Daily Archives: March 24, 2006


Yet another go-round in the blogosphere has me thinking. Thinking about relating and an interesting exchange we had in my class (at a secular college)

It's about the "L" in the TULIP - "limited atonement".

I believe that atonement is limited, so I'm not arguing that point at all. In either Arminianism or Calvinism - or any variation on either of the themes, atonement is limited - the controversy is whether atonement is limited by God or by man. (Strong's says atonement is "in the NT of the restoration of the favour of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ" - so clearly atonement is limited to believers). The divisiveness within the circles I read is more complicated than that, but again - that is not where my thoughts are.

Some folks say (my words) - "if you don't preach the "L", you're not preaching the whole Gospel." (or you're preaching a watered down Gospel)

My question is "why?" Why does this "L" cause so much disturbance in the peace between brothers and sisters?

Should the "L" make a difference in the way I treat unbelievers?

Should the "L" make a difference in the way I treat believers?

Should the "L" in TULIP affect my behavior more or less than the "L" in 1 Corinthians 13:13?

(I end up having to say a lot: "I live in a very special place.")

Here is the exchange:
(these are not the exact words, but it definitely hits the all the points)

I was in class (at a secular college) Tuesday night and we were going over the philosophy of Rene Descartes. The last class we had gone over Thomas Aquinas.

(I live in a very special place.)
There is a young man that often sits near me - it's a pretty small class - and Tuesday night we went back to talking about Aquinas. Somebody asked again about (the way Aquinas put it) "The problem of evil". That brought us to the tension between God's perfection and the existence of evil. That brought us to free will.

(I live in a very special place.)
A couple of people tried to explain evil in terms of free will.

The professor asked, "Why would a perfect God create man if He knew that they were going to sin?"

We heard the normal answers and one student answered, "So that He could send a Saviour. He knew that we were all going to sin and the only reason that we can be saved is because God sent Jesus."

In my weekly reflection writing, I've been very open about my theology, so the professor kind of looked at me...so I jumped in.

(I live in a very special place.)
"Well, I'm reformed. So any tension between free will and the sovereignty of God really doesn't bother me much." Everybody was looking at me.

"Why would a perfect God create man if He knew that they were going to sin?"

"Everything points to the glory of God. How can we know what Good is, unless we've seen evil? How can we understand light unless we've seen darkness? God is the only perfection that is."

The young man (I have gotten the impression that he might be a Buddhist or something of the sort) had moved right over next to me. "Are you really saying that we have to meet Satan before we can meet God?"

I looked right at him and said, "We all do. I did."

Somebody else said, "You have to know that you're a sinner before you can accept Christ."
A young woman added, "You have to be sorry that you're a sinner."

What would you call this exchange?
- The only perfect being is God.
- Everybody is a sinner.
- You have to be "sorry".
- The only way we can be saved is through Christ.
- All of this is for the glory of God.

But then again...I missed the "L" in TULIP.

So, what do you call this exchange? (and did I mention that I live in a very special place?)

My furnace quit today. And it's Friday and very, very expensive to call a furnace guy for an emergency call on a weekend.

Here are the blessings.

My house appears to be holding heat amazingly well.
We have doors to close off about half of the house. This is working.
We found two "tower" space heaters at Walmart on clearance.
These two (plus the one we had) should keep the downstairs livable.

The biggest blessing:
The furnace waited until nearly the end of March, so it is not "literally" freezing.

However...should some prayers go up and should God choose to "heal" my furnace, all the praise would go to Him.