Chapter VII of Boettner’s book is called Outline of Systems. In his view there are really only three systems which claim to set forth a way of salvation through Christ (p. 47). He then proceeds to name and briefly explain (1) Universalism (2) Arminianism, and (3) Calvinism. Regarding Arminianism he writes that it:
” … holds that Christ died equally and indiscriminately for every individual of mankind, for those who perish no less than for those who are saved: that election is not an eternal and unconditional act of God; that saving grace is offered to every man, which grace he may receive or reject just as he pleases; that man may successfully resist the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit if he chooses to do so; that saving grace is not necessarily permanent, but that those who are loved of God, ransomed by Christ, and born again of the Holy Spirit, may (let God wish and strive ever so much to the contrary) throw away all and perish eternally.
Arminianism in its radical and more fully developed forms is essentially a recrudescence of Pelagianism, a type of self-salvation” (p. 47).
And yet those who do believe in a type of self-salvation are regarded by Boettner and most Calvinists as their spiritual brethren.
“History shows plainly that the tendency of Arminianism is to compromise and to drift gradually from an evangelical basis” (p. 48).
This implies that Arminianism of itself is not damnable heresy (cf. http://www.outsidethecamp.org/heresyarmin.htm), but only something that merely has the “tendency…to drift gradually from an evangelical basis.”
“The third system setting forth a way of salvation through Christ is Calvinism…Calvinism holds that the fall left man totally unable to do anything meriting salvation, that he is wholly dependent on divine grace for the inception and development of spiritual life” (pp. 48-49).
This supposed Calvinistic “grace” irresistibly enables the elect sinner to meet alleged “non-meritorious conditions” for his salvation, contrary to what God said through the apostle Paul in Romans 4:4 and Romans 11:6. It is vain for the Calvinist to say that because a man is freely and “graciously enabled” to work, the reward is therefore according to grace, rather than according to debt. Clearly when grace is said to enable one to meet conditions for salvation, grace is no more grace (cf. Romans 11:6).
“The chief fault of Arminianism is its insufficient recognition of the part that God takes in redemption. It loves to admire the dignity and strength of man; Calvinism loses itself in adoration of the grace and omnipotence of God. Calvinism casts man first into the depths of humiliation and despair in order to lift him on the wings of grace to supernatural strength. The one flatters natural pride; the other is a gospel for penitent sinners. As that which exalts man in his own sight and tickles his fancies is more welcome to the natural heart than that which abases him, Arminianism is likely to prove itself more popular. Yet Calvinism is nearer to the facts, however harsh and forbidding those facts may seem.
‘It is not always the most agreeable medicine which is the most healing. The experience of the apostle John is one of frequent occurrence, that the little book which is sweet as honey in the mouth is bitter in the belly. Christ crucified was a stumbling-block to one class of people and foolishness to another, and yet He was, and is, the power of God and the wisdom of God unto salvation to all who believe’1″ (p. 49).
1 Mcfetridge, Calvinism in History, p. 136.
Calvinism loses itself in adoration of its own net and drag (cf. Habakkuk 1:11, 15-16). This adoration is owing to its ignorance of the sole ground of acceptance before God, and thus it seeks to establish its own righteousness by adding it to Christ’s.
True faith believes that salvation is conditioned SOLELY on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:4). Calvinism’s adding of conditions to salvation is a DENIAL that Christ is the end of law for righteousness.
Boettner’s citation of Mcfetridge is interesting. Does Boettner mean to imply that specific flesh-and-blood Arminians stumble at the stone of stumbling and count the cross of Christ as foolishness? Or rather, does Boettner just mean to imply that a null (or phantom) class called “ArminianISM” stumbles at the stone of stumbling and counts the cross of Christ as foolishness?
“Men constantly deceive themselves by postulating their own peculiar feelings and opinions as moral axioms. To some it is self-evidently true that a holy God cannot permit sin; hence they infer that there is no God” (p. 49).
To most Calvinists it is “self-evidently true” that a holy God cannot actively cause sin. Hence they infer that there is no God such as this. They are among the various and sundry fools who say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
“To others it is self-evident that a merciful God cannot permit a portion of His rational creatures to be forever the victims of sin and misery, and consequently they deny the doctrine of eternal punishment” (p. 49).
One such God-hater who denied the doctrine of eternal punishment was John Stott. Stott held to the doctrine of annihilationism which nullifies the propitiatory cross-work of Jesus Christ. I would be shocked if *even one* Calvinist dared to judge this Christ-dishonoring blasphemer unregenerate based on his annihilationism since it’s quite the fashionable thing for tolerant Calvinists to spit on God’s redemptive glory just so long as man is “saved.” In other words, for the tolerant Calvinists the “salvation” of man trumps the redemptive glory of God seen in the face of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6). Next Page (8)