The False Doctrine Of Limited Atonement

By David J. Stewart | August 2013 | Updated July 2015

       Limited Atonement is the false teaching that Jesus Christ only died for believers. It is commonly taught as part of five false doctrines popularized by John Calvin (1483-1546) in the 16th century.

John Calvin (1483-1546) was an unsaved, reprobate, heretic. Calvin taught Baptismal Regeneration (the false doctrine that water baptism is required for salvation). Calvin was wrong on many doctrinal issues, including Limited Atonement. If Christ only died for believers, then why would He have wasted His time trying to convert the unbelieving Pharisees and Scribes? I mean, if God chooses who will or won't be saved, then why bother to go soul-winning? Why bother to try to get anybody saved? Yet, the Scriptures teach us to be “fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Isn't that beautiful?

I am going to give you a Bible verse that IRREFUTABLY proves that Jesus died for ALL mankind, and NOT just for the church. Many foolish believers have bought into lie that Jesus didn't die for those who go to Hell. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus Christ shed His blood for ALL mankind. 2nd Peter 2:1 clearly states...

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

Did you read that? ... “Even DENYING THE LORD THAT BOUGHT THEM." According to the Calvinist heresy of "limited atonement,” Jesus only redeemed those whom He knew would one day get saved. The Word of God never teaches limited atonement; on the contrary, the Bible states, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” How could anyone teach that Christ only died for certain sinners, when we're ALL sinners!

2nd Peter 2:1 is very clear ... Jesus, with His blood, bought false prophets too! If I buy you a gift for your birthday, this doesn't mean you have to accept it. If you wanted, for whatever reason, you could reject my gift and refuse to accept it. This is exactly how salvation works. Romans 5:15 calls salvation a “free gift.” Again we read in Romans 6:23 that eternal life is a “gift,” paid for by Jesus' precious blood. God offers salvation to mankind as a free gift.

The Scriptures plainly teach that Jesus Christ gave Himself as a ransom “FOR ALL.” 1st Timothy 2:3-6, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” All means all.

Many Calvinists claim that the word “ALL” doesn't always mean “ALL.” That is ridiculous.  Romans 5:18 “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” If all men are condemned in the first part of the verse through Adam's sin, then all men can only mean that through Jesus Christ the free gift of eternal life is freely offered to ALL MEN, because Christ died for ALL MEN!!! Limited Atonement is unbiblical, which this Scripture clearly shows. “All men” cannot mean one thing in the first part of the verse, but another thing in the latter part of the verse. Calvinists wrest the Holy Bible to their own destruction.

Christ died, He was buried and He rose miraculously from the dead for our sins. That is the gospel (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). If you receive Christ's sacrifice as payment for your sins, then you are saved immediately and eternally. It is Jesus' precious blood that washes our sins away (1st Peter 1:18-19). We are born again (born anew) by the Spirit of God (John 1:13), by faith in the seed of God's Word (1st Peter 1:23). The Bible teaches in John 3:16, “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Calvinists have a hard time understanding how God can love wicked, Christ-rejecting, sinners. Many people misunderstand that there are two different types of love in the Bible; namely, agape and phileo. God agapes the world unconditionally, which sent Christ to the cross to die for men's sins; but God only phileos those who receive Christ and obey Him. Agape is a choice. I choose to love everyone. Phileo is a feeling, a fondness. I am fond of my loved ones. God does not phileo the wicked. But God unconditionally agapes the world. Phileo is conditional. Agape is unconditional.

The whole concept of God's love for mankind is that "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). For Calvinists to claim that Jesus only died for the saved, is to say that Jesus didn't love unsaved people enough to suffer the cross for them, or to die for them. 1st John 3:16 reads, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." Think about how selfish and cold it would be if God said to lost sinners ... "I'll love you enough to die for you, IF you accept me as your Saviour; BUT, if you reject me, then I don't love you enough to suffer for you, and you mean nothing to me." 

Was it not Jesus Himself who said in Matthew 5:26, "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?" Only an ignorant or malicious person would teach limited atonement in lieu of Christ's plain teachings. Jesus would not contradict His teachings on love, by only loving those who love Him first. In contrast, 1st John 4:19 declares, "We love him, because he first loved us." The whole idea of limited atonement is absurd.

Here's another Scripture which teaches that Christ is the Savior of all humanity. 1st Timothy 4:10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” Jesus is the Savior of ALL MEN, especially those that believe. How much clearer could the Bible be on this matter?

If Jesus didn't die for unsaved people, then how can we preach the love of God to them? No, Jesus died for ALL humanity, saved or unsaved, just as John 3:16 proclaims...

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

NOT CHOSEN TO SALVATION (by Dr. Max D. Younce)


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