November 6, 2006

R. L. Dabney (1820–1898) on the Westminster Confession and Commercialism

Again, the Confession asserts with most positive precision the penal substitution of Christ, the imputation of our guilt to him, his punitive sufferings and sacrifice therefore, and the imputation of this satisfaction to all believers for their justification. It holds fast to the truth of particular redemption. Yet it carefully avoids implying any limitation upon the infinite value and merit of Christ's sacrifice. It carefully avoids confusing the two concepts of legal satisfaction for guilt with the consequent at-one-ment, or reconciliation, for the believing sinner. And it gives no countenance to the quid-pro-quo [tit for tat] theory of expiation, which affects, with a mischievous over-refinement, to affix a commercial ratio between the sins of the elect and the one indivisible and infinite merit of the divine sacrifice.
R. L. Dabney, "The Doctrinal Contents of the Westminster Confession of Faith," in Discussions (Harrisonburg: Sprinkle Publications, 1999), 5:130.


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