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Fuller and the Atonement (Part 4): Limited Atonement and Free Offer

Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the seventh post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Fuller’s rejection of the commercial understanding of moral justice was two-fold (at least). One, such a limitation, that is, forgiveness dependent on the enumeration of sins and their commensurate guilt, was impossible by the very nature of Christ’s infinite excellence. Christ’ infinite fullness of worthiness necessarily offered to the Father a complete satisfaction, rendering salvation, especially forgiveness as an intrinsic necessity of salvation, a matter of divine sovereignty, eternally determined, in its application. So, the reason for Christ’s incarnation and his fulfillment of the office of priest as a ransom, reconciliation, propitiation,…..

 

 

 

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Fuller and the Atonement (Part 3): Until You Have Paid the Last Penney

Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the sixth post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Though Andrew Fuller asserted that Calvinists in general held the covenantal application view of particular redemption, historically that which he called the “commercial” view has co-existed with it. That view, defended among the Baptists by John Spilsbury [1] (as far as we can discern the first Particular Baptist pastor), Abraham Booth [2], and John L. Dagg [3], contends that the suffering of Christ is a matter of actual measurable justice. The propitiatory wrath set forth by the Father must be commensurate with the degree of susceptibility to punishment for all those that the Father gave to the Son. For them in particular Jesus sanctified himself….

 

 

 

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Fuller and the Atonement (Part 2): A Way Out or a Way In?

Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the fifth post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

In the second edition of GWAA, Fuller chose not to defend the “principle of pecuniary satisfaction” as consistent with general invitations to reconciliation. He concentrated on the position taken by the synod of Dort, and that of ”all the old Calvinists” [2:710]. He had begun this refinement process in Reply to Philanthropos and in The Reality and Efficacy of Divine Grace.

The core of the argument is that the intrinsic value of Christ’s suffering, given the infinite dignity of his person, is sufficient for the forgiveness…..

 

 

 

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Fuller and the Atonement (Part 1): “It is Enough that Jesus Died”

by Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the fourth post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Fuller“The Son of God appeared—took our nature, obeyed the law, and endured the curse, and hereby made full and proper atonement for the sins of his own elect.” So confessed Fuller in 1783 at his installment as pastor at Kettering. In Fuller’s discussion of the atonement in 1785 in the first edition of The Gospel Worthy, subheaded as “Concerning Particular Redemption,” Fuller pointed to an objection based on the supposed absurdity that “God can have made it the duty of any man to believe in Christ for the salvation of his soul, or that he can have promised salvation to him on his so believing, when all the while his salvation was not the end for which he died.”i The Table of Contents described his argument in these words: “If faith were a believing Chirst [sic] died for me in particular, this objection would be unanswerable.” The second statement of the summary asserted, “No necessity for the party knowing his particular interest in Christ’s death in order to believe in him, or for his having any such interest to render it his duty.” Fuller’s basic argument in the first edition is that, at the time….

 

 

 

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Fuller and Irresistible Grace: The Necessity of Regeneration as Prior to Repentance and Faith

by Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the third post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

John Ryland Jr., the dear friend and memoirist of Andrew Fuller, in recounting many of the writings of Fuller put in his own comment on the Sandemanian controversy as something of a summary of the argument of his deceased friend. “Nor can a man, while under the dominion of sin, believe that it is a most blessed privilege to be saved from sin itself, as well as from it’s [sic] consequences. Hence I still conceive,” Ryland continued, “that regeneration, strictly so called, must in the order of nature, precede the first act of faith. Not that it can be known except by it’s effects; nor that a consciousness thereof is necessary to warrant the sinner’s first application to Christ.” [221, Ryland, Life and Death of the Rev. Andrew Fuller]

 

 

 

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Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability

March 14, 2017 2 comments

by Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the second post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Andrew Fuller’s belief in the duty of all moral agents has led some to think that he, therefore, rejected the historic Calvinist doctrine of the bondage of the will. This betrays a regrettable misunderstanding not only of Fuller but of the historic Calvinistic doctrine and is at the root of many bypasses in the discussion between these hopefully fraternal parties in Southern Baptist life. In his confession of faith presented at his installment at Kettering, Fuller reflected on Adam’s fall as that covenant relationship in which we fell, and “became liable to condemnation and death, and what is more, are all born into the world with a vile propensity to sin against God.” Affirming this as the teaching of Romans 5, Fuller further explained….

 

 

 

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An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith- Appendix Point 5

5. We affirm, that as Jesus Christ never intended to give remission of sins and eternal life unto any but his sheep; (John. 10:15. John. 17:2; Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 5:9.) so these sheep only have their sins washed away in the blood of Christ. The vessels of wrath, as they are none of Christ’s sheep, never do believe in Him, so they have not the blood of Christ sprinkled upon them, neither are partakers of Him: and therefore have all their sins remaining upon them, and are not saved by Christ from any of them under any consideration whatsoever; but must lie under the intolerable burden of them eternally. The truth of this appears unto us by the light of these Scriptures compared together; Heb.. 12:24; I Pet. 1:2; Heb. 3:14; Math. 7:23; Eph. 5:6; I Tim. 1:9; John. 8:24.

Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith