“A Reply to Some Comments on My Eight Posts
on Dr. Ascol’s chapter in Whomever He Wills”

October 16, 2012

David L. Allen
Dean, School of Theology and Professor of Preaching
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas

Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3 | Post 4| Post 5 | Post 6 | Post 7 | Post 8


As I have read the comments regarding my posts on Dr. Ascol’s chapter, I thought it might be helpful to respond for clarification’s sake. First, I will offer a few summary statements as to the main points I was attempting to make in these posts. Second, I will attempt to respond to questions and/or statements made specifically about what I wrote. I will not be responding to tangent comments that are not directly germane to the content of my posts. Third, I will attempt to speak to questions asked directly to me that I have not already answered in the comment thread.

These eight blog posts revolve around a specific chapter in the book Whomever He Wills (2012), which is a response to the book Whosoever Will: a Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism (2010). It would be helpful if one were to read my chapter in Whosoever Will entitled “The Atonement: Limited or Universal?” (pp. 61-107) and then read Dr. Ascol’s chapter “Calvinism Foundational for Evangelism and Missions” in Whomever He Wills (pp. 269-289). This will provide some important background and context for my engagement with Dr. Ascol’s chapter in these posts.

Let me also suggest that it might be helpful to reread the eight posts on Dr. Ascol’s chapter at one sitting. The only reason they are posted in eight parts and not in one part is the space constraint for blog posts which generally is recommended to be not more than appx. 1200 words. The eight posts are easily accessible via the links above. Most of the questions in the comment thread are answered in one or more of the eight posts.

As Baptists, Dr. Ascol and I agree on far more than we disagree on. The crux of our disagreement surrounds two issues: 1) our viewpoints on Calvinism, specifically with respect to unconditional election, irresistible grace, and limited atonement, and what is entailed by these in regard to preaching, evangelism and missions. (My focus in these posts has been primarily on the issue of limited atonement and its entailments); and 2) our viewpoints on Baptist historiography and the degree to which Baptists were committed to so called “five-point” Calvinism since the beginning of the 19th century.

I. In my chapter on the extent of the atonement in Whosoever Will along with my posts on the chapters by David Schrock and Dr. Ascol in Whomever He Wills, I am attempting to argue the following points:

1. Biblically, limited atonement, which asserts that Christ died for the sins of the elect only, is a flawed concept and contradicts the biblical testimony that Christ died for the sins of all.

2. Historically, limited atonement was not part of the doctrinal platform of the first generation of reformers on the Continent or in England, nor was it a part of the doctrinal platform of most if not all of the second generation Reformers such as Calvin, Bucer, Bullinger, etc. Limited atonement has been a source of dispute within the Reformed camp since it was first systematized by Beza after the death of Calvin.

3. Historically, within the Reformed tradition, many Calvinists such as Davenant, Baxter, Bunyan, Charnock, Preston, Howe, Jonathan Edwards, Chalmers, Charles Hodge, Robert Dabney, Shedd, Ryle, along with many others, rejected outright (our did not teach)  limited atonement.

4. There is often little or no recognition of the historical record with respect to differences over limited atonement within the Reformed tradition by many Calvinists, especially young Calvinists, in and outside of the Southern Baptist Convention. The gatekeepers of Calvinism in Evangelicalism today are virtually all committed to limited atonement with little or no statement acknowledging that belief in an unlimited atonement in the sense of an unlimited satisfaction for sins by Christ on the cross is not only historically well represented in their tradition, considered to be well within the boundaries of orthodox Reformed theology, but was in fact the view of Christian history until the late sixteenth century.

5. Calvinists who affirm limited atonement need to respond to the biblical and theological arguments made by fellow Calvinists who reject limited atonement. My observation is that this is seldom done in published works or on the internet.

6. With specific reference to Baptists since the beginning of the 19th century, and Southern Baptists since 1845, there was never agreement on the so called “five points” of Calvinism, particularly limited atonement.

7. Limited atonement negatively impacts preaching, evangelism and missions because it 1) diminishes God’s universal saving will, 2) eliminates the bold proclamation that “Christ died for your sins,” and 3) undercuts the ground for the universal offer of the gospel.

II. Responding to Comments/Questions specifically about what I wrote.

1. I am well aware of the Calvinist influence on Baptists and on the key founders of the Southern Baptist Convention. I have read Dr. Tom Nettles’ work By His Grace and For His Glory, along with several other Baptist histories. This influence is not in question. What is in question is whether all these men affirmed “five-point” Calvinism. Some of them certainly did. What is also in question is whether the people in Southern Baptist churches at the time of the founding of the SBC predominately held to “five-point” Calvinism. I don’t think they did.

2. Arguing against unlimited atonement by positing that the word “all” in the New Testament does not always mean “all without exception” is a weak, shop-worn argument that has been addressed numerous times by Calvinists, Arminians, and non-Calvinists since the 17th century. I am aware that not all occurrences of “all” in the New Testament mean “all without exception.” I have stated this clearly in both my chapter in Whosoever Will and in my posts on David Schrock’s chapter. However, contextually, some of the occurrences of “all” when speaking about Christ’s death do mean “all without exception.” We should remember that it only takes one clear statement that Christ died for the sins of all people to establish unlimited atonement with respect to extent, no matter how many statements also affirm that Christ died for a limited group of people such as the church. The arguments by Calvinists themselves against limited atonement need to be addressed by fellow Calvinists commenting on this blog. I get the distinct impression from some commenters that they think all arguments made against limited atonement are made by so called “Arminians.”

3. Sometimes comments are made referencing Calvinists such as John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Andrew Fuller, and Charles Hodge, as men who held to limited atonement. I have provided evidence (in my chapter in Whosoever Will as well as these recent posts) that such is not the case. This evidence has not been refuted, but merely ignored in the comment thread.

III. Questions/Comments posed directly to me.

1. “Now is the proposal being made of no freedom for the believers in the original, founding theology [of the Southern Baptist Convention]?”

Not at all. I am on record in numerous places stating that there has always been room and should always be room in the SBC for Calvinists. My involvement in this discussion all along has been to voice disagreement with some aspects of Calvinist theology, not to suggest that all Calvinists should be “run out of Dodge.”

2.         “To Dr. Allen: Are you willing to toss out the folks who are not only the successors but the actually descendants of the Sovereign Grace believers who created the churches and associations from which was launched the SBC and its earliest institutions? If Jesus died for everyone, why didn’t He say so when He said He gave “His life a ransom for many?” Many does not mean every one without exception; it has the connotation of a large number. And what about Jesus winning the woman of Canaan with<“I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel?” Her response was one of worship, what would yours be? Do you think man merits or deserves to have Jesus die for him? What about Jesus using terms which indicate that the woman was depraved, unclean, reprobate, as the term “dogs” certainly suggests? She agreed that He was right, saying, “Truth, Lord.” Then argued from that that the dogs eat the crumbs and no one minds or insists that they have taken the children’s bread. O yes, and what about the fellow who pleaded his inability to believe, “Help my unbelief?” Strange is it not that he should plead what is denies by our traditionalists today, even the total depravity and disability or inability that that fellow pleaded as reason for Jesus to help him?

The first question is addressed in #1 above. With respect to Jesus’ statement about giving His life a “ransom for many,” this is one of the places where Jesus did indeed say he died for the sins of all. Where is the linguistic evidence that “many” does not mean everyone without exception? None is provided. The commenter is correct that “many” connotes a large number. The statement of Jesus is an allusion to Isaiah 53. “Many” is a Hebraic linguistic idiom for “not a few” and simply cannot be used to affirm limited atonement. Even Calvin in his comments on Isaiah 53 and Romans 5:18-19 affirmed that in these places “many” means “all.” With respect to the incident with the Syro-Phoenician woman, I am at a loss to understand the point being made above. Nothing in that account supports limited atonement. Nor do I agree that the statement “Lord I believe; help my unbelief” supports a definition of total depravity that includes total inability. After all, the man did say “Lord, I believe” before he said “help my unbelief.” I don’t see how that can be construed as an argument for total inability.

In conclusion, I hope this serves to answer lingering questions and to clarify what I wrote. May God help us all dialogue about this issue with genuine Christian grace and ultimately for His glory.

 

 

 

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Rick Patrick

Dr. Allen,

Thank you once more for modeling the manner in which we are to discuss our theological differences with clarity and charity.

Alan Davis

Dr Allen,

Though I have a few areas I would disagree with you, your articles have been very interesting and informative. You have caused me to dig deeper and have actually given me some direction to do so. I have enjoyed reading each of your posts even the times I may have disagreed with you in some ways. Your statement, “As Baptists, Dr. Ascol and I agree on far more than we disagree on”, certainly should be taken to heart by those of us who have a more Calvinistic view and those who do not. As I read each of your articles I found this statement to be true.

Thank You for the Work,

Alan Davis

David R. Brumbelow

Dr. Allen,
A great series of articles. You’ve answered objections very well.

Thanks for your research and writing in this area. Hope you’ll have another book or two coming out soon.
David R. Brumbelow

volfan007

Dr. Allen,

I absolutely love the way you deal with these issues. Very enlightening and extremely helpful. Thanks.

David

dr. james willingham

It is interesting to note James Petigru Boyce’s understanding of the efficiency-sufficiency theory of Andrew Fuller, “a man of the clearest perceptions, and of remarkable power of precise statement,” as Boyce declares (p.312). He says “This theory agrees with the ordinary theory in: 1. Regarding satisfaction for sin necessary. 2. Recognizing that this has been made by Christ. 3. Claiming that the value of Christ’s death is sufficient for the world. 4. Declaring that its benefits accrue to some only. 5. Maintaining that this limitation is because of God’s purpose, and not because of action on the part of man.”(p.313). “The objections to this view are: 1. That it represents the whole world as actually reconciled to God by Christ’s death. If so, on what ground is this reconciliation destroyed? The doctrine of universal salvation is therefore involved. 2. If this is not the view, then, when the Scriptures speak of our reconciliation to God, nothing more is meant than that a mere mode of reconciliation has been arranged, so that the divine justice has been simply so satisfied that a medium of acceptance with God has been provided. But, if ther is merely a medium of acceptance provided, how can man be spoken of as actually reconciled to God?…”(pp.313,314). He goes on to point out that under either theory, “God can with equal sincerity, make the gospel offer to all.”(p.3140). “The theory of limited atonement recognizes that all who are included in it as saved by virtue of it.”(p.315). Boyce proceeds to point out that Fuller’s theory, “..incompatible with those experessions of Scripture which speak of Christ’s death as though it were confined to the elect.”(p.315 -scripture references: Jn.10:11,15, 26-28; 17:9,19; Roms.5:8,9;8:32, et.al.). Then he proceeds to say, “After stating the older Calvinistic theory it will be shown that it is the Scriptural doctrine of the atonement in each of its particulars.”(p.317) The points that Boyce establishes in his Abstract of Systematic Theology is 1. That Christ sufferings and death “were a real atonement.” 2. That “Christ became the substitute of those whom he came to save.” III. “That as such he bore the penalty of their transgressions.” IV. That “he made ample satisfaction to the demands of the law and to the justice of God.” V. “That thus an actual reconciliation has been made between them and God.”(p.317).

Boyce discusses the extent of the atonement and points out that the one whose “limitation is one of purpose; that God designed only the actual salvation of some; and that, whatever provision has been made for others, he made this positive arrangement by which the salvation of certain ones is secured.” (p.337). Boyce cites Dr. A.A. Hodge as to the absolutely limitless value of the atonement, the offer to ‘whomsoever wills’ in the gospel, its sufficiency toa ccomplish salvation of all, regardless of the number, and the actual application, of infants dying in infancy being redeemed and saved, forbearance under which the fallen exist since the fall, and the application to any and every man, “if God so wills it.”(p.338). Boyce was an astute observer and gifted in analytic as well as synthetic thinking (I prefer to use the term synthetical due to close study of the matter of the two terms for many years).

    Calvin S.

    I agree with James Boyce and Charles Hodge, who taught that Christ’s atonement is sufficient for all but efficacious only for the elect.

      volfan007

      Calvin,

      We all believe that the atonement was sufficient for all, but only effective in those people, who recieve Jesus. I dont remember anyone in here ever saying that the death of Jesus meant that everyone was saved…universalism.

      David

        Calvin S.

        David,

        Sorry for the confusion, but see the Charle Hodge quote below and you will see that you and Hodge do not agree on “sufficient” “efficacious”. Because as he taught “There is a sense, therefore, in which He died for all, and there is a sense in which He died for the elect alone.” I am assuming that you disagree with this statement from Hodge. I agree with it.

Calvin S.

David Allen,

By quoting Charles Hodge as one who rejected limited atonment, you must surely be aware that he actually taught it, just differently than Owen. Here, for example, is a quote from Charle Hodge:

“In view of the effects which the death of Christ produces on the relation of all mankind to God, it has in all ages been customary with Augustinians to say that Christ died ‘suffcienter proomnibus, efficaciter tantum pro electi—’ sufficiently for all, efficaciously only for the elect. There is a sense, therefore, in which He died for all, and there is a sense in which He died for the elect alone.”

    Norm Miller

    Calvin: 1 John 2.2 makes it abundantly and unequivocally clear for whom Christ died. John the Baptist declared the same, saying that Jesus “takes away” the sins of the world. — Norm

      Randall Cofield

      Norm,

      If Christ has “taken away” the sins of the entire world (all without exception), then who are those who will be cast into outer darkness, forever separated from God because of their sins?

        volfan007

        Randall,

        People who reject God’s gift are spitting in the face of God. And, they turn thier backs on the God, Who bought them(2 Peter 2). And, they will most certainly answer to a holy and almighty God, Who will judge them, according to their works(Revelation 20 and more). So, they will spend forever in Hell, because they would not believe, and they lived in sins….not because they COULD NOT believe. They could have been saved….and God sincerely, earnestly desires to save all men….but they will not believe, so they will face judgment.

        Thus, the death of Jesus is sufficient to cover the sins of every person in the world….but, of course, it’s only effective in those people, who believe.

        David

          Calvin S.

          077: Don’t you believe that Jesus died for the sin of spitting in God’s face??

            volfan007

            A person must receive God’s gift of salvation. If they dont…spit in God’s face….then, they will go to Hell.

            David

        Kyle Gulledge

        Randall,
        Those who will be thrown into outer darkness will be those, who of their own free will, chose to reject God’s universal call to salvation. — Norm

          Calvin S.

          How is their will “free” when the Bible teaches that their wills are in “slavery” to sin?

            wingedfooted1

            Calvin,

            John 8:31-32 (NIV)….
            To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

            Notice these Jews were still slaves to sin. They had not yet been “set free”. Yet their bondage to sin did not prevent them from believing in Him.

            The Bible provides many examples of unregenerate sinners putting their faith in Jesus.

            God bless.

            wingedfooted1

            Norm Miller

            Calvin:
            With all due respect, I don’t intend to engage on a topic that has been beaten to death — for centuries — and remains sans universal consensus among theologues more astute than most of the rest of us. You and I would simply trot out our verses, give our opinions and interps, and ultimately be left to wonder, “What’s wrong with that guy?” In my view, that would be a waste of my time and yours. — Norm

          dr. james willingham

          All of mankind is already lost and on the road to Hell due to a sinful nature that commits sin. Thus, the sparing of any is an act of sovereign mercy and grace, undeserved, unearned, and unmerited. Even the accepting is a result of God’s action: “We love him, because He first loved us (I Jn.4:19). Dr. B.H. Carroll said in his Interpretation of the English Bible that when he was a young man he wanted Acts 13:48 to read “as many as believed were ordained to eternal life, but it does not read that way.” “It reads “As many as were ordained (destined, appointed) to eternal life believed.” The cause of the believing is the ordaining as Dr. Carroll the Founder and First President of the Seminary where Dr. Allen teaches, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the source of some of the Sovereign Grace renascence of the 20th century, coming from the Evangelist Rolfe Barnard and his mentor, Dr. W.T. Conner.

      dr. james willingham

      I John 5:19 reveals that the whole world does not mean every one without exception, just the whole order. In 5:19 it is clear that John does not count himself and his fellow believers in that whole world that lies in the wicked one. Our failures to study word usage will turn up to bit us in the heel.

        holdon

        “whole world does not mean every one without exception”

        The term “whole” is a different one from the one translated “all” or “every” elsewhere such as in 1 Tim 2:6. If you had done that word study you would have known…

        But listen to Calvin on this text:

        Under the term world, the Apostle no doubt includes the whole human race. By saying that it lieth in the wicked one, he represents it as being under the dominion of Satan.

        And further what Paul said:
        “and you, being dead in your offences and sins —
        in which ye once walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience: among whom we also ALL once had our conversation in the lusts of our flesh, doing what the flesh and the thoughts willed to do, and were children, by nature, of wrath, EVEN AS THE REST See also Eph 5:8; Gal. 1: 4; Col. 1:13; 3:7; Titus 3:3; 1 Cor 6:10, etc. etc..

        So, the default position is that the entire human race is under the dominion of Satan. Calvin was right on this one.

          dr. james willingham

          Who ever said Calvin was right all the time? Besides, the views expressed here were around long before Calvin was born, let alone born again. It is in the records, fellows. Go read about the Lollards, some of the Waldensians, the Petrobrussians, the Arnoldists, and many more. I found a Lollard who thought free will and the papacy came out of the universities, and that was in the 1400s before Calvin and Luther both. There were 350 prosecutions for heresy in England during the first 17 years of the 1500s. Luther posted his theses in 1517, and Calvin gets converted somewhere around 1525. That Lollard mentioned above was sold on Predestination.

      Calvin S.

      Norm,

      My point in quoting Charles Hodge was not to get in a debate on limited atonment but to show that David Allen is out of line to use Hodge as a Calvinist who denied limited atonment. Allen is mistaken.

    Tony Byrne

    Calvin,

    Dr. Allen has repeated post after post after post that by “limited atonement” he means a limited satisfaction for the sins of the elect alone, not merely the view that Christ had an effectual intent and design that concerned the elect alone. So, when he says that Charles Hodge did not teach “limited atonement,” he means that he rejected a limited imputation of sin to Christ. However, he is very much aware of the fact that C. Hodge, along with ALL kinds of Calvinists, believed that Christ had a special effectual purpose to save the elect alone through the death He died.

    Dr. Allen is right to say that C. Hodge did not teach the strictly limited view, which is Owen’s view. It is no defeater at all to Allen’s point to highlight the fact that C. Hodge believed in an effectual intent and design in Christ for the elect alone. Your citation of C. Hodge does not inform Allen of anything he has not already acknowledged in his chapter in Whosoever Will (and elsewhere).

    You might say that there are two versions of “limited atonement”:

    1) First, there is the Owenic view that believes, not only in Christ’s effectual intent to save the elect alone, but that He only bore the wrath due unto their sins, so that He only satisfied for them. This is why this group uses the double payment argument.

    2) Second, there is the moderate view that maintains that while Christ had an effectual intent to save the elect alone, He satisfied for the sins of all men. This group thinks the double payment argument is unsound.

    Both of these groups believe in Christ’s special intent in dying, but they don’t agree as to the imputation of sin to Christ.

    All that Allen is arguing is that Charles Hodge is in group #2, not group #1. You have proved nothing by showing that Charles Hodge believed in a special sense in which Christ died for the elect alone. Allen knows Charles Hodge, and every variety of Calvinist, believes that. Again, Allen has been ABUNDANTLY clear what he means by saying Charles Hodge did not believe in “limited atonement.” He’s just saying that C. Hodge was not in group #1 above, and even you are acknowledging that there is discontinuity between C. Hodge and Owen. The difference between them concerns the idea of a limited satisfaction or sin-bearing, not Christ’s efficacious purpose. Allen is quite correct on C. Hodge. C. Hodge, among other things, rejected the double payment argument and took an unlimited interpretation of John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2. These things cannot be denied by those who have checked the sources.

      Calvin S.

      Tony:

      I am NOT trying to make a case for limited atonement. So your arguments for universal atonement are out of place. I am not arguing for limited atonement! I don’t know why that is so difficult for you to grasp. I am merely showing that:

      1. David Allen writes: “limited atonement, which asserts that Christ died for the sins of the elect only” [that is his definition of limited atonment] And: “Charles Hodge… rejected outright (our did not teach) limited atonement.” This is what Allen is saying.

      AND:

      2. Charles Hodge wrote: “there is a sense in which He died for the elect alone.”

      David Allen is teaching a falsehoodabout Charles Hodge because Charles Hodge taught that Christ died for the elect alone in a saving sense. Therefore David Allen is WRONG about him!!

      I’m not sure if I can simplify it for you any more than that. You will merely have to remain in ignorance if you still don’t understand what I am trying to say.

        Tony Byrne

        Calvin,

        1. I said absolutely nothing in my above comment about whether or not “limited atonement” or “universal atonement” is true. Reread my comments of necessary to see that this is the case. These words of yours are therefore out of place: “your arguments for universal atonement are out of place. I am not arguing for limited atonement! I don’t know why that is so difficult for you to grasp.”

        2. You correctly pasted Allen’s use of the phrase “limited atonement,” which is “Christ died for the sins of the elect only.” He has gone out of his way to point out the fact that he is dealing with the EXTENT question of the atonement, not the INTENT aspect. You’re conflating these two categories when you point out that Charles Hodge saw a limitation in Christ’s INTENT. In order for you to defeat Allen’s historical claims about Charles Hodge, you have to show that Hodge believed Christ satisfied for the sins of the elect alone (extent), not that Hodge believed Christ died especially (intent) or savingly for the elect alone.

        Dr. Allen totally agrees that Charles Hodge believed that “there is a sense in which He died for the elect alone.” That “sense” about which C. Hodge is speaking is Christ’s effectual INTENT, not some limitation in the imputation of sin to Christ (EXTENT). Every Calvinist, including those who are readily acknowledged by all as teaching “universal redemption” (i.e. Davenant, Baxter, Polhill, Calamy, Ussher, Preston, etc.) say that “there is a sense in which Christ died for the elect alone.” Why? Because they all, in accord with their view of God’s efficacious will in election, see a special INTENT in Christ’s death. Where they depart from the Owenic trajectory is in the area of the EXTENT of Christ’s death.

        As I said above, there are there are two versions of what has been called “limited atonement”:

        1) First, there is the Owenic view that believes, not only in Christ’s effectual intent to save the elect alone, but that He only bore the wrath due unto their sins, so that He only satisfied for them. This is why this group uses the double payment argument.

        2) Second, there is the moderate view that maintains that while Christ had an effectual intent to save the elect alone, He satisfied for the sins of all men. This group thinks the double payment argument is unsound.

        When Allen defines “limited atonement,” he is speaking about group #1 above, i.e. those who think Christ “satisfied for the sins of the elect alone.” That is the Reformed orthodox Owenic trajectory. He, very clearly, is saying that Charles Hodge is *not* in that trajectory, but rather in the second group; namely, those who think Christ satisfied for the sins of all men but with a special intent that concerns the elect alone. All of those in the second trajectory can also (like the first group) say that “there is a sense in which Christ died for the elect alone.”

        Among the variety of Calvinists, it is not a distinctive thing to say that “there is a sense in which Christ died for the elect alone.” Both those in group #1 (the Owenic trajectory) and those in group #2 (the moderate trajectory) affirm that there is a sense in which Christ died for all, because they all necessarily see a limitation in Christ’s INTENT. What is distinctive is to say Christ satisfied for the sins of the elect alone (EXTENT) and therefore to use the double payment argument to maintain that further sense of limitation.” That further sense of limitation is precisely the idea that Charles Hodge is explicitly rejecting, hence his refutation of the double payment argument.

        You have not defeated Allen’s view of Charles Hodge by pointing out that Hodge said said “there is a sense in which Christ died for the elect alone” since Hodge is speaking to INTENT. That is *not* the area of “limitation” that Allen is focusing upon. He is focusing upon EXTENT, and pointing out where Calvinists differ on that subject. This is why Allen has repeatedly defined his meaning as Christ dying “for the sins of” the elect alone. See it? “For the sins of,” he says, time and time again. That’s the limited substitution (or extent) concept.

        I hope that is clearer now. If you’re going to continue to respond, then I will ask that you answer this question:

        In which of the following group of Calvinists is Charles Hodge?

        Group #1: Christ intended to die for the elect alone AND only substituted himself for their sins on the cross.

        Group #2: Christ substituted himself for the sins of all men (including the non-elect), but did so with an effectual intent to save the elect alone.

        In order to defeat Allen’s position, you have to maintain that Charles Hodge was in group #1 above. Allen thinks Charles Hodge was in group #2. What’s the difference between the two groups? Again, it is not the effectual INTENT area, but the unlimited EXTENT area. The former (group 1) limits both the intent and extent, while the latter group limits the intent only, while maintaining an unlimited extent.

        Since you have admitted that Charles Hodge and John Owen did not maintain identical positions, how can you possibly maintain Hodge was in group #1, which is where Owen was?

        To repeat your own words back to you, “I’m not sure if I can simplify it for you any more than that. You will merely have to remain in ignorance if you still don’t understand what I am trying to say.”

          Tony Byrne

          Correction:

          Both those in group #1 (the Owenic trajectory) and those in group #2 (the moderate trajectory) affirm that there is a sense in which Christ died for *the elect alone*, because they all necessarily see a limitation in Christ’s INTENT.

            dr. james willingham

            I got my views of Christ death applying for enough souls for a 1000 generations and a multitude of other worlds from John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ by way of Andrew Fuller’s Gospel Worth of All Acceptation. It became the grounds of my praying for a Third Great Awakening, after the many promises recorded in Jonathan Edwards’ Humble Attempt which inspired William Carey and Andrew Fuller. The references to Dan.2; Isa.11:9; Hab.2:14; et. al. , along with I Chrons.16:15 and Rev.7:9 supply adequate grounds for pleading that God would do as he promised. Since Fuller got a lot of his ideas from Owen, you folks downing Owen had better go back and read the Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation by Fuller and look at the quotes he makes from Owen.

volfan007

Let us never cease to be amazed…..

http://youtu.be/8AXTu247tDA

David

    Alan Davis

    Hey David,

    Thanks for that link. Are you going to be at the Vol/bama game? My son is going but I am going out of town.

    Alan Davis

      volfan007

      Alan,

      I wont be able to go to the game, but I will be watching from the best seat in the house!

      Go Vols!

      David

pam knight

David we are so thankful for your availability to the Lord. Thank you so very much for all you have taught and shared with me and Theo over the years concerning this issue. We thank God for you.
In Christ
pam knight

Calvin S.

Norm,

I don’t know why you and I are having such a difficult time understanding each other. My point is that your author is wrong!!! In the above article David Allen wrote:

“3. Historically, within the Reformed tradition, many Calvinists such as Davenant, Baxter, Bunyan, Charnock, Preston, Howe, Jonathan Edwards, Chalmers, Charles Hodge, Robert Dabney, Shedd, Ryle, along with many others, rejected outright (our did not teach) limited atonement.”

But He is wrong about Charles Hodge (as my Hodge quote above proves). He is also wrong about others (Edwards and Boyce). So why is this a waste of time? Your article is wrong! David Allen has said a falsehood. I’ve proven that to be the case with Charles Hodge.

That is the point of my comment. Your article is inaccurate. David Allen is clearly wrong.

David

I have to agree with Tony Byrne.

For the most part, it\’s a case of being \”clueless in TULIPville.\”

What strikes me as profoundly odd is the systemic inability of TULIP proponents to deal with arguments presented to them which come from the moderate Calvinist perspective;whether historical, exegetical, or theological. For example, after all the discussion we have had and seen on Charles Hodge, CalvinS, you just reassert the inadequate retort that C Hodge held to \”limited atonement.\”

or when Allen asserts that Christ paid the penal obligation for all men, someone will invariably resort to the old double payment dilemma. But here is the kicker. When some of us counter, by using standard Reformed sources, that the double payment dilemma is fallacious, invariably there is no attempt to press the issue further. Indeed, the response will be to write and act as if Charles Hodge nor anyone else from within the Reformed camp ever spoke against the double payment argument.

The white elephant in the room is that when men like Charles Hodge, R Dabney and W. Shedd rejected the double payment dilemma they did so because they must have been operating on the terms of a different model of penal satisfaction.

Its a systemic dysfunction within the modern TULIP movement.

I would be much better of a TULIP advocate could really interact with Allen\’s arguments on their own terms and premises.

David

CalvinS says: “That is the point of my comment. Your article is inaccurate. David Allen is clearly wrong.”

David: You see, this is an exact example of why modern TULIP advocates are unable to sustain an intellectually credible case for limited satisfaction.

See Tony’s explanation. Time and time again, Allen has defined what he means by limited atonement as to extent and intent. In terms of extent, C Hodge did not teach limited atonement. In terms of intent (to effectually apply it to some and not others) he did. But Allen has acknowledged this from the get go.

This inability to read Allen on his own terms characterizes, Schrock, Ascol and others’ inability to respond to Allen in a way that moves the conversation forward.

I have to say, TULIP as a “tool” blinds a person way more than it informs.

    Calvin S.

    AGAIN! I am not trying to make a case for limited atonment!! All I am saying is that David Allen has misrepresented Charles Hodge, who taught that Christ died for the elect alone is a saving sense.

      Calvin S.

      You are putting false words in Charles Hodge’s mouth that are not there with your “extent and intent”. Hodge never said it!!

Calvin S.

“We reason that the death of Jesus Christ was an actual substitution. A real transaction took place. “The sin of Adam did not make the condemnation of all men merely possible; it was the ground of their actual condemnation. So the righteousness of Christ did not make the salvation of men merely possible, it secured the actual salvation of those for whom He wrought”
(Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. II, pp. 551-552).

Calvin S.

Charles Hodge’s magnum opus is his three volume work on systematic theology. In the second of these works, in chapter eight of this volume he ask the question, “For Whom did Christ Die?” In answering this question he states,

“There is a sense, therefore, in which He [Christ] died for all, and there is a sense in which He died for the elect alone. The simple question is, Had the death of Christ a reference to the elect which it had not to other men? Did He come into the world to secure the salvation of those given to Him by the Father, so that the other effects of his work are merely incidental to what was done for the attainment of that object? That these questions must be answered in the affirmative, is evident.
He then goes on into 7 section as to why this must be the case. Section five is of particular note. In this section, entitled Argument from the Believers Union with Christ, Hodge argues Christ was “the federal head, not of the human race, but of those given to Him by the Father.”

His argument in this section goes:
1) a certain portion of the human race was given to Christ by the Father
2) this group was given to Christ before the foundation of the world
3) this group will of necessity come to Christ and thus be saved
4) this certain portion of humanity is federally united to Christ
5) Christ was the federal head for this group alone

After arguing for the specific and particular nature of the atonement, Hodge make this interesting comment, “Whatever reference it [the work of Christ] had to others was subordinate and incidental.” From this alone it should be abundantly clear that Hodge held to a robust, thoroughgoing five point Calvinism.

David Allen (and the other David) is wrong about Charles Hodge!!

    Calvin S.

    In case you didn’t catch it, Charles Hodge starts out that section in his Systematic Theology asking whether the benefits to all mankind from Christ’s death are merely incidental to accomplishing the salvation of the elect, Hodge not only says “these questions must be answered in the affirmative;” He also ends the section saying they are indeed “subordinate and incidental”.

    Here is the point: “David Allen” has misrepresented Charles Hodge. “David” the Presbyterian still misunderstands Charles Hodge. And “Tony Byrne” has misunderstood Charles Hodge. You guys do not read carefully enough. You need to reread Hodge again on this subject because you still have not understood him correctly. That is your problem. I know this must be hard to take, because it goes against what you 4-point Calvinists want to be true about him and it shows that Allen has not been careful in his research or words, but facts are facts: ALL THREE OF YOU GUYS ARE WRONG!!

    And you can continue to believe the falsehood if you want. But all it shows is that you have not read Charles Hodge carefully. You have misrepresented him. And I will continue to say that fact because it is FACT, whether you like it or not. You have misread Charles Hodge and you have misrepresented him.

David

Hey CalvinS,

You cite C Hodge:

“We reason that the death of Jesus Christ was an actual substitution. A real transaction took place. “The sin of Adam did not make the condemnation of all men merely possible; it was the ground of their actual condemnation. So the righteousness of Christ did not make the salvation of men merely possible, it secured the actual salvation of those for whom He wrought” (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. II, pp. 551-552).

David: I know this is going to be very difficult for you to understand.

1) You are assuming that “definitionally” substitution means or entails limited in nature and/or extent. Charles Hodge held that Christ sustained in his own person, the curse of the law due to you. That is substitution. But Hodge believed that he did this in a way that he bore the common curse due to all men, not just as due to the elect:

C Hodge: In the third place, the question does not concern the suitableness of the atonement. What was suitable for one was suitable for all. The righteousness of Christ, the merit of his obedience and death, is needed for justification by each individual of our race, and therefore is needed by all. It is no more appropriate to one man than to another. Christ fulfilled the conditions of the covenant under which all men were placed. He rendered the obedience required of all, and suffered the penalty which all had incurred; and therefore his work is equally suited to all. Charles. Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:544-5.

So Dr. Cox, in his introductory chapter, speaks of “the limitation of the nature” of the atonement, and represents those whom he opposes as holding that it is as “limited in its nature as in its application.”–Pp. 16, 17. If these gentlemen would take the trouble to read a little on this subject they would find that this is all a mistake. They are merely beating the air. Those who deny that Christ died for Judas’ as much as for Paul, for the non-elect as much as for the elect, and who maintain that he died strictly and properly only for his own people, do not hold that there is any limitation in the nature of the atonement. They teach as fully as any men, that “an atonement sufficient for one is sufficient for all.” It is a simple question relating to the design, and not to the nature of Christ’s work. That work, as far as we know or believe, would have been the same had God purposed to save but one soul or the souls of all mankind. We hold that the atonement as to its value is infinite, and as to its nature as much adapted to one man as to another, to all as to one. The whole question is, for what purpose did he die ? What was the design which God intended to accomplish by his mission and death? That this is the true state of the question is obvious from the fact that the Reformed and Lutherans do not differ at all as to the nature of Christ’s satisfaction, though they do differ as to its design. Charles Hodge, “Beman on the atonement,” in Essays and Reviews, (New York, Robert Carter & Brothers, 1857), 170-1.

For C Hodge, the nature of the satisfaction is perfectly indefinite. It has no limitation in itself. That is the extent part.

2) The intent is to effectually apply only to some.

C Hodge says: “That the design of his death was not simply to remove obstacles out of the way of mercy, but actually to secure the salvation of those given to him by the Father ; and that it does in fact secure for them the gift of the Holy Ghost, and consequently justification and eternal life…” Charles Hodge, “Beman on the Atonement,” in Essays and Reviews, (New York, Robert Carter & Brothers, 1857), 181.

3) For Hodge, it is not that the atonement, itself, saves, but that as it is applied by the Spirit, it saves.

In like manner, the express declarations that it was the incomprehensible and peculiar love of God for his own people, which induced Him to send his Son for their redemption; that Christ came into the world for that specific object; that He died for his sheep; that He gave Himself for his Church; and that the salvation of all for whom He thus offered Himself is rendered certain by the gift of the Spirit to bring them to faith and repentance, are intermingled with declarations of good-will to all mankind, with offers of salvation to every one who will believe in the Son of God, and denunciations of wrath against those who reject these overtures of mercy. All we have to do is not to ignore or deny either of these modes of representation, but to open our minds wide enough to receive them both, and reconcile them as best we can. Both are true, in all the cases above referred to, whether we can see their consistency or not…

The opposite, or anti-Augustinian doctrine, is founded on a partial view of the facts of the case. It leaves out of view the clearly revealed special love of God to his peculiar people; the union between Christ and his chosen; the representative character which He assumed as their substitute; the certain efficacy of his sacrifice in virtue of the covenant of redemption; and the necessary connection between the gift of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It moreover leads to confused and inconsistent views of the plan of salvation, and to unscriptural and dangerous theories of the nature of the atonement. It therefore is the limited and meagre scheme; whereas the orthodox doctrine is catholic and comprehensive; full of consolation and spiritual power, as well as of justice to all mankind. Charles. Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:561 and 562.

You cite Hodge again:

“There is a sense, therefore, in which He [Christ] died for all, and there is a sense in which He died for the elect alone. The simple question is, Had the death of Christ a reference to the elect which it had not to other men? Did He come into the world to secure the salvation of those given to Him by the Father, so that the other effects of his work are merely incidental to what was done for the attainment of that object? That these questions must be answered in the affirmative, is evident.

David: Again, all that proves is special intent.

Over and over again, TULIP blinds more than it informs. It is as if it is impossible for you to conceptualize C Hodge’s position in a way that is other than TULIP’s categorizations.

I understand this is almost impossible for you to “see”, but C Hodge makes a distinction between extent (its nature) and its intent. And I suspect nothing I show from C Hodge will ever convince you otherwise.

    Calvin S.

    David: Yes. I guess we will have to learn to agree to disagree agreeably.

    I agree with you that Owen and Hodge taught differently on the atonement. Hodge did not embrace Owen’s double payment theory.

    However, in his chapter on “For Whom Did Christ Die?” Charles Hodge is quite clear in his agreement with Augustinians of all ages. Hodge teaches that it must be affirmed that any benefits from the death of Christ for the non-elect are merely incidental to God’s plan of redeeming the elect. That is what Hodge teaches. It is very clear. If you don’t want to call that limited atonement, be my guest! lol

    Blessings,
    Cal

      Tony Byrne

      In which of the following groups was Charles Hodge regarding Christ’s death?

      GROUP #1: Christ intended to die for the elect alone AND only substituted himself for their sins of the elect on the cross.

      GROUP #2: Christ died with an effectual intent to save the elect alone, but He ALSO substituted himself for the sins of all men (including the non-elect).

        Calvin S.

        Neither!

        Charles Hodge was in:

        GROUP #3: The benefits of Christ’s death for the non-elect are only incidental in God’s actual plan to redeem the elect.

        That’s what Charles Hodge taught.

          Tony Byrne

          Your “group #3” is actually the group #1 I described above. The overwhelming majority of those in group #1 think that “The benefits of Christ’s death for the non-elect are only incidental in God’s actual plan to redeem the elect.” The belief that there are incidental benefits that acrue to the non-elect by virtue of Christ’s death for the elect is not a distinctive believe that places one outside of group #1.

          In your dodging answer (which I expected), you’re basically admitting that you think Charles Hodge believed that Christ only substituted himself for the sins of the elect on the cross because of His intent to save them alone. That’s the Owenic trajectory.

          To accept your theory, one must believe that there are some Calvinists who explicitly reject the double payment argument and yet believed that Christ only substituted Himself for the sins of the elect. There are no such persons in all of church history in that camp. Davenant, Polhill, Hardy, Bellamy, Dabney and Shedd are Calvinists that explicitly rejected the double payment argument and they all maintained that Christ substituted himself for every man. Your view would have Charles Hodge on an island by himself, in the sense that he would be the singular example of a man who rejected the double payment argument and yet maintained (with Owen) that Christ substituted for the elect alone. Also, the reasons why Hodge rejected the double payment argument argue that he was in group #2 above, instead of group #1 (where you implicitly place Hodge, yet in a dodging manner).

          Then there are the other obvious defeaters to your theory. Hodge is also on record taking an unlimited reading of John 3:16 and 1 John 2:2. That is also incompatible with the notion that Christ only bore the wrath due for the sins of the elect alone. No one in group #1 would say (as Hodge said), that “Christ fulfilled the conditions of the covenant under which all men were placed. He rendered the obedience required of all, and suffered the penalty which all had incurred; and therefore his work is equally suited to all.” That is another defeater for your actual belief (which you dodged) that Hodge was in group #1. There are other things that David Ponter highlighted above that defeat your view.

          The best explanation for Hodge’s statements is that he actually fits in group #2, while using his own labels to capture these ideas. He believed that Christ died with an effectual purpose to save the elect alone, but He ALSO substituted himself for the sins of all men (i.e. “suffered the penalty which all had incurred”).

          Since your answer was a deliberate dodge, I am through with you, Calvin.

            Calvin S.

            It is not my words. It is Charles Hodge’s words–who said that Christ’s suffering for the non-elect was “incidental” in accomplishing his plan to redeem the elect. If that places him in GROUP 1 as you say, so be it. If your many, many words can somehow force him into your GROUP 2 to your satisfaction, so be it.

            I am not interested in your choice of words. I am merely interested in what Hodge said, and twice he said Jesus’s death for the non-elect was merely incidental. You seem unable to deal with that reality.

dr. james willingham

Any one knows that the law cannot require a thing twice. If Jesus has paid the price for sin, made satisfaction, then there is nothing left for the sinner to pay in Hell or out of it.

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