Unlimited Limited Atonement?

Does Mark Driscoll’s declaration of “Unlimited Limited Atonement” amount to Amyraldism (i.e. 4-point Calvinism)? Or is it just a different way of stating Reformed soteriology?

Related blogs here (claims Mark is a modified Arminian on the atonement) and here (claims Mark could still be properly called Reformed in soteriology). Mark’s own stuff is here. Thoughts?


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  1. #1 by sbc on October 5, 2008 - 4:58 am

    If I was forced to choose between calling Mark’s position a modification of Limited Atonement or a modification of Unlimited Atonement, I’d say that it’s a modification of Limited Atonement.

    Contrary to popular (Arminian) belief, the essence of Limited Atonement is not its “limitedness,” but its definiteness.
    The fact that Mark sees the atonement as necessarily salvific for the elect is enough to make his position more-or-less reformed.

    However, let me go on to say that his position is imprecise, illogical, and less respectable than some forms of 4 pt. Calvinism (amyraldism/sublapsarianism):

    Amyraldism/sublapsarianism reconciles the universal nature of the atonement with the particular nature of election in terms of the order of God’s decrees. Those who espouse this position think that the atonement can be universal, and election particular, if the atonement is logically prior to election in the mind of God.

    Although I do not hold to amyraldism/sublapsarianism, I think that it is a better alternative to Limited Atonement than Mark’s illogical modification of it.

    Limited Atonement affirms that Christ accomplished some things for all people…but atonement is not among those things.
    Mark maintains that Christ accomplished atonement for all people, but that that atonement atones for only the elect.
    That is contradictory.

    Perhaps the most ridiculous statement that Mark made in his sermon was this:

    “By dying for everyone, Jesus purchased everyone as His possession and He then applies His forgiveness to the elect by grace and applies His wrath to the non-elect.”

    If I understand Mark correctly, he’s saying that Jesus has the right to apply wrath to the non-elect only after purchasing them on the cross.
    I would say that Jesus has the right to apply wrath to someone UNLESS they were purchased on the cross.

    When Scripture tells us that Jesus purchased us on the cross, it implies that Jesus purchased us FROM someone or something. That something is God’s wrath.
    So, Mark is saying that Jesus purchased the non-elect from His wrath so that He could apply His wrath to them. That makes no sense.

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