Jesus Saves Those Who Never Heard What?–Or, At Least the Arminians are not Universalists

Since I was saved about ten years ago from the false good news of universalism, I can’t help notice the inherent Arminianism of the Gospel Coalition’s brand of evangelicalism.

The Gospel Coalition critiques Rob Bell: “It reminds me of the T-shirt, ‘Jesus Loves You. Then Again He Loves Everybody.’ There’s no good news in announcing that God loves everyone in the same way just because he wants to. The good news is that in love God sent his Son to live for our lives and die for our deaths”

Notice what gospel coalition does not say, will not say about election: that God does not love everybody, that God did not die for everybody. They will only deny that the love doesn’t need Christ’s death.
They only say that God doesn’t love everybody equally, the same way. They still retain the old formula retained by Dordt (sufficient for everybody).
What’s with the ambiguity of “just because God wants to”?
1. God loves the elect in a holy way, not just any old way, yes.
2. But does this deny that God loves “just because God wants to”? God loves because God wants to, and God ‘s nature requires justice for all those loves. Christ has no love for the non-elect.

I take sides with John Owen on God’s justice being necessary for God to save the elect , and thus the necessary nature of Christ’s death, but that does not deny the sovereignty of God’s love. God does not love the non-elect. That’s a little different from the Packer nuance, which says “God’s love is not the whole story” when it comes to the non-elect.

But this is something you can’t say, when you think there are only two sides, liberals and conservatives. When “Calvinists” take sides with the Arminians against the universalists, we must deconstruct the difference. When “historic” Calvinists take sides against the “hypers”, we must deconstruct the difference. Nobody has to take sides with Arminians to avoid the error of eternal justification. Historically, tolerance for Arminianism has resulted in a false gospel which cannot talk about the purpose, efficacy and nature of Christ’s death.

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8 Comments on “Jesus Saves Those Who Never Heard What?–Or, At Least the Arminians are not Universalists”

  1. jm Says:

    Interesting blog, good posts.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    if God is going to save everybody, what is the down-side of being an atheist?

    which is more alike? the Arminian and the atheist, or the universalist and the atheist?

    what’s the difference between being an atheist and being an Arminian?

    what’s the difference between being an atheist and being an universalist?

    are those with false gods atheists?

  3. markmcculley Says:

    no gospel but not a heretic?

    II Timothy 2:23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels. 24 The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will.

    II Thessalonians 2: They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Jesus died on the cross. It’s a fact. Is that all people need to know? Fundamentalism attempts to discover the least that can be said. But even if we could discover that “least which can be said” (which Machen says we can’t), why would we then attempt to say the least?

    But the problem is not “how much” or “how little” is being taught by Arminians. The problem is that Arminians are teaching the opposite of the truth. Does the holy God of truth save sinners for His glory by using the opposite of the truth? We need antithesis. Which of the five points believed by Arminians is part of the gospel? If none of them is the gospel, why would we think that those who are teaching those five points are teaching the gospel? This leaves me to ask three more questions. 1. What is the gospel? 2. is the fact alone that Christ died the gospel? 3. Does God save some people without any gospel, even with a false gospel?

  5. markmcculley Says:

    raditionalists tend to beg the question and assume that Christ’s death is not the propitiation but only His suffering before the death

    if death IS the punishment, then why would Jesus endure such a brutal and tortuous beating from His creation, and bear God’s wrath while on the cross? Since death is the punishment, then Jesus could have just endured a slit throat like the lambs of old. The traditionalist says that if we think that if we think that “second death” is destruction, then we are equating Christ’s death with our merely human “first death.” But to do this, the traditionalist has to act as if Christ’s suffering before death was the same as “second death” . So this would put Christ’s second death before His first death . But Christ only died one time, according to Romans 6. . We do not understand all that is involved in the death of the person who is both God and human, but that does not mean that Christ’s not perishing does not mean that the non-elect under God’s wrath do not perish.

    Immortality given.(says the traditionalist).. “wrongly equates the first death that Jesus and every human will experience until the New Heavens and New Earth, with the second death, in which they make a categorical and semantic mistake by assuming that second death means annihilation. Because of this. I suspect that Fudge, and some of his leaders in this camp, probably believe that the wrath of God and divine justice was appeased the moment Jesus died, not when He said “It is finished.” In other words, it seems that they believe the penal aspect of His atonement is demonstrated in dying, not in enduring God’s wrath before He dies. “

    Teissen—The Father’s righteous wrath was poured out, and Jesus, in our place, bore our sin “in his body on the cross,” as Peter put it, with Isa 53 very clearly in his mind (1 Pet 2:24). But, because I saw the Son’s satisfying of the Father’s righteous wrath against sin as of utmost importance, I came to think of that moment as virtually the time at which Jesus redeemed us.

    Chris Date —They think that redemption was accomplished while Jesus was alive on the cross That is contrary the continuous testimony of the New Testament that Jesus accomplished our delivery from the guilt and power of sin by his death, by the shedding of his blood

    Chris Date– According to the traditional view of hell, Jesus bore the punishment of hell—separation from God and infliction of suffering—completely on the cross up until his life left him. This flatly contradicts the biblical testimony which consistently identifies Christ’s death as that which he bore on behalf of the elect. Paul tells the Romans that “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly,” and that “God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5).

    Chris Date—the traditional view doesn’t just minimize the importance of Christ’s death, it renders his death irrelevant. If the finite duration of Jesus’ suffering is the substitutionary equivalent to the eternity of suffering awaiting the risen, undying wicked, why did he go on to die? If in his suffering the Lord bore the full wrath of God, what penalty was left to pay with his death?

    The traditionalist likes to play “guilt by association” with open theists like Greg Boyd. Since Peter Grice and Chris Date are tolerant of Arminians and universalists (Robin Parry) , anybody who believes that immortality is a gift only to the elect is described as a heretic who is tolerant. But in fact most of the traditional defenders of lasting torture (but never death) for sinners are tolerant of “free-willers” because “free-will” is used to justify the continued torture.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    at least Arminians believe in hell

    Billy Graham: if you haven’t made peace with God, you will go to hell and thirst for God forever

    but God didn’t make hell for you

    God didn’t want hell for you

    Billy Graham understands and tells you
    that before Jesus died Jesus had the capacity to be infinitely tortured for you and pay the price for you and finished that even before he died

    Jesus loved you
    and because of that love
    now you need to make a choice between the bad things in your life
    and accepting what Jesus did for you

  7. Mark Mcculley Says:

    God does not have to show grace. If God had to show grace, it would not be grace. Even if we agree that God could have elected all sinners to be justifiedm it does not follow that God cannot also elect only some in Christ. Grace cannot be claimed as a human right or as an universal death benefit.

    It was not necessary that God elect all sinners or any sinners in order to still be God. it was not necessary that God not elect some sinners in order to demonstrate God’s justice. Those who will be justified will because God willed it to be so. Christ died to make justification happen because God willed it to be so.

    A torture chamber for sinners sinning forever is not the only alternative to universal election and salvation. The “image of God” does not necessitate that God save all sinners. Nor does the threat of universalism mean that we need to agree with free-willers that Christ’s death comes with a risk that not all for whom He died will be justified.

    2 Corinthians 5:20 Be reconciled to God.

  8. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Geisler— Denying inherent immortality would demean both the love of God and the nature of human beings as free moral creatures. It would be as if God said to them, “I will allow you to be free only if you do what I say. If you don’t, then I will snuff out your very freedom and existence!” This would be like a father telling his son he wanted him to be a doctor, but when the son chose instead to be a park ranger the father shot him

    Norman Geisler– God will not destroy unbelievers because God will not destroy creatures made in his own image. That would be an attack on himself.

    Arminians want to say—you are accepted, accept your acceptance, but what if you don’t, well that’s on you. But even when Arminians say that “the no is on you”, many of them try NOT to say that the “yes is on you” . That would shed too much light on the con-game being played by Arminians.

    It’s God yes, not your yes, but if you say no, well that’s you. But if
    you don’t say no, that means you say yes, but that yes is not yours,
    your yes is God’s doing in you. So it was yes, by default, you were
    born justified, but then you lost it by your no. But of course, only
    in one sense, you never lost it, because God will still be saying yes
    to you, even as you perish in the second death. As the Arminian CS
    Lewis explained, “hell” is only locked by you on the inside.

    Infralapsarians flatten out Romans 9 to try to make it seem reasonable and non-objectionable, but at least they do read the default as we all being born condemned sinners. They explain that God causes elect sinners to say yes, and that God does not need to cause non-elect
    sinnrs to say no, because all of us are born saying no.

    But the Arminian default runs the other way–God is saying yes to
    everybody, and you will be justified, unless you say no. Your no will
    stop God from getting what God wanted but your no will be an excuse (theodicy) to explain why it’s still not God’s fault because at least you had your “chance”.

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