John Owen on Limited Atonement

The puritan John Owen presents a fantastic argument against the idea that Jesus died for all of the sins of all people (“Unlimited Atonement”), while demonstrating the reasonableness of the position that contends that Jesus died for all of the sins of God’s elect (“Limited Atonement”).


The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:

  1. All the sins of all men.
  2. All the sins of some men, or
  3. Some of the sins of all men.

In which case it may be said:

  1. That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved.
  2. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth.
  3. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?

You answer, “Because of unbelief.”

I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins!”

Now That's What I Call Shopping

I really like used books. I really like used book sales – especially when everything is $1 or less.

Having just returned from the used book sale at the Oberlin Public Library, I couldn’t help but share my newest acquisitions.

I went with the intention of finding and buying anything written by either C.S. Lewis or Robert Frost. Additionally,  I was hoping for anything Sherlock Holmes (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes et cetera). Unfortunately I did not succeed in obtaining any of these. But, I did come across a few other noteworthy books that I promptly purchased.

  1. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy. I know it’s a famous book, and I haven’t read much fiction in a while, so I bought it.
  2. The Greatest Thing in the World, by Henry Drummond. You can probably pick this up at your local Christian bookstore for $3, but I got mine for $1.
  3. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman. From what I hear, the book is even better than the movie!
  4. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read and enjoyed it when I was younger, so I figured I might as well own a copy of it.
  5. J.B. Phillips – New Testament. I bought this primarily because of the nice verse-less single column text setting.
  6. T.S. Eliot – The Wasteland and Other Poems. Being severely deficient in my reading of verse, I figured this might be a good place to start.
  7. The Overcoming Life, by Dwight L. Moody. Since I’m attending (God bless) the school that D.L. Moody founded, I figured that this would be worth picking up.
  8. The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer. For 50 cents, I couldn’t resist this classic.

So there you have it. I bought 8 books for $5… now that’s what I call shopping!

Book Review – The Essential Edwards Collection

The Essential Edwards Collection provides and excellent introduction to the works of one of America’s brightest (and most prolific) theologians – Jonathan Edwards. This collection is comprised of four books that deal with Edwards thought on different topics (Jonathan Edwards on… Beauty, Heaven and Hell, the Good Life and True Christianity), and one book that serves as a brief biography of the divine (Jonathan Edwards: A Lover of God).

Intended for the “uninitiated,” this series is written in extremely accessible language, to help the reader glean insight from Edwards writings. By briefly commenting on different quotes from Edwards works Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney aid the reader to understand Edwards while also demonstrating how to interact well with Edwards writings. Each chapter ends with suggestions on how a reader can connect the truths they are learning from Edwards to their every day lives (which I think is a brilliant idea!).

On a more personal level, I really enjoyed the emphasis the authors put on the importance of both the local church and the family unit.

One critique – and it is minor – is that there are a couple of typological errors (for example, one of the illuminated first letters of a section was not italicized), but, being extremely few and far between, these do not hinder the readability of the books.

I think this is a great set of books, serving as a fantastic introduction to Jonathan Edwards. To whet your appetite to explore Edwards through this collection here is a fantastic quote from Edwards, as quoted in Jonathan Edwards on Beauty (pg. 37):

All creatures do continually live upon the bounty of God; he maintains the whole creation of his mere goodness: every good thing that is enjoyed is a part of his bounty. When kings are bountiful, and dispense good things to their subjects, they do but give that which the Almighty before gave to them. So merciful and so full of pity is God, that when a miserable man, whom He had no need of, who did Him no good, nor could be of any advantage to Him, had made himself miserable by his rebellion against God, He took such pity on him that He sent His only Son to undergo his torment for him, that he might be delivered and set free. And now He offers freely, to bestow upon those rebels, complete and perfect happiness to all eternity upon this, His Son’s account. There never was such an instance of goodness, mercy, pity, and compassion since the world began; all the mercy and goodness amongst creatures fall infinitely short of it: this is goodness that never was, never will, never can be paralleled by any other.

Books provided for free by Pure Publicity for review.