The Objectivity of Christ's Atonement

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Mark_Smith's picture

When you are quoting a book titled "Reformed Dogmatics", you aren't being objective. A dogma is a set of beliefs that are to be accetped without question...

Anyway, I reject the notion that "faith" is a work in the sense that this author, and Reformed believers like him, say. I also reject the notion that either Jesus picked me as a member of His bride with no consideration of me, or else Jesus becomes a mere "exemplar" as the says.

Finally, the author likes the Jesus as High Priest analogy. Well, if I am an Israelite who stays at home and ignores the call to come to Jerusalem to accept atonement, am I still covered. No. I have to come to accept it... 

I would love to develop all of this more, but:

1-There are volumes in libraries about this.

2- I am busy

J. Baillet's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

When you are quoting a book titled "Reformed Dogmatics", you aren't being objective. A dogma is a set of beliefs that are to be accetped without question...

...

When Bavinck was writing, the usage of "Dogmatics" would be equivalent to today's "Systematic Theology".  Therefore, read "Reformed Systematic Theology."  Don't fall into the trap of using current lexical definitions instead of usage at the time of the writing.  Common mistake we all need to guard against.

JSB

TylerR's picture

Editor

The author wrote this:

The very nature of the sacrifices in the Old Testament confirm this idea. Each of the old covenant sacrifices had an objective reference: God. They were supposed to produce an effect: appease God’s wrath

Speaking as a guy who doesn't hold to particular redemption, this sounds like an excellent point against my own position.

  • However, I would respond by saying that anyone can go through the outward motions and not be accepted by God. There are many examples where God rejects sacrifices of those whose heart is far from Him. I'm not aware of a harsher passage on this topic than Malachi 2:3. 
  • Even for the elect, God will not accept a sacrifice made with an unrepentant heart. That held true for literal sacrifices under the Old Covenant, as well as spiritual sacrifices under the New Covenant. The elect can deliberately grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30). 

Before somebody responds, here is my own position:

  • Christ's sacrifice had a two-fold intention - (1) to perfectly and completely atone for the sins of the unconditionally elect of God, and (2) to condemn and act as the definitive piece of evidence against all others who refuse to repent and believe 

Thus, when Berkhof wrote this:

“Did the Father in sending Christ, and did Christ in coming into the world, to make atonement for sin, do this with the design or for the purpose of saving only the elect or all men? That is the question, and that only is the question.” (Systematic Theology, combined ed [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996], 2:394). 

I actually completely agree with it. I just see an intended negative intention for His death towards the unrepentant also.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

RickyHorton's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

I also reject the notion that either Jesus picked me as a member of His bride with no consideration of me

Actually, I'm pretty thankful God chose without consideration of me!  There is nothing in any of us worth considering.  I'm pretty sure you would agree but your wording is would indicate otherwise.