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Switch to Forum Live View Determinism and Predestination
8 years ago  ::  Apr 08, 2010 - 7:08PM #1
Posts: 12

I am a UCC member.  Ever since I was a child I have had thoughts about determinism, even before I knew the term.  I thought that everything is caused by something else.  The decisions we make are based upon everything that has influenced us in the past.  Are there other UCCers who feel this way? 

Was there some of this thinking in the German Evangelical, Reformed, Congregational, and Christian Connection predecessors bodies of the UCC?

I'm not saying that other people are wrong.  I've simply had this leaning since I was a child.

I was involved in an informal discussion and someone asked me how I reconcile this with my faith.  I never found them to be incompatible.  They also found my belief to be disturbing and possibly dangerous.


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8 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2010 - 2:08PM #2
Posts: 16,084

I thought that everything is caused by something else.  The decisions we make are based upon everything that has influenced us in the past."

We have tended in the 3 - 4 streams coming into the Merger to be more "Arminian" (although that is a term more germane to Methodism than to us) than anything like "predestination" or "determinism." 

That being said, there have been some great UCCs in the predecessor churches, such as the Niebuhr brothers, who really laid into the ideas that there is no such thing as societal "sin" or national "sins".  In more recent times, Prof. Bruegemann is a light on Hebrew prophets sharing the 'dawn of the apocalyptic' and as poets who dream the LORD of Israel's dreams, rather than those of the current empire's and how that orders the world toward God's justice. 

I certainly don't know of anyone who thinks that we are just 'born' and there are no influences on us:  Language itself, which is of the essence of being human, is symbolic speech coding history, metaphor, memory=all of which is our particular culture. 

I probably have not provided a more appropriate response to your query in re: UCC and determinism, but I did think of Q. 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, which is part of my E and R heritage: -- 

Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a) am not my own, (b) but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (c) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d) and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e) and so preserves me (f) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g) yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j)


"Wesley told the early Methodists to gain all they could and save all they could so that they could give all they could. It means that I consider my money to belong to God and I see myself as one of the hungry people who needs to get fed with God’s money. If I really have put all my trust in Jesus Christ as savior and Lord, then nothing I have is really my own anymore."
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