Boettner's View of Arminianism

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Puritan Board Freshman
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. (Reformed Doctrine by Loraine Boettner- Introduction)

It must be evident that there are just two theories which can be maintained by evangelical Christians upon this important subject; that all men who have made any study of it, and who have reached any settled conclusions regarding it, must be either Calvinists or Arminians . There is no other position which a "Christian" can take. Those who deny the sacrificial nature of Christ's death turn to a system of self salvation or naturalism, and cannot be called "Christians" in the historical and only proper sense of the term. (Reformed Doctrine by Loraine Boettner- Chapter 3)

One of the great short-comings of Arminianism has been its failure to recognize the necessity for the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit on the heart. Instead, it has resolved regeneration into a more or less gradual change which is carried out by the individual person, a mere change of purpose in the sinner's mind, which is a result of moral persuasion and the general force of truth. (Reformed Doctrine by Loraine Boettner- Chapter 3)

These distinctions which we have set forth between Calvinism and Arminianism are broad and important; and until one has made a special study of these truths he does not realize what a large amount of heresy has been incorporated into the Arminian system. If one system is true, the other is radically false. As strict Calvinists we believe these doctrines to embody final truth and to be eternally right. We believe this to be the only system of Christian truth which is taught in the Bible and the only one that can be logically and respectably defended before the world. And certainly it is much easier to defend a type of Christianity which is in harmony with both Scripture and reason than to defend any other type. We believe that Calvinism and consistent theism do not merely have points of contact but that they are identical, and that to fall away from Calvinism is to fall away by just so much from a truly theistic conception of the universe. (Reformed Doctrine by Loraine Boettner- Chapter 4)

Although I agree with Boettner on the logistics of this statement, and that what he stated is legally correct, I have to say that I believe that there are some defining terms that are missing and that by not explaining himself clearly that he inturn misrepresents the Arminianism and the application of the doctrine of grace on believers in this thought.

By blanketly saying that a person who believes in works-salvation is a heretic he is absolutely correct, but because he doesn't define what coorelation he derives from it in relation to allArminians, there is then a supposition made that allArminians are people who practice works-salvation.

It must be defined that although a person may not fully know how Calvinism works that this does not negate the fact that this person is in fact saved. In other words, a person could be regenerated by God so that he has a fervent desire to seek God and to do his will. He then, after learning a few doctrines here and there, think to himself that he believed and therefore, he was then saved, when in fact, he was converted thus leading to his belief.

Although, the arminian doesn't realize correct ordo-salutis, I don't believe it is right to call this person a heretic. I was part of IFB(Independant Fundamental Baptist movement), and I believed God did all the saving. I didn't fully understand my totally depraved condition until reading scripture, but I don't believe that my confusion and misunderstanding negates the fact that I was converted by God to become a believer. Generally speaking, I don't believe a person can be a believer and perfectly know and understand the core-cardinal doctrines for salvation. If this be the case, then it similar to a demand that we must fully know the concept of the Trinity and fully know the 'why' of particular redemption and election. The bible itself leaves these things to 'mystery'.

What do you think?


Puritan Board Sophomore
that all men who have made any study of it, and who have reached any settled conclusions regarding it, must be either Calvinists or Arminians .

On this I certainly agree. 'Middle ground' positions that seek to take parts of each framework and combine them are simply internally inconsistent, every time. That's what makes it so frustrating to be a modern-day baptist. People have taken the 'baptist bible buffet' approach to their theology, giving man all the credit of Arminianism, but holding on to the safety net of Calvinism....
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