Where Grace Abounded Sin Abounded More?

In his 1611 work A Short and Plaine Proofe, Thomas Helwys argued against unconditional election and limited atonement. Helwys was convinced that these doctrines were not only unbiblical, but actually implicated God in man’s sin. What follows is a quite intriguing portion of his argument:

Yet those of this opinion that hold God has decreed some to reprobation say he would not have all, but some to repent. If they would speak plainly and not halt between opinions, they must say that God would have some be unbelievers, and wicked, and disobedient. That is the highest blasphemy. It is above “the wickedness of the fool that says there is no God.” It is to say there is a wicked God that has decreed wickedness.


Furthermore, this opinion does exceedingly diminish and lessen that great work of grace wrought by Christ’s redemption. It makes Christ a particular, private redeemer for some private men. This highly dishonors Christ in that his great sufferings are not accomplished and are not sufficient to take away Adam’s sin and so he has not utterly broken, but only bruised the serpent’s head. This makes Adam’s sin abound above the grace of God by Christ, overthrowing the word of God (Romans 5.20). “Where sin abounded grace abounded much more,” speaking of Adam’s sin.

Thomas Helwys, A Short and Plaine Proofe by the Word and Works of God that God’s Decree is Not the Cause of Any of Man’s Sin or Condemnation in Joe Early, Jr., ed., The Life and Writings of Thomas Helwys (Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2009), 86.

Author: Jesse Owens

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  1. Not being dumb here, but was Helwys ever a universalist or did he ever toy with it?

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    • Not that I am aware of.

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