Monday, February 9, 2009

The Undeniable Doctrine of Election

There exists in the church today a misconception that election represents a controversial topic. When this misconception is perpetuated, we do an injustice to students of the Word who seek to deepen their love of God. The doctrine of election is not controversial. The doctrine of election is rarely even debated. It is the doctrine of salvation, particularly the aspect of free will, that is the root of so much strife and that is often inappropriately linked to the doctrine of election causing so many people to shriek at it's mention. But with those misconceptions and debates aside, the doctrine of election should be the most unifying truth in all of Church doctrine.

Regardless of where one may fall in the free will debate, the doctrine of election is an undeniable fact found throughout scripture. The proof texts are too numerous to count, but among the more prominent are Deuteronomy 7, John 10, Ephesians 1, and 1 Peter 1. In fact, even popular memory verses that we teach our children to recite echo the truth of election: "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10). Or, when we sing together, "I once was lost but now am found... T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear," we are proclaiming and extolling God for His election of those whom He foreknew.

So why do I say so strongly that to misrepresent the doctrine of election is an injustice to followers of Christ? Is it because I am just another radical and irrational Calvinist to be quickly dismissed and ignored. Not at all. Need I remind you that Arminius, too, believed in election, though his definition of foreknowledge differed from mine. For that matter (though I have no evidence) I would suggest Pelagius as well would not have denied the obvious Biblical teaching that we, the Church, are chosen of God.

No, it is an injustice to pass over, as many timid teachers do, the truth that God chose us because it is in His choosing of us that we are filled the most awe and wonder. Yes, it is wondrous that He would send His Son to die, but can we really view the cross as a cosmic roll of the dice? God, hoping that some might accept His gift, crucified His Son with blind hope in our acceptance? No. Be it born out of His foreknowledge of us or His foreknowledge of our faith, God chose us before we chose Him. And therein lies the wonder and mystery of the love of our God.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -- Romans 5:8

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