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

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Question and Answer: Amyraldianism, Common Grace, and the Well Meant Offer

The following is a question someone asked online and my response:

Question:  Not just the idea of common grace, but also the "well meant offer".  Just wondering if it is fair to label both the Van Tillians as well as the New-Calvinists like Mark Driscoll, D. A. Carson and Tim Keller, Amyraldians. And yes. Although many people separate Van Til's theology with Neo-orthodoxy, I actually don't see much difference in their epistemology. Maybe Barth is even more logically in comparison to Clark.

The above question was asked in response to this post on the blog:  Evidence: Common Grace Undermines Particular Atonement

Here is my response to the question above:

Answer:  I wouldn't call D.A. Carson an Amyraldian... At least not that I know of. Maybe I missed something. But Mark Driscoll makes no bones about it that he believes in universal atonement. Once you give up one point of Calvinism the rest collapses soon enough. Tim Keller is not an Amyraldian either. But my contention is that those who hold to common grace usually agree with Charles Hodge that Christ "in some sense" died for the reprobate in order to purchase for them "common grace". This usually degenerates into the well meant offer and other such semi-Arminian nonsense. Neo-Calvinists are inconsistent Calvinists in other words. Mike Horton's new systematic theology is alarming because instead of denying several points of orthodoxy he only questions one or two points. As Gordon H. Clark says, an Evangelical who is liberal and doesn't want to reveal it just yet only compromises a point here or there. But he is a liberal nevertheless.

I guess "semi-Amyraldian" would be a good way to put Charles Hodge's capituation to common grace being purchased on the cross.

Question:   Well... the contention among the amyraldians is that there are two contradicting wills of God. That God desires the salvation of all, but only died for some. Doesn't Keller, Carson, Driscoll and Piper all agree with that?

Answer:  This is a fine point but the basic difference is that Driscoll openly advocates 4 point Calvinism and is openly an Amyraldian.

As far as I know Keller, Carson, and Piper are 5 point Calvinists. The reason Carson, Keller, and Piper say that God "desires" the salvation of all is His revealed will shows that He wants all men to repent. Horton has that view as well. It goes back to common grace and the well meant offer. Although none of these men "claim" to advocate Amyraldianism or Arminianism the fact is the doctrine of common grace and the well meant offer are very subtle compromises with both Arminianism and Amyraldianism.

Amyraldianism says that God decreed that Christ would die for all men "on the condition of faith" but knowing that all men would not accept Christ God then decreed to unconditionally elect some men. That's basically a compromise with Arminianism but does not go as far as Arminianism. It is a departure from infralapsarianism in that there is a logical contradiction in God's will. How could God decree to save all on condition of faith when obviously God already knows the future because He has determined every detail of the future? At least infralapsarianism says that in the LOGICAL order of God's thinking prior to creation or time He determined to elect some men unconditionally. He made this logical decision after considering men fallen in Adam in the logical order of His decrees. Again, this is not in time but before time or creation and takes place in God's thought. How modern neo-Calvinists can denigrate univocal knowledge when the entire supralapsarian/infralapsarian issue was in fact an argument about the logical order of God's thoughts when He decided to make His decrees. According to the liberals like Horton and R. Scott Clark this is to confuse the Creator/creature distinction. For them analogical theology would mean we could not even discuss supralapsarianism, infralapsarianism, or even Amyraldianism because this is prying into God's secret being. What a bunch of self-contradictory morons!

Sorry for that last bit but I get upset when so-called "Evangelical" men have sold out a couple of points to the liberals while pretending to be still conservative and Evangelical. According to Gordon H. Clark these kind of men are not conservatives at all but liberals. Personally, I think Clark was talking obliquely about Cornelius Van Til, Ned Stonehouse, John Murray and others. Maybe even John Frame?

If you read the piece I wrote on Charles Hodge saying that Christ died to purchase common grace for the reprobate (all men would include the reprobate), then you can see how advocating common grace rather than Calvin's doctrine of general providence leads to further compromise in other areas. It's also why Princeton today is a liberal seminary and the PCUSA is basically a liberal denomination. They even ordain open homosexuals now. After all common grace elevates general revelation to the same level as special revelation. Once that happens theistic evolution creeps in and the next thing is the ordination of women and homosexuals.

This is why I have now been convinced that Gordon H. Clark was correct in his axiom: Scripture IS the Word of God.

The Protestant Reformed Church has done a thorough critique of both common grace and the well meant offer. I would highly recommend that you do some reading on their websites. They have shown a direct link between the teaching of theistic evolution at Calvin College and Seminary and the doctrine of the three points of common grace. Common grace and Arminianism lead to liberalism.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Addendum:  The fact of the matter is that common grace confuses the command given to all men to repent of self righteousness and sin and to believe the Gospel promises with some sort of "well meant offer".  Like the Arminian, neo-Calvinists confuse the perspective of the creature with God's secret decrees.  God obviously never desired the salvation of the reprobate.  To make God's revealed will the litmus test over against God's decrees is to sell out to Arminianism.  Ironically, even the revealed will of God (Deuteronomy 29:29) is not to save all since God is speaking specifically to the Hebrews when He says it is not His pleasure that the wicked perish (Ezekiel 33:11).  The other proof text misappropriated by the Arminians, Amyraldians and neo-Calvinists is 2 Peter 3:9.  The context of that verse is not all mankind in general but Christians suffering persecution by the Romans.  The letter is specially addressed to Christians and is considered an occasional pastoral epistle dealing with a specific situation.  To read into the text of 2 Peter 3:9 a "well meant desire" on God's part to save those He has decreed to reprobation and hell is illogical, irrational, and a flat contradiction of the total teaching of Scripture.  (1 Peter 2:8; Romans 9:11-13).

I offer this as proof that Driscoll teaches the Arminian or Amyraldian view:

 Though by his own admission he doesn’t appreciate the title, Mark Driscoll is held up by many as the poster-child for what is being called New Calvinism or Neo-Calvinism, and his view on the atonement which he terms Unlimited-Limited Atonement is increasingly becoming a predominant view of the atonement held by young Reformed Christians.  In explaining Unlimited-Limited Atonement Driscoll writes:

“At first glance, Unlimited and Limited Atonement are in opposition. But, that dilemma is resolved by noting two things. First, the two categories are not mutually exclusive; since Jesus died for the sins of everyone that means that He also died for the sins of the elect. Second, Jesus’ death for all people does not accomplish the same thing as His death for the elect. This point is complicated, but is in fact taught in Scripture (1 Tim. 4:10; 2 Peter 2:1).
Simply, by dying for everyone, Jesus purchased everyone as His possession and He then applies His forgiveness to the elect by grace and applies His wrath to the non-elect. Objectively, Jesus’ death was sufficient to save anyone, and, subjectively, only efficient to save those who repent of their sin and trust in Him. This position is called Unlimited Limited Atonement or Modified Calvinism.
Therefore, Modified Calvinists like the Mars Hill elders do not believe anything different than Arminians; we simply believe what they believe and more. Lastly, perhaps the Old Testament sacrificial system provides the best illustration of this both/and position. The High Priest would offer a sacrifice for the sins of the whole nation on the Day of Atonement; this is, in effect, unlimited atonement. Then, each worshipper would repent of their own sins as demonstrated by the giving of their own sacrifices for their sins; this is, in effect, limited atonement.”[19]
From:  Soteriology in the Middle (Part III), by Kellen Criswell.
You can also hear it from the horse's mouth so to speak.  Driscoll preached on unlimited atonement here:  Unlimited Limited Atonement.


Charlie J. Ray said...

This fellow makes some valid points against the Arminians and the advocates of the neo-Calvinist doctrine that Christ "in some sense" died for all. Unfortunately he is also a universalist and stupidly thinks that Arminianism and Calvinism are both right. What sort of logic is that???

Here's the link: Does “Unlimited Atonement” Make You a Universalist?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Looks like D.A. Carson is a continuationist after all. No wonder the Pentecostals like him:)

aaytch said...

I would be interested to know who at Westminster did NOT follow Hodge and Warfield down the road of common grace, synergistic sanctification, the "well meant offer" etc.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hudson, in 1940 when Gordon H. Clark was a professor at Westminster there were several in the presbytery who supported Clark. I'm not sure what their names were. But obviously the legacy of Van Til is that Westminster PA and CA are both headed in the direction of outright neo-orthodoxy.

Some folks will probably think I'm not being fair to Horton. But to anyone who is a fundamentalist it is fairly clear that Horton is compromised. He practically never even discusses plenary verbal inspiration and only briefly mentions inerrancy.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Clark did not agree with common grace. That was part of the reason Van Til and Stonehouse and Murray opposed him.

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