Is There a Connection Between a Faulty Understanding of Man’s Depravity and Rejection of the Doctrine of Limited Atonement?

from Apr 03, 2010 Category: Articles

Is there a connection between a faulty understanding of man’s depravity and rejection of the doctrine of limited atonement?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record because I’ve said it so many times, I really think that the biggest problem we have in theology is achieving a correct understanding of two doctrines—the doctrine of God and the doctrine of man. In the Institutes of the Christian Religion, in the opening chapter, John Calvin writes about the importance of having a sound understanding of who man is in order to gain a proper understanding of Who God is. He then makes a somewhat paradoxical statement and says that in order to understand man, you have to understand God, too. Unfortunately, we don’t know Who God is, so we don’t know who we are, but the more we understand of the holiness and the righteousness of God, the more we begin to see by contrast how desperately fallen we are and how utterly dependent we are on His mercy and grace.

The basic conflict in theology is between a theocentric theology and an anthropocentric theology—a God-centered theology or a man-centered theology. I’m afraid that many professing Christians are much more concerned about the exaltation of human beings than they are about the dignity of God Himself.