Monthly Archives: March 2016

A Premial Soteriology for Neo-Calvinism?

Against the relative inner consistency of Calvinism stands, like a Gibralter, the rugged, if seemingly rough-hewn, inner consistency of Scripture—to be sure, one very difficult to embrace with tiny arms and brains, but that remains our touchstone nonetheless. Let us remain in that Explanation so that we come to know the Truth, solid as a Matterhorn, for then we shall be free from all the little short-sighted “consistencies” of lesser apostles hailing from a mundane Geneva. [8/19/09]

THE PENAL CORE MOTIVE

The weighty mass of Calvin’s soteriology hangs together and coheres due to the GRAVITY OF PENAL SATISFACTION. This is the “electromagnetic” force that keeps it all together. Dispel this gravitational force and it will fly apart and disperse into out darkness. Only the nuclear power of a premial justice holds the promise of a coherent and rationally compelling soteriology. [8/19/09]

D-DAY JUBILEE

If this 500th Anniversary of Calvin’s birth and 400th Anniversary of Arminius’s death is to be the calling of a liberating Jubilee from the Babylonian bondage of Reformed Christians, then it is but a D-Day victory and the toughest battles are yet ahead. Calvinistic theology (I don’t speak here of the excellent philosophical movements that it has fostered for various curious reasons) lies near the heart of a vast ecclesiastical enterprise and a fifth column of other non-church institutions. We are not calling for revolution but for Reformation…down to the core this time! This is gonna hurt. This has gotta hurt or it’s not radical enough. But the result will be RADICAL HEALING, so it’s worth all the pain.

We can expect a whole new glory to suffuse the magnificent array of Christian organizations that Kuyperian Neo-Calvinism has spawned. Post-Calvinism holds the promise of giving them a Second Wind of the Holy Spirit—a New Wave of Power and Redemptive Vision and Fruitful Prospects. Let us press on without fear or dread, fully expecting that God is with us in this SANCTIFYING VENTURE. But unless Neo-Calvinism transitions to Post-Calvinism in soteriology, that renewal must be throttled and stall. [8/19/09]

Anyone who holds the penal satisfaction position will suffer the natural tendency to slip into conformity with several of the points of Calvinism, to varying degrees. Sound exegesis on one or more of those topics will always inveigh against full consistency and will work a moderating influence. But this moderating factor is not equally dispersed among denominations or individuals. Only a visibly more just alternative to penal satisfaction is capable of totally vanquishing all five (and more) errors of the Augustinian/Calvinian line of development.

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God makes vessels for honor and for dishonor, but it’s up to you which you become!

God does, indeed, make out of “the same kneading” “one vessel, indeed, for HONOR, yet one for DISHONOR” (Romans 9:21), but the end product depends decisively upon the volition and behavior of the vessel He is molding! That is why Paul says elsewhere, “Howbeit, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knew those who are His’, and ‘Let everyone who is naming the name of the Lord withdraw from injustice. Now in a great house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but wooden and earthenware also, and some indeed for HONOR, yet some for DISHONOR. If, then, anyone should ever be purging himself from these, he will be a vessel for HONOR, having gotten wholesome and useful to the Owner, having gotten ready for every good act” (2 Timothy 2:19-21). [8/17/09]

Sin is undefinable except in relation to beings that possess sovereignty, authority, and control, and who can and must govern and be governed in terms of law and directives that can be obeyed and disobeyed. It is precisely because human beings were made in God’s own image and created after His likeness that they possess the divine-like capacity for sovereignty, authority (including “self-authorization”—αυτεξουσιοτης) and control. Sin is transgression of God’s directives for life, the penalty for which is death. This all means that to compromise the face, nature, or potency of human “self-authorization” (αυτεξουσιοτης) or so-called “free-will” is also to compromise the actuality and seriousness of sin as well as human responsibility and accountability for it. Moreover, as a host of critics of Calvinism have validly seen, without a strong “doctrine” of “free-will,” the causality of responsibility for sinning devolves upon the “sovereignty” of God. This is totally unacceptable, which implies that in order for God to escape culpability for sin, He must have truly made space for the genuine sovereignty and authority, and lordship of other beings—all of them His creatures. (And, by easy inference, they must then also have to suffer a just penalty for the evils they wrongfully inflict, unless they repent.) Thus human “free-will” is a mirror image of divine “sovereignty.” [8/17/09]

For God to be “King” (N.B.: the word ‘sovereign’ is never predicated of the term ‘God’, in the Bible, at least not prior to the late 20th century!) over the universe means that because He created all things, He also governs them by law—statutes, ordinances, decrees, precepts, etc. Many of these are “natural” or invariable and irresistibly hold for whatever is subject to them. But with respect to human beings, He has established normative laws as well (see the careful analysis by Christian philosophers Herman Dooyeweerd, D. H. T. Vollenhoven, Hendrik G. Stoker, and their colleagues) which are not irresistible or inviolable. Such a state of affairs exists because God created human beings in His own image and likeness with sovereignty (αρχη) and overlordship (κατεκυρ-) (Genesis 1:26-28). Mankind also possesses self-authorization (αυτεξουσιοτης), commonly (but misleadingly) translated ‘free-will’ or some variant thereof in English translations of patristic literature. To violate God’s normative law, which only humans can do, is sin.

Accordingly, God prepared well ahead for every contingency of a created order teeming with others like Himself who were constitutionally capable of generating self-authorized (αυτεξουσιος/ως) acts that could and often weould violate His own always right desire for them. This anticipated state of affairs would necessarily include a great many harmful, painful, shocking, and lethal evils. But clearly God was alright with that, although He was not personally responsible for the sins of such ‘sovereign’ and ‘self-authorizing’ creatures, He evidently was ‘responsible’ for the existence of such a universe. And, sure enough, He “took responsibilityfor it at the Cross, yet by that horrible exhibition of what sinners thought of uprightness and wholesomeness, God was enabled to demonstrate His overcompensating redemption and premial justice, thus providing just the ‘theodicy’ that mankind needed so they could understand that the Creator ultimately loves us and is fully up to the task of turning the most terrifying, gruesome, and unjust evils into ULTRA-COMPENSATING GOODS OF OVERWHELMING SPLENDOR!

Thus God actually ADJUSTS HIS OWN ROYAL AUTHORITY, LORDSHIP, CONTROL, etc. TO ACCOMMODATE HUMAN BEINGS AND ALL THE TROUBLE THEY CAN CAUSE AND ALL THE MESSES THEY CAN MAKE. IT’S ALRIGHT! EVERYTHINGS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT…IN THE END. [8/17/09]

Arminius, unlike Calvin, was not such an uncritical apologist for Augustine, but submitted supremely to Scripture alone and let the chips fall where they may. Therefore, not at all surprisingly, Arminius took issue with Calvin on key points where Calvin had compromised Scripture in favor of Augustine, who was, accordingly, getting his come-uppance twelve centuries late. [8/17/09]

Arminius was the first great anti-Augustinian that God raised up to start to redress the theological errors and socio-political-cultural calamities that Augustine had ushered in during the millennium before his fateful revival, first under Luther, in part (who later turned away, in part) but especially under the more uncritical, more penal, more consistent, more tyrannical, less repentant regime of Calvin. [8/17/09]

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A “Grace” Extracted by “Penal Satisfaction” is not the True Grace of God

In Calvinism, the limited size of the Atonement is only the beginning of tangles consequent upon its teaching of penal satisfaction.  To be sure, the size limitation amounts to a power limitation, so that the Gospel as such is not conceived as having any effect (read: power) toward the so-called “reprobate” (a term never used in Scripture to label mere sinners or unbelievers, much less Gentiles or mankind at large).  Yet on the other hand it is represented as having an absolutely irresistible power or effect upon the “elect.”  This absolutism concerning its effect on the “elect” (Calvinists call it “effectual”), coupled with its ineffectuality concerning the “reprobate” are the most that can be expected from A “GRACE” EXTRACTED BY “PENAL SATISFACTION” METHODS.  THIS PRIMITIVE “EXTRACTION PROCESS” LEAVES THE VAST BULK OF THE PULP AND ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS — THE VITAL SAP OF GRACIOUSNESS — BEHIND, LEAVING ONLY A THIN, CLOUDY “SOLUTION” THAT SOLVES FEW OF THE NEEDS OF THE HUMAN HEART OR NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPIRIT.

In stark contrast, THE TRUE, PURE GRACIOUSNESS IN WHICH WE ARE TO STAND IS A FREE-FLOWING, PREMIUM, WHOLE EXTRACT OF CLEAN HIGH-ENERGY NUTRIMENT DERIVED ENTIRELY WITHOUT USE OF TRADITIONAL SOURCES OF HIGH HEAT FROM DIVINE WRATH, BUT BY A SPECIAL AND PREVIOUSLY SECRET PROCESS OF CALM, COOL EXTRACTION BY THE CATALYTIC USE OF PREMIAL JUSTICE ACTING UPON THE PUREST, MOST WHOLESOME MATERIAL TREATED BY THE REPEATED IMPACT OF BUFFETING, WHIPPING, AND PIERCING, FOLLOWED BY NECROSIS AND A BRIEF INTERVAL OF RECUMBENCY.  THE RESULTING REACTION YIELDS A GREATLY AUGMENTED AND ENHANCED VOLUME OF GRACIOUSNESS WITH NO BITTER AFTERTASTE OR SOUR UNDERTONES.  [8/16/09]

The logical tangles and psychological snags of the Calvinistic system of soteriology lead directly to BEHAVIORAL SNARLS of ferocious character.  Sadly, this might be documented by cartloads of historic testimony from many a nation over nearly five centuries.  Isn’t it about time we examine the whole grim imbroglio to trace how, exactly, Calvin’s teaching of a penal satisfaction could possibly have led so consistently to punitive personalities among especially its most consistent and loyal?  [8/16/09]

Whenever the Canons of Dort or the Westminster Confession of Faith (or any other Calvinistic creed, confession, or catechism) speak of God’s “justice” (“to the praise of His glorious, & etc.”), they invariable mean His penal, punitive justice, casting always a blind eye to God’s premial justice by which He rescued and rewarded and raised the Savior himself, and through which we ourselves have been saved.  Such neglect cannot but have a distorting effect on our whole conception of God’s mission and appointed ministries to the world and the saints.  [8/16/09]

It is purely (even “sovereignly”) by God’s own wonderfully gracious desire (-θελ-) and intention (-βουλ-) that when we merely believe His chosen, if “foolish,” heralding of the Explanation of Truth (James 1:18, Ephesians 1:13) about the Cross (1 Corinthians 1:17-31), namely, that Jesus Christ was justly raised from the dead because of its injustice in killing him, due to his Father’s ultimate strategy to draw the whole world back to Himself through this exalting His sinless son in a stupendous historic exhibit of love—I repeat, that when we simply have faith in this Message, we thereby are teemed forth “to be some firstfruit of His own creatures (James 1:18), are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (which is an earnest of the inheritance of our share)” (Ephesians 1:14), to “become children of God” by His bestowed “right (John 1:12).  And why?  Simply because such a great salvation, entailing such a marvelous adoption of us as sons and hence heirs by mere faith, is “in accord with the delight of His desire, for the praise of the credit of His graciousness, which is gracious to us in the Loved One (Ephesians 1:5-6), in whom we thereby have “gotten chosen (Ephesians 1:4) “according to the foreknowledge of God, the Father” (1 Peter 1:1-2) Who is “the knower-of-hearts (Acts 15:8) and hence can see our faith and testify accordingly by giving the Holy Spirit to us to cleanse our hearts (Acts 15:7-9).

Yes, amazingly, it is GOD’S GRACIOUS WILL THAT WE SHOULD BE SAVED TO SUCH LARGESSE BY OUR THROWING OUR OWN FAITH INTO THE MIX SO AS TO REAP BENEFITS FROM THE WORD HE HAS FOLDED INTO THE RECIPE OF HUMAN SALVATION (Hebrews 4:1-3).  This having-gotten-saved-to-God’s-graciousness-through-faith is God’s prodigious present to us (Ephesians 2:8) simply because mere human faith accords with divine graciousness (Romans 4:16) hand in glove, bypassing our own actions, both good and evil!  This boon is purely “from God” (John 1:13, 1 Corinthians 1:30), and specifically His undeserved (on our part!) graciousness that we get to become His children in Christ, His chosen, only-born Son.  God figured out this whole gracious scheme!  To Him be all the credit!

The above phraseology, “from God” or “from Him” is to emphasize that what is being given by God “on faith(Romans 3:29, Galatians 3:22, Philippians 3:9, Romans 1:17) is a present (δωρον) and not a token of His indebtedness to us (Romans 3:4-5) owing to our work.  This is precisely why God selected faith as the means for triggering His gratuitous bestowal and donation of salvation, sonhood, and the Holy Spirit on us—it does not “obligate” Him as “owing” us those benefits, but leaves Him free to express His loving generosity in a manner that entails fairness and equity to all sinners alike in an impartial, non-discriminatory gesture.  [8/16/09]

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Calvin’s “Predestination” flows from his “Limited Atonement” and both, in turn, from his “Penal Satisfaction”

For Calvinists to run down the Scofield Reference Bible for “imposing” Dispensationalism on its unsuspecting readers (which it most certainly does!) is the pot calling the kettle black, since Calvinists were the very first Protestants to perpetrate such a mind-twisting imposture in the Geneva Bible. [8/15/09]

Those who posit an eternal degree in God by which He has ordained some to life and the rest to death make of Him a tyrant, and in fact an idol, as the pagans made of Jupiter.” — Jerome Bolsec, M.D. “Arrested and banished from Geneva with the warning that if he ever returned he would be flogged” for declaring the above words. Dave Hunt, What Love Is This? Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God (Sisters, OR: Loyal Publishing, 2002), p. 85. [8/15/09]

The actual logic of the matter (which Arminius, alas, did not yet quite see) is that the erroneous “predestination” of Calvin followed from limited atonement,” not the other way around. This fact was not clearly visible due to the powerful, invisible undercurrent of penal satisfaction upon which all sides unquestionably, uncritically agreed. But it was only this penal “payment that placed a “limit” on the graciousness released by the Atonement. For all sides concurred with the notion that Jesus’ suffering on the cross was the soteric commodity needing to be “economized” for its “exchange value” in ransoming/redeeming sinners by “paying for their sins.” If it was not to be improvidently “wasted” on ungrateful reprobates, it would have to be calculated, parceled out, and rationed with a thrifty eye to a productive investment and profitable payoff in dividends for the “Sovereign” Investor.

IT WAS TO INSURE THIS POSTULATED INVESTMENT THAT AUGUSTINE’S WAYWARD BRAINCHILD OF ‘ABSOLUTE DOUBLE PREDESTINATION’ WAS, AT LAST, COMPLETELY EXHUMED AND PLACED ON PUBLIC DISPLAY IN CALVIN’S INSTITUTES, etc. Thus did Augustine’s toxic dogmas come to re-infect the world and more thoroughly overturn the apostle Paul, arguably, than perhaps any other single factor in history. [8/15/09]

A gospel that does not exult and boast in the restorative, rewarding, i.e., premial justice or righteousness of God is a grossly deficientgospel”—Paul would not recognize it as good news at all! A gospel that dares to boast and pride itself in merely penal justice—no matter what the proposed mechanism (e.g., “substitution” and “imputation”) he would anathematize as “a different gospel, which is NOT [truly] ANOTHER” but rather a distortion that disturbs the saints! (Galatians 1:6-9)

THE SUBSTITUTION OF THE CROSS FOR THE RESURRECTION at the most decisive point—the turning point—of the divine plot utterly sabotages the climactic denouement into an insipid ANTICLIMAX AND “EFFECTUALLY” SAPS THE STORY OF ITS POWER PUNCH BY DENATURING ITS RESURRECTIONARY RESCUE FROM A NECESSARY ADVENT OF GOD’S OWN JUSTICE TO A BUREAUCRATIC RUBBER STAMP ON WHATEVER “SAVING” VIRTUE CAN BE SQUEEZED OUT OF THE DEADLY CROSS DUE TO ITS EXHIBITION OF PUNITIVE JUSTICE AGAINST THE INNOCENT, SINLESS, JUST, AND HOLY ONE.

Therefore, is it any wonder that SUCH PALTRYGRACE can be conceived as FLOWING FROM SUCH PENAL “SATISFACTION” AND BLOWING OFF OF INFINITE WRATH BY AN INFINITELYJUST” JUDGE TO CAUSE INFINITE SUFFERING TO HIS “INFINITELY” DIVINE AND “INFINITELY” INNOCENT SON, THAT IT CANNOT BE CONCEIVED OR IMAGINED BY CALVINISTS AS ITSELF BEING INFINITE. Believe it or not! In ‘Reformed’ mathematics ALL THOSE “INFINITES” ONLY ADD UP TO A PATHETICALLY FINITE ATONEMENT. Strange, but true…very sadly true. And this is yet another compelling evidence that penal satisfaction is a travesty of the Truth.

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From “Prevenient” to “Irresistible”: Two Falls from Grace

The proper role and priority of the Gospel about God’s graciousness to Christ Jesus was displaced in both Roman Catholic theology (Council of Trent—the decree on justification, 1547) and Protestant (even as far as John Wesley), by a teaching about “prevenient grace coming unmerited in order to move and stir the will to believe, yet is resistible. But this well-meant innovation leads to confusion and to the overreaction of Calvinism into a dogma of “irresistible grace,” which then loses its very character as graciousness altogether. We already have a word for coercive graciousnessmanipulation.” [8/13/09]

If John Calvin was so radically wrong at so fundamental a point as to argue for a penal satisfaction, it seems hardly credible that he can be correct in those many other doctrines that are dependent on the view of God dictated by a penal atonement.  [8/13/09]

So lemme make sure I have this right.  The elect don’t have the power to resist the grace of God, but the reprobate do have the power to resist the grace of God.  Do I have that right?  Okay.  Then that means the reprobate have more power than the elect do.  Am I missing something?  Moreover, they have more power without the power of the Holy Spirit than the elect have even with the power of the Holy Spirit.  My head is spinning.  [8/13/09; 8/24/09; 5/05/17]

If God honestly does not “intend that any should perish, but all to make room for repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), then why doesn’t He use some of that “irresistible grace” on them, pray tell? Here is something seriously amiss in Calvinism. The bottom line is, on the grounds of penal satisfaction, there simply is not enough grace to spare! Now Arminians don’t seem to get this. But Calvinists are generally smarter here. They see that if penal substitution is correct, salvation must be limited! Yet, sadly, Calvinists are not smart enough to notice that their atonement premise is drastically wrong. And Arminius died prematurely under harassment by his bitter, vicious enemies, or he might have come to the solution himself. Indeed, Hugo Grotius, his young contemporary supporter, caught the drift of his thought and actually attempted the first basic alteration of the doctrine of the Atonement proper since Calvin originally spelled out penal satisfaction. However, Grotius was not successful in his bid because he had no adequate alternative to an atoning necessity of a penal sort. His “governmental” or “rectoral” theory more appealed to prevailing cultural metaphors. [8/13/09]

Within the system of Calvinism, the full role of the Holy Spirit has become sidelined, marginalized as more of an “add-on” than as a fully integral component of New Covenant salvation. This may not have happened (regardless of traditional Roman Catholic suppression of the Holy Spirit by cessationism, a hold-over of Augustinianism) but for the development of forensic justification, (and particularly the doctrines of forensic imputation), incipiently by Luther and Melanchthon, more full blown by Johannes Piscator and William Ames. For these doctrines cut an alternative furrow for part of salvation to affect believers apart from the Holy Spirit. [8/14/09]

For sure, the world of unbelievers and “reprobates” can and will respond positively to this mighty Gospel. The question remains, “will Calvinists”? I need not remind my Reformed sisters and brothers that the “elect” Jews of Jesus’ day largely reprobated this Gospel as “too inclusive.” A word to the wise is sufficient. [8/14/09]

Yes, I dare to entreat my Reformed sisters and brothers to change their minds regarding the Atonement and let its truth effervesce through every other received doctrine at its own pace. I have taken many years to come around, and I’m not finished yet. But I am a fellow traveler in this restoration. Can the full Reformation be far behind? [8/14/09]

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Calvinism’s Poverty Mentality

Not only does Calvinism perpetuate a hideous caricature of God the Father, but it replicates that caricature in the character of some of its most ardent disciples. [8/12/09]

CALVINISM’S POVERTY MENTALITY

The whole inter-referential system of Calvinistic soteriology (doctrine of salvation) represents perhaps the greatest  systematic impoverishment of Christianity that history affords us. Every one of its famous distinctives  (popularly dubbed “The Five Points of Calvinism” and designated ‘TULIP‘) amounts to a crimping of a straightforward truth into a bent and disempowered travesty. Witness the following:

Total Depravity”

Teaches that there is not enough structural integrity in divinely created human nature to enable or render a person capable to believe even the Gospel proclaimed with its native God-breathed power. The human will is too moribund to even register “efficacious” inclination toward the magnetism of the Gospel story concerning God’s exaltation of Jesus by Cross and Resurrection.

Unconditional Election”

There is not enough intrinsic charm and attraction in the Gospel to keep a person in the faith (and hence elected by God), so a kind of “predestination” must be postulated that keeps a person “elect” even against their vagrant will and makes sure they end up saved regardless of all contingencies, including their “seeming” departure from God’s ways and explicit desire.

Limited Atonement

There is not enough power in the Atonement to save all mankind, so one has to be invented just strong enough to save only those who end up saved.

Irresistible Grace

There is not enough grace to go around without a whole lot of it being wasted on those who don’t deserve it, which would be such a waste that God’s Wisdom and Providence in matching Christ’s suffering with what it buys him is impugned, therefore God has to make sure His grace is irresistible so none of it gets lost.

Perseverence of the Saints”

There is not enough grit in people who are only under the influence of the Gospel alone to bring them all the way through the tests and trials of faith they encounter, so God has to make sure there are no slip ups (“slip backs”) by babying them along with extra provisions He doesn’t waste on the “reprobate.” [8/12/09]

Is the above merely a rough and jocular caricature of TULIP?  For a further elaboration and demonstration of its accuracy, please click on the paper at the top of this blog site, “Anselm, Calvin, and Arminius:  Reconciliation by Resurrection?”

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“Double Jeopardy” Dissolved.

The Calvinistic boast of the “hard, clear logic” of their system necessarily evokes its dialectical opposite—the assertion of “mystery” wherever the system violates Scripture. This is an inescapable paradox of their violence to the clarity (“perspicuity”) of the Scriptures themselves. [8/10/09; from my note at the bottom of p. 357 of Robert Shank, Life in the Son: A Study of the Doctrine of Perseverance (1961), annotated in 1985 or 1986, Pella, Iowa.]

The alleged problem of “double jeopardy” would be an authentic concern only if God “exacted judgment” at the Cross in the first place! But a premial atonement dispels that concern entirely. Since the Cross was an event of wrongful Satanic exaction of punishment on the Sinless One, God was justified in exacting a resurrection by way of REPARATION! The torrent of graciousness that ensued has the aim of winning FRIENDSHIP FROM SINNERS! But if they should reject the invitation, it’s no skin off Christ’s back, because he did not suffer from a discrete measure of divine wrath in penal judgment in economic exchange for “just so much” human sin. CHRIST WON A FAVORABLE JUDGMENT! The Judge RULED IN HIS FAVOR, so any divine punishment incurred by those who reject and resist the exuberant favor overflowing to us is certainly not a “second” exaction of “divine condemnation,” but only a first…and a tragically needless one at that. [8/11/09]

Pity the agonizing young dissenter from Calvinism who only disbelieves their harsh, errant dogmas, yet still believes them when they say “There’s nothing better out there.” Such a person is tormented by half-hearted disbelief. Their only salvation (and it must be hard won!) is in WHOLE-HEARTED DISBELIEF OF CALVINISM IN WHATEVER IT CLAIMS AS “UNIQUE” TO ITSELF IN DISTINCTION FROM HISTORIC ‘CATHOLIC’ CHRISTIANITY. [8/11/09]

Even a crucifixespecially a crucifix, with the Savior forever mounted and pinned in NON-AVENGING AGONY WHEN HE MIGHT HAVE SAVED HIMSELF THE TROUBLE BY A SPECTACULAR RESCUE is the very image of God’s love. A cross without a bleeding, thorn-crowned, stark naked Savior leaves too much to the imagination. Like, how did the cross become…“empty”? Or did his disciples steal his body? Or was he somehow resuscitated from a swoon?

So, may every crucifix-honoring Roman Catholic take heart that this piece of religious art indeed represents, against the backdrop of the worst that Satan could do, the true, non-vindictive love exhibit of our Savior enduring torture, however long, until God Himself showed up to save him with enough salvation for all his enemies too!  True grace with true grit!  [8/11/19; 8/13/09]

It is always notoriously easy for Evangelicals to fall back into one or more prickly points of Calvinism, because so long as they continue to hold on to Calvin’s invention of penal satisfaction, all the other points follow consistently—but the more consistent the less Biblical. And the tension can be paralyzing! Not even Calvin could cross the final hurdle of ultra-Calvinism—limited atonement. By the time people convince themselves, over all the objecting testimony of the apostles and early church, that strict Calvinism is correct, their conscience is seared. Can such Calvinists be ‘redeemed’? [8/11/09]

A penal atonement must be substitutionary for the simple reason that Jesus DID NOT DESERVE the treatment he received, leading to his death. By the same token, a premial atonement cannot be substitutionary, precisely because Christ DID DESERVE his resurrection and the premium/reward that followed necessarily from God’s avenging the wrong of the Cross. That resurrection was certainly not ‘substitutionary’, of course. However, it was FOR (huper) US! Yet even the Cross was not ‘substitutionary’ since each of us too must carry our own cross! [8/11/09] Both of these epicenters of the Gospel narrative are accordingly—in diametric opposition to the popular substitutionary spin—INCLUSIONARY. And it is this unifying feature of PREMIAL INCLUSION that baptism so precisely depicts. It is this act that pictures us safely IN CHRIST when we believe the Gospel. [4/27/17]

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