Sunday, August 16, 2009

For Whom Did Christ Die? Three Views!

Some time tomorrow I'll be putting up three short blog entries from three different scholars all answering the question "For Whom Did Christ Die?" in about 250-300 words. The line-up of scholars includes:

Paul Helm (Calvinist View)
Michael Jensen (Amyraldian View)
Ben Witherington (Arminian View)

It is a ripper, so stay tuned!

14 comments:

Ben Myers said...

Nice series, but you should have included a fourth view: Barthian. This view is exactly the same as "limited (i.e. effectual) atonement", except that the number of the elect includes everyone.

John Davies said...

We tend to approach the question by privileging either the intended comprehensive scope (“all”, “world”) or the intended comprehensive character of the redemptive work of Christ (“reconciled”, “glorified”) and, as Ben Myers says, only a Barthian can hold both — unless a reworked covenant theology can address this one. Perhaps the point of the atonement passages is not to provide material to address our desire for a neat logical formula, and we may need in the end to be content with an antinomy (as Packer uses the term in Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God). One question I find helpful to ask is what should any person believe to be true about the effect of the death of Christ for him or her? He or she should believe that “Christ died for me”. “All” should believe this, and preachers must declare that “Christ died for you” or “for all”. Believing that “Christ died for me” (in the full Biblical sense of what such believing means) is to appropriate the benefits of the death of Christ. Failure to believe it is disobedience and (if persisted in) puts one beyond the “all” or “world” envisaged. While this does not remove all tensions, it is not the same as limiting the scope of the “all” to the elect, or restricting the free offer of the gospel which is the “logical” extension of a strict definite atonement.
John Davies

Steve said...

Ben (and John),

Would you be so kind to point me to the pertinent sections of the CD where Barth addresses this issue? I understand that part of such an answer may depend upon a sort of "canonical" reading of Barth, so the more citations, the better!

By the way, I really enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Looking forward to this one for sure. Personally, I don't see how anyone on the Reformed side of things could deny the Dortian understanding of the atonement. But that's just me. Scripture seems to support the particular atonement view.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I don't consider Barth as a serious contender for "Evangelical" theologian of any kind. Neo-orthodoxy is no better than modernism or liberalism. Your statement that everyone is elect flies in the face of Romans 9, et. al. Barth's universalism is just another denial of the authority of Scripture as propositional truth. Of course everyone knows that neo-orthodoxy as a whole rejected the inerrancy, infallibility of Scripture along with the propositional truths recorded in God's written Word. For Barth, revelation is merely an existential encounter with God's Word and the Bible merely contains God's Word but is not itself God's Word in written form.

Any Evangelical accepting this view is not really an Evangelical but a liberal of sorts.

Charlie

Nick Mackison said...

Bird man, this rocks. Kudos.

Bruce J. Russell, Sr. said...

Didn't Christ, as the one faithful Israelite, die to endure the curses and fulfill the promises of the Torah, and rise from the dead to offer participation in that fulfillment to the rest of Israel and all of the Nations?

So the crucial question for the unbeliever is not, "Did Christ die for me?", instead, it is the following: "Is the crucified and risen Jesus Israel's Messiah and therefore Lord of the World?"

Sean LeRoy said...

Bruce, er, NT Wright...wait...who are you?
Actually you've done something that I didn't see in any of the essays - granted I skimmed them - and that is connected the atonement to Israel and started there, and not the church. Key and crucial, man.

Luke said...

Hey Bruce,

I think you mean:

Didn't Christ, as the one faithful second Adam, die to endure the curses and fulfill the promises of the "deeper" law, and rise from the dead to offer restoration in that fulfillment to the rest of Israel and all of the Nations?

So the crucial question is not "how does Jesus, Israel's and the world's messiah" but "how does he restore global obedience to God?"

Luke said...

[Ohps, I should figure out what I mean before deeming to correct what you mean!]

So the crucial question is not "Is Jesus, Israel's and the world's messiah" but "how does he restore global obedience to God?"

Bruce J. Russell, Sr. said...

Luke, I'm not sure what you mean by "deeper" law. Wouldn't you say that Israel reenacted Adam's sin through their well documented unfaithfulness to Old Covenant. We do know that "Salvation is from the Jews" and I think we should read the bible in a way that vindicates God's choosing of Israel to be a vehicle of blessing to the Nations. I agree that the obedience of faith is the first implication that the announcement that the risen Christ is Lord of the world.

Matthew Moffitt said...

So the crucial question is not "Is Jesus, Israel's and the world's messiah" but "how does he restore global obedience to God?"

Because he is Israel's messiah (the king - Israel par excellence) he can bring about the obedience to the nations. God makes a covenant with Israel, so that through Israel the world which had fallen into sin and evil in Genesis 3 etc. could be restored.

Luke said...

Hi Bruce,

"Deeper Magic [Law]" an expression I've co-opted from the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, to describe the underlying command given to Adam and written on the gentile hearts and underneath the OT law. While it's true Jesus is the expected faithful messiah the grand narrative of Scripture begins with Adam before Abraham. (I've been influenced by Jonathan Edwards on this.)

That's true Matthew, Jesus is the King bringing obidence but this is because he is the second true and faithful Adam.

Work in Progress said...

Jesus Christ is the Lord of the world (not just Israel) regardless of whether you believe in Him as the Messiah or not.

Philippians 2:9-11
Revelation 17:14

Jesus Christ ruled before Adam existed.
John 1:1-3