Exposing The Presbyterian Church (Part 4)
By: Brian A. Yeager
In this, our fourth article examining and exposing the errors of the Presbyterian Church, we shall proceed by exposing the error of limited atonement. We have already seen how easy it has been to expose the error of hereditary sin and unconditional election. The TULIP doctrine has fallen because the very foundation upon which it is based is false (cf. Matthew 7:26-27). Let’s get into our study now.
The Error Of Limited Atonement
In their own words, notice the false teaching of the Presbyterian Church on the subject of limited atonement: “Christ died for us (the elect) and not for the whole world. ‘But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ Romans 5: 8… We understand that Christ’s passion, suffering, and death was not for the world and did not take away the world’s sins. If Christ died for the whole world, the whole world's sins would have been taken away. No one would go to hell. But rather, Christ’s passion, suffering, and death was only for us and only took away our sins. But ‘... he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.’ John 3: 36. When we believe that Christ died only for us, His elect, not for the world, this ‘Limited Atonement”, the third point of Calvinism, is so much more appreciated by us. ‘But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.’ Isaiah 53: 5” (http://www.reformeddoctrine.org/L.htm). “Limited Atonement. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross was for the purpose of saving the elect” (http://www.westminsterfellowship.org/Beliefs/index.html).
To begin with, we’ve proven the doctrine of election to be false in our previous article. Therefore, we have already begun debunking this false doctrine by cutting off its premise [a previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion]. As you can see in the quote above, Calvinists like to find passages that express “us” or “we” being saved (cf. II Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5, etc.). They then twist those passages to conclude that the “us” or “we” excludes all others. Funny thing is, they never like to deal with passages such as this: “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:11). In the context of Acts 15, the argument arose in Antioch about whether or not the Gentiles were equal, needed circumcised, etc. Dear reader, finding a passage that talks about a certain group of people being saved does not necessarily exclude all others. This is especially true when you can search the Scriptures and see for a FACT that Christ did not die just for an elect few.
Notice how clear God is in showing us that His Son did not die for a fictional few: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world… For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved… And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world… I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world… For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation… I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time… But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man… The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance… And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world… And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (John 1:29, John 3:16-17, John 4:42, John 6:51, II Corinthians 5:14-19, I Timothy 2:1-6, Hebrews 2:9, II Peter 3:9, I John 2:2, and I John 4:14).
As I read through many of the websites of Presbyterian churches that declared this false doctrine of limited atonement, I noticed one reoccurring argument. That argument goes like this: “If God ever intended to save any soul in Christ (and he has a definite intention to save or not to save toward souls), that soul will certainly be saved (Jn. 10:27-28; 6:37-40). Hence, all whom God ever intended to save in Christ will be saved. But some souls will never be saved; therefore some souls God never intended to be saved by Christ's atonement” (http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/dabney/5points.htm). Those who argue this Calvinistic doctrine have missed that Jesus died for everyone to be saved, but that does not mean everyone will choose to be saved.
Christ Was Sacrificed For All, But Not All Will Choose To Benefit From His Sacrifice
In the quote listed above in the last paragraph, Charles Spurgeon argued that God saves all whom He intended to save. However, we’ve already seen that God wants everyone to be saved (I Timothy 2:1-6). Nothing righteous is impossible for God (Mark 10:27). So, why isn’t everyone going to be in Heaven? The Scriptures show us that few will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 13:23-24, and I Peter 4:17-19). As we’ve previously discussed man has freewill (Exposing The Presbyterian Church [Part 2]; February 14th, 2009). When we read the New Testament, we see clearly that the Gospel is to be preached to everyone (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:47, and Colossians 1:23).
When the Gospel is preached, people have the choice to respond to it. Notice these Scriptures: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life… In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink… I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins… As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed… Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me… Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses… For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek… For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe… Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (John 5:24, John 7:37, John 8:24, John 8:30-31, John 14:6, Acts 13:38-39, Romans 1:16, I Corinthians 1:21, and Hebrews 4:1-2).
Notice this particular account wherein this conversion took place: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:37-41).
Ah, but the Presbyterians will have an answer for these points. Notice: “But, those who are not His sheep did not believe. John 10:26: “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep” (http://www.reformeddoctrine.org/L.htm). Now, you can see how limited atonement and unconditional election are tied together tightly. The Presbyterians say the Gospel can be preached to everyone, but only those who God has chosen will or even CAN hear and believe it. Freewill (Hebrews 12:25), once again, is tossed aside by those who believe Calvinism.
Does God really make it so that the Gospel is ineffective on certain people? Does God choose who has open ears and hearts? The Scriptures teach otherwise. For one, the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Psalms 19:7). The word of God is living, powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, not soft and incapable of penetration (Hebrews 4:12). Look carefully into the Scriptures and you will see that when people have closed eyes, ears, and hearts it is because they have chosen to do so, not God (Matthew 13:15 and Acts 28:27). Is it true that you become one of the sheep by predestination? No, once again notice what the Scriptures say: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). Unlike those who follow the errors of Calvinism, true Bible students realize that obedience to the Lord is a choice. Being one of His disciples, one of the sheep, requires obedience on our part. This obedience has not been decided by God, the choice is all yours (Matthew 12:50, Luke 11:28, John 14:15, John 14:21-24, and John 15:10).
Is limited atonement a false doctrine? The following, as well as what we’ve already covered, proves the doctrine of limited atonement to be false: “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:18-19). Our next article will expose the erring idea of “Irresistible Grace”. As you’ve likely already noticed, many of these points of Calvinism are similar to each other for they are necessary conclusions for each of the previous points.
Volume 10 – Issue 23 - February 28th, 2010