Thursday, September 20, 2007

Limited Atonement
A Great Heresy
The doctrine that is called "limited atonement" is a heresy that is only eclipsed by salvation through works and the denying of Christ's divinity. It teaches that the Lamb of God, Jesus the Christ, only died for a very few upon the cross. God chose a "few" that would "find" the narrow path and Christ came only to die for them and no others. So you can never have the assurance that when you witness to someone that Jesus actually died for that person. Jesus may not have died for your children, your husband or wife, your mother or father, only God knows who Jesus died for and by His own admission the total pool of sinners that Jesus suffered for is very small.
One of the great mysteries in the theological metamorphosis is how can anyone really believe that since the Scriptures are very clear about who Jesus came to provide a ransom for? So read these verses and without attempting to make them fit into any preconceived doctrine what do they openly teach? Would a saved man stranded on an island, new in his faith, and with only a Bible and a dictionary, ever come to believe this teaching?

Matt.11:28 - Come unto me ALL you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you(all) rest.
Jesus beckons all who are under the labor of their sinful condition and promises that He will give rest to all of them.

Jn.1:29 - The next day John sees Jesus coming unto him and says, Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the SIN OF THE WORLD.
John proclaims Jesus as the world’s sin bearer, not just the sin of a few.

Jn.3:14 - And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the Son of man be lifted up.
Moses tells us that the serpent was lifted up for “every one that was bitten”(Numbers 21:8), just like Christ is lifted for every person bitten by sin.

Jn.3:16 - For God so loved the WORLD that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
It is disingenuous to torture the clear meaning of the word “world” as meaning just the elect.

Jn.3:18 - He that believes on Him is not condemned, but he that believes not is condemned BECAUSE HE HAS NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The Word says that part of the condemnation is that of unbelief in Jesus and His atonement that was sent (vs.16), but according to the limited teaching they must be condemned because of something that was never offered.

I Tim. 2:4-6 - Who will have ALL men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one mediator between God and MEN, the man Christ Jesus who gave Himself a RANSOM FOR ALL;
All men means all men. And after Paul reveals God’s will he shows who it was that is a ransom for all. How can this be misunderstood?

II Cor.5:18-19 - And all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit that God was in Christ RECONCILING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF, not imputing their trespasses unto them;
Jesus has reconciled the world unto Himself, so what keeps the world from receiving that reconciliation? Unbelief, not God’s own refusal to offer most reconciliation.

Heb. 2:9 - But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He by the GRACE of God should TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.
Come on, it takes unscrupulous twisting to misread this clear statement.

II Pet.2:1 - But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, EVEN DENYING THE LORD THAT BOUGHT THEM, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
How can they deny the Lord who bought them if He didn’t?

I Jn:14 - And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.
I cannot see that to mean “Savior of the elect” unless you already have a preconceived theology gleaned from other books.

I Jn.2:2 - And He is the propitiation for OUR SINS: and not for ours only, BUT ALSO FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD.
John wants the saints to be aware that not only is Jesus the propitiation for their sins, but for the sins of the whole world. Again, I feel like I understand not only English, but I understand the point John is making. Simple.

Jn 3:16 - For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the WORLD through Him MIGHT BE SAVED.
The greatest verse in the New Testament clearly states the obvious unless your theology demands a tweeking of the word “world” when necessary. It is dishonest.

With overly sufficient evidence to reveal that the Savior of the world suffered for every man, let me just list these additional verses.

John 3:36, John 5:24, John 6:35, John 6:37, John 6:44, John 6:47, John 7:37John 8:24, John 9:35, 38, John 10:9, John 10:26-30, John 11:25-26.

I would also suggest reading the entire New Testament in one week with an open mind without any redefining of words and see if the Spirit reveals the open redemption that our Lord so lovingly and graciously has offered to all who believe.

A couple of observations that further complicate what is a gloriously simple truth.
The limited atonement does the following:

*Destroys the teaching of holiness in life as important and as a proof of one’s election. If you are elect than you are elect and if Jesus did not die for you than you need not attempt to live as Christ has instructed us to. If you struggle with sin perhaps that sin wasn’t forgiven at the cross.

* Destroys a person’s inclination to believe on Christ since the devil has convinced him Christ did not die for him. People who struggle with faith and are taught that perhaps Jesus did not die for them would be great fodder for the devil’s lies.

* It presumes that as Jesus was nailed to the cross to die for sins, He was well able to die for everyone and provide a redemption for the entire world, but he chose not to. Can you imagine Jesus is about to be nailed to the cross and He has the power and capacity to die for everyone, but He chooses not to? The greatest act of love is not offered to all from the God who is love?

* The early apostles believed in limited atonement until they were corrected by the Apostle Paul and Peter’s testimony concerning the conversion of Cornelius. The counsel at Jerusalem affirmed that Gentiles were included in the atonement of Christ without James, Peter, or Paul ever teaching that only certain Gentiles were chosen of Christ and not others. They powerfully went out in the secure knowledge that every person to whom they would witness Christ had died for.

There is so much more, but I have always believed if the Scriptures were clear about anything, they were clear that Jesus died for every man. Even some reformed have doubts about that particular petal. Do not believe it, it is a lie.

Jesus the Son of the Living God shed His blood for the entire world and we humbly praise His matchless name.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why you think those verses are an argument against limited atonement. Here is an example from Calvin of what limited atonement is: Calvin says of one of the two theives on the cross next to him, "Our Lord made effective for him his death and passion which he suffered and endured for all mankind." That's what is meant by limited atonement. Calvin says Christ suffered and endured for all mankind (similarly to many of the verses you expressed) and this payment is sufficient to pay for the sins of all, and this payment pays for the sins of all who believe, like one of the theives. Sufficient for all mankind, and efficient for all who believe. That's limited atonement.
The Synod of Dort, a traditional Reformed standard, says, “The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin; is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.” The 19th century Presbyterian W. G. T. Shedd said it this way: “Christ’s death is sufficient in value to satisfy eternal justice for the sins of all mankind…Sufficient we say, then, was the sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of the whole world, and for the expiation of all the sins for all and every man in the world.” Perhaps you are a universalist and believe all will be saved, but if not, then you believe in some form of limited atonement.

Anonymous said...


Great post.

Anonymous said...

Note that the Calvinist quotes the confessions and creeds of men.

Thanks, for a great post Rick.

Unknown said...

Given the way you define Limited Atonement, I agree with your post.

Unknown said...

KC, given the way you define LA, I think you and Rick are not that far off from teaching the same thing.

Unknown said...

everyday mommy - you should read more. I haven't seen either side of this start with confessions and creeds of men. Both sides believe they are Scripturally based.

The confessions and creeds come out of that. Calvinism (the TULIP) came as a confrontation to Arminian confessions.

j.r. - spot on. A lot of the debate between to two sides are focused on improper definition. However the the difference is a watershed point so in the end, while the difference in the detail is small, the end point is worlds apart.

Rick Frueh said...

Rick - I do not subscribe to any confessions or creeds, and my beliefs are articulated by me in real time and not by dragging out hundred year old written confessions by men I never heard speak or cannot be questioned today.

The trotting out of these confessions is on some level lazy. Let us be eager to teach and spread our own views in our own words, fresh from the Spirit's classroom of our own heart and not just Wesley, Spurgeon or Calvin. Read them and learn, but this copy and paste reveals a Scriptural laziness today and a level of idolatry of former preachers.

Rick Frueh said...

You are right Rick, a rifle that shoots in the middle of a target 100 yards away, if moved only an indistinguishable degree to the left will miss the same hole by 8 feet.

The doctrine of unconditional election directs all of Calvin's teachings including Limited Atonement. Some mean, as in my previous article, that in the end only the redeemed will be cleansed by that atonement. What Calvin insists is that none of the atonement was ever offered for the non elect.

Anonymous said...

I am really beggining to feel as if no one has ever studied the original language the Word of God was written in.... Whoever wrote this makes me :'C