The doctrine of predestination was most closely associated with
The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Loraine BoettnerBelieve it or not this book was very exciting to read. Yes, it had SOME dull parts in it, but for the most part it was very engaging in discussing this paramount doctrine so oft neglected.
This work was remarkably articulate in answering many objections to the particular point of Calvinism - predestination - with which I so strongly agree (because of its clear and manifold presence in the Scriptures). One of this works great strengths was Boettners precision in defining predestination and contrasting it with misconceived perceptions of the doctrine (such as fatalism) and of the outcomes of thought that spur from belief in the doctrine (such as it discourages all motives to exert effort).
The book, covering actually much more than the reformed doctrine of predestination is laid out in six parts:
Part I - deals with the doctrine of predestination as a matter of fact understood from Scripture and argues that Scripture must indeed be the final authority.
Part II - lays out the five points of Calvinism and discusses how they are intricately woven together so as one cannot reject one point without rejecting the entire system: Furthermore, these are not isolated and independent doctrines but are so inter-related that they form a simple, harmonious, self-consistent system...Prove any one of them true and all the others will follow as logical and necessary parts of the system. Prove any one of them false, and the whole system must be abandoned. - p. 59
Part III - addresses common objections to the doctrine of predestination and is a very valuable contribution to the book as it pertains to this specific doctrine and its Biblical defense.
Part IV - is kind of a continuation of Part III that deals with salvation by grace, assurance of salvation, and predestination in the physical world - which I thought was a particularly interesting topic.
Part V - is dedicated to the practical importance of the doctrine, both in believing it and teaching (and preaching) it.
Part VI - was a wonderful discussion of Calvinism in history. While some of his arguments here were...well, not the best example of argumentation (e.g. ad hominem against Wesley), it really was an enjoyable read to see the Biblical doctrines of Calvinism - particularly the doctrine of predestination - and their affect on people throughout the history of the church.
As for the volume, yes, its lengthy - 431 pp. Yet is was truly a delight to see someone write with such passionate conviction regarding truth and the necessity for standing firm for it. Here are a few quotes to give an example of the character of Loraine Boettner, from which I believe it would do us all well to learn.
The cause of any person believing is the will of God; and the outward sound of the Gospel strikes the ear but in vain until God is pleased to touch the heart within....When the Gospel becomes palatable to the natural man it ceases to be the Gospel that Paul preached. And it is worth remembering here that in nearly every town in which Paul preached his Gospel did cause either a riot or a revival and not infrequently both. - p. 357
The truth or falsity of Scripture doctrines cannot be left to the outcome of a popular vote. - p. 360
To save sinners and convert them to practical godliness is the chief purpose of the Church in this world; and the system which will not measure up to this test must be set aside, no matter how popular it may be in other respects. - p. 424
Speaking of Calvins Institutes he writes, The work is pervaded by an intense earnestness and by fearless and severe argumentation which properly subordinates reason and tradition to the supreme authority of the Scriptures. - p. 405. (Oh how I wish all the body of Christ would subordinate REASON AND TRADITION to the supreme authority of the Scriptures.)
Finally, speaking on the body of Christ and its unity, Boettner makes one of the best ecumenical statements I have ever seen or heard. It is long, but to get the full effect I shall quote the whole of it:
We believe the Calvinistic system to be the only one set forth in the Scriptures and vindicated by reason, and therefore the most stable and influential in the production of righteousness. Yet to all who differ from us we cordially allow the right of private judgment, and sincerely rejoice in the good which they are able to accomplish. We rejoice that other systems of theology approximate ours; yet we cannot consent to impoverish our message by setting forth less than what we find the Scriptures to teach. If a union could be consummated in which Calvinism would be accepted as the system of truth taught in the Bible, we should be delighted to enter into it; but we believe that for us to accept anything short of that would be to surrender vital truth, and that anything vague enough to embrace Calvinism and other systems of doctrine would not be worth propagating. - pp. 352-353
I certainly appreciate the absolute, unwavering commitment to truth that Boettner displays in his writing, and I pray our modern churches would follow that example to the full extant of what is taught in Scripture.
Considered a layman in the church (p. 9), Loraine Boettner has by Gods grace produced an invaluable work for those seeking to understand a great and magnificent doctrine taught in Scripture and how it relates to the rest of Scripture, to competing thoughts, and to practical living. It would be irresponsible for me not to recommend it to others with a five-star rating.
When reading this, do as he teaches - subordinate reason and tradition to the Scriptures - and you will come out excited and refreshed about the awe and majesty of the great and glorious sovereignty of our Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ!
Everyone Believes this Doctrine: Chosen By God with R.C. Sproul
Predestination , in Christianity , the doctrine that God has eternally chosen those whom he intends to save. In modern usage, predestination is distinct from both determinism and fatalism and is subject to the free decision of the human moral will, but the doctrine also teaches that salvation is entirely due to the eternal decree of God. In its fundamentals, the problem of predestination is as universal as religion itself, but the emphasis of the New Testament on the divine plan of salvation has made the issue especially prominent in Christian theology. Predestination has been especially associated with John Calvin and the Reformed tradition. Christian doctrines of predestination may be considered explanations of the words of the Apostle Paul ,.
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Was he locked in a trance, eyes rolled back, imagining a somber God lurking in the mists of eternity, arbitrarily picking and choosing who would be saved and who would be damned? As a pastor, Calvin noticed that people responded differently to the preaching of the gospel. What Calvin saw troubled him. Why did some men fervently embrace Christ, while others firmly rejected him? He searched the Scriptures and there he found the doctrine of predestination. Calvin was not the first to treat the doctrine of predestination, but it is the name of John Calvin with which this doctrine has become inseparably linked.
Although its reception has been varied, the doctrine of predestination--and particularly double predestination--has nevertheless had a significant impact throughout church history. Augustine, Fulgentius of Ruspe, Isodore of Seville, Gottschalk of Orbais, Thomas Aquinas, the sixteenth-century Reformers, and, more recently, Karl Barth all devoted careful attention to this question, even if the church did not always appreciate their efforts. But of all the religious movements in history, few have been more closely associated with the doctrine than the early Reformed theologians. At this point a caveat ought to be issued against overgeneralizations. Not all of the major Protestant Reformers agreed with Calvin's doctrine of double predestination. Some Protestants both Lutheran and Reformed , such as Bullinger, Bibliander and later Melanchthon, found double predestination objectionable. Although the vast majority of Roman Catholic theologians strongly refuted a rigorous doctrine of double predestination, nevertheless a few early sixteenth-century Roman Catholics, such as Konrad Treger, considered it a legitimate part of their Augustinian heritage.