Tuesday, April 17, 2007

THE MEN WHO WOULD BE KING

A mini-firestorm, it seems, has been ignited by a statement that Dr. Jerry Falwell made concerning limited atonement. As I understand it, Dr. Falwell called the doctrine of limited atonement heresy. In doing so, he implicates all those who believe and teach this doctrine as heretics.

I certainly do not begrudge Dr. Falwell nor Liberty U. the right to believe what they believe and to state it publicly. I agree with Tom Ascol's statement; "I simply regret that they believe it".

My problem with this way of thinking is, I fear that often times, men will allow their own personal motives to govern how they interpret Scripture rather than allowing Scripture to govern their motives. Some men in the world of Christianity are so set on their own self-importance, their own desire for greatness, and their unfaltering dedication to their own sovereignty that they just can't see the doctrines of grace no matter how much Biblical evidence they are shown.

This is the root of the problem, as I see it: Men, even dedicated religious men, will not only reject the doctrines of grace (5 point Calvinism), but will fight them tooth and nail, because these doctrines will remove them from the throne of their own private, self-proclaimed kingdom. They long for place and position. They struggle ceaselessly for notoriety. They want to be catered to by political leaders and feared for their political clout. They want to be thought of as leaders so badly that they find a way to blend their doctrine with their ambitions.

The doctrines of grace will allow no self-exaltation. They will tear the crown from puny man's head and cast it at the feet of the only One who was ever worthy to wear a crown in the first place. The doctrines of grace, rightly understood, will put God high on the throne and a weak and utterly helpless man face down in the dust before God's throne.

To the men who would be king, thinking seriously on the doctrines of grace would be dangerous to their personal sovereignty. Therefore they bitterly oppose Calvinism. They build straw men to misrepresent the beliefs of those who hold to these truths in order to fight the misconceptions rather than the real issues. To fight the real issues would require an honest evaluation of them, and that would be a threat to their private little kingdom.

Have these men ever read this verse? Mat 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. If they have read it, they have not rightly understood it, nor have they applied it personally.

On the other hand, the men of whom I am aware, who hold to the doctrines of grace, are men who have never sought great things for themselves. They are men whose first priority has been to know and honor God. They have studied deeply and passionately to know more about Him so that they could honor Him as He deserves to be honored. This has caused them to have an exalted view of God and His sovereignty while exposing them to the utter depravity of man. They have sought not only to know truth, but to apply it, first in their own lives, then to teach it to others.

These men, by conviction, do not seek for name nor for notoriety. They seek for God and His glory, depending on God alone to give them their place and position in His kingdom. Many of them have come to places of note and are in the public eye, but not because they sought it. They were busy humbling themselves in the sight of God and He has lifted them up.(James4:10) Among these are John MacArthur, Al Mohler, John Piper, R.C Sproul and many others who are our contemporaries. Others from the past who believed, taught and ordered their ministries in light of the doctrines of grace were Spurgeon, Whitfield, Bunyan, and William Carey (who is known as the father of modern missions).

These are the men whose examples I would emulate. As for the men who would be king, we shall see in eternity where their theology and their example lead.

9 comments:

Even So... said...

Well done...I really like the style of this post...

The doctrines of grace will allow no self-exaltation. They will tear the crown from puny man's head and cast it at the feet of the only One who was ever worthy to wear a crown in the first place. The doctrines of grace, rightly understood, will put God high on the throne and a weak and utterly helpless man face down in the dust before God's throne.

Indeed...

Steve Weaver said...

Amen and Amen! Excellent thoughts!

Marcian said...

They have studied deeply and passionately to know more about Him so that they could honor Him as He deserves to be honored.

This is the call of every human. I have been convicted lately to STOP taking other Christian's views and opinions over God's. Do I not think that He is strong and mighty enough to teach me Himself through His Word??? My time should be spent examining the scriptures with the intent of knowing Him so that I can honor Him in the way He deserves. HE ought to be the reason anyone searches the Scriptures.

SOOO, when we read and we find out that He alone works all things for His glory alone, we can in response to that do nothing but fall on our faces before Him and beg for some of that mercy so that we can exalt Him the way He wants Himself to be exalted. No magic formula, no anointing oil, just seek the face of God for His glory alone.

Isaiah 45:19
I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, 'Seek me in vain.' I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

BugBlaster said...

good post, and right on thoughts

itsboopchile said...

I am sorry to disagree with you re limited atonement.
I do believe there are many who won't be saved but could have been.
I do believe in the whosoever will.
Also I believe with John MacArthur

who has stated that he believes in "General Atonement," for a "Universal Atonement," and for an "All Comprising Provision."

He says, "God so loved......"
What? "The world" not the elect.
He believes in limited to those who believe, and unlimited to those who refuse to believe, but open to all.

Now, is that your view? or am not understanding you?

Betty G

itsboopchile said...

Unlimited should have been "not."

Betty G

Garry Weaver said...

J.D. and Steve,
Thanks for the encouragement.

Marcian,
Your heart and passion for God both inspire me and convict me.

Betty G.,
Thank you for visiting and commenting. Your input is important to me. In answer to your question, I don't really like the term "limited atonement", but I do heartily believe in a "definite redemption" which is actually just another way of saying the same thing. I believe that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross made a perfect and complete atonement for His people. It doesn't just make salvation possible for everyone, but it guarantees the salvation of the elect. His sacrifice is not limited in power, but it is limited in purpose.

As for your assertion that John MacArthur believes in universal atonement, please read this question and answer that I copied from the internet.

The following "Question" was asked by a member of the congregation at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, California, and "Answered" by their pastor, John MacArthur Jr. It was transcribed from the tape, GC 70-17, titled "Bible Questions and Answers."

Question

Could you please explain Biblically for whom Christ died? And also, whether all of them that He died for will be saved?

Answer

The answer is, in terms of Scripture, is that Christ died for the world--the Scripture talks about the world. But I think that the way you have to define that is to define it as humanity--human kind. The question is, "Whose sins, within humanity, did He actually atone for?" Right? "Whose sins did He actually pay the price for?" "Whose sins did He actually expiate?" "Whose punishment did he actually bear, and thus eliminate them from ever being judged?" And the answer is, "Only those who believe."

So Christ actually paid the penalty; suffered the wrath of God; expiated sin, and was a perfect and satisfactory atonement for the sins of all of who would ever believe. Some people want to say that He actually paid the penalty for the sins of all who ever lived. We have some problems with that. We have a number of passages in the New Testament that indicate that He died for His own, He purchased His own, with His own blood He purchased the Church. Those kinds of statements, I think, take the humanity, or the world and narrow it down more specifically to who it is, it is referring to. So in the end, if He died and paid the actual penalty for the sins of all people who ever lived, then Hell would be double jeopardy. Then how could you send people to Hell when their sins have been paid for? So you can't really have a complete expiation of the sins of everybody, or you are going to end up as a Universalist. So in reality Christ actually expiated the sins of those who believe.
Now in the end, of course, as you study the elective and unfolding purposes of the decree of God, it is clear that those who believe, believe because they were chosen before the foundation of the world. Their names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life and the Spirit of God came and regenerated them by the sovereign purposes of God.

Again, thank you for reading and commenting. This may be one of those things on which we will have to agree to disagree.

Garry Weaver said...

OOPS!
Forgot to thank Buggy. Thanks,Buggy. Your comments are insightful and thought-provoking.

Live, Love, Laugh said...

Very interesting post, very interesting comments and very interesting question. I loved the part where you said, quote: The doctrines of grace will allow no self-exaltation. They will tear the crown from puny man's head and cast it at the feet of the only One who was ever worthy to wear a crown in the first place. The doctrines of grace, rightly understood, will put God high on the throne and a weak and utterly helpless man face down in the dust before God's throne.

All I can say is amen and amen.