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PredestinationThe American Career of a Contentious Doctrine$
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Peter J. Thuesen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195174274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195174274.001.0001

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Epilogue: The Purpose‐Driven Life?

Epilogue: The Purpose‐Driven Life?

Predestination and the Decline of Mystery

(p.209) Epilogue: The Purpose‐Driven Life?

Peter J. Thuesen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Epilogue explores the new frontier of American religion: the Protestant megachurch, pioneered by figures like California pastor Rick Warren. Because megachurches downplay doctrinal distinctions in order to reach the widest audience, they would seem to spell the demise of a dogma as technical as predestination. Yet though precisely delineated doctrines may be treated as outworn artifacts, a vaguer language of foreordination thrives in evangelicalism today. The bible of this perspective is Warren's Purpose‐Driven Life, which dances around predestination without actually using the word and which adopts as its premise that nothing in life (or death) is arbitrary. The Epilogue concludes with reflections on the loss of holy mysteries, whether sacramental or dogmatic, in the cultural progression from the Puritans to Warren. Many post‐denominational evangelicals, buoyed by the presumption that a simple resort to biblical “fact” dispels all ambiguities, purvey pat answers to predestinarian questions that once defined denominations.

Keywords:   megachurch, Warren, foreordination, evangelicalism, Purpose‐Driven Life, mysteries, sacramental, dogmatic, fact, post‐denominational

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