The Norwegian Articles of Agreement, also called the Madison Agreement, having been adopted at Madison, Wis., read as follows: —
“1. The Synod and United Church Committees on Union acknowledge unanimously and without reservation the doctrine of Predestination which is stated in the Eleventh Article of the Formula of Concord (the so-called ‘first form of the doctrine’) and in Pontoppidan’s Explanation (Sandhed til Gudfrygtighed), Question 548 (the so-called ‘second form of the doctrine’).
“2. Whereas the conferring church bodies acknowledge that Art. XI of the Formula of Concord presents the pure and correct doctrine of God’s Word and the Lutheran Church regarding the election of the children of God to salvation, it is deemed unnecessary to church union to construct new and more extensive theses concerning this article of faith.
“3. But since, in regard to the doctrine of Election, it is well known that two forms of the doctrine have been used, both of which have been recognized as correct in the orthodox Lutheran Church, viz, that some, with the Formula of Concord, make the doctrine of Election to comprise the entire salvation of the elect from the calling to the glorification, — cf. [[‘Thorough Explanation,’ Article XI, §§ 10—12 >> BookOfConcord:Formula:SD:11:10-12]], — and teach an election ‘to salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,’ while others, like Pontoppidan, in consonance with John Gerhard, Scriver, and other acknowledged doctrinal fathers, define Election specifically as the decree of final glorification, with the Spirit’s work of faith and perseverance as its necessary postulate, [[@Page:8]]and teach that ‘God has ordained to eternal life all those who from eternity He foresaw would accept the proffered grace, believe in Christ, and remain steadfast in this faith unto the end’; and since neither of those two forms of doctrine, presented in this wise, contradicts any doctrine revealed in the Word of God, but lets the order of salvation, as otherwise presented in God’s Word and the Confession of the Church, remain entirely intact and fully acknowledged, — we find, that this fact ought not to be divisive of church unity, nor ought it disrupt that unity of Spirit in the bond of peace which God wills should obtain between us.
“4. Since, however, during the doctrinal controversy among us, words and expressions have been used — rightly or wrongly attributed to one party or the other — which seemed to the other side a denial of the Confession of the Church, or to lead to such denial, we have agreed to reject all erroneous doctrines which seek to explain away the mystery of Election ([[Formula of Concord, Art. XI, §§ 39—44 >> BookOfConcord:Formula:SD:11:39]]) either in a synergistic manner or in a Calvinizing way; in other words, we reject every doctrine which either, on the one hand, would rob God of His honor as the only Savior, or, on the other, would weaken man’s sense of responsibility in respect of the acceptance or rejection of God’s grace.
“5. On the other hand, we reject:
“a) The doctrine, that God’s mercy and the most holy merits of Christ are not the sole reason for our election, but that there is also in ourselves a reason for such election, for the sake of which God has ordained us to eternal life.
“b) The doctrine, that in election God has been determined by, or has taken into account, or has been actuated by, man’s good conduct, or by anything which man is or may do or omit to do, ‘as of himself or by his own natural powers.’
“c) The doctrine, that the faith in Christ which is indissolubly connected with election is wholly or in part a product of, or dependent upon, man’s own choosing, power, or ability.[[@Page:9]]
“d) Or, that this faith is the result of a power and ability imparted to man by the call of grace, and therefore now dwelling in, and belonging to, the unregenerate man, to decide himself for grace.
“6. On the other hand, we reject:
“a) The doctrine, that in election God acts arbitrarily and without motive, and picks out and counts a certain arbitrary number of indiscriminate individuals, and ordains these to conversion and salvation, while passing by all the others.
“b) The doctrine, that there are two different kinds of will regarding salvation in God, one revealed in the Scriptures in the general order of salvation, and another, differing from this, and unknown to us, which relates only to the elect, and imparts a deeper love, a mpre effective call from God, and a larger measure of grace than are brought to him who remains in unbelief and condemnation.
“c) The doctrine, that when the resistance which God in conversion removes from those whom He saves is not taken away in others, who finally are lost, this different result finds its cause in God and in a differing will of salvation in His act of election.
“d) The doctrine, that a believer can and ought to have an absolute assurance of his election and salvation, instead of an assurance of faith, built upon the promise of God, and joined with fear and trembling by the possibility of falling from grace, which, however, by the mercy of God he believes will not become a reality in his case.
“e) In a summary, all views and doctrines regarding Election which directly or indirectly come into conflict with the order of salvation, and do not give to all a full and, therefore, equally great opportunity of salvation, or which in any manner would invalidate that word of God which declares that ‘God will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth’—in which gracious and merciful will of God all election to eternal life has its origin. [[@Page:10]]
“On the basis of the above Agreement the Committees on Union memorialize their respective church-bodies to adopt the following
“Whereas, our Confessions determine that ‘to the true unity of the Church it is sufficient that there be agreement in the doctrine of the Gospel and in the administration of the Sacrament’; and
“Whereas, our former committees, by the grace of God, have attained unity in the doctrines concerning the Calling, Conversion, and in general, the Order of Salvation, and we all confess as our sincere faith that we are saved by grace alone, without any cooperation on our part; and
“Whereas, the negotiations of our new committees have led to a satisfactory agreement concerning the doctrine of Election, and to an unreserved and unanimous acknowledgment of the doctrine of Election which is presented in the Formula of Concord, ‘Thorough Explanation,’ Art. XI, and in Pontoppidan’s Sandhed til Gudfrygtighed, Question 548, — now, therefore,
“Be it resolved, That we declare hereby that the essential unity concerning these doctrines which now is attained is sufficient to church union.
“May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, grant us the grace of His Holy Spirit, that we all may be one in Him and ever remain steadfast in such Christian and God-pleasing union! Amen.”
The position of the Norwegian Synod’s committee was stated as follows at the various district conventions of 1912 which ratified the committee’s report:
Question 1: “Is there anything in paragraph one (§ 1) which is essentially different from paragraph three (§ 3) of the ‘Agreement’?” — Answer: “No.”
Question 2: “If we accept paragraph one (§ 1), do we thereby accept the so-called second form of the doctrine?” — Answer: “In the first paragraph no form is accepted, but [[@Page:11]]the doctrine contained in two forms. The Norwegian Synod’s committee accepts without reservation the first form of the doctrine as that of Scripture and the Confession, but can nevertheless recognize as brethren those who hold the second form as seen in the light of the subsequent paragraphs of the ‘Agreement.’ ”