Calvin and Limited Atonement

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Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Can anyone point me to some citations from the Institutes or other writings by Calvin that show definitively that Calvin believed in Limited Atonement?

Thanks!!!
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
[169] It is evident that is the many hoi polloi, include those connected
with the two parties — the many descendants of Adam, and the many believers
in Christ. And “the many” was adopted to form a contrast with the “one.”
“The many” are termed “all” in verse Romans 5:18, and again, “the many,” in
Romans 5:19. They are called “the many” and “all” alike with regard both to
Adam and to Christ. Some maintain that the terms are coextensive in the two
instances. That the whole race of man is meant in the one instances cannot
be doubted: and is there any reason why the whole race of man should not be
included in the second? Most clearly there is. The Apostle speaks of Adam
and his posterity, and also of Christ and his people, or those “who receive
abundance of grace,” or, “are made righteous;” and “the many” and the
“all” are evidently those who belong to each separately. In no other way can
the words with any consistency be understood. All who fell in Adam do not
certainly “receive abundance of grace,” and are not “made righteous.” And it
is not possible, as Professor Hodge observes, “so to eviscerate such
declarations as these, as to make them to contain nothing more than that the
chance of salvation is offered to all men.” This is indeed contrary to
evident facts. Nor can they mean, that a way of acceptance has been opened,
which is suitable to all; for though this is true, it yet cannot be the
meaning here. Hence “the many” and the “all,” as to Adam, are all his
descendants; and “the many” and the “all,” as to Christ, are those who
believe. — Ed.
From Calvin's commentaries - Romans 5:15
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
[169] It is evident that is the many hoi polloi, include those connected
with the two parties — the many descendants of Adam, and the many believers
in Christ. And “the many” was adopted to form a contrast with the “one.”
“The many” are termed “all” in verse Romans 5:18, and again, “the many,” in
Romans 5:19. They are called “the many” and “all” alike with regard both to
Adam and to Christ. Some maintain that the terms are coextensive in the two
instances. That the whole race of man is meant in the one instances cannot
be doubted: and is there any reason why the whole race of man should not be
included in the second? Most clearly there is. The Apostle speaks of Adam
and his posterity, and also of Christ and his people, or those “who receive
abundance of grace,” or, “are made righteous;” and “the many” and the
“all” are evidently those who belong to each separately. In no other way can
the words with any consistency be understood. All who fell in Adam do not
certainly “receive abundance of grace,” and are not “made righteous.” And it
is not possible, as Professor Hodge observes, “so to eviscerate such
declarations as these, as to make them to contain nothing more than that the
chance of salvation is offered to all men.” This is indeed contrary to
evident facts. Nor can they mean, that a way of acceptance has been opened,
which is suitable to all; for though this is true, it yet cannot be the
meaning here. Hence “the many” and the “all,” as to Adam, are all his
descendants; and “the many” and the “all,” as to Christ, are those who
believe. — Ed.
From Calvin's commentaries - Romans 5:15
Just a point of clarification for the casual popcorn munchers: as JD indicated with the "Ed." at the end, the quote is an editorial comment and not Calvin's words on Romans 5:15.
 

JohnOwen007

Puritan Board Sophomore
Can anyone point me to some citations from the Institutes or other writings by Calvin that show definitively that Calvin believed in Limited Atonement?
Scholars are divided on whether Calvin adhered to LA. (For a good succinct and clear summary of the debate see Andrew McGowan's book The Federal Theological of Thomas Boston). Part of the problem is reading a more developed understanding of particular redemption (of say Owen) back into the earlier Calvin. Sure, the topic had been debated before (e.g. Gottschalk) and during (e.g. Bucer) Calvin's life; he was aware of issues surrounding the extent of the atonement. However, the tradition continued to develop after him.

It's clear to me that Calvin didn't fit the Owenian schema. See all of these quotations here.
 

JohnOwen007

Puritan Board Sophomore
Helm's argument, in my opinion, is limited. He has some good thoughts but as I see it his problem is twofold:

[1] He reads later developed ideas back into Calvin.

[2] He doesn't take into account many many sayings of Calvin that disprove his thesis.

McGowan's rendition of the debate is excellent. Helm jumped into the debate fairly early on. Much water has flowed under the bridge since then.

Cheers.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
I thought this was interesting: from his commentaries 1 John 2:2:

Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Sucha monstrous thing deserves no refutation. They who seek to avoid this absurdity, have said that Christ [63] suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but efficiently only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools. Though then I allow that what has been said is true, yet I deny that it is suitable to this passage; for the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world. For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Ben, I believe Robert Peterson's Calvin and the Atonement (I believe that is the name, going on memory) would also be profitable for you to read on this subject.
 

mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
I thought this was interesting: from his commentaries 1 John 2:2:

Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Sucha monstrous thing deserves no refutation. They who seek to avoid this absurdity, have said that Christ [63] suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but efficiently only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools. Though then I allow that what has been said is true, yet I deny that it is suitable to this passage; for the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world. For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world.
The difference in Calvin is the amount of time he talks about this. Maybe he acknowledged it to be true but its not really discussed in his other writings on election. Its not a staple arguement for him like it is in the modern day discussion on the doctrine of election.
I listen all the time on cd to his election and reprobation. I dont believe by his acknowlegement that he embraced the idea as a staple argument.

I think its sorta like his discussion on free will. One has the freedom to choose for himself under the bondage of sin. He says if you want to call that will free then go ahead.
 
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