Withering the TULIP – Limited atonement

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How does limited atonement, which teaches that Christ’s propitiary work was limited to those whom God has elected to be saved, expound these verses?

1Jn 2:2 and *he* is the propitiation for our sins; but not for ours alone, but also for the whole world

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God which carries with it salvation for all men has appeared,

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal

Act 13:47 for thus has the Lord enjoined us: I have set thee for a light of the nations, that thou shouldest be for salvation to the end of the earth

i know i have come across more verses, but I can’t seem to find them. I’ll add them as I find them.

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7 thoughts on “Withering the TULIP – Limited atonement

  1. Yeah this is the one that I have the most trouble with, though the Reformed answers to your prooftexts so exist.

    What would you say that the above verses imply universalism?

  2. Ah, yes, now I remember.
    No i don’t think these verses imply universalism.
    They assure the gospel is universal, salvation is offered to all men, and all the world ‘could potentially’ be saved, but the condition is they all believe. These verses put beyond doubt (at least for me) that no one can say “i’ve no hope of being saved”

    As for universalism, Scripture needs to be read as a whole, while some may suggest that the earth will be saved, that’s not what the Lord says – “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” Luke18:8

    Paul acknowledges this fact : 1Cor9:22 :To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some

    Paul also writes to the Thessalonians, mentioning that there will be a great apostasy when the Lord Jesus returns, and that there will be a multitude who “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2Th2:12). And these will be damned.

    These convince me that the whole world will not be saved (though its not God’s desire that this is so).

  3. Guna:

    Hi there, I noticed you linked to my blog so just wanted to say thank you and reply to this post on “Limited Atonement”. Then hopefully get a chance to browse your blog.

    I personally would hold to the teaching of TULIP. Except I would lean more towards “Limited Redemption” instead of “Limited Atonement”. I would hold to the idea that God did indeed purchase the entire world, and then Redeemed a select few for salvation.

    Also I noticed in your comments that someone asked that your view would then support universalism, and you said no. But in fact if semi-pelagistic flows, one would have to be honest with themselves and come to that conclusion.

    Non Calvinist: “Calvinist says, world doesn’t mean world, but I know it does because of 1 John 2:2…. etc”

    Calvinist: So then if you are saying world always means world then that means no one is going to hell then because of 1 John 2:2.

    If a non-calvinist is honest with themselves then they have to agree with the “Universalist” teaching. If not then they are not sticking with their own logic and are doing what they claim the Calvinist is doing – twisting scripture to fit what they believe.

    That is one way of looking at it, but many Calvinists have no issue with the term “world” and do not try to adjust it in certain ways, but we can discuss this further if you like.

    Ofcourse universalism is very unscriptural, it is very obvious that there are people who land in hell, people who reject Christ and never have a desire in Him.

    But to just quickly answer your verses

    1 John 2:2 – The Advocacy of Christ is limited to believers only (1 John 2:1; 1 John 1:7). While his propitiation extends as far as sin itself (note the term “denying the Lord that bought them in verse 1). The teaching of this can be found in other places too. Of how The world was purchased so that from them a limited number could be redeemed for God’s glory.

    Titus 2:11 – Many explain this verse as referring to “All types of people” and would fit well with the context of the chapter, considering that Paul mentions many types of people at the beginning of the chapter, and shows then in v. 11 that Salvation is good enough for all these people.

    John 3:16 – This is very often quoted, and indeed God looks upon His creation with love. As far as the term “whosoever” goes. We tend to interpret the meaning of it based on what we’ve been told or how we’ve been brought up. Whosoever simply means “All that will”. And the only ones that will believe on the Lord according to John 6, are the ones that are drawn/chosen.

    Acts 13:47 – This isn’t saying that salvation is available for people to do with as they please, but is saying that it is valid to people on every part of the earth, which is true. There are elect from every tribe, nation and tongue.

    This is a wonderful topic to discuss. If you’re interested in discussing it more, in a friendly Christian manner feel free to send me an email and we can discuss it freely that way and after the completion of it, you have my permission to publish it on your blog. (potandtorch@gmail.com). I pray this finds you doing well.

    Watering the Tulip
    Glen

  4. Hi Glen, thanks for posting. Here are some comments:

    Calvinist: So then if you are saying world always means world then that means no one is going to hell then because of 1 John 2:2.

    I think not. Taking the verse in its context, I agree with you that the advocacy of Christ is for believers only (v1). But the the scope of the propitiary work of Christ in v2, as the verse reads, is sufficient not only for Christians, but for the whole world – simply because the work is entirely ‘God-ward’. Because of this, any man’s sins, can be forgiven. I don’t think this is what TULIP teaches – where the scope of propitiary work of Christ is made the same as the scope of Christ’s advocacy. v3-5 dispels any notion of universalism, because, it poses a test to differentiate who belongs to him, and who doesn’t.

    So you, a calvinist, and I a non-calvinist, being honest to ourselves, actually agree that universalism is rubbish.

    If a non-calvinist is honest with themselves then they have to agree with the “Universalist” teaching. If not then they are not sticking with their own logic and are doing what they claim the Calvinist is doing – twisting scripture to fit what they believe.

    i’d have to disagree. All I had to do is read the scripture in context to come to the conclusion that not everyone is saved.

    Titus 2:11 – Many explain this verse as referring to “All types of people” and would fit well with the context of the chapter, considering that Paul mentions many types of people at the beginning of the chapter, and shows then in v. 11 that Salvation is good enough for all these people.

    Going by your reasoning: the different types of people are : 1) older men 2) younger men 3)older women 4)younger women 5)slaves/servants
    So salvation has appeared to all these ‘types’ of people. I couldn’t agree more! The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to any older man, any young man, any older woman, any younger woman, any servant. I don’t see any limitations here as the TULIP proposes. Is it too far fetched to think that the word all simply means what it means – all.

    Whosoever simply means “All that will”

    Care to share where you got that definition from? I checked Strongs and the word whosoever means all, any, every, the whole. So replacing the word in the verse reads, “all who believe”, or “any who believe”, or “every who believe”, or “the whole who believe”. You won’t get “all that will believe”. Sounds similar, but there is a difference. In any case, I wonder, if “all that will believe” refer to the world of the elect, (whose salvation has been guaranteed from before the world), why would John 3:16 even bother to depict them as being in danger of perishing?

    Acts 13:47 – This isn’t saying that salvation is available for people to do with as they please

    where in the world did you get that idea from? haha!

    but is saying that it is valid to people on every part of the earth, which is true. There are elect from every tribe, nation and tongue

    This interpretation hinges on the definition of ‘elect’, which i won’t discuss now. maybe in a later blog post.

  5. Jim B

    Limited vs Unlimited Atonement

    Limited Atonement Foundational Teaching:

    1. Christ died ONLY for the sins of the elect or Church
    2. Christ did NOT die for the sins of the WHOLE world

    List of verses that specifically state any of the above teachings: None

    Unlimited Atonement Foundational Teaching:

    1. Christ died for the sins of the world
    2. Christ is the Savior of the world (or All),(or All Men)

    List of verses that specifically state any of the above teachings:

    I John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.(Kosmos)

    John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the

    world. (Kosmos)

    1 Tim 4:10 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.

    John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world(Kosmos), 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(Kosmos) to condemn the world(kosmos); but that

    the world(Kosmos) through him might be saved.

    John 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that

    this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. (kosmos)

    John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world(kosmos), but to

    save the world. (Kosmos)

    1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.(Kosmos)

    If God wanted us to know that Christ died ONLY for the elect and not for the Whole World:

    – wouldn’t there be multiple passages telling us that it was ONLY for the elect or ONLY for the Church

    – why would there be any verses saying He died for the whole world or for all men (leaving us to reinterpret)

    – wouldn’t there be verses stating that clearly and avoid having verses that “seemingly” state something else

    – would God put us in the position that the mere quoting of His Word would be heresy
    ie. Quoting 1 John 2:2 (sins of the WHOLE world) would be considered false teaching

    Also: Is there any other doctrine where:

    – God has a teaching He wants us to know; ie. Christ died for only the elect

    – but He never tells us that specifically in His Word

    – rather He gives us multiple passages that, when read normally, teach something totally different

    – then God expects us to take those verses and by adding or changing the normal understanding of those verses we would come

    up with what He really wants us to know which is totally different from what He said

    – do you know of any other doctrine that God reveals in such a way

    Now on the other hand , what if God wanted us to know that Christ died for the whole world and all men:

    – what verses would He use to tell us

    – wouldn’t He use verses that speak of Christ being the Savior of the World

    – wouldn’t He use verses that speak of Christ being the Savior of All Men

    – wouldn’t He use verses that speak of Christ taking away the sin of the world

    If God wanted us to know that His Son died for the whole world:

    – WHAT POSSIBLE VERSES could He have used that He did not use in His Word already

    Don’t Ignore Two of the Basic Rules for Interpreting Scripture

    1. Use the literal, historical, grammatical sense – use the normal meaning of the word
    2. Exegesis – draw the meaning out of the text – don’t use eisegesis – reading one’s own ideas into the text

    John 3:18 & 8:24 say that people are condemned for not believing

    – what don’t they believe for which they are condemned?

    – if Christ did not die for them, how can they be condemned for not believing Christ died for them?

    2 Cor 4:3-4 states that Satan has blinded unbelievers

    – why would Satan hide the Gospel from the nonelect

    – why would it make any difference if the Gospel shined on them

    – why does Satan bother blinding them if the Gospel doesn’t include them anyway

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