Let's hear it for Limited Atonement!


#1

Limited atonement is the (Calvinist) doctrine that Christ did not die for all but only for the elect. His atoning sacrifice covers ALL their sins. If He had died for all, then all would be forgiven. In my limited and foggy thology that is about all I understand about it.

I am sure all the Catholics agree with this and will only have nice things to say about it.:rolleyes:


#2

Chuckle, chuckle!

Nita


#3

I disagree. Jesus died for all of our sins. This opportunity for salvation is a gift that is offered to everyone. We get to choose whether we want to be saved or not.


#4

Here’s how the reasoning goes, compliments of Wikipedia:

*1. Jesus lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15)

  1. Jesus will lose none of his sheep. (John 10:28)

  2. Many people will not receive eternal life. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Therefore, Jesus did not die for everyone but only for those who will ultimately be saved.*

Prayers and petitions,
Alexius:cool:


#5

Logically, does not follow

The difficulty lies in step 1. It does not say
"Jesus lays down his life only for the sheep"
rather that those for whom he lays down his life includes his followers (sheep).

There is no statement that his intension was not for all.


#6

As a Catholic, I most certainly believe that Christ did indeed die for all; all who accept Him. No everyone has or will accept Him. Effectively, therefore, He only died for some (literally “many”). So yes, there are limitations of a sort, but not in the sense that Calvin meant it.


#7

Sorry, I did not see where “all His sheep” equates to all the people of the world rather than those who accept and follow Him.


#8

The merits of Christ’s Passion and Death made the forgiveness of all sins possible, however it is important to recognize the distinction between Protestants and Catholics here.

Here is an example I came up with of how Catholics see the atonement and how Protestants see it:Lets say a group of kids crash the family car, the Father is upset about this and needs to spank the kids…but the mother steps in…

-Protestants would say the mother would have to receive the equivalent beating that the children deserved and thus the Father would be satisfied.

-Catholics on the other hand reject that notion because the Father could never act in such a way towards His wife. Rather, the wife stepped in and spent all day in a hot-sweaty kitchen to prepare the Father a nice multi-course home cooked meal. The Father was so pleased at this act that He in turn decided not to discipline the children, only requiring a simple apology.
It is important to note how each side sees the atonement. Catholics reject the “penal substitution” and “limited atonement”. Christ’s display of love was perfect obedience to the Father.


#9

Christ did not die for the predestined only. (De fide.)

Christ died not for the Faithful only, but for all mankind without exception. (Sent. fidei proxima.)

Ludwig Ott - Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.


#10

Why not ask a provocative question for a change :stuck_out_tongue: ?

I’m Catholic, & I believe it. :o :slight_smile:

ISTM
[LIST]
*]that if the CC believes that some will not be saved - a position for which there is good NT authority, to put it no more strongly -
*]& as the CC believes that God is infinitely merciful
*]& as the CC also believes that God is infinite in saving power[/LIST]& as it believes many other things: that
[LIST]
*]salvation has its beginning in God, & never in man
*]the Sacrifice of the Cross is infinite in value
*]not the slightest thing comes to pass, but God knows of it
*]the Providence of God is universal - it governs all creatures of every description fully & unfailingly
*]God sincerely desires the salvation of all
*]the damnation of some is no fault of God, but an exhibition of His justice as punitive
*]the salvation of others, is an effect of His Wisdom - & of His purpose:[/LIST]from all of this, ISTM that Limited Atonement is required by what the Church believes & teaches. What the Church teaches, & this doctrine, are (as it were) two halves of one truth:
[LIST]
*]the doctrine of LA speaks of the cause why some are saved & others are not, &, since God is Who, & such as, He is, & as His government of His creatures is such as it is, ascribes this cause to the decree of God;
*]whereas the Catholic doctrine acknowledges the effects of that decree upon & in those governed by God - though often without considering it as a decree.[/LIST]At any rate, if the two are not halves, they seem to fit together, as far as they go & such as they are.

Why are some saved ? Because they were elected, for the Glory of God & His Christ, that they might be saved. The set of the redeemed has the very same members as the set of the elect. And the decree which has this fruit is infallible, cannot be frustrated, always achieves its whole purpose in each & every tiniest detail. So some are saved, not for lack of mercy or power, but for a reason that operates at what may be another level - because God so wills. If this seems difficult, the difficulty is the same for us: either way, we & Calvinists believe in a God Who does not save all mankind. Rejecting belief in damnation is one solution, accepting belief in a finite God is another. And there are others. LA seems to this poster to be open to neither objection, & to be neither a denial of any Divine attribute, nor to conflict either with the reality of human moral freedom & responsibility, nor anything we believe as Catholics.

As for “opportunity” for salvation - it depends what one means…

Obviously this is only a bit of surface-scratching :o :wink:


#11

*I’m not Catholic and I don’t believe it

Why?

*1 John 2:2 is a start as to why.
2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

or 2 Corinthians 5:14&15
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.


#12

Your best biblical texts against the concept, and against Calvinism in general, are:

  1. No truly free will (denied by experience, and by the Gospel commands to repent, reform, obey the commandments, perform works of charity, and persevere to the end).

  2. Thus no merit or demerit (denied by the whole Bible which testifies to the rewards and punishments God will apportion to all men according to their deeds, e.g. Matt 16:27; Rom 2:5-10; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 22:11-12; etc).

  3. God desires salvation only for the elect. (Denied by 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Matt 23:37; Ezek 18:23-32; 33:11; etc).

  4. Christ died only for the elect. (Denied by John 3:16-17; 4:42; 1 John 2:2; 4:9-14; Rom 5:6,18; 2 Cor 5:14-15; 1 Tim 2:6; 4:10; etc).

  5. God provides grace only to the elect. (Denied by Titus 2:11; John 1:9,16; Rom 2:4; etc).

  6. God directly predetermines the salvation of the elect, including their good works. (This ignores any cooperation of the will with grace).

  7. God directly predetermines the damnation of the reprobate, including their sins. (This is denied by James 1:13-14; Sirach 15:11-20; 1 Cor 10:13; and ignores any true resistance and rejection by the will).

  8. The elect will be saved with no merit of their own. (This denies heavenly reward).

  9. The reprobate will be damned for no fault of their own. (This denies true guilt and deserved punishment).

As a Catholic one can say they believe in “limited atonement” (or “definite atonement” or “particular redemption”) in that Christ’s grace is efficient only for the elect (because these end up in heaven, who cooperate with God’s grace), but sufficient for all (even though some wind up in hell, because they freely choose to go there). I may be wrong there…

An old This Rock article on Calvinism by Akin suggests only a few changes need to be made to agree with St. Thomas Aquinas. Akin from that article:

“This is not to say there is no sense in which limitation may be ascribed to the atonement. While the grace it provided is sufficient to pay for the sins of all men, this grace is not made efficacious (put into effect) in the case of everyone. One may say that although the sufficiency of the atonement is not limited, its efficiency is limited. This is something everyone who believes in hell must acknowledge because, if the atonement was made efficacious for everyone, then no one would end up in hell.” (Tiptoe Through TULIP, This Rock, Sept 1993)

Phil P


#13

Hmmm. . .I’m not hip to all the Limited Atonement distinctions and arguments, but I think I once read a really good defense of Calvin against the modern reformed Calvinist doctrine of Limited Atonement.

It went something like. . .Calvin, himself, would not have embraced the systematic conclusions held by strict Calvinists. I think the arguement was based, among other citations, on a quotation from Calvin’s Commentary on Romans

He makes this favor common to all, because it is propounded to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all; for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God’s benignity indiscriminately to all, yet all do not receive him.

It’s kind of like the old adage. . .once a Calvinist reads Calvin, he becomes Catholic. What? Isn’t that how it goes. . .??? :wink:


#14

Jesus did die for all however, some people reject His gift of forgiveness therefor they are not saved. God’s intention was for all sins to be forgiven. People are a barrier to their own salvation.


#15

I’m not particularly a fan of Limited Atonement aside from the argument in the OP (if unlimited atonement is true, then everyone’s sins are covered, regardless of anything, therefore universalism is true).

I’ll withhold a temptation to get into an argument over what is and what isn’t Calvinism, or what “true free will” is (factoring in the sovereignty of God). There, I got into an argument and deny I got into one. But really, there is scope on other threads to rehash all this.

In thinking about this I came across (or up with; I don’t remember) a statement that with God both his free will and his necessary will are the same. That is, those things He chooses are those things that He must choose, as His will has no parts. His will is infinitely free and at the same time infinitely constrained by His own infinity. I am still thinking this through, but it seems to me the question of whether Christ dies (eternal act) for all or for some boils down to being meaningless. He is Who He is. He dies for those He dies for. Past that is mystery.

Still thinkin’.


#16

God’s grace and mercy falls on the good as well as the wicked. There will of course come a time of separation (parable of the tares in the wheat).

Jesus died for ALL not only so that sins may be forgiven but also to APPEASE GOD’s WRATH! Since not all will avail themselves to call on God’s mercy and some in fact will foolishly scorn God all will NOT be saved. This does not change that fact that Jesus’ sacrifice atones for all the world’s sins or God the Father would not have His Holy Wrath satisfied and all God’s children would have to suffer for all of humanity’s sins when he let lose his punishment. As it is mercy is extended and God’s wrath is held “satisfied” by the merits of Jesus’ Divine Sacrifice.

Also God’s mercy and the merits of Jesus on the cross in obeying God are infinite and do not need to be limited as if grace is a limited resource. God loves fully and unconditionally and forgiveness fully as well.

Also atonement is also transiently available to those who go in and out of fellowship with God at different points in their life and so while in a penitent state such benefit from God’s mercy and can do good deeds even if they later fall away and are lost when they die impenetent.

James


#17

Yeah, I’m totally not going to jump on that train either. . .uh, uh, not me. . .but, having said that, I do think the tension which Catholicism allows in understanding certain issues like predestination, sovereignty, free will, and atonement is, as Pope Benedict once said, a function of the “holy restlessness” in which we must live as Christians.

He dies for those He dies for. Past that is mystery.

Exactly. Isn’t this precisely why Catholics, Calvinists, and Arminians all can appeal to Fathers such as Augustine in their effort to support their doctrines. The Church, from the earliest days, has allowed for superlatives regarding God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. How they harmonize is a mystery. You can say God is sovereign and it be true. And man is free and that be true. But how?

Still thinkin’.

Still prayin’.


#18

Sometimes I think the line between Calvinism and Catholicism on this issue is so narrow that the only way to precisely and accurately criticize the other side is to distort both one’s own position and the other side’s. This refers back mainly to the Akin article. Calvinism is complex and nuanced, and so is Catholicism, and either can be caricatured both by adherents and opponents as something it is not.

“Limited atonement” does not mean Christ’s power to save is limited. I think in Catholic terminology it might be expressed as “effective application.” Grace is not effective for everyone. There are the elect who are predestined from before the foundation of the world to make it into heaven, whose number cannot change (Aquinas) and eternally the effects of the atonement are limited to them.

At the same time, all now live and breathe only as a matter of God’s providence and grace and forebearance. He sends rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5). So all to some extent receive a measure of God’s grace. But the full measure of the effects of the atonement eventually are limited to those who are with God forever.


#19

Christ died for all of us, or Paul is a liar.

One cannot believe both.


#20

Akin’s article fails to mention the most significant and irreconcilable difference between Catholics and Calvinists, Imputed vs Infused grace. Once you see the distinction you will see the decisive issue is not narrow at all but big and very significant.

“Limited atonement” does not mean Christ’s power to save is limited. I think in Catholic terminology it might be expressed as “effective application.” Grace is not effective for everyone. There are the elect who are predestined from before the foundation of the world to make it into heaven, whose number cannot change (Aquinas) and eternally the effects of the atonement are limited to them.

At the same time, all now live and breathe only as a matter of God’s providence and grace and forebearance. He sends rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5). So all to some extent receive a measure of God’s grace. But the full measure of the effects of the atonement eventually are limited to those who are with God forever.

The Calvinist notion of Limited Atonement is wrong because it is based on the idea Jesus got PUNISHED by the Father in your place so you wouldnt have to. This goes flatly against common sense and Scripture (eg Heb 10:26-29).


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