09 August 2007

Universalism? Nope.

by Phil Johnson

escue the perishing." "Save the whales." Such expressions rarely mean "everyone without exception."

By redeeming a remnant, Christ saves humanity from utter destruction. That's one of at least two important senses in which He's "Saviour of the world" (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14).

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13 comments:

John K said...

"Save the whales." Such expressions rarely mean "everyone without exception."

To the whale lovers it probably does. At least it means, "Save every whale we have the power to save."

My Daily Bread said...

"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

"That I might save some." I Cor. 9: 22

"every man" and "some"

The first is our intention, the latter is the expected result.

My Daily Bread said...

That was Colossians 1:28

donsands said...

Amen.

YnottonY said...

"Rescue the perishing," usually means "go and strive to rescue as many as you can, and get others to do so as well." "Save the whales," likewise, means "strive to save as many whales as you can, and get others to do so as well." In other words, the person uttering these statements realizes that the result won't be the actual rescuing or saving of all the particulars mentioned (the "perishing" or the "whales"), but they do usually mean strive to save "everyone without exception."

This seems to be the sense of "all nations" in Matt. 28:19:

NKJ Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

The idea is to go and strive to make disciples of "everyone without exception." "All without exception" is not antithetical to "all without distinction," since Christ means go out and reach all the people [all without exception] within each ethnic group [all without distinction]. As Christ's disciples, we know that will not result in all being saved, for God has told us that He has determined that not all shall be saved. Nevertheless, we are to will the salvation of all without exception because God himself also wills (not decretally determined) the salvation of all.

YnottonY said...

NKJ John 4:42 Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."

The idea of this passage is not to focus on what God has secretly determined to do through the appointed savior, but that Christ should be the appointed savior to whom all of apostate humanity [the "world"], Jew and Gentile alike, should look for salvation. So, the sense of "world" does not connote the elect, or even an abstract class of thing without involving all the particulars of that class. It references ALL of apostate humanity on the earth at any given point, and Christ is to be their appointed means of salvation. "Savior of the world" speaks to his office as mediator, as well as to what he wills to do for humanity. It further spells out what is means for him to be "Christ."

YnottonY said...

I would say the same about this passage:

NKJ 1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

"Savior of the world" speaks to his title, as the one to whom the world [i.e., all of apostate humanity on earth, or some region, at any given point in history] should look for salvation. He's appointed with authority to be their Christ and Savior.

In neither instance does "world" connote the elect, or an abstract sense of "humanity," such that it ultimately connotes all the elect in the eschaton.

Daryl said...

Phil,

I had not thought about it like that. You put it perfectly.

Thank you.

John K said...

my daily bread: "The first is our intention, the latter is the expected result.

Is not Col 1:28, in context of vv 24ff referring to the Church, not the world? 1 Cor 9:22 refers to the world.

All the Church will be saved, only some of the world. Apples & oranges?

My Daily Bread said...

Dear JohnK:

The term "every man" is used three times in the passage. They are the same group in all three instances.

John K said...

my daily bread: "They are the same group in all three instances.

Yes, the Church.

YnottonY said...

Here's another way to think about it, Phil. "Savior of the world" is a noun in the text. We should not think of it verbally. For example, Christ says he is the door. That expression is not dealing with who Christ ultimately brings through himself to salvation (verbal idea). Rather, it's dealing with who he is. He is the appointed means (appointed by the Father) through which men should enter into fellowship with God (noun idea). In other words, he is the door of the world, so to speak. Calling something a "door" involves what it is as a means, rather than with who ends up going through the door. The same idea is captured when John (and the gentile audience he references) calls Christ, "the Savior of the world." It's not dealing with who he actually saves (verbal sense). Notice what you're doing when you say this:

"By redeeming a remnant, Christ saves humanity from utter destruction. That's one of at least two important senses in which He's "Saviour of the world" (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14)."

You're dealing with who He is "saving" and "redeeming," (verbal sense) rather than with the idea of his title (noun sense). He is the Christ of the world, the Door of the world, the Light of the world and the Savior of the world. "World," in these instances, has all humanity in view, since all of them are to look to Christ as the one through whom (the appointed MEANS) they may be saved.

Anyway, I hope that helps. Keep meditating on these things :-)

Tony

Robert said...

I read this link.
Unfortunately, there was no direct refutation of the scriptures used, nor were there any reasonable alternatives offered.

I find that when someone (everyone?) is offended by the doctrine of "limited atonement" it's a "reaction" to the horrific idea that Jesus didn't die for everyone, and not as a result of the exegesis of scripture that they base it on.

If this is "summersaults" then mention specifically how these texts were "mis-exegeted" and what the correct exegesis is.