Publication Date

Spring 1999


School of Religion


Religion: Biblical Studies

Primary Subject Area

Religion, Biblical Studies; Religion, General; Theology


Calvinism's "limited atonement" is the pillar that has been notorious for being the "weak link" in the Calvinists' theological system (TULIP). This paper purposed to delve into the legitimacy of their argument, using the popular penal theory as the foundation for determining the extent of the atonement. Here Christ's sacrifice is seen as the act accomplishing such things as reconciliation and redemption, instead of merely providing potentials effectual upon faith, for all those to whom the atonement extends. Three problematic texts were examined and dealt with, maintaining consistency theologically. From the basis of the penal view, both universal salvation and particular redemption logically follow, depending on whether Christ died for all or some. Since universalism is not a valid evangelical doctrine it was discarded, leaving particular redemption as the sole conclusion of the penal theory.