When people come to the “L” of the five points of Calvinism, everyone starts getting nervous. My own trepidation over dealing with the topic reminds me of a whimsical song from the early 20th Century:
Yes, I want to tip toe through this TULIP–or at least my flesh does–because of my awareness that most people adamantly dislike the doctrine of Limited Atonement. The idea that Jesus died only for the elect strikes as….well, as being un-Christian!
And I must confess that I struggled with it when I first heard it . Surely, I told myself, the Calvinists had gone overboard on this one! But as I’ve thought about it, Limited Atonement began making sense by naturally following the doctrine of Unconditional Election. If those of us who believe were chosen “from the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), what would be the point of Jesus dying for the rest of the world? They can’t come to Him anyway (John 6:44). In thinking the matter through, I’ve had to conclude that Christ wouldn’t have died for those He didn’t elect in the first place; that would be absurd.
I’m not going to get deeply into Limited Atonement in this introductory post, mostly because I started writing it much later than I should have. As I discuss this doctrine further, however, I plan to first explain its Scriptural basis and then respond to some of the Bible verses its detractors use. I appreciate their perspective on the matter, so I want to respect them by spending at least two more posts addressing it. I promise to quit tip toeing.