Arminian Today

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Faith Receives but Does Not Merit Election by Thomas Oden

These wise words come from Dr. Thomas Oden on the subject of faith and whether it is meritorious in election.  He writes this in his recommended book, The Transforming Power of Grace,

Faith is not a meritorious cause of election, but it is constantly attested as the sole condition of salvation.  Faith merely receives the merit of atoning grace, instead of asserting its own merit.  God places the life-death option before each person, requiring each to choose.  The ekletos are those who by grace freely believe.  God does not compel or necessitate their choosing.  Even after the initial choice of faith is made, they may grieve and quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Faith is the condition under which God primordially wills the reception of salvation by all.  “He chooses us, not because we believe, but that we may believe; lest we should say that we first chose Him” (Augustine).  Faith receives the electing love of God not as if it had already become efficacious without faith, but aware that God’s prescience foreknows faith like all else.

In accord with ancient ecumenical consent, predestination was carefully defined in centrist Protestant orthodoxy as:

“The eternal, divine decree, by which God, from His immense mercy, determined to give His Son as Mediator, and through universal preaching , to offer Him for reception to all men who from eternity He foresaw would fall into sin; also through the Word and Sacraments to confer faith upon all who would not resist; to justify all believers, and besides to renew those using the means of grace; to preserve faith in them until the end of life, and in a word, to save those believing to the end” (Melanchthon).

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/01/2013 at 10:50 AM

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