Limited Atonement

One for All, or All for Naught? Limited Atonement

By Clint Archer. Reposted, with permission, from The Cripplegate.

The next installment of our Reformation Month TULIP series on Calvinism is the big L. If you missed the previous installments – you can see Total Depravity here and Unconditional Election here.

This is the boogieman doctrine of Limited Atonement. What is the debate? The issue is usually phrased this way: “For whom did Christ die, the whole world, or specifically for those who would believe?”

If option A, the whole world, then why are some people in Hell? If option B, only believers, what about the verses that talk about Jesus loving the world? You can see why even some Calvinists disavow this letter, leaving them as diminutive “four-pointers” whose gardens bloom with tu_ips.

1783 reads

Culinary Calvinism: Considering Jay Adams’ TULIPburger

Jay Adams has a way with words, and an excellent way of explaining the significance of the doctrine of limited atonement in the Reformed view. He describes the T (total depravity) and P (perseverance of the saints) as the bun, holding the burger together, and the U (unconditional election) and the I (irresistible grace) as the lettuce and tomato. But the part that makes the burger a burger is the “meat” of the L (limited atonement).

Adams suggests,

To hold to the fact that Jesus didn’t die for “mankind,” or, as that means, persons in general—but for persons in particular, is essential to having a “Personal Savior … He didn’t die for people in general, but that He knew His sheep, and called them by name, and gave His life for each one of them individually is a blessed truth, not to be omitted from the burger … Jesus didn’t come to make salvation possible—He came to “seek and to save that which was lost… . He didn’t die needlessly for millions who would reject Him. if universal atonement were true, then God could hardly punish men and women for eternity for whom Christ had already suffered the punishment. There is no double jeopardy. And therefore, there is no burger unless it is a TULIPBURGER!

In asserting limited atonement Adams makes four key assertions:

3729 reads

1 John 2:2 - Does Grace Extend to Everyone? (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

An Exegesis of 1 John 2:2, Continued

(6) Biblical and Theological Context

In the immediate context of 1 John 2:2, John writes to believers so that they will not sin, but if they do, he wants them to understand they have an advocate (1 John 2:1). Jesus is (present tense) a propitiation for our sins—He continues to be a propitiation even today. Immediately after identifying Christ’s propitiatory role, John explains the importance and reasonableness of obedience. By obedience we can have assurance of our salvation—we can know by experience (ginosko) that we have come to know (ginosko) Him. Obedience helps to provide assurance, but even when we do sin, and are thus robbed of that component of our assurance, Jesus is still our Advocate (2:1), and the Holy Spirit still abides within us (3:24) as the pledge of our inheritance (Eph. 1:13-14).

3023 reads

1 John 2:2 - Does Grace Extend to Everyone? (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

An Exegesis of 1 John 2:2

To adequately handle any passage we must work through some important exegetical steps. We need to (1) verify the text and translation, (2) identify background and context, (3) identify structural keys, (4) identify grammatical and syntactical keys, (5) identify lexical keys, (6) address Biblical context, and (7) consider theological context. Then we would verify our work, put it into practice in our own lives as appropriate, and communicate it with others as God gives us opportunity.1

7811 reads

1 John 2:2 - Does Grace Extend to Everyone? (Part 1)

Introduction

A literal translation of 1 John 2:2 reads as follows: “And He a propitiation He is for the sins of us, not for those of us only, but also for those of the whole world.” At first glance the verse seems simple enough, but there has historically been startling disagreement regarding its intended meaning.

John MacArthur concludes that the passage cannot mean that Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world, insisting that, “Jesus didn’t pay for the sins of Judas … or Adolf Hitler.”1 MacArthur supports his view with an appeal to John 11:52,2 which he says indicates that Jesus died only for the children of God. The passage reads, “… and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”3 John Piper’s explanation of the passage is similar, as he, like MacArthur, supports his 1 John 2:2 interpretation from an appeal to John 11:52.4 R.C. Sproul explains 1 John 2:2 as follows: “He is the “propitiation” for us, the one who endured the wrath we deserve so that divine justice is fulfilled, not set aside. Christ is the propitiation for “the whole world,” not because He made atonement for every sinner, but because He redeemed not only Jews but people from all parts of the world” [emphasis mine].5

5782 reads