Tag Archives: atonement

Union with Christ and Representation

The doctrine of election cannot be understood biblically and theologically if it is abstracted from its being in Christ. . . . it cannot be severed from the gospel, and it is the root and foundation of all the other ways in which union with Christ is worked out in human history and in the experience of the faithful. It is as far from fatalism as could be imagined. (Robert Letham, 66)       … Continue reading

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“Four-point” and “five-point” Calvinism defined

Reflecting on Dan’s question regarding my previous post (“Did Calvin affirm ‘limited atonement’?”) and my response to him, I have concluded that my glossary definitions of “four-” and “five-point Calvinism” need revision and a bit of expansion. I am posting those definitions here because I welcome comment on them. “Five-point Calvinism” “Five-point Calvinism” is the affirmation of the conclusions of the Synod of Dort. In the past century or so, the 5 points have commonly … Continue reading

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Did Calvin affirm “limited atonement”?

If you have read my posts regarding the extent/intent of the atonement in recent months, you will be aware that my own way of stating the situation has been changing, but I’m still working some things through. I remain convinced that my present understanding of a double intent in the redemptive work of the Godhead is coherent with the Canons of Dort. First, it was God’s intention, in the death of the Son, to make … Continue reading

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Creation, Incarnation, and Union with Christ

          I have benefited significantly from previous work by Robert Letham, so I am happy to be reading his new work, Union with Christ: in Scripture, History and Theology. I have chosen to work through the book because I concur with Letham that “union with Christ is right at the center of the Christian doctrine of salvation,” and that “the whole of our relationship with God can be summed up in … Continue reading

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Horton on the Atonement

Michael Horton’s presentation In chapter 4, Michael Horton addresses the third point of  “TULIP,” which he prefers to call “particular redemption”` rather than “limited atonement,” arguing that it is “specific or definite in its intention and scope” (80.) He begins with a discussion of “the nature and effects of Christ’s work on the cross,” positing that “penal substitution has always been at the heart of Reformed (as other) accounts of Christ’s redemptive work” (81). But … Continue reading

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The free offer of the gospel

In my post on Roger Olson’s discussion of the extent/intent of the atonement, I said very little about a connection between the universal/limited provision of salvation and a free offer of the gospel. Roger quotes favorably the assessment of Gary Schultz that: “If the atonement was only for the elect, to preach this message to the non-elect would at best be giving them a false hope and at worst would be untrue” (Against Calvinism, 151). … Continue reading

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For whom did Christ die?

In the sixth chapter of Against Calvinism, Roger Olson states his objections to the “high Calvinist” understanding of limited atonement/particular redemption. Olson’s representation of the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement In his reading of high Calvinist theologians (Boettner, Steele and Thomas, Palmer, Sproul, Piper), Roger hears this: penal substitution is the central purpose of Christ’s atoning work and this necessitates the conclusion that Christ actually suffered the deserved punishment for all people, because that would … Continue reading

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Against Calvinism 4 – the TULIP system

Mere Calvinism  TULIP In the third chapter of Roger Olson’s book, Against Calvinism, he describes what he dubs “mere” or “garden variety Calvinism” (38). His guides are primarily Loraine Boettner,  R. C. Sproul, John Piper and Paul Helm, whom he finds consistent with the teaching of Calvin himself in regard to the meticulous sovereignty of God – “nothing at all can happen that is not foreordained and rendered certain by God” (39). God is also … Continue reading

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