Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Files: Abasciano - Clearing Up Misconceptions about Corporate Election

In Brian Abasciano's article Clearing Up Misconceptions about Corporate Election, he explains that corporate election is primarily corporate and secondarily individual, but it’s a mistake to think of corporate election to the exclusion of the individual. In corporate election, the election of the group is a consequence of the election of the corporate head and representative. Thus the nation of Israel is chosen in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and believers are chosen in Christ. Just as in OT times, individuals were free to join or leave the group, so also, in the new covenant, individuals are free to join or leave.

Next, Brian deals with misconceptions about Corporate Election. He addresses the misconception that Corporate Election Excludes Individuals by pointing out that although election is primarily corporate, it's secondarily individual. This misconception is cleared up primarily by reviewing the definition and explanation of corporate election.

Brian addresses the misconception that Corporate Election Is Not the Election of People, but Merely the Election of an Empty Set, by pointing out that Christ, the corporate head is chosen first, so 'the set' is never empty. Further, while stating that before the foundation of the world, it is true only Christ is in the covenant, Christ represents and embodies the group. Brian supports this point by pointing to the biblical language of God's choice of Jacob as being the choice of the Nation of Israel (Gen. 25:23, Mal. 1:2-3). Brian contrasts this explanation to the 'foreseen faith' view - in fact foreknowledge in Romans 8:29 and 1 Peter 1:2 means a "prior acknowledgement of a people as God's covenant partners". Brian also explains Ephesians 1:4, showing that the phrase 'in him [Christ]' implies Christ's election which in turn means we share in Christ's election as we are united to Christ.

Brian clears up the misconception that the Concept of a Primarily Corporate Election Is Illogical, which was advanced primarily by Thomas Schreiner. Brian uses a baseball team example as well as the biblical examples of Rahab and Ai. Schreiner argues that individuals must be elected to become part of a group in order to speak coherently of group election. But the members of Rahab's family were not selected to be members of her family when Rahab was told anyone in her house would be spared.

Brian clears up the misconception that Corporate Election Empties Divine Election of Meaning and Makes Human Choice Decisive, by pointing out that God decides to have a people and God saves that people. This objection simply faults corporate election for not being unconditional individual election.

Finally, Brian clears up the misconception that Election Unto Spiritual Salvation in the Old Testament Was Individualistic. Brian points out even most Calvinist scholars view election in the OT as corporate and they in turn face an unnatural shift from corporate to individual election from the OT to the New, particularly in light of the fact that Christ is the head of the seed of Abraham.

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