According to Owen Thomas, Prosper of Aquitaine wrote in the beginning of the 5th century and was a follower and contemporary of Augustine (though the two of them never met). Prosper had commented on this statement by Augustine:
“The Saviour was not crucified for the redemption of the entire world.”
Some had thought Augustine was saying that Jesus Christ died only for the elect of God. Prosper argued that Augustine believed Jesus was crucified for everyone without exception but not in the same sense. This view is sometimes called a “dualistic view” of the atonement and it is damnable.
The Prosper comments are cited by Owen Thomas in his book The Atonement Controversy in Welsh Theological Literature and Debate, pp. 113-116, Banner of Truth Trust, 2002. Here is Prosper:
“…But because no man attains to eternal life without the sacrament of baptism, one who is not crucified in Christ cannot be saved by the cross of Christ; and he who is not a member of the body of Christ is not crucified in Christ. And he is not a member of the Body of Christ who does not put on Christ through water and the Holy Spirit…Accordingly, though it is right to say that the Saviour was crucified for the redemption of the entire world, because He truly took our human nature and because all men were lost in the first man, yet it may also be said that He was crucified only for those who were to profit by His death.” [Prosper of Aquitaine, Defense of St Augustine (Ancient Christian Writers, The Works of the Fathers in Translation, London, 1963), No. 32, pp. 159-160]
“No man attains to eternal life without the sacrament of baptism” says Prosper. This is one reason why Augustine — at least for a time anyway — held to the view that unbaptized infants who died in infancy perished. The rest of Prosper’s comments reveal his utterly abysmal view of Christ’s efficacious atonement.
More from Prosper of Aquitaine commenting on Augustine’s teaching “that our Lord Jesus Christ did not suffer for the salvation and redemption of all men.” Prosper:
“Considering, then, on the one hand the greatness and value of the price paid for us, and on the other the common lot of the whole human race, one must say that the blood of Christ is the redemption of the entire world.”
Concerning Biblical truth and logic, prospered he certainly has not. For in dark and nefarious non sequiturs doth he speak.
Continuing with Prosper:
“But they who pass through this world without coming to the faith and without having been reborn in baptism, remain untouched by the redemption. Accordingly, since our Lord in very truth took upon Himself the one nature and condition which is common to all men, it is right to say that all have been redeemed, and that nevertheless not all are actually liberated from the slavery of sin.”
Hebrews 2:13-16 contradicts Prosper’s palpable ignorance of the sole ground of acceptance before God (cf. Romans 10:1-4). Indeed Jesus took upon Himself the nature common to all men, but the connection Hebrews 2:13-14 makes is NOT with all men without exception, but to “the children whom God gave to [Him]”.
Furthermore — in stark contrast to this Prosperian Whore — Jesus Christ does NOT leave ANY for whom He died “untouched by [His] redemption.” Prosper waxes bold with a harlot’s forehead by claiming that while ALL are “redeemed,” only SOME are actually liberated. Hebrews 2:15-16 states otherwise. Prosper’s primary problem is one of self-righteous infatuation which foists its own effort as what makes the ultimate difference between salvation and damnation.
“It is beyond doubt that the redemption is actually applied only to those from whom the Prince of the World has been cast out, those who are no longer vessels of the devil but members of Christ. His death did not act on the whole human race in such a manner that even those who would never have been reborn in baptism would share in the redemption, but so that the mystery accomplished once and for all in the person of Christ should be renewed in each and every man by the sacrament of baptism which he is to receive once also. The beverage of immortality from our weakness and God’s power is apt to restore health to all men, but it cannot cure anyone unless he drink it.” [Prosper of Aquitaine, Defense of St Augustine (Ancient Christian Writers, The Works of the Fathers in Translation, London, 1963), No. 32, pp. 164.]
Prosper is woefully ignorant about the stone-cold deadness of man in sin, and to the almighty power (dunamis) of Him who is the Resurrection and the Life.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life. The one believing into Me, though he die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
“The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He abides with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I am coming to you. Yet a little while and the world no longer sees Me, but you see Me. Because I live, you also shall live” (John 14:17-19).
Prosper of Aquitaine — and everyone else who believes that Jesus died for everyone without exception (whether or not in “different senses”) — simply does NOT understand the inextricable connection between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the regeneration of everyone for whom He died (see Marc Carpenter’s article “Gospel Resurrection”).