Archive for the ‘Panta Dokimazete’ Category

Atonement Category Error

July 2, 2009

I am sure he means well, but Panta Dokimazete gives a less than ideal title to this post (link). The less than ideal title is “Unlimited/Limited Atonement.” The post correctly states the death of Christ has a general benefit for all mankind, in that it incidentally prevents their immediate destruction. However, the term “Unlimited/Limited Atonement” is less than ideal to describe this concept for two reasons:

1) Potential Confusion

The neo-Amyraldians have been using this term to describe their position, which is not simply that there incidental benefits (such as delayed judgment) to the non-elect. I realize that we do not have to cede things to groups that err, but perhaps it would be better to give them this term so that they may distinguish themselves from Calvinists.

2) Technical Accuracy – Both “Unlimited” and “Atonement” are Being Used Imprecisely

Technically, the atonement is the reconciliation – the rendering of God as propitious (favorable) toward the beneficiary. God is not rendered propitious toward the reprobate by Christ’s sacrifice. Indeed, the temporal benefits that they enjoy incidental to the salvation of the elect are only temporal benefits. Moreover, these temporal benefits – because they do not lead to repentance – actually increase the heinousness of the sin of the unbelievers, making them even more culpable (blameworthy).

Furthermore, “universal” and “unlimited” are not identical terms. The merit of Christ’s death is unlimited (though it is only impetrated for the elect – see this previous post). The incidental effects of Christ’s death, on the other hand, are merely universal.


Yes, I realize that this sounds like my nitpicking an otherwise good post (although, as I plan to mention in another post – I think Chrysostom is referring to the unlimited sufficiency of Christ’s death, not to the incidental benefits of that death). I don’t mean to detract from Panta Dokimazete’s work, and – in fact – I hope this encourages him to continue. Along the way, I’d like to help him develop the categories more clearly so as not to fall prey to the “unlimited/limited atonement” error promoted by the neo-Amyraldians out there who may seize upon the verbal match to suggest unity of position.


UPDATE: J.D. Longmire has what appears to be an identical post (link). Same comment on that one. I’m not sure who originally wrote this post, but I read PD’s before I read JDL’s.

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