Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Sincere offer of Salvation

Ponter kicked off an argument with Triablogue on the issue of the sincerity of the gospel with this argument:
  1. God makes a sincere, universal offer of Salvation to all men, particularly non-believers. (See for example Revelation 22:17 - "The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.")
  2. God cannot forgive men apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross.
  3. Therefore, Christ must have made a universal atonement for sin which allows Him to make a universal offer of salvation, for it would be impossible for men to be saved if Christ has not paid their penalty.
Triablogue attempted to defend themselves here here here here here here here (among other places) with the argument that God doesn't need to be sincere because He knows the non-elect will not accept His offer. But is this reasonable? No, because an offer is sincere if the person wants to provide it. An offer is valid if the person can provide it. What is absent this definition: the person who accepts the offer. 

It's a common assumption that because the reprobate don't want to accept the accord God can't seriously be intending to save them, or that because God knows who will be saved He doesn't actually want to save the non-elect.  But the sincerity of God has nothing to do with them, it has everything to do with Him. How can God know the future and still make the offer even though He knows the outcome ahead of time? Because He is love. He earnestly, genuinely, loves them enough to make the offer. Whether they love Him enough to accept the gospel is not the point. The point is that He loved them enough to make it.

Now the Triabloguers and modern Calvinists think differently, they reason that because man is fallen and the offer will be rejected it cannot be valid. In other words what they are really saying is that God is insincere when He says He loves them, and doesn't want them to perish.  What God really wants is actually for them to perish. 
Take for example God's offer to wicked King Ahab. In what reality can it be seen that God wanted Ahab to perish when He is extending an olive branch, and giving Ahab second chances, patiently waiting that he may repent? But because Triablogue have a desire to defend their position to the death they have to ignore those verses that speak counter to their philosophy. Because scripture is clear God is sincere in that He earnestly desires the salvation of all men, how else do you account for Him yelling at men to turn, turn from their sins lest they perish?  He is also not insane, when He is asking man to come, to reason with Him, that their sins may be as scarlet they will be washed white as snow, so, being rational, He wouldn't make an offer with His whole heart that He could not make good on.
And all this has nothing to do with the man. God's love is not called into question by evil men, in fact the opposite is true, it's seen even greater for what it is. The cross is ever so much more glorious because of our desperately sick hearts.
Thus says the Lord about Himself, Exodus 22:27 "...I am compassionate"
Thus He sincerely wants to save the non-elect men, but they will have none of it. Let their unwillingness to to be saved never impugn God's willingness to save them.


Erica said...

What an awesome, awesome, awesome article!

A) You made pirate references.
B) you brought up points I've never thought about.

Even James White says hat God doesn't love every one. That He has common love for every man (I can't remember the verse about how it rains on the just & unjust) but His agape Love is only for the elect. Which, using your thoughts, doesn't make sense if the Gospel is genuinely offered to whosoever.

My favorite vice to aggravate Triablogue is, Luke 19:10 says that Christ came to seek & to save that which is lost. If the elect are the only onces God WANTS to save, then the elect arethe only ones who are sinners. ;-) but, I'm a sarcastic jerk...

THEOparadox said...

I think Hays and Manata know they're defeated, however they can't admit it because they would then have to abandon what they think is the only logically valid type of Calvinism. The sheer volume of posts and the great lengths to which they have gone in trying to poke holes in Ponter's arguments, along with the mocking tone and the sometimes over-the-top comparisons (comparing the moderate Calvinist's Sincere Offer to liberal social programs - and worse things) just prove that they realize they don't have a peg leg to stand on.

They can spin out philosophical arguments all day, BUT . . . we all know those guys could come up with a logical argument supposedly proving that the sky is not really blue and grass is not really green. All it proves is that they have intelligence. But there are plenty of intelligent people who lack the application of the grace and truth of God in their reasoning. Just ask Hoeksema, or for that matter Richard Dawkins.

You're right, they're careening toward hyperism, and the ship's goin' down fast. I suppose they will don scuba gear and continue to thumb their noses at moderates. It's kinda sad, really.


THEOparadox said...


Your post and my reply were significant enough to warrant an official response from Mr. Manata:

Since Paul has disallowed comments on his blog, I'll just respond here.

In dealing with my comment, Paul misinterpreted a few things, some of which I'll clarify now:

1. Nowhere did I accuse Hays or Manata of lying. One can "know he is defeated" and still fight on in ways that do not entail intentional dishonesty. Many a military commander has recognized his own defeat in the midst of a battle, and still fought on valiantly because he believed in the cause. What Paul took as an accusation could have just as easily been received as a tribute to his great poker playing skills (and no, I'm not implying he's some sort of a godless gambler)

2. Paul took my compliments about his intelligence and philosophical prowess as a criticism against the use of philosophy (in general) and his use of philosophy (in particular). No, my point was that he is savvy enough to form a rational argument supporting any point he wants, but that does not guarantee he will be right. Conformity to the Word of God is the agreed upon standard, and that is where I find his arguments to fall short (and no, I'm not calling him a heretic).

3. Paul took my reference to Hoeksema and Dawkins as a direct comparison to him and Steve Hays. No, they are just two examples proving that intelligence and rigorous use of logic are not sufficient to overthrow presuppositions that are dearly held by the logician, and they don't guarantee Biblical conclusions will be reached. Manata, of course, knows this already (hopefully he won't take that as some sort of assault on his character).

4. Paul doesn't seem to like Phil's use of a pirate analogy or my extension of it. He feels that it is mocking. Well, on this one I really do have to apologize because I thought he really was a pirate with a peg leg. However, this doesn't have to be taken as a negative; I quite like pirates (okay, I'm just being sarcastic now).

Paul says he likes to "bust balls" (his phrase) and wants others to lighten up, but he doesn't seem to take kindly to having his own busted. Still, I'm glad I took his advice and lightened up. As my family heritage is partly unknown, it's possible I'm Italian, like him. Or maybe I'm just what he would call a "funny Calvinist". Either way, Paul, try to "fuggehdaboudit" and get back to doing what you do best: reasoning with Scripture in the service of your fellow Calvinists.

Now, Paul, for the punch line: read your recent post about "Funny Calvinsts" and then re-read the post I've been referring to. You wrote both of them on the same day, and the very same things you excused in yourself you immediately turned around and criticized in others. And that's not funny.


Tony Byrne said...


Do you realize what an opportunity you missed? You could have created a blog post in response with the title "On Sarcastically Busting Pirate Balls for their Godless Gambling and Heresy!"

But now, you'll have to "fuggehdaboudit" ;-)

THEOparadox said...

I still can't believe this warranted so much attention. Clearly, PM doesn't like pirates as much as I do.

Phil said...

I can't either, thanks for making me laugh everyone.

THEOparadox said...

Triablogue has repeatedly removed the following comment, so I am posting it here. This was my response to Paul Manata after he repeatedly directed insults and false accusations at me. I pray he will have a change of heart and become willing to reconcile with me.


You continue on the same track without missing a beat - immune to your own criticisms, unwilling to admit any fault and unwilling to reconcile with a brother who appeals to you in kindness. You seem unable (morally, not naturally) to interact with me in a respectful manner.

Whatever this is, it's not godly behavior. At this point I don't even care who wins the argument. I'm concerned about you. Please repent.

If you choose to answer with another volley of the same type, just refer back to this comment again for my response.

If you want to represent Christ on a public forum like the internet, please (for His sake) do it humbly and charitably. Do it prayerfully, and when you fall short of the standard, admit your wrongdoing and turn back. Don't go forward into the jaws of unrighteousness. Don't excuse yourself with appeals to your ethnicity or some other factor. For all your love of the Owenic model of limited atonement, please show some regard to his pleadings about mortification of sin. Show the world that it's not just about arguments; it's about God conquering the human heart (and mind) by His great mercy. Speak the truth, but speak it in love. Adorn your doctrine with grace. Let your gentleness be evident to all.

Please, brother, take this exhortation to heart.