Calvin on Election

Contrary to what Steve Wilkins says about covenantal election (_Federal Vision_, pp. 55-59), Calvin teaches us that not all those who are in the church are of the church. Genesis commentary (older translation), volume 2, pg. 46, in commenting on Jacob and Esau’s election (via Paul’s discussion in Romans 9): “Who does not see that Paul descends from a general to a particular adoption, in order to teach us, that not all who occupy a place in the Church are to be accounted as true members of the Church?” On page 48, he says this: “That those whom God has chosen are not preferred to others, because God foresaw they would be holy, but in order that they might be holy” (emphasis original). The first quotation clearly indicates that Calvin thought of the visible church as containing true and false members, and that the false members were to be regarded as such (and will eventually be found out, presumably). The second quotation guards us against Arminianism, with their doctrine of “foreseen” holiness. Romans 9 completely eliminates that possibility.