Archive for the ‘Propitiation’ Category

The real Francis Turretin on: Propitiation and Chastisement

October 12, 2009

Don Bryant, at From My Heart, Out of My Mind, has a post consisting of a nice quotation from the real Francis Turretin on the complete propitiation that Christ has made as well as the relation of chastisements to the scheme of propitiation (link). This quotation is taken from material found in volume 4 of Turretin’s works, rather than from his Institutes.


Augustine on 1 John 2:2 and "Whole World"

June 18, 2009

The fact that Augustine taught limited atonement is something that we occasionally hear disputed. Thus, from time to time, it is helpful to see what Augustine said about one of the key verses in that discussion, 1 John 2:2. Here are two places (the only two that have come to my attention) where Augustine address that verse:

In like manner it is said, on the one hand, “the whole world lies in wickedness,” [1 John 5:19] because of the tares which are throughout the whole world; and, on the other hand, Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world,” [1 John 2:2] because of the wheat which is throughout the whole world.

– Augustine, Letter 93 to Vincentius (for more see Ancient Voices)

Therefore it is no marvel that he here goes on and shuts the mouths of them that divide the Church of God. For he that has said, “We have Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins:” having an eye to those who would divide themselves, and would say, “Lo, here is Christ, lo, there;” and would show Him in a part who bought the whole and possesses the whole, he immediately goes on to say, “Not our sins only, but also the sins of the whole world.” What is this, brethren? Certainly “we have found it in the fields of the woods,” we have found the Church in all nations. Behold, Christ “is the propitiation for our sins; not ours only, but also the sins of the whole world.” Behold, you have the Church throughout the whole world; do not follow false justifiers who in truth are cutters off. Be in that mountain which has filled the whole earth: because “Christ is the propitiation for our sins; not only ours, but also the sins of the whole world,” which He has bought with His blood.

– Augustine, Homily 1 on 1 John (for more see Ancient Voices)

As you can see, in both cases, Augustine views the reference to “whole world” to be the church throughout the world. This is very important to understanding not only the patristic interpretation of this verse, but also the semantic domain of that term “whole world” or even just “world” in the early centuries of the church. It is apparent from Augustine that he saw it as describe a vast geographical expanse rather than referring to each and every person.

Now, just because Augustine said it doesn’t make it right. Augustine is not my rule of faith, Scripture is. The point I’m making here, though, is that viewing the expression “the whole world” as simply a broad geographic area and not “each and every person” is a fully reasonable understanding, and one that is consistent not only with Scripture, but with the writings of significant fathers, such as Augustine.


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