Tag Archives: Unconditional Election



Because my move from Arminianism to Reformed Theology has been such a formative thing, as well as a very formative thing in "our relationship" - it makes sense.

(well, it will be in October, so we'll have millions of mums also)

Short Primer:

T - Total Depravity

U - Unconditional Election

L - Limited Atonement

I - Irresistible Grace

P - Perseverance of the Saints




This is from Reclaiming the Mind - I'd rather comment there, but for whatever reason, my browser doesn't want to show me the combox...

This interaction was interesting.



(I asked)Why does one fear Him and another does not? Intelligence? Random Chance?

(another answered)Have you had children? Have you examined your body and how incredibly it is made? Have you gazed at the starry host and wondered at the vastness of what God has created? Have you considered the amount of energy within a single atom and how it holds itself together? How about the energy present within the fabric we call space and often thing of as a vast expanse of nothing? I have watched the BBC Earth series and my jaw literally drops to the floor when I consider the incredible creation of God.

We have more information today than we have in the past, but all the big stuff is easily within reach. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to recognize the obvious about God.


yes.  I have children.  Yes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

This is a wonderful answer...but I have no clue what the question was.

The answer given has ZERO to do with the question that I asked.

If our salvation depends on our decision to choose to accept Christ, why did I choose, and why didn't the person next to me in the pew choose?

What makes me so smart?  spiritual?  special?

If the answer to that was "because God chooses those who fear Him" - why do some fear Him, and others not?

If the answer lies with the person, what is the answer?

If the answer lies with God - isn't that "election"?

1 Comment

(HT:  blog post from the Reformation21 blog and the upcoming start of the school year that makes it desirable for me to have a schedule and structure...Sunday is "Reformed Theology Day"...although looking at the "what I believe" page, there are some aspects that I haven't posted on...)

There are a lot of terms that I'm not sure are being used correctly - I'm not sure if I'm using them correctly.  But the way they're used does make a difference in how you see things.

(all definitions are from Wiki)

Determinism is the view that every event, including human cognition, behavior, decision, and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences.

Indeterminism is a philosophical position that maintains that some form of determinism is incorrect: that there are events which do not correspond with determinism (and therefore are either uncaused, or caused in a manner that the corresponding form of determinism does not allow).

so...if you believe in determinism, as strictly defined, given any circumstances, you cannot NOT make the decision that you must make, given all the factors that led up to that circumstance.

If you believe in indeterminism, it's all up for grabs.  You might make that decision or you might not.  You are a product of your past, but you are not bound by it.

Will - simply the ability to make a choice.

Free will - the ability to make a choice without force

Libertarian free will - the ability to make a choice with no outside constraints whatsoever.

These are varying degrees, but the differences are important.  Whether or not you "must" make a particular choice (based on determinism), it is still you making the choice.  Free will is further down the road, there may be history or constraints that you may or may not even recognize, but you are still not "forced" to make a particular choice.  With libertarian free will, there is no outside influence that would constrain any choice you might make.  Influence, yes...constrain, no.

Compatibilism (...) holds that the sovereignty of God and the free will of man are both biblical concepts and, rightly understood, are not mutually exclusive. The all-knowing God (who sees past, present, and future simultaneously from the perspective of eternity) created human beings (who have the subjective reality of making choices in the present that have consequences for themselves and others in the future) in such a way that both are true: God is ultimately sovereign and therefore must have at least permitted any choice that a human could make, but at the same time God is right to hold humans accountable because from their perspective within the confines of serial time, humans make moral choices between good and evil. (from Theopedia, through Wiki)

Incompatibilism takes two different forms...at either end of the compatibilist spectrum.

compatibilism must be false because both the sovereignty of God AND the free agency of man cannot be true.

thus (choice 1) in order for man to have libertarian free will, God must choose to not take control over man's choices...


(choice 2), God is sovereign over all, thus man must not have the ability to make choices of the will.

This is an important question of theology for one who studies Reformed theology.  Where on the spectrum do I fall?

My belief is:  since Scripture teaches that God IS sovereign over all AND man makes choices, both good and evil, then some sort of compatibilism must be true.

Unconditional election...AKA predestination.  It is my second least TULIP doctrine to try to explain.

Based on the premise that "God is sovereign and He gets to pick - not only how, but who."

This builds on the "T" - total depravity.  Not that each peson is as totally depraved as they could be, but rather every part of each person's will is touched by Adam's nature (original sin).

How many people seek God?

The answer (as well as in other places, is answered in Romans 3:

"None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one."

If we don't seek God, how do we find Him?

Ephesians 1:3-6. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 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, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.”

Christ told His disciples,

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide...(John 15:16)

But what about my will?

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy (Romans 9:16)

But that isn't fair

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:20-24)

It's been a while since I looked at the "schedule" for the week (at one time I posted a loose daily routine of what I might post for each day of the week, thinking it might keep me posting).

Sundays were for "Reformed Theology". I know, because it pops up on the planner software.

I think that (depending on who a Reformed-type person is talking to), it might be a toss up between whether "Sola Scriptura" or "Unconditional Election" is the most difficult Reformed doctrine. Today, I'm thinking "election".

The first question: Does God have the RIGHT to decide how salvation "happens"?

That question doesn't necessarily mean that God has elected election - it just asks if He has the right to do so if He wants to.

Most people would say, "Of course.  God is God.  He gets to pick the "how". 

What are the options (and I'm sure I'll miss some)

  • free will (God makes the offer, but a person's salvation depends on them choosing to be saved
  • election (God makes the offer
  • baptismal regeneration (baptism saves the infant, but they may or may not end up "saved" later in life.)
  • works based salvation (generally not Christian denominations, although some Christians believe that a person gets salvation by faith and keeps it by works)

No matter which "method" God uses, do you think that God had the right to choose that one?

Most people (being convinced of their personal belief) would say "yes...God gets to pick the "how" (and I believe the one that He picked."

"All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, "What have you done?" (Daniel 4:35)


I affirm the Trinity - One God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I affirm that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

I affirm that Christ, born of a woman, eternally existant, creator of all things, was crucified, buried and risen from the dead.

I affirm that by grace we are saved, through faith.

By grace, we have faith in the saving power Christ.I am "Reformed".

I am "Calvinistic" in sotierology, but not in ecclesiology.

Reformed theology differs from both Roman Catholic theology and Arminian theology (Wesleyan/Nazarene/most of what most Americans think is "mainstream")

There are two fundamental "nutshells" that are recognized as "Reformed". The first are the "Five Solas" and the second is "TULIP". There is a lot more to "Reformed theology" than these two pieces, but these are the very basics.

The Five Solas

(along with links to other posts I have written):







Total depravity of man

Unconditional election

Limited Atonement

Irresistable grace

Perseverence of the saints


The "T" matters because all have sinned and there are none that seek the face of the Lord.

If there are none that seek the face of the Lord, how do we find Him? The answer is a hard one - for me it was the most difficult of "TULIP".

If we, in our sin, do not have the ability to seek after God, then it must be God that seeks after us.

That is the "U" - unconditional election. Predestination.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved (Eph 1:3-6 ESV)

Logic tells us that if we are steeping in the "T", we cannot seek God.  We are chosen in Christ.


Our election is not based on the good that we have done - it is unconditional upon our behavior.

It is the very idea of our salvation NOT being rooted in ourselves that points to the glory of God.  Our salvation is not of ourselves, it is by grace; faith is the vehicle that God has chosen.

It is not of works.  We are chosen.