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once again, great insight. schooley's blog sight is also very good insight. why cant they see it?


Keith Schooley

Thanks for the kind words and the link, Peter.

Thanks also, Volfan. To be fair, everyone reads some hermeneutical biases into scripture. The TULIP folks, I'm sure, are trying to figure out why we can't see it regarding Ephesians 1-2 and Romans 9. Hopefully, we're all allowing Scripture itself to work on our biases so we can see more clearly the authors' (divine and human) original intent.


Hello Volfan,

I have a question to ask you with regard to the coffee illustration in the previous post, and I ask in all seriousness, no jest and no mockery.

Once you have drained all of the coffee from the cup, is there any coffee left for anyone else? It would seem not.

Now suppose that in your cup we find hemlock instead of coffee (I've brewed some coffee that tasted like hemlock before). The hemlock is in the cup, prepared by a Judge as a just penalty for everyone who has or will break the Judge's law. Everyone who has or ever will live is, in fact, a lawbreaker, many times over. No lawbreaker has a choice as to whether or not he will drink from the cup of hemlock - he will. There is enough hemlock in this cup (it's really big) for every law breaker who ever lived to take one sip, which is absolutely, completely fatal.

But...there comes One unique man who has never broken the Judge's law even once, who for a variety of reasons, desires, agrees and is able to drink the entire cup in the place of all those for whom the cup was originally prepared. This he does, draining the whole cup, leaving utterly nothing in the cup. This act of draining the cup for all lawbreakers is completely satisfactory and acceptable to the Judge - the unique One has taken the full frontal fury of the Judge's just wrath against all lawbreakers.

Now, is there anything left for a lawbreaker - any lawbreaker - to drink? Has not the penalty for lawbreaking been completely satisfied in the act of drinking all of the hemlock by this unique One? I hope - I truly hope - you can answer 'yes' to these two questions. In fact, to be consistent with your analogy and faithful to the word atonement as it pertains to the death of the unique One, I think you MUST answer yes to both questions, which leaves one with a dilemma.

How is it possible for lawbreakers to still suffer the penalty of the Judge when the unique One has left nothing for them in the cup - He drank it all, remember?

I hope the point here is obvious - it cuts to the actual meaning of atonement (or propitiation). If Jesus has drunk completely the cup of God's wrath against every and all lawbreakers, then upon what basis is wrath still reserved for anyone? I see at least two (although I'm sure I've missed some) options:

From one perspective, the term "atonement" must be prefixed with an adjective like "potential," so that it is implicitly understood that Jesus has drained the cup in order to make it "possible" for everyone and anyone to be delivered from wrath. But His propitiation needs to be made actual (or effective) by the lawbreaker - the potential of the atonement is released only when the lawbreaker chooses to receive it. This is one way to avoid the dilemma raised by your coffee cup analogy and the way some understand "atonement." The meaning of the term itself must be modified in order to avoid the otherwise necessary charge of universalism.

From another perspective, the term "atonement" is understood to define and describe the actual act of draining the cup of the Judge's wrath. Jesus said on the cross that atonement was finished, He had completed the work His Father sent Him to do. His death did not make redemption and forgiveness possible - it actually secured redemption and forgiveness. "And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation'..." Revelation 5:9. Application is then made as the Father, through the Spirit, calls to repentance and faith all of those who were foreknown and predestined to be conformed to the image of this same Son. The atonement finds its full expression to the whole world, the Son sees the labor of His soul secured, and the plan of the Father cannot fail due to "human intransigence," as Keith Schooley suggests on his fine blog.

The actual intent of the atonement was never to make anything possible, for "...it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities." Isaiah 53:10-11. This is not the language of potential, and even human intransigence will not frustrate the pleasure of YAHWEH.

In either case, the atonement (and its application) are in some way limited, either by men or by God. The unchaste manner by which some wield the term "limited" against those who see the atonement differently from them is thoughtless and untrue - in my fallible, but not inexperienced, opinion.

So, here's praise to the glorious One who has drunk from the cup which once made me melt with fear, but which is now completely empty.

Grace and peace,


Christopher Redman


It puzzles me that your focus on the single verse is actually a focus on a single word with in this verse, "world" or maybe two words, "whole world".

I think you have purposely avoided dealing with the real struggle with your interpretation of the text and that is dealing with the reality of "propitiation".

I have brought this into the discussion previously but alas because it is not focused on "the whole world" phrase it is dismissed as non-essential to the discussion.


1) Why do people go to hell if Christ propitiated their sin on the cross?

2) Does God require two payments for sin, Christ's on the cross and the damned in hell?

3) If unbelief is the reason people go to hell, isn't unbelief a sin? If so, then was this sin not included in Christ's propitiatory work?

I'm tempted to say that your arguments which have avoided this critical area fall in the "weak category" but I won't. :-)

And finally, Peter, you remain unconvinced of any position other than your own and I am okay with that now. I understand that your rejection of unconditional election bleeds into your rejection of particular redemption.




again, i say to you that you are reading more into the doctrines of predestination and election and so forth than what we are told. you are trying to make these doctrines fit into your system. i believe in predestination...election..the sovereignty of God... and such. but, i try to leave them as they are...not try to make them fit some system like arminianism or calvinism.

thus, i can believe that God chose to save me before the world began...that he planned to save me before the world was created....that God is sovereign, and still, i can equally believe that man is responsible and has to make choices(real choices) and that God sincerely desires to save everyone in the world(the whole world).

i believe that you five pointers have gone to seed over calvinism because you are obsessed with it. i still call you my bro. in Christ...i love yall in the Lord...i thank God for the good He does thru yall, but i do believe that yall have gone to the extreme.

and please, i have already dealt with this issue for years and years. i have heard all the arguements. i have read spurgeon and piper and sproul and calvin and luther and all the others. i believe where i am at right now is what God wants me to believe about these great doctrines of the bible. i am a biblicist....i just believe what the bible says. i am not trying to make it fit a system.



1. people go to hell because they are sinners and they reject the light that God has shed on them.

2. either a person puts thier faith in Jesus to pay thier sin debt, or else they will pay for it themselves in hell.

3. the words of Jesus in john 3:18...he that believes on Him is not condemned; but he that believes not is condemned already, BECAUSE he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

the sin of unbelief was covered in the atoning work of Jesus. rejection...refusal to believe...rebellion...will send a lost man to hell.


Christopher Redman


So, rejection is a sin that was not propitiated by Christ? (Limited Atonement!!!)

What about the lost pagan who has never heard of Jesus, the name of the only begotten Son of God? Since he has not rejected Christ, why does he go to hell?




In reality, i do not know that I have consciously avoided the word "propitiation" nor exactly what it means. Rather, the discussion has been about the "extent" or "to whom" did the atoning sacrifice go.

Thus far, dissenters have not fared well in diminishing John's inclusive intent of "whole world". And, quite honestly, my Brother Chrisr, I can see why you would want to change subjects. Fine with me :)

One assessment of me is interesting: "And finally, Peter, you remain unconvinced of any position other than your own..." To the contrary, Chris, the reason I am where I am is I became convinced of another position than my own :).

As I have forthrightly said, there was a time when all I could utter were the "Doctrines of Grace" as taught by Systamatic Calvinism. And, while I am grateful to my heritage and even retain so much of it, I feel a great freedom to look at Scripture without an inherent committment to a system imposed on it.

Thanks for your chats always, my Brother Chris. With that, I am...


Christopher Redman

BTW, Peter...

You missed a free book opportunity over at founders.




I know it, Dog-gone it! May I borrow yours when you finish? :)

With that, I am...



Monsieur Volfan,

Thanks for the reply. I hear what you are saying, and I understand your desire to be known as a biblicist - every disciple of Christ should want to be one of those!

I am not sure how I am reading more into the doctrines you mention, as they were not the point of your coffee cup illustration, nor were they at all the point of my post to you concerning your illustration. As biblicists, we were dealing with John's statements in I John 2:2, right? Whole cup, whole world....I mentioned those other doctrines only in passing as a partial explanation of one perspective on the atonement. To think that they are immaterial to an understanding the atonement would, I believe, be a serious mistake.

Be that as it may, you suggested by your illustration a particular view of John's words. I provided an alternate view, not in defense of a system, but in defense of what I hope is sound, biblical interpretation. This is not going to seed, my friend, this is attempting to acquit myself as one who rightly handles the truth. Your apparent antipathy towards all things "calvinist" seems to raise that specter everywhere you look, but it often seems to be a specter haunting your own mind. Do you know me, for instance, to be a "five pointer?" The basis for such a conclusion might be revelatory of your own prejudices, Volfan.

And don't deceive yourself, my brother, into thinking you are free from "systematizing" the truths of Scripture, that you just take them all at face value and you are not trying to "make [them] fit a system." Such a notion is flatly impossible. God means for us to see how it all fits, as best we can and as humbly as we can. If sometimes that smells like somebody else's "system," so be it. Because truth is what it is, and men are what they are, the cross-pollination of systems is inevitable. Certain truths will intersect no matter what "system" they attach themselves to. It would be good to learn to make the distinction without relegating so many to the neglectful position of having gone to "seed."

Grace to you,


Christopher Redman

I'm not sure if I should let you borrow mine. The result might be disasterous for all of your blog fans. You might actually become convinced of PR! (What a fantasy world I live in)

BTW - I thought the subject was 1 John 2:2? I didn't know the subject was "the whole world in 1 John 2:2".

How is asking legitimate questions regarding the ramifications of Christ propitiating the sins of every man, woman, and child who ever lived changing the subject?

I fail to see how pressing you to acknowledge your own limiting of Christ's atonement, efficacy vs. extent, is out of bounds either?

But hey, it's just me and perhaps my mind is incapable of seeing past the end of my nose.



Free book? What did I miss? Dad gumit....


of course the atonement is limited to all who believe. but, it's available...really, sincerely available...to everyone. the atonement is sufficient to cover the sins of everyone.

the lost pagan who has never heard of Jesus goes to hell because he is a sinner. and, he has rejected the light that God has given him...the light of nature and the light of his conscience.


i didnt know that you were french. how interesting. but, the only system i have is the bible. the only truth i know is Jesus.

i wish that i could meet you at starbucks and buy you a mocha latte, or a caramel macchiato. that would be nice. but alas, you are in france, and i am in tn. so, God bless you, my five point bro.


Christopher Redman

Yes Volfan...

The atonement is really, sincerely, available for everyone who believes, yea for the entire world! But who in the world will believe?

Why don't you finish the quote... "The atonement is sufficient to cover the sins of everyone (the whole world)..." and the rest of the quote, "but only efficient for the elect."

You have just half quoted a 5 pointer by the name of Charles Spurgeon. Also, MacArthur has repeated this quote and has stated that he became convinced of particular redemption because of "substitutionary atonement" and the legal ramification of double-jeopardy.

As far as the pagan going to hell for his sin, you've just contradicted the "propitation for...the (sin) of the whole world" which necessitates the pagan's sin having been atoned on the cross. Again, if his sin's were atoned on the cross, why does he go to hell for his sins?




If you have been pressing me to admit something, I have not felt it. I guess you will have to press a little harder :)

There is not the slightest obstacle I sense in asking almost any question of any text. However, here is the point I would make about the 3 questions you raise: the text of John itself cannot answer them. Rather, the questions are derived from your theological reasoning.

Though I may post on these issues in the future, I will go ahead and offer a tiny glimpse with an initial response, if I may.

You ask: "Why do people go to hell if Christ propitiated their sin on the cross?"

Again, this is a question that the text of 1John 2.2 does not raise, you do, Chris. Even so, you assume a particular understanding of propitiation that causes such a question to be raised. That is, you assume there is no distinction between "possession" of atonement and "provision" of atonement. From my view, you seem to be saying that once a person is atoned for, he "has" the atonement. But neither Calvinist not Non-Calvinist really believes such, do they?

Calvinists surely do not, for they emphatically state that all people--including the elect--prior to coming to faith in Jesus Christ are dead in trespasses and sins. That is, they stand condemned before God. And all will stand condemned before God apart from faith in Christ.

Thus, the elect are in the very same condition as the non-elect when is comes to being atoned for prior to faith. And, frankly, there's no use arguing that the elect WILL come. It really doesn't matter at this juncture, because neither the elect nor the non-elect is saved apart from coming to Christ. Thus neither "possess" the atonement though it has been provided.

We could state it like this--at least my view, anyway: All people are people who have been provided an atonement for their sins by Christ thru His death on the Cross but not all people are people who possess the atonement for their sins provided by Christ thru His death on the Cross. The only ones who possess the atonement are believers.

"2) Does God require two payments for sin, Christ's on the cross and the damned in hell?"

No. See above.

"3) If unbelief is the reason people go to hell, isn't unbelief a sin? If so, then was this sin not included in Christ's propitiatory work?"

If it wasn't for Arthur Pink on the one hand and John Owen's "Death of Death" on the other I do not know if some Calvinists would have any questions :)

First, Jesus was the One Who said "He that believes not is condemned". Agreed?

Second, yes, unbelief is a sin. I do not dispute that. So, that makes my view of the Atonement Limited? Hardly. And, even if it IS limited, my Brother Chris, both you and I know it is hardly the same, now is it?

And surely, you would not say "Well, after all, limited is limited is limited..." Non-Calvinists are not the ones with the "L" in their system.

Here is the fact of the matter from my standpoint: Jesus did not die for merely ALL sins; rather He died for ALL FORGIVABLE sins. Now, before you get up off the floor, recall that Christ Himself said there exists at least one UNforgivable sin, did He not? Christ said whoever committs it is horribily doomed.

In addition, surely none of us would hold that Christ died for ultimate, incorrigible unbelief. That is, if a person dies in unbelief, that sin is forgivable.

In essence, then, the question Owen asks really is more of a rhetorical tool rather than a well thought out question. Though I do not speak for Owen, still I imagine he would agree that no, Christ did not die for either blasphemy against the Holy Spirit nor ultimate unbelief. Why? Neither sin is a possible candidate for redemption.

I got to go. If my wife comes home from work again and the dishes are not washed, I'm really going to get it big time. Have a great afternoon.

With that, I am...




you just dont get it.




oh yeah, i wasnt quoting anyone. i was saying what i thought based on the bible. and, who will believe? well, of course, those who believe, silly.


ps. i didnt mean silly in a mean way.

Christopher Redman


If you felt no pressure, I couldn't tell from your last post.

I find many of your points interesting indeed. Especially, the admission that rejection is categorized as an unforgivable sin. I suppose you would state there are levels of rejection, right?

I know I'm a chief among sinners but I rejected Christ for years prior to coming to faith. As far as the unpardonable sin, I'm glad that you didn't take the route that unbelief IS the unpardonable sin.

Anyway, I'm being pressed to go and work. Unlike you, I actually feel it.

Until next time,



Peter, Chris, VolFan, and Tim,

I have to admit that I "learn" from you discussions.

I for one am glad that we can use the blogs to discuss scripture and its application to our lives.

Just as I think there are many parts to the body, I think that the Holy Spirit purposely draws people to focus on different aspects of His character and His plan without being contradictory. (Even His plan of redemption)

It is only because I see dimly, that it may appear incoherent.

I also have to remember that most of the early Christians because of the literacy rate did not "read" the gospel, they "heard" the gospel.

So I encourage all of you to continue your discussions. So the more people can "hear" the gospel.




I have my view of things as you would imagine I'm sure. But what I want to express here is one simple thing. Well done in every aspect. You've presented and defended and challenged with respect in every way.

That's above the fray in regards to present day dialogue. It's been fun reading and following the debate. You all have presented some challenging ideas that any thinking person would have to consider.

Peter, thank you for a thoughtful forum. keep it up, and, just so I won't be a total wimp in this exchange...

The idea of "potential" or "Actual" would have to be a presupposition to the two sides. Which would leave, it seems to me, only a very few options as to the meaning of "world' in context.

For "potential" folks..."all other people without exception."[since John has clarified "our sins" meaning those of us already saved}

For "actual" folks..."gentile believers yet to come." [Since John has clarified "our sins" meaning the Jews who have turned to the Messiah.]

For "actual" folks..."Believers yet to come outside Asia Minor". [Since John has clarified "our sins" meaning those of us in this region.]

I personally hold to the second and do so lightly as my understanding has had a habit of developing as the Spirit give further light.

Paul B



I agree with you about the value of this discussion, and I like your options which logically connect "our sins" with "the whole world".

My sympathies lie with #1, that "the whole world" means "all other people without exception," and "our sins" means "those of us already saved."

This what persuades me:

1. It is (to me) the most natural way to understand the verse, the plain sense.

2. "Whole world" is used in 1John 5:19 to mean "all other people without exception."

3. "World" is used in 1John in a way that is distinctly negative, used of lost people or a lost system: "do not love the world", "the world and its desires pass away", "the world listens to (false prophets)", "the world...did not know Him" etc. It would take a radical change in usage for "world" to mean "believers" in 2:2.

4. "Our sins" is used three verses prior to refer to "those of us already saved": "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive..."

5. John elsewhere uses the combination of first person plural (we, us, our, ours) and "the world" to set up a contrast between lost people and believers: "the world does not know us", "the world listens to (false prophets). We are from God..." It is reasonable to understand the same combination in 2:2.

6. I don't find any clues in 1John that Jew/Gentile or Asia Minor/non-Asia Minor relations are in John's mind. I do see (among other things) concern with relations between believers and "the world". By way of contrast, Ephesians and especially Romans fairly bristle with Jew/Gentile concerns.

7. In Romans 3:9, Paul uses "the whole world" (pas kosmos) in describing the universal extent of sin. It is reasonable that John's similar expression (holos kosmos) means universal extent of redemption.

8. Paul also seemingly describes universal sin and universal atonement in Romans 5:18, where Adam's fall brought condemnation for "all men", while Christ's atonement brings life to "all men." It is available to those who receive this gift (verse 17). I see this as similar to "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (those who have received this gift), and...for the sins of the whole world (those who haven't)."

One other thought: instead of "potential", I might prefer describing the atonement as "sufficient" for every individual, and its benefits obtained/realized by those who believe.




Thank you for your encouragement. I am glad that others can learn from both our mistakes as well as our successes in exegesis, theological reasoning and engagement with one another over ideas that eternally matter.

Grace for today and Peace for this Evening.

With that, I am...



My Paul,

You are truly welcome here. And, of course, had you not commented at all, I am quite sure no one of us here would feel you were "whimpin' out" :-)

Also, thanks for your encouragement to us for our attempt to dialog in non-combative ways.

Before I started this site, I surfed many blogs and commented on a few. My experience was, that too many lended themselves to extreme, polarizing language that either escalated into cyber-SHOUTING at one another or simply unproductive "debating" sites.

I commented on one blog several months back and all I got in return was "I can't believe you would read my words in such a way" "You take all my words out of context" You twist my meaning" You can't understand" ...etc. Needless to say, I dropped out of that rather hurriedly.

From the beginning, I desired more than debates, which, if there is a use for, I personally have never discovered it. From my vantage point, debates are the equivalent of an intellectual ballgame. When our Dawgs play their Vols, they do not do so to learn the game better...to exchange ideas...or an openness to the Vols to make a credible contribution to our program. Rather, they play the Vols to show them who's boss...to win...to--putting it crudely--kick butt. That's all. And, I think that's just about the same thing that can be said of debates. It's why I personally see only further division coming from the Caner/White exchange at LBU next month--especially in light of the very public personal strife between the two men.

At any rate, thank you again, my Brother. And, as for your contribution here, I see some very good merit in your raising the "potential" vs. "actual" distinction which, though some have hinted at, is an idea we have not considered yet. At one time, that distinction, perhaps more than any other single merit, pushed me over the edge toward Limited Atonement. In more recent times, however, I have come to see some advantages in its opposite. Perhaps we can post something about that in the future.

Grace this Evening, my Brother Paul, and, if you preach tomorrow, Power in His Name. With that, I am...



Dear JK,

A hearty welcome to this site! It has been interesting to me that we have so many more readers than those who comment. And, we are always glad when new commenters join us.

I also appreciate your post. You possess some very good points that make me think you have studied ths issue thoroughly to your own satisfaction.

I contemplated bringing Paul's usage of 'kosmos' into consideration. But I had made such a big to-do about John's usage and precisely how he viewed 'kosmos', I thought it best to cook my stew there. Thus, your contribution, JK, is appreciated immensely.

Have a great evening. With that, I am...




I'm neither Calvinist nor Arminian. I simply claim to be Christian.

The ironic thing about this argument is that everyone seems to want to define the labels and terms associated with them according to their own conviction. An argument over words will never be resolved so long as there is no universally accepted definition of those words.

I'll confess all five points of TULIP if I get to define them. If I do that, can I claim to be Calvinist? If so, lets all define the points as we se fit, claim to be Calvinists, mend fences, shake hands, and get on with the work of Christ.

Two other observations. 1) Most who claim to be Calvinists according to what Calvin believed have never read Calvin's Institutes. (I haven't, but I don't claim to know better than others what Calvin believed. And it is on the list I'm working on.) 2) The insistance on Calvinism seems ironic in itself. It smell of the whole "I'm of Paul. I'm of Apollos. I'm of Cephas." thing addressed in 1 Corinthians 1. (I'm of Calvin. I'm of Arminius. etc. etc. etc.) Why not adhere to Jesusism?

By the way, while we are working on definitions let's define "all". For me, "all" means all and that's all that all means. Not all of some. Not all of a part. Not all of a few. Just all.



Sorry for the delay in responding, I've just returned from a 250 mile motorcycle trip. Wonderful as usual. Also, if my reply is too long, edit or delete at your pleasure. Sorry for the length.

jk, thank you for your thoughtful response. I wish to apologize for a cloudy statement that didn't fully convey my intentions. You correctly point out, in my judgement, John's referencing the "world" as a system apart and opposed to God. In fact, I hold 1 John 5:19 that way. "We know we are of/in God. [under the power/control of God] The "world" [as a system] is of/in "wickedness." [under the power/control of wickedness." Thus, he is consistent with his two uses of the word "world" the second of which we will see momentarily.

It is helpful, for me at least, to remember the Jewish mind here. I'm sure you know they viewed and used several words differently than English does and it is not always clear in a casual reading.

For example, "all" seldom means "all" [without exception] as we would ordinarily use it. Rather, "all" is [without distinction] used to reference "all kinds".
Paul told Timothy to "pray for "all men" everywhere. NOT without exception, that's impossible as he didn't know everyone. But it's "all kinds" as described in the next verse. Kings and priests and so forth.

Satan, it is said, ended "all" the temptations in Luke 4, but not All" without exception as Jesus was tempted later in the garden. It is "all" kinds. [Without distinction.] Ever imaginable kind.

Finally, Jesus said "if I be lifted up I will draw "all" men to me. Not "all" without exception, but "all" kinds without distinction. Out of every Tribe, Nation, Tongue, and so on.

Another word used differenly from a Jewish perspective according to Edersheim is the word "World." John used this word two ways. One I've described above. The other I will now state. The Jewish mind seldom used "world" to reference numbers of people. [The whole world meaning everyone without exception.] Rather, the Jewish mind thought of the "world" racially and/or geographically. So the word "world" generally meant...BEYOND our race or BEYOND our region. They thought of their region and their city Jerusalem as the center of it all. The "world" was the rest of everybody and everywhere.

Paul referenced the "WORLD" AS Jews/Gentiles/Christians. {1 Corintians 9: 20-21 verse 22 "all men"] It is this referencing of "world" that John is using in 2:2 it would seem to me. It, then, is the natural reading from a Jewish mind to say "not only our sins, [christians] but the sins of the rest of the "world." [Jews/Gentiles/peoples who will ultimately be redeemed. So he would be viewing the propitiation as being the without distinction [of all kinds] idea which was so completely engrained in the Jewish mind, correctly I might add, concerning the work of redemption.

Finally, I agree with your statement about "sufficiency." I believe His death is sufficient for one or the human race if that's who will be redeemed. However, the idea of specific/actual redemption is not the "sufficiency" of the Cross, but the purpose and intent of that work. That's the propitiation actualized by the distinct purpose of the death of Christ. "For our sins" as christians....and the "sins" of the whole"world." [meaning Jews/Gentiles/Tribes/Peoples who will ultimately be saved. This was John's purpose in this verse it seems to me. I just don't think he thought in terms of a number "without exception." But he was amazed that redemption purposes had in mind a people without distinction as to tribe/race and so on. What a work of Grace when none deserved anything but Justice.

I'm always "treading lightly' when I speak or feebly attempt to write. You're gracious to provide a forum, and, I'm not interested in advancing Calvinism, I do love talking about the Lord and theology however.


Paul B.

Jazzy Cat

If that verse is a clear verse for universal atonement, then it is also a clear verse for universal salvation. Are you advocating universal salvation?



My Brother, why no, if you mean by "universal salvation" that, in the end, all will be saved. Nor do I, my JazzyCat, follow your logic that it must necessarily follow that because Christ died for the sins of the whole world, that therefore all must necessarily be saved.

Good Lord's Day evening. With that, I am...


Christopher Redman

Just for the record, I'm glad to have had Paul Burleson articulate the position that I hold even better than I.

Thanks Paul.


Jazzy Cat

So, Christ intended and died for the sins of 100% of the people of the world, but was unable to accomplish his objective.

That makes as much sense as someone coming to faith in Christ and then being regenerated.

I believe Christ died for everyone that has and will come to faith in his sacrificial atonement and that regeneration is required by God before a person can come to this faith. (John 3:3, Eph. 2:4-5, etc.)



I am afraid all the cliches in one's arsenal cannot compare with the clear teaching of Scripture. Unfortunately for Calvinists, they simply fail to deal with texts like 1 John 2.2 other than denying they say what they clearly say. John says Christ was an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. You conclude, however, "but [He] was unable to accomplish his objective." Interesting conclusion to say the least...

For me, it is a skewed hermeneutic that must rely on other texts to contradict clear Scriptures. To pit Paul against John does not serve so well, at least from my perspective, a high view of Scripture.

Good night, my Brother. With that, I am...



Thanks for the hospitality!

Thank you for the excellent and thought-provoking answer. How nice to be able to discuss this amicably among brothers. Another good thing is that it causes me to think more deeply about, and hopefully appreciate more, the wonder of the Atonement.

In 1John 5:19 “world” may mean “ungodly system of ungodly people,” but it’s hard to see the extent of “the whole world” as anything but universal (everyone except children of God). Forgive the triple negative, but no one who is not a child of God is not under the sway of the wicked one.

2:2 has the same cast of characters as 5:19: “us” and “the whole world”. If “the whole world” in 2:2 means “people who will ultimately believe,” then its extent has changed from universal to limited, and its membership has changed from the lost to the elect. Possible I suppose, but wouldn't John have given his readers some clarification?

In 1Corinthians 9:19-23 that you referenced, Paul does immediately clarify that “all” means “all types:” Jews, under the law, not under the law, weak etc.

But when Paul talks about sin and redemption, his universal-sounding language is, I believe, truly universal. I think most would agree that in Romans 3 Paul has worked hard to establish that everyone without exception is sinful. In 3:19 he uses "whole world", similar to John's expression. And in 3:23: “All have sinned…and are justified freely…”. Justification appears to be co-extensive with sin.

And in Romans 5:18 Paul states that the result of the fall is condemnation for “all men” (pas anthropos), and that the result of Christ’s atonement is justification that brings life to “all men” (pas anthropos). Wouldn't the “all” who are beneficiaries (if you will) of condemnation (all people without exception) be the same “all” who are beneficiaries of justification (all people without exception)?

Paul’s readers would not take this to mean that every individual will in fact be justified, as they would remember from chapters 3-4 that justification is “to all who believe,” and they would have gleaned from verse 17 the need to “receive” this blessing as a gift.

I guess for me this is a goose/gander thing: John and Paul use the same language and structure for the extent of the atonement as they do for the extent of sin. For me this is a strong argument to understood both as universal.

Sorry so long-winded,

Jazzy Cat

You conclude, however, "but [He] was unable to accomplish his objective." Interesting conclusion to say the least...

That is what I would conclude under universal atonement that you believe.
If he died for the sins of 100% of the people who ever lived and they all did not get saved, then his atonement for those sinners failed. Something is most definitely limited in the atonement. Limited atonement limits the extent of the atonement. Your view of universal atonement limits the power and efficiency.

How do you handle John 17:9 where Jesus will not pray for the non-elect. Are we to believe Jesus would die for people he would not pray for?




I don't want to repeat what I wrote elsewhere to you. Just a brief note: 1) Why Jesus prayed as He did in John 17 in no way affects what John writes in 1 John 2.2. It is the text we must grapple with. What do the words say? That, you appear to be avoiding by hopping to other irrelevant questions.

Secondly, to assume that if Christ died for all, and are not saved, then He did not then die for all begs the question. There is an option.

Scripture explicitly says Christ was the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. But obviously all are not saved as Scripture explicitly says as well. Therefore His death while propitiatory, was provisionary in nature. That is, the benefits of the atonement are only applicable to those who believe, which, by the way, Calvinists and non-Calvinists agree.

Grace and with that, I am...



This is R. L. Dabney on 1 John 2:2:

“In 1 John 2:2, it is at least doubtful whether the express phrase, "whole world," can be restrained to the world of elect as including other than Jews. For it is indisputable, that the Apostle extends the propitiation of Christ beyond those whom he speaks of as "we," in verse first. The interpretation described obviously proceeds on the assumption that these are only Jewish believers. Can this be substantiated? Is this catholic epistle addressed only to Jews? This is more than doubtful. It would seem then, that the Apostle’s scope is to console and encourage sinning believers with the thought that since Christ made expiation for every man, there is no danger that He will not be found a propitiation for them who, having already believed, now sincerely turn to him from recent sins.”


Here are a few posts from a friend of mine dealing with 1 John 2:2 and the views of W. G. T. Shedd.



You will also want to check the viewpoint of Charles Hodge (in his Systematic Theology Vol. 2) on the verse. He takes kosmos to mean all mankind, just as Dabney and Shedd (two other Reformed theologians) do.

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