Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why Do I Believe in the Doctrine of Election?


A few weeks ago, I had a rather interesting discussion/debate with two co-workers of mine on the doctrine of unconditional election. One of them was strongly opposed to the doctrine, while the other one had never heard of it and was simply interested in learning what it was all about. While I probably did not do a very good job of defending the Scriptural teaching on election in a loving manner, (actually, I think I may have confused my listeners quite a bit), I was thankful for the opportunity, and that the Lord gave me boldness to speak.

Needless to say, I have been thinking about this topic alot lately. I am reading an excellent book by C. J. Mahaney called "Humility: True Greatness" (which, Lord willing, I will post more about later). As I read the chapter on identifying evidences of grace in others, I came across this quote by Spurgeon. It really helped me to see the ultimate reason the doctrine of election stands firm, besides the fact (and I believe Spurgeon's veiwpoint is also based upon this truth) that God is the Sovereign Creator, therefore we should be silent and stand in awe at the mystery of His grace (Romans 9). If we should be asking anything, it ought not to be "Why does God send people to hell if they are just going to go there anyway?" but "Why should God save anyone, when we are all children of His wrath, bent on rebellion against and hatred for Him since the day of our birth?"




"I believe in the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I could never find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love."
-Charles H. Spurgeon




Praise the Savior for His Sovereign, saving grace given FREELY to us through the cross! Worship and adore Him and thank Him that our salvation IS a gift, and not something that we can come to on our own. We love only because He first loved us! He chose us, we did not and COULD not choose Him! For how can dead men grab hold of anything to give it life? He is dead! Indeed, we who were once dead in our sins are now alive in Christ by His sovereign electing grace! Soli Deo Gloria!

12 comments:

Elisabeth said...

I too believe in the doctrine of election. I know that if God hadn't chosen me I certainly wouldn't have chosen Him.

Good for you for having the guts to share your beliefs about it :)

Chris McCarthy said...

Good post! Thats awesome that you got to talk to your co-workers about that. Are they Christians?

Yeah I don't think that ANYBODY would have chosen God on our own. God put the desire in our hearts to search for Him.

Katherine Estes said...

The one who had never heard of election is not a believer. And the other one may be, but I am not sure.

I pray that our conversation at least sparked a desire for them to learn more. And that I would have greater boldness to keep speaking the truth!

Anonymous said...

hey Katherine... i find it very interesting that you wrote about that discussion if its the discussion i am remembering ....

I too believe in God's sovereignty to the core.. it is everything.. but the very definition of sovereignty has to be questioned.. because to get to the doctrine of Election, on has to have a very strong definition of Sovereignty.. and thus proof for that definition...

What makes God soverign? ....

God is truly sovereign and His Will will come to pass.. and has been since the beginning of time... the doctrine of Election very much seems to limit God's sovereignty to the point where He seems less sovereign by having to "choose" those who will be saved instead of working His Will throughout the choices of His creation!

One question... which God is bigger and more sovereign; one who has to just choose and ultimately send others to hell (possibly playing favorites (some have said) and we know he has no favorites from scripture) or one who can work His Will through us fallen creatures who need His grace and mercy and our choices by freewill which is evident in scripture as well?

oh and in the comments for this blog... if it is me you are thinking of who "may be a christian and you are not sure" why are you not sure?

Your Brother in Christ,

Brian

Katherine Estes said...

Brian, I do believe man has free will, but ONLY under the over-arching reality of God's sovereignty. It is a mystery we will never fully comprehend, but in a beautiful way, they both exist. In regards to salvation, those without Christ cannot choose Him without God first drawing them (John 6:44) then once they are brought from death to life, they put their faith and trust in the Savior. But even that faith is something given of God of His good pleasure. As are all things, and all issues pertaining to salvation. Who are we to question God when we do not understand His ways? (Romans 9) I know I cannot fully explain this, I understand that it we cannot wrap our minds around it and natural inclination is very much against this doctrine, because we are all prone to try and fit God into our image in some way. But we must come to a point where we fall silent and amazed that God's ways are higher than ours. God does not "just choose" and send others to hell just for fun, or because He likes some people more than others. He has mercy on whom he wills, and hardens whom he wills, for His own glory. He is a just and holy God and all have sinned. That sin cannot be simply excused, His wrath must be poured out upon those who have committed it. In His rich mercy, He has chosen to save some by pouring out His wrath on His Son, that He might save some.

If God did not make a way for us to be saved, if God did not work out this plan and bring people to Himself, how can we know that ANYONE can be saved? If we are fallen creatures as you said, and if God is indeed sovereign, yet it still depends on US coming to Him, isn't that putting our wills above God's? And if this is true, how can we be sure anyone can be saved?

I simply cannot see how saying that God is not free to choose to have mercy on whom He wills and harden whom He wills puts a limit on His sovereignty. It explodes with amazing grace and comforts me every day. I am not saved because I ever loved God or put my faith in Him because i thought it was a good idea. I am saved because God has loved me with an everlasting love - and that is my hope for my future and final salvation as well. Salvation is ALL of God.

I understand you will still disagree but I hope you will consider my very poor defense and prayerfully examine God's word. It is a crucial doctrine to wrestle with, and very important to the message of the Gospel itself. I have no right to say that you are not a Christian if you do not believe in this doctrine - indeed there are many solid Christians who don't hold to it. I hope my comment was not taking in a condemning way, I do have a very hard time seeing how Christians could deny this truth, but I do know not all Christians believe this as I said before.

There are countless other things that could be said but I hope that cleared a few things up. I do not wish to start an argument. But that Christ alone may be magnified and that the truth of His gospel will be defended.

Brian Lee said...

Katherine

I honestly was offended a little bit that you said you werent sure of my salvation and i was seeking to understand why you said that because i know i am and you have heard my testimony and know what i am doing in my life.. what i am studying etc.. so i wanted to seek understanding on that point...

I also in no way am starting an argument nor do i want to start an argument .. (sorry if it was taken that way).. i seek to discuss these things because they are important to discuss. and i want to understand better what you believe... i feel it is very important to discuss these things so that i am come upon a better understanding of both sides and can truly dig into the scriptures for the truth.. it is also a way of remaining open to the doctrine.. i am in no way closed minded about this issue.. i am sorry if i have come across that way at times...

so Katherine.. my question for you is.. are you willing to continue to discuss this as brother and sister in Christ?

Brian Lee said...

discuss with both of us having an open mind and open heart?

Katherine Estes said...

Brian, Yes I am willing to discuss these things. But we must remember that discussion does not prove anything. At the end of the day, we must be left face-to-face with what God's word says and wrestle with it on our own. An open mind can be a very, very dangerous thing if we are not examining in light of and living on the foundation of Scripture. Not taking our ideas and trying to fit Scripture around them, but dealing with Scripture as its own interpreter. Honestly, I cannot give you adequate answers for alot of things you ask since I am still very unlearned, and will never be finished learning. (This is why I hope you and my dad can get together and hopefully that will be very helpful for you to see why we believe what we do and why I say some of the things I do.) Even though I do not know much, what I do know and believe I believe very strongly and will continue to stand on the truth God has graciously shown me in His word and helped me to understand by His Spirit, (though I am very weak in clear communication skills.)

I do not mean to offend you by what I said. I did give my answer to your concern in the preceding comment. And ultimately it does not matter what I think, Brian. I mean this as seriously and kindly as possible.

As far as discussions go, I do hope you will be able to meet with my dad before/if we discuss anything further. My dad is a very wise man and I trust his judgment. I hope God will use him to help clear up alot of the confusion I have caused you.

Brian Lee said...

thanks katherine...

i am truly living on the foundation of scripture and am always seeking out the truth of scripture and its true meaning and interpretation. where i stand now is based on what i believe is the true interpretation of scripture.

you are right that it does not matter what you think ultimately, but my life should be showing the fruit of the Spirit if i am truly a believer... that should ultimately be how my faith is shown to the world... not the providence aspect of my theology.... is it showing and proving to be true?

I absolutely do base my entire faith and salvation on God as the free gift that i have received through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)by calling upon the name of the Lord and thus hearing the gospel, believing it, and obeying what it says (Romans 10)...

i really do enjoy our conversations and i am sure i will enjoy meeting and talking with your dad..

thanks again

Katherine Estes said...

Brian, in response to your question of your faith showing/proving itself, I must say that it is a very good question. Something we must ask ourselves continually - selfexamination is very important. And it's also important to ask others as well. But it would be very unwise to have me be the one to answer this question. I suggest you speak with someone to whom you have been accountable, someone who knows you well, such as a parent or pastor. If you don't have something like an accountability partner, another male Christian around your age with whom you share struggles and pray for one another, I can not encourage you strongly enough to think/pray about finding one. Not only are my parents a big part of helping me in my walk with God, but I have found that intimate fellowship with sisters in Christ is also key and reaps tremendous blessing. Hope this helps!

Brian Lee said...

yes very much so.. i have all of those things.. i just ask because i was wondering if it is not showing out considering you would question my assurance of salvation .. but anyways..

Katherine Estes said...

If you are still interested in meeting with my dad, he said he could meet you for dinner on Thursday night if that is good for you.

And the Calvin picnic thing at my church is at 6 pm, July 10. 11146 Ponder Road Lincoln, DE 19960 (302)424-2166 (There is no sign - we meet in the light blue building).