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For Whom Did Christ Die? #39520
Thu May 15, 2008 2:37 PM
Thu May 15, 2008 2:37 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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I have been asked by someone to try to explain what John Owen was getting at in the following.


Quote
FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE?
"The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:
1. All the sins of all men.
2. All the sins of some men, or
3. Some of the sins of all men.

In which case it may be said:

a. That if the lst be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so none are saved.
b. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world and this is the truth.
c. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?

You answer, Because of unbelief. I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins."

Dr John Owen, Chaplain to Oliver Cromwell and Vice Chancellor of Oxford University.


Particularly the first point: To quote this person:
Quote
If all sins have been paid for, why does that imply that no one is saved?


Although I understand what Owen is saying, I am having trouble writing down in coherent words an explanation that is understandable. I thought perhaps if I posted this here I might get a response that would help me in this regard.

Thank you in advance.
Tom

Last edited by Tom; Thu May 15, 2008 2:38 PM.
Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Tom] #39521
Thu May 15, 2008 3:54 PM
Thu May 15, 2008 3:54 PM
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Tom,

Your friend's question is due to a typo in Owen's statement quoted in your post:


a. That if the lst be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so none are saved.


The word is NOT ]lst (first) but rather last, which refers to: "3. Some of the sins of all men."

You can see a correct version here: For Whom Did Christ Die?. [Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

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Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Pilgrim] #39522
Thu May 15, 2008 5:25 PM
Thu May 15, 2008 5:25 PM
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Thank you for that, it just goes to show you that one needs to checks their sources, even when their sources are Reformed. I don't know why I didn't notice this before. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />

Tom

Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Tom] #39523
Thu May 15, 2008 11:44 PM
Thu May 15, 2008 11:44 PM
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Dear Tom,

In your defense I will say that I have stumbled over this same quote in a similar way. Since Owen's time we have become accustomed to have "matching lists"--like his 1,2,3 and a,b,c--always go in the same order, but he does what is now unusual, having a tied to 3, b to 2, and c to 1. If you're only skimming* it's easy to make that mistake, and I would guess that's what threw off the transcriber of your source.

But then who can just skim Owen? I needed to read many pages of The Death of Death in the Death of Christ 2 or 3 times "before the lights went on"! That shouldn't discourage anyone from reading him, however; you work up a sweat digging for gold or diamonds, and that's what you get if you take it slow. Certainly the "For Whom Did Christ Die" argument is well worth taking the time to think through, both for strengthening one's own faith and to be able to instruct the immature.


In Christ,
Paul S
Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Paul_S] #39524
Fri May 16, 2008 2:49 AM
Fri May 16, 2008 2:49 AM
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Thanks Paul

I have read JI Packer's Introduction to the 1959 reprinting of John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.
I have to say that this is probably my favorite article, I am sure glad that Packer took the time to write this great piece of work.
I have never read Owen's book, but it is one of the books I hope one day to attempt to read.
I say attempt because like you mentioned he is not easy to read.

Tom

Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Paul_S] #39525
Fri May 16, 2008 9:51 PM
Fri May 16, 2008 9:51 PM
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But then who can just skim Owen?


No we can't skim, here is a quote by Owen that I just can not believe. Could someone check me out on this?

Quote
The works of John Owen - Vol 10
The Death of Christ
Chapter 4- Farther of the Matter of the Satisfaction Of Christ
Pages 270-271

First, The foundation of this whole assertion seems to me to be false and erroneous, namely, that God could not have mercy on mankind unless satisfaction were made by his Son. It is true, indeed, supposing the decree, purpose, and constitution of God that so it should be, that so he would manifest his glory, by the way of vindicative justice, it was impossible that it should otherwise be; for with the Lord there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,James 1:17; 1 Samuel 15:29: but to assert positively, that absolutely and antecedently to his constitution he could not have done it, is to me an unwritten tradition, the Scripture affirming no such thing, neither can it be gathered from thence in any good consequence. If any one shall deny this, we will try what the Lord will enable us to say unto it, and in the meantime rest contented in that of Augustine: Though other ways of saving us were not wanting to his infinite wisdom, yet certainly the way which he did proceed in was the most convenient, because we find he proceeded therein.

Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: William] #39526
Mon May 19, 2008 10:40 AM
Mon May 19, 2008 10:40 AM
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William,

What exactly is it that you think Owen is saying to which you find so amazingly unbelievable? I can't seem to find something extraordinarily off base in what he wrote in that quote, so could you please point out your objection? confused

In His grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: William] #39527
Mon May 19, 2008 7:00 PM
Mon May 19, 2008 7:00 PM
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Well, my friend Carla Rolfe pointed out in a blog entry just today that, when God made vegetation, He created plants that would be used to heal diseases and ease pain. And that was BEFORE the Fall!


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Pilgrim] #39528
Mon May 19, 2008 7:31 PM
Mon May 19, 2008 7:31 PM
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Pilgrim and Mary P.

Sorry, I thought Owen was saying that God could save His elect without the cross.


.

Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: William] #39529
Mon May 19, 2008 11:53 PM
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Dear William,

I think I remember being arrested by the same statement when I first read the book years ago, but it doesn't bother me at all now. Here's why.

I will agree with you that Owen's primary meaning seems to be as you said, that it would have been possible for God to save His elect without displaying His vindicative justice at the cross. But he is stating this to refute a flaw in a premise of the Arminians, not for idle philosophical speculation. They argued, in effect, that SINCE God was BOUND to save mankind in ONLY the particular way that He actually did--requiring His justice to be satisfied with the blood of His Son on the cross--THEREFORE the satisfaction of His justice in the death of Christ was the ONLY means available for God to come close to His HOPED-FOR DESIRE that He could really be reconciled to all of mankind. According to this argument, God has done ALL HE COULD DO to make it possible for His justice to be satisfied, but the individual sinner still gets to make the final CHOICE as to whether the satisfaction is actually effectual in his case.

So Owen--bless him, he was like Darth Vader against the Arminians--rather than entering into the argument, grabs the bull by the horns and denies the premise, namely the assertion that God was bound to display mercy in a particular way, because that assertion was so central to the argument. Note that he is extremely careful to qualify himself in his second sentence, saying in effect that of course God bound Himself to accomplish what actually happened; if he had argued otherwise he would have been wrong and we would be right to say so. But he does not say that; rather he is talking, as the Arminians were, about whether God was bound to show mercy in a particular way BEFORE the covenant of redemption was inaugurated. And he is quite correct to say that there is no scriptural basis for making the Arminian assertion.

Owen does not speculate as to the other possibilities, there being no need for his counter-assertion, but examples could perhaps include some alteration of how God treated Satan, Eve and Adam in Genesis 3. What if God slew an unrepentant Adam on the spot, created a second Adam who would not fall, and produced through Eve a new humanity to whom neither Eve's nor Adam's sin was imputed? Justice would be satisfied and mercy would have been displayed, both without need for the Incarnation. Again, these speculations are unfruitful because we must deal only with what we know what He DID CHOOSE to do; Owen's point was simply that prior to the decrees and covenants, there is no record of God being EXTERNALLY BOUND to a redemptive plan in which He was SELF-LIMITED in respect to the execution and application of His justice and mercy, as the Arminians were falsely arguing.

How's the singing coming along? On warm nights when a gentle breeze wafts down along the Hudson, I will be keeping my ears cocked for a faint echo of your increasingly-resonant voice!


In Christ,
Paul S
Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Pilgrim] #39530
Tue May 20, 2008 4:32 PM
Tue May 20, 2008 4:32 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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Pilgrim

Just so you know, I informed the person who wrongly copied down that Owen quote and he was thankful that I did.
Again thank you for helping me out in this matter.

Tom

Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Paul_S] #39531
Tue May 20, 2008 8:01 PM
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Thank you Paul for the help with Owen. I'll leave the philosophical arguments i.e. the sufficiency of the atonement, Sub-Lapsarian, Supra-Lapsarian, the impeccability of Christ for the big guys.


[color:"0000FF"]Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

John 10:35 . . . and the scripture cannot be broken;

Psalm 22, Galations 3:13, 1 Peter 1:20,[/color]


I don't want to ruin Tom's thread but your singing lesson How to sing has given me something to think about when I sing, only (don't laugh) I cannot hear myself when others are singing.



Quote
How's the singing coming along? On warm nights when a gentle breeze wafts down along the Hudson, I will be keeping my ears cocked for a faint echo of your increasingly-resonant voice!



William

Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Tom] #39532
Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:44 AM
Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:44 AM
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Christ died for all sins, past, present, future. No-one can claim impunity against God.

However, not all will escape condemnation, because to reject substitutionary propitiation is to put oneself under law, and all under law are condemned, except Christ. So justice is perfectly served.

Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: xyz] #39533
Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:51 AM
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Quote
xyz said:
Christ died for all sins, past, present, future. No-one can claim impunity against God.

However, not all will escape condemnation, because to reject substitutionary propitiation is to put oneself under law, and all under law are condemned, except Christ. So justice is perfectly served.

Welcome to The Highway Discussion Board. [Linked Image]

From your response I am curious to know how you deal with John Owen's statement here: For Whom Did Christ Die?. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

[Linked Image]
Re: For Whom Did Christ Die? [Re: Pilgrim] #39534
Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:56 AM
Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:56 AM
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Quote
Pilgrim said:
Quote
xyz said:
Christ died for all sins, past, present, future. No-one can claim impunity against God.

However, not all will escape condemnation, because to reject substitutionary propitiation is to put oneself under law, and all under law are condemned, except Christ. So justice is perfectly served.

Welcome to The Highway Discussion Board. [Linked Image]

From your response I am curious to know how you deal with John Owen's statement here: For Whom Did Christ Die?. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I think a grin is the right response to Mr Owen's offering.

And thank you for the welcome.

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