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Encyclopedia > Predestination (Calvinism)
John Calvin

St. Augustine
The Reformation
Calvinism is a system of Christian theology and an approach to Christian life and thought within the Protestant tradition articulated by John Calvin, a Protestant Reformer in the 16th century, and subsequently by successors, associates, followers and admirers of Calvin, his interpretation of Scripture, and perspective on Christian life and... From [1], in the public domain This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and was a central developer of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on Jesus of Nazareth, and on his life and teachings as presented in the New Testament. ... For the first Archbishop of Canterbury, see Saint Augustine of Canterbury Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo, or Saint Augustine (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) was one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity. ... The Protestant Reformation, also referred to as the Protestant Revolution or Protestant Revolt, was a movement in the 16th century to reform the Catholic Church in Western Europe. ...

Calvin's Institutes
Five Solas
Five Points (TULIP)
Regulative principle
Confessions of faith Institutes of the Christian Religion is John Calvins seminal work on Protestant theology. ... The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers basic beliefs and emphasis in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. ... Calvinist theology is often identified in the popular mind as the so-called five points of Calvinism (remembered in the English-speaking world with the mnemonic TULIP), which are a summation of the judgments (or canons) rendered by the Synod of Dordt and which were published in the Quinquarticular Controversy... The regulative principle of worship is a Christian theological doctrine teaching that the public worship of God should include those and only those elements that are instituted, commanded, or appointed by command or example in the Bible; that God institutes in Scripture everything he requires for worship in the Church... The Reformed churches express their consensus of faith in various creeds. ...

Theodore Beza
Synod of Dort
Puritan theology
Jonathan Edwards
Princeton theologians
Karl Barth
To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... xxx cciiiox The Synod of Dort was a National Synod held in Dordrecht in 1618/19, by the Dutch Reformed Church, in order to settle a serious controversy in the Dutch churches initiated by the rise of Arminianism. ... The Puritans were members of a group of radical Protestants which developed in England after the Reformation. ... Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 — March 22, 1758) was a colonial American Congregational preacher and theologian. ... The Princeton theology is a tradition of conservative, Christian, Reformed and Presbyterian theology at Princeton Seminary, in Princeton, New Jersey. ... Karl Barth (May 10, 1886–December 10, 1968) (pronounced Bart) was an influential Swiss Reformed Christian theologian. ...

Reformed Baptist
The Reformed churches are a group of Christian Protestant denominations historically related by a similar Calvinist system of doctrine, which first arose especially in the Swiss Reformation led by Huldrych Zwingli, but soon afterward appeared in nations throughout Western Europe. ... Presbyterianism is a form of Protestant Christianity, primarily in the Reformed branch of Western Christendom, as well as a particular form of church government. ... Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs. ... The name Reformed Baptist does not refer to a distinct Christian denomination, but instead is a description of the churchs theological leaning. ...

Afrikaner Calvinists
Afrikaner Calvinism is a unique cultural development that combined the Calvinist religion with the political aspirations of the white Afrikaans speaking people of South Africa. ... In the 16th and 17th centuries, the name of Huguenots came to apply to members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France, or historically as the French Calvinists. ... Pilgrims Going to Church by George Henry Boughton (1867) The Pilgrims were a group of English religious separatists who sailed from Europe to North America in the early 17th century, in search of a home where they could freely practice their style of religion. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

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The Calvinist doctrine of predestination is sometimes referred to as "double predestination", usually in a disparaging way, to refer to the belief that God has not only appointed the eternal destiny of some to salvation (unconditional election), but by necessary inference, also the remainder to eternal damnation (reprobation). In other words, before the foundation of the world, God appointed his elect to eternal life, and condemned the rest to everlasting punishment. In an unadorned church, the 17th century congregation stands to hear the sermon. ... Doctrine, from Latin doctrina, (compare doctor), means a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system. ... Predestination is a religious idea, under which the relationship between the beginning of things and the destiny of things is discussed. ... The Calvinist doctrine of predestination, is the religious doctrine of double predestination, particular to Calvinism. ... Reprobation, in Christian theology, is a corollary to the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election which derives that since (in this view) some of mankind (the elect) are predestined by God for salvation, the remainder are necessarily pre-ordained to damnation, i. ...



Early Expressions of the doctrine


The Waldensian Confession of Faith

That God saves from corruption and damnation those whom he has chosen from the foundations of the world, not for any disposition, faith, or holiness that he foresaw in them, but of his mere mercy in Christ Jesus his Son, passing by all the rest according to the irreprehensible reason of his own free-will and justice. (Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 2, P. 69)

The Waldensian Confession of Faith 1120

That Christ is our life, and truth, and peace, and righteousness - our shepherd and advocate, our sacrifice and priest, who died for the salvation of all who should believe, and rose again for their justification.

The Waldenses Confession of Faith 1544

We believe that there is one holy church, comprising the whole assembly of the elect and faithful, that have existed from the beginning of the world, or that shall be to the end thereof. Of this church the Lord Jesus Christ is the head - it is governed by His word and guided by the Holy Spirit. In the church it behooves all Christians to have fellowship. For her He [Christ] prays incessantly, and His prayer for it is most acceptable to God, without which indeed there could be no salvation.

The Belgic Confession of Faith: 1561

We believe that all the posterity of Adam, being thus fallen into perdition and ruin by the sin of our first parents, God then did manifest himself such as he is; that is to say, merciful and just: Merciful, since he delivers and preserves from this perdition all whom he, in his eternal and unchangeable council, of mere goodness hath elected in Christ Jesus our Lord, without respect to their works: Just, in leaving others in the fall and perdition wherein they have involved themselves. (Art. XVI)

The Westminster Confession of Faith: 1643

As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected . . . are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power. through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.
The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as He pleaseth, for the glory of His Sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice. (Chap. III — Art. VI and VII)

Reformed theology and double predestination

The following two subsections are excerpts from Double Predestination by R. C. Sproul


Caricature of Reformed view

The use of the qualifying term "double" has been somewhat confusing in discussions concerning predestination. The term apparently means one thing within the circle of Reformed theology, and quite another outside that circle, and at a popular level of theological discourse. It has been used as a synonym for a symmetrical view of predestination, which sees election and reprobation being worked out in a parallel mode of divine operation, which usage involves a serious distortion of the Reformed view of double predestination.

The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God WORKS in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity, God decreed some to election and by divine initiative, works faith in their hearts, and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity, God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.

This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin, who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism, and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.


Reformed view

In sharp contrast to the caricature of double predestination seen in the positive-positive schema, is the classic position of Reformed theology on predestination. In this view, predestination is double, in that it involves both election and reprobation but is not symmetrical with respect to the mode of divine activity. A strict parallelism of operation is denied. Rather, we view predestination in terms of a positive-negative relationship.

In the Reformed view, God from all eternity decrees some to election, and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect, God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief into their lives. Even in the case of the "hardening" of the sinners' already recalcitrant hearts, God, as Luther stated, does not "work evil in us by creating fresh evil in us." That is not to say that "hardening of the sinners' hearts" is a work of evil. It is God's free choice. For if there were not lost people in the world, Christians would have no need to spread the Gospel, though Jesus commanded Christians to in Matthew 28:19. However Luther did not understand this and wrote:

When men hear us say that God works both good and evil in us, and that we are subject to God's working by mere passive necessity, they seem to imagine a man who is in himself good, and not evil, having an evil work wrought in him by God; for they do not sufficiently bear in mind how incessantly active God is in all His creatures, allowing none of them to keep holiday. He who would understand these matters, however, should think thus: God works evil in us (that is, by means of us) not through God's own fault, but by reason of our own defect. We being evil by nature, and God being good, when He impels us to act by His own acting upon us according to the nature of His omnipotence, good though He is in Himself, He cannot but do evil by our evil instrumentality; although, according to His wisdom, He makes good use of this evil for His own glory and for our salvation. (Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Westwood: Fleming H. Revell, 1957), p. 206)

Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin. Sin falls within the category of providential concurrence.




From a Universalist perspective

Historically, Christian Universalist thinkers and others have criticized Calvinist predestination on the grounds that it reduces the great majesty and sovereignty of God. Such opponents believe that an omniscient, omnipotent, and all-loving Creator would not fail to save all of humanity.

Universalists argue that God would be motivated by His love for His creation to save all souls from eternal damnation. They posit that there is no Hell, Satan, or sin that lies beyond the redeeming power of God's love and the sacrifice of Jesus. Continuing this line of reasoning, Universalists argue that, having purposed to save everyone, God, as the omnipotent Creator, shall certainly succeed. Hosea Ballou wrote that a God who did not want to, or was unable to save everyone, was not a God worth worshipping. Hosea Ballou (1771—1852), American Universalist clergyman, was born in Richmond, New Hampshire, on the 30th of April 1771. ...

Calvinists agree that God is sovereign, and will save all those whom he has purposed to save. Calvinist theologians however, along with the majority of Christian theologians from other traditions, believe that Scripture clearly indicates that not all will, in fact, be saved. They point to another characteristic of a sovereign God: his divine justice. Calvinists contend that God extends mercy and grace to whom He will according to His plan, and administers justice (which, by its very nature is the punishment for sin, and thus in every way good and holy in concordance with the character of God) to all others.


From a Wesleyan/Arminian perspective

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From a Roman Catholic perspective

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ died for everybody and not just for some people. It calls predestination God's Plan and states that this plan also includes free will for mankind. Catechism of the Catholic Church #600 says - To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of "predestination", he includes in it each person's free response to his grace: "In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place." For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness. Catholic Church redirects here. ... The Catechism of the Catholic Church, or CCC, is an official exposition of the teachings of the Catholic Church, first published in French in 1992 by the authority of Pope John Paul II.[1] Subsequently, in 1997, a Latin text was issued which is now the official text of reference...


From a Unitarian/Free thought perspective

The logical criticism of predestination is that it denies the individual their own free will. Free thinkers and Unitarians tend to ask questions such as: If God is choosing our path for us, then what choices do we have? Moreover what do our choices matter? God demands that we worship him of our own free will, but if we're predestined to damnation or salvation then how could we possibly have free will at all? Freethought is a characteristic of individuals whose opinions are formed on the basis of an understanding and rejection of tradition, authority or established belief. ... Historic Unitarianism believed in the oneness of God as opposed to traditional Christian belief in the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). ...

Another criticism is ethical. The Calvinist view of predestination leads inevitably into moral nihilism. If one's actions, deeds, faith or anything initiated by him are worth nil in the eyes of God and if the human being cannot influence his eventual final depository in any manner by himself, then what is the point of repentance and living according to God's will? Wouldn't it be far more plausible to just obey your animalistic instincts, lusts, and desires, since the outcome will be the same anyway? The traditional Calvinist answer is that God's irresistible grace will make his elect live in a Godly manner and not vice versa. This claim, however, is logically a cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Likewise, it cannot be empirically proven that the ethical or moral standards were any higher in those countries where Calvinism is dominant (Scotland, South Africa, Netherlands, Switzerland) than in the Lutheran countries (Scandinavian countries, Baltic countries, Germany, England), Catholic countries or countries of non-Christian denomination, or that people were more spiritual or religious or godlier in those countries in respect to non-Calvinist countries. Moral nihilism is the philosophy or ideology that there is no such thing as right and wrong, or good and evil. ... Correlation implies causation, also known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin for with this, therefore because of this) and false cause, is a logical fallacy by which two events that occur together are claimed to be cause and effect. ...

A Calvinist's response is that Calvinism in no way denies the existence of the free will of the individual. This is a common misconception of the doctrine. Calvinism advocates that we are free to choose what we do, whether that be actions against God (sin), or something good and godly. However, the Bible clearly indicates that nothing a person does can earn himself a spot in heaven; Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the Gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." Since making a choice is an action, a work, simply "choosing" God does not, and cannot, bring salvation

Calvinists also contend that after the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden, man's moral and spiritual ability to seek and to choose God by himself, without divine direction, was removed. Man can, and does with frequency, seek after the benefits that God can give him, but any seeking or "choosing" of God is the work of the Holy Spirit, called regeneration.

Logically this response, however, is a red herring; it misses the point. The response assumes there are things where the free will apply and where it doesn't; it assumes free will is conditional, which is in contradiction with the definition of free will. However this can be explained thusly: We have full free will after God gives it to us (Christians). Nonbelievers have limited free will, in that they cannot choose God. In all things else, they are free to wallow in their sin. Look up red herring in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Ignoratio elenchi (also known as irrelevant conclusion) is the logical fallacy of presenting an argument that may in itself be valid, but which proves or supports a different proposition than the one it is purporting to prove or support. ...

Furthermore, if acts and deeds do not matter, and if humans cannot even seek and to choose God by themselves, the outcome of the final depository of human souls could just be a result of divine lottery as humans can by no way have any influence on it by themselves. While the Bible does state that salvation is by faith alone, it also clearly indicates it isn't [[1]]. This sets us further in dilemma; which is the strongest authority, Jesus, who states salvation is by deeds in Matthew 25:41-46 "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.", James, who states salvation is by deeds in James 2:21-25: "Was not Abraham our father justified by works? You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rabab the harlot also justified by works? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." or Paul, who stresses faith alone on Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." A lottery is a popular form of gambling which involves the drawing of lots for a prize. ... Jesus (8–2 BC/BCE to 29–36 AD/CE),[1] also known as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity. ... Saint James the Just (יעקב Holder of the heel; supplanter; Standard Hebrew Yaʿaqov, Tiberian Hebrew Yaʿăqōḇ), also called James Adelphos, James of Jerusalem, or the Brother of the Lord and sometimes identified with James the Lesser, (died AD 62) was an important figure in Early Christianity. ... Paul of Tarsus, also known as Paul the Apostle or Saint Paul (AD 3–14 — 62–69),[1] is widely considered to be central to the early development and spread of Christianity, particularly westward from Jerusalem. ...

Likewise, logically the Calvinist response "simply "choosing" God does not, and cannot, bring salvation" leads into Hyper-Calvinism, which complicates the things even further in this matter, and stresses the Pelagius's question even stronger: if humans cannot even choose God, then what is the point of repentance and living according to God's will - and what is the point to preach people to repent, to evangelize and even spread the Gospel? Hyper-Calvinism is a theological position that historically arose from within the Calvinist tradition among the early English Particular Baptists in the mid 1700s. ...


Recent developments

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See also


Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. ... Predestination is a religious idea, under which the relationship between the beginning of things and the destiny of things is discussed. ... Reprobation, in Christian theology, is a corollary to the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election which derives that since (in this view) some of mankind (the elect) are predestined by God for salvation, the remainder are necessarily pre-ordained to damnation, i. ... The Calvinist doctrine of predestination, is the religious doctrine of double predestination, particular to Calvinism. ...

External links




To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and was a central developer of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism. ... Loraine Boettner (1901-03-07 to 1990-01-03) was an American theologian who wrote books on Predestination, Roman Catholicism, the Trinity, Postmillennialism and Reformed Theology. ... Benjamin Breckinridge (B.B.) Warfield (1851 - 1921) was the principal of Princeton Seminary from 1887 to 1921. ...


  Results from FactBites:
Predestination - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3282 words)
Predestination is a religious idea, under which the relationship between the beginning of things and the destiny of things is discussed.
Predestination may sometimes be used to refer to other, materialistic, spiritualist, non-theistic or polytheistic ideas of determinism, destiny, fate, doom, or karma.
That this was an uneasy tension eventually became obvious with the confrontation between Augustine of Hippo and Pelagius culminating in condemnation of Pelagianism (as interpreted by Augustine) in 417.
  More results at FactBites »



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