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Atonement and Justification

Alan C. Clifford

Published in print April 1990 | ISBN: 9780198261957
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682254 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198261957.001.0001
Atonement and Justification

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This book examines and compares the theological views of Dr John Owen (1616–83), the Puritan pastor and theologian, and John Wesley (1703–91), the evangelist and founder of Methodism. Protracted doctrinal debate occurred during the period under review over the doctrines of atonement and justification, Owen and Wesley representing the Calvinist and Arminian interpretations of the controversy, respectively. The author demonstrates that the Arminian reaction to scholastic high Calvinism might have been avoided had theologians like Theodore Beza and John Owen pursued the relatively moderate theological formulations of John Calvin and the Anglican Reformers. Instead, Owen buttressed his orthodoxy by resorting to Aristotelian logic and metaphysics, especially in his doctrine of limited atonement. The author indicates here that the suspected via media of Richard Baxter (1615–1619) and Archbishop Tillotson (1630–1694) is much closer to original Calvinism than has been allowed hitherto, confirming his verdict that, in several respects, Calvin's theology received a more authentic expression in Wesley's Arminianism than in Owen's high Calvinism. The author seeks both to assess the various areas of the debate within the context of historical theology and to evaluate them according to the criteria of biblical exegesis. He offers a critical, in-depth discussion of the philosophical foundations of the ultra-orthodoxy of John Owen, and also expounds a positive solution to a controversy that was shelved rather than solved, and that continues to vex those who seek a coherent biblical grasp of the Reformed Faith.

Keywords: John Owen; John Wesley; Methodism; Calvinism; Arminianism; atonement; justification; theologian

Book.  284 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christian Theology

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Table of Contents

John Owen (1616–83) in Atonement and Justification

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Richard Baxter (1615–91) in Atonement and Justification

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John Tillotson (1630–94) in Atonement and Justification

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John Wesley (1703–91) in Atonement and Justification

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Authentic Calvinism in Atonement and Justification

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The Legacy of Aristotle in Atonement and Justification

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Doctrinal Dilemmas in Atonement and Justification

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The Meaning of the Cross in Atonement and Justification

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The Verdict of Scripture in Atonement and Justification

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The Reformation Heritage in Atonement and Justification

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