Pristine Grace
[Home] [Featured] [Authors] [Search] [New] [SermonAudio] [Facebook]

Gospel Unity and Definite Atonement
by Bob Higby

     Among the institutional churches professing the system of doctrine known as Calvinism, there has never been a more severe famine than today of the pure Apostolic doctrine of Limited Atonement. Though Particular Redemption has been part of the confessional Reformed heritage from the beginning, only an infrequent tongue-and-cheek assent to the belief can be expected from most pastors. The 'L' in TULIP has become a source of increasing embarrassment to those seeking friendship with the world of professed evangelical churches. It is not likely that a clear and unashamed teaching on the subject will be heard from the pulpit on ANY Sunday, much less on the day that the world designates as Easter! Yet the gospel of the incorporation of a saved people into Christ's resurrection is the very matter that is supposed to ring forth with clarity!

     I have been a defender of the Gospel as the only basis of Unity for the last 25 years. Contrary to many denominations, I do not accept the notion that a valid form of Christian unity is a day of the week, an exact and precise administration of water, a form of church government, tithing, or similar external practices. Most conflicts on such matters are a symptom of ignorance of aspects of the gospel, yet men try and find solutions by passing laws. When true gospel unity is achieved, there is no issue on any such matter that cannot be resolved with study of the Word and submission to the Holy Spirit. Naturally, some differences on these issues will always have to be accommodated in the Christian community.

     Is Definite Atonement a part of the gospel? Most definitely! Therefore it is a paramount issue of gospel unity. We cannot worship and commune unreservedly with those who promote the destructive doctrine of Amyraldianism, any more than we can worship and commune freely with those who promote the heresy of free-will. The Calvinistic world has largely become accepting of both Arminians and Amyraldians as our brothers and sisters in Christ within orthodoxy. This is a sad and very dangerous trend, because it compromises the sum and substance of the gospel itself.

     The cherishing of the false doctrine of Common Grace is the most prominent cause of the destruction of the teaching on Limited Atonement. In the teaching of Common Grace, a universalist element is introduced into the proposed benefits of the atonement. The daily blessings given to non-elect persons are proposed to be purchased by the blood of Christ. Once ANY teaching of universal non-redemptive grace is introduced into the reasoning of atonement doctrine, the end-result after generations will be the full confession of Amyraldianism. It matters not how many respected teachers of the past supported such a perversion. If the New Testament doctrine of Particular Redemption is ever to shine forth with clarity, the damnable doctrine of Common Grace must be condemned and renounced. Until it is, teachers believing it will inevitably return to '4- point Calvinism' as their cherished belief. But that is only one-step down in the slippery slope of unbelief. Ultimately, if life lasts long enough, a full return to the Justinian heresy of free-will will be the outcome.

     It is one thing to be ignorant of the full implications of Definite Atonement to the gospel for a time. A new Christian might exercise faith in Christ's person and work of salvation--yet fail to discern the error and inconsistency of many universal atonement shibboleths. It is certainly possible that excellent teachers of the past on other matters have been deceived on aspects of this matter. But it is a different matter altogether for those who know the truth to embrace as brothers those who teach universal atonement as their gospel. We can pray for them and dialog with them if it doesn't involve compromise. But as to the true believers in their midst, our mission-if we love the gospel in its fullness--is to call them out of Babylon. We must boldly proclaim the truth of the atonement as it relates to the gospel; exposing the fallacy and deception of a message that proclaims a non-redemptive redemption and an atonement for those who are in hell.

     The doctrine of universal salvation, if grounded in the true gospel, would be greatly less of a heresy than the teaching of a universal atonement that is powerless to save. We can imagine the efforts to reason biblically that would be taken to correct a person deceived by gospel universalism. Let us be tenfold as determined to correct those deceived by free-will or Amyraldian universalism!

Note: Inclusion of an author on this website does not constitute an endorsement of said author.
More information about the articles on Pristine Grace.

Create | Edit