Monday, December 17, 2007

Theological Question To Chew On

Studying the atonement can be mind numbing. We all generally believe that Christ died for our sins. That is the common ground. The difficulties reside in the details. How does Christ's death translate into forgiveness of sinners? Why did the Father accept the Son's sacrifice in our stead? What exactly was accomplished at the cross? Did Christ literally "pay the price" for our sins in a quantitative way? Was Christ truly "punished" for our sins, or did He just "suffer" for them? Was anyone actually saved at the cross, or did the cross provide for salvation?

We could add many other questions. I personally believe that the penal satisfaction view of the atonement has the most explanatory power. That does mean that it perfectly represents the Biblical revelation of Christ's atoning work. It would appear to be quite arrogant to believe that a certain view of the atonement perfectly captures all that the Bible has to say on the subject.

Some Calvinists believe that Arminians cannot consistently hold to a penal satisfaction view of the atonement. I believe that such an assertion is due to a misunderstanding of Arminian theology and I will deal more with that subject in a future post.

The purpose of this post is to get a little discussion over a teaching that has often attached itself to the penal satisfaction view. Did God the Father turn His back on the Son at the cross? Was Jesus literally separated from the Father when the sins of the world were laid on Him? When Jesus cried out "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" was he truly forsaken at that point?

I have heard many claim that Christ was truly separated from the Father at this time and that this separation was a necessary part of the atonement process. F. Leroy Forlines makes the interesting claim that the temporary separation of an infinite being [like Christ] from the Father was compensatory to the eternal suffering of finite beings. In other words, humans owe an eternal debt because we have offended an eternal God. Since we are finite, the only way to pay an eternal debt is to pay for it forever [hence the doctrine of eternal punishment in hell]. Christ perfectly suffered in our stead on the account of His eternal nature. For the eternal Son to suffer separation from the Father [if even for a moment] serves as a substitute for the eternal suffering of finite beings who owe the debt of sin to an eternal God. This is a very interesting way to look at it.

Forlines, however, never stops to ask or answer the very important question: "Can there ever be real separation within the triune God?". This is the question which I think cannot allow for this type of understanding of penal satisfaction. I cannot at this time accept any interpretation of the atonement that would cause a rift in the trinity. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

26 comments:

Classical Arminianism said...

The Roos,

"I cannot at this time accept any interpretation of the atonement that would cause a rift in the trinity."

I agree wholeheartedly. If the Three Persons make up One God, then how can One of them "forsake" the Other? This is great stuff. I look forward to reading more . . .

Billy

Nick Norelli said...

I personally favor the governmental theory because I think it makes the best sense of all the available data. It allows a substitution without penal payment. Therefore Christ suffers but is not punished. I also view his sacrifice as qualitatively sufficient, not quantitatively.

In regard to the separation that some posit in Christ's cry of dereliction I have briefly addressed that topic here. I'll excerpt the relevant portion:

"A Misconception Cleared Up

At this point allow me to dispel a common myth about Jesus while he was on the cross. Right before Jesus’ death he uttered the words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mat. 27:46 & Mk. 15:34)

It is commonly taught that because Jesus took the sin of the world upon himself and that sin separates from God, that Jesus and the Father were separated while Jesus hung on the cross. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It must first be pointed out that Jesus did not become a sinner while on the cross. The Bible is very plain in telling us that Jesus was without sin.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15)

Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: (1Pet. 2:22)

It has always been personal sin that separated man from God; Adam is a prime example of this as it was his personal disobedience that expelled him from the garden of Eden.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (Is. 59:2).

2Corinthians 5:19 clearly states that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” This of course refers to the entirety of Jesus’ earthly ministry from his baptism straight through to his resurrection. Jesus’ words from the cross were a direct quote of Psalm 22:1. This is a Messianic Psalm and Jesus’ cry would have turned the attention of those who stood in attendance directly to it. It was a declaration of his being the Messiah more than it was an actual question. And when we reference the Psalm in question, we come across the proclamation made in vs. 24 which says, “For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.”

Suffice it to say, there was never a time when they were separated from one another. If the Persons of the Trinity could be separated then their unity would amount to nothing. Their relationship would be no more intimate than the average human being’s."

kangeroodort said...

Nick,

I personally favor the governmental theory because I think it makes the best sense of all the available data.

I do like that the governmental view has an element of substitution [which few Calvinists realize], but I don't think it treats fairly those passages of Scripture which speak of Christ paying for our sins [e.g. "you were bought with a price" language, etc.] or some of the punishment language of Isa. 53, for instance.

I know that there are different views among governmental advocates, so maybe I have just not come across one I like yet. Some of the descriptions of the governmental view seem to suggest that God could have forgiven man without the cross, which is another aspect of the theory I find hard to swallow. I am not dogmatic on this so maybe you will convince me otherwise.

I also view his sacrifice as qualitatively sufficient, not quantitatively.

I completely agree with this as well as your comments regarding the impossibility of seperation within the trinity. Thanks for the input.

God Bless,
Ben

Nick Norelli said...

Ben,

You said: "I do like that the governmental view has an element of substitution [which few Calvinists realize], but I don't think it treats fairly those passages of Scripture which speak of Christ paying for our sins [e.g. "you were bought with a price" language, etc.] or some of the punishment language of Isa. 53, for instance."

I can appreciate what you're saying but I would argue that those passages (e.g., Mat. 20:28; Mk. 10:45; 1Cor. 6:20; 7:23; Gal. 3:13; 1Tim. 2:6; 1Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 5:9) speak of us (i.e., believers) as the purchased possession, not our sins as being paid for.

Jesus purchased a people, he paid for us, he didn't pay for our sins. My main reason for believing this is because if the sin itself was paid for then nothing would be needed past the payment (i.e., no faith & no repentence). This fits well within Calvinism's doctrine of Unconditional Election but I don't see it as being consistent with Conditional Election.

But I completely agree with your original statement that: "It would appear to be quite arrogant to believe that a certain view of the atonement perfectly captures all that the Bible has to say on the subject."

I certainly don't have all the answers and there are some problems with the governmental view, but all in all I see it as having the least problems.

Jnorm888 said...

There is always the classical/ransom/christus victor view, which covers all the passages that talk about being "bought with a price"/ purchased.

Arminian said...

I think various complementary views of the atonement are necessary to appreciate the depth of Christ's atoning work. And I beliegve that penal substitution is part of that. I further believe that it is appropriate to say that Christ was seperated from the Father on thr cross. I think some problems with your tentative objection to the idea are: (1) you might be mistakenly thinking that there is some claim that it was an ontological separation; but that is not what is (or should be anyway) meant. It was a relational separation, as evidence by the Father punishing Jesus in our stead! Can you really claim there was no relational separation of any kind when the Father was pouring out his wrath on Christ?; (2) I think you are not fully taking account of the fact that the members of the Trinity are distinct persons, even though they are one God, and realte to one another. Indeed, Jesus had his own will distinct from the Father's and could pray, "not my will but your's be done". Saying that Christ was spearated from the Father on the cross is merely a way of expressing that Jesus bore the Father's wrath. Jesus does express in that cry from the cross that God had forsaken him. There is more going on there than just a personal expression of Jesus' cursed state (he was in fact quoting Scripture and directing attention to Scripture), but it was not less than that. It would seem that Jesus' own words are against you of you want to deny that the Father forsook him on some level. Defining it all exactly is more of a challenge, given that we are delving into the mystery of the Trinity here and of the atonement. But it does not seem to be the best course to forsake (no pun intended) the biblical language. And perhaps you might want to say we should abandon the use of "separated", though that would seem overly nitpicky to me. "Separation" on some level would seem to be necessitated by the concept of being forsaken. In any case, it seems like it would be better to try and define what is meant by forsakenness and separation rather than trying to abandon this biblical language (at least for the former). And doing that would probably amount to saying much what the doctrine of penal substitution says, that for Christ to be forsaken by the Father was for him to be punished by the Father for our sin and for him to bear the Father's wrath against sin.

Anonymous said...

What role does Christ's fully human persona play in all of this?

It seems if we remember that he was fully human then one can say that God was separated from him. To me it is like when the Lord said that no one knows the hour of his return not even the son that this is another instance of Christ's human persona not knowing, but his divine would of course know. I could just be way out in left field on this of course.

Nick Norelli said...

Arminian,

I completely disagree with your argument for separation. But as I pointed out above, the Psalm to which Jesus referred in his cry of dereliction actually shows that he was NOT forsaken. It merits repeating:

“For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.” (Ps. 22:4)

I'd also point out that each person of the Trinity having a distinct will doesn't lead to the idea that there can be a 'relational separation' -- As far as the doctrine of perichoresis is concerned such a thought is unthinkable -- the inter-penetration of the three is as much relational as it is ontological.

And I think that you are merely begging the question here in assuming penal payment. This is evident by your asserting that God punished Jesus and that God's wrath was poured out upon him. Jesus suffering is not the same as his being punished. God's wrath was no more on Jesus than it was on the goat offered to the Lord on the day of atonement.

Indeed, the Bible speaks of God's wrath coming upon the sinner, the disobedient, the unbeliever -- not Christ! It says that Christ delivered us from the wrath of God, not by becoming the victim of it but through his expiatory blood.

In the end, there's no problem with the Biblical language -- but I believe that you have simply misappropriated it.

Arminian said...

Nick,

I believe you are misinterpreting the psalm, including 22:24. For one, v. 24 does not have to be taken as referring to the pray-er of v. 1. It can be taken that way, and I would tend to agree that it should be; but if so, it still does not support your argument. There is no indication that this should be taken as a contradiction to v. 1. The pray-er there refers to a time of having been forsaken by the Lord. If God later came to his aid, as was actually the case with Jesus, delivered over by God to death but then raised from death, that does not erase the period of forsakenness, and in Jesus' case, divine curse. The psalm and Jesus indicate having been forsaken by God. Your interpetation seems to contradict the text itself.

I didn't say that the persons of the trinity each having a distinct will to necessarily lead to the idea of there being able to be a relational separation between them, though this is probably true. But I used that point to illustrate that the persons of the Trinity can relate to one another. And that does indeed open up the possibility that there can be a relational separation of some sort, especially if one thinks that one member of the Trinity can put another member to death. This does not in any way contradict the doctrine of perichoresis any more than the father handing Jesus over to death does or the Father crushing the Son when causing our iniquity to fall on him. As I said, it is more a matter of contemplating what is meant by saying the Father forsook the Son in some way.

Further, I was not begging the question of penal payment, for I was aiming my comments at Ben's OP, where he says that he accepts penal substitution. I was not making this an issue of which theory of the atonement to adopt, as you seem to want to do, but the topic of Christ's separation from the Father. Ganted, the nature of the atonement enters into the question, but that was not the focus of my comments, which assume the penal view because Ben and I agree on that.

Nick Norelli said...

Arminian,

I have to disagree with your interpretation of Psalm 22. Indeed the writer of the Psalm expressed what felt like being forsaken, but vs. 24 shows that this was not the case -- God never left him, he heard his prayer and delivered him. There is no contradiction between how someone feels and how the situation actually is. Did Jesus feel like he was forsaken on the cross? I'd be willing to bet that he probably did... But God did not forsake him -- God was IN CHRIST reconciling the world unto himself (2Cor. 5:19).

Let me ask you this as someone who believes that God forsook Jesus on the cross and exacted his wrath on him. Do you believe then that God heard (i.e., honored) Jesus' prayer to forgive those who crucified him (Lk. 23:34)? Also, how do you explain Jesus committing his spirit into the hands of the Father (Lk. 23:46) if he was forsaken on the cross?

Your argument concerning separation and death isn't supported from the persons of the Trinity having distinct wills (I don't quite see the connection you're making between the two things) -- but your entire line of reasoning seems focused on the incarnation (i.e., the Father putting the Son to death) -- this is completely unique to the Son. The Holy Spirit has a will distinct from the Father but I'm sure you wouldn't argue that the Father could put the Spirit to death (since a body is required for that).

And I don't mean (now or before) to come across as argumentative or combative, but assuming penal payment is begging the question -- simply agreeing with Ben on the issue doesn't validate it.

But I'm more concerned with the separation in the Trinity issue (which I absolutely deny is possible) than I am with any particular theory of the atonement.

In any event... just some food for thought. Be well...

Arminian said...

Nick,

Ps 22 does not say that the righteous sufferer merely felt forsaken, but was not really, but it expresses that he was forsaken and that God was not answering his prayer. Your interpretation just runs against the explicit wording of the text. Whereas it asks why God forsook him and asserts that God was not answering his prayer, you would have us read it like this:

"My God, my God, I feel like you have fosaken me, but you have not forsaken me. O my God, I cry by day, and feel like you do not answer, but you are answering."

It is just not what the text says. It seems much more likely that vv. 1-2 mean what they say, and apply to God giving over the psalmist to some affliction, and in relation to Jesus, over to actual death and suffering for our sin, and that v 24 then relates God's salvation of the psalmist and Jesus from that plight. Indeed, it should be noted that v. 24 does not say that God never forsook the psalmist or never denied his prayer, as your interpretation foists on it. You seem to be inferring more than is there. What is more, v. 24 does not even say that God did not forsake the afflicted one, but that he did not depise his affliction. And surely God did not despise Jesus' suffering. But he delivered him over to it. Furthermore, no one is suggesting that God forsook Jesus in every way. But in some way he did. I have sugested that this means he gave him over to suffering and death for our sins. No one is suggesting that there was some ontological break in the Trinity. As I have said, it is a wiser course to ask in what way did God forsake Jesus or in what way were they separated than to deny the reality that this language depicts. Hermeneutically, it is also better to see if the two vv complement one another than to resort to seeing one has essentially negating the other or implying the other means something other than it says.

As someone who believes that God foresook Jesus on the cross, I have no problem with God hearing some of Jesus' prayers on the cross including forgiveness for those who crucified him, or Jesus committing his Spirit to the Father. For I do not hold that God forsook him utterly or in every way. And the text does not affirm that it must be taken as some total separation. Indeed, the fact that this is part of a prayer the afflicted sufferer offers to God in prayer suggests it is not a total separation. But the words of vv 1-2 eplicitly express something more than mere feeling or perception, referring to some sort of abandonment by God. Indeed, we know God gave him over to suffering and death. We know God refused his request for him to forego this suffering if possible. Again, it is a matter of what it means in this context to say God forsook him. And I have indicated several times what the thrust of that is (I don't know we could ever fully understand it in this life.)

As I said in relation to distinct wills, the point is really that the persons of the Trinity can relate to one another as distinct persons, which opens up the possibility of some sort of relational separation as seen in the Father putting the Son to death. And yes, I am grounding this in the incarnation. It may not be that the ability of the persons of the Trinity to relate to one another as distinct persons alone leads to a possibility of some sort of relational separation, but combined with the incarnation, it does. As the incarnate Son of God, Jesus could bear our sin and receive the chastening for our well being and the stroke of death that was due to us (in the words of Isaiah 53). And as another commenter pointed out, the two natures of Christ may well play a role here. I actually think they do to some degree. Nevertheless, it was Jesus the God-man who suffered and died for us.

Finally, I am not sure how you can say I was begging the question of penal substitution, since begging the question requires assuming what one is trying to prove. But I was not attempting to prove the penal subsitution view per se, but addressing someone who accepts it, and using that as support for my point.

May the Lord bless you!

Paul G said...

Reading the post and all your comments;
I think that none of you really knows the Lord God!

To me it sounds like one of your gods turned his back to the other god on the cross.
Or perhaps the Siamese triplet gods have cut off and rejected one god and sent that god into the world to die on the cross for the sins of the whole world. At that point the god on the cross cried out to the other two gods, why have you forsaken me, I am so helpless here.

Doesn’t that sound weird to you?
How many gods do you have?
Do you worship each god separately, or as a cluster?
Are all of you guys’ polytheists?

Arminian said...

Paul G,

It sounds like you are not a Trinitarian, which would mean you are not really a Christian. Are you a Trinitarian? If so, then you should know that it is utterly basic to belief in the Trinity that there are three distinct persons within the Godhead and that they can relate to one another. This does not make them 3 gods (that is the type of argument that cultists who deny the Trinity make), but recognizes again that there are 3 persons in 1 God. Do you acknowledge that the Father loves the Son and that the Son loves the Father? Do you acknowledge that the Son cried out on the cross to the Father, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? If so, then apply your own logic to that. I really hope that you are just misunderstanding the conversation and do not deny the biblical, historic, and orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.

Paul G said...

Arminian;
I recommend that you to read all the comments again, and then apply your logic to it!
Surely everyone can see that there are a few persons who are gods.

Because of your many person gods, it is impossible for you to understand what Jesus said on the cross.

Are you a Catholic?
Do you believe the teachings of your Bishops?
Or do you believe the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ?

As for me, I personally know the Lord my God Jesus Christ of Nazareth, He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, before Him no god was formed, nor will there be one after Him! Isa. 43:10
Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20
Jesus said, if you do not believe that I am He you will die in your sins. John 8:24

Arminian, I hope you know what that means?

Arminian said...

Paul,

It does seem like you deny the Trinity. Let's refocus the discussion since it gives a whole new spin to it if you do not believe in the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.

(1) Do you believe in the Trinity?

(2) Do you believe that there are three distinct persons in one God?

I think it is already clear that you believe there is only one God. That is good. But if you deny the triune nature of God, then you are denying basic biblical truth and essential Christian doctrine. From other comments you have made on this blog (on other posts), I assumed you were a Calvinist. But if you deny that there are three distinct persons in the one true God, then Calvinistic/Reformed theology would denounce your position as heretical, as would all orthodox theology, including classic Arminian.

I hope you are just misunderstanding the conversation. No one said anything about three gods. The discussion before you commented was all conducted within the standard, historical, orthodox, and most importantly, bibilical doctrine of the Trinity. If you object to this doctrine, then you have much more serious problems than your position on Arminiansm and Calvinism. I would encourage you to look into the doctrine of the Trinity, and to embrace it if you do not.

Pizza Man said...

I'm not sure where Paul is coming from on this one, his view is definitely not Arminian, Catholic or Reformed. In fact, Calvin had Servetus beheaded for denying the trinity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Calvin#Calvin_and_Servetus

Paul G said...

Arminian;
I did not misunderstand the conversation.
We are talking about the atonement and Christ’s accomplishment on the cross.

My comment was that you can not understand the cross, because you have too many persons who are gods.
Please read the comments again, and then you know what I mean.

Mark 12:29 Jesus said, the Lord our God is ONE, and not two, three or four persons as you say.
It matters not what the Calvinists, Arminianists or the Kalathumpionist say, but it matters what Jesus says!
That is if you believe in Jesus?

You said;
“I would encourage you to look into the doctrine of the Trinity, and to embrace it if you do not.”

If I would embrace the Trinity deception like you have done, then I would end up with the same cluster of multiple persons of gods just like you have.
By this you are transgressing the first commandment of the Lord, and surely no one will go unpunished.

Paul G said...

Imagine!

One god hanging on the cross, shouting to another god why have you forsaken me!

It seems to me that all of you are not a little bit deceived, but quite deceived!

J.C. Thibodaux said...

As opposed to what Paul, a singular god persona shouting to himself the question of why he'd forsaken himself?

Paul G said...

J.C.
Yes, just like a singular God persona had to swear by Himself, because there was no one else to swear by. Jer. 22:5

Why you do not and can not understand the cross, is because you do not know and understand the doctrine of God.

The doctrine of God is the most important doctrine of all and no one should err on that.

If you or anyone errs on that doctrine, then you are more likely wrong on all other doctrines.

With the multiple persons god (Trinity) Satan has deceived the whole world, even the elect if possible, and all believe the lie.

Will said...

Paul G,

So you do not believe in the trinity, do you believe in the Holy Spirit? If so, how would you define it? Also, when Jesus prays to the Father was that him talking to himself?

Paul G said...

Will;
The Holy Spirit is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Spirit in the person of Jesus is the Holy Spirit!
Do you think that there is somewhere else another person who is the Holy Spirit?
How many Holy Spirits do you think there are?
If there would be another Holy Spirit separate from Jesus, then the Spirit of Jesus would not be Holy!

You said;
“Also where Jesus prays to the Father was that him talking to himself?”

Will, it amazes me, you are supposed to be a teacher to the blind and you don’t know those things?
If Jesus prayed to another person, then Jesus would not be God!
You should have asked me.
If Jesus is the Lord God the Almighty, why does He pray??

The answer to that is in the book of Hebrews, without understanding the order of Melchizedek you will never understand the question you have asked me and many more including the cross of Calvary.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Paul G,

Cut the red herrings. I spoke of a god shouting questions at himself, I mentioned nothing about swearing by himself. Two completely different subjects. You tried to show the Trinity as ridiculous by an example, I merely showed how the same example renders your theology patently and completely absurd. Arminian has already touched on the issue of the distinction of members of the Godhead, such as Christ praying to the Father, "not My will, but Yours be done," which of itself produces impossible difficulties for your contextually deficeint doctrine.

Paul G said...

J.C:
They are not different subjects as you have said!
Jer. 22:5 If God would be two persons in the Old Testament? Then He would have to swear by the second person!
But because the Lord our God is ONE person and not two or three, just as I have said, He swore by Himself and shouts a question to Himself on the cross because there is no other God to shout to!

Yes it is utterly ridiculous and absurd for an intelligent person to believe that there are three persons who are God! Or three persons in one cluster-god!
This is the epitome of all deception which was cooked up in Rome by some Catholic Bishops in the first century and universally accepted in about the fourth century.

You said, “Such as Christ praying to the Father, not My will, but Yours be done, which of itself produces impossible difficulties for your contextually deficient doctrine.”

Not at all! I have already said to Will, that those questions can only be understood in Melchizedek king of Salem.
A short explanation;
I can’t go into details; it would take too many pages.
John 4:24 God who is Spirit became flesh or clothed Himself in flesh Jesus Christ Emanuel God with us.
Jesus Christ holds the office of the last high priest in the old covenant and that is of a NEW priesthood in the order of Melchizedek king of Salem.
The duty of the high priest was to bring a blood sacrifice for his and the sins of the people and also to pray to God for himself and for the people.
Now the Lord God the Almighty Jesus Christ in the office of the last high priest FULFILLED all the requirements according to the law, even to the point to offer Himself as the last blood sacrifice for the sins of His people.
Also it was required from the high priest to pray for himself and for Gods people, this is why Jesus prayed!

John 17 is called the high priestly payer.
Jesus prayed from the office of the high priest to God that is Himself because there is no other God! Just like Jer. 22:5

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Paul G,

If God would be two persons in the Old Testament? Then He would have to swear by the second person!

No, God the Father is greater than Christ (in terms of precedence), and therefore there is none greater for Him to swear by. Even in the sense that they are equal (i.e. being divine and eternal), it would still not necessitate that one swear by the other, since the Father swore by Himself because there was none greater. One who is equal in a sense is by definition in the same sense not greater.


He swore by Himself and shouts a question to Himself on the cross because there is no other God to shout to!

Which only amplifies the silliness of your theology. As I said, you tried to use it as an example of something being ridiculous, not realizing that the concept of a Trinitarian God reconciles any possible difficulty there easily, while it clearly demonstrates the absurdity of the Modalist beliefs.


Yes it is utterly ridiculous and absurd for an intelligent person to believe that there are three persons who are God! Or three persons in one cluster-god!

Why, other than your logically inconsistent say-so?


Your explanation about Christ praying in the office of the high priest doesn't even address the issue. The difficulty arises when He says, "Not My will, but Yours be done." If He were merely praying to a separate office but the same person, then the will would be the same will, as a person in the role of high priest and ruler at the same time has the same will, and the office has no separate will in and of itself apart from the person who holds it. Therefore Christ praying that not His will but the Father's be done is nonsensical unless there are separately functioning wills. Separate will -> separate personage. This was no Catholic conspiracy magically cooked up centuries before the Catholic church as it now is was even instantiated, the Trinitarian doctrine was accepted throughout the church because the biblical record firmly supports and necessitates it.

Paul G said...

OK then!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
I have enjoyed your blog and all the comments, especially the challenge on ‘prevenient grace and libertarian free will’.
On that, I have not yet come to any full understanding.
But the Lord Jesus has promised me that He will lead me in into all the truth.
To Him is all the glory honour and praise forever!

Paul