Equivocation Explains that There is no Explanation— the “For You” the Corporate Everybody or Individuals?

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Scott Clark, if he were being straight, would need to use the word “corporate” every time he says “and your children”. But Scott Clark writes out of both sides of his mouth. Scott Clark teaches that there are “different ways to be in the covenant”. Scott Clark speaks differently to “federal visionists” than Scott Clark speaks to credobaptists. Goldilocks understands and explains how the two other beds are different from his “just right” bed. One bed is different because it’s too hard. The other bed is different because it’s too soft. Therefore the two different beds are in substance the same bed. Therefore, according to Scott Clrk, the “covenantal Arminian” problem is not a paeodobaptist problem but really a credobaptist (or Lutheran) problem.

Scott Clark– We do not believe that in baptism the Spirit necessarily brings infants to new life. That is the doctrine of the papists, the confessional Lutherans, and others but it is not the teaching of the Reformed churches

Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenantal election.

Scott Clark—The Federal Visionist conflates the eternal decree with the external administration of the covenant of grace. Paedocommunion and the doctrine of baptismal regeneration are errors but they are also really only symptoms of this underlying problem. The Federal Vision theology posits two parallel systems: the system of the decree, which they render MERELY THEORETICAL and the system of baptismal union with Christ, which is their operative theology.

Scott Clark–My Baptist friends have a very difficult time UNDERSTANDING the Reformed understanding of the distinction between the divine decree and the external administration of the covenant of grace.

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

For Scott Clark, perhaps,the distinction between decree and “really in the covenant” is “mere theory”.



Scott Clark accuses credobaptists of “individualism” when it suits his argument. But when he’s watering a baby, the “promise for you” stays individual and personal, without mention of conditional corporate negative sanctions . “And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for a lasting possession, and I will be their God”

When Scott Clark is arguing from the land promises to Abraham’s children to the idea that the new covenant includes both elect and non-elect, Scott Clark neither refers only to Jesus the one and only child of Abraham or to the individuals who believe the gospel that Abraham believed. Instead Scott Clark starts talking “corporate”.

Scott Clark—“Spilsbury-cast the Abrahamic covenant individualistic terms. On its own terms, the Abrahamic covenant was a promise that entailed a corporate outward administration….”

Scott Clark writes: “Fundamentally, baptism is to strengthen our faith, not replace it. It is a seal to THE INDIVIDUALS WHO BELIEVE, that what baptism promises is actually true of them.” (p 8, “Baptism and the Benefits of Christ”, Confessional Presbyterian 2, 2006)

Greg Bahnsen agreed—“The signs of the covenant, whether circumcision or baptism, declare the objective truth that justification comes only by faith in God’s promise. Circumcision and baptism are NOT an INDIVDIUAL’S personal, subjective testimony to having saving faith for himself. So, those who are in the visible church but not elect are nevertheless within the covenant of grace but under its curse.”

But Leithart explains differently from both Bahnsen and Clark: “The big difference between the word and baptism is that the word offers God’s grace to everyone-in-general while baptism declares God’s favor TO ME . Baptism wraps the gift of forgiveness and justification and puts MY NAME on the package. Like the gospel, BAPTISM REQUIRES a response of ENDURING faith. Faith involves believing what baptism says ABOUT YOU . The baptismal declaration is that we are “justified from sin” by union with the death and resurrection of Jesus. And I can’t, of course, live a life of unbelief and disobedience, and expect baptism to rescue me at the end. Such a life would betray my baptism



Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”? Let’s bring some Lutherans into the discussion.

“Luther is applying predicates to individuals (members of the Church) which Scripture explicitly applies to the whole (the Church). Is this analogy per synecdoche necessarily wrong?”


The “for you” does not comfort the Lutheran if it’s not for everybody, therefore for the Lutheran the “for you” IS for everybody (in church who hears the preacher)

But this “for everybody” would mean a “proposal of marriage kind of promise”, therefore “for everybody” means Christ died for all sinners but now it’s up to you and the Holy Spirit.

Against both Scott Clark and the Lutherans, I am so “rationalistic” that I want to deconstruct the Lutheran Forde’s stupid explanation about the DIFFERENCE between “theology about the cross” and “theology of the cross”

Forde is not the only sacramentalist who has a theory about how “sacraments” work “for you” without God teaching you a “theory” or an “explanation” about how Christ’s death worked.

Forde’s explanation depends on a difference between fact and value/ meaning. Forde’s theory rejects anything in the Bible that sounds like the “marketplace”. So long “redemption”.

“Something has happened” apart from your “freewill”. To Forde and many other Lutherans this means that we still don’t know how God thinks and why Christ died because of sins.

“Christ has your sins and Christ is not going to take your sins back and yet somehow, without the preacher and the splash of the water, you still might not have life?”

“You are being saved”, but yet somehow in the end, maybe you won’t be saved

Because Forde and many other Lutherans are offended at what the Bible says about propitiation, they explain that the offense of the cross is that we don’t have an explanation. They explain that the offense of the cross is that God doesn’t have an explanation.

(sarcasm alert)

If you reject their explanation (which exempts itself from being an explanation), then these “for you” preachers have an explanation for that as well. You must be “rationalistic” and have a moral problem with God’s raw sovereignty . Their ad hom accusation, the law of the explanation that there is no explanation, explains— you want to protect yourself from God and so that’s why you talk about propitiation. Unlike these folks who have agreed with God that they are the most foolish and therefore the least foolish, if you are still talking about propitiation, then everybody likes hearing about how the cross satisfies justice, people really like to eat up that stuff about God’s wrath, because anybody who talks about God’s wrath is still into “free will” and they think they control God’s wrath with their explanations. But the “for you” preachers are maybe not so popular because they bravely keeping telling people that God loves them? And since they have the courage not to have an explanation, they bravely talk out of both sides of their mouth—for you corporately, but also for you individually. For you, but not necessarily in decretal election, perhaps only in covenantal election, but these preachers are so brave that they don’t get into detailed explanations. And these preachers are so bold and so foolish that they transcend other people’s foolish doctrinal stuff, and stick with what’s “pastoral”. It wouldn’t be prudent for them to teach universalism. But it does not harm anybody if they keep saying “for you”, because surely nobody interprets that language in terms of free will. God does the sacrament. We humans don’t do the sacraments by our free will. Therefore if we stop showing up for the splash of water and the sermon of absolution, that’s on us, but it’s not “freewill”

(end of sarcasm, I think)

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Forde’s law says that Christ’s death cannot be explained or justified by law. Forde disagrees with Romans 4:25 that Christ was raised from the dead because of the justification of sinners. Forde’s reason for Christ’s resurrection is that there is no reason, and Christ being risen is lawlessness.

Forde has his own explanation for Christ’s death–we killed him.
God didn’t plan the death for the sake of God’s justice (forget Romans 3:25)
Forde turns Christ’s death into law–you all killed him.
Then Forde confuses law with gospel—therefore since you all killed him, Christ died “for you”, for everybody

And if you don’t agree with Forde’s explanation, he has some more accusations against you
1. you must prefer Christ dead to Christ, since you think the death was so necessary.
2. if you think the Son removed the wrath between you and the Father, then you must think the Father did not send the Son, you must think that the Father only loves you because of the Son, you must think there must now be a separation between the Father and the Son, because you used to (foolishly) think there was a separation between the Father and you, because of your sins
3. Forde accuses all who disagree with his theory about Christ’s death of being people who think their “assent by their freewill to propositions” is the “currency that buys off God”

Forde puts the “others” into Arminian mode, but he denies being universalist. So what keeps the “for everybody” of Christ’s death from working foreverybody? Not our freewill, but our not hearing the preacher and getting the splash of water and swallowing Jesus in the sacrament?

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Anti-individualism is the reigning ideology in the academy in our day (but not in the rhetoric of politicians) . Even many “self-help” books end with the exhortation to find fulfillment by finding community. We meet together to be “challenged” again for being too concerned about ourselves alone.

We are reminded that “He loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20) does not eliminate the greater truth that “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2). Since me does not rule out us, then us does not rule out them. And since nobody talks about elect and non-elect, the truth that Christ died for His sheep cannot be understood as denying that Christ died also for goats. So Arminian evangelicals tell us.

Election yes, but not when we are talking about Christ’s death, and certainly not when we meet as a church!

The pseudo-Calvinists who will not talk about election when they are talking about Christ’s death and love. They will only say, “if you put your trust in Him,” and will not spell out the antithesis between sheep for whom Christ died and goats for whom Christ did not die. They doubletalk about God’s love. On the one hand, everyone listening to them is regarded as one of the “us” who Christ loves. On the other hand, listeners are being warned that Christ’s love depends on them “putting their trust in”. At issue here is not only the extent of Christ’s love but the nature of Christ’s love. If Christ’s love is often unrequited, then even His love for those who love Him back is of a very different nature than the biblical love which never lets go of any God gave His Son.

It does no good to say that God “took the initiative”, or even that God “loved the unlovely”. In our own relationships, one of us takes the first steps. But if the other person does not respond to the first love, it amounts to nothing. If Christ’s love is an initiative which depends on our response, then Christ’s love amounts to nothing. Galatians 2:20 does not say that the Son of God loved you and gave Himself FOR YOU. Nor does the text give clergy the authority to extrapolate that God loves you and gave Himself for you. Rather, the next verse says “if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” If Christ’s love depends on you the law of putting your trust in Him, then Christ’s love amounts to nothing and His death was for no purpose.

McGregor Wright, late author of No Place for Sovereignty—-When Francis Schaeffer”s writings were introduced to the well meaning, well doing, young, evangelical it went down the throat like mother’s milk. “Calvinist” was questionable and, at best, risky business. Nobody wanted to connect Schaeffer with “Calvinist”, and “Presbyterian” was a dangerous label as well. Just ask Bill Bright what is important to Chrstianity and that will be Schaeffer’s Evangelical Credential. All the things Schaeffer said were said out of the “evangelical” megaphone. Everybody looked at Schaeffer and then looked at each other and said “A OK!

McGregor Wright asked Schaeffer why, as a confessing Calvinist, he would teach “a version of ‘free will’ that looked much like Arminianism. Schaeffer said he wanted students to clearly see that Christianity is different from “the ‘determinism’ emphasized in the psychology and sociology courses of the secular campus.” Writing in The Bible Today, (A Review of a Review, Oct 1948) Schaeffer said, “It is not apart from the Holy Spirit, nor could it be possible without the predestination of the Sovereign God” and referred to the woman at the well as “one of the elect.” But Bryan A. Follis in Truth with Love; The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer notes in reference to Schaeffer’s 1948 article: “It is fascinating to note that by 1963 the reference to “predestination” and “the elect” had been dropped and that by 1968 the sentence referring to God’s mercy in saving men had been cut out. Was Schaeffer becoming more rationalist? Was Schaeffer becoming more Arminian? Follis, writing favorably on Schaeffer, answers that Schaeffer was just tailoring his speech to his audience.


Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

The false gospel (not universalism but Arminianism) depends on individuals among the corporately loved agreeing with Jesus that Jesus died for them. They think that God’s “for you” is an appeal to the part of us which refuses explanations we don’t like but that God finds us lovely when we hate God’s explanations

Pseudo-Calvinists think of election and definite redemption as two different things, because they think of love “for you” and propitiation for the elect as two different things. Not so the Scripture! John 10 does not say that the good Shepherd loves the goats so that they can become sheep . John 10:12 says that “he who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

The preacher who claims to be too brave for explanations flees from God’s expiation and God’s election because they are hired hands and care nothing for the sheep.” The good shepherd does not act like the hired man. The hired man’s love amounts to nothing. How do we know the Shepherd loves the sheep? “I lay down my life for the sheep.” Does this mean that the Shepherd dies “for you” as a representative of the goats along with the sheep? No. The Shepherd is not only the leader, not only the first to die. The Shepherd dies as a substitute for the sheep. Because the Shepherd dies, the sheep do not die. John 10 does not separate Christ’s love and Christ’s death. Christ loves those for whom He dies. Christ dies for those He loves.

Christ died “for everybody”. No, He did not. John 10 makes this clear and simple. It does not say, “If you put your trust in and believe.” John 10:26, “But you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep hear my voice.” It’s not, if you put your trust in me and hear my voice , then you will become my sheep. Ok, Ok, the Pseuo–Calvinists reason, we also believe in election. We too know that John 10:29 tells how “My Father has given them to me”. We just don’t happen to talk about that when we are talking about Christ’s loving and dying. When we talk about Christ’s love, we stay with “for you” and don’t get into the business of them not being able to trust if they are not elect. Christ knew who was not elect, but we don’t

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

I agree that we don’t know who is not elect. Just because a person does not now believe the true gospel does not mean that person never will believe. Any person who will one day believe the true gospel is already a sheep. Christ already loves them, and Christ already died for them. But we can say all that without leaving the door open for those who teach that Christ died for everybody. If we do not say that Christ died for the elect and not for the non-elect, those who climb in other ways will be telling people that it all depends on “if you trust In Him”. If we don’t talk about Christ’s death and election at the same time, we ourselves will be heard preaching a love that depends on the sinner to respond.

My main point is not the motives of Lutherans and Pseudo-Calvinists Surely some of them are hired men who know they won’t be hired if they talk about Christ not dying for the non-elect. Most of them “sincerely” have the same false gospel that teaches Christ’s death as having an universal “intent” conditioned on a sinner’s faith. My main point is that Christ’s love amounts to everything! Christ’s love meant death for those God loved, and that love is decisive. That love is not one factor among many. Christ’s love is about a death which propitiates the wrath of God against elect sinners for their sins. Christ’s love is not over against God’s wrath. God’s love gives Christ some elect individuals, and this is not ever ever ever for one moment something separate from God’s love which gives Christ to die for these elect individuals.

John 3:16 says “He gave His only Son, that as many as believe in Him would not perish but have lasting life.” God did not give His Son, so that everybody “could” believe in Him. God gave His Son, so that THE INDIVIDUALS WHO DO BELIEVE in Him will NOT PERISH. . God did not give His Son for them because they would believe in Him. Nor is the only thing going on in the giving of the Son the purchasing of faith for the elect, even though this is true. I Peter 1:21, “who through Him are believers” and II Peter 1:1, “to those who have been given a faith as precious as ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The death of Christ does not make appeasement of God’s wrath possible if other factors fall into place. The death of Christ is the punishment required by God’s law for the sins of those God has given Christ. Do you reject God’s explanation? God requires the death. Never ever has God loved one individual sinner without God also requiring the death of Christ for that sinner. Never has Christ loved one sinner without Christ also needing to die for that sinner.

Does the “for you” include “everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.“? Revelation 13:8.

The ideology current in the academy warns us that we won’t be ethical if we focus on individual names in a book. Even though there are some Arminians left around who are pleading with individuals to write their names in that book, most religious people today are put off about rejoice about names in a book. The current idea is not to argue about the significance of names when God loves everybody, but to move on to the matter of ethical community. Surely the kingdom of God does not consist of God’s will in terms of an election of individuals!

Talking about guilt being appeased only makes people feel more guilty, and this time not with the Father but guilty toward Jesus for having killed Jesus. The Arminian evangelicals say, keep the faith and don’t become universalists. And the Pseudo-Calvinist hirelings say, let’s keep the right balance and just preach the texts without talking about election so that we can make EVERYBODY feel guilty for killing Jesus and then after the law has been read, we say “for you and your children”.

The false gospel, in all its forms, has enough guilt for everybody. This is the irony of what is supposed to be good news. Even if there are no sentimental songs about killing Jesus, whenever you tell a person that Jesus had to die for them and did die for them, but then deny that this is enough to take away their guilt if they don’t put their trust in it, you have just pushed that person further into self-righteousness. Either, they think, even though I am guilty of all those sins and Jesus had to die for them, at least I am not guilty anymore of not putting trust in. Or perhaps, they think, God depends on us all . People who don’t explain can explain can argue that this kind of epistemological self-awareness is not real, but I think this attitude is in the very air we breathe. It is not individualism gone bad but an idolatry of the self.

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Jason Stellman, before he switched from being a pseudo-Calvinist to being a Roman Catholic, explained that “God never deals with us as individuals” (Dual CitiZens, p 9) I do not agree. I disagree that, when we hear Christ preached, we then hear Christ preaching. (p 13) I disagree that we hear an official “minister” absolving our sins, that we hear Christ forgiving our sins. Who is hearing the “for you” ? Are the non-elect not hearing, because they don’t care about their sins? If so, then does the “for you” comes\ back again to the faith of the hearers? When you hear the “you are forgiven” by the “minister”, for long after that are YOUR sins forgiven?

Is it “pietist” or “sectarian” to warn people that the New Testament is written only to “as many as” are individually Christian? Why go on pretending that everybody listening to the sermon and observing the sacrament is an exile from the world and a Christian? Many pseudo-Calvinists are so brave ( and don’t forget– more foolish than all other foolish) that they refuse “to speak to the church as if were the world” , but they don’t mind using water to baptises the infant world into the church. But these so very brave preachers have cover—they are not really doing it, God is doing it. The church is not doing it. The Church is not deciding who the church is (like those baptists do, because the church is God doing it. )

But why not use the “for you” to explain and justify splashing water on the heads of infants without professing Christian parents? Why not use the “for you” to open up the possibility of water as the means of salvation to pagans who are not children, and about the supper being converting for those halfway or out of the “for you”?

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Philip Cary—Catholics don’t worry about whether they have saving faith but whether they are in a state of mortal sin—so they go to confession. Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without even the effort to obey a command to believe. For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe). It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me.

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

The Lutheran “us” claims to be everybody, but for Lutherans, it’s not the death for “us” which saves anyone, because what saves anyone is present faith. Present faith, present salvation, and losing faith is losing salvation, and Christ’s satisfaction of the law has nothing to do with any of it. But the situation is not different among the Reformed, despite the claim of Scott Clark and Ferguson to be different from the federal visionists, they also use the “for you” to have a conditional covenant which is not governed by the truth of election.

Ferguson—Shepherd writes that “The prophets and apostles viewed election from the perspective of the covenant of grace, whereas Reformed theologians of a later day have tended to view the covenant of grace from the perspective of election”(p 60). The result of this, it is argued, is that the reformed preacher no longer says “Christ died for you” – but, when these words are construed, not from the point of view of election, but of the covenant, then “The Reformed evangelist can and must say on the basis of John 3:16, Christ died for you.”

Does this mean that Shepherd was saying “for you” to the church, but not to those outside the church? If so, was Shepherd making the church the object of evangelism?

Ferguson: Shepherd appears to adopt the view of the prevailing academic critique of the covenant theology of the seventeenth century (forcefully presented decades ago by Perry Miller), which suggests that the doctrine of covenant somehow makes God’s secret counsels less harsh. We ought therefore to look at covenant, and not at election. This analysis, both historically and biblically we reject… To use Shepherd’s own citation – the fact is that some passages, e.g. Ephesians 1:1-14, do employ the mode of looking at covenant from the viewpoint of election. Indeed, in that passage it is necessary for the reader to look for covenant in the context of election..” For Shepherd, we ought to speak to people “not in terms of decretal election or reprobation” but rather “in terms of their covenant faithfulness.”


Not of Works: Norman Shepherd and His Critics, by Ralph Boersema, p 151 quoting Cornelius Venema—“Norman Shepherd’s strength is his insistence on the conditionality of the covenant. The covenant of grace is conditional in its administration. To view salvation in terms of God’s electing grace would make it impossible to do justice to human responsibility and to ward off antinomianism.”

It is not proper, therefore, to set up a dichotomy whereby according to God’s secret will, election or justification cannot be lost, but according to our covenant perspective they may be lost. The statements cited show a tendency to use typically Calvinistic language with respect to the level of God’s secret will, but in the level of “covenant perspective” to use typically Arminian language (Christ died for you; the elect may become reprobate). There is even the notion that Ephesians 1:1–14 does not “function as canon” in relation to God’s unchangeable decree of predestination, but functions as canon only within that “context of the covenant” where “election” maybe lost. This is a misreading of the doctrine of God’s incomprehensibility. That doctrine does not mean that the perspicuously revealed grace of God in election and justification can be regarded as changeable on the covenant level. Meredith G. Kline, Robert D. Knudson, Arthur W. Kuschke, David C. Lachman, George W. Marson, W. Stanford Reid, Paul G. Settle, William Young to the Trustees of Westminster Theological Seminary (December 4, 1980), 5.

Turretin—“The Election of Christ as Mediator should not be extended more widely than the Election of men who are to be saved, so that he was not destined and sent for more than the elect” (Paragraph 19).

Shepherd’s Call of Grace, published by Presbyterian and Reformed and endorsed by Richard Gaffin, p 83—-“To look at covenant from the perspective of election is ultimately to yield to the temptation to be as God.

p 84—“God has wrought a finished and complete redemption, and so salvation (and not merely the possibility of salvation) is offered without equivocation to all…. The Calvinist frequently hedges on the extent of the world, because the saving love of God revealed in the atonement is only for the elect….The Reformed evangelist can and must preach to everyone on the basis of John 3:16 –Christ died to save you.

p 89—“John 15 is often taught by distinguishing two kinds of branches. Some branches are not really in Christ in a saving way. Some are only in Him externally…If this distinction is in the text, it’s difficult to see what the point of the warning is. The outward branches cannot profit from it. because they cannot in any case bear genuine fruit. And the inward branches cannot help but bear good fruit. The words outward and inward are often used in the Reformed community…to account for the fact that the covenant community includes both elect and non-elect. But when Paul uses the terms Romans 2:28-29 , he is not referring to the elect and non-elect. The terms define the difference between covenantally loyal Jews and disobedient transgressors of the law.”

Clair Davis—”Election is not really about evangelism and what we should say then. I think this is the answer that pulls us together, the one that helped Whitefield and Wesley keep on working together, actively evangelizing together.”

Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenant election.



Doug Wilson — Baptists must view their child as ‘the newly arrived Amalekite sitting sullenly off to the side in his high chair’

Sinclair Ferguson —The paedobaptist covenantal principle enables parents to teach their children in home, Sunday School and congregational worship to pray with theological consistency ‘Our Father in heaven…’

Becoming Reformed and taking sides against Jones and Piper does not keep folks from locating the gospel in Christ’s incarnation instead of Christ’s death for the sins of the elect.

Since Sinclair Ferguson and John Murray have enforced “the Marrow” as the standard shibboleth which says that we can’t deny God’s universal love for all sinners without denying the duty of all sinners to believe, it’s very common now to reject a federal atonement for the sake of an universal atonement “for you” which then gets distributed by the Holy Spirit to only some for whom Christ became incarnate. Instead of election in Christ giving us Christ’s death, the Marrow paradigm insists that the incarnation is for every sinner and then the Holy Spirit “mystically unites” us to Christ’s incarnate person (and then the Holy Spirit gives some of us what Christ did for all of us)

Mark Karlberg review of The Holy Spirit. By Sinclair B. Ferguson. Contours of Christian Theology. Gerald Bray, general editor. Downers Grove, IL, 1996 Ferguson’s model relativises the definitive aspect of soteric justification, the once for-all act of God reckoning sinners righteous in his sight by means of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. In precisely what sense does justification (as one of many benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection) await future consummation? The crux of the new theology lies in its repudiation of the classic Protestant law/ gospel distinction. There is no place in Ferguson’s theology of the covenants for this antithetical contrast with reference to the history of God’s covenant dealings with humankind. Ferguson knows of only one covenant of grace in creation and redemption . For Ferguson, in respect to godliness the indicative and imperative operate within the context of the single covenant of grace, before and after the Fall.. http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/42/42-3/42-3-pp477-555_JETS.pdf

But this confusion of law and gospel is consistent with anybody (Karlberg or Scott Clark or Horton) who teaches that all post-fall covenants are administrations of “the covenant”. if your children need to hear the “for you” of the gospel before they can be commanded with the “for you” of the law, then the difference between Westminster California and Ferguson, Gaffin, and Westminster Philadelphia is not an explanation that removes the “two sides of the mouth” equivocation of “for you” or “for you and your children”

The Marrow says “Christ is dead for you”, but the Marrow does not and cannot say that “Christ’s death purchased faith for you.” The Marrow men has moved God’s imputation of sins to Christ into the present and put all the focus on the Holy Spirit, so that the “application” of the death has become the “atonement”, so that it is denied that God has already imputed the sins of a sinner to Christ (or not). So speudo-Calvinists sound just like Lutherans and Arminians on the extent of the atonement, and what’s left of their Calvinism is only about “regeneration before faith” and also (to be Confessional about it) “regeneration before faith means that you faith is not alone but will produce enough change in you to prove to you that you believe”. But they are all teaching in some sense an universal (and thus unjust) atonement–no sins imputed yet, with the sinners being enabled to “to place you trust in Jesus, so that His death become your punishment also.

Without explanation, “his death becomes your punishment”. Explanation would b rationalistic. Explanation would expose the contradictions. Stay with the equivocation of “for you”.



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24 Comments on “Equivocation Explains that There is no Explanation— the “For You” the Corporate Everybody or Individuals?”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    not all Lutherans are the same, but here’s one—

    It seems to me that Calvinism imagines God’s election of the…um…elect “before the foundation of the world” as occurring somehow chronologically prior to the creation of time. Time then begins as part of the created order and unwinds according to the immutable and pattern that God had already determined before He created anything. After the end of time, what was decided before the beginning of time comes to pass. In this schema God’s election is outside of time primarily in the sense that it is prior to creation.\

    Calvinism, as well as its more staid theological descendants (thoroughgoing confessional Reformed types like the OPC, Dutch Reformed, etc.), seems to have a very Platonic understanding of salvation — and this is not a dis, just a description of what it looks like to an outsider. God dwells in unapproachable light in metaphysical hyperspace. The perfect form of salvation exists in His mind as an immutable and logical decree. On the other side of line, in the created order, things happen which symbolize this decree from within the hidden counsel of the Trinity, but no part of salvation is actually contingent upon the efficaciousness of any of these things. Baptism isn’t God calling His elect; it’s symbolic of what will happen in a spiritual manner if the baptized person is elect. Preaching is not an actual declaration of Law and Gospel, i.e., “you are a sinner, but the Lord has nevertheless put away your sin — believe it,” which can be believed or rejected; it is rather a description of the form of salvation. And then there’s the most Platonic instance of all: in the Lord’s Supper, everyone eats bread, but on another plane, the elect also eat Christ’s spiritual body in heaven by faith, while the reprobate just eat bread…though they might be having an experience while doing so that makes them think that they’re communing spiritually in hyperspace. The Incarnation, then — or, perhaps, more accurately, the Humiliation and earthly ministry of Christ — is the explanation of the logical proposition of salvation and the symbolic demonstration of what was true before time began and what will be true after time ends. The Incarnation isn’t a loving embrace of the fallen creation in order to mend and heal it; it’s a brief trip to the world below the Bifrost to assure people that absolutely nothing is what it seems. And this could be good or bad news. Afterwards, Christ returns to the Right Hand of the Father, which is a roughly 6′x3′x3′ space in the empyrean, far, far away. Even if He’d like to be Really Present — in the Supper, or anywhere — He can’t be, because His human nature won’t allow him to be.

    • johnyeazel Says:

      I think this is an accurate description of how the confessional Reformed double-talk about the doctrine of election. They do Platonize the doctrine and it becomes almost incomprehensible. That turns out to be no big deal for them because they hold the keys and they understand covenant better than the average Joe.

      I love this image that Doug Wilson presents as an argument against those who refuse to water their infants. If anyone has raised any kids I think this image is certainly the reality of how fallen humans act. I am not an advocate for infant baptism. I don’t think baptism saves. I think Christ dies for His elect sheep alone and God will gather His elect from the mass of Amelikite humanity. God will propitiate the sins of His elect sheep in a just and sovereign way:

      Doug Wilson — Baptists must view their child as ‘the newly arrived Amalekite sitting sullenly off to the side in his high chair’

      John Y: Why is that truth so difficult for us to accept and face when it is certainly so true in our experience?

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Another you explains how the “for you offer” of the Reformed is a “legal fiction”

    I’m sympathetic with Papist attacks on Luther as the road to atheism. Indeed, I do think Luther’s radical attack on Rome’s claims, in a way to defend the Reformation and his own teaching authority, set the stage for later developments. Figures like Hegel, Tillich, Bultmann, et al. are faithful expositors of certain strands of Luther. Yes, I know many studies have come out that “prove” Luther had a metaphysics, and that he would not go along with these developments. The core of Luther’s radical posture was deeply suspicious and skeptical posture towards church history and holiness. Erasmus had attacked Luther for not listing any miracles, any saints, any acts of God to validate his doctrinal claims

    Emerging from the invisibility of holiness, Luther was incredibly shallow when it came to metaphysics. Well, some say he had a proto-existentialist metaphysics, where the depth of reality is a relation between the justifying God and the sinful man (Oswald Bayer).

    A major part of Luther’s attack on Carlstadt was that the latter was insane for fixating on external elements so much, confusing the gospel with law like an ignorant Jew

    Bonhoeffer believed the modern world had ejected all religious sensibilities. People no longer needed church buildings, vestments, pastors etc. So preaching the law and gospel and taking the sacrament should not replace loving your neighbor. Even the grammar of theology could be expunged for a world that was without the need for a god-crutch


  3. markmcculley Says:

    Mike Horton– At the same time, the promise is not only “for you and your children,” but also “for those who are far off.” Regardless of whether one is pro- or anti-revival, it’s one thing to imagine that one can manipulate God into sending revival by “new measures” and “excitements” and quite another to pray and hope for seasons of greater blessing. Writers like Iain Murray who speak of revival as the Spirit’s extraordinary blessing on his ordinary means of grace stand in a long line of “experimental Calvinism.” If revivalism is antithetical to “the system of the Catechism” (and I agree that it is), it is nevertheless true also that confessional Protestants have often prayed for special periods of awakening and revival. Pro-revival Calvinists include the Puritans and the great Princetonians (Alexander, Hodge, and Warfield), not just Edwards and Whitefield. So the debate over the meaning and legitimacy of “revival” is in-house. There is no historical justification for pro-revival or anti-revival Calvinists to write each other out of this heritage.


  4. markmcculley Says:

    Luther—As though Christ wished to say: “Whoever believes, does not go to hell; whoever does not believe, already has the sentence of death pronounced on him.” Why? Well, because he does not believe in Christ. This is the judgment: that such an ineffably comforting doctrine of God’s grace, procured for the world through Christ, is proclaimed, but that

    Luther– the world still wants to believe the devil rather than God and His beloved Son. And this despite the fact that God assures us: “Sin, hell, judgment, and God’s wrath have all been terminated by the Son.” Now what is still lacking? Why the judgment if all sin has been removed by the Son? The answer is that the judgment is incurred by man’s refusal to accept Christ, the Son of God. Of course, man’s sin, both that inherited from Adam and that committed by man himself, is deserving of death. But this judgment results from man’s unwillingness to hear, to tolerate, and to accept the Savior, who removed sin, bore it on His shoulders, and locked up the portals of hell. (Luther’s Works 22:382-383)

    Jack Kilcrease—Notice what Luther is saying here. God in Christ has redeemed us all and completely erased sin. Consequently, the only sin left over is not to have faith in the forgiveness worked in Christ.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Tianqi Wu- ‘Christ’s death is sufficient for all, but efficient for the elect.’ ”
    I think this sentence is highly misleading. In the first half of this sentence, “Christ’s death” does not refer to the event that actually happened 2000 years ago, but rather refer to a possibility that God might have actualized.

    It’s far simpler and more honest to say “Christ’s death is sufficient for all those He died for”, “God’s love/grace is sufficient for all those He loves / is gracious towards”. If your concern is that people might falsely think that “those He died for” has some special quality that makes them “savable” by Christ’s death, then the true antidote to this idea is simply the doctrine of unconditional election as the reason Christ died for those He died for.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    1. Jesus died for all your sins

    2. but you need to do more than assent to this, you need to trust this

    3. it’s one thing to say the chair can hold you up, and another thing to sit in the chair

    4 so the chair holds everybody, but if you don’t sit in it, the chair waiting for you to sit on it won’t be enough

    5. even the demons assent to the fact that the chair holds everybody, but the chair was not for demons but only for all humans

    6. so if you only assent to the fact that Jesus died for you, then Jesus died for all you but that won’t save you unless you trust it

    7. so you can’t trust in your assent, but you can trust in your trust

    8 the death of Jesus\ for you plus your trust in that (not only assent) will save you

    9 so it’s simple, you don’t need to trust in order to know that Jesus died for you, but the death of Jesus for everybody will not save you unless you trust that Jesus died for you

    10 because obviously you could not trust that Jesus died for you unless we told you already that Jesus died for everybody

    11. so you don’t need to wait until you trust to know already that Jesus died for you

    12. but the death of Jesus still won’t save you unless you trust it and make it save you

    13 we should not talk about election, and even saying this is talking about election, and this might offend some of the elect and keep them from trusting the gospel

    14. we should not talk about election, because it might people question if Jesus died for them and the gospel tells everybody that Jesus died for them, and there’s no need to wait to assent to that

    15. of course Jesus did die for everybody but only those who know that they needed that will be saved

    16 the death of Jesus for a sinner has nothing to do with the different sin of not needing that and not trusting that

  7. markmcculley Says:

    people are saved by believing and trusting in Christ, and not by believing in a logically consistent, perfectly true set of propositions about Christ. In the background to the above is a distinction between the object of our faith — Christ — and the content of our faith — propositions about Christ. I’ve noticed that you tend to use the terms interchangeably, but they are not actually interchangeable. Propositions are not objects in either 0-order or 1st-order logic.

    The NT gives examples of people whose gospel was false — as in, not completely true — yet were saved. Peter is a major example; Apollos is a good minor example. Hence, it is possible to believe a gospel that is not completely true in every respect, yet be saved.

    * People are inconsistent, not consistent in their views. Hence, while a logical implication of unlimited atonement is certainly justification by works (specifically, the work of faith), it does not follow that all who believe in unlimited atonement also believe that they are justified by the merit of their faith.

    * The gospel taught from 100AD to the Reformation was defective in several ways. I’ve already pointed out that limited atonement was rejected. But it was much more than that — everyone that I know of during that period believed that “justification” consisted of being made righteous ontologically, and certainly not by imputation alone. Most believed in ex opere operato sacramentalism.

    So if we posit that a gospel false in any way cannot save, then the entire medieval church, the Lutheran church — and you would have it, Calvin and most Reformed folk — were not saved. God’s church consists of something like the few thousand people who believe in limited atonement, imputation preceding faith, etc, skipping generations from Paul straight to John Owen

  8. markmcculley Says:

    Tianqi Wu–Many Reformed people who say that Christ died for all of elect’s sins and died for some but not all of non-elect’s sins. Thus, they can simply dismiss the double punishment argument.

    Some people in “early church history” taught that Christ only died for the sins of a Christian prior to baptism, and the elect are preserved from sin after baptism. They imagined that Christ made a real, but partial expiation for the non-elect that will not save the non-elect from the second death. .

    But God’s Law is an indivisible whole that demands perfect obedience for as long as a person lives. For each person, it is a singular demand that is broken by the person in numerous ways and occasions. (I think this is why sometimes the scripture speaks of “sin” in the singular rather than in the plural.) Hence, when it comes to Christ’s substitution, it’s possible for Christ to bear one sinner’s guilt without bearing another sinner’s guilt, but not possible for Christ to bear part of a sinner’s guilt without bearing the entirety of his guilt, because Christ must become legally surety to the sinner to bear the sinner’s guilt at all. (This legal imputation of sins to Christ is not to be confused with God’s imputation of Christ’s death to all the sinners for whom Christ became legal surety and for whom Christ died)

  9. markmcculley Says:


    Andrew Fuller–who uses or doesn’t use the death of Christ does not change the nature

    as in, who eats or doesn’t eat the banana does not change the nature of the banana

    I agree, at least when it comes to Andrew Fuller’s false view of the nature of the death of Christ

    since in Andrew Fuller’s view the death is not a judicial payment for the specific sins of specific beneficiaries

    Fuller’s idea that the beneficiaries will be “named according to God’s intent on what to do with Christ’s death

    shows that Andrew Fuller denies the nature of Christ’s death as a propitiation


    When the false gospel says that Christ’s death has “sufficiency” to make an offer to every sinner, at the same time that false gospel is teaching that Christ’s death is not sufficient to cause any sinner to become justified bfore God. The false gospel denies that Christ’s death purchased regeneration or faith because the false gospel thinks that would make regeneration and faith something not grace but something God owed to Christ because of Christ having purchased regeneration and faith. Like the Socinians, the false gospel says that grace must not be bought by Christ’s death or it is no longer grace.

    And so the false gospel says–trust God, not God’s justice. Trust Christ in His present resurrection status, not Christ for what His death did by way of propitiation and purchase.

    The false gospel teaches that only Christ’s status as justified and resurrected are imputed to elect sinners.. The false gospel denies that died by objective justice for specific sins and that this death is imputed to elect sinners.

    The false gospel teaches that Christ represented every sinner. So does the false gospel teach that Christ at some point stopped representing some sinners/
    Or does the false gospel teach that Christ represented every sinner, right up until the time most of them perish?

    It’s a requirement of God’s justice that everyone for whom Christ will become justified. This is God’s debt to God. This is God’s obligation to God to be the God who is just.

  10. markmcculley Says:

    Romans 8:28
    We know that God works together all things
    for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

    Colossians 1: 16 For all things were
    created by Him,
    in heaven and on earth,
    the visible and the invisible,
    whether thrones or dominions
    or rulers or authorities—
    all things have been created through Him and for Him.
    17 He is before all things,
    and by Him all things hold together.
    He is … the firstborn from the dead,
    in order that He would come to have
    first place in all things.
    19 For God was pleased to have
    all His fullness dwell in Him,
    20 and through Him to reconcile
    all things to Himself
    by making peace
    through the blood of His cross
    whether things on earth or things in heaven

  11. markmcculley Says:

    Believing a proposition does not make the proposition actually true or false.

    I agree, but some would say–well, you are saying that believing the gospel makes the proposition “I have believed the gospel” come true. Others would accuse you of saying that believing the gospel makes the proposition “i am now justified” come true.

    The answer is that “I have believed the gospel” is not part of the gospel. “I am now justified” is not part of the gospel. The gospel includes the promise that “as many as believe the gospel will be justified”. If a person tells us that “well I have believed the gospel but I still am not sure that I am justified yet”, they are in reality saying “i have not yet believed the gospel”. Because if they had believed the gospel, they would believe the proposition that “as many as who believe the gospel are justified”.

    I am of course not talking about perfect faith. I am not not denying that there are degrees of assurance. But either we believe the gospel or we do not.

    Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”.

    Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

    Phil 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith in Christ.”

    if you have believed the gospel, will you continue to believe? Or is believing the gospel like a tattoo—once you have believed, you can then stop believing, and still have your justification? Or if you stop believing, does it turn out that the promise of the gospel was not for you after all?


    Philip Cary—-“For Augustine and the whole Christian tradition prior to Calvin, it is perfectly possible to have a genuine faith and then lose it. Apostasy from the true faith. For Calvin, on the contrary, there is a kind of faith I can have now which I am sure not to lose, because it comes with the gift of perseverance. What is more, I can know that I have such faith rather than the temporary kind.”

    Cary–“if Augustine is right about predestination, it is logically impossible to know you are saved for eternity without knowing that you are predestined for such salvation. That is precisely why Augustine denies you can know you are predestined for salvation….To require faith that you are predestined for salvation before admission to the sacrament is… to make faith into a work

    Mark Mcculley–To me it looks like Cary (Anglican,but with a Lutheran theology) is saying that faith must have as its object some proposition about present faith but not future faith AND not penal satisfaction . The idea of sins having already been paid for by Christ’s death has no place in his thinking. Cary is caught in a discussion about the nature of faith, in which he says that other people’s faith is a work, because Cary thinks the propositions of other peoples’ gospel is not true.

    Philip Cary—”Catholics don’t worry about whether they have saving faith but whether they are in a state of mortal sin—so they go to confession. Reformed Protestants don’t worry about mortal sin but about whether they have true saving faith—so they seek conversion. Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me.”
    For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe).

    Cary–It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. IF I CLING TO THAT in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me. Thus precisely the kind of faith that is insufficient to get me admitted to the Puritan sacraments—which is to say, mere belief in the truth of the creed and trust in my baptism—is all the faith I have. If Luther is right, it is all the faith I can ever have, and all the faith I need.

  12. markmcculley Says:

    a Lutheran (not all the same) tells me
    there are no commands in the gospel
    a command to believe the gospel would turn the gospel into law

    Lutheran preach that Christ died for everyone is true
    Lutherans preach that preaching makes Christ’s death true for you
    therefore you believe

    but what if I don’t?
    what if what I believe is not the same as what you believe?

    I can’t believe what you believe
    and you can say I can’t because I won’t
    or you can say I won’t because I can’t

    but in any case what you believe is not true
    your believing it to be true does not make it true

    Romans 11: 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off in order that I be grafted in.” 20 True enough; they were broken off by unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. 22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, because God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from your native wild olive and against nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these—the natural branches—be grafted into their own olive tree?

    Romans 9: 22 And what if God, desiring to display His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath ready for destruction? 23 And what if He did this to make known the riches of His glory on objects of mercy that He prepared beforehand for glory— 24 on us, the ones He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As He also says in Hosea: I will call Not My People, My People,
    and she who is Unloved, Beloved
    26 And it will be in the place where they were told,
    you are not My people,
    there they will be called sons of the living God

    Matthew 21:43
    Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
    and given to a nation producing its fruit.

    Hosea 1: 6 Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter, and the Lord said to him:
    Name her No Compassion,[Lo-ruhamah)
    for I will no longer have compassion
    on the house of Israel.
    I will certainly take them away.
    7 But I will have compassion on the house of Judah,
    and I will deliver them by the Lord their God.

    8 After Gomer had weaned No Compassion, she conceived and gave birth to a son. 9 Then the Lord said:
    Name him Not My People ( Lo-ammi)
    for you are not My people,
    and I will not be your God

  13. markmcculley Says:

    Calvin chapter 23–1. The human mind, when it hears this doctrine of
    election, cannot restrain its petulance, but boils and rages as if
    aroused by the sound of a trumpet. Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an invidious charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobate This they do ignorantly and childishly since there could be no election without its opposite reprobation. God is said to set apart those whom he adopts for salvation. It were most absurd to say that God admits others fortuitously, or that they by their industry acquire what election alone confers on a few. Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because God is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children. Nor is it possible to tolerate the petulance of men, in refusing to be restrained by the word of God, in regard to his incomprehensible counsel, which even angels adore. We
    have already been told that hardening is not less under the immediate hand of God than mercy. Paul does not, after the example of those whom I have mentioned, labour anxiously to defend God, by calling in the aid of falsehood; he only reminds us that it is unlawful for the creature to quarrel with its Creator. Then how will those who refuse to admit that any are reprobated by God explain the following words of Christ? “Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up,” (Mt. 15:13). They are plainly told that all whom the heavenly Father has not been pleased to plant as sacred trees in his garden, are doomed and devoted to destruction. If they deny that this is a sign of reprobation, there is nothing, however clear, that, can be proved to them.

  14. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Scott Clark– Should we say, “Whosoever will may come?” with the understanding that, out of the mass of damnable humanity. God has unconditionally elected some who will respond to that invitation with faith and repentance? That’s all we’re talking about.

    our friend Brandon Adams–No, sir, that’s not all we’re talking about and you know it. I get incredibly frustrated by the amount of confusion that is introduced into this discussion by comments like that. Neither Hoeksema nor Reymond deny a proclamation of the truth that God will forgive whosoever comes. What they deny is that God eagerly desires, wants to accomplish, the salvation of those He has ordained to reject it.


  15. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Brandon Adams: In Galatians 3, Paul refers to “the promise” not because there is only one Abrahamic promise, but because he is referring to one specific Abrahamic promise (Gal 3:8), which brings up a crucial point: In Galatians 3:8, Paul quotes Genesis 22:18. This simply does not fit Bordow’s Klinean framework. Remember, they interpret Paul’s appeal to the Abrahamic Covenant in Galatians 3 as teaching that eternal salvation in Christ, in the ordo salutis, comes from the Abrahamic Covenant – and therefore the Abrahamic Covenant is the Covenant of Grace. The text Paul relies on is Genesis 22:18, but Bordow says Genesis 22:18 is not talking about the application of salvation to an individual sinner. Bordow says it’s only talking about the history of redemption


    Bordow interprets Gen 22:17b “And your offspring shall
    possess the gate of his enemies” as a reference to Israel in Canaan.
    Note, however, that this reference is singular (“his”) not plural
    (“their”). This is specifically why Paul argues in Gal 3:16 that “the
    promise” (Gal 3:8/Gen 22:18) referred to one single offspring, not
    numerous offspring.

  16. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Reformed equivocation—Paul doesn’t say “promises” as if there
    are separate promises to Abraham that don’t relate. Paul calls it all
    one promise. And yet there’s a promise that is symbolized in the Old
    Testament but then fulfilled eternally in Christ. One promise with a
    temporary fulfillment and then an eternal fulfillment. And that’s the
    way to understand these two elections – not as two separate promises but as one promise in symbolic form and then in ultimate form


  17. Mark Mcculley Says:

    In his 1627 Dissertation on the Death of Christ John Davenant (1572–1641) argued for a kind of hypothetical universalism. Davenant apparently held some version of this view while he was a delegate to Dort. His colleague, Samuel Ward (1572–43) also held some version of this position. I say “some version” because even in Davenant’s Dissertation it thesis is not always entirely clear. As a teacher, should a student have submitted this as a Master’s Thesis I should have returned it with a demand that he state unequivocally his position and clearly contrast it with other views. Still, he agreed with the Synod of Dort (more on this in a moment) that the inherent dignity and power of the atonement was sufficient for the sins of all men and every man. He repeatedly argued that Christ’s death was “applicable” to all men. He argued more than this, however. There is a sense, he argued, in which Christ may be said to have died for all men but that he did not actually obtain salvation for all. The limit then is not in the atonement but in the will of God to apply salvation to all. God, he argued, has not determined to apply the work of Christ to all. That Christ died for all is the necessary foundation to the universal offer of the gospel (see e.g., pp. 344–45). He used the analogy of a physician offering salvation to a plague ravaged village. The medicine is efficacious but the villagers must be willing to take the medicine. If they refuse the fault is not with the physician nor with the medicine.


  18. Mark Mcculley Says:

    “”Preaching ” is another way of placing a mediator between us and the mediator—-I hear preachers say to people liistening—–“you are justified”, while saying “your knowledge and faith in the gospel have nothing to do with your justification”. This comes out to–if you have a preacher, you don’t need faith in the true gospell

    Two different imputations by God before being justified in Christ

    all the sins of all the elect have alreay been imputed by God to Christ

    all the future sins of the elect have been imputed by God to Christ

    Since Christ has paid for all the sins imputed to Christ, no sins are
    now imputed to Christ

    Christ’s death has alreay been imputed by God to some of the elect

    Christ’s death will be imptued by God to the rest of the elect

    God will have done two different imputations before an elect sinner is justified in Christ

    Romans 4: When was righteousnesss credited to Abraham —while he was circumcised, or u

  19. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Saying that there is only “the one church” is like saying that there is only the one Israel—-what does it mean to say that?

    Is the one Israel Christ himself, and has nothing to do with any
    distinction between those who know and believe the gospel and those you do not know and believe the gospel?

    Is the one Israel a collective (not one person but one group)—all
    who believe the gospel are one?

    Is the one Israel all the physical children of the specific
    genealogical line between Jacob and Christ, and therefore “one group” that includes both some of those who believe the gospel and some who don’t believe the gospel?

    Is a body not now assembled still a body?
    Did God’s imputation one time only put you in a body with other people?

    Does the Holy Spirit give gifts to the Holy Spirit’s people?
    Deos the Holy Spirit give us Christ to indwell us?
    Were all the elect together called when they were elected?
    Is the one baptism with or without water?
    Is the one baptism with or without Christ giving the Spirit?

    Ephesians 4: 4 There is one body and one Holy Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 Now grace was given to EACH one of US according to the measure of Christ’s gift . 8 Because Psalm 68 says:
    When He ascended on high,
    He took prisoners into captivity;
    He gave gifts to people.[

    • markmcculley Says:

      Mike Horton, Justification, volume 2, (New Studies in Dogmatics , -“a person can become a member of the covenant of grace without truly beleiving the gpspel All persons in the covenant are to be threatened with the consequences of apostasy. Some belong to the covenant community and experience thereby the work of the Spirit through the sacramental means of grace and yet have never believe the gospel . Thus we have a category for a person who is in the covenant but this has nothing to do their faith in the gospel.

      p449—Union with Christ is not actually an element in the order of salvation but an “umbrella term” for the order as a whole.

      Horton, p450—“The Holy Spirit grants us faith to be united to Christ.”

      Horton, p451—“Union is not a goal but the source”

      Horton, p487—“the goal of union”

      Horton, p455–“There is no union with Christ which is not union with the visible church”

      Horton, p467–Calvin goes beyond Luther by stressing the more and more
      aspect of salvation

      Horton, p471—” Logical priority does not determine basis”

  20. Mark Mcculley Says:


    Edith Schaeffer, The Tapestry, p. 189.
    What bothered us was what Fran today would call ‘a deterministic view of the Reformed Faith.’ This was more present then in Westminster than it is now, and the way some of the professors taught these things greatly troubled Fran.”

    – Edith Schaeffer
    “Whosoever will”, is true and is not limited even as the atonement is
    not limited. I do not believe in a limited atonement. I don’t believe
    in irresistible grace either. I believe God gave choice to human
    beings, and that choice is real. He respects the negative as well as
    the positive choice. He made human beings, not by accident, with minds that could think and chose even after the fall.

    if only they had the “oversight” of the pca


  21. Mark Mcculley Says:

    James Jordan–The special (“limited”) benefits of the atonement are for those who are “in Christ.” Those who leave the Vine, who forsake the Olive Tree, cease to be “in Christ” and cease to receive the special benefits of the atonement. In the same way, many of those who received the benefit of the first Passover and were delivered from Egypt, eventually lost that benefit and died in the wilderness.

    James Jordan–Only such an ECCLESIAL conception of “limited atonement” can account for passages like 2 Peter 2:1, which speaks of those who “deny the Master who bought them.” These men were “bought” the same as all other Christians, and received exactly the same thing, being put “in Christ.” The atonement was “for them” in exactly the same way it was for Peter and John. But when they denied the Lord, they lost the
    special benefits of the atonement. All of this, of course, was in the plan of God.


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