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Author Topic: election: a new approach  (Read 2117 times)
asaph
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« on: April 24, 2003, 02:57:00 PM »

Jesus talks of a new commandment that He gives us and that command is to love one another. The following article on election emphasises this commandment. Regardless of your position, I believe you will benefit from reading this. Credits go to: http://www.christiancommunitychurch.us/dovenet/prefelec.htm

(The article is too long to put on one post)

asaph

Ephesians 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:
5   Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6   To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Election Defined

Ephesians 1:4-6 "emphasizes God's activity in planning and choosing people in Christ.  Election means that God chooses people, and this teaching cannot be turned around to the thought that people choose God.  Election means that the existence of the people of God can be explained only on the basis of God's character, plan, and action, not on some quality in the people who are chosen.  The initiative is always God's based on his 'grace.'  Salvation is not some accident or afterthought on the part of God.  His purpose always was to draw humanity to himself.  'Before the foundation of the world' does not mean 'just prior to creation'; rather it expresses that God's purposes are rooted in the depths of his nature. ...

Another Way of Speaking About God's Grace

"Election is not some strange, unnecessary doctrine, but merely another way of speaking of God's grace and salvation.  Words like 'chose' and 'predestined' underscore God's activity in setting apart a people for himself.  Election results in 'saints.' ... The purpose of election is relational.  God, for no other reason than that he is a loving God, chose to adopt people into his family through Jesus Christ.  Adoption is family imagery used to explain the salvation experience, both present and future. ...

Who Benefits From Election?

"Usually when people speak of divine election, they think of the election of individuals and the benefit to them.  But biblical texts have a different emphasis, for election is primarily a corporate term.  Nothing in Ephesians 1 focuses on individuals; rather, the text focuses collectively on those who are in Christ.  This changes the theology.  People become elect only in the Elect One -- Christ.  Whereas Israel was chosen to convey the blessings of God to the world, now Christ has taken on that task. ... Election takes place in him and through him.  Individuals are not elected and then put in Christ.  They are in Christ and therefore elect.

"Election does indeed bring privilege, but not so that people can bask in privilege or disdain others.  Election always brings responsibility; God has chosen us to do something -- namely, to live holy and blameless lives before him. ... God's choosing enlists people in his work and gives them responsibility. ... The ultimate aim of election is the glory of God, ... the purpose of God's electing activity is to reveal his own character as a loving, saving God.


« Last Edit: April 24, 2003, 03:03:48 PM by asaph » Logged
asaph
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2003, 03:00:50 PM »

Election is Not God's Arbitrary Work

"At first glance election seems to be an archaic idea, confined to the biblical mindset and more troublesome than helpful for modern audiences.  We have difficulty thinking that God chooses some and ignores the rest.  How can God be a God of love and do this?  But such conclusions go far beyond the text of Ephesians. ...

"Election, as it relates to humans, expresses two ideas: the value given to human beings by God and responsibility they owe to God.  Both are still important.

"The election language in Ephesians 1 is primarily about God and shows why God should be praised.  Any conclusions drawn must derive from the fact that this is a doxology, not a systematic theology.  This is not to ignore the theological significance of doxologies, but to stay within Paul's intention with his worship.  His purpose is to focus on God at work, planning and drawing people to himself through Christ.  If the focus is corporate rather than individual and if people are elect only in the Elect One, Christ, then this text has nothing to do with our fear that God chooses some and ignores others.  That is a nonbiblical conclusion about the result of election and the question who is elect.  The focus of the biblical text is on the cause of election -- God --and its purpose -- that Christians live holy and blameless before God.  God values human beings and draws them -- both Jews and Gentiles -- to himself in Christ.  The focus is God's grace, and this text will not support any discussions about arbitrary decisions from God.

Questions in the Debate About Election

"Numerous questions remain about election, and Christians will no doubt disagree on the answers.  Can election be lost?  Is it possible to have once been in Christ and then be out of him?  But this text (and most others) do not treat our questions and suggest they may be misguided.  Paul was more interested in praising God for his grace.  While granting an element of mystery in the subject of election, certain points must be emphasized.
        (1)    Election is God's grace in action.
        (2)    God chose Abraham and then Israel for a task -- to bless all the nations of the earth (Genesis 12:3).
        (3)    Jesus took on the task of Israel as God's Elect One.
        (4)    People are elect in Christ for relation to God.
        (5)    While God chooses, people still have choice and are responsible for their decisions.
        (6)    Election does demonstrate God's favor, which can be a strong support in a time of difficulty, but it is never to be treated as a sign of superiority.
        (7)    More important, election always implies responsibility.  People are chosen to do something.
        (Cool    The ultimate goal of election is the revelation of God's own character, which Ephesians expresses as the praise of his glory.

"Consequently, most of the debates about election should be politely set aside.  If we focus on praising God for valuing us and if we realize the responsibility that his valuing brings, we have understood Paul, and the other questions on election recede in importance.  No one should worry whether he or she is elect.  The main question is: "Are you in Christ and one with him?"

SUMMARY

If we understand that even among those denominations in Christianity which subscribe to the most rigid views of divine election, there are elements which reject those rigid views (i.e. Free Will Baptists), we begin to see that the broad doctrine of election is not uniform in its acceptance nor in its application.  This should cause Christians to be cautious in hurling  anathemas at those who differ with them concerning the specifics of election.

The elimination of free will, and therefore personal responsibility, as taught in extreme views of election and predestination, results in crippled Christians.  It is both spiritually detrimental and spiritually impossible to reconcile an arbitrary God with the God of the Cross.  Thus it is the view of this researcher that God's sovereignty is more visible and more firmly established on the cross wooing mankind to himself, than it is in angrily and arbitrarily assigning some to heaven and others to hell.

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Petro
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2003, 10:26:02 PM »

asaph,


Acts 15
18  Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Eph 1
11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ

Deut 29
29  The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Certainly, we would agree that men feeled with the Spirit of God in other generations, have been moved to act in defending the faith, by defining words for our benefit, today.

In this present age, I am reminded that we must be careful, to define words when discussing the things of God, with all people, agreement with word meanings reveals the goats among the sheep.

Good post,  understanding the definition of  these words, which were defined, 400 some odd years ago, by  scholars, who loved the Word of God, is like looking into ones family tree and understanding, how we got here, inspite of what denominational teaching one adheres to it would be well, when discussing these teachings to inform oneself with factual  historical truths, and not make wild assertions, claiming errneous teachings to men of God, which are not true.

The 5 points of anything, are not the issue.

This only one of many sites which, have all the information on what is historically true about the reformed churches teachings.

I know there are churches today that reject, tyhese, but informing oneself about the reformed foundational teachings will allowed the uninformed to see, where the errors are to be found.

http//www.reformed.org/documents/synod_of_dort.html

Blessings

Petro
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