The doctrine of predestination—as controversial as it is—has received comparatively little thoughtful attention, and is rarely understood even in Reformed circles. It is a doctrine, however, contained in the creeds of confessions of most evangelical churches, and Christians would do well to explore it more thoughtfully.
The tendency of our enlightened age is to look upon Calvinism as outdated and obsolete. Because of this contemporary attitude toward Calvinism, and because of the general lack of thoughtful and well-reasoned writing on Reformed doctrines, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination is of great importance. In this volume, Boettner does not aim to set forth a new system of theological thought, but rather gives a re-statement of Reformed theology. He affirms Calvinism as both the teaching of the Bible and as an important part of the church’s 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.” (Pages 22–23)
“The question which faces us then, is, Has God from all eternity foreordained all things which come to pass? If so, what evidence do we have to that effect, and how is the fact consistent with the free agency of rational creatures and with His own perfections?” (Page 9)
“The great majority of the creeds of historic Christendom have set forth the doctrines of Election, Predestination, and final Perseverance, as will readily be seen by any one who will make even a cursory study of the subject. On the other hand Arminianism existed for centuries only as a heresy on the outskirts of true religion, and in fact it was not championed by an organized Christian church until the year 1784, at which time it was incorporated into the system of doctrine of the Methodist Church in England. The great theologians of history, Augustine, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Zanchius, Owen, Whitefield, Toplady, and in more recent times Hodge, Dabney, Cunningham, Smith, Shedd, Warfield, and Kuyper, held this doctrine and taught it with force.” (Page 2)
“Foreknowledge must not be confused with foreordination. Foreknowledge presupposes foreordination, but is not itself foreordination. The actions of free agents do not take place because they are foreseen, but they are foreseen because they are certain to take place.” (Page 46)
Not only a clear and cogent presentation of the Reformed doctrine of predestination but of all the great distinctive doctrines of the Reformed faith. . . . The practical importance of Calvinism is stressed. The chapter on Calvinism in history will prove illuminating to many.
Loraine Boettner (1901–1990) a Reformed Theologian, born on a farm in Linden, Missouri. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree from Tarkio College in 1925, he attended Princeton Theological Seminary where he studied Systematic Theology under Dr. Casper W. Hodge and received his Th.B. (1928) and Th.M. (1929). He taught Bible for eight years in Pikeville College, Kentucky. In 1933 he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Tarkio College, and in 1957 the degree of Doctor of Literature. He was a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.