On the Death of Christ

And Other Atonement Writings

By John Davenant, translated and edited by Michael J. Lynch

$47.95 $35.95 (Pre-order discount)

Publication Date: March 25, 2024

About this book

For whom did Christ die?

John Davenant’s Death of Christ remains the most significant and comprehensive example of English hypothetical universalism. Coming on the heels of the Synod of Dordt, Davenant’s Death of Christ is a scholastic treatise dealing with the question of the extent of Christ’s atonement-for whom did Christ die? Avoiding both the Scylla of Arminianism and Charybdis of certain strands of Reformed theology, Davenant employs Scripture, reason, and testimonies from ecclesiastical history in defense of the so-called Lombardian formula: Christ died for all people sufficiently; efficaciously for the elect alone.

John Davenant’s On the Death of Christ, a classic of English Reformed thought on the atonement, is now available in a new translation by Dr. Michael Lynch–the first in modern English. This book also features two shorter letters which Davenant wrote on this topic to both the French Reformed churches and to Herman Hildebrand.


Hardback | 428 pp. | 6×9 | ISBN 978-1-949716-26-9 | PubliSHed March 25 2024

If you are interested in a bulk order please contact [email protected].


From the Book

“It is truly a matter of sorrow and great sadness that, either from the misfortune or the disease of our age, those mysteries of our religion made known to us for the peace and comfort of our souls are consistently made a topic of litigation and argument. Who could ever have thought that the death of Christ, which was designed to establish peace and destroy enmity, as the Apostle says in Eph 2:14, 17 and Col. 1:20–21, could have become such a fertile ground for begetting such quarrels? Yet, this situation seems to arise from the innate curiosity of human beings, who are more anxious to scrutinize the hidden purposes of God than to embrace the benefits openly offered to them. Accordingly, because there is so much bickering about the question of for whom did Christ die and for whom did he not die?, each of us spends too little time considering that the death of Christ ought to be applied to ourselves by a true and lively faith for the salvation of our own souls.”

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In On the Death of Christ John Davenant disentangles the doctrines of satisfaction and election, offering a sustained argument for the distinction between the sufficiency and efficiency of Christ’s saving work. Alongside a biblical/theological argument is a fascinating and sustained and positive engagement with Patristic theologians, medieval schoolmen, and “modern” Roman Catholics—a helpful addition to the history of the doctrine of the atonement within Reformed theology.

Adam J. Johnson, Associate Professor of Theology, Torrey Honors College, Biola University

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

A Dissertation on the Death of Christ
  1. On the Origin of the Controversy
  2. On the Death of Christ, as the Universal Cause of Salvation, Applicable to All Mankind
  3. Response to the Objections of Our Opponents
  4. The Second Thesis Stated, Explained, and Confirmed
  5. The Third Thesis Stated, Explained, and Confirmed
  6. The Last Thesis Stated, Explained and Confirmed
  7. Concerning the Death of Christ, As It Regards the Predestined Alone
Other Atonement Writings
  1. The French Theologians of the Reformed Churches
    Debate About the Will of God Towards Human Sinners
  2. Letter to Herman Hildebrand
About the Translator

Dr. Michael J. Lynch (PhD. Calvin Seminary) teaches Classical Languages and Humanities at Delaware Valley Classical School in New Castle, DE. He is also a teaching fellow at the Davenant Institute. He is the author of John Davenant’s Hypothetical Universalism: A Defense of Catholic and Reformed Orthodoxy (Oxford University Press, 2021).


Praise for this work

“Bishop John Davenant was one of the best moderate Calvinist divines of Stuart Anglicanism. His Dissertation on the Death of Christ is a classic. Yet it is not widely known today. For this reason, Dr. Michael Lynch is to be congratulated for preparing this new edition of the work for the Press, alongside some related writings that help throw light on the intellectual context in which Davenant laboured. I hope this volume receives the attention that it justly deserves.”

– Professor Oliver Crisp

Principal of St Mary’s College, Head of the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews

“This new translation by Michael Lynch of the classic work of John Davenant on the death of Christ is much to be welcomed. By way of four precise theses, scripturally supported and carefully argued, Davenant offers a way of navigating both the universal and the particular dimensions of the atonement that is both judicious and insightful. Lynch has done the contemporary reader a great service, providing a crisp and clear translation that will give them much to ponder as they consider this central doctrine of the Christian faith.”

– Paul T. NimMO

King’s Chair of Systematic Theology, University of Aberdeen

“John Davenant’s classic treatise on the extent of the atonement has long lingered in a twilight zone of semi-availability for most readers: a dated translation in archaic type face, appended to a two-volume commentary. Only the most motivated students would ever finish this reading, no matter how crucial it may prove to be for their theological interests. Lynch offers us now an edition that sets a clean, smooth translation in the midst of clear references and helps. An essential tool for pondering the atonement as Christ’s universal remedy for fallen human nature, while recognizing the ordained limits of its application”

– Fred Sanders

Torrey Honors College, Biola University

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