Controversy rages on about God’s choosing people for salvation. Are only the few elect? Rather than typically beginning with the preconceptions of systematic theologies, Dr. William Klein takes up this question by searching for a biblical theology of election. He surveys the OT contexts of God’s choosing individuals—prophets, priests, kings—to serve divine purposes, and considers God’s election of the nation of Israel as his special people. This OT study proposes that God’s election is both individual and corporate, but not always determinative. Individuals entered the people of God by birth, but not all the people found salvation. Faith in Yahweh was required.
This book traces these elective understandings through the intertestamental literature, identifying continuities and shifts. The bulk of the study, and the heart of the argument, focus on the New Testament. Klein identifies concepts of election, and relationships between writers in the gospels, the Lucan material, Paul’s writings, and the rest. The new covenant, God choosing the church in Christ, emphasizes election as corporate, while the individual election of Jesus’ disciples and of Paul raises the question whether such chosenness is necessarily salvific. In closing, Klein discusses the most engaging and divisive questions around God's election, and offers a real challenge to today’s church.
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This book dives headlong into a theological and pastoral problem that has vexed the Church for generations: namely, God’s election of some unto salvation but not others. Classical theological paradigms have created more division than unity in addressing this issue. Approaching the question as a biblical theologian, Bill Klein has shown us a way forward. This book deserves careful consideration by those from all theological perspectives. I commend it to you without reservation.
—Mark Young, President, Denver Seminary
I cannot recommend too strongly William Klein’s The New Chosen People—now in its long-awaited, expanded second edition. The first edition of this book was quite influential in my thinking about election, predestination, grace, and sovereignty, and I have often commended it to others. Irenic in tone, Klein’s discussion of corporate—rather than individual—election for salvation and its ramifications is exegetically sound, theologically fruitful, and morally satisfying.
—Paul Copan, Professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University
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