Lets define terms of the atonement

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Dale-c, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Dale-c

    Dale-c
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    Ok there seems to be some confusion about terms with the atonement so I thought perhaps an entire thread should be devoted to it.


    As I understand there are 4 basic views on the atonement:

    1. Limited/Particular atonement
    This is unlimited in power to the elect but particular to the elect.
    This is the historical Calvinist position and that held by Particular Baptists.

    2. General atonement.
    This is the view that the atonement was unlimited in the potential number of people covered but limited by the choices of man.
    Under this view, all sins can potentially be forgiven but none are until the sinner believes, an act of his own free will.

    3. Universal substitutionary atonement for all men without exception.
    In this view all men will go to heaven since all men have had their sins paid for.

    4. Limited universal atonement
    THis is universal in that it atones for the sins of all men. It is limited in that it only atones for MOST of their sins. THe sins of unbelief must be overcome by the sinner.


    Have I missed any thing? Let me know.

    I know there is the view that sinners go to hell with their sins paid for but I think that is so unorthodox and heretical that it is not even worth adding to the list.
     
  2. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
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    Hi Dale,

    I doubt there will be an agreement to terms.

    For one, there was and is an intra-Reformed debate regarding forms of hypothetical universalism (speculative like Amyraut or non-speculative like many from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries including Musculus, Bullinger, and others). There is no officlal Reformed view of the extent of the atonement (Dordt and the WCF are not specific on this), although people often act as if what is called limited atonement today counts. Moreover, different views on the extent of the atonement historically have accompanied different views on the divine decrees and different understandings of covenant theology. You'll need to sort out what people think about the decrees and covenants to really get at the bottom of this.

    Good luck,
    Brandon
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    Thanks Dale - they look like solid defintions, though each could be "expanded" (whole books have done that!!)

    And of course, I'll stick with door #1 where Jesus does it all ;)
     
  4. Allan

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    Agreed Brandon, though there are some on here that might call you a hairy-tick :laugh: for stating such historic stances as though it where actaully true. (especially regarding Musculus and Bullinger). SOme seem to believe there has never been anything but consistant agreement with little to no divergence on this matter in the Reformed traditions history.
     
  5. Rippon

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    What do you mean that Dort and the WCF are not specific on the extent of the Atonement?! Of course they were!
     
  6. Marcia

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    :confused: :confused:
     
  7. Brandon C. Jones

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    Rippon, I'm no expert, but I trust what Richard Muller says about them. Francis Turretin may have despised the Salmurian school, but he never thought they went against Dordt. The WCF purposely is capacious on the extent of the atonement to allow for the various factions to agree to it.

    Marcia, I don't know what your post means.

    BJ
     
  8. Rippon

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    dort and the wcof are not specif on the la

    I disagree with you about the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Canons of Dort not being specific about the extent of the Atonement.Both documents were very clear about the subject.

    Forget the tangential issues for now.

    What in the world do you mean by "the WCF purposely is capacious on the extent of the atonement"? 'Capacious' means having a certain capacity.Did you mean vague instead?The men behind those two documents were certainly unambiguously clear on the matter.

    I respect the brilliance of Dr.Muller more than you can know -- but I think you must have scrambled his lecture notes.
     
  9. Brandon C. Jones

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    Muller's published on this, and it's certainly not the case of me mixing up his lectures. I used capacious properly in that the WCF is "roomy" or "has a lot of space inside" concerning the extent of the atonement, and I meant it allowed for more than one view on the extent of the atonement.

    I would recommend going to what he's published, but if you can't here's a link to a blog that has some snippets from Muller (I don't love snippets, but I think the author of this post has presented Muller's views accurately) http://www.theologyonline.org/blog/?p=550

    I don't think this is tangential at all if the debate is over unlimited vs. limited atonement and what not. Like I said, for many historical figures different views on the extent of the atonement were matched with different views of the decrees and covenants in general, and they may have lined up in ways that we would normally not think (e.g., William Twisse was a hypothetical universalist supralapsarian). In the past this debate would involve the decrees and covenants, and I think it would be helpful if current debates did the same.
     
    #9 Brandon C. Jones, Oct 31, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2008
  10. Marcia

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    It's a compliment to you -- what you wrote was way beyond my knowledge! :wavey:
     

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