“The Arminians say, ‘Christ died for all men.’ Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, ‘No, certainly not.’ We ask them the next question: Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer ‘No.’ They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say, ‘No; Christ has died that any man may be saved if ?’ and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as infallibly to secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ’s death; we say, ‘No, my dear sir, it is you that do it.’ We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.”

— Charles Spurgeon, “The Death of Christ: What Did it Accomplish?”

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2 thoughts on “Limited Atonement”

  1. This is silly, if you will tolerate my directness. Arminians must limit the atonement in its conditioned result — and there is a condition to obtaining the atonement, in spite of Spurgeon’s unappreciated sting (Jn. 3:16; Acts 17:30; Rom. 3:25; 10:13, 17; Rev. 22:17) — for we are not Universalists. But we do not limit the atonement in its provision, and neither does Scripture (Jn. 3:16; Acts 17:30; 1 Tim. 2:6; 4:10; Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2). We care far more about what Scripture explicitly states on this matter than philosophizing about and emphasizing its particular or limited extent. We do not have the same “problem,” if you will, with the extent of the atonement as do Calvinists, since Calvinists have the added burden of another philosophical caveat: unconditional election.

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Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

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