Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Limited Atonement Post - From Jerry Falwell to (again) Louis Farrakhan

What is limited atonement?

The doctrine of Limited Atonement (or Particular Redemption) is probably the most controversial of the doctrines of grace and most difficult to accept by many believers. Limited Atonement states that Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only, and actually secured salvation for them. His death was the substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ's redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation; including faith which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, therefore guaranteeing their salvation.

Note the words "to save the elect only." This has raised questions:

Did Christ offer up Himself a sacrifice for the whole human race, for every individual without distinction or exception; or did His death have special reference to the elect? In other words, was the sacrifice of Christ merely intended to make the salvation of all men possible, or was it intended to render certain the salvation of those who had been given to Him by the Father?

Some have a problem with the concept of limited atonement:

Lutherans believe that when Jesus died on the cross He atoned for the sins of all people of all time--even those who have not or will not come to faith in Christ. Reformed churches have historically taught a "limited atonement" of Christ, i.e., that Christ's death on the cross atoned only for the sins of "the elect"--those who have been predestined from eternity to believe in Christ and will spend eternity with Him in heaven.

Some REALLY have a problem with the concept of limited atonement (preface - as Yogi Berra would say, Falwell made this speech before he died):

[A]t the "College for a Weekend" emphasis at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Jerry Falwell preached a chapel message to 1828 prospective new students along with current students, faculty and staff. Under the title of "Our Message, Mission and Vision," Dr. Falwell delcared his purpose to be to communicate who Liberty University is in order to persuade prospective students to matriculate there.

Much of what he said regarding the "message" of Liberty is praiseworthy and ought to be applauded by all Bible believing Christians. When he came to articulating their belief in the "substitutionary atonemement of Jesus Christ for all men," however, he added a statement...:

"We are not into partcular love or limited atonement. As a matter of fact we consider it heresy."

Needless to say, some people were not pleased with Falwell's "heresy" characterization.

But when I think about atonement, I turn again and again to the words of Louis Farrakhan at the Million Man March. And yes, he talked about Jesus, and he talked about atonement, but not at the same time. And I'm sorry, I know this is going off topic, and that this has been stated time and time again by Kevin and Bean and everyone else, but...I gotta read this again.

[FARRAKHAN:] Now, we're almost finished. I want to take one last look at the word atonement....

The first four letters of the word form the foundation; "a-t-o-n". . . "a-ton", "a-ton". Since this obelisk in front of us is representative of Egypt. In the 18th dynasty, a Pharaoh named Akhenaton, was the first man of this history period to destroy the pantheon of many gods and bring the people to the worship of one god. And that one god was symbolized by a sun disk with 19 rays coming out of that sun with hands holding the Egyptian Ankh - the cross of life. A-ton. The name for the one god in ancient Egypt. A- ton, the one god. 19 rays. Look at your scripture.

A woman, remember the nine, means somebody pregnant, with an idea. But, in this case, its a woman pregnant with a male child destined to rule the nations with a rod of iron. God is standing over her womb, and this child will be like the day sun, and he will say "I am the light of the world." Hands coming out of that sun, come unto me all ye that are heavy laden. I'm gonna give you rest, but I'm gonna give you life, because I am the resurrection and the life and if you believe in me, though you are dead, yet shall you live again.

You're dead, Black man. But if you believe in the god who created this sun of truth and of light with 19 rays, meaning he's pregnant with God's spirit, God's life, God's wisdom. Abraham Lincoln's statue, 19 feet high, 19 feet wide. Jefferson, 19 feet high, 16 (OFF-MIKE) and the third president, 19. Standing on the steps of the Capitol, in the light of the sun. Offering life to a people who are dead....

Black man, the a-ton represents the one God. In the Koran, Muhammad is called a light giving son. So if you look at the aton, add an "e" to it, and separate the "a" from the next four letters and you get the word a tone.

Atone means sound. And "a", the first letter of the alphabet and the first letter of the numerical system is one. So "a" equals one. So "a" sound means when you hear the "a" tone, you will hear the right sound. And when you hear the right sound from the one God calling you to divine life, you will respond. So what is the "a" tone? In music, a equals 440 vibrations. How long have we been in America? Four hundred and forty years.

Well, in the 440th year, from the one God, the Aton will come the a tone and all of us got to tune up our lives by the sound of the a tone. Because we've got to atone for all that we have done wrong. And when you atone, if you take the "t" and couple it with the "a" and hyphenate it, you get at one. So when you atone you become at one. At one with who? The Aton or the one God. Because you heard the a tone and you tuned up your life and now you're ready to make a new beginning.

So when you get at one, you get the next two letters. It is "m" "e". Me. Who is it that has to atone?


FARRAKHAN: Who went wrong?


FARRAKHAN: Who got to fix it?


FARRAKHAN: Who should we look to?


FARRAKHAN: Yes! And then if you add, if you add another letter to "me" you get an "n". What does that say?


FARRAKHAN: So Farrakhan called men. Why did you call men? Because in the beginning, God made man. And if we are at a new beginning, we got to make a man all over again, but make him in the image and the likeness of God....

Now, if you add the "t" on, you get the suffix "ment." Ment means action, process. The instrument or agent of an action or process. So when you say I'm atoning, you got to act on it. You got get in the process. You got to acknowledge your wrong, confess your wrong. Repent of your wrong. Atone for your wrong.

Then you'll get forgiveness, then reconciliation, and restoration. And then you're back to the aton. Oh, Lord.

I'd hate to be the person to break the news to Farrakhan that his Prophet didn't speak English.

P.S. It should be noted that limited atonement and partial atonement are very different concepts.


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