Monthly Archives: January 2014

The most controversial part of TULIP should be the least controversial

Theologians have come up with a cool, but forever-misunderstood, acronym for the doctrine of salvation:

T- total depravity: all mankind is dead in trespasses and sins

U- unconditional election: God elects sinners to salvation by His free, sovereign will

L- limited atonement: the death of Christ is in the place of those God elects

I- irresistible grace: the Father draws every single one of the elect to Christ

P- perseverance of the saints: every single elect sinner is raised up on the last day with Christ

Every one of these doctrines is controversial. But if I had to pick one, it seems the L is the most controversial. Jesus died in the place of only the elect. Jesus did not die for the sins of every single person, only every single sin of every single Christian. I have held to these doctrines for at least 11 years now and it has never occurred to me why that should be the most controversial.

Every Christian believes that God is all knowing. Even those who might classify themselves as “Arminian” or “non-Calvinist” believe that God is all knowing. Everyone believes that God at least knows who will believe in Jesus. And if that’s true, then why in the world would God put His own Son to death to pay for anyone’s sins but those who would believe in His Son? What did God intend Jesus to pay for? Whose sins did Jesus Himself intend to pay for? Of course it’s His bride. And of course God knows, from before the foundation of the world, what individuals make up His bride. The objections to a limited atonement (which I call an actual atonement) are always more emotional than they are logical or theological.


Beware of Arminianism that lends itself to heresy

The question of what Jesus paid for on the cross is one of the most debated questions among Christians. I believe wholeheartedly that Jesus intended to take the place of the elect on the cross (all those who have ever lived, and ever will live, who trust in Him alone for salvation).

You can disagree with that and still be a Christian, but you cannot hold that Jesus died for every single sin, except the sin of unbelief. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard that, but that is a seemingly common argument for those who may be classified as Arminians. Maybe you’ve thought that at some point. I know I have wondered if that might be true.

But it cannot be true. That argument says Jesus paid for every sin of every person who will ever live, but the only reason anyone ends up in hell is because they do not trust in Christ. If you trust in Christ, since Jesus paid for all your sins, and since you no longer are committing the sin of unbelief (which he didn’t pay for), you go to heaven. But don’t I deserve God’s wrath for committing the sin of unbelief for a period of my life, even if it was just the first 14 years of my life? Who paid for that sin? Either God lets me into heaven with a bad record left undealt with, or I somehow atone for my own sin of unbelief in order to get to heaven. Either way, it is a false gospel.

No disagreement is harmless, but some are more eternally harmful than others (Galatians 1.8).

I wish I could talk to every Christian in America right now

KBC just received a second letter over the last four months from the Hawaii Attorney General’s office. For the second time, someone in our church filed a complaint about our church. The AG office has cleared us for the first complaint. After we turn in a few documents they will clear us for this second complaint. I talked to the Deputy Attorney General on the phone yesterday and asked her if this was common among churches. To no surprise of mine, she said, without hesitation, “yes.”

I am a nobody in the evangelical world, and have no authority to speak on behalf of anyone outside of our church, but when I heard that I still said to her, “please forgive me, and please forgive our church, and I apologize on behalf of all Christians everywhere for you to have to see this on a regular basis. We are not being a good representation of Jesus Christ for us to not be getting along like this within churches.”

I am a nobody in the evangelical world, and have no authority to speak to every Christian in America right now, but if I could, these are some of the things running through my mind:

This is something that only happens in America. What do you think our brothers and sisters in China or Dubai would say right now?

How can this possibly be common? Do you love God?

Do you hope to bring down the church of Jesus Christ? Do you work for the devil?

This is why you should not make fun of the practice of church membership. Read 9Marks of a Healthy Church, and practice membership that way!

Do you really think this is a regenerate person?

Do you really think everyone who calls themselves “Christian” is a Christian?

Do you really think Christians have a “right” to do things like this? Have you read 1 Corinthians 6? At what point do you say “the Bible is no longer my authority”?

For this to be common, brothers and sisters, shows me that we live in a very dark country, where not even the churches are basically good.

For you to think that this can be common among born again believers shows me that you have never read Romans 6. Or you don’t believe it.

Stop making jokes about the church. Shame on you. That’s the Bride of Christ you’re talking about.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

What is the best bible translation?

Now this is funny (sorry if you’re hoping for an actual answer to that question):

HT: Tim Challies