Presentation on theme: "Atonement: Limited or Unlimited?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Atonement: Limited or Unlimited? Copyright by Norman L. Geisler 2005
2 The Five Points of Calvinism. Total Depravity. Unconditional Election The Five Points of Calvinism Total Depravity Unconditional Election Limited Atonement Irresistible Grace Perseverance of the Saints
3 Two Forms of Calvinism: Extreme and Moderate T--Intensive ExtensiveU--For God & Man For God OnlyL--In Extent In ApplicationI--On Unwilling On WillingP--Security Only Assurance Too
4 The Moderate Calvinist Answer: The Basic Question:Did Christ die for all persons or just for some?The Moderate Calvinist Answer:Christ died for all, but only some will be saved (the elect).Note: Atonement is unlimited in extent; it is limited in application.It is provided for all; it is accepted by only some.
5 Limited Atonement I. Biblical Arguments Against It II. Theological Arguments Against ItIII. Historical Arguments Against ItIV. False Premises Behind ItV. Objections to It Answered
6 I. Biblical Arguments Against It Isaiah said: “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.”“For he bore the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors”(Isa. 53:6,12).In Context:1) “All” sinner are the “all” for which Christ died.2) “All” is used interchangeably with “many” (v. 12).3) He prayed for unbelievers (v. 12).Out of Context: Strong Calvinists who say “all” and “many” means only the few (the elect) and not everyone.
7 John Calvin on Isaiah 53:12“I approve of the ordinary reading, that he alone bore the punishment of many, because on him was laid the guilt of the whole world. It is evident from other passages, and especially from the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, that ‘many’ sometimes denotes ‘all.’” (comments on Isa. 53:12).Note: It is the “many” in contrast to the few; not many in contrast to all.
8 I. Biblical Arguments Against It Jesus said "Many are called but few are chosen" (Matt. 20:16).In Context:1) It is “many” in contrast to “few,” not some in contrast to all.2) “Many” means “all” in other texts (Rom. 5:18-19).3) God desired all to be saved (2Peter 3:9; 1Tim 2:4). So, all are “called” or invited to be saved.4) God knows only a few will respond (Rom. 8:29; 1Pet. 1:2). He knows only a few will be saved (the elect).Out of Context: Strong Calvinists who say “Many” means only the few (the elect), not all.
9 Matthew 23:37Jesus said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."In Context:It is clear that God wanted all of them, even the unrepentant, to be saved.Out of Context: John Gill claimed this is to be understood not of gathering to salvation but only of a gathering to hear him preach and thus to be brought to historical faith "sufficient to preserve them from temporal ruin” (Gill, The Cause of God and Truth [London, 1814] ).
10 Response to John Gill:1) If Gill is right, then God's concern for the temporal conditions of all men is greater than His concern for their eternal souls!2) Applying it only to the leaders, not to their children, does not avoid the problems of 1) Christ wanting all to be saved and of 2) “unwillingness” being the reason they are not.
11 Mark 10:45"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Other NT passages also refer to Christ dying for “many” (=all) (Rom. 5:15, 19; Heb. 9:28).In Context:1) “Many” means all since it is many in contrast to the few, not many in contrast to the one (cf. Mt. 20:16).2) Paul uses “many” and “all” interchangeably (Rom. 5:19) ) Hebrews also uses them interchangeably (Heb. 9:28 cf. 2:9).Out of Context. Limited atonement: Taking “many” to mean few as opposed to all is out of context because:1) Jesus used it to mean all elsewhere (Mt. 20:16).2) Paul used it to mean all (Rom. 5:19).3) Hebrews uses it of all (Heb. 9:28 cf. 2:9).As Jesus said, "many” are called but "few" are chosen" (Mt. 20:16).
12 John 1:29 In Context: “World" does not mean "the elect" since: "The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, `Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'"In Context: “World" does not mean "the elect" since:1) It is all fallen beings (Jn. 3:19).2) It is all sinful beings (Jn. 16:8).3) It is all humans in a genetic sense (Rom. 3:23), not in a geographical sense (Lk. 2:1, 2).Out of Context: Edwin Palmer: ”It is clear that all is not all" (FPC, 52).
13 John 3:16-17 In Context: “World” means whole world because: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”In Context: “World” means whole world because:1) The word “perish” indicates “world” means all.2) The word “condemned” indicates it means all.Out of Context: John Owen retranslates this verse: "God so loved his elect throughout the world, that he gave his Son with this intention, that by him believers might be saved"! (Owen, DDDC, 214).
14 John 12:47"For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”In Context:1) It is the same “world” that will be judged.2) God’s intent is to provide salvation for all.Out of Context: Word “world” used in a limited sense (v.19) does not negate this since:a) It is the Pharisees’ words, not John’s.b) It is used geographically, not generically.c) It is probably a hyperbole (cf. 7:4).d) Even strong Calvinists admit “world” in first part of verse 47 means the whole world.
15 John 12:47 (cont.)Out of Context: The claim that the indefinite is not to be confused with the universal.1) The text does not say the object of Christ death is indefinite or limited.2) Nowhere does the NT say “Christ died only for the elect.”3) Many other texts say explicitly that He died for “all” people, the “world,” and “the whole world” (see above and below).
16 Romans 5:18-19“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many (=all) were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many (=all) will be made righteous.”In Context:1) Parallel between condemnation for “all” and justification for “all” supports universal view.2) Parallel between “many” (=all) sinner and “many” made righteous also opposes limited atonement (cf. v.19).
17 “All” means all in part of the verse and only some in the other part. Out of Context:“All” means all in part of the verse and only some in the other part.“Many”means one thing in one part of the verse but another thing in the other part of the verse.1) This is clear case of eisegesis.2) This opposes a basic rule of interpretation:“The same word used by the same author in the same context has the same meaning.”
18 2 Corinthians 5:14-19 In Context: "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.... God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them…. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves….”In Context:1) “All” in “all died” means everyone. So, in the other places.2) ”Those who live” (=believers) are contrasted with the "all" for whom Christ died.3) “World” in verse 19 is whole unsaved world that is not reconciled to God.Out of Context: Palmer’s eisegesis (reading into the text): "Obviously, the all in both cases means all the believers--not the whole world, reprobate as well as elect” (Palmer, FPC, 49).
19 1 Timothy 2:3-4"This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."In Context:1) “all men” in verse 1 is everyone.2) “Men” (anthropos) in v. 5 is everyone.3) Even Spurgeon said this was all human beings: "I do not know how that squares with this" but he adds, "I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God” (cited In Murray, SHC, 150).Out of Context: This “is said so that all the predestined be understood by it, because every kind of man is among them” (Augustine, RG, 44).
20 Five Point Calvinist Spurgeon Said: “Our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. `All men,' say they,--`that is, some men': as if the Holy Ghost could not have said `some men' if he had meant some men…. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written`all men,' and unquestionably he means all men" (Cited by Murray, SHC, 150).
21 Spurgeon Adds:"I was reading just now the exposition of a very able doctor who explains the text so as to explain it away: he applies grammatical gunpowder to it, and explodes it by way of expounding it." He aptly adds, "I thought when I read his exposition that it would have been a very capital comment upon the text if it had read. "Who will not have all men to be saved, nor come to a knowledge of the truth'” (ibid.,151).
22 1Timothy 2:6Christ "gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time."In Context:1) God could have said “some,” but didn’t.2) “All” also means everyone in verses 1 and 4.Out of Context:John Owen divert the issue to other passages where "all" is used geographically or hyperbolically, not generically as here.
23 1Timothy 4:10“We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”In Context:1) “All men” is in contrast to “those who believers (the elect).2) It is in accord with the use of “all men” as everyone earlier (2:1, 4).Out of Context: John Gill who claims God “is the Saviour of all men”; in a providential way, “giving them being and breath...for that he is the Saviour of all men, with a spiritual and everlasting salvation, is not true in fact” (Gill, CHS).
24 Reason Gill’s View is Out of Context: Because:1) “All men” is contrasted with believers.2. Context speaks of “promise of the life to come” (v. 8).3) “Saviour” is usually meant in a spiritual way in NT.4) Paul prayed for the salvation of all men (1Tim. 2:1-2).5) Christ is noted as Mediator in a saving sense (2:5).6) The whole context of 1Timothy (1:1; 2:3; 2:4; 2:5; 2:6) is speaking about spiritual salvation, not social preservation.
25 Hebrews 2:9"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone" (Heb. 2:9).In Context:1) Generic contrast of humans with angels (v. 7).2) “Flesh and blood" (v. 14) infleshment is generic and virtually always used universally.3) The result of His death must be for all men otherwise Christ was not victorious over Satan.Out of Context: Strong Calvinist say this is only for some, not all (see above comments).
26 2 Peter 2:1 In Context: Christ died for non-elect because: "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves" (2 Peter 2:1).In Context: Christ died for non-elect because:1) They were “denying” the Lord.2) They were "false prophets” and “false teachers.”3) They will receive "judgment" and “hell” (vv. 3-4).4) They are called "wicked" (v. 7), the "unjust" and "slaves of corruption" (v. 19).5) “The gloom of darkness is reserved forever" for them (v. 17).
27 Out of Context:John Owen’s Claim: It does not refer to Christ or redemption (ibid., ) but to deliverance by earthly masters from social corruption. But--1) Even Owen admits "Lord" (Gk: despotan) is used elsewhere of Christ (Lk. 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Tim. 2:21; Jude 4; Rev. 6:10), not of earthly masters.2) The parallel passage clearly refers to Christ: “They are godless men, who...deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (despotan) (Jude 1:4).3) “Bought" (agorazo) refers to Christ's saving work: a) For why would they be lost unless they denied Christ's redemptive work; b) “bought” It is usually used redemptively in the NT (1Cor. 6:20; Rev. 5:9). c) It is never used in the NT of redeeming someone socially.
28 2 Peter 3:9“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”In Context:1) Use of the word “anyone” reinforces “everyone.”2) Use of “repent” and “perish” show all persons are in mind here.3) This fits with other Scripture (1 Tim. 2:4). Out of Context: Strong Calvinists differ:Some: This means "all classes of men” (i.e., elect).Others: All w/o distinction, not all w/o exception(Steele, FPC, 46).Still Others: Refers to Christians, not unbelievers.R. C. Sproul, Chosen By God, R. K. McGregor offers the same reasoning. See his No Place of Sovereignty (Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 169.
29 Out of Context: Response to Strong Calvinists: To Those who say its means only some:1) All means all, and that is all that all means.2) Even some strong Calvinists admit this (below).3) It is contrary to other Scripture (1Tim. 2:4).4) It is contrary to God’s omnibenevolence.To Those who say it is referring to believers:1) “Repent” or “perish” (cf. Jn. 3:16) is for unbelievers?2) “Scoffers” in context are unbelievers.3) Context of Chapter 2 is unbelievers.4) Immediate verses speak of judgment on unbelievers (vv ).
30 1 John 2:2"He [Christ] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (1John 2:2).In Context:1) “World” is contrasted with “our” (believers).2) “World means whole fallen world world, in this chapter (see 2:15-17).3) “World” means whole world elsewhere in this book (1Jn. 5:19).4) “World” means whole evil world elsewhere in John’s writings (Jn. 1:10; 3:16-18).
31 Out of Context:Strong Calvinists claim that this is “Christian world” is unfounded because:1) “World” means fallen world in John (see above).2) Appeal to other verses in geographical sense is out of context (cf. Acts 2:5; Rom. 1:8) and overlooks that the generic use as universal (Rom. 3:19, 23; 5:12).
32 II. Theological Arguments Against It A. It Denies God’s OmnibenevolenceB. It Denies God’s Essential GoodnessC. It is Morally UnacceptableD. It Leads to Universalism
33 A. It Denies God’s Omnibenevolence 1. God is all-loving (1Jn. 4:16; Jn. 3:16).2. An all loving God loves all (Rom. 2:10).3. Limited atonement denies God loves all in a salvific (saving) sense.4. Hence, limited atonement denies God’s omnibenevolence.Objection: God is all-powerful but does not show all His power. Why can’t He be all-loving without showing His love to all?
34 Answer to Objection One: 1. Power is a non-moral attribute, and it is a category mistake to compare it with a moral attribute.a. Non-moral deals with what is.b. Moral deals with what ought to be.2. It confuses the amount of God’s love and the object of it.a. God has more love than He exercises.b. But there are not more people for whom He has not exercised it.
35 B. It Denies God’s Essential Goodness 1) Strong Calvinists believe God does not have to show mercy to any sinner but only to those He chooses to do so (i.e,. mercy flows only from His will, not from His essence).3) This is a form of voluntarism, namely, something is right because God wills it (He does not will it because it is right).4) This is contrary to essentialism which insists that God must act in accord with His unchanging essence.5) But voluntarism is inconsistent with its own teachings like:a. God is immutable in His nature (Mal. 3:6; Heb.1:10-12; 6:18; 2Tim. 2:13; Jas. 1:17). But if so, then He cannot act contrary to His unchangeable nature (as voluntarism asserts).b. God cannot act unjustly since it is contrary to His nature. If so, then how could He act contrary to His all-loving nature.c. Election is unconditional. But how can it be, if God can change His will about anything.
36 C. It is Morally Unacceptable Illustration: The farmer and drowning boys1. The neighborhood boys liked to swim in the farmer’s pond back in the woods.2. Not wanting them to drown, he placed a warning sign on it and fenced it in.3. Three boys ignored the sign, climbed the fence, and were drowning in it as the farmer came by.4. The farmer [God in the illustration] came by and chose to--a) Watch all three drown without attempting to help any of them, or-.b) Help only one to safety but watch the others drown, or-c) Try to help all of the boys but two refused his help and drowned.Strong Calvinists believe a) and b) are morally acceptable.Moderate Calvinists and Arminians hold only c) is morally acceptable for a morally perfect Being.
37 D. It Leads to Universalism According to strong Calvinism:1) God can save anyone He wills to save (by irresistible grace on the unwilling).2) God is omnibenevolent (all-loving).[3) But an all-loving God would want to save everyone.]4) Therefore, everyone will be saved.Note: To deny 3) is contrary to the Bible and good reason. Hence, strong Calvinism will logically lead biblical and reasonable people to universalism.
38 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers
39 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers1. The Early Fathers All Rejected It
40 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers1. The Early Fathers All Rejected It2. Only One Father Held it before Calvin
41 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers1. The Early Fathers All Rejected It2. Only One Father Held it before Calvin3. Augustine’s Views are Inconsistent
42 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers1. The Early Fathers All Rejected It2. Only One Father Held it before Calvin3. Augustine’s Views are Inconsistenta. Inconsistent with the Bible (see above)
43 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers1. The Early Fathers All Rejected It2. Only One Father Held it before Calvin3. Augustine’s Views are Inconsistenta. Inconsistent with the Bible (see above)b. Inconsistent with the Fathers (see Chosen but Free)
44 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers1. The Early Fathers All Rejected It2. Only One Father Held it before Calvin3. Augustine’s Views are Inconsistenta. Inconsistent with the Bible (see above)b. Inconsistent with the Fathers (see Chosen but Free)c. Inconsistent with himself
45 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers1. The Early Fathers All Rejected It2. Only One Father Held it before Calvin3. Augustine’s Views are Inconsistenta. Inconsistent with the Bible (see above)b. Inconsistent with the Fathers (see Chosen but Free)c. Inconsistent with himself1. His earlier view contradicts His later view.
46 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers1. The Early Fathers All Rejected It2. Only One Father Held it before Calvin3. Augustine’s Views are Inconsistenta. Inconsistent with the Bible (see above)b. Inconsistent with the Fathers (see Chosen but Free)c. Inconsistent with himself1. His earlier view contradicts His later view.2. His later view is based on false premises.
47 III. Historical Arguments Against It A. It Was Rejected by the Fathers1. The Early Fathers All Rejected It2. Only One Father Held it before Calvin3. It was rejected by an ecumenical Creed:Nicene Creed: Jesus “who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven.…”4. Augustine’s Views are Inconsistenta. Inconsistent with the Bible (see above)b. Inconsistent with the Fathers (see Chosen but Free)c. Inconsistent with himself1. His earlier view contradicts His later view.2. His later view is based on false premises.
48 4. Calvin Rejected Limited Atonement a 4. Calvin Rejected Limited Atonement a. Christ’s blood expiated (satisfied) God for all the sins of the world“He says that this redemption was procured by the blood of Christ, for by the sacrifice of His death all the sins of the world have been expiated (Calvin’s comments on Col. 1:15).
49 b. Christ suffered and provided salvation for the whole human race “And the first thing to be attended to is, that so long as we are without Christ and separated from him, nothing which he suffered and did for the salvation of the human race is of the least benefit to us” (Institutes, 3.1.1).
50 c. The guilt of the whole world was laid on Christ “I approve of the ordinary reading, that he alone bore the punishment of many, because on him was laid the guilt of the whole world. It is evident from other passages, and especially from the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, that ‘many’ sometimes denotes ‘all’” (comments on Isa. 53:12).
51 d. The “many” for whom Christ died is all of mankind “We should note, however, that Paul does not here contrast the larger number with the many, for he is not speaking of the great number of mankind, but he argues that since the sin of Adam has destroyed many [all], the righteousness of Christ will be no less effective for the salvation of many [all]” (comments on Rom. 5:15).
52 e. The “many” for whom Christ died is the whole human race “Mark 14:24. This is my blood. I have already warned, when the blood is said to be poured out (as in Matthew) for the remission of sins…. The word many does not mean a part of the world only, but the whole human race: he contrasts many with one, as if to say that he would not be the Redeemer of one man, but would meet death to deliver many of their cursed guilt. It is incontestable that Christ came for the expiation of the sins of the whole world” (Eternal Predestination of God, IX.5).
53 f. Even the lost were purchased by Christ’s blood “It is no small matter to have the souls perish who were bought by the blood of Christ” (Calvin, The Mystery of Godliness, 83).
54 g. No men are barred from salvation ”He had commanded Timothy that prayers should be regularly offered up in the church for kings and princes…, he adds, that it was acceptable to God, who will have all men to be saved. By this he assuredly means nothing more than that the way of salvation was not shut against any order of men; that, on the contrary, he had manifested his mercy in such a way, that he would have none debarred from it” (Institutes, ).
55 h. Christ suffered for the sins of the world “And the first thing to be attended to is, that so long as we are without Christ and separated from him, nothing which he suffered and did for the salvation of the human race is of the least benefit to us. To communicate to us the blessings which he received from the Father, he must become ours and dwell in us” (Institutes, 1.3.2).
56 i. Christ suffered for the sins of the whole human race “And when he says the sin of the world he extends this kindness indiscriminately to the whole human race, that the Jews might not think the Redeemer has been sent to them alone. From this we infer that the whole world is bound in the same condemnation; and that since all men without exception are guilty of unrighteousness before God, they have need of reconciliation. John, therefore, by speaking of the sin of the world in general, wanted to make us feel our own misery and exhort us to seek the remedy” (comments on John 1:29).
57 j. Christ suffered for the sins of the world “But such a curse does not seem to fit the mildness of an apostle, who ought to wish that all should be saved and therefore that not one should perish. I reply that this is true when we have men in mind; for God commends to us the salvation of all men without exception, even as Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world” (Comments on Gal. 5:12)
58 k. The “many” for whom Christ died means the whole human race “Mark 14:24. This is my blood. I have already warned, when the blood is said to be poured out (as in Matthew) for the remission of sins…. The word many does not mean a part of the world only, but the whole human race: he contrasts many with one, as if to say that he would not be the Redeemer of one man, but would meet death to deliver many of their cursed guilt. It is incontestable that Christ came for the expiation of the sins of the whole world” (Eternal Predestination of God, IX.5).
59 l. Salvation is limited in its effect, not in its provision “But if it is so (you will say), little faith can be put in the Gospel promises, which, in testifying concerning the will of God, declare that he wills what is contrary to his inviolable decree. Not at all; for however universal the promises of salvation may be, there is no discrepancy between them and the predestination of the reprobate, provided we attend to their effect. We know that the promises are effectual only when we receive them in faith, but, on the contrary, when faith is made void, the promise is of no effect” (Institutes, ).
60 m. Salvation is only applied to those who believe “The apostle indicates that the fruits of it do not come to any but to those who are obedient. In saying this he commends faith to us, for neither He nor His benefits become ours unless, and in so far as, we accept them and Him by faith. At the same time he has inserted the universal term ‘to all’ to show that no one is excluded from this salvation who proves to be attentive and obedient to the Gospel of Christ” (comments on Heb. 5:9).
61 o. Unbelief is the reason that some do not receive the benefits of Chirst death “Paul makes grace common to all men, not because it in fact extends to all, but because it is offered to all. Although Christ suffered for the sins of the world, and is offered by the goodness of God without distinction to all men, yet not all receive Him” (comments on Rom. 5:18).“To bear the sins means to free those who have sinned from their guilt by his satisfaction. He says many meaning all, as in Rom. 5:15. It is of course certain that not all enjoy the fruits of Christ’s death, but this happens because their unbelief hinders them” (comments on Heb. 9:28).
62 p. Christ’s “blood” received in communion is not for unbelievers “How can the wicked drink Christ’s blood ‘which was not shed to expiate their sins’ and Christ’s flesh‘which was not crucified for them’?” (Theological Treatises, 285).Note: In the heat of the battle Calvin seems to have overstated his case. His intent, however, seemed to be to show that unbelievers should not celebrate the benefit of Christ’s death in which they have not participated.
63 IV. False Premises Behind It A. “Dead” in sins means one is incapable of faith.B. Exercising faith is a form of works.C. Credit goes to the receiver of a gift.D. Whatever brings more glory to God is true.E. Something is right because God wills it.F. Irresistible grace is not a form of coercion.G. Regeneration is logically prior to faith.H. God can be all loving and not love all.
64 V. Answering Objections to It A. Christ died only for the church.B. Christ prayed only for those for whom He died (the elect).C. God only desires to save some.D. “All” means only some in many texts.E. Election is not in accord with foreknowledge.F. Regeneration is prior to faith.G. Faith for salvation is a gift only to some.
65 A. Christ died only for the church Ephesians 5:25--“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”(cf. Mt. 1:21; Jn. 10:11;1Cor. 15:3, etc.)Objection: It says here (and elsewhere) that Christ died only for the church, not for all persons.Response:1) It does not say that Christ died only for the church.2) Saying “I love my wife” does not mean I lack love for others.a) It is simply to focus on my special love for her.b) And God wants everyone to be part of His bride and have this special relationship.3) That Christ died for the Corinthians (1Cor. 1:13) or Galatians (cf. Gal. 2:20) does not mean He did not die for anyone else.
66 John 5:21--"For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it."Objection: This verse is sometimes used by extreme Calvinists to prove limited atonement whereby Christ gives spiritual life only to the Elect (see Steele, 51).Response:1) “Just as" may indicate it refers to resurrection, not salvation.(And "all who are in the graves" are raised (v. 28), not just some.)2) Even if it refers to salvation, it does not limited to only some (It merely says its source is in God’s will).3) If it referred to salvation of only some, it would contradict other texts in John (3:16; 1 Jn. 2:2) and elsewhere (Rom. 5:19; 2Pet. 2:1).
67 John 6:44 --"No-one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day."Objection: Strong Calvinists say this speak of an irresistible drawing of only some. The word "draw" (elkuo) means to "drag" (Acts 16:19; Js. 2:6). (Sproul, CG, 69-70).Response:1) Some times it means only draw, not drag (cf. Jn. 12:32).2) In Greek OT it can mean draw out of love (Jer. 38:3).3) God is love (1Jn. 4:16) and love works persuasively, not coercively.4) John 12:32 says God "draws" “all men,” and all Calvinists deny universalism.5) “All men" does not mean some men (cf. John 2:24-25).6) Being drawn was through their faith (6:35, 40).
68 B. Christ prayed only for those for whom He died (the elect). John 17:9.--"I pray for them [the disciples]. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours." (v. 9). The "them" refers to His disciples (v.6).Objection: Jesus explicitly denied praying for the "world" of unbelievers. He prayed only for those for whom He died. Response:1) Jesus prayed here only for those who would believe (v. 20), not for all for whom He died.2) He prayed here only for those He would preserve (v. 11).3) Elsewhere He prayed for unbelievers (Lk. 23:34).4) Paul prayed for unbelievers (Rom. 10:1 cf 1 Tim. 2:1).5) Lack of pray for them does not mean He did not love them "I pray daily for my children" doesn’t proves I do not love all children. God’s wants everyone to be His children (Mt. 23:37).
69 C. God only desires to save some Romans 9: "Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand not by works but by him who calls--she was told, `The older will serve the younger.' Just as it is written:`Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’"Objection: It appears that God loves only the elect.Response:1) If so, then He must also hate all the non-elect!2) It is is not speaking about the individual "Jacob" but the "nation" of Jacob (Israel) and the nation of Esau (Edom) (cf. Gen. 25:23).3) Not all individuals in the elect nation of Israel were saved (Rom. 9:2-5).4) Not all individuals in the non-elect nation of Esau (Edom) were lost (Amos 9:12 cf. Rev. 7:9).5) “Hated" means "loved less" (Gen. 29:30-31 cf. Lk. 14:26; Mt. 10:37).
70 C. God only desires to save some Romans 9:18--“Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens”Objection: This appears to support limited atonement, showing God will only to save the some He wants to save.1) Pharaoh hardened his own heart first (Ex. 7:13, 14, 22; 8:15, 32, 34, 35; 8:32; 9:7, 12, 34, 35;10:1, 20, 27).2) Hebrew word "hardened" (chazaq) can mean to "strengthen" (Jud. 3:12; 16:28) or "encourage" (cf. Deut. 1:38; 3:28).4) Even taken in the strong sense, hardening is similar to the way the sun hardens clay and yet melts wax.5) Even strong Calvinists like Sproul agree that God did not harden Pharaoh's heart actively, but only passively by giving him up (Rom. 1:24f.) to his own sinful desires (Sproul, C G, ).6) God was not arbitrary in His mercy since He waited for the vessels of wrath to repent (v. 22).
71 C. God only desires to save some Ephesians 1:11--“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”In Context:1) He save us through our faith (Eph. 1:13; 2:8).2) God’s will is not arbitrary or partial (Rom. 2:11).3) God desires that all will be saved (1Tim. 2:4).4) God’s will is based in His immutable nature (2Tim. 2:13).Out of Context: God loves only some and chooses arbitrarily. He is not essentially loving. This is unfounded:1) It is a form of voluntarism which is unbiblical.2) It is contrary to God’s immutability.3) It is contrary to God’s omnibenevolence.
72 D. “All” Means only Some in Many Texts Acts 2:5-- “…devout men from every nation under heaven.”Response: It is used geographically here, not generically.John 12:19-- The Pharisees… said, “Look, the whole world has gone after him.”Response: 1) It is not affirmed by John but is a quote from the Pharisees. 2) It is a hyperbole and isn’t literally true (cf. Mt. 23:24; Col. 1:23).The Rule: Generically, “all” means all, and that’s all that all means.
73 E. Election is not in accord with foreknowledge. 1Peter 1:2-- “...elect according to the fore knowledge of God.”Rom. 8:29--“Whom he foreknew, He also predestined….” They are simultaneous.Note: What God foreknows, He forechooses, and what He forechooses, he foreknows. They are coordinate eternal acts from all eternity.
74 d. Nowhere is being saved a condition of having faith. F. Regeneration is prior to faith.Ephesians 2:1--”And you has He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”Objection: God must make people alive before they can believe. Dead men don’t believe.a. “Dead” means without spiritual life, not withour the ability to know about it and receive it.b. Adam was spiritually “dead,” yet he could hear God speak to him and he responded (Gen.3:9f).c. Everywhere faith is a condition for being saved (Jn. 3:16, 18,36; 5:24; 20:31; Acts 16:31; Rom. 5:1)d. Nowhere is being saved a condition of having faith.Note: 1 Jn. 5:1 merely affirms those who believe Jesus is the Messiah have been born again. Rather, it says faith is necessary for salvation (vs ).
75 G. Faith for salvation is a gift given only to some. Ephesians 2:8-9--“For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.”Objection: Faith is a gift of God. Only those to whom God gives it can believe.Response:a. God calls on all to believe (Acts 16:31; 17:30).b. All who don’t believe are condemned (Jn. 3:18. 36).c. Salvation is received by faith (see above).d. Ephesians 2:8-9 does not say faith is a gift of God.“For by grace are you saved through faith (pisteos-- feminine) and that (touto--neuter) not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.” They have a different gender.John Calvin’s comment on this text: “He does not mean that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God” (Commentaries ).
76 Conclusions1. Numerous texts taken in context oppose limited atonement.2. Verses used to support limited atonement are taken out of context.3. Both theological and rational arguments are opposed to limited atonement.4. Even John Calvin himself opposed limited atonement.Hence, good exegesis, good reason, and good Calvinism reject limited atonement.