Scriptural Election: The Third Way

March 2, 2009 — 6 Comments

I found this article as I was preparing for my teaching on the doctrines of salvation, and particularly on election.  The quote below is very insightful

Thesis 23: We must affirm that God creates what he elects rather than that he selects out of what exists.

Israel is called into existence. Election is tied to promise and the seed of Israel is not the product of selection but of creation. God created what he elected. Election is the creation of something out of its opposite—possibility out of impossibility. It is a matter of creation rather than a parallel to rejection.

The focus in our doctrine of election, therefore, must not be on selection. Election is a creative act. In biblical thought Israel, Christ, and the Church are not “existing realities that God selectively chooses out of a number of extant Israels, Christs, or churches. . . . They are created by the dynamics of election, for they are what they are only by virtue of their election.”

via Scriptural Election: The Third Way.

The thought that election is out of God’s creative, life-giving power is an excellent one, and a great demonstration of why I cherish the doctrine.  In election, He is calling the dead to life, not sifting based on some selection criteria.  This helped me to articulate a good defense to those who see election as mechanical and deterministic, and ultimately cold and unfair.

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

6 responses to Scriptural Election: The Third Way

  1. That is a very interesting formulation.

  2. Wow! I haven’t heard it explained that way before. Thanks for sharing, Todd!

    • Todd Engstrom March 2, 2009 at 3:39 pm

      it was a great “aha” moment for me too. Loved thinking about election not as selection, but as creation…

  3. Michael Conrad March 7, 2009 at 1:37 am

    I think people, myself included, have thought of the doctrine of election as something where God created His creation and then realized that he had to pick teams. The thing is, his people were chosen before the foundations of the earth.

    As far as determinism goes, my roommate put it nicely the other day. He said that when people think of determinism they think of a creator winding a clock and then just letting it go. That is not the case with our God. He cares deeply about His creation, and I think Colossians puts it nicely:

    Colossians 1:17
    And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    Good word, Todd. I liked this a lot. Thanks bro.

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