Response to Driscoll’s Presentation of Un/Limited Atonement: An Unaddressed Question

In Death by Love Mark Driscoll writes, “Christ died for the purpose of providing payment for the penalty of all sin of all people” (173).

If the penalty of the non-elect has been paid, then why do they suffer eternal wrath? This crucial question is not mentioned, much less answered, by Driscoll.

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5 Comments on “Response to Driscoll’s Presentation of Un/Limited Atonement: An Unaddressed Question”


  1. Andrew,

    Thanks for your series on this doctrine of the atonement.

  2. strangebaptistfire Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Mark!

    -Andrew

  3. Coram Deo Says:

    Maybe Driscoll believes all their sins have been paid for except for their sin of unbelief?

    But as John Owen famously asks in his trilemma:

    “Which of these statements is true?

    1. Christ died for some of the sins of all men.
    2. Christ died for all the sins of some men.
    3. Christ died for all the sins of all men.

    No one says that the first is true, for then all would be lost because of the sins that Christ did not die for. The only way to be saved from sin is for Christ to cover it with his blood.

    The third statement is what the Arminians would say. Christ died for all the sins of all men. But then why are not all saved? They answer, Because some do not believe. But is this unbelief not one of the sins for which Christ died? If they say yes, then why is it not covered by the blood of Jesus and all unbelievers saved? If they say no (unbelief is not a sin that Christ has died for) then they must say that men can be saved without having all their sins atoned for by Jesus, or they must join us in affirming statement number two: Christ died for all the sins of some men. That is, he died for the unbelief of the elect so that God’s punitive wrath is appeased toward them and his grace is free to draw them irresistibly out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

  4. strangebaptistfire Says:

    Coram Deo,

    re: “Maybe Driscoll believes all their sins have been paid for except for their sin of unbelief?”

    Notice that Driscoll writes, Christ died for the purpose of providing payment for the penalty of ALL sin of all people” [emphasis added]. Driscoll is serious in this affirmation, and this is part of what distinguishes his view from the classic “unlimited” view of the atonement.

    -Andrew

  5. thomastwitchell Says:

    You know a real strange thing happen on the way into the Holy of Holies, the High Priest never came out! But most incredible is that when he sat down on the mercy seat we were with him, accounted as being partakers in his blood. This is the significance of John 17, that Jesus sanctified himself for those who the Father gave him.

    The reality of the Hebrew sacrifices was that they became effectual at the time they were made. In the particular case of the Atonement, the High Priest offered the blood of it and when he himself was cleansed by it, he representing the whole of the people carried it in to the Holy of Holies for them. It was presented to God in the Holy of Holies cleansing it and the mercy seat signifying the way that Christ’s blood would purchase his reign forever. After the cleansing of the mercy seat it was carried outside and it then was spinkled on the people. With Christ’s atonement, the only ones who will receive the benefit from the mercy seat will be those he comes again to receive in reference to salvation. The point is, that if the atonement was universal, then it would have efficacy for all, but the fact is it only has efficacy for those who are his at his coming for it in whole was carried into the Holies and will wholly cleanse his people without waste. For only those who it was spilled for are counted as those who will be sprinkled by it and no others.

    So, no, Driscoll’s 4.5 Calvinism betrays a error in knowing what work Christ has done and how it will be consummated.


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