Unlimited Atonement. This doctrine states there is no limit to the atonement and believes it is available to everyone, not just the elect.
This doctrine is the opposite of limited atonement. (Discusses in a previous blog post). The Unlimited Atonement doctrine does not put a limit on the atonement. Sometimes this type of atonement is called general atonement or universal atonement. The question here is did Christ just die for the elect or did Christ die for all? Who exactly is the elect? Some say those chosen by God before the foundations of the World. Others might argue anyone who accepts Christ as their Savior. (I plan to do a blog post on The Elect sometime in the future.)
This doctrine believes there is no limits on the atonement and that it is available for all. That salvation is available only through those who accept Jesus. Some believe this is not the same as universal salvation, meaning Christ died for every man regardless if they accept Him or not. Univeralism says everyone will go to Heaven.
Available for all?
Unlimited Atonement sums up they believe Christ death is available for all people, not just the elect. The all people are only those who accept Christ as their personal savior, part of Prevenient Grace. Others might believe in what is called unlimited limited atonement. Meaning everyone can choose for themselves. Meaning that the unlimited atonement can have a limit on it. If there is a limit on the atonement, then who is the limit for? Is the limit for just the elect or is the limit for anyone who believes in Christ.
Limit or no limit?
The Reformed theory goes that either Christ died for everyone or Christ died for those God Choose, the Elect. Other wise if there is no limit in the atonement that would mean everyone would be saved. Scripture can surely tell us that Christ didn’t die for everyone. So not everyone goes to Heaven. So if you do not believe everyone goes to Heaven, in theory you should believe in a form of limited atonement.
Regardless if you believe in limited atonement or unlimited atonement you shouldn’t divide over it either. You will hear some say they are a 4 Point Calvinists instead of a 5 Point. The 4 pointers usually do not believe in limited atonement.
Here is a quote that can sum up both views of the atonement
“Although there are variations as to the basic ways in which this subject can be addressed, the choices boil down to two: either the death of Jesus was intended to secure salvation for a limited number or the death of Jesus was intended to provide salvation for everyone. The first view is sometimes called ‘limited atonement’ because God limited the effect of Christ’s death to a specific number of elect persons, or ‘particular redemption’ because redemption was for a particular group of people. The second view is sometimes referred to as ‘unlimited atonement’ or ‘general redemption’ because God did not limit Christ’s redemptive death to the elect, but allowed it to be for mankind in general.” Theologian Walter Elwell
Scriptures that back this doctrine
Some passages often used Luke 19:10, John 1:29, John 3:14-18, John 4:42, Acts 2:21, Romans 5:6, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 1 Timothy 2:3-6, 1 Timothy 4:10, Titus 2:11, Hebrews 2:9, 2 Peter 2:1, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:14. I am sure there are others that can go with this area of theology.