November 7, 2006

Brian Armstrong on Amyraut and Justification

Amyraut defines justification in the same terms as did Calvin. That is, justification consists of two parts: “. . . the remission of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.” It is forensic in nature, for we are accounted righteous for the sake of Christ: “We maintain that when God will give us life and the Kingdom, He will not consider any other merit nor any other obedience than that of His Son whom we embrace by faith.” Moreover, this manner of justification is in opposition to our natural inclination, for all men believe that they will be justified by their own merit, by their own works. For this reason in this matter man must, according to one of Amyraut’s favorite passages, bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ and recognize that “justification by faith is by a totally supernatural revelation and institution, for there is nothing less in accord with the institutions of nature than to justify a guilty man by imputing to him the sufferings of another who has been punished for him.
Brian Armstrong, Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy: Protestant Scholasticism and Humanism in Seventeenth-Century France (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2004), 225.

Notice the substitutionary language when Amyraut says, "imputing to him the sufferings of another who has been punished for him." Also, as Armstrong points out in the rest of Chapter 5, Amyraut made a very crucial distinction between the covenants of law and grace in his system. Whoever associates Amyraut with Baxter's neonomianism betrays a profound ignorance of Amyraut's covenantal scheme and how vital it is to his view of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

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