(From Outside the Camp Vol. 14, No. 3)
Calvinists: Do you admire your "Reformed Tradition"? Check out the following quotes from the nineteenth century to see what your tradition is really all about.
CHARLES HODGE (1797-1878)
Systematic Theology - Volume II: Anthropology
"God entered into covenant with Adam. This statement does not rest upon any express declaration of the Scriptures. It is, however, a concise and correct mode of asserting a plain Scriptural fact, namely, that God made to Adam a promise suspended on a condition, and attached to disobedience a certain penalty. This is what in Scriptural language is meant by a covenant, and this is all that is meant by the term as here used. ... The Scriptures know nothing of any other than two methods of attaining eternal life: the one that which demands perfect obedience, and the other that which demands faith. If the latter is called a covenant, the former is declared to be of the same nature. ... God did then enter into a covenant with Adam. That covenant is sometimes called a covenant of life, because life was promised as the reward of obedience. Sometimes it is called the covenant of works, because works were the condition on which that promise was suspended, and because it is thus distinguished from the new covenant which promises life on condition of faith." (pp. 117-118)
"First, salvation is offered to all men on the condition of faith in Christ. Our Lord commanded his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The gospel, however, is the offer of salvation upon the conditions of the covenant of grace. In this sense, the covenant of grace is formed with all mankind. ... For it is undoubtedly true that God offers to all and every man eternal life on condition of faith in Jesus Christ. .... It is one of those facts that salvation is offered to all men on the condition of faith in Christ. And therefore to that extent, or, in a sense which accounts for that fact, the covenant of grace is made with all men. The great sin of those who hear the gospel is that they refuse to accept of that covenant, and therefore place themselves without its pale." (pp. 363-364)
"This sinlessness of our Lord, however, does not amount to absolute impeccability. It was not a non potest peccare. If He was a true man He must have been capable of sinning. That He did not sin under the greatest provocation; that when He was reviled He blessed; when He suffered He threatened not; that He was dumb, as a sheep before its shearers, is held up to us as an example. Temptation implies the possibility of sin. If from the constitution of his person it was impossible for Christ to sin, then his temptation was unreal and without effect, and He cannot sympathize with his people." (p. 457).
"It is obvious that if there be no election of some to everlasting life, the atonement can have no special reference to the elect. It must have equal reference to all mankind. But it does not follow from the assertion of its having a special reference to the elect that it had no reference to the non-elect. Augustinians readily admit that the death of Christ had a relation to man, to the whole human family, which it had not to the fallen angels. It is the ground on which salvation is offered to every creature under heaven who hears the gospel; but it gives no authority for a like offer to apostate angels. It moreover secures to the whole race at large, and to all classes of men, innumerable blessings, both providential and religious. It was, of course, designed to produce these effects; and, therefore, He died to secure them. In view of the effects which the death of Christ produces in the relation of all mankind to God, it has in all ages been customary with Augustinians to say that Christ died 'sufficienter pro omnibus, efficaciter tantum pro electis;' sufficiently for all, efficaciously only for the elect. There is a sense, therefore, in which He died for all, and there is a sense in which He died for the elect alone." (pp. 545-546)
"Admitting the satisfaction of Christ to be in itself of infinite value, how can it avail for the non-elect if it was not designed for them? It does not avail for the fallen angels, because it was not intended for them; how then can it avail for the non-elect, if not designed for them? How can a ransom, whatever its intrinsic value, benefit those for whom it was not paid? In this form the objection is far more specious. It is, however, fallacious. It overlooks the peculiar nature of the case. It ignores the fact that all mankind were placed under the same constitution or covenant. What was demanded for the salvation of one was demanded for the salvation of all. Every man is required to satisfy the demands of the law. No man is required to do either more or less. If those demands are satisfied by a representative or substitute, his work is equally available for all. The secret purpose of God in providing such a substitute for man, has nothing to do with the nature of his work, or with its appropriateness. The righteousness of Christ being of infinite value or merit, and being in its nature precisely what all men need, may be offered to all men. It is thus offered to the elect and to the non-elect; and it is offered to both classes conditionally. That condition is a cordial acceptance of it as the only ground of justification. If any of the elect (being adults) fail thus to accept of it, they perish. If any of the non-elect should believe, they would be saved. What more does any Anti-Augustinian scheme provide? The advocates of such schemes say, that the design of the work of Christ was to render the salvation of all men possible. All they can mean by this is, that if any man (elect or non-elect) believes, he shall, on the ground of what Christ has done, be certainly saved. But Augustinians say the same thing. It teaches that God in effecting the salvation of his own people, did whatever was necessary for the salvation of all men, and therefore to all the offer may be, and in fact is made in the gospel. ... Christ, therefore, did not die equally for all men. He laid down his life for his sheep; He gave Himself for his Church. But in perfect consistency with this, He did all that was necessary, so far as a satisfaction to justice is concerned, all that is required for the salvation of all men. So that all Augustinians can join with the Synod of Dort in saying, 'No man perishes for want of an atonement.'
"There is still another ground on which it is urged that Augustinians cannot consistently preach the gospel to every creature. Augustinians teach, it is urged, that the work of Christ is a satisfaction to divine justice. From this it follows that justice cannot condemn those for whose sins it has been satisfied. It cannot demand that satisfaction twice, first from the substitute and then from the sinner himself. This would be manifestly unjust, far worse than demanding no punishment at all. From this it is inferred that the satisfaction or righteousness of Christ, if the ground on which a sinner may be forgiven, is the ground on which he must be forgiven. It is not the ground on which he may be forgiven, unless it is the ground on which he must be forgiven. If the atonement be limited in design it must be limited in its nature, and if limited in its nature it must be limited in its offer. This objection again arises from confounding a pecuniary and a judicial satisfaction between which Augustinians are so careful to discriminate. This distinction has already been presented on a previous page (470). There is no grace in accepting a pecuniary satisfaction. It cannot be refused. It ipso facto liberates. The moment the debt is paid the debtor is free; and that without any condition. Nothing of this is true in the case of judicial satisfaction. If a substitute be provided and accepted it is a matter of grace. His satisfaction does not ipso facto liberate. It may accrue to the benefit of those for whom it is made at once or at a remote period; completely or gradually; on conditions or unconditionally; or it may never benefit them at all unless the condition on which its application is suspended be performed. These facts are universally admitted by those who hold that the work of Christ was a true and perfect satisfaction to divine justice. The application of its benefits is determined by the covenant between the Father and the Son. Those for whom it was specially rendered are not justified from eternity; they are not born in a justified state; they are by nature, or birth, the children of wrath even as others. To be the children of wrath is to be justly exposed to divine wrath. They remain in this state of exposure until they believe, and should they die (unless in infancy) before they believe they would inevitably perish notwithstanding the satisfaction made for their sins. It is the stipulations of the covenant which forbid such a result. Such being the nature of the judicial satisfaction rendered by Christ to the law, under which all men are placed, it may be sincerely offered to all men with the assurance that if they believe it shall accrue to their salvation. His work being specially designed for the salvation of his own people, renders, through the conditions of the covenant, that event certain; but this is perfectly consistent with its being made the ground of the general offer of the gospel. Lutherans and Reformed agree entirely, as before stated, in their views of the nature of the satisfaction of Christ, and consequently, so far as that point is concerned, there is the same foundation for the general offer of the gospel according to either scheme. What the Reformed or Augustinians hold about election does not affect the nature of the atonement. That remains the same whether designed for the elect or for all mankind. It does not derive its nature from the secret purpose of God as to its application.
"Admitting, however, that the Augustinian doctrine that Christ died specially for his own people does account for the general offer of the gospel, how can it 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. ... This is what is meant when it is said, or implied in Scripture, that Christ gave Himself as a propitiation, not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world. He was a propitiation effectually for the sins of his people, and sufficiently for the sins of the whole world. Augustinians have no need to wrest the Scriptures. They are under no necessity of departing from their fundamental principle that it is the duty of the theologian to subordinate his theories to the Bible, and teach not what seems to him to be true or reasonable, but simply what the Bible teaches." (pp. 555-559).
"The plan of salvation is designed for men. It is adapted to the condition of all. It makes abundant provision for the salvation of all. The promise of acceptance on the condition of faith is made to all. And the motives and reasons which should constrain obedience are brought to bear on every mind to which the call is sent. According to the Augustinian scheme, the non-elect have all the advantages and opportunities of securing their salvation, that, according to any other scheme, are granted to mankind indiscriminately. Augustinianism teaches that a plan of salvation adapted to all men and adequate for the salvation of all, is freely offered to the acceptance of all, although in the secret purpose of God, he intended that it should have precisely the effect which in experience it is found to have. He designed in its adoption to save his own people, but consistently offers its benefits to all who are willing to receive them. More than this no anti-Augustinian can demand." (p. 644)
"In the first place, the Scriptures speak of God's reasoning with men; of his teaching them and that inwardly by his Spirit; of his guiding or leading them; and of his convincing, reproving, and persuading them. These modes of representation would seem to indicate 'a moral suasion;' an operation in accordance with the ordinary laws of mind, consisting in the presentation of truth and urging of motives. In the second place, so far as appears, this common influence of the Spirit is never exercised except through the truth. In the third place, the moral and religious effects ascribed to it never rise above, so to speak, the natural operations of the mind. The knowledge, the faith, the conviction, the remorse, the sorrow, and the joy, which the Spirit is said to produce by these common operations, are all natural affections or exercises; such as one man may measurably awaken in the minds of other men. In the fourth place, these common influences of the Spirit are capable of being effectually resisted. ... These effects the grace common to all who hear the gospel tends to produce. These effects it does in fact produce in a multitude of cases, and would produce in all were it not resisted and quenched. But it is not sufficient to raise the spiritually dead; to change the heart, and to produce regeneration; and it is not made to produce these effects by the cooperation of the human will." (pp. 674, 677)
A.A. HODGE (1823-1886)
Outlines of Theology
"State first negatively, and then positively, the true doctrine as to the design of the Father and the Son in providing satisfaction.
"I. Negatively--1st. 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. 2d. Nor as to its applicability to the case of any and every possible human sinner who will ever exist. The relation of all to the demands of the law are identical. What would save one would save another. 3d. 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." (p. 416)."The design of Christ in dying was to effect what he actually does effect in the result. 1st. Incidentally to remove the legal impediments out of the way of all men, and render the salvation of every hearer of the gospel objectively possible, so that each one has a right to appropriate it at will, to impetrate temporal blessings for all, and the means of grace for all to whom they are providentially supplied. ... After the manner of the Augustinian Schoolmen Calvin, on 1 John ii. 2, says, 'Christ died sufficiently for all, but efficiently only for the elect.'--So Archbishop Ussher, Numbers 22 and 23 of Letters published by his Chaplain, Richard Parr, D.D." (p. 417)"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."23. How can the condemnation of men for the rejection of Christ be reconciled with the doctrine that Christ died for the elect only?
"A salvation all-sufficient and exactly adapted to his necessities is honestly offered to every man to whom the gospel comes; and in every case it is his, if he believes; and in no case does any thing prevent his believing other than his own evil disposition. Evidently he is in no way concerned with the design of God in providing that salvation beyond the assurance that God intends to give it to him if he believes. If a man is responsible for a bad heart, and the exercises thereof, he must be above all worthy of condemnation for rejecting such a Saviour." (p. 420)
"And although Christ did not die with the design of saving all, yet he did suffer the penalty of that law under which all were placed, and he does offer the righteousness thus wrought out to all." (p. 421).
"It is God's purpose to receive and save all that believe on his Son, elect or not. ... We believe as fully as they [Arminians -ed.] do (a) that the Atonement is sufficient for all. ... If the non-elect believes, he will none the less be saved because of his non-election. If the elect does not believe and persevere to the end, he will none the more be saved because of his election." (pp. 421,429).
"Here, as everywhere else, there is essential truth on both sides of every controversy, and the real truth is the whole truth, its entire catholic body. Arminianism in the abstract as an historical scheme is a heresy, holding half the truth. Calvinism is an historical scheme which in its best representatives comprehends the whole truth with considerable completeness. But the case is essentially different when we come to consider the great co- existing bodies of Christian people calling themselves respectively Calvinists and Arminians. Each of these parties holds all essential truth, and therefore they hold actually very much the same truth. The Arminians think and speak very much like Calvinists when they come to talk with God in either the confession of sin or the supplication for grace. They both alike in that attitude recognize the sovereignty of God and the guilt and helplessness of men. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? What room is there for anything other than essential Calvinism on one's knees? On the other hand, the Calvinist thinks and speaks like the better class of Arminians when he addresses the consciences of men, and pleads with them, as free, responsible agents, to repent and believe in Christ. The difference between the best of either class is one of emphasis rather than of essential principle. Each is the complement of the other. Each is necessary to restrain, correct, and supply the one-sided strain of the other. They together give origin to the blended strain from which issues the perfect music which utters the perfect truth." (pp. 136-137)
"All who are baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, recognizing the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, the incarnation of the Son and his priestly sacrifice, whether they be Greeks, or Arminians, or Romanists, or Lutherans, or Calvinists, or the simple souls who do not know what to call themselves, are our brethren. Baptism is our common countersign. It is the common rallying standard at the head of our several columns. It is our common battle-flag, which we carry forward across the enemy's line and nail aloft in the heights crowned with victory. We will be confined in our love and allegiance by no party lines. We follow and serve one common Lord. Hence there can be only 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism,' and hence only one indivisible, inalienable 'sacramental host of God's elect.'" (p. 338).
W.G.T. SHEDD (1820-1894)
"The decree of preterition or omission is a branch of the permissive decree. As God decided to permit man to use his self-determining power and originate sin, so he decided to permit some men to continue to use their self-determining power and persevere in sin." (p. 336)
"Every sinner is stronger than common grace, but not stronger than regenerating grace." (p. 337)
"God desires that the nonelect would turn of himself by the spontaneous action of his own will under the operation of common grace. ... But God, instead of hindering the sinner, is helping him with that degree of grace which is called common. The reason why the entreaty thus accompanied with common grace is unsuccessful is the resistance of the sinner." (p. 347)
"The universal offer of the gospel is consistent with the divine purpose of predestination because (1) Christ's atonement is a sufficient satisfaction for the sins of all men and (2) God sincerely desires that every man to whom the atonement is offered would trust in it. His sincerity is evinced by the fact that, in addition to his offer, he encourages and assists man to believe by the aids of his providence - such as the written and spoken word, parental teaching and example, favoring social influences, etc. - and by the operation of the common grace of the Holy Spirit. The fact that God does not in the case of the nonelect bestow special grace to overcome the resisting self-will that renders the gifts of providence and common grace ineffectual does not prove that he is insincere in his desire that man would believe under the influence of common grace any more than a benevolent man declines to double the amount of his gift, after the gift already offered has been spurned, proves that he did not sincerely desire that the person would take the sum first offered." (p. 349)
"Theologians have confined their attention mainly to the sanctification of Christ's human nature, saying little about its justification. But a complete Christology must include the latter as well as the former. Any nature that requires sanctification requires justification, because sin is guilt as well as pollution. The Logos could not unite with a human nature taken from the Virgin Mary and transmitted from Adam unless it had previously been delivered from both the condemnation and the corruption of sin. The idea of redemption also includes both justification and sanctification; and it is conceded that that portion of human nature which the Logos assumed into union with himself was redeemed. His own humanity was the 'first fruits' of his redemptive work: 'Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's' (1 Cor. 15:23). Consequently, the doctrine is not fully constructed unless this side of it is presented.
"So far, then, as the guilt of Adam's sin rested upon that unindividualized portion of the common fallen nature of Adam assumed by the Logos, it was expiated by the one sacrifice on Calvary. The human nature of Christ was prepared for the personal union with the Logos by being justified as well as sanctified: 'God was manifested in the flesh, was justified (edikaiothe) by (en) the Spirit' (1 Tim. 3:16). Here, 'flesh' denotes the entire humanity, psychical and physical, and it was 'justified.' The justification in this instance, like that of the Old Testament believers, was proleptic, in view of the future atoning death of Christ." (pp. 475-476)
"It may be asked: If atonement naturally and necessarily cancels guilt, why does not the vicarious atonement of Christ save all men indiscriminately, as the Universalist contends? The substituted suffering of Christ being infinite is equal in value to the personal suffering of all mankind; why then are not all men upon the same footing and in the class of the saved, by virtue of it? The answer is, Because it is a natural impossibility. Vicarious atonement without faith in it is powerless to save. It is not the making of this atonement, but the trusting in it, that saves the sinner. 'By faith are ye saved. He that believeth shall be saved,' Ephesians 2:8; Mark 16:16. The making of this atonement merely satisfies the legal claims, and this is all that it does. If it were made, but never imputed and appropriated, it would result in no salvation. A substituted satisfaction of justice without an act of trust in it, would be useless to sinners. It is as naturally impossible that Christ's death should save from punishment one who does not confide in it, as that a loaf of bread should save from starvation a man who does not eat it. The assertion that because the atonement of Christ is sufficient for all men, therefore no men are lost, is as absurd as the assertion that because the grain produced in the year 1880 was sufficient to support the life of all men on the globe, therefore no men died of starvation during that year. The mere fact that Jesus Christ made satisfaction for human sin, alone and of itself, will save no soul. Christ conceivably, might have died precisely as he did, and his death have been just as valuable for expiatory purposes as it is, but if his death had not been followed with the work of the Holy Ghost and the act of faith on the part of individual men, he would have died in vain. Unless his objective work is subjectively appropriated, it is useless, so far as personal salvation is concerned. 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 scripture phrase, it has not been imputed. There may be a sum of money in the hands of a rich man that is sufficient in amount to pay the debts of a million of 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." (p. 726)."Another error underlying the varieties of universalism is the assumption that because an atonement sufficient for all men has been made, all men are entitled to the benefits of it. This would be true if all men had made this atonement. But inasmuch as they had nothing to do with the making of it, they have not the slightest right or title to it. No sinner has a claim upon the expiatory oblation of Jesus Christ. It belongs entirely to the maker, and he may do what he will with his own. He may impute it to any man whom he pleases or not impute it to any man whom he pleases (Rom. 9:18). Even the act of faith does not by its intrinsic merit entitle the believer to the benefits of Christ's satisfaction. This would make salvation a debt which the Redeemer owes because of an act of the believer. It is only because Christ has promised and thereby bound himself to bestow the benefits of redemption upon everyone that believes that salvation is certain to faith.
"It is objected that it is unjust to exact personal penalty from any individuals of the human race if a vicarious penalty equal in value to that due from the whole race has been paid to justice. The injustice alleged in this objection may mean injustice toward the individual unbeliever who is personally punished; or it may mean injustice in regard to what the divine law is entitled to on account of man's sin. An examination will show that there is no injustice done in either respect. When an individual unbeliever is personally punished for his own sins, he receives what he deserves; and there is no injustice in this. The fact that a vicarious atonement has been made that is sufficient to expiate his sins does not stop justice from punishing him personally for them, unless it can be shown that he is the author of the vicarious atonement. If this were so, then indeed he might complain of the personal satisfaction that is required of him. In this case, one and the same party would make two satisfactions for one and the same sin: one vicarious and one personal. When therefore an individual unbeliever suffers for his own sin, he 'receives the due reward of his deeds' (Luke 23:24). And since he did not make the vicarious atonement 'for the sins of the whole world' and therefore has no more right or title to it or any of its benefits than an inhabitant of Saturn, he cannot claim exemption from personal penalty on the ground of it." (p. 727)
"Since redemption implies the application of Christ's atonement, universal or unlimited redemption cannot logically be affirmed by any who hold that faith is wholly the gift of God, and that saving grace is bestowed solely by election. The use of the term 'redemption,' consequently, is attended with less ambiguity than that of 'atonement,' and it is the term most commonly employed in controversial theology. Atonement is unlimited, and redemption is limited. This statement includes all the Scripture texts: those which assert that Christ died for all men, and those which assert that he died for his people. He who asserts unlimited atonement, and limited redemption, cannot well be misconceived. He is understood to hold that the sacrifice of Christ is unlimited in its value, sufficiency, and publication, but limited in its effectual application." (p. 743).
"The atonement is sufficient in value to expiate the sin of all men indiscriminately; and this fact should be stated because it is a fact. There are no claims of justice not yet satisfied; there is no sin of man for which an infinite atonement has not been provided: 'All things are now ready.' Therefore the call to 'come' is universal. It is plain, that the offer of the atonement should be regulated by its intrinsic nature and sufficiency, not by the obstacles that prevent its efficacy. The extent to which a medicine is offered is not limited by the number of persons favorably disposed to buy it and use it. Its adaptation to disease is the sole consideration in selling it, and consequently it is offered to everybody.
"God opposes no obstacle to the efficacy of the atonement in the nonelect. (a) He exerts no direct efficiency to prevent the nonelect from trusting the atonement. The decree of reprobation is permissive. God leaves the nonelect to do as he likes. (b) There is no compulsion from the external circumstances in which the providence of God has placed the nonelect. On the contrary, the outward circumstances, especially in Christendom, favor instead of hindering trust in Christ's atonement. And so, in a less degree, do the outward circumstances in heathendom: 'The goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering of God [tend to] lead to repentance' (Rom. 2:4; Acts 4: 17; 17:26-30). (c) The special grace which God bestows upon the elect does not prevent the nonelect from believing; neither does it render faith any more difficult for him. The nonelect receives common grace, and common grace would incline the human will if it were not defeated by the human will. If the sinner should make no hostile opposition, common grace would be equivalent to saving grace." (pp. 750-751).
"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. Still another transaction was requisite in order to this, namely, the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner working faith in this expiatory offering and the declarative act of God saying 'your sin is forgiven you.' The Son of God, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, 'sat down on the right hand of God' (10:12); but if the redeeming work of the Trinity had stopped at this point, not a soul of mankind would have been pardoned and justified, yet the expiatory value of the 'one sacrifice' would have been just the same." (p. 758).
Calvinism: Pure and Mixed
"But what is the use of showing every man his need of Christ, if Christ's sacrifice is not sufficient for every man? What reason is there for convincing every man of the pollution of his nature, and humbling him for it, unless God is for every man 'most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin?' The doctrine taught in this section, that all men are to be convinced of sin, like the doctrine that all men are to repent and to pray, supposes that God sustains a common benevolent and merciful relation to them all." (p. 26)
"In the third place, the Scriptures and the Confession teach that the Divine Spirit exerts his regenerating grace, to some extent, within adult heathendom, making use of conscience, or 'the law written on the heart', as the means of convicting of sin preparatory to imparting the new divine life; and that in the last day a part of God's elect 'shall come from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God' (Luke 13:29). These are all regenerated in this life. And since regeneration in the instance of the adult immediately produces faith and repentance, a regenerate heathen is both a believer and a penitent. He feels sorrow for sin, and the need of mercy. This felt need of mercy and desire for it is potentially and virtually faith in the Redeemer. For although the Redeemer has not been presented to him historically and personally as the object of faith, yet the Divine Spirit by the new birth has wrought in him the sincere and longing disposition to believe in him. With the penitent and believing man in the Gospel, he says, 'Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?' (John 9:36). Such a man is 'regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit', and belongs to that class of 'elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word' (Conf. x. 3)." (pp. 128- 129)
R.L. DABNEY (1820-1898)
"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. To urge this argument surrenders virtually the very ground on which the first Socinian objection was refuted, and is incompatible with the facts that God chastises justified believers, and holds elect unbelievers subject to wrath till they believe. 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 Saviour, and then in Him" (p. 521).
"But the difficulties which beset the subject are great, and unless you differ from me, you will feel that the manner in which they are dealt with by some Calvinistic writers, is unsatisfactory. The objections are of two classes. From the universal offer of atonement through Christ, and from Scripture. The fact that God makes this offer literally universal, cannot be doubted, nor must we venture to insinuate that He is not sincere therein. (Matt. xxviii:19; Mark xvi:16, 17). The usual answer given by Calvinists of the rigid school to this objection is that God may sincerely offer this salvation to every creature, because, although not designed for all, it is in its nature sufficient for, and adapted to all. They say that since Christ's sacrifice is of infinite value, and as adequate for covering all the sins of every sinner in the universe, as of one; and since Christ bears the common nature of all sinners, and God's revealed, and not His secret, decretive, will is the proper rule of man's conduct, this satisfaction may be candidly offered to all. Arminians rejoin, that this implies an adoption of their conception of the nature of the atonement, as a general satisfaction for human guilt as a mass and whole; that the punishment of gospel hardened sinners for unbelief (which we admit will occur), would be unjust on our scheme, since by it they would be punished for not believing what would not be true, if they had believed it; and that since, on our scheme the believing of a non-elect sinner is not naturally, but only morally impossible, it is a supposable case for argument's sake, and this case supposed, God could not be sincere, unless such a sinner should be saved in Christ, supposing He came. The honest mind will feel these objections to be attended with real difficulty. Thus, in defining the nature of Christ's vicarious work, Calvinists assert a proper substitution and imputation of individuals' sins. On the strict view, the sins of the non-elect were never imputed to Christ. The fact, then, that an infinite satisfaction was made for imputed guilt does not seem to be a sufficient ground for offering the benefits thereof to those whose sins were never imputed." (p. 523)
"But there are others of these passages, to which I think, the candid mind will admit, this sort of explanation is inapplicable. In John iii:16, make 'the world' which Christ loved, to mean 'the elect world,' and we reach the absurdity that some of the elect may not believe, and perish. In 2 Cor. 5:15, if we make the all for whom Christ died, mean only the all who live unto Him - i.e., the elect - it would seem to be implied that of those elect for whom Christ died, only a part will live to Christ. In 1 John 2:2, it is at least doubtful whether the express phrase, 'whole world,' can be restrained to the world of elect as including other than Jews. For it is indisputable, that the Apostle extends the propitiation of Christ beyond those whom he speaks of as 'we,' in verse first. The interpretation described obviously proceeds on the assumption that these are only Jewish believers. Can this be substantiated? Is this catholic epistle addressed only to Jews? This is more than doubtful. It would seem then, that the Apostle's scope is to console and encourage sinning believers with the thought that since Christ made expiation for every man, there is no danger that He will not be found a propitiation for them who, having already believed, now sincerely turn to him from recent sins" (p. 525).
"This seems, then, to be the candid conclusion: that there is no passage in the Bible which asserts an intention to apply redemption to any others than the elect, on the part of God and Christ, but that there are passages which imply that Christ died for all sinners in some sense, as Dr. Ch. Hodge has so expressly admitted. Certainly the expiation made by Christ is so related to all, irrespective of election, that God can sincerely invite all to enjoy its benefits, that every soul in the world who desires salvation is warranted to appropriate it, and that even a Judas, had he come in earnest, would not have been cast out.
"But the arguments which we adduced on the affirmative side of the question demonstrate that Christ's redeeming work was limited in intention to the elect. The Arminian dogma that He did the same redeeming work in every respect for all is preposterous and unscriptural. But at the same time, if the Calvinistic scheme be strained as high as some are inclined, a certain amount of justice will be found against them in the Arminian objections. Therefore, In mediis tutissime ibis. The well known Calvinistic formula, that 'Christ died sufficiently for all, efficaciously for the Elect,' must be taken in a sense consistent with all the passages of Scripture which are cited above. ... Redemption is limited, i.e., to true believers, and is particular. Expiation is not limited.
"There is no safer clue for the student through this perplexed subject, than to take this proposition; which, to every Calvinist, is nearly is indisputable as a truism; Christ's design in His vicarious work was to effectuate exactly what it does effectuate, and all that it effectuates, in its subsequent proclamation. This is but saying that Christ's purpose is unchangeable and omnipotent. Now, what does it actually effectuate? 'We know only in part;' but so much is certain:
"(a) The purchase of the full and assured redemption of all the elect, or of all believers.
"(b) A reprieve of doom for every sinner of Adam's race who does not die at birth. (For these we believe it has purchased heaven). And this reprieve gains for all, many substantial, though temporal benefits, such as unbelievers, of all men, will be the last to account no benefits. Among these are postponement of death and perdition, secular well-being, and the bounties of life.
"(c) A manifestation of God's mercy to many of the non-elect, to all those, namely, who live under the Gospel, in sincere offers of a salvation on terms of faith. And a sincere offer is a real and not a delusive benefaction; because it is only the recipient's contumacy which disappoints it.
"(d) A justly enhanced condemnation of those who reject the Gospel, and thereby a clearer display of God's righteousness and reasonableness in condemning, to all the worlds.
"(e) A disclosure of the infinite tenderness and glory of God's compassion, with purity, truth and justice, to all rational creatures." (pp. 527-529)