Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Lied: More Really Good Stuff I've Been Saving up for You (And Some New Stuff Too)

1. M*ark D*ever is a really good bowler.

2. Without a hint of irony, Christianity Today publishes a (biblically valid) warning to bloggers that we will give account for what we publish. Let's make a deal, CT: I'll stop blogging, and you . . . ah, never mind.

3. For whatever reason, this interview with David Saxon of Maranatha suddenly disappeared from its initial home, but it's back online now in a different place.

4. I'm all for figuring out what the Bible really says about Gog and Magog, but sometimes (especially in apocalyptic literature) perhaps we need to consider option #4: The Bible doesn't answer the question we're asking.

5. Mark Driscoll's traveler's guide to the emerging church/morass, with special attention to Rob Bell.

6. Since I opened that can of worms, here's Kevin DeYoung:
Love Wins has ignited such a firestorm of controversy because it’s the current fissure point for a larger fault-line. As younger generations come up against an increasingly hostile cultural environment, they are breaking in one of two directions—back to robust orthodoxy (often Reformed) or back to liberalism. The neo-evangelical consensus is cracking up. Love Wins is simply one of many tremors.
And right on cue, Fuller Seminary President Richard Mouw reminds us which side of that crack he's on.

8. By the way, if you reject any notion of limited atonement, do you really have any justification to be mad at Rob Bell?

9. It might be interesting to know what was going through Kevin Bauder's mind when Mark Minnick proposed [MP3, beginning 6:22 in] that Kevin Bauder had just made the case that BJU's Unusual Films did a great thing in sending people to Hollywood to learn better methods for filmmaking—putting "the red carpet on the sawdust trail." That moment and others [MP3] reminded me that not everyone who wants to preserve the truth—even in a group demonstrating a presumably high level of homogeneity—agrees on what exactly is this truth worth preserving. (Full audio available here.)


Matthew Olmstead said...


Re: #9, I just listened to some of Minnick's sermon. Where, again, did he comment on Bauder? I didn't hear it.

Ben said...

Matthew, apologies—my mistake. I linked to the wrong message. Fixed the link now. Thanks for letting me know. The immediate context does begin at the 6:22 mark.

Rick said...

I loved the comment about limited atonement and Rob Bell.

Larry said...

All I want to know is how you came across Mark Dever in the Charleston Gazette? Why are you reading that paper online?

Shayne McAllister said...

Yeah. The limited atonement angle is interesting to me considering how many "four pointers" I know. I would love more discussion on that. It does seem logical that unlimited atonement tends towards universalism. I've been thinking about this recently and really haven't seen much discussion of it.

Larry, Ben is probably using Google alerts. They are handy.

Ben said...

Larry, it's my crack staff of interns.

BE said...

If by "any notion of limited atonement" you mean it's being limited in its application, then you'd be right. But I don't know of any evangelical who denies the atonement is limited in its application (after all, that would make one a universalist.)

If you mean being limited in its sufficiency, then I think you're making an inaccurate cheap shot at evangelicals who are not convinced of particular redemption. It's similar to someone saying "if you accept the doctrine of limited atonement, do you really have any justification to evangelize?" I think both are unhelpful and inaccurate accusations.


Ben said...

By "any notion," I really do mean "any notion." And I do know lots of people who demonize the notion that the atonement is limited in any sense, not because they're universalists, but because they're inconsistent, sentimentalistic, or simply haven't thought through the issues.

BE said...

I see what you're saying. But I think you're right that it's really an issue of inconsistency on their part. You ask "Do you believe the atonement is limited in any way?" and they say "no." So then you ask "Do you believe all people will go to heaven?" and they say "no." In that answer they are implicitly limiting the atonement in its application. They are just afraid of the language of "limiting."

I guess I don't have a problem with a lot of people who think that way, b/c they aren't trained theologians. Of course, that could be b/c I grew up where "Mark Dever" does his bowling--Charleston, WV. We tend to place more emphasis on practicality than theological precision there. :)


greglong said...

8. By the way, if you reject any notion of limited atonement, do you really have any justification to be mad at Rob Bell?

I don't reject "any notion" of limited atonement, but I'm not convinced of it biblically. And I have plenty of biblical justification to be mad at Rob Bell.

Kind of cheap shot. I like the analogy already mentioned...

"If you reject any notion of human freedom of the will, do you really have any justification to evangelize?"

The Bible never seems to take the doctrine of limited atonement to its "logical" conclusion as so many want to. And as I always do whenever this discussion comes up, I would refer you to (five-pointer) Wayne Grudem's discussion on this matter.

Ben said...

Greg, if memory serves correctly, it's Grudem who argues that everyone who's not a universalist affirms some notion of limited atonement.

This is not a cheap shot. I'm surprised it's even controversial.

By the way, what makes you think I reject any notion of human freedom of the will? It's been a while since I've read Edwards' "On the Freedom of the Will," but as I recall, he articulated it in a way that I find to be consistent with Scripture.

greglong said...

Please read Grudem.

"I'm surprised it's even controversial" is no more an argument than "it's a cheap shot."

Perhaps my analogy was faulty, but I think you get my point. Just because you think I should affirm universalism because I reject limited atonement doesn't mean I do or even that the Bible says I must.

greglong said...

I'm not making my point very clearly. The point is that this tactic is used against Calvinists all the time. "If you believe in Calvinism than you can't be evangelistic" or "it doesn't make sense to pray for the lost" or whatever.

greglong said...

Sorry for multiple postings, but I just remembered I had a digital copy of Grudem's conclusion on the limited atonement debate. Here it is:

"Finally, we may ask why this matter is so important at all. Although Reformed people have sometimes made belief in particular redemption a test of doctrinal orthodoxy, it would be healthy to realize that Scripture itself never singles this out as a doctrine of major importance, nor does it once make it the subject of any explicit theological discussion. Our knowledge of the issue comes only from incidental references to it in passages whose concern is with other doctrinal or practical matters. In fact, this is really a question that probes into the inner counsels of the Trinity and does so in an area in which there is very little direct scriptural testimony--a fact that should cause us to be cautious. A balanced pastoral perspective would seem to say that this teaching of particular redemption seems to us to be true, that it gives logical consistency to our theological system, and that it can be helpful in assuring people of Christ's love for them individually and of the completeness of his redemptive work for them; but that it also is a subject that almost inevitably leads to some confusion, some misunderstanding, and often some wrongful argumentativeness and divisiveness among God's people--all of which are negative pastoral considerations. Perhaps that is why the apostles such as John and Peter and Paul, in their wisdom, placed almost no emphasis on this question at all. And perhaps we would do well to ponder their example" (Systematic Theology, 603).

Ben said...

Greg, I really don't get your point. I don't think you should affirm universalism. I do suspect that you affirm some form of limited atonement, even if you want to distance yourself from the term.

Would you agree that the atonement is limited (at the very least) in its application?

Your analogy to Calvinism doesn't work. This is about the essence of the atonement, not its perceived logical implications. If you think the atonement is not limited in any way, then I don't know how you avoid universalism. But I'm fully open to consider how you explain it.

My Grudem is in the office, and circumstances are keeping me away from there for a few day. Does he address the "everyone believes in some form of limited atonement" argument, or am I thinking of of someone else?

As for what you do quote from Grudem, it's hard to tell w/o context, but it seems as though he may be addressing a particular formulation of LA, which isn't what I'm doing here.

Greg said...

I don't see where Grudem says that, except for in a footnote on p.596 where he says that "reformed people" argue that arminianism is actually the viewpoint that limits the atonement.