What the extent of the Atonement question IS NOT (Excerpt from Charles Hodge. Very helpful, IMO, for understanding “Limited Atonement”):
The question, therefore, does not, in the first place, concern the nature of Christ’s work. It is true, if it be denied that his work was a satisfaction for sin, and affirmed that it was merely didactic; that his life, sufferings, and death were designed to reveal and confirm truth; then it would follow of course that it had no reference to one class of men more than to another, or to men more than to angels. Truth is designed for the illumination of all the minds to which it is presented. But admitting the work of Christ to have been a true satisfaction for sin, its design may still be an open question. Accordingly, Lutherans and Reformed, although they agree entirely as to the nature of the atonement, differ as to its design. The former maintain that it had an equal reference to all mankind, the latter that it had special reference to the elect.
In the second place, the question does not concern the value of Christ’s satisfaction. That Augustinians admit to be infinite. Its value depends on the dignity of the sacrifice; and as no limit can be placed to the dignity of the Eternal Son of God who offered Himself for our sins, so no limit can be assigned to the meritorious value of his work. It is a gross misrepresentation of the Augustinian doctrine to say that it teaches that Christ suffered so much for so many; that He would have suffered more had more been included in the purpose of salvation. This is not the doctrine of any Church on earth, and never has been. What was sufficient for one was sufficient for all. Nothing less than the light and heat of the sun is sufficient for any one plant or animal. But what is absolutely necessary for each is abundantly sufficient for the infinite number and variety of plants and animals which fill the earth. All that Christ did and suffered would have been necessary had only one human soul been the object of redemption; and nothing different and nothing more would have been required had every child of Adam been saved through his blood.
In the third place, the question does not concern the suitableness of the atonement. What was suitable for one was suitable for all. The righteousness of Christ, the merit of his obedience and death, is needed for justification by each individual of our race, and therefore is needed by all. It is no more appropriate to one man than to another. Christ fulfilled the conditions of the covenant under which all men were placed. He rendered the obedience required of all, and suffered the penalty which all had incurred; and therefore his work is equally suited to all.
In the fourth place, the question does not concern the actual application of the redemption purchased by Christ. The parties to this controversy are agreed that some only, and not all of mankind are to be actually saved.
Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Part 3, Ch. 8.1
Submitted by BSMason