Falwell: Limited Atonement is ‘Heresy’

What is going on with Dr. Jerry Falwell and Liberty University? He has come a long way since the days of the Moral Majority.

There have been many instances in the last several years to raise concerns, but none more disconcerting that the ones that I have taken note of in the last 18 months.

In early 2006, it was Dr. Falwell’s president of Liberty University that declared from the pulpit that Calvinism was “cancer” on the body of Christ. Dr. Falwell has affirmed Dr. Caner’s position on numerous occasions.

Most recently, Dr. Falwell’s made an appearance on a CNN special entitled What Would Jesus REALLY Do?, in which during his interview he praised Pope John Paul for his leadership and stance on abortion.

Now comes the report that Dr. Falwell has declared that the teaching of limited atonement is heresy. In a blog post by Dr. Thomas Ascol of Founders Ministries, entitled Jerry Falwell’s Friday the 13th declaration: Limited atonement is heresy :

Last Friday at 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 declared his purpose to be to communicate who Liberty University is in order to persuade prospective students to matriculate there.When he came to articulating their belief in the “substitutionary atonemement of Jesus Christ for all men,” however, he added a statement that I find tragic. Here it is (about 10 minutes or so into the video):”We are not into particular love or limited atonement. As a matter of fact we consider it heresy.” 

Dr. Ascol goes on:What I regret is that he finds particular atonement to be “heresy.” This must mean that he and Liberty believe that those who hold to particular atonement to be heretics. Among the countless numbers of people whom he would brand with the H-word are many who would make any evangelical Who’s who list (including Bunyan, Owen, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Carey, Boyce, Mell, Dagg and Lloyd-Jones, to name but a few of the dead ones). I find this sad.

Does Jerry Falwell and Liberty University really judge John Piper to be a heretic? If we take his words seriously, as surely we ought if we are to honor him, then he believes that Al Mohler, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, D. James Kennedy, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, Tom Nettles, Wayne Grudem, Sinclair Ferguson, James White and Fred Malone teach heresy.  

And I fully agree with Dr. Ascol as he concludes:It is time for this generation of believers to learn how to disagree over substantive issues without falling into the sins of slander and bearing false witness. When the Word of God that we love gets trampled underfoot by those who profess to defend it in the very process of their defense, it is more than ironic. It is tragic. 

Tragic indeed. 

Are you a Calvinist?

I apologize for not offering the conclusion of the series on Calvinism from Pulpit Magazine. Here is it.

Why I am a Calvinist (Summary and Conclusion) by Phil Johnson

Nothing is more biblical than these doctrines that are commonly labeled Calvinism. In a way, it is a shame they have been given an extrabiblical name, because these truths are the very essence of what Scripture teaches. The very gist of Calvinism is nowhere more clearly stated than in the simple words of our verse: “We love Him, because He first loved us.”

Read the entire article….

Why I Am a Calvinist (Part 4)

. . . and why every Christian is a Calvinist of sorts.

(By Phil Johnson)

Part IV: One more recommendation, and an explanation of why this issue is important to me

Phil at Shep. Conf. 2005Here’s a recommendation for your iPod: If you are someone who is resistant to Calvinism, or you don’t feel you fully understand enough about it, and you want a single, simple overview of the substance and the history of Calvinism, I gave a message to our college students almost two years ago titled “The Story of Calvinism,” where I did my best to cover all that ground in one shot. It’s on the internet with the rest of my sermons, and you can download it for free. The web address is swordandtrowel.org, and look for the title “The Story of Calvinism.”

In that message, I explained that I have not always been a Calvinist. I grew up in a family that had been Wesleyan Methodists for generations — and even after I became a Christian, it was several years before I finally came to the point where I could affirm the biblical doctrine of election without trying to explain it away. Continue Reading »

Why I am a Calvinist, Part 3

Here is part 3 of this absolutely wonderful series by Phil Johnson, from Pulpit Magazine. These are truly tremendous!

Part III: Some book recommendations

Before we go further in this series, let me recommend a handful of books. The first book I want to recommend is a new book by Roger Olson, who is himself an Arminian, and he has written a defense of Arminianism titled Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. You might be surprised to hear me recommend this book because I published a review of it on my weblog a few months ago, and the review wasn’t altogether positive. The review was written by my friend Gary Johnson, who is pastor of The Church Of The Redeemer in Mesa, Arizona. Gary’s mentor, by the way, was S. Lewis Johnson. And even though we are all three named Johnson, none of us are related. (Though I would be very happy to be related to either S. Lewis Johnson or Gary Johnson.) Anyway, Gary’s review was in several parts, and he titled it “Calvinists in the Hands of an Angry Arminian.” So it wasn’t a completely positive review, and I agree with practically all of Gary’s complaints about the book. Continue Reading »

Why I am a Calvinist, Part 2

. . . and why every Christian is a Calvinist of sorts.

(By Phil Johnson, Pulpit Magazine) 

Spurgeon at age 23Part II: Spurgeon: “Calvinism IS the Gospel”

There are, these days, quite a few self-styled Calvinists who disagree with my assessment of Arminianism and insist that Arminianism entails an absolute denial of certain fundamental gospel truths. Those wishing to make that argument will invariably quote a famous statement by Spurgeon, taken from the chapter in his autobiography titled “A Defence of Calvinism” in which Spurgeon said this:

I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor. Continue Reading »

Phil Johnson: Why I am a Calvinist Part 1

Source: Pulpit Magazine

Why I am a Calvinist. . . and how every Christian is a Calvinist of sorts. John Calvin

(by Phil Johnson)

This post is adapted from a transcript of a seminar from the 2007 Shepherds’ Conference, titled “Closet Calvinists.”

Part I: Is Arminianism damnable heresy?

I love the doctrines of grace and don’t shy away from the label “Calvinist.” I believe in the sovereignty of God. I’m convinced Scripture teaches that God is completely sovereign not only in salvation (effectually calling and granting faith to those whom He chooses); but also in every detail of the outworking of Providence. “Whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30). And He makes “all things work together for good to those who love God, [i.e.,] to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Quite simply, He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). Continue Reading »

Calvinsim 101 via Al the Christian

I am greatly blessed by the ministry of Dr. Albert Mohler. The Lord has used the ministry of this man to teach me so much. So when I heard Russell Moore’s call for prayer at the beginning of Dr. Mohler’s radio program saying that his health had taken a dramatic turn for the worse, my heart sunk. I praise God for allowing us to have the life and ministry of Albert Mohler for at least a few more years, and we pray that it is for many more years.

In a recent interview with TIME magazine, reporter David Van Biema asks Dr. Mohler about his experiences during his illness and how his views as a Calvinist played a role in it.

Here are a few excerpts from that interview titled A Calvinist Faces Death;

A few years ago you claimed that “everyone is a Calvinist in praying before surgery.” Can you explain that?

Yeah. Absolutely. In this sort of crisis we all want God to be sovereign, all powerful — to be able to intervene decisively, to rule over every atom and molecule of the universe. My point was that lots of believers are more dependent on a Calvinist-style sovereign God than they realize when they make their theological claims.

I want people to know this is not the experience of Al the Calvinist, but Al the Christian. I wasn’t reciting Calvinist principles to myself in the hospital bed, but I was very much trusting in the sovereign God any Christian can know and trust.