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Lutheran Predestination, Single, Double?

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by jinc1019, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Perhaps the biggest hang-up for me becoming Lutheran at this point is predestination. I think Lutherans are right to espouse justification by faith alone through Christ alone, the grace-giving nature of the sacraments, and the importance of scripture as the highest authority on Earth for determining theology.

    However, this whole "single predestination" view seems very odd. I want to be clear, I understand why Lutherans hold this view, and I've read the passages of scripture that claim to disprove "double predestination," but could someone please address the following:

    If faith comes through the Word and sacraments of the church (properly defined), then isn't it just a historical fact that God's plan for the world, including the spreading of the Gospel, Jesus' ministry, etc. inherently and obviously was limited to specific geographic areas and times? Doesn't this plainly show God has chosen, for whatever reason, for some to have faith and not others? If God wanted more people to have faith, God could have had Christ start in China, where he most certainly would have been able to bring more people to faith than Israel. If God didn't want to pass over some, then why did God limit the sacraments to specific means in the church, which is naturally going to be limited by human failures, etc.?

    You may say that this is just another "logic" based argument that ignores scripture, but I'm actually just talking about history here. No logic is required. Historically, it's a fact God brought faith to a very limited part of the world in a specific way. More people could have been saved had God done something different. Doesn't this on its face prove God has chosen to pass over some? Or, said another way, isn't it a historical fact God passed over some by not bringing the Gospel to many people for years and years after Christ walked the Earth?

    Where am I wrong on this? How do Lutherans explain the fact that some people have never been given the Gospel, even though God could have organized things so that occurred?

    NOTE: Please note I'm not saying God doesn't want or will for all people to be saved. I'm simply saying history appears to show God wants something more than He wants all people to be saved: He wants people to be saved in a very limited way (the sacraments and church), which he instituted in the Middle East (not the most populated region by any means).

    Thanks in advance for your time.
     
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  2. Taom Ben Robert

    Taom Ben Robert Roman Catholic

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    Because there has to be a single way , not multiple ways
     
  3. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    I'm not sure what you mean by that.
     
  4. Taom Ben Robert

    Taom Ben Robert Roman Catholic

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    Part of your question was " why did God limit the sacraments " the answer , because the gospel must agree with his character
     
  5. Taom Ben Robert

    Taom Ben Robert Roman Catholic

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    He put Christ where he would fulfill the prophesies , that is not evidence of sending some to hell
     
  6. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    No one is saying he is "sending some to hell." What I said was that it does not appear as though God made salvation available to all people simply because God did not send the Gospel to all people at all times. Isn't that just a historical fact?
     
  7. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    No. We don't know what God has done in all times and places.
     
  8. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    I'm sorry, but the Bible is pretty clear on this point. See Romans 10:
    For, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent?

    If they don't hear, they can't have faith. If the Gospel isn't present in a particular place or time, they can't hear. Are you suggesting that people in China in the 1st century somehow heard the Gospel? Are you suggesting ALL people in China in the 1st century heard the Gospel? If not, then they couldn't believe, right? And wasn't it God's choice not to deliver the Gospel initially in China? Couldn't Jesus have been Chinese? It seems like a historical fact that the Gospel was delivered to some and not others, which means some have been chosen to hear the Gospel and some have not, right?
     
  9. Tigger45

    Tigger45 The Good Shepherd Supporter

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    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  10. Mediaeval

    Mediaeval baptizatus sum

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    Minority view: God's saving ability and man's opportunity to hear the Gospel are not limited to this life (1 Peter ch. 3 & 4), so we cannot write off as hopeless the people who in this brief life never heard or understood the Gospel. Christians are a kind of first fruits (James 1:18), betokening the future, full harvest of mankind, so the Lutheran affirmation of single predestination has a deeper rationale than originally thought.
     
  11. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    There is no disputing this point, but doesn't confessional Lutheranism pretty much make holding this view impossible? In other words, doesn't the Book of Concord specifically deny any possibility of having faith after death?
     
  12. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Are you claiming omniscience? That you know who has and hasn't heard the Gospel? I'm asking that largely as a rhetorical question, as I expect you would say no. It doesn't really matter what you and I know about who has received the Gospel. We are simply to witness where we've been planted.

    With that said, it seems possible the Gospel reached China long before you think it did: Did the Apostles Go to China?

    But, even if the Gospel did reach China in AD 86, gosh if that Chinese guy who died in 10 BC wasn't the unluckiest chap on the face of the earth. But why does China get special attention? What about those pagans living in Salem in the 2nd millennium BC? They couldn't possibly have heard the Gospel, so they must all be in hell. Right? Well, I suppose there was that guy Melchizedek who appears out of nowhere who wasn't a Jew - wasn't one of the "chosen" people - but had somehow been made a priest by God. Hmm.

    Then there's the Ethiopian in Acts 8 ... also not a Jew, but somehow God was reaching out to him even before he received an authorized copy of the Gospel from Zondervan.

    And the list goes on. Some of the legends have been tainted by Manifest Destiny and other such nonsense, but I wouldn't be too quick to limit God's ability to reach people with the Gospel.
     
  13. Mediaeval

    Mediaeval baptizatus sum

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    Luther left the matter open in a 1522 letter to Hans von Rechenberg (found in Luther’s Works, vol. 43, Devotional Writings II), saying, “God can impart faith to some in the hour of death or after death so that these people could be saved through faith. Who would doubt God’s ability to do that? No one, however, can prove that he does do this.” But even if the Confessions ruled out such a possibility, holding to such a hope would not necessarily be a deal-breaker for lay membership in a Lutheran church. In my experience with the LCMS, WELS, and NALC, it has not been required of the laity to affirm every line of the Confessions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
  14. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    Ok, so just to be clear, your view is that it's possible that God has delivered the Gospel to everyone, everywhere, at every moment in history? If that view is true, then yes, my argument is invalid.

    Is this a commonly held view in Lutheranism?
     
  15. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    First, just to be clear, at the very least, LCMS does specifically say your view is not valid: www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=572

    That's a very interesting quote from Luther, however!

    Generally, my understanding is the catechism is the only requirement for joining the confessional Lutheran churches you mentioned, but some statements at confirmation could be construed to suggest one must accept all the LCMS teaches, for instance, to join.
     
  16. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    By the way, I think faith AFTER death is a more reasonable possibility than this view. It's well known not everyone has received the Gospel, unless your definition of the Gospel is much more vague than the vast majority of the orthodox Christians over the past 2,000 years have been willing to admit. Generally speaking, the belief has been one has to have faith in Christ, and one can't know Christ without hearing about Christ. There's no evidence at all to suggest Christ is, GENERALLY, delivered to people apart from the work of the church. As I pointed out, Paul's language in Romans clearly shows he believed the Gospel was delivered by those "blessed feet" that bring the good news, without which, Paul says, there is no faith.
     
  17. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Yes, that is my view, but only one of the several points I'm trying to make:
    1) Whatever the truth of the matter, God is just and merciful. No one will be sent to hell unjustly, nor will God miss an opportunity to show mercy.
    2) There are Biblical examples of God reaching people in a variety of ways. Yes, there is only one Gospel message, but there are many ways God can reach people with that message, and we need to be careful not to say things that put God in a box. To me it only seems to lead to confusion and despair.
    3) We need to fight our propensity to want to know everything - to think we know everything. I believe there are some questions to which the answer is: We don't know. We don't need to know. And it doesn't matter.

    I don't know how common this view is. However, as Mediaeval points out, Luther himself seemed to have a similarly open view.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
  18. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Oi. Back to square one. Therefore, I must ask you to substantiate this. Show me how it is possible for you to know there are people God has never reached.
     
  19. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    I already did. In Romans 10, Paul says they can't hear the Gosepl unless people bring it to them, and we know, from history, certain people never heard it. In fact, we know there are people today who have probably never heard it.
     
  20. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Newbie

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    See: “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent?
     
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