More Amygdala Than Cerebral: A Response to Evan Minton

A few days ago, I responded to an article written on Cerebral Faith by Evan Minton. He has now responded to my response, so I will now respond to his response of my response. Under the subheading of “preliminary issues” Evan merely restates some basic Arminian presuppositions on John 3:16 but concedes that “All I’ll say is that “world” and “all people” or “everyone” can indeed mean less than all humanity when the context warrants or indicates it.” (bold his.)  He then goes on to presuppose a universal salvific will, a one will view and the intentions of God into atonement, admits to doing so and then says the verse fits in this pre-made theological box and therefore sees no reason why John 3:16 would fit in with a limited atonement scheme. (Hint: How about those folks who are already condemned in John 3:18?)

Evan starts with 2 Peter 2:1, quotes me then goes on to admit he comes to the text with an Arminian bias. That’s fine, I’m not saying I’m not biased, being aware of our biases is the first step to avoid clouding our conclusions based on them. Evan responds to my assertion that every mention of “bought” is referring to a saved group of people with “So what if every reference of “bought” passages are referring to saved people? I believe Jesus died on the cross for those who actually get saved and those who never do? This isn’t a problem for Arminian soteriology.” That’s the problem, Evan. I don’t care if it fits neatly into your atonement model, because it doesn’t’ fit entirely with your theology to interpret it in this way. If the Master bought them in 2 Peter 2:1, they would be his. If you followed my argument that “bought” always refers to a saved group of people to which you conceded, these false prophets aren’t bought people who are going to hell, they’re false prophets who are going to be saved by Jesus Christ. In fact, this is a plausible interpretation and much stronger than what you presented. Either that, or as I mentioned in the previous post, Peter could be referring to the fact that they’re claiming to be saved by Christ but are damning themselves by lying about the effacious work of Christ. Either way, this verse doesn’t help Arminianism, it doesn’t help Calvinism either except that it doesn’t support the unlimited atonement notion exegetically.

Evan then accuses me of misrepresenting him because in Chapter 4 of his book, A Hellacious doctrine, he states he believes in tabula rasa. He then redefines tabula rasa to a non-lockean formulation and ends up just saying it’s a denial of inherited guilt. Locke’s Tabula Rasa was the idea of the human mind being a blank slate, interpolated into theology, it’s mainly a pelagian formulation that states that the human doesn’t inherit the guilt or the sin of Adam. If I misrepresented you it’s because you misrepresented your own views by redefining terms and not clarifying in your book.

Regarding Romans 5:15, 18 Evan merely restates his original argument as if It wasn’t dealt with and presents a false trilemma. (is that a thing? It is now.) I see no reason to address this point again until he responds to the original line of argumentation. Let’s move on.

On 1 Timothy 4:10 Evan quotes me as saying (quoteception)

Tony Lee Ross Jr. wrote “The next passage he goes too is 1 Timothy 4:10. Another great Universalist proof-text! Wait…that’s not what he’s arguing for. Again, Evan shows no familiarity with the Calvinist literature on this passage. There is nuance to be sure, but the most common response you will see to this verse being used against us is that there are two senses of savior being used here. What does “especially” mean? I think me and Evan would agree that especially has to indicate that those in the “especially” category or the ones actually saved by Christ. Where we would disagree is the people before that, Evan says these are the people Christ died for. I say rather, that this is a statement of authority rather than of scope of atonement. Is there any other savior of the world than Jesus? Jesus clothes, feeds and provides sunlight and other common graces to everyone, so in one sense, he saves people like a fireman saves someone, in another sense he gives people eternal life. If the Arminian hypothetical salvation was true, Jesus couldn’t be deemed the savior of someone he didn’t save. Authority and Common grace, in my opinion, make much more sense of this passage than what Evan has provided. Again, I don’t think assuming your theology into 1 Timothy 4:10 is enough to prove unlimited atonement.”

 

“The Problem with Tony’s proposal is that it’s just prima facie implausible. This verse says that God is the Savior of all men. How does The Bible understand what it means for God to be Savior? God the savior because He saves us from our sins!”

So, Evan’s response is that my idea is implausible and then responds that God is the savior because he saves us from our sins. Does he realize THAT WAS THE POINT OF MY OBJECTION? How can God be deemed savior to someone he didn’t save? To return to the fireman analogy, can the fireman who didn’t save the person who freely choose to push away the perfectly capable fireman from saving them rightly be called a savior of that person?

Now we move on to Ezekiel 18:32. He essentially says what I provided in my first post was possible but he thinks his view provides more explanatory power. Here’s a summary from his keyboard.

“It’s possible that God could have mixed feelings about punishing people.” The idea that God could have mixed feelings is an issue that would bring this topic off post but I’ll leave it at that.

Evan rightly questions the narrative that John’s context is the Judaist heresy, but misses the point overall. Like Peter, 1 John 2:2 doesn’t support Arminianism or Calvinism. The Calvinist insistence on this verse is that Arminians are trying to proof-text it into their atonement model when contextually it’s referring to the major event of salvation to the gentiles against the Judaist heresy.

Evan has provided arguments but his lack of interaction with Calvinist literature is going to limit the effectiveness of his arguments. I appreciate that Evan has overall been very cordial with me, though he seems to have a problem with our fellow brother Jim Boucher of thereforegodexists.com.

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