Corporate And Individual Election In Romans 9: A Response To Brian Abasciano -- By: Thomas R. Schreiner
JETS 49:2 (June 2006) p. 373
Corporate And Individual Election In Romans 9:
A Response To Brian Abasciano
It is gratifying to know that someone is still reading my article on Romans 9 more than ten years after its publication! Of course, it would be even more gratifying if Brian Abasciano agreed with me!1 He does signal his agreement with my claim that Romans 9–11 “concerns the salvation of Israel,” but he differs with me regarding corporate election. I will argue below that Abasciano’s argument is flawed because the connection he draws between corporate election and the participation of individuals is unpersuasive both logically and biblically. Before I respond specifically, I would like to sketch in some elements of my previous article, for it will serve as the necessary background for my reply.
I. The Issue In Romans 9 Is Salvation
The issue that concerns Paul in Romans 9–11 is the salvation of Israel, or more precisely, the fact that most Israelites in his day were unsaved. It is clear from Romans 8 that the promises originally given to Israel belonged to believers in Jesus Christ, and it seems that the majority of those who believed in Christ in Rome were Gentiles.2 The eschatological gift of the Spirit had been given to Gentiles, signifying that the age of promise had arrived (cf. Rom 8:9–10). The new covenant promise that God’s law would be kept was being fulfilled in Gentile Christians (Rom 8:4; cf. Ezek 11:18–19; Jer 31:31–34). Believers in Jesus Christ are “sons of God” (huioi theou, Rom 8:14, 19),3 God’s children (tekna, Rom 8:16, 17, 21), and adopted (huiothesia, Rom 8:15, 23). They are God’s elect (eklektoi, Rom 8:33) and heirs (kleronomoi, Rom 8:17) and are assured of future glory (doxa, Rom 8:17,
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