Summary: A non Calvinists understanding of Election
The Election of God
There has been much discussion of late, in SBC, circles about Calvinism. There are many that say that we need to return to "our Calvinist roots." In saying this they are saying that we need to return to a belief in election and predestination of God whereby God chose, before time, that some should be predestined to eternal life in heaven while others were predestined for eternal damnation in hell. This was a teaching of John Calvin.
According to this view, we have NO CHOICE in the matter since in Calvin's words "we can neither initiate nor resist' our salvation. It was God's choice, long before we were born, and what he chose will come to pass. You are either very lucky or very unlucky.
As we begin this book of 1 Peter, as soon as Peter has ended his salutation, he addresses his letter to "GOD'S ELECT ... "
But who are God's elect? Are they, as Calvin claims, those whom God has chosen for heaven? Or are they, as Baptists believe, those whom have responded in faith and repentance to the salvation of God?
There are many verses in the scriptures that are interpreted as Election or Predestination verses. Another example is Romans 8:29-30 READ.
Actually there are verses that are interpreted to teach election/predestination. But I think that the whole of scripture and 10 times as many specific verses teach that salvation is a free gift, made available to any and all, and that it is accepted or rejected as a matter of the individual's free will and that choice cannot be made by another... not even God.
John 3:16 says "For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only Begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish but have eternal life. "
And I believe that there is one verse that is the death knell to the whole idea of
predestination. Predestination says that our eternal destiny is the choice of God, long ago, and that we have no choice. It says that God chose some for heaven and SOME FOR HELL. ... in other words, it is by God's will and choosing that some go to hell. I would direct you to 2 Peter 3:9b "God is patient with you, not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance.
Did you hear that? God is not willing that any should perish but that all would be saved.
Does that sound like predestination? Does that sound like God has arbitrarily decided that some should go to hell, that it was His will for some to perish in hell?
NO! NO! A thousand times NO!
What of predestination then? Is it utter non-sense?
No! God has predestined certain things. The book of The Revelation is an example.
The coming of the Messiah, the Second coming of the Messiah, the judgment, the end of earthly time, Armageddon, etc.
These things are predestined, unchangeable, they will come to pass.
However, Salvation, forgiveness, redemption, eternal life ... these things are gifts offered by Grace.
Think of the absurdity of Jesus giving the great commission to His disciples if the salvation and damnation of souls was already determined and predestined.