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Restating the Problem

September 26, 2011

Link History to this thread:
7. Finally an Answer!
6. Restating the Problem
5. Limited Atonement and the Falsification of the Sincere Offer of the Gospel

4. When is a conversation about an offer of something, not a conversation about an offer of something?
3. When is an offer not an offer?
2.God and Green Spotted Unicorns
1. James Anderson’s Argument for a Sincere Offer Based on a Limited Provision

1) From Hays:

2) If we define the gospel offer as a conditional offer, then when God offers the gospel to the unredeemed, that involves no element of deception. That’s an honest offer. For anyone who accepts the offer will receive what was promised. A true offer. http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/09/whats-well-meant-offer.html

And again:

Example 4:

Steve: vii) Here’s a divine offer:

10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11?Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.”(Isa 7:10-12)”

There are two parties to this offer: God and Ahaz. God is both able and willing to do it. Indeed, God will make good on the offer-despite the intransigence of Ahaz.

By contrast, Ahaz is unwilling to take God up on the offer. What is more, God foreknew that Ahaz would refuse the offer.

So does Ponter think God is guilty of insincerity? Was this not a bona fide offer? http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/09/ponters-hypercalvinism.html
and
http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/08/whens-offer-not-offer.html

Manata:

Here’s the offer: If you come, then there is provision for you.

If “sincerity” means one is truthful about his intentions, basically, that one tells the truth, then, as we saw above, David’s analysis here leaves out a crucial valuation: If the man doesn’t come, and the provision isn’t there, the offer is still sincere just in case if the man were to come, there would be provision. On Calvinism, how can the man come? If God elects him. And, if God elects him, he will provide for them all that they need. So, if a man comes, then he is elect, and there will be provisions. There is no possible world where P o ¬Q obtain, and so there is no possible world where the offer could have a “false” truth value. http://analytictheologye4c5.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/ponter-on-anderson-on- limited-atonement-and-the-free-offer/

David:

My problem is that even with my qualifying sentences, I’ve inadvertently confused Hays and Manata when I included within the definition of offer: a willingness to give something to someone, if they are willing to accept it.

2) Rather, offer should be defined as this and no more,

To present something to someone for their acceptance or rejection.

Now the following is extraneous and irrelevant to the definition, even if it is entailed or presupposed:

The reception of the thing offered is conditioned by the willingness of the offeree.

It is this extra thought that I was trying to capture in my definition, but it has only confused them, and that is partly my fault.

So now the critical points:

3) Under Hays’ conception, what is God “presenting” to the NDF (non-died-for) to be accepted or rejected?

God cannot be presenting (i.e., proposing to give, or to provide, or to tender) the NDF with forgiveness of sins, or with justification, or with salvation, as none of these are available for him to present to them. God has not provided any provision for them, whereby, he, for his part, can present the possibility of forgiveness of sins, or of justification, or of salvation, to the NDF.

4) If we come back to this, Manata:

Here’s the offer: If you come, then there is provision for you.

We are back to a bare conditional statement. However, the conditional statement itself is not an offer. Unless all that is being offered is the statement itself. If this is so, then faith rests only upon the statement, and not upon the person and work of Christ directly.

However, given that there is no provision for the NDF, this statement to them is false. [See sections 5-6, here.]

5) Now we can also come back to this from Hays:

There are two parties to this offer: God and Ahaz. God is both able and willing to do it.

The difference between Ahaz and the non-died-for is that in Ahaz’s case, God was willing and able; but, in the case of the NDF, on Hays’ conception, God is not able to forgive or to save or to justify the NDF (and perhaps not even willing?). Thus, on the supposition of a limited satisfaction for the sins of the elect alone, God is not able to give forgiveness of sins, or salvation, to the NDF.

And considering that divine sincerity in the offer has to be indexed to the ability to communicate what is offered, God cannot be sincere in his offers of forgiveness of sins to the NDF.

For most folk that should be the end of the matter.

David

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Flynn permalink*
    September 27, 2011 9:53 am

    Steve Hays has replied to my post above.

    His basic claim is that I have contradicted myself.

    Hays:
    Ponter immediately turns his back on his own definition, and adds something “more.” His definition doesn’t say the offeror must make provision for what he tenders.

    and,
    He defines the “offer”; explicitly assures us that an offer is “no more” than that; then instantly abandons his own definition.

    He didn’t define an offer such that a genuine offer must be indexed to the ability of the offeror.

    Likewise, where does his definition distinguish between “sincere” and “insincere” offers?

    The reader can see his comments here.

    My reply: Naa, I don’t think so.

    I have defined what an offer is, for example see here.

    So we have a definition of the word offer.

    So then there are follow-up questions which Steve declines to answer.

    1) What is God offering to the NDF?

    2) Whether or not God can sincerely offer something (eg., forgiveness of sins, etc) to the NDF which he is unable to give?

    As as sort of footnote to 2), I have already defined the specific inability I am referencing, see sections 8.2, here.

    Ironically, until question 2) is answered, my original point to James Anderson actually stands unrebutted. Btw, I am pretty sure James Anderson would have no problem or hesitation in proffering an answer to question 1). :-)

    David

  2. Flynn permalink*
    September 28, 2011 8:49 am

    Let me try to refocus the problem Hays and co., have.

    We ask the question, “On the supposition that Judas was NDF, how can God’s offer to Judas be sincere?”

    We ask that, because we want to know how God can sincerely offer (e.g., salvation, justification, forgiveness of sins, etc etc) to Judas what he does not have for Judas (given that Judas is NDF).

    Hays’ answer is: “God’s offer to Judas is sincere, because on the supposition that had he believed, he would have obtained the thing offered.”

    We actually do not dispute that.

    But that is not an answer to our question. That answer works only on the counter-factual supposition that Judas “believed” (which entails further counter-factual suppositions that he was elected and died-for, after all).

    We are asking the question on the factual suppositions that Judas did not believe and that he was not died-for, how can God, for his part, make a sincere offer to Judas?

    David

  3. Flynn permalink*
    September 30, 2011 1:18 pm

    There is an even more fundamental problem here. What Hays’ has God offering is not a conditional statement in the every-day sense, or in the biblical sense of conditional statements. Rather, with regard to the NDF, Hays has God offering a purely hypothetical statement.

    Like this, relative to an NDF person, God says, “I can assure you, that were you to believe, there would be atonement-enough for you.” That is what God is offering.

    Note the counter-factual supposition again. It can only work for Hays through this counter-factual supposition and only as a hypothesis.

    On the other hand, the biblical use of conditional statements works like this: “there is an atonement-enough for you, therefore, if you believe, you will be saved.”

    Or, “there is an atonement-enough for you, take it and be saved.”

    One could simply fill in the blank like this: “here is __________ for you, take it and be saved.” That’s the biblical construction of the offer in relation to conditional statements proposed as means whereby the offeree obtains the thing offered.

    This also works when coupled with an imperative: “there is an atonement-enough for you, therefore, believe!” A bare hypothesis could not ground a true imperative either.

    On Hays’ conception, if God was to ever suggest or imply to the not-yet-believing NDF, that there was an atonement-enough for them (in any meaningful sense), God would be lying.

    Hence God cannot offer them the benefits of Christ’s satisfaction to non-believing NDF for that would imply that there was something for them. Thus, God can only offer to them an hypothesis.

    That’s pretty sad and a long way from the Bible and confessional Reformed theology.

  4. Flynn permalink*
    October 3, 2011 9:12 am

    Here is what I am talking about.

    Brainerd:

    And, secondly, I frequently endeavoured to open to them the fulness, all-sufficiency, and freeness of that redemption, which the Son of God has wrought out by his obedience and sufferings, for perishing sinners: how this provision he had made, was suited to all their wants; and how he called and invited them to accept of everlasting life freely, notwithstanding all their sinfulness, inability, unworthiness, &c.

    And

    And, secondly, I frequently endeavoured to open to them the fulness, all-sufficiency, and freeness of that redemption, which the Son of God has wrought out by his obedience and sufferings, for perishing sinners: how this provision he had made, was suited to all their wants; and how he called and invited them to accept of everlasting life freely, notwithstanding all their sinfulness, inability, unworthiness, &c.

    “Life and Diary of the Rev. David Brainerd” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1992), 2:374 and 432.

    David Brainerd on John 1:29 and Christ’s Sufficiency.

    This is exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of.

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