Charles Pinkney

A People Chosen by God

God's Elect, the Ekklesia (Called Out Ones)

The question being examined should, I hope, bring clarity to the question, "Does God choose men and nations or is it a result of human will and action? We will look at a number of Bible texts.

"Many are called but few are chosen." What do we understand about those who God calls? Many Christians consider themelves to be among the chosen by virtue of church doctrine. Others have been converted, through various life circumstances to become followers of the Messiah, Jesus. Many others it seems, can't be persuaded to believe. These constitute "unbelievers." They can not believe that any kind of transformative power from God (a god) can make us into anything other than the lives into which we were born or any kind of "new creation."

The doctrine of the Election of God is a doctrine debated by Biblical scholars. Theologians are quick to label a viewpoint and to argue for or against it. The question of Election has been debated for centuries, since the time of Augustine and before. Certainly the first apostles had an understanding of the supernatural reality of becoming a Spirit-born creation. After the protestant reformation provided access to the Bible, new theological understandings were offered. One of these reformers of the mid 16th century was John Calvin who made an attempt at systemizing the theology of Protestantism. Today the label of "Calvinism" boils down to whether or not a human being has any measure of free will or not. This view is widely debated and carries a stigma with it. I have personally never considered myself a Calvinist only a believer. Those "reformers" who followed Luther and the Reformation and Calvin affirmed this doctine to some degree.

What we must realize is that Luther and Calvin and others after the Reformation, carried the legacy of long held doctrine of the priesthood and the precepts the practices of the Roman church. They have held since the days of Luther the amillenial view that that the church with its heirarchy of leadership represents the true 'Kingdom of God' a doctrine clarified by St. Augustine. This is a non-biblical teaching. The scripture refutes a great many of the Roman church practices. Scripture reveals that the Kingdom although experienced in part Spiritually, is yet to be ushered in as a worldly reality. Amillenialists do not look for a literal kingdom ruled by the Messiah Jesus on earth. Premillenialists as myself look to a future judgment after the return of Christ the Messiah which is spoken of in the Old Covenant prophetically as 'the Day of the Lord.'

The reformers departed only slightly from their predecessors, holding to the view that Israel and Judaism had been replaced by the church, the doctrine of replacement theology. Church denominations that followed the reformation, to our deep shame and misfortune, thoroughly purged anything Judaic from their eschatology (study of last things) so the hundreds of prophetic promises given concerning Israel and to the Messianic kingdom to come, were twisted to point to the Christian world and not to describe the place of Israel at the end of the age. This has resulted in a metaphorical, allegorical rendering of Old Testament prophecy, Jesus, the apostles, and "The Revelation" of John. This erroneous rendering of scripture resulted in centuries of anti-semitism and thousands of souls being slaughtered by the Roman church in the crusades, and by the Calvinists themselves. Later it bore the fruit of the anti-Jewish, Nazi holocaust.

Sacerdotalism, priestly powers, before and after the reformation, were required to offer any promise of heaven, through infant baptism, and sacramentalism, another dangerous error. Even today in depictions of the Life of Jesus or the gospel we see Jesus and the apostles as not really Jewish. A recent movie, The Son of God, fell into this same error.

What Calvinists Believe

Theology and scholastic dogma is persistant. So today thousands of mainline churches remain in the grip of the tradition called "Calvinism." Calvinism has certain tenets, some of which I believe are valid and some not. There is a mnemonic given to summarize the principles:
(T) Total depravity of humankind. Yes, though not always apparent, man is NOT essentially good (a humanistic, Universalist view) nor can he be called a "child of God." (See referance to Who Are God's Children?"

(U) Unmerited favor. Yes, I believe this is a valid principle. We recognize that scripturally, salvation is a free gift but it is also a divine action. Christ died for the sins of all! The power of God avails through Jesus' resurrection. It is this power that can make us into a regenerated being. Salvation is not the result of mere mental ascent to an idea or kind of doctrine. There is an additional requirement, that we must believe in our hearts unto righteousness and confess before others that Jesus is Savior and Lord. It is this action that comes from a depth of belief that God plants within us a heartfelt conviction.

ARMENIAN DOCTRINE SAYS: "I owe my election to my faith." CALVINIST DOCTRINE says, I owe my faith to my election. (J I Packer) Packer, John Piper and R.C. Sproul are notable spokesmen for Calvinistm.

(L) Limited atonement. Calvinists hold that Jesus did not die for all while some remain objects of wrath.
Did Jesus die for all
? My answer is "Yes, Christ died for all. But oddly, not all can be persuaded to believe. "As many who will come he gives the right to become "children of God." - - John 1:12: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Redemption is free and for all. Yet, and this is a mystery to me, few receive this free gift! The Father in heaven does not force anyone to believe. Calvinists may say that He has not made salvation available to all. I can not support that notion. Our God is Loving and Fare. For whatever reason, some who are told the Good News still choose darkness over light. That is their FREELY CHOSEN WILL. Part of this mystery may be explained by the fact that God, who sees the end from the beginning, has foreknowledge of those who did choose to receive the free gift and persevere prayerfully from day to day until their days on earth are fulfilled.

(I) Irresistible Grace. According to this tenet of Calvinism no one who is God's elect can resist his call no matter how defiled in sin he/she may be. Yet, all must hear the Word of Truth that is preached. "For how will they hear unless someone is sent to preach that word." When the gospel is preached there are some who will receive the word and others that may not. (The parable of the sower and the seed. Mark 4:14) If grace is inevitable then evangelism is really nothing to be valued. Thus, this is a tenet of Calvinism that I believe to be flawed.

(P) Persistency of God's grace upon the believer. Those who are saved are preserved and guaranteed not to depart from God's love and ultimate destiny. This writer believes that we as believers who know God will continue in his Grace the provision of his continuous aid. We were saved, are being saved and will be saved hereafter. We will continue to be watchful, prayerful and repentant. And yes, this perseverence is enabled by the Power of God working in us. Any person who mentally assents to the gospel and who is a regular church attender is not automatically a regenerated believer, saved and born of the Spirit. The church today is filled with nominal Christians who do not reflect the nature of a person transformed by the power of God.

There are believers and and there are unbelievers. Unbelievers need not be pagans or people who belong to non-Christian religions. Unbelievers populate the churches that abound in every community. There are conditions that determine our being among "the called". Some may call these believers, "authentic Christians." An authentic Christian has been Spiritually recreated and transformed by the supernatural Power of God. (2Cor.5:17) Remember this text which is powerfully relevant, "The Gospel is the power of God." (Romans 1:16; Romans 15:10)(1Cor.2:4)

A Measure of God's Faith Is Needed to Come to God
If we are spiritually dead in our natural state, as I am convinced is the case, then it is impossible for anyone to take the first step of faith and believe. We are like sleepers and dreamers who followed blindly, the course of this world before we are regenerated by the power of God. Now if we look at the world through a Biblical lense, we are told that it is characterized by lust, greed, selfishness, evil desires and every evil work. Yes, the Bible is clear that there is "evil." The secularist avoids any reference to the notion of evil. It becomes simply "a choice." There is a spiritual, chronological process for those who come to God. It may derive from the prayers of others. For some it may derive from the life experience that molds us. God works both in our thoughts and in our circumstances. This is portrayed by the hands of the potter who molds the clay from pressure of his hands outside and within.

In the Bible references that I will show you, we will find clear proof that it is by God's power that we are selected (elected) and called out out of this fallen world of darkness into the God's Kingdom of light and the knowledge of "Truth." (The link above is a graphic of the fallen world contrasted with God's Kingdom which is to be restored. (- a pdf file) The word for church in Greek is Ekklesia which means called out ones.

There is overwhelming proof that God's hand of grace is at work in our calling and the transforming work of salvation as well. It also continues as we mature as believers unto godliness, abiding in the vine and bearing the fruit of a believing child of God. Why do so many fail to persue God or turn aside from the allurements of this present evil world? It is likely that they have not actually had the life changing encounter that is necessary to make them an authentic believer. A question remains to ponder: Are those who practice a form of godliness or seem to be only superficial (religious) Christians, destined to have a home in heaven and the glorious kingdom to come? I don't know but God knows.

(While God's foreknowledge and election is clear in scripture, the idea that some can never be saved is not.)

MATTHEW 20:16-20 "So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."
JOHN 15:16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and (that) your fruit should remain,
JOHN 15:19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
JOHN 17:2 "as You (Heavenly Father) have given Him (Jesus) authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
JOHN 17:9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You (Heavenly Father) have given Me, for they are Yours.
JOHN 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. (Truly chosen believers will be established and sustained.)
JOHN 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
JOHN 10:26 "You do not believe because you are not my sheep" (children of the Evil One)
LUKE 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things (heavenly Truth) from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
MARK 13: 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect (the chosen children of God) from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven...
ACTS 13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
ROMANS 8:29 For whom He foreknew, (this does not mean that the foreknown lived in a previous earth age as some teach.) He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (He knew us before we were born as he sees to the end of time from the beginning.)
ROMANS 30- - Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
ROMANS 8:38-9 - - For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ROMANS 9:22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, (whaaat!) and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
ROMANS 9:24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? ROMANS 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable
EPHESIANS 1:4-5 "He chose us in him before the foundation of the world - - " and predestined us to adoption of sons - -"
EPHESIANS 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
2THESSALONIAS 2:13 "God has from the beginning, chosen you to salvation"
ROMANS 11:7-8 " Israel has not obtained what it seeks but the elect have obtained it; the rest were blinded."
1PETER 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
1PETER 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
LUKE 18:7 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them
JOHN 15:16 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
MARK 13:20 20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
MATTHEW 24:22, 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened 24: 31 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
ROMANS 8:29 - "For those he foreknew he predestined to be conformed to the image of his son-" ROMANS 8:33 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth COLOSSIANS 3:12 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
2TIMOTHY 2:10 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
TITUS 1:1 1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
1PETER 1:2 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1PETER 5:13 13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son
2JOHN 1:1 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2JOHN 1:13 13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

EK-KLE-SI'A = Called ones The Church consists of those who are called out.
ARMENIAN DOCTRINE SAYS: "I owe my election to my faith."
CALVINIST DOCTRINE says, I owe my faith to my election. (J I Packer)

Do We Have Free Choice? Yes. Do We Have to Seek God Untiringly? Yes.
We can have more and more of God. If we purpose to draw near to Him with fervent desire and sincerity. He will reward our asking, seeking and knocking. He will meet us as we desire to know the Lord better. The enemy however, will be always at hand and his desire is to side-track us from gaining a deeper and more profound experience in Christ Jesus the Messiah.

Does Election Mean That We Have No Responsibility to Preach and Share the Gospel?
Certainly not! All believers will naturally reflect the character of God that will project and promote the way of Christ. Living the Christian life is a matter of choosing each day who we should serve. It does not mean that we must struggle to keep from falling into the snares of the evil one. We must persevere and pray for Grace to guide us in this pilgrim quest. How many of us like myself, rejected the gospel and the story of salvation that was proclaimed to us and later came to faith?

We all, in times past, have had our life style among the unsaved and the unredeemed. It is in God's own time and circumstance that we are provided with that "measure of faith" enabling us to believe and be drawn into his presence. Unless the Spirit draws us we can't come to God. We reject the gospel presentation for years and then in God's time we receive that which was before foolishness.
John 6:44: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

FOUR KINDS OF 'CHRISTIANS from "FALSE ASSURANCE": ( Teaching From R. C. Sproul )

Those who are:

3. SAVED BUT WHO DO NOT KNOW IT No one is half regenerate. It is fully complete at conversion. The conversion experience of individuals vary greatly. One should not determine their theology by their experience but by the Word of God.


FALSE THEOLOGY, leads people to be of the mistaken belief that WHAT THEY BELIEVE qualifies them to be saved.

: Doctrine of Universalism (all are saved) Justification simply by dying. All who die will go to heaven. UNIVERSALISM HOLDS THAT: There will be NO JUDGMENT or divine punishment. (Remember, Jesus taught more about hell than about heaven.)

or some accounting an accumulation of WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
90% of people surveyed believe that: "I did this or that." Righteous self interest of righteous heart

(Following the doctrines the sacraments and ordinances of the church)
The Roman Catholic church upholds the power of the priesthood to adjudicate another's entrance into heaven or hell. They, through ritual and ordinances affect God's destiny of an individual.
Following any of a number of prescribed religious practices: Baptism, Joining a particular denomination; Faithful church attendance.

Other Articles by Charles Pinkney

May 20, 2018