Election and Free Will

In a new series entitled “Explorations in Biblical Theology,” the series editor, Robert A. Peterson, contributed the volume entitled Election and Free Will: God’s Gracious Choice and Our Responsibility.  The book’s endorsers include D. A. Carson, John Frame, Wayne Grudem, Thomas Schreiner, Robert W. Yarbrough, and Philip Ryken. 

The subject of free will is not a hot button issue like that of divine election.  Peterson examines “election” from a variety of angles.  Perhaps the chapter titles will be useful here: (1) Why a Book on Election and Free Will?  (2) Election and Free Will in Church History.  (3) Election in the Old Testament.  (4) Election in the Gospels and Acts.  (5) Election in the General Epistles and Revelation.  (6) Election in Paul’s Epistles, Part 1.  (7) Election in Paul’s Epistles, Part 2.  (8) Free Will.  (9) The Bible’s Story of Election.  (10) Objections to and Applications of Election. 

I found chapter 2 especially helpful.  It reminded me how divine election was not something John Calvin or Theodore Beza invented.  And chapters 4-7 show that, ultimately, we are not interested in what Calvinism teaches about divine election.  We are interested in what Scripture says (and if Calvinism affirms what Scripture teaches, then great).  Chapter 9 is a great summary of the ground covered up to that point in the book.  The final chapter handles the most common objections brought against unconditional election. 

As faithful Bible readers, we cannot pretend like the words “predestination” and “election” are not in Scripture.  And, since Scripture is God’s revelation, we should want to study and know and treasure every aspect of Scripture’s teaching.  I am thankful for Peterson’s Election and Free Will.  It is certainly not a daunting book on the subject; instead, it is readable and engaging.  The series, “Explorations in Biblical Theology,” is written for “college seniors, seminarians, pastors, and thoughtful lay readers” (ix).  So go buy and devour this book. 

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