Martin Luther Taught Limited Atonement
I wanted to repeat this point, as it may have gotten somewhat buried in my last post.
The Reformer Martin Luther taught Limited atonement.
Regarding Romans 9:20-21, Luther wrote:
“God will have all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4), and he gave his Son for us men, and he created man for the sake of eternal life. And likewise: Everything is there for man’s sake and he is there for God’s sake in order that he may enjoy him, etc. But this objection [to God’s sovereignty in salvation] and others like it can just as easily be refuted as the first one: because all these sayings must be understood only with respect to the elect [emphasis in original], as the apostle says in 2 Timothy 2:10, “All for the elect.” Christ did not die for absolutely all, for he says: “This is my blood which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20) and “for many” (Mark 14:24)- he did not say: for all- “to the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). [Martin Luther, Lectures on Romans, translated and edited by Wilhelm Pauck (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1961), 252.]
This is (at least) historically significant, for with all the debate over ‘did Calvin himself believe the L of TULIP?’ and with all the charges against Beza– that he introduced Limited atonement as a strange new teaching within Reformed thought (Dr. Allen is far from alone in this kind of argumentation), it turns out that at the time of the Reformation, the first teacher to assert Limited atonement was the same man who (in a sense) started the Reformation, with his clear, forceful assertions of justification by faith alone.