Ephesians 1:4-5 – He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will [the purpose of his will] (NIV 1984).
The question is: how (or why) did He make His choice?
Pelagianism – Grace of God assists in salvation but is not necessary for salvation. Man is capable of redemption through his own efforts (works). Father of humanism and liberalism. Considered heretical or anti-Christian.
Semi-Pelagianism (Arminianism) – Man cannot be saved apart from the grace of God, but rather he must cooperate with or assent to the grace (salvation not wholly dependent upon God’s grace). View largely held by modern evangelicals.
Augustinianism (Calvinism, Reformed) – Salvation wholly dependent upon the grace of God. Man is not even capable of cooperating or assenting to God’s grace without the intervention of God. View held by some of history’s preeminent theologians (Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and Edwards).
The question is: what does wholly dependent mean?
Predestination – Literally before we arrive at our destination (heaven or hell). Our ultimate destination is determined before we are even born (see Ephesians 1 – before foundation of the world) by God choosing us.
The question is: on what does God base His choice?
- Arminianism – God’s choice is based on God’s prior knowledge of what man will do. God chooses us because He knows beforehand that we will choose Him.
- Calvinism – What God foresees has nothing to with His choice, it is solely based on His good pleasure. We choose God, because God already chose us.
Notes from: Chosen by God, R.C. Sproul