How Do Calvinists Teach Unconditional Election Within a Conditional Covenant Like the New Covenant?

, posted by SEA

On his website, Arminian Perspectives, Ben Henshaw has a questions page at which he answers questions about Arminianism and Calvinism that visitors to his site pose in the comment section of the page. The following is a question and answer interaction between Ben and a commenter named James:

Question: I am Arminian, and believe that the New Covenant is a conditional covenant while faith in Christ is the condition. For example, John 3:16: God loved the world and gave his Son while believing is the condition for eternal life. And justification by faith is a major theme in Romans. And everything in Romans about “election” not resulting from works is in the context of justification by faith. Likewise, how do Calvinists teach unconditional election within a conditional covenant?

Answer: Good question. I think the Calvinist answer is basically to insist that the New Covenant is unconditional. I have heard some Calvinists argue that the New Covenant is superior to the old covenant primarily because the new covenant is unconditional. Where they get that idea in Scripture is beyond me.

James replied: If indeed all Calvinists appeal to an unconditional New Covenant, then I see that as the central battleground of the debate.