Why We Must Avoid Coalitions with “Evangelicals” who Teach Conditional Atonement
No alliance with Lutherans and “evangelicals” should keep us silent
about Jesus dying for the sheep and not the goats. Why then do so many Reformed preachers talk about the “indicative done” in the context of “you” and never in terms of the Westminster Confession: “for all those whom the Father has given the Son” ?
The problem cannot be a “sectarian” sociology which thinks of the
church as only those who profess to be justified and regenerate. Reformed Confessions teach that the covenant community must by nature and should include some of the non-elect for whom Jesus did not die and who will not believe the gospel. We also know good and well that not every baptized member even of a “sectarian” community is one for whom Christ died. Only those for whom Jesus died have a righteousness which answers the demands of God’s law.
Being “pastoral” gives no preacher the right to assure all his
hearers that Christ will not be a judge to them. Only the bloody death of Jesus Christ(not the sermon or the sacrament)has for the elect(and has not for the non-elect)silenced the accusations of God’s law.
Obeying the gospel is not the condition of salvation, but a blessing
made certain for the elect by the righteousness of Christ. It is not for sure that “you” who are in attendance will be saved. Salvation is promised to all who believe the gospel of salvation conditioned on the blood alone.
The antithesis (not by works in us) will do no good if we “flinch at
this one point”. If we do not confess particular atonement, then the
people who hear will not look outside themselves for the righteous difference which pleases God. If Jesus Christ died for everybody but only “enabled God” to save those who meet further conditions, then people will certainly look to themselves for the difference between lost and saved.
The only way you can tell people that the gospel is “outside of you”
is to tell them that the gospel they must believe to be saved EXCLUDES this believing as the condition of salvation. The only condition of salvation for the elect is Christ’s death for the elect. Unless you preach that Christ died only for the elect, you encourage people to make their faith into that “little something” which makes the difference between life and death!
I am not looking for something “classical” enough to influence
people to join a coalition. Do we believe that the glory of God in the gospel means that all for whom Christ died will certainly be saved? Or has that truth become too “rationalistic” for us? Would that perhaps take the grace of God out of the hands of those who hand out the sacrament and reserve it for the Father who has reserved a people for himself and given them to Christ? (Romans 11:4-6)
The glory of God does not depend on human decisions, and the gospel
must not become a victim of “evangelical” coalitions which agree not
to talk about the extent of the atonement, and thus condition
salvation on what God does in the sinner.