Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Limited Atonement: Responding to Objection Passages

Note:  Last Sunday in Lynchburg, we continued our series on the Doctrines of Grace.  I did a follow-up to my message on “Limited Atonement” with a message on “Objection Passages to Limited Atonement.”  Below is part of the introduction to the message along with the eight objection passages I reviewed:

Many of the objections raised against the doctrine of Limited Atonement relate to the interpretation of various passages using the word “all.”  Those who object usually take for granted that the word “all” in every instance refers to “all humanity.”  When read in context, however, the word “all” very often refers to “all the elect.”

We make this kind of discernment in everyday life.  One might hear the following report on the news:  “There was an accident involving a single vehicle with four passengers.  All were killed.”  Upon listening to this report, one does not suppose that all human beings were killed or that all the people in the city were killed in the accident.  The context makes clear that “all” refers to all the passengers.  Knowing the context is a key to right interpretation.  Many read the Gospels and the epistles as universal missives to all humanity, rather than as communication written to a particular audience.  This clouds their ability to understand these passages.

Many also confuse the astonishment expressed in the New Testament over the fact that both Jews and Gentiles (all kinds of men; men from the whole world) are being saved.  Paul, for example, is staggered with amazement that in Christ “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ through the same gospel” (Eph 3:6).  Some confuse this emphasis with the notion that all men without exception are redeemed (universalism) or potentially redeemed (Arminianism).

Here are the eight objection passages reviewed:

1.  John 1:29


2.  John 3:16


3.  John 12:32


4.  2 Corinthians 5:14-15


5.  1 Timothy 2:1-7


6.  2 Peter 3:9


7.  1 John 2:2


8.  2 Peter 2:1

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