Most arguments against the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement are doomed to failure from the start for the simple reason that they never address the foundational presuppositions of that doctrine. Instead of quibbling over the definitions of words like "all," "whosoever" and "world," my argument for a Benevolent Atonement is an attempt to use the Calvinist's own logic against him and to reveal the dangerously weak foundation of his doctrine.
The God of the Bible is a God of conditionals. Just think of all the "if .. then" statements in the Bible. God told Abraham in Genesis 18:26 that "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes." Then, in Exodus 19:5, God told the Children of Israel, "if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people." And in John 8:51, Jesus said, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." These conditionals are literally everywhere in Scripture. Whether Joshua's "choose you this day whom ye will serve" or Elijah's "How long halt ye between two opinions?" or Christ's final "whosoever will," God has consistently presented men with spiritual choices for them to make. The fact that God so often asks all men, both lost and saved, to make spiritual decisions necessarily implies that all men have the ability to make those decisions.
I recently received a request from a friend informing me that he was preparing for a public debate with a secularist on the topic of the Christian nature of the American Revolution. My friend wanted me to put together some suggestions to guide his study, so I quickly gathered up some of my notes and started jotting down a quick reply... Five pages later, I decided that I should probably stop before I completely overwhelmed him. I sent those five pages off to my friend a few days ago, and now I would like to share them here for the benefit of my readers. Here is the text of that letter:
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
Contact Us if you would like to schedule Bill to speak to your church, group, or club.
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)