Atonement

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God”

Heb. 10:12

“…and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Jn. 10:15

“Ay, ay, d’ye know what it was – dying on the cross, forsaken by the Father?  D’ye know what it was?  What?  What?  It was damnation, and damnation taken lovingly…  It was damnation, and He took it lovingly.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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Subsection

The Active Obedience of Christ

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Order of Contents

Articles
Books
Quotes
The Necessity of the Atonement
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Limited Atonement
.     Articles
.     Books
.     The Early & Medieval Church
.     Quotes
.     The Distinction: ‘the Same’ & ‘the as Much’
.     The Atonement & Common Grace

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Articles 

1800’s

Cunningham, William – The Doctrine of the Atonement, p. 237 ff,  133 pages, from his Historical Theology, vol. 2

Cunningham was of the Free Church of Scotland.

Dabney, Robert – Christ our Substitute  no date, 4 pp.  published by the Presbyterian Committee of Publication, Richmond, VA. 

Hodge, Charles 

Beman on the Atonement  being chapter four from his Essays and Reviews, p. 129, 1857, 55 pages

On the Nature of the Atonement  1832, 169 pp.

Walker, James – The Atonement  starting on p. 67, 27 pp.  being chapter three from his The Theology and Theologians of Scotland: chiefly of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

A survey of the doctrine of the Atonement from the perspective of 1600’s Scotland, from a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.

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1900’s

Murray, John

‘The Atonement’  1976  43 paragraphs

‘The Nature of the Atonement’  from Redemption Accomplished and Applied, pp. 19-50

Berkhof, Louis

The Nature of the Atonement  1950  25 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology

Divergent Theories of the Atonement  1950, 23 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology

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Books

Middle Ages

Anselm – Why God Became Man, or Cur Deo Homo  110 pp.

George Smeaton says that the title “must be translated, ‘Why a God-man?'” and gives a survey of the work in pp. 510-520 of his historical appendix to the Apostles Doctrine of the Atonement.

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1600’s

Outram, William – Two Dissertations on Sacrifices: the First on the Sacrifices of the Jews, the Second on the Sacrifice of Christ  1679  420 pp.

Outram (1625-1679) was a latitudinarian Anglican, who here argues the orthodox nature of sacrifice against Socinianism.

Turretin, Francis – On the Atonement  220 pp.

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1800’s

Crawford, Thomas – The Doctrine of Holy Scripture Respecting the Atonement  1871  520 pp.

Crawford was a conservative Church of Scotland minister.

Candlish, Robert – An Inquiry into the Completeness and Extent of the Atonement, with Special Reference to the Universal Offer of the Gospel and the Universal Obligation to Believe  1845  225 pp.

Candlish was a leader in the Free Church of Scotland.

Martin, Hugh – The Atonement in its Relations to the Covenant, the Priesthood, the Intercession of our Lord  1877  315 pp.

Martin was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland.

Smeaton, George

The Doctrine of the Atonement as Taught by Christ Himself  1871  536 pp.

Smeaton was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland.

The significance of this volume, along with other reasons, is that persons often claim that the atonement was a theological explanation and doctrine made up by the apostle Paul, whereas Jesus’ simple teachings were absent of it.  Smeaton shows that all of the foundational facets of the teaching of the atonement were taught by Jesus, and authorized by Him.

The Doctrine of the Atonement as Taught by the Apostles  1870  560 pp.

The significance of this volume, amongst other things, is its showing that the apostles’ teaching on the atonement was founded on, and simply a further development in greater fullness of what Christ taught.  It also surveys the doctrine in each of the N.T. epistles.

It also includes an appendix on a ‘Historical Sketch of the Doctrine of the Atonement’ (65 pp.).

Magee, William – Discourses and Dissertations on the Scriptural Doctrines of Atonement and Sacrifice, vol. 1, 2, 3  Here is the table of contents to all 3 vols.

“On the subject of the Atonement, writer of the greatest eminence have, in every age, exerted their talents.  The labors of Archbishop Magee, and of Dr. J. Pye Smith, stand pre-eminent in modern times.

The former writer has accumulated a body of proof for the reality of the Atonement, which will serve to transmit to posterity his fame for Biblical knowledge, acute thinking, and learned research.  But besides regretting that his varied materials had not been arranged in a more orderly and useful form, the friends of true religion have to lament that the opinions of this distinguished author, on some vital points, should have been not only defective but erroneous.

These defects of the Archbishop have been supplied by the labors of Dr. Smith, who, in his Four Discourses, has given a masterly view of what may be called the philosophy of the Atonement.” – William Symington

Symington, Andrew – On the Atonement and Intercession of Jesus Christ  1847  305 pp.

Symington was a Scottish, Reformed Presbyterian.

“There are other writers who treat, some of the necessity, and others of the extent of the Atonement.  But it appeared desirable that there should exist a work embracing a view of the whole subject; so comprehensive as not to fatigue the mind on any one topic, and yet so copious as not altogether to disappoint the serious and anxious inquirer…  To furnish such a work has been the aim of the present writer.  He is not aware of the existence of any treatise on precisely the same plan.” – Preface

Smith, John Pye – Four Discourses on the Sacrifice and Priesthood of Jesus Christ and the Atonement and Redemption  1847  403 pp.

Pye was an English, dissenting minister.

“On the subject of the Atonement, writer of the greatest eminence have, in every age, exerted their talents.  The labors of Archbishop Magee, and of Dr. J. Pye Smith, stand pre-eminent in modern times.

The former writer has accumulated a body of proof for the reality of the Atonement…  But besides regretting that his varied materials had not been arranged in a more orderly and useful form, the friends of true religion have to lament that the opinions of this distinguished author, on some vital points, should have been not only defective but erroneous.

These defects of the Archbishop have been supplied by the labors of Dr. Smith, who, in his Four Discourses, has given a masterly view of what may be called the philosophy of the Atonement.” – William Symington

MacDonnell, John – The Doctrine of the Atonement Deduced from Scripture and Vindicated from Misapprehensions and Objections.  Six Discourses  1858  275 pp.

MacDonnell was an Anglican.  The work is dedicated to William Magee.

Dabney, Robert – Christ Our Penal Substitute  Buy  115 pp.

A defense of the legal nature of the atonement based in justice for punishing sins, and Christ being a substitute for his people.

Hodge, A.A. – The Atonement  1867  440 pp.

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1900’s

Boettner, Loraine – The Atonement

Crawford, Brandon – Jonathan Edwards on the Atonement  Buy  147 pp.

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Quotes

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

‘Just a Talker’, pp. 8,26-28

“Ah, dear gentlemen, there is something tremendous in the atonement.”

“The whole question of the atonement… must… be base on the two propositions, moral and legal: (i) that sin deserves punishment; and (ii) that vindictive justice belongs to God.”

“We are asked [by liberals] to throw aside every theory of the atonement and repose in the fact.  But I cannot receive the atonement as a blank mystery… the fact of an atonement would not be clear to me apart from its reasons and relations.”

“The atonement did not make God propitious, merciful, longsuffering [notice the order in Jn. 3:16]; but God’s great love said, ‘I am ready to forgive, if I can do it justly’, and, his infinite wisdom finding that He could do it justly in this way, He resolved on the sacrifice.”

“Divine vengeance found sin in us, but Christ was made sin for us.”

“Justice required satisfaction, but love gave vicarious satisfaction.”

“Take away the substitution, and all that remains for me is this:  ‘Jesus tried to make us good; but, good man, he failed.”

“You remember one of my favourite tracts, ‘The Poor Negress’.  The broken English leaves out the connections, and brings in the big facts.  ‘He die, or we die: He die, we no die.'”

“The blood of Jesus is surely a ransom for ten thousand pits!”

“The expulsion form Eden was an awful thing; the deluge was an awful thing; the destruction of Sodom was an awful thing; the events of the last day will be awful; hell is very awful.  There is something more awful still – it is the cross of the Lord Jesus.”

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The Necessity of the Atonement

“It seems to me a terrible thing to say that there was no intrinsic necessity for Christ’s death, for then we virtually say that He died for sin that He need not have died for.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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Turretin, Francis –   ‘Chapter 1 – The Necessity of the Atonement’  †1687  16 pp.  in On the Atonement, pp. 14-30

Walker, James – ‘The Necessity of the Atonement’  1888  8 pp.  being section 1 of ch. 3, ‘The Atonement’ in The Theology and Theologians of Scotland: chiefly of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, pp. 67-75

A survey of the 1600’s Scottish covenanters on the necessity of the atonement, from a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.

Smeaton, George – p. 530 of ‘Historical of Doctrine of Atonement’  an appendix to The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement

Murray, John

Ch. 1, ‘The Necessity of the Atonement’  in Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Articles

Berkhof, Louis – The Cause and Necessity of the Atonement  1950, 14 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology


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Limited Atonement

Articles

1600’s

Rutherford, Samuel –  The Doctrine of Universal Atonement Proven False and Unscriptural, from his Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself, no date, 88 paragraphs

This work is commended by John Owen in his preface to The Death of Death.

Turretin, Francis –   ‘Chapter V – The Extent of the Atonement’  †1687  80 pp.  in On the Atonement, pp. 115-195

Brown of Wamphray, John – ‘Arguments Against Universal Redemption’  †1679  36 pp.

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1800’s

Cunningham, William – ‘Arminian View of the Atonement’‘Extent of the Atonement’‘Evidence as to the Extent of the Atonement’‘Extent of the Atonement and the Gospel Offer’, ‘Extent of the Atonement and its Object’ & ‘Extent of Atonement, and Calvinistic Principles’  1870  69 pp.  from Historical Theology, vol. 2, pp. 301-370

Cunningham was a professor of the Free Church of Scotland.

Walker, James – ‘The Extent of Redemption’  1888  15 pp.  being section 3 of ch. 3, ‘The Atonement’ in The Theology and Theologians of Scotland: chiefly of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, pp. 79-94

A survey of the 1600’s Scottish covenanters on the extent of the atonement, from a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.

Spurgeon, Charles – Particular Redemption  a sermon on Matt 20:28, 1858, 31 paragraphs

Janeway, Jacob – ‘The Scriptural Doctrine of the Atonement Illustrated and Defended’  †1858  21 pp.   in A Series of Tracts on the Doctrines, Order and Polity of the Presbyterian Church, vol. 1

This tract defending Limited Atonement from scripture is one of the best there is.

Janeway was an Old School Presbyterian, ministerial colleague of Dr. Ashbel Green, and the president of the board of Princeton Seminary from 1849-58.

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1900’s

Murray, John – ‘On Romans 8’  15 pragraphs  from Redemption Accomplished and Applied

Boettner, Loraine – ‘Limited Atonement’  28 paragraphs

Berkhof, Louis – The Purpose and Extent of the Atonement  1950, 16 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology

Kuiper, R. B. – For Whom Did Christ Die? A Study of the Divine Design of the Atonement  Buy  1959

Schwertley Brian – ‘Limited Atonement’  n.d.  64 paragraphs

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Books

1600’s

Stalham, John – Vindiciæ Redemptionis: In the Fanning and Sifting of Samuel Oates’ Exposition upon Mt. 13:44. With a Faithful Search After Our Lords Meaning in His Two Parables the Treasure and the Pearl. Endeavored in Several Sermons Upon Mt. 13.:44-45. Where in the Former Part, Universal Redemption is Discovered to be a Particular Error. (Something Here is Inserted in Answer to Paulus Testardus, Touching that Tenet.) And in the Later Part, Christ the Peculiar Treasure and Pearl of God’s Elect is Laid as the Sole Foundation; and the Christians Faith and Joy in Him and Self-denial for Him, is Raised as a Sweet and Sure Superstructure  1647  182 pp.

This work is commended by John Owen in his preface to The Death of Death.

Owen, John – The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, being a Treatise of the Redemption and Reconciliation that is in the Blood of Christ; wherein the whole Controversy about Universal Redemption is Fully Discussed  †1683  320 pp.

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1800’s

Haldane, J.A.

The Doctrine of the Atonement, with Strictures on the Recent Publications of Drs. Wardlaw and Jenkyn  1847  368 pp.

Answer to Mr. Henry Drummond’s Defence of the Heretical Doctrine Promulgated by Mr. Irving respecting the Person and Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Denial of Original Sin, and of the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness  1830  275 pp.

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2000’s

ed. David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective  Buy

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The Early & Medieval Church on Limited Atonement

Collections of Quotes

Owen, John –‘Some Few Testimonies of the Ancients’  3 pp.  at the end of The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, in Works, 10.422-424

Most of Owen’s excerpts are from the the early church up through A.D. 440.  He cites: Eusebius, Ignatius, Clement, Cyprian, Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, Ambrose, Augustine, Prosper & the Council of Valence in A.D. 855.

Gill, John – ‘Part 4, ch. 2, Of Redemption’  44 pp.  in The Cause of God and Truth, pp. 442-486

Gill gives extended excerpts of 33 early Church fathers up through A.D. 390.  here is the table of contents.

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Quotes on the Middle Ages

On Gottshalk of Orbais

Steven Lawson

‘Gottschalk’  2009

“But, unlike Augustine, Gottshalk [of Orbais, c.803-868] taught a specific death by Christ for the elect:

“Our God and master Jesus Christ [was] crucified only for the elect.”

It has been said that Gottschalk provided the first clear articulation and defense of a particular redemption in church history. Although men previous to him had made strong statements about the basic aspects of this doctrine, Gottschalk first demonstrated the strong relationship between predestination and the extent of the atonement.

Gottschalk wrote, “Christ died only for the elect,” asserting that Christ died exclusively and triumphantly for the sins of His people.””

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Robert A. Peterson

Calvin and the Atonement (Mentor, 1999), 115-120

“[Jonathan] Rainbow convinces me that Gottshalk [of Orbais, c.803-868] and [Martin] Bucer [1491-1551] (in debates with Anabaptists) taught limited atonement before Calvin.  I must modify my judgment, therefore, and argue that limited/unlimited atonement was not a debated issue within reformed circles until the time of Calvin’s successor, [Theodore] Beza.  I thus agree with Robert Letham that the extent of the atonement ‘only became a major issue in the next generation’…”

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On Anselm

R. Scott Clark

‘Limited Atonement’, footnote 21

“Anselm of Canterbury (c.1033–1109), whom all the Reformers followed in their substitutionary doctrine of atonement, seems to imply a definite atonement throughout his work, Why the God-Man? (Cur Deus Homo). See Cur Deus Homo, 2.19 [see especially pp. 105-106].”

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eds. David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective, p. 86, footnote 33.

…In book 1, chapters 16-18 [of Why God Became Man], Anselm is pressed by his interlocutor, Boso, to explain whether or not the number of the redeemed will make up the number of fallen angels or if the number of the redeemed will bring to completion a number greater than the number of angels created.

The outcome of the matter, in Anselm’s opinion, is that the number of the redeemed will not merely equal the number of the fallen angels but will exceed the total number of angels to a predetermined perfect amount.  In this respect, [Peter] Lombard is continuing in the same vein of thought by arguing that the number of the redeemed is fixed in accord with the predetermined plan of God.”

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Articles

Smeaton, George – pp. 481-525 of ‘Historical Sketch of the Doctrine of Atonement’  1870  45 pp.

Smeaton surveys the Early and Medieval Church on the atonement in general, and references the extent thereof at times when it comes up.

Haykin, Michael A.G. – ”We Trust in the Saving Blood’: Definite Atonement in the Ancient Church’  2013  23 pp.  being ch. 1 of ed. David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective, pp. 33-56  Buy

Hogg, David – ”Sufficient for All, Efficient for Some’: Definite Atonement in the Medieval Church’  2013  21 pp.  being ch. 2 of ed. David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective, pp. 75-96  Buy

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John Calvin on the Extent of the Atonement

Rainbow, Jonathan – The Will of God and the Cross: a Historical and Theological Study of Calvin’s Doctrine of Limited Redemption  Buy

“This was probably the definitive work against RT Kendal’s thesis that Calvin was not a Calvinist in his view of the atonement. Kendal and others believed that Calvin and Arminius shared the common view that Christ died for all. The thesis was quickly adopted by many evangelical theologians. Jon Rainbow’s book, in my humble opinion, was the definitive reply to the Calvin against the Calvinists thesis…” – Rev. Chris Gordon

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Quotes

Nicholas Ridley  †1555

John Foxe, Acts and Monuments, 19th century edition, volume 7, Written in prison before his execution by fire.

…Not only the Lord’s commandment is broken, his cup is denied to his servants, to whom He commanded it should be distributed, but also with the Mass is set up a new blasphemous kind of sacrifice to satisfy and pay the price of sins both of the dead and the quick, to the great and intolerable insult of Christ our Savior, his death and passion, which was and is the one only sufficient and everlasting available sacrifice satisfactory for all the elect of God, from Adam the first, to the last that shall be born in the end of the world…

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John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan, late-1800’s

“It is a monstrous doctrine: ‘Christ died for me, and I may die the second death’; only God does not hold them by their logic.”

“To die for the sake of sinners whose sin is not actually taken away would be a clear waste of moral action.”

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William Cunningham on the Distinction between ‘the same’ and ‘the as much’

Sermons: from 1828-1860, 1872, reprinted by Still Waters Revival, 1991

Sermon 28 – The Atonement: Scripture Doctrine and Current Theories, on Gal. 4:4-5, pp. 408-9

We believe it can be proved to be the clear and certain teaching of Scripture, that Christ, having become our surety and substitute, took our place and assumed our responsibilities as transgressors of God’s law, and in consequence, endured the penalty we had incurred, and thereby rendered satisfaction to the Divine Justice and Law for our sins,—a satisfaction which was the true and adequate ground of all subsequent procedure on God’s part towards us, in bestowing forgiveness and spiritual blessings.  Christ’s death, according to this view, was not merely penal in its general character, but it was on His part the endurance of the penalty we had merited,—the same penalty we had incurred;—the same, not, of course, in its circumstances or its external aspects, but in its legal value,—its moral worth, its real significance, as a compliance with the requirements of law, which denounced punishment and demanded satisfaction.  It is true, indeed, that all orthodox divines have not attached quite so much importance as Dr. Owen does, to the distinction between the idem and the tantundem,—‘the same,’ and ‘the as much,’—a distinction which he presses so strongly in the exposition of this subject.  Some divines of the highest eminence and orthodoxy have admitted that the substance of what Scripture teaches on this subject might be held to be declared by asserting that Christ suffered as much as sinners had deserved,—the tantundem and not the idem,—provided due care was taken to guard against the loose and vague generality of representing Christ’s death merely as a substitute for the penalty,—a phrase which may mean almost anything or almost nothing,—and to keep up distinctly and prominently the idea of substantial identity, or sameness as really attaching to it, when viewed as a judicial infliction in accordance with the provisions of law.

But though some difference of phraseology has been sanctioned by high authority on this subject, there has been a very general concurrence of opinion among orthodox divines, that it is no real declaration of the scriptural doctrine of the Atonement to say that Christ’s death was a substitute for the penalty which men had incurred, or even to say that it was an equivalent for the penalty, unless the idea of substantial identity, or sameness,—sameness in worth and value, in import and significance,—be kept up, by its being represented as a full equivalent and an adequate compensation.  This, at least, seems necessary in order to embody the sum and substance of what Scripture teaches upon the subject; and nothing short of this can be fairly held to be implied in the position that Christ suffered as a substitute for us, and thereby rendered satisfaction for our sins to God’s Justice and Law.  Our [Westminster] Confession of Faith says (ch. 11, section 5) that both ‘the exact justice and the rich grace of God are glorified in the justification of sinners.’  And we are persuaded that it may be regarded as a general test of the soundness of men’s views upon this whole subject, that they not only assent honestly and intelligently to this statement of our Confession…  

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The Atonement and Common Grace

The Atonement Provides Common Grace Benefits for the Reprobate

20+ historic reformed theologians are quoted.  William Cunningham and R.L. Dabney are particularly good.

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“In giving Christ to die for poor sinners, God gave the richest jewel in His cabinet; a mercy of the greatest worth, and most inestimable value.  Heaven itself is not so valuable and precious as Christ is!”

John Flavel

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