Permissio Efficax

Boettner begins chapter IV (The Sovereignty of God) by writing:

“Every thinking person readily sees that some sovereignty rules his life. He was not asked whether or not he would have existence; nor when, where, or what he would be born; whether in the twentieth century or before the flood…By virtue of the fact that God has created every thing which exists, He is the absolute Owner and final Disposer of all that He has made. He exerts not merely a general influence, but actually rules in the world which He has created…Even the sinful actions of men can occur only by His permission. And since he permits not unwillingly but willingly, all that comes to pass — including the actions and ultimate destiny of men — must be, in some sense, in accordance with what He has desired and purposed” (p. 30).

In the darkened idolatrous mind of Loraine Boettner the distinction between a “willing permission” and an “unwilling permission” is an all-important one. For one view presents a “king” who unwillingly permits himself to be ripped off his “sovereign throne” by his “libertarianly free” subjects, while the other view presents a “king” who, for fear of “offering violence” to those with inalienable rights (cf. WCF 3.1), willingly permits himself to be ripped off his “sovereign throne” by his “compatibilistically free” subjects. And since this “king” permits not unwillingly but willingly his subjects to do this, it must be in some sense, in accordance with what he has desired and purposed. Make sense?

“The affairs of the universe, then, are controlled and guided, how? ‘According to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will.’ The present day tendency is to set aside the doctrines of Divine Sovereignty and Predestination in order to make room for the autocracy of the human will. The pride and presumption of man, on the one hand, and his ignorance and depravity on the other, lead him to exclude God and to exalt himself so far as he is able; and both of these tendencies combine to lead the great majority of mankind away from Calvinism” (pp. 32-33).

Boettner refers to Ephesians 1:11 to answer how God controls the affairs of the universe. The Greek word translated “worketh” is “energeō,” which means to be active or efficient; to be mighty in or work effectually in. The context of Ephesians 1:11 clearly includes the sinful acts of men — but most Calvinists deny that God works effectually in the wicked in order to show wrath and to make His power known in them (cf. Romans 9:17, 22). And thus they deny that God truly “worketh ALL THINGS after the counsel of His own will.” The tendency in fashionable Calvinism (that “rich Reformed heritage”) is to set aside the doctrine of God’s absolute Sovereignty by means of a “permissive decree” in order to make room for the autocracy of the human will as it pertains to sinful thoughts and actions. Fashionable Calvinists have a partially sovereign god — and a partially sovereign god is NOT sovereign at all. Either you have an absolutely Sovereign God, or you do not have God. The fashionable Calvinists do not have God, but a vain idol that conforms to their own humanistic sensibilities.

“The Arminian idea which assumes that the serious intentions of God way in some cases at least be defeated, and that man, who is not only a creature but a sinful creature, can exercise veto power over the plans of Almighty God, is in striking contrast with the Biblical idea of His immeasurable exaltation by which He is removed from all the weaknesses of humanity. That the plans of men are not always executed is due to a lack of power, or a lack of wisdom; but since God is unlimited In these and all other resources, no unforeseen emergencies can arise, and to Him the causes for change have no existence. To suppose that His plans fail and that He strives to no effect, is to reduce Him to the level of His creatures” (p. 33).

Since most who call themselves Reformed or Calvinist believe Arminians are their spiritual brethren, they show that they believe in basically the same god (i.e., vain idol) as the Arminians do. Next Page (5) Previous Page (3)