TULIP or BEERS: Unconditional Election

Unconditional Election

God has chosen some people to go to Heaven and other people to go to Hell. This choice is not based on any qualities of the person being elected. This selection is not based on God’s foreknowledge of who will “get saved” in the future.  God has elected some for glory and others for damnation. This election is based solely upon the counsel of His own will. His selection of the elect was done long before the universe was ever created.  (according to biblehelp.org)

Eternal Purpose

It was God’s plan from before the universe was created to include mankind in the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Spirit.  He predestined that in Christ man would be brought into fellowship and communion with God, chosen for adoption into His family.  This is His desire for all mankind without selectivity or exclusion.  Inclusion is not conditioned on merit but is simply the result of His extravagant love.


The verses that have been interpreted to limit God’s desire for salvation to a select few in my opinion actually speak of God’s eternal purpose of relationship with mankind.  We covered some of this in my previous post, The OPT-OUT Theory.

The idea of God creating some people for the purpose of damnation tends to go against the grain of what most people sense to be true of a loving Creator.


15 thoughts on “TULIP or BEERS: Unconditional Election

  1. This is His desire for all mankind without selectivity or exclusion.

    Is this saying all mankind is saved?
    I wish salvation and heaven was universal, but I’m not sure…
    I wonder if some people would really hate being with God forever- it wouldn’t be “heavenly” for them. Jesus said some would hear “depart from me. I never knew you”.

  2. Charis,
    I will cover it more in the next few posts, but I believe that we have the ability to accept or reject the gift of salvation that God has provided for us.

  3. The other side of the Anti-TULIP/John 3:16-17 clash for me…

    I have a friend who believed for many years she was not one of the ones “chosen”. She doesn’t believe that anymore.

    I do believe there are or have been people who have been chosen specifically for God’s purpose. For instance, John the Baptist didn’t seem to have much choice in his mission in life.

    To dismiss Unconditional Election does require a different read of Eph 1 and Rom 8…


    This is a great discussion starter.

  4. Yeah, now this gets me. The Total Depravity, I can understand and can find it Biblical but the Unconditional Election crud sounds like someone took some funky drugs and then started proof-texting. That doesn’t fly Biblically nor “theologically.”

  5. “This is His desire for all mankind without selectivity or exclusion. Inclusion is not conditioned on merit but is simply the result of His extravagant love.”

    Charis implied that this statement bordered on Christian universalism – which we’ve all been taught is a no-no.

    But I think it’s a fair reflection of the character and nature of the Father as demonstrated by Jesus in the gospels and by the actions of the early church. As such, it’s a good summary of how we should treat others today. If it’s not true, then do we really think this?

    “This is His desire for all mankind, but with selective exclusion. Inclusion is conditioned on merit, not simply the result of His extravagant love.”

    Maybe we should just follow the two commandments he gave us and let the doctrines fall where they fall.

  6. Simply put, a ‘mystery’ is something beyond understanding or explanation. Yet, theologians continue to attempt to explain the mysteries of God. Even Paul gave it a shot through and into Romans 11, when until exhausted of abilty, he finally concludes with a doxology extolling the great mystery of God’s wisdom, knowledge, justice and ways in verses 33-36. I don’t care to compete with Paul :)

    The mystery of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will is shrouded in another mystery – that of time and eternity. We are creatures who are currently ‘trapped’ in a time-space continuum paradigm whereas God is not. He transcends time and space. There is no way to adaquately explain it. When we try, we end up with statements like ‘Unconditional Election’ that suck the passion and urgency of God’s love for humanity out of the soul and leave us with an apathetic spiritual maintenance program.

  7. I would like to give a shout-out to Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola for penning ‘A Jesus manifesto for the 21st Century Church. You can download a PDF copy at http://www.ptmin.org/AJesusManifesto.pdf

    Here are a few thoughts from it that I find somewhat pertinent to this series:

    “Jesus does not leave his disciples with CliffsNotes for a systematic theology. He leaves his disciples with breath and body.”

    “Jesus does not leave his disciples with a coherent and clear belief system by which to love God and others. Jesus gives his disciples wounds to touch and hands to heal.”

    “Jesus does not leave his disciples with intellectual belief or a “Christian worldview.” He leaves his disciples with a relational faith.”

    The entire six pages are worth a read.

  8. The more I’ve been thinking and praying on this, the more it strikes me: we may never know until we “get there” as to how God works in this manner. I’m not convinced its our place to know.

    Unfortunately, we talk to much, and most of it in the pulpit. We give sermons on theologies and proclaim doctrines when the everyday Tom, Dick or Carey would do better without it. James and Peter and Paul decided not to worry with theologies and history but to just exhort [the gentiles] to stay away from sins and stick fast to love. Of course there are the elders and whoever, pastors, et al who perhaps need to know some of it so as to keep us in line, but even then, I would trust that more to the Spirit and Scripture than theology. I’m pretty sure none of us has it perfectly figured out anyway.

    But one thing I am sure of, that whether we are elected or not, whether our neighbor is elected or not, instead of trying to figure out who is in the kingdom, its better to act as though we all already are and live our lives accordingly. Reminds me to go re-read Lewis’ The Weight of Glory.

    Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, give without measure and leave the rest to God.

  9. yep, nobody really, truly knows anything about the hereafter for sure. which is why i describe myself as a “hopeful reconcilationist,” someone who holds faith that God will reconcile every human being to himself at some point in eternity.

    I reject eternal damnation.

    I put my faith in the hope that all punishment from God is redemptive and if there is a literal place called hell, then it’s purpose is ultimately to reconcile the separated person, not cause them unbelievable suffering for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever….you get the picture. A short life of corruption and misguided rejection of the Creator ought not be repayed with an unjust penalty of Forever Screwed.

    Also, and these points I know are very brief and not totally outlined with an exegetical framework to defend them (google around…there’s plenty of bible for the reconcilation perspective….) anyway, I also want to say that when I think of Adam having brought sin to all of mankind, and who can opt out of that, then I like to think that the power of the cross of Jesus redeems all of mankind, and that none will opt out as they discover in this life or the next the true beauty of who Jesus is and who they have been created to be. Having said that, I am aware that the bible teaches that angels in the presence of the Lord chose to rebel and “opt out” of his favor. I can only wonder if humans are different because we are made in the image of our Creator. Angels were not…I don’t know.

    It’s late. I really ought not to try to explain myself after midnight….!

    1. Pam,
      I can relate to your position of hopefulness. I think Jesus as the second Adam is a pretty valid argument for the inclusion of all mankind in the cure of redemption.

      Likewise, I don’t have all the answers about the afterlife, but I do see it as tragic to live this life alienated from the beautiful love of the Father.

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