Friday, January 18, 2013

Particular Atonement From Kingdom through Covenants (1/3)

From "Kingdom Through Covenant" Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum, Crossway, 2012, starting at page 670 of the first edition. (Their own words in gray, mine in italics, blackened if I'm re-writing their argument, red for my own words.)

The topic under discussion is the extent of the atonement, and what was the design of Christ dying on the cross. Was it to provide a way that all can be saved, effectually save the elect, or a combination of both? They insist that the second, and the second only is valid. The atonement is not sufficient for the non-elect. We begin:

Christ died for the purpose of saving only those who to whom He actually applies the benefits of his work. As such, the intention and outcome of the cross are in harmony, and the cross work of Christ serves as the sole ground for our salvation in achieving it and securing everything necessary to apply it to our lives by the Spirit... Most affirm with John Murray that our Lords work is presented in Scripture as a priestly work...
Yet many who affirm that Christ's work is a priestly work, including general atonement advocates divorce Christ's priestly work from its covenantal context, and miss the power of the argument for definite atonement. What is the argument? Christ's work as the great high priest of the new covenant entails redemption. Two steps will sketch out the basic contours of this argument: 
  1. Christ's work as our great high priest is a unified work
  2. Christ's work as the mediator of the new covenant entails a particular and not general representation.
Let us look at each point in turn.

Next we will look at their two points more fully.

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