Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/Calvinism

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Calvinism Part II C -  Limited Atonement

 Calvinism denies that Christ died for the whole world, claiming that since God unconditionally elects those whom He will save, the atonement is logically limited only to those whom He has elected.

Carol Brooks.

Index To All Sections

 Part 1: An Introduction to John Calvin and his Doctrines of Grace

Part 2Introduction to the acronym T.U.L.I.P - each letter standing for one of the five fundamental tenets of Calvinism.
  2A. Total Inability
2BUnconditional Election
You Are Here 001orange 2C. Limited Atonement
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of The Saints

Part 3: When the Gospel Becomes a Lie
Part 4:
God.. God’s Sovereignty, Character and Will.
Part 5:
Hypocrisy Unlimited
Part 6:

Part 7: The Sins of Augustine. Early Church Theologians


On This Page

Limited Atonement 
Calvinism claims that Christ died only for the sins of the elect not the whole world, .

The "World"
When the vast majority of people read the word world they take it to mean the entire planet. Not so Calvinists. However, their 'proof texts' constitute a classic case of cherry picking

'All' Men
Calvinists argue that all doesn't always mean every single person. This is true in some cases. However, 1 Timothy 2:1-6 has to be taken into consideration.

Ephesians 1
Some verses in this chapter seem to support the idea of predestination if one ignores Paul's the broad picture Paul is painting. 

Moses, the bronze serpent and the Cross

God "Gives"
John 6:33 says the bread of God comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world. Arthur Pink claims that Christ did not say, life was 'offered' to the world," but 'given', which necessarily implies its acceptance. Perhaps, if you ignore the Greek.

The Marriage Feast

Bought with Christ's Blood

 Absurd Logic

Limited Atonement
is the third letter of the acronym TULIP.

Introduction: Calvinism denies that Christ died for the whole world, claiming that since God unconditionally elects those whom He will save the atonement is logically limited only to those whom He has elected - Christ died only for the sins of the elect. However Calvinists are usually careful to say that Christ's blood could have saved all men if God had wished it.

    "... God so willed, Christ's death could have saved every member of the human race. Christ would not have had to suffer any more or do anything different to save every human who ever lived than He did in securing the salvation of the elect. But that was not God's purpose in sending Christ to the cross. God's purpose in the atonement was that Jesus would secure forever the salvation of those the Father had given to Him (Hebrews 7:25). Therefore while Christ's atonement was limited in its intent or purpose, it was unlimited in its power. [01]

In order to 'prove' this theory, a straightforward reading of simple Biblical texts will not do. Instead, they have to be interpreted to suit the doctrine. Take for example, the word 'world' used over 180 times in the New Testament.

The "World"
When the vast majority of people read the word world they take it to mean the entire planet. Not so Calvinists. Their theology becomes the deciding factor in determining what the word means. Here again is what Got Questions Ministries. has to say...

    However, these verses are easily reconciled with the many other verses that support the doctrine of limited atonement simply by recognizing that often the Bible uses the words "world" or " all" in a limited sense. They do not automatically mean "every individual in the entire world." This is evident when just a few verses are considered. In Luke 2:1 it is recorded that a " decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered," and Luke 2:3 says, " So all went to be registered everyone to his own city." But, clearly, it is not talking about every individual in the whole world. Caesar's decree did not apply to the Japanese, Chinese or countless other people throughout the world. [02]

Using Luke 2:1 to show that the Bible uses the word 'world' in a limited sense is a classic case of cherry picking.

The word world in Luke 2:1 was translated from the Greek oikoumene - used only about 15 times in the New Testament. Although ioikoumene can mean the earth as a whole, Both Strong's and Thayer's Greek definitions say it can also specifically mean the Roman empire, which is how it is used in the following examples...

    One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world (Gk.oikoumene). And this took place in the reign of Claudius.  (Acts 11:28 NASB)

    For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world (Gk.oikoumene), and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.  (Acts 24:5 NASB)

But in the following examples oikoumene is definitely used for the entire earth.

    men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world (Gk.oikoumene), for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:26 NASB)

    Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world (Gk.oikoumene), to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:10 NASB)

    And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world (Gk.oikoumene); he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  (Revelation 12:9 NASB)

Besides which, the vast majority of occurrences of world' in the New Testament have been translated from the Greek kosmos - used over 180 times in the New Testament. kosmos virtually always indicates the entire planet. Here is a random sample,

    For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world  (Gk. kosmos) until now, nor ever will. (Matthew 24:21 NASB)

    And He said to them, "Go into all the world (Gk. kosmos) and preach the gospel to all creation. (Mark 16:15 NASB)

    And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world (Gk. kosmos) itself *would not contain the books that *would be written. (John 21:25 NASB)

    Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (Gk. kosmos). (James 1:27 NASB)

1 John 2:1-2 very unambiguously demonstrates that the atonement was not "limited in its intent", but was for all people. It can not be explained any other way. The fact that John addresses his comments to his "little children" shows that he was speaking to born again, regenerated Christians telling them that Jesus was not only the propitiation for their sins but the sins of the entire world (Gk. kosmos).

    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (Gk. kosmos).

If kosmos in the above text literally includes all people, then kosmos in these others have to as well.

    The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and *said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (Gk. kosmos)   (John 1:29 NASB)

    For God so loved the world (Gk. kosmos) , that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the Son into the world (Gk. kosmos) to judge the world (Gk. kosmos), but that the world (Gk. kosmos) might be saved through Him. "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18 NASB)

    If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world (Gk. kosmos) , but to save the world (Gk. kosmos) (John 12:47 NASB)

    We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (Gk. kosmos). (1 John 4:14 NASB)

John 3:16
is probably the best known verse in the Bible...

    "For God so loved (Gk. agapao) the world (Gk. kosmos), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. ( See Footnote on  agapao)

Calvinist Arthur Pink, one of the very influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century, decided that although John said that God loved the world, but since God does not love every single individual on the planet, the world has to refer only to those individuals that God loves... ie. the elect.

If Pink was right and the world means only the elect, this is how the verse could read...

    For God so loved the elect, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever (Gk. pas) believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Which leaves the big question of what to do with the word whoever, which is obviously inconsistent with what Calvinism says the verse means. Or should we read the verse as... God loves the elect and "whoever of the elect believes" in Him will not perish.

That would not work for Calvinism either, since it makes a hash of the doctrine of Irresistible Grace, which says those pre-elected to salvation cannot resist God's grace and have no choice but to be saved. In the final analysis, there is no question that the verse makes perfect sense if the words are allowed to say what the words say. In this case the word world means the world.

See God's Love Hate Relationship With The World

"All" Men
The Bible often makes the point that ALL men are drawn, ALL men are given light and the Holy Spirit reproves ALL the world. One example among many is when Jesus said 

    "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all (Gk. pas) men to Myself."  (John 12:32 NASB)

An unforced reading of the passages in question indicate the universality of the salvation offer however, Calvinists argue that all doesn't always mean every single person.

It is certainly true that when the New Testament uses the words "all" it does not automatically mean every single person on the planet, but is used in a more limited sense. For example, in the following verses Caesar's decree did not apply to the inhabitants of China or Brazil, and John the Baptist did not baptize every single Judean and citizen of Jerusalem,

    Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all (Gk. pas) the inhabited earth (Gk. oikoumene) This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone (Gk. pas) was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. (Luke 2:1-3 NASB)

      Note: I have absolutely no idea why, in this case the NASB renders oikoumene as 'inhabited earth' (they are the only ones that do so). Most Bible versions say 'the world', a few say 'the empire' or 'Roman Empire which, as mentioned earlier, are legitimate translations.

    Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all (Gk. pas) Judea and all (Gk. pas) the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. (Matthew 3:5-6 NASB)

So how can one know that Jesus was talking about every single person when He said he would draw all men to Him (John 12:32) The answer is in the book of 1 Timothy when Paul uses the same Greek word pas (all) five times in three consecutive sentences.

    (1) First of all (Gk. pas), then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all (Gk. pas) men, (2) for kings and all (Gk. pas) who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all (Gk. pas) godliness and dignity. (3) This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires all (Gk. pas) men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (5) For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (6) who gave Himself as a ransom for all (Gk. pas), the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:1-6 NASB)

Let's look at the two possibilities here..

    1) If "all men" in verse 1 means just the elect, then Paul is apparently telling us we are only to pray for certain people in authority.. those that number among the elect (How we are supposed to know who among our wonderful government officials is one of the "elect" is a quandary in itself).

    2) However, if in verses 1 and 2 pas means every single person in authority, how come the same Greek word pas in verses 4 (God desires all men to be saved) and 6 (Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all) refer only to the elect?

Neither option makes a whit of sense, but what does make sense is a plain reading of the passage in which Paul makes the point that since God gave Himself for all men and therefore all men can be saved, we should pray for all men. Which means that the pas in the following verses also mean every single person.

    "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all (Gk. pas) people everywhere should repent, (Acts 17:30 NASB)

    But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone (Gk. pas)  (Hebrews 2:9 NASB)

    The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all (Gk. pas) to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NASB)

When Peter healed Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, the Bible is specific that all that dwelt at Lydda and in Sharon turned to the Lord because they witnessed the healing.

    Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed." Immediately he got up. And all (Gk. pas) who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:34-35 NASB)

Also consider Romans 11:32 that says all who are disobedient are the same all to whom God shows mercy.

    "For God has shut up all (Gk. pas) in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all (Gk. pas)."

Note: When Luke said all the people from Judea and around the Jordan were flocking to John the Baptist, he obviously did not mean that every single person was doing so. He was using hyperbole to show that a very large number of people were going to John.

"All" in The Old Testament

Besides which, numerous Old Testament passages unarguably show that God freely offers salvation to everyone who believes. For example the invitation in Isaiah 55:1 cannot be limited to only the elect since it is extended to "every one who thirsts"

    "Ho! Every one (Hebrew kôl) who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.  (Isaiah 55:1 NASB)

Incidentally these words are almost duplicated in the last book of the Bible

    The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.  (Revelation 22:17 NASB)

Isaiah 53:6: When the prophet said all of us have gone astray we know he meant every single human being on the face of this earth. Therefore when he said the iniquity of all has been laid on Jesus, how can we doubt that he meant the entire human race?

    All (Heb. kôl) of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all (Heb. kôl) to fall on Him.  (Isaiah 53:6 NASB)

Incidentally the verse clearly states that we have gone astray, not that we were born that way..

And what should we do with these two verses from Ezekiel, especially in light of the fact that Calvinism often says the salvation of the elect and the damnation of the non-elect is "the good pleasure of His will." However, in the first verse quoted God explicitly states that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked and prefers that they turn from sin and live.

    "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord God, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?' (Ezekiel 33:11 NASB)

    "When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. "Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. (Ezekiel 18:26-27 NASB)

The first chapter of Ephesians especially verse 5, and 11 are thought to be very convincing and are often quoted in the argument for predestination. And they certainly seem to support the idea if one ignores the broad picture being painted. 

Ephesians chapters 1-3 are largely devoted to the subject of how God's plan of salvation was planned from all eternity was not limited to the Jews but included the Gentiles, i.e. there was no longer a middle wall of partition between the two groups. He also wished to remind this non-Jewish church how greatly blessed they were when they came to salvation in Christ and encourage them to live their lives worthy of the calling they had received.

What we need to pay attention to is the fact that Paul's main emphasis through Ephesians 1:12 is on God's purpose for the Jews. He begins by identifying himself with the Jews who were "the first to hope in Christ". (Romans 1:16 - salvation came first to the Jew). 

    (3)  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  (4)  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love  (5)  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, (Ephesians 1:3-5 NASB)

    also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:11-12 NASB)

These verses say they were chose in Him before the foundation of the world, predestined to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to His will and predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

There is no question that God works all things after the counsel of His will, but what specific plan was Paul talking about?

This becomes clear when in verse 13, Paul begins speaking in the second person telling the Gentile Ephesian church that they also heard the message believed and were "sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise".

    In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB)

In summary, Ephesians 1 is simply telling us that according to His will, God predestined both Jew and Gentile to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, this strongly emphasized in chapter 2.

    and He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, (Ephesians 2:17-21 NASB)

In further support of this, note that chapter 9 speaks of the 'mystery of His will'

We usually think of a mystery as something that we have to figure out. For example a murder mystery is a "whodunit". However, when the Bible speaks of a "mystery", it does not mean something that is difficult to understand, or even incomprehensible. In Scripture, the word refers to something that had not previously been revealed. In this case, Paul says this mystery now revealed to the apostles and prophets was that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel

    (3) that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.  (4) By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,  (5) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;  (6)  to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,  (7) of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.  (8)  To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, (Ephesians 3:3-8 NASB)

Note: Revelation 10:7 tells us when the mystery of God comes to an end - when the doors to the Kingdom are closed forever and there will be no possibility of redemption for any that have not yet become a disciple of the Lamb -  "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets. See The End Of The Age Part IV... The Seventh Trumpet

In Christian theology typology is the study of types - prefigurative symbols in Scripture. They can be

    1) An actual historical thing or event which, at the time it occurred, was a rough draft or glimpse, of one or more actual events yet to come, although the significance may not have been apparent at the original occurrence.

    2) A type can also be a person who prefigured the Messiah in some way. These 'personal' types were in addition to the many specific Old Testament Messianic prophecies.

In other words, a type was one or more event or person that foreshadowed, pointed to, and culminated in one final and very important event (or person) called the antitype. [See Understanding Typology

John 3:14 gives us a clear example of a type,

    As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;  (John 3:14 NASB)

John was referring to an incident in Numbers when, in punishment for their rebellion, the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people that bit and killed many of them. When the people confessed that they had sinned and begged Moses to intercede with the Lord, then

    ... the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live." And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. (Numbers 21:8-9 NASB)

The literal lifting up the bronze serpent so that the people could be healed is a type of Jesus who was lifted up on a cross for the salvation of the world. However note that it says looking upon the brass serpent was sufficient to save all those who had been bitten by the snakes. The afflicted person had simply to look upon the brass serpent in faith. This plan remained unchanged throughout the Bible as shown by Isaiah 45:22, a plain prediction of the universal spread of the salvation of God through Christ, and the means to achieve that salvation.

    "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.  (Isaiah 45:22 NASB)

God "Gives"
"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives (Gk. didomi) life to the world."  (John 6:33 NASB)

Arthur Pink, made the following comment,

    Now mark it well, Christ did not say, "offereth life unto the world," but "giveth." What is the difference between the two terms? This: a thing which is "offered" may be refused, but a thing "given," necessarily implies its acceptance. If it is not accepted it is not "given," it is simply proffered. Here, then, is a Scripture that positively states Christ giveth life (spiritual, eternal life) "unto the world." Now He does not give eternal life to the "world of the ungodly" for they will not have it, they do not want it. Hence, we are obliged to understand the reference in John 6:33 as being to "the world of the godly," i.e., God's own people. [03]

This is a not so clever attempt to bolster the Calvinist position because the Greek word didomi in John 6:33 can legitimately be rendered "offer". As Strong's Lexicon says, although it is largely used in the sense of give, it has very wide application, greatly modified by the connection. The first example below is a well know verse that tells us Jesus was given something which He refused. In other words, it was offered Him.

    They tried to give (Gk. didomi) Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it.  (Mark 15:23 NASB)

In this second example, an evil generation was given the sign of the prophet Jonah but, as we know, most of them did not accept this sign.

    "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah." And He left them and went away. (Matthew 16:4 NASB)

Didomi is also used of offers that are conditional as in the following example,

    and he said to Him, "All these things I will give (Gk. didomi) You, if You fall down and worship me." (Matthew 4:9 NASB)

Note: Not all the passages in the Scriptures that speak of God's promises expressly mention the conditions that have to be met in order for Him to keep those promises. This does not mean that the conditions do not exist and have not been made very clear... they just aren't in the same verse.

The Marriage Feast
Matthew 22:9: Go ye therefore unto the partings of the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage feast.  

In regard to this verse I find it extremely interesting that gotquestions.org (also quoted above) says this about the marriage feast

    Note that it is not because the invited guests could not come to the wedding feast, but that they would not come (see Luke 13:34). Everyone had an excuse. How tragic, and how indicative of human nature, to be offered the blessings of God and to refuse them because of the draw of mundane things! [04]

Yet on their page What is Calvinism and is it Biblical? they say (All Emphasis Added)

    Unconditional Election - Because man is dead in sin, he is unable to initiate response to God; therefore, in eternity past God elected certain people to salvation. Election and predestination are unconditional; they are not based on man’s response (Romans 8:29-30; 9:11; Ephesians 1:4-6,11-12) because man is unable to respond, nor does he want to.  [05]

I am afraid that I totally fail to see how in the world can people be chided for failing to "seek out God" if, as Calvinism preaches, man is not only unable to respond to the Gospel, but doesn't even want to.

John 5:40 (and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.) only re-emphasizes that people are quite capable of coming to God's marriage feast, but will not. 

2 Peter 2:1
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought (Gk. agorazo) them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1 NASB)

Being bought with Christ's blood means He recovered ownership by paying a specified sum. In other words, the people He 'bought' were redeemed.

    For you have been bought (Gk. agorazo) with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  (1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB)

    For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought (Gk. agorazo) with a price; do not become slaves of men. (1 Corinthians 7:22-23 NASB)

So Peter's statement that the false teachers were "bought" means that they were also redeemed by Jesus Christ. This does not tally with the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement i.e. Christ died only for the elect. And this is not the only verse that suggests that people fell away who once knew the Lord. For example, Paul urged the Romans to not do anything that would result in their brother perishing 

    For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. (Romans 14:15 NASB)

The Reformed view of redemption would make destruction impossible for the elect saved by Christ's atonement and drawn in by God's Irresistible Grace.

Finally, how's this for a bit of convoluted and absurd logic by Got questions ministries?

    Another common misunderstanding about the doctrine of limited atonement is that it somehow lessens or diminishes the love of God for humanity. Yet, again, exactly the opposite is true. Of all of the doctrines of grace, the doctrine of limited atonement, when correctly understood, magnifies the love of God; it does not diminish it.

    Limited atonement reinforces the intensive love of God that is revealed in the Bible. God loves His people with a love that saves them from their sin, as opposed to the love of the unlimited atonement view that sees God's love as being more general in nature. In the unlimited atonement view, He loves everyone in general but saves no one in particular and, in fact, leaves the matter of their salvation up to them. Which is more loving, a love that actually saves people or a love that makes salvation "possible" to those who are dead in trespasses and sins and unable to choose God? [06]

Words fail me but I'll give it a shot.

The question "Which is more loving, a love that actually saves people or a love that makes salvation "possible" to those who are dead in trespasses and sins and unable to choose God?" does not take in to account that this "love" that actually saves some people leaves other to their doom regardless of what they might want.

On the other hand God's invitation to eternal life is given everyone - the final decision is left to every person to make for themselves. 


In John 3:16 the English love was translated from the Greek agapao, which is distinct from erotic love (eros) or simple affection (philia).

Agape is not a sickly sweet much sentimentality that never says a cross word or steps someone's toes. In fact Agape is not even based on emotion. If a boat were to overturn midstream, one would not have to have fond feelings for every single individual person in the water in order to set a rescue operation into motion. Indeed one may even actively dislike a person or two, but would throw them a life preserver anyway. And should one of the endangered people in the water refuse the life preserver and drown, I am sure that most of us would be quite upset. [PLACE IN TEXT]


End Notes - Limited Atonement

[01] Got Questions Ministries. Limited Atonement - is it Biblical? http://www.gotquestions.org/limited-atonement.html

[02] ibid.

[03] Arthur W. Pink. Sovereignty of God.Lulu.com, 2007. Chapter 11 - Difficulties and Objections. Page 127. Online at

[04] Got Questions Ministries. What is the meaning of the Parable of the Wedding Feast?

[05] Got Questions Ministries. What is Calvinism and is it Biblical? What are the five points of Calvinism?

[06] Got Questions Ministries. Limited Atonement - is it Biblical? http://www.gotquestions.org/limited-atonement.html


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