The Corporate View of Election

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Two things:

    1. Give an honest and fair definition and explanation of what is known as the "corporate view" of election. (NOTE: this is NOT the foresight faith view)

    2. Give your opinion as to why you accept or reject this particular view of election. Please be specific. Answers such as, 'Because the bible doesn't teach it," merely begs the question and are not useful in a discussion.

    Thanks!
     
  2. MorseOp

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    I'm traveling on business right now, so my time to reply is limited.

    Corporate election has some validity (IMO, of course) in that God does call a people for Himself, and has done so in eternity past. I'm of the Reformed conviction, so I do see scripture from a covenantal perspective. Where I would depart with corporate election is that election does not apply to the individual the same way it applies to the church (the body of Christ). I believe God did elect individuals, also from eternity past. I can offer a better defense of this later when I check into my hotel room later this afternoon.

    Blessings!
     
  3. 12strings

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    1. I can't give a good summary of it, because all that I have read about it seems very confusing. I feel Like I can very briefly summaraize it, but I am still not to the point where I feel like the biblical arguments make much sense.

    2. So I suppose I reject it because it doesn't make sense to me, and have not felt compelled to put more effort in to the study because it seem like a rather new doctrine (Karl Barth). Does anyone have any links to early church father's who wrote of Election? (Before Augustine).

    The biggest issue is probably that I simply don't see how it accounts for God saying he chose me:


    Skan often uses a football coach analogy...A coach decides what he will do with his team, but doesn't choose which players will be on the team....A problem with these analogies is that unless the coach actually chooses certain people to be on the team, he has no reason to call the team the "chosen ones." If he simply accepted everyone on the team, there would be no reason to say, "now since you are the chosen ones, put on these pads and go win!"

    Yet We are repeatedly called God's chosen one's. What does that mean if we are not actually chosen?

    -Colossians 3:12 - Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

    -1 Peter 2:9 - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light

    -1 Thess. 1:4-5 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
     
  4. HeirofSalvation

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    Just learning about the idea so I have some questions if any one can answer them:

    1.) So far, everyone I have read (it hasn't been much) believes that one can throw away their Salvation...can apostacize, no OSAS. Is this necessary for this view?

    2.) I have always taken a generally Dispensational view of Scripture....those who seem to hold to this view, thus far, seem not to. Is this a necessary facet of the "Corporate View"? In other words...does it PRECLUDE dispensationalism?

    3.) Most of the Theologians so far, always seem committed to the idea of a Universal "Church". I am one of those Baptists who does not believe that the Scriptures teach that the Church is anything other than the sum total of the Local-Bodies...(local Church only). Is this precluded by holding this view?

    If any can help me...I am continuing to read about this...:wavey:
     
  5. 12strings

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    Way to expand the thread topics!!! (I'm going to start a separate thread on Universal/local church, so let's not get bogged down on that one)
     
  6. Van

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    First lets define “corporate” election as God making a choice to deal with a group of people according to His purpose. Thus, whoever is “in the sphere” of His choice is chosen, and therefore anyone who enters that sphere becomes chosen or elect. The concept does not include a specific way to enter that sphere, so it is consistent with the Arminian idea that when a person sincerely puts their trust in Christ, they enter that sphere and become “elect” but corporate election does not preclude denial of human choice as the means of entry. The means of entry must be an additional stipulation, and “corporate election” by itself does not specifically address how a person “enters” or becomes a member of the corporately elected group.
    Secondly, it is a false dichotomy to say if God does sometimes choose to deal with a group for some purpose, that means He does not ever choose individuals for some related purpose. Corporate election does not require the denial of individual election, and individual election does not require the denial of corporate election.
    As we wade into the subject of corporate election, our first question might be, do we see in the Bible the notion of corporate election or individual election. The answer is both. As Dr. Daniel B. Wallace wrote, “Individual and corporate perspectives are intertwined in Paul.”
    Next, to paraphrase Dr. Wallace, “whether individual or corporate election is in view, the election is initiated by God and effected by God. Those who are chosen become what they were chosen for.” Judas was chosen to fulfill the betrayer prophecy, and that is what he became.
    Next can there be corporate election without first being individual election? The answer to this depends on how one understands the question. For example Abraham was chosen and then within his descendants the line leading to Christ was promised, the world being blessed through Abraham’s seed. So this would be an example of an individual election resulting in a corporate election. On the other hand God might choose to order the destruction of a people who are in the way of God’s people from fulfilling His purpose. So the answer is there can be corporate elections that are the consequence of individual elections, and there can be corporate elections not as a consequence of an election of some individual from the group.
    Which brings us to the crux of the matter, are we chosen corporately to salvation or individually to salvation? Dr. Wallace again correctly pointed out that Romans 8:33 clearly addresses charges being brought against individuals, saying if they are elect, no charge can be brought. Why not? Because they were chosen by God to salvation, and no plan of God can be thwarted. If all has been forgiven by God, no lesser entity can bring any charge. If you have a Presidential pardon, no state governor can charge you with the pardoned crime. Secondly, and this point was definitely not made by Dr. Wallace, if a person was chosen to salvation, they would be elect, but if they had not been saved, then a charge could be brought against them. Thus this verse requires that election to salvation and salvation go hand in hand with no delay between the two.
    And if as required by Romans 8:33, there is no delay, when are we chosen? Since many verses clearly teach before we were chosen, we were sinners; our individual election to salvation has to occur during our physical lifetime. John 15:19 says, God chose us out of the world, requiring we were in the midst of the world before being chosen. Second Thessalonians 2:13 says we are chosen through belief in the truth, requiring that we were alive and believing in Jesus when we were chosen. 1 Peter 2:9-10 says once we were not a people but now we are a people, requiring that we lived before becoming part of God’s chosen people, and also once we had not received mercy but now we have received mercy, again requiring that we lived without receiving mercy, and then we received mercy. Lastly we have God choosing the poor of this world, again requiring people being chosen while living, James 2:5.
    Once God puts us individually “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:30) we receive the blessings of God’s corporate election granted before creation. In Ephesians 1:3, Paul says God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places “in Christ.” The spiritual blessings received were after we were “in Christ.” The first blessing listed by Paul is this: “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” Thus this blessing was given or granted with His corporate election but received with His individual election of choosing to put us spiritually “in Christ.” Similarly in 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul says God saved us and called us to a Holy Calling, not because of works, but according to His purpose and grace, which as granted or given us in Christ Jesus – so we received the blessing of being saved and called to a Holy Calling when we were spiritually “in Christ” and not before. But when was the blessing given or granted to us? Before the foundation of the world when God chose us in Him corporately as the target group of His redemption plan.
    In summary, when God chose Christ to be His Redeemer, that was an individual election that resulted in a corporate election, everyone subsequently redeemed was chosen in Him, as the target group of His redemption plan, thus He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world corporately, but we enter that corporately elected group when God individually credits our faith as righteousness and places us spiritually in Christ, the sanctification by the Spirit, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 being our individual election to salvation.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    I can understand that. I felt the same way about it for years. But also keep in mind that this is the testimony of many when they first here of Calvinism. It is confusing at first and most can't really grasp it or explain it all that well at first. In the same way any "new perspective" takes time to grasp. (I mean 'new' to you, not new historically)

    Well, Calvinism doesn't even meet that standard, but yes I do believe there are quotes from 'church fathers' who appear to hold to this perspective. I will need to look those up later however.

    There are two issues you must acknowledge:

    1. God did chose Israel to bring Christ and the message of redemption to the World. Agreed? The label "elect" or "chosen ones" was almost exclusively used in reference to Israel or individual Jews during the first century. This is simply a historical fact. Failing to understand that fact can lead to confusion as to an author's intent.

    2. God did chose certain individual Jews to carry out his redemptive plan. He handpicked his messengers to ensure the gospel was sent as he planned. But proof that God has handpicked and given his divinely appointed messengers to Christ to be trained and commissioned to start His Church is not proof that God handpicks who will and won't respond to their appeal to be reconciled. Proof that God used effectual means (storm/fish) to MAKE Jonah preach to Nineveh is not proof that God uses inward/secret effectual means on pre-chosen members of the Ninevite audience.

    We are chosen. True believers are chosen for salvation. True football players are chosen to be conditioned.

    The point Paul is making in THAT historical context is that the "Chosen Ones" are not necessarily CHOSEN. Being of Israel is not why God chooses to save you. So why does God choose to save us? Whosoever believes in him will be saved, regardless of if they of Israel or not. That is the point Paul is making. God has PREDESTINED to save anyone and everyone, from any nation, who comes to faith in Christ. In other words, this is NOT some new doctrine, but this has been God's plan all along and the apostles are now making this 'mystery' known to everyone. Understand?


    Think about the parable of the wedding banquet. Many are invited and some even show up but aren't chosen to enter in because they weren't properly dressed, right? They weren't "clothed" in Christ's righteousness by faith. They were called but not chosen. They attempted to get in by law, but were rejected at the door because they did not have faith. That is why we can still say we are chosen. All who believe and are clothed in Christ's righteousness are chosen to enter his rest. The rest?... "We see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief." (Heb 3)

    "Many are called but few are chosen."
     
  8. Skandelon

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    Absolutely not. Hershel Hobbs and Adrian Rodgers, Baptist leaders who served on the committee to write the Baptist Faith and Message, affirmed OSAS but held to the corporate view of election. Remember that we affirm the effectual work of regeneration just like Calvinists do, we just don't place regeneration as something that comes prior to faith. So, once one does genuinely believe in Christ they are sealed with the Promised Holy Spirit (regenerated/born again) and that work that he began will be completed.

    I'm not equipped to answer that question. I don't know enough about Dispensationalism, but from what I do know I don't see how this view would contradict it.

    I don't see how the corporate view of election has anything to do with that view. It is simply a perspective shift regarding how we understand the intent of the author when speaking about predestination and election. Leo Garrett, in his well known Systematic Theology, wrote this on the subject:

    "From Augustine of Hippo to the twentieth century, Western Christianity has tended to interpret the doctrine of election from the perspective of and with regard to individual human beings. During those same centuries the doctrine has been far less emphasized and seldom ever controversial in Eastern Orthodoxy. Is it possible that Augustine and later Calvin, with the help of many others, contributed to a hyper individualization of this doctrine that was hardly warranted by Romans 9-11, Eph. 1, and I Peter 2? Is it not true that the major emphasis in both testaments falls upon an elect people -- Israel (OT) and disciples or church (NT)?"​
     
  9. Skandelon

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    By the way, the corporate view of election is consistent with the OT view of the election of Israel. The Jews believed all Jews were elected to salvation but they DID not believe all Jews would necessarily be saved. If a Jew refused to be circumcised and follow their laws he would have been cast out. In other words, only Jews COULD be saved because God had chosen to grant ONLY them the means by which they could be saved (i.e. they were a branch on the tree [ref to Rm 11]). For the Gentiles to be CHOSEN simply means they too are grafted into that same tree and thus granted the means by which they too could be saved (ref to Rm 11).

    Make sense?
     
  10. Yeshua1

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    IF a person holds to the doctrine of limited/particular atonementin the Cross, cannot be Corporate election!

    Also, the NT enhasis is upon God individual selection of His elect to be saved in Christ, and that individual saints are in the predestination process, to be saved and conformed to image of Christ!

    the bottom line is that this theory of election still places the ultimate basis of one getting saved upon the will of man, not the Will of God!
     
  11. webdog

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    This is a given.

    Begging the question
    False dichotomy
     
  12. Yeshua1

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    karl barth is the one who brought into the church election being seen in a different light , as he had JESUS being the Elect of God, and as such, ALL people were potentially elected in him to be saved!

    thankfully, he never went to the logical extreme of Universalism with that belief, but some after him have!
     
  13. MorseOp

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    I'm going to step out of the discussion since my theological perspective would not be compatible with corporate election as it is being defined in this thread. Have a nice chat, folks.
     
  14. Yeshua1

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    just curious, what would be your way to view it?
     
  15. OldRegular

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    In my opinion Israel is the only real case of corporate election recorded in Scripture. That election was not to salvation but for the purpose of bringing the Incarnate God, Jesus Christ into the world. My rationale is as follows:

    In Genesis 3:15 God gives the initial promise in Scripture of the coming redeemer. Since, as previously noted, God in His omniscience foreknew the rebellion of the first family we must surmise that the Triune God had already instituted His purpose in the salvation of His elect. That divine purpose instituted in eternity past is called the Covenant of Grace.

    This initial promise, the initial revelation, and the initiation in time of the Covenant of Grace, is veiled to say the least and could not be understood without the continuing revelation of God. But God does not leave us without hope. As the Biblical history of man unfolds so does God’s purpose of redemption.

    If the Redeemer was to be born of a woman and that birth was to take place in history the way must be prepared. The Redeemer must be identified with God since He was to reconcile sinful man to God and since He was a man, the seed of a woman, He must be identified with the people of God. It was necessary, therefore, that God call out a people for His Name. Unto that people would be given the oracles of God [Romans 3:2] and through that people would come the promised Redeemer.

    In due time God called out of idolatry a man named Abram [Genesis 12:1-3], changed his name to Abraham [Genesis 17:5] and promised that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed [Genesis 22:18]. God, through the Apostle Paul, tells us that seed of Abraham through which all the nations of the earth would be blessed was Jesus Christ.

    Galatians 3:16, KJV
    16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.


    As time passed the lineage of the ‘seed of woman’ was further defined: Abraham’s son Isaac to the exclusion of Ishmael [Genesis 17:18-22], Isaac’s son Jacob to the exclusion of Esau [Genesis 28:10-15]. Out of Jacob would come twelve sons and the infant nation Israel which God, consistent with His promise to Abraham [Genesis 15:12-16], moved to Egypt. In Egypt the lineage of the ‘seed of woman’ was further defined: Jacobs son Judah to the exclusion of the eleven [Genesis 49:8-10].​

    There were other times when God chose a particular people for His purpose but that election was limited in time!

    I must also note at this time that election to salvation is on an individual basis, one at a time, and people are saved one at a time!
     
    #15 OldRegular, Jun 27, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2012
  16. Yeshua1

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    Not ALL elected in 'corporate election" were saved, but ALL in the NT election are saved by God!
     
  17. OldRegular

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    I agree, not ALL elected in 'corporate election" are saved, however, all individually elected to salvation throughout time are saved!
     
  18. AresMan

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    A Reformed Baptist would reject Old Covenant Israel as proof for corporate election because they see, in this aspect, a discontinuity between the Old and New Covenants in organic makeup.

    This is where the Reformed Baptist and the Presbyterian would clash with each other on the nature of the New Covenant in their debate on the mode and candidates for baptism.

    The Reformed Baptist would say that the New Covenant is different from the Old Covenant in both the form and function of the covenant AND in the organic makeup of covenant membership.

    The Reformed Baptist says that the New Covenant consists strictly of the elect (regenerates and elect infants) and that membership is individualized. The New Covenant is with the "invisible church," and Old Covenant Israel was a type and shadow of the Church, which is the antitype and fulfillment in Christ. Therefore, the New Covenant sign of baptism should only be given to those who profess faith in Christ.

    The Presbyterian says that the New Covenant is similar to the Old in that entrance is communal/familial and membership is by either conversion or baptism as the successor to circumcision. God makes all covenants with families, and the New Covenant is likewise with the "visible church." Therefore, the New Covenant sign of baptism should be given to those profess faith in Christ AND their infant children (like circumcision).

    Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians would agree on individual election over corporate election, but would disagree on the makeup of the New Covenant.
     
  19. AresMan

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    How does 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 express a "corporate election"?

    18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
    19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
    20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
    21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
    22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
    23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
    24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
    25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
    27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
    28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
    29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
    30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
    31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.


    How does v.18 make any sense if "the power of God" is subject to the will of "them that are perishing"?
    These same people are referred to as the called in v.24. This means that their distinction from "the Jews" and "the Greeks" is a result of God's "calling." If you say that everyone is called of God in this same way, then, again, you make the statement meaningless.
    In v.30 if "of him are ye in Christ Jesus" is just referring to God's nominal terms for referring to someone as "in Christ" if they autonomously come to God from their own free will, then, again, you make the statement void of any meaning. It also says that the God Who makes us "in Christ Jesus" also made Christ to us "wisdom, righteousness, sactification, and redemption." If this isn't speaking about sovereign, individual election, I don't know what could.

    I would say election is both corporate AND individual. It is corporate in that all members share certain things in common. It is individual in that each member is unique ("eye," "hand," etc). Each of these individual members are brought in by the sovereign grace of God.
     
  20. Yeshua1

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    Again, basis of the election comes into play now... is it due to the Sovereign will of God, or that of man?
     

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