Dr. Eric Hankins’ sermon on Election at NOBTS

September 28, 2013

by Dr. Eric Hankins, pastor
FBC, Oxford, Miss.

Dr. Eric Hankins, pastor of FBC Oxford, Miss., preached on “Election” at NOBTS, Sept. 26. Preaching from Gen. 12.1-4, and using William Whiting Borden in an extended illustration, Dr. Hankins preached a sermon for the ages, bringing what SBCToday believes was a biblical message on Election that is hopeful, not dour; inclusive, not exclusive; and points to all, not the few.

Knowing Dr. Hankins, and having recently communicated with him, SBCToday is certain that he would not only consider it an honor for you to listen to the sermon, but would be humbled for you to preach the sermon as the people in the pew need to know all about this doctrine of grace.

Here are some significant quotes:

Genesis 12.1-4 “is the script for the whole Bible, and is the script that we should use to understand what it means to be elect of God and chosen of God.”

“I think the great mistake of theology is that we have created the categories, and have created distinction between the categories of the chosen and un-chosen, as though God picks some and not others, and this is fixed, and that is the way things really are.”

“Election is God’s unstoppable plan to save, not his unstoppable plan to damn.”

“All means all, and that’s all all means.”

“The chosen are chosen for the sake of the un-chosen.”

“The trajectory of election is not inward … it’s outward.”

Click HERE to watch a video of the sermon.
The link may be slow, but it works.

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Lydia

“The trajectory of election is not inward but outward…..It is us FOR them”

Yes! What a great way to describe it.

rhutchin

Pastor Hankins speaks to a group of seminary students and his purpose is to encourage them. He does this well. He does not delve into the technical details of the issue of election but dwells on the consequences of that election. We are called by God (“If God had not pursued us, we would not be saved”): called to service, to missions, to suffering. His purpose is not to sort out all that is discussed on the issue of election but to emphasize what it means when God elects a person. He has set out to prepare these seminary students for the life they have chosen as a consequence of the power of the gospel on their lives. His example of Borden is excellent as a model.

Election is framed by Pastor Hankins as well as any could do so in his closing prayer.

As Pastor Hankins found the real extent of God’s election in Genesis 12, I would not be surprised if Paul did also causing him to write of election in Ephesians 3, “As I briefly mentioned earlier in this letter, God himself revealed his secret plan to me…And this is the secret plan: The Gentiles have an equal share with the Jews in all the riches inherited by God’s children. Both groups have believed the Good News, and both are part of the same body and enjoy together the promise of blessings through Christ Jesus. By God’s special favor and mighty power, I have been given the wonderful privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.” NLT All does mean all and that is what all means – not the Jews only but the Gentiles, too.

Pastor Hankins tells the seminary students that they can look into the eyes of any person and tell them, “God loves you.” His argument here is not with the Calvinist but with the Universalist who insists that a God who is love would certainly save those He loves. The Calvinist would have these seminary students go to each person in the world and tell them, “You have sinned against God; repent and believe the gospel.” In that message is the assurance that God’s unstoppable plan to save is truly unstoppable.

    Norm Miller

    Hutch:
    As I have stated numerous times on this blog, and perhaps directly to you, too, that to say “God so loved the world” is not a statement of universalism; it is biblical. I would be grateful if you would cease making that strawman argument on behalf of those who embrace that “God is love” and that “God so loved the world” that he sent His Son to die for the sins “of the whole world” and provided the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
    Yes, I know that some Calvinists want to redefine cosmos to mean something other than what it means. But 1 Jn. 2.2 settles it with “whole world,” thus meaning nothing was excluded. The Greek word translated “whole” is all-inclusive, as I am sure you know. This is perplexing to me — why anyone would argue against the prima facia meaning of the Scriptures. And then comes the statement from some Calvinists that John could not have known of the American Indians when he wrote “whole world.” No, but the Holy Spirit did, and the Scripture did not come from man, anyway, as you know. Further, do you think John knew of what he wrote in the Revelation? Frankly, I think John had a firm grasp of soteriology and believed that the atonement of Christ was not limited in any way.
    You state your position as if any deviation from it is universalism in a similar way as other Calvinists do in calling those who reject Calvinism Arminians. It is absolutely your right to see only two positions. In fact, it suits the debate to limit the matter to only two positions. But it is not your right to ascribe false beliefs and doctrinal understandings to your brethren. I would beg you please stop.
    I would remind you that, months ago, a Calvinist opined on this blog that he could not tell random people on the street that God loved them because he couldn’t be sure they were elect. That being the case, then telling everyone on the street: “You have sinned against God; repent and believe the gospel” would be to no avail, either.
    So, “For God so loved the world (except the non-elect)”??? Again, it is your right to believe that, but I submit it is not right to ascribe what you think others believe to those who don’t believe what you say they do. If I have done that to you or anyone else, then I repent of that and ask for forgiveness. — Norm

Ben Simpson

I just finished listening to the message. He did an excellent job preaching! Great example in Borden. May we all be like him in his emulation of Jesus!

The basic gist of his message is that our salvation should propel us out to see more people saved. With that I agree wholeheartedly! Undoubtedly, the NOBTS students and others who listen to the message online will be challenged. I certainly was.

There’s plenty that could be said about the message, but since Norm has focused in on particular significant quotes, I’ll address those.

“I think the great mistake of theology is that we have created the categories, and have created distinction between the categories of the chosen and un-chosen, as though God picks some and not others, and this is fixed, and that is the way things really are.” Didn’t God create these categories and reveal them in Scripture, even from a conditional electionist perspective? While we may disagree on how those in these categories get into these categories, I don’t think we can disagree on the categories.

“Election is God’s unstoppable plan to save, not his unstoppable plan to damn.” That’s a great line, and I agree wholeheartedly, even from an unconditional electionist perspective.

“All means all, and that’s all all means.” That’s a catchy line, but it’s easily shown to not be true. Just one example will suffice to prove it wrong. Speaking about the ministry of John the Baptist, we read in Mark 1:5, “And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.” Does “all” here mean that every single person in the region of Judea and the city of Jerusalem went to John and that every single person was baptized by him? That’s highly unlikely. However, I will give Dr Hankins this: All usually means all, and that’s usually all all means.

“The chosen are chosen for the sake of the un-chosen.” Again, it’s a catchy line but only makes sense if election is only an election for service to God. Then it could rightly be said that the ones chosen for service to God are chosen for service to God for the sake of those who aren’t chosen for service to God. But, Dr Hankins clearly and rightly states in his message that salvation and service cannot be separated. Therefore, to be chosen for service is to be chosen for salvation, and vice versa, but it doesn’t make sense to say that the ones chosen for salvation are chosen for salvation for the sake of those who aren’t chosen for salvation. Something’s amiss there. Therefore, I don’t think the line “The chosen are chosen for the sake of the un-chosen” makes sense. At least it doesn’t to me.

“The trajectory of election is not inward … it’s outward.” Amen and amen! The knowledge of our election evidenced by our faith in Jesus (1 Thes 1:2-5) pushes us outward to share the gospel so that others will be believe on Christ and be saved, bringing them the knowledge of their election.

Thanks for sharing this challenging message!

    Johnathan Pritchett

    “All usually means all, and that’s usually all all means.”

    I’m stealing this one! :)

    “Again, it’s a catchy line but only makes sense if election is only an election for service to God. Then it could rightly be said that the ones chosen for service to God are chosen for service to God for the sake of those who aren’t chosen for service to God. But, Dr Hankins clearly and rightly states in his message that salvation and service cannot be separated. Therefore, to be chosen for service is to be chosen for salvation, and vice versa, but it doesn’t make sense to say that the ones chosen for salvation are chosen for salvation for the sake of those who aren’t chosen for salvation. Something’s amiss there. Therefore, I don’t think the line “The chosen are chosen for the sake of the un-chosen” makes sense. At least it doesn’t to me.”

    It makes sense if one has a corporate view of election though. In a salvific sense, this is how election is understood. Clearly, not all cases of election in Scripture is election to salvation. I supposed Dr. Hankins in his sermon, in referring to election, was referring to it (or limiting it) in the salvific sense for his theological purposes, and not referring to it in all the senses election is mentioned in Scripture (such as referring to chariots and horses and soldiers, etc.). Since a people were chosen prior to creation (Eph. 1:4), the individual persons who identify with the corporate head on the one hand, and the corporate body on the other are all non-elect as individuals until they are united with Christ by faith. (Eph. 1:13)

    One of the tragedies of post-Reformation theology, from all traditions, is the reduction of the word eklektos and all of its conjugated forms to simply mean “picked”. It is more nuanced than that. Even in modern English, a choice steak doesn’t simply mean a picked steak.

Lydia

“Election is God’s unstoppable plan to save, not his unstoppable plan to damn.” That’s a great line, and I agree wholeheartedly, even from an unconditional electionist perspective”.

And that is cognitive dissonance in a nutshell. By default, if God does not choose someone for salvation (even before Adam sinned) then they are damned. So, in effect, He did choose them for damnation by NOT choosing them for salvation.

This is why Calvinism is basically Gnosticism.

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