Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Limited Atonement

In my continuing study of the Doctrines of Grace I have decided to read The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen. I first read of this book via the pen of J. I. Packer and committed to reading a book that was praised by one such as Packer.

In chapter 3, Owen produces an oft-referred to quote concerning limited atonement. Owen poses the premise that "God imposed his wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of hell for, either all the sins of all men, or all the sins of some men, or some sins of all men." (174)

In regards to the notion that Christ died for all the sins of all men Owen responds:
"then, are not all freed from the punishment of all their sins? You will say, " Because of their unbelief; they will not believe." But this unbelief, is it a sin, or not? If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death? If he did not, then did he not die for all their sins. Let them choose which part they will." (174)

I am wondering what the opposing view would produce as an answer to that. I have none.


  1. Universal reconciliation reconciles this point.

  2. Not really.

    Unless you believe in a universal reconciliation that involves no punishment whatsoever. If non-Christian have any punishment whatsoever (a 'remedial hell', purgatory, etc) the question remains unanswered.

    For what are they punished? If for unbelief, than Owen would still say if it is a sin than Christ paid for it. If it isn't a sin then why would they be punished for it.

    You don't hold to universal reconciliation without any punishment whatsoever, do you?

  3. I believe that we receive some kind of reward for faithfully living out the call to bring God's Kingdom, both here on earth and in the future.