J. Matthew Pinson, “The Nature of Atonement in the Theology of Jacob Arminius”

, posted by SEA

Please click on the link to view J. Matthew Pinson, “The Nature of Atonement in the Theology of Jacob Arminius” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 53.4 (December 2010) 773–85.

Here is the author’s summary/conclusion of the article:

Arminius asserts that God’s wisdom allowed his justice and mercy both
to maintain their interests in the imposition of Christ’s priesthood. The
only individual who could fulfill the duties of this priesthood was a sinless
person who was fully human and fully divine. Arminius’s understanding of
priestly sacrifice is intimately entwined with his emphasis on the sinfulness
of humanity and the inflexible justice of God. The inexorable demands
of divine justice cannot be set aside without doing damage to the divine
essence. However, mercy requires a way for people to be released from the
sufferings of divine punishment that results from human sin. Thus, in his
wisdom, God the Son offers Himself as divine-human priest-sacrifice to offer
a way out of the divine wrath while not requiring a relaxation of the divine
justice. He offers an expiatory or propitiatory sacrifice. Such a voluntary
propitiation, Arminius contends, is necessary to appease the divine justice.
Furthermore, Arminius stresses that the oblation—the offering—that Christ
as priest makes to God must be a “human victim.” Yet the priest-sacrifice
must be a divine being to qualify as priest.

Christ, in his execution of the role of priesthood, becomes the human victim
that is offered up to God to appease his justice. Indeed, as the priest-sacrifice,
he offers himself up as an oblation to God. This oblation, this offering, consists
of the sacrifice of his body—his shedding of blood and subsequent death.
Arminius describes this oblation as a payment that Christ renders to God as
the price of redemption for human sin. In Christ’s oblation, Arminius argues,
Christ as priest and sacrifice suffers the divine punishment that is due for
human sin. This suffering constitutes the satisfaction or payment to the
divine justice for redemption of humans from sin, guilt, and wrath. Thus,
Arminius presents an understanding of atonement in the context of his view
of the priestly office of Jesus Christ that is consistent with the penalsubstitution
motifs regnant in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Reformed
theology.