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The Election of Grace

My thanks to Nicholas Wolterstorff for taking the time to read and review The Election of Grace ["All Called, Some Predestined," September/October]. I respond—and I kid you not—on the prompting of a respected third party.

I frequently had the strange feeling of reading a review of a book which I had not written.

(1) Far from saying that my project in this volume is to develop a "narrative doctrine of election," I say the virtual opposite: that I deliberately decided not "to offer a studiously and rigorously narrative account of election." Both the content of the (second) chapter in which I say this and the opening of the following chapter should have dispelled any ambiguities to which that sentence may have lent itself, independently considered. I nowhere decline "to engage in a detailed discussion of Paul's teaching on election and predestination on the ground that Paul's teaching is not part of the NT narrative."

(2) Wolterstorff says that I never spell out the reasons for my restrictive discussion of election in the NT. However, I indicate more than once that, in this volume, I am swayed in the direction taken by the historical prominence of the theological debate on predestination arising from the NT witness. It was a very narrow decision, and I may have got it wrong, but I thought that, between the preface and the body of the book, the reason was clear.

(3) Again, I read that I never explain why my position does not entail "eternal reprobation or passing over of those who do not believe"; instead, I simply declare it. I confess that I would have understood better the opposite criticism, namely, that I over-exert myself on this point. I am not surprised that Wolterstorff thinks that I refuse to make a logical inference. I feel the force of that point and knew that this would be a familiar reader response. However, in the book I labor the point that such reprobation ...

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