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The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XVII- That it make God the Author of Sin

November 13, 2019 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XVII

That It Makes God the Author of Sin


The real difficulty which we face here, is to explain why a God of infinite holiness, power, and wisdom, would have brought into existence a creation in which moral evil was to prevail so extensively; and especially to explain why it should have been permitted to issue in the everlasting misery of so many of His creatures. This difficulty, however, bears not only against Calvinism, but against theism in general; and while other systems are found to be wholly inadequate in their explanation of sin, Calvinism can give a fairly adequate explanation in that it recognizes that God is ultimately responsible since He could have prevented it; and Calvinism further asserts that God has a definite purpose in the permission of every individual sin having ordained it “for His own glory.” As Hamilton says, “If we are to accept theism at all, the only respectable kind is Calvinism.” “Calvinism teaches that God not only knew what He was doing when He created man, but that He had a purpose even in permitting sin.” And what better explanation than this can be advanced by any one else who believes that God is the Creator and Ruler of this universe?

In regard to the first fall of man, we assert that the proximate cause was the instigation of the Devil and the impulse of his own heart; and when we have established this, we, have removed all blame from God. Paul tells us that God “dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.” Our mental vision can no more comprehend His deep mysteries than our unaided physical eyes can endure the light of the sun. When the Apostle contemplated these things he broke forth, ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past tracing out!” And since our human intellects cannot soar to such stupendous heights, it is ours to adore with reverence, fear, and trembling, but not to explain, that mystery which is too high and too deep for even the angels themselves to penetrate. Let us remember also that along with this sin, God has provided a redemption graciously wrought out by Himself; and no doubt it is due to our limitations that we do not see this to be the all-sufficient explanation. The decree of redemption is as old as the decree of apostasy; and He who ordained sin has also ordained a way of escape from it.

Since the Scriptures tell us that God is perfectly righteous, and since in all of His acts upon which we are capable of passing judgment we find that He is perfectly righteous, we trust Him in those realms which have not yet been revealed to us, believing that He has solutions for those problems which we are not able to solve. We can rest assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right, and as His plan is more fully revealed to us we learn to thank Him for that which is past and to trust him for that which is future.

It avails nothing, of course, to say that God foresaw the evil but did not include it in His plan,— for if He foresaw it and in spite of it brought the world into existence, the evil acts were certainly a part of the plan, although an undesirable part. To deny this foresight makes God blind; and He would then be conceived of as working something like the school boy who mixes chemicals in the laboratory not knowing what may happen. In fact, we could not even respect a God who worked in that manner. And furthermore, that view still leaves the ultimate responsibility for sin resting upon God, for at least he could have refrained from creating.

That the sinful acts of men have their place and a necessary place in the plan is plainly seen in the course of history. For instance, the assassination of President McKinley was a sinful act,— yet upon that act depended the role which Theodore Roosevelt was to play as President of the United States; and if that one link in the chain of events had been otherwise, the entire course of history from that time to the end of the world would have been radically different. The same is true in the case of Lincoln. If God intended that the world should reach this state in which we find ourselves today, those events were indispensable. A moment’s consideration will convince us that all of even the apparently insignificant events have their exact place, that they start rapidly growing influences which soon extend to the ends of the earth, and that if one of them had been omitted, say fifty years ago, the world today would have been far different.

A further important proof that Paul taught the doctrine which Calvinists have understood him to teach is found in the objections which he put in the mouths of his opponents,— that it represented God as unrighteous: “Is there unrighteousness with God?” Romans 9:14; and, that it destroyed man’s responsibility: “Thou wilt then say unto me, Why doth He still find fault? For who withistandeth His will?” Romans 9:19. These are the very objections which today, on first thought, spring into men’s minds, in opposition to the Calvinistic doctrine of Predestination; but they have not even the least plausibility when directed against the Arminian doctrine A doctrine which does not afford the least grounds for these objections cannot have been the one that the Apostle taught.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Three – The Decrees of God (Q.15)

William F. Leonhart III

Q.15: What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?

A. When God created man, He entered into a covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience: forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death.1

1Galatians 3:12; Genesis 2:17

“COVENANT THEOLOGY, SIMPLY STATED, is the view of God and redemption that interprets the Holy Scriptures by way of covenants,” (Earl Blackburn, Covenant Theology: A Baptist Distinctive, pg. 17).

What we see in Genesis 2 is not only an account of the creation of Adam and Eve. In the garden, God and man entered into a covenant. God bestowed certain benefits upon Adam; He gave him life and all the provisions he needed to sustain life in the garden. He created man sinless and in….




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Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Three – The Decrees of God (Q.14)

February 23, 2017 Leave a comment

William F. Leonhart III

Q.14: What are God’s works of providence?

A. God’s works of providence are His most holy,1 wise,2 and powerful preserving3 and governing of all His creatures, and all their actions.4



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Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Three – The Decrees of God (Q.13)

February 16, 2017 Leave a comment

William F. Leonhart III

Alfred Hitchcock is accredited with having said, “Self-plagiarism is style.” While my views have changed since writing the paper “Trinitarian Foundations for Christian Education,” I have largely used its material in this section of our Studies in The Baptist Catechism series. As you can observe, the sections taken from the paper have been altered to reflect a change in views. I no longer take the ESS view of the Trinity in marking the unity and diversity of man, but rather point to the economic Trinity.


Q.13: How did God create man?

A. God created man, male and female, after His own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.1




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Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Three – The Decrees of God (Q.11-12)

William F. Leonhart III

Q.11: How doth God execute His decrees?

A. God executeth His decrees in the works of creation and providence.

Under the headings of creation and providence, God accomplishes all of His good purposes. Thereby, He creates, sustains, and directs all things toward His own desired, good, and glorious ends. Nothing that comes into existence does so without God’s decree. Likewise, nothing that comes to pass does so without God’s decree. God is the prime Actor in all of creation and is necessary for its continued existence.




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Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Three – The Decrees of God (Q.10)

William F. Leonhart III

Q.10: What are the decrees of God?

A. The decrees of God are His eternal purpose according to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.1

1Ephesians 1:4, 11; Romans 9:22-23; Isaiah 46:10; Lamentations 3:37

Moving along in our discussion of what man ought to believe concerning God, let us pivot a bit from what God is to what God does. Now, these two aspects of God should not be divorced from one another. Obviously, what God is will determine what God does. When we say that God is good, after all, we are claiming that God is the ultimate standard of all that is good. In order to properly define what good is requires that we do so in reference to what God is. It also requires that we do so in reference to what God does.

The first step in examining what God does is to look to His eternal decrees. In the decrees of God, we find the Source and Purpose for all that occurs, whether in the secret counsels of God or in the created order, from eternity to eternity. God Himself is the Source of everything that occurs. He is also the Purpose. The Westminster Assembly put it this way:




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Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Two – Theology Proper (Q.9)

William F. Leonhart III

Q.9: How many persons are there in the Godhead.

A. There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory.1

11 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19

As we move from the question of how many Gods to the question of how many Persons, we must keep in mind that our subject has not changed. We are still speaking with reference to triune monotheism. We have simply moved from our focus on the monotheism part of the construction to a focus on the triune part.




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Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Two – Theology Proper (Q.8)

by William F. Leonhart III

Q.8: Are there more Gods than one.

A. There is but one only, the living and true God.1

1Deuteronomy 6:4; Jeremiah 10:10

Besides monergism, monotheism is the doctrine that most distinguishes Christianity from myriad other world religions. While it could be argued that all religions besides Christianity promote a works-based view of salvation, there are admittedly other religions that hold to monotheism. Judaism and Islam are just two such religions. Other religions, like many pagan religions, teach a view known as polytheism. This view teaches that there are many gods. Mormonism and many Hindu sects teach henotheism, a brand of polytheism in which only one of the many gods is to be worshipped.

Still others, like Buddhism, are ultimately atheistic or agnostic at their root, teaching no particular view of God or the gods. Other religions teach pantheism (all things are god) or even panentheism (god is all things and more). Others, like African Traditional religions, have adopted animism teaching that all things (plant, animal, and mineral) have a soul and are animated by a supernatural force in the world.




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Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section Two – Theology Proper (Q.7)

William F. Leonhart III

Q.7: What is God?

A. God is a Spirit,1 infinite,2 eternal,3 and unchangeable,4 in His being,5 wisdom, power,6 holiness,7 goodness,8 and truth.9

1John 4:24

2Job 11:7-9;

3Psalm 90:2

4James 1:17

5Exodus 3:14

6Psalm 147:5

7Revelation 4:8

8Revelation 15:4

9Exodus 34:6

It can seem almost improper to ask a question such as What is God? as though we are calling God a thing—an impersonal, inanimate object. Rather, the question seeks to discern two things about the very personal Being we call God. We want to know, generally, what comprises God’s essential nature and, more specifically, what His attributes are.




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Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section One – Authority, Revelation, and Scripture (Q.5 & Q.6)

September 29, 2016 Leave a comment

William F. Leonhart III / August 27, 2016

Q.5: May all men make use of the Holy Scriptures?

A. All men are not only permitted, but commanded and exhorted to read, hear, and understand the Holy Scriptures.1

1John 5:38; Revelation 1:3; Acts 8:30

Having conducted a survey into the nature of Scripture itself, we now bring ourselves to the consideration of how men are to make use of it. The question is asked of the catechumen, May all men make use of the Holy Scriptures? What does the catechizer mean by the words “make use”? To make use, according to the answer offered, is to read, hear, and understand the Holy Scriptures. The catechism goes so far as to note that we are not only permitted, but are commanded and exhorted to avail ourselves of the Scriptures in this way.




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