The assault against the doctrine of election is never ceasing, which is not surprising because more clearly than any other doctrine it demonstrates God’s indisputable sovereignty. Against this, man has ever rebelled. Man’s chief lust has always been to be his own “god.”
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This is a subject which has been much discussed in recent Reformed theology in connection with the doctrine of predestination and especially in connection with the doctrine of reprobation. Appeal has been made by some theologians to the fact that this expression, eodem modo, is rejected in the Conclusion of the Canons of Dordrecht in order to modify—in fact, to change radically—the doctrine of reprobation as taught and confessed in the first chapter of the Canons.
Of the Canons of Dordt, it is true, as of the prophet inZechariah 13:6, that its wounds are “those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” In those houses of God where there is such effusive profession of love and esteem for the Canons that all rulers and teachers in the house are made to swear an oath in the Name of the Lord, that they “heartily believe and are persuaded that all the articles and points of doctrine, contained in the Confession and Catechism of the Reformed C
The doctrine of sovereign predestination is a truth which has been constantly attacked by the enemies of the truth. Augustine, the first in the New Testament Church to develop this doctrine, was called upon to defend it against the enemies of sovereign grace. Gottschalk rotted in prison because he confessed this truth. Luther wrote his famous and powerful, “Bondage of the Will,” in defense of sovereign predestination as that truth was attacked by the humanist Erasmus.
From the lofty heights of theological contemplation to the deepest soul-wrenching cry of human distress, the truth of sovereign election casts an aura of heavenly bliss on every spiritual need. It is good for us to consider together how necessary the doctrine of election is for our personal assurance of salvation.
Of the myriad objections and misrepresentations which have been and continue to be brought against the doctrine of predestination two are extremely serious. It is alleged that the doctrine itself cannot be preached. It is also commonly held that the Reformed Churches cannot preach election and reprobation on the mission field. In fact, it is said that the Reformed Churches which maintain the doctrine of predestination cannot do mission work because of that very fact. Neither of these charges is new. Enemies of the truth have been saying these things literally for centuries.
It is Reformed to maintain the truth of sovereign reprobation. The man who denies reprobation not only shows himself to be outside the Reformed camp, but shows himself actually to be an enemy of the Reformed faith itself. Reformed believers confess double predestination—this is, not only God’s election of some men, but God’s reprobation of others.
Most “evangelical Christians” would very enthusiastically subscribe to the words which Jonah uttered in the fish’s belly: “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). For they tell us that salvation is totally the gift of God. It can not be earned by man’s works, but is the work of God’s grace alone. And yet, very few actually consider the cause of salvation to be the sovereign and unchangeable election of God.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. ”