According to the Westminster Confession of Faith God has, in some way, ordained everything that comes to pass.

I. God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions; yet hath he not decreed any thing because he foresaw it as future, as that which would come to pass, upon such conditions.

Regarding these two points from Chapter III, what would Lutherans confirm, and what would they reject? What is the defense of these confirmations or rejections? Do any Lutheran doctrines stand in an analogous position to these two WCF points?

1 Answer 1


In my study, I have noticed a heavy Calvinist influence on Lutheranism. In fact, Lutheranism is basically medieval Catholicism, which stresses that the sovereignty of God is absolute over all that is. Guess what? That is the exact first point to Calvinism.

Calvinism logically explorers the idea that the sovereignty of God is absolute. The result is basically this:
God has all power over all things, therefore, whatever happens God either
1) Let it happen, but it was the doing of a freewill being or reality separated from Him by sin (eg earth)
2) Stopped it from happening
3) Made it happen entirely.

Because of this logic, if you claim that God has absolute sovereignty over all that is, you must also claim that all that happens is ordained by God. Most Christian denominations will claim this, but quite a few do quietly, so as not to disturb the complacency of the congregation. Lutheranism is more vocal about it, but like most, has become quieter and quieter over the last century and a half.

As for the problem where you might find a paradox, where God is not the author of sin yet he ordains it by this logic is called antimony, which is actually not a paradox. A paradox is manufactured where an antimony is an observation of two facts, although logically derived in this case, that are seemingly irreconcilable, yet both undeniable. Basically, the Calvinist, and subsequently the Lutheran, is willing to admit this seeming contradiction, but is not willing to abandon the entire theology because it starts with "The sovereignty of God is absolute and over all that is," because it is too well supported in the Scripture.

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    Hi. Your answer is well-written and is interesting for me personally to read, but it doesn't quite answer what I'm asking for. Could you quote something from Confessional Lutheranism that would be in agreement with these points in the WCF? Were there any Lutheran "patriarchs" opposed to such an understanding? Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 0:04
  • @SanJacinto bookofconcord.org/historical-21.php under 235. Summary of Luther's Views, second paragraph. Also the paragraph above 237. Paragraph above 249. gives reason to obey God even though all is ordained. All of section 256. I should note that at the top section 234. says that Luther was not Calvinist, however, the whole page seems mostly about predestination and God ordaining all things, even some to be damned "because they cannot be saved." Search the page for the word ordain.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 1:57
  • If you edit your answer to incorporate what you found on the bookofconcord page and can address the last sentence of my question in a good fashion, I'll upvote. Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 13:00

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