Skip to content

William Bucanus (d. 1603) on the Sufficiency and Efficiency of Christ’s Death

April 6, 2009

Bucanus:

1) Why is it necessary that Christ should be both God and man in the one and the same person?

4. That the work of redemption performed in the flesh of the Son might become a sufficient price for sin, whereby God, that infinite good, was offended. For although certain actions do properly proceed from the divine nature, and some are done by the human, yet all of them do equally receive their price and worthiness from the divine nature. So the flesh of Christ has power to quicken, because it is the flesh of that person who is God: the obedience of the man Christ does justify, because it is the obedience of that person who is God: the blood of Christ redeems the church, because it is the blood of God, Act. 20:28. William Bucanus, Institutions of Christian Religion, Framed Our of God’s Word, and the Writings of the Best Divines, Methodically Handled by Questions and Answers, Fit For All Such as Desirous to Know, or Practice the Will of God, trans., by Robert Hill (Printed in London by George Snowden, 1606), 20.

2) What was the end of Christ’s death and passion?

The chief end is the glorification of God for his justice and mercy. But the next end is the redemption and eternal salvation of mankind, Joh. 3:14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lift upon the cross, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And Rom. 4:25. “He died for our sins,” namely to make satisfaction for them.

Unto whom is the death and passion of Christ profitable?

Although he might have been a sufficient price for the sins for all men, yet actually and effectually he died for his elect only, who receive him and believe him, Matt. 1:21. “He will deliver his people from their sins.” Joh. 10:15. “I lay down my life for my sheep.” and Chap. 17:19 “I sanctify myself,” for otherwise it would follow that Christ died profit, and to no purpose in regard of many, and that the efficacy of Christ’s death could be made void by men. William Bucanus, Institutions of Christian Religion, Framed Our of God’s Word, and the Writings of the Best Divines, Methodically Handled by Questions and Answers, Fit For All Such as Desirous to Know, or Practice the Will of God, trans., by Robert Hill (Printed in London by George Snowden, 1606), 235.

3) Is not Christ the Redeemer of all men?

No: for he is a Redeemer neither to Pharaoh, nor Judas, neither unto Ciaphas, nor Herod, neither unto Julian, not in brief to all those that are damned or without hope, for whom they neither he died.

Did Christ die for all men?

His death was sufficient for all, say the Schoolmen, but effectual only for the Elect and them that are faithful. If we respect the virtue and force of Christ’s blood, it is sufficient for the redemption of all: but if we look upon the purpose and eternal counsel of God, and the goodwill of the Mediator, he died for the elect only. Joh. 10:15, I lay down my life for my sheep, says Christ, and 17:9, I pray not for the world, but I pray for them whom thou have given me. Therefore he neither offered sacrifice for it, neither did he redeem it. And vers. 19 For their sakes who believe, and whom the Father has given me, I sanctify myself. And Matth. 26:28, My blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins. William Bucanus, Institutions of Christian Religion, Framed Our of God’s Word, and the Writings of the Best Divines, Methodically Handled by Questions and Answers, Fit For All Such as Desirous to Know, or Practice the Will of God, trans., by Robert Hill (Printed in London by George Snowden, 1606), 433-434.

[Note: the question is, does the old English word “might” here indicate purpose, as in “should” or a simple contingency or hypothetical? Firstly, just because a given writer may speak of the sufficiency of the satisfaction as hypothetically sufficient for all, it not, in itself, proof that this given writer viewed the satisfaction only in this manner. Conversely, one should not assume that those who held to the classic version of the formula could never have spoken in terms of a hypothetical sufficiency. Secondly, There are indicators here that Bucanus adopted the classic reading of the formula in asserting that Christ’s death is sufficient for all: his citation of the medieval formula, without qualification, his assertion that Christ paid the ransom price for the world, and his adoption of the Zanchian idea that the Gospel announces that mankind has been redeemed.]

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: