Declining Churches Searching for the Silver Bullet Pastor

  The problem of declining churches in America was nothing new when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck in March 2020. I tend to ignore 2020 through 2022 when measuring whether a church has declined. But let’s be honest: if you look back to March 2020 and compare your attendance and financial giving back then to that of today, in March 2024, and both are lower, on average, by more than a few percent, your church has declined. If you had a children’s ministry before the pandemic, and you now struggle to wrangle up more than a few kids on a typical Sunday, you have declined. Your church needs revitalization. Sure, there are other, less tangible measures of health. How are you doing evangelistically? Are you reaching your neighborhood with the gospel? Are you making disciples? Maybe your church has already taken proactive steps in the direction of revitalization. Perhaps you’ve already decided to make some hard decisions rather than kicking the can down the road. If so, good on you! Sadl

Is the Reformed Doctrine of Reprobation a Necessary Corollary to the Doctrine of Election?

 This paper will critique the Reformed doctrine of reprobation, as held by the Reformed confessions of faith, particularly the Canons of Dort. This paper will examine historical, logical, philosophical, and (especially) biblical arguments both in favor of and against Reformed reprobation. In particular, this paper will evaluate whether Romans 9 truly supports a the Dortian view. Ultimately, the author will demonstrate that the pre-Augustinian church, logic, Romans 9 in particular, and the balance of the biblical witness, in general, provide little convincing support in favor of the Calvinist view of reprobation.[1]

Few evangelicals disagree that the Bible teaches predestination, especially when it comes to election of some to salvation. Most evangelicals also agree that not everyone is saved, so then, not all of humanity is among the elect—they are reprobate. Says Boettner, “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.”[2] However, evangelicals hold a wide variety of views on just what reprobation means, how such a state came about, and its implications for the doctrine of God.

In the Calvinist view of predestination, unconditional election has always carried with it the logically necessary corollary of unconditional reprobation (also called "double predestination"). That is, if God foreordained some to salvation before the foundation of the world, based on no merit of their own, then it necessarily follows that the rest are foreordained to damnation. This is a view with which the Reformed theological tradition has long struggled. Indeed, many professing to be “Calvinist” or “Reformed” hold to a “single predestination.”[3] But, as Sproul says, “If there is such a thing as predestination at all, and if that predestination does not include all people, then we must not shrink from the necessary inference that there are two sides to predestination.”[4] If one holds the Calvinist view of unconditional election, Sproul’s argument is convincing. However, as this paper shall show, there are other biblically grounded, less deterministic views of divine election that still affirm God’s sovereignty, while not logically requiring unconditional reprobation as a necessary corollary.

The Reformed Doctrine of Reprobation Defined

Even in its mildest form, the Reformed doctrine of reprobation is controversial. Indeed, admits Boettner, “this is admittedly an unpleasant doctrine.”[5] Given its controversial nature, it seems essential that, if Calvinist reprobation is to be critiqued, it must first be correctly understood; praising or criticizing a strawman never answers the real questions at hand. In the Reformed view of predestination, one can view election as one side of the coin, while reprobation is the logical, necessary, and (purportedly) biblical flip-side of the same coin. The Canons of Dort—written in large part to refute the Arminian Remonstrants’ view of election, while clarifying the Dutch Reformed view—explains the flip-side of election in this way:

What peculiarly tends to illustrate and recommend to us the eternal and unmerited grace of election is the express testimony of sacred Scripture that not all, but some only, are elected, while others are passed by in the eternal decree; whom God, out of His sovereign, most just, irreprehensible, and unchangeable good pleasure, has decreed to leave in the common misery into which they have willfully plunged themselves, and not to bestow upon them saving faith and the grace of conversion; but, permitting them in His just judgment to follow their own ways, at last, for the declaration of His justice, to condemn and punish them forever, not only on account of their unbelief, but also for all their other sins. And this is the decree of reprobation, which by no means makes God the Author of sin (the very thought of which is blasphemy), but declares Him to be an awful, irreprehensible, and righteous Judge and Avenger thereof.[6]

The Canons of Dort clearly teach double predestination; God decrees to save some and, quite intentionally, does not save others. A straight reading of the Canons, however, has left Reformed theologians debating for centuries as to whether reprobation is positive or negative. In other words, is there “equal ultimacy” in predestination, with God actively, deliberately, choosing both the elect and the reprobate (symmetrical predestination)? Or is predestination “asymmetrical,” with God actively choosing the elect, while passively leaving the reprobate to their fate?

Sproul affirms double predestination, and champions the negative, or asymmetrical view; God actively elects to salvation, and passively leaves the reprobate to their own designs. To say that God actively decrees anyone to reprobation, says Sproul, is “hyper-Calvinism,” and a distortion of the Dortian doctrine.[7] Boettner also condemns a symmetrical view, preferring to stress God’s gracious work in election; reprobation is simply the natural state of mankind and it is miraculous that God rescues sinners from such a lost state.[8] However, the Reformed Confessions, including The Canons of Dort do not appear so nuanced as Sproul or Boettner. “What is important to notice here,” Boer remarks with The Canons in view, “is that both election and reprobation are given equal decretal status.”[9] Symmetrical double-predestination seems well established among the Reformers and in their historical creeds and confessions.

Moreover, whether the discomfort Sproul (and likely most Calvinists) shows towards a positive decree of reprobation, as found in symmetrical predestination, has any basis in the thoughts of the Reformers who influenced The Canons is questionable, however. Indeed, Calvin wrote, “The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknow what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree.”[10]

Beeke ably demonstrates that Beza, Calvin’s immediate successor, held a view of reprobation in line with symmetrical predestination. “God, who, before he created mankind, decreed of his own mere will and pleasure, to manifest his glory, both in saving of some whom he knew, in a way of mercy, and in destroying others, whom he also knew, in righteous judgment.”[11] Much more recently, many Calvinist theologians have advocated for a positive decree of reprobation. Reymond, a modern Calvinist, sees predestination symmetrically, noting, “That God from all eternity freely and unchangeably decreed whatever comes to pass in earth history is a given in Reformed Christian theism.”[12]

Early Church Father Views

Reformed theologians have produced no shortage of biblical proof texts purportedly espousing the Calvinist view of double predestination. Obviously, the Bible is the source and final authority on all doctrine. Yet, if indeed the Reformed doctrine of reprobation finds its roots in the Bible, the early church fathers should confirm this notion—or at least not contradict it. Yet, where the early church fathers speak on the subject, their views seem altogether Arminian. Indeed, as Schaff writes, prior to Augustine, “The Greek fathers, and Tertullian, Ambrose, Jerome, and Pelagius, had only taught a conditional predestination, which they made dependent on the foreknowledge of the free acts of men.”[13]

In the second century, Justin Martyr wrote, “But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall be certainly punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeably [wicked], but not because God had created them so.”[14] Early in the second century, the “Shepherd of Hermas,” and “Second Clement” acknowledged God’s foreknowledge in a general way.[15] In the third century, Origen defended God’s foreknowledge in election, though he did not view foreseen faith as the actual cause of election.[16] Even Augustine, prior to the Pelagian controversy, affirmed election based on foreseen faith (as did Pelagius). It seems reasonable to think that, in placing an exclamation point on his polemic against Pelagian views, Augustine may have over-emphasized sovereign election compared to his actual views.[17]

Admittedly, the early church fathers struggled with difficult doctrines, sometimes for centuries, before articulating a fully developed doctrine. Certainly, the Trinity serves as a primary case in point. In the case of reprobation, the silence of the Early Church Fathers actually speaks quite loudly. Quite simply, there is little extant evidence to suggest that the Church Fathers, prior to Augustine, held views of reprobation that align with Dortian Calvinism.

Biblical Arguments

Ultimately, arguments both for and against the Reformed doctrine of reprobation hinge on whether the doctrine can be proven biblically. Calvinists, of course, claim the doctrine is the most biblically supported explanation for the fate of the lost, when placed in light of the Bible’s clear teaching on election. However, even some Reformed theologians, such as Boettner question whether Dortian view of reprobation is biblical. Non-Calvinists of many stripes affirm predestination and election, but argue that not only is reprobation unbiblical, but so too is the entire Reformed scheme of predestination, including election.

General Proof-Texts

There is little debate that the Bible speaks about predestination and election to salvation. What is much more disputed is whether Bible actually teaches that, “God, out of His sovereign, most just, irreprehensible, and unchangeable good pleasure, has decreed to leave (the reprobate) in the common misery into which they have willfully plunged themselves, and not to bestow upon them saving faith and the grace of conversion.”[18] Seeking to explain reprobation, Boettner admits, “The chief difficulty with the doctrine of Election of course arises in regard to the unsaved; and the Scriptures give us no extended explanation of their state.”[19] Still, Reformed theologians refer to a number of biblical proof-texts as clearly teaching the doctrine of reprobation. Boettner lists several verses as “teach(ing) the doctrine with unmistakable clearness.”[20]

First, Boettner says, is Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”[21] That this verse, in context of the surrounding passage, has in mind anything like the specific teaching of the predestined fate of the reprobate is dubious.

Boettner then cites 1 Peter 2:7-8, “So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” Forbes admits that this verse could be speaking of the intentional reprobation of those who “disobey the word,” but finds the idea difficult to reconcile with Peter’s belief that the righteous actions of believers can aid in winning the lost to Christ.[22]

Next, Boettner turns for support to Jude 4, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” To Painter and deSilva, the condemnation spoken of speaks nothing of the predestination of the intruders, but instead speaks to the historical record of God’s judgment against actions such as theirs.[23]

Boettner then looks to Revelation 13:8, “(A)nd all who dwell on earth will worship it (the beast), everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” Of all of the passages to which Boettner looks for support, this passage at least does seem to speak of the non-elect. Yet, John only affirms that not all are elect; he never proposes an explanation for how they came to be that way.

Romans 9

According to Sproul, “The most significant passage in the New Testament that concerns double predestination is found in Romans 9.”[24] Certainly, Schreiner sees Romans 9 as teaching double predestination, including reprobation, and expounds upon this at length. Boettner frequently cites verses from Romans 9 in defense of the doctrine of reprobation. This passage is clearly the linchpin in Calvinists’ view of reprobation. If Romans 9 really teaches individual election to salvation, the Reformed doctrine of reprobation may have a leg to stand on here. If this passage does not refer to individual election, then reprobation finds no support here.

As Romans 9 starts, Paul laments the spiritual state of Israel. They are the chosen people, Paul’s people, the people of the covenant, yet they are unsaved, and this pains Paul. Paul almost wishes he could trade his own salvation for theirs (vv. 1-5), and for this reason Schreiner believes that the whole of Romans 9 has salvation in view.[25] But God’s purposes have not failed says Paul. Not all the descendants of Abraham are the real Israel. God chose Isaac over Ishmael, and Jacob over Esau. These are “the children of the promise” (vv. 6-10), and Israel’s election is corporate.[26]

Schreiner believes that Paul has individual election to salvation in mind in vv. 10-13, in when he writes that God chose Jacob over Esau, even before either had a chance to do right or wrong. Paul quotes Malachi 1:2-3, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Schreiner acknowledges that there is no biblical evidence that Esau was not saved (in fact Esau and Jacob reconciled), but insists that Paul is using the twins as an illustration of election.[27] Geisler disagrees, arguing first that the Hebrew word for “hate,” is better translated as “loved less” (such as when Jacob loved Rachel and “hated” Leah). God brings about His purposes in birthing Israel as a people through Jacob, not Esau. Geisler says that vv. 11-13 form a clear reference to corporate election; the line of God’s chosen people would not continue through Esau, but through Jacob—something God determined before the two were born.[28]

In vv. 14-18, Paul turns his attention to the story of Moses, to whom God said, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” To Ware, this is clear evidence of both individual, unconditional election and reprobation (or “preterition”). Pharaoh, in this case is a non-elect human whom God has hardened for His own purposes and glory[29] This is true about pharaoh, but the context does not seem here to be one of soteriology. To be sure, Pharaoh is not saved, but God has not hardened him for reprobation, but to serve a purpose in calling Israel out of Egypt. Moreover, before each plague, pharaoh is given a warning—if he chooses to let Israel go, Egypt receives a reprieve from the plagues. In the Exodus account, it is abundantly clear that Pharaoh can freely choose other than he does.[30]

In vv. 19-23, Paul compares God to a potter who is free to make clay into vessels of whatever use He sees fit. Calvinists see this as confirmation that Romans 9 speaks to double predestination. Geisler counters that nothing of the sort is held here. “Dishonorable” in v. 21 means, “no honor,” says Geisler. Vessels each have their own type of service—some of honor, and some more common, or of no honor.[31] Paul appears, again, to refer to an election to service.

For Cottrell, any understanding—Calvinist or Arminian—of Romans 9 as referring to individual election to salvation (unconditional or conditional) as an incorrect view. Paul, says Cottrell, is addressing why not everyone in the corporately elected Israel is saved. Israel has been elected to fulfill a purpose as a nation, but God’s promises to Israel never included the promise of salvation to each individual Israelite. “The whole point of Romans 9,” writes Cottrell, “is that one must not equate election to service with election to salvation.”[32]

The Reformed Doctrine of Reprobation Critiqued

Boettner, like most Calvinists, holds to the doctrine of reprobation mainly because it logically follows the doctrine of election. Election is biblical, therefore reprobation, election’s logical corollary in predestination must be biblical. Boettner sees reprobation as necessary in appropriately demonstrating God’s love, mercy, and holiness towards the elect, and His wisdom, power, and sovereignty in the treatment of both elect and reprobate. Further, Boettner, reprobation serves the secondary purposed of engendering in the elect a deeper trust in God and a greater appreciation for having escaped the fate of the reprobate.[33] Still, it seems difficult to imagine how the reprobation of Calvinism’s absolute predestination is required to achieve any of the aims Boettner ascribes to the doctrine.

Evangelical orthodoxy—Calvinist or not—affirms that all humans are born as fallen sinners, and that those who die without Christ are doomed to eternal condemnation, while those who die in Christ will spend eternity in Heaven. Would not this very fact—regardless of one’s view of reprobation—serve just as ably to demonstrate God’s attributes, and to engender gratitude among believers in Christ, without demanding that some are doomed by God’s unfathomable choice in eternity past?

Certainly, Calvinist theologians insist that God does not create people to condemn them. The reprobate are not condemned because they are not elect, but because they have sinned. As Sproul writes, “He (God) does not create unbelief in their hearts. That unbelief is already there. He does not coerce them to sin. They sin by their own choices.”[34] Horton affirms this notion saying, “All Calvinists agree that the fall was included in God’s plan, that this decree in relation to the fall was permissive rather than active, and that reprobation (the rejection of the non-elect) was not capricious or arbitrary but took account of sin.”[35] He further says that, “No one is saved by divine coercion and no one is rejected apart from his or her own will. God is not active in hardening hearts in the same way that he is active in softening hearts.”[36]

Beza, Calvin’s successor in Geneva, observed, “For he (God) causeth them to hear by preaching the outward word of the Gospel, but because they are not of the number of the Elect, being called, they hear not, and forasmuch as they are not able to receive the spirit of truth, therefore they cannot believe, because it is not given unto them.”[37] The reprobate are incapable of belief because Gold does not give them the capacity. They suffer eternal punishment because of their sin, and voluntarily so, says Boettner.[38] The irony here is not lost on Olson, who observes, “In light of his (Boettner’s) explanations…it seems an odd use of “voluntarily” since God has determined it.”[39]

Olson continues, “In my opinion, the distinction between election to salvation as unconditional and salvation itself as conditional is a distinction without a difference.”[40] Does it really matter whether God actively rebrobates the non-elect or simply passes them by? Certainly, the end result is the same. As all of fallen humanity will, invariably sin, to leave people reprobate is, practically, to condemn them before they have ever sinned, even if the eventual condemnation does not occur until long after God’s decision to reprobate them.

To the reprobate, it makes little difference, in the eternal scheme of things, whether predestination is symmetrical or asymmetrical, supralapsarian or infralapsarian, with positive reprobation, or passive reprobation—the end is the same. Regardless of the flavor of predestination, to the non-Calvinist, the Calvinist God creates people who are bound for Hell with no real opportunity for salvation.

Non-Calvinists, for their part, are deeply troubled by this view of election because they see the reprobate as having none of the free choice to sin that Reformed theology ascribes to them. Non-Calvinists agree wholeheartedly with their Calvinist brethren: God is loving, just, merciful, wise, and sovereign. Yet non-Calvinists understandably fail to see how the Reformed doctrine of reprobation demonstrates any of those attributes of God. In fact, non-Calvinists see this doctrine as demonstrating an unloving, capricious, unmerciful, and fatalistically controlling God. Certainly, this concern prompted Wesley to assail the doctrine of reprobation as “blasphemy.”

To Wesley, the Reformed doctrine of reprobation does extreme violence to God’s character:

It overturns both his justice, mercy, and truth; yea, it represents the most holy God as worse than the devil, as both more false, more cruel, and more unjust. More false; because the devil, liar as he is, hath never said, “He willeth all men to be saved:” More unjust; because the devil cannot, if he would, be guilty of such injustice as you ascribe to God, when you say that God condemned millions of souls to everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, for continuing in sin, which, for want of that grace he will not give them, they cannot avoid.[41]

Indeed, the implications of this doctrine on God’s character do seem potentially disturbing. No doubt ardent Calvinists will take exception, but many critics charge that, no matter the nuance applied, the Calvinist God apparently creates people to damn them when He, in fact, could have acted otherwise. If one is numbered among the elect, and his eventual salvation is assured, then certainly election seems merciful to the elect. However, if the reprobate will never have a chance to repent and believe, because God withholds the capability to do so, then it is difficult to see how reprobation is anything but capricious and arbitrary.

To such criticism, Boettner does not shy away from the unpleasantness of the doctrine of reprobation, but merely replies that it’s what the Bible teaches. “We are under no obligation to explain all the mysteries connected with these doctrines. We are only under obligation to set forth what the Scriptures teach concerning them, and to vindicate this teaching so far as possible from the objections which are alleged against it,” Boettner writes.[42]

An Alternative View of Reprobation

Cammenga asserts, The denial of reprobation results either in the doctrine of a universal election, the election by God of all men unto salvation; or it results in the doctrine of conditional election, election based on the faith and choice of the sinner. Neither alternative is Reformed or Biblical.”[43] Perhaps Cammenga is correct in one respect: denying reprobation may actually mean that election is conditional. While conditional election is certainly not Calvinistic, much to Cammenga’s objection, many view it as far more biblical than the Reformed doctrine of reprobation.

Many evangelicals—Arminians especially—understand individual election to salvation as conditional. Citing, in particular, Romans 8:29 (“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…”) they say that election is based on God’s infinite foreknowledge. In this view, the elect are those God foreknew would respond in faith to the free offer of the Gospel.[44] While they affirm God’s perfect foreknowledge, Calvinists vehemently object to the conditional doctrine of election, because it ostensibly makes people responsible for some part of their own salvation. There is, according to the Reformed view, something for the elect to boast about—they chose to believe—when it is God who grants even the ability to believe.[45] Of course, those holding to conditional election do not deny that it is God’s grace that enables belief, but they see that grace as resistible—another violation of a Calvinist tenet.

Conditional election does not require double predestination or a true doctrine of reprobation in the Reformed sense. The gospel offer is free to all and God’s grace is sufficient for all to understand—if they will believe. Conditional election is also compatible with the myriad verses of Scripture that affirm God’s desire is for all to come to saving faith (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4, and 2 Peter 3:9), and that declare God’s loving character (1 John 4:8).[46] Despite Calvinist objections to the contrary, conditional election seems to eliminate the logical and scriptural contradictions found in the Reformed doctrine of reprobation and enjoys strong support in the Bible and among the pre-Augustinian church fathers.

Conclusion

Double predestination—including both election and reprobation—is a necessary tenet of the Reformed doctrine of unconditional election. Yet, the biblical proof texts for reprobation, at least in the sense that Dortian Calvinism understood it, seem unconvincing. On the other hand, the Bible presents a clear, compelling case for God’s love and mercy expressed by God’s stated desire to see all come to salvation, even if He does not force His will upon fallen, yet free humanity.

If election to salvation is unconditional, the thorny difficulty posed by reprobation will always remain. Further, if election is unconditional (and grace irresistible) then it is inescapable that the Calvinist God seems arbitrary and negligent, at best, and at worst, is capricious, malevolent, and—despite the howling objections of Reformed theologians—just possibly, the author of sin. Predestination and election are, themselves, supported biblically.

If, however, election to salvation is conditioned on faith, with God foreseeing this faith from before the foundation of the world, then the prickly problem of reprobation finds a resolution. Of course, non-Calvinists have long made a strong case that conditional election to salvation is clearly in view in the Bible. The biblical case for Calvinistic reprobation collapses when when Romans 9 stops having the individual election interpretation forced upon it. Ultimately, the Reformed doctrine of reprobation is untenable because Reformed double predestination and unconditional election are not biblically supported.

Bibliography

Boer, Harry R. The Doctrine of Reprobation in the Christian Reformed Church. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1983.

---. “Reprobation: Does the Bible Teach It?” Reformed Journal 25, no. 4 (April 1975): 7-10. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct= true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0001837299&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed January 30, 2016).

Boettner, Loraine. The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1932.

Brand, Chad O., ed. Perspectives on Election: Five Views. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2006.

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Chafer, Lewis Sperry. “Part 5. Biblical Theism: Divine Decrees.” Bibliotheca Sacra 96, no. 383 (July 1939): 264-84. http://www.galaxie.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048 /article/bsac096-383-02/print (accessed January 28, 2016).

De Moor, John. “God's Sovereign Grace: A Problem?” Reformed Journal 17, no. 4 (April 1967): 7-13. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx? direct=true& db=rfh&AN=ATLA0001915986&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed January 28, 2016).

Geisler, Norman L. Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of God’s Sovereignty and Free Will. 3rd edition. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2010.

Horton, Michael. For Calvinism. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.

Keathley, Kenneth D. “Salvation and the Sovereignty of God: The Great Commission as the Expression of the Divine Will.” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 19. No. 36 (Spring 2006): 3-22. http://www.galaxie.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/article/jotges19-36-01/print (accessed January 28, 2016).

Miskin, Arthur. “Calvin On Predestination.” Puritan Reformed Journal 6, no. 2 (July 2014): 37-52. http://www.galaxie.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/article/prj06-2-03/print (accessed January 29, 2016).

Olson, Roger E. Against Calvinism. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.

Painter, John, and David A. deSilva. James and Jude (Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012.

Schreiner, Thomas R., and Bruce A. Ware, eds. Still Sovereign: Contemporary Perspectives on Election, Foreknowledge, and Grace. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010.

[1] This author will use the terms “Reformed” and “Calvinist” interchangeably, as this has become the common usage, even if Arminius would have considered himself, “Reformed.”

[2] Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1932): 105.

[3] YoIbid.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (2011-02-18). Chosen by God (p. 114). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[5] Boettner, 124.

[6] Synod of Dort, “First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation,” Article 15 in The Canons of Dort.

[7] Sproul, 118.

[8] Boettner, 122-5.

[9] Harry R. Boer, The Doctrine of Reprobation in the Christian Reformed Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1983): 10.

[10] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 3.23.7. WORDSearch e-book.

[11] Joel R. Beeke, “Theodore Beza’s Supralapsarian Predestination,” Reformation and Revival 12, no. 2 (Spring 2003): 77.

[12] Robert L. Reymond, “A Consistent Supralapsarian Perspective on Election,” Chapter 5 in Perspectives on Election: Five Views, edited by Chad O. Brand (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2006): 151.

[13] Phillip Schaff, “The Doctrine of Predestination,” in History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: ). WORDSearch.

[14] Dialogue with Trypho, CXLI.

[15] Jack W. Cottrell, “The Classical Arminian View of Election,” Chapter 3 in Perspectives on Election: Five Views, edited by Chad O. Brand (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2006): 94.

[16] Cottrell, 94

[17] Cottrell, 95.

[18] Canons of Dort, Heading 1, Article 15

[19] Boettner, 104-5.

[20] Boettner, 121

[21] All Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV).

[22] Forbes, Greg (2014-03-15). 1 Peter (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament) (Kindle Locations 2248-2250). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[23] Painter, John; deSilva, David A. (2012-11-15). James and Jude (Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament) (Kindle Location 4929). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[24] Sproul, 119.

[25] Schreiner, 93.

[26] Citation required.

[27] Schreiner, i

[28] Geisler, 80-2.

[29] Ware, 171-5.

[30] Geisler, 97.

[31] Geisler, xx.

[32] Cottrell.

[33] Boettner, 121-2.

[34] Sproul, 115.

[35] Horton, Michael (2011-10-25). For Calvinism (Kindle Locations 858-860). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[36] Ibid, Kindle Locations 866-868.

[37] Beza, Theodore (2013-06-07). The Table of Predestination (Kindle Locations 227-231). Fig. Kindle Edition

[38] Boettner, 125.

[39] Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-25). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 114). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[40] Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-25). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 201). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[41] Wesley, Free Grace A Treasury of Great Preaching.. WORDSearch.

[42] Boettner, 124.

[43] Ronald Cammenga, “Sovereign Reprobation,” Standard Bearer 58, no. 16 (May 15, 1982): 14.

[44] Cottrell

[45] Ibid.

[46] Olson, Roger E. (2011-10-25). Against Calvinism: Rescuing God's Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology (p. 113). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

 

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