“So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” (Romans 9:18)
The doctrine taught in this verse is called Equal Ultimacy. It has to do with double predestination. All Calvinists agree that God unconditionally elects totally depraved sinners and then exercises irresistible grace so that they believe–but what about the rest of humanity? What about those who were not elect before the foundation of the world?
My position is that God exercises the same freedom in His hardening as He does in showing mercy. In the same way that God chooses who goes to heaven and then works faith into them, so also He chooses who goes to hell and then hardens/blinds them. In the same way that election is unconditional, so also is reprobation equally as unconditional. Continue reading Are the Non-Elect Predestined For Hell? A Defense of Equal Ultimacy
“God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand.”-John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (3:23:7)
The above sentiment is not popular today. If I say, “The fall was part of God’s plan the whole time!” or, “This world of sin and suffering was Plan A,” then immediately people will retort that such a view removes free will from the picture, and accuse me of making Adam a robot. Continue reading Did the Fall Ruin God’s Plan? Sin, Suffering, and the Sovereignty of God
In our original post on the Golden Chain of Salvation we looked at Romans 8:30 as our key verse. There we examined each stage in the process (predestination, calling, justification, and glorification) and concluded that, by God’s power, the links of the chain cannot be broken. If one part of the chain applies to somebody, we know the rest will too.
Now we will continue on in Romans 8 where Paul elaborates upon and solidifies what he has already said about the golden chain. Bringing up Christ’s death and resurrection Paul shows how our security is rooted in God’s justice (vv. 31-34), and in His love (vv. 35-39). Christians are hammered with opposition and trials in this life, but because Jesus died for us we can rest assured that nothing can “unlink” us from the chain of salvation. Continue reading The Cross and the Golden Chain of Salvation (Romans 8:31-34)
I recently posted about the Top 10 Best Books on the Atonement. There I mentioned my favorite book outside the Bible, The Death of Death by John Owen. This is Owen’s treatise on Limited Atonement. The entirety of the third section (book) is devoted to 16 arguments in support of Limited Atonement. Now each one may not be sufficient by itself (although some are) to prove the doctrine, but by the end we see that the overarching theme traced throughout the whole Bible is undeniable. Below is my summary of them. As the title implies, I’ll try to keep with Owen’s thought and Bible references, although I may at times fall for the temptation to add my own take and flare. All page numbers are from the 1983 reprint by Banner of Truth. Again, there is a free PDF version on CCEL
Continue reading 16 Arguments for Limited Atonement: A Summary of John Owen’s Thoughts
“These whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
Paul had just said that God is working all things for our good (v. 28), and that we will be conformed to Jesus’ image (v. 29). Continuing that thought, he explains that the plan of salvation is secure, and how God brings us into that conformity. The teaching in this sentence has rightly been called The Golden Chain of Salvation. Nobody can be at one link in this chain without all of the others being true. Anybody who is justified before God is so because they were first predestined by God, and because God followed through with His purpose to save them by also calling them. Anybody who is justified will by no means fall away, but God will complete their salvation and bring them into eternal glory. The verse could have the same meaning if it had only said, “all whom He predestined, He also glorified.“ Continue reading The Golden Chain of Salvation, Romans 8:30
Today I want to address the age old question of what Paul refers to as being “not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” in Ephesians 2:8-9. When I first became a Calvinist I fell into the same trap as many others of seeing Calvinism all over the place. So when I came across a verse that says, “faith…not of yourselves,” I thought, “Yes! Faith is from God, not our free will! Let me add this to my list of cross references!” (Of course, Calvin himself didn’t see only faith as the gift.) This is the common interpretive mistake of letting systematic theology guide our exegetical theology instead of the other way around. It is true that other scriptures teach that faith is a gift from God (Acts 16:14; Phil. 1:29; 2 Tim. 2:25-26). It is true that the analogy of Scripture ought to be brought into consideration during Bible study. Yet every text must be examined by themselves to determine the original meaning the author intended. This is what we shall do now with Ephesians 2:8-9. Continue reading What is the “Gift of God” in Ephesians 2:8-9
As it should be obvious to those who know me, I am an advocate of Limited Atonement. Though it may be the most controversial of all the “five points of Calvinism”, I find it to be the most clear logically speaking, as well as the most supported biblically. The main argument against it used by Arminians is that the Scriptures contain the words all and world when referring to the extent of the atonement. In response, the Calvinist would simply point out that those terms are seldom universal in scope (John 1:10; 11:48; 12:19).
There is, however, one argument used by Arminians called the co-extent theory which at first seems to turn the Calvinist view on its head. They reason from certain texts that if sin is universal in scope, so atonement must also be. Thus they reason that since Calvinists clearly believe that every human has sinned and is totally depraved, then every human must also have been included in Christ’s redemption. The following texts are used: Continue reading The Co-Extent Theory Examined and Critiqued