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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/election/elmss921.s.htm
MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell
Part II: Examining Scripture On The Will-Related Doctrines
Chapter VI: Examining God's Gospel Call In Scripture
- If our definition of election holds God does not choose who will believe the Gospel, we appear to imply God does not effectually cause men to believe in Christ through God's call in the Gospel itself.
- We now view those Scripture words used to describe God's Gospel call to discern if their meanings and/or usage in Scripture prove the existence of a divine efficacious grace where God authors faith.
- Meaning "call, calling, invitation" or one's "station in life; position, vocation," klaysis appears eleven times in the New Testament, cf. Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Engl. Lex. of the N.T., p. 436-437; Thayer's Grk.-Engl. Lex. Of the N.T., p. 349-350.
- In 1 Corinthians 7:20, Ephesians 1:18; 4:1,4; Philippians 3:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2 Timothy 1:9 and Hebrews 3:1, klaysis is used for a vocation or the experience of heeding the Gospel's message with no indication that the faith response to the Gospel is efficaciously authored by God.
- However, three passages link this Gospel call to divine election: these passages are Romans 11:28-29; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 and 2 Peter 1:10, and they require our examination as follows:
- 2 Peter 1:10 presents Peter merely asking his readers to verify their claim to be Christians by their lives without giving any substantive insight to prove the divine call in the Gospel is efficacious.
- According to Charles Hodge, Romans 11:28-29 appears to equate klaysis with eklogay (elect), cf. Charles Hodge, Com. On the Ep. To the Romans, 1886, reprint (Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1974), p. 376. However, the context does not reveal just how the Remnant to be justified will come to believe! God's call and election here could merely refer to God's supply of the Gospel with post-justification blessings given to the Remnant when they believe the Gospel!
- In 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, the call God gives to those who are to believe is clearly presented, but there is no hint this call depends on a divine choice of people to be justified.
- Thus, passages besides those using klaysis must be used to prove efficacious grace exists.
- As the verbal adjective of klaysis, klaytos is used of one who is "called, invited" or even "summoned" to court (this latter meaning appears in Classical Greek), cf. Bruce M. Metzger, Lexical Aids for Students of N. T. Grk., p. 44; Liddell & Scott, A Grk.-Engl. Lex., 9th rev. Ed., p. 960; Ibid., Arndt & Gingrich, p. 437; Ibid., Thayer, p. 350.
- However, the New Testament passages using klaytos offer no relationship between God's will and man's will. True, a Calvinist may claim the Romans 8:28-30 passage using klaytos supports belief in a divine efficacious call as an outworking of the eternal divine decree, but that list of God's works there can also merely describe divine works done for those who will be conformed to the image of Christ, and that with no cause-effect relationships in the subjects of divine and human wills, cf. H. E. Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, 1905 as cited in S. Fisk, Divine Sov. and Human Freedom, p. 116.
- This verb in its literal sense means to "summon" or figuratively allegedly to be "a divine call . . . to faith . . . or to a special task" according to the lexicon by Arndt & Gingrich, Ibid., p. 722.
- Though proskaleo is widely and generally used of Christ's call of the disciples or others, and in Acts and the epistles it appears to describe people who similarly summon others (Ibid., Thayer, p. 546-547), God is at least possibly seen in Acts 13:2 and 2:39 calling people to justification through the Gospel.
- Nevertheless, both Acts 13:2 and 2:39 fail to reveal the source of the human faith expressions involved: Saul and Barnabas are called by God unto their missionary ministries in Acts 13:2 and God calls men in general to believe in the risen Christ in Acts 2:39.
- A Calvinist may seek to claim the expression, "as many as the Lord . . . shall call" (KJV) in Acts 2:39 pictures specific classes of the elect who are efficaciously called by God, but the Greek words, hosos an there rendered "as many as" do not necessitate a restrictive expression; rather, they form an "indefinite relative" describing individuals in a broad sense, cf. Robertson, A Grammar Of the Grk. N. T. In the Light of Historical Research, 1923, reprint (Nashville, The Broadman Press, 1934), p. 733.
- Conclusion - The Greek New Testament words and their usage that describe the call of God in the Gospel do not prove the existence of divine efficacious grace. One must look elsewhere for such proof.