On Predestination

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What did the First Christians believe about predestination? Did the First Christians believe that a persons life is completely mapped out before they are born? Did they believe that one person is born destined to be saved, while another is born, destined to be lost? I emphasize that I am talking, not about present-day belief, but the belief of the First Christians.

It is a fact that much Christian belief today differs from what the First Christians believed. Times change, circumstances change, and so does religious practice—maybe for the better, or maybe not. So what did the First Christians believe about Predestination?

The question was prompted by an email from a listener in Des Moines, Iowa. She had heard from her brother that the Lord has chosen who will be saved, but then of necessity it follows that he chosen who will not be. We know that there is a wide streak of Protestant thought that believes in predestination at some level. And we assume that they came by this belief from Scripture.

That being the case, we should be able to find it readily enough. But before I start examining proof texts, we need to think about this for a moment with this everyday illustration.


Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

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Image Credits: Ian Britton