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Thirteen Theses.

On election, or predestination; adopted 1881 by the Mo. Syn.: “1. We believe, teach and confess, that God loved the whole world from eternity, created all men unto salvation, none unto damnation, and that He earnestly wills the salvation of all men; and we therefore reject and condemn with all our heart the contrary Calvinistic doctrine.

“2. We believe, teach and confess, that the Son of God came into the world for all men, that He bore and expiated the sins of all men, and that He fully redeemed all men, none excepted; we therefore reject and condemn the contrary Calvinistic doctrine with all our heart.

“3. We believe, teach and confess, that God calls through the means of grace all men earnestly, that is, with the purpose that they should, through these means, be brought to repentance and faith, also be preserved therein unto their end, and thus be finally led to blessedness, conformable to which purpose God offers them through the means of grace the salvation wrought by Christ's atonement and the power to embrace this salvation by faith; and we therefore reject and condemn the contrary Calvinistic doctrine with all our heart.

“4. We believe teach and confess, that no one perishes because God was not willing that he be saved, passed him by with His grace, and because He had not also offered him the grace of perseverance and was not willing to bestow the same upon him. But all men that perish, perish because of their own fault, because of their unbelief and because they contumaciously resisted the Word and grace unto their end. The cause of this contempt of the Word is not God's foreknowledge (vel praescientia vel praedestinatio) but man's perverted will which rejects or perverts the means and the instrument of the Holy Spirit, which God offers unto it through the call, and it resists the Holy Spirit who would be efficacious and operate through the Word, as Christ says: Matth. 23:37, How often would I have gathered you together, and ye would not. (Form. of Concord p 718. par. 41.) Therefore we reject and condemn the contrary Calvinistic doctrine with all our heart.

“5. We believe, teach and confess, that the elect or predestinated persons are only the true believers, who truly believe unto their end or yet at the end of their life; we reject therefore and condemn the error of Huber, that election is not particular, but universal and pertains to all men.

“6. We believe, teach and confess, that the divine decree of election is unchangeable and that therefore no elect person can become a reprobate and perish, but that every one of the elect will surely be saved; and we therefore reject and condemn the contrary Huberian error with all our heart.

“7. We believe, teach and confess, that it is foolish and soul-endangering, leads either to carnal security or despair to endeavor to become or be sure of our own election or eternal happiness by means of searching out the eternal secret decree of God; and we reject and condemn the contrary doctrine as an injurious fanatic notion with all our heart.

“8. We believe, teach and confess, that a true believer ought to endeavor to become sure of his election from God's revealed will; and we therefore reject and condemn with all our heart the opposite Papistical error, that one may become or be sure of his election and salvation only by means of a new immediate revelation.

“9. We believe, teach and confess: 1. That election does not consist in the mere fact that God foresaw which men will secure salvation; 2. That election is also not the mere purpose of God to redeem and save men, which would make it universal and extend in general to all men; 3. That election does not embrace those 'which believe for awhile'' (Luke 8:13.) 4. That election is not a mere decree of God to lead to bliss all those who would believe unto their end; we therefore reject and condemn the opposite errors of the Rationalists, Huberians and Arminians with all our heart.

“10. We believe, teach and confess, that the cause which moved God to elect, is alone His grace and the merit of Jesus Christ, and not anything good foreseen by God in the elect, not even faith foreseen in them by God; and we therefore reject and condemn the opposite doctrines of the Pelagians, Semi-Pelagians and Synergists as blasphemous, dreadful errors which subvert the Gospel and therewith the whole Christian religion.

“11. We believe, teach and confess, that election is not the mere divine foresight or prescience of the salvation of the elect, but also a cause of their salvation and of whatever pertains to it; and we therefore reject and condemn the opposite doctrines of the Arminians, Socinians, and of all Synergists with all our heart.

“12. We believe, teach and confess, that God has also concealed and kept secret many things concerning the mystery of election and reserved them for His wisdom and knowledge alone, into which no human being is able and ought to search; and we therefore reject every attempt to inquire curiously also into these things which have not been revealed, and to harmonize with our reason those things which seem contradictory to our reason, may such attempts be made by Calvinistic or Pelagianistic Synergistic doctrines of men.

“13. We believe, teach and confess, that it is not only not useless, much injurious, but necessary and salutary that the mysterious doctrine of election, in so far as it is clearly revealed in God's Word, be presented also publicly to Christian people, and we therefore do not agree with those who hold that entire silence should be kept thereon, or that its discussion should only be indulged in by learned theologians.”

See also Predestinarian Controversy, 2.


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod


Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
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Content Reproduced with Permission

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