Thursday, February 28, 2013

Calvinism and Limited Atonement

The term “limited atonement” is the most controversial point of all five points of Calvinism. Christians have difficulty with the idea that Christ’s death is efficacious only for the elect. Most Christ followers would say that Christ died for everybody. John Piper clarifies it this way, “For if Christ died for all men in the same way then he did not purchase regenerating grace for those who are saved. They must regenerate themselves and bring themselves to faith. Then and only then do they become partakers of the benefits of the cross. In other words if you believe that Christ died for all men in the same way, then the benefits of the cross cannot include the mercy by which we are brought to faith, because then all men would be brought to faith, but they aren't. But if the mercy by which we are brought to faith (irresistible grace) is not part of what Christ purchased on the cross, then we are left to save ourselves from the bondage of sin, the hardness of heart, the blindness of corruption, and the wrath of God.”

It seems obvious that if God has called someone then He is not to weak to make certain that they are brought to faith in Christ. If we say that God chose everyone then according to Romans 8:29-30 everyone should be saved; “because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. (NET).”

The other argument I have heard is that Christ died for all men and the sin of all men is forgiven. If that is true than all men will go to Heaven (universalism) but we know that is not the case. Christ’s death covers only the believing church.

Begin your research with the Piper article referred to above. Most importantly allow yourself to be uncomfortable. The Bible must be the ultimate word on what is true not our belief or level of comfort with a principle.

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