I praise God for the rich history of theological precision in the Protestant church. For this reason I love to quote from the best confessions of the faith in my foundations class on Sunday mornings at Immanuel. For example, I used three of my favorite confessions in yesterday’s first in a two part study on the doctrine of election. I think you’ll find these summaries of biblical teaching deeply edifying and, perhaps, challenging to much of evangelicalism’s conventional thinking on this essential doctrine.
Belgic Confession of 1561 (Article 16): We believe that all the posterity of Adam, being thus fallen into perdition and ruin by the sin of our first parents, God then did manifest Himself such as He is; that is to say, merciful and just: merciful, since He delivers and preserves from this perdition all whom He, in His eternal and unchangeable counsel, of mere goodness has elected in Christ Jesus our Lord, without any respect to their works; just, in leaving others in the fall and perdition wherein they have involved themselves.
Heidelberg Catechism of 1563 (Q/A 54): Q. What do you believe concerning the “holy catholic Church” (i.e., the universal church) of Christ? A. That the Son of God from the beginning to the end of the world, gathers, defends, and preserves to Himself by His Spirit and Word, out of the whole human race, a Church chosen to everlasting life; and that I am and forever shall remain, a living member thereof.
Westminster Larger Catechism of 1648 (Q/A 13): Q. What has God especially decreed concerning angels and men? A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of His mere love, for the praise of His glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, has elected some angels to glory; and in Christ has chosen some people to eternal life, and the means thereof: and also, according to His sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of His own will (whereby He extends or withholds favor as He pleases), has passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of His justice.
What, if anything, in these statements about election do you especially appreciate? Do you believe they accurately reflect biblical teaching on election? What attributes of God are on display when it comes to election?
Part 2 in our study of the doctrine of election is next week. Hope you can make it!