“The Extent of Salvation
(Limited or Unlimited
Limited or Unlimited Atonement
Strong Calvinists argue for limited atonement, which
means that salvation is only available for those elect
which God has predestined to be saved. The rest are
predestined to be lost.
Moderate Calvinists, Wesleyans, and most other
Orthodox Christians teach unlimited atonement,
which means that salvation is available to everyone,
but applied only to those who respond in faith to God’s
Essentialism vs. Voluntarism
Voluntarism, in which the doctrine of limited
atonement is rooted, insists that something is right
because God wills it; that is, God decides something is
right, and then it is right.
Essentialism, declares that God wills something
because it is right; that is it is already in accord with
His unchanging nature.
Voluntarism as defense for Limited Atonement
Strong Calvinists are forced to appeal to voluntarism as a
defense for limited atonement. The criticism of
limited atonement is that it doesn’t look like justice,
which is an attribute of God. In other words, limited
atonement would violate justice because it
indiscriminately chooses some and rejects others with
no regard to faith, desire, or freewill on the part of
humanity. So the only answer is that it is right because
anything God does is right. This is an example of
Arguments Against Voluntarism
God’s immutability—If God does not change, then for Him to
arbitrarily change what is right or not right by virtue of
decree alone would indicate that God Himself changes at a
fundamental level of His being.
God’s pure actuality would be prohibitive of God changing at
such a fundamental level of His being.
God’s perfection likewise would be prohibitive, in that
perfection cannot be improved, and a change would either
improve or diminish absolute perfection.
God’s simplicity prohibits change in that change implies
composition, and there can be no change in an absolute