Did Christians Teach Predestination Before Augustine?

A reader named David recently wrote to the Heidelblog to pass along a question that someone else asked of him: “What do the church fathers prior to Augustine believe about free will? I was told that all of the church fathers prior . . . Continue reading →

1689 Vs. The Westminster Confession (5): “One Striking Omission”

Our comparison and contrast of the WCF with the 2LC continues through chapter 3, Of God’s Eternal Decree. In this installment we see some interesting revisions and one striking omission. WCF 2LC 1. God from all eternity did, by the most wise . . . Continue reading →

How Did We Come To Faith?

Why should we study what the Bible says about how we came to faith in Jesus? Isn’t it enough to simply believe and let it go? After all, do not such discussions only cause hurt feelings and doctrinal arguments among believers? These are good questions. Here are two answers. First, Jesus himself calls us to pay attention to His hard words. Continue reading →

As It Was In The Days Of Noah (28): 2 Peter 1:3–11 (part 4)

The Christian life is not the instrument of salvation. To attempt to make it so is a self-defeating move, since none of us, in this life, shall attain perfect sanctification. Thus, all of us fall short of the mark. This is undeniably true. In that case, we are left to going back to the dog’s breakfast of the late-medieval doctrine of congruent merit, the doctrine rejected by the entire Reformation, that God imputes perfection to our imperfect efforts unto justification and salvation. Continue reading →

Canons Of Dort (11): The Doctrine Of Predestination Is Edifying And Should Be Taught Wisely

We would expect those outside the Augustinian mainstream of the Western church to object to the teaching of doctrine of predestination (i.e., the doctrines of election and reprobation) since they reject the doctrines. The reader might be surprised, however, to learn that . . . Continue reading →

The Canons Of Dort (10): Unconditional Grace Gives Assurance

The Remonstrants were convinced that the Protestant doctrine of salvation by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide) did not and could not produce sufficient sanctification (holiness) and obedience. Thus, without admitting to it, they turned the covenant of grace . . . Continue reading →

Canons Of Dort (9): The God Who Elects Unconditionally Does Not Change

One of the most remarkable developments in late modern evangelical theology was the rise of the so-called doctrine of “Open Theism.” This doctrine holds that the future is genuinely unknown to God. It is “open” to him and he to it. According . . . Continue reading →

Canons Of Dort (8): There Is Only One Kind Of Election

The Remonstrants were dissatisfied with the basic insights of the Reformation and thus of the Reformed faith. They did not agree with the Protestant articulation of the gospel, that Christ came for his elect, to be their obedient, righteous substitute, to die . . . Continue reading →

Canons Of Dort (7): God Graciously Chose His Elect Out Of The Mass Of Fallen Humanity

The Synod of Dort gathered for several reasons but among them two were chief: to defend basic Augustinian anti-Pelagian theology and preserve the Protestant Reformation doctrines of salvation by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide). They Reformed churches from . . . Continue reading →

Does Covenant Theology Change Our Doctrine Of Predestination?

Baptism, Election & the Covenant of Grace

HB reader Keith asks, Succinctly, what is covenant theology on the following: Predestination Security of the believer? Hi Keith, The short answer is that the covenant theology that we confess does not fundamentally change our doctrine of predestination, which says that all . . . Continue reading →

Strangers And Aliens (8): A Rock Of Offense And A Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:7–8)

What Martin Luther (1483–1546) expressed as a distinction between the distinction between a theology of glory (theologia gloriae) and the theology of the cross) the Reformed tended to express as a distinction between the Creator and the creature but same set ideas . . . Continue reading →