An Arminian Asks...........?

Part One

[Update! Jason now embraces all 5 Points of Calvinism, also known as the Doctrines of Grace. He writes: "I haven't written to you for a while and so I thought I would drop you a line and inform you that I actually do finally hold a fully Reformed position now (embracing all five points of Calvinism).  For the sake of consistency there really is no choice I have found.  Since embracing Reformed Theology have a much greater appreciation for God's wonderful grace.  When I think of how incredibly sinful I am, I am amazed that God would have chosen to save me.  Thankful for your testimony of these important truths." Jason also credits James White's materials in aiding his understanding of these imperative truths. Jason wishes to give credit for questions used in our debate to a Michael Penfold, as they did not originate with Jason.]

"The Bible teaches that God desires all men to be saved
and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4)........"
[therefore, is not the doctrine of Limited Atonement false which teaches Christ died and resurrected only for the Elect?]

Response of Rand Winburn: In order to properly exegete Scripture, one must first examine the Greek text. Then, one must examine the context in which it was written. Finally, one must interpret it in light of the whole counsel of God.

In verse 1 of 1Timothy 2, Paul is teaching basic evangelical truths to his disciple, Timothy, in preparation for Timothy's ministry. Prayers to the Lord should include the needs of all (Gr: pantown) men. In verse 2 Paul identifies these men. They include kings and all (pantown) secular rulers that have authority over citizens. In other words, they are not to be left out of Christians' prayers because they, too, are included in God's gracious plan of salvation, (verse 3). Christ did not omit the rich, famous and powerful in His gracious work of redemption. They, too, need the Gospel, (verse 4). Timothy is not to bypass them, though the rulers may be deceived by believing they do not have a pressing need for salvation because of their luxurious lifestyles and exalted positions. (Paul's own dealings in giving the Gospel to rulers is exemplified in the book of Acts.) Furthermore, some of the rulers may falsely believe they are gods on earth, having direct communication with the greater Gods, speaking forth oracles on behalf of these Gods. The Roman Caesar is an example of a king considered a god. One of his official titles was Pontifex Maximus, meaning Supreme Bridgebuilder. Caesar was the 'bridge' or 'way' to the greater Gods, the High Priest, above all other priests. Paul explains that Jesus is the only High Priest who is the mediator/bridge to the true God the Father, (verse 5). Jesus Christ is the only way, (John 14:6).

Thus, Christ gave Himself a ransom for all (pantown), (verse 6), so all need to hear the Gospel.

Jason, in context, Paul was teaching Timothy that Christ paid the price for the sins of all men without distinction - the rich, the poor, the lowly, the great. He was not teaching that Christ paid the price for all men without exception. We know this to be true when we examine the meaning of the theological term, ransom, (Gr: antilutron).

The Old Testament has laid the foundation for ransom. There are three specific Hebrew words which reflect ransom: payment being made in substitution for another's life, the obligation of a kinsman, and the redemption of something claimed by God: koper, ga'al, (go'el), and pada. (Source: Baker's Dictionary of Theology, [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991]; article, Ransom, pp. 432-433). This authority emphasizes the Scripture, The Son of man came&.to give his life a ransom for many, to prove the "general concept of liberation achieved by the payment of a price&(as in) the liberation of slaves." (Ibid.)

Jason, notice the type of payment used for the ransom: His life. Notice the object of His ransom: many&.not all.

To whom was the ransom paid? It was paid to the Father. He was sent by the Father and finished His work exactly as planned, (John 17:4).

For whom was the ransom paid? As Mediator and High Priest, Christ prays only for those given Him by the Father, for whom He died, the Elect, (John 17:9).

Was the ransom accepted by the Father as payment in full for the sins of the Elect, (those given Christ by the Father)? Yes, it was:

And he is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

John is also teaching the scope of Christ's atonement, as was Paul. It extends worldwide to all men without distinction, Jew and Gentile. Christ is the only One who propitiated - satisfied - the just demands of the Father. No other person in the world has or will propitiate God - ever.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The love of God in Christ did not fail. Christ satisfied - propitiated - the Father. Payment was given and received in full. No further payment is needed. Christ's resurrection is proof that payment of His blood was accepted by the Father, otherwise Christ would not have been raised from the dead in a glorified body.

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead);&..who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.

Jason, the Father raised Christ from the dead because He accepted His life as payment for the sins of the Elect, to whom Paul is writing, (though there are also tares - reprobates - within the Galatian church). The purpose of Christ's ransom was for deliverance from evil, i.e., setting the captives free, liberation. Those whom the Son sets free are free, indeed. Lord, give us this day our daily bread, and deliver us from evil, is the fervent prayer of the Christian.

Christ has, by virtue of His perfect substitutionary sacrifice accepted by the Father, successfully ransomed and delivered from sins and evil, men worldwide without distinction.

Christ did not give His life a ransom for Judas Iscariot, a devil and traitor, nor did He pray for Him. Christ loses none of His own. Judas, the son of perdition was predestined to destruction. It was foretold by Scripture, (John 17:12). What is Scripture but the will and decrees of God written for our benefit, having taken the form of history past, present and future?

Many will say to Christ on Judgment Day, Lord, Lord have we not....??, and He will answer, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Jason, these are the vast numbers of false Christians for whom Christ did not die - for whom Christ did not make atonement - for whom Christ did not give His life a ransom - for whom Christ did not propitiate the Father - for whom Christ did not pray - for whom Christ did not love enough to actually save. He never, at any time, past, present or future, knew them as His sheep.

Incidentally, one of the Pope's numerous titles is that of Supreme Pontiff, Pontifex Maximus, the same title as that of the Caesars. By usurping the office of High Priest from Christ, he is Antichrist. Christ does not love the Antichrist, neither are we to love the Antichrist. Try explaining that to Billy Graham and the infinite numbers of ecumenical leaders in the professing Church.

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