I recently sent this in an e-mail to someone and thought it was worth posting here too…
Arminians believe in divine election/predestination. We have to. It is in the Bible! The question is whether or not predestination is based solely on God’s will (Calvinists= unconditional election) or whether there is some basis upon which God preordains people (Arminians= conditional election). Arminians typically have argued that God’s condition for predestination is God’s foreknowledge of how we will respond to God.
- 1 Peter 1:1-2- To God’s elect … who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.
- Romans 8:29- For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Some Arminians (and Calvinists) also teach that predestination/election is a corporate reality. That is, rather than God electing certain individuals to salvation, God elected a people (in the OT it was Israel, in the NT it is the Church). So, God determined he would have a Church, but not necessarily who would be in and who would be out. Many (if not all) of the key “Calvinistic” texts actually provide support for this view:
- Ephesians 1:4-5- For 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. (notice the plural)
- 1 Peter 2:9- But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (Here election is explicitly corporate)
As a side note, since there is nothing explicit in the PAOC statement of faith about election, the PAOC statement of faith does allow for a Calvinist view of election. I do know there are some PAOC pastors out there who lean toward Calvinism. However, “5.5.1 Atonement of Christ” in the statement of faith explicitly states that Jesus died for all, thereby rejecting the Calvinist view of “limited atonement” (i.e. that Jesus died only for the elect).
If you are interested in reading further, there is a great book out there called Perspectives on Election: Five Views (preview on Google books) edited by Chad Owen Brand. Five different authors present their views on election and the authors also respond to each other’s chapters.