Limited Atonement

A belief of Calvinism that Christ did not provide atonement for all but only those whom God elected.  The reasoning behind this is that God would not cause Christ to suffer for the sins of those who He knew would not accept Him.  If Christ really did provide atonement for all the sins of the world, the entire world would be saved regardless of the volition of man.

This is the most controversial of the five points of Calvinism and probably the most confusing.  Critics immediately point out John 3:16 says that Christ came for the entire world while defenders insist that “world” does not literally mean every person but rather people all over the world that will be saved.

Because of the controversy with this point of Calvinism, some Calvinists consider themselves to be four point Calvinists while others who do not accept another tenet of Calvinism may even consider themselves to be three point Calvinists.

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