My View of the Limited Atonement (Controversial)

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Christian Teegardin, Jun 27, 2017.

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  1. Christian Teegardin

    Christian Teegardin Puritan Board Freshman

    (The text in italics is from an article I'll give a reference to at the end of the post.)

    Warning: This post contains (a) controversial viewpoint(s).

    This post might seem a bit amateurish. I am no professional theologian.

    I was researching Scriptural support for the limited atonement and there seems to be a disproportionate amount of verses in support of the unlimited atonement. At first, this disturbed me, since I definitely do not want to go against the views of the PuritanBoard, yet my conscience goes against the limited atonement entirely.

    Of course, the limited atonement is a very logical position to hold. With that viewpoint, the five points of Calvinism become a logical framework to interpret Scripture with.

    The limited atonement is easily deduced from the other four points of Calvinism. Since humanity is totally depraved because of original sin, cast upon us by the fall of Adam, we cannot save ourselves by any good work. Since we cannot save ourselves in any way, yet some are indeed saved, God's election is therefore unconditional. Also, since we cannot save ourselves in any way, God's grace has to be a revolutionary agent that changes the very will of the elect. (Irresistible grace.) Since God's grace changes the will of the elect, the elect therefore persevere in the faith. Finally, since Christ died for our sins, His atonement must be particular, because if His atonement was not particular, then all would be saved, for all the sins of the world would've been atoned for.

    There is one problem with the previous argument. If the reader hasn't noticed, the argument was based on logic, not Scripture. Didn't God say that man's wisdom is foolish to Him?

    I see a lot of people looking to the Westminster Confession of Faith for proof of their viewpoints in regards to Calvinism. I am not going to assume that everyone looks at the Bible through a Westminster lens, but I cannot deny that some do. I look at the Bible through the Bible's lens, for Scripture indeed interprets itself.

    I will present the reader with Scripture.

    "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)

    Do not read that Scripture through any lens but itself. When I read it just recently, I felt my conscience being tugged.

    "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)

    This verse doesn't make sense unless it is read to say that the same "all" that went astray is the "all" for whom the Lord died.

    "In the first of these statements, the general apostasy of men is declared; in the second, the particular deviation of each one; in the third, the atoning suffering of the Messiah, which is said to be on behalf of all. As the first 'all' is true of all men (and not just of the elect), we judge that the last 'all' relates to the same company." - from the article

    "This passage is especially powerful from a logical standpoint. It is clear that the extent of sin is universal; it is specified that every one of us has sinned. It should also be noticed that the extent of what will be laid on the suffering servant exactly parallels the extent of sin. It is difficult to read this passage and not conclude that just as everyone sins, everyone is also atoned for." - Millard Erickson

    From what I see, these two Scripture passages conflict with the concept of the limited atonement, the first reference being direct.

    I believe that Christ's atonement has a parallel with God's grace. From what I know, God's grace is separated into common grace and particular grace. Common grace is for the unbeliever and believer alike, allowing us to live normal lives, while particular grace is saved for the elect, and is efficacious for salvation.

    I'll go out on a limb here. I suppose that Christ's atonement could be separated into 'common atonement' and 'particular atonement.' The common atonement is the reconciliation with Scripture that clearly indicates that Jesus died for all in some way. The particular atonement is saved for the elect, just like the limited atonement of full-on Calvinism. By the way, this is just an opinion and is definitely not meant to be dogmatic.

    "Apparently the Savior has done something for all persons, though it is less in degree than what he has done for those who believe." - Millard Erickson

    "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:17)

    "God is unwilling that we should be overwhelmed with everlasting destruction, because He has appointed His Son to be the salvation of the world." - John Calvin

    "The word world is again repeated, that no man may think himself wholly excluded, if he only keeps the road of faith." - John Calvin

    "Belief in limited atonement means that the good news of God's saving grace in Christ cannot be personalized. Those who hold to such a position cannot tell someone to whom they are witnessing that Christ died for him because that one may, in fact, not be one for whom Christ died." - Robert Lightner

    The limited atonement does bring those issues in regards to evangelism. Imagine evangelizing to the lost and not being able to say that Christ died for them. It would not only contradict the previous Scripture passages, it would negate the message of hope in Him.

    "John the Apostle tells us that Christ gave His life as a propitiation for our sin (i.e., the elect), though not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2)....[People] cannot evade John's usage of 'whole' (Greek: holos). In the same context the apostle quite cogently points out that 'the whole (holos) world lies in wickedness' or, more properly, 'in the lap of the wicked one' (1 John 5:19, literal translation). If we assume that 'whole' applies only to the chosen or elect of God, then the 'whole world does not 'lie in the lap of the wicked one.' This, of course, all reject." - Walter Martin

    "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned." (John 16:8-11)

    Notice in this passage that "the world" is clearly distinguished from "you" and "your."

    Yet the Holy Spirit is said to bring conviction on the world. And one of the things the Spirit convicts "the world" of is the sin of not believing on Christ (v. 9).

    We are not to conclude that "the world" that is convicted of unbelief is the world of the elect, are we? (If so, then Satan, the "prince of this world" [v. 11, same context], must be the "prince of the elect.")
    Calvin says of this passage that "under the term world are, I think, included not only those who would be truly converted to Christ, but hypocrites and reprobate." - last three paragraphs are from the article

    "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:28)

    "By the word many He means not a part of the world only, but the whole human race." - John Calvin

    Last but not least, here are a litany of quotes from the Church Fathers and the Reformers alike.

    "Christ freely brings...salvation to the whole human race." - Clement of Alexandria

    "It was needful that the Lamb of God should be offered for the other lambs whose nature He assumed, even for the whole human race." - Eusebius

    "Christ the Son of God, having assumed a body like ours, because we were all exposed to death [which takes in more than the elect], gave Himself up to death for us all as a sacrifice to His Father." - Athanasius

    "Do not wonder if the whole world was ransomed, for He was not a mere man, but the only-begotten Son of God." - Cyril of Jerusalem

    "The sacrifice of Christ is an imperishable expiation of the whole world." - Gregory of Nazianzen

    "But one thing was found that was equivalent to all men....the holy and precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He poured out for us all." - Basil

    "Christ suffered for all, rose again for all. But if anyone does not believe in Christ, he deprives himself of that general benefit." - Ambrose

    "Christ came for the salvation of all, and undertook the redemption of all, inasmuch as He brought a remedy by which all might escape, although there are many who...are unwilling to be healed." - Ambrose

    "The Redeemer came and gave the price, shed His blood, and bought the world. Do you ask what He bought? See what He gave, and find what He bought. The blood of Christ is the price: what is of so great worth? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations?" - Augustine

    "The blood of Christ was shed for the remission of all sins." - Augustine

    "The death of one flesh is sufficient for the ransom of the whole human race, for it belonged to the Logos, begotten of God the Father." - Cyril of Alexandria

    "As far as relates to the magnitude and virtue of the price, and to the one cause of the human race, the blood of Christ is the redemption of the whole world: but those who pass through this life without the faith of Christ, and the sacrament of regeneration, do not partake of the redemption." - Prosper

    "The Savior is most rightly said to have been crucified for the redemption of the whole world." - Prosper

    "Although the blood of Christ be the ransom of the whole world, yet they are excluded from its benefit, who, being delighted with their captivity, are unwilling to be redeemed by it." - Prosper

    "Christ is not cruel exactor, but a forgiver of the sins of the whole world....He hath given Himself for our sins, and with one oblation hath put away the sins of the whole world....Christ hath taken away the sins, not of certain men only, but also of thee, yea, of the whole world...Not only my sins and thine, but also the sins of the whole world...take hold upon Christ." - Martin Luther

    "It is necessary to know that the Gospel is a universal promise, that is, that reconciliation is offered and promised to all mankind. It is necessary to hold that this promise is universal, in opposition to any dangerous imaginations on predestination, lest we should reason this promise pertains to a few others and ourselves. But we declare that the promise of the Gospel is universal. And to this are brought those universal expressions which are used constantly in the Scriptures." - Philip Melanchton

    "[The word "world" in John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world" - means] "the whole cosmos of men, including the Gentiles, the whole human race," + "this universal aspect of God's love appears also in II Cor. 5:19; Rom. 5:8." - A. T. Robertson

    Other Protestant reformers have also held to the unlimited atonement. Here's a list.

    Hugh Latimer
    Myles Coverdale
    Thomas Cranmer
    Wolfgang Musculus
    Henry Bullinger
    Benedict Aretiu
    Thomas Becon
    Jerome Zanchius
    David Paraeus

    A lot of the material for this article have been referenced from this article: Atonement

    This article is not to cause division among the community at the PuritanBoard. This is just meant to show a digressing opinion on one of the points of Calvinism. (I did the same at a Pilgrim Holiness Church I attend now, offering a different opinion on sanctification, since I believe in progressive sanctification and they believe in entire sanctification as a second act of grace.)

    May God bless the PuritanBoard.

    ~Christian out.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  2. Josh Williamson

    Josh Williamson Puritan Board Freshman

    Since a person has to be confessional to be a member of this board, it will be interesting to see what the admins do in relation to a post that goes against the confessions.
  3. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Christian Teegardin,

    You still limit the atonement. Note the wisdom of Spurgeon:

    We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is, that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it: we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, “No, certainly not.” We ask them the next question—Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer “No.” They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say “No; Christ has died that any man may be saved if”— and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as to infallibly secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ’s death; we say, “No, my dear sir, it is you that do it.” We say Christ so died that He infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.
  4. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Last September you were advocating:
    Less than ten days ago you were asserting:
    From your new signature and now this new post, it appears you are quitclaiming what you previously claimed. What are we to make of this? Where do you find any notions of hypothetical atonement in the three confessions you claimed when joining PB?
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  5. Christian Teegardin

    Christian Teegardin Puritan Board Freshman

    I have been doing a lot of Scriptural research on this position. This is, in fact, a bit of a 'suicide' post, since my beliefs have actually changed slightly from just recently. (I completely uphold monergism, still.)
  6. Christian Teegardin

    Christian Teegardin Puritan Board Freshman

    Exactly. I understand exactly how my position still could be considered a limited atonement of sorts. I am frankly trying to be as Biblical as possible, not conforming entirely to statements of the confessions. I know that the confessions state that Christ died for His own, and I do agree upon it, but the verse quoted in 1 John always pricked my heart towards the case that Jesus died for all in some way. We are not to contradict the Scripture under the guise of logic. I will stand by 1 John 2:2 even to the point of being banned somehow. (This is not defiance, just standing on the Rock.)
  7. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Ten days ago Our Lord's blood was not being wasted on the reprobate.
    Today this has been cast aside.

    I assume by "suicide" post you mean to imply that this public advocacy of yours cannot be left to stand without consequences, correct?

    1 John 2:2 is not teaching a claim of universality, but one of exclusivity. In the entire world there is but one Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ. If "universal" must be used it actually means the universal scope of Our Lord's atonement. By universal scope it is meant that there is no other form of atonement made available to others, no matter their races, nationalities, geographies, or religions, apart from Our Lord's atonement.
  8. Christian Teegardin

    Christian Teegardin Puritan Board Freshman

    I frankly said all those words out of vain and carnal pride. I held to the beliefs nominally but what I shared here was my true beliefs. I shared it because my conscience was grieving to not share it. I felt the LORD nudging me on to be honest with everyone in full. I came here as a refugee from the washout of Arminian theology. Is there anywhere else I could go where I could be around people who are conservative theologically but not requiring any adherence to creeds?
  9. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    You posted over my own post. Please read my post above wherein I have explained what 1 John 2:2 is teaching. You claim the verse as a locus classicus for your position, yet you do not understand what it actually teaches.
  10. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    My friend I used to hold to your view of 1 John 2:2. But a closer analysis shows that it defends limited atonement.
    He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

    Note the emphasis here. The word propriation means that God, through the death of His beloved Son, took away the wrath of God for the sin of His elect (note cotext of verse 1). So if God's wrath was remove by a propitiationary sacrifice for everyone, God has no basis for sending anyone to hell. How can God send anyone to hell if God's wrath for the sins of everyone has been removed? The key to this verse is the word propitiation. Understand that and eveything will fall into place.

    Read John Owen's book "The death of death in the death of Christ". A careful read of this will show the Reformed Confessions are Biblical.

    ‘It is safe to say that no comparable exposition of the work of redemption as planned and executed by the Triune Jehovah has ever been done since Owen published his in 1684. None has been needed. Owen’s interpretation of the texts is sure; his power of theological construction is superb; nothing that needs discussing is omitted, and no arguments for or against his position have been used since his day which he has not himself noted and dealt with. Owen’s work is a constructive broad-based biblical analysis of the heart of the gospel, and must be taken seriously as such. Nobody has a right to dismiss the doctrine of the limitedness of the atonement as a monstrosity of Calvinistic logic until he as refuted Owen’s proof that it is part of the uniform biblical presentation of redemption, clearly taught in plain text after plain text. And nobody has done that yet.’ — J.I. PACKER
  11. Christian Teegardin

    Christian Teegardin Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't quite understand the 'universal scope.' Can you explain how you get 'universal scope' from 1 John 2:2?

    I'm not playing dumb, trust me.
  12. Christian Teegardin

    Christian Teegardin Puritan Board Freshman

    I am looking up 1 John 2:2 in the Hebrew-Greek Key Bible.

    In the verse, 'world' is 'kosmos,' which in this case, means 'Metonymically, inhabitants of the earth, man, mankind.'
  13. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Can a buddhist find atonement from the wrath of God? The pagan? The believers in greek gods? Wiccans? The practitioners of whatever non-Christian religions are dominating geographic areas? No. There is but one Savior for all the peoples of the world, no matter their nationality, culture, religion. That is scope. It is a global scope. The whole world.

    When Scripture, like 1 John 2:2, refers to Our Lord being the savior of the whole world, it means He is THE SAVIOR, the ONE AND ONLY SAVIOR for all the believing ones among all kinds of the peoples of the whole world (kosmos). There is only one Saviour available to all the world: Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:2 is teaching the exclusivity of our faith versus the nonsense of Oprah or name-it-claim-it Osteen wherein all roads lead to heaven.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  14. Christian Teegardin

    Christian Teegardin Puritan Board Freshman

    Now I grasp the interpretation. Here's an objection though.

    "For therefor we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." (1 Timothy 4:10)

    How do you interpret this?
  15. Christian Teegardin

    Christian Teegardin Puritan Board Freshman

    Obviously, the Buddhists and the Pagans and the Wiccans... of course, without Jesus Christ in their life, they are going to meet God's wrath. I am just trying to pose some serious Scripture-based questions. I seek to understand.
  16. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    As before, the passage teaches us that God is the Savior of all men. There is no other Savior. This is a general truth not speaking in particular that Jesus Christ is the means of this salvation nor that the salvation is from man's sin.
  17. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I am closing the thread. You are debating now and your back channel communications with me are now being placed in force.
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