Did Christ Die For All? -- By: Samuel Telloyan
CenQ 10:4 (Winter 1967) p. 15
Did Christ Die For All?
The question considered in this study of the Bible is, “For whom did Christ die?” Some answer, “For all.” Others answer, “Only for the elect.” What sayeth the Scriptures?
Those known as Arminians hold that Christ’s death was for all men alike, and that it secured for everyone a measure of common grace whereby all are able to believe if they will. This Arminian view is not the subject of this investigation; only the differences among Calvinists are here being examined.
Those who consider that Christ died only for the elect can for convenience be referred to as limited redemptionists. By limited redemption or limited atonement, according to Thomas Simmons, is meant “that Christ died for the elect and for the elect only; that the value and design or application, the sufficiency and efficiency of it are the same; that Christ in no sense whatsoever died for any that shall perish in hell.”
Berkhof has stated it precisely: “Did God in sending His Son into the world to be the Savior of sinners, and did Christ by taking upon Himself the work of redemption, intend to save all men, that is, all the individuals of the human race; or did they intend to save only the elect?”
Those who feel that this position is not true to Scripture, the unlimited redemptionists, say that Christ Jesus died for all, but only those who trust Him receive eternal life. Chafer says of this group, which he calls moderate Calvinists: “Men of this group believe that Christ died actually and fully for all men of this age alike, that God has ordained that the gospel shall be preached to all for whom Christ died, and that through the proclamation of the gospel He will exercise His sovereign power in saving His elect. This group believe in the absolute depravity of man and his total inability to believe apart from the enabling power of the Spirit,
CenQ 10:4 (Winter 1967) p. 16
and that the death of Christ… is a sufficient ground for any and every man to be saved, should the Spirit of God choose to draw him. They contend that the death of Christ of itself saves no man, either actually or potentially, but that it does render all men savable; that salvation is wrought of God alone, and at the time the individual believes.”
Now, the task is to examine the arguments for and against the limited and unlimited atonement.
The Limited Atonement
Arguments for Limited Atonement. Some who have held to limited atonement in the past were Augustine, Wycliffe, Luther, Spurgeon, Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards.
The first argument for the limited redemption rests on the tenet of...
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