Archive for the ‘Phillip Johnson’ Category

Phillip Johnson and Amyraldianism

December 12, 2008

Phillip Johnson has an article (to which Trey Austin thoughtfully directed me) in which he provides a fairly helpful and quick guide to some distinctions among Evangelical views of the order of decrees, ranging from Supralapsarianism to Arminianism.

In the section on what Johnson prefers to call Amyraldism (as opposed to Amyraldianism), Johnson states: “Puritan Richard Baxter embraced this view, or one very nearly like it. He seems to have been the only major Puritan leader who was not a thoroughgoing Calvinist. Some would dispute whether Baxter was a true Amyraldian. (See, e.g. George Smeaton, The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991 reprint], Appendix, 542.) But Baxter seemed to regard himself as Amyraldian.” (emphases omitted)

He also cautions: “But Amyraldism probably should not be equated with all brands of so-called “four-point Calvinism.” In my own experience, most self-styled four-pointers are unable to articulate any coherent explanation of how the atonement can be universal but election unconditional. So I wouldn’t glorify their position by labeling it Amyraldism. (Would that they were as committed to the doctrine of divine sovereignty as Moise Amyraut! Most who call themselves four-pointers are actually crypto-Arminians.)”

(source) “Notes on Supralapsarianism & Infralapsarianism”

It is very interesting to me that the same folks Tony Byrne, David Ponter, and some of their associates that have been so anxious to misuse Phillip Johnson’s primer on Hyper-Calvinism are completely unwilling to use his notes on Calvinism.

And, of course, when we see Tony’s chart that he handed out to Dr. Allen for the so-called John 3:16 conference, guess who pops up in the “Moderate/Classical Calvinist” column of the chart:

Amyraut – the very person for whom Amyraldianism is named
Baxter – one of the very few Puritan Amyraldians
Dr. Alan Clifford – The Pastor of the Norwich Reformed Church, which has been holding yearly Amyraldianism conferences for at least three years.

Now, certainly, Tony throws other men into the list, some more or less justifiably. Bunyan, for example, may belong there, but Jonathan Edwards almost certainly does not. Here’s some evidence in support of my position on Edwards:

‘Tis Absurd to suppose that Christ Died for the salvation of those that he at the same time Certainly knew never would be saved. What Can be meant by that expression of Christ dying for the salvation of any one, but dying with a design that they should be saved by his death. or dying hoping that he they will be saved or at Least being uncertain but that they will be saved by his death. When we say that one Person does a thing for another, that which is Universally Understood by such an expression is that he does it with a design of some benefit to that other Person. ‘Tis nonsense to say that Any Person does any thing to the End that Another thing that may be done and ’tis Impossible that he should design Any benefit to Another person that he Certainly knows will have no benefit by it.

‘Tis Nonsense to say that Any thing [is done] with a design that Another thing should be done and to that End that it may be Done, at the same time that he has not the Least expectation that that other thing Ever will be done. and much more when he perfectly knows it never will. It matters not in this Controversy whether we suppose an absolute decree or no if we only allow that God knows all things that he knows future things before they Come to Pass as he declares he does in his word and no Christians pretend to deny But if we don’t deny this it implies a plain Contradiction to suppose that Christ died for in a proper sense.

If it Replied that no other is Intended when they say Christ died for all then that by his death all have the offer of salvation so that they may have salvation if they will accept of salvation – without any expectation or design of Christ that they should be saved by his death. if that be all that is Intended they Are Against no body – all that are Called Christians own that By Christ’s death all that live under the Gospel have the offer of salvation.

– Edwards, Jonathan – Sermon on Galatians 2:20

-TurretinFan

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Classifying Baxter and a Free Offer to my Theological Opponents

April 18, 2008

Classifying Baxter

Phillip Johnson has an article (to which Trey Austin thoughtfully directed me) in which he provides a fairly helpful and quick guide to some distinctions among Evangelical views of the order of decrees, ranging from Supralapsarianism to Arminianism.

In the section on what Johnson prefers to call Amyraldism (as opposed to Amyraldianism), Johnson states: “Puritan Richard Baxter embraced this view, or one very nearly like it. He seems to have been the only major Puritan leader who was not a thoroughgoing Calvinist. Some would dispute whether Baxter was a true Amyraldian. (See, e.g. George Smeaton, The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991 reprint], Appendix, 542.) But Baxter seemed to regard himself as Amyraldian.” (emphases omitted)

Free Offer to my Theological Opponents

This is interesting, because it seems that certain folks have been quoting Baxter on the issues related to the atonement, as though he and they were in agreement. This may have lead to certain misconceptions from my side, so – in the interest of fairness – I want to extend an offer (a well-meant offer) to those who have been quoting Baxter in support of their view of the atonement, as well as to any of my other theological opponents that have expressed a view that Christ died for each and every man without exception.

The offer is this:

Try to explain in what sense you think it is appropriate to say that Christ died “for” each and every person.

– Do you mean that Christ’s death had an intrinsic worth that was sufficient (if it were to be applied) for the atonement of the elect and reprobate together? If so, you’ll find us in agreement.

– Do you mean that Christ’s death was to no eternal benefit to the reprobate, but only (from an eternal standpoint) increased their guilt by making them in essence doubly guilty. If so, you’ll find us in agreement.

– Do you mean that Christ’s death had some temporal, incidental benefit to the reprobate, as the benefits of Christ’s death for the elect’s sake overflow to the rest of mankind? If so, you’ll find us in agreement.

– Or do you mean something more than that? Are you taking the position that Christ actually redeemed the reprobate? Are you taking the position that Christ’s death actually expiated the guilt of the sins of the reprobate? Are you taking the position that Christ’s death actually reconciled the reprobate to God? Are you taking the position that the sins of the reprobate were taken away, having been nailed to the cross? Are you taking the position that the reprobate died with Christ on the cross and were raised with Christ in his resurrection? Are you taking the position that Christ, as high priest, offered himself as a sacrifice to the Father on behalf of the reprobate? Are you taking the position that the Father does not accept Christ’s sacrifice for some for whom Christ offered that sacrifice? Are you taking the position that Christ actually substituted himself for the reprobate? Are you taking the position that Christ actually paid for the sins of the reprobate? Are you taking the position that Christ purchased the reprobate by his death? If so, we disagree.

It seems that answering these questions should help us determine our differences, if indeed there are differences.

This free offer, well-intentioned is open to all without exception (including Arminians, Amyraldians, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and anyone else who calls themsevles Christians). Also, if someone wants to respond by email (so as not to make the responses public), my email is accessible through my profile.

-Turretinfan


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