Review, part 2: “From Heaven He Came and Sought Her.”

December 10, 2013

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by Dr. David L. Allen
Dean of the School of Theology
Professor of Preaching
Director of the Center for Expository Preaching
George W. Truett Chair of Pastoral Ministry
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

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“Review of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective, David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson, eds. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013) – Part 2
(Read “Review, part 1,” HERE.)
Part 2 of this review will address the key elements of the six chapters in the biblical section.
A detailed assessment of each of these sections awaits a multi-part review I intend to post on my new website, which will be launched later this month.

Definite Atonement in the Bible

These chapters all focus on the biblical data impinging on the question at hand. Key to most of them is the attempt to argue that the so called “universal” language in atonement passages such as “all” or “world” do not mean “all without exception” but “all without distinction,” and, conjoined with the Reformed doctrine of unconditional election, indicate Christ’s death for elect people of all nations, Jews and Gentiles. The authors read the “universal” texts (“all,” “world,” etc.) in light of the “limited” texts (“his people,” “the church,” etc.), and are thus forced to mitigate the meaning of words like “all” and “world.” Moderate Calvinists and non-Calvinists read the limited texts as a subset of the universal texts. Continue reading