Of course, as we saw last week, Calvinists have trouble with it as well, in as much as it is related to our Lord’s call. Many Calvinists insist that there is a genuine call from God to all men, while still holding to the notion that all but the regenerated elect are morally incapable of responding. There is a incongruity there that is not demanded by scripture, in fact it is countered by scripture, and it is entirely analogous to God handing a post card to a blind man and making a "genuine" offer along the lines of "If you describe this to me, you will be saved."
Oh well, no need to reopen old wounds. Today I will take a first, micro-look at the dispensationalist view of the Atonement.
First, two tangential points. Many dispensationalists claim to be four-point Calvinists (or Christmas Calvinists, a term I just learned recently in my comment section, that is Christmas as in No-L). They claim to accept all points of TULIP except for Limited Atonement. I will allow them that assertion, but in fact I believe it is cognitive dissonance. All five points are direct results of the Reformed (and biblical) view of God's Sovereignty. They stand or fall together.
The other aside is an admission: My incomplete study of dispensationalism has not led to an answer to this question: Is the nearly universal "moderate [incomplete] Calvinism" of dispensationalism an inevitable consequence or does it reflect the position of the movers and shakers, and consequently has made its way into the pews.
One thing is for sure—the strange walk between Calvinism and Arminianism is almost certainly responsible for the most important instance of dispensational fratricide: the so-called Lordship Salvation debate. This important development, which we will get to later, is largely a debate within dispensationalism, although others have joined in the fray.
So what do dispensationalists say about the Atonement?
Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of the Dallas Theological Seminary, and often hailed as a Calvinist, wrote the following:
that the death of Christ of itself saves no man, either actually or potentially, but that it does render all men savable—Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 3:185.
And Norman Geisler, another Dallas man, writes:
Therefore Christ must have died for the non-elect as well as the elect—Norman Geisler, Chosen But Free, p. 197.
I think it patently obvious that if the Atonement merely made all men savable, then the other petals from TULIP dry out and fall to the ground.
This view is in contrast to the Reformed view, which is that Christ's Atonement accomplished salvation for the elect of all ages (or, if you like, of all dispensations).
There is no good explanation, from dispensationalism (or Arminianism) as to how the Atonement rendered Abraham, Moses, and David "savable", and likewise Jezebel and Pharaoh and Judas. Only the insistence that all equally accrued the same benefit, potential salvation, from Christ's death. So it must be asserted, in spite of the difficulties, because dispensationalists insist, in the face of constant attack from detractors, that they do not teach a different salvation for Old Testament and New Testament believers.