04 March, 2008

Obama Explains Election Process

DALLAS, TX - Barack Obama, the front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States, recently addressed a supportive crowd in Texas. As he spoke, the senator from Illinois took some time to explain to the Texans just how be believes election works.

According to Obama, "I see a time coming in Texas when the great people of this state will rise up together in unity. We can all sense wonderful times ahead. We can achieve peace, harmony, and prosperity if we all work together. Yes, we have some minor differences, but don't worry about that. If you desire great change and great surprises, then anoint me to represent the Democratic party in November's election.

"Speaking of the election, I'd like to take just a minute to explain to you exactly how the process of election works. You may not realize just what it means to elect someone. You may be thinking that if you elect someone, that means you are actually choosing him or her. When you pull the lever in the voting booth, you may assume that you are actually picking out that person for something special. However, that cannot be the case because it wouldn't be fair to the people you didn't vote for. For example, if you simply elected me, that wouldn't be fair to Hillary. The same is true the other way around. After all, we both want to be president.

"This is what election really means: when you go to the polls, you are actually looking far into the future. You are then realizing which candidate would choose you. Then you are electing them based upon what you saw occur in the future. This may sound tricky and complicated, but, trust me, it's how the system works.

"Know this, my Texan friends, I would choose you. Therefore, it would be unfair if you didn't elect me. Also, once you make up your mind, please don't change it. Hillary doesn't believe as I do - she thinks this election has been rigged from the start. She keeps talking about how she just isn't being treated fairly. My guess is that people realize she wouldn't pick them."

TBNN was on the scene for this historic speech. Afterwards, several Dallas residents looked confused. We asked Mr. Bubba (Tex) Simmons what he thought of Obama. "Well, he seems like a nice guy. I don't know much about him, but I'll probably vote for him anyway. The only thing that bothered me is that I used to think I knew what it meant to elect someone. To elect means to choose based on what I want. To look into the future and see if he would choose me? That just seems doggone silly."


Peter Kirk said...

In this election year Texas voter, and fringe member of an evangelical church, John Doe is puzzled. He sees that he has the opportunity to elect Obama or Clinton, McCain or Huckabee as President. And he sees all the campaign materials from them. But then he hears in church that God may or may not elect him to eternal life. So he has decided to mount his own election campaign. He is having leaflets printed and TV adverts prepared with the message, "O God, vote for Doe!" He is not sure yet of the most effective method of delivering his campaign message. One technique he is trying, suggested by a friend who had read Revelation 8:4, is to burn some of his leaflets along with incense. He plans to broadcast his TV ad upwards into the sky. But he is also targeting his leaflets and TV ad, recorded on DVD, at people he thinks are especially close to God, of whatever religion to hedge his bets, in the hope that they will put in a word for him with the one Voter who counts in his race for eternal life.

Jerry Boyce said...

Eric, what do you believe the word "foreknow" means in Romans 8:29?
Also, would you agree with John Calvin when he relates baptism with election in his Institutes? - "God in baptism promises the remission of sins, and will undoubtedly preform what he has promised to all believers."

Elder Eric said...


Please, let's stay on topic and remember that this is satire. I really don't have any desire to get into a day-long argument/discussion about sovereignty, freedom of the will, predestination, and foreknowledge.

Today's topic is election.

Thanks, Eric

Amanda said...

Great post! Oh and that first tag is hilarious (and probably very true)!

Richard Boyce said...

What does foreknow mean? Well...it means that God knew the ones He elected. Kinda hard to elect someone you've never heard of. Since election occured prior to the foundation of the world, it would be necessary to describe God's knowledge of His elect in terms of "fore"-knowledge...not just "current" knowledge.

Nowhere in any text would you find the idea of foreknowledge to mean "looking far into the future. You are then realizing which candidate would choose you. Then you are electing them based upon what you saw occur in the future".

But as the man said, this is another topic for another time.

As far as election goes, I have to disagree with the Arminian view of election, namely of God electing those who in the future would elect Him. If man is truely dead in sin, he won't ever choose God. It's that simple. Therefore, no one would be elected.

However, I don't entirely agree with the Calvinist idea of election, in that God's election of certain individuals is based on nothing pertaining to said individual. I find myself wondering if the truth isn't a little deeper. I can't support it Biblically (which is always not cool), but here's a theory:

What if election is based upon the choice we would have made as free moral agents had the fall not completely corrupted us, thus making us all freely choose to reject Christ?

Adam was not marred by sin yet choose to sin. Likewise, some of the angels chose to sin; some didn't. It stands to reason that had original sin not corrupted us in our entirety, some individuals would still choose to reject God.

So...if God's electing process is determined by His "pre-"knowledge of our theoretical free-moral choice, than the only ones going to Hell are the ones who would never choose God, regardless of sin's devastating influence.

This would demonstrate God's complete fairness in election (don't get me wrong; He's fair now, but we don't like the idea of a federal headship) and at the same time give Him the glory for our salvation, not in the choice "He sees us making in the future since we're better, smarter, and more spiritually enlightened than those that reject Christ."

I realize I'm diving into the world of theory, but it's worth thinking about. Sorry for the length of this post.

Elder Eric said...

Those Boyce family reunions must be fun.

Brother Slawson said...


You need to attend one of the Slawson reunions...

It took 47 splits, but we have finally achieved doctrinal perfection.

Tim said...

So, which of Hillary and Barak is omniscient, seeing the vast tapestry of spacetime from start to finish? Or, wait, is it McCain? :-)

Darrin said...

In his "Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christianity", J.I. Packer writes,
'Foreknow in Romans 8:29 and 11:2 means “fore-love” and “fore-appoint”: it does not express the idea of a spectator’s anticipation of what will spontaneously happen.'

Jerry Boyce said...

Eric- fair enough. However, how does mentioning foreknowledge, which is tied directly to election, constitute straying off topic? I could probably understand the Calvin quote, but that also has to do with election. It's your post, but I honest did not realize that bringing up the passage in Romans, which has election in it, was wrong for me to do.

Richard and I know what not to bring up. He was gracious enough to honor me by being his best man, and I accepted- with both of us knowing where we stand.

Richard, interesting theory.

To anyone else interested, if the foreknowledge of God is limited to just what He predestined, then that would mean God is not omniscient, would it not?

Darrin, you mean Romans 8:29 should read "For whom he did predestinate, he also did predestinate to be conformed... Also, Packer's explanation of the word does not jive with what mainstream Greek lexicons say. What did Packer do with 2 Peter 3:17? There is no way that Packer's meaning could be twisted to fit this use of the exact Greek word.

Elder Eric said...


I say this in all sincerity - it might be good if you and Peter Kirk joined together to form a free will/Arminian type of satirical blog. That way, you could poke fun at Calvinists and also choose the topics of discussion. Frankly, it would probably do all of us some good to read it. I know I would.


Jerry Boyce said...

In all sincerity, I have no time. We all like a laugh. We can all laugh at ourselves, I'm sure. But truthfully, here is the situation. Calvinist, for the most part, believe that no matter what, the elect will be saved. Non- Calvinists, such as myself, believe that God freely offers salvation and that man must make a choice. I know you and others may say you believe that, but obviously it is not the way I believe. If I really believe that, I must admit that some Calvinists will not take soul winning seriously, a sad picture indeed. With that being said, I can understand why Calvinists can sit around and poke fun of non-Calvinists and Arminians. But it should be a heatbreak to me and others like me. Also, if we where all honest, I would dare say few of us witness as we should. Even in my zeal to "combat" Calvinism, I must ask myself, " Jerry, what are you doing to do more? As much as you despise theories that teach no matter what, only those whom God unconditionally has chosen will be saved,have you taken the time to share the love of God?"
On that note, thanks for the thought. Peter, if you are reading this, we can name it "King James" and "Captain Kirk" (my first name is James- no relation to the Calvinist James Boyce- I hope :)

Richard Boyce said...

"Calvinist, for the most part, believe that no matter what, the elect will be saved."

What part of this is wrong?

Jerry Boyce said...

What is wrong is the way I worded it. I should have worded it this way- Calvinist believe that God has selected certain ones for salvation, passed over the rest, basically damning them with no hope of salvation. Those he choose for salvation are the elect, those He did not are the non-elect. The elects' will is bend, changed, etc, against their desire, and God forces the elect to choose Him. The non-elect have no hope in the next world. That is pretty much what I should have written. My bad.

Warning- off topic writting about to occur. Dad's flight from Charlotte was delayed until morning. Just got back (12am) from getting him.

Richard Boyce said...

Bro, you remind me so much of me a year ago. Alls I can say is this: I'm glad God gave me a new will...my last one would have marched me straight to Hell.

Darrin said...

Re: "foreknow"
Consider also 1 Pet 1:20, where Christ was "foreordained", and the same word is used. Clearly the word can have either meaning, and Packer was using the context in Romans. And, yes, God loving us from eternity past, and so predestinating us in 8:29 makes perfect sense to me.
Re: "passed over the rest, basically damning them "
No, they were damned already. You seem to fail to appreciate the effects and implications of the Fall.
Re: "against their desire, and God forces the elect to choose Him"
I enjoy Luther's words from "The Bondage of the Will": 'But again, on the other hand, when God works in us, the will, being changed and sweetly breathed on by the Spirit of God, desires and acts, not from compulsion, but responsively, from pure willingness, inclination, and accord; so that it cannot be turned another way by any thing contrary, nor be compelled or overcome even by the gates of hell; but it still goes on to desire, crave after, and love that which is good; even as before, it desired, craved after, and loved that which was evil. This, again, experience proves. How invincible and unshaken are holy men, when, by violence and other oppressions, they are only compelled and irritated the more to crave after good! Even as fire, is rather fanned into flames than extinguished, by the wind. So that neither is there here any willingness, or "Free-will," to turn itself into another direction, or to desire any thing else, while the influence of the Spirit and grace of God remain in the man.'
You continue to twist the concepts of Calvinism and remain set in your hostility against this distorted view. You might humbly let God-gifted teachers such as Luther, Calvin, Owen, Piper, Sproul, Packer, etc. speak to you and help rightly divide the Word.

Jerry Boyce said...

I am not so sure you can call Calvin "God-gifted". Will you explain to those reading where Calvin traced his "conversion" too?
Also, how can these men "speak " to me? Must I use men to divide the Word for me? I thought the Spirit would guide believers in the truth. What does the Spirit use- works of man or works of God. I am all for reading behind people, but your responce clearly shows that Calvinism cannot be "understood" nor "discovered" by the Bible alone. I must also read works by man to grasp this theory. Thank you for your concern, but it just does not set right.

Richard Boyce said...

You're exactly right. From now on, no more Sunday School!

Who needs men and women teaching our children the Bible? It's right there in front of them!


Jerry Boyce said...

And every Biblical Sunday School teacher uses what as the main text book? ;-)

Richard Boyce said...

Nice one.

This is my point, though...preachers and teachers exist for a reason.

You writing a sermon and my learning from reading it is no different from my reading the works of Sproul, Piper, etc. A book is nothing more than words on paper.

What are those words of? Well, the thoughts of theologians as they interpret the Scriptures. My side has 'em, your side has 'em, both sides use the Bible as THEIR main text book.

By seeing their own thoughts, we're often able to understand the scripture in a way we wouldn't have been able to, left to our own devices (hence preachers and teachers being gifts for the Church).

But uh...if seeking assistance in understanding the Scriptures because they don't make sense is unwise, than we need to just stop preaching to Christians, writing books, or doing anything other than encouraging our church members to take the Scripture for what it "plainly" says, regardless of the inconsistencies that arise from not reconciling Scripture with Scripture.

P.S....you mentioned being "all for reading behind people". Whom have you read behind, and what titles?

Michael said...

Hilarious! First of all, Jerry, GOD USES MEANS. You clearly don't understand the working of the Spirit with respect to this concept. Illumination happens as we study the word and hear it taught and read teachings from saints gone before and meditate and memorize and pray. This is obvious from the scripture otherwise why the mandate to PREACH the word, "in season and out of season" and not be taken into "hollow and deceptive philosophies". It is clear that even though people may have the Word, it can be distorted when it is "out of season". So we must rely on the teachings of the saints to bring us back to truth in those times. Paul even charges the saints in Thessalonica:

2 Thessalonians 2:15
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

So why would Paul charge them to recall these words? They have the letters right? Paul seemingly understands the point that his verbal teachings (which are not canonized) have just as much to offer in terms of instruction as the Word of God does. This is because the Word of God is living and active and is embodied in the truth's of theology just as much as in the scriptures. The Spirit works to illumine us to this reality by using means (the Word, personal discipleship, preaching, teaching, reading, meditating, etc...).

I think it fairly obvious that you don't understand this concept being as though you believe Calvinists just "sit around" and wait for God to work. This is not the truth at all. Calvinists understand the idea of "means" the best which is why THEY have been the most effective missionaries and most prolific writers/theologians in history.

I would ask you to do one thing, would you please list for me the most effective "Arminian" missionaries from the last 200 years? I would like to compare the list to the "Calvinist" missionaries and see who "sits around" and waits for God to work.

Jerry Boyce said...

Michael- you have misunderstood and misquoted me. I will not attempt to explain. I could use your method and accuse you of misunderstanding non-Calvinism, but I will not. Thank the Lord for the apparent zeal of souls. I have been around the world and country several times working in missions. Let's not go there. This is the last on this post. Until next time.....

Peter Kirk said...

I can't manage a regular satirical blog either. But if you prefer I will put satirical responses to posts here on my own blog. Well, no time like the present, so here is my first satirical offering, taken straight from my comment on this post.

pilgrim said...

This is one of the best ones in a long time. (not that the others weren't any good.)

While the analogy isn't perfect--it makes the point--and makes it well.