Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Refutation Of Calvinistic Distortions Of Biblical Statements About The Purpose Of Christ's Death

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

    What was the purpose of Jesus Christ's death? For whom did He die? All 5-point Calvinists believe in what is often called "limited atonement." This means that they do not believe that Jesus Christ died to save everyone. Rather, they believe He died to save only those whom God has selected to be saved.  
   But, the many Biblical statements that, taken at face value, teach that Jesus Christ did die to save everyone,  pose a real problem for those who believe in "limited atonement." So, to support their view, they have turned to a faulty method of interpreting those verses, the end result of which is a distortion of what they really teach. In doing so, they have violated an important principle of Biblical interpretation, which is this: IF THE PLAIN SENSE OF SCRIPTURE MAKES SENSE, SEEK NO OTHER SENSE.
   In his short book,  Divine Election And Human Responsibility, C. R. Stam demonstrated what some 5-point Calvinists have done with the clear statements of the Bible that contradict their theology, just to make them support their theology. In this article, a chapter from Stam's book will be quoted. The chapter is quoted with permission of the Berean Bible Society
  Brother Stam, now with Christ, was good on the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith and other subjects. But he was wrong about baptism, saying it is not to be practiced today. He taught what sometimes is called "hyper-dispensationalism. So, don't think this quote means I accept everything he taught on all other subjects.
   C. R. Stam's words are in red, to easily distinguish them from mine.
By C. R. Stam
   "We appreciate the desire of our 'Limited Redemption' brethren to prove from the Scriptures that true believers (who comprise a very small minority of mankind) are saved by the sovereign grace of God. We heartily agree with them in this.
   "However, in their belief that God does not love all men and that Christ did not die for all men,  they fail to appreciate another aspect of grace, i. e., that 'the grace of God, and the gift by grace....hath abounded to many (Greek, the many.)'
   "To maintain their doctrine of limited love and limited redemption they must alter some of the most precious passages of Scripture as, e. g., the following:
   "John 3:16:   The word 'world' here does not mean the world, they say, but only the world of the elect.
   "1 John 2:2:   'The whole world' in this passage, does not mean the whole world. It means all the elect, or possibly Gentiles.
   "2 Corinthians 5:15:   This passage does not really mean that our Lord 'died for all,'  but only for the elect, or possibly for all kinds of people.
   "1 Timothy 2:4 - 6:   This does not really mean that God desires 'all men to be saved,' or that Christ 'gave himself a ransom for all.'  It refers either to all elect men, or all kinds of men.
   "Hebrews 2:9:   This statement does not mean that our Lord 'tasted death for every man.'  Since the actual word 'man' does not  appear in the original, it probably means every cause or every reason:   anything but 'every man' !   But the Greeks used the term 'every' for every man, just as we use the word 'all' for all men!
   "2 Peter 3:9:   This passage does not mean that God not desire 'that any should perish,'  or that He would have all to 'come to repentance.'   It means that He does not will that any of the elect should perish but that all of them should come to repentance.
   "In other words, none of the above passages mean what they say.  'The world' doesn't mean the world, 'the whole world' doesn't mean the whole world, 'all' doesn't mean all, 'all men' doesn't mean all men,  'any' and 'all' don't really mean that, 'every man' doesn't mean every man (though this is the sense in the Greek).  None of these precious Bible verses mean what they say;  they all mean something else.
   "Strangely, though, the meanings of all these passages are altered to maintain one unscriptural doctrine:  the teaching that God does not love all men and that Christ did not die for all men.
   "Yet we read in 2 Peter 2:1 that Christ died even for false teachers, doomed to destruction:  'there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and shall bring upon themselves swift destruction.'
   "Shall we not then believe with all our hearts, and thank God with all our hearts, for the above declarations of grace, that 'God so loved the world,' that Christ's death is the payment, not only for our sins, but also for those of 'the whole world,'  that he 'died for all,' and 'would have all men to be saved,' having given himself a 'ransom for all,' tasting death 'for every man,' because it is not His will 'that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance' ? What a message we have! What grace that has sent us to declare to the king on his throne, or to the drunkard in the gutter:   'Your sins have been paid for. Believe and be saved!' "
    To read what theologian and Bible teacher, H. C. Theissen, author of "Lectures In Systematic Theology," said about the purpose of Christ's death, in contrast to 5-point Calvinism, click on this link:

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