Posts Tagged ‘Election’


For the first post of this Doctrine of Salvation series, please see the first post: Summary of the Doctrine of Salvation

A good definition can be as follows: God’s sovereign selection of certain sinners for salvation before the foundation of the world that is not based on any human merit.

Before we get into the details concerning the doctrine of election, it is important for us to define some important terms that come up in many discussions concerning this topic. The first word is foreknowledge (prognosis).  Foreknowledge is in regards to a predetermined relationship of certain people before the foundation of the world; and is distinct from mere knowledge and facts.  In Romans 8:29 the use of foreknowledge is linked to predestination and in 1 Peter 1:2, foreknowledge is linked to election.  What is important to note that only twice does the term of foreknowledge in the New Testament is referring to knowledge and facts beforehand (Acts 26:5; 2 Peter 3:17).  The other references to the word foreknowledge signify foreordination and predetermination (Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29; 11:2; 1 Peter 1:2, 20).

Another important term is “predestine” (proorizo).  This term means to determine things beforehand (Acts 4:27-28; Rom. 8:29, 30; Eph. 1:5, 11). According to Reformed theology, the term “predestination” a term that is related to election is not only a term included for believers, but also unbelievers (reprobation).

The next term is election.  The Hebrew term for election is bahar (“elect” or “choose”) and its derivatives occur 198 times in the Old Testament.  With this term, God chooses a people for Himself (Psalm 135:4), certain tribes (Psalm 78:68), specific individuals (1 Kings 8:16; 1 Chron. 28:5).  In the New Testament, the Greek verb  “to elect” is eklegomai and the Greek noun for election is  eklektos, which is found around 22 times.  The primary meanings of those two words refer to salvation, not service.  Let us now move into the categories of election.

The first category is election to service.  Concerning election to service, God chose Moses for leadership (Num. 16:5-7), Eli’s father for priestly functions (1 Sam. 2:28), David’s appointment to be Israel’s king (1 Sam. 10:24), Solomon appointed to be king and to build the temple (1 Chron. 28:4-6; 29:1), Jeremiah appointed for prophetic ministry (Jer. 1:10), Zerubbabel for leadership (Haggai 2:23), the Levitical priesthood for ministry (Deut. 18:5; 21:5); and He chose kings to govern (Deut. 17:15).  Moreover, Jesus chose his apostles and followers to preach the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 3:13-15; John 15:16).  Next category is corporate election.

For corporate election, we can refer to Israel as a primary example.  Deut. 7:6 says, “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”   What is interesting is that Israel was chosen and given the privilege to serve God (1 Kings 3:8; Psalm 132:13); and were chosen not based on their merits, but solely on God’s sovereignty and love (Exod. 32:9; Deut. 4:37; 9:6; 10:15; Psalm 47:4).  On another note, God’s election of the Israel is also irrevocable (Rom. 11:28-29).  Corporate election is not only seen with Israel (not all Israel is saved), but with the church too.  The church is the community that is sovereignly chosen by God to serve Him.  They are called out from the power of sin and called to worship Him.  In 1 Peter 2:9-10, the church is mentioned and the church is described with language language that was used in the Old Testament.  For example, Peter uses, “chosen generation,” “a royal priesthood,” “an holy nation,” “a peculiar people,” and “a people of God” in juxtaposition to the church.  When the church is used in the New Testament regarding election of the church, it is referring to salvation, but when election is used to refer to Israel in the Old Testament, it emphasizes the difference concerning the nation Israel as “chosen, blessed, and commissioned” from the pagan nations that surround Israel.

Besides the corporate election of Israel and the church, there is also personal election that is mentioned in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, God is seen as seeking Adam and Eve after their sin.  He did not destroy them, but he covered them with animal skins (Gen. 3:21).  God also sought Noah because “Noah found favors in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8).  God’s personal election is clearly seen with Abraham.  God chose Abraham to be the father of Israel so that he would bring blessings to all the nations of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3).  In Gen. 18:19, Moses the write notes that Abraham is chosen also so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD; and they are to do that by doing righteousness and justice.  What is fascinating about the word “chosen” (ידע; yada) means “to know.”  So in this context, it paints the picture that God sovereignly chose Abraham for salvation.  Yada is also used in Exodus 33:17 to refer to God knowing Moses.  Yada is used in Isaac Gen. 17:19-21 to refer to God choosing Isaac rather than Ishmael.  It is also used in Psalm 65:4 concerning God to bring people near to Him and is used in Jeremiah 1:5 to refer God’s election of Jeremiah before He was formed.  The idea of personal election is clear in Jeremiah.  God chose Him and knew Him personally and lovingly.

For verses in the New Testament concerning election, please see Matthew 11:25-27; John 5:21; John 6:44; John 13:18; John 15:16a; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; Romans 9:11-13; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:4-6; Ephesians 1:4-6; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2a; and Revelation 13:8.

Another category that needs to be pursued is the concept called “foreknowledge.”  Understanding this term will help one see clearly the doctrine of election.  When it comes to this view, some believe that the word “foreknowledge” means foresight.  Hence, God looks through the corridors of heaven and down into the tunnel of time to see who will believe in His Son.  As a result, it perceives God’s election being conditioned upon whether a person believes or not.  Others see the concept as referring to a predetermined love relationship that has nothing to do whether man believes or not.  Thus, I believe foreknowing means foreloving in this context.

In conclusion, although there are passages where there are occurrences of the word foreknowledge referring to foresight and not forelove, but each verse must be examine the context of each verse and passage to determine what it means.  For example, the use of the word “foreknew” in Romans 11:2 means a predetermined love relationship.  God has not rejected the people whom He chose.  It would be odd if the word foreknew means foresight.  In Acts 2:23 and 1 Peter 1:2, the word “foresight” is best understood in the sense of “forelove.”  Another example would be Romans 8:29, which states an important phrase: “those whom He foreknew.

The word “foreknew” is not a reference simply to foreknowledge.  Hence, it cannot simply be tied directly to God’s omniscience in the sense that from eternity past, He chose some because He knew who would place their faith in Him.  According to Granville Sharp Rule, the word “forelove” equates with predeterminism.  Hence, God, set His love on His people and established an intimate relationship with His elect.

Another thing to take into consideration are the perspectives on the doctrine of election.  Besides the notion that Christ chose His people before the foundation of the world without being condition upon man’s choice, it is important to remember that election in Christ (Eph. 1:3-7), is presented as a comfort (Rom. 8:28-30), is a reason to praise God (Eph. 1:5-6, 12), is an encouragement for evangelism (2 Tim. 2:10); and election is a reason for us to not take it too hard on ourselves when people consistently refuse the Gospel.

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From the New Testament,

Mark 4:11-12, “And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven.”

John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 6:44, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:65, “And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

Acts 16:14, “And a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”

Romans 9:18, “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

Romans 11:8, “just as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.'”

Romans 12:3, “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

2 Thessalonians 2:11, “And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false.”

1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

From the Old Testament,

Genesis 45:8, “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt

Exodus 4:21, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”

Exodus 14:17, “And as for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.”

Deuteronomy 2:30, “But Sihon king of Heshbon was not willing for us to pass through his land; for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to deliver him into your hand, as he is today.”

Deuteronomy 29:4, “Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.”

1 Samuel. 10:9, “Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day.”

2 Chronicles 25:20, “But Amaziah would not listen, for it was from God, that He might deliver them into the hand of Joash because they had sought the gods of Edom.”

Jeremiah 10:23, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.”

Jeremiah 24:7, “‘And I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.”

Psalm 105:24-25, “And He caused His people to be very fruitful, and made them stronger than their adversaries. 25He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants.

Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Isaiah 44:28, “It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd! and he will perform all My desire.’ And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.'”


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I have withheld any comments of this conference until its over. The John 3:16 Conference is partly the labor of Jerry Vines, a preacher that I have met and enjoyed listening to. He is obviously a man of integrity and had served the Lord well. Unfortunately, his growing resentment towards the Doctrines of Grace has marred his otherwise good legacy as a Bible expositor.

When they first announced about this conference I had thoughts running in my head that it will be a time where people gather together to trash other Christians and to trash the Holy Bible and ultimately God Himself.

One speaker caught my attention. He said, “Should the Southern Baptist Convention move toward 5-point Calvinism, such a move would be away from, and not toward, the gospel.” According to this blogger, this was met with a standing ovation.

The same speaker also said that, “According to Phil Johnson, James White is a hyper-Calvinist” which prompted Phil Johnson to respond.

James White responds from the UK, I have a feeling that when he returns, he will be challenging Dr. Allen to a debate.

Has Dr. Allen forgotten about George Whitefield (the evangelist that God used to bring many to Christ), Jonathan Edwards (where revival broke out) and Charles Spurgeon (the preacher who preach too much Gospel)?

By the way, we (me and everyone else who blogs here) and our church believe passionately in evangelizing the lost. We preach the Gospel and evangelize the lost weekly. We do so because of our beliefs in the Doctrines of Grace.

From the critiqued of these bloggers (Andrew Lindsey, John Mark, Timmy Brister, and Justin Taylor), one has to doubt the scholarship of the John 3:16 Conference speakers. I wonder what their students learn from them in class?

One seminary student in attendance wrote, “On a side note, I also think it speaks volumes that the conference costs $50 for audio and $70 for Video while Together 4 the Gospel, Desiring God, IX Marks and other Reformed outlets make their audio available for free. It almost appears that the reason behind the conference is not because Reformed Theology is destroying the convention, but that it is destroying the revenue generated during revivals.

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I’ve been struggling over this issue after reading both analyses against and for the position by Robyn Nordell and the California Family Councel respectively.

The consequence of voting yes, may save lives by involving outside parties, including judges, other family members, and/or parents.

Although I believe Robyn Nordell identifies the cost of passing proposition 4 correctly:

Summary of Concerns Addressed in this Updated Analysis:

  • This initiative gives pro-abortionists constitutionally-guaranteed tools that they could use to circumvent a parent’s right to make decisions in the best interest of their children.
  • This initiative would place the vague and undefined legal terms “severe emotional abuse” and “emotional abuse” into the Constitution for the first time.
  • Innocent parents could be more susceptible to false allegations of abuse or neglect.
  • Prop. 4 sets a new standard and principle in the Constitution concerning 1) who is considered “family,” 2) who can be designated to take the place of a parent, and 3) under what conditions. Just because courts have already ruled in this direction, and California and some other states have parts of Prop. 4’s language in their state law does not make it right or wise to place this wording in our Constitution.
  • This constitutional amendment places dangerous wording in the California Constitution, which could be used as the basis to argue that parental rights can be diminished in other areas of the lives of minor children. This dangerous wording could be persuasive in further undermining parental authority and the nuclear family (father, mother, child) as an autonomous social institution.”

I think the California Family Council puts the priorities correctly, lives over parental rights:

“….if lives can be saved, we must support the passage of Proposition 4.”

The logic relies on the premise being true. Can lives be saved?

My concern is I wonder if the stipulations of a court waiver are so easy that parents won’t be notified even if the law passes. If the law is so ineffective that parents are not notified at all, then we’re really not saving lives but rather sacrificing parental rights in the constitution for free!

Thus, my struggle is how ineffective is this law?

Here’s a cause and effect chart from a doctor’s perspective I made to aid in analyzing the overall effectiveness of proposition 4:

Cause and effect chart of Proposition 4

Cause and effect chart of Proposition 4

My concerns about the court waivers are threefold:

  1. Judge only needs to deem an unemancipated minor as both mature and well-informed to issue a waiver.
  2. Judge only needs to deem notifying parents not in the best interest of the minor
  3. If the court fails to give a ruling by 5 pm the next court day (after filing for waiver), the court waiver is automatically granted.

All three of the waivers have nothing to do with physical, emotional, or sexual abuse! If the physician or staff at planned parenthood always advise the minor to take this route, my fear is that they will always get the waiver. We already know, Planned Parenthood tells minors to lie about their age anyways. Remember the undercover video at Planned Parenthood:

Why not advise minors to take the most easiest legalized and legitamate route, that WE legalized!

The only benefit to this proposition is it would allow civil suits by affected parents or minors for anyone aiding the minor to circumvent the proposition (e.g. Forging a parental waiver). But this benefit might be nill considering if getting waivers legally are easier than doing it illegally.

If this law proves ineffective and takes away parental rights, we would have to fight for another constitutional amendment to change it. Honestly, I wonder if the pro-choice people are really trying to pull a fast one on us. I feel the summary provided by the state was vastly inadequate, not even including this huge potential loophole.

For the full proposition PDF click here.

At the same time though, I wonder if the proposition might discourage even one minor from getting an abortion. If one minor ignores the advice of Planned Parenthood to seek a court waiver, then perhaps the minor will be convinced by their parents to not have an abortion. Or perhaps, a minor may assume, incorrectly, that their parents must be notified and abstain from abortion.

Although I suspect that the judges will always hand out a waiver, maybe the whole court process might cause one minor to save one child. Because I can’t say that one child won’t be saved, at this time I must say yes to proposition 4.

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Dr Al Mohler recently gave his commentary on choosing a President.

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American Family Association

American Family Association2008 Voter Guides by State – Gives links to voter guides including:

Election Forum

2008 Election Forum – A Christian named Craig Huey, past guest speaker on the Frank Pastore show, rates California judges by their support of Constructionist view of law (i.e Believe law should be interpreted by what the writers intended), and his position on propositions.

Christian Coalition of America (updated 10/22)

Christian Coalition of America – Voter guide showing positions of Obama and McCain on national issues, mainly abortion and homosexuality.
State versions will be added at a later date.

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