Friday, December 29, 2006

The truth about Election that may surprise you

John Calvin writes: “Paul’s words in the first chapter of Ephesians are clear (v.3): Blessed be God who hath blessed us in Christ, according as He hath chosen us before the foundation of the world.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.68, emphasis mine)

Is this the truth about Election? Surprisingly, the answer is "No." It's a misquote that is frequently made among prominent and leading Calvinists, historical and modern.

Adrian Rogers explains why: When you take half of the truth, and make that half of the truth the whole truth, then that half of the truth that you’ve made the whole truth no longer becomes the truth.

Well that’s exactly what many prominent and leading Calvinists have done at Ephesians 1:4 when they unintentionally misquote the verse as stating: ‘God chose us before the foundation of the world.’

Ephesians 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.”

Not only has Calvin, and a multitude of leading Calvinists, taken only half of the truth, they've accidentally omitted the most important and the most significant part of the truth at Ephesians 1:4, namely, that it is in Christ that we are chosen before the foundation of the world. Click here for the details that you may find shocking!

Moreover, the whole thrust of Ephesians chapter 1 is an elaborate discussion on the riches that we have in Christ Jesus. In the first 13 verses of Ephesians chapter 1, you will find Paul making no less than 11 references to in Christ!, such as in Him, in Christ, in the Beloved, ect.

Refer to this discussion on Ephesians 1:4 to view the epidemic that has taken place among historical and modern leaders of Calvinism. There you will find a broad spectrum of leading Calvinists who overlook the single most important facet of Election, that is, in Christ, do we have Election. In other words, we are not chosen in the Father in order to become chosen in Christ. Rather, we are chosen in Christ, and on that basis, do with have a legal Adoption in the Father.

Calvinists should look at 1st John 2:24 and ask themselves this question: What does being in the Son mean, and what does being in the Father mean, and what role does it play in biblical Election?

You have the priviledge of adoption in the Father as His legally adopted child, purely on the basis of your position in His Son.


Richard Coords said...

The scandal of misquoting Eph 1:4 on an epidemic level has even reached where In Christ is lopped off of Eph 1:4 citations:

Jason S writes: "For instance, Arminians and Calvinists believe(even though the Arminian says that God's decision was based on man's forseen faith) that the Father chose some for salvation before the foundation of the world(Eph 1)."

Jason S adds: "They explained it as follows; when we arrive in heaven, on one side of the door it reads "chosen before the foundation of the world", and the earthly side "whosoever will, may come." It was a clever attempt, but in the end, it was clear that whosoever will may come was the predominant theme."

Bruisedreed comments: "I would say though, that the elect are His from or before the foundation of the earth...even when they were lost they were His."

Douglas writes: "It is God who made the deciding factor before the very foundation of the world."

Ettienne even catches Clement of Alexandria AD 190, doing it: "If every person had known the truth, they would all have leaped into the way, and there would have been no election...You are those who are chosen from among men and as those who are predestined from among men, and in His own time called, faithful, and elect, those who before the foundation of the world are known intimately by God unto faith; that is, are appointed by Him to faith, grow beyond babyhood."-Clement of Alexandria(AD 190)"

Henry Frueh catches D.L. Moody in this blunder: "As D.L. Moody once observed about heaven's gate, it says "Whosoever will" over the entrance and "Predestined before the foundations of the world" as you walk through!"

Clement and Moody are two shocking catches.

Lest anyone think that lopping off "in Christ" from Eph 1:4 is insignificant, John Calvin warns:

Calvin warns: “Paul testifies indeed that we were chosen before the foundation of the world; but, he adds, in Christ (Eph 1:4). Let no one then seek confidence in his election elsewhere, unless he wish to obliterate his name from the book of life in which it is written.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.126, emphasis mine)

Yet, Calvin was one of the biggest offenders. When "in Christ" is lopped off of Eph 1:4, how do you think that impacts the meaning of the verse?

Jason S said...

Richard- Isn't it obvious that being chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world is referring to the covenant of redemption? The Father had elected a people for salvation, the Son agreed to die for and secure their salvation, and the Spirit would apply the merits of Christ to the elect in time.

John Gill states this truth far better than I could....

"and this choice is made in Christ; and the persons chosen are chosen in him, and by being chosen they come to be in him; for this refers not to their openly being in him at conversion, as believers, but to their secretly being in him before time. Christ, as Mediator, is the object of election himself; and all the elect were chosen in him as their head, in whose hands their persons, grace, and glory are, and so are safe and secure in him:"

Before the foundation of the world indicates that this is an eternal decree. Paul is not speaking of one being predestined unto glorification once that person "made a decision for Christ." Rather the plan of redemption, including the means of it were eternally in the mind of the triune God before the world was.

Jim Bublitz said...

You err in inferring that Calvinists ignore or overlook the "in Him" in that passage. You may have found one particular spot where one man (Calvin) didn't say the entire verse, but if you read any commentaries written by Calvinists, you will find that a great many of them go into detail on the "in Him". I'm certain that Calvin does too, in other places. That's why your style of expose' is so misleading Richard.

When the verse says "He has chosen us in Him", what is the object of the choosing? The answer is "us". No matter how you slice it, that's what is being chosen in that passage. No matter what kind of spin you put on that passage, the "us" is still the object of the choosing action.

Jim Bublitz said...


I think you are going for the fringes again, when you quote two-bit theology novices, like myself and those on my blog. Some of them have been Calvinists for less than a year, for pete's sake. And I don't know any Calvinist who really honestly thinks DL Moody is a full-blown Calvinist. There has always been a lot of debate about his theological positions, even though I know he was friends with Spurgeon.

So, why don't you stick to quoting well known published Calvinists in your quotes. In case you don't know who that is, here's a few names that most Calvinists would respect as one of their own: John Calvin, Frances Turretin, John Owen, Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Hodge, BB Warfield, Lorraine Boettner, AW Pink, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John MacArthur, John Piper, RC Sproul, James White.

That's not a comprehensive list, but if you quote from that list you'll have a better chance of being taken seriously by Calvinists who read your stuff. Quoting "Sally from Jim's blog" isn't going to hold a lot of water with most thinking-people.

Richard Coords said...

To Jason S,

Gill wrote: "by being chosen they come to be in him."

In my writeup on Eph 1:4, I point out that this a common interpretation of the Reformed. I devote a section to it, in that writeup.

The assumption then is that the elect in the Father are chosen to become in Christ. However, this is a drastive divergence from the text. In my writeup, I detail that the Reformed view of Election, is primarily "in the Father," with the end result that these are then chosen "to be" in Christ. However, we are chosen in Christ to be made holy. So what you have is a slide-of-hand with the words "to be." Many of the Reformed brethren do not realize what being in the Father means. See 1st John 2:24, and tell me what your thoughts on that verse are, when it references "in the Father."

Richard Coords said...


Check out my writeup on that verse, and you will find a whole page of erroneous quotations of that verse, made by prominent leaders of the Reformed. MacArthur's quote especially stands out. In fact, its their statements that have resulted in others copying it, accidentally.

Although reading that writeup might seem like reading about how "your own mother is both ugly and evil," :) you might find it worthwhile.

Jim Bublitz said...

No problem Richard, I know who the "ugly mother" is, and it's your ongoing effort to misrepresent Calvinists.

If there were some major conspiracy by Calvinists to partially quote this verse by leaving out "the critical missing piece", namely the "in Him" part of the verse, you would think it would be a consistent behavior for each Calvinist.

I just heard MacArthur on the radio tonight, emphasize the "in Him" part of the verse, and if you search for this verse, you will currently find 16 of his sermon transcript pages that include the "in him".

Richard Coords said...


If you read the Eph 1:4 writeup, and came away from it with the perspective that Calvinists are being misrepresented, then I need to add a section discussing your point. Yes, Calvinists affirm being chosen in Christ.

Calvin stated: “Paul testifies indeed that we were chosen before the foundation of the world; but, he adds, in Christ (Eph 1:4). Let no one then seek confidence in his election elsewhere, unless he wish to obliterate his name from the book of life in which it is written.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.126, emphasis mine)

Many Calvinists have added that we are chosen in Christ because God does nothing without His Son.

However, Calvin, who said this, was the biggest offender of accidentally misquoting Eph 1:4.

Calvinistic Election is principally a 2-Election theory: a primary Election in the Father and a secondary election in Christ, as per Eph 1:4, such that "the elect" in the Father are eternally hidden in Him, and then are chosen "to become" in His Son. When you quote Eph 1:4 without "in Christ", it gives the connotation of the primary Election of Calvinism, namely, an "in the Father" election. Hence the misquote: "He chose us from before the foundation of the world." MacArthur may be fully aware of being chosen in Christ, but when they misquote it, it shows what they subconsciously think of Election. I want to bring out the subconscious element and discuss it openly. Does Calvinism teach an "in the Father" Election, as a primary election to the secondary election in Christ?

By saying that the elect are chosen in Christ, does it not pressupose a prior election in the Father?

Alan E. Kurschner said...


Of course we are chosen "in Christ." Did you think that Calvinists believed that we were chosen "in Muhammad"?

Your desperate attempt to believe that you ultimately chose God is apparent.


Richard Coords said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Coords said...

Reposting, fixed the link:

Does this mean that you would like to have a dialogue on this verse?

In my writeup on Eph 1:4...

...I've pointed out that Calvinists often interpret that God having chosen us "in Christ", actually means that:

1) God chose us "into" Christ.

2) God chose us "to be" in Christ.

3) "The chosen" are chosen "to be" in Christ.

So, there is definitely some funny-business going on.

The reality is that in union with Christ, do we have Election with the Father. In other words, you have the privilege of adoption in the Father as a born again child of God on the basis of your position in His Son. That's Arminian Election, and it's fairly straight-forward and faithful to the exact wording of the Ephesians text.

I have inferred that Calvinism is a 2-Election theory, the first being a primary Election "in the Father" with a secondary Election "in the Son". Chad, upon hearing this, quickly slammed it on the basis of John 14:6. I agreed wholehearted, which is why I am not a Calvinist. However, I supplied a host of quotes from Calvin, which appears to teach an "in the Father" election, and I have, to date, heard nothing back. So I went to Study Light Forums, and posted it there. Feel free to view it:

You are welcome to register and join in with that conversation there, or post it here. Either way, I'll be awaiting your feedback. Regardless, the Bible teaches that a person becomes sealed "in Christ" only after believing in the Gospel. (Eph 1:13) You may offer your commentary on that verse as well. Yoy may visit my website to see Calvin's explanation of that verse.