H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
  • - Endorsed
  • - Indifferent
  • - Contested
I Affirm This
The Nashville Statement
Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
The Buzz

Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
Email Me
Friday, July 29, 2005
Moise Amyraut was a seventeenth century French theologian who had a problem with Calvin's understanding of limited atonement. I mention Mr. Amyraut because my dear friend Bryan, over at theology, Doctrine, Theology, and all that Jazz has been razzing me suggesting that I do not hold to the doctrine of limited atonement, and am in fact an Amyraldian.

I, most certainly, am *not* however.

The sheep, figuratively spoken of by Jesus in John 10:1-5, hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow Him because they *belong* to Him. To understand this fully, one must understand that at the time that Jesus gave this example, it was customary for a shepherd to bring his flock into a sheep fold for the night. There his flock would mingle freely with the sheep from other flocks, and soon his flock was entirely mixed in with the sheep who were already in the fold at the time that his sheep came into the fold. When the shepherd came back to get his own sheep, he would call to his sheep - and they would came to him - they themselves were already his sheep, and hearing his voice they would separate themselves from the other sheep in the fold and answer their master's voice. They didn't do so until they heard their Master's voice - nor did they become sheep by hearing his voice - the only reason they responded to the voice of the Shepherd is because they already belonged to the shepherd. This pictures how God's call works - the sheep already belong to Christ (the elect) and that is *why* they respond to Christ's call. Christ associates Himself in this example as the good shepherd - that He and He alone is the one through whom the sheep come and go out of the fold - and that He, being the good Shepherd dies - not for all the sheep in the fold - but only for His own flock. The Pharisees, to whom He was speaking, Christ likened to sheep that were not of His flock - explaining *why* the Pharisees didn't respond to his call (that is to say, why the Pharisees didn't believe).

Likewise in Acts 20:28 Paul (in instructing the elders at Ephesus to shepherd the church of God) remarks that this same church was purchased with "His [Christ's] own blood." In Ephesians 5:25 Paul says that Christ gave Himself up ...for the church. Jesus Himself made a distinction in His so called high-priestly prayer (John 17:9) between those whom God gave to Christ, and the world.

From passages like these I conclude that Jesus didn't come to atone for everyone - but rather to atone for the elect whom He foreknew and had determined to redeem before man had fallen - indeed - before the world was ever created.

Notwithstanding, I fail to conclude from this that God loves only the elect, or that God’s love for the elect differs in quality from his love for all mankind. There is no suggestion or evidence in scripture that God’s sovereign decision to elect is based upon a superior love for the elect. God’s love for the world is genuine and his offer of salvation is made in earnest to all mankind. But scripture says that all mankind reject this same offer - that no one comes to the Father, except through Jesus Christ. Thus no man of himself comes to God - all reject God.

The result therefore is that while I hold firm to the doctrine of “Limited Atonement” – I do not do so in such a way that the offer of atonement is made to all mankind, but the atonement is limited to the elect. God offers salvation to all, and all reject it; but God only provides atonement for those who are going to be saved - that is, only to the elect.

Moise Amyraut, that 17th century theologian, suggested that Christ’s sacrificial death provided a “hypothetical” atonement for everyone – that is, the atonement was for no one in particular and was offered indiscriminately to everyone – but since everyone unanimously rejected the atonement, it was given only to the elect, who were elected in spite of the fact that they would reject the atonement otherwise. His logic falls apart however because if the atonement was provided for all, then all must be atoned for -- whether they come to Christ or not!

My take is not like Amyraut’, but I suspect I am driven by the same understanding that he had - that is, I believe that God’s offer of salvation is universal and seek to couple this with my understanding that Christ provided atonement for His church and only His church.

So in formulating a cohesive model of how this might work, I have separated the atonement from God’s offer of salvation, such that God’s offer of salvation was made to all, and rejected by all - had even one person in all of history come to God of his own free will who knows what the atonement model would look like. Rather than speculate, I choose to stick to what is revealed. Atonement was not offered to those who came to God for salvation, because no one came. As universal as the offer for salvation is - it is just as universally rejected.

God however, in His infinite mercy, determined beforehand to atone for some of mankind. Those whom God predestined to be with Him God elected unto salvation - they are the sheep who answer Christ's call, not in order to become elect, but because they are already elect. Not because of their own merit - they are sinners and deserve hell as much as anyone else - but because God has ordained it so - they respond to that ordination, and come to Christ. Left to their own, they would never come to Christ - but chosen by God - and it is only for these and these alone that God the Father provided the atonement (Jesus Christ).

Therefore when we offer salvation to a sinner, we giving them God’s genuine offer of salvation – though only the elect will ever answer God’s voice, the offer is legitimate for all.
posted by Daniel @ 11:52 AM  
Post a Comment
<< Home
Previous Posts
Atom Feed
Atom Feed
Creative Commons License
Text posted on this site
is licensed under a
Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5