Friday, March 18, 2011

A Primitive Baptist Reading For The Day


Doctrine for Dummies--Part 5

Written by David Montgomery

Of Election

I have often wondered why so many people despise the doctrine of election. I think it ought to be the most favorite doctrinal tenet of all, but alas, it isn't. You bring up election and people draw their swords and challenge you to a duel. They take it personally and get angry and put out with you. Folks might go along on the other points of doctrine, but when you mention election, forgetaboutit!

Interestingly, it was the doctrine of the Resurrection that once that got people all riled up. When Paul was preaching on Mar's Hill, they loved every minute of it until he brought up the resurrection and then they quickly vamoosed. Election was no problem with them but they could not handle the thought of life from the dead. Today, it’s the other way around...Resurrection? yes! yes! yes! Election? no! no! no!

What do we mean by Election? One writer put it like this: "God didn’t draw straws; He didn’t look down the corridor of time to see who would choose Him before He decided. Rather, by His sovereign will He chose who would be in the Body of Christ. The construction of the Greek verb for 'chose' indicates God chose us for Himself. That means God acted totally independent of any outside influence. He made His choice totally apart from human will and purely on the basis of His sovereignty." I like that. The "Monty" definition is a little shorter: “Before the beginning of time, God chose out who would be saved.” This doctrine is clearly supported in the scriptures as proved by the following verses:

Matthew 24:31 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Ephesians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

Romans 8:33 “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”

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;)”

Titus 1:1-2 “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”

1Peter 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

OK, so it's taught in the Scriptures...that ought to be enough for anyone, but I like to throw out this next point when discussing election: I believe that the doctrine of election "gets" more people in Heaven than any other doctrine. Consider the following…

* Free Will—where you choose God. But what if I choose God but he doesn’t want me? Doesn’t God have free will too? Read my essay on “Free Will.”

* Gospel regeneration—where you are saved when you believe and accept Christ. But what if I live in a place where the gospel is not preached? I think most of the whole human race would be going to hell if this doctrine were true. What if I am mentally incapacitated or die in infancy?

* Baptismal regeneration—where you are saved when you are baptized. But who authorizes and administers the baptism? Could I get just anyone to dunk me? If not, then who? What if I believed but I live in the North Pole and these official baptizers aren’t around and I go out to ice fish and this killer blizzard comes up and I get frostbite and a polar bear comes by and I had just rolled around in a tub of bacon to help the frostbite and the bear loves bacon and etc, etc?

* Baptism by proxy—when someone is baptized in your stead thus getting you out of hell and into heaven. But what if my name never makes the list or I accidentally get skipped? I'm down there in hell saying, "Hey waitaminit, I was supposed to be next! You missed me! Stop! Go back!"

* Perseverance by proxy—you totally blew it in life but your living relatives are lighting candles and "praying and paying" to get you out of hell and into heaven. So, what if my relatives are jerks and are content to leave me in hell? There was this one time, when I was kid, and I got stuck in this tunnel we had dug and I was like, screaming for help and my swine brothers just stood there laughing their heads off. Losers! Think I’m gonna trust my eternal destiny to those clowns?

* Nirvana by degree—you are continuously reincarnated until you finally get it right...think Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day." Dude! That's worse than being stuck in a tunnel!

Or check this out: Let’s say that I got my ducks in a row, I’ve been “saved “and all is right in my world. But then I think of all those who do not believe the gospel, and therefore, are going to hell. Then I say to myself, “Well Dave, why are you sitting around watching TV? Get off of this couch immediately! Your friends and family are going to hell unless you convince them to believe!” Oh, what a burden that would be to live under...but wait a minute…I believe in the doctrine of election! God took care of all this before the world began. It is all in His hands. What a relief! How do you spell relief? E-L-E-C-T-I-O-N (only those over 35 will get the joke).

Some have said to me, “Well it just ain't fair!” Did you feel sorry for the person you did NOT vote for in the last election? Did you send them an apology for NOT voting for them? You are going to choose only one person to be your spouse, right? Why not get married to everybody? That sounds fair.

Some have said, “God wants everybody to be saved.” God wants everybody He elected to be saved, and so they shall without the loss of one. Let’s go back to our political example. I wonder what would happen if every voter voted for ALL the candidates? That would result in chaos and confusion. God is not the author of confusion; he is a God of order. Election is an orderly process and it suits the nature of God. He used an orderly system in creation and likewise an orderly system in salvation. He does not do anything haphazardly or on the fly. In the various doctrines listed above, there will be many cases where some will not do what is necessary to get saved…well, if God wants everybody to be saved then He must be mighty frustrated when one doesn’t make it. The thought of a frustrated God really frustrates me.

Some have said, “What if someone believed but they were not one of the elect?” That is impossible because believing is a spiritual work, and only those with spiritual life can do a spiritual work. Read my essays on “Total Depravity” and “Regeneration.”

And finally, there is the tired old “Well if I believed like you do, then I would go out and party hardy and sin and yadda, yadda, yadda” Uh, yeah, I double dog dare you to go out and do all that stuff and see how happy the Lord is with you. Election does not take away our responsibility to obey God’s commandments; rather, it should increase our desire to obey them. And not only that, it should change our motive in obeying them…before we might be obedient to get “saved.” Now, we are obedient out of thanksgiving *because* He saved us.

Okee dokee, I have given scripture, I have made comparisons in the natural world, and I have tried to respond to questions and challenges…what more can I do to prove this to be the truth and show that it is a most comforting doctrine? It is my favorite doctrine and I never get tired hearing about it.

Hope this has made some sense. Thanks for reading.

Thank you,

David Montgomery

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