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Thread: The Atonement: Hypothetical Necessity or Consequent Absolute Necessity?

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    The Atonement: Hypothetical Necessity or Consequent Absolute Necessity?

    To introduce the subject of the necessity of the atonement, I have attached a PDF study that explains the issue pretty well. This is one of those supposed 'watershed' issues with two poles enabling each side to condemn the other as heterodox.

    I accept neither view as defined but will enter into discussion of a 'third way' if there is an interest in pursuing the issue (which to me is very significant to understanding the true gospel). I will quote one of my favorite teachers from the past who is also quoted at the end of this article--'before I talk about it, brother do you want to pursue it?' .

    A lot of the presuppositions of this debate are still a carryover from Augustinian theology and philosophy, though most would deny this. The classical doctrine of atonement (ransom paid to Satan) in a massively revised form is still alive. Satan as a 'god' along the lines of Manichean dualism has been replaced by an 'eternal law' that God must obey along the lines of Manichean dualism.

    To clarify: the issue I'm talking about is the discussion of the two views of the necessity early in the article, NOT the issue of the extent of the atonement (Particular vs. General) later in the article. On that I agree 100% with Particular Redemption and the defense of it.

    Bro. Bob

    Necessity of the Atonement.pdf
    Last edited by Bob Higby; 02-10-19 at 11:46 AM.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Sounds good to me Bob.. Did you write the attachment? I haven't read it yet, but before I do I will lay my thoughts down here... I believe that the atonement was necessary ONLY because God wanted it that way. I agree with you that there was no law that was binding upon God that created the necessity for the atonement. The atonement was necessary because that is what God had determined would be pleasing to Him. That is all. I look forward to further comments!
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    Brandаn! I fully agree with your position (100%). There can be no necessity over the will of God. The God revealed in Scripture is not a deity which is ruled by necessity ( Ἀνάγκη). Calvin also denied the absolute necessity for redemption ("Institutions" book 2 Chapter 12). Moreover, Calvin himself believed that God's acceptance of Christ's sacrifice as a redemptive sacrifice was the result of God's free will. (Calvin's correspondence with Sozzini) Redemption is an absolutely free act of God's love!

    Vadim

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    Thanks gentlemen! I will summarize my own position in a post very soon.

    I should have posted the link to the document, no, it is not mine. It is from the website of Covenant of Grace church in St. Charles MO. http://covenantofgracechurch.org/wp-.../ATONEMENT.pdf

    Bro. Bob
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    I guess I believe in the first position outlined in the document, as I believe that God does extend the option of forgiveness to people, in this life, on the grounds of his mercy. I deny that God offers forgiveness to people on the grounds of Jesus' blood. The problem with the idea that God offers forgiveness to people on the grounds of Jesus' blood is that it makes it sound as though Christ died so that God could offer people forgiveness. But this is not true. Christ died so that God could give people forgiveness. God does not need Christ to die to offer people forgiveness. God is merciful enough to do that already. It is for those who have rejected God, his love, and his mercy that Christ died. These people are unrepentant. Christ is ascended on high to give repentance to Israel and the remission of sins (Acts 5:31). God gives his people repentance from sin, faith and justification on the grounds of Jesus' blood. This is why Christ died: to save those who were lost, to save those who did not trust in the power and love of God.
    I don't like being corrected, but don't worry about that, do it anyway. I'll get over it.

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    I want to resurrect the issues of this thread if possible, so my further comment is this:

    The doctrine of 'hypothetical necessity' is weak because it delves into the arena of what else God 'might' have done in his sovereign freedom, which to me is irrelevant because scripture teaches what God has actually done in His sovereign freedom. He has destined salvation through His atoning Grace in Christ, determining to owe the atonement to Himself.

    The doctrine of 'consequent absolute necessity' is a reaction to the classical theory of atonement, substituting the 'eternal law' in place of Satan as to what or whom the atonement is owed to. But this doctrine really never changed the classical theory of atonement! All of churchianity still has the devil owning souls and in charge of hell in spite of the switch from the atonement defined as a ransom paid to the devil to a ransom paid to the eternal law--which still leaves unredeemed souls in the ownership of the devil, due to the doctrine of his gaining them in the Eden serpent.

    Charles Spurgeon, in a sermon from the New Park Street Pulpit on September 4, 1855, stated that God will never let the devil have more in hell than He has in heaven. That is still the notion that the devil owns souls, straight from the classical atonement view of Origen and Augustine.

    Bob
    Last edited by Bob Higby; 04-04-19 at 01:24 AM.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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