Thursday, January 21, 2010

Response to Marcus on Ephesians 1

Marcus was kind enough to read and respond to my post on Ephesians 1. While his response covers a wide range of topics, D.V. I will restrict my response to the key topic: election in Christ.

Marcus: Did God predestine us or did he predestine the plan of salvation? God predestined us not a plan. Does a plan get adopted like children? Does a plan get seated in heaven?

This indirectly get’s at the key issue of understanding ‘in Christ’. The answer to your first question is both. God does choose us but He also chose and predestined to save through the Gospel. John 3:16, 1 Cor 1:21 especially in light of 1 Cor 2:7.

So the next question is naturally, is the Gospel the foundation of our election or is our election the foundation of the Gospel. In other words, does God first say ‘I want to glorify these people’ and then say ‘to do so I will use Christ, the cross and their union to Christ through faith’ or on the other hand does he first say ‘Christ is the foundation of Gospel through the cross and these people are united to Christ through faith’ and then say ‘I will glorify them and adopt them into my family’?

Me: The election is not of certain individuals whether or not they are united to Christ. It is all those and only those who are united to Christ. The election does not unite people to Christ. Rather it adopts them to God through their union to Christ. We are united to Christ by grace through faith.

Marcus: I agree election is not of certain individuals whether or not they are united to Christ. I have never heard or read James White, RC Sproul, John MacArthur, John Piper or any Calvinist say that it was.

Ah, but by implication, you say it when you say:

God has chosen to predestine some of us to unite with Christ and be reconciled to Himself.

If God first chooses us and then chooses to unite us to Christ, our election is not 'in Christ'. Again, if God chooses us before the foundation of the world and then in time uses Christ to fulfill that choice, we are not elected 'in Christ'. But if God views us as united to Christ through faith and then chooses to adopt and glorify us, then our election is in Christ.

Me: Also the election is in Christ, not unto union with Christ.


Marcus: I don't believe the author has been able to prove that there is a difference between being elected in Christ and being elected into union with Christ.

The text says "in Christ", not "into union with Christ", nor are these two things gramatically equivalant.  If I said I chose the chips in the cabinet for dinner, I am not saying I ate the chips in the cabinet.

Thanks again for the response!

God be with you,
Dan

2 comments:

William Watson Birch said...

Marcus: I don't believe the author has been able to prove that there is a difference between being elected in Christ and being elected into union with Christ.

There's that Calvinist inference that I just don't get. The text does not read that God elected us "to be" in Christ, but that He elected "us in Him. . . ." The prepositional phrase "to be" belongs properly to "holy and blameless before Him. . . ."

Good job!

Marcus McElhaney said...

Here is my 2nd Response. Thanks for this!

http://mmcelhaney.blogspot.com/2010/01/arminian-chronicles-response-to-marcus.html