An Inconsequential Pebble

Christian: “Then being filled of the Holy Spirit, Peter said to them, Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we are being examined today on a good work of an infirm man, by what this one has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, in this name this one stands before you whole. This One is the Stone counted worthless by you the builders, the One who has come to be into the Head of the Corner; and there is salvation in no other One, for neither is there any other name under Heaven having been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:8-12; underlining mine–CD).

Tolerant Calvinist: You cannot even begin to substantiate the idea that Jesus’ apostles were going around adding efficacious atonement to the list of things that define the true Stone and Head of the Corner in their gospel proclamation, without which, there is no salvation.

By the way, I must put forth this necessary qualifying nuance. If belief in this Stone MUST be the immediate and inevitable fruit of regeneration (salvation) for every believer without exception, then I say that this particular Stone is worthless, absurd, divisive, schismatic, sectarian, cultic, perfectionistic, and even scandalous (1 Corinthians 1:23).

Peter and John do not realize that my stumbling at this Stone was a breaking, and difficult process. A more mature, loving, and balanced view of this Stone is NOT to preach it as Head of the Corner, but to preach it as an enormously enriching, yet optional and inconsequential pebble. I mean, for Peter and John to preach Jesus Christ as THE Head of the Corner (without which there is no salvation), is to make their OWN understanding and practices an ADDITION to the gospel. Well, unless I’m just being a hypocrite here by judging their true gospel standard by my false gospel standard.

Christian: Tolerant Calvinist stumbles for many, many years at the Stone of Stumbling and Rock of Offense. Tolerant Calvinist thinks it is “some form of doctrinal perfectionism” and “radical to the extreme” to judge unregenerate those who have so stumbled. Tolerant Calvinist continues to stumble. The following is a sermon excerpt about this aforementioned stumbling.

“Do you believe that there are some saved people who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception? Then you don’t believe that Jesus Christ is truly a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. You believe that Jesus Christ is a little pebble that can be stepped over or even stepped on without any consequences. You don’t believe that the atonement of Jesus Christ is an essential gospel doctrine, let alone the very heart of the gospel. You agree with those who are hiding themselves under a refuge of the lie that when the overwhelming rod passes through, it will not come to them. You are the ones telling them, ‘Peace and safety!’ You do not truly believe that Jesus Christ did not come to bring peace but a sword. You do not truly believe that those who are offended with the message of Christ in John 10 are as lost as the Jews of Christ’s day who were offended with that same message. Your christ is not an offense to those who believe that he died for everyone without exception. Those who believe that Christ died for everyone without exception do not stumble at your christ. They just agree to disagree, as you do with them, all the while agreeing that both of you believe the true gospel. This shows that YOU, TOO, stumble at and are offended at the true cross of Christ. You don’t even know what the true gospel is. For me to tell you that you are NOT SAVED and are a GOD-HATER who HATES the true gospel is offensive to you. Many of you who say ‘peace, peace’ to the universal atonement advocates also believe that faith is a condition for justification or that perseverance is a condition for final glory or that your everlasting habitations are based on your present stewardship. Your refuge is a refuge of the LIE. You have made a covenant with death and hell, saying to yourself that you will be safe in the day of judgment. But God will lay justice for a line, and righteousness for a plummet, and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of the lie, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place, and you will be exposed and trampled and broken to pieces. When you say, ‘peace and safety,’ then suddenly destruction will come upon you, and you will not escape.”