Basic Theology: Election

The predestination by which God adopts some to the hope of life, and adjudges others to eternal death, no man who would be thought pious ventures simply to deny…By predestination, we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death. (Calvin Institutes 3:21:5: 06)

Calvinist James White reiterates Calvin’s words demonstrating that Calvin meant what he said. White states: “God elects a specific people unto Himself without reference to anything they do. This means the basis of God’s choice of the elect is solely within Himself. His grace, His mercy, His will. It is not man’s actions, works, or even foreseen faith, that “draws” God’s choice. God’s election is unconditional and final”. (James R. White, The Potter’s Freedom, Amityville, NY: Calvary Press, 2000, p. 39) This is also echoed by Loraine Boettner, in The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

“The Doctrine of absolute Predestination of course logically holds that some are foreordained to death as truly as others are foreordained to life. The very terms ‘elect’ and ‘election’ imply the terms ‘non-elect’ and ‘reprobation’. When some are chosen out others are left not chosen. The high privileges and glorious destiny of the former are not shared with the latter. Those who hold the doctrine of Election but deny that of Reprobation can lay but little claim to consistency. To affirm the former while denying the latter makes the decree of predestination an illogical and lop-sided decree. The creed which states the former but denies the latter will resemble a wounded eagle attempting to fly with but one wing.” (Loraine Boettner The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination1932 from 2000 bible study centre™ DIGITAL LIBRARY p. 104-5)

The good news, however, is that “election, elect, chosen” (and the derivatives) are terms that have nothing to do with one’s eternal destiny. Scripture does speak at length of “the elect” and “the chosen” but these terms are devoid of the Calvinistic sense of someone who has been chosen to receive eternal life. The term ‘elect’ and its derivatives, therefore, are not salvific in meaning but simply refer to persons or things that are chosen for a particular purpose and the purpose has nothing to do with eternal life. Once the definition of the word is established biblically, the foundation of Calvinism will be undermined and will collapse and arguing the tenants of TULIP will become inapplicable.

The word elect (Greek verb: eklegomai ἐκλέγομαι; Hebrew verb: bakharבָּחַר ) means to choose, select. The elect or chosen (as nouns or adjectives) are those people or things that have been elected, selected or chosen for a particular purpose by someone. Scripture bears witness that elect and its derivatives have nothing to do with someone being chosen specifically to eternal life.


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