A guest post by Jordan Esmay

Below is a link to an article written by James White.  James White is a leading Protestant Christian apologist.  His ministries website is here.  A friend of mine who is not explicitly Reformed in his theology read it and said it was the first time he had thought about the issues discussed like Mr. White presented them.

Was Anyone Saved at the Cross? by James White

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7 thoughts on “Was Anyone Saved at the Cross

  1. FYI: The link “Was Anyone Saved At The Cross?” doesn’t work; there is an extra “http” following the //.

    Having (mostly) read that article, I would have to say the biggest issue I have is with the point of man’s total depravity. Aren’t humans “in the image of God”?

    Also, what does this doctrine say about a person like me, who once believed but no longer does? Did I never “truly” believe? (I sure thought I did.) Or was I, despite my belief, not one of the elect, making it inevitable that I would one day not believe? (“you do not believe because you are not my sheep” would seem to support the latter) If the answer to either of these possibilities is yes, how can anyone who currently believes, even you, have complete confidence in their own salvation?

  2. Cheryl,
    Thanks for letting me know.

    Total depravity is best thought of as a breadth thing and not so much a depth thing. Yes we still retain our image of God, but sin has marred us in every facet of our being…actually all of existence. We of course are not as bad as we could be and the world is not as ruined as it could be, this because of God’s grace; what most theologians deem as common grace.

    “Also, what does this doctrine say about a person like me”
    For clarification before I start to ramble: which doctrine?

    Jordan

  3. Ah – so depravity is like the pesky chipmunk or bird who takes a nibble out of every single strawberry in a garden, rather than eating its fill by taking all of just a few of them and leaving the rest undamaged. Every single one is still a strawberry, yet all have been made unfit for use. :)

    I’m asking about the doctrine presented in James White’s article. Calvinism, I think it’s called? Also, what does “Reformed” mean, in your sentence “A friend of mine who is not explicitly Reformed in his theology read it and said it was the first time he had thought about the issues discussed like Mr. White presented them.”?

    1. Never heard it put that way before. I kinda like it. Sin would be the chipmunk though, I think.

      Basically Calvinism = Reformed. My friend, actually many of my friends, are protestant Christians who say they do not agree with some of the points of Calvinism, but when they are in other conversations, almost everything they say is in agreement with what the Reformed position is on “such and such an issue”

      Before claiming the title of a “Reformed Christian” (not really how I describe my faith to most people) my friend Mike told me that I was a Calvinist but didn’t know it….he was right, and I think it is the same for most protestant Christians.

  4. Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I think your question is geared more towards the doctrine of election, (Calvinism is best thought of as a school of thought) so I’ll respond with that as my focus.

    “Also, what does this doctrine say about a person like me, who once believed but no longer does? Did I never “truly” believe? (I sure thought I did.) Or was I, despite my belief, not one of the elect, making it inevitable that I would one day not believe? (”you do not believe because you are not my sheep” would seem to support the latter) If the answer to either of these possibilities is yes, how can anyone who currently believes, even you, have complete confidence in their own salvation?”

    To start, I would have to say that one of the hardest issues that come up in life is telling someone who claims to be a Christian that they are not, or do not seem to be, a Christian. I really don’t know you well enough to comment on you specifically, so I’ll have to keep things general and personal to myself (although, I guess I am commenting on you personally by making a general statement…basically, I’m trying really hard to answer in love, but don’t really know the best way to do that).

    Many sayings of Jesus are hard to deal with, not in an intellectual way as much as in a “I need to conform my life like this” way. When he said things like “I never knew you” or “you do not believe because you are not my sheep” we try explain him away by saying he isn’t talking about us, but instead the ambiguous “them”. The number of people I meet that claim to be Chrisitians, but have no desire to follow God and no care about the sin(s) in their lives, is staggering. When Jesus said (and will say) these statements he was talking to people who thought they were true believers, devout believers….Jews and Christians alike depending on what is being quoted. The common and I think the only response is to repeat what Jesus also says, “I never knew you”. I don’t think it is hard to make the connection that if Jesus doesn’t know you, you don’t know him. Because Jesus, of course, is not saying that he didn’t doesn’t know you existed, but he doesn’t know you as being one of His.

    The elect are preserved by God to the end of their salvation. Paul writes in Romans 8:30 “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” So, to answer generally ( and I guess specifically too): If one truly is redeemed by God, then they can have confidence in Him to preserve them to the end.

    I am colored by my experiences, we all are. I was quite sure that I was a Christian until I was in college. A lot of people thought I was a Christian…some do not see any difference (of course they do not really know me that well). One of my brothers professed at his baptism a couple of years ago that he had decieved himself into thinking he was a Christian. One of my best friends had the same experience. Not everyone has these same experiences. My guess is that the many people who claim to be Christian now or at one time in there life, fit into the same category as my brother, my friend, and myself. We were all puffing ourselves up and giving ourselves comfort that we neither had nor deserved (still don’t deserve it). My guess is that those who claim they were Christians and now are not, never were. I don’t believe that means they can’t repent of their sins and follow God, but my guess is that it will take a lot of reliance on God to feel the true comfort of salvation.

    My confidence for my salvation is not in me, but in God.

  5. Jordan, you said “I was quite sure that I was a Christian until I was in college. A lot of people thought I was a Christian…some do not see any difference (of course they do not really know me that well). One of my brothers professed at his baptism a couple of years ago that he had decieved himself into thinking he was a Christian. One of my best friends had the same experience. Not everyone has these same experiences.”

    Could you tell me more about the experience you had, in which you realized you were not really a Christian?

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