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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, March 03, 2007

4 Point Calvinists?

I find myself a bit peeved with the willingness of at least one four pointer to pull Reformed theologians out of context in order to justify his own bad exegesis of the biblical text. The worst example is his misquoting of Charles Hodge, whom I just happened to be reading at the present time. Hence, I knew immediately that the author of the site, Eric Svendsen, was either unable to read with comprehension (which is highly unlikely given his educational level) or he deliberately quoted the author out of context to serve his own agenda. (You can see Svendsen's article by clicking on the title of this article or clicking here: http://ntrminblog.blogspot.com/2005/02/limited-atonement-debate-in-historical.html).

The point of Hodge's comment is to take into account both common grace which benefits all mankind and particular grace, which is given only to the elect. Thus, the benefits of the atonement secure common grace for all mankind, restraining evil and providing for their care and sustenance. Thus, Charles Hodge says:
  • In like manner, the express declarations that it was the incomprehensible and peculiar love of God for His own people , which induced Him to send His Son for their redemption, that Christ came into the world for that specific object; that He died for His sheep; that He gave Himself for his Church; and that the salvation of all for whom He thus offered Himself is rendered certain by the gift of the Spirit to bring them to faith and repentance... page 561.
The author takes the remainder of the passage out of context by placing in italics the part that he agrees with. However, Hodge clearly says that Christ died for the elect particularly although the atonement does benefit mankind at large by granting them "common" grace. In fact, Hodge goes to great lengths to prove that Christ died only to redeem the elect and it is most certain that Hodge is indeed an advocate of limited or particular atonement. To prove this I will do my own quoting of Hodge:

  • Admitting, however, that the Augustinian doctrine that Christ died specially for his own people does account for the general offer of the gospel, how is it to be reconciled with those passages which, in one form or another, teach that He died for all men? In answer to this question, it may be remarked in the first place that Augustinians do not deny that Christ died for all men. What they deny is that He died equally, and with the same design, for all men. He died for all, that He might arrest the immediate execution of the penalty of the law upon the whole of our apostate race; that He might secure for men the innumerable blessings attending their state on earth, which, in one important sense, is a state of probation; and that He might lay the foundation for the offer of pardon and reconciliation with God, on condition of faith and repentance. Those are universally admitted consequences of His satisfaction, and therefore they all come within His design. By this dispensation it is rendered manifest to every intelligent mind in heaven and upon earth, and to the finally impenitent themselves, that the perdition of those that perish is their own fault. (Systematic Theology, Volume II, page 558).
  • There is another class of passages with which it is said that the Augustinian doctrine cannot be reconciled; such, namely, as speak of those perishing for whom Christ died. In reference to these passages it may be remarked, first, that there is a sense, as before stated that Christ did die for all men. His death had the effect of justifying the offer of salvation to every man; and of course was designed to have that effect. He therefore died sufficiently for all. In the second place, these passages are, in some cases at least, hypothetical. When Paul exhorts the Corinthians not to cause those to perish for whom Christ died, he merely exhorts them not to act selfishly toward those for whom Christ had exhibited the greatest compassion. The passage neither asserts nor implies that any may actually perish for whom Christ died. None perish whom He came to save; multitudes perish to whom salvation is offered on the ground of His death. (Page 561).
  • In review of the subject, it is plain that the doctrine that Christ died equally for all men with the purpose of rendering the salvation of all men possible, has no advantage over the doctrine that He died specifically for his own people, and with the express purpose of rendering their salvation certain.....
  • [Systematic Theology, Charles Hodge. 3 Vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995. Reprint).
It is obvious that Svendsen has an agenda since anyone reading the chapter in Hodge's Systematic Theology can immediately see that Hodge is in fact DEFENDING particular atonement and that he is NOT advocating any such thing as amyraldian or 4 point views. What Hodge IS doing is trying to explain "apparent" passages that would discredit the Augustinian view which he is in fact defending. I find it amazing that someone with Svendsen's academic credentials could so deliberately misrepresent Hodge. It's almost equivalent to lying, imho.

While I haven't had time to look at his quotes from Calvin, in light of his misreading of Hodge OUT OF CONTEXT, I highly suspect that the author has likewise misquoted Calvin. I have read the Institutes of the Christian Religion from cover to cover and I have never seen anywhere that Calvin advocates anything other than particular atonement. The general call or general invitation is given to all men but only the elect will be saved. Christ died only for the elect even though his death is sufficient to save all. Many are called but few are chosen.

The peace of God,

Charlie

1 comment:

Charlie said...

I might also note that Svendsen has no options for comments to challenge his views. Apparently, he cannot take being corrected when it is obvious that he has misquoted Hodge at the very least. I'm almost certain that he is misquoting Calvin as well.

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