Where is the love of God in Calvinism? Part 7
Limited Atonement: Did Christ Die for the Whole World?
As previously posted, Calvinism restricts the love of God by suggesting that God has only chosen to save a few and condemn the rest (Unconditional Election). Accepting this point logically leads to the thought that Christ did not die for the sins of the whole world, but rather for the sins of only the elect. Calvinists teach that their doctrine of limited atonement limits the atonement to only the elect. Calvin stated, “All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life and others to eternal damnation.”
The importance of Limited Atonement to Calvin’s system
Many who claim to be Calvinists declare themselves as four-point Calvinists, leaving out the idea of Limited Atonement as unnecessary.
Leading Calvinist authorities, however, believe such “four-point” Calvinists are guilty of abandoning the entire system:
- A. Hodge: “If they [critics of Calvinism] could prove that the love which prompted God to give his Son to die, as a sin offering…had for its objects all men…that Christ actually sacrificed His life with the purpose of saving all…on the condition of faith, then…the central principle of Arminianism is true and, by default, Calvinism is false…” (This idea that Hodge defines as given by the critics of Calvinism is a clearly defined Biblical doctrine. 2 Corinthians 5:15 (KJB) “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” This statement leads to why Calvinist must have you believe that some words in the Bible do not mean what they clearly say.)
- Steele and Thomas: “Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners….The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation.” (What proof does the Calvinist give for “all”, “whosoever”, ‘world’, ‘everyone’ etc meaning the elect? Because they say so – there is no Biblical evidence.)
- How do Calvinists treat John 3:16?
- John 3:16 declares that God (1) so loved the world (the whole world, no limitation) that He
- (2) gave His only begotten Son (to be born and ultimately die for sins). John 3:16 clearly states that the atonement would be made for the whole world.
- C. Sproul (leading contemporary Calvinist) writes concerning John 3:16—“The world for whom Christ died cannot mean the entire human family. It must refer to the universality of the elect (people from every tribe and nation).” (No proof—just another Calvinist declaration!)
- John Owen states, “That the world here cannot signify all that ever were or should be is as manifest as if it were written with the beams of the sun….” (No proof—just another Calvinist declaration!)
- Palmer: “Because God has loved certain ones and not all, because He has sovereignly and immutably determined that these particular ones will be saved, He sent His Son to die for them, to save them, and not all the world.” (No proof—just another Calvinist declaration!)
What does the Bible say concerning the scope of Christ’s atonement?
Isaiah 53:6 (KJB) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
John 1:29 (KJB) “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
John 3:14-18,36 (KJB) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
John 7:37 (KJB) “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”
Romans 1:16 (KJB) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Romans 5:6 (KJB) “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Galatians 3:22 (KJB) “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”
1 Timothy 2:4 (KJB) “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:6 (KJB) “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
1 Timothy 4:10 (KJB) “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”
Hebrews 2:9 (KJB) “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
2 Peter 3:9 (KJB) “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
1 John 2:2 (KJB) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 John 4:14 (KJB) “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”
How to Calvinists explain these verses? By systematically changing words such as “all”, “whosoever” and “world” to “elect” and “church.” There is no justification for doing such violence to the scripture! These same words “all”, “world”, “whosoever”, “elect” and “church” in all other scripture are accepted using the clear definition of the words by Calvinists. What justification does the Calvinist offer for taking such liberties with God’s inspired, inerrant word? None, but the real answer is without taking this liberty their theology simply can not exist.
Imagine, if we used the same theory about changing words in our world today.
God used words in the Bible to make His thoughts abundantly clear even to a child. The truth is there is NO justification for what the Calvinists have done to God’s Word. Another truth is the only way you can be saved is by faith. If God forced salvation on only the elect – where is the requirement for love in this? God desires our love – a relationship and how would this develop if one day – poof – your saved and you have no say in the matter. Could this explain the dramatic lack of soul winning from Calvinist? If only the elect are saved what need is there for soul winning? What need is there for a preacher, a missionary, the Bible, a church?
Does the Bible give any justification for changing the clear definition of the words all, world, elect, church, whosoever? No, not in the least. But Calvinist use many words to explain why things are the way they say so. Our answer – sorry we will stay with the clear, simple Word of God. Colossians 2:8 (KJB) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Ecclesiastes 5:7 (KJB) For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.
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