Monday, September 26, 2011

those who believe in Owenic limited atonement can have no place for the revealed will of God.

A worldview determines what you believe enough to live by, and what you don't.  It's the grid that filters external information- things that make it through the screen get stored as memory or moved on for value assignment, things that don't make it through get ignored, rejected, or ridiculed.  When a baby is born and begins to look around they are acquiring a worldview that will enable them to understand and process their surroundings.  Things fall toward the ground, people have faces, food is valuable to keep me alive, people wear clothes.
Once we reach adulthood our worldview hardens up and does its job of resisting new things more effectively.  We see a magician make a building disappear and doubt it because our grid says to us that buildings don't just disappear.  We hear that some Indian breatharian goes a year without food or water and we think it's a lie because of our experience.  Politicians promise hope and change, we don't even need to pay attention because our worldview exists to minimize the amount of time we waste on liars and frauds.
Worldviews work the same way for Biblical understanding as well.  When confronted with the facts of the resurrection the non-believer simply refuses to process the facts, and shuts it out entirely. They can be helpful when a false teacher starts spouting off the notion that Christ is not a savior but a good example, but can also be harmful, like when an Arminian simply refuses to accept John 6:45.

I think that this is the problem with the Owenic sense of atonement, there simply is no framework for allowing a universal love from God- once 'limited atonement' is accepted as a fundamental basis for scripture the universal sense of salvation is crushed.  The worldview simply will not allow any other interpretation, or facts, or even scripture, to pass.  Wear rose colored glasses and suddenly you can't see white anymore- it's rose.

The proof is trivial, just take any disputed passage and find the high Calvinist explanation for it.  See, I happen to know that only the elect are ultimately propitiated for on behalf of, because only the elect are saved, therefore 1 John 2:2 means world equals Gentiles. Not only our Jewish sins but our Gentile brother's sins.
I happen to know God gave Himself as a ransom for some men, not all men, therefore in 1 Tim 2:6 all means elect.
If God really desired all men to be saved, then He would save all men.  Ergo, 1 Tim 2:4 doesn't mean that God sincerely desires all men to come to Him, it really means that He intends to save the elect from every strata of society. It means all kinds of men.
I happen to know that if God wanted the Gospel to save everyone, then the message would go out to every people, nation, and place.  But it doesn't. Therefore Titus 3:4 means that God has made His salvation appear to the elect alone.
I know that God punishes the wicked, therefore John 3:16 doesn't mean He loves His humans He created in any way, it means He loves His elect in every way.
I know that God only took away the sins of the elect, therefore John 1:29 really means that the elect is the world.
More could be said. Obviously, I have not touched on the false teachers 2 peter 2:1 for example, or many of the other verses that speak to a sort of universal love God has for mankind because I think the point is made.
When the foundational principle of scriptural interpretation is adopted: God intended to save the elect, effectually saves the elect, and only cares about saving the elect, then there can be no room for anything else.
The sovereignty of God then serves to crush His perceived willingness to offer salvation to the non-elect.  After all, we reason, cannot God accomplish anything He wants? Did not Nebuchadnezzar speak correctly when he said that all the nations of the earth are accounted as nothing before Him, and He does His pleasure in all the earth?
There is simply no room to believe anything else. God is sovereign, He ultimately is not willing to let them perish because He is not pleased enough to do so, therefore God hates the non-elect and does not offer them forgiveness.

In sum: the framework of limited atonement completely  swallows the notion that God would have His feelings trampled on by men. It simply filters that bit of information away.  Verses that speak unambiguously to the notion of God loving the non-elect or providing them a way must not be talking to the non-elect.
We have then a God no bigger than our own understanding. A very nice, small, manageable God.  There is simply no room, no space, for the concept of unlimited atonement or an offer to the non-elect once the principle of limited atonement is settled upon.  And once there is no room for an unlimited atonement, then the idea of offering the reprobate salvation when it hasn't really been procured for them is senseless. There is no place for such a revealed will.

For those of you who may have read the title and thought that a big important proof was coming and I didn't deliver, I ask you to look again and consider the matter.  By it's very nature Owenic limited atonement
automatically corrects all scriptures to it's own interpretive framework. To say the title of the blog post is to prove it. Search and see.

In closing let me point out something more valuable than the assertion on how a badly formed worldview can keep us from a correct scriptural interpretation, and that is this: I think the high and hyperCalvinist love God and hate Christ. 
God has marvelous, beautiful, omnipotent, unlimited sovereign power. But how does He use it?  Christ who is the express image of the Father, the very essence of Him, the walking, talking display of God's might and sovereignty did not come to use His crushing power on men, but stooped to wash their feet. Not to condemn the world but to save it was the message John recorded. Not to cast the bars of the gates against the wayward sinners and tax collectors, but to bring the lost sheep back in rejoicing.  Not to annihilate the cities of Samaria that rejected Him, but to prevent His disciples from doing so.  Not to bring more illness justly applied for sins, but to work miracles for the lame, the blind, the deaf, the leapers.  He was not the judge come to put a final end to Jerusalem like we would expect, or would do if it were us, but instead He breaks down, weeping bitter tears that they would not come to Him. Behold the man on the cross crying out for God to forgive the men that put Him up there!  His power was used for service, though He had every right to demand it of us. 
No, let's not forget the parables on hell, or the moneychangers in the temple, nor the rebuke of the religious elite.  But lets also not construct our worldview that can't see the Lord Jesus for what He was either, the compassionate savior who was tempted as we were in every way, and so is sympathetic.  Yes He is just, but you know, He's also loving. Beware then hypers, that in so exalting God's majesty that you forget it finds it's fullest revelation in Christ.

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