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The Election of Grace:
A Riddle without a Resolution?

Stephen Williams

Few issues in Christian theology have sparked as much controversy over the centuries as the question of election. In this book—the inaugural volume of the Kantzer Lectures in Revealed Theology series—Stephen Williams offers a rich and nuanced account of the doctrine of election, arguing that we should diminish the role of “system” in Christian theology. After expounding the Bible’s teaching on election, Williams turns to questions of theological method and substance. He maintains that the subject of predestination must be considered in a wider biblical context than it often is and that we cannot expect to understand election within a comprehensive systematic framework. What matters is the relation of particular truths to the particulars of life, he says, not the systematic relation of truths to each other. Williams draws on and applies the insights of remarkable nineteenth-century Anglican leader Charles Simeon throughout his study, concluding the book with a cogent discussion of Karl Barth on election.

This is part of our Kantzer Lectures in Revealed Theology initiative.
Visit the Kantzer Lectures in Revealed Theology to learn more

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Stephen Williams

Stephen N. Williams (PhD Yale University) is Honorary Professor of Theology at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Senior Research Fellow with the Creation Project. His recent publications include Revelation and Reconciliation: a Window on Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 1996), The Shadow of the Antichrist: Nietzsche’s Critique of Christianity (Baker Academic, 2006), and The Election of Grace: A Riddle without a Resolution? (Eerdmans, 2015).

Endorsements

"Stephen N. Williams here enters fearlessly (and wittily!) into the tangled scriptural and theological debates surrounding the doctrine of election. No matter where you stand, journeying with Williams will challenge your assumptions and provoke you to consider afresh the presuppositions that lie behind the usual approaches to this most controversial of doctrines."

Suzanne McDonald, Western Theological Seminary

"Williams is a first-rate theological thinker, as this work shows. He addresses the riddle of predestination with erudition and humility. . . . The fresh thinking in this volume repays careful reflection."

Graham A. Cole, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Book Reviews

There is no doubt that The Election of Grace contains much challenging insight into the doctrine of election and various related matters. The idea ‘that God’s predestination is a predestination to reign’ is worthy of further exposition and should prove fruitful to anyone daring enough to sidestep Williams’s warnings against conjecture. Also, I appreciated the recognition that election does mean a certain level of privilege as well as responsibility on the part of the elect, though I would like to have seen some fuller reflections on how privilege and responsibility are entwined.

Terry J. Wright

The Journal of Theological Studies

"Williams is a first-rate theological thinker, as this work shows. He addresses the riddle of predestination with erudition and humility. . . . The fresh thinking in this volume repays careful reflection."

Graham A. Cole

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School