Friday, October 26, 2007

A.W. Pink, Limited Atonement, and 1 John 2:1&2. Pt. 4

Here’s a forth reason Pink gives for thinking 1 John 2:1-2 conclusively doesn’t teach unlimited atonement (You can refer to the previous posts for the other reasons, as well as a little bit of background involved in this debate). Here’s Pink in his own words:

In the fourth place, when John added, "And not for ours only, but also for the whole world", he signified that Christ was the propitiation for the sins of Gentile believers too, for, as previously shown, "the world" is a term contrasted from Israel. This interpretation is unequivocally established by a careful comparison of 1 John 2:2 with John 11:51,52, which is a strictly parallel passage: "And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad". Here Caiaphas, under inspiration, made known for whom Jesus should "die".

Pink’s forth argument is that his interpretation of 1 John 2:2, namely that John is referring to groups of people and not every individual, is buttressed by John 11:51 & 52. Since these are parallel passages, and given that John 11 displays a Jew & Gentile distinction, then so does 1 John 2:2.

John 11 is certainly relevant in looking at 1 John 2:2. But typically, the interpretive principle to follow would be to look at the immediate context of the book, then investigate other books written by the same author, and finally consult different authors in Scripture. When this is done, it seems reasonable to posit a universality in 1 John 2:2 given the universality in 1 John 5:19. From this, we should proceed interpret John 11: 51 &52 in light of our interpretation of 1 John 2:2 and 5:19. The results of such an approach are quite positive for my position, but more importantly, with maintaining the interpretive flow of each passage taken individually. In John 11:51 & 52,

"Jesus should die for the nation" - the Jews
"and not for the nation only," - but also the Gentiles
"but to gather into one" - the church (Eph 2:14)
"the children of God who are scattered abroad" - Jews and Gentiles who are elect

This rendering is consistent with my position, for one of the intentions in Christ's death is to rescue the elect who are Jews and Gentiles.