Review of PROOF by Timothy Paul Jones and Daniel Montgomery

I’m convinced that some of the worst sermons that I’ve preached were terrible because I became a slave of alliteration. I used alliteration because I wanted people to remember the points of the sermon. But, here is where I went south—in order to make three points that all start with the letter P, I slightly altered the general thrust of the text. They might have remembered the three P’s but sadly the intention of the original author was lost. 

The same thing has happened with the acronym TULIP. When someone goes to discuss the doctrines of grace the discussion inevitably centers around the TULIP. Total depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. People refer to themselves as a 3-point, or 4-point, or 5-point Calvinist based upon how many of these points they ascribe to.

The problem, though, is that this mnemonic device (TULIP) falls into the same trap as my unfortunately alliterated sermons; they slightly distort the intention of the original authors. My guess is that John Calvin as well as the framers of the Canons of Dort would be appalled by a phrase like “limited atonement”. A mnemonic device isn’t all that helpful if you have to say, “Well, here’s what I really mean…”

This is why I am very grateful for the latest book by Timothy Paul Jones and Daniel Montgomery,PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace. They have written a book that winsomely explains the gospel of God’s grace. Using the Canons of Dort as a guide these brothers have given us a new acronym: PROOF

P-Planned Grace

R-Resurrecting Grace

O-Outrageous Grace

O-Overcoming Grace

F-Forever Grace

I find this acrostic very helpful to explain what I really believe the Scriptures teach about God’s purpose of grace. It’s going to take some time remembering this one and retraining my brain away from the TULIP but I believe it might be worth the effort.

Here is why I am sold on this book:

…the point of PROOF is not to convince you that Calvinism is true. In fact, part of our purpose is to point you away from Calvinism—or, perhaps more precisely, to push your focus away from Calvinism as a system and toward the gospel of God’s grace. You may be a Calvinist, or Arminian, neither one, or someone who’s about to Google both terms because you have no clue what we’re talking about—but no matter where you stand or where you land, we long for you to drink deeply from the well of God’s grace and to share this grace with others. (133)

I share this concern. Though I’m unashamedly a Calvinist (provided you mean what I think you do by that term), I have no intention to argue for Calvinism just for the sake of Calvinism (137). But what I do want is for people to drink deeply of God’s grace. PROOF starts in the right place and has the right intentions. This book is not an appeal to help people become Calvinists by using another mnemonic. No, this book is an appeal to the Scriptures to help people be in awe of God’s grace.

Jones and Montgomery write winsomely and appealingly to help us understand often difficult to grasp concepts. I don’t know Daniel Montgomery but I do know Timothy Paul Jones, and I know that he has a gift for teaching—that gift bleeds through in this book. Even if you begin the book in solid agreement with the Canons of Dort, you’ll walk away enriched and blown away buy God’s astounding grace. The way the authors explain God’s grace will have you enjoying Him anew.

This book isn’t meant to help you win an argument—it’s meant to help you worship. As for me, reading through this book stirred up my heart to a deeper appreciation for all that God has done in me. It has also helped me as a pastor to explain these precious truths in winsome and accessible ways.

If you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time in a crusty debate about a flower, pick up this book. It will hopefully add some life to your discussion and will help you discuss with grace that which is truly significant. (I see this no matter which side of the argument you find yourself on).

If you don’t know anything about Calvinism and don’t care about Calvinism, then get this book. You are in a great place to be overwhelmed by the freeness of God’s grace towards us in Christ.

If you are breathing, purchase this book. You’ll be encouraged and awed by God’s grace.

Comments

  1. William Thornton says

    Mike: “I’m convinced that some of the worst sermons that I’ve preached were terrible because I became a slave of alliteration.”

    Hallelujah! And making this discovery relatively young…

  2. says

    This does sound like a good book, I like the intent of it. But I don’t think the acrostic is any clearer, just less misleading. All of the points will need explaining to anyone not familiar with the “5 points.”
    I do like the BACON acrostic though. ;-)

  3. David (NAS) Rogers says

    In my evaluation an Arminian could use each of the two word phrases of the acronym, he would just explain them in a different way. TULIP provides more succinct clarity for differentiating the two soteriological theories.

    • says

      And yet sometimes it’s good to almost ignore the two theories. I rather suspect that sometimes we miss things in scripture because we let the appearance of a word like ‘predestined’ or ‘elect’ in a passage put us into a ‘Calvinism vs Arminianism’ mode of thinking. But just because that word appears, it doesn’t mean that the Calvinism vs Arminianism wrangle is being addressed. E.g. I think Paul’s logic in Rom 8:28-30 comes across the same whether you read it from a Calvinist or an Arminian perspective. And yet I also suspect that that logic is often missed because the terms ‘foreknew’ and ‘predestinated’ put people into a “does this fit Calvinism or Arminianism” mindset, rather than actually paying attention to what it says.

  4. dr. james willingham says

    I was ordained to the ministry and influenced by alliteration, and I use it as a means to get people to remember what was said in the sermon although I more concerned to get them to commit or do what the sermon is intended to accomplish. The pastor who baptized me and licensed me to the ministry had been Dr. Robert G. Lee’s Intermediate Youth minister, and my ordaining pastor had been his association. Additionally, I heard Dr. Lee preach a number of times, and I met him once. Thanks to my ordaining pastor who was listed in Dr. Lee’s will as the one preacher he wanted to preach his funeral.

    As to the Sovereign Grace perspective: It would take years to learn how the truths of the acrostic TULIP along with Predestination and Reprobation are meant to be preached. First, a word about limited atonement. Everyone preaches a limited atonement, even and especially those who say he died for everyone without exception. Their preaching that Jesus did for everyone without exception is limited by the fact that not every one is going to be saved, and they know it. Even the Universalist who says Christ died for all, and all will be saved runs into the difficulty that those who are to be saved will certainly not accept Christ and be saved in any Christian sense of the word in this life. That is why they insist on salvation after one dies.

    In any case, consider how the doctrines of grace are to be preached. they are to be preached evangelistically, that is, they are to be considered invitations to trust Christ, especially when they seem so opposite of what we expect. My experience of this reality began in 1972-73, when I came across Dr. John Eusden’s new translation of William Ames’ Marrow of Divinity in the SEBTS library. In his introduction Dr. Eusden’s states that: “Predestination is an invitation to begin one’s spiritual pilgrimage,….” The same could be said for any and each of the doctrines of the TULIP acrostic along with Reprobation. One Dr. Eusden got me started, I began to look for examples where our Lord had used or preached these doctrines with an evangelistic intent. Take Unconditional Election, where someone else is the elect or chosen. Mt.15:21-28 provides an illustration that also involves Limited Atonement: “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The woman of Canaan was not a member of the house of Israel, and her response in the face of such seemingly dark turn off was to fall down in worship. And then in Lk.4:16-31, our Lord tells his neighbors in Nazareth that Elijah did not minister to any widow in Israel, but he did a widow of Sarepta, a city of Sidon. Elisha did not heal any leper in Israel, but he did heal Naaman the Sytrian. In the case of the woman of Canaan, we find he continues to introduce to her the doctrine of Total Depravity/Total Inability and Reprobation in the words, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread and to cast it to dogs.” Her response to such preaching and teaching was, “Truth, Lord, but even the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” For that response, our Lord commended her, speaking of her great faith.

    The foregoing is one of the reasons why we find people like Silas Mercer, the father of Jesse Mercer, after whom Mercer University was named), speaking of the evangelistic nature of the doctrine of predestination in a Church Letter to the Georgia Baptist Association in 1787. I pursued this effort for many years and found that paradoxes, even the very opposite of what one would expect, can have a therapeutic benefit. I even have a volume bearing the title, Therapeutic Paradoxes. Wit the rejection of much of the Sovereign Grace viewpoint in theology, the idea of the paradox has largely vanished from theological discussion and preaching.

    And the sad part about it is that one lady was won to Christ was won by a friend of mine who did not believe in Sovereign Grace at the time, and she told him, “O! It was so wonderful that I could not resist it.” My friend’s name was Spurgeon, and he changed his mind on the issue about 40 years later. Life is full of quirks, funny quirks.

  5. says

    The Synod of Dort, church leaders from several countries in Europe, spent 18 months deliberating over the Canons (TULIP) they eventually published. They had a valid reason for doing so. The Arminians had recommended five alterations to the official church documents. The TULIP was in response to these five alterations. Again, their measured, biblical response took a year and a half and many brilliant, pastoral minds to be developed. When a man takes it upon himself to alter the TULIP, for whatever reason, I think he has adequate reason to suspect that his efforts will have little impact on the present and none on the distant future.

    • says

      I disagree, at least in part.

      TULIP as you noted was written in response to the five alterations to the official church documents. As such their intention is not to say “here is what the Bible says about God’s purpose of grace.” Their intention is to say, “Here is what the Bible says about God’s purpose of grace in response to the Arminians”. There is a difference in the two.

      If you are saying, there will never be a better response than TULIP to the 5 alterations to the official church documents then I can go for that. But if you are saying there will never be a better explanation of God’s purpose of grace–I don’t agree and truthfully I’m not even sure that those who wrote the Canons of Dort would agree.

      • says

        “TULIP as you noted was written in response to the five alterations to the official church documents. As such their intention is not to say ‘here is what the Bible says about God’s purpose of grace.’ Their intention is to say, ‘Here is what the Bible says about God’s purpose of grace in response to the Arminians’. There is a difference in the two.”

        Ah.. But allow me to demonstrate the error into which you run if you follow your logic on this one:

        1) The Nicene Council – “Here is what the Bible says about the nature of Christ in response to what the Arians say.”

        2) The Baptist Faith and Message (2000) – “Here is what the Bible says about complementarianism in response to what the egalitarians say.”

        3) Timothy Paul Jones and Daniel Montgomery – “Here is what the Bible has to say about God’s purpose of grace in response to the insufficiency of TULIP.”

        You see, the church has always systematized its doctrine in response to heresy and heterodoxy. There is no getting around it.

        “If you are saying, there will never be a better response than TULIP to the 5 alterations to the official church documents then I can go for that.”

        Actually, if someone were to say that, I wouldn’t go for that. The Holy Spirit could very well lead His church to a far better, more biblical conclusion than the Canons of Dort in responding to the gross error of Arminianism. However, I don’t think He will do so through a couple guys who decide to just right a book. If He did decide to do so, I think it would be done through a cross-denominational council of church leaders, like the Synod of Dort, the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, or the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. This process would be more consistent with how He has historically worked through His church.

        • says

          Of course the Spirit can move in churches and do something better than TULIP. Thanks for clarifying that. My intention wasn’t to say that He can’t. I was just saying that as of yet TULIP is a tremendous response to Arminianism.

          But I still don’t track with your objection to this book–or of using a new acronym.

          Is the Nicene council all there is to say about Christology or Trinitarian Theology?

          No. There is much more to be said. And if one wanted to take the Scriptures and say “here is what the Scriptures say about the nature of Christ” then certainly one would be indebted to the Nicene Creed but there are things that could be stated better.

          That is what I am saying here in this review. The authors are clearly indebted to TULIP. But their focus is much broader than defending what the Scriptures teach against Arminianism. And I appreciate that about the book and I think such an acronym in our day and age may be more helpful for some discussions than the TULIP.

          • Greg Harvey says

            Late to the party, but here is a decent history readable by a layperson of the development that led to the action by the Synod of Dort. I confess to not having read it prior to 24 hours ago. But it’s worth noting that there is more to the story than simply responding to Arminius which has a lot to do with why the TULIP points are so forceful.

            I’d add that if someone who doesn’t generally agree with Calvinism who is also were a Southern Baptist were to read this and specifically read Arminius’ points, there might be a lot of room for agreement between them and those specific points. I mention that because regardless of where you stand on this, it probably wouldn’t be a “harmful” document to read just to have another perspective on the specific history including the specific historical context.

            If there is a Baptist-produced history of the same story, I’d be interested in being pointed to that as well. I found this one first. I don’t remember a detailed discussion of this from Gritz’ church history survey, but he might have covered more than I currently remember.

  6. says

    Of course, many of us believe Jesus died for all,
    because of Scripture like:

    He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. -1 John 2:2.

    David R. Brumbelow

    • says

      David,
      I’m trying to find what this is connected to? Is it connected to the statement I made about how the phrase “limited atonement” is unfortunate? Help me see how your comment is connected…

      • Tarheel says

        “Everyone preaches a limited atonement, even and especially those who say he died for everyone without exception. Their preaching that Jesus did for everyone without exception is limited by the fact that not every one is going to be saved, and they know it. Even the Universalist who says Christ died for all, and all will be saved runs into the difficulty that those who are to be saved will certainly not accept Christ and be saved in any Christian sense of the word in this life. That is why they insist on salvation after one dies.”

        I have noted this in numerous discussion both here and with people in person. It is a truth that cannot be denied Biblically or logically. If one believes that the atonement is thorough and complete, in that it accomplished all that God intended for it to accomplish, it is then necessarily to believe it as limited only to those who believe – as they are the only ones who are saved. Now who it is who believes and how that comes into reality is another (and endlessly debated) question all together – ;-)

        But with regard to limited atonement – to me it is the clearest and easiest to accept of all the points of TULIP (I know others disagree and find it one of the most difficult to embrace) – But for me – as you point out, Mike – even those who hold to universalism (of course I dare to hope that is no one in the SBC world) would encounter issues without some sort of “limited atonement” . I have never understood why there is so much angst about this obvious and biblical truth.

        • says

          That is partially why I prefer the term Particular Redemption. I think it actually highlights that there IS a difference in how we read the Scriptures. You are correct that both groups “limit” the atonement. And that in part is why I think its not the best word. Because it doesn’t get to the crux of the issue—what did God intend to do through the sacrifice of Christ? Did he intend to make everyone “savable” or did he intend to actually accomplish the redemption of particular people?

          • Tarheel says

            Mike, I like the particular redemption/atonement language too, for the reasons you just stated.

            That is the phraseology that I hearing many use now….I do think it makes the line brighter between Calvinistic and Armenian theology…but I am not sure that it does anything to ease the tension between those who embrace the doctrine that those who do not. Ya know?

          • says

            I think in some ways being clear about the differences may help ease some tension. As it’d be really nice to not have to go around on a merry-go-round of talking past one another. Ultimately, I think what resolves the tension is not clarity of speech but clarity of mission and a heart that approves that which is vital.

    • says

      Mike,
      You mention TULIP and Limited Atonement in your review.
      Comments to your post refer to TULIP and Limited Atonement.
      The book you review does the same.
      While I have not read the book you review, I imagine it favorably presents the concept of Limited Atonement, though perhaps with different terminology.

      Just thought I’d give a brief comment with an alternate view.
      Because many of us disagree with Limited Atonement and believe Jesus died for all.
      David R. Brumbelow

      • says

        Thanks! I thought it might have been a general comment as opposed to a particular comment. (See what I did there? LOL).

        The “Planned Grace” is the section that closely aligns with what some would call limited atonement. It’s the section on Particular Redemption.

    • Chris Johnson says

      David,

      1 John 2:2 has always been an interesting verse to discuss.

      One good question that comes out of the verse is the concept of universalism, …..and has John meant this as actual propitiation for all sin or is there a greater context? Mormon’s use this same verse to say that all men have been saved by Jesus in this manner, and then are judged by their works in the end, establishing their levels of attainment.

      Whether one believes in the TULIP theology or not,…a better question may be,….can propitiated sins be punished?

      Blessings,
      Chris

      • David (NAS) Rogers says

        I’m not the David asked, but I’ll give an answer. Sins are propitiated when the God-ordained conditions are met, namely humbly receiving the offer made by the propitiation himself, Jesus Christ. There is no indication that salvific grace is an impersonal mechanical force imposed on persons. It occurs within a Person-to-person inter-relationship. The condition of personal reception is part of the efficacy.

        • Tarheel says

          “There is no indication that salvific grace is an impersonal mechanical force imposed on persons.”

          Just interjecting to point out that – even those to ascribe to irresistible grace would agree with this statement. ;-)

          I have been meaning to ask you, BTW…what does the (NAS) in your posting name mean?

          • Tarheel says

            Oh, I think I figured it out….

            You and the other David Rogers are not the same poster and you are identifying yourself as “not Adrian’s son”?

            Am I correct?

        • Chris Johnson says

          Brother David (the other David),

          That’s the reason I asked the question… :)

          “God-ordained conditions are met” through the giving of faith, right?

          I think you are absolutely correct to state that “salvific grace” is never mechanical or force imposed. We confess Christ, because we love Christ, and his love was first.

          Blessings,
          Chris

      • says

        Chris,
        I agree with

        W. A. Criswell on 1 John 2:2:
        “I’ve never been able to understand how the Calvinists, some of them, believe in a ‘limited atonement.’ That is, the sacrifice of Christ applied only to those who are the elect, but there is no sacrifice of Christ for the whole world—when John expressly says He is the sacrifice, the atoning, dedicated gift of God in our lives for the whole world [1 John 2:2]. And it is just according to whether we accept it or not as to whether the life of our Lord is efficacious for us in His atoning death.”

        David R. Brumbelow

        • Mike Bergman says

          My take on 1 John 2:2, is that when you look at the gospel of John (of which the letter is basically cliff notes), and Revelation is that a theme on John’s mind is showing that the gentiles/nations through Christ belong to God’s people as much as the Jews through Christ… Thus “world” in such contexts is referring to all peoples in general and not every person in particular.

          This feeds along with the idea that propitiation and atonement are efficacious–they actually accomplish the forgiveness and remittal of sin… And if the sins of every individual was paid for in Christ, then he could not say to some that they would die in their sins in John 8.

          • Mike Bergman says

            Side note: for those reasons, going with the ‘tulip’–I actually accepted limited atonement as a biblically correct doctrine well before I accepted unconditional election and irresistible grace…

  7. says

    I just realized that something caused the first three paragraphs to get jumbled when I cut and pasted this review. My apologies for those of you that had to sift through that. It is now fixed.

  8. says

    This is a good direction, I think. Even last night I was talking with my oldest son who is a solid 5-pointer on his own account. Have recently come to adulthood, he has joined my wife and I in our Sunday School class. The past couple of weeks, our Sunday School instructor has broached the topic of predestination. An excellent teacher who attracts between 150-200 people to his class every Sunday, he nevertheless took the common route of leaving the tension between the sovereignty of God and the culpability of man unanswered as a means of staving off unhelpful debate on the matter. I don’t fault him because I’ve done the same thing myself.

    However, my observation follows what I think the direction of this book is. That is that if there were no sin, there wouldn’t be any theological tension here. The goal of the Christian life is not to exalt our will over and against God’s will. Rather it is to submit to God’s will. I believe God has intentionally set up the tension for us to frustrate our attempts to focus on the wrong thing in our theology. Until we truly submit to God’s will in practice and belief, we cannot be truly satisfied. So that is what I told my son and that has become my message in this issue over the past couple of years.

        • Tarheel says

          What in the world does that have to do with anything being discussed here?

          And Payday’s are better, BTW. ;-)

          • volfan007 says

            payday’s don’t have chocolate….a real candy bar has chocolate and nuts. Thus, Hershey’s chocolate with almonds is a tremendous, candy bar….Payday’s are not. Also, when you think about all the great candy bars, they ALL have chocolate and nuts in them.

            David

          • says

            David,

            I would say that most bars comprised of candy ingredients that have anything other than mere chocolate (insofar as it is distinguished from pure chocolate bars [e.g. Lindt 75% Dark Chocolate bars {my personal favorite}]) could be considered candy bars.

          • volfan007 says

            I like dark chocolate, too….especially if it’s got nuts in it. I’m currently munching on Hershey’s dark chocolate nuggets with toffee and almonds in it…..oh yeah!!!

            David

          • Tarheel says

            I am not a big chocolate fan….I eat it. I like it…but if I did not have any for a long period of time I would be fine with that. Totally fine. ;-)

            Caramel and Peanuts is what makes a great candy bar, IMO. Chocolate is a fixin’ like ketchup on a burger…I can take it or leave it. ;-)

            Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, and the like…now those I can not do without.

        • John Fariss says

          David, to put your comments in the context of this discussion, would you agree that Snickers have irresistible grace, while Paydays do not?

          John

          • volfan007 says

            John,

            Yes….Snickers are very irresistible. Paydays are absolutely left to the choice of people like Tarheel, who obviously are not the Elect, but who have been predetermined to eat inferior candy bars…. poor things.

            David

          • says

            I would hold the Payday as a highly endorsed snack, given RG Lee’s endorsement in his sermon on it…Payday, Someday.

            Or is my recording of that a little off?

  9. Richard says

    William, I’m not sure I would trust the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood to represent enough cross-denominational consensus, and they certainly seem too recent to be considered holding views we would call “historic.”

  10. says

    Many people hold to an Unlimited Atonement, where Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, and lack of faith in Him is what now condemns.

    Other people believe that the Atonement is Unlimited and Universal, but is only applied when faith is present.
    These usually define Atonement, not as a finished product, so to speak, but an act of God for all people.
    So they might say to a sinner: ” Jesus died for you, He atoned for your sins on the cross, but you remain lost and hell bound unless you repent and put your trust in Him.”
    They see the Atonement as the work of Christ on the cross in behalf of all people.

    [My guess is that most SBCers who are not in the Limited Atonement camp view Atonement that way. Most, but not all, because there are some who see it the first way.]

    Then there are those who are Calvinistic in their outlook of Atonement and call it Limited or Particular Redemption. These, for the most part see the Atonement as more than just what happened on the cross [where they might debate among themselves whether it was for all or just for the elect] but instead see Atonement in a broader way including the salvation of every person so saved by the work of the cross. These would say, “One is not actually atoned for, or, One’s sins are not actually atoned for, until one has by faith been included in the family of God.”

    The good news is that both the non-Cal/Trad and the Cal both agree that without faith there is no salvation, and all that come by faith will be saved. ALL!!!

    The problem then is in how to understand how to reconcile the latter two views. They can’t.
    So the question is, “Can we get along and preach the Gospel, side by side, as brothers?”

    Each side needs to recognize that the scope of the atonement [and by this I mean “who did Jesus die for”, is NOT part of the Gospel.

    The Cal need not preach the Gospel with any hint of the scope [see definition above], and from my experience usually does not.

    The non-Cal/Trad though uses the idea of Jesus-died-for-everyone-so-that-includes-you-dear-sinner, as part of their Gospel message [usually as i have heard such messages] to lay the groundwork for the outward call to the unbeliever to turn from their sin, trust in Jesus, and thus be saved.

    I do not see that as quite Biblical, but it certainly isn’t heretical. The sinner hears the Gospel, that Jesus is the crucified risen Lord who will forgive them and accept them if they but turn to Him in faith and repentance.
    So I do not see their position as a hindrance to proclaiming the Gospel. I think it makes salvation too man-centered, but not so much that God is dishonored by their proclamation.

    They [the non-Cal/Trad] need to see that those who hold to a Limited Atonement does not mean they are proclaiming a Gospel that shuts out any who is willing to turn, and by faith repent.

    In other words, the *back* theology where we disagree is NOT the Gospel itself. It certainly influences who we work out our salvation in the Spirit, bit only somewhat.

    If we approach our differences in this light, trusting God, we need not feel threatened, or to threaten, but simply debate in brotherly love. It is the JOB of the Holy Spirit to lead us in all truth. And by His allowing us to be divided doctrinally over this *back* theology should encourage us to continue to study and debate with the hope that we will all grow in understanding of the truth and in complete agreement, knowing that someday we will.

    peace,
    mike

    • Don Johnson says

      Mike,

      “Each side needs to recognize that the scope of the atonement [and by this I mean “who did Jesus die for”, is NOT part of the Gospel.” I disagree.

      For whom Christ died is most certainly part of the Gospel. I fact, according to Paul (1 Cor. 15:3) it is the first part of the Gospel. If Christ did not die for everyone there is no Gospel to proclaim. If one is to proclaim Good News to every creature, there must be Good News available for every creature. And that Good News always begins with “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”

      • Chris Johnson says

        Brother Don,

        The Apostle Paul also gives us a clear great description of the gospel, and its power, to those at Rome.

        Romans 1

        “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
        For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

        1 Corinthians
        “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

        The power of the gospel is for those being saved. That is the exciting part about sharing the gospel. We get to find out, and experience life with those whom God is capturing for himself for all eternity.

        Blessings,
        Chris

        • Don Johnson says

          Chris,

          No. Paul gives the description of the Gospel in 1 Cor. 15. He does not describe what the Gospel is in Rom. 1. He mentions its power and that it saves, but he doesn’t describe what it is. He does that in 1 Cor. 15.

          • Chris Johnson says

            Brother Don,

            I was just repeating what Paul wrote. Certainly his letter to the Corinthians puts the same reality in a more comprehensive manner. Works for me.

            Both descriptions make it exciting to share this glorious Gospel and see what God does to capture his bride. He loses none. Wow.

            Blessings,
            Chris

  11. says

    Don,
    Three things.
    First you are reading this passage through your own ‘lens’.
    Here is the passage in context:

    Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
    For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

    Paul is not writing to unbelievers but to the brethren: believers, those who are already saved. These the Gospel they already received, and stand in, and are saved by. Now you declare that since Paul says that “Christ died for our sins”, it must mean everyone’s sins. But that is not what the Scripture is saying, not at all, at least not here. You are reading your beliefs into this verse.

    The “our” refers to who Paul is speaking to [writing to] which would include himself. These are saved people, his brethren. Paul is not writing to speak to the extent of the atonement [which you thinks is part of the Gospel] but to the Gospel itself which does not include the extent.

    If he was writing to the extent of it, a better case could be made [by these verses] that its extent is limited to only those who believe: those who by it are his brethren.

    Second. I have already addressed you about the idea of good news to all, and each and every time you fail to respond. But I am glad to repeat myself again in hopes you will understand. [a]The command of God is for His people to take the Gospel to all people. We are to take it to all people because God commands it. God already knows who will not be saved by it, and always has. He does send us to the uttermost parts of the world so that ~maybe~ all might be saved. God KNOWS who will be saved and who will not be. Thus He wants us to take it to all people so that all who will be saved by it can hear and believe.
    [b] The words of the cross are foolishness to those who are perishing [1st Cor. 1:18] To those who fail to believe the Gospel, it is not good news.

    In fact, there are many, maybe you, who declare that condemnation happens because people reject the Gospel. If they think it foolish, of course they reject it. In that sense it is only Good News to those who believe it.

    [c]The Gospel proclaims that the power of sin and death has been broken through the crucified and risen Lord: Jesus. That is good news whether or not people believe it.

    Possibly your problem is in a slightly myopic view of the Gospel as only a vehicle to save people. But the Gospel is also the proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus, and The Coming Return of Jesus, and the Future Reign of Jesus. God wants us to proclaim the Gospel to all people KNOWING not all will be saved.

    Third.
    You yourself believe in TWO Gospels. You believe in the Gospel of Christ and also the Everlasting Gospel which you say is shown by Rev. 14:5, a gospel that does not proclaim Jesus but one that proclaims fear. And you told me that one can be saved by this other Gospel that is not the Gospel of Christ.
    When asked to explain, you fail to answer. But you did say that of one fails to hear the Gospel of Christ, they can be saved by this OTHER Gospel.

    But you do know of course that the Gospel of Christ has not been proclaimed to every creature, but that many have died not hearing it. But you say, “If one is to proclaim Good News to every creature, there must be Good News available for every creature.”

    As His people, we are to go into all the world with the intent of proclaiming the Gospel to every person, but it has never happened, thus it can not happen.
    I think you are being terribly inconsistent but i invite you to explain your position further.

    mike

    • Don Johnson says

      Mike,

      It isn’t that I don’t try to respond. It seems every time we start getting to the crux of the matter, the post gets shut down.

      Let’s start with 1 Cor. 15:3. I said the Gospel always starts with “Christ died for our sins” not because I see it thru my lens. But because that is what Paul said.

      Your argument is that Paul is addressing the Christians at Corinth and therefore Christ died for their sins. While that is true please note Paul’s exact words “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Paul is repeating the same Gospel (vs 1) to the Corinthians as he did when he first preached it unto them. Now if Paul is repeating what he received shouldn’t he be repeating it exactly as he first proclaimed it.

      So when Paul says he is delivering what he received, I believe he is telling the truth. If Paul is telling the truth, then we know Christ died everyone sins (or in this case all the Corinthians) because that is what he said before any of them were saved. The same truth is stated in Acts 3 and 2 Thes. 2 along with several of the more familiar passages.

      • Dave Miller says

        You guys are welcome to exchange emails to carry on this silly merry-go-round – saying the same things over and over again, not listening to the other, etc.

        I have no obligation nor desire to host that discussion here. So, when the discussion gets down to the same old Calvinist food fight nonsense, I will continue to shut it down.

        • says

          Don,
          You are right. It does get shut down.
          And just like last time, I gave you my email and encouraged you to write:
          here it is again:
          bygrace4012@yahoo.com

          Dave,
          I am sorry you think I am not listening to him or anyone.
          My original post was meant in the spirit of fellowship and Gospel solidarity, realizing that we as a group don’t always agree on the specifics, but because we agree on the Gospel, there should be no barrier to fellowship and working together.

          grace to you,
          mike

          • Dave Miller says

            Mike, I was responding to Don’s snarky comment about how the comments get shut down, as if it was some kind of conspiracy against him.

            When the discussion becomes just another rehashing of the same old discussions on Calvinism, I shut it down.

            I will continue to do so. You feel free to discuss as you please. But Don. I will shut the posts down when I think it is time.

          • Don Johnson says

            Dave,

            I apologize if I have offended you. My comment was directed to Mike, who asked why I didn’t respond to his question. Again, I’m sorry for the offense.

  12. says

    Dave,
    Color me confused.
    If you don’t want people discussing the pros and cons of Calvinism, why allow Original Posts on the nuts and bolts of Calvinism?

      • says

        Dave,
        It seems that from reply #15 onward the discussion is about limited atonement, except for a brief interlude on candy bars.
        WHEN ASKED, DAVID BRUMBELOW STATED:
        You mention TULIP and Limited Atonement in your review.
        Comments to your post refer to TULIP and Limited Atonement.
        The book you review does the same.
        While I have not read the book you review, I imagine it favorably presents the concept of Limited Atonement, though perhaps with different terminology.

        Just thought I’d give a brief comment with an alternate view.
        Because many of us disagree with Limited Atonement and believe Jesus died for all.
        – See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/review-of-proof-by-timothy-paul-jones-and-daniel-montgomery/#comment-246304

        seeking unity in the Lord,
        mike

        • Dave Miller says

          Don’t worry about it, Mike. Proceed.

          Frankly, Don’s comment got under my skin. I hate Calvinism discussions in general, because they go around and around and never make progress. But Don’s idea that he was about to solve everything until I shut off comments got under my nerves a little.

          don’t worry about it, Mike. Do what you wish. You’ve never been snippy or angry in your comments, that I recall.

          But if I shut things off, I shut them off.

  13. says

    When Paul says in 1st Cor. 15 that he delivered to them as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he is not necessarily quoting word for word what Jesus told him.
    To read it that way is to read one’s own opinion into it.
    For on the other side, one could just as easily say that Jesus told Paul that the Gospel was for the elect only who would be evidenced by their faith and steadfastness.
    In one sense we can all agree that the Gospel only saves those who believe, so in that sense it is for them in a special way that it is not for those who never believe it.
    But either reading of this passage in 1st Cor. 15 would be adding to what the Scripture actually is telling us.
    The Gospel is not who it is for, whether all or some, but that Jesus is the crucified risen Lord who is returning to judge the living and the dead, of whom all of us are and we all deserve condemnation since we are sinners before a holy God AND that there is salvation and peace with God only in His name for all who put their hope and trust in Him.
    That is the Gospel we are to proclaim to all. And as witnesses to its power in our lives and to our faith that God is true to His word.
    The PROOF book and idea, from what I can gather, as I have not yet received it, tells us that it is by GRACE that any of us are saved. So we know that when we proclaim the Gospel to the lost, it is by GRACE that they are saved. As a unified people we can proclaim the Gospel with the hope that God will save those who hear it. And though we disagree on the spiritual procedures that are there in the process of a life being made new in Christ, we agree that it is by GRACE through FAITH, through the WORD of God that GOD saves sinners.
    Let us never fight with animosity with any who agree with us in this Gospel, but only with those who present false gospels, which are lies from hell.

    in His grace,
    mike

    • Don Johnson says

      Mike,

      It’s true Paul might not have used the exact words. But, it is also true they must mean the exact same thing. For instance, Paul might have said Christ was put in the grave after He died. Those are not the same exact words as “And that He was buried” but they mean the same thing. When Paul states he is delivering what he received, it must be mean the same exact thing.

      Consider the Corinthians in this matter. If Paul did not preach to them at the beginning that Christ died for there sins and now he says that he did, they would rightfully believe Paul was a liar. Because he said he did something when in fact he didn’t. I said this before and I’ll say it again, I’m bound to what the Scriptures actually state. So when Paul states that he is repeating the same message he first gave them, I’m am bound to believe he means exactly what he said. Namely, “Christ died for our sins.”

  14. says

    I too believe Unlimited Atonement (General Atonement) is part of the Gospel.
    If Jesus did not die for you, then you have no part in the Gospel.
    If Jesus did not die for you, have nothing to believe in.
    But if Jesus died for all, then the Gospel is for all!

    Scripture says Jesus died for the elect,
    but it never says He died only for the elect. Not one verse.

    But Scripture does say Jesus died for all:

    Who takes away the sin of the world! -John 1:29

    For God so loved the world… For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. -John 3:16-17.

    I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. -John 12:47.

    4. Christ died for the ungodly. -Romans 5:6.
    Who are the ungodly? Both the elect and those who are not elect.

    If One died for all, then all died; and He died for all…God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. -2 Corinthians 5:14-16, 19.

    Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. -1 Timothy 2:4.

    Who gave Himself a ransom for all. -1 Timothy 2:6

    Who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. -1 Timothy 4:10.

    [That Jesus] might taste death for everyone. -Hebrews 2:9.

    Not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. -2 Peter 3:9.

    He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. -1 John 2:2.

    But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. -2 Peter 2:1
    David R. Brumbelow

    • says

      David,

      I believe that in most of those references what you have is a reference to a global gospel. Christ died for all types of men and not simply Jews. I think in many of them that is pretty clear from the context what the author means by all.

      Having said that, I do believe that some of those verses cannot be explained away by saying that the “all” is referring to all types of men. In these instances what I believe the biblical authors are saying is that Christ is positionally the Savior of all of humanity.

      I like how Schreiner phrases this:
      “Those who hold to a definite intention in the atonement to save only the elect also believe that God desires people to be saved (1 Tim 2:3-4, Eze 18:32), that he is available as Savior to all people (1 Tim 4:10), that Christ’s death is sufficient for the salvation of every person, and that all are invited to be saved on the basis of Christ’s death for sinner (1 Tim. 1:15).”

      I like that. I think it affirms all that the Scriptures affirm while also doing justice to the texts that point to a definite atonement.

    • Tarheel says

      David B.,

      Question.

      Do you contend that those who ascribe to limited atonement preach a false gospel and therefore fall into the 2 peter 2:1 category?

        • says

          Sorry mike, but if one (or more) segment of the SBC population believe that another segment (or more) is not preaching the gospel because of a particular theological position they hold, then we have a serious problem. Either they are right, and those people need to be removed from the convention, or they are wrong, and they are a stumbling block to the rest of the convention (best case) and they themselves need to be removed.

          This convention can continue to thrive with people working together who have different views on the scope of the atonement. This convention cannot continue if one or more groups begin to say that their view of the atonement is the only way. This is something that needs to be brought to light and dealt with. Maybe not on this blog, but it cannot continue in the shadows anymore.

          • Tarheel says

            Yea, since I and others have been accused of reading into comments sentiments that are not there….I think the best and only way to avoid that is when there seems to be an inference being made the question must be directly asked….this will eliminate assumptions and as SV said – shed important and necessary light on these discussions.

          • volfan007 says

            SV,

            It cuts both ways. In fact, there’s a lot of Calvinists, out there, who call Non Calvinists heretics, who are preaching a false Gospel. It doesn’t take long to find them, either. In fact, some of the leaders in the SBC, and some of the popular, Calvinist preachers at their conferences, are very quick to call us Semi Pelagian, and leading people to Hell for helping sinners pray to be saved, etc.

            David

          • Tarheel says

            Who has said that non Calvinists are leading people to hell?

            Never at any conference I have been at.

            If you are referring to T4G I have been at every one except the first one…and I have NEVER heard such things!

            Now there has been concern expressed in many corners of our convention (and not just Calvinists) about the misuse of a “sinners prayer” and manipulative strategies to garner decisions. However those concerns don’t just apply to Baptists. There are others in the evangelical movement that have fallen prey to bad methodology in this regard.

            I would think that no matter where one comes down on the “Calvinism debates” that a calling to greater seriousness and fidelity to the gospel in our imploring and pleas for sinners to come to repentance is something that we all should be able to lock arms on.

          • Tarheel says

            As for the SP accusation – It is true that one SBC leader I can think of once (several years ago) threw around the term “Semi Pelagian” regarding the text of a document but he, I think has clarified those remarks, that he does not consider the author or the signers of that document to be so….I have not heard or read any other SBC leaders doing that.

            Also, the Heretic label…outside of a few flamethrowers on the internet who has called non Calvinist SBC brothers heretics?

        • says

          And this is why I said “let’s no do this”. I’ve never seen any good results from this discussion. Until David says, “you teach a false gospel” I think it’d be best to just assume that he doesn’t believe that. Let’s discuss the issues and not try to make stuff about limited atonement personal. It’s a losing battle for everyone.

          • Tarheel says

            “Until David says, “you teach a false gospel” I think it’d be best to just assume that he doesn’t believe that.”

            I guess you are right…assumptions (whether positive or negative) are always better and produce more healthy discussions than actually knowing where someone is coming from. ;-)

      • Dean Stewart says

        Tarheel, I am not David but I feel I can certainly speak for him. Here is the passage he quoted,

        “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.”-2 Peter 2:1

        This passage is a proof text for general atonement. In it there are a group of people who are false teachers that even deny the Lord “WHO BOUGHT THEM.” There are a group of people condemned that have been bought by by the Lord. This passage is most difficult for the particular atonement group. It describes a group that is condemned that has been bought.

        Heel, please read this verse in the same light as the rest of the verses that David B. listed. There is no need in looking for the absolute worst possible meaning of another person’s words. Having said that, I will not enter into the debate about particular/general atonement. I would rather go play duck duck goose with the preschoolers.

        • Dean Stewart says

          I should have added, the verse quoted was an argument for general atonement and was not listed to identify others as false teachers.

          • Tarheel says

            Gotcha, Dean…Thanks.

            Surely you might understand why a verse about false prophets and heretics thrown in there last might give me pause. See, explanation is a good thing.

            Since I do not agree with your interpretation of the verse – I did not see it in that light. I do not see that verse as problematic for a particular atonement because as Mike pointed about above – even as one who holds to particular atonement I still believe that Christ’s death and resurrection made salvation possible.

          • Tarheel says

            As for duck duck goose. We have VBS this week and I have done my share of such as well….joy and giggles. :-)

      • volfan007 says

        Tarheel,

        No…I don’t believe that Believers, who believe in a Limited Atonement, are preaching a false Gospel….not in the least. I do believe that they’re wrong in their understanding of who the Gospel is for, though!

        I love Calvinists.

        David

        • Tarheel says

          Volfan,

          Thank you for that clear answer to my question.

          We are on the same page there… I love those who preach a general atonement but think they are wrong. Y’all are not heretics though.

          Dean and Volfan have answered – David B., would you like to answer?

    • volfan007 says

      Money verses from David B. even though all of them that he quoted were great, and should lead us to believe in an Unlimited Atonement:

      Who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. -1 Timothy 4:10.

      But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. -2 Peter 2:1

      These verses just seem to too clear to me.

      David

  15. Tarheel says

    I truly hope and pray that is not his contention….but if we don’t ask we will have to continue to assume and it will remain “a fight just under the surface” his answer is foundational to this discussion as it will bring forth genuine and honest discussion….

    If I think he thinks I’m a false prophet and purveyor of a false gospel and he actually does not think that – I need to know that, so my mind is cleared and discussion can ensue.

    If he does actually think that – then it’s important that we know that too.

    I think one of the reasons these discussions get out of hand is the assumptions many of us are so often fueled by the undercurrent of insinuations and inference.

  16. Andy Williams says

    I think I’m with Tarheel and SV on this one, I hope this discussion can continue amiably, but clearly.

    For Don & David, Would you say that those who believe in Limited Atonement preach a different Gospel? Would you, if you had the leadership structure at your command, seek to exclude such people from the SBC? Or include them, but keep pointing out that they preach a different gospel?

    For my part, I think the Limited Atonement point of TULIP is actually the least vital, and the one that is based more on semantics than any other. If a Calvinist holds to Unconditional Election before the foundation of the world, then of course the atonement was only meant to apply to those people. Calvinists arguing over details beyond that seems pointless to me.

    If a traditionalist rejects unconditional Election, there is obviously atonement sufficient for and effective for any who will believe. They may differ on whether that persons sins are actually atoned for such that unbelief is the only thing that condemns them, or if their sins are not atoned for at all until they belief, but the end result is the same.

    • Don Johnson says

      Andy,

      That depends on what a LA person preaches. I would say to any individual that I have Good News for you. Christ loves you. Christ died for you. Christ wants to save you. Would you say the same? If not, what would you say to any lost individual?

      • Andy Williams says

        I actually have no desire to argue about Limited Atonement, because as I said, I think it is often just semantics, but even at best arguing about something theoretical in the mind of God that often does not connect much to real life…However so as to not evade the question. I would say God loves you, Christ died for your sins, Christ desires for you to come to repentance.

        However, my question for you is, If a person believed strongly in Limited Atonement to the degree that they felt they could only say, “Christ died for sinners…will you trust in that sacrifice for your sins, or will you reject it?” (as opposed to telling an individual “Christ died for you.” ….Would you want such a Pastor and his church excluded from the SBC? And knowing that those people exist in the SBC now, do you now have hesitations about giving money to missionaries who might believe this way?

        • volfan007 says

          Andy,

          Just to play the devil’s advocate, here. Do you want SB money supporting Church starts where the Pastor preaches unlimited atonement, and leads people to pray the sinner’s prayer(after stressing repentance in his witnessing), and tells people to ask Jesus into their hearts?

          I would just like to know your answer to this.

          David

      • says

        Don,
        I would tell them that Jesus is the crucified risen Lord of all and that God demands 100% obedience all the time and any sin damns a person to an eternity in Hell, and the only escape from our just deserts is to put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus.

        In your opinion [or to anyone else who cares to answer], am I preaching a false gospel?

        • says

          parsonsmike,

          That’s about it in a nutshell. Once, sharing the gospel door-to-door in the slums of India, my son reminded me not to “leave Jesus in the grave”. So I always present the resurrection as well.

        • Don Johnson says

          Mike,

          “I would tell them that Jesus is the crucified risen Lord of all.” Does that mean Christ died for the sins of all people? By that I mean every single one, not types or kinds.

          • parsonsmike says

            Don,
            Jesus is Lord of all whether they trust and believe in Him or not.
            So what this ~Jesus is the crucified risen Lord of all~ is, is the truth.

            The question asked that you are dodging is whether that is the Gospel.

            If you think a gospel that does not include “Christ died for the sins of all people” is not the Gospel and thus a false gospel, STEP up and say so.

            We already know you disagree with Limited Atonement.
            We already know I disagree with the General Atonement.

            So what is the answer to the question?

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            What does it mean “to put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus”? If a person is to put their faith and trust in Christ, they must be trusting in something He did and why He did it. What is it?

        • parsonsmike says

          Don,
          Why won’t you answer the question I asked of you?

          They put their faith and trust in Jesus because He alone can save them from their sin and that by His death on the cross. He suffered and died as we are told in Matthew chapter 1:
          She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            So in other words, they are to trust Christ because He died for there sins. And when they do, they become His people. Do we agree on this point?

  17. Richard says

    We can always wonder whose interpretation is correct, or we can be convinced our side is the gospel and condemn others, or, we can stop being so particular and realize that we are part of a grace that enfolds all who believe. That’s a gospel we can believe, rejoice in, and tell others about. The rest we must leave to the Lord, else we pull our circle so tight we become a meaningless sect.

  18. says

    Volfan said,
    No…I don’t believe that Believers, who believe in a Limited Atonement, are preaching a false Gospel….not in the least. I do believe that they’re wrong in their understanding of who the Gospel is for, though! – See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/review-of-proof-by-timothy-paul-jones-and-daniel-montgomery/#comment-246351

    There is my point. Spot on. David gets it.
    The Gospel is one thing
    Whether Atonement is Limited or General is another.

    Now unless there are those who want to combine the two and declare that those who think otherwise on atonement have a false Gospel, then there is no good reason for us to be divided on the Gospel, in fellowship, in cooperation to evangelize, in church planting, in giving, in mission work. NONE.

    To those who see the Gospel including the EXTENT of the ATONEMENT, you fellas have to decide if you want to be a part of the fellowship or not. You have options:
    1] You should make your position known in a forthright way: They Have a False Gospel, They Should Repent.
    2] You should seek to convince others of your position.
    3] If you, after a reasonable amount of time, fail to convince the SBC that the other guys have a false gospel, you should leave.

    Otherwise it is you fellers that are divisive, and causing disunity, and dishonoring God.

    Those that agree we all have the same Gospel but different ideas on the Atonement, when opportune times arise, humbly debate your position and trust God for the results, believing that those who disagree with you are your brothers in Christ and partners for the sake of the Gospel.

    Those opposed to unity because of differences on the extent of the atonement, step up or forever hold your peace.

  19. Don Johnson says

    Since this is a thread on PROOF of grace, I’d like to add the letter “A” to the acrostic for Amazing Grace. Consider Acts 3:26

    “Unto you first God having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

    In light of its context Acts 3:26 in a tremendous text on God’s Amazing Grace. Note to whom Peter was addressing in vs. 13-15. These were the same people who delivered up Christ to be crucified. No doubt many were same ones in John 10 who Jesus said were not His sheep. They were not followers of Christ and denied Him before Pilate. They hated Christ so much they desired the release of a noted murderer instead of Christ.

    Now note what Peter says to these people who just days before cried out “crucify Him.” “. . . having raised up his Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Christ was sent to bless them. How many was Christ sent to bless? Every one! How would He bless them? By turning them from their iniquities. Since Jesus was sent to bless everyone of these Christ haters, it must also mean Christ died for everyone of them. The turning away of ones iniquities would mean the forgiveness of sins. The only way to have forgiveness of sins is for Christ to have died for those sins.

    If Christ died only for a select group people, that would certainly be grace. However, what makes it Amazing Grace is that Christ died for everyone, even those who as Peter states “killed the Prince of life.” So I would add “A” to the acrostic for Amazing Grace. Even though it doesn’t make a real word.

    • Andy Williams says

      Don,

      1. I notice you haven’t answered our questions about your own associations and partnerships with those who would hold to Limited Atonement.

      2. Just for curiousity sake, do you believe unbelievers are condemned in hell for their sins (because Christ’s forgiveness has not been applied to their sins until they believe) , or only for unbelief (since their sins have already been paid for so that it is only unbelief that they are being punished for)?

  20. parsonsmike says

    Don,
    Unsaved people are not turned away from their wicked ways. If Jesus, by His death, blesses all the unsaved in that way, then all would be turned away from their wicked ways. Therefore your understanding of this passage is invalid.
    Who then is blessed by His death? ONLY those saved by it, for only those saved by it are turned from their wicked ways.
    We read earlier in the passage:

    19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets

    Here we see that no one’s sins are wiped out until they repent and turn to God. In other words, there is no reconciliation with God, no atoning blessing, and thus no AT-ONE-MENT between the sinner and God unless there is repentance and a turning to God through Jesus.

    And there is no reason why a limited or general atonement person can not agree with this truth. It doesn’t speak to the extent of the purpose of the cross, but only that the blessing of the cross is only upon those who turn and repent in faith. No one disagrees that all who call upon Jesus will be saved, they all will. And no one disagrees that all who reject Jesus and His Gospel remain condemned.

    mike

    • parsonsmike says

      P.S.
      Those in jerusalem that rejected the Gospel ended up being caught in the Roman siege, where they committed terrible atrocities against each other and were all killed.
      That was the judgment of God on a people and city who had rejected His Son. They then are not in a blessed state nor were they blessed by the Gospel.

      • volfan007 says

        They were blessed to hear the Gospel…..they were blessed to be given a chance of getting saved….they were blessed that God cared enough about them to send a Messiah…..so, yes, they were blessed…just like the nation of Israel was blessed by God with the law, and the prophets, and the Messiah coming to their nation…even though many of them were lost and sinful and didn’t fully apply all the blessings of God, which they could have enjoyed, but didn’t due to their rejection of salvation.

        David

      • Don Johnson says

        Mike,

        It’s true many were killed by Rome. However, many were also saved. Please continue reading. Acts 4:4 “Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.”

        Again these were the same people who delivered up Christ that got saved. Amazing Grace.

        • parsonsmike says

          Yes don, they were blessed by the Gospel and escaped, my point EXACTLY. And Don, assuming you are a believer, we also both escaped what we deserve… AMAZING GRACE!!!!

    • Don Johnson says

      Mike,

      No, my point is not invalid. I did not say nor does the text say Christ “will” bless everyone. It says He was “sent” to bless everyone. Big difference. Christ was also sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. However, the vast majority were still unsaved when He died. So yes, Christ was “sent” to bless everyone, just as Peter states. Even though He was sent to bless everyone, only those who repent and believe will receive the blessing, but it was and is available to everyone.

      • parsonsmike says

        Don,
        The point of my question to you is:
        Do those who believe in an unlimited atonement preach a true Gospel?

        You want to debate the limited/general theories, but why won’t you just MAN up and answer the question?

        Now you seem like an intelligent fellow, but one that wants to argue.
        So answer the question, and then I will respond to your other questions.

        Seems fair enough, doesn’t it?
        If you want to argue LA, start a thread.
        Or email me.
        bygrace4012@yahoo.com

        • Don Johnson says

          Mike,

          I’d be happy to answer your question, but what you say the Gospel is could mean different things to different listeners. For instance you said Christ is Lord of all. What does that mean to an unsaved man? You said put your faith and trust in Christ? Again, what would that mean to a lost man?

          Please if you could tell me how you would present the Gospel to any lost person. I’m not asking for a definition of the Gospel, you’ve already done that. I’m asking what a person who believes in LA might actually say. I’ve asked this before so far no one who holds to LA has answered.

          • says

            Don,
            I have already told you what I would say, the Gospel as I presented it.
            And certainly the Gospel presented means different things to different hearers, for we read in 1st Cor. 1:

            18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

            and we read in 2nd Cor. 2:

            14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.

            So we know that those who hear the Gospel ‘hear’ it differently.
            Some hear it as foolishness, and death to death, and these are those who continue to perish.
            And others hear the Gospel as the power of God to salvation and as life to life, and these are those God is saving.

            But feel free to play the role of an unsaved person and ask me a question.

  21. parsonsmike says

    In the OT on the Day of Atonement, where the one sacrifice was offered for all the people, not all the people were atoned for.
    In Leviticus 16 we read:

    9 “This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; 30 for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord. 31 It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.

    Those who failed to humble themselves before the Lord were nt atoned for. Disobedience does not lead to atonement.

    Lev. 23 makes the point clearer:

    26 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 27 “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. 28 You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. 29 If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32 It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.”

    Disobedience leads to being cut off from the people of God. But why would one care if their sins were atoned for? Obviously there sins are not atoned for due to their disobedience to God and their lack of humility before Him.

    And why we can disagree on the extent of the shed blood, we should agree that no one is atoned for unless they come to Jesus in repentance.

    The point of the animal sacrifices was to show the people that sin causes death, and that their[s] deserve them death. We read in Lwv. 17:

    4 “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.’ 15 When any person eats an animal which dies or is torn by beasts, whether he is a native or an alien, he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening; then he will become clean. 16 But if he does not wash them or bathe his body, then he shall bear his guilt.”

    Thus the shedding of the animals blood[life] points to Jesus who gave His life [shed His blood] so that all who repent and turn to God through Him would be forgiven of their sins. There is no atonement without repentance. Their is no forgiveness without repentance. There is no pThe blessings of the cross only come upon those whoropitiation without repentance. We read in Romans 3:

    1 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    The blessings of the cross only are upon those who by faith repent and turn to God.

    • Don Johnson says

      Mike,

      We all agree the blessings of the cross are only received by those who by faith repent and believe. However, Peter states they were for everyone. The only way that could be true is if Christ did in fact die for everyone. That’s what I believe. Do you?

  22. says

    We are not going to solve the atonement debate here nor probably change anyone’s mind.

    So focus on the idea put forth:
    Are those who believe in a different atonement theory preaching a false gospel or not?

    • Tarheel says

      Me thinks at this point that Don Johnson’s non answer to this very straightforward question has very clearly become an answer.

      Don, this is not at all hard, but I will try to make it even easier for you.

      Do you hold that that those who believe the bible teaches a limited atonement are purveyors of a false gospel?

      Check Yes or no.

      ______ YES

      ______ No

      Seriously, your answer only requires one word.

      • Don Johnson says

        Tarheel,

        Again, tell me what you would say when you present the Gospel to any lost person, and I’ll gladly answer the question. I can’t answer until I know what you say.

        • says

          Don,
          You know what I would say, but you haven’t answered the question.

          So it seems that your honesty is in question here.
          But maybe I am just confused, so tell me, knowing what I say to lost people, is it the Gospel [in your eyes] or not?

        • Tarheel says

          I would share the gospel (in a nutshell; God is in control, man sinned, God provided the way to salvation thru Christ for all who believe) and then say something like;

          The bible promises us that those who repent and believe will be saved…will you repent and believe?

        • Les Prouty says

          Guys,

          I’ve been following along as I drive to the Deep South. You know, God’s country…Alabama.

          Seems to me that Don’s answer is dependent for him on what you say when you present the gospel with your LA belief in the background. He seems unwilling to declare that all who profess LA preach a false gospel. But he MAY believe that some who profess LA do preach a false gospel depending on what they say. Is that a fair assessment Don?

          So it seems to me Don that it would help if you would state an example of such a gospel presentation that fits the category of a false gospel. Or just simply answer their questions. They’ve already stated the words they would use in presenting the gospel.

          Blessings brothers.

          • Don Johnson says

            Les,

            Yes, that’s a fair assessment. Instead of a false Gospel I’ll present at least what I believe to be the true Gospel. And we can start from there.

          • says

            Don,
            Now that you lnow what Tarheel and i would say, what is your answer?

            It is not what you believe is the true Gospel, or how you present it, but how you judge how others present it that is awaiting your response.

          • says

            Son, you said you’d present a true gospel and we could go from there. I was driving till late in the evening so I may have missed your presentation. If I did I apologize. But I do think that would be a good starting point. I posted a few minutes ago a question that should have been here, so I’ll do it again here while I await your presentation. BTW, if we can all have a respectful friendly Q& A here maybe we can better understand each other and learn something new about our respective positions and hopefully not get the conversation shut down.

            Don, question. If I have a conversation with someone I presume to be lost, and quote the following to them verbatim, do you think I am being dishonest with them and/or do you think I’m a purveyor of a false gospel? Remember, I believe in particular redemption.

            For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

            Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

            It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

            Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

            Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.

  23. says

    Don,
    If you want to debate the atonement, you have my email.

    But why won’t you answer my question?
    Turn about is fair. I have answered some of yours, time to answer my first one….

    What is your answer?

  24. Chris Johnson says

    Well, the crickets have emerged…..

    Somehow all this seems to focus way too much on the man, and not the God. Just how blessed can anyone be, at what time, and in what way. Me, me, me, me… yuk.

    The Apostle Paul cleared this up for those in Rome as he explain midway through the letter that “all things” are for the glory of God’s grace and His Glory. All things! Even the vessels of wrath are to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy.

    God planned the world for the glory of His grace. Those that confess Christ are simply a part of that plan. There is no begging someone to please see the gospel (you can even leave out the theological words of both camps). Preach the word, in season and out of season. God’s harvest is planned, always has been, and will bring glory to Him alone. The Apostle John turned to see the plan from beginning to end (to the church that reads this, it is another blessing). There is a bride and a beast. Our lot, challenge and privilege in life is to preach the Gospel to all men, mature the bride, while giving all praise and glory to the King!

    Blessings,
    Chris

  25. Andy says

    Here is the example Don, It is not what I would say, but it is what some who hold to LA would say, as I have heard them say it:

    My question for you is, If a person believed strongly in Limited Atonement to the degree that they felt they could only say, “Christ died for sinners…will you trust in that sacrifice for your sins, or will you reject it?” (as opposed to telling an individual “Christ died for you.” ….Would you want such a Pastor and his church excluded from the SBC? And knowing that those people exist in the SBC now, do you now have hesitations about giving money to missionaries who might believe this way?

    • Tarheel says

      “Christ died for sinners…will you trust in that sacrifice for your sins, or will you reject it?”

      I could also use that statement in preaching and have on occasion. I believe that statement to be very accurate.

      • Tarheel says

        Having said that, I want yo add that I do not exclude from gospel proclamation the idea that God loves mankind as that is also accurate.

    • Don Johnson says

      Andy,

      “Christ died for sinners…will you trust in that sacrifice for sins, or will you reject it?” Is that really an honest portrayal of the Gospel? An LAer may believe Christ only died for some sinners, but isn’t he trying to convey to the listener Christ died for him. Isn’t this the same as Abraham and the Egyptians concerning Sarah? Why not be completely truthful and say Christ died for some sinners and you may or may not be one of them. Paul said he was not ashamed of Gospel, so why disguise what you really believe?

      Secondly, I’m for anyone who is trying to get people saved.

      • says

        Don,
        I’ll let Andy give his own response, but here is mine.
        If LA is right, in that Jesus died for the sins of only those who believed or would believe with the purpose of saving them from those sins and making them children of God, there certainly is a personal component involved in grasping the truth of the Gospel, namely that God loves them.

        No one ~just!~ told that ‘God loves them’ knows that God loves them. Neither is that the actual Gospel.

        So how does anyone know that God loves them? Because God Himself demonstrates His love to them. [Rom. 5:8]

        Now if I want you to buy a set of knives in the store, i could tell you how great they are, and how sharp they are. So could any clerk. But telling someone is NOT the same as demonstrating it.

        One might reply that Jesus dying on the cross for their sins is demonstration enough! …Except…

        Except that is what non-believers don’t believe in the first place.
        As the Scriptures tell us, those who are perishing think the words of the cross foolishness. That means that they think that God sending His Son to die on the cross for their sins because He loved them is foolishness. In fact they don’t think God, if there is one, loves them as portrayed by the death of Jesus.

        So telling them that God loves them is not the Gospel.

        Neither is telling them that Jesus died for them. Jesus took the place of sinful man on the cross.
        The difference between LA and GA is not about what Jesus did on the cross, which is what the Gospel is [along with the Rez] but with the intents of God in whom He chooses or does not choose to save.
        And that is where the debate on LA resides.
        Not in the Gospel.

        Therefore it is not dishonest for a LA person to proclaim the Gospel to every one, for [a] we are proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus, who is Lord of everyone whether or not they believe it; and [b] we are proclaiming that all who surrender to the Lord will be saved.

        There is no salvation without the sinner surrendering to the Lord. They have to come to the realization that they stand condemned before a Holy and Just God. and it is the Lord Himself who demonstrates His love to them, in their hearts. 2nd Cor. 4:

        3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

        Our job and privilege is to put the Gospel into words that the Holy Spirit uses to open their blind eyes and soften their heart of stone, and bring them to salvation. And when God makes His light shine into their hearts and gives them the light of the glory of God displayed by Christ, they experience the love of God, and they turn to Him in repentance and faith.

        • Don Johnson says

          Mike,

          I don’t know what to say. Paul states what Gospel is in 1 Cor. 15, but you say that isn’t true. Who do I believe you or Paul? Jesus states the same in Luke 24:46-48. What was they were witnesses of? In Acts 4:20 Peter said “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” What was it they saw and heard that they couldn’t stop talking about it?

          If the Gospel is Jesus is Lord, why didn’t He sent the disciples out from start proclaiming that message? I assume you believe Jesus has always been Lord. Why wait 3 plus years?

          • says

            Don,
            Acts 4: 20 is preceded by the testimony of peter and John, you know that which they couldn’t stop talking about, and so we read:

            8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

            Note what it is they can’t stop talking about:
            a] Jesus was crucified. [v.10]
            b]God raised Him from the dead. [v.10]
            c] Jesus is the rejected but NOW chief cornerstone. [v.11]
            d] There is no salvation in any other name. [v.12]
            e] There is no other name given among man by which we must be saved. [v.12]

            Note what they did NOT say:
            a] God loves everyone. [not found]
            b] Jesus died for everyone. [not found]

            Do these verses speak to the extent of the atonement? Not in any way.
            But they do speak to what the Gospel is. And they disagree NOT one WHIT with the Gospel messages presented to you.

            Luke 24
            24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” 25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

            Jesus is not saying anything here that disagrees with Limited Atonement, since He is not even addressing the extent of the Atonement. But He is explaining the Gospel, especially how He had to suffer. He probably went over Isaiah 53, and the Day of Atonement. In the Day of Atonement, only those who obeyed and humbled themselves before the Lord were atoned for. The rest are cut off from the people. Likewise it also applies to the sacrifice of Jesus, only those who obey by repenting in faith are atoned for, the rest remain dead in their sins and trespasses.

            As to Isaiah 53, we read :
            8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
            And as for His generation, who considered
            That He was cut off out of the land of the living
            For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

            He died for the transgressions of God’s children.
            The chapter finishes like this:

            But the Lord was pleased
            To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
            If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
            He will see His offspring,
            He will prolong His days,
            And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
            11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
            He will see it and be satisfied;
            By His knowledge the Righteous One,
            My Servant, will justify the many,
            As He will bear their iniquities.
            12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
            And He will divide the booty with the strong;
            Because He poured out Himself to death,
            And was numbered with the transgressors;
            Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
            And interceded for the transgressors.

            He bore the sin of many and justifies the many.

            And as for 1st Cor. 15, in which you falsely accuse me of saying it is not true…
            Ahhh Don, I said your interpretation is not true.

            And either you are a smart guy and are using a debating trick, which i abhor, or you are not so smart and/or a poor reader, you choose, I think you have shown your true sad colors, and that I have made my point.

            And you STILL have not answered the question put to you.
            Character comes out when put to the test.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            The reason Peter and John were in front of Annas and Caiaphas was because of what they were preaching in chap. 3. The last verse of that chap. vs. 26 clearly sets forth the extent of the atonement as we’ve already seen. Also chap. 4 is not a sermon, chap. 3 is. Since you brought up what isn’t mentioned, notice that repentance and faith are not mentioned. Can one be saved without repenting and believing. Peter mentions salvation is in Christ, but he doesn’t say how to obtain it or who it’s intended for. He does in chap. 3. No one was saved from what Peter said in Chap. 4, but many were saved from his sermon in chap.3.

            When you asked how do I know if Paul repeated the same words in 1 Cor. 15, I took that to mean you didn’t believe he repeated what he originally preached to them at the beginning. Did I miss read you? If so I apologize.

          • says

            Don,
            You just like to argue.
            But you are doing a poor job of being a fair debater of truth.
            You said I said the Bible wasn’t true.

            Either you are a poor reader or less than scrupulous debater.
            You haven’t answered the question asked.
            You ignore explanations given, as shown by your failure to interact with them and by re-asking your questions.

            In my mind you are being divisive, and dishonest.

          • says

            Don, you said:

            When you asked how do I know if Paul repeated the same words in 1 Cor. 15, I took that to mean you didn’t believe he repeated what he originally preached to them at the beginning. Did I miss read you? If so I apologize. – See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/review-of-proof-by-timothy-paul-jones-and-daniel-montgomery/#comment-246438

            See how my words are vindicated….
            I asked you a question,
            and instead of answering it,
            you assumed I didn’t believe the Bible,
            and then you ask “Did I miss read you?”

            But you just admitted it was a question I asked of you, not a statement i made of my beliefs.
            You just admitted you were assuming.

            Either you are employing debate tactics …
            or…
            you are a poor reader…
            and
            you treat others poorly
            or probably both.

            So to repeat, you are divisive and dishonest.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            I didn’t say you said the Bible was not true. I said you didn’t believe what Paul said about the Gospel in 1 Cor. 15 was true. Again, I based that on a question you asked me about whether or not Paul was repeating exactly what he first said. I thought you were implying Paul changed the message that he delivered unto them. Apparently I was wrong on my assumption. So again I apologize.

      • Tarheel says

        Don, no one is disguising anything.

        Well, except you in that you’re disguising a non answer with an answer.

        I give up. You are not wanting not engaging in honest discussion … You constantly avoid questions and incessantly move goal posts.

        It is completely honest to say “Christ died for sinners … Will you come?” As that is 100% accurate as anyone who comes in faith repenting and believing God will in no wise cast out.

        • Don Johnson says

          Tarheel,

          If I went to a class room of 10 boys and 10 girls and said I have candy for boys and girls, but only gave candy to 3 boys and 3 girls, what would the students think? Now I suppose you could feel justified because you didn’t say you had candy for every boy and girl. Would the students feel the same?

          • Tarheel says

            Don,  In your example – don’t you limit the giving of the candy, though provided to all, to those who come and receive. 

            Therefore, you also limit the granting of the candy, just as an LAer would.  

            In the end,off one is orthodox, no matter which position (general or limited) only those who come receive the others don’t. The gift is limited.  

            ————–

            Besides, if its my candy and I’m sovereign over it and it’s mine to give and none of the children deserve the candy ….then anyone to whom I give it is a recipient of my grace and those who do not receive get what they deserve.  

            “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:1-16 ESV)

          • says

            Don, question. If I have a conversation with someone I presume to be lost, and quote the following to them verbatim, do you think I am being dishonest with them and/or do you think I’m a purveyor of a false gospel? Remember, I believe in particular redemption.

            For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

            Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

            It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

            Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

            Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.

          • Don Johnson says

            Tarheel,

            If you really believe that Christ died for “some” sinners, why not say it. I don’t have a problem saying Christ died for “all” sinners. So why are LAers afraid of saying what they believe to true.

            If an LAer would say “Christ died for some sinners and you might be one of them . . .” It would show me they really believed what they were saying.

          • says

            Thank you Don for your clear answer. As a proponent of particular redemption myself I am very happy to hear you affirm that I am still a brother and share a true gospel even if I cannot in good conscience use the all inclusive language you and other brothers believe you should use.

            Les

          • Don Johnson says

            Les,

            I’m curious, do you just read those verses to someone and ask if they believe them? If they say yes, do you tell them they are now saved?

            Suppose the person asked: “I noticed that you showed me in the Bible that all were sinners Rom. 3:23. And you showed me Christ came to save sinners 1 Tim. 1:15. Does that mean Christ came to save all the sinners, because I have lots of friends and family who I know are sinners like me. Did Christ come to save them also”?

            How would you respond?

          • says

            Don,

            “I’m curious, do you just read those verses to someone and ask if they believe them? If they say yes, do you tell them they are now saved?”

            No Don, I was just using that as an example of a really pure (scripture only wording) way one could speak to a lost person. I most often share Christ via much longer and deeper discussions.

            “Suppose the person asked: “I noticed that you showed me in the Bible that all were sinners Rom. 3:23. And you showed me Christ came to save sinners 1 Tim. 1:15. Does that mean Christ came to save all the sinners, because I have lots of friends and family who I know are sinners like me. Did Christ come to save them also”?
            How would you respond?”

            Great question brother. If someone responded that way to me I would tell them that indeed Jesus came to save any and all sinners, like me and like you (person I’m talking to), who will repent and believe in Jesus. I would say that today is the day of salvation and urge him to consider his sinfulness and his destiny lest he repents and to cast himself upon the only Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And I would tell him that indeed Jesus came to save people just me…sinners in need of a Savior…and just like his family and friends and that I want to go and tell them too.

            Bottom line Don, I cannot say to anyone…”Jesus died for you specifically” because I don’t believe that He died for every individual who has ever lived and that ever will live. In my view, the bible doesn’t teach that. I do not know who the people are that God has chosen before the foundation of the world. But He does and I’m confident in Him to save to the uttermost those who are His.

            Blessings brother.

      • Andy says

        Don,

        1. I cannot explain everything LA’s say, as I have real disagreements with their position. My point is, I have no problem allowing my tithe money, and that of my church, going to support missionaries & church planters who believe in LA.

        2. Your response to my actual question seems to be (a) they are being dishonest…but (b) I am for them anyway. Is that a fair assesment? You believe LA are dishonest in their presentation of the Gospel, but you will support them, even financially though your CP & Lottie moon offerings, since they are trying to get people saved? Is this your answer?

        Yes, or no (please explain and clairfy a “no”)

        Thanks,

        • Don Johnson says

          Andy,

          The statement “Christ died for sinners…will you trust…” is either deceptive or being ashamed of the Gospel.

          1. It is not being honest with the listener, because you are implying Christ died for him.

          2. It could be a case of being ashamed of the Gospel, because he is afraid of the results if he said “some sinners.”

          If an LAer when witnessing said “Christ died for some sinners” I would have no problem, because they are conveying what they really believe.

          • Andy Williams says

            Exactly, Tarheel.

            Don, please look at my #2 again and see if you think your #2 answer fits what I asked.

          • Don Johnson says

            Andy,

            Sorry, I was replying to 2a. For the record I believe most of them are ashamed and not dishonest.

            Yes, I’m for them if they are actually trying to get people saved.

  26. says

    Tarheel,
    But if you went into that same classroom and said, I have candy for every child who wants a piece, and gave every one who came forward a piece of candy, would you be a honest giver?

    • Don Johnson says

      Mike,

      That would be honest. So if you stated Christ died for everyone who wants to get saved, that would be honest from an LA position.

    • Chris Johnson says

      I think we are back to Vol’s candy again! I would come forward for that piece of candy!

      -cj

      • Chris Johnson says

        But not because I saw the candy or even the giving of the candy…. it would be because I was hungry. Now that is basic theology.

        I have eyes to see, and ears to hear…. and now an appetite to eat some candy that is willingly received!

        cj

        • says

          Candy. (-:

          Now we all agree that God has infallible foreknowledge. right?

          So as to our candy classroom, if the teacher had infallible foreknowledge, he or she would know EXACTLY how many of the kids would come forward to get a piece of candy.

          If she knew 6 would, and only 6, no matter how hard she tried to persuade the rest, then how many pieces of candy would she need to bring?

          yep… just 6.

          The Gospel is about believing in Jesus, the person, the Lord God, and trusting Him for your life. Its not about believing in just what one can GET out of it, for if that is why you come forward, you won’t get anything out of it at all.

          Now what Jesus did was pay the price for sin, one you owe.
          His death is able to pay the price for every sinner on a thousand worlds.
          The extent of the atonement has nothing to do with Gospel proclamation.

          We proclaim the truth of the Gospel, and people respond or they don’t.
          They believe it or they don’t.

          Jesus is the Lord God who DESERVES everyone’s allegiance and submission to and trust in. Those that do put their trust in Him will be forever saved.

          It is a sham argument to say that if Jesus didn’t die for them there is nothing for them to believe in.

          Jesus is their Lord whether they believe it or not.
          And someday they will bow their knee to Him.

  27. says

    Don,
    That is the LA position.
    No LA person that I have ever heard except some extremists from Michigan [who believe 5 point C’s are unsaved if they think a non 5 pt C is saved] ever preached anything different.
    The Gospel is preached to all, and all who turn in faith will be saved.
    Helloooooo, it is what I said from the first: All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
    Computer being shut down in 3… 2… 1.

  28. says

    Tarheel, SVMuschany,
    Yesterday I had to leave for the day, hence no reply to your question (currently #72, 74).

    Do I believe 5 point Calvinists are heretics?
    No, I just think they’re wrong on some issues.
    Calvinists, you can relax; I’m not for kicking you out of the SBC!

    Some of my heroes have been, and are, 5-pointers.
    Yet I’m still convinced they are wrong on Limited Atonement.
    And I will continue to promote what I consider the biblical teaching that Jesus died for every human being; a view I believe is the belief of the large majority in the SBC.

    Dean Stewart (#81, 82) & David Worley (#87) have already done a great job explaining what I believe and why I used the verse:

    But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. -2 Peter 2:1 (quoted in comment, currently #70).

    David R. Brumbelow

    • Tarheel says

      Thank you, David B.

      I just thought that Volfan and Dean had probably defended you well.

      I am glad to read that from you directly though. :-)

      Clarity is always better than assumptions.

      As I explained to Dean, I (obviously) do not interpret that verse as you do, so I when I saw a verse about heretics and apostates thrown in at the end of your list of proof texts…I was like – what? Is he implying something? That is why I asked. I was not trying to be argumentative – just the opposite actually. ;-)

    • says

      Mike, exactly! That’s what I was getting at in my comments at 7:10am today to Don (and my question). I simply quoted verbatim scripture in my example gospel presentation. Thankfully Don agrees that to do as I suggested would not be dishonest. Apparently our brother Ronnie Rogers would not agree with Don.

      After all, we all agree that if the sinner who hears the gospel, for example as I presented it above, will be saved it is God who will save Him by His Spirit working with the word to do so.

    • Don Johnson says

      I believe the reason we don’t see phrases such as “you might be elect” in the Bible is because I believe the Bible clearly teaches one becomes elect when they get saved.

      • says

        That’s a moot point. And misses the point of the article that I linked to. Calvinist’s believe that the Bible calls people everywhere to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, it’s unfair to expect Calvinists to engage in a gospel presentation that they don’t find as biblical–or as I put it in the article–to flip the sign.

        I’m just saying this to encourage others not to go down the rabbit trail that Don just opened up. But since my warning about 100 comments wasn’t heeded—carry on.

    • Tarheel says

      Mike, that is a good article.

      Thanks.

      I have just decided that when I read what I think is a nefarious or divisive inference – I am going to ask the poster/author rather than just assume what they mean.

      Some assume positive, some assume negative – but clarity is better than either, IMO.

      • says

        Some assume positive, some assume negative – but clarity is better than either, IMO.

        Yup. That’s one reason I’m getting tired of the ‘glass half full/glass half empty’ bit. What both sides of that dichotomy have in common is that in the face of ambiguity (the most common form of which is lack of knowledge), they can’t stand to leave it ambiguous. They have to choose one side or the other, even though it *is* ambiguous. When lack of knowledge makes something ambiguous, better to seek more knowledge, and to acknowledge that until you gain that additional knowledge, you simply don’t know. For some reason, that’s often hard to do.

  29. says

    Tarheel said,
    “’Christ died for sinners…will you trust in that sacrifice for your sins, or will you reject it?’ I could also use that statement in preaching and have on occasion. I believe that statement to be very accurate.” (#138)

    Yes,
    Christ died for the ungodly. -Romans 5:6

    And who are the ungodly, who are the sinners?
    All human beings.

    There is none righteous, no, not one. -Romans 3:10
    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. -Romans 3:23

    Another biblical confirmation that Jesus died for all, offers His salvation to all, and that the Gospel is for all.
    David R. Brumbelow

    • says

      David,
      Here is Romans 5:6 in context:

      Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
      6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

      So while it is quite true that all sinners are of the ungodly, this verse is not saying that all of the ungodly are in view.
      Certainly you would agree that all those who get saved were once of the ungodly.
      Saved = once ungodly.
      Thus at the right time Christ died for all those who would be saved.
      That is true, is it not?

      But if i amend that to say, thus at the right time Christ dies only for those who would be saved, I have pushed the verse to say something that is not there.

      This is because the verse is not seeking to define the extent of the atonement, but to speak to the Gospel truth.

      BUT….

      But in fact, if we look at the context of the verse, we see that before and after verse 6, we find a certain subset of the ungodly singled out.
      V. 1 “we” are only those already saved [they are justified].
      V.2 “we” not once, but three times, again only those already saved.
      V.3 “we’ same as above.
      V.5 “our” and “us” is again just the saved people.

      V. 5 by the way tells us to whom the love of God is poured upon: those He is saving.
      V.6 “we” STOP.
      In the flow of what Paul is writing, this “we” in verse 6 can ONLY be the “we”, the “our”, the “us” of verses 1-5. So…
      V.6 “we” is speaking not of all the ungodly, but those whom God is saving.

      The point is to remind us that we were not good people, but ungodly people. That we had no power to save ourselves, but we were helpless and dependent on God.

      V.8 “us” [twice] again can only be describing the people Paul has in view, an unbroken string of pronouns speaking of justified people.
      V.9 This is re-affirmed that Paul is speaking of justified people.
      V.9 “we” justified people, same as through the previous 8 verses.
      V.10 “we” [twice] Only those saved are reconciled to God
      V.11 “we” [twice] Only saved people exult in God through Jesus.

      In other words, you have ripped the verse from its context to support an atonement theory that is not in view.

      peace,
      mike

      • Tarheel says

        “In other words, you have ripped the verse from its context to support an atonement theory that is not in view.”

        Good work, ParsonMike.

  30. Tarheel says

    Don, this is in reference to your question to me at;
    June 25, 2014 at 9:34 am
    Now comment 152

    You asked; “If you really believe that Christ died for “some” sinners, why not say it. I don’t have a problem saying Christ died for “all” sinners. So why are LAers afraid of saying what they believe to true. If an LAer would say “Christ died for some sinners and you might be one of them . . .” It would show me they really believed what they were saying.”

    My response is: I believe that the elect have been chosen since the foundation of the world, unconditionally flowing from the will of God according to his good pleasure. However, I do not, cannot know who those people are…therefore, I do as I m told in Romans 10. I am told to preach the gospel to every creature baptizing and teaching and making disciples (Great commission passages), I am told to call sinners to repentance, I am told to proclaim the gospel as the method and mode of salvation and that is what I do. Who gets saved and who does not is waaayyyy above my pay grade. I am just the delivery boy. Those who come will come because the Spirit draws not them – not because of my eloquence (obviously) or my prodding or begging (God forbid).

    It is not that I am being insincere or dishonest. It is not that I do not really believe what I say I believe…it is simply that I am not one who believes that these doctrines should not go in our “evangelism satchel” but rather in our “discipleship satchel”. This is the way that the apostles did it. They did not speak of election, or the minutia of atonement, or eternal security to unbeliever….no this was taught to people after conversion as a means of discipleship and encouragement.

      • Chris Johnson says

        Brother Tarheel,

        I like the statement you have written because it echoes how the Apostle John captured Jesus describing the ones that the Father has given:

        “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (NASB)

        That will preach everyday of the week!

        Blessings,
        Chris

    • says

      Tarheel,
      Exactly.
      The extent of the atonement is not part of the Gospel.
      Thus our differences over it should not kep us from working together as fellow servants of the Gospel.

      And those that do make trouble over the atonement differences are being divisive.