Most people tend to think that if one is reformed one is required to hold to the doctrine of limited atonement, the doctrine which says that the cope of Christ’s atoning work is accomplished on behalf of and applied only to the elect.
In a recent article on “hypothetical universalism” (hear unlimited or universal atonement, not universalism), the doctrine by which the atoning work of Christ is universal in its sufficiency but applied only to an elect number less than the total number of fallen humanity Oliver crisp argues that there is significant room within some key reformed confessions in which one can hold to a doctrine of atonement that excludes limited atonement and is open to universal atonement. In this article (found in his most recent book Deviant Calvinism) he makes the historical case that this is so, there have been reformed theologians throughout history who have not compromised reformed orthodoxy by holding on to universal atonement. How is this the case? Essentially it hangs on a Lombardian dictum that Christ’s atoning work is sufficient for all humanity yet effective only for the elect, i.e. those that are predestined. Briefly the argument goes like this:
1-Atonement is sufficient for all of humanity.
2-Faith is a necessary condition to receive salvation.
3-God intends the work of Christ, i.e. atonement, to be effective for all those who have faith.
4-Faith is a divine gift.
5-God provides faith for the elect.
6-Thus only the elect, who have been given faith, receive salvation i.e. the effective work of Christ.
Do you think this argument works? What are the flaws in the argument?