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 Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Arminian Heresy of Universal Atonement, by Rev. Angus Stewart

Many today believe and teach the Arminian heresy of universal atonement. The Synod of Dordt (1618-19), the most international assembly of Reformed Protestants, declares that Christ redeemed the elect "and those only" (II:8) and that those who teach that He died for everybody speak "contemptuously of the death of Christ" and "bring again out of hell the Pelagian error" (II:R:3). The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) states, "Neither are any other redeemed by Christ ... but the elect only" (3:6). This article was included in the Congregational Savoy Declaration (1658) and in the Baptist Confession (1689).

A universal atonement means that Christ must have died for Esau whom God hated (Rom. 9:13); Judas, "the son of perdition" (John 17:12); and Antichrist, the "man of sin" (II Thess. 2:3); as well as the whore, the false church (Rev. 17:1-2); those who commit the unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:32); and those who never hear the Word (Ps. 147:19-20) or are already in Hell. Is this consistent with the infinite power, wisdom and holiness of God?

A universal atonement means that Christ merely makes salvation possible and thus it denies that His death actually saves. The Bible, however, declares that Christ delivered (Heb. 2:15), reconciled (Rom. 5:10), redeemed and ransomed (Gal. 3:13), and justified His people "by his blood" (Rom. 5:9). If Jesus paid the price for everybody head for head and some perish in Hell, then His atonement does not save all—or even most of those—for whom it was made. How can Christ be "satisfied" in His atonement (Isa. 53:10), if millions perish for whom He shed His blood? Then too Christ’s death is not substitutionary, for if He took the punishment of the reprobate, why are they judged? If some for whom Christ died go to Hell, then God punishes their sins twice, once on Christ and once on them. Is this consistent with the infinite justice and righteousness of God? How can some whom Christ reconciled, and for whom there is no condemnation (Rom. 8:34), dwell forever in Hell?

Listen to John Wesley, an  advocate of universal, ineffectual atonement: "What! Can the blood of Christ burn in hell? … I answer, ... If the oracles of God are true, one who was purchased by the blood of Christ may go thither. For he that was sanctified by the blood of Christ was purchased by the blood of Christ. But one who was sanctified by the blood of Christ may nevertheless go to hell; may fall under that fiery indignation which shall for ever devour the adversaries" (The Works of John Wesley [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996], vol. 10, p. 297).  

The Scriptures teach that Christ died for His "people" (Matt. 1:21) and His "friends" (John 15:13). He ransomed "his seed" (Isa. 53:10) and not the seed of the serpent (Gen. 3:15); His "sons," "children" and "brethren" (Heb. 2:10-14) and not "bastards" (Heb.12:8); His sheep (John 10:11) and not the goats (Matt. 25:33); His church (Eph. 5:25) and not the "synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 3:9); and the "many" (Matt. 26:28) and not everybody head for head. 

Many make the fundamental exegetical error of taking the word "world" (Greek: kosmos) to mean "everybody head for head" in John 1:29, 3:16 and I John 2:2. Charles Spurgeon noted that nowhere in the Bible does "world" have this meaning. I challenge anyone to find one Biblical verse where "world" means "everybody head for head," and then prove that it has this meaning in a text teaching the extent of Christ’s atonement. Kosmos can mean the universe (Acts 17:24) or the Roman world (Col. 1:6) or the evil world system (John 12:31) or the reprobate (John 17:9) or the elect (John 4:42; 6:33; II Cor. 5:19) etc. The context is vital in explaining the Word, according to the great Reformation principle: Scripture interprets Scripture.

Just hours before the cross and with a view to His atoning death, Christ says, "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me" (John 17:9). If Jesus did not do a lesser thing (pray for the reprobate world), how could He do a greater thing (die for the reprobate world)? If Christ did not pray for the ungodly world (one aspect of His priestly work), is it possible that He died for the ungodly world (the other aspect of His priestly work)? Moreover, Christ prays on the basis of His work of redemption. Therefore if Christ did not pray for the reprobate world, it is because He did not purchase salvation for them. Christ’s prayers and atonement are not only particular—"for them which thou hast given me"—but also exclusive, not "for the world."

"Having just received and read the articles which you have written during January [2004], I congratulate you on the very able defence you made of the doctrines of Grace and Faith of God’s elect. I had just been thanking the visiting preacher to our fellowship last Lord’s Day on his dealing with Election and Particular Atonement in which he held to the Reformed tenets and had mentioned to him the encouraging contact we have with yourselves in Ballymena. It is indeed the same errors that raise their ugly heads in our age as have been dealt with by the faithful fathers of the true Church in their day. Thank you for standing firm as an example to the little flock who feel themselves so beleaguered in this evil present world. [From] an unworthy wretch saved by grace alone through faith alone.” - England


ElderChild said...

The pagan catholic/christian systems of religion hold multitudes in bondage with their "strong delusion" and paganistic g-d's ;-(

So it is that there will be multitudes who will hear those woe-filled words "Depart from Me, I never knew you".......

Mostly because they "loved this wicked, evil world and their own life in it" ;-(

Charlie J. Ray said...

ElderChild, from the looks of your blog, you don't really know much about Christianity at all.

You might want to take a look at the Westminster Confession of Faith.


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