Monday, November 23, 2009
For Whom Did Christ Die?
Did He atone for the sins of all the world, or just for a few? Did He die to redeem all mankind, or only the “elect”? According to Calvinism (which encapsulates the broad spectrum of the so called “Reformed” churches, Evangelicals, and Baptists), He died only for a select few, not for all mankind. The Bible, however, teaches differently:
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
1 John 2:
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 4:
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
1 Timothy 2:
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
1 Timothy 4:
10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
2 Corinthians 5:
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
9 But we see Jesus, … that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
2 Peter 3:
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
And curiously enough, this is also affirmed by the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 9:
7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
* * *
21 And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.
22 And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day.
23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.
24 And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.
2 Nephi 25:
16 And after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind—and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things.
9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.
11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.
12 But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world.
13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.
14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.
10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
The more fundamental theological problem of Calvinism, however, relates to their belief in predestination. The reason why they believe that the Atonement was partial and not universal is that they believe that the Atonement automatically saves those to whom it is applied, who are predestined to be saved without any voluntary act on their part. Therefore the only reason why some are saved and some are not is because the Atonement was never performed on their behalf. The Bible, however, teaches that the Atonement was universal for all mankind; but salvation in conditional on individual faith and repentance, which is a voluntary act on the part of the believer. They, on the other hand, associate universal Atonement with universal salvation (through predestination); and since salvation is not universal, they conclude that the Atonement could not have been universal either. That is just one of the many perverse doctrines of Calvinism.