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Should Pastors Teach the Doctrine of Election? (February 18, 2013)

As I write this blog, I am in the country of Honduras, having just finished speaking at a Bible conference. For the last several days I have been teaching verse by verse through Romans chapters 9-11 about God’s righteousness in His dealings with Israel.

Among the many issues taught by the Apostle Paul in these chapters is the sovereignty of God in electing some to salvation. At the close of this conference, I was asked if I thought that pastors should teach on such a controversial subject. And my response was that pastors must teach on God’s sovereignty in election for the following two reasons.

First of all, we must teach about election because this truth is revealed in the Word of God. The doctrine of election comes from God, and therefore He wants it to be taught to His people. Pastors don’t have the option of choosing which doctrines of the Bible they want to preach about. They are called to proclaim the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:20).  Regardless of how much controversy the doctrine of election might generate in a local church, no pastor should be held hostage by the reactions of his congregation. Pastors are first and foremost servants of Jesus Christ, and as such they must be faithful to His Word.

The second reason why pastors must teach the doctrine of election is because this doctrine magnifies the Lord by highlighting His sovereignty, and what an individual believes about God’s sovereignty determines his outlook on life. Christians who embrace this teaching have a God-centered theology and an exalted view of God. Those who reject this teaching gravitate to a man-centered theology and an erroneously high view of man. The former leads to trusting God, the latter leads to depending on human devices and methods.

Every believer in Jesus Christ should praise God for His sovereignty over all things, especially salvation. And pastors should help their people to understand that “our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3).