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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Christ Died for You?

I recently engaged a modernist Lutheran in an online debate on Facebook.  He continually denied logic and then contradicted himself by asserting the proposition that Calvinists cannot say that, "Christ died for you."  Although no one can absolutely or intuitively know anything directly, the Calvinist can be assured of his salvation, and hence the Calvinist can know indirectly that he or she is one of God's elect.  Only God knows intuitively and directly.  He is eternally omniscient and there is no procession of thoughts from one thought to another in God's mind.  We, on the other hand, know only discursively.


Of course, stubborn irrationalists are not interested in the confessional standards of Calvinists.  Their responses are designed only to preach to the choir, i.e. other Melanchthonian Lutherans.  Phillip Melanchthon, you will recall, went back in a semi-pelagian direction.  Be that as it may, the Dutch Reformed confessional standards, the Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort) do answer the question the Lutheran thinks refutes the Calvinist focus on the sovereignty of God in the ordo  salutis.  The Heidelberg Confession in particular deals with this question directly on Day 1.  What is particularly interesting about this catechism question and answer is that it ties both the sovereignty of God and particular atonement together and applies that doctrine directly to the individual believer personally such that the believer can truly say, "Christ died for me!"  The Lutheran cannot say this with a straight face for the simple reason that Christ did not die for him personally.  Christ only died for him generally.  The Heidelberg Catechism says:

LORD'S DAY 1

Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I with (1)body and soul, both in life and death, (2)am not my own, but belong (3)unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with His precious (4)blood, hath fully (5)satisfied for all my sins, and delivered 6me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me (7)that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair (8)can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be (9)subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me (10)of eternal life, and makes (11)me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.


1) 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2) Rom. 14:7-9; 3) 1 Cor. 3:23; 4) 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 5) John 1:7; 6) 1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14-15; 7) John 6:39; John 10:28-29; 8) Luke 21:18; Matt. 10:30; 9) Rom. 8:28; 10) 2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5; 11) Rom. 8:14; Rom. 7:22


The Arminian and the Lutheran cannot say that Christ died for "you" personally.  Why?  Because they do not really believe that.  If universal atonement is true, then it logically follows that Christ died for everyone in general, not for you personally.  And, if Christ died for everybody, his death effects no genuine salvation for everyone.  Salvation is merely a contingency, a possibility.  Thus, the death of Christ is not what ultimately saves in the Arminian/Lutheran scheme.  What saves is you yourself and your response to the proposition that Christ died for everyone.  If Christ died for everyone, he died for everyone already in hell since the fall, for everyone in hell while He was hanging on the cross, and for everyone who would go to hell in the future.  Therefore, the death of Christ on the cross is not the central doctrine of Arminianism/Lutheranism.  For the Arminian the central doctrine is libertarian free will.  For modernist and irrationalist Lutherans, the central doctrine is sacramentalism.

The Calvinist places neither of these doctrines at front and center.  For the Calvinist the sovereignty of God determines salvation.  (Psalm 139:1-16).  Not only does Christ die for all of the elect, but He knows each of them personally from all eternity, before any of them were ever born.  He died for His sheep.  (John 10:11, 15).  His sheep were given to Him by the Father in eternity before creation.  (John 10:27-30); Matthew 25:33-34).  Jesus calls each of His sheep by name.  (John 10:3).  They are not faceless numbers in a crowd.  They are not merely "possible" converts.  (Proverbs 16:33).  Every single one of Christ's sheep will believe and be saved.  (John 10:4-5, 28).  His sheep come to know Him through regeneration, effectual calling, conversion, repentance, adoption, inheritance, and the the grace of faith.  They are predestined to believe.  (Romans 8:28-30).  Salvation is 100% guaranteed.  Salvation is not a crapshoot.  (Proverbs 16:33).

Charlie J. Ray

 When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don't recognize the voice of strangers." (John 10:4-5 CSB)

 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 CSB)

 "I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, 15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd. (John 10:14-16 CSB)

 Then the Jews surrounded Him and asked, "How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly." 25 "I did tell you and you don't believe," Jesus answered them. "The works that I do in My Father's name testify about Me. 26 But you don't believe because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish-- ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 The Father and I are one." (John 10:24-30 CSB)

Holman Christian Standard Bible, 2nd Edition.



4 comments:

Rubin O. Wits said...

Excellent, Charlie. I had a similar conversation with Todd Wilkins of the Lutheran radio show, Issues Etc.

Rubin O. Wits said...

Excellent, Charlie. I had the same conversation with Todd Wilkins of Lutheran radio show, Issues Etc.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I think most modern Lutherans, including the "conservative" Lutherans misread Luther. Even the Book of Concord affirms that the sacraments avail nothing without faith. See the Larger Catechism section on baptism. These are Luther's words, by the way. Also, the Bondage of the Will flatly denies that there is any contingency in salvation whatsoever. That would rule out any idea that reprobation is contingent as well. God is in control of both. Those who deny that Luther said this are in agreement with Erasmus, not Luther.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Thanks for commenting, Rubin...

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