Introduction: Predestination, Why Bother?
A Facebook friend once asserted to me that the historical controversies, as well as thepresent ongoing debates, over the doctrine of predestination are nothing more than opposingsides stirring up trouble by arguing over linguistic nuances; hence, to become engaged in thecontroversy over predestination is to be pulled into a futile theological war. Is this friend right?While I truly wish I could agree with my friend for the sake of simplicity, I am afraid that he isgrossly mistaken on this point. To the naked eye it may seem like a meaningless debate overlinguistics or doctrinal emphasis; however, as we will see in the following pages, this debate isover two very different theological positions, views that have profound implications upon thechurch and pastoral office today.
The Nineteenth-Century Predestination Controversy
In exploring the doctrine of predestination from a Lutheran perspective one mightassume that a logical place to begin would be the theological controversies of thesixteenth-century
It is interesting to note that the doctrine of predestination is discussedwithin the Lutheran Confessions (e.g., Formula of Concord XI); however, unlike so much of the articles within
The Book of Concord,
article XI of the Formula is not written in responseto a public offense arising within the sphere of sixteenth-century Lutheranism. Theintroduction to article XI states,