Unconditional Election
Statement of Doctrine

"An eternal, divine decree which, antecedently to any difference or desert in fallen men themselves, separates the human race into two portions and ordains one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting death."

Scriptural Support

Acts 13:48; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:9; Romans 9:10-18; Titus 3:4-7; Romans 11:4-7; 1 Corinthians 1:27-29; Romans 8:28-29; John 10:26-27; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 1 Corinthians 4:7; John 6:44, 65; Romans 9:6-7,16,22-24; Philippians 1:28-29

Types of Election

  1. Election of Individuals to Salvation
    Romans 8:29-30 / Romans 9:11-12 / John 15:16 / Psalm 65:4 / 1 Kings 19:18 / Ephesians 1:4-5

  2. Election of Nations to knowledge of True Religion
    Amos 3:2 / Psalm 147:20 / Deuteronomy 7:6-8; 10:15

  3. Election of Individuals to External Means of Grace

  4. Election of Individuals to Certain Vocations

  5. Election of Angels

Proofs from Reason

  1. If Total Depravity is true, then it logically must follow that if any are saved, God must choose out those who will be the objects of His grace. God is at liberty to deal with sinners as He pleases; He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy.

  2. Objections, briefly summarized:

    • Why does God not save everybody?

      1. We are not told why God does not save everybody, but we believe Scripture teaches this.

      2. That answer belongs to His secret counsel.

      3. The marvel of the whole thing is not that God doesn't elect everybody, but that He has elected any.

    • God is represented as acting arbitrarily or without reason.

      1. We are not told why God does not save everybody, but we believe Scripture teaches this.

      2. To assert that God is acting arbitrary is to assert more than any person can know.

Faith and Good Works

  1. Faith and Good Works are the proof and not the basis for election. God's purposes are in eternity and not time.

  2. Faith and Holiness are the consequents, not the antecedents, of election.
    Ephesians 1:4; 2:8 / John 15:16 / Titus 3:5 / II Timothy 1:9 / Romans 11:2-5 / Acts 11:18; 18:27

  3. Arminian view places election in the hands of man.
    Acts 5:31; 13:48; 22:14-15 / Romans 2:4 / Jeremiah 31:18-19 / Luke 1:15 / 1 John 4:19 / Ephesians 2:9-10


  1. Statement

    • We believe that from all eternity God has intended to leave some of Adam's posterity in their sins. The decisive factor is found in God's will alone.

    • God did not make men sinners, and it is because they are sinners that they are left to destruction.

  2. Scripture Proof

    • Proverbs 16:4 / 1 Peter 2:8 / Jude 4 / I1 Peter 2:12 / Revelation 13:8; 17:17 / Romans 9:22-23; 11:8-10 / I1 Thessalonians 2:11 / Acts 13:41 / John 12:39-40 / Deuteronomy 2:30

    • A word study on "hardening." It is never by direct influence, but by permission that God allows men to follow their evil impulses without His restraining grace. God is not the "immediate and efficient cause" although He is ultimately responsible for the occurrence of a hardened heart.

  3. Is there injustice to the non-elect?

    • Doctrine is based on Total Depravity. It is not a decree to condemn innocent men.

    • The sinner's sinfulness constitutes the ground of his reprobation. Election is the grace of God, while reprobation is the sin of man.

  4. State of the "Heathens"

    • If the Arminian theory were true (i.e. Christ died for all men and the benefits of His death are actually applied to all men), then it would be expected that God has made some provisions for the gospel to be communicated to all men.

    • Multitudes have been left with no chance to hear the gospel and have died in their sins. If God had intended to save them, undoubtedly He would have sent them the means of salvation.

  5. Purpose of the Decree of Reprobation

    • To Furnish an External Exhibition of God's Hatred of Sin and to be a Manifestation of God's Justice

    • Secondary Purposes with regards to the elect

      1. So they more deeply appreciate the riches of divine love

      2. So they are thankful for the blessings they have received

      3. So they are led to a deeper trust of their Heavenly Father

      4. So they are motivated to love their Heavenly Father and to live as pure lives as possible

      5. So they more greatly abhor sin

      6. So they walk closer to God

Infralapsarianism and Supralapsarianism: a Debate Among Calvinists

  1. The basic question is, "When the decrees of election and reprobation came into existence were men considered as fallen or as unfallen?"

    • Infralapsarianism states the order of Election as God proposing the following:

      1. To create,

      2. To permit the fall,

      3. To elect a multitude out of their sins and to leave the others to suffer the just punishment of their sins,

      4. To give His Son for the elect's redemption, and

      5. To send the Holy Spirit to apply the redemption to the elect.

    • Supralapsarianism states the order of Election as God proposing the following:

      1. To elect some men who were to be created to life and the others to condemnation,

      2. To create,

      3. To permit the fall,

      4. To give His Son for the elect's redemption, and

      5. To send the Holy Spirit to apply the redemption to the elect.

  2. We cannot speak of salvation or reprobation without first contemplating sin.

    • God is truly sovereign, but this sovereignty is not exercised arbitrarily -- it is exercised in conjunction with His other attributes.

    • All mankind by the fall lost communion with God and are under His wrath and curse. God, out of His good pleasure, elected some unto everlasting life.

Many are Chosen

  1. "God is free in election to choose as many as He pleases and we believe He who is infinitely merciful and benevolent and holy will elect the great majority to life."

    • Although some might claim it does, Election does not imply a great majority of mankind will be lost.

    • Christ is to have preeminence in all things and one could believe the Devil will not win even in terms of numbers.

  2. The Reasons behind this belief.

    • The Kingdom of God is always described as far greater and grander than Satan's. The final number of the redeemed is said to be uncountable, while the lost are never so magnified or emphasized.
      Luke 20:35 / I Timothy 6:17 / Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:1, 8-27 / Matthew 5:3 / Hebrews 11:16 / 1 Peter 3:19

    • Grace's operation is uniformly represented as mightier than sin's.

Infant Salvation

  1. A lot of Calvinistic theologians have held to this tenet of Infant Salvation. There is nothing in the Calvinist doctrine which prevents this belief.

    • They believe the Scriptures plainly teach that the children of believers dying in infancy are saved.

    • They depend on God's mercy regarding the pardon and salvation of all children dying in infancy.

  2. Of course, this is not to imply that infants are born sinless and innocent. The doctrine of Original Sin (i.e. Total Depravity) applies to infants as well as adults.

    • "Their salvation means something, for it is the deliverance of guilty souls from eternal woe."

  3. This doctrine does not find a logical place in Arminianism or any other system.

    • To be logically consistent, it would seem that any system which puts salvation on a "personal act of rational choice" must demand either probation after death so a choice can be made or condemnation.

    • Dr. S.G. Craig writes: "For according to the Arminians, even the evangelical Arminians, God in His grace has merely provided men with an opportunity for salvation. It does not appear, however, that a mere opportunity for salvation can be of any avail for those dying in infancy."

  4. What did John Calvin think?

    • Dr. R.A. Webb summarizes his teachings on the subject: "Calvin teaches that all the reprobate 'procure' -- (that is his own word) -- 'procure' their own destruction; and they procure their destruction by their own personal and conscious acts of 'impiety,' 'wickedness,' and 'rebellion.' Now reprobate infants, though guilty of original sin and under condemnation, cannot, while they are infants, thus 'procure' their own destruction by their personal acts of impiety, wickedness, and rebellion. They must, therefore, live to the years of moral responsibility in order to perpetrate the acts of impiety, wickedness and rebellion, which Calvin defines as the mode through which they procure their destruction. While, therefore, Calvin teaches that there are reprobate infants, and that these will be finally lost, he nowhere teaches that they will be lost as infants, and while they are infants; but, on the contrary, he declares that all the reprobate 'procure' their own destruction by personal acts of impiety, wickedness and rebellion. Consequently, his own reasoning compels him to hold (to be consistent with himself), that no reprobate child can die in infancy; but all such must live to the age of moral accountability, and translate original sin into actual sin."


  1. Election is a sovereign free act of God, through which He determines who shall be made heirs of heaven.

  2. The elective decree was made in eternity.

  3. The elective decree contemplates the race as already fallen.

  4. The elect are brought from a state of sin and misery into a state of blessedness and happiness.

  5. Election is personal, determining what particular individuals shall be saved.

  6. Election includes both means and ends, -- election to eternal life includes election to righteous living here in the world.

  7. The elective decree is made effective by the efficient work of the Holy Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases.

  8. God's common grace would incline all men to good if it were not resisted.

  9. The elective decree leaves others who are not elected -- others who suffer the just consequences of their sin.

  10. Some men are permitted to follow the evil which they freely choose, to their own destruction.

  11. God, in His sovereignty, could regenerate all men if He chose to do so.

  12. The Judge of all the earth will do right, and will extend His saving grace to multitudes who are undeserving.

  13. Election is not based on foreseen faith or good works, but only on God's sovereign good pleasure.

  14. Much the larger portion of the human race has been elected to life.

  15. All of those dying in infancy are among the elect.

  16. There has also been an election of individuals and of nations to external and temporal favors and privileges -- an election which falls short of salvation.

  17. The doctrine of election is repeatedly taught and emphasized throughout the Scripture.
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