Mr. Loraine Boettner was born March 7th 1901 in Linden, Missouri. One of his most popular books (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination published in 1932) is said by some to have been a significant factor in the popularizing of Calvinism — particularly what has been referred to by some, as “high Calvinism.”
In the Introduction, Boettner writes:
“The purpose of this book is not to set forth a new system of theological thought, but to give a re-statement to that great system which is known as the Reformed Faith or Calvinism, and to show that this is beyond all doubt the teaching of the Bible and of reason.
The doctrine of Predestination receives comparatively little attention in our day and it is very imperfectly understood even by those who are supposed to hold it most loyally” (p. 1).
Allow me to make clear that the Reformed doctrine of predestination is NOT the Biblical doctrine of predestination. As we will see, the Lord willing, the Biblical teaching presents an absolutely sovereign God, while the Reformed Calvinistic teaching presents a partially sovereign god. And quite obviously, a “partially sovereign god” is no god at all, but only an idol forged in the fire of men’s vain imaginations.
“The great majority of the creeds of historic Christendom have set forth the doctrines of Election, Predestination, and final Perseverance, as will readily be seen by any one who will make even a cursory study of the subject. On the other hand Arminianism existed for centuries only as a heresy on the outskirts of true religion, and in fact it was not championed by an organized Christian church until the year 1784, at which time it was incorporated into the system of doctrine of the Methodist Church in England” (p. 2).
Boettner says that Arminianism was considered to be “a heresy.” But is it a “damnable heresy”? Marc Carpenter writes:
Is Arminianism a damnable heresy? Most people who say they believe the doctrines of grace would agree that Arminianism is a theological error. But as soon as one throws in the word “heresy,” the number of people who would go that far drops off quite a bit. When one goes so far as to say that Arminianism is a damnable heresy (thus saying that all who believe in Arminianism are unregenerate), then the number of people who agree is narrowed to a very few. In fact, the “tolerant sovereign-gracers” would call such a person an unloving, divisive schismatic who is arguing over minute and complex theological issues. Believing the doctrines of grace is just part of their “tradition” or “heritage.” Oh, the doctrines of grace are “precious truths,” but they are not essential to Christianity; they are merely a “more Biblical perspective.” Arminians are seen to be just “happily inconsistent” Christians who “just need a little different emphasis in their theology.” Calling Arminians unregenerate is almost unheard of.
But we who believe the true gospel know that this issue lies at the heart of Christianity. The doctrines of grace are the basics of the Christian faith, not some higher theology that only seminarians are able to understand. It is a life and death issue; for if one is an Arminian, he is dead in his sins. It is an issue of truth versus lies; an issue of the true gospel versus another gospel; an issue of the true God versus a false god. In fact, the doctrines of grace are what differentiate Christianity from every other false religion.
In the present day, “Arminianism” and “Arminians” are usually used as broad terms to (at the very least) describe persons who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception — not only do true Christians use these broad terms, but so do many God-hating tolerant Calvinists who count “Arminians” as their spiritual brethren. Boettner continues:
“The great theologians of history, Augustine, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Zanchius, Owen, Whitefield, Toplady, and in more recent times Hodge, Dabney, Cunningham, Smith, Shedd, Warfield, and Kuyper, held this doctrine and taught it with force. That they have been the lights and ornaments of the highest type of Christianity will be admitted by practically all Protestants” (p. 2).
It certainly is NOT the “highest type of Christianity.” But as we will see, the Lord willing, it IS probably the highest and most refined type of antichristianity that has defiled the earth with its abominations.
“Prof. F. E. Hamilton says,
‘It seems to be tacitly assumed by a large number of people in the Presbyterian Church today that Calvinism has been outgrown in religious circles. In fact, the average church member, or even minister of the gospel, is inclined to look upon a person who declares that he believes in Predestination, with a glance of amused tolerance. It seems incredible to them that there should exist such an intellectual curiosity as a real Calvinist, in an age of enlightenment like the present. As for seriously examining the arguments for Calvinism, the idea never enters their heads. It is deemed as out of date as the Inquisition, or the idea of a fiat world, and is looked upon as one of the fantastic schemes of thought that men held before the age of modern science.’
Because of this present day attitude toward Calvinism, and because of the general lack of information concerning these doctrines, we regard the subject of this book as one of great importance” (p. 3).
A common attitude among Arminians toward the Biblical doctrine of predestination is NOT usually one of “amused tolerance,” but one of seething, indignant rage. And even those who call themselves Reformed or Calvinist, object and scoff at the Biblical doctrine of predestination. These Calvinists object, in effect, that if God is truly “this sovereign,” then He could not at all find fault with them — for who resists His will?
“This doctrine of Predestination has perhaps raised a greater storm of opposition, and has doubtless been more misrepresented and caricatured, than any other doctrine in the Scriptures.
‘To mention it before some,’
‘is like shaking the proverbial red flag before an enraged bull. It arouses the fiercest passions of their nature, and brings forth a torrent of abuse and calumny. But, because men have fought against it, or because they hate it, or perhaps misunderstand it, is no reasonable or logical cause why we should turn the doctrine adrift, or cast it behind our backs. The real question, the all-important question, is not: How do men receive it? but, Is it true?'” 1 (p. 5)
1 Calvinism, p. 23.
Many Calvinists misrepresent and caricature the Biblical doctrine when they react to it by saying that God does not “force” or “tempt” a man to sin. Of course, since to actively cause a man to sin in order to demonstrate His power and wrath is NOT to tempt, nor is it to force. Also many Calvinists would call these “enraged bulls” (cf. Romans 9:18-20) their “weaker brethren.”
“A careful study of the Bible would convince many people that it is a very different book than they assume it to be” (p. 6).
A careful study of the Bible ought to convince Arminians and Calvinists alike (with their various anti-God versions of “predestination”) that it is a very different book than they assume it to be.
“Furthermore, we do not deny that the Arminians hold many and important truths. But we do hold that a full and complete exposition of the Christian system can be given only on the basis of the truth as set forth in the Calvinistic system” (p. 7).
Boettner WOULD say that since the difference between Arminianism and Calvinism is NOT a difference in kind, but ONLY a difference in degree. Presumably one “important truth” that Boettner would say Arminians hold to is the deity of Christ. But those who actually know what the Bible teaches and know what Arminians teach, know that the Arminians have blasphemously attached the Biblical name of “Jesus” to a vain idol of their imaginations. Next Page (2)