Author Archive

A Selective Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 2E

David L. Allen

Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.


This post and the subsequent four which will follow are a continuation of Dr. Allen’s review and critique of David Schrock’s chapter on the extent of the atonement entitled “Jesus Saves, No Asterisk Needed” in Whomever He Wills (hereafter WHW).

Part 2A | Part 2B | Part 2C | Part 2D

Dr. Allen considers Schrock’s section addressing the typological symbolism of Christ’s high priestly activity as evidence for definite atonement (90-99). As a reminder for clarification, with respect to definitions, the phrases “limited atonement,” “particular redemption,” and “definite atonement” as used in Schrock’s chapter and by Dr. Allen in this review should be defined to mean “Christ died only for the sins of the elect.” The “limited” in “limited atonement” refers to the limited sin-bearing nature of Christ’s death; he only satisfied for the sins of the elect.

Read more ...

A Selective Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 2D

David L. Allen

Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.


(Ed.’s note: What follows below is Part 2D. This follows Part 2C that appeared on Aug. 15.)

 

6) The Efficacious Nature of the Atonement.

On pages 85-90, Schrock moves from the discussion of the particular nature of Christ’s atonement to the efficacious nature of it. Here there is less to disagree with, but some troublesome spots occur. Schrock writes, “Historically, those who have defended penal substitution have usually embraced definite atonement” (88). In light of the large variety of Calvinists throughout Reformed history who have affirmed a form of unlimited atonement, coupled with the large number of non-Calvinists like John Wesley who affirmed unlimited atonement along with penal substitution, this statement needs qualification. In the footnote, he mistakenly cites Shedd who was actually moderate on the question of the extent of the atonement. (I am here assuming Schrock is citing Shedd as a proponent of Limited Atonement.)

Read more ...

A Selective Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 2C

David L. Allen

Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.


(Ed.’s note: What follows below is Part 2C. This follows Part 2B that appeared on Aug. 14.)

3) Non-Elect are not “Saveable.”

In Schrock’s third paragraph of footnote 13, he continues the “misrepresentation” charge and supports it by a lengthy quote from Wills’ review of my chapter. It should be noted that Schrock’s quotation of Wills has been somehow truncated when compared with the actual quotation in the original review. Having written and edited a few books, I am well aware that this kind of thing can inadvertently happen. I have inserted in brackets the missing words from the quotation so the reader can see the correct quote and get the full sense of what Wills is arguing.

Read more ...

A Selective Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 2B

David L. Allen

Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.


(Ed.’s note: Dr. Allen’s “Part 2” is approximately 8,000 words in length. SBCToday will therefore publish Part 2 in 2,000-word (approximate) increments. These shorter installments will be signified thusly: Part 2A; Part 2B; etc. What follows below is Part 2B. This follows sequentially Dr. Allen’s “Part 2A” that appeared on Aug. 13.)

2) Dabney Misread.

Schrock cites my appeal to the negative inference fallacy, and my citation of Dabney. He says my point would be well-taken if these “bare positive statements” [texts which speak of the extent of the atonement “for His people” or “for the church.”] were all there was (80-81). Notice his next move. He follows by saying “However, these texts are but visible geysers forced to the surface by the power of God’s plan to save a particular people. As we will see below, the fountainhead of these verses is God’s covenantal relationship with His particular people” (81). Nothing here mitigates or refutes what I have said at all. Schrock footnotes J. Ramsey Michaels (Ibid.). He then quotes Michaels: “Most references to Jesus death in John’s gospel have to do with its benefits for believers, of Jesus’ own disciples, and are thus fully consistent with ‘particular redemption’ as the early English Baptists understood it” (81-82). Again, this has nothing to do with the price of tea in China. We are not talking about the benefits of the atonement being limited only to those who believe. All agree with that. Nothing in Michaels’ statement contradicts the notion of an unlimited atonement. Nothing in God’s covenantal relationship with His people, i.e., believers, mandates particular redemption either, but Schrock promises more on this later, so we will address this issue later as well.

Read more ...

A Selective Review and Critique of Whomever He Wills – Part 2

David L. Allen

Matthew Barrett and Thomas Nettles, eds. Whomever He Wills: a Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2012), 401 pgs.


(Ed.’s note: Dr. Allen’s “Part 2” is approximately 8,000 words in length. SBCToday will therefore publish Part 2 in 2,000-word (approximate) increments. These shorter installments will be signified thusly: Part 2A; Part 2B; etc. What follows below is Part 2A. This follows sequentially Dr. Allen’s “Part 1” that appeared on Aug. 10.)

In Part 2 of this review, I intend to cover the first two sections of David Schrock’s chapter “Jesus Saves, No Asterisk Needed: Why Preaching the Gospel as Good News Requires Definite Atonement,” 77- 119. Schrock replies in part to my chapter in Whosoever Will: a Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism entitled “The Atonement: Limited or Universal?” (61-107). Schrock’s chapter is divided into five sections: “Christ’s Death is Particular,” “Christ’s Death is Efficacious,” “Priestly Arguments for Particular and Effective Atonement,” “The Covenantal Nature of the Atonement,” and “The Universal Impact of Definite Atonement.” I intend to offer a detailed two-part critique of Schrock’s chapter. What follows is the first installment covering his sections “Christ’s Death is Particular” and “Christ’s Death is Efficacious.” By way of clarification throughout this review, with respect to definitions, the phrases “limited atonement,” “particular redemption,” and “definite atonement” as used in Schrock’s chapter and by me in this review all should be defined to mean that “Christ died only for the sins of the elect.” The “limited” in “limited atonement” refers to the limited sin-bearing nature of Christ’s death; he only satisfied for the sins of the elect.

Read more ...