Unconditional Election—The Chief Doctrine in Scripture (By Sonny Hernandez)
Election is the most sublime and formidable doctrine in Scripture. Now, to clarify, when I speak of election, I am not referring to the doctrine of election that some Arminians believe. Arminians believe that God elects individuals based on the condition of foreseen faith or disbelief. Instead, when I broach the subject of election, I am referring to unconditional election, whereby God freely chose to predestine His chosen clay pots, and reprobated those whom He eternally fitted for perdition.
Historically, prominent Arminians like Wesley, loathed unconditional election. Wesley fiercely called unconditional election “a doctrine full of blasphemy.” Arminians frivolously incriminate Calvinists of believing in a god that treats men like robots, and are incessantly denigrating the doctrine of unconditional election because it is at variance with their beloved “contra causal freedom” idol. Liberal Calvinists, who claim to affirm double predestination, will insolently regard unconditional election as a minor doctrinal position in the Reformed confessions, a non-salvific issue that Calvinist and Arminian buddies can debate, or a minor disagreement that should never divide brothers in Christ.
Moderate Calvinists [crypto-Arminians] fail to realize that their liberalism and ignorance has blinded them from seeing how important unconditional election is: without it, no one would be saved! In fact, the entire testimony of Scripture and all of the content in the confessions [WCF/LBCF] point to election. Everything has been sovereignly decreed by God—the prime agent—who works all things according to His glory. The apostle Paul would concur. In Ephesians 1:11, Paul said that the elect of God are προορισθέντες [Pro: before + horizo: to determine] by Him who works “all things” [τὰ πάντα; neuter] according to the counsel of His will.
Unconditional election must be preached! No matter how reluctant moderates are on preaching unconditional election, it is impossible to interpret or understand many essentials of the Christian faith without it. As an example, consider the following points which are essentials of the gospel:
1. Simplicity of God
All of God’s attributes, which include His divine sovereignty to predestine or reprobate, are identical to His essence. Therefore, denying God’s sovereignty, is tantamount to denying God.
There is complete harmony in the operation and latitude of the Godhead, per the stipulations of the covenant of redemption. God the Father [unconditionally] loved and chose His elect before the foundation of the world. God the Son willingly and voluntarily died in the stead of sinners [the elect] that His Father had given to Him. And God the Spirit sealed those whom the Father had given to the Son.
God is the author of justification. Those whom God foreknew, He predestined, and justified. Sinners, chosen by the Father, are justified by saving grace that is particular, not universal. The grounds of our justification is Christ’s righteousness (extra nos) that is not imputed to everyone, but only to the elect. And the instrument by which God justifies the elect is through faith alone in Christ alone, whom God set forth to be a propitiation for the elect
4. Definite Atonement
The true gospel [viz. good news] is an actual atonement, not the potential one that Arminians believe. Biblically, Christ died for all of the elect. Therefore, all of the elect for whom Christ died are guaranteed redemption, reconciliation, and His righteousness is imputed to them. The Arminian gospel is a false gospel because it obstinately alleges that Christ loved and died for everyone in the entire world. However, we know this to be false because everyone in the entire world will not be saved, and many will be separated from Christ on the Day of Judgement.
5. Heaven & Hell
Those whom God predestined for glory, per His sovereign decree of election, are guaranteed heaven, while those reprobated for destruction, are guaranteed hell [viz., everlasting, conscious torment].
As previously stated, Arminians, who believe in free-will and not free-grace, have and will despise the doctrine of unconditional election. As a result, they will accuse sovereign grace believers of being hyper-Calvinists or neo-Gnostics. Similarly, moderate Calvinists will do the same.
Historically, hyper-Calvinists restrict the preaching of the cross to only those they think are saved, by appealing to the doctrine of election. This appalling notion is heresy! Biblically, I believe in the unrestricted, promiscuous preaching of the Gospel to all without exception.
Unashamedly affirming unconditional election is not neo-Gnosticism, as Arminians have impetuously alleged. I am not arguing that one must be able to understand and define every single intricate detail about election with precision in order to be declared saved. Professing Christians, in the rudimentary stages of their faith, may be unlettered on much of Christian dogma and vernacular that are used in academic settings.
However, when a professing Christian has been shown the plain reading of Scripture, which undoubtedly affirms God’s sovereign plan of election and reprobation, then the sheep will follow the voice of their Savior who unashamedly preached unconditional election (cf. Matt. 22:14; Luke 4:26-27; John 6:37; 10:27), and they will not follow the voice of strangers who oppose it (cf. John 6:66; 10:5).
How would I respond to someone who adamantly rejects or excoriates unconditional election? I would not intentionally stupefy myself or grossly compromise by referring to that person as a brother in Christ who is saved by a blessed inconsistency. I would not anathematize them either. Instead, without reservation, I would witness to them! True love warns, and true love does not compromise.
Praise God that Paul was an ardent predestinarian. He was a predestinarian because he was not ashamed of the Gospel. Can you say the same?