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ABSTRACT: Luther’s and Calvin’s Catholic contemporaries argued against Reformed doctrine because it disagreed with the teaching of Rome. The Reformers argued, first, that their doctrines agreed with Scripture, but they also appealed to church history. Predestination and the other doctrines of grace were, according to them, not novel teachings, but teachings held as far back as the church fathers — especially Augustine.
For our ongoing series of feature articles by scholars for pastors, leaders, and teachers, we asked Shawn Wright, professor of church history at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, to trace the doctrine of predestination in church history.
Protestants - Reformed - Tradition - Doctrine - Predestination
Protestants in the Reformed tradition have not been shy about championing the doctrine of predestination, God’s gracious and sovereign choice to save individual sinners for his own glory.
The international Synod of Dort (1618–1619), convened to address the erroneous views of Arminianism, defined election as “God’s unchangeable purpose by which . . . before the foundation of the world, by sheer grace, according to the free good pleasure of his will, he chose in Christ to salvation a definite number of particular people out of the entire human race, which had fallen by its own fault from its original innocence into sin and ruin” (1.7).
Compendium - Doctrine - English-speaking - Protestant - Tradition
Finally, the most important compendium of doctrine in the English-speaking Protestant tradition, the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), says this of predestination: “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death” (3.3).
First- and second-generation Reformers like Luther and Calvin, however, were immediately and constantly challenged by their Catholic opponents about their gall in teaching doctrine not in accord with the Catholic teaching of their day. The Reformers began by arguing, as we would hope they would, that they believed these things because the...
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