A report live-blogged by Andy Naselli

The 2009 Kantzer Lectures in Revealed Theology by Dr. Stephen Williams

Williams is professor of systematic theology at Union Theological College in Belfast, Ireland. The title of the six-part series is “The Election of Grace: A Riddle without Resolution?” The third lecture in the series was advertised to address “the question of election as a determination of destiny, specifically, the problem of perseverance” but will actually be addressing election in the OT.

This is also available via live stream.

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  • Bultmann observed that the history of Israel was a history of failure. We may not be persuaded by Bultmann’s reasoning, but his conclusion is right.
  • The nations were destined to be beneficiaries of the Abrahamic covenant.
  • The threefold division elect, anti-elect, and non-elect is useful as long as the categories aren’t viewed as static.
  • The elect were both a blessing and a judgment to the nations.
  • Israel and the nations are distinguished yet bound together, so this raises the question why all the people of the earth are not elect.
  • Do Lesslie Newbigin’s arguments re election in The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission make election a matter of necessity? Surely they do not. Newbigin repeatedly states that election is not privilege but responsibility. The phrase “responsibility not privilege” surely rings strange in our ears.
  • The peculiar privilege of election is communion with the living God.
  • We need to be careful not to interpret the end of Ezekiel literally (i.e., its fulfillment in the literal form given).
  • It is right that election is responsibility and that election for service should be emphasized, but it is not responsible to drain out of it communion with the living God.