PROBATION, FUTURE: An expression carrying the implication that in the future world the
Gospel will be decisively offered to all who did not in this world finally reject Christ, and that those who there accept him will be saved. As here defined, it is to be distinguished (1) from the orthodox doctrine of probation-it extends the offer of salvation into the future life under the conditions above mentioned (see JUDGMENT
); (2) from dogmatic Universalism (q.v.)-it leaves in doubt the ultimate issue of the probation; (3) from a second probation-only a single probation is affirmed; (4) from the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory (q.v.), which is not that of probation at all, but of the cleansing of such as have departed this life in faith; (5) from the assertion that the probation of all men extends into the next world-character may be decisively determined here below. The theory was advocated by I. A. Dormer, System der christlichen Glaubenslehre
(2 vols., Berlin, 1879, 2d. ed., 1886-87; Engl. transl., System of Christian Doctrine
, 4 vols., Edinburgh, 1880-82), and drew much attention to itself in the so-called "Andover Controversy," through its reappearance in Progressive Orthodoxy
(pp. 67-111, Boston, 1885) by professors in Andover Theological Seminary. It was there maintained that the destiny of all men will be irrevocably fixed at the judgment, and that the principle of judgment is, Christ is the Judge. Scripture support for the hypothesis is sought not so much in specific passages (I Pet. iii. 18-20, iv. 5-6
; Matt. xi. 21-22, x. 32
) as in its harmony with the central principle of Christianity there contained, i.e., the absolutely universal destination of the Gospel, which rests upon the universal significance of Christ's person and work, and which guarantees that the final state of all souls shall be decided by their conscious acceptance or rejection of Christ as Savior and Lord. A doctrine as to the condition of many of the dead, having points of agreement with the foregoing presentation, is advocated by Edward White, Life in Christ,
chap. xxii. (London, 1878). See ESCHATOLOGY
, § 5.
G. F. Wright, An Inquiry concerning the Relation of Death to Probation, Boston, 1882;
G. H. Emerson, The Doctrine of Probation Examined, Boston, 1883;
N. Smyth, Dorner on the Future State, New York, 1883;
S. Leathes and others, Future Probation, London, 1886;
S. M. Vernon, Probation and Punishment, New York, 1890;
E. C. Gordon, in Presbyterian Quarterly, xi (1897), 218-230;
G. P. Jackson, Man an Eternal Probationer, Nashville, Tenn., 1902.
Further literature will be found under ESCHATOLOGY; HADES; and INTERMEDIATE STATE.