Dr. Loraine Boettner: the Layman’s Theologian
Shirley W. Madany
Dr. Loraine Boettner, born at the turn of the 19th century, was called to be a layman’s theologian. Born on a farm in
My husband and I visited Dr. Boettner in the summer of 1981 when we made a detour south, en route from
In 1955, we reluctantly returned to
One day we received a letter from Dr. Boettner. He had read an article by Bassam describing the great need for Christian books in Arabic. He was asking if we would be interested in starting some translation work beginning with his Studies in Theology. He said that he would gladly help to finance the project. We were delighted, as Dr. Boettner’s writings were ideal for translation. But we warned him it would be some time before we could get started as we were saving up to buy an Arabic typewriter—at that time something very expensive, as it had to be custom-built (the carriage would move from right to left!) His immediate response was—“Order that Arabic typewriter right away and I will pay the full cost!”
We have worn out several typewriters since that time and that original one has been donated to the
We have never ceased to marvel at the way God uses His faithful people to carry out plans of which they are unaware. Unknowingly, by providing the typewriter, Dr. Boettner was responsible for Rev. Madany ultimately being a radio missionary in the Arabic language. The example of one person, spending most of his life in a very small mid-western town, becoming the catalyst in a new missionary venture, should be a source of inspiration to other Christians.
After the first Arabic translation of Boettner’s writings was published in
I always imagined that Dr. Boettner’s house would have a room full of books and a typewriter in a prominent place. It did! During our visit, Dr. Boettner showed us many translations of his books. We handled Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Arabic translations. Besides his Studies in Theology, he is well-known for his thorough study of The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, and his very popular study of Roman Catholicism. Other books he has written are The Millenium and Immortality.
That first book, produced in
It was typical of this saintly gentleman, that a note should appear at the beginning of most of his books which read: “Anyone is at liberty to use material from this book with or without credit. In preparing this book, the writer has received help from many sources, some acknowledged and many unacknowledged. He believes the material herein set forth to be a true statement of Scripture teaching, and his desire is to further, not to restrict, its use.”
We thank God for this wonderful Christian author and fellow worker!
Just for background to this story we would explain that we were enroute to
When we returned home to the radio work, the preparation of messages, and the reading of mail, one of the first letters we received was from a group of young people in
Literature and radio went hand in hand in those days when the mail to Arab countries was still reliable. Thousands of copies were successfully mailed to all parts of the Arabic-speaking world.
(This article was first printed in The Missionary Monthly of November 1981 under the title “Links in God’s Chain.”)