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Predestination is not a doctrine that human beings naturally find attractive. Indeed, they find many reasons to avoid discussion of it altogether, as R.C. Sproul points out in the first chapter of Chosen by God, his excellent introduction to the doctrine. Paradoxically, however, people seem drawn to Sproul’s work, for after 14 years in print it remains one of his most sought-after books. The reasons likely have to do with the clarity, logic, and wit with which Sproul writes.

Sproul, who is the founder, chairman, and president of Ligonier Ministries, is quick to urge his readers to confront the doctrine of predestination squarely. We must do so, he writes, because the Bible speaks about it, and if we are to be Biblical Christians we have a duty to know and understand the Bible’s position on this crucial question.

The book opens at the necessary starting point: the sovereignty of God. Sproul shows that the Bible clearly states that God is sovereign in all things, including salvation. He then moves on to consider the human side of the equation. He delves into such difficult issues as the fall of man and its results; the centuries-old debate over human “free will”; and the question of whether predestination is arbitrary. And he wrestles with some of the difficult passages of Scripture on which the doctrine is based. He builds a strong, Biblical argument for the doctrine and thoroughly addresses numerous objections.

I appreciate this book for Sproul’s honesty. He raises several questions to which he candidly answers “I don’t know.” He also admits that some of the Bible’s teachings on the subject of predestination are “hard sayings.” Such comments bespeak a scholar who is approaching Scripture not with an agenda but with a willingness to accept what God says and, when the subject matter moves into unfathomable depths, to let God be God.

But Sproul also maintains that human beings can grasp the essentials of God’s purposes in redemption. And, citing his own experience, he shows that while the doctrine of predestination can be a difficult pill to swallow, once it has been accepted it comes to taste exceedingly sweet. “Once I began to see the cogency of the doctrine and its broader implications, my eyes were opened to the graciousness of grace and to the grand comfort of God’s sovereignty,” Sproul writes. “I began to like the doctrine little by little, until it burst upon my soul that the doctrine revealed the depth and the riches of the mercy of God.… Now I rejoiced in a gracious Savior who alone was immortal, invisible, the only wise God.”

In Chosen by God, Sproul has provided a tool by which you may increase your knowledge of God and His ways, to the end that you will grow in your appreciation and love for Him.

Objections to Election

What Difference Does It Make?

Keep Reading Marked for Life: Unconditional Election

From the March 2001 Issue
Mar 2001 Issue