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Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election [Paperback]

By Sam Storms (Author)
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Item description for Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election by Sam Storms...

Divine election is certainly one of the more profound-and controversial-doctrines in the Bible. Does God elect people because they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, or does God elect people in order that they will believe in Christ? Much of the disagreement and controversy concerning this doctrine proceeds from a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means. This is why Storms begins his analysis of divine election with an attempt to clarify precisely what is at stake and, at the same time, correct misrepresentations of it. He takes a thorough look at the doctrine as it is presented in Romans 9 as well as the rest of the New Testament. He also explores freedom of will and the order of salvation. Appendixes address "Three Problem Passages" and "Who Can and Cannot Pray for God to Save the Lost?"

Publishers Description

Divine election is certainly one of the more profound--and controversial--doctrines in the Bible. Does God elect people because they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, or does God elect people in order that they will believe in Christ? Much of the disagreement and controversy concerning this doctrine proceeds from a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means.

This is why Storms begins his analysis of divine election with an attempt to clarify precisely what is at stake and, at the same time, correct misrepresentations of it. He takes a thorough look at the doctrine as it is presented in Romans 9 as well as the rest of the New Testament. He also explores freedom of will and the order of salvation. Appendixes address "Three Problem Passages" and "Who Can and Cannot Pray for God to Save the Lost?"

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   237
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.46" Width: 5.64" Height: 0.61"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 25, 2007
ISBN  1581348436  
ISBN13  9781581348439  

Availability  0 units.

More About Sam Storms

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Sam Storms (PhD, University of Texas at Dallas) has spent more than four decades in ministry as a pastor, professor, and author. He is currently the senior pastor at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and was previously a visiting associate professor of theology at Wheaton College from 2000 to 2004. He is the founder of Enjoying God Ministries and blogs regularly at

Sam Storms currently resides in Wheaton, in the state of Illinois.

Sam Storms has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Beginner's Guide To... (Regal Books)
  2. Re: Lit Books
  3. Theologians on the Christian Life

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( C ) > Calvin, John
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Calvinist
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Soteriology

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Reviews - What do customers think about Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election?

A Gracious Explanation  Nov 18, 2008
It's hard to present arguments on a subject like divine election without offending somebody. It is possible, though, to make an honest effort to not caricature another's position. Sam Storms makes that effort.

Rather than heroically dismantling arguments that few people hold, Dr. Storms interacts with real, opposing arguments. By doing so, he highlights and distills the specific areas of contention. Here is one of the big ones:

"Whereas much may and will be said of election in this book, the point of dispute between Calvinists and Arminians is surprisingly simple. No one who believes in the Bible questions the fact that election is taught there..."

"The question reduces to this: Does God elect people *because* they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, or does God elect people *in order that* they shall believe in Christ?"

I was particularly helped by two short paragraphs midway through the book. The issue in question is whether Isaac and Jacob are best understood in Romans 9 to be "examples of individual men elected to eternal life," or to "the nation of Israel collectively and its privileged status above all other nations on earth."

Storms: "Let me try to simplify matters. We must remember that Paul's grief in verses 1-5 is over the eternal condemnation of individual Jews. How can so few ethnic Israelites be saved and so many lost because of unbelief, if God's word is true? That is the problem. Consequently the solution that verses 6-13 provide must address the issue of individual, eternal salvation and condemnation."

"But how does an appeal to the collective election of Israel or the election of Jacob and his seed to earthly, historical prominence solve the problem of unbelieving, eternally lost Jews? How can *that* solve the problem when that *is* the problem? It was the fact that ethnic Israel as a whole was God's chosen, covenant people that created the problem in the first place (vv. 4-5)!"

Chosen for Life will not answer every question in the Arminian-Calvinist debate. Indeed, it doesn't attempt to. What it does do is provide a respectful and fruitful examination of a doctrine that every Christian should marvel at.
I Selected Because God Elected (Not the Other Way Around)  Aug 9, 2008
"Who is man that you are mindful of Him?" the Psalmist asks. This question intended to magnify God who is infinitely more valuable and infinitely more glorious than man, has sadly been perverted to magnify man, that man is valuable because he inherently has this most infinitely precious treasure called autonomous or free will, says the Arminians, so precious that even God lives to preserve it even at the expense of His own freedom and sovereignty. Any careful students of the Bible would question the verity and motive of this Arminian claim. Something is just not right here. There is something odiously blasphemous in it. Upon closer scrutiny, it is doubtless that Arminianism is not the Gospel. Synergism in salvation is affront to the Gospel. The doctrine of autonomous self is an insult to Christ and a robbery of the goodness and sovereignty of God. Though I don't see Sam Storms presenting many new insights in defending the doctrines of grace, I still commend his effort. The majority of his defense comes from references, really good ones; Spurgeon and Piper are the ones I appreciate best. He covers the doctrines of total depravity, unconditional election centered around Roman 9, and irresistible grace. In the appendix, he presents the comparison of implications in evangelism as a result of embracing the doctrines of grace versus Arminianism, which is absolutely needful considering what good doctrine is unless its end is doxology, as Storms points out, that the purpose of theology is doxology.

In addition, various existing views on the sequence of the decrees of God from the beginning to the end are also presented briefly but adequately to get a grasp on their essence. Here I see the danger that Calvinists need to be aware of not to drift into the extreme of hyper-Calvinism whose ugly head shows itself mainly in two forms; the exclusion of human responsibility and the doctrine of active reprobation, the latter seems to be implied in the Supra-lapsarian view. Two other books come to mind as I read "Chosen for Life"; RC Sproul's "Chosen by God" and John Pipers "The Justification of God"; the former is introductory, and the latter is advanced one, suitable for heavy-weight theological debate and only for those who have at least first year Greek and Hebrew. Desiring God also has this seminar material called "What We Believe about Five Points of Calvinism" accessible for free from their website. I recommend all of them because the doctrines of grace are worth defending.
Pleasant and Helpful Discussion on Election  Jan 27, 2008
This book deals with the first 2 points of Calvinism (Total Depravity and Unconditional Election) directly, but only mentions the other 3 points of Calvinism (Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints) indirectly. That was fine with me, since that was the author was trying to do - talk about Election. Some said this book is only a good introduction to Election. While that may be true, Storms does an excellent job in covering Election, Free Will, Total Depravity, and Unconditional Election. You have to start somewhere, and this is an excellent book to do that. And for $12.23, where are you going to get this good of a start?

I found Storms to be very fair and sensitive to the Arminian views. Some of the Arminian views were new to me. I did not know that John Wesley taught that after the fall that man did not have a Free Will any longer. And, I did not know that they taught prevenient grace. I had never heard of such a thing. That is the grace that they believe that God gives to every person so that the person is able to make a choice to accept or not accept Jesus Christ. So man (according to Arminianism) now has a Free Will. This is the grace that allows them to have a Free Will. That is the Arminian view of Election - they believe it is Conditional on man's choice. That helped me a lot.

Total Depravity - I appreciated Storms teaching on Total Depravity and the Free Will of man. When it comes to Free Will, it depends what you mean by Free. Man is free to sin, he is free to hate God, and man has a darkened and reprobate mind. Man is Free to do a lot of things, but he will never choose to obey and love God. The Calvinist would say that man's will is free, but it is Limited or in Bondage.

Psalm 14
2 The LORD looks down from heaven
on the sons of men
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
3 All have turned aside,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

So I appreciated the discussion on this topic. It is important to know what we mean by Total Depravity and what we mean by Free Will. Many will be surprised to learn that both Calvinsim and Arminianism teach the Free Will of Man. They just disagree what Free Will means.

Unconditional Election - Storms has 5 chapters on the doctrine of Unconditional Election. In these chapters he covers the main verses in the NT that are relevant to this doctrine. This section was easy and fun to read. I liked it because he took the verses and explained why Election is Unconditional. He was also good to show supposedly problem verses and explain how they fit in with Unconditional Election.

In chapter 13 he gives a Good Illustration of a Bad Illustration that others use to argue against Election. I agree with the author, there are a lot of bad illustrations out there that people use to explain their position of Election. The problem is that they are such bad illustrations that they do more harm than good. You find yourself talking about the illustrations more than the Bible. These illustrations make it hard to talk to people about Election because they rely on illustrations more so than on clear teaching of the Bible. Instead of examining the Bible, they get caught in their own illustrations. It is very unfruitful.

Storms also deals with the topic of God's Justice and Fairness as it is relevant to the topic of Election.
A Helpful Treatment of Divine Election  Oct 23, 2007
Sam Storms' book Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election has been considered a classic and a must read by many. I am embarrassed to say that I had not read this `classic' until Crossway released its recently expanded version twenty years after it was first published by Baker.

Storms writes:

"Divine election is certainly one of the more profound and controversial doctrines in Holy Scripture. To some it is an idea conceived in hell, a tool of Satan to thwart the evangelistic zeal of the church and thus responsible for populating hell with those who otherwise would have been reached with the gospel. To others divine election is the heart and soul of Scripture, the most comforting and reassuring of biblical truths, apart from which grace loses its power and God his glory. To the former, then, election is a primary reason why people are in hell. To the latter, it is the only reason why people are in heaven."

Storms tackles the doctrine of election exegetically, theologically, and contextually; within the current predominant views of election. Early on in the book he interacts with the Arminian view of election. This treatment becomes a touchstone throughout the book for interacting with the Arminian position. I was thankful that Storms seemed to keep the punches above the waist when interacting with Arminian theology. From my seat he interacted constructively and fairly with the views while avoiding the oft employed and ever distracting theological strawmen. As a result Storms earns your trust theologically as he labors to be consistent and biblical. This serves the reader well as you interact with his chapters on the Freedom of the Will, Faith and Repentance, and Amazing Grace.

I mentioned the chapter on Amazing Grace above, this chapter is worth the price of the book. I found it to be encouraging, edifying and extremely helpful. Below is a quote from that chapter:

"To say that something is done by grace is simply to say it is done by God. If salvation is from beginning to end a manifestation of God's grace then it is from beginning to end a work of God. To inject any human effort or contribution whatsoever is to reject divine grace. Either election is unconditional and altogether of God and his grace or it is conditional and therefore a cooperative venture in which God and man both contribute."

In the second half of the book Storms strolls through the books of the NT at a helpful yet expeditious pace as he examines the doctrine of election. This section would be most helpful for teachers as the gather their resources in sections such as Romans 9.

I also enjoyed the three appendixes, Three Problem Passages, Who Can and Who Cannot Pray for God to Save the Lost, and The Divine Decrees.

I highly recommend this book for a consistent and helpful look at the doctrine of election. It is not exhaustive but it is nevertheless helpful. The reading level is moderate but his style is refreshing; Storms writes in a clear and passionate way serving to undermine the fallacious view that Calvinists are stuffy and lacking Spirit wrought affections.
Eye-Opener To God's Elective Love  Oct 21, 2007
Samuel Storms rightly echoes the Divine initiative, and avers that 'even if one grants that God elects, based on His foreknowledge of man's faith, nothing is proven, for God foreknows everything.' pg 30

From there he moves to show how pre-destination is biblical, and so much more than foreknowledge on God's part as to who would choose Him. He argues against the Armenianists, even tho he is fair and does reflect their view.

This book ties in with the Downgrade Controversy of Spurgeon, wherein two
specific tendencies were visible:

1. Those who believe wholly salvation is of God, and those who do not.
2. Those who believe wholly in the Inspired Word of God, and those who do not.

It is just a half-degree off-course that we steer into the unconventional waters of Open-Theism and Arminiasm.

'The theological assertions of Arminus and the Remonstrance have been adopted in part or in whole by individuals and groups such as John and Charles Wesley (and Methodism in general), Charles Finney, classical Pentecostal denominations (such as the Assemblies of God), the Nazarenes, and Free-Will Baptists.' pg 37

An excellent and thoroughly biblical defense of the Calvinistic view of divine election. I cannot recommend it highly enough to all, as it is superbly presented and convincingly clear in its factuality.

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