cartoon: t-shirt idea for the elect only

cartoon: t-shirt idea for the elect only September 21, 2010

I have a deep appreciation for Reformed Theology, a theological movement that began with Martin Luther and John Calvin, was further developed by such theologians as Barth and Brunner, and was followed by such theologians today as Torrance and Pannenburg.

When Barth was teaching Calvin to his students, he expressed a deep fondness for Calvin, emphasizing the great contribution he made to our understanding of such things as election, predestination and damnation. However, Barth felt that although Calvin’s theology was basically Christocentric, he believed Calvin didn’t apply Christ far enough.

Barth solved Calvin’s problem by carrying what the bible calls the power of Christ and the work done in and through him by teaching that in Christ all people are both damned and elected. When the bible says Christ became sin on the cross, it means that all humanity became sin along with him and were damned, abandoned and rejected by God. When the bible says Christ was raised, it means that all humanity was raised, made elect along with him. This was predestined for all before the foundations of the earth were laid.

The bible teaches the great theme that in Christ all humanity is:

  1. damned: suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, then raised and are now seated at the right hand of God; and,
  2. elected: raised and seated at the right hand of God.

This challenges spiritual pride and entitlement.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Love it David, thank you.

  • Doug (WearyPilgrim)

    I love it too. For me, this is what the promise of the New Covenant was all about. Some will argue that it presupposes universal salvation. It could. I’d like to think it does, as did Barth. But I have to agree with him that we really don’t know — ultimately, it’s God’s call. I tend to believe that because all are elect, all are predestined to be saved, but one can bail out if he or she wants it that way. Hence the insistent invitation of 2 Corinthians 5:20: “BE RECONCILED TO GOD!” (Because you ARE.)

  • This sounds more like the version of Arminianism that I was raised with: that all are elect, since Christ died once for all. The corollary has always been, “Yes, but not all choose to receive; we exercise our free will in whether or not we recieve the free gift of God” I like to think there are passive recipients of God’s mercy, as well as active. Similarly there are those who actively refuse the gift of salvation – and these are the ones I’ve been led to be most concerned about.

    But, it seems I’ve moved on from there. My new favouties theologian is James Alison, who believes that God is without wrath, or malice, and this is perfectly demonstrated in the life of Jesus, who declared “I and the Father are one”. If they are truly One, then the total character of God can be seen in Christ, and the incarnation was the revelation of who the One true God really is, thereby shattering all the myths of a God of war that prevailed in the Hebrew tradition. The bottom line is, God really does like us, in spite of our sin, and irrespective of our response to him. And that’s a beautiful place to be: dwelling in the unconditional “liking” of God.