Universalist, Arminian and Calvinist Views on the Atonement

all people will be saved. The Church through the ages has soundly condemned this view as heresy for the simple reason that it is a doctrine denied by the Biblical text. Orthodox Christianity, while insisting on the infinite value of the cross of Christ, believes that by itself, Christ’s death did not save everybody; that some will indeed experience God’s wrath in hell, forever.

In this regard, two main views prevail in the Church today, both of which inevitably limit the atonement in some measure. One (the Arminian view) proclaims a “universal” and “potential” atonement, limiting its power (Christ died to make all men saveable, and that the benefits of His death are effected by man’s choice to believe). The other (the Calvinist view) limits its extent. Christ came to fulfill the will of the Father in laying down His life for the sheep, giving Himself for the Church, securing a “real” and “definite” atonement that actually propitiated the Father’s wrath, securing redemption for the people of God. Concerning this question, clarity emerges when we ask this vital question: “What was the Father’s plan from all eternity in the cross of Christ?” – what did God will for Christ’s death to accomplish? Our study of the Scriptures reveals a breathtaking, staggering answer! Christ as the perfect and powerful Savior, perfected forever, all for whom His death was intended. No mere potential atonement is in view. The angel announced that Christ would save His people from their sins. He did exactly that!”

– John Samson

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