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There is a tradition, perhaps strongest in Lutheranism, that opposes what it calls "Decision Theology". Biblical support for opposing Decision Theology would come in passages like, "No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit," "faith is a gift", and the seemingly involuntary conversion of Paul. The existence of a tradition of denying our ability to choose Christ on our own is a verifiable historical fact. I don't wish to debate it with this question.

When discussing Decision Theology in evangelical circles, I often see them react as if the only viable alternatives involve predestination and a lack of personal responsibility. It is clear that the Lutheran tradition of opposing Decision Theology is not mere predestinationism. I don't wish to debate that either.

A careful reading of this tradition would not confuse it with predestination. But the strongest practitioners of this tradition almost sound as if they were advocating Universal Salvation. The hearer is invited to celebrate what Christ has done for them, rather than "accepting" it.

Question: how have opponents of Decision Theology distanced themselves from Universal Salvation? (Sources: Confessions, sermons, seminary training, etc?)

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Just a side note: you paired off "predestination and lack of personal responsibility" as if they go together. This is a common misunderstanding but not at all true. –  Caleb Jul 14 '13 at 20:12
This seems a little broad. You're asking people why/how they don't accept certain doctrines while accepting others and that seems a bit open ended. –  LCIII Jul 9 '14 at 14:22
Can you tell us a little more about the differences, as you understand them? I can google "Decision Theology", but it appears you may think some make a decision and some don't, contrary to any view I know about. The extent to which I choose Jesus independently versus the Holy Spirit encouraging or even compelling me to choose is a significant difference though. Predestination vs choice is not the point. In all the Protestant theologies I know, both are present; it's a matter of balance between the two. –  disciple Aug 8 '14 at 20:37
I recommend you pick a specific tradition and ask about it. If it takes several questions, then do so. For instance, while both Calvinists and Lutherans base their opposition to decision theology in original sin and total depravity, you correctly point out that those two drastically differ. Add to this jsut two more groups: the Roman church and classical Arminians. Here you have two more wildly different theologies that would reject decision theology (as we know it today) and are grounded just as much in original sin, yet are much more synergistic than their Reformation friends. –  San Jacinto Jun 11 at 11:59
The question refers to a specific tradition, that of Theology of the Cross. People who agree or disagree with this tradition could give "objective librarian"-style answers to the question. –  pterandon Jun 15 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


  1. choose you this day (Joshua 14:15)
  2. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:20-21)

issues with universal reconciliation/salvation:

  • what is the judgement for if there is universal salvation?

Matthew 25:31-46 King James Version (KJV)

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

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This doesn't really explain anything. –  curiousdannii Jan 22 at 12:29

protected by Community Aug 24 '14 at 16:57

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