Predestination: Biblical and Theological Paths

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    Predestination: Biblical and Theological Paths.

    Predestination has been the subject of perennial controversy among Christians, although in recent years theologians have shied away from it as a divisive and unedifying topic. In this book Matthew Levering argues that Christian theological reflection needs to continue to return to the topic of predestination, for two reasons: Firstly, predestinarian doctrine is Predestination has been the subject of perennial controversy among Christians, although in recent years theologians have shied away from it as a divisive and unedifying topic.

    In this book Matthew Levering argues that Christian theological reflection needs to continue to return to the topic of predestination, for two reasons: Firstly, predestinarian doctrine is taught in the New Testament. Reflecting the importance of the topic in many strands of Second Temple Judaism, the New Testament authors teach predestination in a manner that explains why Christian theologians continually recur to this topic. Secondly, the doctrine of predestination provides a way for Christian theologians to reflect upon two fundamental affirmations of biblical revelation.

    The first is God's love, without any deficiency or crimp, for each and every rational creature; the second is that God from eternity brings about the purpose for which he created us, and that he permits some rational creatures freely and permanently to rebel against his love. When theologians reflect on these two key biblical affirmations, they generally try to unite them in a logical synthesis.

    Instead, Levering argues, it is necessary to allow for the truth of each side of the mystery, without trying to blend the two affirmations into one. He concludes with a constructive chapter regarding the future of the doctrine. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages.

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    Predestination, Single and Double in Christian History

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    More filters. Sort order. May 24, Rex Bradshaw rated it really liked it Shelves: theology , history. As Levering demonstrates in this short work, predestination has been a subject of significant, perhaps inescapable controversy since the earliest days of the Church. Levering selects sixteen theologians of significance from Origen to Balthasar and presents their views sequentially, bookending them with a review of the Biblical witness and his own thoughts on the matter.

    Levering adumbrates the horns of the dilemma in clear terms.


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    He points out that treatments of predestination in Chri As Levering demonstrates in this short work, predestination has been a subject of significant, perhaps inescapable controversy since the earliest days of the Church. He points out that treatments of predestination in Christian theology generally tend toward or imply one of the following heterodoxies: 1 that all are saved by God, 2 that God does not will the salvation of all, or 3 that human action superadded to grace is necessary to salvation.

    If the scriptures affirm that grace encompasses the whole act of salvation, and that God desires none should perish, then will not all be saved? If however we affirm that some are lost, we are seemingly forced to decide whether this is because God declines to grant them grace deficiency in universality , or whether because humans have independent ability to accept or resist grace deficiency in efficacy.

    The post-Nicene Church marginalized 1 , and since the Patristic age the question of predestination has been a battleground between, on the one hand, the doctrines of Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin, whose emphasis on the total sufficiency of grace resulted in struggles with 2 , and, on the other hand, various dissenters and the eastern tradition of John of Damascus, which proved susceptible to 3.

    Levering, a Catholic, seems to favor the Augustinian reading of St Paul, but he offers even radically different views, like those of Bulgakov, a charitable hearing. To him, that both of these can be true and yet some are damned is a paradox and a mystery that must be maintained, and he points to St Catherine of Siena and St Francis de Sales as examples of this balance.

    Rather more disappointing to me is how brief and facile if polite his responses often are to other views. This brings me to the only major problem with this book, which relates to length and focus. For a work of such scope and ambition, it is on the short side. If Levering wanted chiefly to argue his preference for paradox, he probably should have reduced the number of interlocutors to a few representatives of the dispute to put his own position in relief.

    As it is, most of the book is comprised of brief summaries, concluded by Levering arguing his own position in a mere twenty-five pages. That said, as an accessible, concise, fair-minded introduction to a complex topic, Predestination: Biblical and Theological Paths is superb and recommended. Feb 05, Nathan Mladin rated it it was ok. A modest contribution to a heated, mind-dizzying subject.

    The book is largely descriptive, with very brief critical comments appended at the end of his expository sections. The constructive part is a mere 20 pages, half of which is taken up with thin exegetical work. I appreciate the interaction with David Bentley Hart.

    One must experience the full force of his blows to neoscholastic, banezian determinism. His retrieval of Catherine de Siena and his interaction with Francis de Sales is interesti A modest contribution to a heated, mind-dizzying subject. His retrieval of Catherine de Siena and his interaction with Francis de Sales is interesting and promises more than what is actually delivered.

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