The Design of the Atonement: For Whom Did Christ Die? – III

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson continues his discussion of the historical debate over the application of Christ's atonement.

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[Prayer] We commit to Thee Lord, the study of the Scriptures and particularly the subject that we are discussing through these next few weeks. We pray that Thou will guide and direct us to an understanding of what Thy word has to say upon the design of the atonement. We thank Thee for the light of the word, and we thank Thee for the way in which Thou hast worked in the hearts of various men down through the years. We pray that Thou wilt guide us in such a way that we come to an understanding of the teaching of the Scriptures, and we pray that through that we may come to appreciate the saving work of Jesus Christ in a deeper way. We commit each one present to Thee, and we ask Thy blessing upon us each. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

[Message] This is the third in our series of studies on “The Design of the Atonement” or “For Whom Did Christ Die?” And may I review for just a moment by way of introduction. The question before us in these studies is, Did Christ die for the purpose of saving all men indiscriminately or for the purpose of saving his elect seed personally and definitely. Now, that I think is an important thing for us to bear in mind. What is the question? Did Christ die for all men indiscriminately or did he die for the purpose of saving his elect people personally and definitely?

We have stresses; in our first study particularly, the importance of understanding the true issue between the parties in this dispute. We have said that the issue does relate to the issue of the satisfaction of Jesus Christ for all men. And what we have meant by that is that Jesus Christ’s death is a sufficient satisfaction for the sins of all men. That is, if it had been God’s intention to save all men, the work of Jesus Christ would have that merit before God. The work of Jesus Christ as a satisfaction of God’s holiness and righteousness has infinite value before God. So, the question does not relate to the sufficiency of the satisfaction which Jesus Christ rendered to God by the death that he died upon the cross.

And the question does not relate to the applicability of that satisfaction to each man’s need. In other words, there’s no question, no debate over the fact that the satisfaction of Jesus Christ, which he rendered when he died upon the cross, is suitable to the need of every man. There is no question about that.

And third, there is no doubt, or the question does not relate to the actual application of the satisfaction. Those who believe in universal redemption, or that Christ died for all men, with all of their parade of its superior liberality, fail to extend the benefits of redemption to one single soul beyond those embraced by definite atonement. In other words, if we believe that Jesus Christ died with the intention of saving all men, or if we believe that Jesus Christ died with the intention of saving his elect, the results are the same. Those who believe in universal redemption are not able to show that the belief in universal redemption enables the atonement of Jesus Christ to extend to one single soul beyond those embraced by a definite atonement.

So, the parties to this dispute acknowledge that whether we believe that Christ died to save all men, or whether Christ died to save his elect, the same people are saved under either view. Now, of course there are some people who believe that Jesus Christ died to save all, and did save all. But I am sure that all of us in this room, and most people who study the Bible would know that there’s hardly any question about the fact that the Bible does not teach a universal salvation. That is, that everybody is going to be saved. That’s another question. But the parties to this dispute both reject universal salvation. The question does not relate to a universal offer, in good faith, of salvation. Those who believe in universal redemption, that is that Christ died to save all men on the condition of faith, believe that one may offer to all men in good faith the offer of salvation. Those who believe that Jesus Christ died for his elect also believe that an offer in good faith of salvation may be extended to all men. And the question does not relate to the provision in Christ’s death of benefits for all men. Those who believe in a definite atonement, Christ dying for the elect, believe that there are benefits from the death of Christ which go out to all men. And consequently, they believe that there are senses in which one may say, even though he believes Christ died for the elect that the benefits of his salvation extend to all men.

Now, the question does relate to the intention of the Godhead in the saving work. This is the point at issue. I keep repeating it so we’ll have it clearly in our minds when we come to discuss the Scriptures that bear on the question. The intention of the God head in the saving work that is the issue. Did Jesus Christ die to make the salvation of all men possible and nothing more? Or did he die actually and certainly to save his elect people. That is, did he die to save those whom he does save, or did he die to save all but save only certain ones? That’s the question.

Now, we are looking at the history of the question to gain proper perspective, and we looked last time into the Arminian challenge. Particularly as it arose in Holland. And we proceed from there, having pointed out last week the synergistic nature of the teaching that is that the Arminians believe that faith is a work that begins in man. The first movement toward God is from me. They also have believed in other doctrines, and remember, we saw last time that in answer to the Remonstrants, who were the Arminians, the followers of James Arminius, the Calvinists set forth what we have come to know as the five points of Calvinism: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, or definite atonement which is a term that I would prefer, irresistible grace, the perseverance of the saints. The first word of each of these short titles being a letter that together spells TULIP: total depravity, unconditional election, limited or definite atonement, irresistible grace, the perseverance of the saints.

Now, this was the Calvinistic answer to the Arminians who raised the issues when they objected, at the time of the Synod of Dordrecht, and set forth their opposition to the Calvinistic system as it was being taught in Holland in the 17th century. Now, tonight I just want to say just a few words about England first, and then we want to look at the Calvinistic universalists, because these are individuals who hold doctrines that many hold today right here in Dallas, Texas. So, it is a very relevant kind of subject. But first of all, a word about the influence of Arminianism in Holland, there are two things to keep in mind when speaking of the influence of Arminianism upon England. First, its liberalistic trend leads to rationalism. This is a fact of history that the Arminianism that developed with James Arminius in the first part of the 17th century eventually developed into a liberalistic trend that lead on to rationalism both in Holland and also in England.

Now, this is evidenced or illustrated by the views of men such as Jeremy Taylor and Richard Baxter and others, or rather John Milton I should say. Richard Baxter’s views were slightly different. For example, Jeremy Taylor advocated tolerance. He said that errors of understanding are not heresy, only errors of the will. He was an outspoken opponent of Augustine and Calvin on original sin. He was an outspoken opponent of Calvin and Augustine on regeneration. He was an outspoken opponent of Calvin and Augustine on grace and good works. And his Arminianism manifested itself in this departure from the doctrines of the reformation.

John Milton, whom we all know as one of the great leaders in English Literature was also Arminian in his thought, and he too went astray on the trinity, on the personality of the Holy Spirit, and on predestination, and at times he even sounded like a Unitarian and an Arian. So what happened in Arminianism was that the development that moved away from the stress on the sovereign grace of God in salvation, such as the Calvinists had taught, which moved over to the position that men are responsible to God only if they have free will, and doctrines like this. That kind of movement which stressed the part that man had to do is salvation, as well as the part that God had to do in salvation, led on to more and more rationalism, and ultimately to nothing but a rationalism. That’s one of the lines of the issue of the Arminian teaching.

Now, Richard Baxter was a man who was quite important, and Richard Baxter had Arminian tendencies, though he was not an Arminian. Baxter took as his motto, the famous motto of a Lutheran which I have seen quoted in the 20th century by men who like to have a mind like this. But that motto of Meldenius which Baxter took up was, “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in everything, charity.” Baxter was a man who moved just a little bit away from the stress on the sovereignty of God, and as a result, he too began to introduce some rationalistic thoughts within his own thinking.

There is another side of Arminianism in England that I want to say something about, and I think this is a little more important for us. There was a practical emphasis in Arminianism that produced a church life that saw Christianity primarily as a force for moral transformation. And the leaders in the Arminianism, which was more evangelical in England, were those associated with the Wesleyan revival. And John Wesley was, of course, the leader of it. I think in all fairness to John Wesley, you should call his Arminianism evangelical Arminianism. As James Packer says, Arminianism was part of the Wesley family heritage, and John and Charles fought the Calvinists with prose and poetry throughout their evangelical ministry. John Wesley was a great man. He was a great evangelist. He was responsible for turning the spiritual tide in England for a considerable period of time, but his doctrine on predestination and certain other of the doctrines of the word of God was distinctly Arminian. Now, he differed from the Arminians in Soteriology. He did not hold to the freedom of the will, as James Arminius’ followers held to the freedom of the will. He said man’s will was only free to do evil. And it’s not often realized that John Wesley did hold to that.

And furthermore, he believed in the necessity of divine grace for salvation. He taught that man was totally depraved. He taught that man could not possibly come to God unless he first had prevenient grace. And further, that he must continually have prevenient grace in order to make him willing and to turn him to God. But in spite of this, Wesley stressed the need of man’s cooperation. Now, he was not so plain, because at times he stressed the need of man’s cooperation, and then he stressed that God gave the capacity to cooperate itself as a kind of love gift. So, it’s evident that in Wesley’s case there was a little bit of confusion in his theology.

I thought I would read you a couple of pages, if you don’t mind, tonight from someone who is something of an authority on Arminianism, and he has written what I think is an excellent page or so on the cleavage between Calvinism and Arminianism. And I think from reading this, you will see that this issue is really an important issue. “Views differ here,” the author says, “some maximize the cleavage in terms of theological black and white. In the 17th century, for example, Prynne spoke of ‘Arminian thieves and robbers’ and Francis Rous told Parliament that ‘an Arminian is the spawn of a papist.’ And in the 18th century the Wesley’s, as we saw, told the world that Calvinism was blasphemous, devilish, and spiritually ruinous; many since have echoed both estimates and left the matter there.

A more discerning approach, however, is that exemplified by William Ames one of the parity of Dordrecht, who wrote, “The view of the Remonstrants,” these are the Dutch Arminians, “The view of the Remonstrants, as it is taken by the mass of their supporters, is not strictly a heresy, that is, a major lapse from the gospel, but a dangerous error tending toward heresy. As maintained by some of them, however, it is the Pelagian heresy, because they deny that the effective operation of inward grace is necessary for conversion. Ames’ words alert us to the fact that Arminianism very, so that blanket judgments are not in order. Each version of post reformation semi-Pelagianism must be judged on its own merits. Ames is right the facts surveyed in this paper show clearly the need for discrimination. Thus, it is surely proper to be less hard on Wesleyanism than on any form of Dutch Arminianism, just because to the loss of clarity and consistency, yet to the furtherance of the gospel, Wesley’s teaching included so much reformation truth about the nature of faith, the witness of the spirit, and effectual calling. Wesley’s Arminianism, we might say, contained a good deal of its own antidote. It’s evangelical and religious motivation also puts it in a different class from the Remonstrant position. But why should Arminianisms vary in this way?” In other words, why should Arminians, among themselves, differ so much? “The final answer is not because Arminians are personally erratic, but because all Arminian positions are intrinsically and in principle unstable.”

Now, the reason the author says this is because Arminianism depends upon human effort in salvation. And once we have a dependence of any kind upon human effort in salvation, or in the construction of a theology, we have something that is unstable, and which is a kind of slope which gets steeper the more we practice it. And he goes on to say this very thing. “Arminianism is a slippery slope, and it is always arbitrary where one stops on the slide down. All Arminianism start from a rationalistic hermeneutic which reads into the Bible at every point, the philosophic axiom that to be responsible before God, man’s acts must be contingent in relation to him.”

In other words, that all of the responsibilities that man has before God must be possible for him. “All Arminianisms involve a rationalistic restriction of the sovereignty of God and the efficacy of the cross, a restriction which Scripture seems to directly contradict. All Arminianisms involve a measure of synergism. That is, man cooperating with God in salvation. If not strong, God helps me to save myself. Then weak, I help God to save me. Al Arminianisms imply the non-necessity of hearing the gospel, in as much as they affirm that every man can be saved by responding to what he knows of God, here and now. The right way to analyze the difference between Arminianisms is to ask how far they go in working out these principles and how far they allow evangelical checks and balances to restrain them.

In all this we have just two comments to make. First, the Bible forbids us to take a single step along the Arminian road. It clearly affirms the positions that Dordrecht highlight; God’s absolute sovereignty, human responsibility without any measure of contingency without any measure of contingency or indeterminatecy. Look at Acts chapter 2, in verse 24, that’s the passage in which it is stated that Jesus Christ was crucified by wicked hands, yet it was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God that it took place. And a direct connection between the work of Christ and obtaining and applying redemption, the very name of Jesus is itself an announcement that he shall save his people from their sins. It does not tell us that he will make all men savable. But he will actually save those that are his. And it is in these terms that the Bible speaks throughout.

Second, if we travel the Arminian road there are three precious things that we necessarily lose. These are the clear knowledge of God’s sovereignty in our salvation. Now, you see the reason for this is, of course, that the Arminians believe that our salvation is dependent upon God’s foreknowledge of our faith. So, salvation depends not upon the sovereign election of God, but upon the foreseen faith of man. As you then can see, salvation does not really depend upon God’s choice of us, but upon our choice of God. So, these truths that we lose are the clear knowledge of God’s sovereignty in our salvation, the clear sight of God’s glory as the Savior of his people. Well, of course if I do my part and he does his part we share the glory. And the clear sense of the Christian’s eternal security in the covenant of grace, because of course, the Arminians believed that it was possible for one to lose one’s salvation.

These are sad and saddening losses which impoverish the children of God in the same way that Roman Catholicism impoverishes them. There is more comfort and joy for God’s children set forth in the Scriptures than the Roman and Arminian theologies allow them to possess. At this point at least, Rous’ verdict stands, “Romanism and Arminianism show themselves to be all too much akin. We conclude then that Arminianism should be diagnosed not as a creative alternative to Reformation teaching but as an impoverishing reaction from it involving a partial denial of the biblical faith and the God of all grace. The lapse is less serious in some cases, more so in others, but in every case, it calls for responsible notice and compassionate correction. The logical conclusion of Arminian principles would be pure Pelegianism; that is that salvation depends totally on us. But no Arminian takes his principles so far; otherwise one would call him a Pelagian and be done with it. Calvinists should therefore approach professed Arminians as brother evangelicals trapped in weakening theological mistakes and seek to help them to a better mind.”

Now, I want to move on to discuss the Calvinistic Universalists, because here we come closer to home, the Calvinistic Universalists. During the 17th and 18th centuries appeared two prominent attempts to graft the notion of a general redemption upon Calvinism by men who otherwise had sound views of the nature of the atonement. Now, let me say that these two particular schools, the School of Saumur and the Marrow men were both perfectly sound on the nature of the atonement of Christ. They taught that Jesus Christ died as a satisfaction for sin. They taught that he died as a penal satisfaction for sin, that is that he bore the punishment for our sins. They taught that Jesus Christ accomplished this penal satisfaction for our sins through his substitutionary work on the cross. All of these men taught this. We are talking now about men who agreed on the nature of the atonement, but disagree on the extent of the atonement. There were these two prominent attempts to graft upon Calvinism the doctrine of universal redemption.

First, the School of Saumur; Saumur is a small city in France, so the School of Saumur is a French school of theology. It is, however, a school of theology that is noted first of all for the fact that the teaching that is associated with it as its particular teaching was brought to it by a Scot by the name of John Cameron. John Cameron traveled down from Scotland to Saumur and became a professor of theology at the Saumur School of Theology. He has as pupils, men such as Moses Amyraut, whose Latin name was Amyraldus, and Paul Testardus, and their doctrine which they obtained from John Cameron has been called Hypothetical Universalism.

Now, see if you can recognize it as I explain what it is. I think you should be able to recognize it fairly well. They taught, and this is known as Amyraldian teaching from Amyraldus or Amyrault. Amyraldism taught first, God had two wills or purposes regarding man’s salvation. One will is the purpose to provide through the cross, salvation for every individual if they believe. Let me state that again. God had two purposes or wills regarding man’s salvation, one purpose is to provide through the cross salvation for every individual if they believe. But it is foreknown that this will be universally and certainly impossible, because the Amyraldians were Calvinists who believed in the total depravity of man, who believed that there was no such thing as free will, who believed that no man can respond to the gospel unless he be moved by the Holy Spirit and enabled by the Holy Spirit, through efficacious grace, to respond. But they nevertheless believed that God had a purpose to provide salvation for every individual if they believe. But it is foreknown and they acknowledged it, that this is universally and certainly impossible because of man’s sin.

So, God had a second purpose, a second will. And this second will is an absolute purpose depending solely upon God’s sovereign will. This purpose is to secure the salvation of a definite number of individuals, giving them all the gifts and graces necessary to their salvation. Now, you can see these two purposes are then, first of all, to give Jesus Christ to die for all men, to provide through his death a salvation for every individual if they believe, that’s purpose number one. Purpose number two is, an absolute purpose to secure the salvation of a definite number of people, not all, giving them necessary to bring them to salvation. So, you can see God has two purposes. One that Jesus Christ should die for all men. Two, that he should secure the salvation of the elect, these two purposes.

What do we have here? Well, the Calvinists had believed that Jesus Christ had died to secure the salvation of the elect. The Calvinists has believed that he did not die to secure the salvation of all men. He died simply to secure the salvation of the elect. Though, his death has the benefit, or the value, of a death that would be sufficient for the salvation of all men. The Arminians and the Remonstrants had believed that Christ died to secure the salvation of all men, if they believe.

Now, what has happened is that the Saumurian theologians or the Amyraldians have grafted upon Calvinism, universal redemption. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They have taught that Christ died for all men, but of course all men will not respond, because of their sin. Therefore, God has another purpose to save the elect. So, what we have is a synthesis of the particularism of Calvinism with a merely ideal universalism, which doesn’t save a single individual, and which the Amyraldians admit doesn’t save a single individual. One might ask, “Well, why did they think of a doctrine like this?” Well, of course they wanted to escape the question of these texts that seem to say that Christ died for all, and then the texts which seem to say that Christ died for the elect. And so, by putting the two together, they had hoped to eliminate the controversy that has raged over the question over the extent of the atonement.

Now, we want to talk about it for just a moment. I want you to note that we have here Calvinistic definite atonement and the Arminian scheme with its general redemption and special purpose regard to the elect. The general purpose of Amyraldianism has to do with the objective grace sufficient for the salvation of all. The special purpose of Amyraldianism has to do with the subjective grace which brings certain people to faith in Christ. Now, what kind of a picture of God do we have from this kind of system? By the way, this is known as four point Calvinism. This is four point Calvinism, the Saumurians or the Amyraldians were the four point Calvinists. What are the results of this teaching? Well, in the first place, God is represented as loving the non-elect enough to give them the Son to die for them, but not enough to give them faith and salvation. Have you thought of that? If it is true that Christ dies for all men, and if it is also true that men can only respond if the Holy Spirit, in efficacious grace, brings them to Christ, then we have by this doctrine, Christ dying for all me, God loving them enough to do that, but not enough to bring them to faith in Christ. What then becomes of the death for all men? Well, it is nothing for than a hypothetical universalism, and that is another name given to this doctrine, hypothetical universalism.

Do you get the point? Do you see the point? If we believe on the one hand that men are totally depraved and can only come to God by the work of the Holy Spirit, and if on the other hand we say that Christ died for all men, but we withhold from all men the enablement to come to receive the atonement, then we have only a hypothetical universalism. So, God is represented as loving enough to give Jesus Christ to die for it, but not enough to bring the world to Jesus Christ.

Now, that I think is of great significance, and that’s not all. God is represented as purposing that all me be saved on the condition of faith, a condition which God knows is impossible. Third, God is represented as purposing that all men be saved, but allowing a large portion of the race to live in ignorance of the gospel; for all grant that the gospel has not gone to all men, only to some men. Are you beginning to see the inconsistency in this position? Fourth, it represents the all perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ as really saving no one, and as depending upon a subsequent decree of election for its very partial success. So, the work of Christ doesn’t really save anyone. It only makes salvation possible, and then the decree of election makes effectual the salvation of some. Fifth, God is represented as willing, at the same time that all men be saved, and only the elect be saved. He is represented as willing at the same time that all men be saved and that only the elect be saved. He sends Christ to die for all, but the Holy Spirit only brings the elect to Christ. There’s an inconsistency. And finally, it denies, contrary to the Arminian, that any of God’s decrees are conditioned upon the self-determined will of the creature, and yet puts into the mouths of professed Calvinists the very catch words of the Arminian system such as universal grace, the conditioned will of God, universal redemption, and so on. In other words, it uses terms which Arminians use, but does not give them the force that Arminians give them.

What we really come down to, you see, and see in this attempt to fuse the two systems together is that we have an inconsistency in a theological system that allows part of the work to be done by God, as over against a system that demands that all of the work be done by God. We cannot put together the Arminian universal redemption with Calvinistic particularlism. They just do not gel; it is like oil and water. And so, we have inconsistency. And Richard Watson, the best of the Arminian theologians, I think put it exactly correctly when he says, concerning Amyraldianism or four point Calvinism, “It is the most inconsistent theory to which the attempts to modify Calvinism have given rise.” In 1675, the Formula Consensus Helvetica, the product of a Swiss synod, condemned in the Reformed churches the Amyraldianism of four point Calvinism.

Now, I’m going to stop tonight, rather than go on and say anything about the Marrow men, and what I would like to do tonight, if possible, is to open it up for a few questions regarding the things that we have discussed tonight. Next time we will launch into a discussion of the scriptural answers and the theological answers to this question. Some of these, of course, have been necessarily mentioned in mentioning these particular theories. But perhaps you have a question or two that you would like to ask.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] No, Dr. Chafer’s view was very much like the Amyraldians’. I don’t think that Dr. Chafer himself really did a whole lot of investigation of the Amyraldian teaching, but he was really a follower of Ralph Wardlaw. And I’m going to say something about Ralph Wardlaw, and I’ll save the full exposition of it for then. Ralph Wardlaw was one of the Calvinistic Universalists, and he had his own particular approach to it, but generally speaking they fall into the same category. And Dr. Chafer did believe in a kind of universalism, but at the same time he stressed very strongly the doctrine of election and the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing men to faith in Christ. So, I think he fell in that category and I would say in that respect, it seems to me that his particular teaching was inconsistent.

He laid such a great stress upon the work of salvation in Holy Spirit that most of us who heard him rejoiced in what he did along those lines, but he nevertheless held to universal redemption. He never did deal with this question in class in great detail. I personally feel that Dr. Chafer had not really studied these issues out, because they were not an issue that he had need to investigate in great detail. Dr. Chafer, you must remember, was a Bible teacher essentially. He never went to theological seminary. He never knew Greek and Hebrew. That’s why he made those boys over at the seminary suffer so, because he appreciated what he didn’t have. So, he had them all study four years of Greek, really five years in the beginning and three years of Hebrew, because it was something that he felt the need of. He never had theological training. What he learned, he learned on his own. He was just a man who bought theological books and studied them, and when you see what light he possessed from God as result of his own labors, you have to admire what he learned through his studies, what God revealed to him.

As a matter of fact, he never even intended to teach theology. It’s well known that he intended to teach Bible, because he had been simply an evangelist and a Bible teacher, but the theologian that he had hoped to obtain died before the seminary opened and so, he had thrust into his lap teaching theology. And he used to tell us that for the first three years he was only one night ahead of his student. He would study the night before, and the next morning he would tell them what he studied the night before. By the way, that’s good theological practice, because Karl Barth, in some of his letters that he wrote to one of his friends, Professor Thurneysen, said that when he first began to teach that he frequently was up until three and four and five o’clock at night in order to get ready for a class that began at seven in the morning at the University of Göttingen when he was teaching Reform theology there. It’s very interesting to read his letters of how he was just barely able to keep ahead of his students. And since I’ve had that experience so many years, I know exactly what they feel.

I know that I rambled a good bit in answering your question. It could have been answered with yes, he was a four point Calvinist of this stripe, and that, I think, is exactly what he was. But I think also it was that you should make plain with Dr. Chafer that it was a subject that he did not investigate as he did other subjects, and therefore, that inconsistency which is there may be the result of that.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Well, he always taught that Jesus Christ’s work of salvation rendered all men savable. That was the way he used to put it.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] He meant just exactly what I meant here when I said that the work of Jesus Christ makes it possible for all men to be saved, if they believe. And it’s strictly an Arminian position on that particular point, although, Dr. Chafer did call himself a Calvinist. So, the work of Jesus Christ was a sufficient atonement for the sins of all men, and rendered all men savable. It did not save any one specifically. It rendered all men savable, and thus salvation depended upon the exercise of faith.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] How does he make all men savable? Well, of course, Dr. Chafer answered the question simply by saying that the blood of Jesus Christ was an atonement for all sin, and that he bore the punishment for all. But Dr. Chafer also went on to say that the cross is not the only saving instrumentality. If you read his theology you’ll find him saying that. The cross is not the only saving instrumentality, for we are saved not only by the cross, but by human faith. So, the cross is not the only saving instrumentality. Jesus Christ offered all that was necessary to pay the penalty for human sin, but still, one must believe in order to be saved.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Well, he obviously interpreted “It is finished” as the judicial foundation of salvation has been accomplished when the penalty for sin is paid.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Well, of course, you’re asking me to argue his case for him. I cannot argue his case for him, because I don’t accept that position. It’s obvious that that’s the weakness of it. A man who would criticize Dr. Chafer’s theory would say immediately, “Well, if he died for all sin, how can men be responsible for sin? How can they be judged for sin for which an atonement has been made?” And if you should say, “Oh, but faith is necessary.” Then all you have to say to such is, of course, “Is unbelief a sin?” “Yes, unbelief’s a sin.” Then Jesus Christ died for unbelief or else he didn’t die for all sin. So, you see that kind of position leaves you to a dead end, and I agree with you. You’re leading me to that by your questions, but I can’t defend him beyond saying what he did teach. I think it was inconsistent at that point.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Salvation is applied in time.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Well, I think that you would argue it from, these are some of the things that we are going to take up later on when we discuss these claims. But it would be argued in time from the standpoint of the Scripture itself teaching it, and locating a person’s salvation at specific points in time rather than at the cross.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] That’s right. Well, I think it’s a difficulty in the sense that one must explain that, but Calvinists don’t regard it as insuperable difficulty because they think that’s part of the program of God, that the work is applicable upon the exercise of human faith.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Faith is involved in the saving as the instrument by which it is received, by which the benefits are received.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] It’s not only some sense, it is the instrument.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Well, I don’t think so, because I, of course, personally don’t think that faith is a meritorious deed, because if you have faith as a meritorious deed, then of course you don’t have any “It is finished” in any circumstances. We’ll talk about that later because that’s one of the issues that comes up. Jerry, did you have a question?

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Of course, that bears on our question about the faith, because the faith itself being provided by God settles the question about human part in salvation, too.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Well, no, most Arminians do not accept the total depravity. Only John Wesley and his evangelical Arminianism did.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Well, these are not the same people. The Calvinistic Universalists are different. In the case of John Wesley, John Wesley did not accept unconditional election, because he believed upon an election based upon foreseen faith. He did not accept definite atonement. He did not accept irresistible grace, although at times he seemed to say something of the same thing. And he definitely did not accept the perseverance of the saints. So, he was not a four point Calvinist. He was not a Calvinist at all. He was an Arminian whose views were evangelical Arminianism rather than rationalistic Arminianism, that of the Remonstrants. Yes sir?

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Well, now we’re going to talk about that also, next time. By the way, that question is also a question that is embarrassing to a man who believes in universal redemption too. Because the question then is, in what sense do we have a universal redemption when it’s not published to all men? See, it’s the same kind of problem. That’s one of the questions that we’ll discuss. Yes sir?

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Well, in the first place, Howard, I think most would take that parable of the great supper to have primarily to do with the kingdom age rather than with salvation. But perhaps the principle that you’re speaking about still pertains, and I don’t know that I can answer the question to your satisfaction about the difference between; did you say the difference between compelling?

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Do you have any light on this that you want to suggest? [Laughter] Well, I would hesitate to say anything about it, without taking a look at the passage again in some detail, so I plead ignorance.

[Question from the audience]

[Johnson] Any other questions? Yes sir?