Continuing with the 11th chapter Boettner now considers the topic of “Reprobation.” In this section Boettner is alleged to be “defending” this doctrine. This calls to my mind the “defense” of John Bunyan in his ironically titled book “Reprobation Asserted” that should have been named “Reprobation Denied” (cf. http://www.outsidethecamp.org/efl94.htm).
“Those who hold the doctrine of Election but deny that of Reprobation can lay but little claim to consistency. To affirm the former while denying the latter makes the decree of predestination an illogical and lop-sided decree. The creed which states the former but denies the latter will resemble a wounded eagle attempting to fly with but one wing. In the interests of a ‘mild Calvinism’ some have been inclined to give up the doctrine of Reprobation, and this term (in itself a very innocent term) has been the entering wedge for harmful attacks upon Calvinism pure and simple. ‘Mild Calvinism’ is synonymous with sickly Calvinism, and sickness, if not cured, is the beginning of the end” (p. 105).
What does “the beginning of the end” mean to Boettner? If this is the “beginning of the end” for “sickly Calvinism,” then what, pray tell, is the end result for “sickly Arminianism”? If a particular sickness goes uncured what is the end result? Is it necessarily death? Obviously not since it’s evident that Boettner believes the “sickness” of damnable heresy is the theological equivalent of the common cold (or something). It’s merely the “beginning of the end” of their (so-called) “Christian” health and vigor.
“In all the reprobate there is a blindness and an obstinate hardness of heart; and when any, like Pharaoh, are said to have been hardened of God we may be sure that they were already in themselves worthy of being delivered over to Satan. The hearts of the wicked are, of course, never hardened by the direct influence of God, — He simply permits some men to follow out the evil impulses which are already in their hearts, so that, as a result of their own choices, they become more and more calloused and obstinate” (p. 112)
Let’s say that God DOES harden whom He will harden by direct influence (cf. Romans 9:18) in order to see what kind of response we will elicit from the God-haters. If the term “harden” in Romans 9:18 be accurately understood, it is obvious that it’s NOT synonymous with the term “tempt” in James 1:13. Clearly God does NOT tempt by direct influence (as James teaches), but He DOES unconditionally harden by direct influence (as Paul teaches). And the God-hating objection to this is…? WHY does God find fault with those who are in no way able to resist His will (cf. Romans 9:19)?
“And while it is said, for instance, that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, it is also said that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:15; 8:32; 9:34). One description is given from the divine view-point, the other is given from the human view-point. God is ultimately responsible for the hardening of the heart in that He permits it to occur, and the inspired writer in graphic language simply says that God does it; but never are we to understand that God is the immediate and efficient cause” (p. 112).
So graphic is Paul’s language that while Boettner was propelling his perverse pen, God was “immediately and efficiently propelling” Boettner by His direct hardening and wrathful influence to suppress its clear truth in unrighteousness. God is the immediate and efficient cause of Boettner’s voluntary choice to change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image more conformable to his depraved and corrupt mind (cf. Romans 1:18-23).
“Strange to say, many of those who insist that when people come to study the doctrine of the Trinity they should put aside all preconceived notions and should not rely simply upon the unaided human reason to decide what can or cannot be true of God, and who insist that the Scriptures should be accepted here as the unquestioned and authoritative guide, are not willing to follow those rules in the study of the doctrine of Predestination” (p. 113).
To those who’ve been paying attention to this series of posts, Boettner’s perniciously hypocritical prattling has not just become palpable for the first time.
“Many people talk as if salvation were a matter of human birthright. And, forgetful of the fact that man had and lost his supremely favorable chance in Adam, they inform us that God would be unjust if He did not give all guilty creatures an opportunity to be saved” (p. 116).
As a dog returns to his own vomit, so Boettner returns to his own vomit that he expelled back on page 12 (“Adam Is God”) of this review. It was there that he brought up from his virulent gut the “supremely favorable chance in Adam” that his posterity had to nullify the cross of its glory and to worship and serve the creature in perpetual bliss. Next Page (17)