Hi, I recently cam across this post on a Calvinist debate site and it is a common argument that Calvinist use to say that all does not mean all...
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
~ Mark 1:4-6
Were ALL baptized in Judaea and Jerusalem int the river of Jordan by John the Baptist?"
What is the best way to refute this text as I have seen that it is a common one for Calvinist to use this especially to imply that the atonement was not for "All" just the elect..
This is a common proof text by Calvinist to show that "all means that God does not save without exception but without distinction". This is where the Calvinist takes the references that are limited in audience to define all of the references that are inclusive of all. Yes there obvious times when 'all' is used as a general reference, but if you take that to mean that all ALWAYS means a limited audience, then when the Bible says that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that would mean that only SOME men are sinners, but not all. What the Calvinist does here is cherry picks a rare usage of the term for all, when the context clearly shows it to be a limited general audience, and uses the unusual occurrence as the standard on which to define the rest of the usages in the Bible for all, but, as shown in the example of Romans 3:23, they can not be consistent in that application.
You can also find this logic in how they interpret Romans 5 where the free gift is offered to all. If all in this passage means only some, then when the Scripture in the very same verse says that in Adam all died, even so in Christ will all be made alive, that would imply that not really all died in Adam, but only some died in Adam. If only some died in Adam, then when Romans 5:8 says that Christ died for the ungodly, that means Christ only died for the some that are dead in Adam, and since the Calvinist argues that they are the some that are the elect, as opposed to the some that are dead, then either a Calvinist can't be saved, because Christ didn't die for the elect, he died for the ungodly, or God sends people to hell that are not sinners, and saves only those who are. There's quite a bit of illogical application in how the Calvnists attempt to define all in Romans 5 and elsewhere.
Interestingly, Calvinists use this to explain away John 3:16 which doesn't even use the word "all". The fact that they have to argue the definition of all in defining a verse that doesn't use the word shows that they understand that "the world" implies all, meaning ALL, and because "the world" in John 3:16 is defined by "whosoever".
In 1 John 2:2 you have a distinction made between not only the sins of the audience that John was addressing, but ALSO the "sins of the whole world".
"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
In the context of Mark 1:5, it is clear that the audience referred to is the audience that is confessing their sins, but the reference to all is to LAND of Judea, which is describing inclusiveness of the LOCATION that they came from (meaning all over Judea) not the amount of persons coming, so even the Calvinist interpretation of all in this verse is inaccurate.
At times where the context is clear that all does in fact not mean the entire population of the land, the context is made obvious by the fact that it is easier to list the general usage of all of a particular area, then the alternative which is to list each person present by name. It is an entirely different matter in saying that all in such a passage that clearly limits the geographical location, than when all is a reference to the world which is not limited by geographical location, and the fact that "whole world" is used in such contexts is proof that the author intended all to be understood as ALL.
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