08 November, 2016

Chapter Six


It may well be that Davenant was a gifted man and that in many respects he contributed to the spiritual life of the Church of England. However, given the result of his teaching and that of men like Amyraut on the extent of the atonement it is difficult to perceive of him as a true Jewel of the Reformation.

The views of Davenant and Amyraut continue to plague the Reformed community. Indeed, the pendulum has swung so far that the doctrine of limited or particular atonement is being constantly assailed even from within the Reformed camp. Just as it was in the days of Davenant and Amyraut, men dislike that doctrine because it does not accord with their perception of a loving God who desires the salvation of all men. Therefore, it is disparaged and ridiculed.

The result of such views is to destroy the truth of substitutionary atonement and, at the same time, to deny the efficacy of our Savior’s atonement. One might well ponder how it is that Christ could die on Calvary for the sins of all men, but yet not all men are saved? How can that be? It can only be, if Christ did not truly die for sin and if His atonement was of no worth. A serious error? It is difficult to perceive of an error more central to the work of Jesus Christ as the Mediator and Head of the Covenant.

The observation of John Owen regarding the impact of Arminianism in his day could equally be applied to the doctrine of limited atonement in this present age. Owen said:

The fate of our church having of late devolved the government thereof into the hands of men tainted with this poison, Arminianism became backed with powerful arguments of praise and preferment, and quickly prevailed to beat poor naked truth into a corner.82

Sadly, in our day the poor naked truth of the limited and particular atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ has been beaten into a corner. Nonetheless, it is the teaching of the Word of God and it is the means by which God’s people can be assured that their sins have been blotted out. This truth is one of great comfort for the child of God.


81. Davenant, On the Controversy, p. 568.

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