I.:–Comparison of Divine Sovereignty and The Incarnation as central principles. Calvinistic theology has had-unconsciously for the most part–two germinant principles: Sovereignty and The Covenants; the former the older, the latter more narrow, but with some advantages. In the Confessions we often see an unconscious union of the two. Sovereignty tends to run into supralapsarianism and the assertion of the exclusive divine efficiency: Will is made to be all; the ethical is obscured. The objections to it are: (a.) It is too abstract; (b.) It is liable to perversion, to the construction that God is all Will ; (c.) If it is taken concretely, i. e., if the Sovereignty is understood to stand f01′ Plan, it comes to much the same with our principle: Incarnation in order to Redemption is God’s Plan.

II.–Comparison of The Incarnation and The Covenants, as the central principles.

1. The original usage of The Covenant, in theology, as setting forth an arrangement, an ordering, on the part of God, is allowable and true.

2. As applied in the Covenant of Works: “This do and thou shalt live,” we may say, It is as if there. was such a covenant.

3. As applied in the Covenant of Redemption, that between the Father and the Son, it sets forth clearly, for popular representation, that in the divine plan, Christ performs conditions and his people are given to Him in consequence. (Only in this Covenant there should be included all that Christ’s work accomplished: Propitiation for the sins of the whole world and the General Offer of Salvation as well as the Provision for the Elect.)

Henry B. Smith, System of Christian Theology, 2nd ed., (New York: A.C. Armstrong and Son, 1884), 377-378.  [Underlining mine.]

[Notes: 1) The implication here from Smith is that within the Trinity, there is no conflict of interests or purposes. Christ’s effecting an expiation for all sinners, and the offer of the Gospel in no way entails intra-Trinitarian conflict as some often allege must exist in the classic and moderate Calvinist soteriological schema. 2) Curst Daniel sums and rebuts this objection here. 3) Interestingly, Smith’s expression also echoes that of Bunyan, Edwards and Welsh, all making the same exact point.]

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Thank you for your help

February 11th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

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