You pose both a question and a challenge.
1. Your mother believes salvation is unconditional.
2. Your mother believes that some people who believe salvation is conditioned on baptism are saved.
3. Therefore, are you lost because you believe your mother is saved?
The real question here is, are you judging by something other than the gospel? The answer is yes.
Your mother is contradicting herself. This is indisputable. A and –A cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. Were she a politician espousing belief in two opposing viewpoints, you would no doubt accuse her of lying and of trying to placate both sides of the aisle. But because she is your mother, and because you love her and want to see her come to faith, you are choosing to ignore the fact that what she is asserting about the atonement and about what she believes are both patently false.
Suppose I were to continually assert that I believe all living people breath air. Suppose I were also to continually assert that I believe some people who are alive do not breath air. What could you say about what I believe? If you were judging by truth rather than your admiration or love for me, then you would have to admit that I am lying? So it is with your mother.
But you may yet try to argue that your mother is just simply being logically inconsistent. It could be that she has simply not thought through the logical repercussions of her second claim. Very well, let’s take this same approach to the politician.
Suppose the politician who espouses belief in two opposing viewpoints is really just being logically inconsistent about his claim to belief in the second viewpoint. How would you know that he is simply being inconsistent rather than lying in order to placate the voters? How can you know? I suppose you could review his voting track record, but that isn’t going to help you in the case of your mother, because there are plenty of unbelieving mothers who are just as compassionate and kind to their children as your mother is to hers.
So then, how would you know whether your mother is logically inconsistent but not deceived, rather than logically inconsistent because she is deceived? Wasn’t Eve in the Garden of Eden also logically inconsistent?
You have no way of knowing, do you? But that isn’t even the point. The point is, you are not judging by the gospel. You are instead judging by your love for your mother. You may say, but I love my mother, therefore I will believe the best about her. Very well, but you may actually be doing your mother the worst sort of harm, because it may very well be that she doesn’t believe her first claim, and so rather than explaining the truth to her because you have judged her assertion in the view of the gospel, you instead assume she is safe because you have judged her assertion in view of your love for her. My friend, the road to hell is for many paved with Mom’s love.
You ask in view of this, well then, does that mean I am lost too since I accept my mother as a sister? How else am I to take it? After all, I have no way of knowing whether you are deceived or just being logically inconsistent.
Let’s take a step back for a moment.
Andrew Fuller argued that guilt, as punishment for sin, is non-transferrable. He operated from an illustration in which an innocent man offered to take the punishment of a guilty man. Though the innocent man could take the punishment in place of the guilty man, the innocent man would nevertheless remain innocent, therefore, in view of this, Christ did not bear His people’s guilt on the cross, because Christ never ceased to be innocent. This forced Fuller to conclude that Christ had merely bore the effects of sin, and in so doing, His death became a token sacrifice to show the world that God was angry with sin. Furthermore, Fuller argued that God was satisfied by this token suffering, because it also showed His mercy and grace, therefore, we receive by an act of faith the effects of Christ’s obedience, which is God’s pardon.
For Fuller, God’s justice was irrelevant. It wasn’t that the full penalty for breaking the law had to be paid, but rather it was that God needed a way to show something to the world. Fuller concluded, like the Arminian, that faith is the condition that actualizes God’s pardon. According to his way of thinking, Christ had been a token sacrifice to show the world God’s anger with sin as well as His mercy and grace so that men might receive God’s pardon by choosing to believe that God saves by grace rather than law. The deviously ingenious side effect of this was that it made faith itself a condition for salvation.
The truth is that there is only one condition for salvation – Christ’s death, because only Christ’s death could satisfy God’s wrath. God rightfully and justly demands the death of all who sin. “The soul who sins shall die.” “In the day you eat of it you shall die.” God cannot ignore His demand for justice.
By transferring the guilt of His people to Christ at the cross, thereby making Christ guilty for all the sins of His people, He atoned for His people’s guilt by dying the death that God demanded of them. To remain just and righteous, God MUST now save and bring everyone whom Christ died for to faith. If He does not, then He is not righteous. This is what Paul meant when he said in Romans 1:17 that the gospel is the revelation of God’s righteousness.
Had Christ died for everyone, then God would have to save everyone, for else He is not righteous . . . UNLESS, Christ’s death was not enough to satisfy God’s demand for the death of the guilty. In that case, something else in addition to Christ’s death would be needed to satisfy God’s demand for the death of the guilty.
My friend, these two claims are as polar opposite to each other as the east is from the west. In the first claim, Christ’s death is the full satisfaction of God’s wrath. In the second claim, Christ’s death + something else is the full satisfaction of God’s wrath. THE ARMINIAN DOES NOT DENY THE UNCONDITIONALITY OF GOD’S GRACE IN CHRIST’S DEATH ANYMORE THAN YOUR MOTHER DOES! WHAT HE DOES DENY, THE SAME AS YOUR MOTHER, IS THAT GOD’S GRACE IS ONLY FOR THOSE FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED!
Those for whom Christ did not die do not receive grace. They receive judgment. My friend, every Protestant denomination today with the exception of one, denies this. We have been in the midst of a grand apostasy ever since the Augsburg Confession, and things are not slowing down.
Fuller tried to bridge the gulf between accomplished and conditional atonement. No such bridge can ever exist though, because it impossible to turn a lie into truth, and truth into a lie. A can never be –A in the same sense some of the time.
What Fuller wound up with was an unconditional conditionalism. He substituted the gospel of salvation by a propitiation that has propitiated with a gospel of salvation by faith in grace. IN SO DOING, HE MADE FAITH THE OBJECT OF FAITH, BECAUSE IN HIS SCHEME IT IS FAITH THAT ACTUALIZES THE SATISFACTION OF GOD’S WRATH, RATHER THAN THE CROSS.
Allow me to repeat that.
Having replaced the gospel of salvation by a propitiation that has propitiated with a gospel of salvation by faith in grace, Andrew Fuller wound up with a gospel that conditioned salvation upon a person’s faith, rather than the cross. He put faith in competition with the cross!
HE PUT FAITH IN COMPETITION WITH THE CROSS!
This is rank Arminianism. Fuller, who claimed to be a Calvinist, was, in fact, an Arminian.
It is really quite brilliant in a comic book-super villain-ingenious evil plan kind of way. The sheer subtlety of it. He attempted to substitute the gospel of accomplished redemption with a gospel of no conditions conditionalism. His was an atoneless grace, a grace that has failed to satisfy God’s righteousness, rendering redemption possible rather than accomplished.
Although today’s descendents of Fullerism, like James White, have brought imputation and sin back into the picture, they yet continue to try to bridge the gulf between accomplished and possible atonement. They do so by encouraging people who make faith the condition of salvation to continue making faith the condition of salvation. They give lost people false assurance.
True faith rests in the Christ whose death has met all the conditions required for salvation. False faith rests in faith as the object that has met the final condition for the satisfaction of God’s wrath. True faith rests in Christ’s propitiatory death. False faith rests in something I have done to actualize the death.
The only condition for the salvation of God’s elect is Christ’s death for God’s elect. This is why we must preach the gospel as Christ’s death for the elect alone, because otherwise, you encourage people to make faith the object of their faith.
White’s response to this is to say, well now, you forget that you didn’t know everything at first either. To which I say, excuse me, but what is it that you tell people when you sit down with them to explain the gospel? What is it that you say? That Jesus loved you and died for you? That Jesus wants to save you, but you have to believe to make it happen? Or even worse, that Jesus died for those who will believe (thus allowing them to think faith is the condition for salvation)?
When I explain the gospel to someone, I tell them about election, about sin, and about God’s purpose in redemption. And then I tell them that the salvation of the elect is by the cross alone, because the cross has propitiated God’s wrath for the sins of the elect alone. I tell them that! If God opens their eyes to believe, WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS WHAT I JUST TOLD THEM! How in the world then can you say, aw gee, I don’t know, they might still not know, you know, they gotta learn?
I am not saying they need to know and believe everything there is to know and believe about definite atonement, but I am saying that if they don’t believe that the cross has propitiated God’s wrath for the sins of the elect alone, then they do not believe the gospel.
White accuses me of being a hyper Calvinist for saying this. No real surprise here, seeing as how Fuller accused Gill, Crisp, Booth, Toplady and many other brothers of the exact same thing for the exact same reason! No surprise either that after the Auburn Affirmation the Presbyterians and their bubble protected Reformed Baptists have accused the Protestant Reformed Church of the exact same thing for the exact same reason. http://standardbearer.rfpa.org/articles/book-reviews-367
Nowhere have I said we must preach only to those who show signs of being elect (which is what actual hyper Calvinists do say). I judge Fred Phelps and the folks at Westboro Baptist just as lost just as I do White. The gospel is to be preached to everyone. But it’s the gospel that is to be preached, and not instead a Calminian attempt at bridging the gap between God and Satan.
What about the Arminian? Are they just simply “logically inconsistent?” Or what about what Sproul says when he says, “they are saved . . . but just barely.”
If they are saved, but just barely, then what are they barely saved by? Their faith? This makes faith the condition!
If they are logically inconsistent, then what are they logically inconsistent about? Everyone who is honest will acknowledge that I was entirely accurate when I said White has never said what precisely they are inconsistent about. And he can’t, because if he tells you that they are being inconsistent about the gospel, then he lets the cat out of the bag and you realize immediately that he is not judging by the gospel. He has explained why Open Theists are inconsistent, but not the Arminian.
What is the Arminian logically inconsistent about? I will tell you what he is inconsistent about. He is inconsistent about the gospel, the same as your mother is.
I do not doubt your mother’s sincerity. I do not doubt your sincerity. I do not even doubt White’s sincerity. But I do not judge by sincerity. Sincerity is not something you add to the cross to actualize the propitiation.
Now, let’s suppose there is an Arminian out there somewhere who believes that his sins were atoned for two-thousand years ago by Christ’s death alone, and that when he says Jesus died for everyone, but not everyone is saved, he is just simply being logically inconsistent. I would like to meet such an Arminian, but let’s just assume there is one like this out there somewhere. Very well, how do you know his claim that Christ died for everyone, but not everyone is saved is just a logical inconsistency? Ask him about the atonement, right? Well why don’t you do that then? Why don’t you ask him what he believes about the atonement before you rush to call him brother or sister? Why doesn’t White do it? Why is it that if he but merely says something about being saved by grace rather than law, you and White both can’t race to break your necks fast enough to call him brother? The answer is, because neither of you judge by the gospel, that’s why. That’s why you continue to insist your mother is saved.