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Monday, November 25, 2013

This Just In: Christ Actually Died For Everyone

...Yes, even those in Hell. That's the point of Hell, no? To punish those who definitively and finally reject God's love. They say that this makes too little of Christ's atoning death. I say they make too little of human freedom, and of the dignity of man in general. They say we make too little of grace; I say, no, it is they who make too little of it, by overlooking the little tragedies of grace unheeded each day. Didn't John Murray write Redemption Accomplished and Applied? It's a pity that no Calvinist anywhere actually makes a real distinction between the two. If you exhort people to make the gospel real in their lives, you must concede the real possibility that they will not. If faith is required, faith cannot be compelled. But would not a salvation willed by God irrevocably from the foundation of the world therefore fall out necessarily from it? If that is so, no matter how much emotionalism and affirmation you give to people in the exercise of that faith, it doesn't matter. Any pastor who says otherwise is either doing Jedi mind-tricks to avoid seeing it, or does not see the philosophical implications of what he affirms, or both.

It does not follow from the premise that God owes man nothing that God has in fact given some men nothing, and justly. I do not understand how this carries so much weight, or why I believed it for so long. If He could say, "I played a dirge for you, but you did not dance," does this sound like a God who does it all Himself? Why would He say this? Why would He weep over Jerusalem? God incarnate is either manipulative, or you have the wrong idea about the Atonement and salvation. I know what I'm going with.

And none of this is to say that there are no genuine mysteries about predestination and the like, or that God must treat everyone equally. On the contrary. But He must treat all fairly. And that is why I'm not a Calvinist, among the other 8000 reasons.

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