I. Summary of the Major Views
Today’s post will be really simple. I have tried to cull down all the information on the two major views of the extent of the atonement into two simple statements. There are really two primary questions that a view of the extent of the atonement must answer. First, what did the Triune God intend to happen through the work of the cross? Second, what was actually accomplished through the work of the cross? Using these question we are going to summarize the two major views on this issue.
a. General Atonement
The first major view that we will look at is the “General Atonement” view. This view is also referred to as the “Unlimited Redemption” view. This view stipulates that it was God’s intent to save every individual throughout history through the sacrifice of Jesus. Thus, the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross made salvation possible, but did not actually accomplish salvation. Salvation, individuals taking advantage of Jesus’ sacrifice, is contingent upon individuals believing on him.
b. Definite Atonement
The second major view is the “Definite Atonement” view. This view is also referred to as the “Limited Atonement” view. This view stipulates that it was God’s intent to save those whom He had previously elected through the sacrifice of Jesus. Thus, the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross actually accomplished salvation for the elect. This salvation, the application of Jesus’ sacrifice, was completely contingent upon God’s gracious work.