From MD’s blog entry on the topic:
“The whole ”read-the-words” of the Bible thingy is actually pretty good advice. And in reading the Bible, we see that it says everyone is loved by God, and though not everyone is saved, anyone who turns from sin and trusts in Jesus will receive eternal life. Additionally, we know that it’s not God’s hatred that leads people to repentance but instead his kindness (Romans 2:4). Here are some Scriptures that speak plainly about God’s love for people:”
One might think from those references that this includes saving love (“For God so loves the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever will believe” etc.); but… from the Mars Hill assent to the Gospel Coalition’s doctrinal statement:
"We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose them. We believe that God justifies and sanctifies those who by grace have faith in Jesus, and that he will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer. "
So God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, apparently showing love to them by doing so, but not showing saving love for all of them thereby, since He has already chosen which ones He will save (and empower to be saved.)
Curiously , this concept falls rather short of their statement on the forthcoming victorious kingdom of God:
“The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.”
Looks like total scope as well as total persistence there!
“Christ Jesus is our peace: he has not only brought about peace with God, but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”
Except for the people He chose not to reconcile to Himself and to other people, making peace thereby, of course.
But keep in mind that when he (and other Calvs, and Arms for that matter) talk about “the restoration of all things” (the title of doctrine 13 on that page), they don’t really mean the restoration of all things. Only of some things:
“We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell”
How exactly God is supposed to be all in all to sinners who never were even empowered by God to repent, and who suffer eternal conscious torment as rebel sinners, is left to the unimaginable mystery of God’s unknowableness, I guess. (Or at least to the imagination of the reader. ) Readers are assured in the final word that “everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace”, though. Notice, not that everything will praise His glorious grace (which is what we find the Bible to teach), but that everything will be worth someone praising His glorious grace about in some way even when He doesn’t show glorious grace to some things.
But hey, it’s better than being one of those Crazy Calvinists, hm?
“Doctrinally, they are extreme five-point Calvinists, or what I like to call Crazy Calvinists. They basically believe the underlying message of the Bible is one of God’s hatred and wrath against humankind, and that the Bible is properly interpreted through that filter. Therefore, they believe all mentions of God’s love in the Bible are in reference to God’s Christian elect and not applicable in any way to others outside God’s elect—pretty much a cosmic game of Duck, Duck, Damned.”
Whereas Mark, by contrast, believes the underlying message of the Bible is one of God’s love and salvation to all humankind, except for the people He chooses to not love enough to save from their sins (thus all mentions of God’s saving love in the Bible are in reference to God’s Christian elect and not applicable in any way to others outside God’s elect.)