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The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XI-Unconditional Election-5-Reprobation

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XI

Unconditional Election


Statement — Comments by Calvin, Luther, and Warfield — Proof from Scripture — Based on the Doctrine of Original Sin — No Injustice is Done to the Non-Elect — State of the Heathens — Purposes of the Decree of Reprobation — Arminians Center Attack on this Doctrine — Under no Obligation to Explain all These Things.

The doctrine of absolute Predestination of course logically holds that some are foreordained to death as truly as others are foreordained to life. The very terms “elect” and “election” imply the terms “non-elect” and “reprobation.” When some are chosen out others are left not chosen. The high privileges and glorious destiny of the former are not shared with the latter. This, too, is of God. We believe that from all eternity God has intended to leave some of Adam’s posterity in their sins, and that the decisive factor in the life of each is to be found only in God’s will. As Mozley has said, the whole race after the fall was “one mass of perdition,” and “it pleased God of His sovereign mercy to rescue some and to leave others where they were; to raise some to glory, giving them such grace as necessarily qualified them for it, and abandon the rest, from whom He withheld such grace, to eternal punishment.”12

The chief difficulty with the doctrine of Election of course arises in regard to the unsaved; and the Scriptures have given us no extended explanation of their state. Since the mission of Jesus in the world was to save the world rather than to judge it, this side of the matter is less dwelt upon.

In all of the Reformed creeds in which the doctrine of Reprobation is dealt with at all it is treated as an essential part of the doctrine of Predestination. The Westminster Confession, after stating the doctrine of election, adds: “The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the inscrutable counsel of His own will, whereby He extendeth or withholdeth mercy as He pleaseth, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.”13

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.

1 Ch. III, sections III-VII.

2 Institutes, Book III, Ch. XXI, sec. I.

3 Pamphlet, Election, p. 10.

4 Warfield, Biblical Doctrines, p. 50.

5 Cunningham, Historical Theology, II, p. 398.

6 Historical Theology, II, p. 467.

7 Theology, p. 230.

8 Quoted by Ness, Antidote Against Arminianism, p. 34.

9 Ch. III:2: XVI:2, 3.

10 Warfield, Biblical Doctrines, art. Predestination, p. 63.

11 Ness, Antidote Against Arminianism, p. 31.

12 The Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination, p. 297.

13 Ch. III: Sec. 7.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

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