Archive for the ‘Exegetical Issues’ category

Response to Driscoll’s Presentation of Un/Limited Atonement: The Proof-Texts

June 9, 2009

Aside from assuming Arminian definitions for the terms “world” and “all” in a number of Bible passages, Driscoll [in Death by Love] presents two verses in particular as requiring an “Un/limited” view of the atonement. These verses are 1 Timothy 4:10 and 2 Peter 2:1.

But do either of these verses teach the “Un/limited” view of the atonement? (more…)

Does Hebrews 2:9 teach universal atonement? (Part 1)

May 18, 2008

[Continued from the post Limited Atonement in Historical Theology.]

In arguing against Limited atonement from Hebrews 2:9, Dr. Allen actually spends the majority of his time discussing issues of Historical Theology (i.e., as mentioned before, he asserts, “Virtually every Christian from the early church until the Reformation believed in an unlimited atonement;” he also spends a great deal of time proving that John Calvin believed in universal atonement) and offering rhetoric against Limited atonement.

Dr. Allen makes two arguments from the text itself; I intend to discuss the first of his arguments in this post and the second in a post next weekend. (more…)

Particular Redemption: An Exegesis of Revelation 5:9-10

January 17, 2008

[The following post is a transcript of a portion from “The Atonement: Design, Nature, and Extent,” presented by Dr. Sam Waldron at the Building Bridges conference.]

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10 NASB)

In this context you note that it is the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders who are singing and praising the Lamb. The occasion is the enthronement of the Messiah. At the Lord’s ascension into Heaven, according to the New Testament, He was made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) and sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3). And this is the event that Revelation 5 is talking about. Now this time-frame (the enthronement of the Lamb after His ascension to Heaven) is important because in the context– in the text we’ve looked at– three aorists describe the basis of His ascension to God’s throne. Each describes, therefore, an event that precedes this ascension to God’s throne. And then a future tense follows, which further accentuates the significance of those aorist tenses. The aorists, therefore, describe events that occurred at (I mean, at the time of) and by means of the death of Christ. They occurred prior to the ascension of our Lord to Heaven and to His enthronement as the Lamb of God. The first aorist establishes this reference to the death of Christ; it is the phrase, “For You were slain.” The second aorist also refers to a transaction at Christ’s death, “You purchased for God with Your blood men.” Now this is real, penal substitution resulting in the real purchase of men. There is real substitution and real redemption at the Cross of Christ. The reference is not to conversion, but to a redemption that occurred at Christ’s death, by His blood, and on His Cross. And it is a particular redemption. It is not, “All men without exception.” It is men from every kindred, tribe, and nation; “men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” So here we have what I think we may call an explicit assertion of particular redemption in Revelation 5:9. The third aorist tells us of a blessing that this redemption bestows– [it] is the blessing that the redeemed are constituted “a kingdom and priests to our God.” They’re no longer slaves of sin, as a result of the Cross of Christ and the redemption that took place there, but they are a royal priesthood. And the song ends, then, with a future tense (I understand there’s a textual variant, but I think in this case it’s clear that the tense is future and must be future), “They will reign on the earth.” The redemption according to Revelation 5:9-10 is not only particular, it is also effectual; those for whom Christ was slain, those whom He purchased on His Cross, those whom He constituted a royal priesthood, these– and all of them– will reign in glory in the new heaven and new earth. In the new earth all those purchased by Christ’s death will reign with Him.

Romans 9 Exegesis by Dr. James White

July 27, 2007

Recently, Reformed Baptist apologist Dr. James White has offered a helpful exegetical consideration of Romans chapter 9 on his webcast, The Dividing Line. Beginning with the last section of Romans 8 and working his way through all of Romans 9, Dr. White demonstrates how the subject of God’s electing love in this passage must refer to individuals, rather than nations. (Hear the exegesis HERE.)

To prompt discussion at this blog, I would like to to pose SBF readers with the following question- one that is alluded to, but not directly discussed by Dr. White. The question is this: In the verses known as the “Golden Chain of Redemption” (Romans 8:29-30), why is the word “sanctified” left out, when we may expect to find it between “justified” and “glorified”?

I know that it is often unwise to ask why God did not choose to place certain things in Scripture, but I believe that there is a discernable reason why “sanctified” would have been out of place in this passage.

The “clearest Gospel presentation”?

December 13, 2006

In my recent posts here at SBF, I have been responding to the October 8, 2006 sermon of Dr. Jerry Vines given at First Baptist Church Woodstock, GA. I have been specifically focused on the Dr. Vines’ remarks against the doctrine of “Limited atonement,” or “particular redemption”- the teaching that by His death on the Cross, Jesus secured specific benefits (forgiveness of sins and a renewed heart) that would certainly be applied to a specific people. The last few posts have been dedicated to demonstrating that particular redemption is a doctrine based on careful exegesis of the biblical text.

In this post, I would like to indicate a practical outcome of denying the doctrine of particular redemption.


Hebrews 10:14- Conclusion

December 11, 2006

The perfection of Christ’s atoning work has been demonstrated by the text of Hebrews 10:14, which teaches that Christ has completed God’s plan of salvation, bringing “those who are being sanctified” into a perfect standing before God. The perfection of Christ’s atoning work has been demonstrated by the place of Hebrews 10:14 in redemptive history, which tells of the inauguration of the new covenant by the “one offering” of Christ that brought about a condition in which the Lord places His laws on the hearts and writes them on the minds of His new covenant people, and He forgives the sins of His new covenant people. The perfection of Christ’s atoning work has been demonstrated by the function of Hebrews 10:14 within the whole canon of Scripture, in which the “one offering” of Christ is the antitype of the old covenant system of offerings.


Hebrews 10:14 in the Canon of Scripture

December 7, 2006

In my last post, the “fault” of the old covenant was made explicit. This fault was intended to make God’s old covenant people aware of their need for a new covenant. This is but one example of the type/antitype construction that is such a prominent theme in Hebrews. The book of Hebrews, in addition to explaining the overall contrast between the old and new covenants, points out several historical institutions under the old covenant, which institutions had some major lack of perfection or incompleteness about them that is made apparent only in “these last days,” in light of the work of Christ. As Dr. Barry Joslin notes,

For [the author of] Hebrews, the most direct route for understanding the work of Christ is to see him as the consummation and fulfillment of what the old [religious observances] represented and anticipated. Redemption, forgiveness and unimpeded access to the Divine, sanctification, purification, and perfection of conscience (etc.) all have the common denominator that they were foreshadowed long before the high priestly work of Christ was accomplished in the time of reformation (9:10).[1]


The Place of Hebrews 10:14 in Redemptive History

December 5, 2006

Redemptive history– the work of God throughout time in graciously granting salvation to sinners for His glory– is bifurcated in the book of Hebrews in at least two ways, both of which are centered in Christ. (more…)

An Exegetical Defense of Definite Atonement: Introduction

November 29, 2006

Imagine if you will a situation in which a headlight on your new car blew and you found that the design of the headlight fixture was so unusual that you needed to consult the owner’s manual of the car in order to know how to fix it. Flipping through the owner’s manual, you find that the headlights are mentioned in several different sections– sections devoted to topics like “Driving Safety” and “Your Car’s Electrical System.” Now, reading through these sections might tell you many things about your car’s headlights. But if there was a section specifically devoted to the topic “Headlights,” then it would make the most sense to turn to this section first to find out the answer to the question, “How do I change my headlights?” Relying on other parts of the owner’s manual alone, rather than examining the most relevant section, may actually lead you to wrong conclusions about how to change your headlights and cause great frustration to you and to others. In a similar way, when looking to examine a particular doctrine found in Scripture, one should begin by exploring the section of God’s Word that is most relevant to the discussion of the teaching in question and not by trying to draw conclusions from various other Bible passages.


Was the death of Christ a failure?

October 31, 2006

Dr. Vines has apparently had at least some exposure to Calvinistic exegesis of the proof-texts used for Unlimited atonement mentioned in my previous post and he has chosen to disregard these explanations in favor of his own tradition, as demonstrated in the following quote:

“There’s no way you can monkey with the text and play exegetical games and get around the fact that the Bible teaches when Jesus died on the Cross, He died for the sins of the whole world.”