Posts Tagged ‘Arminians’

We’ve had a number of events recently that have shaken many Americans to the core. The reality of evil was pressed home in painful fashion. Sadly, most Americans aren’t prepared to face the reality of evil. If people are considered basically good, then we essentially think such things should not happen here where we are educated and prosperous. Those things only happen there, wherever there may be. But not to us, not on our shores.

There are a number of books that have tried to tackle this problem. Some good. Some bland. And some quite horrible, like the sadly popular book by Rabbi Kushner about the God who wants to help but really can’t. He also assumes there are good people.

“To come to grips with the problem of evil and suffering, you must do more than hear heart-wrenching stories about suffering people. You must hear God’s truth to help you interpret those stories.”

Randy Alcorn has released The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering for this reason. It is a shorter version (120 pages) of his book If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering. It makes a readable, meaningful book that you can hand out to people who are suffering, or struggling with the suffering of others. He covers lots of ground in succinct fashion, including illustrations and examples to help people understand his point. It is not dry and academic. He writes of his own suffering and how he had to make sense of it. He believes any faith that doesn’t prepare you for suffering is not a biblical faith, and our churches must do a better job teaching biblical theology to prepare people for suffering.

“The pain of suffering points to something deeply and unacceptably flawed about this world we inhabit.”


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Since Jerry Falwell passed away yesterday, I was reminded of his latest “foot in mouth” moment, when he called Particular Atonement a heresy.  Many people may not know what this is, and why it may be important.  So… I figured I’d spend a few moments explaining it.

It is often called Limited Atonement, which drives Arminians crazy.  “How can you limit the atonement?!”  Well, they limit the atonement too, just in a different but dangerous way.

Limited, or Particular, Atonement is the doctrine that Jesus died to save the elect, and only the elect.  Some proponents may recognize a common (for all people, but not saving) grace element purchased by Jesus in His death on the Cross.

Arminians will point to passages like John 3 that stress “the world”.  Oddly, the context of all/most of those passages is to point people to the fact that God loved non-Jews too.

Calvinists, like me, point to the passages that limit the extent of the atonement.  In John 10, Jesus says that He lays down His life for the sheep.  Not everyone is one of His sheep.  He points, again, to both Jew and Gentile (sheep not of this flock).  In Ephesians 5, Paul says that Jesus died for the Church.  We connect this with the biblical teaching that God chose to save some “before the creation of the world” (Eph. 1) in Christ, and before they had “done good or bad” like Esau & Jacob (Romans 9).


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