Doctrinal Dilemmas

Alan C. Clifford

in Atonement and Justification

Published in print April 1990 | ISBN: 9780198261957
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682254 | DOI:
Doctrinal Dilemmas

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This chapter argues that neither Owen nor Wesley could solve their theological dilemmas without resorting to a dualistic conception of grace, this vindicating Richard Baxter's via media. His scheme embraces many of the emphases of Owen and Wesley to the exclusion of others. In his view the Bible's message is an inscrutable, paradoxical blend of particularism and universalism; accordingly, Owen and Wesley were wrong to stress one aspect of the paradox at the expense of the other. From Baxter's perspective the theologies of the main contestants are — at their biblical best — different sides of the same coin. Thus, if Baxter's balanced position makes him the true heir of Calvin, there is a sense in which Owen and Wesley may be regarded as ‘semi-Calvinists’, albeit from differing (though complementary) points of view.

Keywords: John Owen; John Wesley; Richard Baxter; atonement; Aristotle; via media; unbelief; grace; Calvinism

Chapter.  5836 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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