Soteriological Implications Of Five-Point Calvinism -- By: Philip F. Congdon

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 08:2 (Autumn 1995)
Article: Soteriological Implications Of Five-Point Calvinism
Author: Philip F. Congdon


Soteriological Implications
Of Five-Point Calvinism

Philip F. Congdon

Adelaide College of Ministries, Inc.
South Australia

I. Introduction

The theological issues relating to the doctrines of election and salvation have been covered extensively in recent years. Basically, there are four views on election:

1) God elected those individuals who would be saved based on His foreknowledge that they would believe;

2) God unconditionally elected individuals He would save based on His sovereign choice alone;

3) God elected those individuals who would be saved, yet also gave them the free will to choose whether or not to believe (a seeming paradox);

4) God elected those who would be saved through the “Elect One,” Jesus Christ; all who by faith are “in Christ” are elect in that corporate Body.1

None of these views is without some difficult exegetical problems in Scripture.2 , I find the theology of five-point Calvinism (view #2 above3 ) to be inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture.

It is not the purpose of this essay to respond to specific issues in the doctrine of election and salvation. Exponents of free grace salvation have discussed biblical and exegetical problems with the doctrines of five-point Calvinism.4 Rather, the purpose of this essay is to discuss the

implications of this doctrine.

II. Five-Point Calvinism and the Attributes of God

Classical Calvinists sometimes state that the individual unconditional election view is necessary to account for God’s attributes. They emphasize God’s sovereignty, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and immutability. But do corporate election and free will disregard God’s attributes? Let me offer a few thoughts.

1) What takes the greater power (omnipotence): to create beings who have no ability to choose—who are mere pawns on God’s cosmic chessboard—or to create beings who have the freedom to accept or reject God’s salvation? I submit, the latter. How powerful is God? Powerful enough to save sinners? Yes. Powerful enough to change sinners into obedient saints? Yes. Powerful enough to keep saved sinners saved, even if they fail to always live faithful, obedient lives? Yes. This, I submit, is the real demonstration of the power of God’s salvation in Christ. When we stand in glory, we will see many who apparently b...

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