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Appendices -> Critique of Calvinism -> Calvin in Later Years

To His Great Credit, In His Maturity of Later Years Calvin Taught an Unlimited Atonement.1
The progress in Calvin's thought may be seen by comparing some of his earlier with his later utterances. . . . IN LATER DAYS Calvin wrote in his Commentary on 1 John 2:2--"he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world"--as follows: "CHRIST SUFFERED FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD. and in the goodness of God is OFFERED UNTO ALL MEN WITHOUT DISTINCTION, HIS BLOOD BEING SHED NOT FOR A PART OF THE WORLD ONLY, BUT FOR THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE; for although in the world nothing is found worthy of the favor of God, yet he HOLDS OUT THE PROPITIATION TO THE WHOLE WORLD, since without exception he SUMMONS ALL TO THE FAITH OF CHRIST, which is nothing else than the door unto hope." (Rice, op. cit., p.12). Let it be very plainly stated: Calvin himself here repudiates "LIMITED ATONEMENT" and affirms an "UNLIMITED ATONEMENT"! And everyone of his "followers" should do likewise! No amount of semantical gymnastics can twist the clear meaning of Calvin's words quoted above into anything else but that!

John Calvin Witnesses For "UNLIMITED ATONEMENT" In His Commentary On Mark 14:24.

Mark 14:24 states in English (KJV): And He said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, WHICH IS SHED FOR MANY. (Mark l4:24). Here is the comment that John Calvin made on Mark 14:24, as translated and published in the Harmony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Volume III, p. 139 [as published by Eerdmans in Grand Rapids, 1972]:

"The word many DOES NOT MEAN A PART OF THE WORLD ONLY, BUT THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE: he contrasts many with one as if to say that he would not be the Redeemer of one man, but would meet death to deliver many of their cursed guilt. No doubt that in speaking to a few Christ wished to make His teaching available to a larger number...So when we come to the holy table not only should the general idea come to our mind that THE WORLD IS REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST but also each should reckon to himself that his own sins are covered. (op. cit., p. 139).

In this passage, John Calvin clearly and unmistakably affirms his belief in the "UNLIMITED ATONEMENT" of the Lord Jesus Christ who "SHED" His blood for "THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE" with the result that it can be said that "THE WORLD IS REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST." What could be clearer? John Calvin by no means took the "Fifth Amendment" on this verse! In fact, where many of his "LIMITED ATONEMENT" followers use the "many" to try to force a "LIMITED ATONEMENT" into that word, John Calvin broadened it out in an "UNLIMITED ATONEMENT" sense as it should be broadened by way of contrast with a "few."

John Calvin Witnesses for "UNLIMITED ATONEMENT" In His Commentary On Romans 5:18:

Romans 5:18 states in English (KJV): Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (Romans 5:18) Calvin's comment on Romans 5:18, as translated and published in the COMMENTARY ON ROMANS AND THESSALONIANS, 1973, pp. 117-18 [as published by Eerdmans in Grand Rapids] was: "Paul makes grace COMMON TO ALL MEN, not because it in fact EXTENDS TO ALL, but because IT IS OFFERED TO ALL. Although CHRIST SUFFERED FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD. AND IS OFFERED BY THE GOODNESS OF GOD WITHOUT DISTINCTION TO ALL MEN, yet not all receive him (op. cit., p. 829). If indeed Christ "SUFFERED FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD," John Calvin was himself (at least at the time of his writing this Commentary on Romans) a confirmed believer, as is the BIBLE FOR TODAY, in an "UNLIMITED ATONEMENT" of the Lord Jesus Christ! Any self-respecting friend of John Calvin presently holding the unscriptural and anti-Scriptural error of "LIMITED ATONEMENT," should immediately get rid of it--If only in deference to their friend! A BETTER reason, however, for getting rid of it, would be because it is unbiblical!

John Calvin Witnesses For "UNLIMITED ATONEMENT" In His Last Will, And Farewells

Calvin's "LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, April 25, 1564" as printed in the History of the Christian Church, Vol. 8, pp. 828-29, by Philip Schaff [as published by Eerdmans in Grand Rapids, 1972], states: "I testify also and declare, that I suppliantly beg of Him, that He may be pleased so to was and purify me in the blood which my Sovereign Redeemer HAS SHED FOR THE SINS OF THE HUMAN RACE, that under His shadow I may be able to stand at the judgment-seat...."(op. cit., p 829). Here is a clear testimony made by John Calvin who was about to die, in 1564, that He, at least at the end of his life, had come to believe most definitely that the Lord Jesus Christ "SHED" his precious "BLOOD FOR THE SINS OF THE HUMAN RACE "

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 1. Who is God to us?
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