are by nature rebellious and we cannot change ourselves without divine help. Therefore, we are all under the just and holy wrath of God. We will all perish eternally if we cannot be saved from his wrath.

    But God in his mercy has sent his own Son into the world, Jesus Christ, to bear the sins and to endure the wrath of all those who believe on him. Faith alone unites us to Christ so that his death counts for us and his righteousness can be imputed to us. Everyone, therefore, no matter how terrible your background has been, no matter what your ethnicity is, or intelligence, or gender, or socio-economic status, or family background, everyone who believes — simply believes — on Jesus, that is, receives him as Savior and Lord and Treasure will be saved and have eternal life. So turn from your sins and give up all self-reliance and trust in Jesus.

    End of gospel presentation.

    Now I think both an Arminian and a Calvinist can say every word that I just spoke. Now, of course, we know that at several points in that gospel presentation our beliefs will take us in different directions as we explain those sentences, and those differences really do matter as people grow in faith. Calvinism and Arminianism are not a matter of indifference, but even before we make those differences clear, these gospel sentences are true as they stand and God can make them effective in the mouth of both Calvinists and Arminians.

    Now this is a crucial statement: What people, who are hearing the gospel, believe when they hear those sentences — what they believe about what God really is like — that will become clear as people are taught the fuller and deeper truth. And if the God they believed in, the God that appeared to them as glorious and desirable, proves not to be the true God and the true Christ of the Bible, that will become plain as truth is unfolded to them. And the false believers will be revealed, and the true believers will be confirmed.

    So my answer is: Yes, in this sense that I have just tried to unpack, an Arminian can preach the gospel effectively — Christ and him crucified.

    • DavidC Says:

      “Now this is a crucial statement: What people, who are hearing the gospel, believe when they hear those sentences — what they believe about what God really is like — that will become clear as people are taught the fuller and deeper truth. And if the God they believed in, the God that appeared to them as glorious and desirable, proves not to be the true God and the true Christ of the Bible, that will become plain as truth is unfolded to them. And the false believers will be revealed, and the true believers will be confirmed.”

      So Dr. Piper why not just lay the cards on the table from the off instead of using linguistic subterfuge and hoping the listener got the meaning you intended 😛

  11. markmcculley Says:

    David Bishop–Begin and end with WHO Christ died for and you will still miss the gospel. But start at WHAT Christ’s death accomplished, and the truth of its extent will follow. Start with “either Christ died for everybody or it doesn’t matter”, and you will never understand the nature of the justice or the success of Christ’s atonement.

    https://cornbreadandbourbon.wordpress.com/2017/12/26/a-russian-response/


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