Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Doctrine of Election is biblical

With a HT to Do Not Be Surprised, I pass along this link to a great article explaining the biblical doctrine of election. It is easy to understand and clearly makes the case that God chooses us for salvation
Pick me, pick me, Unconditional Election, Pt. 2. By the time the author gets to the end he has explained it so biblically that his conclusion makes logical sense:

"Your objection might be this: I don’t believe that God would chose some and not all. That’s fine, but don’t say “I don’t believe in election,” say” I don’t believe the Bible.”

Again with a HT to Do Not Be Surprised, I found this article helpful also. It is from the steady and biblical folks at 9 Marks, explaining how the prosperity gospel has crept into much of Christianity as a softer version.
A Softer Prosperity Gospel: More Common Than You Think

Jeremiah lamented that Jerusalem refused to repent. His lament was one that is of a striking parallel today. This is what we see too:

"Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her. Though they say, “As the Lord lives,” yet they swear falsely."

Though this is what we see on the ground, it is not what God sees from above. Through Jesus, His Son, He sees a glorious future for His Son's Bride and a coronation for His Son. This future is so sure that in heaven it it of the now. Soon, on the ground we will come into our future!

"And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:5)

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Further reading:

What is the Doctrine of Election?

Is the doctrine of Election biblical?


29 comments:

  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    I didn't know how else to contact you so am using the comment section. I received a transcript of Tom McMahon and Anton Bosch concerning John MacArthurs 'Strange Fire'. I would like your comments on this if you have the time.
    Thank you, Robert
    It can be found at The Berean Call website.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Robert,

      My email is on the right-side menu. Scroll down. This is a perfectly fine way to contact me also. I'll take a look at the transcript you suggested this weekend (which includes Monday! yay!)

      Delete
  2. It is not without merit that we contemplate these things, however it can all be summed up by the words of John The Baptist in John 3:27

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  3. this is very interesting.... a dispensationist and a calvinist..... i take it your beliefs on calvinism dont make you popluar in the dispie crowd as if you ever go on the rapture ready forums you can see an extreme amount of anti-calvinism posts

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    Replies
    1. I know many dispensationalist calvinist types, of which I am one. I wasn't always that way, until I started studying scripture and found it to be true.
      Jane

      Delete
  4. God's sovereignty gets people very upset. But as Paul Washer said one time: "If God didn't choose to save some, none would be saved" (paraphrased).

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  5. Ran across this in my studies. Donald C. Stamps states:

    "Concerning election and predestination, we might use the analogy of a great ship on its way to heaven. The ship (the church) is chosen by God to be His very own vessel. Christ is the Captain and Pilot of this ship. All who desire to be a part of this elect ship and its Captain can do so through a living faith in Christ, by which they come on board the ship. As long as one is on the ship, in company with its Captain, he is among the elect. If he chooses to abandon the ship and Captain, he ceases to be one of the elect. Election is always only in union with the Captain and His ship. Predestination tells us about the ship's destination and what God has prepared for those remaining on it. God invites everyone to come aboard the elect ship through faith in Jesus Christ."

    Mario

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mario,

      Thanks so much for that analogy. It is a good one. If I may extend it further?

      While faith is the necessary ticket for boarding the ship, the doctrine of election is that no one can obtain that faith unless the Lord grants it. No one will be saved unless the Lord elects him. Even the necessary faith that passengers possess was given to them from above. "For many are invited , but few are chosen." Mt 22:14

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  6. Matthew 22:14
    "For many are called, but few are chosen."
    Understanding this verse by itself can be confusing. It must be studied looked at alongside verse 3,
    "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come."
    The word "many", in context, actually means that ALL Israel were called to follow the God of Israel. Most rejected the Long-awaited Messiah Jesus Christ as the one final ultimate sacrifice for sin. Therefore, few are "chosen" for salvation. Most of Israel have received temporary blindness as judgment of God for rejection of Messiah Jesus. This blindness is Grace to the Gentile, as we were not looking for a Savior.
    Romans 10:20
    Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me."
    Isaiah 65:1
    "I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, 'Here am I, here am I.'
    Romans 9:30-33
    What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame."

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    Replies
    1. Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for the input! It about God's sovereign call to salvation. The parable relates partially to Israel but has further-reaching consequences that extend all the way to the end before He comes back. Here is a short piece explaining the verse-
      http://www.gotquestions.org/many-called-few-chosen.html

      Here is a thorough sermon explaining it, "And those who come choose to come, the Bible says, because they're chosen by Him."
      Part 1: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/2355/responding-to-a-royal-invitation
      Part 2: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-45/a-celebration-for-the-son

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  7. Thank you, Elizabeth. As much as I enjoy Brother John MacArthur's studies and commentaries, I prefer to allow the Scriptures to interpret themselves.
    We must examine who is Matthew writing his letter to in order to understand who are the "many" called, and who are the few "chosen".
    Matthew was written to the Jews to present Jesus Christ as Messiah

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    Replies
    1. Hi Shannon,

      I agree, it is wise to let scripture interpret themselves, which is what we and the other mature elders of our faith are doing- including pastors.

      We read the bible directly, but remember also that God has always raised up men to explain the scriptures and proclaim His glories- and given us discernment to detect who is proclaiming truth and who spouts error. The two links I offered, Pastor Michael Houdmann and Pastor John MacArthur, are are doing God's work, and us women who enjoy scriptures directly would do well to take heed in listening. Do not discount the elder men, pastors, evangelists, and scholars God has brought up in the faith and who operate in the gifts.

      Delete
  8. Ran into something interesting while studying the whole parable introduced in the above posts.

    Matthew 22:11 "And when the king came in to see the guests , he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment"

    "not" Gk. ouk, simply a fact, statement.

    Matthew 22:12 "And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not
    having a wedding garment? And he was speechless"

    "not" Gk. me, a fact and intending not to do so, will, thought.

    This man was invited to the wedding feast, yet, he did not put on the wedding
    garment (vs 11). In fact, he intended not to do so (vs 12). The wedding garment was given to all that attended the wedding feast. The garment symbolized the "garments of salvation," the "robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10; Revelation 19:8), i.e., it represents the new life an individual receives when he is cleansed from his sins and forgiven.

    Matthew 22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen"

    "many" Gk. polloi, quantity, totality.

    This verse gives the double parable a fitting conclusion. Polloi, "many," from a Semitic perspective involves both quantity and totality; therefore, "all" is an appropriate interpretation.

    The call mentioned is the invitation to all mankind that takes place in the preaching of the gospel. Indeed, only a few respond to the invitation, but those who do are the chosen of God. Jesus was speaking about guilt in this parable: "They would not come" (verse 3). Only those who accept the invitation of the gospel to a new life are saved (verses 11-13).

    Mario

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  9. Again, thank you, Elizabeth for allowing me the privilege to unpack your response to me, on your blog.
    You mention that "mature elders" let Scripture interpret themselves, yet when I've used clear Scriptures, rather than examine the verses in full context, you've referred me to John MacArthur.
    You mention that God has raised up men to explain the Scriptures and "given us discernment to detect who is proclaiming truth and who spouts error."
    One of us (between you and I) apparently does not use/have discernment?
    If one is wrong but has good intentions, are they (your words, not mine) still considered to be accepted as "doing God's work"? I agree John MacArthur and Michael Houdman are sincere men who love the Lord, but they are mere men, and fallible in understanding. Many times we put pastors on pedestals as though they have more of the Spirit than the "laymen" in the pew. This is wrong, as all those born again, have the same amount of His Spirit...ALL of Him.
    1 Cor 12:1-12
    1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test all things. Hold fast to the good.
    John 16:13 ...He will guide you into all truth...
    1 John 2:27 And the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone teach you. but as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and as He taught you, abide in Him.
    I'll bow out of this conversation now and go study some more from the Word. Thank you.

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    1. I'm not Elizabeth and I hope she doesn't mind me butting in here. Yes, J MacArthur and others are mere men and fallible, but aren't we all? I don't think he is being put on a pedestal here, but he is known as a reliable bible teacher that teaches sound doctrine, bearing good fruit. He definitely has the gift of teaching. Should we discount all bible teachers (who truly have the gift) because they are fallible? And yes, by all means we should use discernment with any man's teaching. I have with MacArthur and found him to proclaim truth, and I will continue to discern.
      Jane

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    2. Jane thanks so much!

      Hi Shannon,

      Thanks once again for your reply.

      Sometimes the straight scriptures in context will still elicit misunderstandings in a person’s perception, depending on other scriptures that add to the meaning that are not in that particular chapter or book. Your reply seemed to indicate the called-chosen verse was solely for Israel . In any case, the reply wasn’t clear. I added my interpretation and referred you and other readers to a solid exegetical treatment of the verse for added understanding. I thought this would be a gentle way to help others who were unclear about the verses we were discussing

      I don’t believe I lack discernment because I referred a woman to credible sources. Many people read these comments and I’m please to say that many follow up on finding out more. Then we go back to the scriptures and determine if what we have read from “fallible man” is in alignment with the bible. (and "fallible man" wrote the bible remember, via the Spirit the same spirit who is with man today). This is the process of testing all things.

      The Spirit gives discernment, not the men. I want to make that clear.

      I don’t put pastors on a pedestal but I do give them double honor. (1 Tim 5:17)

      Yes the Spirit teaches you. The Spirit teaches the men I referred you to. As women, we must always be aware that the bible says we are more easily deceived. If as you say, men are fallible, then when it comes to spiritual matters, aren't women even more so? (1 Tim 2:14, 1 Peter 3:7)

      Delete
  10. Hi Elizabeth,
    Just curious to know if you read the article concerning MacArthur's 'Strange Fire', by Tom McMann and Anton Bosch yet?
    Robert

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  11. I love John McArthur and listen to much of his teaching, but I firmly believe he's wrong on election. It was biblical error in the sixteenth century, and it's still biblical error in the twenty-first.

    If the doctrine of election is correct, I suppose we'll have to start re-writing a few verses in the Bible. I'll get us started:

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever God choseth to believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

    Feel free to continue with the dozens of others.

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    1. Hi Anonymus,

      Thanks for reading the piece. I hope you read the source material I linked to, "Pick me, pick me, Unconditional Election, Pt. 2". The scriptures are there.

      Yes, I agree that there are some verses which say that those who believe in Him will not perish. However, the point is that it is impossible for man to believe unless He is given the faith to believe. We have no faith unless it comes from above. Men are dead, and cannot do anything. Lydia's heart was opened to respond to Paul's message (Acts 16:14b). She believed, but it was not upon her own steam, lest anyone boast. No one comes to the Father unless the Spirit draw him. (John 6:44).

      The salvation of humans from start to finish is only God's work. Not man's at any point.

      Lazarus is the example here: Lazarus was in the tomb, dead. That's Total Depravity. While Lazarus was in the tomb, dead, could Lazarus have chosen to believe? No, he was called. That's Unconditional Election
      When called, would he have resisted the call? Said, 'Nah, I think I'll stay in this tomb for a while?' No. That's Irresistible Grace

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  12. Yeah, but at the end of the day, all the fancy theological constructions aside, I just don't see how you can avoid having an essentially capricious God and the mere illusion of free will, neither of which sits well with my understanding of Scripture.

    And I think you can only get so much mileage out of the standard, all-purpose escape hatch about the clay questioning the potter.

    The thing about election is that I've heard strong biblical arguments both ways, but every time I hear people push Calvinism, something in me wants to scream out:

    "God, I just can't (and I won't) lower my opinion of your character enough to believe you're just throwing darts at the Salvation Dartboard."

    If I wanted a capricious God, I'd be a Muslim!

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    1. Anonymous, you're charging God, who said, "I will have mercy upon those I will have mercy" (Ex 33:19) and of whom is said, "So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills" (Rom 9:18) with being capricious? Well, I guess you can level your charge against Him when you meet Him, and see if He defends Himself to you.

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  13. Elizabeth,
    I would strongly urge you to read Dave Hunt's "What Love is This?" Calvin's MISrepresentation of the Gospel. As Anonymous pointed out above, we would have to eliminate and change MANY Scriptures to accommodate Calvinism.
    Robert

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thank you for the recommendation. I have read Dave Hunt's piece. It is in error.

      Actually there are many scriptures that state unequivocally that God chooses us, as you might have read at the originally linked article. Of not, then Ephesians 1 should do it for you. We do not choose Him. Our names were written since the foundation of the world in His book, and not reactively just because He knew "we would choose Him." That would make us sovereign to God. No, it was because He chose us, and He enabled us to love Him thru faith and the work of His Son./

      Here is Phil Johnson on Hunt's book:http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/SC03-1022CDNotes.htm

      " Last year Dave Hunt released a thick (444-page) book titled, What Love Is This? Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God. As the subtitle suggests, Mr. Hunt is strongly opposed to Calvinism. In effect, he says Calvinism is a different gospel. He also suggests that the teaching of Calvinism so misrepresents God that Calvinists are guilty of worshiping a god of their own making. He has such harsh words for Calvinists that many readers have concluded he is consigning Calvinism to the dung-heap of the cults—and in several places one might even get the impression he is not too sure about the salvation of anyone who is committed to Calvinism as a system of theology.
      Dave Hunt, in typical fashion, writes with an authoritative tone and overbearing conviction. Banking on his reputation as a keen discerner of error and a boldexposer of heretics, he gives the impression of a man on a lonely, desperate crusade to rescue the evangelical movement from its most subtle and deadly enemy yet.

      What is this latest threat to orthodoxy among evangelicals? Turns out it’s the theology of all the key Protestant Reformers. It’s the theology of the Puritans. It’s the theology of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Spurgeon. It’s also the theology of James Montgomery Boice, R. C. Sproul, Al Mohler, and John MacArthur.
      According to Dave Hunt, all of those men are guilty of seriously corrupting the gospel and slandering the character of God. And in his attack on their theology, Hunt pulls no punches. He charges them with turning God into a monster, making men into puppets, and replacing the concept of grace with an unjust notion of divine favoritism. He emphatically believes that God is obliged to love everyone the same. He denies that God has foreordained whatever comes to pass. And he is convinced that Calvinists worship a god who does violence to the human will.

      In short, Dave Hunt’s book is a digest of every hackneyed argument ever brought against Calvinism. He brings together both the best and the worst of anti-Calvinist thought, blending and repackaging it all in a format that is easy to read and understand. He gives the impression of thoroughness and scholarship. And he aims to convince the naive that this difficult subject is really quite simple.

      I normally like to begin every book review by saying something positive about the book. There’s simply not anything good I can sincerely say about this book. It is seriously flawed by a number of significant shortcomings:"

      And then Johnson goes on to enumerate the exegetical flaws in Hunt's piece.

      it is convenient to call the doctrine of election "Calvinism" but Calvin was merely wresting away from the Catholic Church its monopoly on the doctrines of salvation, erroneous doctrines at that. he clarified by true exegesis the doctrines of grace and did so as a response to the error Arminian was proclaiming (we choose God and our salvation isn't sure).

      It is called the doctrine of election, not Calvinism, and it is biblical.

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    2. OK, I'll call it the "doctrine of election." I'll put a dress on it and call it Susie if you like. And it is (excuse me while I take a deep breath) biblical *according to your interpretation and understanding of Scripture*.

      I'm not going to waste any more of my time arguing about it, though, because it's too late in the game for such things. I'm sure the Father will straighten it out for us soon enough.

      Plus, I'm beginning to get that same feeling in the pit of my stomach that I get when I talk to people about preterism or the post-trib Rapture. That old "We've-got-the-truth-Why-can't-you-see-that-Read-your-Bible-you-moron" feeling is coming on, so I'm checking out before it blossoms into the usual blood-splattering bludgeoning that it invariably does.

      And while I can still sincerely say...

      I love you all,

      Peace in Christ Jesus

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    3. Anonymous,

      Ephesians 1:4 is very clear. "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight."

      Your peace and love talk rings a bit hollow when:

      1. you don't use scriptures to make your point,
      2. you rely on emotion, and
      3. you lob a grenade into the conversation, accuse us of bloody battle, and then cut and run.

      I'm sorry you have been involved in so many conversations that "blossoms into the usual blood-splattering bludgeoning that it invariably does."

      Maybe someday you and I can have a discussion based on the bible's verses. These matters are important to understand.

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  14. Elizabeth,
    If you read Dave's book and believe him "...to be in error", why would you thank me for the suggestion? Unfortunately, your condescending tone is typical of most Calvinists I have spoken with. It is possible for Dave or you or I to be in error, but God's Word is not. Obviously you are entrenched in your beliefs and can't see the love of God for humanity; there are countless Scriptures that show clearly that every person has the opportunity to accept or reject the free gift of Salvation! Why do you feel the need to share the Gospel ?!? If God chooses who will spend eternity in heaven and cosign the rest to hell, what's the point? Also, if all babies go to heaven as you suggest, how does that mesh with the twisted logic of Calvinism?
    Robert

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    1. Robert, I thanked you because you were offering me something from your heart that you believed would help me understand something. You made an offer, I thanked you for it. It was sincere. That's all.

      God loves humankind. He made us and He crushed His Son to atone for us. However that doesn't set aside the fact that He is sovereign and He chooses who He will have mercy on and who He will harden. He is the potter, we are the clay. Coming to an understanding of the doctrine of election means understanding who we are and who he is. Remember, some awaken to everlasting life so as to display His glory, some awaken to everlasting contempt so as to show His glorious wrath on sin. Third, He bought us at a price. BOUGHT. (1 Cor 6;20). We are his to do with as He pleases.

      His love doesn't excuse sin. He is loving but He is just too. The two are not mutually exclusive- you need to understand that.

      Every human above the age of accountability is accountable for their sins against God. We are ALL guilty before God. However, He declares babies and children innocent. Not that children *are* innocent, but that He declares it so. David took comfort knowing his baby was in heaven and that he would see him again. Here is more, "The salvation of babies who die"
      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-242/the-salvation-of-babies-who-die-part-1
      I encourage you to read the essay I linked to above, at the end of the article, explaining election.

      I share the Gospel because as Spurgeon said, I can't ask someone to lift their shirt and show me whether they have an"E" for elect emblazoned on their tummy. The Spirit softens, we declare, the Lord instills the necessary faith. It is a mystery how it works but we are called to preach His name and make disciples, so we share the Gospel. To answer your question in short, we share the gospel because we love Jesus, and because He told us to.

      Delete
  15. The Doctrine of election always stirs debate. It also stirs passions in men's hearts. The vestiges of pride that are left in a man wants to believe that WE have something to do with our own salvation. Spurgeon said,

    "I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. (Spurgeon from A Defense of Calvinism.)"

    The doctrine under discussion here is biblical, and beautiful. We have exchanged ideas and scriptures, and I've deleted many other comments that never made it to light. Thank you to those who shared links to blogs and essays that attempt to refute Election. I won't publish them because I do not want to introduce confusion to readers. The evidence is in the blog post above, and more importantly, it is in the bible.

    I'm closing comments. Thanks for your participation.

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