Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ascol's generic gospel?


Perhaps Flounders leader, Tom Ascol, has "clarified" somewhat exactly what "gospel" it is which he thinks needs to be "recovered." It seems to be, "Jesus died for sinners as sinners," but where is the Scripture "proof-text" which says this?

Apparently, Ascol holds to a GENERIC Gospel theory, that it is OK to say that "Jesus died for sinners as sinners," but it's not OK to say "Jesus died for you" to a "particular" sinner. That is -- Ascol says it is improper to say to any particular sinner, "Jesus died for you," but it is OK to say "Jesus died for sinners as sinners" -- in a generic sense.

Being put into practice, I think this probably means that Ascol could visit every individual sinner in Cape Coral, or even every individual sinner in the entire state of Florida, and he could not say to any one of them, "Jesus died for you."

He could say to the whole state collectively, "Jesus died for sinners as sinners," but he could not say to any one of the Floridians, "Jesus died for you." Although the Great
Commission authorizes disciples to "preach the Gospel to every creature," evidently this does not mean that it is correct to preach it to every individual "creature" as such.

Paul, on the other hand, referred to "the Gospel which I preached unto you" in I Corinthians 15:1, and went on to say that "I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." Apparently, Paul thought his Gospel could be preached to "every creature" as such, and not merely to "creatures" collectively (Mark 16:15, 16).

That apparently means that when Paul personally, as an individual ("I"), "received" the Gospel, he was "a" sinner, and when he preached to the Corinthians they were "sinners," and the message was "Christ died for OUR sins." He did not seem to have any problem with applying this to himself as "a" sinner, nor as applying it to a group of "sinners." In fact, Paul even says in one text that Christ "gave Himself for ME" (Galatians 2:20).

If Paul, as a Christian, could say that Christ died for "me," why could it not have been told to him when he was unsaved, that "Jesus died for Saul"? Would not that have been the truth before his salvation as afterwards?

I have lately listened to a recording of a sermon delivered by a professing "5-point Calvinist" pastor in Houston who is taking to task the "Free Offer of the Gospel" concept. He indicates that since "we don't know who the elect are," and since Christ "died only for the elect," there can be no legitimate well-intentioned "free offer of the Gospel" to each and every person. He thinks it would not be truthful to extend a "free offer of the Gospel" to every creature. He says this is a form of "Arminianism."

I can only suppose he must fear that one of the "non-elect" might be lead to believe the Gospel and be saved, or perhaps make a false profession of faith!

At any rate, as for Tom Ascol, if I understand him correctly, it appears that he cannot preach, as the Gospel, that "Christ died for our sins" to every individual creature in the state of Florida.

But . . . can he even preach it to the professing Christians in the state? Since Tom does not infalliby know who is really saved, or who the "elect" are, how can he say to any sinner, lost or saved, "Jesus died for you?"

In fact, can he even say to each member of his church, "Jesus died for you," since he does not really know the actual spiritual state of each member, whether each one is "regenerated," or whether each one is really "elect"?

Evidently, Tom is stuck with a generic message, "Jesus died for sinners as sinners," but he can't really make an application of that to any individual sinner, not even to a member of his church, since he does not really know who the elect are!


At Wednesday, April 23, 2008 2:22:00 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

Impeccable logic, Bob.


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