The Bible Doctrine
C. D. Cole
TO PART ONE
have been richly blessed by the writings of Dr. C. D. Cole. He was a great
doctrinal preacher, with the gift of putting his words into writings.
Brother Cole has departed this life and is with the Lord now. He lived
to see his Second Volume published on Sin, Salvation, Service. In fact
he died reading the book.
Station Baptist Church is printing his writings. His son has given us permission
to print them and this is the next in a series of what we hope to print.
Part I has been in print before and we are just reprinting it as it was.
Part II of this booklet will be dealt with later on in this booklet in
an introduction to the same.
Lord bless His word as it is read by those that search these pages.
Alfred M. Gormley
Pastor: Bryan Station Baptist Church
3175 Briar Hill Road
óWhat a blessed word! What a glorious doctrine! Who does not rejoice
to know that he has been chosen to some great blessing? Election
is unto salvationóthe greatest of all blessings. And strange to say,
is a neglected truth even by many who profess to believe it, and others
have a feeling of repulsion at the very mention of this Bible-revealed,
God-honouring, and man humbling truth. Spurgeon said, "There seems to be
an inveterate prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine, and although
most other doctrines will be received by professing Christians, some with
caution, others with pleasure, yet this one seems to be most frequently
disregarded and discarded." If such were true in Spurgeonís day,
how much more so in this our day. Concerning this doctrine there
is an alarming departure from the faith of our Baptist fathers. Touching
this article of our faith Baptists have come to a day when they have a
Calvinistic creed and an Arminian clergy.
But there are some who love the doctrine of Election. To them election
is the foundation dug deep for the other doctrines of human redemption
to rest upon. They love it enough to preach it in the face of criticism
and persecution. They will surrender their pulpits rather than be silenced
on this precious tenet of the once delivered faith. But all who love
the doctrine were once haters of it, therefore, they have nothing in which
to take pride. Every man by nature is an Arminian. It
takes the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, taught
by the Holy Spirit, to cause a man to love the doctrine of election.
How deeply important that believers should be learners. To do this
we must acknowledge the superior wisdom of God whose thoughts are not as
our thoughts. The Bible was given to correct our thinking. Repentance
is a change of mind resulting in a change of thinking. We are not
to come to the Bible as critics; the Bible is to criticize us. We
cannot come to the Bible infallibly, but by grace we can come humbly.
May grace be given to every writer and reader that we may have the right
attitude of heart before God. The surest evidence of a saved state
is to have the right attitude towards the Word of God. Dear reader, let
the writer warn you against "poking fun" at any doctrine of the Bible.
The doctrines of grace have found expression in two systems of theology
commonly known as Calvinism and Arminianism. These two systems were
not named for their founders, but for the men who popularized them.
The system of truth known as Calvinism was preached by Augustine at an
earlier date, and before Augustine by Christ and the Apostles, being especially
emphasized by the Apostle Paul. The system of error known as Arminianism
was proclaimed by Pelagius in the fifth century. Between these two there
is no middle position; every man is either one or the other in his religious
thinking. Some try to mix the two but this is not straight thinking.
To say that we are neither Calvinistic nor Arminian is to evade the issue.
Paulinism is represented by either Calvinism or Arminianism. The true system
is based upon the truth of manís inherent and total depravity; the false
system is based upon the Romish dogma of free-will.
to Disarm Prejudice
is no doctrine so grossly misrepresented. Brother A.S. Pettieís complaint
against the enemies of total depravity is equally applicable here, when
he says, "From hostile lips a fair and correct statement of the doctrine
is never heard". The treatment that the doctrine of election receives from
the hands of its enemies is very much like that received by the primitive
Christians from pagan Roman Emperors. The ancient Christians were
often clothed in the skins of slain animals and then subjected to attack
by ferocious wild beasts. So the doctrine of election is clothed
in an ugly garb and held up to ridicule and sport. We will now try
to strip this glorious truth of its false and vicious garment with which
enemy hands have robed it, and put upon it the garments of holiness and
Election is not salvation but is unto salvation. "What then? Israel
hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election (elect) hath
obtained it, and the rest were blinded" (Romans 11:7). "God
hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation" (II Thessalonians 2:13).
Now then, if the elect obtain salvation, and if election is to salvation,
election must precede salvation. Men are saved when they believe
on Christ not when they are elected. Roosevelt was not president when he
was elected, but when he was inaugurated. There was not only an election
to, but an induction into the office. Godís elect are inducted into
the position of saintship by the effectual call, (the quickening work of
the Holy Spirit) through which they become believers in the Gospel. See:
1:29 II Thessalonians 2:13-14
Election is not the cause of anybody going to hell, for election is unto
salvation. Neither is non-election responsible for the damnation
of sinners. SIN is the thing that sends men to hell, and all men
are sinners by nature and practiceósinners altogether apart from election
and non-election. It does not follow that because election is unto
salvation that non-election is unto damnation. SIN is the damning
element in human life. ELECTION HARMS NOBODY.
Election belongs to the system of grace. In Paulís day there was
a remnant among the Jews who were saved according to the election of grace
(Romans 11:5). The attitude of men towards election is the
acid test of their belief in grace. Those who oppose election cannot
consistently claim to believe in salvation by grace. This is seen
in the creeds of Christendom. Those denominations that believe in
salvation by works have no place for the doctrine of election in their
confessions of faith; those that believe in salvation by grace, apart from
human merit, have not failed to include election in their written creed.
One group is headed by the Roman Catholics, the other group is headed by
Election does not prevent the salvation of anybody who wants to be saved.
But the distinction needs to be made between a mere desire to escape hell
and the desire to be saved from sin. The desire to be saved from
hell is a natural desireónobody wants to burn. The desire to be saved from
sin is a spiritual desire resulting from the convicting work of the Holy
Spirit, and Godís electing grace is the very mother of this desire.
To represent election by saying that God has spread the Gospel feast, and
a man comes to the table hungering for the bread of life; but God says
"No, this is not for you, you are not one of my elect", is to misrepresent
the Holy Doctrine. Here is the truthóGod has spread the feast but
the fact is nobody wants to come to the table. "They all with one
consent began to make excuse". God knew just how fallen nature would
act, and He took no chance on His table being filled, so, He tells His
servant to go out and compel them to come (Luke 14:23). Were it
not for the redemptive work of Christ there would be no Gospel feast; were
it not for the compelling work of the Holy Spirit there would be no guests
at the table. A mere invitation brings nobody to the table.
Election means that the destiny of men is in the hands of God. Many of
us have regarded as an axiom the statement that every manís destiny is
in his own hands. But this is to deny the whole tenor of Scripture.
At no time is the destiny of the saint in his own hands, either before
or after he is saved. Was my destiny in my own hands before I was
saved? If so, I regenerated myself; I resurrected, by my own power,
myself out of a state of sin and death; I am my own benefactor and have
nobody to thank but myself for being alive and saved. Perish such
a thought! By the grace of God I am what I am. (John 1:13;
Ephesians 2:1-10; II Timothy 1:9; James 1:18)
Is my destiny in my own hands now? Then I will either keep myself
saved or I will lose my salvation. The Bible says we are kept by
the power of God through Faith. (I Peter 1:15; Psalms 37:28; John
10:27-29; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:5)
If my destiny is not safe in my own hands after I am saved then how could
it be thought to be safe in my own hands before my conversion?
The saint dies, his body is consigned to the grave and becomes a dust-heap.
Is his destiny in his own hands then? If so, what hope has he of
ever coming out of the grave with an immortal and incorruptible body?
None at all if his destiny is in his own hands.
Such a theory, that the destiny of the saint is or ever has been in his
own hands, reverses the very laws of nature and implies that water can
rise above the level of its source; that man can lift himself into the
attic by his boot-straps; that the Ethiopian can change his colour, and
the leopard can remove his spots; that death can beget life; that evolution
is true and God is a liar. The theory that oneís destiny is in his
own hands begets self-confidence and self-righteousness; the belief that
destiny is in the hands of God begets SELF-ABNEGATION AND FAITH IN GOD.
Election stands or falls with the doctrine of Godís sovereignty and manís
depravity. If God is sovereign and man is depraved, then it follows
as a natural consequence that some will be saved, none will be saved or,
all will be saved. The practical results of election are that some,
yea many, will be saved. Election is not a plan to save a mere handful
of folk. Christ gave Himself a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28;
Revelation 5:9) Godís sovereignty involves His pleasure (John 5:21;
Matthew 11:25-27) His power (Job 23:13; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew
19:26) and His mercy. (Romans 9:18)
The elect are manifested in repentance and faith and good works. These
graces, being God-wrought in man, are not the cause but the evidences of
election. (I Thessalonians 1:3-10; II Peter 1:5-10; Philippians 2:12,13;
Luke 18:7) The man who doesnít pray, who has not repented of his sins
and trusted Christ, and who does not engage in good works has no right
to claim that he is one of Godís elect.
Some False Views
Examined and Refuted
professing Christians really have no view of election. They have not given
it enough thought and study to even have any opinion about it. Many
have erroneous views. We shall notice some of them.
The view that men are elected when they believe. This view is easily refuted
for it is contrary to both common sense and Scripture. Election is
to salvation, and therefore, must precede salvation. It is nonsense
to talk about electing a man to something he already has. The man
has salvation when he believes and hence election at that point would not
be necessary. ELECTION TOOK PLACE IN ETERNITY; SALVATION TAKES PLACE
WHEN THE SINNER BELIEVES.
The view that election pertains only to the Jews. This view robs Gentiles
of the comfort of Romans 8:28-29. Moreover, Paul, who was an apostle
to the Gentiles, says that he endured all things for the electís sakes
that they might obtain salvation. (II Timothy 2:10)
The view that election took place in eternity, but that it was in view
of foreseen repentance and faith. According to this view, God, in
eternity, looked down through the ages and saw who would repent and believe
and those who He foresaw would repent and believe were elected to salvation.
This view is correct in only one point, namely, that election took place
in eternity. It is wrong in that it makes the ground of election
to be something in the sinner rather than something in God. Read
1:4-6 where election and predestination are said to be "According to
the good pleasure of His will" and "To the praise of the glory of His grace".
This view thought the popular one with the majority of Baptists today,
is open to many objections.
It denies what the Bible says about manís condition by nature. The Bible
does not describe the natural man as having faith. (I Corinthians 2:14;
John 3:3) Both repentance and faith are gifts of God, and God did
not see these graces in any sinner apart from His purpose to give them.
"Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour,
for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins",
"When they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God,
saying, ĎThen hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto lifeí",
11:18. "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves;
if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of
the truth" (II Timothy 2:25). See also: Ephesians 2:8-10;I Corinthians
3:5 Election was not because of foreseen faith, but because of foreseen
unbelief. It is not the election of Godís faithful ones, but the
faith of Godís elect, if we are to keep Scriptural words. (Titus 1:1)
It makes the human race differ by nature, whereas, the Bible says, we are
all by nature the children of wrath and all clay of the same lump. (Ephesians
2:3; Romans 9:21) Men are made to differ in the new birth. (John
It perverts the Scriptural meaning of the word "foreknowledge". The word
as used in the Bible means more than foreknowledge about persons, it is
the foreknowledge of persons. In Romans 8:29-30, the foreknown
are predestined to the image of Christ, and are called, justified and glorified.
In I Peter 1:2, the word for "foreknowledge" is the same as "foreordain"
in the twentieth verse of the same chapter, where the meaning cannot be
"foreknowledge" about Christ. Godís foreknowledge about persons is
without limitations; whereas, His foreknowledge of persons is limited to
those who are actually saved and glorified.
It is open to the strongest objection that can be made against the Bible
view. It is often asked, "If certain men are elected and saved, then
what is the use to preach to those who are not elected?" With equal propriety
we might ask, "If God knows who is going to repent and believe, then why
preach to those who according to His foreknowledge, will not repent and
believe?" Will some repent and believe whom He foreknew would not repent
and believe? If so, He foreknew a lie.
Right here is the weakness of much of modern missions. It is based
upon sympathy for the lost rather than obedience to Godís command. The
inspiration of missions is made to rest upon the practical results of missionary
endeavour rather than upon the delight of doing Godís will. It is
the principle of doing a thing because the results are satisfactory to
If we are faithful, God is as pleased with our efforts as when there are
no results. Ponder II Corinthians 2:15-16. The elect prior
to their conversion are known only to God. We are to preach the gospel
to every creature because He has commanded it. He will take care
of the results. Compare with: Isaiah 55:11; I Corinthians 3:5-6; John
6:37-45. It is ours to witness; it is His to make our witnessing effective.
Defined, Explained and Proved
is election as the term is used in the Bible? Election means a choice
- to select from among - to single out - to take one and leave another.
If there are a dozen apples in a basket and I take all of them there has
been no choice; but if I take seven and leave five there has been
a choice. Election, as taught in the Bible, means that God has made
a choice from among the children of men. In the beginning God set
His choice upon certain individuals, whom He gave to His Son, and for whom
Christ died as their substitute, who in time hear the Gospel and believe
in Christ to life everlasting. Let us amplify by raising three very
WHO DOES THE ELECTING? Who chooses the persons to be saved?
If men are chosen to salvation, as the Scriptures affirm, who does the
choosing? There must be a selection or universalism. The language
of Scripture seems peculiarly definite in reply to this question. Mark
13:20 speaks of the ELECT, whom He ELECTED, rendered in our version,
"The electís sake whom He hath chosen". The word election is associated
with God not with man. God is the CHOOSER, His people are the CHOSEN,
and grace is the source. The theology, that God votes for us, the
Devil votes against us, and that we cast the deciding ballot is entirely
outside the pale of Scripture teaching, and is almost too ridiculous to
notice. (John 15:16; II Thessalonians 2:13; Ephesians 1:4)
WHEN WAS THE ELECTING DONE? For the answer we are shut up to the
Scriptures. But the BIBLE answers with sunlight clearness.
In Ephesians 1:4 we read that "He chose us in Him before the foundation
of the world". The expression, "before the foundation of the world
is found in John 17:24, where it speaks of the Fatherís eternal
love for the Son, and in I Peter 1:20, where it refers to the eternal
determination of the Divine mind concerning the death of Christ. There
are many similar expressions. ELECTION IS ETERNAL! (Revelation 13:8;
II Thessalonians 2:13; II Timothy 1:9)
WHY WAS THE ELECTING DONE? Was it on the ground of something good
in the sinner? Then nobody would have been elected for there is none
good. Holiness is not the cause but the effect of election. We are
chosen that we should be holy not because we are holy (Ephesians 1:4).
Nor, as we have already seen, is election in view of foreseen repentance
and faith. Election is the cause of repentance and faith and not
the effect of these graces. To say that God chose men to salvation
because He foresaw that they would repent and believe and be saved is to
attribute foolishness to the infinitely wise God. It is as if the
president should issue a decree that the sun must rise tomorrow because
he foresees that it will rise; or as if a sculptor should choose a certain
piece of marble because he foresaw that it would make itself into the image
he wanted. We challenge any Arminian to raise these questions and
get his answers from the Scriptures.
are the objections brought against this doctrine. Sometimes the objectors
are loud and furious. Alas! that so many of these objectors are in
Baptist ranks. To preach this old-fashioned doctrine of our faith
as did Bunyan, Fuller, Gill, Spurgeon, Boyce, Broadus, Pendleton, Graves,
Jarrell, Carroll, Jeter, Boyce Taylor and a host of other representative
men of our denomination is to court the bitterest kind of opposition.
John Wesley himself never said harsher words against this blessed tenet
of our faith than do some so-called Baptists of today. Arminianism
that offspring of popery, has had an abnormal growth in the last decade
or two as the adopted child of a large group of Baptists.
IT IS OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION LIMITS GODíS MERCY. Right
here we criticize the critic, for he who makes this objection limits both
Godís mercy and power. He admits that Godís mercy is limited to the
believer, and to this we agree; but he denies that God can cause a man
to believe without doing violence to the manís will, and thus he limits
Godís power. We believe that God is able to give a man a sound mind
(II Timothy 1:7) and make him willing in the day of His power. (Psalms
110:2) At this point we must face two self-evident propositions.
First, if God is trying to save every member of Adamís fallen race, and
does not succeed, then His power is limited and He is not the Lord God
Almighty. Second, if He is not trying to save every member of the
fallen race, then His mercy is limited. We must of necessity limit
His mercy or His power, or go over boots and baggage to the Universalistís
position. But before we do that, let us go "to the law and to the
testimony", which says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and
I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion ...Therefore hath
He mercy on whom He will have mercy and whom He will He hardeneth" (Romans
9:15-18). It needs to be said for the comfort and hope of great
sinners, that Godís mercy is not limited by the natural condition of the
sinner. All sinners are dead until God makes them alive. He
is able to take away the heart of stone. No man is too great a sinner
to be saved. We can pray for the salvation of the chief of sinners
with the assurance that God can save them if He will. "The Kingís
heart is in the hands of the Lord as the river of water; He turneth it
whithersoever He will" (Proverbs 21:1). We rejoice to say
with Jeremiah that there is nothing too hard for God. We can pray
for the salvation of our loved ones with the feeling of the leper, when
he said, "Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean" (Matthew 8:2).
When Robert Morrison was about to go to China, he was asked by an incredulous
American if he thought he could make any impression on those Chinese.
His curt reply was, "No, but I think God can." This should ever be
our confidence and hope when we stand before sinners and preach to them
"CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED".
ANOTHER OBJECTION TO ELECTION IS THAT IT MAKES GOD UNJUST. This objection
betrays a bad heart. It would obligate the CREATOR to the CREATURE.
It makes salvation a divine obligation. It denies the right of the
potter over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel to honour and
another to dishonour. By the same parity of reasoning it makes the
governor of a sovereign state unjust when he pardons one or more men, unless
he empties the prison and turns all the prisoners loose. Our view
of election is in harmony with what even the Arminians allow to be proper
and just for a human governor. All can see that a governor, by pardoning
some men, does not harm others, who are not pardoned. Those who are
not pardoned are not in prison because the governor refused them a pardon
but because they were guilty of a crime against the state. Isnít
God to be allowed as much sovereignty as the governor of a state? Salvation,
like a pardon, is something that is not deserved. If it were deserved,
then God would be unjust if He did not bestow it upon all men.
Salvation is not a matter of justice but of mercy. It wasnít the
attribute of justice that led God to provide salvation but the attribute
of mercy. Justice is simply each man getting what he deserves.
Those who go to hell will have nobody to blame but themselves, while those
who go to heaven will have nobody to praise but God. (Romans 9:22-23)
IT IS AGAIN OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION IS AGAINST THE DOCTRINE
OF WHOSOEVER WILL. But the objector is wrong again. Our view
explains and supports the doctrine of "WHOSOEVER WILL". Without election
the invitation to "WHOSOEVER WILL" would go unheeded. The Bible doctrine
of "WHOSOEVER WILL" does not imply the freedom or ability of the human
will to do good. The human will is free, but its freedom is within
the limits of fallen human nature. It is free like water; water is
free to run down hill. It is free like the vulture; the vulture is
free to eat carrion, for that is its nature, but it would starve to death
in a wheat field. It is not the buzzardís nature to eat clean food; it
feeds upon the carcasses of the dead. So sinners starve to death
in the presence of the bread of life. Our Lord said to some sinners,
who were in His very presence "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have
life" (John 5:40). It is not natural for a sinner to trust
in Christ. Salvation through trust in a crucified Christ is a stumbling
block to the Jew and foolishness to the Greek; it is only the called, both
Jews and Greeks, who trust it as the wisdom and power of God. (I Corinthians
Here is a physical corpse. Is it free to get up and walk around?
In one sense, yes. It is not bound by fetters. There is no
external restraint. But, in another sense, that corpse is not free.
It is hindered by its natural condition. It is its nature to decompose
and go back to dust. It is not the nature of death to stir about.
Here is a spiritual corpse - a man dead in trespasses and sins. Is
the man free to repent and believe and do good works? Yes, in one sense.
There are no external restraints. God does not prevent but offers
inducements through His Holy Word. But the corpse is hindered by
its own nature. There must be the miracle of the new birth, for except
a man be born from above he cannot see or enter into the Kingdom of God.
It is painful to some of us to see our brethren forsake the faith of our
Baptist forbears at this point and join the ranks of the Roman Catholics
and other Arminians. If anyone doubts this charge let him read the
article of faith adopted by the Catholics at the council of Trent (1563).
I quote their statement on the freedom of the human will - "If anyone shall
affirm that since the fall of Adam manís free-will is lost, let him be
accursed." But alas, in this day, such a spirit is not confined to
the Roman Catholics. Horatius Bonar makes the following quotation from
John Calvin: "The Papist theologians have a distinction current among themselves
that God does not elect men according to their works which are in them
but that He chooses them that He foresees will be believers."
Ah, the real trouble with the objector is not election; it is something
else. His real objection is to total depravity or human inability
to do good. I can do no better here than to quote from Percy W. Heward
of London, England. He says, "It seems to me that the majority of
objections to Godís sovereign grace, to Godís electing love, are actually
objections to something else, namely objections to the fact that man is
ruined. If you probe beneath the surface you will find that very
few object to election. Why should they? Election harms no
one. How can the picking of a man out of doom harm anyone else?
The real objection at the present day is not to election, though that word
is made the catchword of sad controversy - the real objection is to that
fact which is revealed in Psalm 51, that we are shapen in iniquity, that
we are born sinners by nature, dead in sins, until, as we read concerning
Paul in Galatians 1, "It pleased God, who separated me from my motherís
womb and called me by His grace to reveal His Son in me..." Ah, beloved
friends, we deserve nothing but doom. Acknowledge this and election is
the only hope. Acknowledge that we are poor lost sinners, dead in
trespasses and sins, only evil continually; acknowledge that there is in
man no natural spark to be fanned into a flame but that believers are born
again of incorruptible seed which the Lord places; acknowledge that if
anyone is in Christ that there is a new creation, for we are His workmanship,
having been created in Christ Jesus; -and election must be at once recognized."
Every real believer on his knees subscribes to our view of election.
You cannot pray ascribing some credit to self. Sovereign grace will come
out in prayer though it may be left off the platform. No saved man
will get down on his knees before God and claim that he made himself to
differ from others who are not saved, but with Paul he says, "By the grace
of God I am what I am." And in praying for the lost we supplicate God to
convict and convert them. We do not depend upon the freedom of their
wills but beg God to make them willing to come to Christ, knowing that
when they come to Christ He will not cast them out. (John 6:37)
A Methodist minister once went to hear a Presbyterian minister preach.
After the sermon, the Methodist said to the Presbyterian, "That was a pretty
good Arminian sermon you preached today." "Yes, " replied the Presbyterian,
"We Presbyterians are pretty good Arminians when we preach and you Methodists
are pretty good Calvinists when you pray." MORE TRUTH THAN POETRY HERE!!
IT IS ALSO OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION IS A NEW DOCTRINE AMONG MISSIONARY
BAPTISTS. The fact is that it is so old-fashioned that it has about
gone out of fashion . The ignorance betrayed in such a claim
is indeed pitiable. In refutation we resort to two sources of information
(a) Confessions of faith; (b) Statements of representative preachers and
CONFESSIONS OF FAITH
The Waldenses declare themselves as follows: "God saves from corruption
and damnation those whom He has chosen from the foundation of the world,
not from any disposition, faith or holiness that He foresaw in them, but
His mere mercy in Christ Jesus His Son, passing by all the rest according
to the irreprehensible reason of His own free-will and justice."
THE DATE OF THIS CONFESSION WAS 1120!!!
The London Confession (1689) and the Philadelphia Confession (1742) read
as follows: "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory,
some men and angels are predestined or foreordained to ETERNAL LIFE through
Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace; others being left to
act in their sins to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious
The New Hampshire Confession (Article 9): "We believe that election is
the eternal purpose of God according to which He graciously regenerates,
sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the
free-agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the
end; that it is a most glorious display of Godís sovereign goodness, being
infinitely free, wise holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting
and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation
of His free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree;
that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the
Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain
it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence."
REPRESENTATIVE PREACHERS AND WRITERS!
John A. Broadus, former president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:
"From the divine side, we see that the Scriptures teach an eternal election
of men to eternal life simply out of Godís good pleasure."
A.H. Strong, former president of Rochester Theological Seminary: "Election
is the eternal act of God, by which in His sovereign pleasure, and on account
of no foreseen merit in them, He chooses certain of the number of sinful
men to be recipients of the special grace of His Spirit and so to be made
voluntary partakers of Christís salvation."
B.H. Carroll, founder and first president of the Southwestern Baptist Seminary:
"Every one that God chose in Christ is drawn by the Spirit to Christ.
Every one predestined is called by the Spirit in time and justified in
time, and will be glorified when the Lord comes." Commentary on Romans,
J.P. Boyce, founder and first president of Southern Baptist Seminary: "God,
of His own purpose, has from eternity determined to save a definite number
of mankind as individuals, not for or because of any merit or works of
theirs, nor of any value of them to Him; but of His own good pleasure."
W.T. Conner, professor of theology, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Fort
Worth, Texas: "The doctrine of election means that God saves in pursuance
of an eternal purpose. This includes all the gospel influences, work
of the Spirit and so on, that leads a man to repent of his sins and accept
Christ. So far as manís freedom is concerned, the doctrine of election
does not mean that God decrees to save a man irrespective of his will.
It rather means that God purposes to lead a man in such a way that he will
freely accept the gospel and be saved."
Pastor J.W. Lee, of Batesville, Miss.: "I believe that God has foreordained
before the foundation of the world that He would save certain individuals
and that He ordained all the means to bring about their salvation on His
terms. Men and women are not elected because they repent and believe,
but they repent and believe because they are elected."
To the above list of well known and honoured Baptists we could add quotations
from Gill, Fuller, Spurgeon, Bunyan, Pendleton, Mullins, Dargan, Jeter,
Eaton, Graves, and others too numerous to mention. It is sadly true
that many of our pastors hold election as a private opinion and never preach
it. We personally know a number of brethren who say that election
is clearly taught in the Bible, but that we cannot afford to preach it,
because it will cause trouble in churches. This is worse than compromise:
it is surrender of the truth. It is a spirit that leads preachers
to displease God in order to please men. The writer believes that
silence upon this subject has wrought more harm than open opposition to
it. Those who openly oppose election will, sooner or later, make
themselves ridiculous in the eyes of all Bible loving Baptists.
IT IS FURTHER OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION MAKES MEN CARELESS IN
THEIR LIVING. It is said that belief in the doctrine leads men to
say, "If I am elect, I will be saved; if I am a non-elect I will be lost,
therefore, it matters not what I believe or do." The same objection has
been persistently made against the doctrine of the preservation of the
saints. This is bald rationalism. It is the setting of human
reason against divine revelation. It takes no account of the operation
of the grace of God in the human heart. If Baptists surrender election
on such a ground, to be consistent, they will have to surrender the doctrine
of preservation on the same ground. Election does not mean that the
elect will be saved whether they believe on not, nor does it mean that
the non-elect will be damned regardless of how much they may repent and
believe. The elect will be saved through repentance and faith, and both
are gifts from God as already shown; the non-elect do not repent and believe.
The objection we are now considering is simply not true to fact. Believers
in election have been and still are among the most godly. Augustus Toplady
challenged the world to produce a martyr from among the deniers of election.
The Puritans, who were so named because of the great purity of their lives,
with few exception (if any), were believers in personal, eternal, unconditional
election, and of course, in the security of the believer. Modernism,
that spawn of the pit, is rapidly adding to the number of its adherents,
but they are coming from the ranks of Arminianism. Others have challenged
the world to find a single Higher Critic, or a single Spiritualist, or
a single Russellite, or a single Christian Scientist, who believes in the
absolute sovereignty of God and the doctrine of election. Without
an exception these awful heretics are Arminians to a man. This is
a significant fact that is not to be winked at.
OBJECTORS CLAIM THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION DESTROYS THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS.
They boldly assert that if unconditional election should find universal
acceptance among us that we would cease to be a missionary people.
There is an abundance of historical evidence with which to refute this
claim. Under God, the father of modern missions was William Carey,
a staunch Calvinist. Andrew Fuller, first secretary of the society
that sent Carey to India, held tenaciously to our view of election.
It did not destroy the missionary spirit of these men. "The proof
of the pudding is in the eating." Belief in election did not destroy the
missionary spirit in Judson, Spurgeon, Boyce, Eaton, Graves, Carroll and
a host of other Baptist leaders. The Murray church, which Dr. J.F.
Love called the greatest missionary church on earth, heard election preached
by Boyce Taylor for nearly forty years. The greatest missionary churches
among us today are those that have been purged from the heresies of James
Election is the very foundation of hope in missionary endeavour. If we
had to depend upon the natural disposition or will of a dead sinner, who
hates God, to respond to our gospel, we might well despair. But when
we realize that it is the Spirit that quickeneth, we can go forth with
the gospel of the grace of God in the hope that God will cause some, by
nature turned away, to be turned unto Him and to believe to the saving
of the soul. Election does not determine the extent of missions but
the results of it. We are to preach to every creature because God has commanded,
and because it pleases Him to save sinners by the foolishness of preaching.
We believe more in election than the Anti-mission Baptists. We believe
that God elected means of salvation as well as persons to salvation.
He did not choose to save sinners apart from the gospel ministry. (Romans
Election gives a saneness to evangelism that is greatly needed today.
It recognizes that sinners "believe through grace" (Acts 18:27)
and that while Paul may plant and Apollos may water, God gives the increase.
Arminianism has had its day among Baptists and what has it done?
It has given us man-power, but robbed us of Godís power. It has increased
machinery but has decreased spirituality. It has filled our churches
with Ishmaels instead of Isaacs by its ministry of "sob stuff" and with
the methods of the "counting house".
If this little tract need further Scriptural support, the following Scriptures
will give it:
John 6:37,44,45; 17:1-2
I Corinthians 12:3
II Corinthians 10:4
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