Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All Means What?

The typical Arminian objection to the doctrine of Limited Atonement is the tired old stand-by "all means all." By this they insist that whenever the Scripture uses the word "all" in reference to the Atonement, it must only and always be understood to refer every single individual on earth.

The Reformed way of understanding the word "all" when it refers to people affected by Christ's death is to affirm that this is a synonym for "of all kinds." Arminians always reject this reasoning and are usually angered by such an assertion.

When their "all means all" theory is put to the test, however, it falls apart quite quickly. Let me demonstrate. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 and in 1 Corinthians10:23 Paul asserts that, "All things are lawful to me." By the same reasoning Arminians use to deny the obvious Scripture doctrine of Limited Atonement we could argue that Paul means to say that adultery, murder, gluttony and theft are lawful for him. Hey, all means all! Once you begin to define the word "all" in these passages in a way that limits it to things which are not innately sinful, then you have implicitly admitted that limitation of the word "all" is indeed allowable.

For Pentecostals the case is even worse. In Acts 2:4 we are told that all spoke in tongues. Yet Paul asks rhetorically in 1 Corinthians 12:30, "Do all speak with tongues?" Using the Arminian hermeneutic of "all means all" we have a flat out contradiction on our hands here. Any attempt to wiggle out of this fact is again, a tacit admission that limitations of the word "all" are Biblically allowable. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. 

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that "Love suffers all things." Are Christians walking uncharitably when they file an insurance claim when some punk kid throws a rock through their car window? Whatever happened to "all means all?"

1 John 1:7 says that we are cleansed from "all sin." Now here is where the rubber meets the road as far as the Arminian "all means all" Procrustean bed goes. If "all means all" as they always insist, then their system collapses in on itself. It is self-stultifying. Scripture explicitly affirms that Christ has cleansed us from "all" sin. This kicks both legs out from under Arminianism. For no one should go to hell if Christ has paid for ALL their sins! Secondly, no one can lose their salvation because this would imply guilt for sins not paid for, yet Scripture says ALL sins are paid for.

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