Redemption Redeemed: A Puritan Defense of Unlimited Atonement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592447305
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Pages: 332

Meet the Author

About the editor: John D. Wagner is a student at Trinity Theological Seminary and serves as periodic Bible study teacher at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, Calif. He holds a master's degree in journalism from University of Arizona and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society. Mr. Wagner has studied and debated the Calvinism vs. Arminianism controversy for many years.

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 22, 2009

    Goodwin on the Atonement

    Goodwin, a rare Arminian Puritan, admirably defends unlimited atonement. Goodwin primarily argues from scripture, but he also provides some arguments from reason and church history. Goodwin's primary scriptural arguments are based on passages saying Christ died for the world, passages saying Christ died for all, the universal offer the gospel, passages saying Christ died for those that ultimately perish, and passages saying God wants none to perish. Goodwin then clearly explains what "unlimited atonement" does and does not mean. Goodwin finishes up with giving solid reasons why Christ died for all and reviewing the historical position of the Church on the issue.

    Goodwin provides a unique level of depth on the issues. For example, he goes over the word "world" in great detail, and then reduces multiple Calvinist interpretations of passages like John 3:16 to absurdities. Goodwin covers multiple Calvinist counterarguments to all of his arguments. Through detailed explanations of his position, and contrasts with Calvinists views from multiple angles, Goodwin crystallizes the Arminian viewpoint on the extent of the atonement.

    Along the way of accomplishing his mission of defending unlimited atonement, Goodwin gives the reader some real gems. Among my favorites were Goodwin's explanation of the will of God as well as his explanation on conditional election.

    Goodwin's style is similar to most Puritans and as such Redemption Redeemed is a tough read. One could use Redemption Redeemed as a reference tool. There's a comprehensive index of scripture references in the back. But my advice would be to put the work in and reap the full reward! It's well worth it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2008

    Biblical Love & Grace

    It should be obvious to any objective student of the Word that the Calvinist doctrine commonly known as Limited Atonement did not come about through an inductive exegesis of the Scriptures, but instead through a rigid system of deductive logic imposed upon it. Although I have read and reviewed other books on this vitally important subject, I appreciated the fact that Puritan John Goodwin treats some passages not usually considered in some of the more modern works, and that he comes at it as a contemporary of the scholastic John Owen. Overall, it becomes blatantly and wonderfully obvious that God has indeed woven the doctrine of General Redemption throughout all of His Word! In spite of the sometimes-heavy Puritan style of writing, I have to give this work a high rating for the following reasons: As with all points of the Calvinist T.U.L.I.P., we find, and Goodwin reveals, that their ¿horrible decree¿ of Reprobation is always lurking in the shadows. Since, in their logic, God has in eternity past decreed that the vast majority of the human race were to be created by Him as already damned, and that that even ¿pleased¿ Him, why should Christ pay the ransom for their sins? This scholastic presupposition inexorably drags them to this end in spite of any normative interpretation of the many verses of Scripture involved. Errors like this have forced Calvinism to become more philosophic and systematic than the Bible allows. In fact, Owen¿s notorious work ¿The Death of Death¿ is shown to be based on a faulty premise of ¿double payment¿. Evangelism 101 Most importantly, and thus the importance of works like Goodwin¿s, is the sad and practical result of this doctrine: Limited Atonement deadens hearts to the fact of God¿s love manifest throughout the Scriptures to all sinners without exception. As Goodwin so aptly points out, ¿In all these Scriptures, with their fellows, evident it is that salvation is held forth and promised by God unto all, without exception, that shall believe yea, that it is offered and promised unto all men, upon the condition of believing, whether they believe or no. So that, upon such declarations of the gracious and good pleasure of God toward the universality of men as these, the minister of the gospel, or any other men, may with truth, and ought of duty upon occasion, say to every particular soul of man under heaven, ¿If thou believest thou shalt be saved,¿ even as Paul saith that he preached Christ, ¿warning EVERY man, and teaching EVERY man in all wisdom, that we might present EVERY man perfect in Christ Jesus¿ Colos. i.28. Yea, this apostle, saith, that God ¿now commandeth all men every where to repent, ¿ Acts xvii. 30¿. Goodwin¿s quote of Melanchthon puts it this way, ¿It is necessary to know that the gospel is a universal promise, i.e. that reconciliation¿ with God ¿is offered and promised to all men.¿ And ¿ it is necessary to hold fast against¿ any ¿dangerous conceits about predestination, lest we fall to reason thus, that this promise belongeth to some few others, but doth not belong unto us. But let us be resolved of this, that the promise of the gospel is universal. For as the preaching of repentance is universal, so the preaching of remission of sins is universal also. But that all men do not obtain the promises of the gospel,¿ i.e. the things here promised, ¿it ariseth from hence, that all men do not believe.¿ This explains why, historically, Calvinists in general have always been so detached from missions and evangelism. Any objective study of men like Carey and Spurgeon reveals that they were at best ¿non-conformist¿ Calvinists and consequently persecuted by many of their own ¿brethren¿. In addition, in chapter 8, Goodwin lists 32 noteworthy fathers of the early church, including St. Augustine, along with various synods and councils, which all held to General Redemption. Although this is not in itself authoritative, as their writings were not inspired, it is non

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2008

    Redemption Redeemed by John Goodwin, edited by John D. Wagner

    This is an invaluable companion tool to possess alongside your Bible for defending the biblical doctrine of an Unlimited Atonement of Christ Jesus. John D. Wagner has done the body of Christ an immense service in editing this treasure of a book. John Goodwin (1593-1665), a Calvinist-turned-Arminian Puritan, defends the biblical doctrine of unlimited atonement utilizing both Scripture, church history, and logic. He leaves no stone unturned, but covers the subject in an exhaustive style. He even quotes from the likes of Luther, Melancthon, Chemnitius, and Calvin himself, demonstrating from their own writings the presence of a universal atonement, highlighting the fact that though Christ's sacrifice is sufficient to cover each and every individual, even intending (p. 129) to cover all people, His redemption will only be applied to the believer. In an age when the false assumptions of Calvinism is growing, this book stands as a beacon of hope, exhorting every believer to preach and teach the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1.29). What John Owen's 'The Death of Death in the Death of Christ' is to the Calvinist, so is John Goodwin's 'Redemption Redeemed' to the Arminian. No other book I have read covers the doctrine with such thoroughness and clarity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2008

    The Best Defense of Unlimited Atonement I've Ever Read

    John Goodwin, in his classic work Redemption Redeemed, presents us with a thorough examination of the doctrine of Unlimited Atonement, and should be a staple in any Arminian's library. Redemption Redeemed could potentially have the same sort of impact on Christian thinkers as John Edwards' Freedom of the Will, and if not, it should 'in my humble opinion, Goodwin blows Edwards out of the water'. The work is detailed and covers a broad range of Bible passages and relevant subjects. The language bears some of the seventeenth century style and therefore will be difficult for the average modern reader, but take your time and it will pay off. There is a lot of content, so I'll note a few examples. In chapter 2, Goodwin focused on passages which state that God desired to save or propitiated for all men. At the forefront is 1 Timothy 2:1-6, where for example we read that ¿he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth¿ 'verse 4'. What is especially handy here is that he not only did he provide a solid interpretation of this passage, he addressed specifically the various arguments of Calvinists that ¿all men¿ doesn't mean ¿all men.¿ He demolished the interpretation of ¿all men¿ as ¿some of all sorts of men¿ thoroughly, an argument which is still frequently used today by Internet Calvinists. An aside, one observation you will walk away with from this book is that there is nothing new in Calvinist arguments, and folks like Goodwin already dealt with and refuted many arguments centuries ago, which are still propagated today. There are many other relevant passages that Goodwin drew from, including many which I never thought of as supporting Unlimited Atonement until now. Chapter 5 started with the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Matthew 22:1-10. As you may recall, the parable outlines a situation where a king's invitation to a banquet gets rejected by his friends. As a result the king instead invites average people off the street. The original invitees were symbolic of the Jews who rejected Christ and the gospel. Goodwin noted from this that as the king intended the banquet for his friends, God intended His grace to be for Jews first. Entailing from this, Christ died for Jewish people who would go on to reject Him. If this is the case then Christ died for people who wouldn't be saved, and therefore He died for all men. Now initially, it doesn't seem to logically follow, but think about it for a moment. If Christ died for one person who would ultimately be condemned, why would he not die for all others? Since God is not partial, one has to conclude that either Christ died only for the elect, or for all people. Since Christ died for some who were not elect, we are left with the only alternative, that He died for all people. Goodwin was careful in his definition of Unlimited Atonement, neither providing a definition agreeable to Calvinists nor sliding down the slippery slope into Universalism. He spent a good portion of Chapter 6 explaining why the Arminian doctrine doesn't lead to Universalism and then refuted Universalism itself. Redemption Redeemed is clearly an excellent work. There is much more that I haven't covered here, but I hope this review has whetted your appetite for a good, solid defense of the Arminian doctrine of Unlimited Atonement.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007

    John Goodwin: Puritan Who Prefers NonCalvinism

    Educated at Queen's College, Cambridge, John Goodwin '1593-1665' served successively as rector of East Rainham, Norfolk '1625-1633' and vicar of Saint Stephen's, London '1633-1645'. Goodwin was a prolific writer and stirred more than his share of controversies in his day. In a work entitled, Bone for a Bishop, he argued against the divine right of Kings, a dissent of which he could have been hanged. Yet Goodwin tirelessly advocated many radical causes including the army's purge of Parliament '1648' and the execution of Charles I in 1649. He firmly defended religious dissent and blasted the state's right to execute heretics perhaps, in his case particularly, out of vivid self preservation. Clearly a champion of religious freedom, Baptists owe to this figure one fat sum. A contemporary of John Owen '1616-1683', the Puritan defender of everything Dort, Goodwin dared take Westminster Assembly to the woodshed. Notably, though Goodwin was a premier scholar second to none in his day--including the mighty Owen--the House of Commons refused him a seat at the Assembly of Divines. A failed seat would not hinder his message however. He defended the minority view contra Dort in his Theomachia '1644'. His magnum opus, however, must be his work entitled Redemption Redeemed '1651', a devastating critique of Classic Calvinism's Limited Atonement and the positive affirmation of Universal Reconciliation in Christ. John Wagner, a Master's student at Trinity Theological Seminary, serves as Bible Teacher at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, California. He is to be commended for digging up Goodwin's work, editing it and making it available once again to Evangelicals' delight. Published by Wipf and Stock Publishers, Goodwin's masterpiece, Redemption Redeemed: A Puritan Defense of Unlimited Atonement, stands a must for anyone interested in the Biblical doctrine of Christ's Death. For Calvinists, it should set on his/her self right beside John Owen's The Death of Death, surely a reminder that Owen did not own the English theological world with his pedantic defense of Dortian Calvinism. For the NonCalvinist, Goodwin's work must rank--albeit historical limitations inherent within a volume in this time-frame--as the earliest, yet definitive, post-Reformation defense of Unlimited Atonement. In addition, and contrary to conventional wisdom, Goodwin's work demonstrates nicely that all Puritans were not created equally Calvinist. I want to offer a few insights into the usefulness of Redemption Redeemed. Goodwin dribbles no excess ink facing his monumental task. He writes: 'THE premise considered, is one of the strangest and most troublesome sayings that, to my remembrance, I have ever met from the pen of a learned and considerate man. I find it in the writings of a late opposer of universal atonement. 'I know', saith he, 'no article of the gospel which this new and wicked religion of universal atonement doth not contradict.' That which he called a 'new and wicked religion' the doctrine of universal atonement, I shall, God assisting and granting life and health for the finishing of this present discourse, evince both from the main and clear current of the Scriptures themselves, as likewise by many impregnable and undeniable demonstrations and grounds of reason, to be a most ancient and divine truth. Yea, it is none other but the heart and soul, the spirit and life, the strength and substance, and very sum of the glorious gospel itself' 'p.19'. A pretty heavy bone to chew, I'd say. Unlike the Calvinist schoolmen, many of whom were every bit as much consumed with human systems of logical display as were the Medieval theologians of the pre-Reformation era, Goodwin centers his argument squarely on the corpus of Scripture--a fourfold corpus in fact. His first chapter, which sets the pace for the subsequent argument, is entitled 'Four Several Veins or Correspondences of Scriptures Propo

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    A Powerful and Elegant Defense of the Classical Arminian Doctrine of Atonement

    Goodwin's defense of Unlimited Atonement, or the idea that Christ's death was intended for the redemption for all people, is top-notch. He starts where all good doctrine should have its basis: In the Bible itself. Goodwin brings the reader through numerous key passages, the first five chapters being devoted to exploring the scriptural record and demonstrating clearly from both the linguistic and contextual evidence that the word of God clearly proclaims that redemption through Christ's blood is offered freely and sincerely to all men. The case he builds from the biblical data is extremely solid, as he systematically raises and eloquently shoots down nearly every imaginable counter-argument and evasion to the meanings clearly conveyed in the passages he cites. In the following chapters he builds on the arguments he's already presented, easily overcoming the philosophical objections to Unlimited Atonement (including charges of Universalism). He also exposes several major difficulties that the doctrine of Limited Atonement poses, such as the idea of God freely offering eternal life and speaking peace to the non-elect, while at the same time plotting their unconditional destruction with no actual intent of even attempting to save them. He also delivers powerful blows to related Calvinist doctrines where the issues arise, presenting ingenious arguments such as the fact that it would be ridiculous for Christ to marvel at men's lack of faith if He knew that God had furnished them no means whatsoever to have faith. In the last few chapters, Goodwin quotes extensively from some of the greatest writers in church history, showing that the fact that Christ died for all has been overwhelmingly accepted from the times of the earliest church fathers. He continues on up to many of the Protestant scholars, citing the fact that the orthodoxy of the point he defends is widely accepted among the Lutherans and others, and that it could not even be consistently denied in the writings of many of the most prominent Calvinist authors. All in all, Goodwin puts out an extremely well-argued and comprehensive defense of the Classical Arminian view of the extent of Christ's atoning work. His logical defense is some of the best I've seen in any theological work, far surpassing the arguments employed by his contemporary, John Owen. This book is an excellent resource for any Arminian or Synergist in refuting the Calvinist notion that God sent Christ to die for only a scant few to the exclusion of all others, leaving no room for doubt that to even the worst sinner it may confidently be said: 'Christ died for you.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2007

    Arguably the best defense of Arminianism ever written

    Redemption Redeemed stands as arguably the best defense of Arminianism ever written. The primary drawback of his polemic is its redundant writing style in the Old English, though hidden behind its many run-on sentences, is tremendous biblical exegesis, and for that, we are indebted to editor, John Wagner, for bringing the wisdom of John Goodwin to our generation. Although Goodwin's testimony, in many respects, mirrors that of Jacob Arminius, he takes a much more dogmatic stance on his belief of Conditional Security, clearly establishing himself as a 5-Point Arminian. (pp.119, 1445-146) Goodwin hammers home the universal scope of the atonement, while also discussing Election, Foreknowledge and the Antecedent & Consequent Will of God. ................................... Goodwin begins with John 3:16 (pp.20-35, 65), refuting the Calvinist proposal of an 'elect world' while also considering the full ramifications of 'whosoever.' Whereas he also explores 1st Timothy 2:4 (p.52), 2nd Peter 3:9 (pp.59-60, 146-154), Matthew 23:37 (p.159), Romans 5:15-19 (pp.65-71), 2nd Cor. 5:14-15 (pp.53-57), and Titus 3:4 (pp.134-135), he counts the parable of the Marriage Feast of Matthew chapter 22 as his strongest argument for a universal atonement. (pp.128-131) ........................................... Concerning the parable of the Marriage Feast, Goodwin writes: 'We shall not need, I suppose, to transcribe the whole protasis of the parable, which is very large: but only insist upon some few known passages of it, such as I conceive will jointly, if not severally, give a light of demonstration to the truth of that doctrine, the proof and confirmation whereof is the prize contended for in this discourse.' (Redemption Redeemed, p.128) ......................................... Although Goodwin does not discuss Romans chapter 9, nor Acts 13:48, he does give an excellent discussion on Election, from the perspective of Ephesians 1:4, exploring what it means to be chosen 'in Christ' from 'before the foundation of the world.' (pp.207-211) Goodwin also discusses John 6:37 and John 17:2, exploring who was 'given' and why (pp.78-80). I close with this excerpt from John Goodwin: 'Again, neither can God, nor any minister of the gospel, say with truth to every particular man, if thou believest thou shalt be saved, unless it be supposed that there is salvation purchased or in being for them all.' (Redemption Redeemed, p.74)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2007

    A Powerful Defense of a Doctrine That Shouldn't Need Defending

    We are living in strange times. As editor John Wagner rightly notes: 'Calvinism with its disturbing implications is making a comeback'. One of these disturbing implications is that the atonement of Jesus Christ was made only for a few who were unconditionally elected by an irrevocable eternal decree. Such a concept not only mocks the love of God in Christ for all of mankind, but stands in opposition to numerous passages of Scripture which unashamedly declare that Christ died provisionally for all of His fallen creatures. Many today are being convinced that these universal passages should be interpreted in very awkward ways in order to limit the atonement of Christ to a comparably small percentage of humanity. Many modern day Calvinists have relied on and reintroduced the arguments of puritan writer John Owen who championed the limited atonement view in his day. Sadly, few are familiar with puritan John Goodwin who was a contemporary of Owen and skillfully wrote against his limited view of the atonement in this excellent work: Redemption Redeemed. Goodwin excelled at demonstrating that the obvious meaning of the universal passages [that Christ died for all without exception] is the correct one. He examines all the relevant passages and reduces the Calvinistic interpretations to absurdity. He tackles every conceivable objection to universal atonement and even objections that few people would think to raise. He not only demonstrates that the Scriptures are not in harmony with a limited atonement view, but also that such a view is theologically absurd. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has been troubled by the teachings of limited atonement. Goodwin's puritan writing style makes for a challenging read but the patient reader will be rewarded with a powerful defense of a doctrine which shouldn't need to be defended. Unfortunately, such is not the case today and for this reason we are all indebted to John Wagner for making this excellent book so readily available. If you are an Arminian you will rejoice in Goodwin's strong defense of this important doctrine. If you are a Calvinist you cannot fairly criticize the Arminian position without first tackling the arguments set forth in this fine work. If you are a fan of John Owen, then you owe it to yourself to hear the other side of the story from a puritan writer of equal [if not superior] intellectual and exegetical prowess. No one who is interested in the Arminian and Calvinist controversy should be without this important work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2006

    The Case for a Universal Atonement

    'Redemption Redeemed' is a landmark of classical Arminian theology. With the destruction of the 'L' (limited atonement) from the Calvinian TULIP, nearly the entire system is laid to waste. This is precisely what seventeenth century Puritan John Goodwin sought to accomplish in 'RR.' It is often urged by Calvinists that it is not so much the extent of the atonement we should be concerned with, but the nature of Christ's redemption. That is simply a false assertion, for it is a matter of utmost importance for us to understand who Christ died for. The nature of the atonement is, by all means, significant, yet it must first be established who exactly Christ died for. If Christ did not die for you, you ought not be concerned with the nature of his atonement (eg, penal satisfaction, moral governmental, ransom, Christus Victor). Did Christ die for all men without exception, or for the elect alone (in any saving sense)? It is certainly plain in the gospel accounts, the Acts of the Apostles, and the epistles of the New Testament, that all men are commanded to repent and beleive in Christ (Acts xvii, 30). One might ask, 'To what effect should I repent and believe in the Lord Jesus if he never died for me in the first place? For it is certain that no man can, or will, be saved apart from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Christ did not die for me, I 'have neither part nor portion' in the matter there is absolutely no reason for me to repent and believe in him.' The answer, as Episcopius ably stated in the Remonstrant confession of 1622, is that, 'Those only for whom Christ has died are obliged to believe that Christ has died for them. But those whom they call reprobates, and for whom Christ has not died, can neither be obliged so to believe, nor can they be justly condemned for the contrary unbelief but if such persons were reprobates, they would be obliged to believe that Christ has not died for them.' Christ died for all men therefore, all men should repent and believe in him (no sophisms required). If you are a Calvinist, I challenge you to read this book you might well be convinced that your opinions of a limited atonement are based more on philosophical undergirdings (eg, all for whom Christ died must necessarily be saved ie, unconditionally) than solid biblical exegesis. If you are indifferent, I implore you to take up 'RR' Goodwin's work is a major wake-up call. If you are an atheist, or if you have your doubts that Christ shed his precious blood on on the cross for you, read this pivotal work on the extent of the atonement I know of no other work at this time, past or present, which is more thorough or more convincing on the subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2006

    A Tremendous Service

    In bringing this work back to life, Wagner has done a great service to contemporary Arminian thought. Until now, knowledge of this work, was limited only to a few Arminian afficianados, and a knowledgable Calvinist detractors. Obtaining a copy was equally not for the faint of heart. With Wagner's effort these things have changed. It is Puritan thought from which the long tradition of deep Biblical examination and serious application of its consequences descends, and Goodwin's work is no exception. No serious examination of the 3rd and most essential point of Calvinism concerning the atonement would be complete without reference to Goodwin's defense, emerging as it did in the misdt of a universally Calvinist Christian culture, and, like Arminius's works, from a reluctant challenger. This is no wild eyed rant, it is serious theology and must be reckoned with seriously. Wagner's mild update of the language is both respectful and helpful. Really a solid job. Couple of minor comments: The layout of the book itself could be improved for the modern reader. Most contemporary works, including even the Bible now, have sub headings to help you work through the thought process of the chapter. Perhaps in a future edition, Wagner could employ these in combination with a more detailed and contemporary table of contents as a way of drawing in the modern reader. I might also suggest that rather than transliterating the greek, that both the greek and latin appear as is, and be translated in footnotes. It might be nice to go one step further on the editing as well and shorten some of the notoriously long Puritan sentences by using periods where semicolons appear, etc.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2006

    The Work of Christ not Limted!

    Redemption Redeemed is a Puritan alternative on the subject of the atonement. John Goodwin, a contemporary of John Owen's, turns the whole doctrine of limited atonement inside out and discovers it a doctrine riddled with serious problems (A major difference from Owen). Goodwin differs with the dominant Calvinism of his (and our) time, presenting a simple yet remarkable case in defense of what should be an obvious biblical doctrine- that Christ died for all men. And in answer to those who would press that Christ's death was 'sufficient for all but not intended for all' Goodwin says: nonsense. How can anything be sufficient for someone if it is not intended for them? The book deals mostly with a vast arsenal of Scriptures that point to the work of Christ being for 'all mankind,' as opposed to an 'elect' few. What is remarkable is that Goodwin works meticulously to defend the idea that the Scriptures examined actually mean what they say! Owen and others work very hard to tell us that 'all' doesn't really mean all, and that the 'world' doesn't really mean the world. Goodwin grants that there are places in Scripture which use these terms differently from their obvious meanings, but that they are always clear from the context and make perfect sense. But others turn the examined Scriptures into nonsense when they try to force such 'otherwise' interpretations on them in order to fit their theological schemes. It is as if Goodwin is cleaning up a huge mess, as he states why their interpretations cannot possibly fit the context of the relative passages. He shows support with other biblical evidence, and uses the commentaries of others (including Calvin himself) to show consensus for the plain meanings of the passages he is defending. Throughout the work, Goodwin analyzes and answers common objections to each point. There is much more in the book, and it will surely prove valuable to any who are interested in the debate. Goodwin is sharp, and his handling of the subject is so sensible that it often elicits a wonder that the whole matter is even questioned. A word of caution: While the content is very clear and simple, Goodwin's writing style is very difficult to follow at times. He makes Owen seem easy! In respect to John Owen, avoid 'Death of Death', but do read his 'Communion with God' or 'The Glory of Christ'. Those are wonderful and uplifting works.

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