Tuesday, June 26, 2012

limited atonement

Sadly, even after Phil Johnson's retirement, Teampyro demonstrates an inability to stop dispersing unredeemable garbage amidst solid Biblical teaching. Oh well, it's meant to be ...

Speaking of meant to be, and case-in-point (albeit minor this time), the latest post by Dan Phillips addresses an article by Roger Olson's article Is God's Love Limited to the Elect? in the Assemblies of God publication Enrichment.

Phillips starts his article, which ends very well, by disparaging the AOG. His defenders would point out that he didn't actually saying anything bad, he just listed some people that have come out of that denomination; anything negative one thinks speaks for itself. But of course that is nonsense and one of the continued sad tactics employed by these guys.

But that aside, here's the meat of his post and it really is good:

... Olson ... states "It is possible for the same sins to be punished twice." Yes sir, yes ma'am, you read that right. Read it again. "It is possible for the same sins to be punished twice." That, my friend, is a direct quotation, not a parody nor a paraphrase. Here it is in full context:
It is possible for the same sins to be punished twice and that is what makes hell so absolutely tragic — it is totally unnecessary. God punishes those with hell who reject His Son’s substitution. An analogy will help make this clear. After the Vietnam War, President Jimmy Carter gave a blanket amnesty to all draft dodgers who fled to Canada and elsewhere. By presidential decree they were free to come home. Some did and some did not. Their crime was no longer punishable; but some refused to take advantage of the amnesty and punished themselves by staying away from home and family. Believers in universal atonement believe God allows sinners who refuse the benefit of Christ’s cross to suffer the punishment of hell in spite of the fact it is totally unnecessary. [emphases added]
I quoted that at length because, if I hadn't, many would assume that I'd pulled an MSNBC and edited the quotation to make Olson look silly. But that is really what he says. In fact, I make out two arguments, both absolutely absurd, insulting to God, and harmful to Scripture:
  1. God pours out the full measure of His wrath for sins on Jesus (1 Cor. 15:3), Jesus says "It is finished" (Jn. 19:31), God declares that He has accepted the sacrifice (Rom. 4:25) — and then He punishes people for those same sins — forever. If the Arminian wants to call the Biblical God affirmed in Calvinism "unloving" (because He actually saves some, though not all), I will call Olson's god unjust.
  2. God is, in any way, like Jimmy Carter? Ouch. But that aside: the analogy breaks down. People in Hell are punishing themselves? That man-centered absurdity is not what I read (Matt. 25:41; Jn. 3:36; 1 Thess. 1:10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9). They're either not suffering for sin at all, or God is inflicting punishment for sins that are already paid for, on Olson's model. To make the analogy work, you'd have to have President Carter issuing an amnesty for draft dodging, then heading off to Canada to arrest and imprison for the already-pardoned crime of draft-dodging those who refuse to accept the pardon. Carter has wiped the books of the crime, then imprisons them for that same crime.

Olson tells us, Believers in universal atonement believe God allows sinners who refuse the benefit of Christ’s cross to suffer the punishment of hell in spite of the fact it is totally unnecessary." So they are suffering "punishment." For what, exactly? For sins for which Christ already satisfied God's justice? Then God is unjust. (I speak as a fool.) For what sin? For rejecting Christ? But since that is disobedience to a direct command (1 John 3:23), isn't that a sin, by any sane definition? And did Christ make full satisfaction for sin, or did He not?

Ah, me. Does it get any better?

Olson denies the Calvinist criticism that the Arminian construct only gives "people an opportunity to save themselves," calling that assertion " totally fallacious reasoning."

But then he immediately confirms that very reasoning.

That's right. Again, let us quote Olson in full, to be fair:
Arminians (those who follow Jacob Arminius in rejecting unconditional election, limited atonement, and irresistible grace) believe Christ’s death on the Cross saves all who receive it by faith. Christ’s death secures their salvation — just as much as it secures the salvation of the elect in Calvinism. It guarantees that anyone who comes to Christ in faith will be saved by His death. This does not imply they save themselves. It simply means they accept the work of Christ on their behalf.
So in other words, Christ dies equally for Bob and for John. Christ does not do one more thing for Bob than He does for John. But Bob goes to Heaven after he dies, and John goes to Hell. Why? Clearly, not because of anything Christ did, because Christ did exactly the same for both. So who supplied the missing ingredient that meant Heaven for Bob? Who? Anyone? Bueller? That's right: Bob supplied the all-important ingredient that determined his future in Heaven. The missing ingredient that meant salvation for Bob was supplied — not by God the Father, not by God the Son, not by God the Holy Spirit, but — by Bob himself.

So who gets credit for Bob's salvation according to Olson's statement? I am sure every Arminian would say "Jesus does." I am sure that every Arminian would deny that they are teaching that the sinner deserves partial credit for their salvation. But ours is not a psychological interest, but a Biblical and logical interest, and we must follow out the logic of the system, whatever its advocates affirm or deny.

And according to that system, Jesus gets some credit, of course. He did a big thing. It was important, what Jesus did. But He didn't "pay it all." John goes to Hell in spite of what Jesus did, and Bob goes to Heaven, instead — because of what Bob added to what Jesus did. Jesus really couldn't have done it without Bob's help.

According to Olson's logic.

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