These passages furnish an abundant and conclusive refutation, on the one hand, of the Lutheran view that election is simply God?s determination from eternity to provide an objective salvation for universal humanity and, on the other hand, of the Arminian view that election is God?s determination from eternity to save certain individuals upon the ground of their foreseen faith.
Roughly stated, we may say that Schleiermacher elects all men subjectively, Lutherans elect all men objectively, Arminians elect all believers, Augustinians elect all foreknown as God?s own. Schleiermacher held that decree logically precedes foreknowledge and that election is individual, not national. But he made election to include all men, the only difference between them being that of earlier or of later conversion. Thus, in his system, Calvinism and Restorationism go hand in hand. Murray, in Hastings? Bible Dictionary, seems to take this view.
Lutheranism is the assertion that original grace preceded original sin and that the Quia Voluit of Tertullian and of Calvin was based on wisdom in Christ. The Lutheran holds that the believer is simply the non-resistant subject of common grace while the Arminian holds that the believer is the cooperant subject of common grace. Lutheranism enters more fully than Calvinism into the nature of faith. It thinks more of the human agency, while Calvinism thinks more of the divine purpose. It thinks more of the church, while Calvinism thinks more of Scripture. The Arminian conception is that God has appointed men to salvation, just as he has appointed them to condemnation, in view of their dispositions and acts. As Justification is in view of present faith, so the Arminian regards Election as taking place in view of future faith. Arminianism must reject the doctrine of regeneration as well as that of election, and must in both cases make the act of man precede the act of God.
All varieties of view may be found upon this subject among theologians. John Milton, in his Christian Doctrine, holds that ?there is no particular predestination or election, but only general...here can be no reprobation of individuals from all eternity.? Archbishop Sumner: ?Election is predestination of communities and nations to external knowledge and to the privileges of the gospel.? Archbishop Whately: ?Election is the choice of individual men to membership in the external church and the means of grace.? Gore, in Lux Mundi, 320 ? ?The elect represent not the special purpose of God for a few, but the universal purpose which under the circumstances can only be realized through a few.? R. V. Foster, a Cumberland Presbyterian opposed to absolute predestination, says in his
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