2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

In 2 Peter 2:1 there are a group of people called false prophets who engaged in damnable heresies and deny the Lord but are also bought by the Lord. Most Arminians use this verse as an example of unsaved people who were purchased by the Lord. How does the Calvinist respond to that interpretation of this verse?

  • 2
    are you familiar with the Calvinist language of Efficiency and sufficiency?
    – wax eagle
    Jul 12, 2013 at 19:19
  • @waxeagle no i'm sorry i'm not
    – user4060
    Jul 12, 2013 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


Calvinism relies heavily on the following statement:

Grace (specifically the grace provided via Christ's death) is sufficient for the salvation of all, but it is efficient for the salvation of some.

This is essentially all that stands between Calvinism and Universalism. The idea behind Calvinism is that Christ's grace is so powerful that if one is elected the pull of this grace cannot be ignored. And once applied this grace is too powerful to be removed. That's Calvinism in a nutshell.

So the question ultimately comes down to: if we believe that Grace is more powerful than sin than what do we do with people who are "Bought" but don't stay. There are two conclusions that a Calvinist may come to

  1. These folks were not among the elect and were instead people attracted to the church for some other reason. Their conversion was not true.

  2. These folks are among the elect but have strayed from the path for a time, but will in fact return in full grace.

Doing a bit of research the Calvinist consensus here is that the subject of this passage is the first. These folks claim to be be bought by Christ but are in fact lying, and prove it by their false teachings:

So to summarize the point here: false teachers are “saying” they are Christians, and “saying” they have been bought, but in fact are not bought at all. “Denying the sovereign Lord who bought them” is what they are saying about their lifestyle, though it is not true from the rest of the immediate context of the passage. The word “bought” means they are either saved (which we know false teachers are not saved so that cannot be the meaning of the passage) or they are “saying” they “they believe themselves to be saved” and ultimately are self-deceived. But it cannot mean that Christ bought them with His blood, and they reject that “offer” to eternal life.

This is far more consistent with the power, sufficiency and efficiency of grace than any other argument.

  • ok well like i asked how you interpret it so i will accept
    – user4060
    Jul 13, 2013 at 1:27
  • The sufficiency-efficiency distinction only disavows universalism, so Arminians can get behind that language as well. See this blog post that quotes Sproul on this. Jul 27, 2015 at 17:41

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