Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vincent’s Maxim

Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus credituni est

This is the oft repeated maxim of Vincent of Lerins, a semi-Pelagian from the 5th century, translated as "what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all". Used as a definition of Christian orthodoxy, it presents an ecumenical embrace of Christian doctrine that has its focus on the bare essentials of the Christian faith. It removes ecclesiastical dogma as the harbinger of salvation. Subscribing to this maxim, we cannot embrace several key doctrines as central to salvation and acceptance within the Christian community. The Calvinist acrostic TULIP could not be embraced as within the veil of orthodoxy established by the Vincentian Canon. Neither could certain aspects of the Arminian doctrine of Prevenient grace. There are traditions and creeds from several otherwise orthodox sects within the body of Christ that we cannot embrace as orthodoxy itself if we embrace Vincent's perspective.

If Vincent's maxim is received as presented, can we reject semi-Pelagianism as being outside the essential fold of Christian doctrine and therefore its adherents as unredeemed? The Augustinian doctrine of Grace and man's fallen condition oppose the semi-Pelagian notion of assisted inherency and Vincent was certainly opposed to Augustine's teachings on these matters. Yet, so were a great many others prior to Augustine's conflicts with Pelagiaus. It might be objected that Vincent argued a self interest although that alone does not negate his premise regarding orthodoxy. Instead, one must demonstrate that the exclusion of doctrine from the embrace of orthodoxy is done so with damage to essential soteriology as determined within scripture, this also being Vincent's premise. Can Oneness Pentecostalism be regarded as orthodox with regard to soteriology yet heterodox regarding the Godhead? Are Pelagians within the scope of justification? Do we consider intellectually driven high Calvinists with their notions of the Gospel defined as Calvinism to be fair game on the evangelical field?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Triabloke Cartoon Network

Mean, angry and unloving A.M Mallett wrote a while back on the Triabloke Cartoon Network ...

The quandary exists among both Calvinists and Arminians. For the Arminian, the tension is with explaining why one turns to the LORD and another resists. We do not know. However, with the Calvinist, the antinomy is irreconcilable. Divine determinism is excused from responsibility. From the Arminian perspective, the Calvinist conflict between divine determination and human accountability does far more damage to God's character and goodness than our lack of comprehension for why a man resists the grace of God and another does not resist.

The Triabloke cartoon character says to another Triabloke cartoon character ... "This here is an infamously bad argument against Calvinism. We better censor and delete it before anybody reads it."

United Methodist Seminary Steps into Apostasy with Both Feet

This is a sad note regarding the state of Methodist seminary education in the United States. Methodist Thinker, a website providing current events and news relative to the UMC, noted today that the Claremont School of Theology in southern California has decided to embrace the education and instruction of Islamic imams and Jewish rabbis. Claremont is one of thirteen United Methodist seminaries in the US. From my perspective this is really over the top especially given their desire to ultimately expand their educational mandate to other religions as well at some point.

The United Methodist Church' University Senate has not viewed this development in a favorable light. See here for the full article on this matter.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Breaking News …. Well, not really.

Triabloke calls A.M. Mallett mean, angry and unloving and infamous for bad arguments against Calvinism. Oh woe is me. It's not on the 6 0clock tonight.

update: Triabloke Cartoon Network Accuses Christian of using illegal drugs

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Combating Schisms in the Methodist Body Politic

The following was a commentary prepared by Dr. Maxie Dunnam, Chancellor of Asbury Seminary, of August last year. He addresses a disturbing trend among the clergy and leadership of minority factions within the United Methodist Church to introduce schisms into the body politic.


In 1859, John Henry Newman wrote an article entitled, "On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine." It was printed in a Roman Catholic periodical, The Rambler, of which Newman was the editor. The article caused such a controversy and the bishops of the church were so upset that they asked Newman to resign, which he did.

Newman not only affirmed the critical role of laity in the church, he insisted that the consensus of the faithful may preserve important doctrines even when the bishops fail.

This elevated view of the laity did not become important in the wider Roman Catholic Church until the Second Vatican Council, where it became a "big" issue and Newman's article played a significant role in the discussion.

Newman made the case that there is lodged in the Church — the Body of Christ which is comprised primarily of laity — a depository of profound practical theological wisdom.

If the Roman Catholics can positively entertain that notion, how much more should we be able to do so as Protestants who champion the priesthood of all believers and the ministry of the whole people of God?

It's an expansive issue that needs the attention of our United Methodist Church. I hope the issue will become a concern of our theological seminaries, the Study of Ministry Commission, the Committee on Faith and Order (PDF) — established by our last General Conference — and certainly the Connectional Table.

I believe our recent dealing with the Constitutional amendments is related in part to this issue. Our church is wise in requiring that our constitution can be changed upon the ratification by two thirds vote of annual conferences. Enough of the votes on these amendments have been reported by the annual conferences to make it possible to reasonably know the results. The sense of the faithful has been registered — not in terms of laity alone, but faithful lay and clergy across the connection.

Let me quickly register the fact that the doctrine of the church is not to be established by popular vote. That's the reason our General Conference, though it is the final authority for the church's life and ministry, cannot change our Articles of Religion and Confession of Faith. However, how our doctrines are lived out in the concrete realities of life and ministry are determined in large part by the sense of the faithful.

In light of this issue of the "sense of the faithful," I have been reflecting on the dynamics of our recent involvement with the Constitutional Amendments. I believe that most members of the General Conference would agree that we gave far too little time to these amendments when they were debated in plenary. It was a travesty, really.

How could the General Conference approve (even barely so) what the church has now overwhelmingly refused to ratify? Could it be that we simply did not take enough time for study, prayer, and holy conferencing to discern the sense of the faithful? Could it be that ideological interest groups and small geographic areas of the church dominate the organizations and structures of influence? Or, could it be that the way the issues were brought to General Conference was prejudiced?

I'm thinking particularly of the amendments related to worldwide nature of the church.

These amendments came out of a non-representative task force (PDF) and were brought to the General Conference endorsed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the Connectional Table. Somewhere there is a disconnect — either in communication or in leadership.

There was little "public" support of these amendments by bishops other than those who were on the task force. It was clear early on that the bishops were not "of one mind" on this matter, yet that was never "publicly" registered.

I imagine the Council of Bishops might have a discussion as to why the church in its vote on this set of amendments did not follow their lead. Indeed, if it was their "lead" what does the vote say about the church's response to their leadership?

As I understand it, the vote of the Connectional Table was 75% in favor of the worldwide nature amendments. Early reports indicate that the vote of the church may be just the opposite — 60 to 75% in opposition. Where is the disconnect here? How representative of the church is this body, and to whom do they pay most attention?

The same questions are applicable to how the 2009-2012 Worldwide Nature of the Church Study Committee will function. This committee is composed primarily of persons who championed the amendments the church refused to ratify. Also, the vote not to ratify is a "universal" vote, reflecting the "whole" church, not a region of it. While it is very important that the task force address the issues important in how we express ourselves as a "world church," it is hoped they will not hold tenaciously to what the church has said "no" to.

Another amendment of particular interest is the amendment that would change paragraph IV in the constitution. This amendment was "pitched" as an effort to open the doors of the church to everyone. The church is already open to everyone, but there are requirements for membership.

It was clear from the beginning, though some proponents tried to disguise it, that this was another effort on the part of a passionate minority to undermine the church's position on the practice of homosexuality.

Back in July, The Episcopal Church in the U.S. voted decisively to allow the appointment to all orders of ministry persons in active same-sex relationships, and to prepare liturgies of blessing for same sex unions.

In the wake of this deliberate schismatic action in relation to the worldwide Anglican family, the voting on the amendment that would have opened the door for the same schism within United Methodism, indicates that we will not go that way. At the last report, the amendment had not received 50% of the vote, when 66.7% is needed.

How long will bishops, pastors, seminaries, and general boards continue to force an issue which diverts focus, resources and energy from mission and ministry? Does the sense of the faithful not matter? Sure, there is the craving on the part of human kind for a variety of sexual expression. We have all sorts of deep-rooted, passionate desires and inclinations; the question is what do we do with them.

The Jewish and Muslim faiths, along with Christianity, have always insisted that marriage between a man and a woman is the proper context of sexual intercourse. This is not a matter of a "private response to Scripture," as some would claim; it is not the witness of a few verses in St. Paul, but the uniform teaching of the Bible, Jesus himself, and the entire Christian tradition.

A few in our family try to make the ordination of practicing homosexuals a justice issue. N.T. Wright, world-known New Testament scholar, Anglican Bishop of Durham in England, rightly says the appeal to justice begs the question of justice altogether.

"Justice never means 'treating everybody the same way," he writes, "but 'treating people appropriately,' which involves making distinctions between different people and different situations. Justice has never meant 'the right to give active expression to any and every sexual desire.'"

Isn't there a measure of arrogance in a small part of the body continuing to passionately push their convictions which they know threaten the vitality and unity of the church?

I believe the vote on the amendments is a positive vote for the church, reflecting the "sense of the faithful." If we are going to fulfill our mission "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world," then we must respect the integrity of the faithful in order to engage them in our kingdom ministry.

The American Methodist Articles of Religion

I have recently found myself referring to these articles of Religion enough that it is reasonable to store a copy of them here. They were first published in the Methodist Discipline of 1808. These articles make a fair representation of Wesley's position on the faith of Christ.

  1. There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
  2. The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided; whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.
  3. Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day.
  4. The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
  5. The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament of whose authority was never any doubt in the church. The names of the canonical books are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The First Book of Kings, The Second Book of Kings, The First Book of Chronicles, The Second Book of Chronicles, The Book of Ezra, The Book of Nehemiah, The Book of Esther, The Book of Job, The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or the Preacher, Cantica or Songs of Solomon, Four Prophets the Greater, Twelve Prophets the Less. All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive and account canonical.
  6. The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard who feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites doth not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.
  7. Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.
  8. The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and works, to faith, and calling upon God; wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
  9. We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.
  10. Although good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.
  11. Voluntary works—besides, over and above God's commandments—which they call works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake than of bounden duty is required; whereas Christ saith plainly: When you have done all that is commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.
  12. Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace of God, rise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as long as they live here; or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.
  13. The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
  14. The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshiping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.
  15. It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people.
  16. Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace, and God's good will toward us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in him. There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. Those five commonly called sacraments, that is to say, confirmation, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel; being such as have partly grown out of the corrupt following of the apostles, and partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not the like nature of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, because they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God. The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about; but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation; but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves condemnation, as St. Paul saith.
  17. Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church.
  18. The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death; insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ. Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions. The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.
  19. The cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people; for both the parts of the Lord's Supper, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be administered to all Christians alike.
  20. The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of masses, in the which it is commonly said that the priest doth offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, is a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit.
  21. The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God's law either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage; therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christians, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve best to godliness.
  22. It is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all places be the same, or exactly alike; for they have been always different, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the rites and ceremonies of the church to which he belongs, which are not repugnant to the Word of God, and are ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, that others may fear to do the like, as one that offendeth against the common order of the church, and woundeth the consciences of weak brethren. Every particular church may ordain, change, or abolish rites and ceremonies, so that all things may be done to edification.
  23. The President, the Congress, the general assemblies, the governors, and the councils of state, as the delegates of the people, are the rulers of the United States of America, according to the division of power made to them by the Constitution of the United States and by the constitutions of their respective states. And the said states are a sovereign and independent nation, and ought not to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.
  24. The riches and goods of Christians are not common as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as some do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.
  25. As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ and James his apostle, so we judge that the Christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth.

Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless.

It is the duty of all Christians, and especially of all Christian ministers, to observe and obey the laws and commands of the governing or supreme authority of the country of which they are citizens or subjects or in which they reside, and to use all laudable means to encourage and enjoin obedience to the powers that be.

Friday, June 11, 2010

John 1:5-14 and Faith Preceding the Born Again Experience

I made these comments elsewhere and thought I might save them here.

"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe. He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light. [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:5-14 AV)

There are several important facets to this passage, the first being who Christ is, the Light of the world. That is not the world of the elect for this world did not know Him and He certainly made more than the world of the elect. No, He is the Light of all the world. He lights every man that comes into the world. That is not just the elect world so it means all men regardless of their state or condition. Christ's purpose was to come so that all men might believe, to provide a provision not just for the elect of men, but all men as the passage states. Those who have received Him, believing on His name (trusting in Him) are given something, power the Apostle states, to become something, a child of God. It was not merit or works of the flesh or even their blood relationship in the nation of Israel that gave them a new birth as children of God. It was, as mentioned before, receiving Christ, believing on His name i.e. faith in the person and work of Christ. The passage demands one accept that it is by faith that one becomes born again, becomes a child of God.

There is no regeneration before faith. One believes in Jesus Christ by the grace of God to become born again. Even the little children know this much.

Verses All Christians Should Know

Bossmanham at Brennon's Thoughts has provided a wonderful selection of verse each of us should keep to mind to help understand the things of God. Hats off to him for this.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

A Triabloke Molests 1 John 2:16

A Triabloke wrote the following that I thought was interesting.

Some Arminian epologists have been using 1 John 2:16 to argue that in no sense can the origination of a sinful action be determined by God. That is because John says those things don't come "from" the father. 

That is an odd statement. While I certainly cannot account for all Arminian arguments regarding the passage, I do not think I have ever encountered that argument. The source for the statement was not provided so I can only work with the Triabloke claim which strikes me as a straw man set up solely for the purpose of burning in some perverse joy. Here is the passage in full context.

"I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1Jo 2:12-17 AV)

Rather than a discussion of the Calvinist philosophy of determinism, the passage in question is contrasting the carnal desires of the world with that of the love of the Father. Wesley framed verse 16 as:

…The desire of the flesh - Of the pleasure of the outward senses, whether of the taste, smell, or touch. The desire of the eye - Of the pleasures of imagination, to which the eye chiefly is subservient; of that internal sense whereby we relish whatever is grand, new, or beautiful. The pride of life - All that pomp in clothes, houses, furniture, equipage, manner of living, which generally procure honour from the bulk of mankind, and so gratify pride and vanity. It therefore directly includes the desire of praise, and, remotely, covetousness. All these desires are not from God, but from the prince of this world…


While some Calvinist eisegesis practitioners may wish to make hay over a far fetched application and strawman of their own construction, they tend to look foolish doing so. The contrast between the world (outside of Christ) and abiding in Christ is what is intended with the passage. It is how most Arminians understand the passage and teach it.


Jimmy White Mumbles Again

What is it about this man who claims Christ that he continues with his perverse ministry of discord? His blog has been little more than an Ergun Caner hate fest with absolutely nothing of Christ to speak of. It now equates Peter Lumpkins with Alexander the coppersmith, an ungodly blasphemer noted in scripture. He posted the following recently that deserves some comment.

Can an atheist speak truth? If he says "2+2=4" is the statement less true than if a Christian said the same thing? Many Christians have been saying a Muslim could not possibly be saying something that is factually, really true. But this kind of epistemological bigotry is neither biblical nor rational. Christians should be people of truth in all spheres of life. In the following video I discuss the prejudice that has been expressed by every person who has refused to consider the facts and instead has defaulted to the "A Muslim said it, therefore, it must not be true" defense. I provide two further examples of errors on the part of Ergun Caner, both of which were pointed out by...GASP!...a Muslim! I should have caught them myself, they are pretty basic, but I missed them. If they had been pointed out by a Christian, would they be more, or less, mistakes on Caner's part? Think about it.

Link to post

Let's think about it. Not only does White misrepresent the objections many Christians have with his recent and years long obsession with bringing Ergun Caner down, but he refers to such souls as bigots and by inference irrational. Perhaps the man is not nearly as bright as he thinks himself to be and he actually believes the tripe he has presented. I suspect another reality here. White knows full well why many Christians object to the manner of his current crusade. It is not because everything Muslims state must be wrong. Instead what leaves a poor taste in the mouth is the truth that White and several of his cronies have crawled into bed with Islamic apologists and enemies of Christ in order to further a blood feud. White has displayed a personal animosity toward Caner evident through his almost cultic obsession with demeaning the man publicly on his blog. I believe this was fueled by White's umbrage over the lack of a debate with Caner some years ago, the lack of which was due to White's withdrawal rather than Caner's. I think this has been a festering sore point with White since. All that aside, there is no excuse for this public crusade allying internet Calvinists and Islamic enemies of Christ for the purpose of shaming another man who claims Christ. Caner may very well be guilty as charged and Liberty University should hold him accountable if such is the case. However, Christians are not bigoted and irrational for feeling disgust with the manner in which White, a sectarian zealot if ever there was one, is conducting himself in this manner.

Repentance is called for in this matter and by no means strictly in the Caner household should the charges be true. White has become an embarrassment to the body of Christ with his ungodly alliances. After repentance, an apology is called for.

Scriptural Extent of Christ’s Atonement

Speaking of the extent of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, John Wesley stated of its reach "…just as wide as sin extends, the propitiation extends also…"1. To suggest otherwise would be to declare Christ insufficient for the His purpose revealed in scripture. If Jesus came to be a propitiation or appeasement, a satisfaction for the sin of the whole world, then His work cannot be limited to satisfy the philosophical demands of any theological perspective. A clear reading of scripture presents the work of Christ as a satisfaction for God on behalf of all mankind, the whole world. Robert Picirilli in quoting W.G.T. Shedd, a Calvinist, provides:

"Vicarious atonement without faith in it is powerless to save. It is not the making of this atonement, but the trusting in it, that saves the sinner… If it were made, but never imputed and appropriated, it would result in no salvation… In this state of things, the atonement of Christ is powerless to save. It remains in the possession of Christ who made it, and has not been transferred to the individual. In the scripture phrase it has not been imputed… After the vicarious atonement has been permitted and provided, there is still another condition in the case: namely, the sinner shall confess and repent of the sin for which atonement was made, and trust in the atonement itself2"

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (Joh 1:29 AV)

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world." (1Jo 2:1-2 AV)

"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1Jo 4:14-16 AV)

"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. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." (1Ti 2:1-8 AV)

This last passage from Paul's fist letter to Timothy sums up the truth of Christ's atoning sacrifice as well as any other in scripture. We have an exhortation to pray for all without distinction to meet the expectations of the LORD who desires all to be saved. The provision for such is made by Christ as a ransom for all. For those who desire scripture to be first and philosophy second, there is little room for denying the universal extent of Christ's work of atonement.

  1. Expository Notes on Ist John, John Wesley
  2. Robert Picirilli, Grace Faith Free Will (Nashville, Randall House Publications, 2002), p132