Boettner: The Marvel of Marvels

“The marvel of marvels is not that God, in His infinite love and justice, has not elected all of this guilty race to be saved, but that He has elected any. When we consider, on the one hand, what a heinous thing sin is, together with its desert of punishment, and on the other, what holiness is, together with God’s perfect hatred for sin, the marvel is that God could get the consent of His holy nature to save a single sinner.”

– Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (p. 96)



  1. What extremes of “all or nothing” phraseology are needed to maintain balance in the universe! To quote Shakespeare, “…that way madness lies…”

    I spent a lot of time chatting with a Calvinist friend of mine who had lent me his copy of Boettner to read so that I would understand where he was coming from. My wife read the book although I could not seem to bring myself to slog through it (she took extensive notes). There is no denying that Boettner covers his bases in regard to the belief system that he advocates. He points to the same Bible that Christians point to, however he comes up with a concept of God that is hugely different from the God that my wife and I serve as Bible-believing Christians. I do not deny the reality of sin, and the death that it leads to… but how can God so love the world that He would give His Son, and yet be so overwhelmingly wrathful? I understand that God hates sin, but Calvinists take it to a whole other level, to the point where their concept of God is formed around Him having a fondness for damnation. Within this framework, of course God’s love would be a “marvel.”

    Many Calvinists say something along the lines of “I struggled for a long time with Calvinism before accepting it.” Why struggle so hard to make something work when Christians other than Calvinists for centuries have seen that the scriptures mean something obviously different? If someone is determined to believe something, they’re going to find a way to make it work in their minds, and it seems Boettner has effectively done this.

    I’m sure that this barely puts a dent in the Calvinism that you have thus far embraced, but I feel the need to at least try. If you prefer that I keep my thoughts to myself, I would understand.



    1. “If someone is determined to believe something, they’re going to find a way to make it work in their minds, and it seems Boettner has effectively done this.”

      That cuts both ways, though. πŸ™‚ If someone is determined not to believe something – like, say, Calvinism – they’re going to find a way to get around it, no matter the arguments.

      I don’t mind your expressing your opinion at all; I probably won’t respond to each and every comment, but by all means, stick around. πŸ™‚ Soli Deo Gloria!


  2. The quote is right on. On the other hand, I don’t know a single Calvinist who believes that God has a “fondness for damnation.”


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