Various views on the Atonement (part 2)

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    As was discussed on another thread there are various approaches among Calvinistic scholars with regard to the extent of the atonement.

    Calvinists from the "Princeton" tradition (Hodge, Shedd, Dabney etc) taught Christ's "work is equally available for all" and that God "did all that was necessary, so far as a satisfaction to justice is concerned, all that is required for the salvation of all men," and "the reason why any man perishes, is not that there is no righteousness provided suitable and adequate to his case, or that it is not freely offered to all that hear the gospel, but simply because he willfully rejects the proffered salvation…It [our doctrine] opens the door for mercy, as far as legal obstructions are concerned”

    While other Calvinists ('high Calvinists') tended to disagree and instead "affirm an Atonement which fully satisfied God for those on whose behalf it was made" and them alone. (A. Pink)

    Respected Calvinistic scholar Richard Muller addresses this apparent distinction:

    “There has been some scholarly disagreement on this issue–and sometimes a doctrinal wedge is driven between ‘Calvin’ and the ‘Calvinists,’ ...
    The terms ‘universal’ and ‘limited atonement’ do not represent the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformed view–or, for that matter, the view of its opponents. The issue was not over ‘atonement,’ broadly understood, but over ‘satisfaction’ made by Christ for sin- and the debate was never over whether or not Christ’s satisfaction was limited: all held it to be utterly sufficient to pay the price for all sin and all held it to be effective or efficient only for those who were saved. The question concerned the identity of those who were saved and, therefore, the ground of the limitation–God’s will or human choice. Thus, both Calvin and Bullinger taught that Christ’s work made full and perfect satisfaction for all, both commended the universal preaching of the Gospel, both taught the efficacy of Christ’s work for the faithful alone–and both taught that faith is the gift of God, made available to the elect only. In other words, the inference of a limitation of the efficacy of Christ’s satisfaction to the elect alone is found both in Bullinger and in Calvin, despite differences between their formulations of the doctrine of predestination. (Richard Muller, After Calvin, 14).


    This is the distinction I was attempting to draw in the last thread while being accused of misrepresenting Calvinism. Maybe this article from Muller will provide the needed objective voice for my accusers to (1) acknowledge and define the historical distinction among Calvinists in their handling of biblical atonement, and (2) discuss with objectivity their own views in relation to these apparent distinctions.

    My purpose in this is to examine how 'high' Calvinists (like Pink) consistently defend their view of the free genuine offer of the gospel to all people while seemingly denying the concept of 'universal satisfaction' (ref. Muller's quote).

    NOTE: Please keep things cordial and on topic. Thanks
     
    #1 Skandelon, Nov 10, 2011
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  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    I have heard this view (which I reject, by the way):

    On the cross, Christ actually suffered for the sins of all men, but the lost in Hell will suffer only for the sin of continued unbelief.
    This sounds good, but in fact, it leaves those who have never heard the gospel with nothing to suffer for in Hell. Justice demands that no man be charged with unbelief in something he's never heard of.

    Romans 2 says they will be judged by their own moral code.

    Some will insist that for God to be fair, everyone, some way, somehow, from creation until today, has heard the gospel, therefore are accountable for their response. They can't prove it, but it must be true, or God wouldn't be fair.

    Yes, they have creation and natural law to tell them of a creator and a lawgiver, but this falls way short of being the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    If God is obligated to provide redemption for all without exception, doesn't that exclude grace from the atonement?

    BTW, I don't want God to be fair; I want him to be merciful. Otherwise, we're all in deep trouble.
     
  3. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Here's something else to chew on:

    If Christ died for every person without exception, then those who go to Hell will suffer the very same punishment that Christ already suffered for them.

    Both would be suffering for the same sins; what should we say about two men suffering for the sins of one? Where is God's justice in that?
     
    #3 Tom Butler, Nov 10, 2011
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  4. Tom Butler

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    In another post, I quoted Isaiah 53:8 in support of particular redemption.

    The other half of the verse also supports my view:
    Let's see how this works:
    How does Christ justify many? By bearing their iniquities. Isaiah mentions nothing else that is required.
    So, if Christ had to bear men's iniquities to be justified, then it follows that those whose iniquities he bore MUST receive justification

    Here is what T. P. Simmons says about this in his book A Systematic Study of Bible Doctrine
    .
     
  5. WWJDKID

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    [snipped - personal attack]
     
    #5 WWJDKID, Nov 10, 2011
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  6. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Not so. That is what Romans 1 and 2 is all about. They have what they need to believe and the reason they perish is the same reason any one else does: unbelief. They knew the truth but traded it in for a lie. Now, they may not have known the whole truth regarding Christ's atoning work on the cross, but they knew enough to acknowledge God as their God. They know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, yet they continue to do them and approve of others doing them. They are "without excuse."
     
  7. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    But Romans 2 does not mention condemnation for unbelief. It says those who "have not the law" are a law unto themselves. The will be condemned for violating their own moral code. Or, their conscience.

    They do have a sense of right and wrong, but can't, or don't, live up to the standards they set for themselves. That is why they are "without excuse."

    They will confess that God's judgment is righteous because they deserve it.
     
  8. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Yes, that is the bad news. According to the moral code (be it by law or conscience) all have fallen short, but the good news is that "now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify."

    This is a righteousness "APART FROM LAW" (or conscience) which is applied "THROUGH FAITH." Abraham believed and it was credit to him as righteousness. He didn't know the full gospel, but righteousness was credited to him. He wasn't righteous according to the law, he was ONLY declared righteous through faith. Thus, if he hadn't believe he too would have perished for his unbelief. You can't confuse the so-called "law of righteousness" with the true righteousness that comes by faith. There has always only been one way to avoid destruction and it has always been through faith....the law (and conscience) was just put there to reveal that truth more clearly, as a tutor.
     

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