Assurance (theology)

Assurance (theology)

Assurance is a Protestant Christian doctrine which states that the inner witness of the Holy Spirit allows the justified disciple to know that they are saved. Based on the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, "assurance" was historically a very important doctrine in Methodism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism, and remains so among some members of these groups today.

St. Augustine

"Since then by lying eternal life is lost, never for any man's temporal life must a lie be told." [ [ St Augustine On Lying Chapter 9] ]

"See Augustine of Hippo"


"See Lutheranism"


Calvinism teaches that believers may have assurance of their salvation especially through the work of the Holy Spirit and also by looking at the character of their lives. If they believe God's promises and seek to live in accord with God's commands, then their good deeds done in response with a cheerful heart provide proof that can strengthen their assurance of salvation against doubts. This assurance is not, however, a necessary consequence of salvation, and such assurance may be shaken as well as strengthened. [Compare the Westminster Confession of Faith, [ Chapter XVIII] .]

Additionally, the Augustinian doctrines of grace regarding predestination are taught in the Reformed churches primarily to assure believers of their salvation since the Calvinist doctrines emphasize that salvation is entirely a sovereign gift of God apart from the recipient's deeds or feelings (compare perseverance of the saints).

John Wesley and Methodism

John Wesley believed that all Christians have a faith which implies an "assurance" of God's forgiving love, and that one would feel that "assurance", or the "witness of the Spirit". This understanding is grounded in Paul's affirmation, " have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father. The same Spirit beareth witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God..." (Romans 8:15-16, "Wesley's translation"). This experience was mirrored for Wesley in his Aldersgate experience wherein he "knew" he was loved by God and that his sins were forgiven.

:"I felt my heart "strangely warmed". I felt I "did" trust in Christ, Christ "alone" for salvation, and an "assurance" was given me that He had taken my sin, "even mine"." - "from Wesley's Journal"

Early in his ministry Wesley had to defend his understanding of "assurance". In 1738 Rev. Arthur Bedford had published a sermon in which he misquoted Wesley's teachings. Bedford had understood Wesley as saying that a Christian could be assured of persevering in a state of salvation, the Calvinist view.

In a letter dated September 28, 1738 Wesley wrote, "The "assurance" of which I alone speak I should not choose to call an "assurance" of salvation, but rather (with the Scriptures), the "assurance" of faith. . . . [This] is not the essence of faith, but a distinct gift of the Holy Ghost, whereby God shines upon his own work, and shows us that we are justified through faith in Christ...The 'full assurance of faith' (Hebrews 10.22) is 'neither more nor less than hope; or a conviction, wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, that we have a measure of the true faith in Christ..'" [The discussion of Wesley's understanding of "assurance" is a revision of information presented on the website "Days of Wesley", copyright 2004, Days of Wesley, Conrad Archer, [ Entry on Assurance] .]


* [ Questions of Clarification for Wesley's Doctrine of Assurance] by Michael E. Lodahl
* [ The Relationship of Assurance to Justification and Regeneration in the Thought of John Wesley] by Scott Kisker
* [ Sermon #10: "The Witness of the Spirit, Part 1"] by John Wesley
* [ Sermon #11: "The Witness of the Spirit, Part 2"] by John Wesley
* [ Sermon #12: "The Witness of Our Own Spirit"] by John Wesley
* Brooks, Thomas. Heaven on Earth: a Treatise on Christian Assurance. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1961. First published 1654 ISBN 0851513565


External links

* [ Assemblies of God position on Assurance of Salvation]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Assurance — * Assurance (accounting)* Assurance (quality), Quality Assurance* Assurance (theology)* HMS Assurance, admiralty ship sunk off the needles in 1753 …   Wikipedia

  • Free Grace theology — refers to a distinct view of Christian topics, such as faith, repentance, assurance of salvation, and perseverance, that is tied to dispensationalism. Two organizations that promote it are the Grace Evangelical Society (GES), and the Free Grace… …   Wikipedia

  • Christian theology — The Prophetess Anna, Rembrandt, 1631 See also: History of Christian theology and Outline of Christian theology Christian doctrine redirects here. For the United States Court case known by that name, see G.L. Christian and associates v. US.… …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of Christian theology — Part of a series on Christianity   …   Wikipedia

  • Eastern Orthodox Christian theology — is the theology particular to the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is characterized by monotheistic Trinitarianism, belief in the Incarnation of the Logos (Son of God), a balancing of cataphatic theology with apophatic theology, a hermeneutic defined… …   Wikipedia

  • Justification (theology) — The Harrowing of Hell as depicted by Fra Angelico Rising out of the Protestant Reformation, Justification is the chief article of faith describing God s act of declaring or making a sinner righteous through Christ s atoning sacrifice. The extent …   Wikipedia

  • Dispensationalist theology — For other uses, see Dispensation (disambiguation). Dispensational theology refers to the unified teachings of Dispensationalism that address what other views teach as divergent theologies in the Old Testament and New Testament. Its name reflects… …   Wikipedia

  • Diversity in early Christian theology — Constantine burning Arian books, illustration from a compendium of canon law, ca. 825 Main article: Christian heresy See also: Early Christianity and Christian theology Traditionally, orthodoxy and heresy have be …   Wikipedia

  • Mortification (theology) — Wood carving of St George and the Dragon. Mortification refers in Christian theology to the subjective experience of Sanctification, the objective work of God between justification and glorification. Literally it means the putting to death of sin …   Wikipedia

  • Perseverance — may refer to: Perseverance (solitaire), a card game Perseverance (born 1977), American fighter Brock Lesnar Perseverance (steam locomotive) Perseverance was the name of the steam boat built by John Fitch and successfully demonstrated in 1787 on… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.