It is written:
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
We have learned that the first major doctrine of Calvinism-total hereditary depravity-is not found in the Word of God but, instead, in the paganism of the Gnostic heretics who introduced their corrupt teachings into Christianity.
The second main point of Calvinism which we need to examine is known as “unconditional election.” To help us understand what is meant by “unconditional election,” let us allow a Calvinistic creed to explain it.
“That some receive the gift of faith from God, and others do not receive it, proceeds from God’s eternal decree….According to which decree He graciously softens the hearts of the elect, however obstinate, and inclines them to believe; while He leaves the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and obduracy….“Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, He has out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of His own will, chosen from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault from their primitive state of rectitude into sin and destruction, a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom He from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect and the foundation of salvation. This elect number, though by nature neither better nor more deserving than others, but with them involved in one common misery, God has decreed to give to Christ to be saved by Him, and effectually to call and draw them to His communion by His Word and Spirit; to bestow upon them true faith, justification, and sanctification; and having powerfully preserved them in the fellowship of His Son, finally to glorify them for the demonstration of His mercy, and for the praise of the riches of His glorious grace;….This election was not founded upon foreseen faith and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality or disposition in man, as the prerequisite, cause, or condition on which it depended; but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc…..The good pleasure of God is the sole cause of this gracious election; which does not consist herein that out of all possible qualities and actions of men God has chosen some as a condition of salvation, but that He was pleased out of the common mass of sinners to adopt some certain persons as a peculiar people to Himself,….And as God Himself is most wise, unchangeable, omniscient, and omnipotent, so the election made by Him can neither be interrupted nor changed, recalled, or annulled; neither can the elect be cast away, nor their number diminished.” (Synod Of Dort, The Canons Of Dort, 122-123 (Kindle Edition)
The main ideas of the doctrine of unconditional election may be summed up in this way.
First: before God created the universe, He decided that some people were going to go to Heaven, and the vast majority would go to Hell. This decision was not part of His foreseeing the choices of mankind, but on His own decision. As such, even man’s choices are predetermined by God. This is why Calvinist writers and creeds claim that even Satan and Adam and Eve sinned only because God arranged for it to be so (as we will notice in future lessons).
Second: according to this idea of unconditional election, God sent Jesus to die for the sins of those whom He elected (and ONLY for those). This gets into the notion of Limited Atonement (the third major doctrine of Calvinism which we will examine eventually). Sufficient it to say here that God predestined these elect ones to be saved, and so eventually He even granted them faith. According to Calvinism, faith is something which God simply gives to the elect. As we will learn, this doctrine also is unbiblical.
Third: another basic idea of the doctrine is that election to salvation is completely unconditional on the part of man. As such, there are no conditions that a person must meet in order to be saved. According to Calvinism, God has no conditions for salvation that a person must meet.
Fourth: the number of elected cannot be changed. Man’s destiny is fixed before he is even created, and it is so fixed because God predestined such. A saved person cannot be lost; and an unsaved person cannot be saved. As such, there is no use in preaching the Gospel to the lost or in trying to reach them (one wonders why Jesus didn’t know this when He issued the Great Commission in Mark 16:15-16); and there is no use in trying to encourage and edify the saints since they cannot do anything to forfeit salvation (why Paul dind’t know this is also beyond my understanding-see 1 Corinthians 10:1-12).
In order to try and justify their teachings, Calvinists will often take many Scriptures and many Scriptural ideas out of context. That is where our journey into unconditional election will begin; and by the time we reach the end of the journey, it will be clear that the Bible itself clearly demolishes the doctrine of unconditional election.