William M. Hetherington: The precision of the Westminster Confession on predestination and foreordination

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... By predestination they meant a positive decree determining to confer everlasting life; and this they regarded as the basis of the whole doctrines of free grace, arising from nothing in man, but having for its divine origin the character and sovereignty of God. By foreordination, on the other hand, they meant a decree of order, or arrangement, determining that the guilty should he condemned to everlasting death; and this they regarded as the basis of judicial procedure, according to which God “ordains men to dishonour and wrath for their sin,” and having respect to man’s own character and conduct.

Let it be further remarked, that while, according to this view, the term predestination could never with propriety be applied to the lost, the term foreordination might be applied to the saved, since they also are the subjects, in one sense, of judicial procedure. Accordingly there is no instance in the Confession of Faith where the term predestination is applied to the lost, though there are several instances where the term foreordination, or a kindred term, is applied to the saved. And let this also be marked, that the term reprobation, which is so liable to be misunderstood and applied in an offensive sense to the doctrine of predestination, is not even once used in the Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. ...

For more, see William M. Hetherington: The precision of the Westminster Confession on predestination and foreordination.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
I understand the pastoral purpose of not using the word predestine for the unelect but the bible does tie the word with all that passes.....Ephesians 1:11-12 - In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
I used to be so frustrated by some translations' inconsistent rendering of προορίζω, which is commonly translated "predestine." It occurs eight times—in Acts 4:28, Romans 8:29, 30, 1 Corinthians 2:7, and Ephesians 1:5, 11. But after realizing this distinction some time ago, it makes sense why the KJV, for example, translates Acts 4:28 and 1 Cor. 2:7 as "determined before" and "ordained," respectively, since they have to do with non-personal things, and the other passages as "predestine," since they deal with people. I suppose this inconsistency in rendering is actually due to fidelity to this same theological distinction.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
I used to be so frustrated by some translations' inconsistent rendering of προορίζω, which is commonly translated "predestine." It occurs eight times—in Acts 4:28, Romans 8:29, 30, 1 Corinthians 2:7, and Ephesians 1:5, 11. But after realizing this distinction some time ago, it makes sense why the KJV, for example, translates Acts 4:28 and 1 Cor. 2:7 as "determined before" and "ordained," respectively, since they have to do with non-personal things, and the other passages as "predestine," since they deal with people. I suppose this inconsistency in rendering is actually due to fidelity to this same theological distinction.
A wee bit off-topic, but this makes a strong argument for not losing the Bible translations and church writings that make clear this and other distinctions in the language. Understanding about distinctions in many theological areas seems to have all but disappeared. Thank the Lord for His mercy in his preservation of the knowledge of them, even if presently in only small pockets of the church.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated ....

Those that have obtained the inheritance are the ones who are predestinated....

I hear you though the "all things" would still include the unelect.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I used to be so frustrated by some translations' inconsistent rendering of προορίζω, which is commonly translated "predestine." It occurs eight times—in Acts 4:28, Romans 8:29, 30, 1 Corinthians 2:7, and Ephesians 1:5, 11. But after realizing this distinction some time ago, it makes sense why the KJV, for example, translates Acts 4:28 and 1 Cor. 2:7 as "determined before" and "ordained," respectively, since they have to do with non-personal things, and the other passages as "predestine," since they deal with people. I suppose this inconsistency in rendering is actually due to fidelity to this same theological distinction.

Just out of interest, William Perkins argues against the above distinction ("for a man to say that the reprobates are foreknown and not predestinate is very injurious") and suggests that προώρισεν in Acts 4:28 be translated as predestinated (see A Golden Chain in Works, 6: 223-24).
 
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