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Geisler Vol 3 Chaps 12 and 13

Geisler Vol 3 Chaps 12 and 13

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Published by Mark E. Hardgrove

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Published by: Mark E. Hardgrove on Jan 09, 2010
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Week 12, Session 1 Dr. Mark E.

Hardgrove, Professor

Be sure to read both the assigned Geisler reading and the book chapters posted as articles by Dr. Hardgrove.
Geisler, Vol. 3, chapters 12-13

Geisler, Norman Vol. 3
Chapter 12

“The Extent of Salvation (Limited or Unlimited Atonement)”
pp. 347-388

Limited or Unlimited Atonement
Strong Calvinists argue for limited atonement, which means that salvation is only available for those elect which God has predestined to be saved. The rest are predestined to be lost. Moderate Calvinists, Wesleyans, and most other Orthodox Christians teach unlimited atonement, which means that salvation is available to everyone, but applied only to those who respond in faith to God’s grace.

Essentialism vs. Voluntarism
Voluntarism, in which the doctrine of limited atonement is rooted, insists that something is right because God wills it; that is, God decides something is right, and then it is right. Essentialism, declares that God wills something because it is right; that is it is already in accord with His unchanging nature.

Voluntarism as defense for Limited Atonement
Strong Calvinists are forced to appeal to voluntarism as a defense for limited atonement. The criticism of limited atonement is that it doesn’t look like justice, which is an attribute of God. In other words, limited atonement would violate justice because it indiscriminately chooses some and rejects others with no regard to faith, desire, or freewill on the part of humanity. So the only answer is that it is right because anything God does is right. This is an example of circular reasoning.

Arguments Against Voluntarism
God’s immutability—If God does not change, then for Him to arbitrarily change what is right or not right by virtue of decree alone would indicate that God Himself changes at a fundamental level of His being. God’s pure actuality would be prohibitive of God changing at such a fundamental level of His being. God’s perfection likewise would be prohibitive, in that perfection cannot be improved, and a change would either improve or diminish absolute perfection. God’s simplicity prohibits change in that change implies composition, and there can be no change in an absolute simple Geing.

Geisler, Norman Vol. 3
Chapter 13

“The Extent of Salvation (Universalism)”
pp. 389-410

The other extreme
From claiming that only a preselected group have been chosen and therefore the atonement is only for them, to the other extreme that since the atonement is for everyone, therefore everyone must be and will be saved, we have the theology of universalism.

Universalism Defined
From the word apokatastasis (i.e., “restoration,” in Acts 3:21), it is the belief that eventually everyone will be saved. It was first proposed by Origen (c. 185-c. 254), a partially unorthodox church father. This theology has been gaining some ground recently and it should be noted that it is without merit or theological grounding. Geisler does a good job of refuting this position, and in the process undermines his own view of eternal security (cf. pp. 403-404)

Geisler’s “Evaluation of Universalism”
Universalism Is Contrary to the Image of God: God made humankind in His image, which includes the freedom to choose. In order to guarantee that everyone will be saved, those who refuse to love God would have to be forced to love Him against their will, and “forced freedom” isn’t freedom at all. With respect to Wesleyan Theology, Wesleyans argue that love is voluntary and is an act of freewill. As such, love can be recanted, and along with it, faith in God’s grace. It would then be a violation of human freewill to force someone into heaven who has chosen to reject salvation.

Geisler’s “Evaluation of Universalism”
Universalism Is Contrary to God’s Love: Forced love is not only contrary to freedom, it isn’t love at all, but hate. Forced love is a kind of assault. No one who is truly loving forces him- or herself on another With respect to Wesleyan Theology (see previous slide).

Geisler’s “Evaluation of Universalism”
Universalism Is Contrary to God’s Justice: God is absolutely holy, and as such He must punish sin. Therefore, as long as people are living in sin and rebellion against God, He must punish them. With respect to Wesleyan Theology there is complete agreement with what Geisler states. Wesleyans also believe that this applies after salvation as well.

Geisler’s “Evaluation of Universalism”
Universalism (and associated annihilation) Is Contrary to Biblical Teaching on Hell: Once again, Jesus taught that not only is there a hell that was created for Satan and his angels, but, tragically there will also be persons in it. With respect to Wesleyan Theology there is complete agreement with what Geisler states here.

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