27
Feb
12

Abundant Redemption–the all-sufficiency of Christ’s death

Recently, a blogger on another page asked me what I mean when I say “the work of Christ is sufficient for all” and why I feel the need to affirm such a doctrine since the design of his death was to redeem only the elect. He felt such a statement must arise from an attempt “to placate Arminians or otherwise soften unpopular doctrine.” Anyone who knows me understands I never go out of my way to placate anyone or soften the harsh edge of any biblical teaching. Truth is truth! If I believe it is truth, I intend to proclaim it. The following is the answer I gave him in an effort to clarify my position on the issue.

1. As regards the purpose and design of Christ’s redeeming work, that purpose was definite and particular. He did not die in a well-meaning but futile and ineffectual effort to redeem all sinners. His intention was never at cross purposes with the Father’s decree.

2. Additionally, I do not believe the purpose of his death was to make all men savable in the hypothetical universalism sense, though, in reality, all could be justified by the same redeeming works if God enabled them to believe and avail themselves of the free offer of the gospel. The gospel announces that anyone who wishes may come, and the promise of the gospel is that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

3. The redeeming work of Christ is of such a nature that had he intended to save only one sinner by that work, he would have accomplished what every sinner needs to put him or her right with God. Since all sinners are of the same sinful lump and are all at heart equally destitute of spiritual merit or goodness in the presence of God, what one sinner needs is what every sinner needs. It is not as if there is a great vat of merit to be filled by the blood of Christ that contains only enough to forgive the sins of the elect and once that is exhausted there is no more. Instead, there is a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, and any sinner who wants to be clean may (note, I did not say “can”) come and be washed clean in the blood of the lamb. This is no attempt “to placate Arminians or otherwise soften unpopular truth.” It is simply a statement of the fact that if his death is sufficient for the elect, it is also sufficient for all other sinners since the nature and necessities of the elect are no different from those of any sinner.

When I proclaim the gospel, I tell my hearers “Christ died for the most guilty sinner who will believe the gospel.” When I teach believers I tell them “Jesus, according to the Father’s design, effectively secured your salvation on the cross.” When I call on sinners to repent, the issue is not whether they are elect or whether Christ died for them with a particular design, but whether they will heed the gospel call and trust God’s promise to save all who call on him. The gospel is not addressed to elect sinners; it is merely addressed to sinners. Any sinner who trusts God promise of forgiveness will be saved.

The difference between the Calvinistic position and the Amyraldian position is that the latter posits that Christ’s death was not intended to redeem any sinner in particular but merely to render all sinners savable. For this reason, it is sometimes called, “hypothetical Universalism.”* Thus, any limitation that exists in Christ’s redeeming work is in its application, not in its design.

The Calvinists position maintains the converse position. The intent and purpose of Christ’s redemptive work was the effectual redemption of his chosen people. Because of his nature and the nature of his redemptive works it was incidently sufficient for all. The reason I have never liked the mantra, “Sufficient for all but efficient for the elect” is that it seems to support the Amyraldian scheme. I would state the issue the other way around. Christ death was designed for the everlasting salvation of the elect, and in the process was sufficient for everyone. One of the reasons for acknowledging the sufficiency of Christ’s redemptive work is that it removes that issue from the discussion. We agree that Christ’s work is sufficient; now we can talk about the real issue, i.e., what was God’s purpose in sending his Son? And, if he died for everyone, what did he accomplish for them?

If all things are ordained by God and there is a limitation in the application of redemption, that limitation must have been previously designed by God.

*I have never liked having my views misrepresented, nor is it my wish to misrepresent the views of others. Though I personally see little difference between what I have stated concerning the “Hypothetical Universalist’s” view and what one of our visitors has insisted is truly their position, I want to try to be fair in my attempt to state his position to his satisfaction. If I understand his position correctly, it is that in the HU view the intention of Christ’s death was two-fold. 1) It was intended to render satisfaction for every sinner, and 2) It was intended to secure the application of that satisfaction to the elect and to the elect alone. I also perceive that he wishes these views not be juxtaposed to Calvinism since they were proposed and held by men who are to be found under Calvinism’s broad tent.

The only point I was making is that what I have suggested in this post is not in agreement with this view however one may wish to state it. In my view, there is no indication in Scripture that Jesus’s death was intended to render satisfaction to God’s justice for any but those given to him by the Father before the world was created.

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13 Responses to “Abundant Redemption–the all-sufficiency of Christ’s death”


  1. 1 David L.
    February 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Randy, I don’t see an email address for you here – perhaps I missed it. If you wish to continue our discussion ouitside of Joel’s blog, I am willing. Christian Regards, David L.

  2. March 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Hey Randy,

    If I may, you define or describe Amyraldianism as:

    1) “The difference between the Calvinistic position and the Amyraldian position is that the latter posits that Christ’s death was not intended to redeem any sinner in particular but merely to render all sinners savable. For this reason, it is sometimes called, “hypothetical Universalism.” Thus, any limitation that exists in Christ’s redeeming work is in its application, not in its design.”

    David: That is not correct actually. That was how the detractors of Amyraut sought to describe his position. This distorted definition was solidified in the 19thC by Smeaton and Warfield.

    Amyraut and all the various proponents of hypothetical universalism advocated a two-fold intentionality in the death of Christ: 1) to secure a sufficient satisfaction for all the sins of all men, and 2) to sustain the exact grounds and means whereby the elect could be effectually called. It can be described as a multi-intentional view, as opposed to the mono-intentional view of either Arminianism or of the limited satisfaction view.

    All classic HU proponents took the original Lombardian formula seriously: Christ died *for* all men as to the sufficiency of the satisfaction, and he also died *for* the elect as to the efficiency of the satisfaction.

    Ive documented some of Amyraut’s own testimony and claims here: http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=95

    2) Its not correct to juxtapose “Calvinism vs Amyraldianism” as you have done. Firstly, As Richard Muller notes, its incorrect to reduce Reformed confessional theology to the label “Calvinism” as the single descriptor. The wider Reformed movement was the effect of many Reformers, such as Bullinger, Musculus, Zanchi, et al. Secondly, again as Muller rightly notes, Amyraut was just one sub-set of an earlier evolution of HU theology. For example, Bullinger, Musculus, Zwingli, all affirmed that Christ died for all men, bearing the wrath and curse for all, and this as to the sufficiency of the satisfaction, but he also died for the elect effectually.

    You can see the documentation for all this here: http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?page_id=7147

    You should check out Muller’s review of Jonathan Moore’s recent book. In the review, Muller notes that there were many earlier exponents of non-Amyraldian forms of HU. Ive also posted that review. You can find it via the name index under M. I wont add another link in case your spam filter things this comment is spam.

    3) On the issue of sufficiency, the limited imputation of sins to Christ precludes the idea that the satisfaction of Christ is actually and really sufficient for those people whose sins were not imputed to Christ. And so for this reason, Owen and others, note that the formula had to be revised so that it speaks only to the satisfaction’s inherent value, but its extrinsic applicability to all. Again you can see the posts on that by clicking on my main index and scrolling down to this subject listing: The Classic “Sufficient for all, Efficient for the elect” and its Revision

    If you want to talk more about this I will check back back in later.

    Thanks,
    David
    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?page_id=7147

  3. March 3, 2012 at 1:22 am

    David,

    First, I want to thank you for your comment and commend you on the work you have done on compiling the material you have re: various views on the extent of the atonement.

    In my short blog, it was not my intention to speak of the initial formulation of Amyraldianism but of the doctrine of hypothetical universalism as it is commonly held in our day. I am thinking of the position of schools like Dallas Theologicial Seminary that defrocked my departed friend Dr. S. Lewis Johnson for his views on the atonement. Dr. Johnson clearly believed in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for every sinner. If the issue had been only the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice for the elect, there should have been no controversy. To me, the original formulation of the doctrine is of little concern. Since brother Amyraut is not here to receive my plea for forgiveness for misrepresenting his position, I will offer it to you if indeed I have done so. But, I must say, it is not I who has misrepresented him, but the above mentioned Seminary and the myriad of their followers.

    You may believe it is unjust of me to juxtapose Amyraldianism and Calvinism, but in terms of the modern formulation of HU such a justapostion is, I believe, clearly justified. As I stated, the issue is the intention of Christ’s redeeming work. The Canons of Dort, clearly deliniate that purpose as the effectual securing of the elect’s everlasting salvation, with the side-effect, if you will, being that his death was sufficient for all. The statements you cited from Amyraut seem to 1) reverse that order, and 2) speak about securing the application of that work rather than securing redemption itself. Perhaps it is just a matter of emphasis, but I believe it is an important distinction. The point I was making is that I prefer the opposite order, i. e., intentionality first, then sufficiency. Additionally, I believe Christ’s death secured both redemption and the application of that redemption to the elect. It was not “for mankind” and with secure application to the elect. Call it a subtile distinction if you wish, but it is the difference between Calvinism and not-Calvinism.

  4. March 3, 2012 at 1:35 am

    David,

    Let me add that though we and the HU folks appear to be saying much the same things though in oppositions directions [I confess I like our formulation much better], they are the ones who have called us heretics and not visa versa. Apparently, they see a distinction you don’t see.

  5. March 3, 2012 at 2:14 am

    David,

    One more comment re: the term “Calvinism.” As you and I both know, “Calvinism” in the soteriological sense refers not to what Jn. Calvin taught, [I have read him fairly extensively and am still not sure what he would say about these issues. Frankly, I am convinced I wouldn’t like the Reformers very much if I had to live with them] but is theological shorthand for the doctrines set forth in the Canons 1618-19. It is not an issue of whether Calvin believed it or whether any other of the many Reformers weighed in on the issue. Calvinism as we use the term soteriologically is restricted to the five doctrines of grace.

    As I have stated elsewhere on the blog, I would not even call myself a Calvinist were it not for my conviction that these truths can stand on their own exegetical feet. I am not too concerned about what a lot of dead theologians believed if those views cannot be supported by the Scriptures. The views with which we must grapple in our day are the views being expressed in our day. Where they came from, though fascinating, doesn’t matter a great deal to me. What they have become is the issue.

  6. March 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Hey Randy,

    You say: In my short blog, it was not my intention to speak of the initial formulation of Amyraldianism but of the doctrine of hypothetical universalism as it is commonly held in our day. I am thinking of the position of schools like Dallas Theologicial Seminary that defrocked my departed friend Dr. S. Lewis Johnson for his views on the atonement.

    David: I don’t know much about Johnson’s situation. A friend of mine goes to his old church I believe. And I thought Johnson did accept Gary Long’s position on limited satisfaction eventually: and that exhausts my knowledge of him. What I am really interested in the comment about HU as it is today. Folk like Demarest, within the Baptist community hold to the classic HU position. I don’t know of any who dont. I mean, even Chafer and John Darby (English Anglican) held to forms so close if not identical to classic HU. And among the Reformed community, all the HUs Ive read hold to the standard form of a two-fold intentionality as grounding or lying at the back of the classic Lombardian formula. Perhaps we just run in different circles. But the labels you are using clearly speak to the Reformed circles as well as any other: hence my well-intentioned comment.

    You say: Dr. Johnson clearly believed in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for every sinner. If the issue had been only the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice for the elect, there should have been no controversy. To me, the original formulation of the doctrine is of little concern. Since brother Amyraut is not here to receive my plea for forgiveness for misrepresenting his position, I will offer it to you if indeed I have done so. But, I must say, it is not I who has misrepresented him, but the above mentioned Seminary and the myriad of their followers.

    David: I hope you are not feeling defensive? If so that was not my intention. You don’t need to offer anyone forgiveness. 🙂

    You say: You may believe it is unjust of me to juxtapose Amyraldianism and Calvinism, but in terms of the modern formulation of HU such a juxtaposition is, I believe, clearly justified.

    David: Well that is what I am challenging. In Reformed circles its not the case. Let’s focus in on the one line from your piece: “The difference between the Calvinistic position and the Amyraldian position is that the latter posits that Christ’s death was not intended to redeem any sinner in particular but merely to render all sinners savable.” That is not true of Chafer, Erickson, Demarest, Darby, to speak of the English Dispensational side of the house. It is not true of any HU proponent I know of day from within the Reformed side, even Reformed Baptist side, like Bruce Ware, Gary Schultz and so forth. My point is, you have mistakenly generalized is all.

    Of course I cant speak for others such as Walvoord etc etc. There may be some exceptions: individuals who believed both in unconditional election and also the proposition that Christ died for all men equally for no one effectually. But if that is the case, they are neither Amyraldians or proponents of HU. They are something else altogether: an entirely new animal, so to speak. If I may ask, was Johnson deposed because he could not affirm that Christ died for all? or was it because he affirmed Christ died effectually for some? The questions are specifically different.

    You say: As I stated, the issue is the intention of Christ’s redeeming work. The Canons of Dort, clearly deliniate that purpose as the effectual securing of the elect’s everlasting salvation, with the side-effect, if you will, being that his death was sufficient for all.

    David: Sure. Dort makes no comment regarding the extent of the satisfaction. It speaks only to the Arminian denial of an effectual intent. That’s why Muller is correct to note that Dort is not TULP: TULIP is a distortion of Dort. Also, all the classic HU guys from Amyraut to Calamy at the WCF affirmed Dort. At Dort, the leading HU proponents were Davenant and Martinius, and others of course, who all signed off on Dort. Make sense?

    You say: The statements you cited from Amyraut seem to 1) reverse that order, and 2) speak about securing the application of that work rather than securing redemption itself.

    David: I am not sure what you mean or what from Amyraut you are following. In classic HU categories, Christ redeemed all men as to the sufficiency of the satisfaction, but the elect only, as to the efficiency of the satisfaction. This is how Paraeus explains it, as well as others Ive documented, Bullinger, Musculus, et al. By the first redemption speaks to taking possession of, ownership, lordship. The second speaks more to application of salvation in pardon, justification etc. If you scan my files you will see this motif constantly reaffirmed.

    You say: Perhaps it is just a matter of emphasis, but I believe it is an important distinction. The point I was making is that I prefer the opposite order, i. e., intentionality first, then sufficiency.

    David: I am not sure why you are stressing this. Both are correlative in the divine will. I don’t think either one is antecedent to the other. I don’t know how to conceptualize that: and frankly I don’t understand your intent. There is a special intentionality, and there is a general intentionality regarding the work of Christ for 1) the elect, and 2) Christ’s satisfaction for all sin. I personally don’t try to prioritize either one over and against the other.

    You say: Additionally, I believe Christ’s death secured both redemption and the application of that redemption to the elect. It was not “for mankind” and with secure application to the elect. Call it a subtile distinction if you wish, but it is the difference between Calvinism and not-Calvinism.

    David: Okay I can work with that. If you mean, “for all whom Christ died, redemption was infallibly secured,” I would say you would be hard-pressed to prove that.

    Secondly, it is not the case that ‘Calvinism’ as a mass, or as a class or as a label held to that. That is the point, Randy. Within Calvinism, within the Reformed movement, there have been HU proponents and those who were not. “Calvinism” if we are to use that term, historically was a big umbrella under which various wings and trajectories lived and worked side by side. Sure at some points there was heat, but for a great part, both wings could work together as Reformed. Even Turretin, the great opposer of Amyraut, still considered him ‘Reformed.’ Terms like Augustinianism, Calvinism, and Reformed were big umbrella terms for the Reformers and subsequent generations. And there were often national divisions, too. The German Reformed often clashed in ideas with the Dutch. The English often scoffed at the Scots, and so forth.

    You say: Let me add that though we and the HU folks appear to be saying much the same things though in oppositions directions [I confess I like our formulation much better], they are the ones who have called us heretics and not visa versa. Apparently, they see a distinction you don’t see.

    David: you lost me there. Generally speaking the classic HUs have not called the proponents of a limited satisfaction heretics: that label has more often than not come from the limited satisfaction camps, in the past and in the present.

    You say: One more comment re: the term “Calvinism.” As you and I both know, “Calvinism” in the soteriological sense refers not to what Jn. Calvin taught, [I have read him fairly extensively and am still not sure what he would say about these issues. Frankly, I am convinced I wouldn’t like the Reformers very much if I had to live with them] but is theological shorthand for the doctrines set forth in the Canons 1618-19. It is not an issue of whether Calvin believed it or whether any other of the many Reformers weighed in on the issue. Calvinism as we use the term soteriologically is restricted to the five doctrines of grace.

    David: Sure I understand you may think that, however that is the core issue I am trying to challenge. Calvinism is not TULIP. This is what Richard Muller and others have been labouring these past few years. TULIP is not Dort. TULIP brings in negations, such as “Christ did not die for X” where Dort does not. Today however, it is true for the most part that TULIP = Doctrines of Grace. That is how the labels are being mediated to us today and by some in the past.

    Within Reformed theology, within Calvinism, historically, there have existed two, even three, trajectories. What has happened, due to limited publishing for the most, we have inherited an “impression” of that thing we call historic Calvinism, which in turns has distorted the original conception of “the doctrines of grace.”

    In short, it is simply wrong to juxtapose “Calvinism” over and against “Amyraldianism” for all the reasons Ive tried to outline. The idea of an unlimited satisfaction for all sin, with a special intention to apply this satisfaction to the elect alone is present in Augustine, developed by Prosper, reaffirmed by Lombard, expounded by Aquinas, assumed by Calvin, Bullinger, Zwingli, Luther, and Musculus, underwent complex evolution in the post-Calvin era. Later, an evolved and distinct form was expressed by Amyraut, another by Davenant, and so on. The basic tenet of an unlimited satisfaction was adopted by C Hodge, Dabney and Shedd, without any of the Amyraldian distinctives; and so on and so on.

    You say: As I have stated elsewhere on the blog, I would not even call myself a Calvinist were it not for my conviction that these truths can stand on their own exegetical feet. I am not too concerned about what a lot of dead theologians believed if those views cannot be supported by the Scriptures. The views with which we must grapple in our day are the views being expressed in our day. Where they came from, though fascinating, doesn’t matter a great deal to me. What they have become is the issue.

    David: Sure I grant, freely, that you can feel all that. However, when you make claims that have implied historical nuances as well as systematic overtones, then someone like me will attempt to wave my arm in the air and say, “sir, sir, I beg to differ…”

    In the end I think you would just do your readers better if the historical nuances and realities were included: and then perhaps the next “Johnson” who pops up somewhere wont be so badly treated: and this cuts for the other side too. Make sense?

    Thanks for your time,
    David

  7. March 5, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    The following statement from Amyraut is the one I am considering.  It is the one you asked me to consider:

     for this was the most free Counsel and gracious Purpose both of God the Father, in giving his Son for the Salvation of Mankind, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, in suffering the Pains of Death,that the Efficacy thereof should particularly belong unto all the Elect, and to them only, to give them justifying Faith, and by it to bring them infallibly unto Salvation, and thus effectually to redeem all those and none other, who were from all Eternity from among all People, Nations and Tongues, chosen unto Salvation. 

    I reject that the statement “in giving his Son for the Salvation of Mankind,”   Unless it is simply intended to distinguish “Mankind” from birds, cattle etc. which should be self-evident and would make the statement redundant not to say misleading.  God didn’t give his Son for the salvation of Mankind in the sense of giving him to save those who would perish in their sins.

      If he gave his Son for the Salvation of Mankind,  then it would appear that in terms of the offering itself, it was not made for any sinner in particular so as to secure their redemption.  It seems clear to me the only limitation he sees is in the application, to the elect, a work that was intended for Mankind.  He clearly can’t mean it was intended to secure the eternal salvation of Mankind since that would mean the purpose of God was moving in two contrary directions at the same time.  It appears to me the most he could be saying is that Jesus intended to make all men savable and that any limitation that inheres in his purpose belongs to the application “to give them justifying Faith and by it bring them infallibly unto Salvation,” not the accomplishment of redemption.  That is what I stated in my original post.  I don’t see how you can bring anything else out of the above statement.
     
    Since I don’t really care whether you call me a Calvinist, it doesn’t much matter to me whether you call Amyraldians Calvinists.  If you are torqued off about that, call them whatever you like.  I still won’t believe they have a proper understanding of Christ’s redeeming work.  If all they are doing is reaffirming Dort, then they need not have written.  All they needed to do is say “I agree with Dort.”  There must have been some reason they didn’t. 

  8. March 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I am not going to take the time to argue with you over this issue point by point.  I have spent enough time with so-called four point Calvinists who considered me a heretic because I believed in particular redemption to know what they state.  It doesn’t matter to me who denies it, it is a generally accepted fact that what we now know as five point Calvinism originated with the Synod of Dort.  If there is no difference between that statement and the statements of HU, why do they react so violently against five point Calvinism?  If they had no problem with Dort, why try to restate the position.  I am personally happy with the statement as it stands.

    The main point of my post was that the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice is not at issue.  We all agree on that point.  I don’t believe there is any reason to ever state for any purpose that Jesus died for all mankind since that was no part of the purpose of his death.  He died to redeem his elect. That was the design of the atonement; everything else is incidental to that design.

    I don’t need to be able to say to people in preaching the gospel to them “Jesus died for you.”  The HU folks seem to think we can’t really proclaim the gospel without that statement.  Perhaps you are right; we have been exposed to different proponents of that position.  If the people you cited as not believing what I stated truly believe Christ died for the purpose of effectually securing the salvation of the elect and of the elect only, then they believe the Calvinistic position and should not have a problem with our statement of it.   

    If a person tells me he believes it was the purpose of the death of Christ to redeem the elect and the elect only, I will believe he is a real believer in the historic doctrines of grace.  If he tells me he believes Jesus died to redeem mankind although he never intended to apply the merits of that death to any but the elect, I don’t believe he is a Calvinist.  If Jesus didn’t intend to apply redemption to them, he didn’t intend to redeem them.  Certainly, you are not going to suggest he died to redeem them but didn’t intend to apply his redemption to them.  That is nonsense.

    I don’t know how you can say Dort does not bring in negations such as “Christ did not die for x”  [is that Malcolm] when they state,  “. . . it was God’s will that Christ through the blood of the cross . . . should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those  AND ONLY THOSE who were chosen from eternity to salvation. . . .”  Section 2 art. 8  That certainly sounds like a negation to me.  He secured their salvation and he didn’t secure anyone else’s.

    I think the real issue here is the following: David: Okay I can work with that. If you mean, “for all whom Christ died, redemption was infallibly secured,” I would say you would be hard-pressed to prove that.”  As long as you believe “I would be hard pressed to prove that,” we are never going to agree.  That is the issue.  Calvinists believe it is the teaching of Scripture;  Amyraldians don’t.

    • March 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      Hey Randy,

      David: Thanks for replying. I see in your comments a few things that concern me. Keep in mind I am not here to attack you at all. Ive been on the receiving end of lots of attacks by strict 5Pointers over the last few years and its shameful and sad. I never want to get into that mindset for my own dealings. There are at least two distinct issues issues infusing themselves into this conversation. Firstly and primarily the historical facts. However, you are blending in some personal theological commitments, which is fine, but I was not targeting any of those for discussion, just this historical stuff, and as that pertains to systematics.

      You say: The following statement from Amyraut is the one I am considering. It is the one you asked me to consider:

      Amyraut cut

      Randy: I reject that the statement “in giving his Son for the Salvation of Mankind,” Unless it is simply intended to distinguish “Mankind” from birds, cattle etc. which should be self-evident and would make the statement redundant not to say misleading. God didn’t give his Son for the salvation of Mankind in the sense of giving him to save those who would perish in their sins.

      David: Okay, sure, you believe that. My point is that Calvin, Musculus, Luther, Zwingli–all of which predate Amyraut–held that Christ was ordained to be the satisfaction for all the sins of all sinners who have lived, while also Christ’s satisfaction was ordained to be the exact means whereby the elect are effectually called. My point is, this is just fact. So this is not a Calvinists vs Amyraldian thing. Does that make sense?

      If you want to discuss the theology per se, I am more than willing. I will reply to the following in good faith on that assumption.

      You say: If he gave his Son for the Salvation of Mankind, then it would appear that in terms of the offering itself, it was not made for any sinner in particular so as to secure their redemption. It seems clear to me the only limitation he sees is in the application, to the elect, a work that was intended for Mankind.

      David: essentially yes, a dual intentionality. This is what Davenant and Marinius at Dort argued for, and what others like Calamy at Westminster asserted as well. Before Amyraut, we see the same assumptions operating within Calvin and others.

      Randy: He clearly can’t mean it was intended to secure the eternal salvation of Mankind since that would mean the purpose of God was moving in two contrary directions at the same time. It appears to me the most he could be saying is that Jesus intended to make all men savable and that any limitation that inheres in his purpose belongs to the application “to give them justifying Faith and by it bring them infallibly unto Salvation,” not the accomplishment of redemption. That is what I stated in my original post. I don’t see how you can bring anything else out of the above statement.

      David: Sure essentially I think you are right, as I am reading you. It is a twofold intentionality, not a single general intentionality as per Arminianism or a single special intentionality as per TULIP.

      Randy: Since I don’t really care whether you call me a Calvinist, it doesn’t much matter to me whether you call Amyraldians Calvinists. If you are torqued off about that, call them whatever you like. I still won’t believe they have a proper understanding of Christ’s redeeming work. If all they are doing is reaffirming Dort, then they need not have written. All they needed to do is say “I agree with Dort.” There must have been some reason they didn’t.

      David: I am not sure what to make of that. I am not calling *you* anything. I will proceed to the next comment.

      Randy: I am not going to take the time to argue with you over this issue point by point. I have spent enough time with so-called four point Calvinists who considered me a heretic because I believed in particular redemption to know what they state.

      David: As I said, Ive never seen a so-called 4 point Calvinist call a 5pointer a heretic, but who know. To me I am not really concerned with that here. My goal is to just think accurately about the history in all this. I am not interested in boxing anyone into a personal corner. My believe is that the whole 5 point thing (as defined by TULIP) is a trap, as TULIP is not Dort. And the idea of reducing Calvinist soteriology, historically and systematically, is flawed.

      You say: It doesn’t matter to me who denies it, it is a generally accepted fact that what we now know as five point Calvinism originated with the Synod of Dort.

      David: Thats an appeal to popular support. It is that appeal that I would challenge as would Richard Muller. Richard Muller is *THE* leading expert on the development of 16th and 17th centuries dogmatics. I hope this link comes through go here: He made this comment a little while ago:

      Clear statements of nonspeculative hypothetical universalism can be found (as Davenant recognized) in Heinrich Bullinger’s Decades and commentary on the Apocalypse, in Wolfgang Musculus’ Loci communes, in Ursinus’ catechetical lectures, and in Zanchi’s Tractatus de praedestinatione sanctorum, among other places. In addition, the Canons of Dort, in affirming the standard distinction of a sufficiency of Christ’s death for all and its efficiency for the elect, actually refrain from canonizing either the early form of hypothetical universalism or the assumption that Christ’s sufficiency serves only to leave the nonelect without excuse. Although Moore can cite statements from the York conference that Dort “either apertly or covertly denied the universality of man’s redemption” (156), it remains that various of the signatories of the Canons were hypothetical universalists–not only the English delegation (Carleton, Davenant, Ward, Goad, and Hall) but also the [sic] some of the delegates from Bremen and Nassau (Martinius, Crocius, and Alsted)–that Carleton and the other delegates continued to affirm the doctrinal points of Dort while distancing themselves from the church discipline of the Belgic Confession, and that in the course of seventeenth-century debate even the Amyraldians were able to argue that their teaching did not run contrary to the Canons. In other words, the nonspeculative, non-Amyraldian form of hypothetical universalism was new in neither the decades after Dort nor a “softening” of the tradition: The views of Davenant, Ussher, and Preston followed out a resident trajectory long recognized as orthodox among the Reformed. You can see more of the review here: http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=284

      For Muller, the doctrinal assertion that Christ died for all men as to the sufficiency of the satisfaction predates Amyraut and was a distinctive viable Reformed tradition, or trajectory within the Reformed tradition. Muller is right to challenge that the term “Calvinism” is properly represented by TULIP.

      Randy: If there is no difference between that statement and the statements of HU, why do they react so violently against five point Calvinism?

      David: I dont know who *they* are, Randy. All the post-Dort or contemporary to Dort HU advocates within the Reformed tradition fully accepted Dort.

      Randy: If they had no problem with Dort, why try to restate the position. I am personally happy with the statement as it stands.

      David: Who are “they”?

      Randy: The main point of my post was that the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice is not at issue. We all agree on that point.

      David: But we dont. Men like Owen and Turretin denied that the satisfaction of Christ was actually sufficient for all men, only that had things been different (by election-decree etc) it could have been sufficient for others too. Owen and others limited all content of sufficiency to the internal value of the satisfaction alone, not to its extrinsic applicability.

      Randy: I don’t believe there is any reason to ever state for any purpose that Jesus died for all mankind since that was no part of the purpose of his death. He died to redeem his elect. That was the design of the atonement; everything else is incidental to that design.

      David: For sure that is your theological position. The HU proponents would have said something like a remedy made only for Jack, cannot be offered as applicable to Mary. Make sense?

      Randy: I don’t need to be able to say to people in preaching the gospel to them “Jesus died for you.” The HU folks seem to think we can’t really proclaim the gospel without that statement. Perhaps you are right; we have been exposed to different proponents of that position. If the people you cited as not believing what I stated truly believe Christ died for the purpose of effectually securing the salvation of the elect and of the elect only, then they believe the Calvinistic position and should not have a problem with our statement of it.

      David: Again, the point is, that classic Calvinism was a broad movement of ideas. Within that broadness were various trajectories. All the respective Calvinist trajectories completely affirmed this proposition: Christ died effectually for some and not all. However, where they differed was on a completely different proposition, something like: Did Christ die for all in a different sense, and if so what sense was that? Hence the HU advocates posited a two-fold intentionality.

      You say: If a person tells me he believes it was the purpose of the death of Christ to redeem the elect and the elect only, I will believe he is a real believer in the historic doctrines of grace.

      David: but again with respect, that is not the historic position as if that is an exclusive claim to being this historic position. The facts of Luther’s teaching, Calvin’s, Bullinger, and dozens of others cannot be ignored, Randy.

      Randy: If he tells me he believes Jesus died to redeem mankind although he never intended to apply the merits of that death to any but the elect, I don’t believe he is a Calvinist.

      David: But given that this was the very thing Calvin taught shows that you must broaden your terms.

      Randy: If Jesus didn’t intend to apply redemption to them, he didn’t intend to redeem them. Certainly, you are not going to suggest he died to redeem them but didn’t intend to apply his redemption to them. That is nonsense.

      David: As Mentioned before, the HU position was that Christ redeemed all as to the sufficiency of the satisfaction, redeemed the elect alone as to the efficacy of the satisfaction. That you may think this is nonsense will not change the historical facts. Make sense?

      Randy: I don’t know how you can say Dort does not bring in negations such as “Christ did not die for x” [is that Malcolm] when they state, ”. . . it was God’s will that Christ through the blood of the cross . . . should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those AND ONLY THOSE who were chosen from eternity to salvation. . . .” Section 2 art. 8 That certainly sounds like a negation to me. He secured their salvation and he didn’t secure anyone else’s.

      David: See the critical word there, “effectively.”

      If we put the para in its context, it reads:

      For this was the sovereign counsel and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation; that is, it was the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby He confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father; that He should confer upon them faith, which, together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, He purchased for them by His death; should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing; and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them, free from every spot and blemish, to the enjoyment of glory in His own presence forever. 2:8. [bold mine.]

      David: Both Davenant and the other English divines and Martinius, the other Bremen delegates and other German divines all signed off to that, all the while holding that all mankind has been redeemed, in a sense other than this effectual sense.

      Look at Carleton and Davenant’s defense and explanation they put together later:

      Crist therefore so dyed for all, that all and every one by the meanes of faith might obtaine remission of sins, and eternall life by vertue of that ransome paid once for all mankinde. But Christ so dyed for the elect, that by the merit of his death in speciall manner destinated unto them according to the eternall good pleasure of God, they might infallibly obtaine both faith and eternall life. George Carleton, The Suffrage of the Divines of Great Britaine, Concerning the Five Articles Controverted in the Law Countries, (London: Robert Milbounre, 1629), 47-48. [bold mine.]

      These sorts of statements are so numerous in so many of the Reformers and post-Reformers.

      Randy: I think the real issue here is the following: David: Okay I can work with that. If you mean, “for all whom Christ died, redemption was infallibly secured,” I would say you would be hard-pressed to prove that.” As long as you believe “I would be hard pressed to prove that,” we are never going to agree. That is the issue. Calvinists believe it is the teaching of Scripture; Amyraldians don’t.

      David: Some Calvinists, Randy. 🙂 Not all; that is the point.

      Dabney for example: The only New Testament sense the word atonement has is that of katallage, reconciliation. But expiation is another idea. Katallage is personal. Exhilasmos is impersonal. Katallage is multiplied, being repeated as often as a sinner comes to the expiatory blood. exhilasmos is single, unique, complete; and, in itself considered, has no more relation to one man’s sins than another. As it is applied in effectual calling, it becomes personal, and receives a limitation. But in itself, limitation is irrelevant to it. Hence, when men use the word atonement, as they so often do, in the sense of expiation, the phrases, “limited atonement,” “particular atonement,” have no meaning. Redemption is limited, i.e., to true believers, and is particular. Expiation is not limited. Dabney, Lectures, 528.

      Shedd for example: The expiation of sin is distinguishable from the pardon of it. The former, conceivably, might take place and the latter not. When Christ died on Calvary, the whole mass, so to speak, human sin was expiated merely by that death; but the whole mass was not pardoned merely by that death. The claims of law and justice for the sins of the whole world were satisfied by the “offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10); but the sins of every individual man were not forgiven and “blotted out” by this transaction.Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 3:418.

      There are lots more of statements like this. All I am asking is that you approach history a little more accurately.

      Anyway, thanks for your time,
      David
      http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?page_id=7147

  9. March 6, 2012 at 2:02 am

    David,

    I would appreciate it if you would keep your comments brief and to the point. I neither have the time nor the interest to answer every point you wish to make. I disagree with much of what you have to say, but I don’t have the time to answer every issue you raise. If you would like to discuss some of the issues you have raised one by one by email, I will be happy to discuss them with you.

    I am sure you have studied history much more than I have and I applaud you for it. I am sure you are right that there have been hypothetical universalists of all different stripes as there have been Calvinists of all different stripes. I suspect to find a consensus among any of them would be impossible. Additionally, I suspect there are aspects of the death of Christ that neither you nor I understand, nor will we this side of eternity.

    I want to put this as delicately as possible because I don’t want you to feel unwelcome here, but there may be other blogs where someone cares about what some obscure theologian who lived 400 years ago believed. If you want to discuss something that actually pertains to what I have written, I welcome your comments. The point of my post was that there is an abundant sufficiency in the redemptive work of Christ for the most wicked sinner who will trust him, and that the purpose of God to redeem the elect and only the elect through that death does not detract from its sufficiency. I don’t really care what you call HU. I believe it misstates the biblical teaching regarding Christ redeeming work. I respect your right to disagree and will not call you a heretic for doing so. I hope you will feel free to comment on anything I post here as long as you keep it brief, to the point, and try to discern what the post is about rather than pursuing your own agenda.

    Blessings,

    Randy

  10. March 6, 2012 at 4:16 am

    David,

    If you can do so without being verbose, since you think I have misrepresented the HU position as most hold it today, please tell me what you think an accurate discription would be. Please be brief.

  11. March 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Hey Randy,

    For a description of the components of HU go here and read the English delegates to Dort, in their own words, and their own submission to Dort.

    Paraeus sets out the case well too:

    “It is in the same may, that is, by making the same distinction that we reply to those who ask concerning the purpose of Christ, Did he will to die for all? For just as he died,so also he willed to die. Therefore, as he died for all, in respect to the sufficiency of his ransom; and for the faithful alone in respect to the efficacy of the same, so also he willed to die for all in general, as touching the sufficiency of his merit, that is, he willed to merit by his death, grace, righteousness, and life in the most abundant manner for all.”

    In simple terms, HU can be defined as the core idea that 1) According to the determination of God, Christ was punished and suffered the curse of God’s law which was due to all men, thereby securing an actually sufficient satisfaction for all the sins of all men; and 2), that in doing this, Christ also sustained the exact means and grounds whereby the elect (according to election) are effectually called. For a detailed documentation of a variety of HU exponents, see here: http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?page_id=7147

    Hope that helps,
    David
    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?page_id=8466

    • March 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks David. I was really talking more about a more modern statement, but that is fine. I posted a correction at the bottom of the original blog. Let me know if that states your position more accurately. I don’t want to misrepresent your views.

      Randy


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