Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

Theology Corner


By the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, all creation was redeemed from the bondage of evil and each soul was offered redemption from the bondage of sin.  As this impacts the souls of mankind:


Salvation from the consequences of sin is offered to all persons by the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ.

  • Salvation from the consequences of sin is offered to all persons by the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ (John 1:29, 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; Rom 3:21-25, 5:12-18; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 9:14-15)

See also Sections 8.6, 8.9 and 8.11 of Theology Corner.


This is a core belief of Wesleyan/ Arminian theology.  Reformed theology has a different take.  It teaches that salvation from the consequences of sin is not offered, but is, in fact, assigned to a select few called the elect of God who were chosen before the universe was formed.  The others, called reprobate, were unconditionally condemned to Hell.  In other words, the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ is limited in scope.  Jesus died on the cross only for the elect.


Consider the thoughts of John Miley on this issue (bullet items).


  • Is it true, as He affirms under most solemn self-adjuration, that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he turn from his way and live? Is it true that He so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son for its redemption?  Is it true that He will have all men to be saved?  Is it true that He is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish?  Can it be, then, that in the absence of all hinderance, and with the presence of an infinitely greater good, He preferred a limited atonement, and sovereignly destined one intrinsically sufficient for all to the favor of only a part?  It cannot be.


  • The vicarious sufferings of Christ as actually endured are all-sufficient for a universal atonement.


  • All that Christ did and suffered would have been necessary had only one human soul been the object of redemption; and nothing different, and nothing more, would have been required had every child of Adam been saved through His blood.


  • The Son of God, who in pitying love to sinners parted with His glory and humbled Himself to the deepest suffering and shame, was not wanting in redeeming love to all men. And it was His good pleasure that His atonement should be for all.  His cross so affirms.


  • For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (I Tim 2:5-6).


  • If many are foreordained to eternal destruction, or merely under the preterition of a limited atonement equally dooming them to perdition, God is not in any sense the Savior of all men.


  • But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man (Heb 2:9). Every man is every man!


  • If Christ died for only a part, as many hold, for only the far smaller part of adults, no man has, nor can have, previous to his conversion, satisfactory evidence that there is an atonement for him.


  • On a limited atonement, the Gospel cannot be sincerely preached to all. Nor can salvation be the privilege of all.  Nor can a saving faith in Christ be the duty of all, nor of any for whom his death was not divinely destined as an atonement.


  • [By limited atonement] Christ suffered the punishment of sin for only an elect part, not for all…Such is the atonement of satisfaction. From its own nature it must save all for whom it is made…It is such that were it for all, then all must be saved.  Hence it is denied that it is for all.  A limited actual salvation is ever given as the proof of a limited atonement…The facts of substitution in Christ necessary to an atonement must be efficient in the salvation of all whom He substitutes…We may accept in faith what is above our reason, but we cannot by any mere conjecture solve, nor even relieve, a difficulty which is contradictory to our reason.  This is the insuperable difficulty here.  God cannot sincerely offer saving grace to any soul when the grace is not in the offer.  Nor can he righteously impose the duty of a saving faith in Christ upon anyone for whom there is no salvation in him.


  • With an atonement in vicarious suffering sufficient for all, but conditional in the saving result, its universality is in full accord with a limited actual salvation.


  • The atonement, as a provision of infinite love for a common race in a common ruin of sin, with its unrestricted overture of grace and requirement of saving faith in Christ, is, and must be, an atonement for all.


Salvation from the consequences of sin is offered to all persons by the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ.  Each person who responds to God's grace and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ by confession of sin, remorse, repentance, faith and obedience receives the great gift of salvation. Each person who resists God's grace is condemned to everlasting punishment. 

The idea that the substitutionary atonement was made only for a few and those few alone are saved, cannot be found in Scripture.  Rather, this idea is a product of the stupefying, mind-numbing, suffocating intellectualism of Reformed Theology.  It goes something like this:


God is holy and sovereign.  No one can stand against His will.

Man is evil and helpless before God.

No man can be saved unless God changes his will, intellect, and heart.  Man is converted, not because he wills, but he wills because he is converted.  Regeneration precedes faith!

If Christ died for all men, all men would be saved since God’s will is irresistible; it is inconceivable that Christ should die for anyone other than the elect.

Not all men are saved because God chose only elect men for salvation. 


If the two mathematical sets, comprising the elect and the reprobate, were established by God before the world was formed, then evangelists and preachers might as well encourage mankind to worship Satan, embrace sin and curse God.  Upon death, each of the elect would still enter Heaven and each of the reprobate would still be cast into Hell.

More than a decade ago, powerful Calvinist leaders began to discourage preachers from ending a service with a ‘Billy Graham Type’ alter call.  A reprobate in the crowd might inadvertently come forward and confess his sins, have remorse in his heart, want to repent, believe he is saved by the grace of God and the atonement of Jesus Christ, and seek to be obedient.  This reprobate would leave the service thinking that he had been saved.  He might carry that belief to his death and, only then, find out that he had been abandoned by God before he was born!

Calvinism is not just an alternate theology; it is evil at its core.