The Instigator
thephfactor
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
GenesisCreation
Pro (for)
Winning
16 Points

That the concept of limited atonement is supported by the Holy Bible

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
GenesisCreation
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/13/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,640 times Debate No: 22815
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

thephfactor

Con

I will be arguing Con: That the concept of limited atonement is NOT supported by the Bible

Terms:
Limited Atonement: This is the third of The Five Points of Calvinism: the belief that Jesus did not die to save all humans. He died only for the sake of specific sins of those who are saved. Sometimes called "Particular Redemption."
www.religioustolerance.org/gl_l.htm

Criteria:
Whoever shows the more biblical (least "interpretation") view wins.

Sources:
The Bible will hold preeminence, but for minor points a widely respected historical source may be acceptable.

1st round acceptance
Pro must accept Terms, Criteria, and Sources to move on.
GenesisCreation

Pro

I accept the debate and I will defend the point of limited atonement.
I accept the absolute authority of the scripture to define and defend my position.
If Con approves, I would like to use the KJV and ESV translations.
Debate Round No. 1
thephfactor

Con

Thanks for accepting, GenesisCreation (love the username lol) and I look forward to an intellectually challenging and interesting debate.

I will organize my arguments under the following:

1. Bible verses that refute Limited atonement, explained
2. The main problem of Limited atonement

Bible verses that refute Limited atonement
It is very handy that I memorized the following verses at an early age, since I will use them first as an example of the unlimited atonement. They may be the first verses any of you memorized:

John 3:16-17 (KJV)
"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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

This shows clearly the concept of an unlimited redemption. It also refutes the idea that God created some men to go to hell.

Isa 53:5-6
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

This verse explicitly shows that the LORD atoned for the sins of us all, not just eventual believers. The wording just doesn't allow for limited atonement.

There are many other verses in the Bible that show support. But for now I will move on to the main problem caused by Limited Atonement.

The Main Problem caused by Limited Atonement
First off, it limits the love of God. Extreme Calvinists place much weight on the infinite holiness of God, but his other attributes are just as infinite. The position that God does not love some of the people he created is untenable, since it makes God's love finite. God is love. God so LOVED the world, he sent his Son. The philosophy that God rejects, hates most of the world is completely contrary to the scripture.

So from all the above you can see that the philosophy of Limited Atonement, rather than being supported by the Bible, lies in direct opposition to the Holy Scripture.
GenesisCreation

Pro

"After the reading of Scripture, which I strenuously inculcate, and more than any other ... I recommend that the
Commentaries of
Calvin be read ... For I affirm that in the interpretation of the Scriptures Calvin is incomparable,
and that his Commentaries are more to be valued than anything that is handed down to us in the writings of the
Fathers -- so much that I concede to him a certain spirit of prophecy in which he stands distinguished above
others, above most, indeed, above all"


-Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609)

What is Limited Atonement?

Limited atonement is the scriptural interpretation that Jesus died for his sheep only. Despite its unpopularity,
limited atonement is the only rational conclusion that can be drawn from scripture. The sheer volume of writings
that directly describe atonement as a limited act are innumerable and can only be overcome by sheer exclusion,
delusion or disbelief. I find these traits to be accurate because:
  • Exclusion of certain scriptures can make the Gospel message appear more desirable. Indeed, a
    loving God who forgives everyone is far more preferable than a God who exercises
    righteous judgment upon those who continue in pervasive ungodliness.
    Despite a universalistic, humanistic appeal, the Arminian Gospel message
    is simply not true.
  • If one does not understand the Gospel because it has been delivered in error or the reader is not
    after Christ but rather an excuse (the insurance policy of ‘I can continue
    sinning because Jesus died for everyone and everyone else is sinning too’),
    then the reader may be under strong delusion.
  • If one does not believe the Gospel (Christ is the fulfillment of prophecy, who lived, died and was
    raised for the atonement of sin) then it becomes indescribably easy to
    ignore the authenticity of God’s word. The Bible calls itself true, so it
    is a paradox to only believe a portion.

The Arminian view on atonement is a universalist interpretation. An Arminian will read John 3:16
scripture and draw the conclusion that Jesus died for everyone.

"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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but
that the world through him might be saved."
The Calvinist looks at this scripture and finds some interesting phrases:

ñ whosoever believeth in him should not perish

ñ that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:16 does not teach that Christ died for the whole world. It teaches that God loves the world enough to save those who believe in him. It is abundantly clear that God desires that no one should perish, yet it is far more evident that God will judge those whom are not sealed in Christ. This is an absolute, unbeatable certainty. Without any doubt, you have
to believe in order for Christ to bear your sin. We know this because Joh 3:16 clearly states:" Whosoever (not everyone, but whosoever) believes in him (the requirement, which not all have) shall not perish (the promise to those who meet the requirement)....

If the scripture said:"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the all the world through
him will be saved"....then we would have a different Gospel. That's not the Gospel.

My opponent opened with two very beautiful scriptures:

John 3:16 (addressed above ) and Isaiah 53:5. Let’s read that scripture in context.

Isaiah is a prophet who is addressing the Jews, not the world. When he says “us all”, he is speaking to the Jews and the Gentiles who faithfully await the Messiah. He does not address everyone. We know this to be true because the scripture continues unfolding a limited atonement in that very same chapter, just a few sentences further. See Isaiah 53 continued:

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put off grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the
anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make m
any
(not all) to accounted righteous. And he shall bear their (the many) iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a
portion with the many (not all), and he shall divide the spoils with the strong (not the weak), because he poured
out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many (not all), and makes
intercession for the transgressors.

It does not matter if we look into the old testament or the new testament. God only deals with his own people.
He does not promise salvation to everyone. He promised salvation to those who believe, his sheep.

As we can see from the opening quote, even Arminius concedes that Calvin has a near supernatural grasp on the scripture.

My opponent claims that Calvinism limits God’s love by making him wrathful. The Bible says that God is light.
In him is no darkness. That means, when God judges, he is still righteous. By saying that God’s wrath is an
ill-equipped character trait of a loving deity, you are in fact limiting God from punishing evil, which is an act
of love. If God was saving everyone, than he would no longer be a loving God. He would be rewarding evil
deeds with paradise. That, dear readers, is a limited love. My God is perfect. My God makes us righteous
through faith and my God pours out wrath on sin.

References:

Exodus 4:21, 14:4, 8, 17; Deuteronomy 2:30, 9:4-7, 29:4; Joshua 11:19; 1 Samuel
2:25, 3:14; 2 Samuel 17:14; Psalm 105:25; Proverbs 15:8, 26, 28:9; Isaiah
53:11; Jeremiah 24:7; Matthew 1:21, 11:25-27, 13:10-15, 44-46, 15:13, 20:28,
22:14, 24:22; Luke 8:15, 13:23, 19:42; John 5:21, 6:37, 44, 65, 8:42-47,
10:11, 14, 26-28, 11:49-53, 12:37-41, 13:1, 18, 15:16, 17:2, 6, 9, 18:9, 37;
Acts 2:39, 13:48, 18:27, 19:9; Romans 9:10-26, 11:5-10; 1 Corinthians
1:18-31, 2:14; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, 4:3; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 2:1-10;
Colossians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-14; 2 Timothy 2:20, 25; Titus 2:14;
Hebrews 1:3, 14, 2:9, 16 (cp. Galatians 3:29, 4:28-31), 9:28; 1 Peter 2:8; 2
Peter 2:7; 1 John 4:6; Jude 1, 14; Revelation 13:8, 17:8, 15-18, 21:27.

Debate Round No. 2
thephfactor

Con

As I start this next round, I would like to point out that it is vital for both teams to support their points with Scripture. As I address Pro's points, please keep that in mind. First of all, my opponent addressed John 3:16 by equating "whosoever believeth" and "through him might be saved", with his idea that "God loves the world enough to save those who believe in him". However, there is no connection. Although I agree with my opponent that those who believe in Him will be saved, and the rest damned, but there is a difference between limited salvation and limited atonement. Pro used the limited salvation parts ("whosoever believes") of John 3:16 to support his limited atonement argument, but there is no connection. My focus on John 3:16 was that "God so loved the world" that he gave his son. This clearly shows the universal atonement theology. Also important is "God did not send his Son to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved." This part of the verse shows that God sent Jesus to give the world the opportunity to be saved. This is universal atonement.

Regarding the verses from Isaiah, my opponents position is that all the pronouns, "we", "us", "the many", "their", are referring only to the Jews and saved believers. However, this is merely my opponent's arbitrary interpretation. This a prophetic passage about the coming Christ, and can be applied universally. From a logical standpoint, since we know that all sin, and since this verse indicates that the atonement parallels the sin, it is impossible to ignore the conclusions. Regarding the wording of "many", this is a contrast to the One (Christ), which emphasizes the sacrifice of Christ. It does not limit the sacrifice. My opponents arguments must be supported by Scripture itself, and not merely by interpretation.

Moving down, my opponent misunderstood my point about limiting God's love. He represented my argument as "Calvinism limits God’s love by making him wrathful". I understand the importance of righteous wrath; what I was actually trying to say is that Limited Atonement limits God's love inherently, since it limits atonement. If God loves only those who will eventually turn to him, it limits his love.

As a final point, I would like to point out a small, but important problem with Pro's case. He consistently implies that Limited Atonement is a Calvinist doctrine, and that Calvin is widely respected and correct. First, I would like to reiterate that my opponent's arguments must be based off of Scripture, and not man's wisdom. Second, Limited Atonement is not a Calvinist doctrine. Consider Calvin's commentary on Mark 14:24: "The word many does not mean a part of the world only, but the whole human race...the world is redeemed by the blood of Christ."[1] Rather, this doctrine has been added by extreme Calvinists in later years.

As I've shown, Pro has failed to prove his arguments with Scripture. Con's arguments remain intact.

[1]http://www.theologyweb.com...
GenesisCreation

Pro

Con said: “there is a difference between limited salvation and limited atonement.

Rebuttal: Please consider:

Salvation is a result of atonement. In order to be saved, we need faith in atonement,
also known as Grace. (Grace is the subjective free gift of salvation through
faith in Jesus Christ, i.e. atonement.) If you don’t believe, you won’t get
saved. Agreed?

If your doctrine of Unlimited Atonement is true, then everyone has equal ability
and oportunity to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. The only way that can work is through
free will. Your faith has to be a product of willpower or free will. “I desire (choose, will, decide)
to accept Christ into my heart, therefor I will be saved.” Agreed?

Here is the problem with that Doctrine:

If mankind has the ability to choose Jesus through free will, then faith is a product of willpower.
Yet Romans teaches:
  • Romans 12:3 -
    For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of
    himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment,
    each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
We can see clearly, without dispute, God assigns us faith. It’s not a product of free will.
If you’re still skeptical, I can prove that Jesus Christ (God) is the author of faith:
  • Hebrews 12:2 -
    looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that
    was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the
    right hand of the throne of God.

Another scripture that shows us that mankind plays zero part in their own salvation:

  • Ephesians 2:8 - For by grace you have been saved through
    faith
    . And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
    9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his
    workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
    beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Therein stands the problem of unlimited atonement:

If Christ died for the whole world then the whole world must have access to faith
(which saves your soul). Since we know that faith is a product of God and not of
man, we must assume that God grants faith to everyone. If he doesn’t, then it’s
no longer universal atonement but rather limited atonement.

That means:

If you’re correct, then the following is the logical process:

  • Christ died for the world. (Atonement)
  • God grants faith in Christ to the world. (Faith)
  • Faith grants salvation. (Grace)
  • The whole world is saved.
  • Hell is empty.

That also means:

Limited Atonement = Limited Salvation (Calvinism)

Unlimited Atonement = Total Salvation (Heresy)

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Con said: Regarding the verses from Isaiah, my opponents position is that all the pronouns,
"we", "us", "the many", "their", are referring only to the Jews and saved believers. However,
this is merely my opponent's arbitrary interpretation.

Rebuttal:
Isaiah 1:1 - The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah
and Jerusalem
in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Respectfully, it is not my interpretation. It is a literal reading of scripture.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Con said: My opponents arguments must be supported by Scripture itself, and not
merely by interpretation.



Rebuttal: My arguments are entirely rooted in scripture. Not a single argument has been
established without Biblical orthodoxy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Con said
: If God loves only those who will eventually turn to him, it limits his love.

Rebuttal
: The only thing that limits God, is God. If the scripture states that he has a
limited patience and love then we must accept that as a character attribute of God.
Let review God’s character:

If God had an absolute love for the world, as to justify unlimited atonement, then
Leviticus is in error:

  • Leviticus 20:23 -
    And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out
    before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested
    them.

Deuteronomy must also be a lie:

  • Deuteronomy 28:63 -
    And as the LORD took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD
    will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you.
    And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession
    of it.

Psalms must be ignored to view God as you see him:

  • Psalms 5:5 -
    The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You
    destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty
    and deceitful man.

In conclusion, I’d like to show you a passage about God’s love and what the reaction to it should be:

  • Psalms 5:7 - But I, through the abundance of your steadfast
    love
    , will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in
    the fear of you
    .

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Con said: As a final point, I would like to point out a small, but important problem with
Pro's case. He consistently implies that Limited Atonement is a Calvinist doctrine.

Rebuttal:
Limited Atonement is a Calvinistic doctrine. While Calvin himself may not have authored

it directly, the doctrine is a logical conclusion derived from his works. He is credited for the doctrine
because he laid the groundwork.
Georg Simon Ohm discovered the nature of electrical resistances, yet Otis Boykin invented the resistor.
We still write the
resistance value in Ohms, not Boykins.

It’s a trivial objection and makes limited atonement no less Calvinistic.

Debate Round No. 3
thephfactor

Con

thephfactor forfeited this round.
GenesisCreation

Pro

Arguments extended into final round. Opponent forfeiture.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by GenesisCreation 4 years ago
GenesisCreation
I think all of mankind is heretical. I don't think Arminians are special in that regard.

When it comes to Biblical orthodoxy, I find the doctrine of Unlimited Atonement to be heretical.
Posted by popculturepooka 4 years ago
popculturepooka
Genesis, do you think that Arminians are heretics?
Posted by GenesisCreation 4 years ago
GenesisCreation
Start a forum. This issue hasn't been resolved for 450 years. A single debate wouldn't begin to cover the information available (to either side of the coin).

It was a fun debate though.
Posted by thephfactor 4 years ago
thephfactor
Sorry about that. :{( I really was looking forward to finishing this.
Posted by thephfactor 4 years ago
thephfactor
limited atonement, I believe wikipedia has a good summary.
Posted by KILLUMINATI 4 years ago
KILLUMINATI
What are you arguing ?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 4 years ago
KRFournier
thephfactorGenesisCreationTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Win and conduct to Pro due to Con's forfeit.
Vote Placed by popculturepooka 4 years ago
popculturepooka
thephfactorGenesisCreationTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct point for forfeit; Pro presented the stronger case here. His arguments that bible supports the view of "limited atonement" went unrefuted.
Vote Placed by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
thephfactorGenesisCreationTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro for Con's forfeiture. Despite Pro's strong assertion, believing that Christ's atonement is available to all does not require "sheer exclusion, delusion or disbelief." However, I do think that Pro made the stronger case, and Con's forfeit didn't help matters any.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
thephfactorGenesisCreationTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Throughout the debate I failed to see the conflict between Con and Pro's viewpoints until Round 3. Pro seemed to be setting up the stage for his case rather then making it. Unfortunately, when Pro did make his case in Round 3, Con failed to rebut the argument. Conduct to Pro for Con's forfeit.