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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

John L. Dagg on Opposition to Sovereign Election

John L. Dagg was, according to Mark Dever, the first writing Southern Baptist theologian. His Manual of Theology was published in 1857 which was also the first published systematic theology in the South. Dagg provides an excellent chapter on the doctrine of election in which he addresses its nature and handles several proposed objections which are often brought up even today. Here is how Dagg began his chapter on the doctrine of election:

The doctrine of election encounters strong opposition in the hearts of men, and it is therefore necessary to examine thoroughly its claim to our belief. As it relates to an act of the divine mind, no proof of its truth can be equal to the testimony of the Scriptures. Let us receive their teachings on the subject without hesitation or distrust; and let us require every preconceived opinion of ours, and all our carnal reasonings, to bow before the authority of God’s holy word (309).
As Dagg rightly asserts, it is the testimony of Scriptures we must square our theology. Following his introduction, Dagg shows how the Scriptures: 1) “clearly teach, that God has an elect or chosen people” (309) 2) “teach expressly, that God’s people are chosen to salvation” (309) 3) “plainly teach that the election of grace is from eternity” (310) 4) “teach that election is of grace, and not of works” (311) 5) “teach that election is according to the foreknowledge of God” (312) Concerning election based on foreseen faith, Dagg writes:
From the views which have been presented, it necessarily follows, that election is not on the ground of foreseen faith or obedience. On this point, the teachings of Scripture are clear. They are chosen not because of their holiness, but that they may be holy; not because of their obedience, but unto obedience. As the discrimination made in effectual calling is God’s work, and antecedent to all holiness, faith, or acceptable obedience; the purpose to discriminate could not be on the ground of acts foreseen, which do not exist as a consideration for the execution of the purpose. The discriminating grace which God bestows, is not on the ground of faith and obedience previously existing, bur for a reason known only to God himself. This unrevealed reason, and not foreseen faith and obedience, is the ground of election (312).
I think many Southern Baptists do not realize that the doctrine of unconditional election (along with the entire doctrines of grace) is historic Baptist theology. Yet it is to no one’s surprise that the doctrine of election received a considerable amount of opposition as it does today. As a follow-up to Dagg on election, I will share how he handles the issue of reprobation and double predestination. If you want to read his chapter on election yourself, here is the link.


Blogger Renee said...

I was reading Erickson's Christian Theology 2nd Ed. today. I read Chapter 17 entitled God's Plan. Hopefully you have acces to this book. I was wondering how your views would differ, if any, from his in this chapter specifically his views stated under the heading A Moderately Calvinistic Model. It begins on page 382.

Also, do you know if there is an online access to this book available?

10/25/2006 07:05:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


Erickson's Systematic as well as Grudem's are required reading for almost any systematic theology class. I like both of them as each offer unique strengths to theology. Concerning Erickson on ch. 17, it has been a long time since I looked at that and need to read through it again. As far as I know, there isn't an online edition, but then again I haven't really looked either.

For what it's worth, I have been reading through alot of what Erickson has to say about the fate of the unevangelized as it is a major topic in my studies dealing with inclusivism and in a larger section, religious pluralism. I will be posting some of his stuff in the near future.

10/25/2006 10:02:00 PM

Blogger Renee said...

The reason I was hoping you could take a look at those few pages is because I was wondering if calling something moderately calvinistic is a loose term or if it is a term that is used of a specific system of thought. I also was wondering what makes this particular model moderately calvinistic and not just calvinistic.

10/26/2006 02:00:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


Unfortunately, I am OOT this weekend. When I get back to my study, I will take a look at it. Hope you have a great weekend!

10/27/2006 05:12:00 PM


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