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Theological Book Reviews – The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
Reviewed by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon
The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
by Loraine Boettner
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company
Philipsburg, NJ: 1932, reprinted.
440 Pages, Paperback
This is my wife’s favorite book on Calvinism. She fell in love with it as a result of it being her first exposure on the subject. It is no doubt one of the best introductions to the doctrine in print. It is regarded as an authoritative work on the subject and is highly esteemed as a hallmark presentation of the doctrines of grace held in the acrostic T.U.L.I.P.; (which stands for Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.)
There are not enough good things to say about this book. It is long (a whopping 440 pages) but it is worth every sentence and every chapter. The price of the book alone is worth his concluding chapter on the effects of Calvinism through history. He proves how every major revival which has taken place and has been recorded for us was Calvinistic in nature. Is it interesting to note that no revival has ever spurred up within the ranks of Catholicism? Or Buddhism? Etc.
His writing style is not hard to understand, and he documents his study thoroughly as needed. Any reader will be able to glean gems from this book, whether this be a first read or a reread – which should be done at least a couple of times to receive the full implications of his writing. His chapters are divided into sections. The first section covers some basic concepts of God, foreknowledge, etc. Section 2 covers the 5 points respectively. Section 3 covers objections commonly urged against the Reformed doctrine of predestination. Section 4 covers some miscellaneous ideas concerning assurance and election. Section 5 covers the practical application of the doctrine, and section 6 is that wonderful chapter about Calvinism in history. I heartily recommend it as a great introduction to the doctrines of grace.
“The purpose of this book is not to set forth a new system of theological thought, but to give a restatement to that great system which is known as the Reformed Faith or Calvinism, and to show that this is beyond all doubt the teaching of the Bible and of reason.”
“Foreknowledge must not be confused with foreordination. Foreknowledge presupposes foreordination, but It 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.”
“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 maybe sure that they were already in themselves worthy of being delivered over to Satan.”
“We should remember that the Gospel is not good advice, but good news. It does not tell us what we are to do to earn salvation, but proclaims to us what Christ has done to save us.”
“If it were consistent with God’s infinite goodness and justice to pass by the whole body of fallen angels and to leave them to suffer the consequences of their sin, then certainly it is consistent with His goodness and justice to pass by some of the fallen race of men and to leave them in their sin.”