Help to understand the use of 'impetration.'

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by uberkermit, Apr 11, 2009.

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  1. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    I have been studying the extent of the atonement, and particularly Amyraldism. One path of study has led me to Warfield's discussion of the Westminster Assembly on this regard, which subsequently led me to read Cunningham's treatment of the topic of limited atonement. A word that keeps popping up is impetration. Looking in various dictionaries does not seem to be helping me understand the sense as it is being used in these discussions. The bare definition (of impetrate) is:

    To obtain by request or entreaty.

    Now for an example from Cunningham:

    "Does the word [redeemed] describe merely the impetration or purchase of pardon and reconciliation for men by the death of Christ? or does it comprehend the application as well as the impetration?" William Cunningham, Historical Theology, Volume II, (Edinburgh: T & T Clark. 1864) pg. 327.

    I have wondered if the definition I have for impetrate is not suitable for this usage; perhaps Cunningham had another definition in mind. Either way, I am unable to get a good sense of how the word is being used. Would someone care to put this another way so that I might better understand it?
  2. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Webster's has it as:

    1 : to obtain by request or entreaty
    2 : to ask for : entreat

    Where then the emphasis would be on the asking for pardon (or rather the ability to ask) and the actual pardon itself. Classic Reformed vs. Arminian distinction.
  3. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    John Owen also uses the term.
  4. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    Ah, of course; I should have thought to look for that in his writings!


    For anyone who might happen to end up in the same situation as me, having not first read Owen's Death of Death in the Death of Christ before they happen to stumble across this term impetration, here is his definition of both impetration and application:

    "For by impetration we mean the meritorious purchase of all good things made by Christ for us with and of his Father; and by application, the actual enjoyment of those good things upon our believing; -- as, if a man pay a price for the redeeming of captives, the paying of the price supplieth the room of the impetration of which we speak; and the freeing of the captives is as the application of it." Owen, Works Volume X, pg. 223 - Banner of Truth edition.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
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