Chris Duncan, the author of "Deadly Ignorance," has been doing a great amount of research on the Arminian (especially universal atonement) views of some of the well-known and highly-revered Calvinists such as Shedd, the Hodges, and Dabney. These people (and more well-known Calvinists) believed and taught nothing more than a form of Arminianism. In fact, if you look down through the history of Calvinism, you will see that GENUINE HISTORICAL CALVINISM is NOT what many people think of as Calvinism today. Genuine Historical Calvinism, from Calvin on down through history, is a theology of universal atonement -- salvation conditioned on the sinner. This kind of Calvinism has been called "Modern Moderate Calvinism" or "Hypo-Calvinism" (even by me, when I didn't know what real Calvinism was) or "Sub-Calvinism," but in reality, it is Real, Genuine, Historical Calvinism! The Lord willing, we will set out to prove this in the upcoming year. (Chris Duncan now has a web site entitled Genuine Historical Calvinism.) There are two unregenerate Calvinists who have done a great service to us Christians in showing us what true Calvinism is. The first is David Ponter, who runs the "Calvin and Calvinism" e-mail group at, and the second is his friend Tony's blog at . I welcome you to visit these sites -- they show without a doubt that Genuine Historical Calvinism includes the damnable heresy of universal atonement. If you want to debate them on this, go ahead -- they will prove to you with actual quotes that Genuine Calvinists, from Calvin to the present, were universal atonement advocates. The anomalies were people such as John Owen -- they were the exceptions, not the rule! Owen was not a Genuine Historical Calvinist! (By the way, I am not saying that Owen was regenerate.) The following are some quotes:

A.A. Hodge (Outlines of Theology):

"A bona fide offer of the gospel, therefore, is to be made to all men--1st. Because the satisfaction rendered to the law is sufficient for all men. 2d. Because it is exactly adapted to the redemption of all. 3d. Because God designs that whosoever exercises faith in Christ shall be saved by him. Thus the atonement makes the salvation of every man to whom it is offered objectively possible. The design of Christ's death being to secure the salvation of his own people, incidentally to the accomplishment of that end, it comprehends the offer of that salvation freely and honestly to all men on the condition of their faith. No man is lost for the want of an atonement, or because there is any other barrier in the way of his salvation than his own most free and wicked will."

"Christ suffered this displeasure and desertion, Matthew 27:46, but being a divine person spiritual death was impossible. He suffered precisely that kind and degree and duration of pain which divine wisdom, interpreting divine justice, required in a divine person suffering vicariously the penalty of human sin, for the same reason the temporal suffering of one divine Person, is a full legal equivalent for the ill-desert of all mankind."

"There is no debate among Christians as to the sufficiency of that satisfaction to accomplish the salvation of all men, however vast the number. This is absolutely limitless. 2nd. Nor as to its applicability to the case of any and every possible human sinner who will ever exist. The relations of all to the demands of the law are identical. What would save one would save another. 3rd. Nor to the bona fide character of the offer which God has made to 'whomsoever wills' in the gospel. It is applicable to every one, it will infallibly be applied to every believer. 4th. Nor as to its actual application. Arminians agree with Calvinists that of adults only those who believe are saved, while Calvinists agree with Arminians that all dying in infancy are redeemed and saved. 5th. Nor is there any debate as to the universal reference of some of the benefits purchased by Christ. Calvinists believe that the entire dispensation of forbearance under which the human family rest since the fall, including for the unjust as well as the just temporal mercies-and means of grace, is part of the purchase of Christ's blood. They admit also that Christ did in such a sense die for all men, that he thereby removed all legal obstacles from the salvation of any and every man, and that his satisfaction may be applied to one man as well as to another 'if God so wills it.'"

"The design of Christ in dying was to effect what he actually does effect in result. 1st. 'incidentally' to remove the legal impediments out of the way of all men, and to render the salvation of every hearer of the gospel objectively possible."

R.L. Dabney (Systematic Theology):

"Nor would we attach any force to the argument, that if Christ made penal satisfaction for the sins of all, justice would forbid any to be punished. ... Christ's satisfaction is not a pecuniary equivalent, but only such a one as enables the Father, consistently with His attributes, to pardon, if in His mercy He sees fit. The whole avails of the satisfaction to a given man is suspended on His belief. There would be no injustice to the man, if he remaining an unbeliever, his guilt were punished twice over, first in his Savior, and then in Him."

W.G.T. Shedd (Dogmatic Theology):

"Christ's suffering is sufficient to cancel the guilt of all men and in its own nature completely satisfies the broken law. But all men do not make it their own atonement by faith in it by pleading the merit of it in prayer and mentioning it as the reason and ground of their pardon. They do not regard and use it as their own possession and blessing. It is nothing for them but a historical fact. In this state of things, the atonement of Christ is powerless to save. It remains in the possession of Christ who made it and has not been transferred to the individual. In the scriptural phrase, it has not been "imputed." There may be a sum of money in the hands of a rich man that is sufficient in the amount to pay the debts of a million debtors; but unless they individually take money from his hands into their own, they cannot pay their debts with it. There must be a personal act of each debtor in order that this sum of money on deposit may actually extinguish individual indebtedness. Should one of the debtors, when payment is demanded of him, merely say that there is an abundance of money on deposit, but take no steps himself to get it and pay it to his creditor, he would be told that an undrawn deposit is not a payment of a debt."

"The expiation of sin is distinguishable from the pardon of it. The former, conceivably, might take place and the latter not. When Christ died on Calvary, the whole mass, so to speak, of human sin was expiated merely by that death; The claims of law and justice for the sins of the whole world were satisfied by the 'offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all' (Heb. 10:10); but the sins of every individual man were not forgiven and 'blotted out' by this transaction."

J.C. Ryle (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels):

"Christ is ... a Saviour for all mankind. ... He did not suffer for a few persons only, but for all mankind ... What Christ took away, and bore on the cross, was not the sin of certain people only, but the whole accumulated mass of all the sins of all the children of Adam. ... I hold as strongly as anyone, that Christ's death is profitable to none but the elect who believe in His Name. But I dare not limit and pare down such expressions as the one before us. I dare not say that no atonement has been made, in any sense, except for the elect. I believe it is possible to be more systematic than the Bible in our statements. ... I dare not confine the intention of redemption to the saints alone. Christ is for every man ... I repudiate the idea of universal salvation as a dangerous heresy and utterly contrary to Scripture. But the lost will not prove to be lost because Christ did nothing for them. He bore their sins, He carried their transgressions, He provided payment; but they would not put in their claim to any interest in it ... The atonement was made for all the world, though it is applied and enjoyed by none but believers."

"The expression, 'giveth you,' must not be supposed to imply actual reception on the part of the Jews. It rather means 'giving' in the sense of 'offering' for acceptance a thing which those to whom it is offered may not receive. - It is a very remarkable saying, and one of those which seems to me to prove unanswerably that Christ is God's gift to the whole world, - that His redemption was made for all mankind, - that He died for all, - and is offered to all."

"I can only see one meaning in the word world. It means all mankind . . . . Christ died for all mankind; not for the elect only, but for all mankind . . . . That Christ's death was enough for all mankind, and that when He died He made sufficient atonement for all the world, are truths which, both in this text and others like it, appear to my mind incontrovertible."

"Are you living in any kind of sin? Are you following the course of this world, and neglecting your soul? Hear, I beseech you, what I say to you this day: 'Behold the cross of Christ.' See there how Jesus loved you! See there what Jesus suffered to prepare for you a way of salvation! Yes! careless men and women, for you that blood was shed! For you those hands and feet were pierced with nails! For you that body hung in agony on the cross! You are those whom Jesus loved, and for whom He died! Surely that love ought to melt you. Surely the thought of the cross should draw you to repentance. Oh! that it might be so this very day. Oh! that you would come at once to that Saviour who died for you and is willing to save. Come and cry to Him with the prayer of faith, and I know that He will listen. Come and lay hold upon the cross, and I know that He will not cast you out. Come and believe on Him who died on the cross, and this very day you will have eternal life."

Oh, this is just the tip of the iceberg. More to come, the Lord willing ...

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


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