Systematic Theology that the divine decree ?is unconditional in its origin and conditional in its application.?
(a) What God does, he has eternally purposed to do. Since he bestows special regenerating grace on some, he must have eternally purposed to bestow it, in other words, must have chosen them to eternal life. Thus the doctrine of election is only a special application of the doctrine of decrees.
The New Haven views are essentially Arminian. See Fitch, on Predestination and Election, in Christian Spectator, 3:622 ? ?God?s foreknowledge of what would be the results of his present works of grace preceded in the order of nature the purpose to pursue those works and presented the grounds of that purpose. Whom he foreknew ? as the people who would be guided to his kingdom by his present works of grace, in which result lay the whole objective motive for undertaking those works ? he did also, by resolving on those works, predestinate.? Here God is very erroneously said to foreknow what is as yet included in a merely possible plan. As we have seen in our discussion of Decrees, there can be no foreknowledge, unless there is something fixed, in the future, to be foreknown and this fixity can be due only to God?s predetermination. So, in the present case, election must precede prescience.
The New Haven views are also given in N. W. Taylor, Revealed Theology, 373-444; for criticism upon them, see Tyler, Letters on New Haven Theology, 172-180. If God desired the salvation of Judas as much as of Peter, how was Peter elected in distinction from Judas? To the question, ?Who made thee to differ?? the answer must be, ?Not God, but my own will.? See Finney, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 1877:711 ? ?God must have foreknown whom he could wisely save, prior in the order of nature to his determining to save them. But his knowing who would be saved must have been, in the order of nature, subsequent to his election or determination to save them and dependent upon that determination.? Foster, Christian Life and Theology, 70 ? ?The doctrine of elections the consistent formulation, sub specie eternitatis, of prevenient grace... 86 ? With the doctrine of prevenient grace, the evangelical doctrine stands or falls.?
(b) This purpose cannot be conditioned upon any merit or faith of those who are chosen, since there is no such merit, faith, itself being God?s gift and foreordained by him. Since man?s faith is foreseen only as the result of God?s work of grace, election proceeds rather upon foreseen unbelief.
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