At last an issue on "Election," which we especially hope will elicit considerable response from our Reformed readers! Present Truth Magazine opens its columns for comments either positive or negative.
We have reprinted several articles on the subject of election by some notable scholars, not because we necessarily agree with them, but because (1) we should all know what significant points are being taught in the Christian church, and (2) we think the articles are significantly stimulating to challenge our thought and study on the question of election.
Included is Karl Barth's famous statement on "The Doctrine of Election." This was the center point of Barth's theology. We think that the comments by Bernard L. Ramm in The Evangelical Heritage (Word Books) are worth repeating here. He writes:
At certain points neo-orthodoxy has not broken with the presuppositions of liberalism and has given a historic doctrine a novel twist which the evangelical cannot approve. The evangelical can, however, learn from neo-orthodoxy . . . It would certainly be shortsighted of the fundamentalist and evangelical if prejudice against Barth were so irrational that they could not profit from Barth's assaults upon liberal theology. . . The evangelical can greatly enrich his own understanding of theology and especially of historical theology by a diligent study of the massive writings of Barth and Brunner. I repeat: Barth and Brunner must be read dialectically. One should not remove his critical spectacles when he reads these men. But they were men of massive learning who took the historic doctrines of the church with great seriousness . . .
To read Barth and Brunner in a spirit of negativism is to impoverish one's knowledge of theology. To read them dialectically is to have the good without the evil and to separate the error in the quest for truth.—pp. 110-120.
Election is no easy subject for armchair students. It may take some application to digest this issue. As in the Bible, the reader will find some sections simple and some quite ponderous. We have not repeated the orthodox Reformed view of election, because that is well known. Rather, the articles are more or less a reflection on a vital area of our Reformation heritage.
Come, let us reason together.