Sufficient but Efficient... That Seems Right, but is it True?It seems that very many Christians in this day and age would agree that the atonement of Christ is: "Sufficient for all but efficient for the elect." In many Christian circles, the mere recitation of this “truism” sends heads-nodding and elicits pious affirmations, as though all within earshot had just entered into the veritable Holy of Holies of Christian doctrine. So universally esteemed is this statement that seemingly no evangelical, whether Arminian or Calvinist, dares to question it as the absolute bedrock of atonement truth. That being the case, I want to make this point as clearly as possible:
"Sufficient for all but efficient for the elect" theology is self-contradictory,
because if the atonement is only efficient for the elect,
then it is insufficient for the non-elect, for want of efficiency.
It is therefore false.
If NOT Sufficient but Efficient - What then?
An accurate statement regarding the atonement of Christ would be represented by the following statement:
Insufficient for all, by its efficiency for the elect only.
Stated another way, any monergistic work that lacks efficacy is insufficient, because it does not get the job done, and because there is no other agent at work wherein efficacy might be found. The force of that logic is formidable, and may only be rivaled by the force of the opposition you may encounter among God's people as you endeavor to make this point. Indeed, bogus doctrinal positions are often quite difficult to uproot.