Ordo salutis

Ordo salutis

Ordo salutis, (Latin: "order of salvation") refers to the series of conceptual steps within the Christian doctrine of salvation. It has been defined as "a technical term of Protestant dogmatics to designate the consecutive steps in the work of the Holy Spirit in the appropriation of salvation."[1] Although there is within Christian theology a certain sense in which the phases of salvation are sequential (Romans 8:29-30),[2] some elements occur progressively and others instantaneously.[3] Furthermore, some steps within the "order of salvation" are objective, performed solely by God, while others are subjective, involving humanity. Christians prior to the Reformation, while not using the exact phrase, sought to order the elements of salvation.[4] The term "Ordo salutis" was first used by Lutheran theologians in the mid 1720's.[5] The most common sequential order is:

  1. Foreknowledge
  2. Predestination
  3. Calling (which Calvinists subdivide into a. outer, and b. inner).
  4. Regeneration or faith
  5. Faith or regeneration
  6. Repentance
  7. Justification
  8. Adoption
  9. Sanctification
  10. Mortification
  11. Perseverance
  12. Glorification

Historical Interpretation


  • Calling
  • Illumination
  • Repentance
  • Regeneration
  • Justification
  • Mystical Union
  • Sanctification
  • Conservation

Classical Arminian:[6][3]

  • Foreknowledge
  • Predestination
  • Election
  • Prevenient Grace
  • External Calling
  • Repentance and faith
  • Regeneration
  • Justification
  • Sanctification
  • Glorification


  • Predestination
  • Election
  • Calling
  • Regeneration
  • Faith
  • Repentance
  • Justification
  • Sanctification
  • Perseverance
  • Glorification

Criticism and support

Some recent theologians such as Karl Barth, G. Berkouwer and H. Ridderbos have criticised the idea of an "order of salvation."[3] For example Barth sees the 'ordo salutis' as running the risk of "psychologizing" salvation and Berkouwer is concerned the ordering does not do justice to the "fullness" of salvation.[7]

However, those wishing to sustain an idea of sequential order in salvation appeal to Romans 8:29-30 (KJV);

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

As Hendrikus Berkhof observes, Christians cannot avoid thinking "coherently" about the particular elements of salvation.[8]


  1. ^ 'Ordo Salutis' Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc08/htm/ii.vii.htm#ii.vii Retrieved 24 May 2009.
  2. ^ Hendrikus Berkhof, Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Study of the faith (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979): 478.
  3. ^ a b c d e Demarest, Bruce (2006). "The 'Order of Salvation'". In Feinberg, John S.. The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation. Wheaton: Good News Publishers. pp. 36–44. ISBN 978-1-58134-812-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=X2QMUVTOE0IC&pg=PA36. 
  4. ^ S.B.Ferguson 'Ordo Salutis,' New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1988): 480.
  5. ^ Ferguson 'Ordo Salutis,' 480.
  6. ^ Sam Storms, 'The Order of Salvation: Part One', Enjoying God Ministries http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/the-order-of-salvation-part-i/ Retrieved 24 May 2009.
  7. ^ Ferguson, 'Ordo Salutis,' 480.
  8. ^ Ferguson, 'Ordo Salutis,' 481.

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