In reading these several papers on the doctrine of the extent of Christ’s penal and substitutionary atonement a number of things need to be kept in mind for clarity’s sake.
1. These papers are to be read as they were penned – in progress. They cover a period of over 3 years. Therefore reading them in order is essential to getting an accurate picture.
2. Each was penned for a different audience.
a. The first one – which is the most disorganized – is really more stream-of-consciousness. It was written only for the eyes of the Elders at our Church, and has a lot of thinking out loud in it. It was a first attempt at beginning to organize my thoughts. I thought it might be helpful for some others to see how I was working through the various ideas. Note that at the end I remind my readers that I was far from done in studying things through.
b. The second one is very difficult as it is a brief synopsis of a rip through some central thoughts done at a think-tank meeting with just a few other men. But it holds some bits and pieces well worth considering as one tries to think through atonement issues from the very beginning of the Scripture representations.
c. The third one is a response to a critique of my first paper, written over 3 years after the paper itself. You will see in my responses, that there are numerous refinements and adjustments which had gone on in my thinking since then. My responses were originally intended only for the one who offered the critique. Because pastor Leuck is a knowledgeable man, I take his understanding of certain things for granted and do not explain some things in more detail as I would for someone less acquainted with the subject matter.
d. The fourth paper is a somewhat detailed schema of what became two lectures delivered at a Pastor’s conference. Once again, the audience aimed at is more of the academy than the average guy in the pew. I take a lot for granted in terms of how that audience is able to fill in finer points and make certain connections on their own. It was not meant for general consumption. This is now nearly 4 years after the first paper.
All that being said – having some of this background may be extremely helpful in making sense of it all as you read through. Reading them in order will be your best bet.