Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Newly Realized Argument for a Definite (Limited) Atonement

He's back, ladies and gentlemen! But don't get too excited, because who knows if or when I will ever have (or take) the time to post again?!

And aren't you glad I chose a heady theological topic for my re-entrance into the blogosphere after an absence of over 4 months? I could have eased you in with updated photos of my daughter...

Or I could have sucked you right in with cutesy pictures of our new puppy, Tobiwan Kenobi... or just Toby if you prefer...

But no... I'm coming right at you with a mind bending discussion of one of the most heated topics in Christendom... For whom, exactly, did Christ die?

Now, I'm not going to spend a lot of time rehashing all the arguments on both sides (Arminianism vs Calvinism) of the issue, I really just want to point out an argument that was new to me.

Notice I did not say new. Just new to me... The biblical arguments for a definite or limited atonement are profuse and irrefutable as far as I am concerned, but recently I heard an argument that was both simple and profound, and I heard it from a not unlikely, but unexpected source.

Awhile ago I posted on the rising of new Christian rap artist Lecrae, and in passing mentioned Shai Linne as well. Well at first I couldn't get enough of Lecrae, but Shai Linne has far surpassed him in time spent in my ear over the last few months. His blog is titled "Lyrical Theology" and it is more than fitting for what this man does on the mic...

There is one song in particular, called "Mission Accomplished" that brought out this particular argument about Limited, or Definite Atonement. The song lyrics discuss how (and then Shai Linne explicitly explains, as do the Scriptures) that the Godhead is unified, and all three persons of the Trinity have been working together from the foundation of the world in order to bring about the salvation of God's people, for His glory.

Now, it seems both sides of the argument would agree that The Father, from eternity, chooses specific individuals to save (be it conditionally or unconditionally - that's another argument), that's called election. And both sides also agree that there are specific individuals to whom the Holy Spirit actually gives the new birth, applying what Christ did on the cross (And amazingly, at the end of the day, they happen to be the same people! Go figure!). But if God is unified in His being and in His work, why would Christ's work on the cross be applied universally if what the Father did in eternity, and what the Holy Spirit does now, is limited only to specific individuals? Doesn't that put the Godhead at odds with itself? Why would the Son's work in salvation be for everyone, when the Father's and the Spirit's work in salvation is decidedly not for everyone universally?

Of course the answer is that it is not. Christ's atonement is only for those whom God has chosen from all eternity and those to whom the Holy Spirit effectually applies it in history.

OK, not exactly mind bending... and maybe not even clear. :-)

Here is the song if you want to here it for yourself:
Please disregard the images, as they do not really apply and some could be considered offensive.

Now, back into the void....


Brenda said...

Be encouraged in your return. It took you one post to claim victory over my lifelong 'rap is crap' stance. That's some seriously impressive lyric.

Also, thanks for the updated photos. The Gentry children look healthy and happy. :-)

Anonymous said...

Indeed! That was my very first rap "song" (can you call them that??) that I actually listened to in its entirety without covering my ears in terror and running away. I grew up with this just described as an unexplained mystery of salvation instead of a discrepancy, but I surely see it now as otherwise. Surely you can fit this into your Romans series somewhere. ;-)


Greg said...

Shai Linne is most impressive, indeed. That song, in my opinion, is not even his best work.

I'd recommend his record "The Atonement" to anyone. From the most discerning rap connoisseurs to even non-fans.

His stuff is practically a catechism class, in some instances even preaching. It's phenomenal.

Some of his other work is 'lighter' theologically, and some are turned off by his somewhat monotone delivery, but this particular record is the best I've heard from any of the new Christian rappers.