Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bobby Kennedy's Musings on Election

I cruised over to In Hoc Signo Vinces to see what Anglo-Catholic blogger Bobby Kennedy was up to. His recent musings on election (with lengthy caption from the 2nd Council of Orange) is quite insightful. Read the whole article here. What follows is his bulleted list.


If I had to create a bulleted list today of what I affirm concerning election then it would include the following points, in no particular order. This is also not exhaustive.

--Election is corporate and concerns a holy people, a covenant community, and not primarily individuals.

--Election of the covenant community is accomplished through its connection to Christ via a sacramental and ecclesiological framework.

--Baptism is the means by which individuals enter the covenant community of the elect.

--Election of the covenant community entails God’s missionary efforts to redeem the remainder of humanity.

--The covenant community is an eschatological community which prefigures the age to come in the here and now.

--Election does not create a class of the elite but rather a class of servants.

--Any pre-creation acts of predestination, on the part of God toward his creatures, seems to entail his choice of a bride for his Son, and not of individuals into that bride.

--Foreknowledge seems to be the fore-loving of the covenant community rather than the fore-seeing of who would ultimately compose such a community.

--Salvation is dependent upon one’s continual perseverance in the body of Christ.

--Election is dependent on God’s faithfulness, and thus we have the best grounds upon which to make our calling and election sure.


Augustinian Successor said...

My bulleted list on Election:

- According to Romans 9, election is God's free choice of individuals according to His good pleasure;

- According to Ephesians 1, election is based on God's foreknowledge of the Church in His Son;

- Since both Romans and Ephesians were written by St. Paul, we can assume he both upheld individual and corporate election without lurching to either extreme;

- The Word and Sacraments, properly understood in the Catholic sense, preserves the balance between individual and corporate election since the Church in sacramental action embraces infants, children and families alike as part of the covenant community;

- The 39 Articles of Religion affirms only what the Second Council of Orange has affirmed: nothing more, nothing less.

Third Mill Catholic said...

Thanks, Jason. I know you're coming from a Reformed perspective, so I'm pleased that you have found a balance in catholic sacramentology. And you're correct about the 39 Articles.

Thomas said...

It is certain that Romans 9 is a defense of individual election?

It seems that Paul, in this passage, has his mind set on the problem of the relationship of the Old and New Covenants (particularly as it bears on the ultimate purpose of the Jews – which does not appear, here, to end with the crucifixion of Jesus). Granted these covenants involve individual people, but the only individuals between whom Paul makes an elective distinction are the patriarchs Jacob and Esau who had already been appropriated for symbolical purposes by the prophets. (Mal 1:3)

Third Mill Catholic said...

Hi Thomas, I like you would argue that Romans 9 is not about individual election at all. Jacob and Esau, while individuals, are the progenitors of two separate peoples. In fact, I'm hardpressed to find any specific reference to the election of individuals in the New Testament, unless we are talking about the election of Christ.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the corporate emphasis of St. Paul in Rom.9 runs through the entire chapter like a golden thread ( It is, after all, a consideration of the tragic fall of the "Israelites", the apostle's own "kinsmen after the flesh" ).

Rather than understanding their fate, as "vessels fitted for destruction", in the sense of decretal reprobation, I think it is better to see it as a mass excommunication from the people of God-and thus from Christ himself- according to Torah as appropriated in the examples we have of early apostolic preaching ( "...And it shall come to pass that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" Acts 3:22-23; Deut.18:18-19 ).

Otherwise, how can we account for Paul's "prayer to God for Israel" that "they may be saved" in 10:1 ?


Abu Daoud said...

"In fact, I'm hardpressed to find any specific reference to the election of individuals in the New Testament, unless we are talking about the election of Christ."

Amen! Here is a key insight that was missed by, say, those folks in Dordt.

Love the topic and the post. Have linked to it over at