January 15, 2007

The Gospel and The Revealed Will of God

People are called or "invited" to believe in/obey the revealed will in the gospel, not God's secret decrees. In other words, the lost are to hear and believe in the fact that God stands mercifully ready and prepared to forgive all mankind, or all those listening, and not how he has secretly purposed to ultimately save his elect alone. The later doctrine of election is certainly true and biblical, but it's distinct from God's revealed will and it's focus.

If you read what some are saying in response to the Chan video, they are, in effect, making the object of faith the decretal will of God, i.e. that people are called to believe that God is determined to save his elect through Christ's "limited atonement". On the contrary, the gospel focus is on the Father's readiness and desire to forgive all that hear the external call of the gospel, whether elect or not, based on grace alone through faith alone in the sufficient sacrifice of the risen Son, which is suitable to the salvation of any given sinner. All, therefore, are commanded and beseeched by the Spirit in the gospel to believe and call on his name.

If this revealed will aspect of Christ's work is taken away and the gospel is a call to believe in his death, burial and resurrection, then one has to conclude that people are called to believe in his death, burial and resurrection for the elect alone. If one affirms the revealed will aspect or the sufficiency of Christ's satisfaction for all, then the gospel call concerns the need to believe in the sufficiency of his death, burial and resurrection for the life of the entire world, on condition of faith.

The ultimate logical outcome of making God's secret will (instead of the revealed will) the object of faith is to make the TULIP doctrines the gospel (and essential for salvation), which some on the internet are doing. Therefore, to them, if one denies or does not believe in one or more of the 5 points, they have denied the gospel and show that they are really unregenerate. Very few have gone to these extremes, but many more are making the gospel focus to be God's secret will, which paves the way to, or lays the conceptual groundwork for, the absurd outcome.

5 comments:

David B. Hewitt said...

Hey, Tony. You said:

"If you read what some are saying in response to the Chan video, they are, in effect, making the object of faith the decretal will of God, i.e. that people are called to believe that God is determined to save his elect through Christ's "limited atonement". On the contrary, the gospel focus is on the Father's readiness and desire to forgive all that hear the external call of the gospel, whether elect or not, based on grace through faith in a sufficient sacrifice of the risen Son that is suitable to the salvation of any given sinner."

I would have to disagree slightly. It would seem that the way you have presented the Gospel message here is that you have to subscribe to something less than a Definite Atonement in order to proclaim it properly; not necessarily an Amyraldian view, but something less.

Of course, no one disputes that Christ's sacrifice is infinite in worth and value (at least I hope not), and it could have accomplished the redemption of a billion billion worlds; of course, this was not God's intention, but that is another matter. I hope to be posting on the term "world" and Definite Atonement on my blog in the near future; you are most welcome to join in the conversation if you wish. Just be aware that if you post long responses it might take me a while to get through them. :)

In any case, back to the Gospel. Here is how I present the sacrifice of Christ when I share it, most often with a tract I wrote (which is quoted here and found on my blog):

"* Propitiation means 'to turn away wrath.' Jesus’s death on the Cross removed God’s wrath from all who believe in Him, everyone who ever has or ever will, and purchased for them all they need in order to have salvation! God’s wrath against them was poured out on Jesus instead."

Of course, this includes a brief discussion of the term "propitiation." In essence, I say "God has provided a substitute for and taken away His wrath for all who believe! So then, repent! Believe the Gospel! Receive eternal life!"

From that, you can say a few things -- they must believe. They must repent, or else the wrath of God will remain on them eternally. Of course, if they don't believe, then God's wrath was never satisfied on their behalf at that cross (Definite Atonement). However, when presenting the Gospel, we don't need to go into a detailed explanation of the aforementioned doctrine; what I said will suffice. :)

I suspect you'll also find widespread agreement on this point among 5 pointers. I know that several in #prosapologian expressed strong approval of my tract when I shared it with them, for example. :)

Have a great and Christ-filled day, sir.

SDG,
dbh

Anonymous said...

Tony,

GREAT post!

Thanks,
HopeinChrist

Anonymous said...

What the "Chan video" and how can I get it?

YnottonY said...

Anonymous,

Go here to read about the Chan video:

Just Stop and Think

DBH,

Stay tuned for a response.

David B. Hewitt said...

Tony -- staying tuned.