Limited Atonement. Everybody Does It?

We all* limit the atonement.  Some its effectiveness and its efficacy (Arminians), others its extent (Calvinists).

A Calvinist says the death of Christ on the cross actually did something in that moment to free all those from sin and death who had been elected by God (insert one zillion verses here). It didn’t simply create the potential for men and women to be saved, but actually saved them in that instant. In their time, God granted them gift of faith. In this view, God gives a totally dead person mouth to mouth and resuscitates us from a state of death.

An Arminian would say that Christ died for all (insert hundred verses here), thus not limiting the atonement’s extent but rather its efficacy. It gave us the potential to be saved as we come in by our freewill selection choosing to participate in Christ by faith, but did not as a proper act actually secure our salvation when He said, “It is finished.” He gave a severely injured person a wake up slap about the head to awaken them from near unconsciousness and said, “Medical help is here, do you give us permission to administer it?”

Each limit the atonement in some way.

*“all” meaning those who hold to a view of the atonement that Jesus was our substitute. I am aware there are models which say that Jesus was simply a good moral example on the cross, etc. Not smoking those pipes. That post coming soon enough.

Thoughts? Questions?

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Jordan Fowler

Jordan helps small businesses grow as the owner of Moon & Owl Marketing, a marketing and advertising agency in Fort Worth, TX. Lover of cycling, track and field, and borderline Liverpool FC fanatic.

2 thoughts on “Limited Atonement. Everybody Does It?”

  1. Jordan, Great description of the two perspectives. Over the last 3 years or so I have struggled with this idea and I guess for me it comes down to my experience. Apart from Christ I would have never chose Him. Even though I was taught and led to do so growing up. Apart from Him I would have not had the ability to choose Him. Apart from His intervention in my life I would have self destructed long ago. Thank God He did not wait for me but came and rescued me from myself. Keep up the good work! Kevin

  2. This was a great look at one difference between arminians and calvinists! I admire how you explained the issue using words that don’t offend a reader in either group (although it seems there is a bit of sarcasm). Which view, in your opinion, gives God greater glory? In other words, since we can’t add to the glory of God, which view recognizes more of His glory or credits Him with more glory?

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