Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


I was recently pondering on why it took me so long to discover reformed theology, and how my beliefs changed before/after reading reformed theology -- and as I traced my thoughts, it seems like a key point I hit was the doctrine of predestination.

Before believing in predestination, my notion of Christianity was something like: God vs Satan is fighting in some huge battle. I get to play a part. I'm important. I choose who to serve, and I can influence other humans in either direction.

After understanding predestination, it was something like: wow, I'm absolutely useless. There's all these angelic beings worshipping God, God really doesn't need me, and I don't have much influence over whether God or Satan wins, and I don't have much influence even other whether people ultimately get saved.

This realization then somehow paved the door for understanding reformed theology -- i.e. the focus of the Bible is about God, rather than humans.


Thus, is the doctirne of predestination considered a core pillar of reformed theology? Are there any well known doctrines / documents (accepted by reformed theologists) that argue against predestination?

share|improve this question
Without some doctrine of pre-d you don't have a Biblical faith. Regarding the Reformed view, if you drop pre-d, then you must redefine the effects of the fall. If you redefine this, then you must redefine the purpose of the atonement. If you redefine this, you must redefine Christ's purpose for coming in human flesh and dying. You come to a point where you have a Christ who was not God, to effect a salvation for people who don't need it since they really aren't dead in sin. We have healthy debates about this, but I don't see this as a key to Reformed Theo, I see it as key to the Bible. – San Jacinto Sep 27 '12 at 11:53
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I found this summary of reformed theology very helpful:

Reformed theology emphasizes the doctrines of grace, best known by the acronym TULIP, though this does not correspond to the best possible names for the five doctrines.


U stands for unconditional election. An emphasis on election bothers many people, but the problem they feel is not actually with election; it is with depravity. If sinners are as helpless in their depravity as the Bible says they are, unable to know and unwilling to seek God, then the only way they could possibly be saved is for God to take the initiative to change and save them. This is what election means. It is God choosing to save those who, apart from His sovereign choice and subsequent action, certainly would perish.


As you can see, one of the "pillars" of reformed theology is Unconditional Election (aka predestination). If you remove that pillar, I don't believe the theological system you have left could be fairly called "reformed."

For a more verbose introduction to reformed theology, see this series by R.C. Sproul:

share|improve this answer

The theological understanding of predestination is something that defines different Protestant Denominations. However the denominational differences don't end there. This is just one of the things that separate today's denominations. However I would not call predestination a pillar of reformed theology, ultimately I would say there is only one pillar of Christianity and that is Jesus Christ is the author of salvation and only through him are we saved. Without this Paul says we are to be pitied above all others.

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 1 Corinthians 15:14

Without this all Christianity falls apart

share|improve this answer
Nobody would dream of putting predestination on a level with Christ. In fact no specific point of our knowledge about God or his works would ever even be a comparable item. That isn't at all the sense in which "pillar" is being used here. – Caleb Sep 30 '12 at 18:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.