Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bullinger and Predestination II

In 1551 Bolsec appealed Bullinger’s view in the controversy over double predestination. The Senate in Geneva wrote to the ministers of Zurich for clarification. This letter referred to Bolsec’s repudiation of Zwingli (his view as expressed in his Providentia) while, at the same time, appealing to Bullinger's view in support for his position.

The relevant sentence in the letter reads: Huc quoque accessit quod vestram ecclesiam implicabat. Zuinglium enim prae aliis omnibus damnans. Bullingerum eiusdem secum esse sententiae mentiebatur”.

In one of Bullinger’s personal letters to Calvin he emphasized what he had outlined in the Decades: God is a ‘lover of man’ (philanthropos); because of His mercy God “wants all men to be saved” (vult omnes homines salvos facere; justification is purely because of grace and “not on account of works which man has done” (non per opera quae ipse homo facit); those who are damned are not damned as a result of a fatal necessity that proceeds from God’s will but because they willingly reject the grace of God.

Bullinger wrote:

“Therefore, however many men are preserved, they are preserved by the mere grace of God the savior; those who perish do not perish by virtue of being compelled by a fatal necessity, but because they willingly reject the grace of God. Indeed, there is no sin in God; both this and the blame for damnation inheres in us”.

(Quotquot ergo homines servantur mera Dei servatoris gratia servantur: qui pereunt, non fatali necessitate adacti pereunt, sed quod volentes gratiam Dei respuerent. Neque enim peccatum in Deo ullum: in nobis id et culpa damnationis nostrae inhaeret.)

(see Venema, pp58ff)

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