The Blog of Jack Holloway

Monday, September 16, 2013

Verses Against Limited Atonement and Irresistible Grace

I think Calvinists might as well take a marker and black out these verses and all others like them, because no amount of spin-doctoring is going to reconcile them with their doctrines.

Limited Atonement
"[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:2

"[God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:4)

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Pet. 3:9)

"As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!" (Ez. 33:11)

"I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." (Jn. 12:32)

"As in Adam all died, so in Christ all will be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:22)
Irresistible Grace
"The Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John." (Lk. 7:30)

"You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!" (Acts 7:51)

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matt. 23:37)

"All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations." (Isa. 65:2)
Passages could be brought against all the TULIP doctrines, but if L and I cannot be true, then the rest follow.


  1. Good selection! You know, I always thought the deconstruction of TULIP could begin and end in light of the prophets and what their messages reveal about God. To draw on Heschel in my thinking, this is the fact that Israel, Judah, Assyria/Nineveh and so forth continually kept falling into universal and contagious sin while YHWH’s anger would then burn out of concern for the people’s well being (i.e. sending the oracle to tell what catastrophes would be caused by continuing in sin and promising restoration and future hope if they would turn from sin). We do not come to see a God who limited his forgiveness nor predetermined or coerced the path of human action, but passionately tried to persuade them. Perhaps Calvinists run into bigger problems when they attempt to make passages like John 12:40 and Romans 9 address issues that are not even at play.

    1. Absolutely. At one point, I was writing a book against Calvinism, informed by scholarly biblical study (because so few theologians do that--I'm not sure why), but I stopped because, honestly, I don't think the theology is worth that much time. I don't understand how one can read the prophets and still think God controls everything and always gets his way.