The Both/And/Not Arminian Gospel
Here’s my question for Piper, Keller, Carson, Ware, Driscoll, and
other young restless Reformed. Was Christ Punished Before Sins Were
Imputed to Him?
1. if Christ is made sin before our sins are imputed to Him, then with what sin is Christ made sin?
2. if Christ is already made sin before our sins are imputed to him,
then what’s the point of God then later imputing to Christ the sins of the elect?
John Piper (Taste and See) disagrees with Arminians for not teaching
that Christ died to purchase faith for the elect. But John Piper does
not disagree with Arminians about propitiation and substitution and
punishment. “If you believe, the death of Jesus will cover your sins.”
Piper’s gospel does not teach that Christ was already punished because of the imputed sins of the elect alone. It still only has a punishment in general, to be assigned later to those who believe.
Even though Piper does insist that Christ also died for the elect to
give them something extra that He will not be giving the non-elect, he fails to publicly tell lost unbelievers that Christ was
punished specifically for the imputed sins of the elect.
When Piper leaves that out (does he ever get to that truth even after with post-conversion folks in conferences they paid to get into?), his gospel will be heard as saying that there was enough punishment done to Christ to save even people who will nevertheless end up being
punished (with the second death).
This both/and/not Arminian message makes the important taking away of
sins to be something other than the punishment of Christ. It makes the real reconciliation to be the Spirit Christ purchased giving people a new nature and then faith to believe, even if they happen to believe a message that says Christ died for every sinner.
The alternatives are to either claim that some of the people who have
never heard the gospel are sovereignly saved anyway, or to claim as
gospel the idea of punishment before any sins are imputed.
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 specific sins of the elect,
then we can easily tolerate a “gospel” which has no election or
imputation in its news.
If the death of Christ is not a result of God’s imputation of specific sins, then it is not the death of Christ which saves sinners. If the atonement is Christ purchasing faith to give elect sinners a portion in a general punishment, then the punishment of Christ is not ultimately what takes sins away.