Summary: Predestination is most likely one of the most controversial topics in Christian circles today, and yet undoubtedly one of the most vital. In this teaching session we have a look at an introduction to the doctrine of predestination.
In theological circles there are two main camps when it comes to the doctrine of predestination.
One the one hand we have people who feel that because this doctrine is so embroiled in past difficulty and misunderstanding, that it is better to rather avoid the topic, and not to discuss it at all, especially so from the pulpit.
On the other hand we have a group of people who feel that the doctrine of predestination is so central to our understanding of Scripture, and to our understanding of God and how He works that we cannot ignore it, and that it should be discussed and explained in depth and in great detail so that people will understand salvation and how it is imparted to them.
I make no apologies or excuses for the fact that I fall into the second group of people.
Martin Luther, the great reformer called the doctrine of predestination the ‘core ecclesia’. Core been the Latin for ‘heart’, and ecclesia been the Latin for ‘the church’. So in effect what Luther was saying was that the doctrine of predestination is the heart of the church.
While many would disagree with this statement, I need to say this morning that I can’t think of any other teaching or doctrine that brings us to a clearer realisation of our dependence on divine mercy and grace than the doctrine of predestination. I can’t think of any teaching or doctrine that is more comforting, especially when we consider our struggle and difficulties when it comes to faith than the doctrine of election.
Now having said all this, I do need to utter a word of serious and almost severe caution this morning, because as I have said, this is the one doctrine that has so often been distorted and misinterpreted, and misused that it can easily lead to a view which will regard God as been vengeful and spiteful and hateful, or on the other hand it could lead to a view in which man becomes complacent and settled and satisfied in and of himself.
This is why we will be taking a considerable amount of time to study the doctrine, to be sure that we cover all the main points, all the basics, and to be equally sure that we leave nothing to a chance understanding. The last thing anyone needs is for us to be jumping to any sort of rash or presumptuous conclusions, and for this reason I urge to make sure that you are here every week for the next 8 weeks, and if you should miss one of the sermons, it is really vital that you get hold of the cd and listen to it so that there can be no grey areas in your mind, and to be sure that you will not misunderstand what might follow, or that you will be unsure about what has already been said.
Well let’s start getting into this wonderful doctrine then, so that we can lay the foundation for the study which is going to follow. To begin with I just want you to understand that predestination is not something which is foreign to Scripture, (saw that 2 weeks back), and further we need to realise that predestination is not foreign to the church, or even the individual Christian.