Did Jesus die for everyone?

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A friend who attends one of your churches made a comment the other day that Jesus “didn’t die for everyone.” I was curious as to his doctrine.

It sounds as though your friend may be something of Calvinist — one who accepts the teaching of Protestant reformer John Calvin regarding predestination. Calvinists understand the Bible to teach that, before the Creation, God knew every individual who would ever live and chose precise­ly which of these would be saved. It is only for the chosen, the “elect,” that Jesus came to die, because “if Jesus died for the whole world, then the whole world would be saved.”

Although not common among us, this view of “limited atonement” — that Christ died only for the elect — may be held by a few members. It faces the difficulty of contradicting a plain Scripture that says Jesus “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2; see also John 3:16; Romans 5:18; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; Hebrews 2:9).

— Elder Calvin Burrell

Calvin Burrell
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Calvin Burrell is former editor of the Bible Advocate and former director of G. C. Missions. He retired in 2015 and lives with his wife, Barb, in Stayton, OR. They attend church in Marion, OR.