From within the early modern period authors identify several major positions on the extent of Christ’s satisfaction. John Ball (1585- 1640) acknowledges only two chief positions, covering Remonstrant and Reformed views; the Remonstrants hold that Christ "died for all and every man with a purpose to save," and the latter "distinguish the sufficiency and efficiency of Christ’s death."73 Francis Turretin first acknowledges, "Though all agree that Christ died for each and everyone, still they do not explain their meaning in the same way."74 He then delineates three different major classes, those who argue that Christ conditionally died for all and absolutely died only for the elect, those who claim that Christ died absolutely for all, and the "common opinion of the Reformed" that Christ died only for the elect.75 In this threefold classification Turretin has in mind the views of John Cameron (ca. 1579-1625) and Moise Amyraut (1596-1664) for the first view, the Remonstrants for the second, and the Reformed for the third. John Davenant (1572-1641), in his treatise on the death of Christ, notes that the church fathers and theologians of the Middle Ages contended that Christ died sufficiently for all, but efficiently, or effectually, for only the elect. Davenant points out that the doctors of the Reformed church from the beginning of the Reformation embraced this common sufficient-efficient theological distinction.76
Davenant points to several Reformed theologians to illustrate this claim, including Bullinger, Aretius, Musculus, and Zanchi. Heinrich Bullinger states quite simply: "The Lord died for all: but all are not partakers of this redemption, through their own fault. Otherwise the Lord excludes no one but him who excludes himself by his own unbelief and faithlessness."77 Benedict Aretius (1505-1574) says, "Christ died for all, yet notwithstanding all do not embrace the benefit of his death, because by their own wickedness, and the corruption of their nature, they despise the offered grace."78 Wolfgang Musculus (1497-1563) likewise offers, ‘We know that all be not partakers of this redemption, but yet the losse of them which be not saved, doth hinder nothing at all, why it shoulde not be called an universal redemption, whiche is appointed not for one nation, but for all the whole world."79 And Girolamo Zanchi (1516-1590) also holds to the universality of the satisfaction of Christ: "That it is not false that Christ died for all men as it regards his conditional will, that is, if they are willing to become partakers of his death through faith. For the death of Christ is set before all in the Gospel, and no one is excluded from it, but he who excludes himself."80 All of these Reformed theologians argue that in some sense Christ died for all. So the question arises, how do Reformed theologians relate the satisfaction of Christ to the redemption of the elect?