Does 2 Peter 2:1 Deny Particular Redemption?
2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
When someone tells me that they are a 4 point Calvinist, it is almost always the case that their struggle is with the "L" in the famous TULIP acrostic, namely so called "Limited Atonement." "Definite Atonement" or "Particular Redemption" might be better terms to use (though they destroy the acrostic TULIP into "TUDIP" or even worse, "TUPIP" - hardly good memory devices).
Concerning the letters of Paul, the Apostle Peter was right when he related that some things are "hard to understand" (2 Peter 3:16). Sometimes it takes a good deal of prayer, hard work and study to determine what the Bible is teaching on certain matters. For my part, I have not always been a 5 point Calvinist and have great sympathy for those who struggle with these very vital "doctrines of grace." I tend to think however that many do not struggle with them nearly enough.
Our traditions can be so strong that we are often blind to them in our own thinking. We all have our blind spots. Part of my own intellectual struggle with the doctrine of Limited Atonement stemmed from a faulty understanding of certain biblical texts. One of them was 1 John 2:2, another being 2 Peter 2:1. For many years, I thought that these verses were irrefutable texts that rejected the idea that Christ died to infallibly secure the salvation of a certain group (His people, His sheep, His friends, His elect - Particular Redemption) and were proof that Christ died for all people, at all times, in every part of the world (Universal Redemption). I wrote an article some time back called "The Divine Intention of the Cross" found here, in which I made a case for Particular Redemption from scripture.
I also wrote a short article on 1 John 2:2, found here, but also wanted to post a few brief comments I came across today made by Dr. James White on 2 Peter 2:1 in a comment section on a blog.
Regarding 2 Peter 2:1, Dr. White writes:
1) Derive soteriological truths from soteriological passages (this isn't);
2) "Lord" is Î´ÎµÏƒÏ€ÏŒÏ„Î·Ï‚ (despotes--sovereign title) not ÎºÏÏÎ¹Î¿Ï‚ (kurios--soteriological title);
3) Is this the Father or the Son? Can it be proven?
4) "bought" (á¼€Î³Î¿ÏÎ¬Î¶Ï‰) has no purchase price mentioned, which would be the only time that happens in the NT *if* this is a soteriological reference;
5) The passage says the Master did not *potentially* purchase these men, but that He did, in fact, purchase these men (sovereignty, not redemption). Compare Deuteronomy 32:5-6 for parallel use in the OT.
6) Derive the extent of the atonement from Hebrews that discusses it, not from 2 Peter's reference to false teachers.
Though obviously these six short comments are not full rebuttals to the Arminian understanding of the verse, there is enough here to hopefully whet the appetitite for further study.
For anyone interested in a more thorough discussion of 2 Peter 2:1, I would recommend an article written here by Simon Escobido. Of course, John Owen's "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ" is the classic work on this subject.