This Systematics course is taught by Dr. Michael Lynch. The syllabus is available to view here.
Perhaps no two names among early modern Reformed orthodoxy better exemplify the diversity of the Reformed tradition on the extent of the atonement than John Davenant and John Owen. Davenant, the Cambridge-trained Bishop in the Church of England and delegate to the Synod of Dordt, taught a version of hypothetical universalism, affirming that Christ died for all people. Owen, the Oxford-trained Congregationalist who served as Chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, taught that Christ only died for the elect. These remarkably educated seventeenth-century Reformed Englishmen wrote two of the better-known treatises on the extent of Christ’s atonement—Davenant’s On the Death of Christ and Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ.
Students will carefully read and examine these works, comparing how they use Scripture and theologize about the person and work of Christ. Special attention will be given to the authors’ broader theological context, such as their interlocutors and relation to the broader Reformed tradition and its confessions. Finally, students will consider how these atonement theologies bear upon other issues such as predestination, and vice versa.
Dr. Michael Lynch (Ph.D, Calvin Seminary) teaches Humanities, Theology, Latin, and Greek at Delaware Valley Classical School in New Castle, DE. He is the author of John Davenant’s Hypothetical Universalism: A Defense of Catholic and Reformed Orthodoxy.