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What is the Doctrine of Particular Redemption?

Category Articles
Date May 7, 2010

Christ died . . . for all God’s elect. John Owen

Christ suffered all that wrath which was due to the elect for their sins. Thomas Boston

All are not saved by Christ’s death, but all which are saved are saved by Christ’s death. Henry Smith

The Son cannot die for them whom the Father never elected. Thomas Manton

If God has elected some and not others to eternal life, then plainly the primary purpose of Christ’s work was to redeem the elect. Loraine Boettner

The advocates of particular redemption, or . . . limited atonement . . . deny . . . that Christ intended to procure, or did procure . . . redemption . . . for all men. William Cunningham

The teaching that God purposed by the death of his Son to save all men cannot pass the test of Scripturalness. R.B. Kuiper

Scripture Proofs:

The Son of Man came . . . to give his life a ransom for many. (Matt. 20:28)

I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:15)

Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:2)

Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it. (Eph. 5:25)

How Do Calvinism and Arminianism Differ on this Doctrine?

Christ died to make salvation certain for his elect people (Calvinism) . . . Christ died to make salvation possible for everyone. (Arminianism) M. E. Manton

The Calvinist limits the extent of it in that he says it does not apply to all persons . . . the Arminian limits the power of it, for he says that in itself it does not actually save anybody. Loraine Boettner

For the Calvinist it is like a narrow bridge which goes all the way across the stream; for the Arminian it is like a great wide bridge which goes only half-way across. Loraine Boettner

What Heresies Oppose this Doctrine?

The Arminians . . . assert that Christ died equally and indiscriminately for every individual of mankind. Christopher Ness

The Papists, Quakers, Socinians and Arminians err who maintain that all men, even reprobates, are redeemed by Christ. David Dickson

What Practical Lessons Does this Doctrine Teach?

Do not believe the devil’s gospel, which is a chance of salvation; a chance of salvation is a chance of damnation. Adolph Saphir

We have not seen the full meaning of the cross till we have seen it as the centre of the gospel, flanked on the one hand by total inability and unconditional election and on the other by irresistible grace and final preservation. James I. Packer

It is not Christ in the decree that you are to look to, while you know not that you are elected . . . nor is it Christ in the heart . . . while you know not that you are a believer . . . but it is Christ in the Word, because you know you are a sinner, and Christ [is] a Saviour held forth to you there, saying: ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.’ (Isa. 45:22) Ralph Erskine

It is clear that the Triune God’s redemptive love is not unlimited or universal from the undeniable fact that it does not embrace fallen angels (Heb. 2.16). There are ‘elect angels’ (1 Tim. 5.21) . . . Unless one is prepared to affirm the final universal salvation of all mankind . . . one cannot have an atonement of infinite intrinsic value and also an atonement of universal extension. One can have one or the other but not both. Robert Reymond: A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (Nelson, 1998, pp 675, 681.

From ‘A Concise Calvinistic Catechism’, compiled by John Brentnall, in Peace and Truth, 2010:2, the magazine of the Sovereign Grace Union. Used with permission.

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