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An Epistemological Corrective to Doctrines of Assurance

Jonathan C. Rutledge

Abstract

Many Christian traditions affirm a doctrine of assurance. According to this doctrine, those who are saved have assurance of their own salvation; that is, the doctrine of assurance tells us that the elect can know their status as elect. In this paper, I explore two developments of the doctrine of assurance by theologians (i.e. John Calvin & Kenneth Keathley) and argue that they fail to accommodate the fallibilistic nature of human knowing. I then develop a fallibilistic doctrine of assurance, which makes such assurance available to most Christians, and respond to an objection from the camp of pragmatic encroachment.

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