Over at Ponter’s blog, Bnonn is raising a different objection to special redemption.
I don’t think a conditional constitutes an offer. If all God were saying was “If you believe then you will be saved” then I don’t think LA would have a problem. But that’s not all God is saying at all, as you agree. Rather, God is saying, please be saved, be reconciled to me, accept the gift I have bought you with my blood. And that’s where LA careens off the rails in terms of sincerity, because that isn’t a conditional statement. God is proffering salvation—the LA conditional just describes how to take it. It doesn’t describe the offer itself; only the condition required of us to accept it.
So I guess he’s saying the gospel offer is more than a conditional–it’s an imperative. The question then would it if it's sincere to issue a command or imperative absent the requisite “provision.”
However, if that’s what he has in mind, then it raises the parallel objection regarding election. Is God sincere if he commands the reprobate to repent and believe the gospel?
In both cases, the requisite “provision” is lacking. In the case of limited election, the reprobate lack regeneration; in the case of limited atonement, the reprobate lack redemption.
These are different types of provision (or the lack thereof), but they still involve the absence of a necessary precondition. Either God is sincere in both cases, or insincere in both cases. Either the offer is well-meant in both cases, or ill-meant in both cases.
Yet Bnonn himself says:
Right, it’s not possible, but it is obligatory. A man who has stolen and then spent some money may find it impossible to pay it back, but he can still be obligated to do so.
So that concession seems to undercut his own argument.
But perhaps Bnonn thinks the gospel offer is more than just an imperative. Perhaps he’s alluding to something which lies behind the imperative, namely: God’s desire to save the reprobate.
i) If so, then this raises the question of how God’s desire to save the reprobate is compatible with God making them reprobate in the first place.
ii) In addition, that’s no more or less of a problem for 5-point Calvinism than 4-point Calvinism. So that’s not a distinctive objection to limited atonement.
iii) Likewise, 5-point Calvinists have well-trodden strategies for relieving the tension–although some 5-point Calvinists prefer to leave the tension intact.
Finally, Bonn’s objection fails to take into consideration the nature of mass communication. To reach the target audience, you address a wider audience than the target audience. For the greater includes the lesser.
Cast a wide net, not because you want every fish you catch, but because that’s the way to catch every the fish you want:
47Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad (My 23:47-48).