The Rules of Affinity Simplified

RULES OF AFFINITY

Premise:If all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, it is imperative that our doctrines line up with Scripture.  Theology may be defined as correct alignment with the pronouncements of the Bible.

The ‘Rules’ demonstrate that some doctrines line up much more closely to Scripture than others.  Those with a very strong, direct “affinity” are ranked in the first category (C1).  Those with the weakest claim to any affinity with the text of the Bible are ranked category five (C5).

C1 = a direct statement

 Examples include:

  • ·         Creation out of nothing – “The Triune God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing.” – Gen. 1:1f; Isa. 40:28; 45:12; Jer. 10:12; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:15-16; Heb. 1:2; Heb. 11:3; Rom. 11:36
  • ·         Christ died for all sinners (whosoever believes) – “Christ died for all men (sinners).” – Isa. 53:6; Jn. 1:29; 3:16-17; Rom. 5:6; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; 4:10; 1 Jn. 2:2; Heb. 2:9, 10:29

 

Most fundamental doctrines are a C1.  A C1 doctrine is taught via a direct quotation of Scripture.

 

C2 = a strong inference

 

Examples include:

  • ·         Inerrancy – “The inspired Scriptures are the Word of God before they are the words of men.”

2 Tim. 3:16; Psa. 12:6; Jn. 17:17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21

  • ·         The Trinity – “God exists as one substance yet in three divine, co-equal, distinct, yet eternally inseparable ‘Persons’.  God is one yet three, though in different modes of being.” – Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; Jn. 1:1-3, 18; 14:15-17; 20:28; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 9:14, 10:28-29

A C2 is established on the witness of several clear C1 passages.

 Premise: Every major doctrine is a C1 or C2.

C3 = an inference to the best explanation

 

Examples include:

  • The Pre-Trib Rapture – “Christ will come for His Church prior to the 7 year Tribulation.” – 1 Thess. 4:13f; 1 Cor. 15:50f,; Rom. 11:24f; Dan. 9:24-27

N.B. the G-H method is required for the formulations of Categories 1 through 3, but is usually abandoned for Category 4 & 5 formulations.

 

A C3 is established on the witness of C1 and C2 texts, which overlap to point to a plausible inference.

C4 = a weak inference

 

Examples include:

  • ·         The Covenant of Grace – based on ideas like “the one people of God” and “the church as the new Israel”

 

A C4 is founded on no clear or plain statement of Scripture.


C5 = an inference based on another inference

 

Examples include:

  • The Christian Sabbath – Sunday replacing the Jewish Sabbath

 

A C5 is an even weaker inference based on other theological inferences, without reference to plain statements of Scripture.

Conclusion: We should only formulate our beliefs from C1’s and C2’s with some reference to C3’s.  On the other hand, doctrines supported only by C4’s and C5’s should be suspected of relying too much on human reasoning without Scripture.

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53 comments

  1. Hi Paul,

    Totally agree with where you going with this whole approach to interpretation – in fact – I love it!, When I first saw you do this several years ago I immediately saw a very broad appeal simply because it seems to have the hope that it could bring Christians together by agreement on C1 and the willingness to abandon a C5.

    I still feel that way.

    But what shall we do about drawing our direct statements from the claims of Scripture? Quick example: You cite Isa. 53:6 as some of the strongest scriptural support that Christ died for all men (sinners), and you even labeled this assertion above as a C1 – the strongest of all.

    But Isaiah repeatedly limited his inspired words with the pronoun, “us.” In this wonderful verse he wrote “all of us” and “each of us” and “the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” The right conclusion from that verse is to limit the “all” to the “us,” who is Israel living at the time of Christ and seeing His suffering ministry, as Isa. 53:2-4 shows. Now, in itself this doesn’t mean Christ didn’t die for the sins of all men who ever lived. It only means that verse doesn’t prove your assertion that Christ died for all men. Then, in 53:11, those receiving the work of the death of the sacrifice is limited even further: “My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.”

    A better C1 conclusion from Isa. 53:6 might be, “Christ died for those of Israel who witnessed His suffering and were justified by Him bearing their iniquities.” But concluding from Isa. 53:6 that Jesus died for all men who ever lived is simply attributing to that passage something it doesn’t assert. Indeed, I wonder why you thought it did?

    Moving on to your next reference, John 1:29, “the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” I imagine you understand the word “world” to be a reference to all humanity who has ever lived. But I have yet to find a single Bible dictionary of any depth that ever renders this word (kosmos) this way. For example, Vine’s is a fine dictionary, and he lists 8 meanings for “world” – none of which include “each and every person.” We could look at NIDNTT or TDNT or another serious dictionary, but my point is made, I hope. These are responsible students of Scripture, after all. Now, it is highly improbable that “world” means each and every person in John 1:29 for many reasons beyond the one I just made, and includes this: if Christ succeeded as the Lamb of God in taking away the sin of every man and woman ever born, what benefit did that have to those who were already in hell before He offered Himself as the Lamb for them? His success, in their case, was abject failure. Their sin was not taken away unless you believe in Universalism and they suffer for this sins today and shall forever. My point is not get “all logical” on you, but to get you take the verb “take away” in John 1:29 as seriously as John the Baptist did. John said Jesus takes away the sin of the world, and according to your C1 statement He has done this for each and every person who ever lived. But since most of those who you believe had their sins taken away by Jesus have not in fact had their sins taken away, either John the Baptist was wrong, or you are wrong. And sadly, if you stay on the “Jesus did take away all men’s sins” side, you deny Jesus made an atonement that does, in fact, take away sins. And now you have a gospel problem, because the Jesus of the apostolic gospel really does take away sin.

    I’ll stop there, but I could go on.

    So Paul – I love your system. I totally want to submit to it, brother. I hope you do too and are willing to re-examine your conclusions and the reasons why you get there. After all, that’s the point of it all, right?

    1. To SimpleElder:

      Right, I have a little time to interact with your questions. The first thing that needs to be said is that a single verse does not always provide enough information to constitute an entire formulation or proposition; though it will contribute to it. You say,

      “A better C1 conclusion from Isa. 53:6 might be, “Christ died for those of Israel who witnessed His suffering and were justified by Him bearing their iniquities.” But concluding from Isa. 53:6 that Jesus died for all men who ever lived is simply attributing to that passage something it doesn’t assert. Indeed, I wonder why you thought it did?”

      I like that you have looked at the context to come to a conclusion. Here’s my reasoning:
      1. Isa. 53:6 is clearly written to Israel the nation (in line with the prophecies centering around Messiah in this Book).
      2. As you say, the “us” equates to all Israel, though because it is prophetic it encapsulates all Jews after the Cross.
      3. This would have to mean that all Israel, at least after the Cross were accounted for at the Cross (when their iniquity was laid on Him).
      4, Thus, the atonement was for “all sinners”, at least Jewish ones.
      5. No one restricts (or could restrict) the atonement only to Israel, therefore, when the other verses are considered, the case for unlimited accomplishment (not application) is solid.
      6. Isa. 53:6 does not inform us about the “whosoever.” However, because it concerns both elect and non-elect Jews its relevance cannot be confined just to those who believe.
      7. Hence, as it deals only with the extent and not the application of the atonement the verse does do the work given to it in the proposition – thus it merits a C1 (although I would not quibble with a C2).

      I hope that is clear.

      Second, you say:

      “I imagine you understand the word “world” to be a reference to all humanity who has ever lived. But I have yet to find a single Bible dictionary of any depth that ever renders this word (kosmos) this way. For example, Vine’s is a fine dictionary, and he lists 8 meanings for “world” – none of which include “each and every person.” We could look at NIDNTT or TDNT or another serious dictionary, but my point is made, I hope.”

      1. I’m afraid you imagine incorrectly. In Jn. 1:29 the preaching of John the Baptist is to sinners who need to repent in view of the arrival of Christ. The word does not concern those who have died (thus, not ‘every man or woman ever born’). The word “kosmos” in context means “sinful mankind” or just “sinners.” If that is the case then the meaning “each and every person who is a sinner at or after the arrival of Christ” is correct.
      2. Since repentance is necessary to avail oneself of the merits of the Lamb there is no problem with universalism from the verse.
      3. As far as the word “kosmos” is concerned, once we dispense with the definition you applied to me of “each and every person who ever lived” (which I do believe to be true, but which Jn. 1:29 or the other verses do not specifically address), and instead furnish “the totality of sinful mankind (after the Lamb has come),” which fits the context of John’s message, (cf. Balz & Schneider vol. 2, 311), my contention is supported. Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary, p.808 makes it clear that “kosmos” usually carries negative connotations. Neither authority places a limitation on the word akin to “elect” or “believers” because such a meaning is insupportable. See more here: https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2007/03/01/christs-atonement-its-purpose-and-extent/#more-25

      Forgive me if I am wrong, but you seem to be smuggling in a view of the atonement which equates the accomplishment at the Cross (its extent) with its application to “whosoever believes.” If I may quote you once more:

      “…if you stay on the “Jesus did take away all men’s sins” side, you deny Jesus made an atonement that does, in fact, take away sins. And now you have a gospel problem, because the Jesus of the apostolic gospel really does take away sin.”

      Are you saying that Jesus atonement must save all for whom it was intended? If so neither these verses nor my proposition help you. All I am saying is that Christ died for all sinners, especially whoever believes, since, as John’s Gospel clearly states, faith divides the saved from the lost (e.g. Jn. 3:36).

      I hope that helps. I appreciated your questions.

      God bless you and yours,

      Paul

      1. Hi Paul,

        Thanks for your interaction.

        Regarding Isa. 53:6, please consider this when you write “because it is prophetic it encapsulates all Jews after the Cross” in your 2nd point:

        Your statement here about “all Jews after the cross” is not drawn from Isa. 53:6 but from your prior theology. It is an inference drawn from another inference, in this case, a prophecy applying to a future people yet to be borne (inference 1), and this because you already believe in an unlimited atonement (inference 2). However, the text Isa. 53:6 does not refer to Jews yet to be borne but as I showed you in my first post, the “us’ of 53:6 must refer to the “we” of 53:2-4. Those are people alive at the time of Christ and who saw Him and rejected Him. Does it apply to others – YES! But the correct interpretation is to limit those having their sins atoned to the “we” of vss. 2-4.

        And since the remainder of your “Christ died for all men” argument depends upon an incorrect inference and not the text itself your theological claim that Isa. 53:6 teaches that Christ died for all sinners rates a C5.

        Regarding John 1:29, you wrote:

        “If that is the case then the meaning “each and every person who is a sinner at or after the arrival of Christ” is correct.”

        Paul, tell me you aren’t saying John the Baptist was claiming that Jesus takes away the sin of each and every person at or after the arrival of Christ, but not before!!

        You also wrote:

        “The word “kosmos” in context means “sinful mankind” or just “sinners.” But then you get all inferential again without textual warrant.

        With your next sentence you claim kosmos includes the sense of “each and every”: “If that is the case then the meaning “each and every person who is a sinner at or after the arrival of Christ” is correct.” As I stressed in my original post, that “each and every” idea is simply not entailed in the word kosmos.

        That the word kosmos doesn’t entail “each and every” can be seen from 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 5:19 where believers are excluded from the term, yet are sinners. Other uses of kosmos that do not mean “each every person” in John’s writings include: John 12:19, John 12:31, John 14:17, John 14:19, John 14:22, John 14:30, John 15:18, John 15:19, John 16:8, John 16:20, John 17:6, John 17:9, John 17:14, John 17:16, John 17:21, John 17:23, John 17:25, John 18:20, 1 John 3:1, 1 John 3:13, 1 John 4:5. Kosmos is an intentionally general term describing the realm of sinful humanity.

        Moving on to John 3:16-17, the next verse you claim to directly assert Christ died for all sinners (whosoever believes):

        As you well know, the greek of John 3:16 does not support our English translational emphasis of “whosoever is willing” but is a nominative participle form that rightly reads, “the believing one” with no emphasis on the human will in the greek text. A more literal translation for those who aren’t greek readers is: “so that all who believe in Him might not perish…”

        Therefore, your assertion that John 3:16-17 supports the conclusion that “Christ died for all sinners (whosoever believes)” is simply not supported in the text since the greek text claims that “the believing one” has eternal life and not the kosmos, and not “whosoever.”

        Hence, your use of John 3:16 is a C5 – it relies only what it asserts and is rather easily contradicted by the original language.

        Your next verse is Romans 5:6, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

        It is absolutely true that all men are ungodly. But the verse simply doesn’t attempt to claim that since all men are ungodly, therefore Christ made an atoning sacrifice for all of them. Instead, the verse asserts that our helplessness is attached to ungodliness – the ungodly in this verse are the “we” who were “still helpless.” In order for this verse to support your theology it should read, “For while each and every person was still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

        Verse 5 is specific to us believers since the “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Likewise, the argument of verses 5:7-8 further specify who Christ died for: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

        Hence, your use of Romans 5:6 is also a C5 – it relies only what it asserts – that since all are ungodly this text must mean Christ dies for all of them.

        Blessings, brother,

      2. Hi SimpleElder,

        As I surmised, you are trying to debunk unlimited atonement by use of the RoA. That’s okay of course, although I cannot agree to your conclusions on any of these verses. Let us look once again:

        1. Isa. 53:6 is prophetic of the Cross, for that was when “the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Your problem is with the “us all” who you wish to limit to the “we” of vv.2-4. I’m fine with that. E.g. verse 4 says, “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.” This reminds one of Matt. 27:38-44, which is certainly not a reference to the elect. The “we” IS the “us all.” The “us all” is all Israel. It is you I think who is reading your theology into the context. Behind your exposition is the inference that Christ must save all for whom He died” is it not? But where do you find such a thing in these texts?

        I’m sorry, but your attempt to make this a C5 is out of order. It is no inference to claim this as a prophecy of the transaction at Calvary. Further, whether or not one holds to unlimited atonement is not the point here. Unlimited atonement is that Christ died for “all…[who] like sheep have gone astray.” Those who “esteemed Him smitten by God…” That cannot be reduced to only believers. The prophet speaks for all. This verse persuades Millard Erickson that limited atonement cannot be justified. I think you need to be up front about your assumption of equating the accomplishment of the atonement with its application!

        2. With regard to Jn.1:29 i think you need to read what I said more carefully and not put words in my mouth. John’s preaching announced Christ who was to die. Those who had died could not hear John’s preaching, nor read about it. Ergo, your first interpretation of my use of the verse was incorrect. Here again your remarks seem to assume that Christ’s blood had to actually save all those for whom it was shed. But that is a statement which you must set out with scriptural support against the RoA. Eric has challenged you to do this with another inference of yours about the purchase of faith (sounds like you’ve been reading Owen ;-)). The fact is that “kosmos” in John’s theology, when used as a “general term describing the realm of sinful humanity” means just that – sinful humanity. Viz. as all humanity is sinful it refers to all, not a few. All of your texts can incorporate that meaning, while none of them support limited atonement as they stand. No lexicon or Theological Dictionary limits “kosmos” as “the realm of sinful humanity” to the elect. In fact, they often stress the totality of the term.

        3. With Jn. 3:16-17 you again slip in a foreign idea. The verse says nothing about “willing.” It says “whoever believes.” Look at verse 18: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Your argument gets confusing here. You appear to deny (though I can’t see how) the truth of “Christ died for sinners (whosoever believes).” Neither your Greek translation (which is less elegant than John deserves), nor your reasoning support your conclusion. The verse in Greek is more emphatic than the English. Of course “the believing one” has eternal life. Who would gainsay it? But that is not the issue. The issue is what does “kosmos” mean? The “whoever believes” is part of the “world” but as the context shows, the world also includes those who don’t believe, but who God loved and sent His Son for. Once more, what is obscuring your reading is the opinion that Christ saved all those for whom He died!

        4. On Rom. 5:6 your argument comes down to, “Christ died ONLY for ‘us’ who were ungodly and enemies.” That will never do because if true Christ didn’t die for you, because you and I aren’t part of the “us” Paul is writing to. If we expand the meaning of “us” to the church (which I would not deny) then the verse still does not limit the atonement to the Church. There would have to be an adverb (“only”) to limit the reference and there is not. “Ungodly” is a descriptive of all mankind who Paul has been at pains to place under condemnation in the first three chapters of the Book. Since Rom. 4:5 says, “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness”, where the “ungodly” indicates sinners generally (since every human is ungodly). I’m afraid you are reading your definite atonement into the passage again. Well, to be more accurate, you are attempting to deconstruct universalistic texts because they threaten your assumptions. Your assumptions do show brother. You should admit to them before we can continue.

        God bless,

        Paul

  2. Hi Simple Elder. On John 1:19 you were very misleading with regard to what you said there. Vine’s expository dictionary on the word ” kosmos ” has for ( c ) by metonymy, the ” human race, mankind , ” e.g. Matt. 5:14; John 1:9 [ here ” that cometh ( rv, ‘ coming ‘ ) into the world ” is said of Christ, not of ” everyman “; b His coming into the world He was the light for all men ] ; v. 10; 3:16,17 ( thrice ) , 19; 4:42, and frequently in Rom.., 1 Cor. amd 1 John ; ( Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words ( pg. 685 ) . With regard to John 1:29 the state of the question is if the word ” world ” is refering to those who are of the elect / those who are saved or those whom are lost ? In the context of what it is speaking on it is best to conclude that the word world is refering to lost Jews and Gentiles of whom are in need of salvation and that Jesus by his work of propitiation, reconcilation and redemption. In otherwords, the sense in which the ” sin of the world ” is in the sense by His threefold work on the cross which is presenly now completed it is the means whereby lost men can be saved. It must also be pointed out that John Calvin himself in John 1:29 in his exposition of that verse held that it was refering to lost men in contrast to many of those whom hold to limited redemption who try and limit the word world to mean only the elect. To limit the word world to mean only the elect is a poor attempt to counter the false teaching of Universalism and Arminianism. Limited redemptionist want to focus only on the results of Christ work and downplay or ignore the provisional aspect of it.

    With regard to Isa 53:5-12 on the word ” us ” , ” we ” and ” my people ” is refering to the people of Israel in contrast to other nations or people on the earth to whom he is speaking to contextually. The pronouns after all are refering to the people of the nation of Israel and not gentile nations. Only those who have faith like Abraham will be justified ( Gen. 15:6, Rom 4 ) . Do you believe all the people of Israel were and are sinners ? If we followed the logic of limited redemptionist than this can be used as proof text that Jesus died for only Israel and not gentiles or the Body of Christ even though there are passages elsewhere in Scripture which teaches Jesus also died for gentiles and the Body of Christ. It would in the end be very silly to claim Jesus died only for Israel because of Matt. 1:21 that teaches Jesus died for His people which is ” Israel ” . From my stand point limited redemption is based in a logical fallacy. They always use the either / or fallacy in their arguments. They want to limit it that Jesus died either only for the elect or only humanity. While the answer is that Jesus did die for the elect but also for the lost. In this case strict Calvinism, Arminianism and Universalism are in error. The only biblical position and solution is to hold that Jesus died to make salvation possible for the lost and made it certain for those who have faith in Jesus Christ. I hold to Total Depravity, Unconditional election , Efficacious calling & sovereign regeneration and eternal security. As I see it Calvinism in general have dropped the ball when it comes to the extent of Christ atonement, incorrectly equating regeneration with efficacious grace and the common Covenant theology error in their beliefs in the Covenant of Works, Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Redemption and their one People of God position.

    1. Hi Bryan,

      Vine’s point is that “world” is an alternate name for mankind. But if you believe that “mankind” means “each and every person” then you are projecting something onto his words he didn’t say. Is it not better to see “kosmos” as the ‘realm of fallen man’ (Vine’s point “c” coupled with “e”) – John 3:16-19. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of fallen mankind, we agree. That “kosmos” is metonymy for each and every person living we disagree, and I suggest you look through several verses to see why this can’t be, namely 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 5:19. You might already know this, but the greek language had words to describe “each and every person,” viz., “earthdwellers”: Rev. 3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:8, 14, etc. John used that word(s) for that purpose, but did not in John 1:29.

      That some claim “kosmos” means elect I agree, but I too would disagree with them on that point.

      You wrote, “With regard to Isa 53:5-12 on the word ” us ” , ” we ” and ” my people ” is referring to the people of Israel in contrast to other nations or people on the earth to whom he is speaking to contextually.”

      Thanks for seeing that, brother. My point for Paul was not to press the logic of limited atonement, but to ask him to adhere more closely to his C1 statements – that they be drawn from what the texts actually claim.

      You wrote, “The only biblical position and solution is to hold that Jesus died to make salvation possible for the lost and made it certain for those who have faith in Jesus Christ.”

      I ask you, then where does the faith to believe in Christ come from if not from the cross? You say you believe in total depravity, yet I wonder if you don’t secretly think the gospel requires the unbeliever to turn himself into a believer in order to get saved?

      1. Simple Elder:

        Good morning. You asked some good/useful questions of Paul. With consistency in applying the Rules of Affinity being the theme, I read your last paragraph with some interest.

        where does the faith to believe in Christ come from if not from the cross? You say you believe in total depravity, yet I wonder if you don’t secretly think the gospel requires the unbeliever to turn himself into a believer in order to get saved?

        I’m not arguing for or against your conclusion. However, in keeping with RofA, could you please apply the rules to this statement for me: “where does the faith to believe in Christ come from if not from the cross?”

        Thanks

      2. SimpleElder said: “Vine’s point is that “world” is an alternate name for mankind. But if you believe that “mankind” means “each and every person” then you are projecting something onto his words he didn’t say. Is it not better to see “kosmos” as the ‘realm of fallen man’ (Vine’s point “c” coupled with “e”) – John 3:16-19. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of fallen mankind, we agree.”

        The realm of fallen man is each and every person unless you deny that “all have sinned.” I know you don’t, but your definition of “kosmos” here agrees with the lexicons, dictionaries and us! But then you try to limit the meaning to the elect which no lexican or dictionary supports. Neither do your proof-texts – esp. your reference to the technical term “earthdwellers” in Revelation, which is not identical with “kosmos.”

        I think you are seeing things in the Greek which aren’t there. Your presuppositions show again in your last question to Bryan. That question has nothing to do with my proposition.

        God bless,

        Paul

  3. ” let’s give our friend Bryan a chance to respond. ”

    I will redo my reply. It somehow did not get posted when I just wrote it .

  4. ” That some claim “kosmos” means elect I agree, but I too would disagree with them on that point. ”

    The main point is the fact that it is referring to human beings in John 1:29. The fact of the matter is Vine’s does list Kosmos when used of humans as referring to sinful human beings. The state of the question would be if all human beings are sinners or not ? The answer to that is based on Romans 1 to 3 would be YES since it teaches the sinfulness of the entire human race. The provision for sinners is as great as it’s need. It is a sad note that strict limited redemptionist seek to limit this provision just for the elect and force this limitation to the text. It is one thing when there are pronouns such as our, we or you or us are used . But that is not the case at all. Strict limited redemptionist are great at pointing out pronouns and such and yet ignore passages in which they are not used it and read it as if they are in the verse. Hope you see my point .

    ” Thanks for seeing that, brother. My point for Paul was not to press the logic of limited atonement, but to ask him to adhere more closely to his C1 statements – that they be drawn from what the texts actually claim. ”

    Paul was following it from the Dispensational perspective since he holds to the distinction between Israel and the Church. Paul holds to unlimited atonement so he must account for each individual group to answer the question for whom did Jesus die for ? Each text provides a partial answer to the overall state of the question. When they are collected all as a whole they are a C 1 standard as Paul framed it. Paul had to give an account for all whom Jesus died for. He has to judge and answer it based on the data as a whole.

    ” I ask you, then where does the faith to believe in Christ come from if not from the cross? You say you believe in total depravity, yet I wonder if you don’t secretly think the gospel requires the unbeliever to turn himself into a believer in order to get saved? ”

    Looks like you skipped right over passages such as John 6:44,65, Acts 2:39, Rom. 8:28, 30 and other passages on the issue of the effectual drawing and calling of God’s elect to come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Your basic error is you think the bearing of sins on the cross by Jesus as constitute as the personal salvation in itself for any person. I need to remind you it is the personal application of the infinite value of Christ work on the cross is what is the personal salvation of a person. Seems you ignored or down play the necessity for the work of the Holy Spirit in efficacious calling , sovereign regeneration and for personal faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. I hold that faith, repentence, grace and salvation itself is a gift of God to His elect people and are included in the ” spiritual blessing ” of Eph 1:3. The issue of the extent or the design of Jesus atonement is not determined on the question of who is the source of faith anyone. That’s a common false argument borrowerd from the late Dr. John Owen’s book The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. You make me wonder if you secretly deny the existence of human choices within the sovereign eternal decree of God which takes place in human history ?

    1. Hi Bryan, thanks for getting back,

      Its a bit challenging to follow you at points, but let me repeat to you the main point of difference on John 1:29 (and which he dodged):

      “…it is highly improbable that “world” means each and every person in John 1:29 for many reasons beyond the one I just made, and includes this: if Christ succeeded as the Lamb of God in taking away the sin of every man and woman ever born, what benefit did that have to those who were already in hell before He offered Himself as the Lamb for them? His success, in their case, was abject failure. Their sin was not taken away unless you believe in Universalism and they suffer for this sins today and shall forever. My point is not get “all logical” on you, but to get you take the verb “take away” in John 1:29 as seriously as John the Baptist did. John said Jesus takes away the sin of the world, and according to your C1 statement He has done this for each and every person who ever lived. But since most of those who you believe had their sins taken away by Jesus have not in fact had their sins taken away, either John the Baptist was wrong, or you are wrong. And sadly, if you stay on the “Jesus did take away all men’s sins” side, you deny Jesus made an atonement that does, in fact, take away sins. And now you have a gospel problem, because the Jesus of the apostolic gospel really does take away sin.”

      This is the heart of the issue: not what “kosmos” means, but what ‘take away” means. And that is where the more crucial difference lies. As a 4 pointer, you believe in a Savior who did not take away the sin of the world, unless you are a universalist (which I’m sure you aren’t).

      You wrote:
      “Looks like you skipped right over passages such as John 6:44,65, Acts 2:39, Rom. 8:28, 30 and other passages…”

      Bryan, do you believe the Holy Spirit acts in a different goal to the Father’s electing purposes than does the Son in His incarnation? iow, Does Jesus atone for all, but the Spirit only efficaciously draw the Father’s elect? Then isn’t it true that Jesus death, no matter how perfect for all, could NEVER save the non-elect according to your theology?

      1. ” This is the heart of the issue: not what “kosmos” means, but what ‘take away” means. And that is where the more crucial difference lies. As a 4 pointer, you believe in a Savior who did not take away the sin of the world, unless you are a universalist (which I’m sure you aren’t). ”

        I think the issue is both there. I do find it insulting of you to say that I believe in a Savior who did not take away the sin of the world. All this without me even stating my own personal interpretation of the text as a whole . By your while reasoning I can turn around and claim that you believe that the value of Jesus blood is finite since in your view he died only for the sins of the elect. See how things can be turned around on you. Since for Jesus blood to be infinite in it’s value He must have died for all sins. When I say Jesus died for the sins of all men I am referring to it’s instrinsic value. And when I say Jesus died for the elect I am referring to it’s intended application. In answer to your question in what sense is the sin of the world taken away by the Lamb of God ? The sin of the world is taken away in the sense that by Jesus work in His death provided a ransom; with respect to it’s effect upon sin, Christ wrought a reconciliation with God; and with regard to it’s effect upon God, Christ achieved a propitiation. This is not something Christ will do if one believe but rather it constitutes the very thing that is already completed and of which the sinner must believe. The sin of the world is taken away in the sense that by Jesus threefold work on the cross every hinderance is thereby removed and whereby sinful man can be saved. The gateway to personal salvation has thereby been made open by Christ work for the lost. Men are not saved personally unless they believe. Therefore to claim that men are automatically saved apart from faith is greatly in error. John 1:29 teaches that a provision has been made for sinful humanity and can be saved. Basically the text is not dealing with the intended application of the value of Christ blood to the elect at all. Yet this is what strict Limited redemptionist and Universalist do to that verse and distort it. If we take their [ that of limited redemptionist and universalist ] arguments at face value it logically speaking denies the need for the work of regeneration to the elect since they would automatically be saved by Christ death alone.

        ” Bryan, do you believe the Holy Spirit acts in a different goal to the Father’s electing purposes than does the Son in His incarnation? iow, Does Jesus atone for all, but the Spirit only efficaciously draw the Father’s elect? Then isn’t it true that Jesus death, no matter how perfect for all, could NEVER save the non-elect according to your theology? ”

        I reject the concept of covenant theology that you are bringing forth there as I stated before I reject the concept of the Covenant of grace, the Covenant of grace and the Covenant of redemption. I instead hold to the biblical covenants of Scripture and not the theological covenants of Covenant Theology that is based on partial truths that are used to deny the existence of the proper biblical covenants of Scripture. In the work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit only the elect are intended to be saved. I created no disjunction in their work. In the final factor the elect are taken out of the mass of sinful fallen humanity. ( Jn. 17:6 ) The Goal of each person in the Trinity is the intended saving of the elect alone. I dont teach or believe that Jesus died for the purpose of saving everyone. That is the folly of your argument towards me. You are putting things in to my mouth that I never said or believe based on your use of false assumptions. Based on my reading of 1 Peter 1:2 1, I view it as God the Father elects some to salvation based on His sovereign choice. 2 . the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is done to the elect alone . 3 . the value of Jesus blood is applied only to God’s elect people by the Holy Spirit. ONLY THE ELECT ARE INTENDED TO BE SAVED BY ALL PERSONS IN THE TRINITY. If we follow through your own arguments you must logically speaking deny the work of ” common grace ” towards the non-elect since this would extend beyond those whom limited redemptionist say Jesus did not die for and those whom God the Father did not elect to salvation. According to Classical Calvinist such as Dr. Charles Hodge would agree that anyone who has faith would be saved by Christ death. In this I find the views of Dr. Hodge far more reasonable and moderate in contrast to men such as John Owen and John Gill. It is you who is saying that Jesus death can not save the non elect no matter what since you are the one who holds that Jesus did not die for them. Since Jesus did not die for the non elect it is impossible for them to be saved at all. You keep falling back on the false arguments of John Owen who used alot of special pleading and other logical fallacies in his arguments in his book. 🙂

      2. Hi Bryan,

        I said to you that as “As a 4 pointer, you believe in a Savior who did not take away the sin of the world…”

        You replied:

        “The sin of the world is taken away in the sense that… every hindrance is thereby removed and whereby sinful man can be saved.”

        So, sin taken away means hindrances to salvation are removed. That’s what you think John the Baptist meant? I stand by my words: you do not believe in a Savior who takes away sins; you believe in a Savior who takes away hindrances.

        So let me see if I can untangle this: Jesus died to take away the hindrances to salvation of the non-elect but didn’t die to save them. Ooo kay.

        And Bryan, I’m not a covenantalist.

  5. ” Vine’s point is that “world” is an alternate name for mankind. But if you believe that “mankind” means “each and every person” then you are projecting something onto his words he didn’t say. Is it not better to see “kosmos” as the ‘realm of fallen man’ (Vine’s point “c” coupled with “e”) – John 3:16-19. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of fallen mankind, we agree. That “kosmos” is metonymy for each and every person living we disagree, and I suggest you look through several verses to see why this can’t be, namely 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 5:19. You might already know this, but the greek language had words to describe “each and every person,” viz., “earthdwellers”: Rev. 3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:8, 14, etc. John used that word(s) for that purpose, but did not in John 1:29. ”

    Your argument holds no water. This is due to the fact that even you concede ” world ” in John 1:29 refers to sinful men . But then you try to limit it to only the elect when the elect are not the only sinners. I assume you believe Romans 3:23 when it says” all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ” which in context is referring to all Jews and Gentiles which is the human race. Same thing would apply to John 3:16-17 on the word ” world ” . In 1 John 2:2 you self refuted your own arguments. You see it uses the exact words ” whole world ” which based on the meaning of the compounded words take together means the complete or full number of fallen sinful humanity. This in contrast to those who are Christians. Christians in 1 John 2:2 are covered under the personal pronoun ” our sins ” which is referring to only Christians. You see even in 1 John 2:2 I view ” whole world ” as only referring to lost sinful humanity. The word ” whole world ” likewise is referring to only lost sinful humanity. You are the one who is taking a general word and then tries to limit it’s general meaning. If we take your argument at face value you turned John 1:29 the word world in to a hyperbolic language and not ” mentonymy ” as Vine’s has it. By the way , if I recall correctly those verses you cited are not using the NT Greek word ” Kosmos ” and therefore have no bearing on the issue. John used the general word ” world ” in John 1:29 yet when John includes the word ” whole ” right next to it strict limited redemptionist still claim ” whole world ” is still referring to the elect ! It makes me wonder what type of language can Scripture use in order to teach some form of unlimited atonement since the verses that are already there are still denied what the really mean.

  6. ” Your next verse is Romans 5:6, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly

    It is absolutely true that all men are ungodly. But the verse simply doesn’t attempt to claim that since all men are ungodly, therefore Christ made an atoning sacrifice for all of them. Instead, the verse asserts that our helplessness is attached to ungodliness – the ungodly in this verse are the “we” who were “still helpless.” In order for this verse to support your theology it should read, “For while each and every person was still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

    The ungodly are those in Adam contextually in Romans 5. It has 2 headships in context. One is Adam whom is represented of all humanity and the other the Lord Jesus Christ who is the head of the Body of Christ. The ” we ” used in Rom. 5:6 is referring to only believers. That is no problem. That is the subjective aspect of what Paul is teaches as far as our justification by faith is concerned which finds it’s basis on the fact that Jesus died for the ungodly. Objectively speaking the ungodly is lost sinful humanity as represented in Romans 5 as those in Adam in contrast to those whom are in Christ. A twofold aspect is being taught there. The first a personal application of it under the word ” we ” and then a provision of it for the ungodly. This aspect of the subjective and objective aspect is seen also in verse 8. In this I find fault with strict limited redemptionist. But others such as Arminians and Universalist totally mess up down in Romans 5:18 later on in the chapter. I dont single out strict limited redemptionist when it comes to Romans 5 for being in error as you can see. On what basis do you believe the ” ungodly ” are those in Christ and not those in Adam ?

    1. Hi Bryan, thanks for your question: “On what basis do you believe the ” ungodly ” are those in Christ and not those in Adam ?”

      1. The “in Adam” and “in Christ” corporate distinction doesn’t enter Paul’s discussion until the next paragraph. It is poor hermeneutics to reach forward to a teaching that has yet to be presented in order to support a point in a prior context. You are forced to bring in a phrase from another context in order to support unlimited atonement because 5:6 doesn’t rely upon an “in Christ” and “in Adam” distinction.

      2) The whole of Romans 5 teaches God’s lavish love to believers, not His love for those outside of Christ (see 5:5).

      3) To teach that Christ died for all men in Romans 5:6 disconnects that verse from 5:8. If God and Christ have that same love for all men, then there is no special love taught in Rom 5:8. Yet 5:8 teaches about “God’s own love to us.”

      4) The concluding phrases in both 5:6 and 5:8 are parallel due to the formula “Christ” + preposition “huper” (on behalf of) + hamartiological condition. Making the formula in 5:6 a reference to a different group than 5:8 ignores the obvious parallelism and conflicts with the initial phrases in both 5:6 and 5:8 which clearly refer to believers.

      5) 5:7 is a bridge between the 2 verses and teaches that not a single one for whom Christ died in either 5:6 or 5:8 is a “righteous man.” If Paul meant to refer to all men in 5:6 then the correct phrasing of 5:8 should have read, “But God demonstrates His own love to all men, in that while all were sinners, Christ for them. But since 5:8 is limited to believers, it shows Paul meant the same group received a substitutionary atonement in 5:6.

      1. ” 1. The “in Adam” and “in Christ” corporate distinction doesn’t enter Paul’s discussion until the next paragraph. It is poor hermeneutics to reach forward to a teaching that has yet to be presented in order to support a point in a prior context. You are forced to bring in a phrase from another context in order to support unlimited atonement because 5:6 doesn’t rely upon an “in Christ” and “in Adam” distinction. ”

        I did not do that in order to support ” unlimited atonement ” like you said. The basic point is on who is the ” ungodly ” . You are the one bringing the limitation to a general word .The word ungodly refers to sinful men. In Romans 1 to 3 Paul established that it is all humanity that is ungodly and can not save themselves at all. The headships of Adam and of Christ are in the very same chapter in Romans 5 for my point. You try to disconnect it there as if it has no bearing on the question on who are the ungodly in verse 6. Even Romans 1 to 3 has bearing as to that question. The very fact that the headships of Adam in contrast to the headship of Christ in the very same chapter is sufficient proof that it is part of the same context. It is not like I brought in something from 1 Cor. 15 and dragged it to Romans 5.

        ” 2) The whole of Romans 5 teaches God’s lavish love to believers, not His love for those outside of Christ (see 5:5). ”

        The word ” us ” is referring to believers. I have no problem with that at all. Therefore it does not refute me at all. I never claimed it is referring to His love for outside of Christ as you say. You are putting things there that I never stated or believe at all. You are making false assumptions using your presuposition of limited redemption and projecting things to others that they are not saying. I will make this very clear. I DO NOT EMBRACE THE ARMINIAN EXPOSITIONS OF PASSAGES EVEN THOSE ON THE EXTENT OF THE ATONEMENT. I find at times that they distort Scripture on this issue too just as much as strict limited redemptionist . God has a great love for the elect than He does for the non-elect. So I have no problem with Romans 5:5 at all since it focuses on His love for the elect.

        ” 3) To teach that Christ died for all men in Romans 5:6 disconnects that verse from 5:8. If God and Christ have that same love for all men, then there is no special love taught in Rom 5:8. Yet 5:8 teaches about “God’s own love to us.” ”

        In simple words, you are using verse 8 to counter what is stated in verse 6. While both are true. I am saying based on Romans 5:6 that Jesus died for the ungodly which are those of whom are unregenerate. The state of the question who are ” ungodly ” in Scripture ? See you are putting things in to my mouth that I never said or believe. For your information I happen to use Romans 5:8 and 2 Thess 2:13 as proof text for a special love that God has for His elect people. I for one do not teach God love His elect in the same manner that He does for the non elect / the lost. Your argument is againist Arminianism and not me in that regard. You are basically arguing againist a strawman. 😦 Here is exactly how you are reading Romans 5:6 ” In due time Christ died for the elect, in their ungodly estate ” . The fact Jesus died for the elect does not mean that He did not die for the non-elect.

        ” 4) The concluding phrases in both 5:6 and 5:8 are parallel due to the formula “Christ” + preposition “huper” (on behalf of) + hamartiological condition. Making the formula in 5:6 a reference to a different group than 5:8 ignores the obvious parallelism and conflicts with the initial phrases in both 5:6 and 5:8 which clearly refer to believers. 5) 5:7 is a bridge between the 2 verses and teaches that not a single one for whom Christ died in either 5:6 or 5:8 is a “righteous man.” If Paul meant to refer to all men in 5:6 then the correct phrasing of 5:8 should have read, “But God demonstrates His own love to all men, in that while all were sinners, Christ for them. But since 5:8 is limited to believers, it shows Paul meant the same group received a substitutionary atonement in 5:6. ”

        The word ” ungodly ” does not have a pronoun on it in Romans 5:6 as saying only the elect are the ” ungodly ” whereas in Romans 5:8 it has the pronouns ” we ” and ” us ” which is referring to believers subjectively.Believers prior to their salvation they were sinners Jesus died for them. You are using verse 8 to counter what verse 6 teaches while both are true. You evidently confuse the provision for salvation and the application of salvation up which is the cause of your confusion there directly. Jesus objectively died for sinful humanity and he died subjectively for the elect / believers. Or the provisional and the personal application aspects of Christ death on the cross. Those facts are what is in verse 6 and 8. Paul is teaching a substitution was made objectively for sinful man and subjectively for the elect / believers within the context of Romans 5:5-8. See you are not viewing Romans 5:6 as I am saying it. I dont need to change ” ungodly ” to say ” all men ” either at all. Suffificient proof for my view of the atonement is just general words such as sinners or ungodly. The very fact ” ungodly ” refers to sinful men consitutes proof for me. You see from a grammatical stand point you are turning the word ” ungodly ” in to hyperbolic language when it is not.

  7. Hi Paul,

    I’m surprised by your answers, brother. For example, you wrote, “The “us all” is all Israel.” OK, good. On that we agree, and we already got there in the last go round. No need to go there again.

    But then you go right back to incorrect inferences. You want Isa. 53:6 to be a C1 assertion that teaches Christ died for each and every person (“Unlimited atonement is that Christ died for “all…[who] like sheep have gone astray”, “The prophet speaks for all”) since you believe it references all Israel.

    That is not using your own RoA, but your logic based on your inferences.

    Can we agree on that? (and can we agree that whatever wordpress style you are using, its really hard to follow!)

    1. SimpleElder,

      Brother, it is becoming clear that we are going nowhere. Your hidden assumptions (which I have exposed) are driving your logic. Here is the context:

      “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
      3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
      4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
      5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
      6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” – Isa 53:2-6

      Now I am saying the “we/us/our/every one/us all” language in this passage is constant. It is Israel, elect and non-elect. You seem to agree that at least “us all” = all Israel in v.6. Yet you want to make the “we/us” of vv.2-4 a subset of the “us all” in v.6. You introduce a distinction between elect and non-elect where there is none. You are palpably reading limited atonement and its accompanying prerequisite (“Christ saved all those for whom He died”) into the passage. Isa. 53:6 does say that Christ died for “us all” who are the “all” who have gone astray. There is no limitation; no offsetting elect Israelites from non-elect Israelites. Therefore there is no inference from my perspective. The inference against making the “all” for whom Christ bears their iniquities all Israel is, I think, something you are bringing with you from your understanding of the NT.

      You cannot see this because you have the mantra “Christ saves all for whom He atones” playing over and over in your mind. That axiom MAY be true, but it is not found in Isa. 53. I have asked you to admit this assumption and prove it but you have so far avoided it. We cannot gain any ground until you come clean brother.

      You close: “That is not using your own RoA, but your logic based on your inferences.

      Can we agree on that? (and can we agree that whatever wordpress style you are using, its really hard to follow!)”

      Well not without begging the question we can’t. I don’t know what you mean about “wordpress style.” Usually people don’t have much difficulty understanding me (though I have my days!). The RoA support the fact that “all” = all Israel, both elect and non-elect in the passage. Since no distinction is made (which is clear, ergo no inference), one who thinks there ought to be one must infer it.

      I invite you to divulge your operating assumptions on the extent of the atonement. From what I have read it is very clear that you are operating a “this can’t mean that because…” logic which clouds your interpretations.

      I do not mean that to sound harsh brother.

      Paul

      1. Hi Paul, I don’t hear harshness – and by WordPress style I mean the design of this particular blog format from the design company “WordPress” – and nothing at all to do with you! See the “W” in the blue circle below and click on it for more on that.

        Now, you are saying I’m not seeing my hidden assumptions. So let me repeat what you are saying they are:

        You are saying my hidden assumption is that I am reading limited atonement into Isa. 53:6 where it does not belong because the “us all” in that verse is all Israel who go astray. And further, I am refusing to see that since the “us all” of Isa. 53:6 must refer to all Israelites who “go astray.” Thus the iniquity of all Israelites was laid on Jesus (on the cross).

        Well, my real assumption isn’t really hidden at all. It’s this – that the text itself must drive our theology, not vice-versa. Since post 1 I have been saying that you are not warranted to claim that “all who go astray” in Isa. 53:6 is either all men, both Jew and Gentile (your C1 conclusion), or even “all Israel” but is rather a subset of Israel based on the context of Isa. 53. Please see my first post if you question this.

        So let me ask you 2 questions: Isa. 53:5 says Jesus was “crushed for our iniquities, the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

        1) Do you believe Isa. 53:5 teaches that a crushing for iniquities and chastening for well-being fell upon Jesus for all men? (Yes/No)
        2) If yes, then do you believe, as Isa. 53:5 would then claim, that by His scourging all men are healed? (Yes/No)

        If #2 is “no,” then how can you claim a “yes’ for #1 and be true to the text?

        You say I have a mantra playing over and over again in my mind: “Christ saves all for whom He atones.” Further, you have asked me to admit to this but that I have avoided it, and until I come clean we can’t gain any ground.

        Well, I’m just a simple elder, and didn’t know I was dirty before you. I don’t want to tempt you to frustration with me, but I can’t admit to this because, as God is my witness, it isn’t true.

        Lastly, you invite me to share my operating assumptions on the extent of the atonement. It is this: the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:11). But a greater assumption is this: if i can be shown from Scripture that Jesus did other things on the cross – I must believe it and teach it, for Scripture is the revelation of the mind of God.

  8. SimpleElder,

    Dear brother, I confess I don’t know where you are coming from. It could be my fault but you appear to affirm in one place what you deny in others.
    EDIT: I do not wish to impugn your integrity. Let me ask two quick questions so that I am clear:

    1. Do you affirm that Christ’s atonement saved or will save all those for whom it was meant?

    2. Do you think the application of the atonement a). is co-extensive with its extent? and b). is coterminous with its accomplishment at the Cross?

    Thanks.

      1. Do you embrace Covenant Theology, Dispensational Theology or New Covenant Theology ? If not, what do you hold to ?

    1. I had stated: “You are palpably reading limited atonement and its accompanying prerequisite (“Christ saved all those for whom He died”) into the passage.”

      SimpleElder replied: “You say I have a mantra playing over and over again in my mind: “Christ saves all for whom He atones.” Further, you have asked me to admit to this but that I have avoided it, and until I come clean we can’t gain any ground.

      Well, I’m just a simple elder, and didn’t know I was dirty before you. I don’t want to tempt you to frustration with me, but I can’t admit to this because, as God is my witness, it isn’t true.”

      I asked: “1. Do you affirm that Christ’s atonement saved or will save all those for whom it was meant?

      2. Do you think the application of the atonement a). is co-extensive with its extent? and b). is coterminous with its accomplishment at the Cross?”

      SimpleElder responded: “Hi Paul,

      #1 – I do.
      #2 – Yes on both a and b.”

      Dear brother, can’t you see that you now affirm what you previously denied? I do not think this was deliberate, but the contradiction is there. This is your operating assumption and you are reading it into the verses. None of these verses says Christ’s atonement is intended only for the elect (which is another way to say the same thing). Even if, for sake of argument, I admit Isa. 53:6 is said by believing Israel, this still does not prove limited atonement since no limitation only to believers is stated. And as Jared points out, Isa. 52:15 rules it out even more.

      Though I hold to a limited application of the atonement I do so because I find no justification for limitation in these verses. I hope (DV) to write a separate post on this passage soon. 🙂

      1. Paul wrote:

        “can’t you see that you now affirm what you previously denied?… This is your operating assumption and you are reading it into the verses.”

        Paul, you asked me some specific questions and I obliged with answers that you theologically disagree with. Does disagreement with you mean my theology blindly rules my approach to Scripture and am governed by indwelling “mantras?”

        Nah. It just means we disagree. It could even mean you are wrong. Spurgeon said that everybody limits the atonement. The Arminian limits its power, and the Calvinist limits its extent.

        Now, I answered your questions, but you still haven’t answered mine (bad form). So, since you believe Isa. 53:6 teaches universal atonement, I ask you again:

        1) Do you believe Isa. 53:5 teaches that a crushing for iniquities and chastening for well-being fell upon Jesus for all men? (Yes/No)
        2) If yes, then do you believe, as Isa. 53:5 would then claim, that by His scourging all men are healed? (Yes/No)

        If #2 is “no,” then how can you claim a “yes’ for #1 and be true to the text?

      2. SimpleElder,

        I did not mean to annoy you, but you DID contradict yourself and I rightly showed it to you. Of course we can agree to disagree brother. But I was confused by your denial of a view you plainly did hold to. And you are reading it into the passages, which is why I had to go to lengths to get it out of you.

        Now to answer your questions (you are right, it was bad form):

        1) Do you believe Isa. 53:5 teaches that a crushing for iniquities and chastening for well-being fell upon Jesus for all men? (Yes/No) – YES. (so did Calvin)
        2) If yes, then do you believe, as Isa. 53:5 would then claim, that by His scourging all men are healed? (Yes/No) – YES, BUT THE ‘HEALING’ ONLY COMES TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE, SOMETHING WHICH IS NOT PRESENT IN THE CHAPTER (WHICH IS WHY I SAID I DIDN’T USE V.6 TO PROVE THE WHOLE PROPOSITION).

        If #2 is “no,” then how can you claim a “yes’ for #1 and be true to the text?
        YOU INTERPRET V.5 AS TEACHING ‘HEALED’ AS BORN-AGAIN/SAVED. I ONLY SAY IT MARKS HIS ACCOMPLISHMENT, NOT ITS APPLICATION (AS JN.1:29).

        Peter does not use the passage to teach limited atonement. He just employs it as a descriptor for those who have believed.

        The reason I did not respond to these questions is because they were not for clarification (as mine), but are leading questions which will get us nowhere. Isa. 53:6 is not a place to find limited atonement.

        I know disagreements can get heated, but please know that I intend no offense.

        P.

      3. Paul, speaking of confusion….

        I ask you:

        “Do you believe all men are healed? (Yes/No) – YES, BUT THE ‘HEALING’ ONLY COMES TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE.

        Double talk. Your answer should be “no, i do not believe all men are healed.”

        More double talk. You say:

        “YOU INTERPRET V.5 AS TEACHING ‘HEALED’ AS BORN-AGAIN/SAVED. I ONLY SAY IT MARKS HIS ACCOMPLISHMENT, NOT ITS APPLICATION”

        If its not applied, its not accomplished. By your theology hell is filled with people who had their salvation accomplished. And since it was accomplished, then hell is salvation accomplished. Thanks a lot for that gem.

        Isa. 53:5 places the application of healing/salvation not on the ones who ask for healing, but on the efficacy of the One sacrificed.

      4. SimpleElder,

        With respect brother, I think we’ve gone as far on this thread as we can go. Please feel free to engage my arguments here: https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2007/03/01/christs-atonement-its-purpose-and-extent/#more-25

        or even here: https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/dispensationalism-and-tulip-limited-atonement/

        The fact is your very best scenario from Isa. 53 is to say that a believing ‘chorus’ is confessing. This would make it like the “us” passages written to Christians by Paul. It would be like a father saying to his children, “those men who died in WW2 gave themselves for us.” It does not prove an “only” which is what you MUST prove.

        Your question was leading because it allowed you to equate “healed” with applied like I predicted you would. But I do not equate the accomplishment with its application. Neither, indeed, does John Murray in his ‘Redemption: Accomplished & Applied.’ You read “accomplished” and because you believe it includes the application too you see a dilemma. But it is a false dilemma because they are not the same. You were not saved at the Cross before you were born. You were in Adam before you trusted Christ. It was then and not 2,000 years ago that you had the merits of the Cross applied to you.

        Your assumption of “Christ must save all for whom He atones” which you cannot prove from Isa. 53, drives your interpretations. Justification is by faith. No faith, no salvation (e.g. Jn. 3:36).

        May I suggest you formulate a proposition akin to “Christ must save all He died for” with supporting texts and we’ll run it through the RoA?

        If I may be so bold, my reading of you (and my knowledge of limited atonement argumentation) requires you to prove a whole set of subsidiary propositions:

        a. Faith is purchased for the elect at the Cross
        b. Regeneration precedes faith
        c. The death of Christ actually saved the elect at Calvary
        d. “World” means elect in soteric settings (only)

        Then you must deal with texts like Ezek. 18:23, 30-32; 1 Tim. 4:10 etc. which give you trouble unless they are re-routed somehow.

        On the latter you write: “The most common Arminian explanation is to claim Paul is making a “Potential/Actual” distinction. Jesus is the potential savior of all men and the actual savior of believers. Of course, that’s not in the text either. Believers aren’t “more potentially’ saved than unbelievers.”

        But you again create the false dichotomy. First, although the words “potential/actual” aren’t there the ideas they express most certainly are. Believers are saved because they are justified by faith. Unbelievers are not saved because they do not believe. But noone is saved until the merits of Calvary are applied to them – unless you believe in people being saved before they are even born. In which case they were never “in Adam” and were always “in Christ” and so never needed to believe!

        I know your motive is to give God the glory in salvation, but God IS the Author of salvation if universal atonement and love are rightly understood.

        Peace brother,

        Paul

      5. Hi Paul,

        I appreciate the thought you’ve put into your posts. Your logic and love for Scripture is obvious in your zeal for doctrine precisely defined. I sense the tension of how badly you want to assert truth and correct error (mine!) in a godly masculine way while controlling stridency and condescension. That’s not easy in the unforgiving comm box 😉 where the peer review is often immediate and where posts are often read with the worst of intentions.

        OK. Let’s see where I stand. Evidently I don’t believe faith is necessary for salvation. Or could it be that my interlocutors don’t believe that the power of Christ’s atonement forgives even the massive sin of unbelief for all He substituted Himself for? Hmmm, could they possibly forget/ignore/disbelieve He forgives by His atonement all sin including unbelief? Let’s see.

        You wrote:

        Your assumption of “Christ must save all for whom He atones” which you cannot prove from Isa. 53, drives your interpretations. Justification is by faith. No faith, no salvation (e.g. Jn. 3:36).

        I reply:

        I just take the text at face value, brother: by His scourging I am healed, including my massive sin of unbelief.

        It is you who don’t the the text at face value but add into it the contingency of human faith. Your position is Isa. 53:5 teaches “by His scourging I am healed:if I have faith.” Well, Isaiah’s question, “Lord, who has believed our report” (53:1) highlights the problem man sin of unbelief. Unbelief is a great problem and it must be not only resolved if any man is to know the Lord, but who will atone for your sin of unbelief, you, or Christ?

        Follow for a bit (I’ll forego the “yes/no” dichotomy as unworkable here):

        In 53:3 do you believe that Jesus was only contingently despised and forsaken in His passion, but when you believed, it was applied to Him for real?

        In 53:4 was He smitten of God apart from your faith, or only smitten of God when you had faith?

        In 53:5 was He crushed for your iniquities apart from your belief, or was He crushed for your iniquities only when you had faith?

        Again, in 53:5, were you healed by His scourging apart from your faith, or where you healed only when you had faith?

        In 53:6 did the LORD cause the iniquity of us all to fall on Him, or did that happen only when you had faith?

        Hopefully (as in pie in the sky hope) you answered “no” to all these questions, but if you are consistent with your unlimited atonement position, you will have said “yes” to the 2nd to last question, and no to all the others. And you will feel it is your right to impose your faith on 53:5b but not the rest of the text – even though the text doesn’t ask you to contribute your faith to it but rather see your unbelief in it all (53:1).

        Hopefully (as in pie in the – oops, said that before) you now see that you are the one who adds in the contingency of your faith into Isa. 53 that isn’t in the text. In doing so you insert yourself into the passage, but news flash – you aren’t the operative one in the passage – Christ and the Father are. Get out.

        This contingency is silly, but it is how you read the glorious saving accomplishments of Christ in Isaiah. You read into them the contingency of faith in order for the saving accomplishments of those texts to be personally realized and conclude from that the atonement must have been for all men. In reality the great sin of unbelief is atoned for in the cross, and upon this wonderful mercy men’s unbelief is forgiven, the Spirit given, and regeneration applied.

        The Lord does not ask men to heal themselves of unbelief in order to be healed: He heals us of our unbelief – that’s good news! Does He command faith, something it is impossible for us to naturally do? Of course. He also commands to be as perfect as He is (Mat. 5:48). Such commands are impossible for us to fulfill due to sin – we must ask God to give us the strength to do what we ought to do but can’t.

        It is grievous but entirely understandable why you feel that a view of the atonement such as I hold vitiates the need for human faith – I too used to think that. And while I could adduce immense Scriptural data showing that saving faith in Christ is produced by the Spirit in connection to the cross (OK, one verse: Gal. 4:4-6, where we are sons prior to the Spirit regenerating us), perhaps you would be better served by just reading the book you cited, Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray, chapter 3 in the 2nd part on Regeneration. I think you would have less emotional barriers to Murray than to myself.

        You wrote:

        May I suggest you formulate a proposition akin to “Christ must save all He died for” with supporting texts and we’ll run it through the RoA?

        I would love to. But sadly, I fear you would charge you me with coming to those conclusions because I was driven there by my theology. Paul, I went to a very well-known dispensational seminary outside of Los Angeles and wrote my ThM thesis on the extent of the atonement. Both advisors, men with doctorates and both life-long “4-pointers,” gave me an “A.” Needless to say I had to answer their exegetical concerns and prove my case for a passing grade. I only mention this to say that formulating theology on the atonement and establishing it exegetically is not hard for me. I have not left dispensationalist but am far stronger in it than I was even after graduation. In a month I fly to Europe to teach at a dispensational seminary the book of Philippians – a “break’ from the rigors of my pastoral ministry. And tomorrow I fly out to the Shepherd’s Conference – will you be there? I would like to meet you if so. You wouldn’t find me with horns, or without the urgency in my preaching to call sinners to faith. I just don’t point them to their faith but to the cross. I leave it to God to create the faith.

        If I may be so bold, my reading of you (and my knowledge of limited atonement argumentation) requires you to prove a whole set of subsidiary propositions:

        a. Faith is purchased for the elect at the Cross
        b. Regeneration precedes faith
        c. The death of Christ actually saved the elect at Calvary
        d. “World” means elect in soteric settings (only)

        In one sense you are correct on a, b, and c, but not on d. See Carson’s terrific commentary on the gospel of John: “kosmos’” predominate meaning is “the realm of sinful humanity.” On another sense I’m not required except as I try to understand how elements of what God has done in Christ relate to the great work of salvation. I would just point you to Romans 8:30-33. That text deals authoritatively with all these matters except ‘d.”

      6. SimpleElder,

        As I have said, I think we’ve gone far enough along the road here. I do appreciate your abilities. Your argumentation is, of course, that of John Owen. Not to press my “home advantage” but as I said, the most generous argument from Isa. 53 is that believers are speaking (therefore looking back). One cannot get from there to definite atonement. Albeit, I would love to read your Thesis if possible!

        Also, although not germane to Isa. 53; if Christ atoned for your unbelief at Calvary clearly you did not need to believe. All unbelief is sin, and if that sin was forgiven you before you were born you were both saved before you were born and your unbelief was covered before you were born.

        BTW, although I do not hold to limited atonement it would not prevent me from assigning a high mark to someone who did. Sadly, i shall not be st the Shepherd’s Conference. I hope to be moving in the next few weeks so things are a tad busy 🙂

        I should like to know your real name brother.

        God bless you and yours,

        Paul

        One more thing: this blog will soon get a facelift and hopefully will be easier to read.

      7. quick hit:

        if Christ atoned for your unbelief at Calvary clearly you did not need to believe.

        On the contrary, it is because Christ atoned for my unbelief that I do believe. All good fruits in my life are a result of the cross.

      8. Last word: There is no NECESSARY connection between forgiveness of unbelief and the act of believing. If your sin of unbelief WAS forgiven you could remain in unbelief.

      9. Last last word –

        You wrote:

        If your sin of unbelief WAS forgiven you could remain in unbelief.

        Yes, if it was forgiven by you. But it was forgiven by My surety – My substitute. Therefore I had to come to life by the power of the atonement, for by His wounds I am healed (Isa. 53:5).

  9. ” So, sin taken away means hindrances to salvation are removed. That’s what you think John the Baptist meant? I stand by my words: you do not believe in a Savior who takes away sins; you believe in a Savior who takes away hindrances. ”

    You are putting words in to my mouth that I never said or believe. I stated it is ” taken away ” in the sense whereby all things relating to sin in which brings about sinful mans condemnation are removed in the death of Jesus Christ and has opened the door for the way of salvation for those of whom are lost. A person can not be saved apart from the death of Jesus Christ. I take it that you do not believe that ” total depravity ” is a hinderance at all. I do believe in a Savior who takes away sin as He bore them on the cross. The problem is your utter failure to make a proper distinction between the provision for salvation and the personal application of salvation. If I take what you say at face value you do not believe in ” faith ” in Jesus for salvation yet we find that is contradicted by Acts 16:30-31. You are the one who wants the elect saved apart from the work of regeneration and even apart from faith in Jesus Christ Himself.That is your argument if you want to view ” take away the sin of the world ” in the exact manner that you are using it againist me. You are no better than a Universalist, If you agree on the necessity for regeneration and faith in Christ then you are using the logical fallacy of special pleading. John Owen in his book The Death of Death in the Death of Christ fell in to the same logical fallacies. You are the one teaching Jesus death made salvation impossible . Here is a wake up call for you. It is impossible for sinful man to save himself yet we are told in Scripture that salvation is possible for sinful man by divine grace that is based on the merits of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Ever read Matt. 19:25-26 ? Yet we find that strict limited redemptionist today have a problem with words like ” savable ” or ” possible ” when it can be understood in a Calvinistic understanding. You see you are using arguments againist me that has no bearing at all but appear to be rather directed towards the false theology of Arminianism as far as the atonement is concerned.

    ” So let me see if I can untangle this: Jesus died to take away the hindrances to salvation of the non-elect but didn’t die to save them. Ooo kay. ”

    You are putting words in my mouth that I did not say. Where have I ever used the words ” non-elect ” in John 1:29 ? The word ” world ” I stated referred to fallen sinful humanity. Sin is a hinderance to salvation for elect and non-elect. All humanty got condemned in Adam at the fall remember ? Remember the doctrine of ” Total Depravity ” ? Seems you have forgotten it when you read John 1:29. My view of the atonement based on the collection of all the passages which deal with the various groups teaches Jesus died to make salvation possible for the lost and made it certain for those who have faith in Jesus Christ. Scripture teaches the universal availability of salvation indiscriminately for the lost through the person and work of Jesus Christ. In the same Scripture we also find the doctrines of Total Depravity , Unconditional election, Effficacious calling & sovereign regeneration and eternal security as being taught. Let me untangle what you are telling me now. 🙂 Let’s see. Oh yes Jesus died for only the elect and they are saved apart from regeneration & faith because the text says ” take away the sin of the world ” and it really does not matter as far as the non elect are concerned because they cant be saved because Jesus did not die for them rather them being condemned for being in Adam and for their own unbelief. I am asking you not to misrepresent my own position in your arguments otherwise be prepared for me to totally distort yours a lot worse. I am here trying to be fair to you without strawmen or misrepresentation yet I find at times you are doing this to me. That is not right and should not be done. Otherwise in my eyes you lose the right to complain when men like Dave Hunt or George Bryson misrepresent Calvinist and use strawman arguments. In my general outline I follow Dr. Charles Hodge as far as the order of decree is concerned with only one minor difference really. Dr. Charles Hodge places the decree for Jesus to die as being after the decree of election whereas I place Jesus dying for sinful men as being prior to the decree of election as it relates to his discussion on ” infralapsarianism ” in Vol II page 320 on his systematic theology. It is very reasonable and follows in general the teaching of Scripture.

    “And Bryan, I’m not a covenantalist. ”

    Then why are you using specific lines of arguments that are based on Covenant Theology that are borrowed from Dr. John Owens ?

    1. Bryan,

      I’m not putting words into your mouth. I asked you what “takes away the sin of the world” means in John 1:29 and you wrote:

      “The sin of the world is taken away in the sense that by Jesus threefold work on the cross every hinderance is thereby removed and whereby sinful man can be saved.”

      I merely rephrased it:

      “So, sin taken away means hindrances to salvation are removed. That’s what you think John the Baptist meant? I stand by my words: you do not believe in a Savior who takes away sins; you believe in a Savior who takes away hindrances.”

      At this point in your pilgrimage you are a theological descendant of Moises Amyraut and John Davenant, the later of which was present at the Westminster Assembly. My summarizing statements of your confusing posts (have you gone back and tried to read them?) such as “Jesus died to take away the hindrances to salvation of the non-elect but didn’t die to save them” are in fact your position you have articulated, but not so concisely. I rephrase them for you so you can reflect on the reality of your position.

      Bryan, you are in over your head on what you think are arguments for covenantalism. You argue, write, and assert in haste. It doesn’t do you credit to make arguments on things or people you don’t understand.

      1. ‘ I’m not putting words into your mouth. I merely rephrased it ”

        You rewrote it to say something that I never said. Thanks for your confession it was not something that I wrote. That is dishonest and the last time I read Scripture lying or bearing false wittness is sin. What you rewrote was by no means a rephrase of it at all but I viewed it as a dishonest statement of what I believe on John 1:29 as far an exposition of the text is concerned. What you have attempted to do was misrepresent my position and than follow through strawman argumentation. When all is said and done ” strawmen ” do not establish any refutation of me at all. It shows that you have no positive means of proving your position. You see even the most die hard ” Limited redemptionist ” can agree with what I actually wrote and just change the meaning of the word ” world ” . Christ did take away the sin of the world. This Jesus did by his work of propitation, redemption and reconciliation . This constitutes the very thing which makes Jesus sacrifices as complete and perfect and an all sufficient Savior. Based on Jesus work sinfulmen even the chief of sinners can be saved. I view this passages as dealing with the provision of the salvation for the lost. It does not deal with the intended application of it. The text in question does not deal with the issues of the doctrine of election. That is you reading something in to the text that is not there. And is in the fact the basis of your misinterpretation of it. A person is saved by Jesus death at the time of their regeneration and personal faith in Jesus Christ. I stand by my words that you deny the human element of personal faith in salvation and pay merely lip service to it based on your objections to my position.

        ” At this point in your pilgrimage you are a theological descendant of Moises Amyraut and John Davenant, the later of which was present at the Westminster Assembly. ”

        I have nothing to do with those men either directly or even indirectly or of their specific movement of what is called ” Armyraldianism ” . You just have guilt by assocation based on comments of mine that you rewrote to change what I had said. My belief system is distinct from Armyraldianism as I do not embrace their specific errors. My Calvinistic views stand on it’s own apart from that system. My beliefs for the past 20 years have been from the Calvinistic dispensational premillennial perspective. Plus you have no knowledge of my previous back ground to even make an objective judgement on this at all. You rushed to false judgement on me in this regard. I am very well aware of the Westminster Assembly from my reading of THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY AND ITS WORK by Dr. B.B. Warfield. Rule.

        ” My summarizing statements of your confusing posts (have you gone back and tried to read them?) such as “Jesus died to take away the hindrances to salvation of the non-elect but didn’t die to save them” are in fact your position you have articulated, but not so concisely. I rephrase them for you so you can reflect on the reality of your position. ”

        What you did was dishonestly changed what I wrote and then built upon your misrepresentation and in order to present strawman arguments. Here is exactly what I had wrote ” The sin of the world is taken away in the sense that by Jesus threefold work on the cross every hinderance is thereby removed and whereby sinful man can be saved.” . If you properly understood what I write you would see that I was saying Jesus in his sacrifice was a complete all sufficient offering for sin based on His propitiation, redemption and reconciliation. It is based on this work on the cross that the lost can be saved. The reality is you are not being honest . You did not articulated my beliefs at all on John 1:29. I never introduced the issue of election to John 1. That was you. From an exegetical stand point there is nothing dealing with issue in the verse. The sin of the world is taken away as I specifically affirmed. It was taken away in Jesus work in propitiation, redemption and reconciliation. I cant be any more clear than that. The issue of who will believe and who will not believe is not even addresed in it either. The key issue of the meaning of ” kosmos ” . Jesus is Savior of the world anyway since Jesus is the means whereby the lost can be saved on the human side conditioned upon faith in Him. There is the universal availibility of salvation for the lost through the person and work of Jesus Christ. You want to down play this reality as if this contradicts the doctrine of unconditional election when it does not. The elect were chosen out of the ” kosmos ” and are not indentified with it. The ” kosmos ” is fallen, unsaved ,sinful humanity. You showed me at how lack of proper argumentation you have againist me. I remain unmoved by your false claims. How can I be moved when you do not even properly represent my position to me in your own arguments againist it ? I find that impossible to be done.

        ” Bryan, you are in over your head on what you think are arguments for covenantalism. You argue, write, and assert in haste. It doesn’t do you credit to make arguments on things or people you don’t understand. ”

        I stated your arguments for ” limited atonement ” were borrowed from Covenant Theology. I never made mention of arguments for coventalism. You changed what I had stated on that too now. I find it is you who makes arguments againist a position that you do not understand. In this case it would be towards Calvinistic 4 Pointers. By the way, most of my mentors in the faith were full blown Five Point Calvinist so I very well what all forms of Calvinism teaches and have been taught. I understand what I wrote. So did Paul I assume. But you did not. There was nothing confusing about my post unless you read things through you strict limited atonement glasses. That is what colors you from seeing my perspective properly. Our basic issue is reduced to if provision was made for the non-elect or not and nothing else. You hold it was made just for the elect while I hold that provision was made for the elect and non-elect. We both agree that the intended application is limited.

      2. Bryan, you wrote:

        I stated it is ” taken away ” in the sense whereby all things relating to sin in which brings about sinful mans condemnation are removed in the death of Jesus Christ and has opened the door for the way of salvation for those of whom are lost.

        You still believe men are condemned for their sins, including their sin of unbelief. I do not think “all things” means what you think it means.

        If “condemnation is removed,” why do they yet bear it? I do not think “removed” means what you think it means.

        You wrote:

        If you properly understood what I write you would see that I was saying Jesus in his sacrifice was a complete all sufficient offering for sin based on His propitiation, redemption and reconciliation.

        Yet your theology has millions who’s have been propitiated and yet will bear God’s wrath forever, millions who have been redeemed yet bound in a forever slavery to sin and Satan, and millions reconciled who are God’s avowed eternal enemies.

        I do not think propitiation, redemption and reconciliation mean what you think they mean.

        If you don’t understand the biblical words used to express what happened on the cross, how can you have saving faith in it?

  10. Much of previous discourse on this post has been in attempts to deal with context of verse 6 in order to delimit the application of “laid on him the iniquity of us all”. I feel that this is not even addressing the heart of the matter.

    I want to draw attention to something from Isaiah 53: there are two groups of people within the context. These two groups are contrasted in verse 8 and 10. One striking detail, at least in the english translation, is that both verses form a mirror image of one another. At the point of these contrasts is a transition in the text, which I will attempt to show below.

    Verse 8 speaks of the present tense generation at the time of the crucifixion.
    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, stricken for the transgression of my people?

    Verse 10 is of the offspring, the ones made to be accounted righteous in verse 11.
    10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

    Now in tandem, I will show this contrast:

    1.
    8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    (Here describing human perspective, the malice of men, acting according to their own will and purposes.)

    10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief;
    (While in fact, it was God’s will that Christ be put to death.)

    2.
    8 and as for his generation
    (This question underlines the human perspective of the present generation that failed to comprehend the true purpose of Christ’s suffering and death.)

    10 when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring

    3.
    8 who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living,

    10 he shall prolong his days
    (Christ’s sin offering and his death prolongs the life (eternally) of His offspring.)

    4.
    8 stricken for the transgression of my people?

    10 the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
    (Both above speak of the same purpose, highlighting the difference between human perspective and God’s perspective.)

    Verse 11 goes on to elaborate “the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
    11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

    It is very important, after noting this distinction between people groups, to pay close attention to the language used before verse 10, and that which after verse 10. It is only in verse 10 that you get explicit statements about Christ’s sin offering and it’s results. It is after verse 10 that it is spoken of the many being made to be accounted righteous.

    A recap of prior statements:
    53:4 “borne our griefs” and “sorrows He carried”
    53:5 “wounded for transgressions”, “crushed for our iniquities”, “the chastisement that brought us peace”, “with his stripes we are healed”
    53:6 “laid on him the iniquity of us all”
    53:8 “stricken for the transgression of my people”

    For me, there is no doubt that these speak of atonement of some sort, understanding that Christ’s sacrifice is the means that grace is afforded to any person. But not all of these are explicit enough that their capacity can be concluded to regard eternal salvation. First, there are only 2 that describe an end result: “the chastisement that brought us peace” and “with his stripes we are healed”. Second, in 53:6, the “laid on him the iniquity of us all” does not relate any specific result.

    Also understand that “laid on”, which means “to fall on”, is not equivalent to “bear” from verse 11, which means to “carry”. We must consider this difference to not attribute meaning that is not present in verse 6. In verse 6, we have God causing the iniquity of all to fall on Christ, but does verse 11 say Christ “carried” the iniquity of all? One might make mention of verse 4 and “sorrows he carried”. But human anguish is not iniquity.

    I ask this because in verse 12 is the explicit statement, “yet he bore the sins of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”

    So back in verse 6 we have the iniquity of all laid on Christ, verse 5 having already mentioned that His chastisement brought peace, and by his wounds we are healed. It is not untrue to attribute these to what is stated in verse 6. First, iniquity must be laid on Christ for Him to carry it. But we also know that not all people are at peace with God, and not all are to be healed. So there is much that verse 6 does not state, things we must know, before we can conclusively attribute to it HOW it affects the bringing of peace and healing, or any other effect, to those that it applies. In terms of the laying on of iniquity in regarding eternal salvation, we know from explicit statements that the vehicle for this blessing is because He “carried” the iniquity of the many, or the”offspring”.

    Lastly, consider 1 Peter 2:24, and how it synthesizes the details within Isaiah 53. I regard it as the clearest interpretation of Isaiah 53 as it applies to the church. Without reference to this verse, I see discussion of Isaiah 53 as naturally inhibited. However, I wont add more discussion here on this, but I will present my findings:

    1 Peter 2:24-25
    24 (a.) and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, (b.) so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; (c.) for by His wounds you were healed.
    25 (d.) For you were continually straying like sheep, (e.) but now you have returned (f.) to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

    1 Peter 2:24-25 and Isaiah 53

    (a.) He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
    1. yet he bore the sin of many (53:12)
    Hebrews 9:28 “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many”

    (b.) so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness;
    1. upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, (53:5)
    2. when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; (53:10)
    3. shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous (53:11)
    II Corinthians 5:21: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    (c.) for by His wounds you were healed.
    1. and with his stripes we are healed. (53:5)
    2. when his soul makes an offering for sin…he shall prolong his days; (53:10)

    (d.) For you were continually straying like sheep,
    1.) All we like sheep have gone astray;
    Ephesians 2:1-2: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins, in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience”

    (e.) but now you have returned
    1. Note that in Isaiah 53:6, the inverse was stated: “we have turned every one to his own way”

    (f.) to the Shepherd and Guardian (or overseer) of your souls.
    1. (as shepard) (53:10) and John 10:11: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
    2. (as guardian) makes intercession for the transgressors. (53:12)

    I hope I have offered meaningful interaction to this discussion. Thank you for the opportunity to address this issue. God Bless.

    1. Jared,

      I have allowed this huge comment since I think this is your first time here. While you make some useful points please keep in mind that I am only using v.6 as a part proof for the statement “Christ died for all sinners (whoever believes).” I don’t know where you come down on the extent of the atonement, but I do not see reasons here to call the unqualified sense of “us all” into question. I may need to read it again!

      God bless you and yours,

      Paul H.

  11. Thanks Paul. And I apologize for the large post. I was typing it into this tiny box and did not realize just how big it became. I will use a word processor for future posts. Also, I apologize for not fully understanding the dialogue prior to my entry. I was not addressing your initial use of Isaiah 53:6 as a part proof, but the derivative discussion on atonement that followed. It could be that my opening statements did not properly establish what I would then write below it.

    To help with understanding my previous post, allow me to restate my purpose and some of the points I make:

    I brought to attention that there are two groups addressed in Isaiah 53:
    1. The unbelieving generation at the time of Christ’s crucifixion.
    2. The offspring of Christ, the many who are made to be counted righteous in verse 11.

    The second group does not begin to be addressed, at least in explicit statements, until verse 10.
    Verse 10 marks a shift in context and language.
    The only time the statement of “bearing iniquity” takes place is in regard to the offspring mentioned in verses 11 and 12.

    There have been statements here by Paul and Bryan that have drawn equivalence between the two groups, in that “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” from verse 6 is equated with “and he shall bear their iniquities” from verse 11 and “yet he bore the sin of many” from verse 12.

    Paul:
    “The inference against making the “all” for whom Christ bears their iniquities all Israel is, I think, something you are bringing with you from your understanding of the NT.”

    Bryan:
    “Your basic error is you think the bearing of sins on the cross by Jesus as constitute as the personal salvation in itself for any person.”

    What stands as obfuscation in this discussion on these issues is the co-mingling of the two concepts of “laid” and “bear”. Verse 6 may say that “the iniquity of us all” was laid on Christ, but only verse 12 mentions the “bearing” of sins by Christ, and this is spoken in regards to the “many”. I propose again that “laid” and “bear” are two distinct concepts in application. One means to fall on, the other to carry. So, the point is this: that regardless of who’s iniquity is “laid” on Christ, the concept of the bearing of sins is only explicitly used in application to the many, those who are “made to be justified”.

    In a way different than the quotes above, Simple Elder also misses the finer points of these contexts/concepts:

    “So let me ask you 2 questions: Isa. 53:5 says Jesus was “crushed for our iniquities, the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

    1) Do you believe Isa. 53:5 teaches that a crushing for iniquities and chastening for well-being fell upon Jesus for all men? (Yes/No)
    2) If yes, then do you believe, as Isa. 53:5 would then claim, that by His scourging all men are healed? (Yes/No)

    If #2 is “no,” then how can you claim a “yes’ for #1 and be true to the text?”

    But there is a distinction that can be made between the iniquity of all falling on Christ as first order, so that Christ may carry the iniquity of the many as second order. Understanding that Christ did not bear the iniquity of the many irrespective of the iniquity of the all being laid on Him, but it is the bearing of iniquity being what is efficacious in redemption. Therefore it is still true to say “by his stripes we are healed” even in the context of “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all”, as the laying on of iniquity was first necessary for Him to bear that of the many.

    Now, if Christ did not bear the sins of all men, it is not to say that there was no purpose in the iniquity of all being laid on Him. The temporary appeasement of God’s wrath on all the ungodly, the restraining of evil, all other forms of common grace, etc. are in view here.

    Calvinists find understanding of this from I Timothy 4:10: For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

    Lastly, I will add another point:
    No one has mentioned Isaiah 52:15, where it states this: “thus He will sprinkle many nations”. If it be allowed, I believe this prior statement is meant to inform the entirety of Isaiah 53. It tells us that the more than just Israel are to be the recipients. Certainly this preceding verse, the last before the start of Isaiah 53, should be brought to bear when we consider the the proper application “us all.”

    I hope this clears up my previous post, and also that it might add something to this discussion. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute, and thank you to all three of you for the beneficial reading.

    1. Jared,

      You say that the ones upon whom iniquity was laid (v.6), and the ones for whom iniquity was “borne” (v.12) should be distinguished. You rightly note the change in verse 10 has a shift from verse 6. But the shift to the third person occurs at v.7. V.10 marks the beginning of a new section of the song, which connects it up with the start of the song in 52:13f. Your distinction of parties introduces a discontinuity in the song which is not seen by commentators I know of. On v.6 Calvin writes, “We see that here none are excepted, for the Prophet includes ‘all.’ The whole human race would have perished, if Christ had not brought relief.” He sees no essential difference between “paga” (translated ‘has laid upon’ v.6) and “nasa” (translated ‘bore’ in v.12). This is because the stress of v.6 is on this last clause. Clearly, if the sin of all was laid upon Him then He bore that sin!

      Then, “Understanding that Christ did not bear the iniquity of the many irrespective of the iniquity of the all being laid on Him, but it is the bearing of iniquity being what is efficacious in redemption.”

      Well Jared, your understanding is not shared by the commentators, and for good reason. The distinction is not there brother.

      Finally: “Now, if Christ did not bear the sins of all men, it is not to say that there was no purpose in the iniquity of all being laid on Him. The temporary appeasement of God’s wrath on all the ungodly, the restraining of evil, all other forms of common grace, etc. are in view here.

      Calvinists find understanding of this from I Timothy 4:10: For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”

      You have jumped to “if Christ did not bear the sins of all men” from a false starting point. The passage will not support your artificial distinction between “has laid upon” and “bore.” A person bears what is laid upon them! Making v.6 “a temporary appeasement” reads all kinds of assumptions into Isaiah 53, which knows nothing of it. 1 Tim. 4:10 makes Christ the Savior (soter) of “all men” but “especially of those who believe.” That teaches my (and Bryan’s) position about as clearly as it can be taught. That is why 5 pointers generally construe “soter” there as preserver to get round it.

      As with SimpleElder, it becomes clear that you are bringing limited atonement with you into the reading of these passages.

      God bless you,

      Paul

    2. Hi Jared,

      I’m with Paul on this one. One of the problems in ascribing the cross as the ground for common grace is one of Personhood. The wrath-appeasing sacrificing was a Person who substituted Himself for persons. A force of grace was not sacrificed to provide grace: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

      Some Calvinists use 1 Tim. 4:10 to explain common grace; not all. Based on this they distinguish themselves from 5 pointers by calling themselves 4.5ers or 4.75ers. Clever by half.

      Paul is right – the most common Calvinist explanation of 1 Tim. 4:10 is that Soter means preservation. But how are believers preserved more than non-Christians? Some of us meet an “early” demise in martyrdom the more godly we are (4:8) and the more we “labor and strive” (4:10a).

      The most common Arminian explanation is to claim Paul is making a “Potential/Actual” distinction. Jesus is the potential savior of all men and the actual savior of believers. Of course, that’s not in the text either. Believers aren’t “more potentially’ saved than unbelievers.

      Sam Storms wrote “This text is notoriously difficult for every theological system” (“Defining the Elect,” The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 27 (1984): 210). It would seem wise then not to base doctrine, such as common grace in the atonement, or potential atonement, on this verse.

      Homer Kent, now with the Lord, described four proposed solutions (The Pastoral Epistles (Chicago: Moody, 1958), 158-60).

      The first is the Universalist View, which is of course the view that all are saved in the end. While Paul doesn’t counter this thought explicitly in the verse, if it were true why “labor and strive” (4:10a) if we all go to heaven?

      Second, there is the Providential View, best known inside Reformed circles, which views the word soter “in its lower sense of preserver, deliverer” (Kent, 158). Those who support this view see both soteriological and non-soteriological meanings in the word—“Saviour is here used in a double sense” (Donald Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles (Leicester: InterVarsity, 1990), 108). IOW, Jesus saves the elect from their sins but preserves the non-elect during their life on earth. This view violates a basic principle of hermeneutics by assigning to the single occurrence of soter two different meanings.

      Third, the Potential-actual View posits that God is the potential Savior of all, but actually only of some. This is the common position for those supporting the unlimited view of the atonement. For Erickson, “some of the verses that teach a universal atonement that cannot be ignored. Among the most impressive is 1 Timothy 4:10. . . . Apparently the Savior has done something for all persons, though it is in less degree than what he has done for those who believe” (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991), 834).

      Fourth, Kent’s own view, is the Temporal-eternal View lowers the concept of salvation with deliverance in respect to all men, and raises it a bit to God’s special acts with respect to believers, such as answered prayer.

      Kent ends up landing on the last one since it is the only view apart from the Universalist interpretation that also allows the Greek superlative “malista” (English: particulalrly, especially) a consistent superlative sense in the passage. While both believers and unbelievers receive the common grace of God in this time, believers receive it especially more in eternity. The only difference between now and then is a matter of degrees, not a change of kind.

      Every other view requires a change in meaning for the Savior’s relationship to all and the Savior’s relationship to believers. I recommend it.

  12. ” You still believe men are condemned for their sins, including their sin of unbelief. I do not think “all things” means what you think it means.Yet your theology has millions who’s have been propitiated and yet will bear God’s wrath forever, millions who have been redeemed yet bound in a forever slavery to sin and Satan, and millions reconciled who are God’s avowed eternal enemies. ”

    No persons sins including unbelief are forgiven until they are born of God & have faith in Jesus Christ. While in unbelief all people including the elect are under condemnation until regeneration occurs. You need to take note of passages such as John 3:3; 36; 5:24; 8:24; 20:31; Eph. 2:1-6; Col. 2:13; Acts 16:30-31 and Rom. 5:1. These passages contradicts the very arguments that you are making. Unless one has faith in Jesus one will die in their sins. On this Scripture is on my side. Not unless you believe the elect were never subjected to spiritual death at any point at all and always had faith in Christ. This is how I noticed special pleading by Dr. John Owen in his book The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. 🙂 You really need to follow what Paul said with regard to ” philosophy ” in Colossians 2:8. Theprovision is for the lost and it’s application is to the elect. You are confusing the provision made for sin up with it’s personal application of it. Your arguments hold no water since based on the verse I cited that all people are subject to ” Total Depravity ” and ” condemnation ” until they are born again. You were not forgiven & justified when Jesus died. That alone shows what Jesus died on the cross was provisional in nature.

    ” I do not think propitiation, redemption and reconciliation mean what you think they mean. If you don’t understand the biblical words used to express what happened on the cross, how can you have saving faith in it?”

    That is a very odd claim considering the fact it is in line with what one finds in Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary on Old and New Testament Words ; The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary and not to mention A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures. The only difference between us is I hold propitiation, redemption and reconcolilation two-fold. One a provision made for sinful lost humanity and a personal application of it to the elect. The only disagreement is the fact that you reduced this provision to the elect alone. I understand the work of Jesus Christ very well and have no problem with it. The only issue is that Limited Redemptionist distort passages which expands Christ work provisionally for the lost and wish to limit that to the elect alone. I have no problem with the intended application as limited to the elect but to limit it’s provision to the elect alone is not supported by Scripture exegetically. You make me wonder if you would have a problem with Martin Luther who held to unconditional election and yet held to unlimited atonement ?

  13. ” Yes, if it was forgiven by you. But it was forgiven by My surety – My substitute. Therefore I had to come to life by the power of the atonement, for by His wounds I am healed (Isa. 53:5). ”

    None of your sins were forgiven until you had faith in Jesus Christ. On this Acts 10:43 refutes you.

    1. Bryan wrote:

      None of your sins were forgiven until you had faith in Jesus Christ. On this Acts 10:43 refutes you.

      You would like me to believe my faith is efficacious even unto forgiveness? Sorry, your brand of theology tempts me to glory in what I have done.

      Like every Christian, I exerted faith in Christ when the work of Christ was applied to me by the Holy Spirit drawing me to Him – on February 28, 1980. But since my believing was performed with all manner of sin mixed in, my faith required the cleansing of the cross, not my sincerity.

      You may boast in your faith if you wish but I shall not (Gal. 6:14).

      1. Very nice job at your special pleading. The logical fallacies for limited atonement are revealed in what you wrote. Faith is not a work but it something the elect must do in order to receive eternal life.Is not John 20:31 in your Bible ? It is through the efficacious drawing and calling is how one comes to faith in Christ. Too bad you wont allow me at all to believe this yet you allow this for yourself alone. You cant get around Acts 10:43 nor Romans 5:1 at all. Like I said before if one takes your arguments seriously than you deny the role of faith in Jesus Christ and more or less have men as practical robots. God does not have faith for us. We have faith. There is a big difference in that. While it is true we cant believe apart from divine enablement we still must have faith otherwise you are not forgiven of any sins nor justifed . I guess Gen. 15:6 nor Romans 4 means anything to you at all which relates to this issue. How can I boast in my faith when it is a work of God done in me after the principle of Phil 2:13 ? Faith is the personal truth in the person of Jesus Christ of course which also includes repentence. Yet you wish to totally exclude the human perspective from Scripture and seem entent to affirm only the Sovereignity of God in salvation. You are no better than the Arminian in that while they deny the sovereignity of God you on the other hand exclude human responsibilty in salvation while both are taught in Scripture. Remember this very well. God is the one who gives the irresistable call to salvation ( Rom 8:30 ) and we are the ones who must have faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved ( Acts 16:30-31 ) . We are the ones who have faith as empowered by Him. God does not have faith for us. I even affirmed that faith is a gift of God to the elect and is part of the ” spiritual blessing ” of Eph. 1:3 YET you claim that I boast in my faith when thats not true in any manner You did not present an honest presentation of my beliefs in your reply to me. Do you believe in Calvinism or ” fatalism ” ? You blur the distinctions between those two if we follow what you are saying.

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