John Stott on Calvinism
Part Four of a little diet of sweet truth
(Yes, Stott. John R.W. Stott. What - did you think he's an Arminian just because his books aren't published by Banner of Truth?)
The doctrine of election is a divine revelation, not a human speculation. It was not invented by Augustine of Hippo or Calvin of Geneva. On the contrary, it is without question a biblical doctrine, and no biblical Christian can ignore it. According to the Old Testament, God chose Israel out of all the nations of the world to be his special people. According to the New Testament he is choosing an international community to be his 'saints'... his holy or special people. So we must not reject the notion of election as if it were a weird fantasy of men, but rather humbly accept it (even though we do not fully understand it) as a truth which God himself has revealed. It seems natural that at this point we should seek help from Calvin. He preached through Ephesians, from the pulpit of St Peter's church, Geneva, in forty-eight sermons beginning on 1 May 1558. Here is one of his comments: 'Although we cannot conceive either by argument or reason how God has elected us before the creation of the world, yet we know it by his declaring it to us; and experience itself vouches for it sufficiently, when we are enlightened in the faith.'
Stott goes on to argue i) that the doctrine of election is an incentive to holiness, not an excuse fo sin, and ii) that the doctrine of election is a stimulus to humility, not a ground for boasting. Good stuff - it's in his commentary on Ephesians 1:4