All Articles For Vol 59 Issue 05 12/1/1982

Results 1 to 10 of 11

The subject of “Limited” or “Definite” Atonement is often the most controversial of the Five Points of Calvinism. The differences between the Calvinist and the Arminian, even on the subject of predestination come into sharpest focus at this point. Even many so-called Calvinists, who agree with us on the doctrine of sovereign, unconditional, double predestination, will disagree violently with us when we teach that Christ did not die for all, but for a “definite” or “limited” number of persons.

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THE CHURCH BETWEEN TEMPLE AND MOSQUE, BY J.H. Bavinck; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1981; 206 pp., $5.95, paper. (Reviewed by Prof. R. D. Decker) Dr. Bavinck occupied the chair of missions at the Free University in Amsterdam from 1939 until his death in 1965. Prior to 1939 he served for twenty years as a missionary in Indonesia. The author wrote an earlier work, Introduction To The Science Of Missions, which this reviewer uses as a text in his Principles of Missions course.

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The question, “How can one who holds to the doctrine of limited or definite atonement preach?” has been a vexing problem, not for the one holding to the truth of definite atonement, but for the opponents of that truth. Historic Calvinism, or the Reformed Faith, has always maintained the truth of definite atonement. This truth is zealously preached, taught, and defended by the Protestant Reformed Churches.

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Questions have repeatedly been raised, since the time of the Calvin Reformation, whether or not the truth of particular atonement or limited redemption belongs to true Calvinism; whether Calvin himself actually taught this truth; and whether the true line of Calvin’s teachings is to be traced through those who held to this doctrine. There are so-called Four Point Calvinists today who maintain all the well-known five points except the doctrine of particular atonement.

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If sovereign, unconditional election disturbs the Arminian, it stands to reason that the Calvinistic doctrine of the atonement will likewise greatly upset him. In fact, anyone who has ever had any dealings with these people will know that there is nothing that so enrages the Arminian as the doctrine of definite atonement. When you tell him that Christ died, not for the whole world, but for a very specific and select group of people, he can hardly contain his wrath.

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This is our first special issue of the current volume-year. It is a follow-up on the special issue of May 15, which was devoted to the truth of divine predestination; and it is the second in a projected series on the so-called Five Points of Calvinism, or, as some refer to them, the “doctrines of grace.”  You probably have already noted that this issue is devoted to the truth of Limited, or Definite, Atonement. 

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