Clear Scripture Enshrouded By Insolent Fog

Chapter IX of Boettner’s The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination has the title: A Warning Against Undue Speculation. Up to this point Boettner has done his best to cover the clarity and perspicuity of the Scriptural teaching of predestination with insolent fog. One cannot but infer that Boettner chose to dip the quill of his pen into the seditious inkwell when writing that title.

“Just at this point we shall give a few words of warning against undue speculation and curiosity in dealing with this lofty doctrine of Predestination. Perhaps we can do no better than to quote the words of Calvin himself which are found in the first section of his treatment of this subject:

‘The discussion of Predestination — a subject of itself rather intricate — is made very perplexed, and therefore dangerous, by human curiosity, which no barriers can restrain from wandering into forbidden labyrinths, and from soaring beyond its sphere, as if determined to leave none of the Divine secrets unscrutinized or unexplored . . . First, then, let them remember that when they inquire into Predestination, they penetrate into the inmost recesses of divine wisdom, where the careless and confident intruder will obtain no satisfaction to his curiosity . . . For we know that when we have exceeded the limits of the word, we shall get into a devious and irksome course, in which errors, slips, and falls will be inevitable. Let us then, in the first place bear in mind, that to desire any more knowledge of Predestination than that which is unfolded in the Word of God, indicates as great folly as to wish to walk through impassible roads, or to see in the dark. Nor let us be ashamed to be ignorant of some things relative to a subject in which there is a kind of learned ignorance’1″ (p. 54).

1 Institutes, Ch. XXI, sect. I, II.

The subject of predestination is, of itself, a rather simple and elementary subject. But it’s made very perplexed and incoherent by men like Boettner who reek of false humility and piety in their “learned ignorance” of what God has clearly revealed in His Word concerning the origin of evil, unconditional and active reprobation, etc.

“We are not under obligation to ‘explain’ these truths; we are only under obligation to state what God has revealed in His word, and to vindicate these statements as far as possible from misconception and objections” (p. 54).

The fashionable Calvinists say they are not under obligation to explain to us how their “god” can be IN CONTROL without ACTUALLY CONTROLLING. They are not under obligation to explain how their “god” can lift up and swing the axe, without actually lifting up the axe and swinging it. How convenient.

“In the nature of the case all that we can know concerning such profound truths is what the Spirit has seen fit to reveal concerning them, being confident that whatever God has revealed is undoubtedly true and is to be believed although we may not be able to sound its depths with the line of our reason” (p. 54).

Such “profound truths” are clear to those without a jaundiced eye toward the absolute sovereignty of God in doing what He will with His own creatures. Boettner speaks of sounding the depths — but the only sound I’ve been hearing the last several chapters is that of persistent vociferous winds blowing across mutinous seas (cf. Romans 9:11-24).

“In our ignorance of His inter-related purposes, we are not fitted to be His counselors. ‘Thy judgments are a great deep,’ said the psalmist. As well might man attempt to swim the ocean as to fathom the judgments of God. Man knows far too little to justify him in attempting to explain the mysteries of God’s rule” (pp. 54-55).

Yet in spite of this supposed admission of ignorance, Boettner (in his own blinded estimate) IS fitted to be God’s counselor in judging God by his own autonomous standard that says it’s unrighteous and unjust for God to endure the reprobate with longsuffering for the express purpose of showing His efficacious power and wrath in them by unconditionally hardening them for destruction, IN ORDER THAT HE MAKE KNOWN THE RICHES OF HIS GLORY ON THE VESSELS OF MERCY.

“The importance of the subject discussed should lead us to proceed only with profoundest reverence and caution. While it is true that mysteries are to be handled with care, and while unwarranted and presumptuous speculations concerning divine things are to be avoided, yet if we would declare the Gospel in its purity and fullness we must be careful not to withhold from believers what is declared in the Scriptures concerning Predestination. That some of these truths will be perverted and abused by the ungodly is to be expected. No matter how plainly it is taught in Scripture, the unenlightened mind considers it as absurd, for instance, that one God should exist in three persons, or that God should foreknow the entire course of world events, as that His plan should include the destiny of every person. And while we can know only as much about Predestination as God has seen fit to reveal, it is important that we shall know that much; otherwise it would not have been revealed. Where Scripture leads we may safely follow” (p. 55).

And no matter how plainly God’s absolute sovereignty is taught in Scripture, unregenerate, unenlightened, and unstable men such as Boettner (and other fashionable Calvinists) will continue to show themselves to be Isaiah’s vaunting axe and Paul’s God-hating critic (cf. Isaiah 10:15; Romans 9:19). Next Page (10)

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