This is Answer (Part 2) to Question #67:
My objections to the Gary Long’s objections, respectively:
1) how else could John have worded it? Answer: “world of the elect” or “those who would later believe in Christ.” But he didn’t.
2) yes, “whole world” can also refer to all mankind generically in a salvation context because all people are responsible to repent and believe the gospel,
3) propitiation is absolutely universal in the sense that the elect are saved and the non-elect are savable,
4) the text does not say that Christ is the propitiation for “the sins of the whole world of the elect” either, and
5) I grant that 1 Jn 4:10 is thus specific but the context of Rom 3:25 suggests “all” the world; Heb 2:17 which says “reconciliation (propitiation) for the sins of the people” could have been more specific and say “for our sins.”
As a response to the three alternative interpretations, I would just say that all four (generically, geographical, eschatological and ethnological) are generally universal in essence so I don’t see a need to raise an alarm especially when preaching that Jesus Christ “is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Wait, that’s right out of the text… it is the text! Remember a primary rule of interpretation? If the plain text makes perfect sense, seek no other sense. “Scripture is to be read and understood, not as an esoteric work, but in its plain sense.”