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Should that "L" be a "P?"

I'm almost done Kevin DeYoung's new book The Good News We Almost Forgot.  I hope to finish today.  In the chapter called "A Suffering Servant for the Sheep," DeYoung reflects on what most Calvinistic people understand as the "L" in the TULIP acronym.  DeYoung suggests that "partictular redemption" as opposed to "limited atonement" might be more helpful:

Particular redemption is actually a more helpful term than limited atonement, because the point of the doctrine is not to limit the mercy of God, but to make clear that Jesus did not die in the place of every sinner on the earth, but for His particular people.  The Good Shepherd lays His life down for the sheep (John 10:11)...

If the atonement is not particularly and only for the sheep, then either we have universalism - Christ died in everyone's place and therefore everyone is saved - or we have something less than full substitution.  If Jesus died for every person on the planet, then we no longer mean that He died in the place of sinners, taking upon Himself our shame, our sins, and our rebellion so that we have the death of death in the death of Christ.  Rather, we mean that when Jesus died He made it possible to come to Him if we will do our part and come to Him.  But this is only half a gospel.

What I really like about DeYoung is that he is not afraid to use technical terms, and when he does, he explains them in a very understandable way.  I like technical terms; I think pastors should not be afraid to use them and teach them to others.  I am acquainted with pastors who will not use technical terms, and may even apologize when they are necessary.  They do this because they think it will scare people away.  I think that really doesn't give the individual the benefit of the doubt.  People have brains, after all, and can use them even in church.

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Reader Comments (3)

I agree Kim, Pastors using technical terms can be a great encouragement to their sheep as to read more, study more and rejoice more in the depths of His glories!

I am grateful for the little, little church we are part of. Our pastor is always pushing us hard to "study", and not only "read" the Scriptures.

Thank God for his "Limited Atonement" or "Particular Redemption" :)

To Him be all glory!

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

I like to call it definite atonement. The word "particular" sounds persnickity.

I'm of two minds on the technical word thing. Up until so many recent immigrants started attending my church, I would have been altogether on the side of using those words in a sermon on Sunday morning, but now I'm considering the wisdom of using simple, everyday language (as much as possible) in the Sunday morning sermon and saving the technical ones for other times.

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

Definite atonement; I like that.

I guess the use of technical terms would definitely vary from time to time and location. We have a lot of seasonal Jamaican workers at our church throughout the summer, and I guess terms like that could be a disadvantage. I think some people are better than others at explaining those terms in a way that people can grasp.

May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim in ON

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