Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hodge on the Atonement

It many seem an odd thing to need to prove the full Calvinistic credentials of a man such as Charles Hodge, but there are some in the blogoshpere who are claiming he did not hold to the "L" in Tulip. So, I am undertaking the task to up hold the theological integrity of my fully Calvinistic forefather. In this life Hodge wrote many great works. But it is fair to say that his magnum opus is his three volume work on systematic theology. In the second of these works he undertakes the doctrine of Anthropology. In chapter eight of this volume he ask the question, "For Whom did Christ Die?" In answering this question he states,
There is a sense, therefore, in which He [Christ] died for all, and there is a sense in which He died for the elect alone. The simple question is, Had the death of Christ a reference to the elect which it had not to other men? Did He come into the world to secure the salvation of those given to Him by the Father, so that the other effects of his work are merely incidental to what was done for the attainment of that object? That these questions must be answered in the affirmative, is evident.
He then goes on into 7 section as to why this must be the case. Section five is of particular note. In this section, entitled Argument from the Believers Union with Christ, Hodge argues Christ was "the federal head, not of the human race, but of those given to Him by the Father."

His argument in this section goes:
1) a certain portion of the human race was given to Christ by the Father
2) this group was given to Christ before the foundation of the world
3) this group will of necessity come to Christ and thus be saved
4) this certain portion of humanity is federally united to Christ
5) Christ was the federal head for this group alone

After arguing for the specific and particular nature of the atonement, Hodge make this interesting comment, "Whatever reference it [the work of Christ] had to others was subordinate and incidental." From this alone it should be abundantly clear that Hodge held to a robust, thoroughgoing five point Calvinism. I for one will go with Hodge on this issue any day of the week!

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