How the Reformers Help Us Understand Definite Atonement

October 24, 2017

by Jonathan Gibson

The Reformation brought clarity and crystallization of certain doctrines including sola scriptura and sola fide. I think the same occurred with the doctrine of the atonement.

The Reformation and the work of the reformers brought some clarity to what we mean by Christ’s death. It was a once-for-all death, not requiring repetition every week in the mass. It was sufficient, it was enough to pay the penalty for sins, and did not require anything else to be done to receive forgiveness.

The Reformers laid the foundation, helping the next generation or two present a mature doctrine of definite atonement—a doctrine that we see in the Synod of Dort, where they wrote the Canons of Dort in 1619.

It was a beautiful full-orbed doctrine of the death of Christ. You see it also in John Owen’s work in 1647 that death of death in the death of Christ, where he presents all the beautiful aspects of Christ’s atoning death for his people. . . .

. . . continue reading at Crossway.

Jonathan Gibson

Dr. Jonathan Gibson (PhD, Cambridge) is professor of Old Testament at WTS.

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