Views on Atonement

Lots of folk don’t think too much about the atonement of Christ. For whom did the Lord of Heaven drink the cup of wrath? What is the implication of the various views of this issue? I do not know who put this chart together, but pray it is provocative and helpful to you as it was for me.

Atonement Chart

8 thoughts on “Views on Atonement

  1. Very useful.

    Every person who takes Scripture seriously limits the atonement in some way, either in scope, efficacy, or the scope of its efficacy, because not all are saved.

    Even the strongest Calvinist believes the atonement touches every human being, for without the atonement there would not be common grace.

    “Limited” and “Unlimited” are therefore imperfect terms for the discussion. I don’t know of better terms, but the use of the terms has resulted in a lot of straw man arguments. This chart is really helpful in that regard, in that it clarifies terms and connects beliefs to them.

    There are many who say they believe in an unlimited atonement, but their views match the final column in the chart. Yet, people argue against them by refuting the middle column. People argue against those who hold to the middle column by refuting the first column. Etc, etc, etc.

    If any discussion began with a chart like this, at least everyone would be discussing the same thing….


  2. I think what the chart shows as Unlimited Limited Atonement is what Jon Gleason holds to. I do not agree with Jon’s assertion that the atonement causes or is otherwise directly related to common grace. I think common grace is similar to general revelation – everyone gets it because it’s part of how God created us and this world. Common grace and general revelation are key parts of Judgment Day, for without them a man might think he did not know there was a God. But all men will know that they suppressed the knowledge of God that was clearly revealed and be convicted in their own minds. The atonement of Christ plays no part in the damnation of the unregenerate, except by its absence.


  3. Manfred, none are really what I believe. For row 1 and row 4, I’ll take columns 4 / 5. For row 2, I’ll take column 3. For row 3, I’m probably closest to column 5, but I’d talk about imputation of sin to the non-elect (unbelievers) and imputation of righteousness to the elect (believers).

    Common grace — if it weren’t for the Cross, I believe the entire world, certainly mankind, would have been obliterated at the Fall. There would be no common grace. So I believe common grace is also rooted in / provided by the work of Christ on the Cross. I certainly agree with your connection between common grace and general revelation, and with its role in judgment.


  4. Manfred,

    I finished watching excellent preaching at the recent G3 Conference, preaching from Steve Lawson, Joel Beeke, Paul Washer, and Voddie Baucham. I thought you might be interested in one or more of these messages, with the Gospel being the reason for this conference…
    Click on the person you wish to listen to and it will bring up the video. You may share and/or embed these messages for free.


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