Boettner – Comparing Calvinistic And Islamic Doctrines Of Predestination

“Although the terms used in describing the Reformed and Mohammedan doctrines of Predestination have much similarity the results of their reasoning are as far apart as the East is from the West. In fact, the further investigation proceeds the more superficial does the resemblance become. Their greatest resemblance seems to be in the teaching of each that everything that occurs happens according to the will of God. Yet very different ideas are meant by the “will of God.”

Islam reduces God to a category of the will and makes Him a despot, an oriental despot, who stands at abysmal heights above humanity. He cares nothing for character, but only for submission. The only affair of men is to obey His decrees, so that, as Zanchius says, Predestination becomes “a sort of blind, rapid, overbearing impetus, which right or wrong, with means or without, carries all things violently before it, with little or no attention to the peculiar and respective nature of second causes.”

And concerning human freedom Dr. Zwemer says that in the doctrine of Islam, “God’s omnipotence is so absolute that it excludes all self-activity on the part of the creature….Whatever freedom is permitted is only under the term Kasb; that is, the appropriation of an act as his own which, after all, he is compelled to execute as a part of God’s will.”

The Koran and orthodox traditions have particularly nothing to say about the concepts of sin and moral responsibility, and the morality of the Mohammedan system is notoriously defective. In Islam it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that God is the author of sin. The origin of sin and its character are wholly different concepts in Islam and in Christianity.

In Islam there is no doctrine of the fatherhood of God and no purpose of redemption to soften the doctrine of the decrees. God is represented as having arbitrarily created one group of people for paradise and another group for hell, and the events of every person’s life are so ordered that little place is left for moral responsibility and guilt.

They deny that there has been any election in Christ to grace and glory, and that Christ died a sacrificial death for his people. They have nothing to say about the efficacy of saving grace or about perseverance, and even in regard to the predestination of temporal events the ideas are often gross and confused.

The attribute of love is absent from Allah. The ideas that God should love us or that we should love God are strange ideas to Islam, and the Koran hardly hints at this subject of which the bible is full.

In conclusion it may be said that the Arminian creed has little appeal for the Mohammedan. So far as mission work is concerned, the Calvinistic churches entered the world of Islam earlier and more vigorously than any other group of churches, and for more than one hundred years they and they alone have challenged Islam in the land of its birth. They have occupied the strategic centers and today are carrying on far the larger part of mission work in the Moslem world.

With God’s sovereignty as basis, God’s glory as goal, and God’s will as motive, the Presbyterian and reformed churches are peculiarly fitted to win Moslem hearts to the allegiance of Christ, and are facing, with bright hopes of success, that most difficult of all missionary tasks, the evangelism of the Moslem world.”

 

  • Boettner, Loraine. The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination. Grand Rapids, Michigan: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1941. 5th Edition. (Pg 321-323)
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