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by Andy Bustanoby
(C) 2007

Andy Bustanoby says: "Here is a response to my essay, 'Who's In Charge Here?' (Part II)."

Brian Hamrick says: "I need more time to dig, but 2 observations either for you to consider to strengthen your argument, or reject if you find them weak.

"In regards to 2 Peter 3, notice it says that God does not want ANY (is the NIV wrong to translate it 'anyone'-- which tends to universalize?) to perish. The question I raise is--who is the 'any'? Contextually, the nearest human antecedent is the 'beloved' in 3:8, not to mention the whole letter is written to Christians. The context of the whole section is not on God's evangelistic purpose, but on his perservering grace. It is not one that stresses the natural human will apart from grace, but assures all believers that they will in fact be saved!

"Second, in regard to 1 Timothy 2:4, I would question the interpretation of 'all' held by many who hold unlimited atonement. It is clear the Bible uses the term all just like we do, to speak of breadth, rather than each and every person in the world (see Romans 11:32--how could God be said to have mercy on all and still send some to hell? That's justice, not mercy. All must be "breadth" rather than each and every person. see also Luke 2:10--was the birth of Jesus good news to Herod? to the Pharisees?) Again, it is breadth- it is Jews AND Gentiles, which we know from Acts (everywhere in ACTS) rocked the first century and required God to send a powerful vision (Acts 10) in order for Peter to get the message. It seems crystal clear to me all in the New Testament often refers to breadth, 'all kinds' if you will.

"I find these arguments most convincing when considering the design of God's salvation. Still, like Paul, the doxology to praise God for His mysterious ways in Romans 11 is ultimately where I wind up!"

Andy Bustanoby replies: "I thoroughly agree with the argument on 1 Timothy 2:4. We must remember that the church (which includes both Jew and Gentile), born on the Day of Pentecost, was a new thing to the Jews. The Apostle Paul calls it a 'mystery,' which is a truth unrevealed in the Old Testament but revealed in the New.

"When we read that God so loved the world, or see the word 'all' used in passages like those quoted above, we should remember to take it in context. God has temporarily set aside Israel and turned to Gentile and individual Jews. Context would say that 'all' does not mean the salvation of the entire human race but now both Jew and Gentile are included. Ephesians 1-3 is strong on this point.

"Regarding 2 Peter 2:3, I'm open to taking another look at that. True inductive Bible study observes three important things: context, context, context!

Grant says: "It seems to me that the context of 2 Peter 3:9 has much to say about God's schedule of events. With that in mind, using 'certain' [Wuest] instead of 'any' [KJV] or 'any one' [NIV], verse 9 (with [ones] added by me) as translated by Wuest might read:

The Lord is not tardy with regard to the appointed time of His promise, as certain consider tardiness, but is long-suffering toward us, not having it as His considered will that certain [ones] should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

"I would agree with those who argue that 'certain [ones]' are the 'chosen in christ before the foundation of the world.' (cf. Eph. 1:3-4) Whatever God's purpose, it will not be changed.

"Touching 'limited/unlimited atonement', mentioned above, I would refer you to First John 2:2 and John 3:18-21 which read in the NKJV:

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

"I see two things in these passages: 1. That Christ's sacrifice was a sufficient payment for the sins of the entire world (kosmos; and 2. That men are not condemned because of their evil deeds but rather because they refuse to believe/receive the truth of the Gospel concerning Christ (cf. First Corinthians 15:1-5a). So we see that Jesus taught in His discourse with Nicodemus that men will be held accountable for their unbelief."

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