Home » Bible Interpretation » Why God Did Not Elect Calvinists: The Biblical Concept of Election Never Means Predestined to Salvation and Commonly is a Reference to Israel

Why God Did Not Elect Calvinists: The Biblical Concept of Election Never Means Predestined to Salvation and Commonly is a Reference to Israel

The biblical usage of “election” has absolutely nothing to do with salvation contrary to the teaching of Calvinism. Calvin summarizes this foundational doctrine in his book Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book 3 chapter 21): “Of the eternal election, by which God has predestinated some to salvation, and others to destruction.” He qualifies his summary by stating:

 

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 all emphasis in this article is mine)

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 Predestination 1932 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.

The Election of Priests, Kings, and Disciples

In the Old Testament, we see times when God chose and people chose. God chose Levi to minister forever “… the LORD your God has chosen [bakhar בָּחַר Greek LXX eklexetai εκλεξηται] him…” Deut 18:5 (see also 1 Chr 15:2) . God chose Saul to be the first king of Israel. What is fascinating about King Saul is that he was chosen both by God and the people: “…Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen (Hebrew and Greek are the same roots as above)…’” (1 Sam 10:24)

Two chapters later he was chosen by the people: “…here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the LORD has set a king over you.” (1Sam 12:13) Saul’s election by God had nothing to do with eternal life. Saul was chosen, elected by God for the purpose to be king over Israel and with that he had all of the potential to be a good king and for his lineage to be the lineage of the Messiah. Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? … Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, ​and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, ​And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. ​Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, ​He also has rejected you from being king.” (1 Sam 15:19, 22-23)

It is only after repeated disobedience is Saul rejected and David chosen to take his place. Saul’s election by God to be king had nothing to do with eternal life and his removal from being king likewise had nothing to do with eternal life – he was simply removed from his post. Saul is analogous to Judas in many ways because both he and Judas were chosen yet they both forfeited their election. “Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose [eklegomai ἐκλέγομαι] you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70) God elected David to be king and passed over the other seven sons of Jesse. “The LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him’ … Neither has the LORD chosen this one…the LORD has not chosen these.” (1 Sam 16:7-10). The choosing or election had nothing to do with eternal life according to the Calvinist definition: God chose David because of what He saw in the heart and He chose him to be king – not for the purpose of eternal life. See Luke 6:13; John 13:18, 15:16, 19; Acts 1:2, 24, 15:7 concerning Jesus choosing of the disciples, one of whom was a devil (John 6:70).

The Election of Messiah and Angels

God’s election of Messiah further demonstrates that the term election is devoid of the Calvinistic concept of eternal life. Jesus, the Messiah-God-Incarnate, certainly has no need of salvation or eternal life; He is the source of life! “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One [LXX: eklektos εκλεκτος] in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him… (Isa 42:1, see also Isaiah 49:7) This very title was used of Jesus on the cross “…the rulers with them sneered, saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.’” (Luke 23:35). Peter further confirms God’s election of the Messiah: “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious” (1 Pet 2:4, see also 1 Pet 2:6). Jesus was unquestionably chosen, elected, predestined by God to be the Messiah but His election was not for His salvation. He was chosen by the Father to give us eternal life! In a similar fashion we find that angels can be elected – demonstrating that “elect” does not mean chosen to eternal life (see also Heb 2:16 regarding the fact that God only offers salvation to mankind): “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the electangels…” (1 Tim 5:21)

The Election of Jerusalem

God also elected (chose) Jerusalem to be His city proving that election has nothing to do with eternal life. “Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.” (2 Chr 6:6) “…the city which You have chosen…” (1 Kgs 8:44) “…and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen…” (1 Kgs 11:32), “…the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.” (1 Kgs 11:36)For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place.” (Ps 132:13) In all of these verses we see that God has chosen or elected Jerusalem for a purpose and the word election does not entail eternal life.

The Election of False Gods and Foolish Things

In Corinthians we learn that God has chosen foolish, weak, base and despised things: “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,” (1 Cor 1:27-28; see also James 2:5) Not only is election used to describe God’s choosing of people, places, and things for His special purposes, it is used for men’s choosing of the true God and of false gods. “So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD for yourselves, to serve Him…” (Josh 24:22) “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.” (Judg 10:14) Jesus points out others who chose poorly in the Gospel of Luke: “Jesus noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, He told them a parable. He said to them…when you are invited…do not take the place of honor.” (Luke 14:8)

 

Our conclusion from the above verses is that election has nothing to do with predestination to eternal life. God chose priests, kings and Jerusalem for His purposes and man chose both God and idols. We would be wrong to try to insert the concept of predestination into the term election.

The Election of Israel

While election is made by God and men of people and places, there is a usage that stands out uniquely in Scripture: God’s chosen people, the elect, are the Israelites. The title “chosen/elect” is in no less than eight verses in Scripture. The use of the title “elect” to describe Israel becomes very important when we venture into the New Testament because it clears up many theological, soteriological, and eschatological issues.

    1. Seed of Israel His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones! (1 Chr 16:13)
    2. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance. (Ps 33:12)
    3. Seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones! (Ps 105:6)
    4. He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness. (Ps 105:43)
    5. For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, ​Israel for His special treasure. (Ps 135:4)
    6. For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect… (Isa 45:4)
    7. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, And from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there. (Isa 65:9)
    8. For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (Isa 65:22)

The verses above demonstrate how God has specifically called Israel, Jacob, the Seed of Abraham His chosen. Thus the term “the chosen” or “my chosen” and “the elect” is a reference to ethnic Israel.  This point is proven by Paul who, in a synagogue on the Sabbath day in Antioch, read from the Law and Prophets and then spoke to his fellow Jews: “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers…’” (Acts 13:16, 17) Thus, the election of Israel was true in the Old Testament and the New Testament as well.

The “Few Chosen” Are Israelites

With the definition of “the elect/chosen” established, we are now ready to proceed to the teachings of Jesus Whom we must remember was Himself Jewish. In Matthew 22 Jesus, speaking with the Pharisees, compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a King who prepared a wedding feast for His Son. Those that were invited to the wedding feast were not interested in coming so the King sent His servants out calling everyone who would come. That the invited guests to the wedding were the Israelites is certain. Jesus Himself confirms this in His rebuke to the Pharisees: “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11)

 

There are also many passages in the Old Testament that speak of the Messianic age in which the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be God’s special people (See for example: Isaiah 2, 4, 11, 60-66). Therefore, Jesus’ statement “For many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matt 22:14; see also Matt 20:16) must be interpreted in light of who are the chosen – that is the Jews! The chosen, elect (the Jews) were the ones to whom the promise of the Messianic Age was first given. However, when the bridegroom came they were not willing to come and therefore God the Father gave instruction for all (the many) to be called to the feast. Understanding who the elect are unlocks the passage for us. Knowing that the elect are the Jews completely rules out any Calvinistic interpretation of the passage. Note that both the called and chosen still needed salvation as indicated by the wedding garment and he who was found in the feast without a garment was cast out.

The Elect in the Tribulation

We next come to the references to the elect in Matthew 24 in which Jesus is telling the disciples of what the days of the tribulation would be like. Armed with the knowledge that the elect are the Jews, we can consistently interpret the passage; the elect in Matthew 24 are not Gentile believers in the tribulation, but are God’s chosen, that is the Jews. “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened… For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matt 24:22, 24) Mark’s Gospel adds “…for the elect’s sake, whom He chose…” (Mark 13:20) emphasizing those whom God chose: the Jews. If the elect are interpreted as those whom God has predestined to eternal life, then a conundrum arises, in particular, for those of us of a pretibulational perspective; who exactly is being gathered at the end of the tribulation? “He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matt 24:31) There can be no question that this gathering happens after the events of the Great Tribulation and yet, if it is referring to the same catching up of believers in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, then the teaching of the pretribulational rapture would be nullified. However, once we realize that the elect here are not believers in general but specifically the Israelites/Jews then the matter is resolved. Two-thirds of the (up to then non-believing) Jews will tragically perish and the one-third (Zech. 13:8) remaining will be gathered at the end of the Great Tribulation. It also fits in with Revelation 19 where the believers return with Jesus to the earth because they have already been caught up to Him.

 

The Old Testament proves that the gathering of the elect in Matthew 24 must be speaking of the Jews. Jesus used the language of Isaiah 11 to describe the gathering of the elect, an obvious reference to the Jews: “He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isa 11:12) The gathering of the Jews is further predicted in Isaiah 43:5, 54:7, and Zechariah 2:6. When we realize that the usage of “chosen” or “elect” has nothing to do with (predestined to) eternal life then many of the difficult Bible passages are easy to interpret.

The Elect in Peter’s Epistles Are Jewish

Peter likewise uses the term elect to describe the Jews. We know so because Peter says as much: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…” (1 Pet 1:1-2) The word “dispersion” (Greek diaspora διασπορά) was used to describe the scattering among the nations that God had promised to the Jews (Israel) if they would not follow Him (Lev 26:33; Deut 4:27; Neh 1:8, etc.; the LXX uses the same Greek word as the NT). James, in his epistle, could not be any clearer that the diaspora is Israel when he says: “To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad [en te diaspora εν τη διασπορα]: Greetings.” (James 1:1). The twelve tribes are of course Israel (the Jews) and they are in the diaspora – the same group to which Peter was addressing his letter.

 

At the end of his first epistle, Peter further establishes that the elect were none other than Jewish believers, who were also in the diaspora. He writes (in the NKJV) “She who is in Babylon, elect together with [you,] greets you.”(1 Pet 5:13) Now at first glance it appears that Peter might be referring to some woman by the use of the word “she” (aute αὐτή) – which by the way, is absent from the Greek text. The word in the text is the feminine article (he ἡ) which is referencing back to something that was already addressed in the letter. We know that the something in question is also elect and is an adjective modifier to the something because “elect” is feminine singular (suneklekte συνεκλεκτὴ). The question is, however, what is the something that the article and adjective refer to? The answer is to consider to whom the feminine something is sending greetings. That takes us back to the first chapter where Peter established already that he was writing to the pilgrims who were in the diaspora. Diaspora is a singular feminine word and hence it fits the bill perfectly. Certain translations, like the NET Bible for example, have translated the feminine article in 1 Peter 5:13 not as “she” but as “the church”. Their selection at first appears justified since Peter is obviously writing to believers in Jesus and of course, the word (ekklesia ἐκκλησία) is singular feminine. The weakness of the translation, however, is proven by the fact that the word ekklesia does not appear even once in either of Peter’s epistles. The word diaspora does appear and fits both in number and gender.

 

Lastly, we must acknowledge two important points: 1) Peter was the apostle to the Jews. In Galatians 2:7-9 Paul states that he “was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised just as Peter was to the circumcised” (Gal 2:7). 2) Babylon was the third largest Jewish center in the ancient world. When the Jews were given leave under Cyrus to return to Israel in 536 BC, only a small remnant returned while many thousands stayed in Babylon. The writing of the Babylonian Talmud gives concrete proof to the fact that Babylon was a major center of Jewish life and culture. Since Peter was the apostle specifically appointed to take the Gospel to the Jews, then finding him in Babylon (not Rome!) in the company of Jews is simple enough to grasp. Whether or not Peter ever ventured to Rome as church history would have us believe is therefore in question though it remains outside of the scope of this brief study. Nevertheless, we see that Peter is writing from Babylon, in the company of other Jews (the chosen) to fellow chosen ones who were also in the diaspora (that is, not living in Israel). Realizing that Peter is the apostle to the (elect) Jews and is writing from Babylon to other (elect) Jews facilitates the interpretation of the two epistles. In 1 Peter chapter two Peter writes concerning his Jewish (believing) brethren: “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen generation [note: the Greek word is genos (race) not genea (generation) see: NASB], a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Pet 2:5, 9) These same words were used repeatedly in the Old Testament to describe the Jewish people:

    • Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. (Ex 19:5)
    • ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel. (Ex 19:6)
    • “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. (Deut 7:6)
    • “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. (Deut 14:2)
    • For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure. (Ps 135:4)

He continues speaking to these Jewish pilgrims: “You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:10) The passage is taken from Hosea 1:9 where God, speaking to Israel, states “Then the LORD said: “Name him ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), because you are not my people and I am not your God.” (Hosea 1:9) Peter is demonstrating that their previous condition has been undone in Jesus Christ. This truth is given by God through Hosea “However, in the future the number of the people of Israel will be like the sand of the sea which can be neither measured nor numbered. Although it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it will be said to them, “You are children of the living God!” (Hos 1:10, see also Hos 2:23)

Elect but Not Saved

Thus when we read in 2 Peter: “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Pet 1:10) – we know that Peter is talking to Jews and that their election has nothing to do with salvation. Therefore, this is not a Calvinistic call for us to somehow make sure that we have been chosen to eternal life! It is rather a reminder to the chosen people to embrace the fact that they were elected, chosen by God to be His special treasure. However, their election is by no means an absolute guarantee that they will inherit eternal life. Paul corroborates this fact so clearly in 2 Timothy: “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Tim 2:10) Note well that Paul must endure for the elect, the Jews, so that they too might be saved. As we have seen, election has nothing to do with salvation. Furthermore, election is generally a term used of the Jews, who are of course, the chosen people. This is confirmed yet again in Romans 11, where Paul, who is speaking about the Jews, states “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” (Rom 11:28)

The Elect in Romans Are Israelites

Part of the challenge of understanding Romans is to recognize that Paul is speaking to the believers in Rome who are both Jewish and Gentile (non-Jewish). We learn that from the way that he addresses his readers: “…the gospel of Christ … is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) “Jew and Greek” is a combination that he uses throughout the book, see for example Romans 2:9, 10; 10:12. Romans 2:17 Paul speaks specifically to the Jews “Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, (Romans 2:17) Paul then asks what advantage the Jew has (Rom 3:1) and he answers his question with “Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.” (Rom 3:2) In chapter four Paul speaks of Abraham who was their father according to the flesh “…Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh… (Rom 4:1 KJV). Thus, Paul was essentially describing Abraham as: “our genetic (birth) father.” The NET Bible confirms that translation “Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh” (Rom 4:1 NET) Finally, Paul bridges the apparent polemic between the Jews and Greeks of the Roman church with the following conclusion “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” (Romans 10:12)

 

Having seen that the book of Romans was written in large part to the elect, the Jews, (see also Acts 18:2 and Romans 16:3 concerning Roman Jews) as well as Gentiles, we can now see that the many uses of the word “elect” are not references to salvation, predestination etc. Rather they are reference to the Israelites (elected by God) “to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came…” (Rom 9:4-5) Therefore, Paul’s question “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?” (Rom 8:33) is not Calvinistic (predestined to eternal life) but is a reference to the elect Jews (see above: 1 Chr 16:13, Ps 33:12, Ps 105:6, Ps 105:43, Ps 135:4, Isa 45:4, Isa 65:9, Isa 65:22). This concept is consistent throughout the book. Romans 9-11 is the great defense of Scripture, par excellence, that God has not cast away His people. Paul begins the section by showing how God began with Abraham and then chose Isaac over Ishmael, and then Jacob over Esau. Speaking of the two nations in Rebecca’s womb, Paul says: “for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election [ekloge εκλογη] might stand, not of works but of Him who calls.” (Rom 9:11) The election has nothing to do with Calvinistic predestination but with God choosing Jacob rather than Esau to be the one who would receive the oracles of God etc.

Election of Grace

Paul continues in Romans 11 “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election [ekloge εκλογη] of grace.” (Rom 11:5) This was spoken of the encounter of Elijah and the 400 Israelite prophets of Baal. Just when Elijah thought all was lost, God informed him that He had reserved 7000 that had not followed the evil ways of Baal. And thus in like manner, most of Israel, who had been chosen, elected by God to be the conduit of blessing to the world, had rejected that special calling. This concords with what Jesus stated in Matthew 22:14 that “few [the Jews] are chosen” and that small group had for the most part rejected the special RSVP that God had sent to them to come to the wedding feast. Paul continues “What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect [ekloge εκλογη] have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” (Rom 11:7) It must be noted that the word elect here is in fact feminine singular– demonstrating that it is not speaking of “the elect ones” (masculine plural eklektoi εκλεκτοι) but “election”. This means that in both Romans 11:5 and 11:7 the term is “election” – thus God’s action of selecting Abraham, Isaac, Jacob to the be the recipients of the promises (Rom 9:4-5). (The Wesley translation properly maintains the nuance of the noun the election [ekloge εκλογη] hath obtained…” Rom 11:7 Wesley) The entire context of the elect and election has to do with Israel as evidenced by Paul’s following statement of how they, the Jews, “have not stumbled so as to fall… On the contrary, because of their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make the Jews jealous.” (Romans 11:11)

 

The biblical “election of grace” is not Calvin’s idea of God choosing some to eternal life and others to eternal damnation; it is rather God choosing the Jewish race, which was based purely on God’s grace and not their righteousness. Moses plainly stated that early in their national history: “It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Deut 9:5)

 

That the election of grace is referring to God’s choosing of the fathers is further established in chapter eleven: “Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their fall means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” (Rom 11:12, 15) Israel, nationally speaking, rejected the invitation to come to the wedding feast when the Bridegroom came which thereby translated into riches for the Gentiles. However, the election of grace, that is God’s making promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their seed, was an irrevocable call which is why Paul says about the unbelieving Jews: “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:28-29) Paul probably had Jeremiah 31:35-37, among other passages, in mind when speaking of the irrevocability of God’s promise. God had called Israel to himself and would never let them go completely. “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” (Rom 11:2) Peter also confirms that God foreknew the Israelites: ​“to the pilgrims of the Dispersion elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Peter 1:2). God chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants for a special purpose. His choosing them (election) had nothing to do with the Calvinistic idea of predestination to eternal life and eternal damnation. Though the Jews were elect, they were not automatically saved. They for the most part had rejected the invitation to the wedding feast and as such were blinded but they would be restored in the end.

Foreknowledge

Foreknowledge is a companion of election – but just like election, foreknowledge is a general reference to God having known the Israelites beforehand. Consider Paul’s definitive statement: “So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew [proginosko προγινώσκω].” (Rom 11:1-2)  The word foreknow, like election, has nothing to do with having predestined someone to eternal life or eternal damnation, as Calvin suggested. “Foreknow” and “foreknowledge” are simply a verb and noun of the same basic stem. Look at the following verses that demonstrate that knowing something ahead of time is not only possible for God but for man as well and it does not entail the Calvinistic concept whatsoever: “They knew me from the first [proginosko προγινώσκω], if they were willing to testify…” (Acts 26:5) “You therefore, beloved, since you know [this] beforehand [proginosko προγινώσκω], beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness…” (2 Pet 3:17) In both of the verses, the word is the same – foreknowing and neither is God’s foreknowledge; it is simply man’s. Certainly neither of those two examples carries any sense of Calvinistic predestination.

 

Peter speaks of Jesus being foreknown before the beginning of the world and is just now made known “He was foreknown [proginosko προγινώσκω] before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake“ (1 Pet 1:20 NET) We witnessed before how Peter was addressing the Jews in his epistle whom he states to be elect according to God’s knowing beforehand: “…to the pilgrims of the Dispersion…elect according to the foreknowledge [prognosis πρόγνωσις] of God the Father…” Therefore, when we come to Romans 8 we ought not to jump to the Calvinistic definition, but to the God-foreknew-the-Jews definition. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew [proginosko προγινώσκω], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined these He also called; whom He called…” ​(Rom 8:28-30)​​​​​​​ Even the act of calling we find spoken of concerning Israel in the book of Isaiah “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, ​And He who formed you, O Israel: ​Fear not, for I have redeemed you; ​I have called you by your name; ​You are Mine.” (Isa: 43:1; see also: 54:6; 1 Pet 1:15, 2:9, 5:10)  Insofar as we Gentiles are grafted into the olive tree, then we share in the common purpose that God has for His elect, the Jews. “You, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,” (Romans 11:17)

The Remaining Verses of Election

There remain a number of verses that speak of the elect in the New Testament. In light of all that we have studied we can confidently know that they have nothing to do with the Calvinistic idea of predestined to salvation or damnation. Furthermore, in almost all of the cases, understanding them to be a reference to the Jews, God’s chosen people, is warranted. Let’s briefly consider those remaining. When Jesus spoke of God avenging “His own elect who cry out day and night to Him,” (Luke 18:7) He was talking about the Jews.

 

“Rufus, chosen in the Lord,” (Rom 16:13) may be speaking of him being Jewish. This would make the most sense given that of the many other (obviously) believing brothers and sisters in the chapter, only Rufus is called elect. Why would Paul refer to only him as being elect, if the Calvinistic definition of election were true? Were the others not also heirs of eternal life? Understanding that elect/election is not salvation and is generally a reference to the Jews the passage makes complete sense. It must be noted that Priscilla and Aquila, from Rome, were also Jewish and yet were not called elect. Could it be that because Paul had nothing else to say about Rufus that he simply stated that he was chosen/elect in the Lord?

 

Ephesians 1:4 ought to be viewed in light of the chosen people, Israel: “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (Eph 1:4). We know that Paul traveled to Ephesus and there spent three months reasoning with the Jews in the synagogues (Acts 19:1-8). Thus, Ephesians seems to be once again, for “the Jew first and then the Gentile” paradigm.

 

The mention of elect in Colossians is probably also a reference to Jews: “…as the elect of God, holy and beloved…” (Col 3:12) Colossae was in Asia (minor) and we have seen how Peter wrote to those in the dispersion who were in Asia. We also know that Paul first entered the local synagogue wherever he went in order to persuade the Jews first. Thus, his letter to the Colossians, located in Asia is most likely a letter written in the principle of “Jews first and after that the Gentiles.” This is confirmed by looking at the Jews present on the day of Pentecost: “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another… how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs…” (Acts 2:5,  7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

 

The letter to the Thessalonians is also a letter to the Jews first and then the Gentiles. In Acts 17 we read “they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures… and some of them were persuaded and … joined Paul and Silas.”​ (Acts 17:1, 2, 4) With that in mind, we can see why Paul would say “we give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers… knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. (1 Thes 1:2, 4) Once again, election is not Calvinistic in its definition, but Jewish. Likewise in Titus 1:1 Paul speaks of the faith of God’s elect which very possibly was a reference to the faith of the Jewish people.

 

The Apostle John wrote to “the elect lady and her children…” (2 John 1:1) Though there is debate whether this is addressed to an individual woman and her immediate family or to the larger community is not material for this study. However, the term elect would again point to a reference to someone ethnically Jewish. The salutation also points to someone who is ethnically Jewish. “The children of your elect sister greet you.” (2 John 1:13) We cannot help but think back to Peter’s address to the elect Diaspora and how the elect-together-with-you in Babylon (that is, fellow Jews) greeted them.

 

The final mention of the elect is found in Revelation 17 “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev 17:14) We have seen that the elect and chosen do not refer to the Calvinistic concept of election. We have also seen that elect in the New Testament almost always refers to  Israelites. When the Lord Jesus comes back his entourage will absolutely include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their seed. The question, however, is will Gentiles also be among that group? Given the fact that we Gentiles are grafted into Israel (Rom 11:24) and enjoy blessings that come with that, we can be confident that we will be in that number returning with the Lord.

Conclusion

We thus come to the end of our study having seen that elect and election have nothing to do with salvation, predestined to eternal life or death, nor any Calvinistic definition whatsoever. God elected priests, kings, disciples, Messiah, angels, and Jerusalem – all of which had nothing to do with being predestined to salvation. We also saw that elected/chosen was used of foolish things and of false gods (on man’s part) – again, the term had nothing to do with being predestined to salvation. We then came to the election of Israel and saw that in no less than eight verses in the Old Testament God declared Israel to be His elect! Thus, when we turned to the New Testament we could see that elect/election/chosen never was there as a reference to being predestined to salvation; in fact, nearly every reference of the elect was to Israel. We looked at the elect in the tribulation and saw that it was speaking of the Jews. We looked at the epistles of Peter and found the mention there of elect was to the Jews. We looked at the book of Romans and again, the Jews were the elect. We examined the remaining verses that spoke of election or God’s choosing and found that they more than likely refer to Israel as the elect.

 

Finally, we considered the term foreknowledge/foreknow and found that it is not a salvific term but simply God or even man, knowing something in advance. With all that we have seen we must therefore conclude that elect is not salvation. The definition that Calvin gave “Of the eternal election, by which God has predestinated some to salvation and others to destruction,” is completely lacking in Scripture. Election has nothing to do with salvation or damnation. It is simply God or man making a choice. However, the term “the elect” is more often than not, a reference to Israel/Jews who are of course God’s chosen people. The New Testament references of the elect are never speaking one’s eternal destiny but of God having chosen someone for a particular purpose. In almost all of the New Testament references, the elect are in fact the Jews! It turns out that the New Testament is more Jewish-centered than most of us ever imagined! The epistles of Paul, James, Peter, Hebrews and John are written to the Jew first and then the Gentiles. Personally, I am quite satisfied that God’s plans center around Israel; we Gentile believers have been grafted in which is good enough for me.   Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations marked NKJV are from The New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson, Inc.. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Hebrew Scripture quotations are from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Copyright © 1967/77, 1983 Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart. Used by permission. The Greek Old Testament Scriptures are from the Septuagint. New Testament Greek quotations are from the Greek New Testament according to the Byzantine Text form, edited by Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont, 2000 edition. Scripture quotations marked “KJV” are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version, Cambridge, 1769. Scripture quotations marked “NET” are taken from New English Translation [computer file]: NET Bible. electronic edition. Dallas, TX : Biblical Studies Press, 1998. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All Scripture quotations have been retrieved using theWord Bible Software www.theword.net. All emphasis of Scripture verses is mine. All rights reserved. This publication may be reproduced so long as proper credit is given to Douglas Hamp with www.douglashamp.com clearly posted on the copy. Click to download: Why God Did Not Elect Calvinists Copyright Douglas Hamp 2011

Why God Did Not Elect Calvinists Nov 2011

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136 comments

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  3. Calvinism? Demonic. End of the tale. Extra-biblical garbage for people who are trying to sound smart.

    • Yes, it is demonic…though I have met many nice Calvinists…but the doctrine is just paganism. Calvin was dead wrong on this topic.

  4. Amen; a very well-researched, and well-written article Doug!

    From what i have understood, with my “heart”, concerning what the God of Israel Has Revealed through, His “Word of Truth”, and His “Spirit of Truth”, is that “Election” belongs to the Nation (Peoples) called Israel (Israelites/Jews) who were “Elected” by the God of Israel to be the “Receivers of Truth” in order for them to be the “Teachers of Truth” to the nations (Peoples) called gentiles (who could become a “ger” or a “proselyte”), concerning the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation” (John 4:22-23). Some of the Israelites/Jews, who are of God’s “Election”, will “choose” to accept God’s Plan of “Salvation” and be “grafted BACK into” Israel; and some of the gentiles, who are NOT of God’s “Election”, will “choose” to accept God’s Plan of “Salvation” and be “grafted into” Israel (Romans 11:18-27) — the exact number of Peoples, and specifically who those Peoples will be, that will make the “choice” to accept God’s Plan of “Salvation” is “Fore-Known” by God BUT IS NEVER “Fore-Done” by God.

    Therefore, “Election” is NOT synonymous with “Salvation”, because the God of Israel “Chose” the Israelites/Jews to be the “Elect” for the purpose of being the learners/teachers of the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation”, BUT the God of Israel CANNOT MAKE anyone’s free-will “choice” for them, which He Has Given to all humans as a “gift of free-will choice”, to accept the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation”!

    Hence, the God of Israel “Chose” the nation (Peoples) of Israel as the “Elect” in order for them to be the learners/teachers of the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation”, which the God of Israel also “Fore-Knew” them to be as all the descendants of Jacob, BUT all humankind, whether they be of the “Elect” (Israel) or of the gentiles (who can become a “ger” or a “proselyte”), MUST make their own free-will “choice” to accept the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation”!
    Shalom,
    Elijah

    • In addition, the God of Israel Is the One True God (Who Is ONLY One Person) That Has “Chosen” the Israelites/Jews to be the “Predestined”, or “Elect”, for the purpose of being the “original guardians” of the God of Israel’s Original Plan of “Salvation” (John 4:22-23) in order for the God of Israel to “extend” His Original Plan of “Salvation” to also the gentiles; and ONLY the God of Israel” Has the “Fore-Knowledge” of all the Israelites/Jews He Has Already “Elected” as the “original guardians” of the Original Plan of “Salvation” (Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9-10). Hence, the gentiles were NEVER “Elected” by the God of Israel to be such “original guardians”!

      Also, the God of Israel is the ONLY One Who Has the “Fore-Knowledge” of who will express their own free-will “choice” to accept the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation” whether they be Israelites/Jews or gentiles, BUT gentiles CANNOT become the “Election” of the “original guardians” of the God of Israel’s Original Plan of “Salvation”, because the God of Israel Has “Chosen” the Israelites/Jews as the “original guardians”!

      Each human can make their own “choice” to be “Saved” by the God of Israel according to the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation” for all humans — by Grace through Faith Plus Works (James 2:14-26) — BUT humans CANNOT make their own “choice” to be “Predestined”, or “Elected”, by the God of Israel according to the God of Israel’s Plan of “Predestination” reserved ONLY for the Israelites/Jews! Hence, “Predestination”, or “Election”, is NOT synonymous with “Salvation”, because “Predestination”, or “Election”, has already been Given ONLY to the Israelites/Jews as the “original guardians” of the God of Israel’s Original Plan of “Salvation” even if they “choose” to NOT be “Saved’!

      Interestingly, the God of Israel Has “allowed” many gentiles to also be called as “Witnesses” of the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation” along side of the “Election” (Israelites/Jews) who were first called to be “Witnesses” of the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation” BEFORE the gentiles were called, BUT gentiles can ONLY become such “Witnesses” IF AND WHEN they (gentiles) make the “choice” to be “grafted into” Israel as “Witnesses”, BUT gentiles CANNOT be the “Chosen Ones” whom the God of Israel Has “Elected” to be the “original guardians”! Therefore, gentiles CANNOT become the “Elect”, because gentiles will always be gentiles even when gentiles make the “choice” to be “grafted into” Israel as “Witnesses”. Hence, gentiles CANNOT become Israelites/Jews! Likewise, Israelites/Jews CANNOT become gentiles even when Israelites/Jews make the “choice” to be “grafted BACK into” Israel along side of gentiles!
      Shalom,
      Elijah

      • “Election” Has already been “Fore-Done” by the God of Israel, which the God of Israel also Has “Fore-Knowledge of”, BUT the God of Israel Has NOT already “Fore-Done” His “Salvation” although He also Has the “Fore-Knowledge” of which humans will “choose” to accept His “Salvation”. Hence, “Election” is NOT “chosen” BY the Israelites/Jews, because it Has already been “Chosen” BY the God of Israel FOR the Israelites/Jews in order for the Israelites/Jews to be the “original guardians” of the God of Israel’s Plan of “Salvation”! Therefore, gentiles CANNOT be the “original guardians” of God’s Original Plan of “Salvation”, because gentiles can ONLY be the “Recipients” and “Witnesses” of the God of Israel’s Original Plan of “Salvation” that the God of Israel Gave first to the Israelites/Jews!

  5. Calvinism is a cult, with preprogrammed indoctrination so that when a calvinist reads the bible they only read it in light of what calvin said it means. They assert that this scripture is clear. Yes it is clear that romans 9 is speaking about the election of the Jews and the hardening of their hearts due to pursuit of righteousness through works not faith.

  6. Your weak exegesis of the rest of the passages aside, it is absolutely astounding how you just gloss over Romans 8-11, arguably the most definitive passages on the entire topic. The level of dishonesty here is just inexcusable. Why do you feel that it’s acceptable to twist the words of scripture? Why can’t you just be happy in allowing God’s word to clearly speak for itself? It’s almost as if you know that chapter 9 is a direct refutation of everything you’ve said here and that you are taking the position of Paul’s detractor that says “is there injustice on the part of God?” I’ll happily stand on Paul’s side of the argument and say “may it never be!” Calvin was not the first to come up with this doctrine, he simply pulled it from the pages of scripture.

  7. It’s the very definition of syndicalist schooling: work coaching.

  8. I agree with the man that said they are only men, Study the Word. Also diligently seek your crowns. I hope I don’t crawl in. 🙂

  9. Are you skipping the Church. I am called a son of God. I believe even John Wesley believed in foreknowledge but we do have free will. Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so. I am grafted in and of course you know that. If there is elect and I will research this but election is open to all that will come to Jesus. And you say three years but there have many people in the bible used by God without any knowledge. Calvin is definitely not my favorite but there are many reformed people now and they are pretty good. However, I do not remember the verse but does not the Holy Bible say some were born for destruction. I could go deeper but I will let it be. I will find that verse and come back. I think there are elect in the Church not just Jewish, Doug. The Jew are God’s chosen people though. I like the word foreknowledge better.
    I am a member of the Body of Christ which is the Church. We all have to be born again, right, Doug?
    God Bless.

  10. One of the most enlightening articles I have ever read on the subject of
    Predestination and the Calvinist view, especially the interpretation of
    Jesus’s statement “Many are called, but few are chosen”. How could
    God, who created man in His own image, sending His son to die for all
    man, the entire world, also create a certain number of them to be
    tortured in Hell throughout eternity without ever giving them a chance
    at redemption and salvation. Why would He do that? Entertainment? I know that God is sovereign, but He is a God of Love and Justice too. Predestination according to the Calvinist view is a total and complete contradiction
    making God sound like a liar according to all of His promises. THAT IS A HERESY. What people have to remember about Calvin and also Luther, is that they were clouded with anti-Semitic views. That’s not to say they were bad people. On the contrary, they were Christian revolutionaries for the greater good of Christianity. BUT – they hung tightly to the fact that most of the Jew’s rejected their own Messiah. And it’s almost as if they believed that God forfeited His eternal promises to the Jews specifically, and the “Chosen” and the “Elect”, titles used to describe them in the Old Testament, were now handed over to the Gentile believers. Too often Christians are taught a certain Systems and Creeds that are written by man no less, and they never doubt; they never Seek and Test as Paul instructed. They just accept. I do test everything that is interpreted by other people, and myself. Cheers Douglas on a great article.

  11. Acts 13:44 and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed…. Gentiles appointed to eternal life

  12. As a Christian for 43 years and a pastor for 16 years I am beginning to see that the plan of God for Israel will be completed as He designed from the beginning. I think that the Gentile church age is simply a gift that we should appreciate and realize that it has an end. I believe many Gentile Christians have “claimed” blessing promises for themselves that God intended for Israel and the results have been disappointment and confusion. Enjoy salvation and let God finish the work on Israel that He started with Abraham. God always finishes what He starts.

  13. the idiocy of this article is astonishing, election IS dealing with salvation, Israel is a spiritual people, the physical/blood jews were just a representation of his spiritual people which consist of people of all nations creeds colors etc…God does have “a people” and its all who have trusted in christ and his finished work…the lengths people go to try and “do away” with election is ridiculous, its a simple doctrine, its hated by the carnal man but its simple, its straight forward, its not a complicated teaching, man hates believers are “born again” by the will of God…

    Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    2Th_2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

    2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

    Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

  14. I’m new to your site Doug and I am so enjoying it because it is all Truth. I used to believe in being chosen and elected but it lead me to become puffed up and I grew slack about bible reading and praying and without fear of God. I thought I was safe. Then I learnt the truth from a small text written by Adam Clarke called THE ORIGINAL AND NATURE OF JEWISH CONSTITUTION and understood that we were not ‘chosen’ or ‘elected’ as the Jews were. God bless you and thank you for your time spent in educating us.

  15. James White is a lying Jew himself. Stop falling for these lying rats. THE HEBREW SCRIPTURE USES NOT THE TERM ELECTION OR CHOSEN, THE WORD IS “QUALITY”. SO ALL YOU IDIOTS ARE FOLLOWING A LIAR. HE KNOWS WHAT THE REAL SCRIPTURE SAYS. AND IN THE NT WHERE THESE DOGS TELL YOU IT SAYS, “SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS.” AHHAHAHAHAHAAH WHAT A LIE. THE ORIGINAL TEXT SAYS, “SALVATION IS OUT OF JUDEA!” OUT OF MEANS THE OPPOSITE OF, OF, OR IN. SO YOU HAVE NOTHING BUT JEWS LYING THROUGH THEIR TEETH JUDAIZING YOUR DUMBASSES AND YOU LAP IT UP. TELL THE JEWS TO STAY THE HELL OUT OF OUR LIVES AND GET A REAL JOB OTHER THAN A PROPAGANDA TOOL FOR THE MONEYCHANGER BANKERS. SALVATION IS NOT OF THE JEWS, THE ORIGINAL TEXT SAYS, “SALVATION IS OUT OF JUDEA!” MEANING CLEARLY, NOT IN JUDEA! DUMBASS. HAHAAHHAAH IF THESE TWO FACTS DON’T WAKE YOU UP TO THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES…..GRAB TWO BIG JEW SPOONS AND EAT THOSE LIES UP DOUBLE TIME BECAUSE YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH YOUR LIARS/ LOOK IT UP IN STRONGS CONCORDANCE. YOU KNOW THAT LIAR WHITE KNOWS THIS. HE HIDES IT. HE’S A SON OF THE DEVIL TO DO SOMETHING SO CRITICAL TO YOUR FAITH.

    • SNCHS…REALLY? my response to you, “by their fruits you shall know them”.

    • Dr James White is highly respected for many reasons, for example debating Mormons, Jehovah, Atheists and even Muslims in Mosques. He stands up for Christendom in defending the accuracy of the bible.
      I disagree and argue against Calvinism my self, but calling him a “Lying Jew” does you no honour.

  16. Um, Strong’s Concordance is…a concordance. And there is nothing wrong with commentaries if they don’t get too long winded…you probably get one every Sunday morning, right? Anyway, I agree that Calvinism is a fail.

  17. Doug Hamp’s study/exposition of Calvinism is simply brilliant and should be circulated far and wide to enlighten the bewildered and confused.

  18. We are commanded in the Bible to preach the Gospel. If God predestined every single person to heaven or hell, preaching the Gospel is pointless. It simply wouldn’t matter if we did or didn’t – fates are already eternally sealed.

    Calvinism is clearly unbiblical.

  19. Can some Calvinist on here please answer this question? How can God be perfectly JUST if he condemns some to Hell and choose to save others if all are equally bad? Calvinists will tell me, “Well He just shows mercy to some and justice to the others”. “Oh, and “Who are we to answer back to God”? Is that truly JUST?
    Let’s say a judge were presiding over a trial of three teens who admitted to murdering a man, and all were equally guilty of the crime. One of the teens just happened to be the judge’s son. Then the judge laid down the penalty sending two of the teenagers to jail for life, but setting his own son free. Was justice done in this case? ABSOLUTELY NOT! You cannot give mercy to some and justice to others who committed the same offense and still be perfectly JUST, period. Either the Calvinist will have to say that God’s justice is totally different than what we call justice, or that God is not just, but He is sovereign. If you say God is not just, you have to ignore a plain reading of scripture like Jeremiah 9:23-24. If you say that God’s definition of justice is not the same as man’s definition of justice, then doesn’t that open a whole new can of worms in biblical interpretation? It would then seem that the term justice is the opposite of how we would define it, so should we do the same with terms like Love and Mercy, etc? I believe that the bible was written so we could understand it easily and a plain interpretation of scripture tells us that God is JUST, the same way we interpret JUSTICE. Therefore, the Calvinist interpretation of predestination cannot stand if God is TRULY Just.

    • incomplete and false analogy. because you did not suffer for your sins does not mean justice was not done. justice is always done with god. he didn’t just throw away your sins and forget they ever happened, he laid them upon his own son, who was punished for you.

      • How can you say with such confidence Mike is elect?

        Isn’t God still unjust to lay upon His son the sins of the elect only?

  20. Hi Douglas! I read through the whole article and really enjoyed it! However I was hoping you would address Jesus’ clear words when He said ‘no one can come to me unless the Father draws him’- How do you handle these clear statements in your world view and the other statements that Jesus made? -Thanks and Blessings in Yeshua our Messiah!

    • Sorry this was posted twice I thought the first one was deleted- I look forward to your response though! 🙂

    • No one can come to Jesus except if the father draws him! Every man is drawn (John 12:32) but not ever man chose to accept God’s gift.

      1 Tim 2:4 states that God wants all men to be saved. But not ever man is saved because they do not chose God.

  21. Hi Douglas! I read through the whole article and really enjoyed it! The only issue that you did not address was Jesus words- such as no one can come to me unless the father draws him (John 6) there are some other references in Scripture like that. How do you handle these clear verses in your world view? -Thanks so much- Blessings!

  22. Dear author, The word is tenets…not “tenants”.

  23. God is free to choose who is part of His family.
    It is a serious matter that shouldn’t be left to be decided by rebellious sinners.

  24. Jesus Saves.

  25. Please answer, If Calvin was wrong why so many protestants in the world?

    • Frankly because God extinguished the heretic’s life before he could murder or conspire to murder those spirit-filled “Protestants” who had the temerity to disagree with his heretical views.

  26. And yet he is the father of all protestants…..hmmmm

  27. Doug is obviously a learned and sincere man. But why should anyone accept his exegesis over those of other learned and sincere people who look at the same scripture and draw different conclusions ?

    • Hi – please don’t accept my exegesis. Do your own study on the word “elect” and such. I hope that you will see how the word is used. Please let me know if and when it becomes clear.

  28. First, let me preface my statements with statng I have a great deal of respect for Douglas Hamp. He makes a thoughtt provoking argument. However, there remains scripture to support this so-called Calvanist notion of predestinaton. 1) Judah’s first born son was determined evil by God and was destroy as a child. 2) “Elect” in reference to Isreal refers to the blood and spiritual lineage, i.e. the 144,000. ” Elect” in reference to the “Jews” refers to spiritual Jews, i.e. the church or body of baptized believers distinguaished from those of the synagogue of Satan mentioned in Revelation. 3) 1 Corinthians 5:5 speaks of the destruction of the flesht that the spirit might be saved. The Spirit is the gift bestowed upon repenting or submitting one’s will to God and thereby the choice to claim one’s destiny. So it is feasible that one could fail to submit there will and thereby forgo their destination.

  29. What happened to my initial posting?

    2nd attempt @ Posting –

    1) Doug, I have seen your video and read your paper AND NO,
    you did not ‘DEAL’ with the scripture passages I presented AS IT RELATES TO
    SALVATION. You CONVENIENTLY DISMISSED THEM and informed me about the JEWS IN
    DIASPORA in 2 Timothy 2:10. I know THEY WERE ELECT JEWS but I was RESPONDING TO YOUR VIDEO as saying that ‘ELECTION IS NOT SALVATION and CALVINIST ARE NOT ELECT. However, FIRST I would like to discuss ELECTION IS NOT SALVATION (one thing at a time) then we can move on to CALVINIST ARE NOT ELECT, thanks.

    2) In 1 Peter 1:2 – God’s ELECT WERE CHOSEN ACCORDING to the ‘PREVIOUS DETERMINATION’ of God the Father, through the SANCTIFYING WORK OF THE SPIRIT, to BE OBEDIENT to Jesus Christ and SPRINKLED WITH HIS BLOOD: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. – THERE SALVATION WAS PREDETERMINED!! – This FOREKNOWLEDGE does not MERELY mean an awareness of what’s going to happen BUT refers to A PREVIOUS DETERMINATION!!

    3) The Greek word prognōsin 4268 is USED ONCE
    in the New Testament, HOWEVER, that SAME GREEK NUMBER 4268 is ALSO ATTRIBUTED TO the GREEK WORD prognosis which is USED ONLY TWICE in the New Testament and EACH TIME it is REFERRING to A PREVIOUS DETERMINATION (prearrangement) – ACTS 2:23 and 1 PETER 1:2!!!

    4) Secondly, we have THE SAME in ROMANS 11:5 for THERE IS A
    REMNANT ACCORDING to the ELECTION of GRACE, – …… And if BY GRACE, then is
    it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no
    more grace: otherwise work is no more work. – Again, THIS TOO SPEAKS OF a
    PREDETERMINED SALVATION for the ELECT!! – (they were given Saving Grace,
    because they were Elect)

    5) Thirdly, Another scripture verse THAT GOD’S ELECT were CHOSEN for SALVATION from the BEGINNING (ORIGIN)!!!! – 2 Thessalonians 2:13 – But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has CHOSEN YOU FROM THE BEGINNING for SALVATION through SANCTIFICATION by THE SPIRIT and FAITH IN THE TRUTH – Election IS Salvation!!!!!!!

    6) Fourthly, again We KNOW that PAUL in 2 Timothy 2:10 is
    ENDURING EVERYTHING for those PREDESTINED TO SALVATION because VERSES in the PREVIOUS CHAPTER TELLS US SO!!! – 2 TIMOTHY 1:8-10 -Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for
    the gospel according to the power of God WHO HAS SAVED US and CALLED US with a
    HOLY CALLING, not according to our works, but ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE and
    ‘GRACE’ which was GRANTED US in Christ Jesus FROM ALL ETERNITY, but now has
    been revealed by THE APPEARING OF OUR SAVIOR CHRIST JESUS…… –

    7) Doug, FROM ALL ETERNITY the ‘ELECT’S SALVATION was GRANTED in Christ Jesus FROM ALL ETERNITY – in other words, the ELECT’S SALVATION WAS PREDETERMINED!!!! – PAUL KNEW THIS, this is why HE was WILLING TO
    ENDURE EVERYTHING!!!! – – – – Doug, YOU DID NOT ADDRESS my FIRST TWO INITIAL PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE as it PERTAINED TO the ELECT and SALVATION.!!! Will you RESPOND THIS TIME TO THOSE and TWO ADDITIONAL PASSAGES of scripture I PROVIDED – 2 TIMOTHY 1:8-10 and 2

    • Hi Aaron, I see all of your posts – I didn’t delete anything. FYI.

      In 1Pet 1:2 – Peter is writing to those in the Diaspora – Gentiles by definition have never been in the Diaspora. A Greek living in Greece is home, not scattered. Jews living in Greece are scattered as fulfillment of Deut 28, Lev 26. James 1:1 confirms that it was the tribes of Israel who were in the Diaspora – check the Greek on that and you will see the word used. Look at the verses that Peter is quoting from in his epistle:
      · Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice
      and keep My covenant, then you shall
      be a special treasure to Me above
      all people; for all the earth is Mine. (Ex 19:5)
      · ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy
      nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of
      Israel. (Ex 19:6)
      · “For you are
      a holy people to the LORD your God;
      the LORD your God has chosen you to
      be a people for Himself, a special
      treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. (Deut 7:6)

      · “For you are
      a holy people to the LORD your God,
      and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples
      who are on the face of the
      earth. (Deut 14:2)

      · For the LORD has chosen Jacob for
      Himself, Israel for His special treasure. (Ps 135:4)

      How do you get around these extremely clear verses that God chose/elected Israel? It was the Jews who were foreknown from the beginning – Paul says that too in Romans

      “So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham,
      from the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew [proginosko προγινώσκω].” (Rom 11:1-2)

      God’s people are defined by Paul as being the physical descendants of Abraham – they are the ones he foreknew.

      The problem as I see it, is that you are starting with the Calvinist spin and then you are attempting to foist it on the Bible. The very core definition you are using is incorrect and that is what my paper is all about. If you start with the standard Calvinistic definition of election, etc. then you will naturally come to the conclusions that you hold. However, if we let the Hebrew Scriptures define it, then your case falls apart.

      Where did Paul spend three weeks in Thessalonica? -It was in the synagogue where Jews (and gentile God-fearers) were congregating. I plan on writing another paper demonstrating that and the Jews in Ephesians some time soon (hopefully).

      Blessings!

      Doug

  30. Correction – Here is POST AS INTENDED – 3) 3) The Greek word prognōsin 4268 is USED ONCE in the New Testament, HOWEVER, that SAME GREEK NUMBER 4268 is ALSO ATTRIBUTED TO the GREEK WORD prognosis which is USED ONLY TWICE in the New Testament and EACH TIME it is REFERRING to A PREVIOUS DETERMINATION (prearrangement) – ACTS 2:23 and 1 PETER 1:2!!!

  31. 1) Doug, I have seen your video and read your paper AND NO, you did not ‘DEAL’ with the scripture passages I presented AS IT RELATES TO SALVATION. You CONVENIENTLY DISMISSED THEM and informed me about the JEWS IN DIASPORA in 2 Timothy 2:10. I
    know THEY WERE ELECT JEWS but I was RESPONDING TO YOUR VIDEO as saying that
    ‘ELECTION IS NOT SALVATION and ARE CALVINIST ELECT’ – However, first lets DEAL WITH THE ISSUE OF THE ELECT AND SALVATION. – Doug, I have CAPITALIZED WORDS for EMPHASIS and for a REASON – please PAY CLOSE ATTENTION – tHANKS.

    2) In 1 Peter 1:2 – God’s ELECT WERE CHOSEN ACCORDING to the ‘PREVIOUS DETERMINATION’ of God the Father, through the SANCTIFYING WORK OF THE SPIRIT, to BE OBEDIENT to Jesus Christ and SPRINKLED WITH HIS BLOOD: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. – THERE SALVATION WAS PREDETERMINED!! – This FOREKNOWLEDGE does not MERELY mean an awareness of what’s going to happen BUT refers to A PREVIOUS DETERMINATION!!

    3) The Greek word prognōsin 4268 is ONLY USED TWICE in the New Testament and EACH TIME it is REFERRING to A PREVIOUS DETERMINATION (prearrangement) – ACTS 2:23 and 1 PETER 1:2!!!

    4) Secondly, we have THE SAME in ROMANS 11:5 for THERE IS A REMNANT ACCORDING to the ELECTION of GRACE, – …… And if BY GRACE, then is it no more of works:
    otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. – Again, THIS TOO SPEAKS OF a PREDETERMINED SALVATION for the ELECT!! – (they were given Saving Grace, because they were Elect)

    5) Thirdly, Another scripture verse THAT GOD’S ELECT were CHOSEN for SALVATION from the BEGINNING (ORIGIN)!!!! – 2 Thessalonians 2:13 – But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has CHOSEN YOU FROM THE BEGINNING for SALVATION through SANCTIFICATION by THE SPIRIT and FAITH IN THE TRUTH – Election IS Salvation!!!!!!!

    6) Fourthly, again We KNOW that PAUL in 2 Timothy 2:10 is ENDURING EVERYTHING for those PREDESTINED TO SALVATION because VERSES in the PREVIOUS CHAPTER TELLS US SO!!! – 2 TIMOTHY 1:8-10 -Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God WHO HAS SAVED US and CALLED US with a HOLY CALLING, not according to our works, but ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE and ‘GRACE’ which was GRANTED US in Christ Jesus FROM ALL ETERNITY, but now has been revealed by THE APPEARING OF OUR SAVIOR CHRIST JESUS…… –

    7) Doug, FROM ALL ETERNITY the ‘ELECT’S SALVATION was GRANTED
    in Christ Jesus FROM ALL ETERNITY – in other words, the ELECT’S SALVATION WAS
    PREDETERMINED!!!! – PAUL KNEW THIS, this is why HE was WILLING TO ENDURE
    EVERYTHING!!!! – – – – Doug, YOU DID NOT ADDRESS my FIRST TWO INITIAL PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE as it PERTAINED TO the ELECT and SALVATION.!!! Will you RESPOND THIS TIME TO THOSE and TWO ADDITIONAL PASSAGES of scripture I PROVIDED – 2 TIMOTHY 1:8-10 and 2 THESSALONIANS 2:13?? – THERE’S MORE TO SAY/DISCUSS (ARE CALVINIST ELECT?), but could you RESPOND to what I ALREADY WROTE.

  32. Since I apparently won’t get an answer from Matthew on my first post, here’s my reply to his first non-reply to me. If he or any gther Calvinist chooses to dispute the content of this one (more familiar ground for them) while ignoring the other, I’ll consider that one unanswerable…

    MATTHEW: “How do you understand Romans 9:14-24? When Paul asks, ‘Is there injustice
    on God’s part?’ Why is he asking that question?”

    Look carefully at the passage, the answer is obvious when you observe the full context and let Scripture interpret Scripture:

    14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!

    15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

    16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.

    17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

    18 So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever he wills.

    The context is Israel’s history in light of their now being judicially blinded, which was in process even as Paul wrote. Paul anticipates the very first objection any Jew would make at hearing that God was now reducing Israel to the same status as the nations of Gentile “dogs.” A Jew would be very indignant and would claim that, if that were true, God MUST be unjust (v. 14) because He’d be breaking the many promises He made to Israel over the centuries. Paul foresaw this objection and deals with it first.

    In verse 15 Paul refers to Exodus 33:19, where God very nearly wiped out Israel after the golden calf incident. God is so mad He contemplates starting over with Moses. But God relented, at Moses’ behest. That is why I quoted the HCSB; it does an excellent job drawing attention to O.T. Scriptures quoted in the New, as Paul did here, and clarifies the point of this passage beyond any dispute, which is that it’s God’s sovereign choice alone which nation He will use to serve Him.

    God also used Pharaoh – who hardened himself against God when he had chances to relent – as an instrument to show His power. But Egypt nationally was so badly damaged they never fully recovered…one mighty nation of [false] gods dashed to pieces; one tiny, weak nation of slaves exalted by the One True God.

    Verse 16 is still in the same context of which nation would serve Him and shows that it is not human will or effort that decides, but God’s sovereign will. The “he who runs” *could* be a reference to Esau running into the woods to gather meal for Isaac, as well as Jacob running to fetch goats to get his meal to Isaac first. The point is, even though Esau was the elder and the inheritance was justly his by birthright, God wanted it to go to Jacob and it did. The “depends not on human will” is the same principle found in John 1:12-13,

    “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

    In summary: God had mercy on Israel, He hardened the already self-hardened Pharaoh, and now He was setting Israel aside (temporarily) in unrepentant unbelief. All of which is His right to do, no matter what objection a Jew could bring up in reply. That is the context. Personal, individual salvation by grace through faith in Christ has absolutely NOTHING to do with this passage…not Moses’, not Pharaoh’s, not anybody’s.

    By the way. Did you know there are Calvinists who will not use Romans 9-11 as a defense of Calvinism for that very reason? They can see that personal salvation has to be read into the passage, which does violence to the Scriptures, so they refuse to do it and so go elsewhere for prooftexts.

    MATTHEW: “And then, why does he follow that question with this statement in verse 19, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ What are they being faulted for and why would resisting God’s will be an issue?”

    Again, you’re asking the wrong question. The overall scope and context here is still NATIONS, not individuals.

    Paul is addressing the next obvious objection a Jew would raise after Paul destroyed the first one. That second objection a Jew would make is, “Okay, so if everything that happened back then was the will of God, how can He find fault with us Jews now? * How exactly have we resisted His will?” Verses 30-33 are the key to his destroying this objection – God can set Israel aside AND find fault with Jews because they failed to exercise faith where it was
    required, which even “dogs” of the Gentile nations were now doing, much to the Jews’ embarrassment and outrage.

    The whole point of Romans 9 is to illustrate that it is entirely up to God to define exactly who and what will comprise Israel. If the entire nation lay in faithlessness except for a tiny believing remnant, then that remnant, for God’s purposes, IS now Israel and no Jew can say God broke His Word just because the rest lay in the spiritual ruin and blindness of unbelief (as Israel itself, nationally, would soon lay ruined and scattered). NO ONE’S PERSONAL
    SALVATION HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS SECTION OF SCRIPTURE.

    * the fact that Jews could even raise that objection, which Paul knew they would, tells you a lot about the spiritually blinded condition of their unrepentant, faithless hearts, especially in light of their rejection of Messiah. But that is how self-righteously depraved they’d become, as 10:2-3 shows.

  33. It is true that there is not one verse of Scripture showing any LOST person being chosen SPECIFICALLY FOR SOUL SALVATION FROM SIN. That is a fact and the article’s author does a good job pointing it out.

    Despite that, however, one need not even that far in order to destroy the very sub-foundation of all Calvinistic thought: the Calvinistic concept of God Himself. To do so involves a very simple, very old argument that I have yet to see adequately addressed much less refuted by any Calvinist. As far as I’ve seen, it tends to be ignored:

    The Bible contains repeated warnings against unbelief resulting in God’s condemning people specifically for the sin of unbelief. NOTE CAREFULLY: I’m referring not to condemnation for sins generally but for the SPECIFIC sin of UNBELIEF. Keep that in mind, it’s the key to this whole argument.

    Now, so far so good. No one – Calvinist or not – will argue that God will condemn unbelief. It’s the plain and repeated teaching of Scripture. But there’s precisely where the Calvinist’s problems start.

    If Calvinism is correct, both God the Father and Christ Himself have LIED when they say people will be condemned specifically for unbelief for, according to Calvinism, no one can believe – being spiritually dead, after all – unless and until God sovereignly chooses to quicken them and enable them to believe.

    So if, at the Great White Throne, it so happens that God condemns you for refusing to believe His Gospel of grace, what’s *really* happening is that He’s holding you eternally responsible – not for your unbelief – but for His withholding from you the ability to believe the very thing He condemns you for disbelieving. Your unbelief is only the fruit of His sovereign will, yet He SAYS (in the Bible) it’s because YOU chose to refuse to believe! That makes the Gospel a FRAUD and both God and His Christ HYPOCRITES, CORRUPT JUDGES and LIARS.

    Calvinism’s concept and portrayal of God and of Christ are nothing less than blasphemous and should be repented of.

    • Matthew Fleming

      Joe,
      How do you understand Romans 9:14-24?

      When Paul asks, “Is there injustice on God’s part?” Why is he asking that question?
      And then, why does he follow that question with this statement in verse 19, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” What are they being faulted for and why would resisting God’s will be an issue?

      In verse 22 Paul says that God desires to “show his wrath and make known his power” through “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction”. Who or what are the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction”? And why are they contrasted with the vessels of mercy who Paul identifies as “us whom he has called, not from the JEWS ONLY, but ALSO FROM THE GENTILES?”

      These are verses that I have really wrestled with, but I’ll try to explain for you how I understand them and why it is wrong to suggest that Calvinists believe that God would condemn anyone to Hell against their will. I believe fully that God allows people free will and that He will not violate anyone’s free will. God does not force Himself on anyone neither does He prevent anyone from coming to Him.
      But the Bible also makes clear that when we are given free will, we will always choose to reject God and rebel against Him, unless he draws us to Him. I’m sure that you would agree with that statement because it is not only clearly articulated by Jesus, but it has historically been accepted by both Calvinists and Arminians.
      In John 6:44, Jesus himselft says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
      and again in John 6:65, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”
      In Romans 3, Paul gives the profile of every human, apart from God:
      “None is righteous, no, not one;
      no one understands;
      no one seeks for God.”
      Romans 3:10-11
      and in Romans 8:7, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.” Romans 8:7
      The picture that the Bible paints is that we are slaves to sin, who do not seek God, and cannot submit to Him. I hope it is safe to say, that we both agree on this. We both know that without God’s prevenient grace and the work of the Holy Spirit wooing the unbeliever, no one would come to God.

      I do believe that God grants everyone free will. Where we differ, is that I believe that unless GOD HAD TAKEN away my heart of stone and GIVEN ME a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26) I would still be rebelling against Him. When God opened my blind eyes and allowed me to see Him for he who was, I gladly and with all my free will chose to give Him my heart and my life and my love. That is why Paul writes that,
      “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”
      Romans 9:16
      Is it wrong then, for God to condemn people who use their free will to continue to reject and rebel against Him? Does that make Him unjust? In Romans 9:19 when Paul asks, “Who can resist His will?” I believe that the will that people are resisting is God’s will or desire that “none should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
      God does not force Himself on anyone, as some erroneously suggest that Calivinists believe. As they say often at my Calvary church, “God is a perfect gentleman and would never force Himself on anyone.” I agree completely. I am thankful that God showed great grace and mercy to me by opening my eyes so that I freely turned to Him.
      However, that does not mean that He also turns anyone away. Everyone who goes to Hell will go because they freely rejected God, rebelled against Him and refused to turn to Christ in faith.

      To summarize, I believe that God has “CHOSEN a special people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him WHO CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

      I think that God chose me to be part of His chosen people in the same way that He chose you and that he chose David to be king and Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery and Israel to be his chosen people or Mary to be the mother of Jesus.

      “The Lord did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you” Deuteronomy 7:7

      In the same way, God did not choose me because I was special or because of forseen faith.
      “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being 4 might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him 5 you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
      At the same time, just as God did not choose every nation to be his chosen people, He has not chosen to make everyone a part the Holy Nation that Peter writes about in 2 Peter 3:9. But God is not unjust in doing this, just as He was not unjust to choose Israel and reject the Canaanites. God does not violate the free will of those who reject Him, and while He grieves that they resist His will for them to turn to be Him and be saved, he must demonstrate His Justice, Holiness and Righteousness by condemning them to Hell.
      I hope that is helpful to you Joe. I know we will probably still not agree, but I hope I’ve at least articulated my view clearly. My understanding of these verses is not based on what Calvin wrote, but on my understanding of what the Bible teaches. I really try to stay away from the label of Calvinst, just because it implies that I’m identifying with a theologian rather than Christ and I don’t want that. Grace and peace to you, Joe!

      • Dear Matthew,

        Why did you not address my original post?

        Please refute, if you can, my conclusions above and I will gladly post my reply to the Romans passages you cited. It’s all ready to go but first I want to know SPECIFICALLY where you think my original post is in error.

        Thank you and continued grace to you as well.

        • Matthew Fleming

          Joe,
          I thought that I was addressing your original post and my questions regarding Romans 9 were intended to be rhetorical, just to prompt thought about the meaning of what Paul was writing. I don’t want to turn Doug’s comments section into a series of long debate posts when I think that we will probably not resolve our theological differences. I really appreciate Doug’s ministry and his thought provoking posts and I share your love for Christ and your desire to see Him glorified.
          If you’d like to continue our conversation, please e-mail me at: matthewfleming22@yahoo.com and I’d be happy to continue writing back and forth as long as it’s edifying for us to do so.

          • I doubt Doug would mind you replying to my original post; he seems to be the kind of guy who enjoys seeing iron sharpened, but as you wish.

            I do find it…odd…that you saw fit to instruct me in what Paul meant with questions you didn’t really expect an answer to…but now wish to avoid debate out of respect for Doug’s forum. No, odd is the wrong word. Condescending is more like it.

            Anyway, if my thesis is correct then Calvinism IS blasphemy and there are no two ways around that. If it is correct then you, as a Calvinist, have unwittingly engaged in blasphemy. Likewise, if my thesis is incorrect, then I have much to apologize for and to repent of. And I will do so IF someone like yourself takes the time to address it adequately.

            Why would you not do so when stakes are potentially that high?

            Your rhetorical tangent on Romans (for which I do have a reply ready to go, even though you didn’t expect or desire one) does not come close to addressing the substance of my original post, so it does not count, sorry.

            If you do not with to respond to it at all, just say so. If you wish to do so only via email, that is fine, too, just let me know here.

            I will withhold posting my reply to your Romans 9 questions, which will show where you’ve grievously ignored vital context and have read into the Scriptures what is not there, until I first hear from you, either way, on my original post.

            You owe it to your fellow Calvinists to at least try!

          • Matthew Fleming

            Joe,
            Ok. I will write a new reply and we’ll continue our discussion here. 🙂

          • I’ve gone ahead and posted my refutation of your take on Romans 9. Whether you reply to it or not, I do hope you’ll attempt to refute my original post this time around.

          • I just wanted to ask you, do you beleive god predetermined for adam to take of the fruit, or is that just the way it turned out? And god was aware of it from eternity because he is outside time. I am really unsure about calvanism BTW, im like 50/50 on accepting it or not.
            God bless.

          • As best I know, God chose not to give us a direct answer to your questions – which are good ones – so we must be cautious to not be dogmatic.

            All I will say is, God evidently knew from eternity past that mankind would fall into sin in Adam, and so put plans in place to deal with it. In foreknowing or foreseeing this, did He thereby PREDESTINE Adam to sin? I don’t think so because the Bible is clear that God tempts no one to sin, and that’s pretty much what would have been involved in He intended it to happen. Appears to me that it was a genuine test that Adam failed and God knew he’d fail. But Christ came to redeem us from that failure.

            That’s about as far as I’m willing to go on this because “the secret things belong to the Lord our God” (Deut 29:29). Grace and peace to you, too.

          • This is what i already thought, but you clarified it very well. Thank you for taking the time to answer.

            God bless

      • Calvinism also teaches the doctrine of the Eternal Decree i.e. that God decrees and determines all that will come to pass without exception and not because he simply foresees what men will freely do. They do what he determines that they would do. So the idea that God gave us free will and simply passes over the reprobate is false. In calvinism God even picked the sins we would commit in the future. We can’t even do otherwise. Calvinism is a damnable heresy based on human speculation and proof-texting which paints a very ugly picture of God. No wonder folks choose atheism rather than believe in this false caricature of God.

    • Matthew Fleming

      Joe,

      The argument that God would not require something of someone that they are unable to do, is unBiblical. If we were able to meet the requirements of God’s law, then we would not have needed a Savior. You have created a dichotomy between the sin of unbelief and all other sin, but that is not a Biblical concept either.
      We are condemned on the basis of Adam’s sin. We are born under the guilt of his sin and our default destination is Hell. Belief in Christ and the Gospel is the only thing that will save us from condemnation, but anyone’s unbelief only serves to confirm their condemnation, not to cause it.

      As a result of Adam’s sin, we are also born with a sin nature. Your argument assumes the same line of thinking as Pelagius who opposed the idea of predestination around 405 (about 1100 years before Calvin). Pelagius argued that God would not command us to do anything that we were unable to do. He said, this must be so since Jesus said, “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.” Pelagius said that God would not have said so if we could not do it. This probably seems like a tangent, but your argument has the same basis, that God would not command anyone to believe if they are unable to do so. So you’re right in saying that you are advancing a very old argument.

      Prior to the fall Adam’s will was not in bondage to sin. He was free from sin’s bondage and corruption. His choice to rebel was completely voluntary. As a result of Adam’s sin, that changed. Because of the fall, every man after Adam is born in bondage to sin. We do not have the ability to be holy or to perfectly observe the ten commandments or any of God’s law, but God did not lower his righteous standard to accomodate man’s falleness. He cannot do so. So the law became something that demonstrated our inability in order to lead us to fall at the feet of Christ.

      God is not unjust when he condemns anyone. We are all guilty of sin and rebellion against Him and if He saved no one, it would be not be an injustice on His part.
      God does not have to elect anybody. When God chooses to save a sinner, He puts forth an action to save that person. God works to create belief in us. This contrasts with the doctrine of reprobation. God does not put forth an effort to cause people to sin or to CAUSE PEOPLE NOT TO BELIEVE. When God chooses to bypass a sinner, He does NOT work to create UNBELIEF in that person’s heart. Rather, God simply lets him go his own way.

      Because of Adam’s transgression, all people enter into the world as guilty lost sinners. As fallen creatures, they have no desire to have fellowship with God. He is holy, just, and good, and man is sinful, perverse and corrupt. Left to their own choices, they will not seek God and they will not follow Him. God was under no obligation to provide salvation to anyone. The fact that God did this for some, to the exclusion of others, is in no way unfair to the latter group, unless of course you maintain that God was under obligation to provide salvation for sinners.
      God did not purpose to take innocent people, make them wicked and then send them to Hell. God is not responsible for anyone’s sin OR unbelief. The responsibility is man’s. God does no wrong to anyone who goes to Hell. The people who go to Hell have no desire for God, no desire for holiness. They love darkness rather than light. Where is the injustice, if God “gives them up to their own heart’s lusts”? (Psa 81:12)

      Also, God never refuses to save those who earnestly seek salvation. The fact is everyone who goes to Hell, has no longing for a Savior. They see in Jesus no beauty that they should desire Him. They will not come to Christ — why then should God force them to? He turns away no one who does come. And he does not cause anyone not to come.

      • You are trying to elude my main point. Allow me to bring it back into focus:

        “The argument that God would not require something of someone that they
        are unable to do, is unBiblical.”

        Wrong. It IS unjust for God to require something of anyone He knows they cannot provide – all the more true according to Calvinism which says none can believe without Him making them alive from the dead first. If He refuses to provide saving faith to someone THEN condemns them for not exercising saving faith, He is a liar and a hypocrite…but that is exactly what Calvinism says He does. That is blasphemy and you are defending it.

        If Calvinism is true, the ONLY reason one would die without repenting
        and trusting Christ, after being presented with the opportunity, is if
        he/she was not enabled by God to do so. That is the inescapable flipside of one’s being elected to believe Christ. Sooner or later he/she will be irresistibly regenerated by God so that they do believe and are saved. BOTH are the sovereign will of God, and even Calvin himself said so.

        Yet Christ warned the Jews if they REFUSED to repent they would surely perish (Luke 13:3).

        Tell me…did Christ lie?

        Christ, speaking through Paul, foretold the destruction of those who would perish specifically for REFUSING to receive a love of the Truth (2 Thess 2).

        Tell me…did Christ lie here, too?

        “You have created a dichotomy between the sin of unbelief and all other sin,
        but that is not a Biblical concept either.”

        Nice try. All I have done is cited the Bible’s repeated, indisputable teaching that people can and will be condemned specifically for the sin of refusing to believe what God tells us all to believe. If they still die in unbelief, according to Calvin, it is ONLY because they were not elected to do so, which makes the “God” who condemns them for unbelief a liar. Address that specific point or you have no argument.

        9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

        10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, BECAUSE THEY DID NOT RECEIVE A LOVE OF THE TRUTH, THAT THEY MIGHT BE SAVED.

        11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

        12 that they all may be condemned WHO DID NOT BELIEVE THE TRUTH but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

        “Belief in Christ and the Gospel is the only thing that will save us from condemnation, but anyone’s unbelief only serves to confirm their condemnation, not to cause it.”

        Read 2 Thess 2 and Luke 13 again.

      • We do nothing on our own, according to consistent calvinism, as God has Pre-ordained and decreed everything that will occur without exception. including meticulously pre-determining every desire, wish, thought, inclination, literally everything.Nothing just goes on its own. Calvinists forget this point when they explain their beliefs to non-calvinists because it is self refuting and shows the injustice of the Calvinist picture of God.God is wrathful and punishes us for the very sins he ordained that we would do. This is not the God of the Church.It is a construction of corrupt human philosophy. A great book which refutes Jonathan Edwards’ calvinistic ideas is the book called The Freedom of the Will as a Basis of Human Responsibility and a Divine Government by D.D Whedon. You can read it free here in E-book form https://books.google.com/books?id=HwtVAAAAMAAJ&hl=en

        God Bless

  34. Matthew Fleming

    Doug,
    While this kind of lexical approach has served you very well in demonstrating how stars are often a Biblical symbol for angels, it is not an effective exegetical approach in this case.
    As James Barr points out in his book The Semantics of Biblical Languauge,
    “Too many scholars (and so their students) still take an approach in which Hebrew or Greek words are treated as having fixed meanings, and so understanding texts is essentially a process of totting up a suitable dictionary meaning of all the words of their sentences. It is still news to many that the fundamental semantic unit is not the “word” but the sentence, and that “words” (lexical entries) acquire a specific meaning when deployed in sentences. Likewise, scholars often still don’t understand that word-constructions often take on their own meaning that is not the sum of the parts (e.g., “hot dog” isn’t the sum of the meanings of “hot” and “dog”!).”

    While I am a Calvinist myself, I don’t have a problem with you agrguing against the validity of Calvinsim, but your exegsis here is just not sound. I feel confident in saying this because your view that “The biblical usage of “election” has absolutely nothing to do with salvation” is not only contrary to Calvinsim, but to Classical Arminianism, contemporary Arminianism as well as more contemporary Biblical scholars that would put themselves in neither camp, like Ray Steadman, Chuck Missler or even Greg Laurie. In fact, I have not been able to find a commentary that seems to uphold the view that you’re espousing here. I have seen similar arguments in dealing with Romans 9, but i have never seen it applied as widely as you are doing here.

    It is one thing to propose new eschatolgical paradigms, but when you propose a new way of understanding a passage like Ephesians 1, you should be aware that you are treading on shaky and possibly even dangerous ground.

  35. ‘Institutes’ was first published by Calvin in 1536, at the age of 27, ONLY 3 YEARS after his ‘religious conversion’ in 1533. Anyone who thinks that a 3 year old christian has the ability to write an exhaustive treatise on soteriology with only 3 years of Christian growth is naive to say the least. Calvin was definitely an intelligent man and undoubtedly a sincere man BUT intellect and sincerity DO NOT qualify a person who is yet a baby Christian to define soteriology for the church. No one today would take seriously such a treatise written by such a young person who had only been a Christian for 3 years, yet for some reason Calvin is the exception. Most Bible believing Christians would disagree with the majority of Calvin’s position on many other issues – musical instruments in worship, infant baptism, church and state relations, but for some reason when he wrote on soteriology – he got everything right?!! For crying out loud, while ‘reigning’ in Geneva he was, at the very least, consenting to the death of Servetus primarily because he taught a contrary doctrinal position! Is that really indicative of someone who has the ‘mind of Christ’? The average person reading the Bible for the first time would never come away with any of Calvin’s views on salvation and the Bible was written for the average person. Calvinism must be taught by someone who has swallowed it already, it would never be the obvious conclusions of anyone reading the Bible alone. Great article Doug.

    • For years I have heard it said that nowhere in any of Calvin’s writings will you find a testimony that would be accepted by any remotely Bible-believing church today as a genuine testimony of salvation. If those reports are true, there’s probably a good reason for it.

    • It’s actually less than three years. John Calvin claims to have become a Christian approximately May 1534. He completed The Institutes less than a year later in March 1535. He had to have started writing immediately after his alleged conversion. Then there was a long delay in publication. An entire year later, in March 1936, the world was first introduced to the corrupt doctrine of this egostatistical megalomaniac, who wrote the law that made it illegal to speak against his baby, his book, which he pompously called “God’s doctrine.”

      • Have you seen the new documentary LET THE LION ROAR? When I heard that James White denounced it I thought, this can’t be too bad! Well, I saw it last night and though it challenges the “Reformation” replacement theology (where Gentiles are supposed to have replaced the Jews – a fallacy!… see Romans 11) and exposed the anti-Jewish mentality of Martin Luther (who called the Jews demons) and John Calvin (who thought all opposed to him were demons) it was still in agreement with the so called Reformation movement, the writer mentioned that the Reformation needed to be “complete” and helping the Jews was the key!. Sad, for it is Jesus Christ who was and is the great “Reformer” and said the truth was completed when He said “It is finished”. Though it went further than most are willing to do in taking on one of the many false doctrines of the Catholic churches main founder Augustine, and post Catholic Calvinism It seemed to fall far short of exposing much more of the fallacies of Calvinism.

    • Calvin’s institutes are mostly a commentary on Augustine’s beliefs against free will. Interesting, that early church leaders believed that God gives humans freedom to choose. That said, God must draw and convict as the Bible teaches before anyone can believe. We are responders to Him. He is always the initiator in salvation. Christ died for all sins for all time not just for the so-called elects.

      Calvin often slandered and persecuted anyone who dared disagree with him. He never repented of his most un-Christlike behavior. Yet, many people today hold him up to be the epitome of virtue and wisdom. I think that this is due to the theological schools and many writers who continue to promote him and his unbiblical views. Thank you for your excellent article and the following replies. They are very helpful.

  36. To Cris Putnam – God chose to lead through Jacob, but Esau received an inheritance. Salvation was not in view, leadership was.

  37. I believe Doug has made many points in this article which calvinist and non calvinist ought to investigate with patience before responding to. This can largely be done with tools as accessible as a Young’s or Strong’s concordance, or a basic E-sword search, or the Englishman’s Greek and Hebrew concordances. There are more expensive tools, but with a little work these will reveal the general gist of the biblical usage of the words translated in our bibles as “elect”, etc.
    After having once again studied every NT use of the three greek words commonly translated as “elect” etc. I am more convinced than ever that there is no definite usage of any of these words in a salvific manner in the New Testament. There is a tiny minority of passages where some may infer election to salvation is the usage based on ones presuppositional theology, but there are no instances where simply reading the text in context, or in greek, requires that the election written of be to salvation.
    As Doug correctly notes, this word group does not innately have any reference to salvation. It is used of Jesus selecting the twelve apostles, including Judas Iscariot, as well as about many mundane matters like choosing seats. As Doug has noted, Jesus Himself is several times spoken of as “elected”. These facts ought to stop people from automatically assuming that the word group refers anywhere to salvation. These are not theological words. They are common words, just like the english “choose” or “select”. To get any Doctrine of Election from them, in any way, strikes me as being predetermined by our prejudices, not by the biblical usage.
    From my study: The word group is represented in the NT by a verb, an adjective, and a noun. The verb is used of Israelites in about 3/4 of its occurences. The adjective appears to me to probably be used of Israelites in about two thirds of its usages. The noun is definitely used of Israelites in five sevenths of its occurences in the NT. So, it appears to me that the majority NT meaning of our election by God is intrinsically linked to Israel. Yet Colossians 3:12 uses the adjective of people who are almost certainly gentile believers.This is the only NT usage which is clearly of gentiles IMO, but it does seem at least ninety percent certain to me that it is speaking of gentiles, given the overall context. To me this suggests that Doug is incorrect in limiting the elect to Israelites. But I think it undeniable that the NEW TESTAMENT stresses the election of Israel by God for HIs purposes much, much more than the election of any gentiles.
    I believe that studying these words does not provide any definitive answer to Calvinistic theology, one way or the other. But I do believe that Calvinists will generally be very loathe to encourage anyone to study every occurence of these words, without their attentive commentary filtering the data. And surely that should give us all food for thought about what we don’t study, or want studied, thoroughly, alone before God….before we have man’s imput.

  38. With all due respect, I believe that you have discovered not that the “elect” is Israel, but rather that Israel is elected. Even you must admit that it is difficult to see how Dr. Owen, Dr. Calvin, President Jonathan Edwards, Pastor Charles Spurgeon, Dr. Warfield, Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer and Dr. John MacArthur Jr., to name but a few, missed this doctrine by such a simple formula that you have presented. Having said this, I really have enjoyed other articles you have written and will continue to read them. They are instructive.

    • Hi Keith,

      I guess it doesn’t matter how popular an opinion is or not. I recall that Martin Luther’s 95 theses were not a real hit with practically all of the Vatican. Calvin was wrong on many issues – he allegorized Scripture in many places. Blessings,

    • It’s a human failing, even among the most brilliant Christians throughout history, to often be unable to see through and beyond the prevailing beliefs of the time, much less even think to question them. Too much is taken for granted, by all of us, and remains unexamined. But think on this:

      If God condemns specifically for unbelief those He sovereignly chose not to elect unto salvation, then He’s a liar. Thus the God of Calvinism is not the God of the Bible, but an idol.

      If all of those men you listed missed that point, then that’s sad.

  39. Debate James White on this issue.

    • Hi Derek, I would be willing to debate him. Are you able to set up the debate? Do you feel that the “elect” are believers and if so what verse would you use to support that? Take care,

  40. Doug, why did Jesus use the term heaven in Mat.24:31 rather than Earth. I just listened to a prophecy update form JD the pastor of a Calvary Chapel in Hawaii who claims that these must be believers. His all premise is to keep the rapture eminent since we know when Yom Kippur occurs and that would leave us knowing the day and hour of it.

    • Hi Mogarcia, I suspect that Jesus used the term “heaven” in a very similar manner to how it was used in the time of the flood – ‘everything under heaven died’ – in other words, there is no place that is not covered. I suppose it would also include the Jewish believers that will be coming back with Jesus. Just for the record, the elect in this passage are very clearly Jews. Of course, by this time they have become believers in Jesus, but that is not what makes them “elect”. They are elect because they are Jewish and finally are becoming believers in their messiah. Pastor JD has a problem saying that it is referring to believers in general because then it would mean that the rapture will happen after the trib and as a CC pastor that is a big no no. Compare Isa 11:12 and see that it is talking about the Jews. God bless.

  41. Let me first that that I wholly endorse a Biblical theology that sees a large future for Israel remnant salvation through the same faith we presently hold in the Biblical Christ and His gospel. Romans 11 is one of many passages that makes this crystal clear! While I don’t endorse either of the post apostolic mainstream pop poles (Calvinism or Arminianism)… I’m also not willing to support every point that Hamp is trying to sell here either. I’m not a Greek or a Hebrew scholar. Nonetheless, Doug does something I’m not in agreement with right off the bat with the words. The intro to his video states “The Biblical Concept of Election NEVER Means Predestined to Salvation and Commonly is a Reference to Israel”. First of all, just because someone translates Greek/Hebrew words into their simplistic meaning doesn’t mean that those words don’t have different contextual applications with regard to how they are used in each specific passage. The following statement by Hamp was pulled from above:

    Therefore, when we come to Romans 8 we ought not to
    jump to the Calvinistic definition, but to the GOD-FOREKNEW-THE-JEWS-DEFINITION. “And we know that all things work together for good to those
    who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew [proginosko
    προγινώσκω], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His
    Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom
    He predestined these He also called; whom He called…” ​(Rom 8:28-30)​​​​​​​

    Ok, so here’s Romans 8:18-39 (NASB):

    18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to US. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the SONS OF GOD. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the CHILDREN OF GOD. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also WE OURSELVES, having the first FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as SONS, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we HAVE BEEN SAVED, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

    26 In the same way the Spirit also helps OUR weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

    28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are CALLED according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He FOREKNEW, He also PREDESTINED to become CONFORMED to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many BRETHREN; 30 and these whom He PREDESTINED, He also CALLED; and these whom He CALLED, He also JUSTIFIED; and these whom He JUSTIFIED, He also GLORIFIED.

    31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s ELECT? God is the one who JUSTIFIES; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for US. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,

    “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
    We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

    37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    This “GOD-FOREKNEW-THE-JEWS-DEFINITION” seems a bit presuppositional here doesn’t it? There is a continual contextual emphasis in Romans 8:18-39 about BELIEVERS (not Jews) that is derived from the wording: Sons of God, Children of God, Fruits of the Spirit (the lost don’t have the Holy Spirit), Justified, Glorified, etc. All of these terms are being paralleled in reference to those who are born again.

    BTW, I really dig some of your work Doug. Loved Age of Deceit.

    In Christ,

    -T-

    • Hi Tony, sorry it took me so long to get back with you. The “GOD-FOREKNEW-THE-JEWS-DEFINITION” is not at all presuppositional – it is very biblical. Just read Romans:
      “So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew [proginosko προγινώσκω].” (Rom 11:1-2) God foreknew the Jews – not believers in general.

      Read 1 Pet 1:1-2

      “…to the pilgrims of the Dispersion…elect according to the foreknowledge [prognosis πρόγνωσις] of God the Father…”

      I will be writing an article on Eph 1-3 which simply proves the point. Both Romans and Ephesians are very similar; Paul is writing to two different ethnic groups showing how the nations (gentiles) are brought into the commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2:11-12). Notice in Eph how he starts out with “we” and then in Eph 1:12 says “we…who first trusted in Christ.” (Eph 1:12 KJV) then he says in verse 13 “you” “In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Eph 1:13 KJV) The “you” is clearly defined by Paul as being the Gentiles “Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;” (Eph 2:11) Therefore, the “we” are the Jews who were the first to believe in Christ and then the “you” gentiles were brought into the commonwealth of Israel. This doesn’t mean that they are automatically saved; they still have to believe in Jesus and put on the “wedding garment” which is “putting on the Lord Jesus” (Rom 13:14) Blessings

  42. Romans 11:28 is not a good example of election not being about salvation. Although it appears at first glance that it would be. However, if you start reading at verse 25 you will see that it is speaking about Israel’s eventual salvation as a whole. I agree with all of your statements other then that I think. Although, I would suggest that “corporate election” is a much simpler concept and skirts the whole issue. Christ is elect and we can choose to be in Christ. We then share in his election; but we must choose to. ( That is a very rough explanation.)

  43. I like the way you said that. I would say that Jesus commissioned us to preach the gospel and nobody can come to faith  unless someone is preaching it. Rom 10:17. It’s not for us to decide who God is calling or choosing just be a fruitful christian and preach/teach the gospel and let God do the rest and quit these sidetracking arguments that do not build anyone up in the faith.
    I have a calvinist brother(in the flesh) and he is the most self-rightous miserable unfruitful christian I know.  I know he is born again but this calviinist doctrine has turned him into a bear and it causes him to be unfruitful in his witness.

    Blessings to all who read this.
    Mo Smith

    • “I have a calvinist brother(in the flesh) and he is the most self-rightous miserable unfruitful christian I know.”

      As a new Christian I withstood well meaning “child abuse” in the form of encouragement to read A.W. Pink and the then-just-starting-to-really-lean-Reformed John MacArthur. The damage all that false doctrine did to my mind has taken YEARS for me to process away from. For a long time I was like your brother in the flesh because I never, ever could ascertain with 100% certainty that I was one of God’s elect, and every sin I committed made me believe I was really a reprobate. Thank God and Christ Jesus I’m now free of those man-made (Satan-made!) chains.

  44. Hi Doug: I read a reprint of your well-written article, The Elect in Matthew 24; Jews or Gentiles? in the August issue of Prophecy in The News. We could only wish every believer might read this article which, hopefully, might resolve the interminable question as to whom the “elect” of  God, as seen throughout Scripture, actually are. It might also convince all but the most dedicated of Calvin’s devotees  that his view of the “elect” of Scripture is only one more of the errors of Calvinism.  I respectfully request that the argument for the post-tribulation re gathering of God’s elect might be further strengthened by the inclusion among proof Scriptures of Deuteronomy 30:3-9 and Ezekiel 20:33-38.

    • Where did you read a reprint of it? I wanted to say more but I could only write about 2500 words! Thanks for texts. There is a lot more that could be said, for sure.
      Doug

  45. In
    Acts 17:26-27 and other places (1 Chr 28:9, Ps 14:2-3, Mat 7:7-8), God holds
    man accountable to seek after Him, but sadly no one does as stated in Romans
    3:11. Since no man uses his free will to truly seek God for salvation, then all
    men are condemned (Rom 1:18-20). God knew this before He created the world and
    that is why He predestined some men (2 Thes 2:10-13) to believe by giving them
    faith by grace as a love gift to His Son Jesus Christ (John 6:37). It is true
    that no one can come to Jesus and believe unless God draws him (John 6:44), but
    that is because God gives that belief to come to Jesus as a gift. The only
    thing you can do on your own that is required by God is to seek God for help of
    your sinful self since you cannot stop from sinning. It is humbling to admit
    your sin is bigger than you are and to ask God for help. It is the opposite of
    pride. If you would truly seek God for help then He would give you the gift of
    faith/belief to come to Jesus Christ as the means of His salvation. Since no
    one does seek with their free will, God makes some to seek and believe by
    giving them the gift of faith by His grace (Eph 2:8-10, Acts 2:47) even though
    they did not ask for it. This is why Jesus was found by those who did not seek
    Him (Rom 10:20). Free will takes all to hell, but God’s predestination takes
    some of those hell bound people to heaven, which include His elect of a Jewish
    and gentile remnant, and the church as a gift. The fact that all men reject God
    freely, gives God the legal ground to harden some hearts like Pharaoh and to
    open others like Lydia (Acts 16:14) for His own righteous purposes and good
    pleasure. God designed it this way from the beginning so that no one could
    boast or complain.

    Even though I disagree with you Doug on election I really
    did enjoy your talks at the Prophecy Summit 2012 conference in Branson, MO this
    past weekend. I bought your book Corrupting the Image from Prophecy in the News
    before the conference and I also bought some of your DVDs while at the
    conference. Thank you for talking to me about your election DVD at your
    conference book table even though I was disagreeing with you. God bless! We both
    believe and trust in Jesus Christ our Lord and God for salvation even though we
    arrive at that conclusion by different routes.

    John Jurek

    Even though I disagree with you Doug on election I really
    did enjoy your talks at the Prophecy Summit 2012 conference in Branson, MO this
    past weekend. I bought your book Corrupting the Image from Prophecy in the News
    before the conference and I also bought some of your DVDs while at the
    conference. Thank you for talking to me about your election DVD at your
    conference book table even though I was disagreeing with you. God bless! We both
    believe and trust in Jesus Christ our Lord and God for salvation even though we
    arrive at that conclusion by different routes.

    John Jurek

  46. Chris_in_Christ

     First, the idea of , “skipping the commentaries.”  Anti-Intellectualism fosters an ignorance of history that dooms many in
    the Church to a shallow & vapid Christianity.   Why read such articles as above, or post your own commentary if you, “Just read the Bible?” The idea of, “I just read the Bible,” has a historical tradition, sometimes leading to disastrous error.  To deny this is to deny easily defensible history–even if you grant that your reading of the passages of Scripture is the right one.  You still read it in light of men who taught others how to interpret the Bible in the right context.  Many of these men thought through these issues we are discussing, and they can point out truths we may have missed, or did not emphasize even if you disagree with them.  (Such is true with the above article, though I remain unconvinced as yet.)   The Bible & your
    particular view of Christianity did not appear to you in a vaccum. but
    God provided & transmitted the Bible to us via the historical means.  When we present teaching of the Bible, we do so from a particular chain of Biblical Interpretation/Beliefs. 

    Second, the Term, translated, “Whosoever,” means, “The one Believing.”  Even if I acept, “Whosoever,” to mean, “anyone at all,”
    It still does not support your case.  Because the Doctrine of Election is God’s changing of man’s heart and mind so that he will repent and believe on Him Who Was Sent.  Thus the elect are revealed by their faith by being the very, “whosoever” (s) who believe. The same is true for the other verses in which man is called.  No one is forbidding anyone to come.  we are to call all men everywhere to repent.  The elect are not walking around with signs on their neck saying, “Preach the gospel to me, God has foreordained me to respond positively.” Nor has He given us the permission to refrain from preaching to a particular person or group because they aren’t elect.  We are Called to, “Preach the Gospel to every creature,” and to “Warn every man.”  Election is God peeling back the curtain of the Heavenly realms so that we have a glimpse of what He is and has been doing, a glimpse of how His word does not return to Him void, but accomplishes the purpose He has set it out to do.  All so that we can have hope of victory in Christ as we Glorify Him by obeying the Great Commission. 
    ;lasdjjsdaoijsodaifjoisdafjoisadfoiusadfoiusdafoiusadfoiuasdofiuasdofisadfoijhasdvoijhsadoihsdavonsadoinH……………………………………………g……………..

    • Chris_in_Christ

       Apologies for using such strong language as “to deny that is to deny easily defensible history.” It is true, but could have been phrased more gently, again, my apologies. 
      Sorry for the weird text at the bottom, I wasn’t “typing in tongues,” the
      page was rendering strangely, and I forgot to remove the text used to
      “test type.”

    • We must always remember that “commentaries” are not inspired and many of them promote false doctrine.

  47. First, Election does not save anyone. Election is the mean by where God elect a certian people or person unto a purpose. This depends on the context by where the writer is using the term. Jacob and Esau is a good place to start. Jacob was chosen over Esau to be  the start of the Hebrew Nation. Yet Paul made this analogy in refference to chapter 8 in explaining to the Gentiles why God elected them. God has a “purpose for election” and only God knows that purpose. It shouldn’t be that hard for anyone to understand that God is Sovereign and in His sovereign will His rights are His rights. He can do what ever He choose to do. That’s why Paul tell us, Who are you old man to say to the creator why have you made me this way! It is Obvious that Paul made the use of Jacob and Essu to explain why God elects. Here is the simply reason! To make sure that His purpose will not fail but stand (Ro.9:11). Could it be Eternal Security!. God has determined that all who is chosen by Him will be eternally secure (Jn 6:37-40; Jn.10:28-30). Nothing can change God’s purpose. So in order for that to happen God has determined that He will elect from all men and tribes a certian people unto Himself. If you will notice Jesus’ statement. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Fathers hand (Jn.10:29 ESV). If anyone has the ability to change what God has determined then that person is greater then the Creator. Doug your exegesis is so flawed. Your eyes are blinded by the truth. No only have you rejected God’s purpose in election but you have denighed Him His right to do what ever He choose to do. You have singled out the Jews and have rejected the Gentiles who are in Christ who have been chosen by Him. Doug! Eternal Security is the reason for this election.

  48. This argument is really one big non sequitur. While the 

    • Hi Cris,

      I am looking forward to reading the book on Petrus Romanus which you coauthored with Tom Horn. 
      I discuss the passage you mention (Rom 9) in my paper and the whole point is that it has nothing to do with salvation (thankfully). If what you are saying is correct – that God chose/elected Jacob for salvation then that would mean that all Israelites that ever lived are saved. I don’t see that – in fact, there were a lot of rotten individuals throughout Israel’s time. Perhaps the easiest for us to explore is (Lazarus and) the rich man. Lazarus died and went to be with Abraham and was comforted while the rich man (also a Jew!) went into torment. So, we have an example of a man that was chosen/elected and yet went to Hell. 

      God bless you.

      Doug 

      •  Hi Doug:
        The whole premise of the previous verses Doug is that it is according to the seed of promise.  Not the flesh.  So you are going to a wrong conclusion based on Paul’s argument.  The essence as I understand the plain teaching of Scripture it is all by grace, His grace, and not of ourselves.  God redirected my life when I was heading in the wrong direction. 
        That is the whole premise of the argument throughout Romans the works of the law can never complete what God can only do.  Romans 3 is pointing the Jews that they are absolutely no better than the Gentiles when it comes to finding God.  None seek after Him, and None do His will.  John 1:12, 13 that He gives the power, and we are at His mercy.
        I will read over this article above and try to reason through your argument, however I have been down this road before and found the doctrines of grace to be solid.
        God Bless you,
        Brian

    • Standing firm in Christ

       “The older will serve the younger” is the election.  The Election in Romans 9 has absolutely nothing to do with election to Salvation, but rather election to service.

      Try again.

      •  The first eight verses show the context: Rm.9:1  I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
        3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
        4 Who
        are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the
        covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the
        promises;
        5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
        6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
        7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
        8 That
        is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the
        children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the
        seed.

        The election of the saints is worked out by God the same as the chosen of Israel: according to Gods good purpose and His divine pleasure. It is showing the same thing as Heb. 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Yet they were not made perfect through Christ. God chose (elected) them for the physical picture of the Spiritual election to come. I don’t understand why everyone is so deceived as to think that God changed His nature and no longer chooses His people. Why is it so hard to believe and why are people demonized who take election, adoption, predestination and chosen to mean just what they say?  

        • That election was given to covenant Israel as a whole. That’s Paul’s context.

        • God never chose anyone to salvation, He rather chose Christ and Ephesians 1 shows the qualification of identification with our Lord as necessary for the corporate entity to be considered as part of the elect in any sense. Joining the corporate entity has been totally made possible by God’s initiative and power, but your response to that possibility is totally your responsibility.

  49. Love your article. I have thought along the same lines but not half as thouroughly. Thank you for your study and excellent exposition.

    Regarding Acts 13:48:
    The word for ordained (tasso) can be used for ordaining oneself as in 1 Cor 16:15 for those who “addicted” (ordained, etaxan) themselves to the ministry. In 1 Cor 16:15 this is clear from the addition of the pronoun “themselves” (eautous). This is not immediately clear in Acts 13:48 because the pronoun is not provided to indicate whether God ordained or the Gentiles in Antioch ordained themselves. The next indicator is that ordained is in the perfect tense. Where the confusion comes in is that the form in this tense can be either passive or middle voice. The Calvinist would only read this as the passive voice but he may not do this so conclusively. The middle voice is just as viable indicating that the Gentiles were self given over to receiving the Gospel message. We don’t really have the middle voice in English so this reflexive aspect is not so apparent. The context of the passage gives the rest of the understanding. Luke is comparing the receptive attitude of the Gentiles to the “despisers” of the Jewish audience who “judged themselves” to be “unworthy of everlasting life.” In contrast, the Gentiles “besought”  and were disposed (“ordained”) to everlasting life and believed. In the Jews case, they disposed themselves against the Gospel. Because they were offered for comparison the implication was that the Gentiles did so also. G. Gordon Olson does a great job of this explanation in Beyond
    Calvinism and Arminianism: An Inductive, Mediate Theology of Salvation

  50. Doug,
    You surely do not the story of my life. If I could have lost my Salvation, I surely would
    not have it now!
    By His Grace I was saved and not of myself. And by His Grace I have been kept.
    Have you ever been so far away from Jesus in deep sin that you could not even see
    Him? Been so deep in sin again and again that there was no way that you yourself
    could make it back?
    I have, and if not for His love and His Grace, I would have been lost long ago.
    I know now I can rest in the security of his Love and Salvation!

    God BlessYou.

    • Hello Doug,

      Whether or not can lose his salvation is another topic. However, you must come to terms with double predestination. If God elected you to eternal life and that completely independent of any decision that you have made then what about those that are damned? Did God not also condemn them completely apart from any choice or action on their part? Loraine Boettner says you can’t have it both ways. If God elected some for eternal life then he elected the others for eternal damnation and that point is made clearly by Calvin as well. That is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is gracious and longsuffering toward all and He delights when one turns from darkness to light.

      Take care.

      • Doug
        God told Moses that He would have Mercy on who he would have Mercy.
        Remember Rom 9 about the purpose of election ( Esau and Jacob ), one
        hated and one loved. Plus Pharaoh, God raised him up just to show
        His glory. Plus remember Jesus told his 12 disciples that they did not choose
        Him but He choose them. And recall the Lambs book of Life, written
        before the foundation of the world of those that are His.
        Remember John 6 Jesus said no man can come to unless the Father draw
        him, and all the Father draws will come to me, and all that come to me I
        will not turn away, but will give him eternal life.
        Ect. ect. I am well aware of double predestination, that is why I praise God so
        much! I know that it was his choice and not mine. And I know that it is
        by His grace I am saved, and not of myself.

        God Bless You Doug

        Doug

        • Hello Doug,

          I deal with Romans and the term elect in my article Why God Did Not Elect Calvinists. The election there had nothing to do with eternal life. Blessings, D

        •  Amen. A dead man can’t raise himself. Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead by calling him but how did Lazarus hear Him being dead three days? God gave him ears to hear and Christ gave the command. Not “OK Lazarus I really want you to come forth now but it’s ultimately up to you. I’m really trying my best. I hope there’s still just a little bit of life left in those ears so you can hear me begging you to come to me.” Humble yourself before God…God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. What’s more humbling: “God did it all. He saved me. Or. Me and God were partners, He told me He wanted to save me and I let Him.” It’s funny though: I remember my testimony in front of the church when I was born again. I specifically said,”I felt like I didn’t have any choice.” Everybody said, “amen” and “that’s right,”  Not knowing a thing about the Bible I wanted to learn so I went to church faithfully and talked to church folks every chance I got. Before long I had been convinced that I had “made a decision for Christ” “accepted Him” but I never forgot the irresistible grace I had experienced. When I heard about reformed theology I realized that I had been duped by well meaning people. I also always knew there was something wrong with “leading people to Christ by repeating this simple little prayer. It’s not that simple. In fact it’s impossible for ME to lead anyone to Christ.

        •  Amen. A dead man can’t raise himself. Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead by calling him but how did Lazarus hear Him being dead three days? God gave him ears to hear and Christ gave the command. Not “OK Lazarus I really want you to come forth now but it’s ultimately up to you. I’m really trying my best. I hope there’s still just a little bit of life left in those ears so you can hear me begging you to come to me.” Humble yourself before God…God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. What’s more humbling: “God did it all. He saved me. Or. Me and God were partners, He told me He wanted to save me and I let Him.” It’s funny though: I remember my testimony in front of the church when I was born again. I specifically said,”I felt like I didn’t have any choice.” Everybody said, “amen” and “that’s right,”  Not knowing a thing about the Bible I wanted to learn so I went to church faithfully and talked to church folks every chance I got. Before long I had been convinced that I had “made a decision for Christ” “accepted Him” but I never forgot the irresistible grace I had experienced. When I heard about reformed theology I realized that I had been duped by well meaning people. I also always knew there was something wrong with “leading people to Christ by repeating this simple little prayer. It’s not that simple. In fact it’s impossible for ME to lead anyone to Christ.

        • “Esau and Jacob”

          That passage also says the elder would serve the younger but Esau never personally served Jacob. It also says two NATIONS were wrestling in their mother’s womb. The election was referring to the nations these babies would one day father (which they did), not to individuals unto salvation or reprobation.

      • All men have a choice to seek God and none do (Rom 3:11), that is why God can save some and let the rest do what they want legally.  The fact that God saves some and not others is perfectly legal since all reject Him.  The Calvanist sees Romans 3:11 as man not being able to understand and not being able to seek God, but that is simply not true.  A righteous God would not send any man to hell without a choice.  Man doesn’t want to seek or understand which is different than not being able to.  The difference is accountability and the consequence of hell.   -John Jurek

        • The problem with your thesis is God’s condemning unbelievers specifically for their unbelief. If they’re non-elect reprobates, whose fault is it that they don’t/can’t believe? Not theirs!

      • Simon N Jackie Manning

        Proverbs 16:4 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.

        What I read in the Bible is that we are sinners and of our own will would Choose rebellion against God, But inhis mercy and grace he has given some a new heart and new spirit, not for any merit of their own. That is what the bible says clearly. That if our salvation relied on something we do, then Christ work on the cross really was not finished. Let God be True and every man a liar.

    •  We did all of the sinning He did all of the saving. The closer the profits of old got to God the more retched and filthy they seen themselves.

  51. Don’t forget that the Calvinists has build the USA (the Pilgrimsfathers). As long as the USA follows the teaching of Jezus Christ;the USA was unbeatable; even against the King of England.Who was the head of the Church of England.en the ruler of the Commonworld in that time.Just as Holland who has to fight all his neibours, who were Katholieks even England if there are a katholiek king on the throne of England.We have beaten them all.And we have celebrate our Golden age, dispite all the wars that we have to do.That is not possible if God was not with us.How come that the jews have to sufferd lots of annihilisatien outside Kanaan if God is with them?In Luke
    Lucas 10,1-20

    Uitzending der zeventig

    1 Now
    after these things the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two
    and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself
    was about to come.

    2 And he said unto them, The harvest indeed is
    plenteous, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the
    harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest.

    3 Go your ways; behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves.

    4 Carry no purse, no wallet, no shoes; and salute no man on the way.

    5 And into whatsoever house ye shall enter, first say, Peace [be] to this house.

    6 And if a son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him: but if not, it shall turn to you again.

    7 And in that same house remain, eating and
    drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his
    hire. Go not from house to house.

    8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:

    9 and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

    10 But into whatsoever city ye shall enter, and they receive you not, go out into the streets thereof and say,

    11 Even the dust from your city, that cleaveth to
    our feet, we wipe off against you: nevertheless know this, that the
    kingdom of God is come nigh.

    12 I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

    13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee,
    Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
    which were done in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in
    sackcloth and ashes.

    14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment, than for you.

    15 And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted unto heaven? thou shalt be brought down unto Hades.

    16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me.

    17 And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us in thy name.

    18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven.

    19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread
    upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and
    nothing shall in any wise hurt you.

    20 Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

  52. Okay Douglas.  I’m not going to address your article as much as what I see as a presupposition that is inferred but unstated.

    You reference Calvin, White and Boettner, so you apparently at least know that they exist.  You seem to portray an understanding of the word group associated to εκλεκτων as being as simple as simple as giving a surface level quotation of the verses.  When I read Calvary Chapel guys who address Reformed Theology, it appears that if one only has a Greek/Hebrew concordance, the whole issue can, and should, be sorted out in a matter of minutes.

    Funny thing is, when I read George Zemek’s “A Biblical Theology of the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace” (Wipf & Stock, 2005), pages 143 to 157, he spends 14 pages dealing with the בָּחַר word group and the εκλεκτων word group, doing far more in-depth exegetical work than you do and comes to the opposite conclusion.  So, I’m wondering…

    Is Zemek incompetent as a scholar, or what?  I mean, he did earn his ThD.

    Do us Reformed guys ignore the Bible?  Are we stupid?  Are we being theologically unsophisticated?  Are we blind zombies, enslaved to our theological traditions?  Are we swallowing a camel while straining a gnat?  Are we cherry picking texts and ignoring others?

    • Hi Lyndon,

      I haven’t read Zemek so I can’t state anything about his research. Nevertheless, the words are not that complicated (and by the way, I didn’t just consult Strong’ Lexicon – I studied modern Hebrew, biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Akkadian, and Arabic at the Hebrew University in Israel for three years at the M.A. level. The words don’t have any INTRINSIC salvific meaning – they mean to choose just like the English word. The other thing to consider is that words are defined by usage not by lexicons. When we see words like בָּחַר and εκλεκτων we need to look at them in extra biblical usages. That isn’t so easy with Hebrew, but it certainly is with Greek. The word εκλεκτων (and derivatives) in classical Greek certainly doesn’t have the idea of elect unto salvation. A similar mistake happens with the word agape. It is often defined by pastors and such as God’s divine love (which is good usage but not a good definition). We find that the word is also used of people who love the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19) and the teachers that loved the best seats Luke 11:43). The word should really be defined as a very dedicated, passionate, and committed love to things or people whether it is good or bad. In a similar manner, the word elect (etc) is just a word that means to choose and the chosen that are spoken of most of the time are the Jews and not those elected unto salvation.

      Take care,

      • I honestly don’t understand your article at all then.  It seem like you’re talking about a theological concept and then dismissing the entire concept by means of lexical study of a related word.

        You wrote “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” simply means “choose”.  Sure.  No reformed theologian would disagree when you say that the words don’t have any intrinsic salvific meaning.  Understanding that “elect” means “choose” does absolutely nothing to undermine reformed theology.

        Are you suggesting that the meaning of the word “elect” is synonymous with the theological concept of “election”?

        • my advice is not allow lyndon unger (mennoknight) to write here. his site is pure garbage and should be deleted from the internets forever. His site is pure excrement.

          good night and good luck!

      •  I’ve always heard agape described as unconditional love. Is that a better definition?

    • Fire All Liberals First

      Are you going to address the general argument now or do you have another appeal to authority to place on the table?

    • I think so. Christ died for the sin of the WORLD!!! See John 1:29 and 3:16 and 1 John 2:2 etc etc etc. Salvation is by FAITH. Eph 2:8,8 Gen 15:6 John 1:12 Rom 1:16 and 3:22 and 4:3,11 and 10:4 Gal 3:6 etc etc etc. Gods salvation is RESISTIBLE Matt 23:37 and Luke 13:34 2 Pet 2:15,20,21.
      Dont forget about Occhams razor either. John Calvin was a murderer………never get your theology from a murderer. Jesus said you will become like your teacher. Think about it.

      • Hi will, I looked up all of the verses you have quoted (completely cherry picked and poorly applied as they were) and they all check out in favor of a Calvinistic viewpoint. You pulled many of these verses completely out of their original contexts. Plus you contradict many passages of scripture by saying “Gods salvation is resistible”. If it was resistible, however, you have done a pretty swell job of it yourself. Who are you to say that you can resist the God of the universe? That is one of the most self exalting and prideful statement I’ve heard yet.
        It takes a true exegete to speak clearly the truths of the Bible. The effort is appreciated, however, it is lacking in many aspects. Why don’t you dive in a bit deeper into the real gritty stuff, and then pull the truth into this conversation.
        If you still conclude that Calvinists “ignore the bible, are stupid, are theologically unsophisticated, are blind zombies, enslaved to our theological traditions…etc.

    • Calvinists that hold to God’s exhaustive determinitive decree of everything that comes to pass and all the causes thereof tend to ignore these three explicit verses of Scripture:

      Jeremiah 7:30-31King James Version (KJV)

      30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the Lord: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it. 31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

      Jeremiah 19:4-5King James Version (KJV)

      4 Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;

      5 They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind:

      Jeremiah 32:35King James Version (KJV)

      35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

      God himself denies that he pre-determined these sinful acts but Calvin would say that He did. I say we believe God. Let God be true and every man a liar, as the Prophet David says.

  53. I can see that the word translated election in the Bible does not necessarily refer to election unto salvation. However, the concept could be derived from other passages.  How does Acts 13:48 relate to your argument (“…and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed”)?
    God bless you!

    • Thanks for pointing that out, Natalia. I’ve been wondering the same thing. And I speak as an uncomfortable Arminian in the face of Acts 13:48, because I don’t see how it can be structured any other way. Acts 13:48 clearly indicates that the appointment unto salvation precedes the belief.

      • The Jews flatly refused the same salvation that was accepted by the Gentiles in their midst. Why would Paul, inspired by the spirit of Christ, condemn the Jews for that act if it was all in accord with the sovereign will of God?

      • Acts 13:48 didn’t say ‘believed BECAUSE are ordained’.

        And even, the ‘ordination’ is directly connected to the Gospel preaching. In no way we need to believe that it was an irresistible decree.

        In fact this verse puts a great challenge against Calvinism.

      • Read Henry Alford’s (Cambridge Greek Scholar – favorite of John Piper) “Commentary on the New Testament,” in which Alford says the Greek verb is in the middle (not passive) voice, which means you should read the verse to say “as many as disposed themselves to salvation, believed.” Ironically, Alford was a staunch Calvinist. But he had the intellectual honesty to correctly translate the verse. Acts13:48 is no proof-text for the heresy that is Calvinism.

      • They were predestined in the sense that they were of God’s sheep…they were the sincere ones who were seeking the Lord. This is in Contrast to the corrupted Jewish Leaders(Pharisees) who were merely self-righteous and actually wicked in heart and only giving lip-service. The sheep recognized the voice of their shepherd and followed him. That is why they were ordained to eternal life. They were already God’s sheep.They were following God and seeking him with their limited knowledge. When the fullness of the Gospel was shown to them they recognized God’s voice in it and were led in to the Fold, which is the Church.

  54. Doug,
    In the NetBible, Romans 8:33, one of the definitions of εκλεκτων is given as “to obtain salvation through Christ “. Would you have a disagreement with this definition?
    http://net.bible.org/#!bible/Romans+8
    Thanks for all you do!

    • Hi Tony, Well, the point of the article is that I completely disagree with that definition. Election/Elect is not until salvation. Elect (etc.) has nothing to do with salvation. When the NT refers to “the elect” it is a reference to Israel.

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