That “All” Is Always Defined By Context

“ ‘All’ means ALL!”

This phrase is often heard from preachers who teach against the doctrine of Limited atonement (or, as I shall refer to it in the remainder of this post, Particular redemption). Particular redemption is the doctrine concerning Christ’s work on the Cross indicating that Jesus died to actually secure salvation, which is certainly applied to a particular people, in contradiction of the view of Unlimited atonement or General redemption, which indicates that Jesus died to make salvation possible for each and every person ever to live. Preachers who teach the unlimited or general view believe that their position is drawn from verses such as the following:

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. (I Timothy 2:3-6 NASB)

This is where the statement at the beginning of this blogpost comes in. As soon as the Particular redemptionist begins explaining the context of the passage above, the Generalist protests that “ ‘all means ALL!” By this, we are supposed to understand that “all” must mean “each and every person ever to live.” But this is a huge concept to pack into a little word, and though most would easily accept the Generalist meaning for “all”– as the tradition of Unlimited atonement is, by far, the most prevalent in contemporary Christianity– we must question whether there is truly warrant for defining “all” in this way.

It is the assumption of the “ ‘all’ means ALL!” crowd that “all” is regularly defined according to Generalist usage. But if we observe how this word is actually employed in our day-to-day speech, we see that this is not the case. For if we hear an announcement at work that “all are to be present” at a certain meeting, it is unlikely that our boss expects every person who will ever live on the planet to attend. Likewise, if there is an announcement at church that “all are invited” to the wedding of one of the church members, then the bride’s parents would certainly be appalled if the entire world’s population from all time came to the reception.

You see, “all” is always defined by context. Both the audience to whom the term “all” is applied and the subject-matter of the phrase in which “all” is used are what give this word its meaning. It is only on rare occasions that the word “all” is used to mean, “each and every person ever to live,” and when “all” is used for this meaning, it is usually accompanied by qualifying phrases such as “absolutely” or “without exception,” lest this particular use of the word be misunderstood.

And the above observations on our normal use of the word “all” apply to the biblical use of the word as well– God has communicated to us in common language that we can understand. Like our everyday use of the word “all,” the biblical employment of this term is to be understood in the context it was given: To whom was the author speaking when he used the word? What subject-matter was being addressed to which the term was applied?

Again, there are rare occasions in which the word “all” is used in the Bible to indicate “each and every person ever to live,” but we know that the word carries this meaning in these cases by the context in which it is found. For example, we are taught in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” “All” here carries the universal connotation. And how do we know this? Because of context. The Apostle here predicates his use of the word “all” upon a section of Scripture containing phrases such as:

There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one. (Romans 3:10b-12 HCSB emphases added)

These phrases– “no one” and “not even one”– repeated for emphasis, qualify and contextualize the word “all” so that we know that this is truly to be applied to all people everywhere for all time.

But in other occurrences, the word “all” is defined by its context in such a way so as to preclude the universal sense of the word. As the Apostle writes in the same letter:

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:18-19 ESV emphases added)

When the passage above speaks of “justification and life for all men,” we cannot understand this to apply to every individual ever to walk the planet unless we abandon the Faith and become Universalists, denying what the Bible teaches about those who will be thrown into the lake of fire at the final judgment in passages such as Revelation 20:15 and 21:8. But we do not even need to go to any other book of the Bible in order to ascertain that “all” here does not mean “all people everywhere for all time without exception,” for the Apostle informs us in the same passage that the “all” men who are lead to “justification and life” are identified with the “many” who “will be made righteous.” So, as loud as someone may shout, “ ‘All’ means ALL!” we have at least one clear-cut passage in which Scripture certainly teaches us that “all” means “many.”

And so how are we to understand the use of the word “all” in that favorite passage of the General redemptionists, I Timothy 2:3-6, quoted above? As noted before, in thinking about this verse, we must note the following:

Context is key! The verses surrounding the above passage make it clear that Paul’s main thrust in writing these words was to break down racial and class distinctions that were prejudicing members of the early church against proclaiming the Gospel to everyone. So before the passage cited above, Paul makes mention of offering prayers for “all men” (I Tim. 2:1), specifically indicating “kings and all who are in authority” (I Tim. 2:2)- the same class of men from whom so few of the early Christians came (cf. I Cor. 1:26-27), and the same class of men who so often persecuted the early church (cf. James 2:6). And after the passage cited above Paul immediately explains that he was appointed as an apostle to the Gentiles (I Tim. 2:7). So the primary thrust of this passage is that God desires all kinds of men to be saved and that Christ died as a ransom for all kinds of men.

Christ died as a real ransom for all kinds of men. Not as a potential ransom for each and every individual who would ever walk the face of the earth, many of whom were already in Hell when Christ paid the ransom for His people. To impose a universal meaning on the word “all” in texts such as I Timothy 2:3-6, is to belittle the completed work of our Lord.

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20 Comments on “That “All” Is Always Defined By Context”

  1. Peter Says:

    I hate to be peddling around this quote so much these days but CH Spurgeon states:

    “What then? Shall we try to put another meaning into the text than that which it fairly bears? I trow not. You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. “All men,” say they,—”that is, some men”: as if the Holy Ghost could not have said “some men” if he had meant some men. “All men,” say they; “that is, some of all sorts of men”: as if the Lord could not have said “all sorts of men” if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written “all men,” and unquestionably he means all men. I know how to get rid of the force of the “alls” according to that critical method which some time ago was very current, but I do not see how it can be applied here with due regard to truth. I was reading just now the exposition of a very able doctor who explains the text so as to explain it away; he applies grammatical gunpowder to it, and explodes it by way of expounding it. I thought when I read his exposition that it would have been a very capital comment upon the text if it had read, “Who will not have all men to be saved, nor come to a knowledge of the truth.” Had such been the inspired language every remark of the learned doctor would have been exactly in keeping, but as it happens to say, “Who will have all men to be saved,” his observations are more than a little out of place. My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God. I never thought it to be any very great crime to seem to be inconsistent with myself; for who am I that I should everlastingly be consistent? But I do think it a great crime to be so inconsistent with the word of God that I should want to lop away a bough or even a twig from so much as a single tree of the forest of Scripture. God forbid that I should cut or shape, even in the least degree, any divine expression. So runs the text, and so we must read it, “God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” ”
    (sermon Salvation by Knowing the Truth, spurgeon dot org)

  2. Nathan White Says:

    Peter,

    Given this quote by Spurgeon, I persume that you hold to his position. But so that I can understand you better, are you saying that this text teaches that God desired the salvation of say, Judas, or Pharoah?

  3. Gene Says:

    In that sermon, Spurgeon is simply delineating the difference between the decretive and moral wills of God. This is one way, and frequently the infralapsarian way, of dealing with that text.

    However, Spurgeon’s saying it does not legitimize it. The text of 1 Timothy refers to Jewish myths and endless genealogies. These were the heresies of the Elkesaites, an offshoot of the Judaizers. We must therefore, understand the content of those myths in order to understand what Paul is saying. These myths were probably from the Midrash and anti-Gentile in tenor and were specifically designed to exclude some from salvation. They would form the basis of Jewish Gnosticism, which was designed to create a special class of persons who possessed the “gnosis.” Thus, to counter this, Paul’s usage focuses on the universal offer of the gospel, not to Jews only, not to a specific class of Jews, but to all classes of men, and all ethnicities.

  4. Allan Says:

    I say yes, Nathan. But desired them to be saved is not the same as knowing they will not come no matter how many times you reach out to them. I can desire my children to grow up and come to the Lord but I can not make them. Really bad analogy I know. But i’m just stating the gist. Kinda like Paul say in Romans staying of God to Israel. Rom 10:21 “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” We see through out the OT where God is calling them again, and again, and agian. But we know not all would come and beleive. But God still would call them all.


  5. I couldn’t agree more! Ephesians 3:9 has “all” twice in the verse. The context demands a different interpretation for the “all”.

    The first “all” is “all w/o distinction” (all types, Jew and Gentile, etc.)

    The second “all” is “all w/o exception” (ie: universal)

    Why is this so difficult to understand? Principles of interpretation always insist on context!

    CR

  6. Nathan White Says:

    Allan,

    ‘Knowing they will not come no matter how many times you reach to them” is a philosophical argument that I find nowhere in scripture. Please provide scriptural texts if we are to take this argument seriously.

    How can Judas be foreordained to betray Jesus, and even Jesus Himself say that it was better that he had never been born, and yet this somehow allows him the free will to do otherwise? Could he have NOT betrayed Jesus if he wanted to?

  7. Allan Says:

    Because God knows everything. And if He is all knowing He knew from the beginning what would transpire at the end. THerefore before the foundation of the world He can see mans fall, and that they would need a redeemer and even be able to see the complete victory over satan and death and hell. Actually you could say that nothing occurs to God. So he knew that the prophets that will die on his behalf, Jesus will have to die, ext… And the Lord can saywhat I know, let it be so. So that all that happens once it has begun is completely according to His decree that it should happen and will happen as He foresaw. This could and (to some) does including know who would accept his offer of salvation. If He know who would, He would speak it as though it has happened and therefore they are forknown and forordained to do what He foresaw. That is one view, and you can try to turn it around and say God saw all men in sin and knew some men needed a savior, but since He couldn’t save them all, He chose to save some. Then God CHOOSE Jesus to be that savior.
    “Mat 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.” Even Jesus was chosen I guess. :)

    Strange verse, I just found it, never really noticed it before (any thoughts)… anyhoo… Yes I was being facetious but either way you want to put (even with mine being twisted up one) they both are philisophical as scripture never states what happened in reality in His true foreknowledge becuase it was/is none of our business. Kinda like Jesus told Peter when He asked about John. Jesus said it wasn’t any of His business concerning John but to do what was asked of him. We can draw arguements from them but unfortunately some take philosophy and create doctrine.

    BTW. Yes He was foreordained to betray Jesus but the question is what does that entail. – 1.God chosing because He did not know how things would turn out if He didn’t – 2.God stating that what He foresaw according to His plan, in it’s completely fulfilled nature, and stating That is how it WILL be thus everything from the beginning is foreordained due to His perfect knowledge – 3.or God chosing everything (being His foreknowledge) to happen to make sure it all comes out according to His decrees, from the fall to the victory.

  8. J. Gray Says:

    Interesting that Peter ignores the context of the quote he uses in order to argue against using context to determine the meaning of words.

    Very funny.

  9. Peter Says:

    J. Gray please offer an analysis of what Spurgeon REALLY means to all of us here. Thanks

    However, lets say it does mean for all kinds of people. Does that still limit it to some? No. For example, a campus of 45000 people announces “All people — staff, students, and faculty are welcome to join the graduation” From this statement, how is the invitation to the graduation limited to less than 45000? It does not. The logic is not necessitated even if we take it for “kinds” of people. It requires an extra step to limit it to some. If anything, you neutralize the all so that it works only at an upper level–different kinds, rather than individuals.

    Secondly, to me at least, this verse and its surrounding context screams of Paul calling Christians to stray away from this perspective of “some” — which Gene explained. To get rid of this perspective that its for Jews only or certain kinds of Jews. It goes out of its way to mention those who are typically unseen as candidates, ie kings, people of power, gentiles, etc. In other words, the Calvinists believe its explaining that “all types are being invited but not every individual within that those types”, whereas the non-Calvinists believe that it truly is open to all – “Yes, even students, faculty, and staff (kings, gentiles, etc).”
    The fact that different kinds of people are listed serves to EMPHASIZE the “all-ness” and so it is actually expected for Paul to list kings and gentiles that would typically not be considered.

  10. Peter Says:

    Nathan, I agree with Allan’s position. Furthermore, the categorization of that as a philosophical argument needs more explanation. What exactly do you object to? That God’s desires and foreknowledge are two distinct things?
    The reason I ask is because of your next set of questions: “How can Judas be foreordained to betray Jesus, and even Jesus Himself say that it was better that he had never been born, and yet this somehow allows him the free will to do otherwise? Could he have NOT betrayed Jesus if he wanted to?”
    What are your answers to them? I was wondering how the Calvinist deals with the fact that Judas was foreordained and Jesus Himself saying that it was better that he had never been born, because it seems like it is a seemingly mysterious question for BOTH Non and Calvinists.

    Anyhow, I think that commenting on Romans 5:18 might help you to see Allan and my position (OR it may not as I am not sure what you are objecting to), Calvin states: “He makes this favor common to all, because it is propounded to all, and not because it is in reality extended to all; for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God’s benignity indiscriminately to all, yet all do not receive him.”

  11. serrevin Says:

    concerning judas, pharoh and all others who do not believe. the bible does not say “they were destined to destructrion becuase god saw that they wouldn’t believe” the bible plainly states that god had determined that they end up the way they did. for example in the case of pharoh. prior to any confrontation between moses and the king o The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22.
    notice he does not say “hey I know the future, I know everything and I know that he’s not going to let the people go” the reason God knows that pharoh will not let the people go is because he DETERMINED BEFOREHAND that he was going to harden pharoh’s heart therefore making a positive response to the command “let my people go” impossible. for some of us to say “well it’s philosophy on both ends because the bible doesn’t really make the question clear” to me seems to be a bit disengenuous. yes we were predestined for salvation and the reason that happens is because of God’s operation in the hearts of his elect. God also determines the fate of the reprobate and he has done so by leaving them to their wicked hearts (as the case of pharoh illustrates) peter uses the same logic just before he tells his audience that they are chosen of god he speaks about unbelievers this way: ” 1 Peter 2:8
    and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for”
    as much as we’d like to change the text, peter does not say ” God knew that they would disobey the message and so because of that they are not elect” peter says that they disobey BECAUSE they were destined to do so. so once again we must let the word speak for itself, and when it does we find that it speaks with a clarity that cannot be mistaken.

  12. Peter Says:

    “So, as loud as someone may shout, “ ‘All’ means ALL!” we have at least one clear-cut passage in which Scripture certainly teaches us that “all” means “many.” ”

    However, Calvin didn’t leave it just there. It should also be considered that sometimes the word MANY in fact means ALL. Such verses include Hebrews 9:28 and Romans 5:15:

    “28so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

    Calvin comments on Heb 9:28: “To bear, or, take away sins, is to free from guilt by his satisfaction those who have sinned. He says the sins of many, that is, of all, as in Romans 5:15.”

    15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

    I think it should be clarified that the Non-Calvinist does not believe that all always means the whole world. The CONCEPT of context is not what is being debated, it is the CONTEXT of the VERSE that is being debated. And as I mentioned in response #9 the surrounding verses in fact support that All truly means all men.

  13. Gene Says:

    What are your answers to them? I was wondering how the Calvinist deals with the fact that Judas was foreordained and Jesus Himself saying that it was better that he had never been born, because it seems like it is a seemingly mysterious question for BOTH Non and Calvinists.

    This is no difficulty at all. This was his purpose. He didn’t have a chance. He received no contraining grace to prevent this action on his part, and God did not put fresh evil in his heart. He acted according to his nature. He is at fault. Christ chose him knowing who he was and what he would do, so Christ’s own preaching hardened him. It was better for Judas not to have been born, is an old rabbinic saying. Leviticus Rabbah 35:7 dramatizes this point: “If one studies Torah without the intention to observe it, it is better that he had not been born . . . it would have been better that he had been strangled by the umbilical cord at birth, and had never ventured into the world.”

    Judas came to Jesus, the true Torah, and had no real intention to follow Christ. Rather, he stole from the purse, and he may have had a false expectation. He contined with Jesus even when Jesus had made it clear that He was not the military leader the Zealots had expected. Jesus explained Himself plainly to the disciples, so Judas heard the explanations, not just the parables. He fits the saying of the rabbis.

  14. Gene Says:

    Peter, you forgot to mention that Calvin I does occasionally state that “all” refers to some parts of the race rather than the whole of mankind.

    But I pass from that point which is not relevant to the present context, for the apostle’s meaning here is simply that no nation of the earth and no rank of society is excluded from salvation, since God wills to offer the Gospel to all without exception…For as there is one God, the Creator and Father of all, so, he declares, there is one Mediator, through whom access to God is not given only to one nation, or to few men of a particular class, but to all, for the benefit of the sacrifice, by which He has expiated for our sins, applies to all…The universal term ‘all’ must always be referred to classes of men but never to individuals. It is as if he had said, ‘Not only Jews, but also Greeks, not only people of humble rank but also princes have been redeemed by the death of Christ.’ Since therefore He intends the benefit of His death to be common to all, those who hold a view that would exclude any from the hope of salvation do Him an injury. Comment on 1 Timothy 2:3-5

    Many more examples abound.

    Calvin is not teaching general atonement. If you’d care to read him carefully, what he’s doing in the quotes you gave is stating that there is only one way of salvation. That there is not an atonement for non-Christians and a merit system for all others. Calvin writes against the polemics of his day, namely vs. Rome. The choice is not between general atonement and particular atonement but universal salvation and particular atonement. He distinuguishes between invitation and application. Because Christ is the only Savior, there is only one way of salvation. Definite atonement does not require a general atonement to underwrite it. Rather, it requires the force of a command. To say that a universal invitation requires general atonement to underwrite it is to to make the mistake of the hyper-Calvinist, for, unless God seconds your call from the pulpit, you have no basis by which to extend the invitation to everybody in your hearing. Likewise, without prior assurance Christ died for you in particular, you have no warrant to believe.

    Second, you and Allan are committing the fallacy of extension. Christians who deny special redemption typically appeal to the “pantos” passages of Scripture. But this confuses extension (referent) with intension (sense). A universal quantifier has a standard intension, but a variable extension. And that follows from the nature of a quantifier, which is necessarily general and abstract rather than specific and concrete marker. That’s what makes it possible to plug in concrete content. A universal quantifier is a class quantifier. As such, it can have no fixed range of reference. In each case, that must be supplied by the concrete context and specific referent. In other words, a universal quantifier has a definite intension but indefinite extension. So its extension is relative to the level of generality of the reference-class in view. Thus, there is no presumption in favor of taking “all” or “every” as meaning everyone without exception. “All” or “every” is always relative to all of something, so the question to ask is “All of what?” or “All of whom?”


  15. […] In the comment thread of a recent post, someone noted that none other than “the Prince of Preachers,” Charles H. Spurgeon, disagreed with my understanding of the text (I Timothy 2:3-6). I am glad that this was brought up. I have an intense admiration for Charles Spurgeon. I generally view his preaching as a model for doctrinal fidelity and evangelistic zeal. If the SBC had more preachers committed to preaching more like Spurgeon, then there wouldn’t be the “downgrade” we see in the Convention today. […]

  16. Peter Says:

    Gene wrote, “Peter, you forgot to mention that Calvin I does occasionally state that “all” refers to some parts of the race rather than the whole of mankind.”

    Actually, no, I didn’t forget that. I obviously reference and acknowledge that in post #12 before stating the example. I wrote, “However, Calvin didn’t leave it just there. It should *ALSO* be considered that sometimes the word MANY in fact means ALL.” (emphasis added) after citing the blog’s quote where it says that all sometimes means many. Anyways…

    Actually I did read those quotes carefully.
    1. He makes this favor common to all, because it is propounded to all,

    2. and not because it is in reality extended to all;

    a. for though Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God’s benignity indiscriminately to all,

    b. yet all do not receive him.”

    The numerical statement is separated from teh alphabetical statement and they run parallel. 1a and 2b. The 2b is clearly expressing the fact that all do not receive Him. In other words, the sufferage was for the whole world, but the whole world does not receive him. If you are right, then perhaps Calvin should have ended those “all” occurrences in his explanation here with “kinds/classes”. It would certainly be simple (and critical) to do so if that is what he meant.

    “Christians who deny special redemption…”

    Now I won’t fault you for this because I know you cut and pasted this from a previous blog post. But we must look at 1 Tim 2:3-4 and see that the “all” does in fact refer to something. That is, “all” *men* and later mentions kings and gentiles. My argument posted above shows that there is an unnatural step needed to increase the level from groups/kinds from all individual men and then a further step to limit it within those kinds even if that is achieved. Now that is the real question—how is this justified. Therefore, the argument “Extensional Fallacy” not only fails, it does not even connect to what is being said. Please re-read what I wrote in the post. The difference here is not found in some idea that Non-Calvinists merely focus on the “all” word alone. But the fact that kings, gentiles, people who are typically unseen are listed to emphasize the previously statement which, in fact, refers to “all” MEN. That answers the last part of the above text. Secondly, taking your own argument into application, it would then need to be justified on what reasoning the level is in fact narrowed to “some” within “all kinds”—this was my point in the campus graduation example.

  17. Allan Says:

    I have run out of alot of time lately due to family marriages, children B-days, and ministry. Sorry for not say Hi, more often. :)

    Quote:
    “This was his purpose. He didn’t have a chance. He received no contraining grace to prevent this action on his part, and God did not put fresh evil in his heart. He acted according to his nature. He is at fault. Christ chose him knowing who he was and what he would do, so Christ’s own preaching hardened him. ”

    Gene, this is confusing. You almost sound like an Arminian. God foreknew “…who he was, and what he would do?” Arminians say the same thing. (Though as you know I personally don’t consider myself one, but they do beleive that God forknew what Man would do and ordained them to it) -It is kinda jokingly said, but still an interesting point about God’s forknowledge since the Calvinist doesn’t beleive God looked into Eternity future to see what men will do and not do, choose and not choose (harden). It is also interesting to note that Christ chose him. You are right – He was out of luck- He was created by God who predestinied him to betrayl (not becuase he chose it – he was predestined) Then because he was chosen to be one of the twelve he was spiritual forced to be one of the twelved (as he was predestined with no choice in the matter) Judas was created for one purpose, ordained, and predestined to betrayl becuase God decreed he WILL do this. HE was dammed from the foundation of the world before Adam ever chose in the garden to rebel. This is double predestination. Do you beleive in double predestination? (I don’t think you do) They are just some interesting questions. HOw are the two terms of predestination reconciled in the Calvinistic view. If God predestined according as He forsaw the choices one would make (inparticualr Judas, there are others scriptures says the same of those damed) and God predestined without looking at the choices one would make (salvation) – Just curious

  18. Allan Says:

    Gene, the Arminian thing was trying to be said jokingly. I do know you are not nor ever will be Arminian.

  19. Peter Says:

    Allan, I thought that same quote to be curious. It sounded almost molinistic in a sense (despite Molinism’s intended harmony of Calvinism/Non-Calvinism). Yet I am almost certain Gene abhored such a thing so I was reluctant to bring that up.


  20. […] Many people, when learning of the Doctrines of Grace, take special exception to the Reformed teaching concerning the extent of Christ’s atonement– i.e., that Christ’s work on the Cross was intended specifically for the benefit of the elect. The primary objection to this teaching is that some verses speak of Christ dying for “all” or for the “world.” These verses may seem, then, to teach that Jesus’ substitutionary death on Cross was intended to benefit more than just the elect. As I’ve previously addressed these unlimited atonement proof-texts before in articles such as That “All” Is Always Defined By Context, On Spurgeon’s Understanding of “All”, and The Proof-Texts, I’ll not repeat those arguments here. Suffice it to say, once people start to see that there are cogent arguments from Reformed Theology that explain the “all” and “world” passages in their proper contexts, they often cease their confident denial of definite atonement, but instead they raise a secondary objection. This objection is two-fold: That Scripture is not clear concerning the extent of the atonement, therefore the extent of the atonement is not a doctrine that is soteriologically important. […]


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