I spent several posts (starting here) describing my journey in and out of Calvinism — specifically, the neo-Reformed version. I left because I came to believe two things about the Bible and predestination. One, the Bible doesn’t set out to give a comprehensive understanding of predestination, what it is, or how it works. (There are lots of things we try to make the Bible say that it simply has no interest in saying.)
Two, to the degree the Bible does speak about predestination, it paints a very different picture.
And while we’re doing things in pairs… the Bible (as I understand it) differs from Calvinism on predestination in two key ways, both of which I alluded to in an earlier post:
- Calvinism views predestination as primarily an individual affair, by which God preemptively hand-picked certain people for salvation.
- Calvinism see predestination as both the means and the end, rather than as a means by which God makes it possible for any and all to come to him.
Both problems can be resolved by something known as the “corporate view of election.”
Just what is corporate election? Well, not the best name ever, for starters. Especially in the wake of the now infamous Citizens United case.
Basically, the corporate view of election says that God predestined there would be a redeemed community called the church, but he did not determine in advance the individual composition of that group.
This view stands in contrast to both to the traditional Calvinist perspective (that God predestined individuals) AND the traditional Arminian view (that God saw in advance who would choose him and predestined them on the basis of his foreknowledge — though some Arminians accept the corporate view instead).
The video below is a helpful intro to the corporate view of election, courtesy of Paul Eddy and Greg Boyd, pastors at Woodland Hills Church in Minnesota. They say basically everything I have to say about the corporate view, only better and more succinctly. But I’ll still give it a shot.
(Thanks to Kurt Willems for highlighting this video on his blog last year.)