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Did Calvin believe in Limited Atonement?

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by ScottEmerson, May 28, 2002.

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  1. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    In John Calvin's Commentary on Romans, he stated the following in reference to Romans 5:18 (p. 211 in the 1979 reprinting):

    "He makes this favor common to all, because it is propoundable to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all (i.e. in their experience), for though Christ suffered for the sins of the world, and is offered through God's benignity indiscriminately to all, yet all do not receive Him."

    It should be noted that Calvin died in 1564, the Remonstrance was written until 1610, and the Synod of Dort (where the 5 points came from) didn't happen until 1618.

    From Calvin's Commentary to the Colossians and COmmentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, he wrote regarding Colossians 1:14, "This redemption was procured through the blood of Christ, for by the sacrifice of his death, all the sins of the world have been expiated." On Mark 14:24, he wrote, "...which is shed for many. By the word 'many' he means not a part of the world only, but the whole human race."

    In his Commentary to John, he writes, "And when he says the sin of the world, he extends this favour indisriminately to the whole human race, that the Jews might not thing that he had been sent to them alone. But hense we infer that the whole world is involved in the same condemnation and that as all men with out exception are guilty of unrighteousness before God, they need to be reconciled to him. John the Baptist, therefore, by speaking of the sin of the world, intended to express upon us the conviction of our own misery and exhort us to seek the remedy."

    In fact, in Institutes 3.1.1, Calvin states that Christ had to have died for all to show His complete sovreignty. That is all thta is mentioned about limited or unlimited atonement in his entire Institutes, (unless anyone else knows of a place that was missed.) Calvin thought that the atonement was limited in effect, it is also clear that in principle no people were barred from salvation.

    Thus, limited atonement was a post-Calvin invention and is not faithful to his teachings or writings.

    For more, read Douty's book "Death of Christ." He's a four-point Calvinist, who doesn't ascribe to nor believe Calvin ascribed to an idea of limited atonement.
     
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  2. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    umm..just one question..what does it matter? Theodore Beza that made TULIP, not calvin. :)
     
  3. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    Then call it Bezaism - Does it say anything to you that Calvin himself didn't believe in what we call Calvinism?
     
  4. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    Nope, not at all, I personally don't think darwin would agree with the current evolutionary model, but then again, so what? Do you think the wright brothers would like planes without 4 wings? ;) Like the people that advocate linx, I say knowledge is public domain.
     
  5. Lion Heart

    Lion Heart Member

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    Scott,


    The Cannons of Dort are not wholly Calvins doctrines, either;

    Protestantism
    General Information

    http://www.mb-soft.com/believe/txc/protesta.htm




    The Canons of Dordt - Text

    http://www.mb-soft.com/believe/txh/dort1.htm


    Its evident you don't like Calvins position, but your stretching the truth a little when you start calling these his 5 points.


    I say get off Calvin and concentrate on the Scriptures.




    Richard
     
  6. Gerry

    Gerry Jesus Paid It All

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    Scott, Please expond a little more on your theory that Calvin does not believe in what we call Calvinism. Would you list his 5 points (or THE 5 points) and give me wher you stand on each one? I am not debating one way or another. Just want to see your position.
     
  7. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    Total Depravity - Calvin's doctrine
    Unconditional Election - Calvin's doctrine
    Limited Atonement - NOT Calvin's doctrine
    Irresistible Grace - Probably Calvin's doctrine
    Perseverance of the Saints - Calvin's doctrine

    I believe that all men have a sin nature, and we are totally powerless to save ourself.

    I believe that Christ has elected a body of believers as a group - in the same way that he chose Israel (even though not all the Israelites believed), he chose the church to follow Him.

    I believe that Christ died for all men.

    I believe that man has a choice to choose or to reject Christ. I believe the Holy Spirit comes to all men, who have a choice to respond to that call.

    I'm undecided on perseverance of the saints. I can totally see both sides. My take on it now is that you can't "lose" it, but you may be able to choose to give the free gift back.
     
  8. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    So explain to me, please, how you can believe that man is totally depraved yet are granted with the ability to respond in a way other than depraved to the call of the Holy Spirit. Does that mean that you think the Holy Spirit imbues the recipient of it's call with the ability to separate him/herself from that "sin nature," also called previent grace, and make a "free, responsible" decision about their eternal life?

    The beliefs of "total depravity" and "free will to respond" seem to be contradictory ideas.

    Please elaborate.

    God bless.
     
  9. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    Never used the term totally depraved. I said that man is powerless to save oneself. Man does have the power given to them by God to choose, however. They have the opportunity to choose to answer the proverbial knock of the Holy Spirit upon their house.

    (Jn. 12:32) "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

    (Jn. 16:8) "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment . . . "

    From a dissortation by Dr. Jeff Paton:

    "Another fact which shows the prevenient grace at work in the unconverted is that even though they are totally depraved, they are not as bad as they can get. To be "totally" depraved implies that unregenerate individuals cannot be any worse off. But the Bible declares that evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse.(2 Timothy 3:13). This shows that through the preventing work of the Spirit, even the unregenerate are allotted some freedom through grace. The fact that the world is not operating at the lowest levels of human depravity is an exhibition of the profound mercy of God. Imagine, what kind of world we would have (and justly so due to our sin and rebellion) if God did not take the initiative to intervene. This is prevenient grace indeed."
     
  10. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Monkey Boy

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    Scott,

    "To be "totally" depraved implies that unregenerate individuals cannot be any worse off."

    This is not true. This would be true for utter depravity but not total depravity. But I think we believe pretty close to the same things. (not completely though) At least for now. Right now I am going through a time of real debate over if the Reformed tradition is correct or not.

    Total depravity does not mean that we are as bad as we could be. It just means that since we are depraved that we can't do anything that would save ourselves.

    that we can't seek after God or respond to His knocking unless God regenerates us. Now this could be in the previent grace model or the reformed model. The question is then what does scripture say about it. And that is the question I am asking myself and dilligently searching the scriptures to find out what God says about it which is all that really matters.

    blackhawk
     
  11. Lion Heart

    Lion Heart Member

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    A little picture of the depraved.

    Rom 3
    10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
    11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
    12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
    13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
    14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
    15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
    16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
    17 And the way of peace have they not known:
    18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.


    Only Gods Grace can trun vile men to the truth.



    Richard
     
  12. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Total depravity is a term used to describe the spiritual nature of an individual. It does not refer to their moral behavior. Unregenerate individuals can do things that appear selfless and kind to others yet still be motivated by a sinful desire, such as recognition. That behavior is therefore sinful. An unregenerate person is bound to their sinful nature and therefore can ONLY do things with a sinful motive. Christ's death released God's chosen from that bondage and while they are still capable of sinning, and often do, they have been freed from the inability to maintain a righteous motive for their actions.

    I've never said anything contrary to this. God's mercy rains on the just and the unjust alike. What I have said is that ONLY through God's grace are individual who remain in an unregenerate state capable of behavior that is not at it's basest levels. The freedom afforded is only the restraint to not act on those base desires. It does not change the motivation for that restraint.

    Agreed.

    Again, agreed. However, there must be a distinction made between God grace restraining the level of immorality achieved by His fallen creation and that of salvific grace.

    Again, this is an example, not of saving grace, but rather of God's immutability. Remember, God does not measure things the way man does. "As bad as they can get" on a spiritual level is different than "evil men and seducers waxing worse and worse."

    God bless.
     
  13. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    I think that Paton was describing total depravity in the sense that, as you said, "Total depravity does not mean that we are as bad as we could be. It just means that since we are depraved that we can't do anything that would save ourselves." He was taking what he sees the Calvinist stance as: that total depravity in that movement means "could not be worse off."
     
  14. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Monkey Boy

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    "He was taking what he sees the Calvinist stance as: that total depravity in that movement means "could not be worse off.""

    But Calvinism does not say this either. They would view utter dpravity as that. I think Reformationist did a good job explaining the Calvinist explanation of it.

    blackhawk
     
  15. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Monkey Boy

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    I like to think of total depravity in these terms.

    all humans can do good for horizontalreasons. That means from human to human. We give to people because we feel sorry for them or whatever but giving to others is a good thing.

    Now only the Chrisitian can do good vertically. We do not give to others for the best reason and that is to please God unless we are a Christian. So we can't please God.

    Now I think that God gives us grace so that we can choose God or reject Him. But this is what I am dealing with right now and searching scriptures about.

    blackhawk
     
  16. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    I think there is something inherently and theologically inconsistant with comparing the possible motives of the saved to the unsaved. I believe that Christianity is about relationships, three in fact. Our relationship with God, our relationship with others, and our relationship with ourself. All righteousness comes from God. Therefore, for an unregenerate person, his/her relationship with God is one of enmity and wrath. The unregenerate person's relationship with others is motivated by a desire of selfish fulfillment, in one form or another. On the other hand, a regenerate, or saved, person's motive could be totally contrary to our desire to please ourselves or our flesh. Our motive could be to please God, in spite of our desire to please ourself. The main thing is that there is a definitive difference between the motivations of saved people and unsaved people.

    It is a good thing. But, it is only spiritually beneficial if our motive is the welfare of another or because of our love for God and our desire to be a reflection of His mercy and generosity in our own lives. If we give to others because it makes us feel good to do so then it is sinful and, though helpful to the recipient, is of no benefit to us spiritually.

    God bless.
     
  17. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Monkey Boy

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    "I think there is something inherently and theologically inconsistant with comparing the possible motives of the saved to the unsaved. I believe that Christianity is about relationships, three in fact. Our relationship with God, our relationship with others, and our relationship with ourself. All righteousness comes from God. Therefore, for an unregenerate person, his/her relationship with God is one of enmity and wrath. The unregenerate person's relationship with others is motivated by a desire of selfish fulfillment, in one form or another. On the other hand, a regenerate, or saved, person's motive could be totally contrary to our desire to please ourselves or our flesh. Our motive could be to please God, in spite of our desire to please ourself. The main thing is that there is a definitive difference between the motivations of saved people and unsaved people. "

    I did not disagree with what you said except for the first sentence. I think it is important to show how our motives are different. unsaved people can do things to help others. There are defintely Buddists for example that do things to help children and others. But since they do not do it for God they do it all for the worng motive and in vain.

    1Cr 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels , but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
    1Cr 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
    1Cr 13:3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

    "It is a good thing. But, it is only spiritually beneficial if our motive is the welfare of another or because of our love for God and our desire to be a reflection of His mercy and generosity in our own lives. If we give to others because it makes us feel good to do so then it is sinful and, though helpful to the recipient, is of no benefit to us spiritually. "

    But I see nonChristians give and I think that they are giving for the most part because they love others. The problem is that they do not love the most important other whcih is God. And if they do not do it for God then it is all in vain. It has not eternal signifigance at all. "Our righteousness is like filthy rags."

    I think we are saying the same thing except maybe that I think that nonChristians can do things with the main motive being to help others which I do not know if you say that they can do. But we both say that they do not do it for God and since not then it does not help them and is not really righteouss.

    blackhawk
     
  18. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Yes unsaved people can do things that are helpful to others. What I'm saying is having the wrong motive doesn't just make it wrong and of no benefit, it makes it sinful. I do not believe that God has given the unsaved the capacity for the selfless love required for an action to be righteous.

    The problem here is that we have no real proof as to whether someone has become regenerate or if they ever will in the future. It may sound crass but I believe that without the love of God in our lives we are incapable of love. For the unsaved it is merely a offshoot of their lust. They don't love their wife in a godly way, they love what their wife brings to their life. They don't love their children enough to get past the uncomfortable feelings they get when they spank them and do it anyway because it's what God wants from the parents. They say stuff like, "I'm not speaking to my mother because I love her too much to fight anymore." Ridiculous! True love would forgive. What that person really means is, "I'm not speaking to my mother because I love myself too much to ask for forgiveness and to forgive her."

    Right. But saying something is "not really righteous" is just a flowery way of saying something is "unrighteous." ;)

    God bless.
     
  19. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "I do not believe that God has given the unsaved the capacity for the selfless love required for an action to be righteous. "

    Really? Romans seems to say other wise..

    "The sinful mind is hosticle to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."

    and the famous quotes of Paul...

    " There is no one righteous, not even one. There is n one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, one even one."

    From romans 4 and 8
     
  20. Reformationist

    Reformationist Non nobis domine sed tuo nomine da gloriam

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    Where in Romans would that be? :scratch:

    Not really sure what the theme of your post is here. Did you agree or disagree with the statement this comment was in reference to? And what do you mean "from Romans 4 and 8?" That is a quote from Romans 3.

    God bless.
     
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