Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Election: The Calvinist View vs. The Biblical View

The Calvinist concept of Divine Election which funnels toward Unconditional Election as propagated by their TULIP teaching is a deviant philosophical slant from that of many of the Biblical propositions and/or examples or precedents.

The Jews were certainly elected as God's chosen people, yet many of them are condemned to an eternity without God. King Saul and several of the kings of Judah and Israel were definitely chosen or elected by God. However, they were subsequently rejected based on behavior and obedience to God's prescribed paths.

To emphasize, read 1 Samuel 10:24, ..."Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that there is no one like him among all the people?" Samuel declared this statement when the omniscience [see related blog which clarifies that omniscience does not cover the future but only the past and present] of God was supposed to already know David the shepherd who would eventually become king to replace Saul.

In many Biblical cases, God's election is just that... just a choice with no extraneous implications nor guarantees of eternal bliss or unconditional salvation.

Unconditional Election is therefore at best a logical Greek concept. Unfortunately, there is very little Biblical basis for its Calvinistic slant.

Classicists and Calvanists almost always revert to Ephesians chapter 1 to prove specific predestination. However, note that foreknowledge was not even used in this chapter. Foreknowledge implies that God has seen the future and therefore what He has seen CANNOT be changed. "Predestined", however, has been and can be read under the context of God's will, not the will that is etched on stone but the will that means intent or intention.

This divine will is similar to the will of God in the Lord's prayer. "thy will be done on earth..." clearly implies that God's will is NOT done! At least, NOT YET! But clearly, this is a will that can be temporarily thwarted. Hence, substitute the word "intention" to replace "predestination", "intended or designed" to replace "predestined" in Ephesians 1 and one would get a revelation that is far from the Classical Calvinist version but rich in theology and application.

[Added 2017-10-29]
Note that whenever predestination is mentioned in Scripture, the subject is ALWAYS PLURAL. Hence predestined events or actions refer the what God planned for the church or the "elect" and not for any specific individual. Note also that all mention of THE ELECT is always in the plural form with the ONLY EXCEPTION that of the "elect lady" in 2 John, but even then lady is only elect because of the group that she belongs to.

Hence, it is NOT the individual Christian who is elect but it is the church that is elect.  Nor is the individual Christian predestined to anything other than what God had predestined for the elect or the church.

This is the same flavor as the "chosen people" of the Old Testament. God does not refer to individual chosen persons but to the chosen people as a nation or group.

This VERY IMPORTANT distinction is what the Calvinists either have missed or ignored, hopefully, not intentionally.

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