The Incompatibility of Calvinism and Fulfillment Theology


All Scripture quotes are from the 1901 American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

Introduction
It’s widely known that many Calvinists hold to Fulfillment Theology (FT). The reason that matters, is because I believe FT and Corporate Election (CE) are foundationally intertwined, that they flow from the same seed of truth. CE is, of course, an Arminian position on the doctrine of election. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to demonstrate the incompatibility of Calvinism and FT. I believe they’re completely out of harmony with one another.

If I’m successful in presenting my case, then it will give Calvinists reason to rethink their theology. Not all Calvinists hold to FT, so throughout this study whenever I refer to Calvinists, I’m only addressing those who do.

Defining Fulfillment Theology
FT views Christ and the Church as being the fulfillment and continuation of Israel. Christ fulfills all promises and prophecies relating to Israel, and is thus True Israel. All who place their faith in Him enter into that fulfillment, which together, make up the Church.

Those who oppose this theology refer to it as “replacement theology,” which indicates that they don’t understand this position. I think the general misunderstanding among opponents of this theology, is that Israel is set aside in favor of the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Church doesn’t replace Israel, it fulfills and continues Israel in and through Christ. All the promises given to Israel find their fulfillment in Christ and the Church. The Old Testament always had Christ in view.

Defining Corporate Election
Within Arminianism, there are two different viewpoints on the doctrine of election. The classical view is the idea that God elects according to His foreknowledge. In other words, God elects those whom He foreknows will come to faith in Christ (1 Pet 1:2).

The other is the corporate view. I believe Corporate Election is what’s presented in the Bible, and is in perfect harmony with Fulfillment Theology. Before I make my case for that, we must first have a proper understanding of Corporate Election.

Corporate Election is basically the idea that God chose, not individuals for salvation, but the corporate people of God – the Church, whom Christ is the Corporate Head. The Father referred to His Son as “My Chosen” (Lu 9:35). He is the One whom God chose to pay the price for the sins of mankind. He is the One through whom God calls out of the world a people for Himself. Christ is the Elect One. He is the Head of the body, the Elect Church (Col 1:18), who came through the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Elect Church, is in the Elect Christ (Eph 1:4). Individually, we become a part of the Elect Church upon our faith in the Elect Christ.

Salvation and the election to salvation begin and end with Christ. Just as He is our salvation, so He is our election. Just as our salvation is in Christ, so is our election in Christ. Just as there is no salvation apart from being in Christ, so is there no election apart from being in Christ.

However, Calvinists place salvation and election into two separate categories. They will readily acknowledge that we must be in Christ to have salvation, but they do not view election as being in Christ. They view election as being outside of Christ, as something that draws them to Christ.

I believe God’s Word teaches that salvation and election are both in Christ. We must be in Christ to have either. That’s the corporate view of election. Our election is in Him. Through faith we enter into His election as God’s Chosen One. We are elect only when we are in Him. We are not elect before we are in Him. We are elect because of the fact that we are in the Elect Christ, in our union with Him.

Note:  For a more thorough treatment of Corporate Election and Fulfillment Theology, click on the links below:

Analysis
In order to do an analysis between Fulfillment Theology and Corporate Election, we’ll need to look at the scriptures that are foundational to their respective positions. That they share the same foundation is what I intend to demonstrate.

The way FT and CE view Israel and the Church is in total harmony, and that is central to my argument. There’s an unmistakable unity between the two.

FT views Christ as fulfilling the promises to Israel. It views the nation of Israel as having its continuation as a spiritual nation, which is the Church. Israel of the Old Testament was a type and shadow of Christ and the Church – True Israel or Spiritual Israel.

CE views election as being in Christ. It views the election of the nation of Israel as having its continuation as a spiritual nation, which is the Church.

At the foundation of both FT and CE is Abraham, who is the Father of both the nation of Israel and of the spiritual nation of Israel, which is the Church.

Even with this brief comparison, it’s easy to see the relationship between Fulfillment Theology and Corporate Election.

Scripture Comparisons

Galatians 3:16,29
16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
29 And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.

(Read Ge  22:17-18; 12:2-3,7; 15:4-5; 17:7-8; 18:17-18; Ro 4:13, 16-18)

FT: Verse 16 states that Christ was the “seed” that the Old Testament promises were ultimately and actually spoken to (Ge 22:17-18). Verse 29 states that  those who belong to Christ are “Abraham’s seed.” Thus the true children of Abraham are spiritual children, not of national lineage. We must conclude that the nation of Israel has its fulfillment and continuation in Christ and the Church as a spiritual nation. Jesus is True Israel.

CE:  Verse 16 states that Christ was the “seed” that the Old Testament promises were ultimately and actually spoken to (Ge 22:17-18). Verse 29 states that  those who belong to Christ are “Abraham’s seed.” Thus the true children of Abraham are spiritual children, not of national lineage. We must conclude that the election of national Israel has its continuation as a spiritual nation in Christ and the Church.

Discussion:  Though not everyone in the nation of Israel were true believers, it nonetheless serves as a type of the Israel to come, which is Christ Himself, and the Church in Him. It was Israel the nation that is referred to as His “chosen” (De 7:6-8; De 14:2; 1 Chr 16:13; Ps 105:6-10; Ps 135:4; Is 44:1; Is 45:4).

Romans 9:1-8
1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit,
2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were anathema from Christ for my brethren’s sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
6 But it is not as though the word of God hath come to nought. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel:
7 neither, because they are Abraham’s seed, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed.

FT:  In this passage Paul is making a distinction between national Israel (“according to the flesh”) and spiritual Israel (“children of the promise”). The nation of Israel was a type of the spiritual Israel that they were to become. They have their fulfillment, their completion, their continuation in Christ as a spiritual nation.

Jesus was of the nation of Israel Himself (“as concerning the flesh”), who was of the tribe of Judah. It was necessary that He be of the people of Israel in order to fulfill all things relating to Israel. The whole Old Testament pointed to Christ, who would fulfill all the promises and blessings and prophecies regarding Israel. He is the prophesied Israel that they were to become. As believers, we have our identification in Christ. Thus the Church is True Israel in Him.

What Paul is saying is that being born into the nation of Israel doesn’t make one a true Israelite in the eyes of God. Under the New Covenant, God no longer recognizes national Israel. He only recognizes His Son, through whom they have their continuation as a spiritual nation. In Christ, national Israel disappears. God sees all of us only through His Son.

CE:  In this passage Paul is making a distinction between national Israel (“according to the flesh”) and spiritual Israel (“children of the promise”). The nation of Israel was a type of the spiritual Israel that they were to become. They have their fulfillment, their completion, their continuation in Christ as a spiritual nation.

Jesus was of the nation of Israel Himself (“as concerning the flesh”), who was of the tribe of Judah. It was necessary that He be of the people of Israel in order to fulfill all things relating to Israel. The whole Old Testament pointed to Christ, who would fulfill all the promises and blessings and prophecies regarding Israel. He is the prophesied Israel that they were to become. As believers, we have our identification in Christ. Thus the Church is True Israel in Him.

What Paul is saying is that being born into the nation of Israel, doesn’t make one a true Israelite in the eyes of God. Under the New Covenant, God no longer recognizes national Israel. He only recognizes His Son, through whom they have their continuation as a spiritual nation. In Christ, national Israel disappears. God sees all of us only through His Son.

Discussion:  That the whole nation of Israel serves as the type of Christ, is clear by Paul’s description: “My kinsmen according to the flesh, Israelites, the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service to God, the promises, the fathers, of whom is Christ.” This is all descriptive of the nation and not just the believing Jews of the Old Testament.

Therefore, if Jesus is Israel, and He is, and if He is the Elect Son, and He is (Mt 12:18: Lu 9:35; 1 Pet 2:4,6), then clearly election is all in Him. If the nation of Israel was God’s chosen people, and serves as the type, and if Jesus is the fulfillment of all things Israel, then election is completely in Christ as the True Israel, which is a corporate picture, not an individualistic picture.

Our election is in Him. Individuals are elect only as they are in Him. It is the Elect Christ and the Elect Church (1 Pet 2:9) that is in view, not individuals. The idea that election is individualistic, is simply out of harmony with the picture that is presented to us so clearly in passages like this one.

Romans 2:28-29
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh:
29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
 
“he is not a Jew who is one outwardly”
“he is a Jew who is one inwardly”

These are two of the clearest statements in the New Testament about the identity of Israel.

FT:  The true Jew, who is of True Israel, is not the one who is in the physical line of Abraham (of national Israel), but who is a Jew “inwardly.” In other words, under the New Covenant, God identifies the true Jew and true Israel to be spiritual, not ethnic.

Thus, Israel as a nation continues as a spiritual nation. When God chose Israel, He was looking ahead to the spiritual nation that they would become in Christ. Therefore, when God chose the nation of Israel to be His people, it was with His Son and the Church in view.

CE:  The true Jew, who is of True Israel, is not the one who is in the physical line of Abraham (of national Israel), but who is a Jew “inwardly.” In other words, under the New Covenant, God identifies the true Jew and true Israel to be spiritual, not ethnic.

Thus, the election of Israel as a nation continues as a spiritual nation. When God chose Israel, He was looking ahead to the spiritual nation that they would become in Christ. Therefore, when God chose the nation of Israel to be His people, it was with His Son and the Church in view. His choosing of a corporate people is continuous from national Israel to the the Church. It’s an unbroken line of election. They are one and same.

Discussion: Again, not everyone of Israel were believers. In other words, not all Jews were among the elect as it relates to salvation. However, it’s national Israel that provides the picture of election. I believe this picture is intended to reveal the nature of election, which is corporate, and not the selective choosing of individuals. I don’t believe God would present such a clear and unmistakable corporate picture of election if election was really the choosing of individuals, as Calvinists view the doctrine of election. This would cause unnecessary confusion. God is consistent. Therefore, our theology must be consistent and in line with the pictures and types and shadows that is presented to us.

In choosing the nation of Israel, it’s important to keep in mind that though not every Jew was a true believer, it was the nation that represented the true God and the true religion and the true salvation of the world. Thus the election of the nation is to be viewed with the understanding of all that God called them to be, with our view ultimately on Christ who would come through their line.  

Abraham himself is a key to understanding election. When God called Abraham, it was a man of faith that He called. As a man of faith, he became a father of a nation, which was Israel. Abraham represented the whole nation that God had called them to be. In other words, Abraham was chosen by God to represent Israel as the corporate head. Thus the choosing of corporate Israel was with Abraham in view, and ultimately with Christ in view – who is the Corporate Head of the Church. The choosing of national Israel was truly the choosing of Christ that they represented, in whom we have our election.

1 Peter 2:3-10
3 if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious:
4 unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious,
5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.
7 For you therefore that believe is the preciousness: but for such as disbelieve, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner;
8 and, A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

FT:  Perhaps clearer than any other place in the New Testament, Peter reveals the true nature of Israel under the New Covenant. He reveals that True Israel is now Spiritual Israel. This conclusion is unmistakable as he compares national Israel to who we are in Christ (the Church).

Notice all these terms:

elect race
royal priesthood
holy nation
a people
the people of God

These are all Jewish terms. They describe Old Testament Israel. They were an “elect race (Hebrews), they had a “royal priesthood,” who served in the temple, they were a “holy nation,” referring to the nation of Israel, and they were “a people for God’s own possession.” Yet, Peter applies them to the Church.

God chose Abraham to become the father of the nation of Israel. They were the people of God, whom He would carry out His will and His Word and His plan of salvation for the world. All of this was fulfilled in Christ and the Church. We are the elect race, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the people of God.

What was once the physical nation of Israel, is now the spiritual nation of Israel. That the people of Israel would find their fulfillment and continuation in Christ and in His Church, was God’s plan from the very beginning.

CE:  Perhaps clearer than any other place in the New Testament, Peter reveals the true nature of Israel under the New Covenant. He reveals that True Israel is now Spiritual Israel. This conclusion is unmistakable as he compares national Israel to who we are in Christ (the Church).

Notice all these terms:

elect race
royal priesthood
holy nation
a people
the people of God

These are all Jewish terms. Furthermore, they are corporate terms. They describe Old Testament Israel. They were an “elect race (Hebrews), they had a “royal priesthood,” who served in the temple, they were a “holy nation,” referring to the nation of Israel, and they were “a people for God’s own possession.” Yet, Peter applies them to the Church.

God chose Abraham to become the father of the nation of Israel. They were the people of God, whom He would carry out His will and His Word and His plan of salvation for the world. All of this was fulfilled in Christ and in the Church. We are the elect race, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the people of God.

What was once the physical nation of Israel, is now the spiritual nation of Israel. That the people of Israel would find their fulfillment and continuation in Christ and in His Church, was God’s plan from the very beginning.

Discussion:  Again, all the terms Peter uses are corporate. In verses 4 and 6, Jesus is referred to as “elect.” He is the Elect Son of God, chosen by the Father to be the Savior of the world. We have our election in Him. We are an “elect race (vs 9), not elect individuals. In this whole passage, there is not one reference to individuals. All terms are corporate:

The evidence here is overwhelming that Peter viewed election as corporate, and not as the selective choosing of individuals.

Not only are all these terms corporate, but also Jewish. The nation of Israel has its fulfillment or completion as a spiritual nation in Christ. This line of election begins with Abraham as an ethnic nation, and continues with Abraham as a spiritual nation in Christ.

Abraham was called to be the father of Israel, which began as an ethnic nation and continues in Christ as a spiritual nation, which is the Church – True Israel. This line of the corporate people of God that began with Abraham, extends all the way to Christ. The election of a nation of God’s people never ceased.

Ephesians 2:11-22
11 Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands;
12 that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition,
15 having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace;
16 and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh:
18 for through him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.
19 So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,
20 being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone;
21 in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord;
22 in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

FT:  The “commonwealth of Israel” refers to the whole nation of Israel. The “covenants of the promise” were given to the whole nation of Israel. The nation of Israel was a type of the spiritual nation that they would become in Christ, which is the Church. Believing Jews and believing Gentiles become “one new man,” a whole new entity, a whole new creation. All people- distinctions are done away with in Christ. The two people groups are “reconciled in one body,” which is the Church.

CE:  The “commonwealth of Israel” refers to the whole nation of Israel. The “covenants of the promise” were given to the whole nation of Israel. The nation of Israel was a type of the spiritual nation that they would become in Christ, which is the Church. Believing Jews and believing Gentiles become “one new man,” a whole new entity, a whole new creation. All people- distinctions are done away with in Christ. The two people groups are “reconciled in one body,” which is the Church.

Discussion: The emphasis is not on the individual, but on the “one body,” the “household of God,” and the “holy temple in the Lord.” All these terms refer to the Church, the “habitation of God in the Spirit.” The house of Israel and the temple of Israel, were both a type of the Church in Christ. The elect type, which is national Israel, can only cast a shadow that is like itself. Thus the shadow cast by Elect Israel is the Elect Church. The picture presented in this passage is not of individuals, but of a corporate people.

He 8:8-10
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Egypt; For they continued not in my covenant, And I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, And on their heart also will I write them: And I will be to them a God, And they shall be to me a people:

This is a quote from Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:31-34
31 Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

FT:  This Jeremiah passage is a prophecy regarding the “house of Israel.” What’s significant about this, is that the author of Hebrews reveals that this prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ. The whole context of this passage in Hebrews is about Christ and the New Covenant in Him.  

Jeremiah’s prophecy as given to Israel of the Old Testament, had Christ and the Church in view, not the nation. This passage in Hebrews provides one of the strongest arguments for Fulfillment Theology, that national Israel has its fulfillment and continuation in the Church. The nation of Israel has been rebirthed in Christ as a spiritual nation.  

Peter and Paul and the writer of Hebrews clearly understood and taught, that Christ and the Church was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel.

CE:  This Jeremiah passage is a prophecy regarding the “house of Israel.” What’s significant about this, is that the author of Hebrews reveals that this prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ. The whole context of this passage in Hebrews is about Christ and the New Covenant in Him.  

Jeremiah’s prophecy as given to Israel of the Old Testament, had Christ and the Church in view, not the nation. This passage in Hebrews provides one of the strongest arguments for both Fulfillment Theology and Corporate Election, that national Israel has its fulfillment and continuation in the Church. The nation of Israel has been rebirthed in Christ as a spiritual nation.  

Peter and Paul and the writer of Hebrews clearly understood and taught, that Christ and the Church was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel.

Discussion: It’s corporate Israel of the Old Testament that has its fulfillment in the corporate Israel of the New Testament, which is the Church. Ethnic Israel of the Old Testament was a type of the spiritual Israel of the New Testament in Christ. It’s corporate Israel that is the type, not the individual Jew.

Argumentation
That the whole nation of Israel serves as the type of the Israel to come in Christ and the Church, is made clear by the fact that it was the whole nation of Israel that God chose:

Deuteronomy 7:6-8
6 For thou art a holy people unto Jehovah thy God: Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth.
7 Jehovah did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all peoples:
8 but because Jehovah loveth you, and because he would keep the oath which he sware unto your fathers, hath Jehovah brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 14:2
2 For thou art a holy people unto Jehovah thy God, and Jehovah hath chosen thee to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth.

1 Chronicles 16:13
13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, Ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Psalm 105:6-10
6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, Ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
7 He is Jehovah our God: His judgments are in all the earth.
8 He hath remembered his covenant for ever, The word which he commanded to a thousand generations,
9 The covenant which he made with Abraham, And his oath unto Isaac,
10 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a statute, To Israel for an everlasting covenant,

(See also Ps 135:4; Is 44:1; Is 45:4)

That Fulfillment Theology and Corporate Election share a common foundation, is obvious. That they’re intricately woven together is clear. They can’t reasonably be separated. Both positions view Abraham as the father of both the nation of Israel and of the spiritual nation of Israel, which is the Church (composed of spiritual children of Abraham). Both view Christ as True Israel, who fulfills all the promises made to national Israel.

FT views national Israel as being a type and shadow of Christ and the Church. CE views the election of national Israel as continuing in Christ and the Church.

FT views the nation of Israel as being the type of Christ and the Church, not the individual believing Jew of Israel. CE views the election of the nation of Israel as continuing as a spiritual nation in Christ and the Church, not as the selective choosing of individuals.

For the Calvinist to deny that FT and CE share a common thread is to deny the obvious, and would reveal a forceful attempt to protect their position on the doctrine of election.

The point I want to make is that if it’s the nation of Israel that God chose, and if it’s the nation of Israel that serves as the type of Christ and the Church, then the election of His people must be in Christ and in His Church. In other words, following the picture and pattern provided for us in Scripture, the election of a corporate people under the Old Covenant, must continue in Christ and the Church under the New Covenant. The choosing of corporate national Israel serves as a type of the choosing of corporate spiritual Israel in Christ.

For the Calvinist to affirm that it’s the nation of Israel that provides the type and shadow of Christ and the Church, but then to view the doctrine of election as being individualistic, is inconsistent with the picture that’s presented in Scripture.

It’s true, of course, that not all Israelites were true believers. But that’s beside the point. The point is, it was the whole nation that was viewed as the chosen people of God.  It was the nation of Israel that represented the true God and true religion. It was the nation of Israel that God chose to reveal Himself to and through. It was from the nation of Israel that God chose prophets to speak through. It was to the nation of Israel that the Ten Commandments and the whole Law was given. It was through the nation of Israel that God chose to bring His Son into the world. Etc.

As a nation, Israel was to be all that God had called them to be, to be faithful to the God they represented. It was the true God and the truth they represented that gave them their identification. Thus it wasn’t just the believing Jews that had their identification in Yahweh. To suggest such a thing would be contrary to the common understanding of the Old Testament.

If God chose the nation of Israel to fulfill His redemptive plan for the world through, and if Christ and the Church is True Israel under the New Covenant, then election must obviously be the choosing of Christ Himself and of the Church that is in Him. In other words, just as CE teaches, election is the corporate choosing of the Church, and we must be in Christ and in the Church to be elect.

If it was national Israel that God chose, and if Christ is True Israel of the New Covenant, then He must be the True Elect, and our election must be completely in Him. For the Calvinist to deny this obvious conclusion, is to forcefully impose the Calvinist position of election against it.

Elect Israel is corporate. Thus the shadow it casts must also be corporate. Therefore, the elect nation of Israel is a type of the elect spiritual nation of the New Covenant, which is the Church. The doctrine of election is most certainly pictured by national Israel, and not by individual believing Jews.

Calvinists may argue that it’s the believing remnant (“the elect”) of the Old Testament that provides the picture and continuation of election. But if that’s true, then the picture it presents is still corporate, for the remnant is a reference to the believing Jews collectively (believing Israel). Furthermore, Christ is viewed as being the fulfillment of all things Israel, and that necessarily must include election. Thus the election of believing Israel continues in Christ as the True Israel.

Put another way, if it’s believing Old Testament Jews that provide the picture of election, then what we’re actually talking about is believing Israel as a corporate body. Either way, in the OT, election is viewed as corporate, either as a remnant or as a nation. However, I think our study clearly reveals that it’s the nation of Israel that is in view.

To insert individual election into the types and shadows presented by the Old Testament, is to force one’s position contrary to it. It throws everything completely off. We have to be honest with the picture the types and shadows present, and not allow one’s position on the doctrine of election to hinder us from seeing the actual shadows that those types cast.

Therefore, is it reasonable to view the nation of Israel as a type of Christ and the Church, while viewing election as individualistic? Most certainly not. To see it any other way, is to go against the natural flow and harmony that we see between FT and CE.

Let’s go through this again: If God chose national Israel to be His people, and they are a type and shadow of Christ, who is now the Israel under the New Covenant, then He must necessarily be the True Chosen of God, and that our election is in Him. In other words, we must be in Christ to be elect, to have elect status. Jesus is the Corporate Head of the Elect Church. There is no individual election in this whole picture presented by Scripture. The only way to see unconditional selective choosing, is to step out of that picture and follow a line of thinking that can only be produced by a positional bias.

The Arminian view on election doesn’t have to resort to positional bias. It’s an approach that allows the types and shadows of Christ and the Church to naturally and logically form our position on the doctrine of election. CE is consistent with and in harmony with the picture that’s revealed to us. CE flows naturally out of those types and shadows.

Conclusion
I don’t believe Calvinists have carried Fulfillment Theology out to its logical and biblical conclusions. The interwoven relationship between FT and CE presents itself clearly and naturally. We just have to be willing to be led along the flow of that current.

I believe that for Calvinists to see the types and shadows of national Israel of the Old Testament as being fulfilled in Christ and the Church as they do, but still view election as the unconditional selection of the individual, I think it’s a view that’s being obscured by a dearly held system of belief. From my perspective, the Calvinist view of election is completely incompatible with FT.

Corporate Election and Fulfillment Theology flow together as one river. FT is a theology that is very much in harmony with Arminian theology. The same can’t be said about Calvinist theology. The two simply aren’t a part of the same river, nor do they flow in the same direction.

If Calvinism is out of harmony with FT, then it’s also out of harmony with Amillennialism. Since FT is foundational to to the Amillennial position, then it’s necessarily a position on prophecy that doesn’t line up well with Calvinistic theology. I think that poses a real problem for them, because a large number of Calvinists are Amillennialists.

I agree with John MacArthur, that Calvinists shouldn’t be Amillennialists, because the two positions are clearly at odds with one another. I think Calvinist proponents of FT need to take a careful look at all the implications of this theology. They need to evaluate which view of election it points to most naturally.

I think Calvinist proponents of FT must either abandon their view of election, or abandon their view of Israel and the Church….which necessarily includes their Amillennial position on prophecy. I don’t believe they can have it both ways. Or, if they conclude they can have it both ways, then I believe they do so against all reasonable evidence to the contrary.

The reason I’m an Arminian, and the reason I support Corporate Election and Fulfillment Theology, is because I believe they all take the most honest approach to God’s Word. All three of these positions are in unmistakable harmony….so much so that nothing has to be forced or assumed. They all flow along the same current of thought.

The way we know that what we believe is the truth, is whether our positions on various doctrines are in harmony. If they are, then we know we’re on safe ground. If they’re not, then we know we have to rethink what we believe. If there’s anything at all that doesn’t quite fit, then we know we have more studying to do, and to keep studying until we find solid harmony among those positions.

I take great comfort in the fact that Fulfillment Theology and Corporate Election are in complete harmony with one another, and with Arminian theology. The fact that there’s such an easy and natural flow between the three, strongly indicates that these are the correct views of Scripture.