Reply to Jeff Meyers, Part 9

Point number 20 is very interesting to me. Is it any accident that imputation, which is the heart of justification, is not mentioned? Is it any accident that the mechanics of how Christ’s death benefits the believer are said to be indifferent? Pardon me, Jeff, but the mechanics of how Christ’s death and the believer’s justification are related constitute the entire debate of the Reformation on justification. How is Christ’s righteousness given to the believer? Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Reformers believed that Christ’s righteousness became ours. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Reformers believed in union with Christ. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Reformers could say “saved by grace.” The debate turned precisely on how Christ’s righteousness becomes ours. Does it come by an infusion of grace, such that our good works form part of justification (Roman Catholic belief), or is Christ’s righteousness imputed to us when we come into faith-union with Christ? Debate over these mechanics is the main hinge on which our religion turns. It really makes one wonder if Jeff has read any substantive account of the Reformation doctrine of justification. Has he read John Owen? Buchanan? Edwards? Burgess? My guess is probably not. Otherwise, he would not be making such breathtaking claims about the mechanics of how Christ’s death and our justification are related.

Point 21 is about the Leithart quotation, and then it morphs into a discussion about covenant and election. Firstly, let me interpret what I think the committee’s intention was in quoting Leithart here. They quote Leithart as saying that Leithart challenges the Reformed world in some way. They then turn that quote rhetorically to their advantage to say that the FV challenges the Reformed world in the very thing that makes the Reformed world Reformed. I seriously doubt that the committee was intending to state that Leithart would have agreed with the paragraph immediately after the quotation, nor that the following paragraph is what the FV proponents would actually come right out and say. The rhetorical effect of using this quotation is something like this: PL: “The FV challenges the Reformed world in some aspects.” Committee: “Yeah, it challenges the Reformed world in what is distinctively Reformed, and therefore constitutes an abandonment of Reformed orthodoxy.” In other words, the committee is using the quotation against him in a rhetorical manner. I think that Jeff probably missed this in his effort to manufacture misinterpretations on the part of the committee. With regard to these two boundary markers, I will repeat what I have already said before: saying that Israel is elect, but that some will be cut off is not the same as saying that every individual has this covenantal election wherein he is justified, sanctified, adopted, etc., which he then loses because of his apostasy. The properties of the whole are simply not the same as the sum of the properties of the individual members of that whole. To say that it is is called the fallacy of composition. I will reiterate the chemistry lesson in simple terms: sodium is a poison. If you put it on your tongue, it will burn a hole through it. Chloride is also a poison. So, we might think that the combination is even more poisonous than each component by itself. But the chemical combination sodium chloride is table salt. Much less poisonous than sodium or chloride by itself. We use the same argument in defense of capital punishment. When Jesus says “Judge not,” He is talking to individuals, not to a nation, as is obvious from the context, where the applications are all to individuals. Therefore, the nation has the right to judge, as is obvious from Romans 13. Private judgment and public judgment by the state are two different things. We are saying that the properties of an individual are not the same thing as the property of the aggregate. The same thing is true of “corporate election.” God’s choosing Israel out from among the nations has no bearing on whether each individual Israelite has “covenantal justification, sanctification, adoption, etc.” It simply does not bear on the subject. I am not denying that there are benefits that come from being part of the chosen nation. But that is different from saving benefits: not all Israel is of Israel. This plainly proves my point.

On point 22, Jeff must have missed the reference to Ralph Smith’s book on the Trinity and Covenant, which most certainly was referenced. No footnotes or citations? Footnote 17 doesn’t count as a reference? This is poor reading, Rev. Meyers. The last part of the paragraph constitutes an example of the first part of the paragraph. Meyers makes a further error when he claims that because there are differences in the FV position between the Adamic administration and the Covenant of Grace, that therefore the FV men are bicovenantal. this does not follow. I can say “the difference is that one was made with Adam and one was made with Christ.” That does not make me a bicovenantalist. The key principle in the bicovenantal schema of the WS is the works/grace distinction. If that is not affirmed, then one is not a bicovenantalist, whatever other differences may be asserted between the first and the second covenants. The works/grace distinction is clearly the operative distinction between the two covenants in chapter 7 of the WCF.  

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56 Comments

  1. May 19, 2007 at 10:13 am

    There is the well known tactic of “throwing mud against a wall and seeing what sticks.” I wouldn’t bring that up except that Jeff Meyers, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION, acknowledges that even up to half of his arguments will most likely be refuted (but he won’t tell us which half), but implicitely demands that we treat seriously every single one of the arguments of perhaps the most biased person in the whole debate.

    Meanwhile, faithful greenbaggins wades through the mud and slog doing yeoman’s work for the rest of us. Many of us are so deeply grateful.

  2. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:15 am

    “Jeff Meyers, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION, acknowledges that even up to half of his arguments will most likely be refuted”

    This doesn’t sound quite like a direct quote, Jeff.

  3. greenbaggins said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Todd, how about answering the substance of the post?

  4. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Nah. I want to talk with Jeff today.

  5. May 19, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I feel like the prettiest girl at the dance.

    You’re right not a direct quote; my paraphrase of what I remember him to have written about it.

    Meanwhile, Lane put some TIME into his post; mine took all of a minute or two. His thoughts are definitely worthy of interaction; mine, not so much.

  6. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Here’s what he wrote: “You are not going to agree with everything I have written in this response, and that is healthy. There are four or five fatal problems with the committee’s Report. So if I am wrong about some of the reasons listed here or if I have overstated how the Report may be used in the future, nevertheless serious objections remain. Even if I’m mistaken about one-third or even half of what I have written in this response, I believe that the Report is a very inadequate and in some cases dangerous response to the biblical theological issues raised in the current controversy.”

    Your paraphrase has made it sound as if he has intentionally thrown in 15 red herrings.

  7. A. Dollahite said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Lane,

    I agree with you that imputation is not mentioned by Meyers, and that imputation is important. But, it’s not like the FV thinks imputation is trivial. I don’t think it was Meyer’s point to fully dissect the mechanics of justification and imputation, as much as to point out that the FV are misrepresented when they are said to believe in justification by some kind of Roman Catholic infusion. Is it really your belief that the men like Wilson, Wilkins, and Leithart somehow believe that Christ’s righteousness becomes ours “by an infusion of grace, such that our good works form part of justification?” Certainly not I hope. I take them to embrace what’s at the heart of imputation (Christ’s righteousness as the ground of our justification), but at the same time attempting to have a biblically balanced view of how the imputation of Christ’s righteousness actually becomes ours, one that emphasizes our covenant union with Christ as often pictured by a husband and wife. But, at the end of the day, they all still believe, as Meyer’s writes, that “justification is forensic and declarative, based on the work of Christ and not based on or grounded in our moral transformation.”

  8. greenbaggins said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:12 am

    Well, Jeff, thanks for your vote of confidence in my work here. It seems fairly clear that Todd does not want to deal with the issues. You know, Douglas Wilson has given some pretty good interaction, I’d say, as has Xon. But many of the others are wanting us critics to interact with them. “Have a face-to-face debate!” But when I write something like this, with logic, they will not interact. No doubt Todd will say something like “It’s not worth interacting with,” which, of course, is not interacting with what I said. This has been typical of Todd ever since he first started commenting on my blog. I doubt you’ll find many, if any, comments of his that exceed 5 lines of communication. His aim is to poke holes (however minuscule and irrelevant to the main point) in what I say and do, but never stick himself out on a limb.

  9. greenbaggins said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Andy, I wouldn’t say that the RCC position and the FV are identical. I think there are some resemblances. But Jeff’s point was historically inaccurate. He flat-out said that the mechanics of how Christ’s death relates to a believer’s justification are irrelevant as to whether one has the Gospel right or not. The exact quote is this: “Debating about the mechanics of *how* Christ’s death and the justification of a sinner are related is not necessarily the same thing as denying the Gospel.” In my opinion, this is a non-statement. the mechanics of how this works *constitutes* the Gospel, as I pointed out. Of course, not all FV proponents are off on justification. Wilson is, I think, orthodox on this point, and Steve Schlissel is way out in left field. In fact, he isn’t in the stadium. There is certainly a range of opinions on justification within the FV.

  10. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:21 am

    “No doubt Todd will say something like “It’s not worth interacting with,” which, of course, is not interacting with what I said.”

    The debates for which Lane writes for both sides are my favorites.

  11. May 19, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Todd,

    Sorry, I didn’t mean for it to sound like I thought he was intentionally throwing in 15 red herrings.

    And thanks for finding the quote. To me it definitely sounds like he wouldn’t be overly bothered if up to half of his arguments get shown to be nothing but mud thrown against a wall to see what sticks. These are sober times, and that sort of national response to a denomination Study Report simply doesn’t strike me as serious and sober churchmanship. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me; just fleshing out why his approach bothers me.

  12. greenbaggins said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Prophylaxis, Todd, prophylaxis.

  13. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:24 am

    “His aim is to poke holes (however minuscule and irrelevant to the main point) in what I say and do, but never stick himself out on a limb.”

    A truer summary of my pattern/habit is that I can’t resist asking about what seems to be a bluff or a misrepresentation. That’s why I commented about Jeff’s comments about Jeff.

  14. greenbaggins said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:31 am

    Well, then, it’s a good thing there aren’t any bluffs or misrepresentations in my post today, since you seem to be able to resist interacting with my post rather well.

  15. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Exactly right, Lane. You’re improving all the time, man. Well done.

  16. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:45 am

    This is only loosely related to your post here, but it is an imputation thing. I got my copy of Justified in Christ yesterday, and I’m enjoying it a lot. Tipton’s chapter on union with Christ and justification is great. But I’ve noticed that he doesn’t use the “impute” occurrences in Romans 4 at all for his exposition of imputation in Paul. I suspect he agrees with Murray on that, but I might be wrong. Murray is ceretainly no “drunken uncle” in this book. And no “merit” in the glossary–Philly and Escondido are still somewhat distinct.

  17. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Hey, please forgive me for excceeding my allotted five lines.

  18. greenbaggins said,

    May 19, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    I think you’re probably wrong about Tipton on Romans 4. Tipton is probably my best friend among the faculty at WTS (not least because we share the same first name!). Trust me, he believes that imputation is the point of Romans 4.

    So, in all the other Meyers posts where you don’t engage the substance, I am to think the same way? Just wanting to make sure I don’t misinterpret you, of course.

  19. A. Dollahite said,

    May 19, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Lane,

    Thanks for the comments. I’m glad to see you don’t think the RCC and FV views are identical. What are the resemblances you see? Some people see resemblances between Mormonism and Christianity, but we Christians know there are critical differences. At this point, I understand you to believe the FV lacks critical differences, or do you acknowledge they exist?

    Also, you said, “Wilson is, I think, orthodox on this point, and Steve Schlissel is way out in left field. In fact, he isn’t in the stadium.” I’m glad to see that you continue to at least think Wilson is orthodox. That is much, much more than many of the commenters here would be willing to say about anyone in the FV.

    Finally, I don’t have enough background in Schlissel’s views to discuss them in any specific manner. But from your comments I take it you think Schlissel doesn’t believe that “justification is forensic and declarative, based on the work of Christ and not based on or grounded in our moral transformation,” as Meyer’s says all the FV men do. What is it about Schlissel’s views of the mechanics of justification that put him “out of the stadium?”

  20. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    OK. I wonder why he doesn’t bring Romans 4 into his discussion.

    About your posts on Meyers, you are free to think whatever you want. But remember–the argument from silence is a fallacy.

  21. Jeff Meyers said,

    May 19, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Okay. Someone insisted I come here and read this. Lane, you write:

    >Debate over these mechanics is the main hinge on which our religion turns.
    >It really makes one wonder if Jeff has read any substantive account of the >Reformation doctrine of justification. Has he read John Owen?
    >Buchanan? Edwards? Burgess?
    >My guess is probably not.
    >Otherwise, he would not be making such breathtaking
    >claims about the mechanics of how Christ’s death and our justification are related.

    What’s breathtaking, Lane, is your vain accusations. I have read everyone of these men you list and more. I was reading them before you were born. Literally. I spent 9 years doing graduate work at the most conservative, fire-breathing, justification-defending Lutheran Seminary in the World – Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis. I took class after class in systematics and historical theology from world class scholars of the Reformation to get my S.T.M. and Ph.D (ABD). I’ve read Calvin and post-Reformation theologians in Latin and tons of Luther and Lutheran post-Reformation theology in German. I understand the Reformation doctrine of justification.

    Hard-core Lutherans (whom no one would ever charge with denying the Gospel of justification or preaching “another Gospel” ala the Galatian heresy) chuckle at the way some post-Reformation Reformed theologians muck up the doctrine of justification with talk of a meritorious covenant with Adam and the imputation of the merits of Jesus’ acts of obedience in his life to believers. What’s this? A treasury of merit that had to be filled up and then transfered to us?

    They laugh. Why? Because it’s not found in the Bible. Because they don’t link such esoteric merit schemes with the Reformation doctrine of justification.

    So what do you want FV guys to say, Lane? Did I leave out the word “imputation” in this particular reason of mine? I wish I would have predicted that my comments were going to be used so maliciously and included it. I do believe in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers. I do believe that justification is an act of God’s free grace, etc. I do believe that Jesus’ whole sinless life and his obedient death is the only ground for my justification. I believe it. I don’t believe that “infused grace” has anything to do with our justification. Which FV man ever said such a thing? Every FV guy has said these things over and over and over again. What is going on here? Something more than a disagreement about theological terminology, for sure. What? I don’t know. I suspect something sinister.

    A lot of the debate boils down to this: Why in the world is the idiosyncratic language (e.g., “active obedience,” etc.) used by the committee in it’s Report being forced on us since our Standards do not speak this way? Why should the General Assembly of the PCA be involved in regulating such speech? I don’t have a problem if someone wants to speak this way. But why should I be forced to use this kind of language?

    I’m not even forced to use the precise language and formulations of the Westminster Standards, for goodness sake! I subscribe to “the system of doctrine” but not to every phrase and way of putting things in Westminster.

    Why do YOU think that we should all be forced to line up lockstep with the way this little committee has formulated things? And I’m not just referring to the phrase “active obedience,” but to a number of idiosyncratic verbal and conceptual theological oddities that can be found throughout the report.

    I’ve called attention to another odd way of putting things in the comments section here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2wsmau

    And don’t make this out that I am disrespecting the men on this committee by not agreeing with them. I respect lots of men in the PCA that I don’t agree with about everything they preach or write. But if they banded together and tried to force me to adopt THEIR terminology or else be marginalized or forced out of the PCA, then I would respectfully resist.

    I don’t have time to comment here again this weekend. Maybe next weekend. Until then, I say, think about what you are doing, Lane. Honestly. Are you really defending the Gospel or dividing brothers that confess a common doctrine of justification through faith alone by grace alone and because of Christ’s life and work alone. What more can I say?

  22. A. Dollahite said,

    May 19, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    On Point 21:

    Lane, is it really fair to say Meyers was attempting to “manufacture misinterpretations?”

    Moving on, granting your interpretation of the committee’s rhetorical purposes, the question still remains whether Leithart and others actually attack the distinctively Reformed boundary markers of covenant and election. Your assertion is that the FV commits a fallacy of composition.

    Your argument against the FV: “saying that Israel is elect, but that some will be cut off is not the same as saying that every individual has this covenantal election wherein he is justified, sanctified, adopted, etc., which he then loses because of his apostasy.”

    As has been discussed in another thread, I don’t think you’re representing the FV position accurately. They are not saying because someone is “covenantly elect” then they are automatically “justified, sanctified, adopted. etc.” in the exact same sense as those who are “decretally elect.” All Israel is elect in one sense (covenantly), but not all Israel is elect in a different sense (decretally). The nation of Israel is composed of individuals who were covenantly elected to share in the benefits that belong to the nation by the covenant. Those benefits did belong to each member of the nation. As 1 Cor 10 says, “For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” What I understand the FV to argue is that all the covenantly elect Israelites shared in the blessings described as “under the cloud,” “passed through the sea,” “baptized into Moses,” “ate the same spiritual food,” “drank the same spiritual drink…drank from the spiritual Rock…the Rock was Christ.” Those benefits really and truly belonged to the covenantly elect Israelites. The horror of their losses and judgment have been recorded as example to us (the Church). But the FV affirms that those blessings lost in the wilderness by the covenantly elect who perished were not identical to the blessings of the decretally elect within the nation who did not perish.

  23. R. F. White said,

    May 19, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    A.D., you write, “But the FV affirms that those blessings lost in the wilderness by the covenantly elect who perished were not identical to the blessings of the decretally elect within the nation who did not perish.”

    This is not the unanimous affirmation of FVers. IOW, some FVers do maintain that the covenantally elect and the decretally elect enjoyed the same blessings. Wilson does not; Wilkins does.

  24. Chris Hutchinson said,

    May 19, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Rev. Myers asked if any FV men ever said that “infused grace” had anything to do with our justification. I don’t think Rich Lusk uses that term, but in speaking of our final justification, he sure says that our works add to it:

    “James has in view the same kind of justification as Paul — forensic, soteric justification. Good works justify persons in James 2, not faith or one’s status as a justified sinner. James is not telling his readers how to ‘justify their justification’ or how to ‘give evidence of a true and lively faith.’ Instead he says their persons will not be justified by faith alone, but also by good works of obedience they have done. The use of the preposition *by* is important since it indicates a sort of dual instrumentality in justification. In other words, in some sense, James is speaking of a justification in which faith and works combine together to justify. Future justification is according to one’s life pattern. No one dare claim these works be meritorious, but they are necessary. , p. 3 of revised lecture notes at http://www.trinity pres.net/audio/christchurchjustification.pdf (emphases original) . Lusk includes two footnotes in this passage which qualify but do not mitigate the thrust of his claims.

  25. Chris Hutchinson said,

    May 19, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Also this:

    “God rewards our good works *with* eternal life, because God examines our works not according to the strictest standards of absolute righteousness, but rather the same way that a human father might examine the art work of his young son, p.4 of revised lecture notes at http://www.trinitypres.net/audio/christchurchjustification.pdf (emphasis mine).

    Sorry about the faulty link above. I don’t know why it did that.

  26. Chris Hutchinson said,

    May 19, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    One more:

    “God judges us not by a series of snapshots, but a running ‘video’ of our lives. Throughout the Bible, we are confronted with two alternative paths, the way of obedience leading to life, and the way of disobedience leading to death. The way of obedience leads to final justification. Disobedience leads to condemnation. We will reap the verdict we have sown,” p. 39 of revised lecture notes at http://www.trinity pres.net/audio/christchurchjustification.pdf.

  27. Chris Hutchinson said,

    May 19, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Sorry about all the wrong links. There was a dash that my cutting and pasting was not transferring. Let’s see this if this works. Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3:

    http://www.trinity-pres.net/audio/christchurchjustification.pdf

  28. Chris Hutchinson said,

    May 19, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Also, from Lusk’s “Future Justification to the Doers of the Law” found on http://www.hornes.org/theologia

    “Justification and Sanctification are of a piece, both symbolized by the same white robes (of Revelation 19).”, ibid., p. 3.

    “The initial clothing in white is received by faith alone. This is the beginning of Joshua’s justification. But if Joshua is to remain justified – that is, if the garments he has received are not to become re-soiled with his iniquity – he must be faithful. Thus initial justification is by faith alone; subsequent justifications include obedience.” ibid., p. 2.

    And finally this whopper (read it context for his qualifications), but I wanted to point out thing in particular: “Initial justification — the pole the Reformers focused on in their disputes with Rome — is by faith alone. Hence sola fide must stand unchallenged. Final justification, however, is according to works. This pole of justification takes into account the entirety of our lives — the obedience we’ve performed, *the sins we’ve committed,* the confession and repentance we’ve done.”, p. 3, ibid (emphasis mine).

    ~~~~~

    Now, I don’t know if any of this counts as infused righteousness per se, but goodness, do any of you want to face final judgment under the above conditions? Our sins are still going to be considered in *whether* we are finally justified?????

    Ready for a video tape of your life to be played out, and only then openly acquitted? That is, if indeed you will be acquitted.

    When Jesus said, “It is finished,” and when Paul says that God justifies the ungodly, I take that to mean I am really justified, and need not fear whether I will measure up or not on the last day.

    So yes, Rev. Myers, we do have concerns about whether the idea of an infused righteousness is sneaking in through some in the FV, whether they intend it to or not.

  29. Black&TanInTheAM said,

    May 19, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Don’tyathink there was a reason the Wittenburg door was only so big?

  30. Bill Carson said,

    May 19, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Lane.

    This is an excellent series of posts. You’re doing yeoman’s work. Keep up the good job!

    (Don’t be discouraged if somebody sneers at you :-P 1 Tim 6.20)

    Bill

  31. Chris Hutchinson said,

    May 19, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Black & Tan,

    That’s pretty good! Oops, I’m out of thumb tacks. Actually, I need to finish up my sermon.

    Blessings,
    Chris

  32. Matt said,

    May 19, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Chris, what is amazing to me is how you side step all of the substantive concerns that Pastor Meyers mentions to turn the discussion on “works.” That is tragic about the discussion. To move away from what actually concerns Pastor Meyers you change the subject. Unbelievable! It’s not that any FV writer would mind discussing the “works” issue, but you bring it up NOW to cloud the accusatory nature of this post and the discussion of INFUSION to talk about something else that wasn’t even mentioned. Sad. I think it would be nice to see Lane justify his own approach instead of having guys like you change subjects and discuss other things to ignore the blantant sins committed against people like Pastor Meyers. If you want to discuss “works” in general, start another post.

  33. greenbaggins said,

    May 19, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Matt, Chris is leaving me to deal with the substance of Meyers’s concerns, because Jeff addressed his post to me. And I will answer. I have only had two sermons and three bulletins to do today. But Chris is lending credence to my claims about justification by quoting Rich Lusk. So, actually, he is dealing with some of Meyers’s concerns. So, your criticism of Chris is wide.

  34. Matt said,

    May 19, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Lane,
    Really? Meyers starts with attacks on him by quoting you,

    “>Debate over these mechanics is the main hinge on which our religion turns.
    >It really makes one wonder if Jeff has read any substantive account of the >Reformation doctrine of justification. Has he read John Owen?……”

    Glad all this is now ignored while “works” are discussed! You should be ashamed of yourself.

  35. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 19, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    “Do any of you want to face final judgment under the above conditions?”

    It would be almost as uncomfortable as the scenario Jesus spells out in Matthew 25.

  36. Chris Hutchinson said,

    May 19, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Matt (Colvin?),

    I think the place of works in justification and infused grace in justification are closely related. At best, I have a point in answering Rev. Myers’ assertion that no FV guys have room for infused grace. At worst, linking these two may make me a dope, or perhaps I just don’t understand how internet interaction is supposed to work as far as when it is allowed to bring up closely related subjects.

    But I suppose you did not sin against me by accusing me of purposely trying to cloud the issue. But you see, I will not try to read your heart as well as you think you have read mine.

  37. Black&TanInTheAM said,

    May 19, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    ‘k. How bout a family issue? My niece is visiting (baptist). She is 16 and very prohibition-esque. My consumption is limited whilst she is here….anyhoo, I know she will have an issue with our Welch’s being actual Kendall Jackson (actually it changes weekly). She will not partake. I suggested gently to my wife (niece’s aunt) that perhaps she might be better off not attending with us at all but attend with her grandparents at their church. KABOOOOOOOOOOM!!!! Did I over apply my TR-ishness?

  38. Black&TanInTheAM said,

    May 19, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    Response to JJM #7
    “The language of improvement of baptism is clearly tied to faith, which is the improvement of baptism, not to the water by itself. Therefore, one is only united to Christ when one comes to faith.”

    **Here, GB, I must ask you to exegete John 15.

    “It is quite clear here that Steve Wilkins affirms that people who will not persevere (who are decretally reprobate) nevertheless have true union and communion with Christ, stated in direct violation of the line of argumentation above given in questions 65-68.”

    **Again, please exegete John 15.

    “But Travis, the WS say that there can be no true union between reprobates and Jesus.”
    **I would have to disagree. It says they never truly come to him and this by faith. This adverb does not negate the initial credal union (if an adult) and baptism. For instance, Joe Bubblegum hears you preach the gospel and responds. He is baptised and under your tutelage he is discipled. Within a period of four years he yearns for his former life of girls, girls, girls. He leaves the church and never (to this day) returns. [Now, this is the case with my former pastor’s good high school chum.] Here is my take on this. We’ll call him Gavin (for that is his name). Gavin was married to Christ (really) and ate with Christ quarterly (truly). Gavin truly and really broke the covenant. He is an apostate son. Why? Because he was baptised. Is this not the case? Yes, it is. When Gavin dies and if he dies in rebellion to Christ he will be judged an apostate son. Why? Because he was baptised.
    Now, imagine another scenario. Gavin never got baptised. Let’s change the gender and name. Her name is Gina. She has attended church and “celebrated” the supper for the past five years. She has a profession of faith but no baptism. She is waiting til her children (all teens) come to faith. Now, to be sure, this church is not reformed in any Calvinistic sense. Here is what I say. She is not married to Christ. She has a profession of faith. She will tell my mother that she loves Jesus and serves in the church ad nauseum but I say she is not united to Christ. There is no covenant to break here. Truly, really, or otherwise. Why? B/c she has not been baptised. Now, contra Gavin, Gina will not die an apostate daughter. She will not suffer the same wrath as Gavin. Why? B/c she was not baptised. A person’s personal faith means nada without the Church’s thumbs up and blessing in the sacrament. This is the rule. Are there exceptions? Yes. But those are not the norm, they are exceptions. The rule is “no Church as madre, no God as padre.”
    This is the power of the sacraments. Indulge me, again. Our baptist brethren do not apply the sign to infants because of their ordo salutis. The sign belongs to no one but those of faith. I feel we TRs are no less baptistic than they when we apply the sign. I am left scratching my head so often when I see cov’t children baptised. “So, what just happened? I know you went to lengths telling me what didn’t happen but I’m not sure what to believe did happen.” Here’s what didn’t happen: “This baptism does not save this baby. This baptism does not take away this child’s sins. This baptism does not unite her to Jesus. This baptism does not regenerate this child…ad infinitum & nauseum. BUUUUUUT this baptism does acknowledge that when this child comes to faith all of God’s promises held out to her and her parents will be true of her. In this baptism today God promises these parents to save their child when she comes of age and believes. God promises today to take away her sins, to unite her to Christ, to regenerate her and give her all the benefits that befit a child of God when she believes. Amen and amen. Let us pray….” (to be continued)
    Now, as to the above, this is what is preached in every non FV church in the PCA. I hear it regularly. And it truly breaks my heart. Here’s why. What are we saying that Baptists are not? Our reformed baptisms are nothing less than baptist dedications. They are. We emasculate Christ and dehydrate the element. We end up saying NOTHING less than an evangelist at a crusade. “If you will but come to Jesus he will…..” The only thing missing is water. Why not (I know why not, it’s rhetoric) baptise everyone and say, “OK, when you get around to believing this stuff…” How is what we do different than our baptist brethren? You might want to say “much in every way” but your dehydrating the element negates your wishes. Here is what we end up saying, “God has blessed this family. You parents are blessed. God has given you a covenant child to raise into the faith. Pray for her. Teach her. Discipline her. She is not a Christian yet, though. She must make your faith her own. She is privileged in every way. She will hear the Gospel from a young age and be taught all the principles of our faith. How blessed she truly is…”…anon. Actually, I lied. This was a baptist dedication ceremony.
    Now, I can hear you retort. But I have to confess, b/c of what I hear we believe about baptism, I truly do not know why we apply the water. Truly I don’t. Unless it actually means something. Unless it actually threatens something. Unless the sacrament actually means something sacred (save some future desperate-hopeful-finger-crossing-hope) we are refined baptists.
    …continued…10 years pass and she apostasizes and dies unrepentant. At her funeral, the same pastor who said the above says, “Remember all that stuff I said about this child when she came to faith because she was baptised? Never mind.”

  39. Tom Thistleton said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Chris,

    Listen to Calvin:

    “Those whom the Lord has destined by his mercy for the inheritance of eternal life he leads into possession of it, according to his ordinary dispensation, by means of good works” (Institutes 3.14.21)

    “Yet because he examines our works according to his tenderness, not his supreme right, he therefore accepts them as if they were perfectly pure; and for this reason, although unmerited, they are rewarded with infinite benefits, both of the present life and also of the life to come. For I do not accept the distinction made by learned and otherwise godly men that good works deserve the graces that are conferred upon us in this life, while everlasting salvation is the reward of faith alone. On the other hand, so to attribute to the merit of works the fact that we are showered with grace upon grace as to take it away from grace is contrary to the teaching of Scripture . . . Whatever, therefore, is now given to the godly as an aid to salvation, even blessedness itself, is purely God’s beneficence. Yet both in this blessedness and in those godly persons, he takes works into account. For in order to testify to the greatness of his love towards us, he makes not only us but the gift he has given us worthy of such honor.” (Institutes 3.15.4)

    OR

    Turretin when in his Institutes, he writes good works are “required as the means and way for possessing salvation . . . [A]lthough works may be said to contribute nothing to the acquisition of salvation, still they should be considered necessary to the obtainment of it, so that no one can be saved without them” (17.3.3-4). He goes on in 17.3.12: “This very thing is no less expressly delivered concerning future glory. For since good works have the relation of the means to the end (Jn. 3:5, 16; Mt. 5:8); of the ‘way’ to the goal (Eph. 2:10; Phil 3:14); of the ‘sowing’ to the harvest (Gal. 6:7,8); of the ‘firstfruits’ to the mass (Rom. 8:23); of ‘labor’ to the reward (Mt. 20:1); of the ‘contest’ to the crown (2 Tim. 2:5; 4:8), everyone sees that there is the highest and an indispensable necessity of good works for obtaining glory. It is so great that it cannot be reached without them (Heb. 12:14; Rev. 21:27).”

    OR

    Edwards: “The actual possession of eternal benefits is suspended on a condition yet to be fulfilled: perseverance in good works” (Miscellany 689)

    I don’t know Rich Lusk but it seems to me he is trying to say the same thing being said in these quotes. I think we’d agree that Calvin, Turretin, and Edwards didn’t deny justification by faith and I don’t believe Rich Lusk is either. In fact in 3.14.21, while affirming justification by grace through faith, Calvin refers to works as inferior causes of salvation. If one of the FV men were to use this language today they’d be accused of being less than Calvinists and corrupters of the gospel. Ironic, isn’t it?

  40. Sean Gerety said,

    May 20, 2007 at 9:49 am

    “Debating about the mechanics of *how* Christ’s death and the justification of a sinner are related is not necessarily the same thing as denying the Gospel.” In my opinion, this is a non-statement. the mechanics of how this works *constitutes* the Gospel, as I pointed out. Of course, not all FV proponents are off on justification. Wilson is, I think, orthodox on this point, and Steve Schlissel is way out in left field.”

    Lane, you couldn’t be more wrong about Wilson.

    According to Wilson’s FV manifesto he repeatedly compares the covenant to a marriage and only those who are faithful to the demands of the covenant relationship are finally justified. For example he writes: “When you baptize an unrepentant pagan, what you actually get is a covenant-breaker. His baptism now obligates him to live a life of repentance, love and trust, which he is refusing to do” (99). This is nonsense. The pagan was obligated to repent and obey before he was baptized. He was already a covenant-breaker. Christian baptism does not make men covenant-breakers; the immediate imputation of Adam’s sin does. Imputation plays only a cosmetic role in Wilson’s soteriology.

    Wilson also favorable quotes Randy Booth: “Only faithful covenant membership (i.e., those full of faith in the Savior), receive the covenant blessings, *including the blessings of imputed righteousness”* (175, emphasis added). That sentence deserves to be read again. The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is *the result of being a faithful covenant member.* Wilson immediately adds, “This is fundamental to the central point of this book. Election is one thing and covenant membership is another.” For Wilson it is the conditions of salvation that God sets at baptism that become the dividing line between salvation and damnation: “Those who obligate themselves under the terms of the covenant law to live by faith but then defiantly refuse to believe are cut away” (134). In Wilson’s scheme, “breaking covenant occurs because of unbelief, lack of faith, and because of lack of good works” (134), and fulfilling the conditions of the covenant occurs by faith and good works. Wilson rejects the historic Reformed and Biblical view of the Covenant of Grace in which Christ is the Mediator of the covenant and the Savior of his people. The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is not contingent upon our “faithful covenant membership,” but solely upon Christ’s obedience to the will of the Father.

    Perhaps because you’re a Van Tilian you don’t see it, but these men have been so steeped in the idea that there is no univocal connection between God’s thoughts and man’s thoughts, that it is now second nature and to their advantage to insure there is no univocal point of contact between the thoughts of one man to another. There has been more than enough water under the bridge with these men to realize that it is simply impossible to take these men at their word when they say Christian sounding things. You need to dig a bit deeper to find out what they mean.

    Wilson denies the doctrine of imputation as assuredly as Schlissel and Lusk, but he is simply a better snake oil salesman.

  41. Sean Gerety said,

    May 20, 2007 at 9:50 am

    The above wasn’t to detract from your excellent responses to Meyers, just to wave a friendly red flag. :)

  42. Black&TanInTheAM said,

    May 20, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I really would like some feedback on these thoughts. I thought fer sher I get some. So I’ll post it again….
    Response to JJM #7
    “The language of improvement of baptism is clearly tied to faith, which is the improvement of baptism, not to the water by itself. Therefore, one is only united to Christ when one comes to faith.”

    **Here, GB, I must ask you to exegete John 15.

    “It is quite clear here that Steve Wilkins affirms that people who will not persevere (who are decretally reprobate) nevertheless have true union and communion with Christ, stated in direct violation of the line of argumentation above given in questions 65-68.”

    **Again, please exegete John 15.

    “But Travis, the WS say that there can be no true union between reprobates and Jesus.”
    **I would have to disagree. It says they never truly come to him and this by faith. This adverb does not negate the initial credal union (if an adult) and baptism. For instance, Joe Bubblegum hears you preach the gospel and responds. He is baptised and under your tutelage he is discipled. Within a period of four years he yearns for his former life of girls, girls, girls. He leaves the church and never (to this day) returns. [Now, this is the case with my former pastor’s good high school chum.] Here is my take on this. We’ll call him Gavin (for that is his name). Gavin was married to Christ (really) and ate with Christ quarterly (truly). Gavin truly and really broke the covenant. He is an apostate son. Why? Because he was baptised. Is this not the case? Yes, it is. When Gavin dies and if he dies in rebellion to Christ he will be judged an apostate son. Why? Because he was baptised.
    Now, imagine another scenario. Gavin never got baptised. Let’s change the gender and name. Her name is Gina. She has attended church and “celebrated” the supper for the past five years. She has a profession of faith but no baptism. She is waiting til her children (all teens) come to faith. Now, to be sure, this church is not reformed in any Calvinistic sense. Here is what I say. She is not married to Christ. She has a profession of faith. She will tell my mother that she loves Jesus and serves in the church ad nauseum but I say she is not united to Christ. There is no covenant to break here. Truly, really, or otherwise. Why? B/c she has not been baptised. Now, contra Gavin, Gina will not die an apostate daughter. She will not suffer the same wrath as Gavin. Why? B/c she was not baptised. A person’s personal faith means nada without the Church’s thumbs up and blessing in the sacrament. This is the rule. Are there exceptions? Yes. But those are not the norm, they are exceptions. The rule is “no Church as madre, no God as padre.”
    This is the power of the sacraments. Indulge me, again. Our baptist brethren do not apply the sign to infants because of their ordo salutis. The sign belongs to no one but those of faith. I feel we TRs are no less baptistic than they when we apply the sign. I am left scratching my head so often when I see cov’t children baptised. “So, what just happened? I know you went to lengths telling me what didn’t happen but I’m not sure what to believe did happen.” Here’s what didn’t happen: “This baptism does not save this baby. This baptism does not take away this child’s sins. This baptism does not unite her to Jesus. This baptism does not regenerate this child…ad infinitum & nauseum. BUUUUUUT this baptism does acknowledge that when this child comes to faith all of God’s promises held out to her and her parents will be true of her. In this baptism today God promises these parents to save their child when she comes of age and believes. God promises today to take away her sins, to unite her to Christ, to regenerate her and give her all the benefits that befit a child of God when she believes. Amen and amen. Let us pray….” (to be continued)
    Now, as to the above, this is what is preached in every non FV church in the PCA. I hear it regularly. And it truly breaks my heart. Here’s why. What are we saying that Baptists are not? Our reformed baptisms are nothing less than baptist dedications. They are. We emasculate Christ and dehydrate the element. We end up saying NOTHING less than an evangelist at a crusade. “If you will but come to Jesus he will…..” The only thing missing is water. Why not (I know why not, it’s rhetoric) baptise everyone and say, “OK, when you get around to believing this stuff…” How is what we do different than our baptist brethren? You might want to say “much in every way” but your dehydrating the element negates your wishes. Here is what we end up saying, “God has blessed this family. You parents are blessed. God has given you a covenant child to raise into the faith. Pray for her. Teach her. Discipline her. She is not a Christian yet, though. She must make your faith her own. She is privileged in every way. She will hear the Gospel from a young age and be taught all the principles of our faith. How blessed she truly is…”…anon. Actually, I lied. This was a baptist dedication ceremony.
    Now, I can hear you retort. But I have to confess, b/c of what I hear we believe about baptism, I truly do not know why we apply the water. Truly I don’t. Unless it actually means something. Unless it actually threatens something. Unless the sacrament actually means something sacred (save some future desperate-hopeful-finger-crossing-hope) we are refined baptists.
    …continued…10 years pass and she apostasizes and dies unrepentant. At her funeral, the same pastor who said the above says, “Remember all that stuff I said about this child when she came to faith because she was baptised? Never mind.”

  43. Black&TanInTheAM said,

    May 20, 2007 at 10:19 am

    I was born again back in 1980 when I was baptised. I was reborn again when I discovered the doctrines of grace (ca 1990). And again upon the understnading of cov’t theology (mid 90s). And once again b4 all this FV hellabulloo broke out in the late 90s as I took classes at RTS FLA when I traveled down the FV path. It was in these ephiponal days of my growth that I loved Jesus more as my prophet, priest and king. These doctrines I “discovered” became life to me. I have found more assurance of my election in these FV waters than anywhere else. I only bring that up to counter some of the words printed earlier of how these teachings rob others of assurance. I find in these (at least here) emphases on the sacraments life and that springing up to eternal.

  44. anneivy said,

    May 20, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Sean, I’m intrigued by this statement of Wilson’s: “Election is one thing and covenant membership is another….”

    Basically he’s quite right, I’d think. Election IS one thing, and covenant membership IS another.

    What interests me is how traditionally, ISTM, covenant membership was the broad category that included some of the unsaved, while being elect was the narrow category consisting solely of those who are saved.

    Now this appears to have been reversed, with election being the broader category, and covenant membership the more narrow one.

    Yes? No? Sorta? Almost?

  45. greenbaggins said,

    May 20, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    BOQ What’s breathtaking, Lane, is your vain accusations. I have read everyone of these men you list and more. I was reading them before you were born. Literally. EOQ

    I love the way you throw my age in face. This is the second or third time, now. How ’bout reversing the positions. Would you like someone always throwing your age in your face? It is irrelevant as to whether what I say is true or not. So, let’s stop the ad hominem and work through the issues, shall we? And credentials are not impressive, either. So, you have read these guys. But you’re defending guys who attack this theology. Chris has brought up some excellent examples from Rich Lusk’s theology that utterly deny the Reformation teaching that those men you read espouse. So why are you defending them?

    You beleive in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer. Good. I believe you. I do think that the IAO is taught in the WS, however. I notice you didn’t answer that argumentation, nor the OPC report on which my argument is entirely based. Rhetoric is not argument. Shepherd’s argument on this is bogus, as the OPC report clearly proves. You need to deal with the arguments, Jeff. I have already answered the other aspects of your “argument” (which is much more a tirade than carefully reasoned response, as better men than I have already told me). The debate about subscription is dealt with in the other responses to your 30 reasons. It is not a debate about words, but about doctrine.

    Travis, you are identifying the sign with the thing signified. You are, without qualification, saying that the thing signified always comes with the sign. But it doesn’t. The thief on the cross did not receive the sign of the covenant. Did Jesus tell him, “Oh, you have no part with me.” You have not dealt with the qualifications put on baptism in WCF 28.5, where the WCF clearly states that someone can be saved without baptism, and that not everyone baptism is saved. Clearly a distinguishing between sign and thing signified. You are also forgetting the sacramental language qualification in WCF 27.2. What TR’s say that Baptists don’t is that baptism marks one as a child belonging to the covenant in an external way. Baptists do not acknowledge this. I’m sorry, but the charge of “Baptist” simply does not stick to TR’s, Travis. We baptize our children. It is an engagement ring, not the wedding ring. Baptists have no engagement ring for their children. That’s the difference. And it is significant.

  46. anneivy said,

    May 20, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    That’s an interesting description, Lane, that of baptism-as-engagement. Betrothals, though not marriage and still requiring an actual marriage ceremony, were taken quite seriously in Biblical times, after all.

    Huh.

    Never thought about it like that before. Good analogy.

  47. greenbaggins said,

    May 20, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Not original with me. It’s in the excellent book edited by Gregg Strawbridge, called _The Case for Covenantl Infant Baptism_. Don’t remember which author penned it, but I think it fits.

  48. anneivy said,

    May 20, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Ah. Thanks.

  49. Tom Thistleton said,

    May 20, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Lane,

    What do you think of Calvin’s language when he says works are inferior causes of salvation or when Turretin says that there is an indispensable necessity of good works for obtaining glory. To be honest, it made me very uncomfortable when I first read it, especially using works and causality in the same sentence. And yet, I believe these men were trying to be faithful to the full testimony of Scripture, even when it says things that, AT FIRST, appear to contradict other things in the Word.

    It seems to me that the FV guys, and especially Lusk, are working to find a place for these themes in current day Reformed theology. They might not have gotten it all right and I’m sure would appreciate discussion characterized by iron sharpening iron but are they really denying the gospel?

    It also strikes me that most people opposed to the FV would be very uncomfortable with the language of Calvin and Turretin in this instance and likely would accuse men who use it of denying the gospel, unless, of course, they were dead.

  50. greenbaggins said,

    May 20, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Tom, if you read those authors carefully, you will notice that they are not talking about justification *at all.* But good works are necessary to the believer just as fruit is necessary to being a good fruit tree. They are not the root, but the fruit. The root is God’s grace, and therefore, by derivation, the works are also of God’s grace. One could not say that an apple-less tree is a good apple tree. So also one cannot say that a works-less Christian is a good Christian. But works are put in their proper place, not by Lusk’s comments, which place them within the sphere of justification, but in sanctification, as the result of the renovation of our hearts. That’s why Calvin and Turretin are right, and Lusk is wrong.

  51. Tom Thistleton said,

    May 20, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Lane,

    Below is 3.14.21 from the Institutes. Notice the words I’ve capitalized and their context. I believe he is talking about justification. He begins by clearly re-affirming justification by grace through faith. And then he follows immediately by saying “IN THIS, however, there is nothing to prevent the Lord from embracing works as inferior causes.” The “In this” is referring to the justification he has just re-affirmed.

    I understand the root and the fruit analogy and have used it many times myself. However, I think Calvin is saying something a little different here and I believe this is the same thing Lusk is trying to say.

    21. Moreover, when Scripture intimates that the good works of believers are causes why the Lord does them good, we must still understand the meaning so as to hold unshaken what has previously been said–viz. that the efficient cause of our salvation is placed in the love of God the Father; the material cause in the obedience of the Son; the instrumental cause in the illumination of the Spirit, that is, in faith; and the final cause in the praise of the divine goodness. IN THIS, however, there is nothing to prevent the Lord from embracing works as inferior causes. But how so? In this way: Those whom in mercy he has destined for the inheritance of eternal life, he, in his ordinary administration, introduces to the possession of it by means of good works. What precedes in the order of administration is called the cause of what follows. For this reason, HE SOMETIMES MAKES ETERNAL LIFE A CONSEQUENT OF WORKS; not because it is to be ascribed to them, but because those whom he has elected he justifies, that he may at length glorify (Rom. 8:30); he makes the prior grace to be a kind of cause, because it is a kind of step to that which follows. But whenever the true cause is to be assigned, he enjoins us not to take refuge in works, but to keep our thoughts entirely fixed on the mercy of God; “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life,” (Rom. 6:23). Why, as he contrasts life with death, does he not also contrast righteousness with sin? Why, when setting down sin as the cause of death, does he not also set down righteousness as the cause of life? The antithesis which would otherwise be complete is somewhat marred by this variation; but the Apostle employed the comparison to express the fact, that death is due to the deserts of men, but that life was treasured up solely in the mercy of God. In short, by these expressions, the order rather than the cause is noted.43[1] The Lord adding grace to grace, takes occasion from a former to add a subsequent, so that he may omit no means of enriching his servants. Still, in following out his liberality, he would have us always look to free election as its source and beginning. For although he loves the gifts which he daily bestows upon us, inasmuch as they proceed from that fountain, still our duty is to hold fast by that gratuitous acceptance, which alone can support our souls; and so to connect the gifts of the Spirit, which he afterwards bestows, with their primary cause, as in no degree to detract from it.

  52. Black&TanInTheAM said,

    May 20, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    For what it’s worth, I am rereading the AATP&C and am in Joey Pipa’s essay. In reaction to my notes above on my rebirths, I quote him, “Their maintaining that a baptised person should think of himself as elect and justified until he apostatizes [I still think it should be ‘apostasize’] hinders true assurance (131,132).”
    I could not disagree more strongly. Let us change the statement to read, “Their maintaining that a [person professing faith] should think of himself as elect and justified until he apostatizes hinders true assurance.” Where is the emphasis to lie? In one’s personal faith or in one’s participation in the means of grace? Do they not both infer and presuppose faith?
    To the first, one’s faith is in the promises of God through the sacrament of baptism. Herein God declares, “You are my child. I love you. I will be your God and you will be my son.” One’s faith is not in the bare element but in the element and the word behind it. What is errant here?

    To the second, one’s faith is in one’s faith in the promises of God [without] the sacrament of baptism. Wherein God declares, “You are my child. I love you. I will be your God and you will be my son.” One’s faith is not in the bare element at all the word of God without the element. Do you see what I see? I see and hear Pipa negating the sign and seal of the very promise of God to his people.

    Now, here is why Pipa says what he does. He quotes the WCF 18.2 and says that the FV focus on the sacraments is contrary to this paragraph. Let us consider it now.
    “This certainty is not a bare conjecture and probable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promise of salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are children of God; which Spirit is the interest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.”
    I think we can ask at least these questions of this paragraph and answer them adequately.
    1) Why is our assurance and hope infallible?
    It is not infallible b/c of our faith but b/c of God who cannot lie.
    2) Upon what is this assurance founded?
    It is founded upon the promises of God in both word and sacrament.
    3) Wherein is this promise of salvation found?
    This promise is found in both word and sacrament.
    4) Wherein is this seal given?
    It is given in both word and sacrament.

    Where shall we put our hope? I do not think it is too far off to say in the word and sacrament. Both are means God uses to assure us of our hope; that the content of our faith in not in “bare conjecture and probable persuasion” but in the promises of God to us. Far from discounting the sacraments and looking to one’s sola fide, this paragraph sustains the faith of the individual in the promises of God found in the means of grace.

    I strongly disagree with JP here. I find blessed assurance that Jesus is mine in the fact that I have God’s swearing to me by his own name that I am his and he is mine because I am baptised. I look to my baptism and maintain that I am elect, justified, and adopted. I maintain that there is nothing that shall separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus….except apostasy.
    And God forbid I ever get there.

  53. Black&TanInTheAM said,

    May 20, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    the italics ought to have ended after “fide”

  54. Chris Hutchinson said,

    May 21, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Tom,

    Thanks for those quotes. I have gotten slammed here, pastorally (which is the usual state), so I am regretfully going to have to go back to lurker status, if even that. But you deserve a brief response.

    In short, I agree with Lane that these are referring to *salvation* as a whole — which includes sanctification and glorification — and not justification. A very important distinction, and one which some FV writers, at least early on, failed to distinguish. (But in general — and this is not a criticism, just a comment — FV men tend to conflate doctrines and realities, while non-FV men tend to see the value in distinguishing doctrines and realties.)

    So, it is proper to say that good works are (normally) necessary for salvation, but it is never proper to say that they are needed for justification, unless you mean by that Jesus’ works on our behalf.

    In particular, years ago, I made mention to an FV man that Calvin was being taken out of context in 3.15.4, here: “For I do not accept the distinction made by learned and otherwise godly men that good works deserve the graces that are conferred upon us in this life, while everlasting salvation is the reward of faith alone.” (And thanks for providing the wider context.) Calvin simply means that good works gain heavenly as well as earthly rewards. But these rewards are added onto our acquittal which has already been accomplished by the Cross.

    Again, somewhat rhetorically, let me ask, do you want there to be video-tape played of your life on Judgment Day as part of your acquittal?

    Tom, if you send me your email to chris@gracecovenantpca.org, I will send you something I have written that may be of some help in expressing some of my concerns.

    Blessings,
    Chris

  55. May 21, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    [...] lot of Satanic (satan = false accuser of the brethren) attacks here beginning with: “Is it any accident that imputation, which is the heart of [...]

  56. May 21, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    [...] Read it for yourself and compare.  Lane has no reply. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]


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