Saturday, July 25, 2009

Boettner on Preaching the Gospel in light of Election

"The decree of election is a secret decree. And since no revelation has been given to the preacher as to which ones among his hearers are elect and which are non elect, it is not possible for him to present the Gospel to the elect only. It is his duty to look with hope on all those to whom he is preaching, and to pray for them that they may each be among the elect. In order to offer the message to the elect, he must offer it to all; and the Scripture command is plain to the effect that it should be offered to all."

- Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination


Rick Calohan said...

From the 1599 Geneva Bible

Matthew 28: 18 And Jesus came, and spake unto them, saying, bAll
power is given unto me, in heaven, and in earth. 19 c,1Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
them 2in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the holy Ghost,
20 Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, dI am with you 1alway,until the end of the world, Amen.

28:19 1 The sum of the Apostleship is, the publishing of the doctrine
received of Christ throughout all the world, and the ministering of
the Sacraments: the efficacy of which things hangeth not of the ministers, but of the Lord.
2 Calling upon the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost.
28:20 1 Forever: and this place is meant of the manner of the presence
of his spirit, by means whereof he maketh us partakers both of himself and of all his benefits, but is absent from us in body.

Colossians 1: 28 Whom we preach, admonishing every man,and teaching every man in 2all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 Whereunto I also labor and strive, according to his working which worketh in me mightily.

1:28 1 He protesteth that he doth faithfully execute his Apostleship
in every place, bringing men unto Christ only, through the Lord’s
plentiful blessings of his labors.
2 Perfect and sound wisdom, which is perfect in itself, and shall in
the end make them perfect that follow it.

"What predestination means, in its most elementary form, is that our final destination, heaven or hell, is decided by God not only before we get there, but before we are even born. It teaches that our ultimate destiny is in the hands of God. Another way of saying it is this: From all eternity, before we ever live, God decided to save some members of the human race and to let the rest of the human race parish. God made a choice—he chose some individuals to be saved unto everlasting blessedness in heaven and others he chose to pass over, to allow them to follow the consequences of their sins into eternal torment in hell."
R.C. Sproul – Chosen by God p. 22

Zach said...

Most of the quotes you present are inspirational and insightful, but I fail to see the point of this one. Is it addressing a real world problem, wherein Reformed preachers have been prone to judge the salvation of their parishioners and exclude those considered non-elect from their prayers and preaching?

Then again, this is Loraine Boettner (of Roman Catholicism infamy), so I guess we should be thankful that the quote is merely pointless -- and not malicious or mendacious.

Reepicheep said...

The vast majority of my readership is Reformed. Boettner is addressing a problem that sometimes occurs within the Reformed tradition-you well know that. It's not a pointless statement at all.

Your disdain for his polemic against Roman Catholism should not color your appreciation for his needed admonition.

Zach said...

Yes, I was being snarky on the Roman Catholicism bit, but I honestly am missing the point of his admonition. It seems akin to warning Reformed pastors not to deny baptism to children they suspect are not among the elect.

So, really, my confusion is a reflection on my wholly positive experience with Reformed pastors (yourself included), none of whom betray any inclination to "know the mind of God" in such eternal matters.

Frontier Forest said...

I never heard of this man but it was very plain and straight forward explanation. Especially for those who aren’t familiar with this most crucial Reformed doctrine. I used to view Calvinism as a “Why bother? He knows so why should I go?” But as you explained to me that first day we met for lunch, “Woody, that’s Hyper-Calvinism” thinking and a doctrine of defeatism, not certainly not scriptural based.”

Roger Mann said...

Zach wrote:

Is it addressing a real world problem, wherein Reformed preachers have been prone to judge the salvation of their parishioners and exclude those considered non-elect from their prayers and preaching?

While Boettner’s observation is certainly valid, I would have to agree with Zach that it’s not truly addressing a “real world” problem. While it’s often asserted that a “hyper-Calvinist” only believes in preaching the gospel to the elect (or to “sensible” sinners who evidence regeneration by their despair and sorrow over sin), such a person is rare indeed (I’ve yet to come across one). Even the “Gospel Standard Articles of Faith” (of the so-called Baptist hyper-Calvinists) doesn’t deny that the gospel is to be preached “to all the world”:

XXIX While we believe that the gospel is to be preached in or proclaimed to all the world, as in Mark 16:15, we deny offers of grace; that is to say, that the gospel is to be offered indiscriminately to all. (2 Cor. 4:3-4.) See Articles XXIV., XXVI.

My understanding of their position is that “offers of grace” refers to God’s intention in the preaching of the gospel, not to a limit on whom preachers should proclaim the gospel to. In other words, while the gospel is rightly to be proclaimed to all men throughout the world, they deny that by this God intends to save or to be gracious to the reprobate. If that is what they mean, then I see nothing wrong with it; and it’s certainly not “hyper" Calvinism. One would be hard-pressed to show that Calvin believed that God intends to save the reprobate through the preaching of the gospel.

Frontier Forest said...

Great Thoughts Rog! Thanks for clearing the fog for me.