Sunday, November 13, 2005

Doctrines of Grace Misrepresented (Pt 1)

First I would like to say that I do not know Mr. Cloud and actually had not heard of him until led to his site some time ago. The reason for using his comments is that first they are public and thus can be answered in public. Secondly, they represent what I have heard over and over from those that dislike the Doctrines of Grace so I decided to use his comments as a place to start in answering some of his objections. Now I am not sure who even reads this but it is helpful for myself to place my answers in writing so that I can use them at a later date.

So for this entry I would like to deal with his first statement, as a reminder, and give his “biblical answer”:

12. The false teaching that God chooses who will be saved and that only those who are chosen can be saved (Calvinism)
Bible Answer:
a. The Bible says that God wants all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-5; 2 Pet. 3:9).

First of all it is only one interpretation, that I would say is incorrect, that 1 Tim 2:3-5 (actually need to go to verse 8) speak to “all” men as meaning all people period. The greek for “all” has a number of meanings and was the word Paul had to use so we need to interpret “all” from this verse and other verses, in context. Keep in mind that when reading in English what may initially seem plain may not be so plain and the word “all” is one of those words. We use that word “all” of the time, well not really all the time, but even then do we mean all as meaning everything.

When we look elsewhere in God’s word, regarding the atonement, we find that at the cross Christ was a propitiation, took upon the wrath or penalty, for sin (Rom 3:25 and Heb 2:17). From this our choices are, since Christ actually accomplished something on the cross (a propitiation), either all are saved or only a certain, definite, group are saved by His sacrifice on the cross. Based on this the word ”all” can not mean all mankind, meaning every person, since “universalism” is unbiblical.

If you read past verse 5 of 1 Tim 2 it becomes clear that if Christ was an actual ransom (6) for all, meaning all mankind, then all mankind would be saved and we know this is unbiblical. Paul in V 8 makes it even more clear by saying “men everywhere” and not all mankind period. So 1 Tim 2:3-5 would be more clearly read as realating all kinds of men.

As far as 2 Peter 3:9 the audience are believers so the “anyone” and “all” mentioned are believers (”toward us”), and not anyone as meaning all inclusive of all mankind. So God is patient with all His sheep. This is one of those verses where the context of the passage itself defines the words used. What amazes me is that this basic hermeneutic is not utilized.
From both of these verses we see that these verses so often used to deny Calvinism actually simply speak to the salvation of the elect and that the elect spoken of is not limited to any class of people. What is even more disheartening is that using the verses in the way Cloud and other use them speaks more of universalism than anything else and I am sure they would not like this conclusion

The next installment will deal with:

b. Jesus died for the sins of all men, not just some who are pre-chosen (1 John 2:1-2).

Which by the way is answered by some of what is said above about the atonement.

By the way Alan Kurschner is doing the same at Calvinist Gadfly.

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