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 wielded by him to thwart the evangelistic zeal of the church and thus responsible for populating hell with men and women who otherwise would have been reached with the gospel message. 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!
This radical difference of opinion concerning the doctrine of election and predestination is illustrated beautifully (and humorously) in a poem which appeared in The Continental Journal, March 11, 1779. It was entitled “On Predestination.”
“If all things succeed as already agreed,
And immutable impulses rule us;
To preach and to pray, is but time thrown away,
And our teachers do nothing but fool us.
If we’re driven by fate, either this way or that,