Predestination and Election: Part 1
I May Get Stoned Here…
There are two very controversial topics in the church today. They are topics that are very difficult to write about because they are so grievously misunderstood in the church today. Again, I am not going to pull any punches here, but I am sure there are going to be more than a few of you who vehemently disagree with my views.
I’m not talking about the pop-culture apologetics that everyone wants me to discuss. I’m not touching upon gay marriage or abortion (yet). I am intentionally avoiding those topics because I do not want my views on those topics to lead any of you away from the message of Christ that I feel needs to be brought by apologists all over the world.
Ultimately, an apologist’s primary job is to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yes, there are rules. Yes, there are moral absolutes. And yes, we all miss the mark so we need to be reminded about what those absolutes are. But regardless of whether you live the most moral life on the planet, it is all for naught if you don’t understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without Christ, you die. Plain and simple. That is an absolute that has no loophole, no workaround, no excuse.
So are you ready for me to tell you what topic I feel I need to discuss?
Election and pre-destination.
Now I will tell you that this is not going to be explained all at once. There are entire seminary classes that revolve around those two topics. I can’t do it justice in simply 1,000 words. So if you don’t have any desire to feast upon the meat and potatoes of the Scripture, then may I suggest some lighter reading in the following websites: www.revrendfun.com , www.wonderzone.com , or www.cbhministries.org . These are all well-respected sites that will give you some great information about the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ and you will have a lot of fun with them. But the deeper stuff, the stuff that some of my mentors such as Ergun Caner, C.S. Lewis, and Ravi Zacharias, I want to cover here.
So if you are not ready to learn, be disturbed by the results, and spend time wrestling with what the truth is, then please hold off on reading this and come back when you are ready to hear the stuff that will challenge you.
So, just what is “election” and “pre-destination?”
I will finish this week’s gripping episode with definitions of each and some Biblical scriptures that show that we need to be thinking about these two topics.
Predestination comes from the Greek work “proorizo” which means to predetermine or decide beforehand. This Greek word shows up 6 times in the New Testament (Acts 4:28, Romans 8:29, Romans 8:30, 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 1:11) and is the teaching that God has predestined some events or people to accomplish what He desires. This is where we see our first controversy? There are definite camps of Christians who believe that God has predestined individuals who are to be saved. That is Reformist theology. The opposite camp, the non-Reformist view, states that God chooses people as a whole to salvation, but then we humans have our own free will to accept that salvation.
We will look much deeper at both schools of thought in future articles as well as some more of the middle ground theories.
What about election? The word comes from the Greek eklectos and means to elect as in a governor or president. This term occurs 25 times in the New Testament. In every case, it is used to describe God as the one doing the electing.
The theories about election tie in closely with those of predestination. In one argument, the view that God elects individuals is tied directly with that of predestination. It is this argument that specifies, as the world views, a fatalistic religion. Another view is that God elects nations or groups of people.
As time goes by, I will dig in deeper to each of these concepts and the arguments that circle them. I do not believe that Christianity is a “fatalistic religion” like many people believe. But there is no question that these terms are Biblical and need to be explained.
Before I close for this article, I need to make sure you understand one thing. How you believe predestination and election are defined does not affect your salvation. It is times like this that we need to be unified in our views of Christ and Christ alone. When we as Christians disagree about something, we need to stand strictly on the grace and mercy of Christ and that is enough to unify us. He is the only perfect sacrifice for all of us who are imperfect.
Next Article: Predestination Views and Theology