There are certain doctrines that I find more interesting to study than others. This is only natural. One doctrine that I have never been very interested in is the doctrine of predestination. My pragmatic mind just doesn't see the importance of getting too wrapped up in something as mysterious and divisive as the nature of God's divine election. But recently, due to popular demand, I lead of study of the history of this doctrine in my Tuesday morning class. I also lead a discussion on it during the Sunday School hour last week. It was amazing to see the passion that this doctrine arouses in some people. It just goes to show we are all different, and perceive some doctrines of the faith to be more important than others.
Predestination, or election, is biblical and catholic when it is understood in the ancient sense of St. Augustine and the Synod of Orange. Predestination in this sense is what is taught in the 39 Articles. The Articles, following the scriptures, ancient catholic tradition, the majority of the Reformers, and agreeing with the Council of Trent, affirm predestination to life only, as well as the free will of man. The Calvinist doctrines of Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints are not affirmed by any of these authorities. Further, as the Articles of Religion must be taken as a whole, we are bound to affirm that predestination occurs within a sacramental and ecclesiological framework. Thus, with Francis Hall and others we can say that it is the baptized who are the elect, but just because one is elect it does not follow that he or she is necessarily going to persevere till the end.