Terminism

The teaching that there is a specific period of grace within which an individual can be converted. The view arose within the German Pietist Movement as a protest against what was regarded as the ineptitude of “deathbed” conversions. Originating as a response to an awkward pastoral situation, it soon became a point in speculative theology in which it was claimed that there is a time of grace for everyone, determined only by the will of God, beyond which it is unwarrantable to seek conversion. The issue is a good example of the speculative dogmatizing that has arisen out of acute practical problems. The chief controversialists were J.G. Böse (1662-1700), A. Rechenberg (1642-1721), and T. Ittig (1643-1710). It remained a general issue within Lutheran theology until about 1704.