The Predestined for Hell Myth

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  1. Williams maintains what I’ve heard maintained again and again: the doctrine of predestination to hell was Calvin’s baby. No, it was not. It was Luther’s. In “On the Enslaved Will” (1525), a work he considered his best (along with his “Smaller Catechism,” I understand), Luther states: ” [ . . . ] whatever happens, happens according to the irreversible decrees of God. Therefore, necessity, not free will, is the controlling principle of our conduct. God is the author of what is evil in us as well as of what is good, and, as he bestows happiness on those who merit it not, SO ALSO DOES HE DAMN OTHERS WHO DESERVE NOT THEIR FATE” (my emphasis). Luther further declared: “Without this doctrine of the enslaved will, the supernatural character of Christianity cannot be maintained; the work of redemption falls to the ground [ . . . ]. [This doctrine] must stand, though the whole world be involved thereby in strife and tumult, nay, even fall into ruins.” Add to the sickening mix these words of his: “The highest degree of faith is to believe God is merciful, though He saves so few and damns so many. And to believe he is just, though of His own will he makes us, by necessity, proper subjects of damnation.”

  2. Tobias says:

    Thank you Fred for an excellent essay on this important subject. I am new to the faith and am presently navigating through the doctrines going this way or that. Strange as it seems I was in my previous life a determinist and an atheist (I did in my folly not find any reason to believe in God). But instinctively I could not reconcile Calvinism with what I read in the Bible. To me Calvinism seemed to describe God and creation as a cruel mockery. Reading your essay I feel strengthened in my initial feeling that Calvinism is not a correct interpretation.

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