Category Archives: Reformed Theology

Thoughts, rants, and resources relating to Reformed theology.

Sovereignty vs. Self-determination: Two Versions of Ephesians 1:3-14

At the heart of the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism lay the insurmountable chasm between God’s sovereign election versus human self-determination.

Calvinism: According to traditional Protestant/Reformed understanding, God “chose” us purely out of His grace alone, predestining the chosen for salvation and then putting in them both ability to chose salvation the irresistible desire to come to Him. The bottom line is that salvation of the individual is God’s choice, depended solely on His sovereign grace, unmerited by anything we do; Christians obtain saving faith as a result of God’s special, electing grace which He gave as a gift to His elect.

Arminianism: On the other side, most Evangelical and nearly all Charistmatic/Pentecostal churches teach the we are not God’s “elect” (as the Bible refers to believers) but rather we are ultimately His electors, with God having “looked down the corridors of time” (as it’s often phrased) and having allegedly chosen us precisely because He knew we’d choose Him. The bottom line is that salvation of the individual is the individual’s sole choice, which then merits God’s response; Christians obtain saving faith by exercising the (“provenient”) grace with which they were born.

Ephesians 1:3-14 clearly favors one of these teachings. Which one?

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