Sunday, May 28, 2006

Why I Am A Calvinist (part 2)

I know the OT/NT tension between law and grace. But apart from that, the Bible presents a consistent and coherent picture of God. When I operated under the theological assumption that God gives equal opportunities to everyone, I couldn’t find much OT support. In fact, what I encountered in the OT was exactly the opposite. The OT presents a clear picture of God’s unconditional election.

Consider these three areas:

1. The choosing of Israel as His chosen nation:

• Deuteronomy 6:6,7 “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 7The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people”

• Deuteronomy 10:14-15 “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 15Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.”

2. The choosing of the Patriarchs:

Abraham over his brothers Nahor and Haran

• Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Isaac over Ishmael

• Genesis 17:18-19 “And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before You!’ Then God said: ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.”

Jacob over Esau

• Genesis 25:23 “And the Lord said to Rebekah, ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.”

Joseph over his brothers

• Genesis 37:6-7 “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”

3. The choosing of Levi as the priestly tribe:

• Deuteronomy 18:5 “For the LORD thy God hath chosen him [Levi] out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.”

Clearly, God had His own purposes. And lest anyone think it was because God foresaw faith and chose these because they would chose Him, I offer Paul’s argument of God’s choice of Jacob over Esau in Romans 9:11 “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.”

These OT examples were another reason that compelled me to embrace the “Calvinistic” understanding of God’s salvation. Combined with credible and overwhelming NT verses on this matter, it is pretty clear God does the choosing in matters of salvation.

Critics argue God would be unjust to randomly elect only some persons for salvation in the age of grace (NT). Using that premise (which I personally deny), why was God not unjust for randomly electing only some persons in the age of law (OT)?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I enjoyed reading this post, but I do have a question regarding the choosing of Israel and how that fits into election.

I am a Southern Baptist of twenty years and previous from that a Methodist (although I was extremely young). So like you I have some family that have some Wesleyan/Arminian leanings but I would say only slightly.

I have been studying reformed theology for a month. One of the things I struggle with is that I think in our attempt to put God's Word (and Him) in a systematic structure we wind up with a distortion of the message (sometimes a slight one and sometimes a big one). If I had to pin it down I would say I am a moderate Calvinist.

Here's my question? I know the OT says that Israel is God's elect

Isaiah 42:1; 45:4

And we know from Scripture that not all of Israel was(is) saved even though they were His elect. How does that correspond to those that are "elect" according to Calvinist teachings