The Deep day on ‘Definite Atonement’ welcomed Jonny Gibson and David Gibson to lead four sessions exploring the theme of definite atonement in scripture. A synopsis of each talk is available here along with media content from the day.
Sacred Theology and the Reading of the Divine Word: Mapping the Doctrine of Definite Atonement . Presented by David Gibson. Download audio
Session 1 synopsis
The doctrine of definite (“limited”) atonement has always courted controversy in the Christian church. But the doctrine has also been one of the least understood inchurch history. Previous treatments have either beenguilty of hasty proof-texting in support or simplistic caricatures in critique. This session will aim to provide an accurate definition of the doctrine, alongsidepresenting a new approach to this sensitive topic, which may help to overcome people’s aversion to the definite intent and nature of Christ’s atonement. In particular, there will be discussion on methodology and biblicism when it comes to theological construction. David will expand on his recent online debate with Andrew Wilson over the legitimacy of describing definite atonement as abiblico-systematic doctrine.
For Whom Did Christ Die? Particularism and Universalism in the Pauline Epistles . Presented by Jonathan Gibson. Download audio
Session 2 synopsis
A surface reading of various texts in the Pauline corpus reveals a tension between particularism and universalism in Paul’s atonement theology. At times, Paul speaks of Christ’s death for “the church”, for “his people”; at other times, he speaks of Christ’s death for “all”, for the “world”. In this session, Jonathan will present a detailed examination of the particularistic and universalistic texts, demonstrating that the universalistic elements in Paul’s letters complement rather than compromise the possibility of interpreting Christ’s death as a definite atonement.
The Glorious, Indivisible, Trinitarian Work of God in Christ: Definite Atonement in Paul’s Theology of Salvation . Presented by Jonathan Gibson.
In discussions on the intent and nature of the atonement, particularistic and universalistic texts are often employed in a textual ‘tit-for-tat’. In this session, Jonathan will seek to plot a new course for the discussion, one that understands Paul’s doctrine of the atonement through the lens of his soteriology. Integral to the apostle’s soteriology is a collection of texts that concern ‘doctrinal loci’, which directly impinge upon his atonementtheology, such as eschatology, election, union with Christ, christology, Trinitarianism, and doxology. Taking these ‘doctrinal loci’ into consideration demonstrates that Paul’s soteriological framework can point in no other direction than that of a definite atonement.
Missions and the Cure of Souls: Pastoral Implications of Definite Atonement. Presented by David Gibson. Download audio
Session 4 synopsis
If definite atonement is the correct position to hold on the intent and nature of the atonement, then what is the impact for missions and ministry? If Jesus did not die for everyone, how can we preach the gospel to an unbelieving world? If Jesus died only for the church, how then do we preach the gospel to everyone? And what are the implications for pastoral ministry? Does definite atonement not wrest assurance of faith from the Christian? In dialogue with various conversation partners (from John Macleod Campbell to Bruce Ware and Mark Driscoll), David will address these questions, and more.
Question and answer session. David and Jonathan Gibson. Download audio