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state of mind, there has been at least one objection to the concept of unconditional election over the course of the history of the church.The objection to this view of deciding who will receive salvation is rooted in John 3:16. While God loves/d the world, Calvinists hold to a different interpretation of the “world.” To Calvinists, the “world” does not imply all who inhabit the earth; rather, it means that “his love is not for people in any particular geographical region.”30The justification for this view is found in the concept that even though the Lord loved his only son, he still knew he would be crucified. Indoing so, his death was “an offering for sin” for the rest of mankind.31Conditional ElectionJacob Arminius believes that since a relationship with the Lord is a two-way street, so to say, the election of one to salvation is not unconditional, but rather conditional. “From this follows the fourth decree to save certain particular persons and to damn others, which decree rests upon the foreknowledge of God, by which he has known from eternity which persons should believe .. and also who should not believe and persevere.”32Jacob believed that since the Lord is omniscient, he already knows who will accept the Gospel and who will not. Thus, election is based on the stipulation that one will choose to accept Christ. The difficulty with this stand is that it appears to disregard Christ’s role in one’s salvation. “If the ultimate reason a 30 Ibid., 153.31 Ibid.32 Arminius., 352.8
person is saved or not lies in that person, not in God, then the credit for salvation must to the person, not to God.”33Summary of ElectionWhile the point of debate between these two views regarding election is not a simple taskto summarizes, there are two main differences. Calvinist’s hold that the individual can do nothing regarding election: it is solely up to the Lord. However, Armenians hold that the Lord elects those who will accept salvation based on his omniscient power. Through the Arminian view, salvation is not seen as a gift, but rather something that man can achieve. Unconditional election realizes that man is powerless when it comes to salvation. SalvationRegarding salvation and the believer, both Calvin and Arminius hold that the believer canreceive salvation. Just as with the topic of election, there is a fine line that separates these two views. Perseverance of the SaintsIn Calvinism, the doctrine of election and the topic of salvation are closely intertwined. Just as none of the elect will be lost, so will the elect persevere in their faith.34John 6:37-39 was Calvin’s basis for this teaching. When someone accepts Christ as their Savior, they become part 33 Boyd., 158.34 Lutzer., 188.