[comments below]


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?

The answer to this question is somewhat complex, as the variety of views defies a neat and tidy taxonomy. Nevertheless, Voetius offers a basic taxonomy of four chief views:

1. Universal satisfaction for every person, believer and unbeliever alike (the Remonstrants)

2. Those who affirm the universal sufficiency of Christ’s satisfaction and argue that it is applied in some sense to all but only effectively for the elect

3. Those who admit the universal sufficiency of Christ’s satisfaction but deny its application to all (the scholastics, e.g., Lombard, Aquinas, as well as Calvin, and others)

4. Those who hold that Christ died solely for the elect (William Ames, 1560-1609, and Franciscus Gomarus, 1563-1641).81

These four positions may be classified as universalism, hypothetical universalism, the classical sufficient-efficient position, and strict particularism. Among the latter two views, a number of Reformed theologians employ the sufficient-efficient distinction, including Calvin, Turretin, Zanchi, Ursinus, and Herman Witsius (1636-1708).82 The strict particularists-those who reject the sufficiency-efficiency distinction and argue that Christ died strictly and exclusively for the elect-include Johannes Maccovius (1588-1644) and Wilhelmus a Brakel (1635-1711).83 At first appearance, this taxonomy of views appears simple enough, but matters are complicated when the extent of Christ’s satisfaction is coordinated with the lapsarian question. Modern assumptions connect supralapsarianism with strict particular satisfaction.84 However, as we will see below, some supralapsarians advocate hypothetical universalism, and three of the four views were represented at the assembly (e.g., hypothetical universalism, sufficient-efficient, and strict particularism).

The minutes of the assembly contain some information about the debates over the extent of the satisfaction of Christ, though the record is at times spotty since the minutes fail to record entire speeches. Readers are left wondering what more was said. Nevertheless, on the morning of October 22, 1645, the assembly began to debate the subject of the "redemption of the elect only, by Christ."85 Edmund Calamy was then recorded as stating:

I am farre from universall Redemption in the Arminian sence, but that that [sic] I hould is in the sence of our devines in the sinod of Dort; that Christ did pay a price for all, absolute intention for the elect, conditional intention for the reprobate, in case they doe believe; that all men should be salvibles, non obstante lapsu Adami [saveable, in spite of the fall of Adam]; that Jesus Christ did not only dy sufficiently for all, but God did intend in giving of Christ & Christ in giving himselfe did intend to put all men in a state of salvation in case they doe believe.86

Calamy’s statement is important because it fits within Voetius’s taxonomy noted above, though important qualifications should be made.

First, Calamy rejects the “Arminian” position, which argues that Christ died sufficiently for all without exception. The Remonstrance, or Arminian Articles (1610), for example, states, "Christ, the Savior of the world, died for all and for every individual, so that he has obtained for all, by his death on the cross, reconciliation and remission of sins." Second, Calamy connects his own position with "our devines in the sinod of Dort," which is a reference to the British delegation to the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). This is a crucial identification because Calamy specifically aligns his own form of hypothetical universalism with the British delegation at Dort, not with the later views of Cameron and Amyraut. This admission reveals that there were at least two different types of hypothetical universalist positions, which for the sake of simplicity I call hypothetical universalism (generally) and the particular form Amyraldianism.

In the assembly’s debates Calamy defends a number of points that place his views within the hypothetical universalism advocated by the British delegation at Dort. The British delegation argued that the satisfaction of Christ was extended to "all adults," rendered human nature as potentially being redeemed, but in the end was only applied to the elect.87 The Synod of Dort is infamously known for its codification of the dreaded "limited atonement," but such characterizations fail to acknowledge that the synod embraced a classical formula that Christ died sufficiently for all and efficiently only for the elect, a formula that goes back to the Middle Ages and Peter Lombard and even earlier to the Patristic period. Ursinus, for example, cites Ambrose (339-397), Augustine (354-430), Cyril of Alexandria (ca. 376-444), and Prosper of Aquitaine (ca. 390-ca. 455) as examples of those who employ the sufficient-efficient distinction.88

Caricatures of Dort also fail to mention that the British delegation included hypothetical universalists. The official position of the British delegates offers the following on the extent of Christ’s satisfaction:

In as much as that price was paid for all, and will certainly promote all beleevers unto eternal I life, yet is not beneficial unto all; because all have not the gift of fulfilling this condition of the gracious covenant. Christ therefore so dyed for all, that all and every one by the means of faith might obtaine remission of sins, and eternal life by vertue of that ransome paide once for all mankinde. But Christ so dyed for the elect, that by the merit of his death in special manner destinated unto them according to the eternal good pleasure of God, they might infallibly obtaine both faith and eternal life.89

Calamy’s view, that "Christ did pay a price for all . . . conditionall intention for the reprobate," echoes what the British delegation states here, namely, that a "price was paid for all . . . that all and every one by the means of faith might obtaine remission of sins." In other words, Christ has died for all upon the condition that they believe.

Davenant, one of the British delegates to Dort, gives a fuller explanation of this position:

For in this ordination of God, according to which the death of Christ is appointed and proposed as a cause of salvation to every living person, applicable by faith, there is contained less than in the real application, but there is contained something more than in the mere and bare sufficiency of the thing considered in itself, this conditional ordination being excluded, which regards every partaker of human nature.90

Here Davenant specifies that Christ’s death is ordained to be sufficient for all, and that it extends to anyone and everyone who shares in human nature, a point that Calamy raised in the assembly’s debates. Davenant also contrasts his own view of ordained sufficiency with what he calls "bare sufficiency." In other words, it is one thing to say that Christ’s death is inherently sufficient to bring satisfaction for the sins of all and entirely another to say that God specifically ordained it as such.

A key element to Davenant’s position, and presumably Calamy’s as well is the distinction between ordaining the death of Christ to be an applicable remedy for salvation to all people upon the condition of faith and the absolute decree to appoint and effectually produce faith and salvation in specific individuals. As Davenant explains:

For as if God should create any herb endued with such a virtue that it might heal anyone who labors under any disease whatever, and moreover should promise, that anyone who should use it should undoubtedly recover his former health, anyone would rightly conclude from thence, that this herb was a remedy for any disease, applicable, by the ordination of God, to all sick persons individually; but would not rightly infer that every individual would be infallibly cured by means of this remedy, because it would not be given to some that they should find this remedy, and others perhaps would not be willing to make use of it when it was found.91

Calamy and the British delegation at Dort, then, affirmed a non-Amyraldian hypothetical universalism. But Calamy was not alone in the assembly; other divines also held this view.

While there is some question about the exact nature of his influence, most signs point to James Ussher as the origin of this form of hypothetical universalism.92 Ussher was intent on cutting a middle path between the Remonstrants and strict particularists.93 Like Calamy and Davenant, Ussher considers Christ’s satisfaction absolutely and relatively, that is, in and of itself and in its application. For Ussher, Christ’s satisfaction renders the sins of humanity fit for pardon, and God is made "placable unto our nature"; this is the language Calamy employed in the debate.94 Elsewhere Ussher writes that Christ gave sufficient satisfaction to make humanity’s nature "a fit subject for mercy, and to prepare a medicine for the sinnes of the whole world."95

Ussher’s view was influential among a number of theologians of the period, including William Twisse (ca. 1577-1646), a supralapsarian, the first moderator of the assembly.96 Twisse, like Calamy, argued for hypothetical universalism but also maintained that faith was necessary to enjoy the benefits of Christ’s satisfaction. Twisse based his views upon a number of passages of Scripture, such as Romans 5: 18, which speaks of Christ dying for all as well as the elect:

We say that pardon of sinne and salvation of soules are benefites purchased by the deathe of Christ, to be enjoyed by men, but how? Not absolutely, but conditionally, to witt, in case they believe, and only in case they believe. . . . So that we willingly professe, that Christ had both a full intention of his owne, and commandment of his Father to make a propitiation for the sinnes of the whole world, so faITe as thereby to procure both pardon of sinne and salvation of soule to all that doe believe. . . . Now as touching these benefites, we willingly professe, that Christ dyed not for all, that is, he dyed not to obtaine the grace of faith and repentance for all, but only for God’s elect; In as much as these graces are bestowed by God, not conditionally, least so grace should be given according to mens workes, but absolutely, And if Christ dyed to obtyene these for aU absolutely, it would follow here hence that all should believe & repent and consequently all shoulde be saved.97

Twisse intertwined his hypothetical universalism with his understanding of the decree, in that God ordained some things necessarily, others contingently, and others freely.98 This is language that appears in the Confession: God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, yet in such a way that no violence is offered to the will of creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away (3.1). Twisse and Calamy believed that God ordained the universal sufficiency of Christ’s satisfaction but that its application is predicated upon the condition of faith. Both Twisse and Calamy, as well as the British delegation to Dort, believed these formulations were in harmony with the Canons of Dort. Indeed, the British delegation’s presence, participation, and submission of their views to the Synod in the composition of the Canons prove they were acceptable and within the bounds of orthodoxy. Other divines at the assembly, including John Arrowsmith (1602-1659), Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646), Thomas Gataker (1574-1657), Richard Vines (1599-1656), and Lazarus Seaman (d. 1675), held similar views.99

The view was likely prevalent not only because of the influence of Ussher, Davenant, and others, such as John Preston (1587-1628), but also because of the Thirty-Nine Articles, which state that Christ "truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men" (§ 2). In fact, Davenant appeals to this very portion of the Thirty-Nine Articles to affirm the universal extent of Christ’s satisfaction.100 Hence, a qualified universalism, that is, that Christ’s satisfaction in some sense extended to all, was part of the confessional air that the Westminster divines breathed, found both in the Thirty Nine Articles and in the Canons of Dort with its use of the sufficient-efficient distinction.

The presence of hypothetical universalists at the assembly, however, does not automatically mean that the view was immediately accepted or sanctioned. As one can imagine, considerable debate ensued after Calamy made his initial remarks in favor of hypothetical universalism. Some accused him of holding to the Remonstrant view of universal satisfaction, but he parried the charge and further explained his views. Two of the Scottish divines, George Gillespie (1613-1648) and Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661), along with Thomas Goodwin, engaged Calamy’s arguments.101 In what appears to be a debate tactic, Gillespie tried to associate Calamy’s views with those of Amyraut and Cameron.102 In truth, Amyraut’s views were somewhat different than those of Ussher, Davenant, or Calamy. Richard Baxter (1615-1691) notes that Richard Vines, one of the divines mentioned above, "openly owned Davenant’s way of Universal Redemption," not Amyraut’s.103 But the divines were not unfamiliar with Amyraut’s views; Robert Baillie (1602-1662), one of the Scottish divines, commented that Amyraut’s work, perhaps his Brief Treatise on Predestination (1634), went around the assembly from "hand to hand."104

Amyraut, unlike Ussher, Davenant, and Calamy, defended a hypothetical decree of predestination, which is different from a hypothetical extent of Christ’s satisfaction. Amyraut distinguishes between predestination to salvation and predestination to faith. The former is conditional, and the latter is absolute and the means by which the former is attained.105 According to Amyraut, God decrees to predestine the whole human race equally but conditionally upon faith. But because the whole human race is incapable of fulfilling the required condition, owing to no defect in the decree but the hardness of heart and stubbornness of the human condition, God makes a second decree that is absolute–a decree to predestine the elect to faith.106 This distinction among the decrees, predestination to salvation versus predestination to faith, allowed Amyraut to explain how Christ’s satisfaction was universal in its extent but particular in its application.

This particular construction, namely, conditional predestination, drew significant criticism from within the early modern Reformed world. However, at no time was it ever deemed as heresy, as one scholar has incorrectly labeled it.107 In fact, Arnyraut was exonerated on three different occasions by three separate national French synods: Alencon (1637), Charenton (1644-1645), and Loudun (1659). Throughout the process Amyraut repeatedly swore his allegiance to the decisions of Dort and offered his defense within the sufficiency-efficiency framework, though the Synod of Alencon instructed Amyraut not to speak of a "conditional, frustratory, or revocable Decree."108 Nevertheless Baxter noted that half of the divines of England were Amyraldians.109 In summary, Amyraldianism is somewhat different from the hypothetical universalism of Ussher, Davenant, Calamy, and Twisse. All Amyraldians were hypothetical universalists, but not all hypothetical universalists were Amyraldians.

What were the exegetical reasons behind the advocacy of hypothetical universalism? While the assembly debated a number of texts, John 3:16 provides a window into the issues at stake. Calamy believed that John 3:16 was the exegetical ground for God’s intention to give Christ to the world and offer it love and philanthropy; additionally, he argued that the universal promulgation of the gospel to all of the nations was founded upon universal redemption, and God’s offering of the gospel to all had to be "serious & true."110 Other divines, such as Rutherford, objected to the satisfaction-gospel connection, though Gillespie noted that Calamy’s appeal to the term world in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world," rested on a highly controverted text even among the Reformed. Gillespie denied that the term world denoted a general philanthropy to all indiscriminately. He believed that Calamy’s error rested in his failure to distinguish between the decreed and revealed will of God: that God reveals that anyone who believes shall be saved, but God’s revealed will does not govern his decreed, or secret, will.111

Calamy countered that he understood that the term world was taken in different senses: sometimes for the elect, sometimes for the whole world. But he qualified his remarks by adding that there was a twofold love of God: his general love for the reprobate, which included the general offer and general grace to all, and his special love for the elect.112 John Lightfoot (1602-1675) entered the fray by arguing that he understood world in a different sense, to indicate the Gentiles in contrast to the Jews.113 Hypothetical universalist Richard Vines stated his belief that world refers not to the Gentiles, but to a group more extensive than the elect. It denotes God’s intention in the gift of Christ and the extent of God’s love for all, though it is a general love of mankind.114

In one of the last recorded comments on the debate, Rutherford offered several reasons why John 3:16 does not refer to the general love of God for all. Rutherford identified three elements of the arguments offered by Calamy and others: (1) the word loved refers to a general love to the elect and reprobate alike; (2) the word world should be understood generally and distributively of the aforementioned love; and (3) this universal distribution of God’s general love is grounded upon God’s intention but conditioned upon the necessity of faith. Rutherford first argued that Christ’s love in the Gospel of John is directed exclusively at the elect, which is paralleled in other passages, such as John 15:13, on Christ laying down his life for his friends. If the other parallels indicate anything, it is that God’s love is commensurate with election, and there is "not one scripture in all the New Testament wher it can be expounded for the generall" love of God. Second, Rutherford argued that the love mentioned in John 3:16 is restricted to the church; he cited Romans 5:8; Galatians 2:20; and Ephesians 5:21. And third, John 3:16 is an actual saving love, and therefore not a general love for all.115 The question now presses in, what room, if any, do the Standards have for hypothetical universalism?

A number of commentators, including B. B. Warfield (1851-1921), A. A. Hodge (1823-1886), and John Murray, have maintained that the Standards leave no room for Amyraldianism.116 However, Warfield, Hodge, and Murray share in the idea that all hypothetical universalists were Amyraldians, rather than devotees of the earlier and different strand of universalism found in Ussher, Davenant, and the British delegation to Dort. On the one hand, it does seem difficult to square Amyraut’s order of the decrees (first the decree of salvation for all dependent upon the condition of faith, followed by a second decree of predestination to faith) with what the Confession states about God’s decrees: "In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is infinite, infallible, independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent, or uncertain" (2.2).117 So Amyraldianism does seem to be precluded by the language of the Standards. Gillespie specifically raised this issue in the debates: ”Ther is a concatenation of the death of Christ with the decrees, therefore we must see what they hould concerning that which in order goes before & what in order followes after."118 In the context of this statement Gillespie specifically names Cameron and Amyraut. What about the other form of hypothetical universalism?

A number of points in the Confession seemingly present challenges for anyone who would assert the universality of Christ’s satisfaction. The initial idea under discussion when this debate surfaced in the assembly was the following: "Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified and saved; but the Elect only" (3.6). This does not present a challenge to the hypothetical universalists, however, because the Confession states that only the elect are "redeemed by Christ," which is a point they would affirm, given that they typically distinguish between making satisfaction and applying it in redemption.119 Ussher, for example, writes:

We must, in the matter of our redemption, carefully put a distinction betwixt the satisfaction of Christ absolutely considered, and the application thereof to every one in particular: the former was once done for all, the other is still in doing: the former brings with it sufficiency, abundant to discharge the whole debt; the other adds to its efficacy.120

Hence, a hypothetical universalist could agree with Confession 3.6, given the distinction between satisfaction made and its application. The issue of Christ’s satisfaction arises again in the Confession and Larger Catechism: "The Lord Jesus . . . fully satisfied the Justice of his Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him" (8.5). The Larger Catechism similarly states, "Redemption is certainly applied, and effectually communicated to all those for whom Christ hath purchased it, who are in time by the Holy Ghost enabled to believe in Christ according to the Gospel" (q. 59). Given these statements, Murray and others have argued that the acquisition of Christ’s satisfaction is coextensive with its application.121 However, as recent analysis has demonstrated, theologians employed a distinction between impetration (or redemption accomplished) and intercession that the Confession does not directly address.122 Ussher explains that he connects Christ’s impetration not to his satisfaction but to his intercession. In other words, for Ussher, Christ’s completed work is part of his intercessory work as High Priest but not his satisfaction. Ussher appeals, for example, to John 17:9, "1 pray not for the [reprobate] World," and argues:

I must needs esteem it a great folly to imagine that he hath impetrated Reconciliation and Remission of sinnes for that world. I agree therefore thus farre with Mr. Aimes in his Dispute against Grevinchovius , That application and impetration, in this latter we have in hand, are of equal extent; and, That forgivenesse of sinnes is not by our Savior impetrated for any unto whom the merit of his death is not applied in particular.123

Hence, a hypothetical universalist like Ussher had no problem arguing that Christ’s impetration and intercession were coextensive. Ussher bracketed out Christ’s satisfaction, which was universal.

These points in the Confession do not specifically advocate hypothetical universalism. In fact, the Standards lean in the direction of strict particularism, given the absence of the sufficiency-efficiency distinction.124 But neither are they written in such a manner as to preclude or proscribe hypothetical universalism.125 Again, Baxter claims, "I have spoken with an eminent Divine, yet living, that was of the Assembly, who assured mee that they purposely avoided determining that Controversie, and some of them protest themselves for the middle way of Universal Redemption."126 In other words, as a historical observation (if Baxter’s report is credible), the Westminster Standards appear to be only somewhat more tightly drawn than the Canons of Dort regarding the extent of Christ’s satisfaction.127 This is to say nothing about the orthodoxy or heterodoxy of hypothetical universalism. Given the debate surrounding the extent of Christ’s satisfaction, especially Amyraut’s examination at the Synod of Charenton in 1644-1645 which was around the same time as the debates over these same matters in the assembly, it is likely that the divines completely avoided the sufficiency-efficiency language to mitigate debates over the subject.128

Confirmation that the Standards leave hypothetical universalism as an option appears when we compare the Confession with Turretin’s Formula Consensus (1675), which was written specifically to refute Amyraut, though not necessarily the view of Davenant, Ussher, or Twisse. Turretin likely considered those three within the pale of orthodoxy, since Davenant and other hypothetical universalists were signatories to Dort, whereas Amyraut’s views arose some fifteen years later. The Formula Consensus states:

We can not approve the contrary doctrine of those who affirm that of His own intention, by His Own counsel and that of the Father who sent Him, Christ died for all and each upon the impossible condition, provided they believe; that He obtained for all a salvation which, nevertheless, is not applied to all, and by His death merited salvation and faith for no one individually and certainly (proprie et actu), but only removed the obstacle of Divine justice, and acquired for the Father the liberty of entering into a new covenant of grace with all men. (§ 16)129

Nothing of this nature appears in the Westminster Standards. And even the Formula characterizes Amyraut’s view as "contrary to the plain scriptures and the glory of Christ" (§ 16), but not as heresy.

J.V. Fesko, The Theology of the Westminster Standards (Wheaton, ILL.: Crossway, 2014), 189-203. [Italics original; footnote values and content original; and underlining mine.]

[Notes: There are a few problems with Fesko’s analysis here. 1) It is probably a mistake to follow the taxonomy that sets apart hypothetical universalism (HU) from the classic sufficient-efficient category. Rouwendal does this, following Voetius to some degree. This line of thought argues that the hypothetical universalists went further or departed from the classic sufficient-efficient theology and intent. This claim has problems given the diversity of HU positions, and the fact that all HU advocates saw themselves in continuity with the sufficient-efficient distinction. Indeed, it was the limited satisfaction advocates who self-consciously felt the need to depart from or qualify the original Lombardian formula and theology. 2) Fesko is wrong to attempt to set apart Saumurian HU in the basis that the latter affirmed a hypothetical decree. The language used was actually conditional decree, and the language of conditional decree was adopted by English HU advocates such as Davenant and Baxter. What many, though not all, of the English HU proponents disliked was any ordering of the decrees (e.g., Davenant). Twisse was an exception in that he nested his version of HU within a supralapsarian schema. Nor is it correct to suggest that Cameron’s “conditional decree,” in his “order of decrees” contradicts the Wesminsterian theology of unconditional decree(s), as Cameron’s “conditional decrees” are revealed will decrees (as opposed to absolute or secret will decrees). 3) Fesko is wrong to suggest or imply that what further distinguishes Saumurian HU from its British varieties was that the former held that all are predestined to salvation, but not all are predestined to faith (Amyraut), while the latter did not. On the contrary, Twisse also held to this same distinction following Zanchi and Bucer, while Davenant rejected it on the grounds that the biblical word “predestination” is always used in Scripture in a particularist and special sense denoting the elect and their salvation. 4) Fesko, it would appear, imagines that the Cameronian order of decrees entails a set sequenced absolute decrees comparable to infra- or supralapsarianism. This is a common mistake due to a superficial reading of secondary source literature. Indeed, so also the mistake which suggests Amyraut himself outlined such an ordering, when he, in fact, did not. 5) It is incorrect of Fesko to suggest that Turretin, one the one hand, considered Davenant’s views as within the pale of orthodoxy, but, on the other hand, did not consider Amyraut’s hypothetical universalism to be within that same pale. If one reads the Preface to the Consensus, Turretin and his co-writers did believe that Amyraut was within the pale of Reformed orthodoxy, they just strongly disagreed with him.]


73John Ball, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace (London: Edward Brewster, 1645), 2.2 (pp. 204-51).

74Turretin, Institutes, 14.14.7.

75Ibid., 14.14.7~ .

76John Davenant, A Dissertation on the Death of Christ, in An Exposition of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians, trans. Josiah Allport, vol. 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co., 1831), 336.

77Ibid., 337- 38; d. Heinrich Bullinger, A Hundred Sermons upon the Apocalips of Jesu Christe (n.p.: n.p., 1561), serm. 28 (p. 173).

78Davenant, Dissertation on the Death of Christ, 338; cf. Benedict Aretius, Comnenntarii in Epistolas D. Pauli ad Timoth. Ad Titum, & ad Philemonem (Bern: Le Preux, 1580), 48-49.

79Wolfgang Musculus, Common Places of the Christian Religion (London, 1563), fol. 129; Davenant, Dissertation on the Death of Christ, 338.

80Davenant, Dissertation on the Death of Christ, 339; Girolamo Zanchi, De Praedestinatione Sanctorum, thesis 13, in Miscellaneorum Libri Tres (Heustadt: Excudebate Matthaeus Harnisius 1592), 3:13-14.

81Gisbert Voetius, Problematum de Merito Christi, Pars Secunda, in Selectarum Disputationum Theologicarum, Pars Secunda (Utrecht: Johannem a Waesberge, 1654),251-53; cf. P. L. Rouwendal, "Calvin’s Forgotten Classical Position on the Extent of the Atonement: About Sufficiency, Efficiency, and Anachronism," WTJ 70 (2008): 321-23.

82William Ames, The Marrow of Theology , trans. John Dykstra Eusden (1968; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997), 1.24 (p. 150); Turretm, Institutes, 14.14.9; John Calvin, The Gospel of St. John 11-21 and The First Epistle of John, ed. David W. Torrance and T. F. Torrance, trans. T. H. L. Parker (Edinburgh: Ollver and Boyd, 1961), comm. 1 John 2:2 (p. 244); contra Torrance, Scottish Theology: From John Knox to John McLeod Campbell (Edinburgll: T&T Clark, 1996), 64; cf. Richard A. Muller, Christ and the Decree: Predestination and Christology from Calvin to Perkins (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986), 34; Zanchl, De Praedestinatione Sanctorum, thesis 13, in Miscellaneorum Libri Tres, 3:13-14′; Ursinus Commentary, 222-24; Herman Witsius, Economy of the Covenants between God and Man: Comprehending a Complete Body of Divinity, 2 vols., trans. William Crookshank (1822; Escondido: The den Dulk Christian Foundation, 1990), 2.9.2, 6.

83Maccovius, Scholastic Discourse, 11.17; Wuhelmus a Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, trans. Bartel Elshout, 4 vols. (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1992), l:599-600.

84See, e.g., J. B. Torrance, "Strengths and Weaknesses of the Westminster Theology," in The Westminster Confession in the Church Today, ed. Alasdair I.C. Heron (Edinburgh: Saint Andrews, 1982),47.

85MPWA, sess. 522, October 22, 1645 (3:692). For analysis of the debate, see Lee Gatiss, "’Shades of Opinion within a Generic Calvinism.’ The Particular Redemption Debate at the Westminster Assembly," RTR 69, no. 2 (2010): 101-18.

86MPWA, sess. 522, October 22,1645 (3:692).

87Ibid. (3:693); M. W. Dewar, "The British Delegation at the Synod af Dort-1618-19," EQ 46, no. 2 (1974): 105; Mark Shand, The English Delegation to the Synod af Dort," BRJ 28 (1999): 37-39.

88Cf. Synod of Dort, Head 2.2, 8; Peter Lombard, Sentences, trans. Giulio Silano, 4 vols. (Toronto: PIMS, 2007-2010), 3.20.5; Ursinus, Commentary, 222-24.

89George Carleton, The Collegiate Suffrage of the Divines of Great Britaine. concerning the Five Articles Controverted in the Low Countries (London: Robert Milbourne, 1629, 2.3 (pp. 47-48).

90Davenant, Dissertation on the Death of Christ, 378.

91Ibid., 390-91.

92Jonathan D. Moore, English Hypothetical Universalism: John Preston and tM Softening of Reformed Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007),173-213.

93James Ussher, The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, 17 vols. (Dublin: Hodges and Smith, 1847-1864), 12:554, 559, 565.

94James Ussher, The judgement of the Late Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland (London: John Crook, 1658), 3-5.

95Ussher, Judgement, 14.

96See Hans Boersma, A Hot Pepper Corn: Richard Baxter’s Doctrine of Justification in Its Seventeenth-Century Context (Vancouver: Regent College, 2003), 195-200.

97William Twisse, The Doctrine of the Synod of Don and Arles, Reduced to the Practise (Amsterdam: Successors to G. Thorp, 1631), 1&-17.

98Ibid., 19-20.

99Alex F. Mitchell and John Struthers, eds., Minutes of the Sessions of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (London, 1874), Iv

100Davenant, Dissertation on the Death of Christ, 355.

101MPWA, sess. 523, October 23,1645 (3:698). For Rutherford’s engagement of hypothetical universalism, see Samuel Rutherford, The Covenant of Life Opened; or, A Treatise on the Covenant of Grace (Edinburgh: Robert Broun, 1654), 1.20 (pp. 181-92). Note that, in context, Rutherford’s arguments are against Davenant, not Amyraut (ibid., 1.20 [p. 183]).

102MPWA, sess. 522, October 22, 1645 (3:693).

103Richard Baxter, Certain Disputations of Right to Sacraments, and the True Nature of Visible Christianity (London: Thomas Johnson, 1657), preface.

104Baillie, as cited in Mitchell and Struthers, Minutes, xxvi n2,

105Moi’se Amyraut, Breif traitte de la predestination et de ses principales dependances (Saumaur: Jean Lesnier & Isaac Desobrdes, 1634), 13 (p, 163); Amyraut, Brief Treatise on Predestination, trans, Richard Lum (ThD diss" Dallas Theological Seminary, 1986), 81.

106Amyraut, Breif traitte, 13 (p. 163-64); Amyraut, Brief Treatise, 82; cf. G, Michael Thomas, The Extent of the Atonement: A Dilemma for Reformed Theology from Calvin to the Consensus (Carllsle: Paternoster, 1997), 190-91.

107Brian G. Armstrong, Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy: Protestant Scholasticism and Humanism in Seventeenth-Century France (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969); cf. Richard A. Muller, "Divine Covenants, Absolute and Conditional: John Cameron and the Early Orthodox Development of Reformed Covenant Theology," MAJT 17 (2006): 36.

108John Quick, Synodicon in Gallia Reformata; or; The Acts, Decisions, Decrees, and Canons of Those Famous National Councils of the Reformed Churches in France, 2 vols, (London: T. Parkhurst and J. Robinson, 1692), 2:355; Thomas, Extent of the Atonement, 188, 205. See also Quick, Synodicon, 2:352-57,397-411.

109Baxter, Certain Disputations, preface.

110MPWA, sess. 52.2, October 22, 1645 (3:694).

111Ibid., sess. 523, October 23, 1645 (3:699).

112Ibid., sess. 522, October 22, 1645 (3:696).


114Ibid., sess. 522, October 22, 1645 (3:697).

115Ibid., sess. 523, October 23,1645 (3:699). The assembly’s annotations on Scripture argue against the hypothetical universalist interpretation of John 3:16: "For Christ speaketh not here of that common love ef God, whereby he willeth the good of conservation to the creature; so he loveth all the creatures; but of his special love, whereby he willeth man should be saved by Christ, and he is truly said to love the world, because they whom he loveth to eternal life are in the world, a part of the world, and gathered by his word; and holy Spirit into the body of the Church, out of all ages and parts of the world, God love all that he made" (Annotations, comm. John 3:16).

116Lee Gatiss, "A Deceptive Clarity? Particular Redemption in the Westminster Standards," RTR 69, no.. 3 (2010): 181-82; B. B. Warfield, "The Making of the Westminster Confession, and Especially of Its Chapter cn the Decree of God," in E. D. Warfield et. al., Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, 6:142-44; A.A. Hodge, The Confession of Faith: A Handbook of Christian Doctrine Expounding the Westminster Confession (1869; Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1958), 73; John Murray, "The Theology of the Westminster Confession of Faith; in Collected Writings of John Murray, vol. 4, Studies in Theology (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, (1982), 255–56.

117Gatiss, "Deceptive Clarity: 191; Muller, "Revising the Predestination Paradigm."

118MPWA, sess. 522, October 22, 1645 (3:693).

119Gatiss, "Deceptive Clarity," 184.

120Ussher, Works, 12:554.

121Gatiss, "Deceptive Clarity," 187; Murray, "The Theology of the Westminster Confession," 256.

122Gatiss, "Deceptive Clarity," 187; cf. Leigh, Treatise of the Covenant of Grace, 2.2 (p. 255); Leigh, Body of Divinity, 5.4 (p. 416).

123123Ussher, Judgement, 19-20; Gatiss, "Deceptive Clarity," 187. Cf. Willliam Ames, Rescriptio Scholastica & Brevis ad Nic. Grevinchovii Responsum Illud Prolixum, Quod Opposutt Dissertattoni de Redemptione Generali, & Electione ex Fide Praevisa (Harderwijk: Nicolai il. Wieringen, 1645).

124Contra Torrance, Scottish Theology, 146.

125Mitchell and Struthers, Minutes, lvi- lvii.

126Baxter, Certain Disputations, preface; Gatiss, "Deceptive Clarity," 194.

127PRRD, 1:7&-77; Gatiss, "Deceptive Clarity" 194.

128Muller, "Revising the Predestination Paradigm."

129“Formula Consensus Helvetica (1675),” in A.A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology (1860; Grand Rapids: Banner of Truth, 1991), appendix (pp. 656-63).

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 6:00 am and is filed under Reformed Confessions and the Extent of the Atonement. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed at this time.