I. PRELIMINARY COMMENTS
II. THE COMPARISON OF (P) AND (Q) CONSIDERED
III. THE PROPOSITION (P) CONSIDERED
1. Preliminary Remarks
2. Scriptural Connections
3. Confessional and Historical Connections
In a previous post, I sought to address an issue that Dr. Greg Welty raised regarding the compatibility of a sincere gospel offer with unconditional election. In that blog entry, I argued that one who believes the scriptures must admit that, while it's the case that God has foreordained the eternal salvation of the elect alone, it's still true that there is a sense in which He desires/wills/wants all to be saved. In other words, the existence of the secret will of God cannot be used to negate the existence of the revealed will of God. Dr. Welty quoted me as follows:
"Just because there is a divine purpose to leave the non-elect in their sins everlastingly, it doesn't follow that God never, at any point, wanted their compliance to what he commanded."
"He is not insincere in giving His gospel offer to the non-elect because it's still true that He wills their life, according to the revealed or preceptive will of God."
"... the existence of a secret will does not diminish the existence of the revealed will."
Dr. Welty concurred by saying:
"I entirely agree with all of this."
However, He also added these comments for consideration:
"...this is the issue you're going to have to mull over in your forthcoming reply...
...notice that what ensures the sincerity of the free offer is, for you, the same in all three assertions above. As long as God "wants compliance to what he commanded" -- that is, as long as we affirm "the revealed or preceptive will of God" -- then that is sufficient for sincerity.
But, presumably, the advocate of Owenic limited atonement can believe in this divine "want" or "revealed will" as well. There's nothing in the Owenic version of limited atonement that excludes it (as far as I can tell). So what's sufficient grounding for you is sufficient grounding for them. Thus, if this particular grounding of the free offer works, it works for all.
So I think the task you have cut out for you in the second part of your series is giving a good argument for the view that those who believe in Owenic limited atonement can have no place for the revealed will of God. A tall order, I say :-)"
I want to make a clarifying comment regarding his last sentence before I move on to unpack and deal with the argument(s) in further detail. I am not saying that those who hold to an Owenic limited atonement "have no place for the revealed will of God." Rather, I am saying that they have no place for the revealed will of God in the sacrifice of Christ itself with respect to the non-elect who hear the gospel call. Owenists surely make a distinction between the revealed and secret will of God (thus they maintain or affirm both), but God's will that all men be saved is not related to what Christ accomplished on the cross. That is what gives issue to some of my criticisms.
If I am reading Dr. Welty correctly above, he seemed to agree that there is a sense in which God desires (or wills) the salvation of all men, and even sees that as a basis for why the secret will is not incompatible with a sincere gospel offer. If it were the case that God in no sense desires, wills or wants the salvation of all men, then a sincere gospel offer is undermined, I would argue. In fact, that is one of the things I pressed in my first post, and it seems that Greg concurred. I hope that I am not reading more into his "exact agreement" than is really the case. I don't think any Calvinist should ever waver on the notion that God really wills all men to be saved, in his revealed will, given the plain testimony of scripture to that fact. So, it seems we have agreement up to a point.
Since I have spoken with Owenists (like Dr. Tom Ascol for instance) who grant that point (i.e. that God wills or desires the salvation of all), I do not say that they "have no place for the revealed will of God." To clarify, I am saying that they have no place for the revealed will of God (that he wills all to be saved) in the expiatory work of Christ on the cross. This point, I maintain, is inconsistent with a sincere gospel offer, and I will seek to set forth my reasons for thinking that's the case in what follows.
Let me also add that I am glad that Dr. Welty brought up these specific issues for theological consideration and contemplation. All Christians should try to make as much sense as they can of God's nature according to the scriptures, and how that nature is expressed in and through our Lord Jesus Christ. Given what the bible says on these subjects, I don't think it is as difficult to falsify a strictly limited atonement view as Dr. Welty seems to think. While I do think that unpacking the shortcomings of Owenism gets conceptually tricky, I don't think that falsifying it amounts to a "tall order" :-)
THE COMPARISON BETWEEN (P) AND (Q) CONSIDERED:
Returning again to my previous post, here again is the argument:
Dr. Welty asked:"I wonder: do you believe that unconditional election undermines the free offer, and if not, why not? After all, if unconditional election is true, then certain matters have been settled salvifically by the time the gospel ever gets preached to anyone. Matters of eternal consequence, you might say. So why wouldn't that undermine the free offer just as much as Owenic limited atonement?"
The above question amounts to asking this:
If it's the case that a strictly limited atonement undermines the well-meant nature of the gospel offer/invitation, then why is that not also the case by the very existence of an unconditional decree to save the elect alone? After all, by the time that the gospel reaches the hearing of a non-elect human being, their eternal destiny has already been foreordained.
The logical thrust of the point seems to be this:
(P) If a SAV (a Strict Atonement View) implies an IGO (an Insincere Gospel Offer),
then it seems that
(Q) the fact of UE (an Unconditional Election) implies an IGO (an Insincere Gospel Offer).
Since UE does not imply an IGO, then a SAV does not imply an IGO either. If (P), then (Q). It's not the case that (Q) is true [according to Tony's own presuppositions], so it's not the case that (P) is true either. It's a Modus Tollens (P > Q. ~ Q, therefore ~P) argument. If Tony wants to say (P) is the case, then is he also obligated, by the logical necessity of his own system, to say that (Q) is also the case?
In my first post on this subject, I sought to show why proposition (Q) (i.e. that unconditional election undermines the sincere gospel offer) does not follow. Dr. Welty agreed that (Q) is not the case for the reasons I set forth, but still goes on to draw a parallel between (Q) and (P). Since (Q) is not the case, neither is it the case that (P) is a valid argument, based on the analogy. What I would like to do in this section, now that I have established reasons for the falsity of (Q), is to show why the comparison between (P) and (Q) is an invalid analogy in the first place. Then, in the next section, I would like to establish a case for why I think (P) (i.e. that a limited imputation of sin to Christ undermines a sincere gospel offer) is still true.
Consider (Q) again for a moment. Proposition (Q) compares and questions the consistency between the secret will (the fact of an unconditional election) with the revealed will (that God's offer is sincere because he wills all to be saved). This is a crucial point. Two distinct theological categories are being considered: the secret and revealed will. Is this what is being compared in proposition (P)? In order for Dr. Welty's comparison to hold, he would have to assume that the intent and nature of Christ's death only has a relationship to the secret will of God. (P), again, asserts that a SAV [a Strict Atonement View] implies an IGO [an Insincere Gospel Offer]. Thus, the very nature of Christ's sacrifice is being compared with the revealed will of the gospel. (Q), again, asserts that an UE [an Unconditional Election] implies an IGO [an Insincere Gospel Offer]. Thus, the fact of the secret will is being compared to the revealed will. In order for Dr. Welty's analogy to work, the very nature of Christ's sacrifice must be associated with secret will of God alone. This seems like a manifest category mistake and reductionism.
It's a category mistake and reductionism because Christ's death does not have exclusive reference to the secret will of God. We do not deny that there is a dimension to his work that is indexed to his secret will, because scripture manifestly argues that the persons of the Godhead have appointed the elect alone unto an eternal salvation, and Christ acted in accord with that fact. Neither do we pose a false either/or dilemma and say that his work is exclusively indexed to the revealed will of God. I, along with many other Calvinists, see both dimensions (the secret and revealed will) involved in his incarnation and expiatory sacrifice, hence we are called dualists.
If one follows Dr. Welty's comparison between (P) and (Q), Christ's cross-work is associated with unconditional election. The gospel, however, wherein Christ and all that he accomplished is offered on condition of faith, directs men to the revealed will of God. The lost are not commanded to believe in the secret will of God (i.e. that Christ died for them as one of the elect), or in his unconditional election of some to eternal life. I trust that Dr. Welty agrees with this. Also, in the external gospel call, men are not merely told to believe and repent. It's not as if they are given bare commands without looking to something or someone. Sinners are directed to "believe ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST" (i.e. that he died for sinners). They are to look to the lifted up Son of Man, just as the snake-bitten sinners in Israel were commanded to look to the lifted up serpent (see John 3:14). The revealed commands of the gospel point to Him. Thus, his cross-work is, in some way, necessarily associated with the revealed will of God, and not exclusively with the secret will of God.
NKJ Acts 16:31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."
NKJ Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
The law (the preceptive will) directs our attention to the need for forgiveness through the shedding of blood, since we are sinners. The fact that God secretly wills to apply the sacrificial blood efficaciously to an appointed people (the elect) does not negate the fact that all men are commanded to come to Him through the blood, or on the basis of the sacrifice made. Gospel commands and gospel provisions are inseparable. God is no Pharaoh who commands men to make bricks without providing straw. If men fail to obediently make bricks, it is due to their own moral depravity and stubbornness, and not for want of a gracious provision in Christ. But more on this in the next section.
My complaint that Owenism entails an insincere gospel offer does not involve a complaint about the incompatibility between the secret and revealed will of God. On the contrary, my criticisms involve the idea that, within the Owenic view of the nature of Christ's sacrifice (a limited imputation of the guilt of the elect to Him), there is an inconsistency or contradiction within the revealed will of God itself. My complaint stays within the realm of the revealed will of God, since the gospel, according to the testimony of scripture, points men to the Son of Man as lifted up on the cross. It says, "believe in HIM! Look to HIM! Flee to the blood! Wash yourselves clean by means of the blood sacrifice!" There is a necessary association between the gospel commands, offers, invitations, and the promises made and the sacrifice itself. One cannot exclusively compare Christ's sacrifice to the secret will, or to unconditional election. But, as I have already said, in order for Dr. Welty's comparison or analogy between (P) and (Q) to follow, the reductionistic association must be made. His sacrifice must be filtered through an exclusively decretal lense.
Again, I am not complaining about an incompatibility between the secret and revealed will of God when I am critical of Owenism. I am seeing an inconsistency in the category of the revealed will of God itself. If an Owenic view, or a strictly limited view, is correct, then what are the sincere commands directing men to? Is there anything really available for them in the nature of Christ's work? This issue involves the internal consistency of one's conception of the revealed will of God itself, and not a comparison between the secret and revealed will of God. Thus, I do not think that Dr. Welty's analogy is a proper comparison in the first place. Much less do I think that it can be used as a defeater for those who assert that (P) is the case, i.e. that a SAV implies an IGO. The analogy itself is flawed and also begs the question, i.e. that Christ's atoning sacrifice has exclusive reference to the secret will of God alone.
Since I am complaining about the internal consistency of the Owenic conception of God's revealed will as associated with Christ's propitiatory sacrifice, I will move on to develop why I think (P) is still the case, i.e. why a SAV implies an IGO.
THE PROPOSITION (P) CONSIDERED:
Is it really true that a strictly limited atonement view undermines the sincerity or well-meant aspect of the gospel offer? By a strictly limited atonement view, I am referring to the idea that the guilt of the sin of the elect alone was imputed to Christ when he died. He didn't suffer in the stead or substitute for of any of the non-elect. This view goes further than saying that His death had limited aspects in terms of his special intent and the special application resulting therefrom. It even sees a limit in the guilt imputed the Son. Double Jeopardy or Double Payment arguments are commonly used to buttress this position. If, after all, he bore the guilt of anyone other than the elect, their salvation would necessarily have to result, it is argued. Dr. Welty is very familiar with these issues, but I bring them up to remind the readers of the theological issues at stake. I am not one who rejects any version of limited atonement. I just see a limit in the special intent involved in Christ's death that results in a special application to the elect alone, but no where else. I reject the idea that he had an exclusively decretal intent in dying, and I further reject the notion that the imputation of guilt to him was also limited. I reject such things because I do not think they are compatible with texts that suggest that he dies for the salvation of the world (John 3:16), that he takes away (bears the guilt of) the sin of the world (John 1:29), or suffers as a propiatory sacrifice for the world (1 John 2:2). I also reject a limited imputation because it doesn't comport with a sincere gospel offer. Consequently, I think a limited imputation view negates scriptural teaching and besmirches the character of God (by undermining His sincerity), even if that is not at all the intention of the Owenic advocate (I don't say that it is their intent). Such a charge is no small matter, so I don't take it lightly. With that said, let's consider the issue of the nature of Christ's death and the sincerity of God's gospel offer.
As I already mentioned, the command to repent and believe, in the New Testament, directs the sinners attention to the Person and work of Jesus Christ. We do not have bare commands to repent and believe, but it says we should repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. I trust that I do not have to provide the many passages for my Christian brothers and sisters to prove that's true. "Believe on Jesus Christ" is a precept. In other words, it concerns the revealed will of God. Again, the eyes of lost sinners are not directed to the secret things of God, but to the revealed will of God. Therefore, when the scripture points to Christ's satisfaction as something to be trusted or relied upon, it's underlining the fact that his cross-work is not in the exclusive domain of the secret will. There is a revealed will aspect as well.
What is the sinner to believe regarding Christ? Isn't it true that they must believe that God wills to save them through the death of the Son? Dr. Welty grants that it is true, according to the revealed will, that God wills to save all men. I gather that from his "entire agreement" to what I first posted. If that's true, then sinners are called to believe that God wills their salvation through the gospel call. But, according to scripture, it's also true that God beckons men to come to Him through a blood sacrifice and no other way. He who seeks to come to God some other way, other than through the Son, is a thief and a robber.
NKJ John 10:1 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
Christ is that door through which men are called to enter. Since there is no forgiveness apart from the shedding of blood, sinners must come to God by means of faith in the blood. All of the lost who hear the gospel are called to trust in the blood as a fitting means for their forgiveness. Christ's death, by virtue of the indescriminate offers given in scripture, must be an applicable and/or suitable means whereby any man who hears the call may be forgiven or healed. Therefore, Christ makes an analogy between Himself and the lifted up serpent in the OT:
NKJ John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
In the OT account, the eyes of the perishing were to be directed, according to the command of God, to the lifted up serpent as a suitable remedy to heal them. Those who did perish did not perish for want of a remedy. They perished for failing to obey (to believe) and look to the God appointed means for healing. Christ and His work is the reality of all the types. What he has done is sufficient, suitable and applicable to all. When Christ draws an analogy between the gospel call and His work, he discusses a great King indescriminately inviting men to a great feast:
NKJ Matthew 22:4 "Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding." '
On the basis of the King's own generosity, he had "prepared" a dinner, and therefore (on the basis of the preparation) told his servants to go out and invite men to come to the feast. There is a connection between the sufficiency of his feast to feed the invited and his invitation. "Since all things are ready," he says "Come to the wedding." It seems obvious to us that the servants (and us) would view the King to be insincere if he 1) had no intention on feeding those invited and 2) he didn't make sufficient preparations to feed those invited. If I invited people to my house for a dinner without any intention to feed them, or without making adequate preparations to feed them, I would be viewed as an insincere hypocrit. Quite frankly, I would be viewed as confused, or, more likely, as a moron.
God is not that way at all. He has prepared a feast in Christ's flesh, and therefore bids men to come. He says "Taste and See that the Lord is good." There is refreshment available in the bleeding Christ, and therefore He bids men to drink. There is a door opened for all in and through the Shepherd, therefore he bids men to walk through him. He shines through the Sun, and therefore calls men to open their eyes and see. He calls men to believe, and therefore gives them the appropriate faculties for it. He supplies rest in the Son, and therefore invites the burdened and heavy laden to rest in Him. When he calls soil to bring forth fruit, he supplies a suitable seed. Weary men are directed to come to the Water of Life to freely drink because it's sufficient to satisfy their true spiritual thirst.
One can go on and on with the scriptural analogies between the suitability of the Son of Man to save all that hear the invitations to believe in His sacrifice. These analogies presuppose a sufficiency in his legal satisfaction to atone for all that hear the external gospel call, which is why the church has always affirmed that His death is sufficient for all, but not to the negation of the fact that it is only efficacious for the elect. Owen's hypothetical sufficiency is novel (not that it's false on that basis), and he knew it. Because he deemed the older version to be inadequate, he changed the language so that the death of the Son "could have been" sufficient for all; that is to say, in another logically possible world that God could have ordained. The gospel call does not direct the eyes of the lost to an inadequate or inapplicable remedy. It directs them to a remedy that is ABLE TO BE APPLIED through the instrumentality of faith. This "able to be applied" is the idea of a real sufficiency. If he didn't suffer for all, then the virtue of his obedience cannot be applied to all. If it cannot be applied to all, even to the non-elect who hear, then it seems that, in their case, he is inviting them to an empty table or to an empty cistern. In their case, "all things are" NOT "prepared." Not only do the servants (us) come across as insincere hypocrits, but so does the great King himself!
Confessional and Historical Connections
Consider these statements by Reformed/Calvinistic thinkers:
The Synod of Dort, in the Second Head of Doctrine which deals with The Death of Christ and the Redemption of Men, states the following:
ARTICLE 3. The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.
ARTICLE 5. Moreover, the promise of the gospel is that whosoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of His good pleasure sends the gospel.
ARTICLE 6. And, whereas many who are called by the gospel do not repent nor believe in Christ, but perish in unbelief, this is not owing to any defect or insufficiency in the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross, but is wholly to be imputed to themselves.
"The Canons of the Synod of Dort" (1619), in Philip Schaff (ed.), The Creeds of Christendom (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993), 3:586.
It affirms an "abundant sufficiency" and states that the gospel points to Christ crucified (i.e. there is a revealed will dimension to his cross-work). It also says, in Article 6, that those who hear the external call of the gospel and perish do so because of something "wholly imputed to themselves." They deny that anyone perishes for any defect or insufficiency in the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross. The nature of their own evil hearts hinders their salvation, and not the cross-work of Christ (i.e. the nature of what he did). However, if Owenism is true, the non-elect who hear the call perish for both reasons, and not merely because of their own evil hearts. There is a lack of a sufficiency "in the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross," because he did not satisfy for their sins. Dortian sufficiency, in Article 6, directs our attention to the "sacrifice offered", and not merely to the infinite intrinsic worth of the God the Son.
I think Charles Hodge views the nature of Christ's death in a way that is very much in sync with what is stated above by Dort. He says:
"What was demanded for the salvation of one was demanded for the salvation of all. Every man is required to satisfy the demands of the law. No man is required to do either more or less. If those demands are satisfied by a representative or substitute, his work is equally available for all. The secret purpose of God in providing such a substitute for man, has nothing to do with the nature of his work, or with its appropriateness. The righteousness of Christ (Tony: He means his active and passive obedience) being of infinite value or merit, and being in its nature precisely what all men need, may be offered to all men. It is thus offered to the elect and to the non-elect; and it is offered to both classes conditionally. That condition is a cordial acceptance of it as the only ground of justification. If any of the elect (being adults) fail thus to accept of it, they perish. If any of the non-elect should believe, they would be saved. What more does any Anti-Augustinian scheme provide? The advocates of such schemes say, that the design of the work of Christ was to render the salvation of all men possible. All they can mean by this is, that if any man (elect or non-elect) believes, he shall, on the ground of what Christ has done, be certainly saved. But Augustinians say the same thing. Their doctrine provides for this universal offer of salvation, as well as any other scheme. It teaches that God in effecting the salvation of his own people, did whatever was necessary for the salvation of all men, and therefore to all the offer may be, and in fact is made in the gospel. If a ship containing the wife and children of a man standing on the shore is wrecked, he may seize a boat and hasten to their rescue. His motive is love to his family; his purpose is to save them. But the boat which he has provided may be large enough to receive the whole of the ship’s company. Would there be any inconsistency in his offering them the opportunity to escape? Or, would this offer prove that he had no special love to his own family and no special design to secure their safety? And if any or all of those to whom the offer was made, should refuse to accept it, some from one reason, some from another; some because they did not duly appreciate their danger; some because they thought they could save themselves; and some from enmity to the man from whom the offer came, their guilt and folly would be just as great as though the man had no special regard to his own family, and no special purpose to effect their deliverance. Or, if a man’s family were with others held in captivity, and from love to them and with the purpose of their redemption, a ransom should be offered sufficient for the delivery of the whole body of captives, it is plain that the offer of deliverance might be extended to all on the ground of that ransom, although specially intended only for a part of their number. Or, a man may make a feast for his own friends, and the provision be so abundant that he may throw open his doors to all who are willing to come. This is precisely what God, according to the Augustinian doctrine, has actually done. Out of special love to his people, and with the design of securing their salvation, He has sent his Son to do what justifies the offer of salvation to all who choose to accept of it. Christ, therefore, did not die equally for all men. He laid down his life for his sheep; He gave Himself for his Church. But in perfect consistency with all this, He did all that was necessary, so far as a satisfaction to justice is concerned, all that is required for the salvation of all men. So that all Augustinians can join with the Synod of Dort in saying, “No man perishes for want of an atonement.”
I don't merely assert that Hodge's view is compatible with Dort. He himself states that he thinks that it is, and rightly so. Notice what he says with regard to the nature of Christ's satisfaction itself (as distinguished from his special intent). He says that the law condemns all men, and that a representative or substitute (Christ) has satisfied what the law requires of every man, therefore it is equally available for all. Hodge also states that the secret purpose of God "has nothing to do with the nature of his (Christ's work)." In other words, the secret purpose of God does not limit the intrinsic legal sastifaction itself. The unlimited legal satisfaction (by "Christ's righteousness" he means His active and passive obedience) grounds the indescriminate gospel offer, which concerns the revealed will of God. Dr. Hodge also states that Augustinian Calvinists can affirm that the salvation of all men is "possible" based on what Christ's death accomplishes, i.e. a complete legal satisfaction for all sinners comprehended under the condemnation or penalty of the covenant of works. To sum up, Hodge rightly states that the Father sent the Son "to do what justifies the offer of salvation to all" if they would but choose to accept it. Christ does all that was necessary for the salvation of all men, and therefore Augustinians can concur with Dort in saying, "No man perishes for want of an atonement." If any man who hears the external call perishes, it is, as Dort says, "wholly to be imputed to themselves".
The Reformed theologian W. G. T. Shedd is another man who discerns the Dortian connection between the sincere gospel offer and the unlimited nature of Christ's satisfaction, i.e. it's sufficiency. He writes:
"The universal offer of the gospel is consistent with the divine purpose of predestination because (1) Christ's atonement is a sufficient satisfaction for the sins of all men and (2) God sincerely desires that every man to whom the atonement is offered would trust in it. His sincerity is evinced by the fact that, in addition to his offer, he encourages and assists man to believe by the aids of his providence - such as the written and spoken word, parental teaching and example, favoring social influences, etc. - and by the operation of the common grace of the Holy Spirit. The fact that God does not in the case of the nonelect bestow special grace to overcome the resisting self-will that renders the gifts of providence and common grace ineffectual does not prove that he is insincere in his desire that man would believe under the influence of common grace any more than the fact that a benevolent man declines to double the amount of his gift, after the gift already offered has been spurned, proves that he did not sincerely desire that the person would take the sum first offered."
W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2003), p. 349.
In the first sentence alone, Shedd has argued my exact points. First, he says that the existence of a universal offer is consistent with the divine purpose of election because it's still true that "God sincerely desires that every man to whom the atonement is offered would trust in it." That was the point of my first post. But, Shedd further argues that the universal offer is grounded in the fact that "Christ's atonement is a sufficient satisfaction for the sins of all men." The same point is articulated in his Calvinism: Pure & Mixed (Banner of Truth, 1986), wherein he expounds the doctrine of the Westminster Standards.
One of the Three Forms of Unity even says this:
Q37: What do you understand by the word "suffered"?
A37: That all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, He bore, in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race; in order that by His suffering, as the only atoning sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the grace of God, righteousness and eternal life [Be sure to check out the original commentary on this by Ursinus and Paraeus].
If the meaning of this confession be doubted, let be noted that John Davenant reports the view of Pareus as follows:
"...the testimony of the Reverend Heidelberg Divine Pareus, who freely confesses in his judgment exhibited at the Synod of Dort, The cause and matter of the passion of Christ was a feeling or sustaining of the wrath of God, incensed by the sin, not of some men, but of the whole human race. A little afterwards, The whole of sin and of the wrath of God against it, is affirmed to have been borne by Christ."
These men and confessions, it seems to me, rightly understand the Articles of the Synod of Dort. They do not divorce the real sufficiency of Christ's satisfaction from the sincere gospel offer. On the contrary, the offer of the gospel to all is grounded or indexed to the fact that Christ bore the wrath against the sin of the whole human race. Because He did that, all men may be saved if they come to God through him. That's what we (as well as God) offer and promise to those we command to obey the gospel. Both the scriptural and confessional witnesses testify to an unlimited legal satisfaction accomplished by Christ, and associate the indescriminate gospel call to that fact.
In my first post, I sought to show that (Q) is internally flawed. Now, in the above sections of this post, I have sought to argue that 1) the comparison between (P) and (Q) is also flawed, and cannot be used as a defeater for proposition (P). I then 2) moved to demonstrate that (P) is still the case because there is no real remedy available for the non-elect in Christ's sacrifice given Owenism. He satisfies the righteous requirements of the law in the stead of the elect alone, and therefore his blood cannot atone for any non-elect person. The non-elect are not merely hindered from salvation by the moral stubbornness of their own unbelief, but they are also blocked from the possibility of salvation by the very nature of Christ's satisfaction itself. God, in this Owenic scheme, is inviting men to an empty banquet, an empty vessel, or to a remedy that cannot heal them. The nature of the sacrifice itself would have to change in order for their salvation to be possible, which is why Owen states his conception of sufficiency in terms of possible worlds logic, or modal logic. Therefore, Christ's death could have been sufficient for them in another logically possible world, but it is not so in this actual world. The scriptures, on the other hand, hold out Christ's sacrifice as really able to save to the uttermost all sinners, on condition of faith. His death is applicable to all sinners because he bears the guilt of the world in his legal satisfaction. Everyone condemned by the law can be saved from the curse of it because Christ bore the entire penalty of the law in the one death he died. The condemned human race are commanded to appropriate a remedy that is really able to heal them, i.e. to eat his flesh and drink his blood. The fact of Christ's scars will torment the damned who heard the gospel call because they will know that they could have been saved had they appropriated the all-sufficient sacrifice as revealed in the gospel, just as Augustine and Aquinas maintain. Heightened damnation as a result of rejecting gospel proposals of mercy points to the fact of a divine aggravation resulting from a real remedy spurned. Such an aggravation could not be the case if there is not a real sufficiency in Christ's blood. Real sufficiency cannot co-exist with an Owenic limited imputation of guilt to Christ, therefore I can only conclude that (P) still holds true. Without a real sufficiency, the gospel offers nothing to the non-elect. In their case, it's a deceptive cloud without water. It merely commands them to look to what amounts to an insufficient provision, thus undermining the sincerity of God in issuing such proposals.