Sunday, July 01, 2012

Particular, and serious

Well, it's the Lord's Day - time for something a little more important than a travelog.  I've been thinking for a while of a post on particular redemption; I may still do so, but this week Dan Phillips got there before me - here and here.  Dan's a great writer; he did a better job than I would have.

The only thing of substance that I'd take issue with in Dan's posts is this:

  • The reason I usually call myself a 4.95-point Calvinist (+/-) is that, while every one of the other four points is expressly taught in Scripture, there is no single verse that expressly says, in so many words "Jesus died to atone fully for the sins of the elect and nobody else."

Now Dan's logic is better than this, almost always.  (We won't say anything about his dispensationalism for the moment...)   The truth is, though, he's wrong here.  Consider: 
  • there isn't a single verse that expressly says, in so many words, 'God chose individuals to be saved, unconditionally and before the beginning of time, and the faith those individuals have is his gift to them.'

And for that matter,
  • there isn't a single verse that expressly says, in so many words, 'There is only one God and he has always existed in three distinct persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), so that each person is truly and wholly God yet the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Spirit and the Spirit is not the Father.'

No, there isn't a single verse that says either of those things.  Yet the Bible indubitably teaches both of them. 

Dan know that this isn't how theology works - one single verse that summarises a particular doctrine.  It's sad, then, that he seems to fudge (just a little bit) on particular redemption.

And here are two verses that come pretty close:
  • For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

  • Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5.25)

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