God’s plan for Salvation, according to the Scriptures, is characterized as being a Supernatural, Evangelical, Particular event per Benjamin B. Warfield’s excellent book: The Plan of Salvation. Today we’re going to see just how particular B.B. means when he uses the word.
After showing that God’s saving grace is not universally administered (not all are will be saved), Warfield turns his sight on a group of Particularists holding a different view in regards to the operation of how men are to be saved.
“…the precise point [of the] issue comes therefore to be whether the redemptive work of Christ actually saves those for whom it is wrought, or only opens a possibility of salvation to them.“
In the corner of the the “possibility” camp are the Amyraldians, a group named after the idea’s formulator, Moses Amyraut. Let me just say right off the bat that Moses is an awesome name & my wife should relent and let me name our next son Moses. Amyraldianism, however, is less awesome. The idea is one of a hypothetical redemption. Christ’s death on the cross secured salvation for no one in & of itself, but rather made salvation a viability by removing any obstacles that might have been in their way. The actual salvation comes when the individual believes on Christ, which is achieved only through God the Holy Spirit giving them new hearts.
The understanding that Warfield ascribes to is what he would call consistent particularism – Christ’s work on the cross actually redeems and is in itself a saving act that actually saves, rather than a saving act that could save.
“If the saving operations of God actually save, then all those upon whom he savingly operates are saved, and particularism is given in the very nature of the case; unless we are prepared to go the whole way with universalism and declare that all men are saved.”
Any act, option, or possibility of salvation apart from Christ — solely and entirely, is in some way going to be making friends with universalism. Any universalistic involvement is essentially a denial of Soli Deo gloria – Christ’s redemptive work cannot extend beyond those who are actually saved.
“It is God the Lord who saves; and in all the operations by which he works salvation alike, he operates for and upon, not all men indifferently, but some men only, those namely who he saves. Thus only can we preserve to him his glory and ascribe to him and to him only the whole work of salvation.”
My question to you is: Does holding the Amyraldian position, as opposed to the Reformed position, make any difference in the life of a believer, from a practical perspective?