Compiled by Brandon Robbins


TRADITIONAL General Call – “Is the term applied to the univer­sal offer of the Gospel.”1  Effectual Call – “Is the event or process whereby people are brought into a state of salvation.”2

NEW PERSPECTIVE – “The message about Jesus and his cross and resurrection – ‘the gospel’,.. .is announced to them; through this means, God works by His Spirit upon their hearts; as a result, they come to believe the message; they join the Christian community through baptism, and begin to share in its common life and its common way of life.”3



“(1) God has chosen Israel and (2) given the law. The law implies both (3) God’s promise to maintain the election and (4) the requirement to obey. (5) God rewards obedience and punishes transgression. (6) The law provides for means of atonement, and atonement results in (7) maintenance or re­establishment of the covenantal relationship. (8) All those who are maintained in the covenant by obedience, atonement and God’s mercy belong to the group which will be saved. An important interpretation of the first and last point is that elec­tion and ultimately salvation are considered to be God’s mercy rather than human achievement.”4



TRADITIONAL – Election is “God’s choosing of a people to enjoy the benefits of salvation and to carry out God’s purpose in the world.” The Elect are “those who are chosen by God to receive salvation.”5

NEW PERSPECTIVE- Election is understood in terms of the cor­porate calling of Israel to be God’s special people. This corpo­rate election finds redefinition in Paul around the faithfulness of Jesus the Jewish messiah and by the power of the spirit.6



TRADITIONAL- “Good News: The Central message of the Christian church to the world, centered on God’s provision of salvation for the world in Jesus Christ.”7

NEW PERSPECTIVE- “When Paul announces that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Lord of the world, he is in that very act and announcement unveiling before the world the great news that the one God of all the world has been true to His word, has dealt with the evil that has invaded his creation, and is now restoring justice, peace and truth.”8



TRADITIONAL- “A reckoning or counting as righteous. God’s declaring a sinful person to be ‘just’ on the basis of the right­eousness of Jesus Christ.”9

NEW PERSPECTIVE- “Those who hear the gospel and respond to it in faith are then declared by God to be his people, his elect, ‘the circumcision.’ The Jews’, ‘the Israel of God’. They are given the status dikaios, ‘righteous’, ‘within the covenant.”‘ 10 “The whole point about ‘justification by faith’ is that it is something which happens in the present time (Rom. 3:26) as a proper anticipation of the eventual judgment which will be announced, on the basis of the whole life led, in the future (Rom. 2:1-16).”11



ROMAN CATHOLIC- A treasury of merit is “the extra merit accumulated by Jesus Christ and the saints, upon which all who may need merit for eternal life may draw.”12

TRADITIONAL- In reformed circles it has been denied that human acts earn merit. Yet, it is on the basis of the merits of Christ that anyone receives salvation. It has also been the belief that the Jews of Paul’s day sought to earn their salva­tion through some form of personal merit.

NEW PERSPECTIVE- The concept of merit is totally foreign to the Biblical narrative.



TRADITIONAL- Legalistic Jews who sought to earn their salva­tion by upholding the Law.

NEW PERSPECTIVE- “Zealous for God, zealous for Torah, ready to go anywhere and do anything, up to and including violence, that would achieve the long-for liberty, the long­ awaited kingdom of God.”13



TRADITIONAL- “Biblically the term embraces a number of dimensions relating to God’s actions in establishing and maintaining right relationships. Ethically it is a state of moral purity or doing that which is right”14

NEW PERSPECTIVE- Covenant faithfulness.

(First Published in the Areopagus Journal March-April 2007, Vol. 7 No. 2)



1  Ferguson, Sinclair, New Dictionary of Theology, p. 119

2  Ibid

3  Wright, N.T., What Paul Really Said, p. 116-117

4  Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, p. 422

5  McKim, Donald, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, p. 89

6  See, Wright, N.T. , Paul, p. 110-129

7  McKim, Donald, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, p. 119

8  Wright, N.T., What Paul really Said, p. 109

9  McKim, Donald, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, p. 152

10 Wright, N.T., Paul, p. 122

11  Ibid, p. 57

12  McKim, Donald, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, p. 172

13 Wright, N.T., What Paul Really Said, p.28

14 McKim, Donald, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, p. 242.