Recent Works On The Atonement. -- By: George F. Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 047:185 (Jan 1890)
Article: Recent Works On The Atonement.
Author: George F. Magoun


Recent Works On The Atonement.1

George F. Magoun

In an account of the Baptist work in Sweden by P. A. Nordell, D. D., (New York Examiner) it is stated, that the Baptist churches there are one in doctrine, and that “a constant struggle has been maintained against the numerous and influential Free Church, which, in point of doctrine, corresponds very closely with the Andover wing of American Congregationalism, but is marked by a far more enthusiastic religious activity.” A vague American echo of Waldenstroem appears in a late number of the Andover Review,— “The Blood of Jesus Christ: the New Testament Doctrine,” by Lyman Abbott, D. D. Pie makes three points vs. the evangelical view: (1) The blood of Jesus Christ in the New Testament is the life of Christ. His character,—not the drops that fell on Calvary, but “his individuality, his personality.” The world is saved, not by a “plan of salvation,” but “by Christ himself.” This leaves out any propitiating work of Christ for men, and substitutes therefor a mere exhibition of himself, producing a mere subjective effect in us. It goes farther from the New Testament than Waldenstroem’s theory of blood-contact with spirit, and in the direction of Jamieson. (2) His character astransmittible [?]” is represented by Christ’s blood, like heredity in physical life, a character received hymen “almost unconsciously,” the “blood of God, as it were [?]” (like qualities inherited along the lines of pedigree), by which we are “adopted into the very generation of Divinity.” (3) But this “transmitted life is poured out for us,” as well as made “a part of our own nature.” Not by something suffered eighteen hundred years ago, but by His “life, personality, character, divinity,” “poured out [into ours?].” Here again, in indefinite, elusive, misleading form, the mysticism of Jamieson reappears. It is plumply denied that we are saved by any thing vicarious, whether expiation, substitution, or atonement, for these words do not occur in the New Testament. But it is noteworthy that “propitiation,” which is in the New Testament, both word and idea, is ignored. For the clear and gracious meaning which Paul

and John give to it, we have the indefinite speculative theory referred to above, with its perversion of Scripture terms, and nullification of their legitimate signification. But no one has directly and successfully emptied Scripture of the idea of divine propitiation for human sin. It is the stem and trunk of the whole doctrine of substitutionary, vicarious, expiatory atonement, and refuses to surrender its dominant place in the go...

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