Monday, July 02, 2012

Election is the Gospel

Robert Jenson, in speaking of Barth's doctrine of election as the "election of grace", writes:

"That grace is God's completely free act of choice means that it is not caused or motivated by anything other than itself. Therefore there is nothing that can undo it, nothing that can call it into question. When God's election of grace is proclaimed to me the grace which it contains is absolutely dependable. Therefore it is Gospel" (Alpha and Omega – thanks for this wonderful book recommendation, Lincoln!)

Jenson’s little book, written back in 1963, is a model of clarity; he has a wonderful turn of phrase, not for its own sake, but it such a way that really helps you “get it”. One of the difficulties I have with modern (usually north American) neo-Calvinist theologies concerns their understanding of election (or at least the way they dogmatically locate election). And though the Barthian “electing God” and “elected Man” business does bewilder some, the word that sums it up for me is “beautiful”. There is much beauty to enjoy in Jenson’s little book.


At 7/05/2012 6:04 AM, Blogger Weekend Fisher said...

The thing that bothers me about the Calvinist view of election is that it substitutes "election" for Jesus himself as savior; Jesus is in the TULIP under "L" for limited. In the gospels, "grace" comes through Christ. "Election" is one of the spiritual gifts received through Christ. Christ is the mediator between God and man, and not God the mediator between Christ and man. That's what it means that grace comes through Christ.

What makes our salvation dependable is that God is faithful.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

At 7/07/2012 1:53 PM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Yes and yes! Election, I think, is used by Paul not as an abstract theory about decrees, but as a pastoral comfort.


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