Friday, November 02, 2007

Sad News from Contend Earnestly

I, for one, was saddened to see this post (link) over at Contend Earnestly.

I would love the opportunity to discuss with Mr. McBee the issue, either informally backchannel or over at the debate blog (link), if he has time and interest.

An Amyraldian position makes little sense, and less now than in Baxter's day because of the greater resources available to us for study than to him.



TheoJunkie said...


Indeed, Christ is not a person's savior unless that person is saved by Christ.

Christ surely is The Savior (for there is only one way to the Father, and that is through Him)... and this is Truth even for those who do not believe.

*That* is why Christ is Savior of all men, especially those who believe.

We all have reckoned with the statement to Timothy. I hope that we all learn to take the full counsel of God into account when forming doctrine.

Seth McBee said...

I figured there would be some that were disapointed but Baxter is not my main source and neither is saying I am taking an Amyraldian position.

The main people that I have read and studied, besides Scripture is, Shedd, Dabney, Charles Hodge, Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan and then John Calvin himself.

If you would like to talk more about it I would love to discuss...

I hope you have a great weekend, especially a great Lord's Day.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Turretinfan said...

I would be delighted to discuss more - is the more expedient means backchannel emails, the debate blog, or some other mechanism?

On the debate blog, I would be happy to affirm:

Resolved: Christ's sacrifice has saved or will save each person upon whose behalf it was offered.

Perhaps, however, you can think of a resolution that would be more to your liking.


GeneMBridges said...

As I recall, Hodge states that the atonement (as penal) agrees with the competing, minority view (as pecuniary) insofar as both become a ransom such that the people for whom Christ died are given to Christ as a kingdom. This always gets overlooked when discussing his position, in favor of statements he makes regarding 1 John 2:2. It's true that he views the cross as underwriting the
the "free offer," but it is equally true that he says that it is unjust for the benefits of redemption not to be applied to the people for whom Christ died, and, here, he clearly is talking about the elect and only the elect.

I would also point out that it is not enough to say that the value of the atonement is "infinite" as to its sufficiency. There are many sorts of infinities, which one is the proper one? Scripture says nothing about that, so you'd have to take a cue from historical theology, but how is historical theology the proper cue?

Seth McBee said...

What would you make of this quote that seems to speak of this directly:

Dr Beman s second objection is, that the system he opposes destroys “all mercy in God the Father, in the salvation of sinners, because it represents God as. totally disinclined to the exercise of compassion, till every jot and tittle of the legal curse was inflicted. On the same principle, grace or pardon in the release of the sinner from future punishment, would be out o the question; for what grace, or pardon, or favour, can there be in the discharge of debtor, whose demand (debt?) has been cancelled to the uttermost farthing?” p. 122. This objection is the staple of his book. On p. 100, he represents us as teaching that “the Son of God endured the exact amount of suffering due on legal principle, to sinners.” On p. 107, he says, “The amount of Christ’s sufferings must consequently be the same as the aggregate sufferings included in the eternal condemnation of all those who are saved by his merit… The agonies which he suffered mere equal to the endless misery of all those who rill be saved by his interposition in their behalf.” On p. 146, he says, “If one soul were to be saved by the atonement, Christ must sustain an amount of suffering equal to that involved in the eternal condemnation of that one soul; and if. a thousand were to be saved a thousand times that mount, and in the same proportion for any greater number who are to be rescued from perdition and exalted to glory. To this scheme there are insurmountable objections.” True enough, but who hold that scheme? Dr Beman attributes it to all who believe in the atonement, and do not adopt his scheme; for he says there are but two. This doctrine, that the sufferings of Christ amounted to the aggregate sufferings of those who are to be saved, that he endured just so much for so many, is not found in any confession of the Protestant churches. nor in the writings of any standard theologian, nor in the recognised authorities of any church of which we have any knowledge. The whole objection is a gross and inexcusable misrepresentation. In a more moderate form it was brought forward by the Socinians, and repelled by the writers of that and subsequent ages. De Moor is generally recognised as the theologian of most authority among the churches of Holland, and Turrettin is admitted to be one of the strictest of the Geneva, school, and they both answer this calumny, by denying that, according to their doctrine, there is any necessity for the assumption that Christ’s sufferings were equal to the sufferings of all his people. Thus Turrettin, after quoting at length the objection from Socinus, answers it, first, by showing that the Scriptures teach that the one death of Christ mas a satisfaction or all; that as by the one sin of Adam, many mere made sinners, so by the, righteousness of Christ, many are made righteous. 2. By insisting on the distinction between pecuniary and penal satisfaction. A piece of money in the hand of a king is of no more value than in the hands of a peasant, but the life of a king is of more value than that of a peasant, and one commander is often exchanged for many soldiers. 3. He says the adversaries forget that Christ is God, and therefore, though his sufferings could not be infinite as they were endured by his finite nature, they were of infinite value in virtue of the infinite dignity of his person. Sin, he says, is an infinite evil, because committed against an infinite God, through the act of a finite nature. So the sufferings of Christ. though endured in his human nature, are of infinite value from the dignity of his person.

Dr Beman, under this head, frequently objects that we degrade the atonement into a mere commercial transaction, a payment of a debt, which, from the nature of the case, excludes the idea of free remission. Our first remark on this objection is, that the Scriptures use this same figure, and therefore it is right it should be used. When it is said, Christ purchased the church with his own blood, that we are redeemed not with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, such language means something. In every metaphor there is a point of comparison; the essential idea involved in the figure, must be found in subject to be illustrated. To purchase is to acquire, and to acquire, by giving or doing something which secures a title to the thing acquired. When it is said that Christ purchased the church, it is certainly meant that he acquired it, that it is his, and that by his death he has secured a title to it, founded in the justice and promise of God. This does not make redemption a commercial transaction, nor imply that there are not essential points of diversity between acquiring by money and acquiring by blood. Hence our second remark is, that if Dr Beman will take up any elementary work on theology, he will find the distinction between pecuniary and penal satisfaction clearly pointed out, and the satisfaction of Christ shown to be of the latter, and not of the former kind. I. In the one, the demand is upon the thing due; in the other case, it is upon the person of the Hence, 2. The creditor is bound to accept the payment of the debt, no matter when or by whom offered; whereas in the case of a crime or sin, the sovereign is bound neither to provide a substitute, nor to accept of one when offered. If he does either, it is s matter of grace. 3. Hence penal satisfaction does not ipso facto liberate; the acceptance is a matter of arrangement or covenant, and the terms of that covenant must depend on the mill of the parties. Dr Beman lapsed into an important truth when he said, “Christ suffered by covenant,” p. 98. What that covenant is, we learn from Scripture, and from the manner in which it is executed. The Bible teaches that, agreeably to that covenant, the merits of Christ do not avail to the benefit of his people immediately; his children remain under condemnation as well as others until they believe; and when they do believe, they receive but the first fruits of their inheritance, they are but imperfectly sanctified, and are still subject to many evils; but being in a justified state, their sufferings are chastisements and not punishments, that is, they are designed for their own improvement, and not to satisfy justice.

The satisfaction of Christ, therefore, being for sin and by suffering, is expressly and formally declared not to be of the nature of pecuniary satisfaction.

Charles Hodge, “The Orthodox Doctrine Regarding the Extent of the Atonement Vindicated,” (London: B. Groombridge & Sons, 1846), pp., 45-48.

HT: Theology Online

Turretinfan said...


Your comment asserting that Christ's death was to obtain a general resurrection is noted, but is incorrect.

The general resurrection is simply a necessary mechanism for those who have sinned to be properly punished.

Christ's death was to accomplish a resurrection not simply in general but to life everlasting.

The remainder of your comments were excessively inflammatory.


Seth McBee said...

I will do a debate per se if we do it on contend earnestly...

Is that okay?

Turretinfan said...

That would be fine!