Thoughts on Augustines Limited Atonement


I recently had a encounter with a Augustine student who wrote the article below . Would love to hear thoughts and insights from a universal perspective. Thank you in advance…

"If you love God ask yourself why you deem him worthy of love? If it is solely because of what he has given you if you think you are saved then this love is natural we always love those who do us well … but if its for his own sake because of who he is then what?

All believers who love God by grace desire to be with him and praise him eternally but part of loving God is being submissive to his will … so every believer should be willing to profess with their mouth that God deserves love even if his will was to damn us … indeed if God desired our damnation if we loved him we to should desire our damnation … so I ask all Christians if God did not want to save you would you still love him, and would you accept damnation out of love for him?

If God is glorified more in my damnation then in my salvation let me be damned. Will you also say this? " Author Pax


Depends on what kind of God we’re talking about. If we’re talking about a God Who is Himself essentially love (i.e. if orthodox trinitarian theism is true), then yes, I would accept damnation out of love for Him.

I wouldn’t understand why God, Who is essentially love, would not want to save me from sin; which means I would probably think I had misunderstood what it means for Him to ‘not want to save me’. But I do accept the condemnation of God, against my sins and my sinning, and even against me insofar as I insist on being a sinner. I accept that condemnation because I love Him. (Which I am willing to assure anyone is not a love of my own making, but a love I receive first from God which I willingly return.)

If, however, your author was trying to propose and defend a notion where a man may in fact be more merciful than God, or where God is not in fact essentially love, then he and I will have more fundamental theological issues than questions about condemnation. :wink:


Thank you a very insightful way to explain into words. I had a brain freeze with this one. I am now dethawed… :slight_smile:


There are plenty of Christians who still think like Augustine on this issue (that being predestination: although Augustine never articulated double predestination explicitily, there is no difference in ‘result’ between the single and double varieties), particularly those in traditionally reformed Presbyterian or reformed Baptist churches (think John Piper). While I reject those doctrines of predestination at this point, I would have to say that as a Christian, of course I must admit that God has the prerogative to do with us what he wants. We are clay. I think the kind of humility that results in reading the works of Augustine and the Reformed Christians is positive and important to cultivate even if you reject the idea that God would do that. Always know that he could and that it would be just.


The fact is: ONLY universlists are TRUE Calvinists if that category stands by God’s will prevailing. The problem with Calvinists is that they are inconsistent and therefore incoherent in their ‘approved’ argument of ‘limited atonement’. Christ redeemed the world and they cannot stomach that truth.


Of course, I agree that this idea that God has a hidden and revealed will to be absurd. That is why I reject traditional Calvinism and love what Barth has done with some of Calvin’s concepts. That said, I still don’t feel comfortable confirming or denying any theological system.