If you Don’t Agree that Mormons are already Saved

a new Calvinist: But again, people are not consistent. Consider an Amyraldian, someone who believes that people are totally depraved, God elects some before the foundation of the world, God effectually calls those dead in their sins, and God causes those whom he calls to persevere. Oh, and Christ died for all men. Is this consistent? No. Is it compatible with believing in Christ alone for salvation? I’m pretty sure it is.

mark:  My point here is not a historical investigation of which old Calvinists said what about 4 pointers. I can find some very tolerant stuff in Machen, Warfield, and Smeaton, but I am not all that interested now (or ever)  in figuring out which old Calvinists did “the antithesis” and which ones denied that Amyraldianism was heresy.

My interest in how these  Calvinists” can be “pretty sure” that themselves are being consistent when they assure us that people who teach that Christ died for everyone are nevertheless teaching the gospel.

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?

3. Does God ever impute the sins of the elect to Christ?

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 ever teach 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 with the second death.

The Amyrauldian message makes the important taking away of sins to be something other than the punishment of Christ. It insists that Christ was punished for everybody. The Amyrauldian message makes the real reconciliation to be the Spirit Christ purchased giving people a new nature and then faith to believe, even if they then happen to believe a message that says Christ died for every sinner.

If we jump ahead to that Christ has bought for “believers” (Mormon believers, Roman Catholic believers, unitarian believers, Muslim believers, what degree of heresy leaves you less than pretty sure?), even including their believing, without telling it straight about the punishment of Christ specifically for the sins of the elect, then we can easily tolerate a “gospel” which has no election .

“Inbetween Calvinists” relegate the idea of election to a family secret which only explains how you believed (not what you believed).

Since I became a Mormon, I stopped doing drugs and that proves that I really believe it, and now I am finding out that God elected me to believe it and the Holy Spirit effectually called me by the somewhat inconsistent truths found in Mormonism. And the Holy Spirit will keep me persevering in Mormonism. Perhaps in time I will become a less consistent Mormon, but I would go very very slow on telling me anything about election or the imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ, because that kind of talk might just make me a more consistent Mormon. And I can tell you right now that if you don’t agree with me that I am already a Christian, your talk about election is not going to be viewed by me as being gracious or about grace.

But we were not talking about Mormonism but about Amyrauldianism. 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 so that a general punishment will then be effective for them, then the punishment of Christ is not ultimately what takes sins away.

Does God save sinners apart from the gospel?

Which part of Arminianism is the gospel?

If you are four parts correct, and simply also deny that Christ’s death is what actually saves any sinner,  is that the gospel?

What “degree of inconsistency” can you find in the middle between “Christ died for everyone but not everyone is saved” and the truth that “all for whom Christ died will be saved by Christ”? What’s in-between the two alternatives?

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2 Comments on “If you Don’t Agree that Mormons are already Saved”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    “insular Reformed churches that nobody visits; the archetypical newbie who presents masterfully botched iterations of Reformed doctrines, as if they were the most obvious truths of God that only a perversely obstinate fool could miss.”

    The accusing finger points back to the accuser. Though the Reformed faith in reality teaches that nobody can or will believe the gospel apart from the effectual call, Rishmawy accuses Reformed people of thinking the truth of the gospel will be obvious to the unregenerate.. Instead of looking to a supernatural work of God in our minds to know the truth, Rishmahy congratulates himself for
    reading a lot of books and doing a lot of hard work before he overcame the vestiges of creationism and dispensationalism and becoming “Reformed”

    Now he is showing what a great Christian be is by being judgmental and impatient with “insular” folks (thank god he’s not like them) and by being “gracious” toward the lazy people who won’t do the work he did or who simply don’t have the intellectual equipment he had….

    Let’s. Who’s the “us”?

    First, Rishmahy is defending the five Arminian points as a less consistent and less mature expression of the gospel.

    Second, Rishmahy views all evangelicals as Christians who will be more apt to listen to “us” if we agree up-front that we are all Christians. Liberalism is not Christianity, but liberals are Christians.

    Third, he sees the Reformed faith as fixated on artificially rigid doctrinal hair- splitting which sacrifices the lives of people on the altar of being right, or values winning an argument about “truth” over showing love.

    His conclusion: Roman Catholics and Arminians are true Christians who mean well and are a little confused, but confessional Reformed are mean people who don’t know that God’s grace is best seen when that grace is given to those who either deny grace or are ignorant of grace. Don’t ask and don’t tell and God’s grace will operate apart from knowledge….

    Rishmahy’s apologetic is Arminian in that it depends on human sovereignty to seek out and accept truth (or not). He has no thought of God’s effectual call. His strategy is one of divine dependence on the will of man for salvation and forgiveness and “growth”

    Whereas the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was necessitated out of the fact that salvation could not be gained by human work or righteousness (Isaiah 59:15-20; Galatians 2:21; Titus 3:5), Arminianism grounds salvation ultimately in the human sinner, asserting that God’s actions toward sinnners are indiscriminate and that the difference between those who belong to God and those who do not is not found in God, who treats all sinners the same but is found in the sinner’s free will.

    In the face of the biblical statements about the horrible judgment that fell on Christ and the purpose of this work on the cross to secure the salvation of his elect people, we must reject any idea that Arminianism is only another version of the gospel, or a less biblically consistent reading of the gospel. The transition from being evangelical to being Reformed is seen by this argument as a transition from one seat to another on the same bus.

    let me quote somebody mainline Reformed people like to quote. Bonhoeffer—there are some who, when they find out that the bus is going the wrong direction, walk toward the other end of the bus.,

    If the “Arminian” bus is headed for a fatal precipice, and I can see it as one who is “Reformed”, am I showing love to the people on the bus by smiling and waving, with some friendly “pre-evangelism”, after first assuring that all of “us” on the bus are going to the same place?

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Reformed: Good doctrine is not magic. It is possible for someone to profess right doctrine and yet remain an unbeliever. That is called hypocrisy. It is also possible for one to live well and yet confess bad doctrine. That is blessed inconsistency. Neither Scripture nor history commends either option.
    mark: the soundbite sounds better than it is, because it does not define “hypocrisy”.
    1. Is it the case that anyone who does not believe the gospel does in fact understand the gospel? This is a real question. I don’t have the answer waiting. It does seem true that an unbeliever can understand some true things, something about sin and despair perhaps, and yet not understand the gospel?
    I am not suggesting that not understanding the gospel is an excuse for unbelief. Rather, I wonder if all unbelief entails not understanding the gospel. To not understand is to not believe, and to not believe is to not understand???
    Or should I simply say that we should stop saying that “inconsistency” is “blessed”?
    I can’t help but speak from my experience, as a lost “Calvinist” for years (a20 plus). Yes, I was a rebel against many things in God’s Word. I wanted the sovereignty of God without the justice of God. I gave priority to my own preferences. So my unbelief was not simply “intellectual ignorance” but morally culpable. I didn’t want to know the doctrine I didn’t understand.
    But. And I hesitate already, because this could just be one more excuse. But I was self-deceived. I did not say to other people I believed something I did not believe. (but don’t we do that every time we sin?)
    Put it this way, I myself was depending on the false gospel I was accepting from other people. I was “sincere” in that way. You might say–you were not a real Calvinist, you did not know what the gospel really taught, because if you had you would have know than the truths are not optional extras but part of the gospel itself.


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