Archive for the ‘Marrow Men’ Category

A.A. Hodge on the Atonement

January 2, 2009

In A.A. Hodge’s “Outlines of Theology,” there is a chapter (Chapter XXV) on the Atonement (pp. 401-25 in the 1999 Banner of Truth Printing). The chapter is well organized and provides a good introduction to the subject. It seems to be designed to serve as a seminary textbook, and while it varies somewhat from the style of modern textbooks, it is quite systematic in its presentation, including general subjects, exegetical issues, responses to various objections, and even an historical discussion of the various positions and expressions of the issues.

I found A.A. Hodge’s definition of impetration interesting:

Impetration signifies the purchase, or meritorious procurement by sacrifice, of that salvation which God provides for his own people, and Application signifies its subsequent application to them in the process commencing with Justification and Regeneration, and ending in Glorification.

John Owen’s classic “The Death of Christ,” is not forgotten. A.A. Hodge brings it up as the definitive answer to the errors of Amyraldians such as those of the French School of Saumur and Richard Baxter. It appears again in the “Literature” section of the chapter.

A.A. Hodge devotes a short passage to the so-called “Marrow Men.” These were a group who A.A. Hodge somewhat overly emphatically assert were “perfectly orthodox” in their view of the atonement. They denied that Christ died for all, but asserted that Christ was dead for all, i.e. available.

A.A. Hodge describes the universal effects of the atonement, such as the removal of all legal obstacles out of the way of all men, and the rendering of salvation to any hearer of the gospel objectively possible (and so forth), as being incidental effects of the atonement, but holds that the design of the atonement was specifically to impetrate the actual salvation of the elect. Furthermore, A.A. Hodge describes this specific design as “his real motive” for dying, and cites in support of his view, Calvin’s comments on 1 John 2:2.

A.A. Hodge’s summary seems very good exegetically. The influence of Turretin can be seen almost immediately. One area where A.A. Hodge is relatively weak is in answering objections. Although A.A. Hodge identifies the positions of the Amyraldians, Romanists, Lutherans, etc., he does not provide very thorough answers to those objections himself. For a positive presentation of the Reformed doctrine of the atonement, however, A.A. Hodge is worth reading.


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