A Compendium of Christian Theology

By William Burt Pope, D.D.,

Volume Two

Chapter 13

The Administration of Redemption



THIS sentence better than any other defines that comprehensive department of theological science which is occupied with the subjective aspect of what is sometimes called SOTERIOLOGY. If we use the phrase APPLICATION OF REDEMPTION we are in danger of the Predestinarian error which assumes that the finished work of Christ is applied to the individual according to the fixed purpose of an election of grace. The phrase APPROPRIATION OF SALVATION tends to the other and Pelagian extreme, too obviously making the atoning provision of Christ matter of individual free acceptance or rejection

The term PERSONAL SALVATION avoids these extremes; but it scarcely does honor enough to the office of the Holy Ghost. The ADMINISTRATION OF REDEMPTION satisfies every necessary condition. This is the widest field of theology: gathering up the results of all that precede and more or less anticipating the one only branch that remains

A complete view of this entire department of Christian Theology may be thus taken in order. First, we must define the special relations of God the Spirit to the administration of the Saviour's work. Then we have to consider the character, terms and conditions of the universal Call of the Gospel: the agency of the Holy Ghost in the outer court of the temple of redemption. Thirdly, it will be necessary to dwell on the preliminary conditions of grace, or those subjects that belong to Conversion, Repentance and Faith: which form the transition, fourthly, to the state of covenanted salvation itself, with all its many privileges diversified in their unity. Fifthly, it will then be of great importance to examine the general conditions on which the perpetuity of these blessings depends. This will fairly introduce the Morals of the Gospel, in the establishment of a holy character, as formed by Christianity, which ought not to be severed from the Spirit's administration. And, lastly, the Church must be included, whether as the fellowship resulting from the bestowment of grace, or as the institute in and through which that grace is bestowed

The distinction between Objective and Subjective Soteriology, or Redemption as once for all accomplished by Christ and Redemption as administered by the Holy Spirit, has been again and again referred to. But its importance is so great that it may once more be impressed with advantage at this point. A careful consideration of the bearings of this distinction would itself be a defense, and a sufficient defense, against many of the most serious errors that have troubled and still trouble the faith of Christianity. We shall find illustrations of this in abundance. It is sufficient now to assert and vindicate the distinction itself, as it reigns throughout the New Testament. The offices of the Second and of the Third Persons of the Holy Trinity in the work of man's salvation are not more carefully separated than the one redemption wrought out by the Former is separated from the personal application of it, which is the province of the Latter. The term Soteriology fairly embraces both; but it has not been naturalized in English theological works, and it is not without a certain ambiguity