• Abraham O. Adebo, Ph. D.
Keywords: predestination, election, original sin, providence, salvation


Whereas the early reformers – Martin Luther, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli - all made important contributions to the doctrine of predestination, less emphasis has been placed on the work of Zwingli on the same by scholars because Zwingli’s thought on the doctrine developed much more later than it was seen with Luther and Calvin. This paper seeks to cover this gap by drawing attention to Zwingli’s contributions to the doctrine of predestination. Taking a historical and theological interpretive approach, the paper traces Zwingli’s perspectives on the doctrine of predestination, pointing out that Zwingli’s thought on predestination is subsumed under the providence of God. He argues that God knows all things and He is sovereign, and to this extent, God already knows those who will yield to the doctrine of grace by believing in Him and those who will reject God’s grace and would go into perdition. Contrary to Luther, Zwingli argues that while faith is important in the process of salvation, salvation indeed is contingent upon election because those who come to faith have been foreordained to be saved. He argues further that election is the basis of having people in the Church. For him, the Church is a company of the elects and no one can be in the Church if they have not been foreordained by God, and God can even elect pagans into the company. While Zwingli makes notable contributions to the Church through his thoughts on the doctrine of predestination, he fails largely to explain how the elect gentiles would be saved. More importantly, his argument is prone to universalism, since it could ultimately be interpreted that everyone would eventually be saved. In spite of their weaknesses, Zwingli’s contributions to the doctrine of predestination, though widely neglected by scholars compared to the works of Luther and Calvin Zwingli’s contributions to the doctrine of predestination, are enormous and help in evangelicals’ understanding of the authority and inerrancy of scriptures as well as the doctrine of the original sin. Zwingli’s theology and teaching on predestination should be considered as a further area of study by scholars interested in the doctrine of predestination and original sin.