Barth’s Christologically-modified double-predestinarianism - Mondays with McMaken

Time for another foray into the wonderful world of Barth and baptism. But we are still in chapter two, which deals with “Election, Soteriology, and Barth’s ‘No’ to Sacramental Infant Baptism.” It’s some of the “election” bit that I want to highlight today. This is less of an “A-ha!” moment in the course of the argument, but it is a piece that I like that falls somewhere in the middle of a sub-argument. It ties some things together.

W. Travis McMaken, The Sign of the Gospel: Toward an Evangelical Doctrine of Infant Baptism after Karl Barth, Emerging Scholars (Fortress, 2013), 78.
As noted in the above discussion of Ursinus, Reformed theology developed further the traditional Augustinian account of predestination. Rather than a single predestination where God actively elects but only passively rejects, the Reformed established symmetry between these two aspects of predestination so that God is understood as directly active in both. All of this occurs within the broader context of sacramental soteriology, where Christ objectively achieves salvation that must somehow be subsequently appropriated by or applied to the individual. Where such a soteriology is in place, as Hunsinger rightly notes, “a split vision of human destiny readily follows in which the human race diverges finally into two cities, the one under way to eternal life, the other to eternal perdition.” The doctrines of predestination discussed above embody this “split vision” and divergence to greater or lesser degrees of clarity. By christologically modifying the traditional Reformed double-predestinarian position, Barth rejects this split vision and the soteriological outlook that undergirds it.
Want to see “the above discussion of Ursinus”? Want to see where Hunsinger says that? Want to know which “doctrines of predestination” were “discussed above”? Want to hear more about Barth’s christologically-modified double-predestinarianism? Say it with me: Go buy the book!



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