Tweaking Calvinism: Universal Limited Atonement


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UPDATE: I’ve finished this little blog series. We talked about a book, the history, and TULI-P. Enjoy!

I recently offered some proposals on some “less intense” (yet still Reformed) articulations of Calvinism (see above). Today, we embark on the most controversial of the “points” of Calvinism: Limited Atonement.

This is the most difficult of Calvinism’s points, but it’s also its most logical. The least charitable way to summarize it is thusly: Jesus only died for Christians and not others. The more charitable way: No drop of Jesus’ blood was shed in vain; God accomplishes what he sets out to do, and Jesus’ death is effectual to save all whom it is intended to save.

Therefore, the belief is that Jesus’ atoning work on the Cross was “limited” to cover only the sins of people that would become Christians. So how do we move forward? Because after all, there seems to be only two options here concerning Jesus’ work on the Cross: Limited or Unlimited? Particular or Universal? “all who will” or “all who may“?

How can we approach this in a more winsome and erudite way while still calling ourselves Calvinists? Or more importantly, how can we balance God’s initiating power and sovereignty with his universal love and longing that all may be saved?

First, Atonement is NOT Salvation

This is really important. In my last post, I pointed out that God’s Election is more about our life here-and-now, and less about our future eternal destiny. The same can be said of Atonement.
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Some random, contradictory thoughts on Hell. Discuss.


Rothko-untitled-2Below, you’ll find a random assortment of 30 completely disjointed musings on Hell. Each paragraph is its own statement, in no particular order. This is not meant to be a discussion of where I currently land on this issue. I’d love to just get your thoughts. Respond as you like, below.

(1) In the past 10 to 15 years, the American Church saw a new emphasis on Idolatry as the foundation of sinfulness, rather than “Law-breaking”. I’m starting to see a new re-emphasis on Law-Breaking and Hell as punishment for this. And yet, the “Law” is always connected to God’s Image and Character, and so Law-Breaking is living by a wrong law, or image, and therefore is idolatry. We have an analogy for how a Judge responds to breaking the law, and this leads to the popular view of Hell since Medieval times. But what is the analogy for the response to transgressing an image?

(2) Can any Universalist tell me what the point of missions or Evangelism is in this life, if their perspective is true?
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