Friday, October 9, 2015

A Closer Look at Limited Atonement

Many of the books that I review on my blog come through crossfocusedreviews.com.  As part of receiving the free book, I agree to post my review on my blog as well as on amazon.com.  Occasionally, I will receive feedback from my blog readers, but most of the negative comments I receive are responses to my book reviews posted on the Amazon website.  Therefore, I have a series of blog posts that I've labeled Countering Criticism where I evaluate the validity of the negative feedback I receive.  Today, I would like to look at a comment from a poster named Hilasmos regarding my book review on Honest Evangelism.  You can read my original review here.

On October 8, 2015, Hilasmos said:
"As a former Calvinist, I should point out that Calvinism teaches that Jesus' sacrificial atonement (propitiation) on the Cross was SUFFICIENT for ALL, but EFFICIENT for SOME."

The major tenets of Calvinism are shown in the acronym TULIP:

T--Total Depravity
U--Unconditional Election
L--Limited Atonement
I--Irresistible Grace
P--Perseverance of the Saints

Hilasmos is confused about the Calvinistic definition of Limited Atonement.  Limited Atonement means that Christ shed His blood and died for all of the sins of God's elect.  Jesus' propitiation is "limited" to those given to Him by God the Father (John 6:37, 17:2,7,9,11,24). It does NOT mean that Christ's death was sufficient for all, but efficient for some.  If Christ's death was sufficient for all, then all sins would be covered and all men would be saved.  This is the basis for the unbiblical doctrine of universal atonement.

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith Ch. 8, para. 5 states that: "The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit once offered up to God, has fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for all those whom the Father has given unto Him, (Heb. 9:14, 10:14; Rom. 3:25, 26; John 17:2; Heb. 9:15)."

Arminianism is based on the Five Articles of Remonstrance (which were countered by the Calvinist in 5-point response now known as TULIP).  The second Article states:  "The Atonement is qualitatively adequate for all men, "yet that no one actually enjoys [experiences] this forgiveness of sins, except the believer ..." and thus is limited to only those who trust in Christ."  Therefore, the idea that Christ's death on the cross was sufficient for all, but efficient for some aligns more with Arminianism.  The Arminian view of salvation is that Christ died for everyone, so all can come to Christ, but only those that "choose" to come and "accept" Jesus can be saved.  This unorthodox view means that even though Christ died for everyone's sin, He was not powerful enough to save everyone; thus, some of His blood was shed in vain.  This idea is blasphemous.

There are many labels that Christians can identify themselves with, but it's more important to actually understand what those labels mean.

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"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent," (John 17:1-3).