XVII. Of Predestination and Election
Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.
I agree with this. Totally. However, anyone who does not, is still family. Keep it civil.
Lutherans agree with the Reformed / Calvinists on the first half of the Predestination / Election statement and stand totally against the second half.
I also agree. Don’t understand it all, but agree nonetheless. Holding this view caused some problems for me when I was at CCBC, but I did not let it bother me too much.
From a Greater Truth Principle…applied to competing verses in Scripture (and assuming Scripture is the sole Authority on these matters)…it appears from a Philosophical Logic perspective that Double-Predestination and a more Fatalistic/Deterministic position is correct.
“Non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.” (Not unto us o lord, but in your name be there glory)
Wonderful topic of predestindation. I am sure that none of us will completely understand it.
I agree with its presentation here.
MLD – are your issues with the second part around the “application portion” of predestination? How P works itself out in the life of the believer and unbeliever?
Disagree, and I think it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the character of God. Obviously, people who believe in predestination can be saved, so I don’t think this issue is of top importance.
“to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination,”
So you see that as a “double predestination” comment?
If so, and if that’s its intent, I would agree with you and reject any notion of double predestination.
Determinism and fatalism are by nature impersonal.
Not so with election.
Election is the choice of a Person, done, according to the scriptures, in love.
Determinism and fatalism know of no such thing.
There is much mystery here…we wonder why God chooses some and not others.
We have no answer…that belongs to the secret things of God.
What we do know is that the One who chose is good and loving and His choices are as well and we rest in that.
I find the “character of God” objection fascinating as those who hold to it would also affirm that God condemned the world and destroyed all of it’s inhabitants by flood…except for the one family He chose…
@ 9 – Could Noah have rejected God’s call? Did anyone else have the opportunity to repent, and could they have done so if given that opportunity? Did anyone die who did not deserve to die?
Nothing out of God’s character there, at all. When I speak of his character, I go by what is revealed in His word. The story of Noah is part of that.
“There is much mystery here…we wonder why God chooses some and not others.”
Honestly, there is only slight nuance between this and what I am saying.
I am sure that I have previously laid out the major difference between Lutheranism and the Reformed – but here it goes again.
The main focus of the Reformed is the sovereignty of God. The main focus of the Lutheran is the mercy of God. This plays itself out in many ways – even to the Predestination / Election topic.
The Reformed (and I think they misread Paul’s intent writing about this subject) have always held the position that God is sovereign and this is the way that he has chosen to populate heaven and hell – by his sovereign choice.
A Lutheran reading of Paul shows that Paul is speaking comfort to the Church and he points them back to the source of this comfort – Paul basically is saying “hang in there, by God’s mercy your salvation is sure because he has chosen you he has chosen each of them.
Sovereignty vs Mercy – which were you predestined to put first.? 🙂
“So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.”
Interesting to look at the phrase as not teaching double predestination, but as a warning.
How many of us know, or have heard people say, “Well, I’m going to hell”, or something like that? I am speaking of people who know that they are apart from God, and for whatever reason, instaed of turning to Him, decide that its best for them to live a carnal life(sometimes as carnal as possible) – cause they know their destiny? Just fleshing out my initial thoughts when I first read the passage. I would like to know what a Anglican priest would say to this passages meaning though.
MLD – thx for #12, but you didn’t answer my q at 7.
“lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination”
Not everyone who is presently in this situation will remain in this situation, because some may still be a part of the elect – but whoever remaims there it is as it says “by God’s Predestination.”
At least that’s my take.
Kinda goes back to MLD’s “how did God lose us?”, doesn’t it?
Predestination says he kicked us out.
I believe we walked away on our own accord. (for the most part)
To be clear – I do believe in predestination / election – you can’t get around it as a biblical doctrine.
My comment “how did God lose us in the first place?” was not a comment about predestination – but was to push a point (to the theological cliff as I do) against those who say that a believer cannot let their faith die, become once again an unbeliever, and therefore have left the faith.
If we walked away once, after we were chosen from before eternity, why can’t we do it again?
And to be more clear, Lutherans do believe in the security of the believer.
“If we walked away once, after we were chosen from before eternity, why can’t we do it again?”
Because Christ won’t be crucified twice.
The reason it is important to this discussion is *why* did we leave? Did God force us to leave, or did we do it on our own accord?
We don’t believe that Christ needs to be sacrificed a 2nd time to recover the person who has given up the faith and who is now an unbeliever. This would probably be erunner’s friend from last week.
When this happens and that person has returned to the state of unbelief, the Holy Spirit begins working on him just as he did the first time.
If someone falls from the faith and returns 40 yrs later, we don’t require them to be re baptized or anything.
I guess the question is, what is the state of the one who now does not believe Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savor? Is he still in because Jesus has him? Does that mean that unbelievers are still saved as unbelievers?
almost posted and changed my mind
but i’m watching 😎
I remember a time when I would avoid answering to statements like Michael’s #9…
If I was forced to, I would philosophize around the answer, kinda like Bryson and Hunt do…
God doesn’t lose us. We don’t even walk away. The only way is through legalism. In my opinion, anyway.
I used to be a free will guy.But the preponderence of scripture, especially Romans 9, has made me a lot closer to the statement above. Michael is right lot of mystery here. I don’t even claim to fully grasp it, I just believe it.
I do believe that a lot of the problems between belief come from a incomplete view of God. God does not live moment to moment like us. He created time and is outside of it.
I just typed some more, but realized I was still using time in a way to describe something I can’t because I am bound to God’s creation of time, so I deleted it. We are truly small insignificant creatures compared to Him.
“God does not live moment to moment like us. He created time and is outside of it.”
Big truth there. Which is why I do not limit my view of God and doctrine to only my own, or my tribes. Defining God is impossible for the finite mind. When we find attributes that disturb us, or conflict with our finite minds, we rearrange our concept of God to fit our own understanding. We can’t do this, because we live in space-time, and work with laws that do not confine God.
I contend that when we find scriptural evidences of who and what God is, and those evidences conflict with our space-time construct, and finite minds, we are allowed to simply believe. In reality, that is what God asks.
Anyone here familiar with Molinism, sometimes referred to as Free Grace?
“In our day of overemphasis on personal accomplishments, the idea of giving God’s grace the credit is a much-needed message.” – Chuck Swindoll
Yay Chuck Swindoll!
I don’t think Molinism has anything to do with free grace. William Lane Craig is the biggest modern day guy to hold this view. I think that it is also called middle knowledge. This view is that God does not only know what people will do, but also knows the entire outcome if you chose something else.
In other words, God knew you would marry your wife and knew the entire timeline of your marriage and family. Middle knowledge is that God also knows the same if you had chosen to marry someone else.
An example is when God says to David, “if you attack that village, your army will be wiped out” but David never attacked the village, so the result was different.
In many circles, it is considered a heresy as it tries to reconcile the irreconcilable.
I know that Craig and JP Moreland differ greatly on this even though they are colleagues at Biola.
My understanding is similar to yours…
Say that again – I’m not used to hearing that 🙂
Which point? My #12 I hope.
I was referring to your # 28…#12 was junk. 🙂
I think you have oversimplified both of our positions.. both camps are trying to wrestle with the Scriptures.
We do come away with different emphasis…but I think the Reformed are more hung up on “glory” than “sovereignty”.
I love Derek’s # 23 and Reuben’s #24. Well said, to both of you.
In renewal circles we have a HUGE controversy swirling. It is over monergism HOWEVER, it is not applied to salvation. This crowd applies it to sanctification. They are saying Jesus was tempted so we do not have to be, Jesus has sanctified us so we have no striving to concern ourselves with. It is tearing the renewal churches apart.
“They are saying Jesus was tempted so we do not have to be, ”
How’s that working for them? 🙂
Well they are braying like Jackasses about the finished work of Christ, problem is they are still jackasses.
Michael said, “Determinism and fatalism are by nature impersonal.”
The only way to come to a conclusion about election that you find in Article XVII is to begin with Romans and work your way backwards. If you begin with Genesis and work your way to Romans you will have a whole different take on Election.
Election to some is Augustinian monergism
Election to others is Zionism.
Election to still others is God’s revealed plan to bless all peoples
This particular article refers to the first and attempts to avoid a couple of the objections to it. So this article is inadequate a best and completely erroneous at worst.
@34 – You would think the old Paul Cain saga would have taught them better.
“If you begin with Genesis and work your way to Romans you will have a whole different take on Election.”
That is brilliant.
‘They are saying Jesus was tempted so we do not have to be,’
Reminds me what a college professor once said about a really bad paper a student turned in:
“It’s not right. It isn’t even wrong.”
This is what happens when you confuse life on earth with life as it will be,in heaven.