Review of Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher

Calvinism is on the upswing.  So much so that it made Time Magazines list of 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now.  Calvinism has become a great point of discussion—and even concern—for those within the SBC.  Calvinism is a big deal in the current climate of evangelicalism, whether you are for it or against it.

Greg Dutcher, is for it.  Yet, he also warns that Calvinists could easily destroy this good theology from the inside.  In his book, Killing Calvinism, Dutcher gives eight ways that Calvinists can throw on the brakes to this resurgence and kill a perfectly good theology.  Here are his eight ways that Calvinists can destroy Calvinism

  1. By loving Calvinism as an end in itself
  2. By becoming theologians instead of disciples
  3. By loving God’s sovereignty more than God himself
  4. By losing an urgency in evangelism
  5. By refusing to learn from non-Calvinists
  6. By tidying up the Bible’s “loose ends”
  7. By being a bunch of arrogant know-it-alls
  8. By scoffing at the emotional hang-ups others have with Calvinism

These eight points serve as the eight chapters and fill the 120 pages of this little book.  Dutcher argues each point forcefully and yet graciously.  He writes as a former “caged-Calvinists” that has been re-captured by the sovereign grace that he adopted theologically.

My Take:

Honestly, I did not anticipate being deeply challenged by this book.  Not that I’m not a Calvinist and not that I did not expect to agree with the book.  Problem is I assumed that I would just nod my head with everything Dutcher said, promote it to a few newer Calvinists I know, and move on.

You see I too was once a caged-Calvinist but the Lord has mightily worked in my heart to humble me and help me to live and proclaim the sovereign grace that I theologically affirm.  So, I’ve already been through the fire and I don’t struggle with being a bad Calvinist anymore.

At least I thought I didn’t.

Reading through Dutcher’s work exposed a few vestiges of both pride and inconsistency in my walk with Christ.  There were a few moments in the book where I found myself soundly rebuked.  Funny thing is I think I had even taught some of these points myself, but the way that Dutcher worded them and proclaimed them brought conviction to my soul.

Here is a helpful sample for you to see how Dutcher is passionate, forceful, and yet very gracious:

A disciple is a student of Christ—someone who spends time with the Savior in order to come to know him better and resemble him more closely.  As a pastor, I have found that many Christians simply assume that learning more and more about the Bible and theology—Reformed theology in particular—is the same thing as growing as a disciple.  It isn’t.  Robust theology can be a powerful catalyst in this process, but like anything else, we can turn it into an idol.  The danger is that, while we may begin with Reformed theology as the framework by which we more coherently understand and appreciate our faith, over time it can become the substance of our faith.  At that point, daily living is more about mastering Reformed doctrine than being mastered by Jesus and his total claim over every area of life.

Should You Buy It?

Every Calvinist needs to read this book, whether you’re a new member to club Calvin or you’ve been a Calvinist longer than Charlton Heston has been Moses.  Even those that are non-Calvinist ought to read this book and see the heart of many within the Reformed/Calvinistic movement.  We truly do want to live out the doctrines of grace as Greg Dutcher describes in this book.  When we don’t it’s not a fault of the “system” but of our own hearts.

You can pick up this book for your Kindle or a hard copy.

Comments

  1. says

    Ah! Yes, sounds like a needed corrective. Just being a Calvinist doesn’t mean a thing to God or to others. One can be a cold, dead, hardshell Calvinist, a character not worth a bucket of dry spit. However, there is something to be said about being mastered by the Lord Jesus Christ, a difficult, trying, and life long labor that constantly meets resistance. The old man will simply not give way; he has to be broken; he has to suffer; he has to accept that for which he was not designed: humility.

    But there is to be said about the theology: It is the theology of the First and the Second Great Awakenings (this latter until 1820 and before Finney puts in his appearance) and the Great Century of Missions. It is the theology that produced, believe it or not, religious liberty, the theology that provided a government of checks and balances, the theology that made the character of early Americans who could learn from their mistakes until they began to really prosper in this world’s goods. It is the theology, in my opinion and for what it is worth, that will produce the Third Great Awakening, the utter transformation of the world’s many cultures and civilizations, beginning, hopefully in this generation and continuing for a 1000 generations and reaching such amount of people during the next 1,000,000 years on earth and on planets throughout the starry heavens (if God permits and if the speculations of John Owen in The Death of Death in The Death of Christ is correct). Our problem is that we have so little a conception of the vitality and transformative power of the Gospel to alter the thinking and perspectives of human beings, so little an idea of the glory of God that would lie and does lie in such a message that with the presence of the power of the Holy Spirit to give it the zip, the electric large charge to grip the souls of human beings, to make each and every person appreciative of the holiness and goodness of God as well as His other wonderful attributes and how they can influence the soul and mind and heart and being and character of the whole individual in every society, how the power can come down upon a whole culture in a single hour, in one day, changing every last citizen into a godly devout believer in Christ Jesus. The Heavens can drop down to earth, that is, the Heavenly Influence of the Spirit, the counter flood of righteousness and goodness, gentleness, tenderness, love, mercy, grace, and saving power. Such is what one can find in the First and Second Great Awakenings and in the launching of the Missionary movement. Today, like it or not, even the Primitive Baptists find converts knocking on their doors, seeking admission from as far away as India. Just imagine the tremendous burst of passion and zeal that could be in the offing, if God were to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us today. Think what a change that would make in our weekly worship services. And, Yes, it would be orderly, rational, emotional, stirring, thrilling, exalting, exulting, enthusiastic, moving, motivating, influential, inspiring, exciting, engaging, captivating, climactic, wonderful beyond compare. If you don’t believe me, then consider the following statement from 1816 as a summary of the the Great Awakenings:

    While we reflect with the highest pleasure on the rich and
    sovereign mercy of God and contrast the means employed
    with the end accomplished, the conclusion is irresistible:
    “It is the Lord’s doing, marvelous indeed in our eyes.”…..
    (Circular Letter of Ketocton Baptist Association 1816)

  2. Dave Miller says

    At the risk of igniting a fire, I think that Calvinists have often been treated unfairly in the Baptist wars. But I also think that they have brought some of this on themselves by not following the advice that Dutcher gives.

    • says

      You are quite right, David. There are Calvinists who have brought “some of this on themselves.” My concern, however, is to find the way to implement the theology for the Third Great Awakening for which I have been praying for 39 years. The quote in my response above is from one of the most interesting of all circular letters, due to its comment on the movement of the Spirit of God among Virginia Baptists during the period of those Awakenings, especially the Second one. I think, if we understood that period and the effects of the Awakenings, we would enlist to pray and labor for a similar visitation with a determination not to be imagined.

  3. Bruce H. says

    Recently, I visited a Reformed Baptist church. It was led by young adults with a piano and guitar. The place seated about 200 and had about 40 attending. The first impressions a visitor should receive is the spirit of the people prior to the service beginning, not during the scheduled welcome song. I was pleasantly surprised that we were greeted as well as we were. Most churches, especially Reformed, have a coolness in that area and the people seem to be there to visit and fellowship with each other. Both sides of the Calvinist argument should consider this one thing to indicate what they believe is offered in a handshake without having to be prompted by anyone but the Spirit.

  4. parsonsmike says

    To all non-Calvinists,

    Do most of you have more of a problem with the Calvinist >peopledoctrine< ?

  5. parsonsmike says

    That came out not like I typed it. Must have been my ignorance in using characters.

    To all non-Calvinists,

    is it the people or the doctrines you all have the most trouble with?

    Thanks.

    • volfan007 says

      Mike,

      Both. I dont agree with Calvinist doctrine. But, the most trouble I have is with a lot of the Calvinist people. I shudder to answer this question, because it has been answered with wailing and gnashing of teeth in the past. I have been called everything but a white boy after expressing my views on aggressive Calvinists….and, my every word and phrase is usually parsed and gone over with a fine toothed comb… all to prove me wrong on every point and word that I have written. I usually hear a lot of denial….they dont really exist, and you see boogeymen…or, I hear how some Non Calvinists are just as bad, or worse. And, some people just flat out have called me a liar, after I’ve told them about the aggressive, New Calvinists I have experienced, know about, and have seen the trouble they’ve caused in Churches. So, I answer this question of yours, while ducking, and looking around me to see if any clubs are about to hit me over the head.

      So, I am answering your question….reluctantly. The Young, Restless Reformed….and aggressive, New Calvinists….tend to be arrogant; mean spirited; disrespectful; bent on reforming every Christian and Church; and they make thier Calvinism a matter of fellowship. This is what a whole lot of us do not like….at all.

      On the other hand, I can get along with, and worship with, and work alongside of, regular old Calvinist all day long….and I do. Our beliefs are not that far apart….over minor points of theology. And, they dont make a big deal out of the minor points of theology,and they believe that I preach the true Gospel, as well…even though I’m not a Calvinist.

      Well, there….I said it….once again…..now, I’m ready for the gnashing of teeth and personal attacks…..

      David

      • says

        I’m with 007 on this one. I can, and do, get along with all kinds of people (you should meet the reprobates I work with), but I don’t have much tolerance for those who can’t, and don’t, get along with others. In my experience, not speaking in general or on the whole, there is an arrogance and rudeness among some Calvinists that is simply insufferable. I said “some.” Not “all”.
        You know that I disagree with you on several points of doctrine, Mike. You also know that I’ve said that I think we’re beating a dead horse on those points. But I’ve not found you to be rude or dismissive to me. You have asked questions. I appreciate that. But they’re questions we’ve gone over time and again and the answers won’t be any different this time than the last time.
        On the other hand, when I posit my opinion, ask a question, or make a comment and am then told that I sound “arrogant and unteachable” (Rick, I know you’re lurking out there), that has a way of setting a different tone for the debate. When such is stated with no attempt to understand my viewpoint I see it as dismissive and disrespectful. The whole “Calvinism is the Gospel and the Gospel is Calvinism” thing is simply ridiculous. It doesn’t matter to me whether Spurgeon said it or not. When we really begin to talk to one another, we find that we CAN get along even though we disagree. But don’t set the tone of the conversation with “you’re a heretic.” Again, I said “some” not “all.”
        I’ve seen it here and other places where someone will make a contra-Calvinism point and all the Calvinists want to do is tell us how we don’t really understand Calvinism, or how that isn’t what they believe and they don’t know where we got that, etc. Dialogue with us, but don’t make every discussion a word for word parsing of every single jot and tittle. It’s a blog discussion, for crying out loud!
        I’m not a Calvinist. I can agree with 2 1/2 points of it, but no more. If that makes me an Arminian or an Antinomist or a Purple and Green Egg Sucker, so be it. I’m not a moron who can’t get what is being said. I have pretty good reading comprehension. And, believe it or not, I was an excellent student during my seminary days, so I am aware of how to do the research. When I say, “This is how I interpret that verse,” you can trust that I’ve taken the time to look at it and make an assessment of it. Don’t talk down to me.
        So…..there’s my personal take in a nutshell. I haven’t said everything that could be said. I’ve purposely not said some other things. I truly desire to approach our conversations with grace, something Calvinists claim to love. I honestly wish that it would be used more in the discussions on here.

          • says

            It’s a great read. It’s not a doctrinal defense of Calvinism. It assumes Calvinism and speaks to Calvinists and basically tells us to live out the doctrine of grace that we say that we love.

          • says

            The positive is when Calvinists hold one another accountable for their wrong words and attitudes, and non-Calvinists do the same when their side is sinful in word or tone.

            We tend to snipe at the other side instead of holding our own side accountable.

  6. says

    I’ve been wondering, do we have any young, restless, aggressive non-reformed Baptists? I hear lots about the YRR folks but not much about the others.

    Don’t see’em, either.

  7. Bruce H. says

    We often complain about the aggressors on both sides. It’s not WWJD, but what did Jesus do? I would have to say that the religious Jews, in general, always wanted to argue with Him or try to trip Him up. Maybe it would be a good idea if we searched the Scriptures to find His responses to those who disagreed with His doctrine. Remember, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and full of grace and truth. Maybe those aggressors need an example to follow. I’m kind of tired of hearing about the aggressors. Maybe we need to hear of successful responses. Remember the principle:

    ” A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

    Who is going to apply it first?

  8. Jess Alford says

    I’ve been reading about Calvinism, the more I read into it, the more I can agree with the Calvinists. So, I stopped my study on Calvinism. I’ll have to admit I’m tempted to pick it back up again.

    I don’t know if the problem is Calvinism itself or what others say about it.

    • Bruce H. says

      Jess,

      I was fortunate. I wasn’t reading about it in a book, just teaching on the effects of what I had learned about the work of grace. I had just learned that grace was more than a definition of a kind act or how graceful a person walked, it was an influencing power from without and within which brought power to do what I was meant to do, and much more. As I taught that in my Sunday School class a young lady called me a Calvinist. I didn’t know what a Calvinist was. actually. So, I read up on Calvinism. I still haven’t found convincing evidence that Christ’s blood is Limited, but, I found peace in the other 4 points. Over time I have discovered that the will is still my own and I must walk in obedience. I am responsible for my own actions. Both mix much like the Trinity; One and three. For some, that is peace. For others, that one area of the entire Christian experience is an island, left up to me alone. And we argue about it for some reason. If I, as a Calvinist, believe God elects, I can also believe He can elect my Christian brothers and sisters to see it without my trifle and inadequate ability to convince them otherwise. It came to me without a man trying to convince me. I think it should work the same for others. My advice? Follow the Spirit. Journal in your mind what is taking place so you know when the Spirit of Grace is working in your life. That is how I am convinced sometimes that the Spirit is leading me.

  9. Jess Alford says

    Bruce H,

    I suppose the main problem I have with Calvinism would be what others say about it, for example, children going to Hell, I cannot, from studying in God’s word go along with this type of belief. I don’t know if this is truly what Calvinists believe. Is there a reliable author?

    I’m only in search for the truth about Calvinism.

    • Bruce H. says

      I claim the truths of Calvinism, but selectively. Listen to what David said when the child conceived in adultery died.

      “But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:23

      I do not think David is going to Hell, do you? You can explain any scripture to fit what you believe, but you have to really explain it the way it is written. Certain things in Calvinism are not clear and some are incorrect. I just think we have better interpreted Scripture as we have fresh enlightenment. Make it fit your faith but don’t discard the truth. Calvinism and Arminianism have truths we cannot deny. What I do not understand I set aside until I receive more Truth. If I never am able to understand some things, Jesus kept it from me so I can seek Him out when I get to Heaven. I consider that His love to me to come to Him then. Makes me love Him more because it makes it personal even in Heaven. Remember, it is not over until He wipes away our tears.

    • Bruce H. says

      I didn’t answer your question about an author. The best answer I have received is from John MacArthur. Look through his sermons. I cannot remember which one it was. Based upon how he has studied Scripture and how he views the truth, I would trust his answer.

      I have settled the issue of the death of a child in my heart. “I need no other argument, I need no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me.” The Spirit will settle it for you here on Earth like He did for me.

    • mike white says

      Not all C’s believe that children who die young or are aborted go to hell. Dr. Mohler does not, and for a different reason than i do

    • says

      I’ve seldom read Calvinists say that children who die go to hell. Some might be agnostic (meaning they don’t know) and say that Scripture isn’t clear and that it’s a possibility. But I haven’t read many that say that children who die that are not part of a covenant family would go to hell. And this isn’t a necessary belief attached to Calvinism. I’d say your beef here is more with Covenant Theology which isn’t quite the same thing as Calvinism.

      • Jess Alford says

        Chris Roberts,

        The part 4 of your series is absolutely wonderful. Gosh, brother I didn’t know you had it in you. That answered alot of my questions,
        and you backed what you said with scripture. Keep up the good work.
        Thank you.

    • says

      Spurgeon has a sermon on Infant Salvation. A few Calvinists have promoted the idea of infant damnation, but the majority according to my knowledge believe as Spurgeon preached on the issue. The fellow who promoted the infant damnation idea was Augustine, and this was due to their not being baptized!!!????

  10. Jess Alford says

    Bruch,

    I actually can believe the five points, T.U.L.I.P., and I can read them in the scripture. I cannot go as far as some folks do, when it comes to the nitty gritty.

    I can believe the L in TULIP because the Bible teaches all people will not
    be saved. I just cannot go as far as what some say about limited atonement.

    I believe the Bible, if it says it, so shall it be.

  11. says

    The Bible teaches that Christ died for and forgives all.

    But the Bible also teaches that all who hear this message of love will not come to faith.

    That’s the long and short of it. Calvinists get this wrong.

    • says

      Except you didn’t observe that Calvinists have a reasonable exegesis for the passages that you say the “Bible teaches that Christ died for and forgives all.” Just saying that the Bible clearly teaches it isn’t enough to address the issue. Many people would just accept what you assert and go away hating Calvinists without being better informed as to what Calvinists believe regarding these passages.

    • says

      Except for one little problem… Nowhere does the Bible say that Christ died for all; nowhere does the Bible say that all are forgiven. If either of these – and certainly if both of these – were the case, all would go to Heaven.

  12. says

    Jim, I don’t hate Calvinists. Not at all. They just happen to be dead wrong on this and their error robs people of the assurance that Christ died to give them.

    We tell people flat out, that “Christ died for you”. And we don’t have to have our fingers crossed when we say it. There are MANY passages that speak of the love of God for the whole world, and His desire that ALL people would come to Him.

    That not all people do come to Him is no reason to place the blame on God (that He predestines people for hell…He certainly does not).

    The truth of the matter is that when we believe, God gets ALL the credit. And when we don’t, we ought get ALL the blame. This preserves a good and loving God and does not make Him out to be a monster sending people to hell on His whim.

  13. says

    Tell me where I err, Mike.

    Are you saying that they DON’T believe in double-predestination? Isn’t that the ‘L’ in TULIP?

    Are you saying that they don’t turn people ‘inward’ for the assurance of their salvation?

    • says

      I think you need a smaller brush.

      Double predestination isn’t the L. And while some might err in turning inward such is actually poor Calvinism. Again your brush is too big.

    • says

      Some do believe in double, some don’t. The L does not have anything to do with double, per se.

      And what do you mean by turn inward? The assurance of my salvation has nothing to do with me but to do with the work of Christ. The evidence of my salvation is in the fruit that I bear, as Scripture mentions over and over again (ie, quite clearly stated in 2 Peter 1:5-11). If there is no fruit, there is no true saving faith. The fruit proves the faith, and the faith is in Christ and in Christ is our assurance. Why, what do you turn to for assurance if not these things given in Scripture?

      • says

        Isn’t single predestination (God arbitrarily chooses some to salvation) necessarily double predestination (God sends the others to Hell)?

        After all, if God chooses some to salvation, and doesn’t choose the others, where else do have to go?
        David R. Brumbelow

        • says

          David,

          I think election at least implies double-election (or double-predestination, whatever) but a surprising number of people have the annoying habit of disagreeing with me.

          The single-predestination argument would go that while God specifically singles out some people for salvation, he makes no choice whatsoever regarding the rest of the people. I don’t think this works logically, but a number of people disagree.

          I think – and the Bible teaches – that God elects some for salvation and the rest for judgment. That said, his election of some for judgment is an election to leave them in their sins. Election does not mean he chooses to make them sinners but that he chooses to leave them sinners.

          The problem we normally have is we want to think our choices are of greater worth than God’s choices.

  14. says

    What fruit?

    Are you looking to your “fruit” as the evidence of your salvation? Your works? Your belief? Your faith? All those things waver and cannot be trusted in.

    Many said “Lord, Lord, we did this and that in your name…”.

    If He did not die for all, then how can one be SURE that He died for them?

    Looking to internal measurements or feelings is no real assurance.

    We look to the external Word for our surety. We look to actual places where God has acted, for us. Places in real time in our personal history where He gave His promises. In the Word, in Baptism and in His Supper.

    • says

      I don’t follow… so if I read the Bible and take the Lord’s supper, I am saved? I can rip 2 Peter 1 out of my Bible and disregard what it says about making my calling and election sure by evaluating the work of God in me?

      Either way, you still aren’t presenting my view. Assurance comes from one place alone: the work of Christ. Assurance of salvation is in Christ. Evidence that I am saved (born again) comes from the fruit that is demonstrated in my life. Most Bible-believing Christians would agree with this, Calvinist or not. The only ones who disagree would either be wolves or confused.

    • says

      This is one reason I say you paint with too big of a brush and probably the wrong color too. I’m a Calvinist. I agree with what you just said. Most Calvinists would. That’s why I say you aren’t representing fairly.

  15. says

    OK, Mike. I know that I am painting with a wide brush. But we have to generalize or we cannot discuss anything. I know that not every Calvinist believes as I have described Calvinism. But I have studied different Christian denominations and their confessions of faith for over 15 years. And I know a great many Calvinists who claim just what I have described above.

    Whenever I am proven wrong in favor of Christians having real assurance and rest in Christ, I am very pleased.

    • says

      Generalizing is one thing. But what you are doing is taking minority positions or painting majority positions in ways that Calvinist do not agree with. You are perhaps taking logical conclusions to certain forms of Calvinism and painting it as if de facto this is what Calvinistic Christians believe. And you are doing it as if the case is closed.

      Do a majority of Calvinists say, “I believe God sends people to hell on a whim”?

      Do a majority of Calvinists say, “if you want to know if you are saved look inward for assurance”? You might think that they say this and I do believe that some can err in looking more at the fruit than the root. But if you study Westminster Confessions, Calvin, and the Puritans I think you’ll find a different picture. Read Joel Beeke’s book A Quest for Assurance. It’s not as simplistic as you have painted it. That’s all I’m saying. I think you’d do well to not speak as broadly or as simplistically and as if the case is closed just because you proclaim that it is.

  16. says

    (I know this is anecdotal…but…)

    I visit a Calvinist blog titled ‘Heidelblog’, and we were discussing assurance and the host of the blog showed me this (as to how they can have assurance) from the Canons of Dort:

    “… by observing in themselves with a spiritual joy and holy pleasure the infallible fruits of election pointed out in the Word of God – such as, a true faith in Christ, filial fear, a godly sorrow for sin, a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, etc.”

    My response was,” I thought so. All internal stuff.”

    That what I mean about having to look ‘inward’ for assurance. You can’t trust in any of it.

  17. says

    If we are honest about ourselves, we will see a very inconsistent level of obedience. Christ demands perfect obedience. So what does it say when we just live anyway we want to…as do we all?

    As far as Baptism goes, God is the One who does the Baptizing (Roman 6). So, you can trust in that external Word of promise, absolutely. Look to our own obedience, and fruits (and what about those motives? Pure? Hardly)…or look to something that God has done, for you?
    I’ll take the latter.

  18. says

    The Bible also tells us to be perfect. The Bible also tells us (Jesus, actually, to sell all that we have and give it to the poor, or we cannot be his disciple).

    Then my question is, Chris, how are you doing? Are your fruits enough? And with pure, non-self concerned motives?

    • says

      This side of Heaven, we never reach perfection. We all know this. But the point of evaluating our fruit is along the lines of, “Am I wrestling, am I striving, am I showing growth, is the work of the Spirit evident within me?”

      Are you telling me that since we cannot be perfect this side of Heaven, you think fruit is irrelevant despite all that the Bible says? You toss aside as irrelevant all these passages that call for works from the believer and point us to evaluate our walk with Christ on the basis of this evident fruit? You stand as the judge and arbiter of Scripture?

  19. says

    Fruit is great, insofar as we will do it, show it. I argue that the percentage of time NOT doing what we ought is far greater. And that so much of the time our motives are shot, anyway. As far as assurance goes, I believe our fruits cannot be trusted.

    The external Word provides real assurance that can always be counted on…totally apart from anything that we do, say, feel, or think. That is real assurance, and real freedom from the ladder-climbing spirituality project.

    • Randall Cofield says

      theoldadam,

      2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?––unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

      1Co 11:28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

      A rejection of internal, fruit-based evidence of salvation, coupled with a single-minded dependence upon external assurances opens the door to false presumption.

      This is what it looks like: Baptized church members professing Christ with their lips while, at the same time, living so like hell you can practically smell the smoke on them.

      Both internal and external assurances are needed. Happily, scripture teaches both…

  20. Jess Alford says

    Chris Roberts,

    Would you please explain 1John 2:2, And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    I also get alot of questions on the who so ever wills.

    • says

      I talk a little about 1 John 2:2 at http://www.sbcfocus.net/2012/10/16/tulip-tuesdays-limited-atonement/ In brief: John is writing to a Jewish audience and wants them to understand that Jesus is not just the Jewish Messiah but is the propitiation for “all the world” – it does not say propitiation for every individual person, but for all the world. This distinction means he is showing Jesus to be a global Messiah, the Messiah for people whether Jew or gentile, Israelite or Japanese or Saudi Arabian, etc. For all the world does not encompass every individual but people regardless of ethnicity.

      As for the whosoever, I never understand why people think that is significant. No Calvinist disagrees with “Whosoever will may come” – the question is why anyone would ever “will” to go to Christ. We do not possess the natural ability to desire God. Apart from regeneration, we will remain enemies of God who hate him and his ways. The only way we would ever “will” to come to Christ is if we are given new hearts and minds.

      • Jess Alford says

        Chris Roberts,

        Thanks again, WOW, what a time for a 60 year old to develope a different view of Grace. They claim you never get too old to learn,
        but it sure hurts. LOL…

  21. says

    Chris,

    I am with you 100% that we do not choose God. He chooses us. “Faith is a gift of God”.

    But Calvinists erroneously believe that the Lord that did not die for and forgive everyone…even His enemies (which is in fact what we all are before the gift of faith).

    On the cross Jesus says, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. He was asking the Father to forgive the whole lot of them…even his murderers. He love and forgives all, But not all who hear will come to faith and we do not blame God for this.

  22. says

    I read hour piece, Chris.

    Arminians are the ones who limit the work of Christ on the cross. Yes! You are right about that.

    But we Lutherans do not believe in “free-will”. We believe that God does it ALL. How’s that for not limiting God’s work?!

    But we reject the unbiblical proposition that Christ only died for select people. “Father forgive them…” puts the lie to that notion.

  23. says

    And I’m not saying that Calvinists are wrong and therefore aren’t real Christians…I’m saying that there is a more excellent way of understanding the Christian faith that produces more assurance, more freedom, and increases the size of God and diminishes the size of us.

  24. mike white says

    I define love as actions done for the loved ones greatest good.

    In looking at the big picture, God knows exactly who will go To heaven and hell. No matter what He does, there are some who He knows will go to hell. YET He created the world anyhow.

    Thus love is defined by salvation. He saves those He loves and loves those He saves.

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