The Extent of the Atonement

Is a “Purchase of Faith” Taught in the New Testament?

Is faith our response to the gospel, or a substance given?  A hallmark of definite atonement is the view that what God requires of people to be saved, he has provided to them. That is, that the faith which brings us into a right relationship with God has been purchased for us at Calvary. The atonement includes the purchase of faith, but only for the elect. How sure is the exegetical ground for this teaching?…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

The Spirit and the Letter: A New Covenant Contrast

photo by Ferdinand Feng Does the indwelling of the Holy Spirit bring to the believer in this age of salvation history something prior ages did not have? It is hard to answer otherwise, for the new covenant is a better covenant than the old, and whole the Spirt came upon God’s saints to do certain things, the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit puts us in a different realm from what came before. No…

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The Extent of the Atonement

Atonement Views and Trinitarian Disharmony

Among the arguments made in favor of definite atonement is that it represents a harmony among the persons of the Trinity. Unlimited atonement, on the other hand, undermines and indeed, destroys this harmony because it separates extent from application; that is, the collection of those for whom extent exists differs from those to whom the atonement is applied. The editors of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her make this argument.  photo by Ali Arif…

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The Extent of the Atonement

The Double Payment Argument and Definite Atonement

One of the more popular arguments for definite atonement—that Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved, and not for mankind as a whole—is the double payment argument. John Owen, in his book The Death of Death in the Death of Christ makes this argument. In that Owen’s work is commonly held to be an unanswerable defense of definite atonement, we may regard his position as emblematic. “If the full debt…

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The Atonement

How to Make Sense of Old Testament Violence?

In two prior blog posts I’ve critiqued Greg Boyd’s Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of Old Testament Violence. In this final post, I want to summarize my assessment and give reasons why I think Boyd’s proposal fails to deliver, indeed, in some cases it does the opposite. Boyd’s purpose is to explain how to make sense of the violence we find in the Old Testament in such a way that it…

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The Atonement

Is God Active in the Cross?

Theories of the atonement are often a proxy for wider theological positions, and how we answer the question “what is God like?” As I noted in my last post, I am working my way through Greg Boyd’s Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of Old Testament Violence. In that previous post, I discussed the “cruciform hermeneutic” that Boyd puts forth as the key to how we understand the Bible. I was critical…

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The Atonement

Does a “Cruciform Hermeneutic” Help Us Make Sense of Scripture?

I’ve had several discussions online with some who dismiss the wrath of God as having any part in either the atonement, or indeed, as part of who God is. Someone has recommended Greg Boyd’s Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of Old Testament Violence as a good presentation of an alternative way to view the topic. As I make my way through this book, I am recording thoughts and reactions. Boyd begins…

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The Extent of the Atonement

The Atonement and the “Well-Meant” Gospel Offer

It isn’t uncommon in discussions on the atonement to find those who hold to definite atonement appeal to an internal consistency of Scripture; to consider the logical implications of the evidence. This appeal comes with a kind of tacit acknowledgment that many verses of Scripture that speak of atonement do, on the face of it, seem to support an unlimited atonement. The editors of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, state it this way.…

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Bible

Yes, You Can Learn New Testament Greek

Until the Reformation, it was not standard practice for clergy to learn the original languages of the Scriptures. This was in part due to the long reign of Jerome’s Vulgate translation into Latin that was the officially endorsed version of the Roman Catholic Church. Among Protestant pastors, learning Hebrew and Greek is common and often required, but this regard for the importance of the biblical text in its original languages has not filtered through to…

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The Decalogue The Law of Moses

Antinomianism Is A Word Not Found In Scripture

Freedom from the law is not something to look at warily. The words “antinomian” and “antinomianism” are polemical terms, and as is often the case, they carry connotations. But does a look at what’s claimed with these words stand up to scrutiny? A dictionary definition says an antinomian is “one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.”[i]…

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