Talk:Unconditional election

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Calvin?[edit]

You might want to include a bit on what Calvin had to say about this idea. KHM03 16:48, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Will do (when I get a chance). I assume you will be adding a section on opposition. :-) Jim Ellis 17:01, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

...unless God himself beats me to it! KHM03 17:02, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Rework[edit]

FYI I am planning to rework this article to parallel the structure of total depravity, limited atonement, etc. --Flex 17:47, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Good. Hopefully that can be done while keeping the source information I have added. Regards, Jim Ellis 17:55, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Except for short quotes in the normal flow, I would probably lean toward reducing it to references in the footnotes (rather than long quotes), as in total depravity. --Flex 18:12, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

I defer to your judgment. Jim Ellis 18:14, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Obviously, I've not gotten around to this. Please feel free to take a swing at it, one and all. --Flex (talk|contribs) 15:48, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Some Rework[edit]

Hey, I took it upon myself to rework part of this wiki. I hope it is clear. I also wanted something about the effect of this election. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Newchasm (talkcontribs) 23:57, 6 April 2007 (UTC).

The text you added is a start, but it is not neutral (e.g., it appears to claim the truth of what it states rather than expressing it as the view of Calvinism, and it is written in Christianese with phrases such as "enemies of the Cross"), is not wikilinked, and lacks references to reliable sources.--Flex (talk|contribs) 15:45, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I tried to clean up the article a bit by adding some new sections in. Will work on it some more in the coming future. Five Pointer 04:38, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Added a verses section...[edit]

Started a verses section that we could expand on later.

Five Pointer 23:09, 19 April 2007 (UTC)


Verses are an important part, but just listing bald verses is asking for trouble. The understanding of many of the verses used to support unconditional election is disputed by many interpreters, e.g., Arminians, Catholics, etc. Better, I think, is to add some key verses with citations to notable interpreters of it (e.g., Calvin). --Flex (talk/contribs) 15:55, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

More verses[edit]

User:Avielh added a bunch more verses and arbitrarily converted the text to NAS. The latter move seems certainly against the spirit of arbitrarily changing things based on personal preference (cf. WP:MOS#National_varieties_of_English, WP:FN#Converting_citation_styles, etc.).

I changed it back and redacted the list because the list was overly long (listing a few key passages with secondary sources backing up the understanding is much better) and because several of the verses didn't seem directly applicable. For instance, John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" is not obviously related to election so much as to regeneration. We who have a greater understanding of the ordo salutis certainly see the connection between them, but it is not immediate and direct, which I'd argue these verses should all be.

Avielh reverted this change, but rather than edit warring, I'll propose here we redact the list to the key passages (in the ESV, since that's where these started). --Flex (talk/contribs) 15:55, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Since I have received no response, I am going to revert the verse as well as other recent changes. The long quotations in the intro are unencyclopedic, and the "Christianese" was less before. --Flex (talk/contribs) 14:18, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Flex, I warm to your comment immediately above this section about the adding of verses on their own, etc... I sought to balance the ending with the following, what do you think? [this is whilst awaiting the expiry of a reasonable 'space' period before any possible transfer of the section below on the early church history to any other article] Here is my suggestion:

Other Christians understand these passages within different contexts so that John 15:16 refers to the 11 apostles; Acts 13:48 has no inference of God appointing in the text; Romans 9:15-16 is an explicit reference to applying mercy to the righteous in the O.T. context; Romans 9:22-24 has the 2 'prepared' translated from 2 different Greek words; The latter passages all refer to a group in view: you choose which group you are in. Jarom22 (talk) 15:59, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Church Fathers on the doctrine[edit]

I doubt the neutrality of the changes to the early church fathers section done today. To suggest the consistent universal take on free will and responsibility was part of a polemic e.g. "This polemic" which in fact means a controversy or disputation is false in the records of the early church. Since it was universally recognised and fervently taught it was universal accepted doctrine and not subject to recognised opposition until Augustine. To this end I shall add a neutrality warning. Jarom22 (talk) 15:41, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Furthermore in regards to this neutrality: since Augustine before professing Christianity was a member of the Manichee sect, their view that "the nature of man can be corrupt to the point that his will is powerless to obey God's commands" (see "The Early Church" by Chadwick) was then fully reflected in his introduction of the new teaching of unconditional predestination.

So much so that the final section " . . . struggle to reconcile the idea of free will with the idea of predestinating grace, both of which are affirmed in Scripture and throughout Christian tradition" is also false and clearly biased. If it was universally accepted before Augustine's innovations that there was no "predestinating grace" of individuals - since only conditional predestination was taught - then it can also be seen as not affirmed in Scripture (properly translated) and not there for 400 years. Jarom22 (talk) 16:14, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Please refer to (User_talk:Flex#unconditional_election_-_a_new_section.3F) for further discussion of this matter [as per link in the previous section].Jarom22 (talk) 10:03, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

To those just joining us, please see my talk page for prior discussion.
Jarom22, I think you have misunderstood Augustine vis-a-vis Manichaeism since he rejected that system and indeed was its greatest opponent. Although there is some debate about how much Augustine's Christian theology was yet influenced by Manichaean thought, it's much more speculative than you're making it out to be, and if it appears in this article (or Predestination), it must be noted as such. Moreover, in your quote (from Chadwick?) the doctrine of original sin seems more to be in view than predestination since it references the corruption of the nature of man. You can't reapply such a quotation without synthesizing a conclusion, which is verboten here.
In essence, I think Schaff's History of the Christian Church gets it right (footnotes omitted):
Before Augustine the anthropology of the church was exceedingly crude and indefinite. There was a general agreement as to the apostasy and the moral accountability of man, the terrible curse of sin, and the necessity of redeeming grace; but not as to the extent of native corruption, and the relation of human freedom to divine grace in the work of regeneration and conversion. The Greek, and particularly the Alexandrian fathers, in opposition to the dualism and fatalism of the Gnostic systems, which made evil a necessity of nature, laid great stress upon human freedom, and upon the indispensable cooperation of this freedom with divine grace; while the Latin fathers, especially Tertullian and Cyprian, Hilary and Ambrose, guided rather by their practical experience than by speculative principles, emphasized the hereditary sin and hereditary guilt of man, and the sovereignty of God’s grace, without, however, denying freedom and individual accountability. The Greek church adhered to her undeveloped synergism, which coordinates the human will and divine grace as factors in the work of conversion; the Latin church, under the influence of Augustine, advanced to the system of a divine, monergism, which gives God all the glory, and makes freedom itself a result of grace; while Pelagianism, on the contrary, represented the principle of a human monergism, which ascribes the chief merit of conversion to man, and reduces grace to a mere external auxiliary. After Augustine’s death, however the intermediate system of Semi-Pelagianism, akin to the Greek synergism, became prevalent in the West.
--Flex (talk/contribs) 05:52, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
In response to the [first] paragraph:
I tend to agree. In regards to my quote from Chadwick yes, it is more about original sin than anything else and that view (the quote) as held by the Manichees. It is here in the talk section only and the purpose is in demonstrating that Augustine's eventual position differs little if at all from the Manichees. It is however an indispensable part of unconditional election dogma: you cannot need to be given a divine act of help to effect salvation in the individual unless all individuals are lost - corrupt by Inability/Depravity - from the outset. Augustine may have struggled with that for a time, but his eventual forceful practise of applying original sin on all (in the sense just given) is clear and equal to Manichee doctrine. I agree on the synthesizing principle and since this is a talk page I concur would need synthesis to be placed in an article. It appears we agree here. Jarom22 (talk) 09:53, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
In response to the [second] paragraph:
It appears Flex that we are both reliant (in the main) on the compilers of thoughts based on the wealth of information still in extant form from the writers of the periods in question. As I read and indeed re-read the above from Schaff it can be deduced that there is indeed a division from the point of Augustine in regards to unconditional election. By Schaff saying "the Latin church, under the influence of Augustine, advanced to the system" is not dissimilar in reality to Fisher or Chadwick by therefore pointing to 400 years without such a 'system'. So that Fisher states in his "History of Christian doctrine" (my quote here is in talk and also covered by the Copyright Act 1988 in that the author is deceased for more than 80 years) "the renewal of the soul is made to be the result of the factors, divine grace and the exertion of free-will. As a rule, the exertion of free-will, human efforts in a right direction, precede the divine aid, and render men worthy of it. It is a doctrine of synergism. God and man cooperate . . . In harmony with the foregoing views as to human freedom and responsibility, conditional predestination is the doctrine inculcated by the Greek Fathers."
The talk issue in hand though is more about how much Augustine's input was a development - a better description of what has gone before - as opposed to a kind of package deal of introductory material. I would also question to how much we can truly split the issues here out of the period in a Latin and Greek setting at that point in history, since Augustine seems to be seen as the point of clear departure. As I read them the above mentioned compilers seem to point to a departure from pre-existing doctrine.Jarom22 (talk) 09:53, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I have now made an attempt at re-working the whole section in line with our talk. If it is viewed as reasonable then it can be tranferred into the predestination article. Jarom22 (talk) 11:51, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

I do not think it represents a neutral point of view, so let's work on it here more before it gets transferred anywhere. I will try to get to this tomorrow, but in the meantime, I have solicited further input, and you may wish to invite other WP contributors who would be interested in this discussion, too. --Flex (talk/contribs) 14:55, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
FYI, I have some personal matters that require my immediate attention, but I will get back to this soon. --Flex (talk/contribs) 03:10, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Hi Flex. Your editing work yesterday and since is excellent. Well done. It reads much better. You set a good example of neutral writing.Jarom22 (talk) 07:33, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Hi, Jarom22. As I mentioned above, I have some personal matters taking time right now, but I'll get back to this as soon as I am able. You'll note in the article history that it was not I who made the changes to which you are referring. FWIW, I still think it needs some NPOV work. Moreover, I also have some reservations about this material even appearing here (rather than just in predestination) because the phraseology "unconditional election" is the term for the particular version of this doctrine associated with Calvinism rather than Augustine. As such, the church fathers -- even Augustine -- had no notion of it, and comments in that regard seem to be speculative. More later, but if you want to delete the material from here and move it to predestination, feel free. --Flex (talk/contribs) 02:52, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, if you excuse my grammar, it was me. Anyway, I've moved the section to predestination. StAnselm (talk) 03:10, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Flex - Ok, so I see the section is no longer here at all (and I recognise you did not do this, but need to speak to the reservations you mention). This removal makes unconditional election appear 'suddenly' with John Calvin. If any history of the concept needs mentioning, then a reference to Augustine is crucial as the beginner of the system. If John Calvin is mentioned out of 'thin air' like this, does that not suggest a lack of neutrality in reservations about such a section? Especially since we have both already expounded sources that affirm Augustine is the point of departure in direct regards to this and thus the beginning and root of this system? Jarom22 (talk) 11:37, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

I have revised the article to include a reference to Augustine. There should be a history section, but I still contend that most of the material you added is better placed in predestination and perhaps also at History of Calvinist-Arminian debate -- to which this article's history section should link with {{main}}. Presently, that historical material exists in summary form in the intro only. --Flex (talk/contribs) 19:37, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Flawed section[edit]

Section Biblical passages is not OK acc2 wikipedia policies, specifically WP:PRIMARY, unless we produce external secondary sources that uses exactly those biblical passages to defend exactly Unconditional election. We have no rights to list our own reasons for adhering to a certain theological stance here, that would be WP:OR. Since that is an endemic disease for christian protestant and other religious articles, see also Conditional election, I'm seriously considering a campaign against using Wikipedia as a battle field for theological debate. Wikipedia is for encyclopedians, and theological debate should be resolved outside Wikipedia first, then we might edit carefully and in consensus. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 14:47, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I applied {{Bible primary|section}}, which already existed. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 15:05, 16 September 2009 (UTC)