The next installment of our little TULIP series on Calvinism is the big L.
This is the boogieman doctrine of Limited Atonement. What is the debate? The issues is usually phrased this way: “For whom did Christ die, the whole world, or specifically for those who would believe?”
If option A, the whole world, then why are some people in Hell? if option B, only believers, what about the verses that talk about Jesus loving the world? You can see what even some Calvinists disavow this letter, leaving them as diminutive “four-pointers” whose gardens bloom with tu_ips.
Put another way, “Did Jesus die to potentially save everyone or did he die to actually save some?”
John Calvin articulated that the Bible teaches clearly that Christ’s death effectually accomplishes salvation for those he chose to save. His sparring partner Jacobus Arminius said Christ’s death potentially provides salvation for everyone, but not effectually for anyone. If you were to illustrate this on a napkin for someone you might try this…
CALVINISTS say: Salvation is a NARROW bridge to Heaven that gets only the elect there.
ARMINIANS say: Salvation is a WIDE bridge with everyone on it, but it goes only half way.