• OVER 5,000 ARTICLES AND QUOTES PUBLISHED!
  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,391,238 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,274 other followers

  • November 2020
    M T W T F S S
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    30  
  • Recommended Reading

OBJECTIONS TO REFORMED THEOLOGY

Loraine Boettner:

Loraine BoettnerIn the light of modern scientific exegesis, it is quite evident that the objections which are raised against the Reformed Theology are emotional or philosophical rather than exegetical.  And had men been content to interpret the language of Scripture according to the acknowledged prin­ciples of interpretation, the faith of Christians might have been far more harmonious.  Our opponents, says Cunning­ham, are able to “argue with some plausibility only when they are dealing with single passages, or particular classes of passages, but keeping out of view, or throwing into the background, the general mass of Scripture evidence bearing upon the whole subject.  When we take a conjunct view of the whole body of Scripture statements, manifestly intended to make known to us the nature, causes, and consequences of Christ’s death, literal and figurative—view them in com­bination with each other—and fairly estimate what they are fitted to teach, there is no good ground for doubt as to the general conclusions which we should feel ourselves con­strained to adopt.” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

GOD’S PROVIDENCE

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner D.D.:

Yet as regards God’s providence we are to understand that He is intimately concerned with every detail in the affairs of men and in the course of nature.  “To suppose that anything is too great to be comprehended in His control,” says Dr. Charles Hodge, “or anything so minute as to escape His notice; or that the infinitude of particulars can distract His attention, is to forget that God is infinite . . . . The sun diffuses its light through all space as easily as upon any point.  God is as much present everywhere, and with everything, as though He were only in one place, and had but one object of attention.”  And again, “He is present in every blade of grass, yet guiding Arcturus in his course, marshalling the stars as a host, calling them by their names; present also in every human soul, giving it understanding, endowing it with gifts, working in it both to will and to do.  The human heart is in His hands; and he turneth it even as the rivers of water are turned.” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL CONTROL

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner:

Throughout the Bible, the laws of nature, the course of history, the varying fortunes of individuals, are ever attrib­uted to God’s providential control.  All things, both in heaven and earth, from the seraphim down to the tiny atom, are ordered by His never-failing providence.  So intimate is His relationship with the whole creation that a careless reader might be led toward pantheistic conclusions.  Yet individual personalities and second causes are fully recog­nized,—not as independent of God, but as having their proper place in His plan.  And alongside of this doctrine of His Immanence, the Scripture writers also present the kindred doctrine of His Transcendence, in which God is distinctly set forth as entirely separate from and above the whole creation. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

GOD’S WORKS OF PROVIDENCE

Loraine Boettner in 1917 at the age of 16:

“God’s works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his crea­tures and all their actions.”  (Shorter Catechism, answer to Question 11.)  The Scriptures very clearly teach that all things outside of God owe not merely their original creation, but their continued existence, with all their properties and powers, to the will of God.  He upholds all things by the word of His power, Heb. 1:3. He is before all things, and in Him all things consist, Col. 1:17.  “Thou art Jehovah, even thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas and all that is in them, and thou preservest them all,” Neh. 9:6.  “In Him we live, and move and have our being,” Acts 17:28.  He is “over all, and through all, and in all,” Eph. 4:6. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

OMNIPOTENT RULER

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner:

Heaven and earth and all that is in them are the instruments through which He [God] works His ends.  Nature, nations, and the fortunes of the individual alike present in all their changes the transcript of His purpose.  The winds are His messengers, the flaming fire His servant: every natural occurrence is His act; prosperity is His gift, and if calamity falls upon man it is the Lord that has done it (Amos 3:5, 6; Lam. 3:33-38; Is. 47:7; Eccl. 7:14; Is. 54:16).  It is He that leads the feet of men, [wherever] they whither or not; He that raises up and casts down; opens and hardens the heart; and creates the very thoughts and intents of the soul.” And shall we not believe that God can convert a sinner when He pleases?  Cannot the Almighty, the omnipotent Ruler of the universe, change the characters of the creatures He has made? (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

GOD ALMIGHTY

Loraine Boettner:

The Christian knows that the day is certainly coming when, willingly or unwillingly, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  In the Scriptures, He is represented to us as God ALMIGHTY, who sits upon the throne of universal dominion.  He knows the end from the beginning and the means to be used in attaining that end.  He is able to do for us exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or even think.  The category of the impossible has no existence for Him “with whom all things are possible,” Matt. 19:26; Mark 10:27.  This, however, does not mean that God has power to do that which is contrary to His nature, or to work contradictions.  It is impossible for God to lie, or to do anything which is morally wrong.  He cannot make two and two equal five, nor can He make a wheel turn around and stand still at the same time.  His omnipotence is as sure a guarantee that the course of the world will conform to His plan as is His holiness a guarantee that all His works will be right. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

THE PLAN OF GOD

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner:

The very essence of consistent theism is that God would have an exact plan for the world, would foreknow the actions of all the creatures He proposed to create, and through His all-inclusive providence would control the whole system.  If He foreordained only certain isolated events, confusion both in the natural world and in human affairs would be introduced into the system and He would need to be constantly developing new plans to accomplish what he desired.  His government of the world then would be a capricious patchwork of new expedients; He would at best govern only in a general way, and would be ignorant of much of the future.  But no one with proper ideas of God believes that He has to change His mind every few days to make room for unexpected happenings, which were not included in His original plan.  If the perfection of the divine plan be denied, no consistent stopping place will be found short of atheism …

History in all its details, even the most minute, is but the unfolding of the eternal purposes of God.  His decrees are not successively formed as the emergency arises, but are all parts of one all-comprehending plan, and we should never think of Him suddenly evolving a plan or doing something which He had not thought of before. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

GOD RULES

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner D.D.:

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.  The nations of the earth, in their insignificance, are as the small dust of the balance when compared with His greatness; and far sooner might the sun be stopped in his course than God be hindered in His work or in His will.  Amid all the apparent defeats and inconsistencies of life God actually moves on in undisturbed majesty. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

GOD HAS A PLAN

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner D.D.:

If God had not foreordained the course of events but waited until some un-determined condition was or was not fulfilled, His decrees could be neither eternal nor immutable.  We know, however, that He is incapable of mistake, and that He cannot be surprised by any unforeseen inconveniences.  His kingdom is in the heavens and He rules over all.  His plan must, therefore, include every event in the entire sweep of history. …

The Pelagian denies that God has a plan; the Arminian says that God has a general but not a specific plan; but the Calvinist says that God has a specific plan which embraces all events in all ages. In recognizing that the eternal God has an eternal plan in which is predetermined every event that comes to pass, the Calvinist simply recognizes that God is God, and frees Him from all human limitations.  The Scriptures represent God as a person, like other persons in that His acts are purposeful, but unlike other persons in that He is all-wise in His planning and all-powerful in His performing.  They see the universe as the product of His creative power, and as the theater in which are displayed His glorious perfections, and which must in all its form and all its history, down to the least detail, correspond with His purpose in making it. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

CHOSEN

predestinationLoraine Boettner:

The Reformed theologians logically and consistently ap­plied to the spheres of creation and providence those great principles, which were later set forth in the Westminster Standards.  They saw the hand of God in every event in all the history of mankind and in all the workings of phys­ical nature, so that the world was the complete realization in time of the eternal ideal.  The world as a whole and in all its parts and movements and changes was brought into a unity by the governing, all-pervading, all-harmonizing activity of the divine will, and its purpose was to manifest the divine glory.  While their conception was that of a divine ordering of the whole course of history to the veriest detail, they were especially concerned with its relation to man’s salvation.  Calvin, the brilliant and systematic the­ologian of the Reformation, put the matter thus: “Predes­tination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind.”

The Foreknowledge of God

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner:

The Arminian objection against foreordination bears with equal force against the foreknowledge of God. What God foreknows must, in the very nature of the case, be as fixed and certain as what is foreordained; and if one is inconsistent with the free agency of man, the other is also. Foreordination renders the events certain, while foreknowledge presupposes that they are certain. Now if future events are foreknown to God, they cannot by any possibility take a turn contrary to His knowledge. If the course of future events is foreknown, history will follow that course as definitely as a locomotive follows the rails from New York to Chicago. The Arminian doctrine, in rejecting foreordination, rejects the theistic basis for foreknowledge.

Common sense tells us that no event can be foreknown unless by some means, either physical or mental, it has been predetermined. Our choice as to what determines the certainty of future events narrows down to two alternatives—the foreordination of the wise and merciful heavenly Father, or the working of blind, physical fate. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

His All-Wise Providence

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner:

Although the price of the sparrow is small and its flight seems giddy and at random, yet it does not fall to the ground, nor slight anywhere without your Father. “His all-wise providence hath before appointed what bough it shall perch upon; what grains it shall pick up; where it shall lodge and where it shall build; on what it shall live and where it shall die.” Every raindrop and every snowflake which falls from the cloud, every insect which moves, every plant which grows, every grain of dust which floats in the air has had certain definite causes and will have certain definite effects. Each is a link in the chain of events and many of the great events of history have turned on these apparently insignificant things. Throughout the whole course of events there is progress toward a predetermined end. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

May God’s Plans be Defeated?

Loraine Boettner in 1917 at the age of 16Loraine Boettner D.D.:

The Arminian idea which assumes that the serious intentions of God may – 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. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

Many Would Rather Exclude God

Loraine Boettner in 1917 at the age of 16Loraine Boettner D.D.:

Although the sovereignty of God is universal and absolute, it is not the sovereignty of blind power. It is coupled with infinite wisdom, holiness and love. And this doctrine, when properly understood, is a most comforting and reassuring one. Who would not prefer to have his affairs in the hands of a God of infinite power, wisdom, holiness and love, rather than to have them left to fate, or chance, or irrevocable natural law, or to shortsighted and perverted self? Those who reject God’s sovereignty should consider what alternatives they have left.

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. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

Is God Just Doing the Best He Can?

The Reformed Doctrine of PredestinationLoraine Boettner D.D.:

[S]hall we not believe that God can convert a sinner when He pleases? Cannot the Almighty, the omnipotent Ruler of the universe, change the characters of the creatures He has made? He changed the water into wine at Cana, and converted Saul on the road to

Damascus. The leper said, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” and at a word his leprosy was cleansed. God is as able to cleanse the soul as the body, and we believe that if He chose to do so He could raise up such a flood of Christian ministers, missionaries, and workers of various kinds that the world would be converted in a very short time. If He actually purposed to save all men, He could send hosts of angels to instruct them and to do supernatural works on the earth. He could Himself work marvelously on the heart of every person so that no one would be lost. Since evil exists only by His permission, He could, if He chose, blot it out of existence. His power in this latter respect was shown, for instance, in the work of the destroying angel who in one night slew all the first-born of the Egyptians (Exodus 12:29), and in another night slew 185,000 of the Assyrian army (2 Kings 19:35). It was shown when the earth opened and swallowed Korah and his rebellious allies (Numbers 16:31-33).

Ananias and Sapphira were smitten (Acts 5:1-11); Herod was smitten and died a horrible death (Acts 12:23). God has lost none of His power, and it is highly dishonoring to Him to suppose that He is struggling along with the human race doing the best He can but unable to accomplish His purposes. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

%d bloggers like this: